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Miniature Painting Spotlight

So I promised an update on the painting of the female elven ranger miniature that one of our Dear Readers had won in our first giveaway, and here is where she was last…

Well, she advanced some…

She was coming along quite well…

And then I did some more work, getting the base paint on her.

She was really coming together. I enjoyed the use of greens and browns.

But the best is yet to come…

Details are done, and shading has begun.

Oh, Dear Readers, it gets better!

Isn’t she something?

Yeah, I know, there are places I was holding it that weren’t dry and paint came off, particularly on the base. But that’s okay, as I am going to do some terrain work on there.

Now, I cannot claim credit on these last steps. Yourdorkmaterials and I were hanging out with a friend named Darren (the one teaching me the more advanced painting techniques), talking and painting. In fact, Yourdorkmaterials is working on, what I believe, will be an awesome miniature, and I hope he lets me showcase it here! But I digress.

Darren ran the assist and helped (read: did for me!) the shading and highlights. He’s going to do some more of it to make it presentable for our winner! He’s helping while I learn the techniques he’s teaching me. Great guy, right?!

But there she is.

Dear Readers, I hope you enjoyed seeing her as much as I loved painting her. I’ll post up when Darren is done with the touch-up work on her!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

Tuesday Game: A Player’s Perspective – Three Grave Road and Goblin Revolt

Last time on DBZ… wait wrong story…

We left our adventuring companions taking on a bandit raid targeting a former raider by the name of Tara Grassel/Lyra Firebrand who was providing food and board for our adventures. The bandits were pushed back with spells and sorcery, and the party was able to put out most of the flames attempting to ruin the farm. With the danger passed, the group asked their host what she wished to do with the leader they captured, and she wished to be left alone to take care of late husband’s farm in peace. Thus, when the morning sun rose, the group got back on the road to make their way back to Dope’s Hope.

A few days travel later, the party was traveling along a road known to be fraught with danger called Three Graves Road. This road had a history for being treacherous from Thunder Storms that had scattered massive boulders throughout the relatively flat landscape, and a particularly nasty storm had claimed the lives of three nameless travelers. Their corpses were subsequently buried, and their graves serve as a warning and place of prayer to all that travel along the route.

One such traveler was a halfing man who approached the changling ranger, Ari, and proclaimed her to be the avatar of his deity, Tymora. As if prompted by otherworldly powers, three ethereal specters rose from the iconic graves, and they sought to bring more travelers to their demise! The party quickly dispatched the ghostly figures, but the monsters soon gave way to three zombies who also wished to drag the adventures to their graves! Yet, once again our heroes vanquished these undead foes put before them, and all seemed peaceful….

Until, the heavens themselves turned dark and the air around the adventures went to a deathly silence as a black cloaked figure with a large scythe materialized before all present. The only figure that could bring all living things to a silent stop was death itself, but this figure was not hear to gather more souls. Instead, death brought warnings that mysterious and malevolent entities were gathering power to bring darkness to the lands, and asked who will be their champion to prevent this calamity? The only one to speak up was the goliath barbarian, Spray, who answered the call to stop this darkness, and he was then given a dark periapt of health. As quickly it came, death then dissolved on the spot leaving the party with ill feelings about what the future held.

Several further days of travel found the party once again at their keep, Dope’s Hope, and the new members of the group were welcomed warmly and acquainted with the surrounding area. After a night of entertainment and comradery, the group decided it would not lie down in wait of the next Goblin King assault, but they would rather go seek out the threat themselves because what could go wrong…

The party’s search for any other goblins was rewarded with fresh goblinoid tracks in the forest surrounding the keep, and the group decided to follow the tracks deeper into the forest. Less than a day’s travel later, the companions were upon the group of goblins and single hobgoblin leader, and they deliberated at what the best course of action would be next. The dwarven artificer, Tywin, suggested a plan involving his magical machinations to sway the goblins to their side considering their outnumbered position. Spray and Ari, approached the goblins with the intent to take over leadership of this goblin gang, but the hobgoblin in charge challenged their true intentions. With the cast of a die, however, the barbarian and ranger were able to convince the goblin subordinates to revolt against the tyranny of this hobgoblin, but the flame for freedom shortly died out as the hobgoblin slew all of the rabble at the cost of several mortal blows to himself.

Seeking to capitalize on the situation, the dragonborn cleric, Quibli, proceeded to put the hobgoblin to sleep, tied him up, and brought him back for interrogation at Dope’s Hope! What opportunities does this loyal follower provide to our compatriots in their quest to vanquish the goblin king? Only the dice gods know…

Rime of the Frostmaiden: Small Group, Large Deeds

Dear Readers, this week, only three of my players were able to make our Sunday Adventurers League game. As such, this session was much more role-play centered than combat centered.

When we last left off, our heroes were in a lost spire of Netheril, broken off from the floating city of Ythryn when it crashed to Toril all those centuries past.

Seeing that their only path forward was down (up?) a hole in the floor (ceiling?). Going down they found themselves in a large room with mutiple doors. The first door they tried led to another collapsed stairwell. The next door led to a room holding a ghast and…Dzaan? The party was confused as they had seen this man executed by burning at the stake in Easthaven!

Upon closer examination and conversation, this person was actually a simulacrum of the infamous wizard. The party was unsure of whether to trust this being or not. This goes especially for when it found out that there is a chamber that turns illusionary things into real things, with the hope that he can turn himself from a simulacrum into a real person. The only thing needed was the spark of a real living person in order to create the life from the illusion.

The party was extremely suspicious of his motives as well as his intentions, considering the “real” Dzaan had been executed for killing a group of adventurers that had helped him find this spire. Accordingly, the barbarian/paladin expressed that he was, in no uncertain terms, going to help this simulacrum accomplish his goals.

The cleric, however, was willing, so the party went down (up?) further into the spire, to find the chamber in question.

It was here the barbarian/paladin ran into the denizen of that level, a basilisk! The barbarian/paladin and the rogue/fighter made short work of the beast.

Before the last step, the party asked Dzaan’s simulacrum what he intended to do if this was successful. His response was to get a new spellbook, some supplies, and continue trying to find Ythryn.

The cleric advanced forward with the simulacrum, providing the spark by touching him during the process. In the end, the process appeared to work!

Deciding that there was nothing else for them to do, they headed out to deal with the gnoll threat that had been plaguing Caer Konig (although that town was destroyed in the chardalyn dragon attack).

It was difficult to track down the lair without the aid of their trusty ranger, but the party managed.

Senior entrance, the party headed down below to face the looming threat. Only… When they finally came across the brutes… They didn’t attack. They just saw the party looked towards further into the lair, and went back to their activity.

Strange.

Heading to where the gnolls were looking, The party found a particularly nasty one that they handily defeated. Hearing his death throes, All of the others rushed past the party to devour its remains. The gnome, seeing an easy solution to their problem, let loose a fireball in the room, ending the threat. They collected the treasure, which included a magical fishing hook that, when placed in a 10′ cube of water, could pull out a magical fish that would have certain properties or have some other effect.

Easily enough solved.

Looking at their options, the party headed back to Bremen so that they could rest and resupply and figure out their next move. With Dzaan telling them that the White Codicil likely lay on Auril’s Island, the party looked for a means of transport, hearing rumors of a whale at Angujuk’s Bell that talks and can provide transportation!

The party headed towards this location, finding a strange rock formation, with a dock and a bell, as well as a large hole in the ice. The party rang the bell only to be attacked by three large vultures. They were absolutely no match for the party’s onslaught, and fell quickly enough. Soon enough, the whale came, with a strange boat attached to its back!

Parlaying with the whale, they managed to trade passage to Auril’s Abode for a magical fish caught via their new magical fishing hook. After fishing for some time, the party brought up a fish that sprouted wings and began, singing in Aquan, a beautiful song.

The party threw the fish to the whale, who promptly ate it. A magical fish is a magical fish, after all.

Having secured transportation to Auril’s Abode, the party prepared for departure…

Will a party find the Codicil? Well they survived the encounter on Auril’s Abode? What will they find there?

Join us next week to find out!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

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PS – the giveaway is still going! Let’s get to that 100 subscriber mark!!

Where to Put Things

Dear Readers, I am not an organized person. I have to leave clutter around here and there, and my desk is barely usable.

So when I decided to organize my miniature painting and modeling supplies, I want you to understand how excited my wife was. My wife is the organizing and storage lover in our relationship.

Up until recently I had a box marked as my miniature painting supplies.

Sad, isn’t it?

And here’s where my modeling tools were…

Yeah. I know. And you cannot believe the pain in the backside it was to pull everything out, try to get everything cramped back in, etc…

So what did my wife do? She helped me look for storage boxes. Knowing that I had new paints on the way, no less than 20 new droppers, I needed a solution, and I needed it fast.

What we settled on was a toolbox. So we headed to Lowe’s. while looking around the toolbox section, one of the associates approached and asked if he could help. We described the situation we were in and what we wanted and he had an opened box toolbox. What he pulled out was nothing short of amazing.

Behold! In all its glory! The daily DMs new miniature painting and modeling box!

No, seriously. This thing is amazing. First off, you can see that it’s lockable. Great for when I’m at the local store and need to step away but don’t want people taking my stuff.

Secondly, the upper storage area is nothing short of huge.

As you can see, I have my Delco locker my enamel thinner and brush cleaner, all of my brushes, my little jar of half done projects my two dice cases that I used to hold newly painted minis when I’m showing them off, an entire role of paper towels my project rag, my nail polish remover, toothpicks, etc… It. Holds. Everything. And I know for a fact that I could put more in there. in fact, I had an extra pallet that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with but I just put in there as I’m writing this.

Now to the drawers. The first store is where I actually keep my paints and shaders.

It literally holds every paint I own to include the few Citadel paints that I own. The better part is, if you look on the far right bottom, that there’s enough space to put a whole new row of paints on top. They would stack two high. I could easily fit another 32-36 droppers worth of paint in here, at least.

Next is my wet palette and details drawer.

As you can see, my wet palette on the right, the extra hydrofoam and hydro sheets, and my detail terrain and grass tufts.

Lastly is my modeling drawer.

This is all of my stuff for modeling. Files, sanders, tweezers, glue, hand drills, clippers, knives, pliers, etc…

Due to the metal and mostly Sharp nature of most of these objects, I put down a layer of paper towel to protect the drawer. I don’t have foam inserts for it so this is the best I could do.

So, what do you think? As the saying goes rate my setup!

Let me know in the comments section below.

We are still doing our giveaway, so don’t forget to subscribe to get all of our new content as it comes out! Premium subscribers get access to an extra post on thursdays, so consider helping us by supporting us with a premium subscription!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

Product Review: Army Painter Wet Palette

Today, Dear Readers, I am doing something a little different. Today I am doing a product review for the Army Painter brand wet palette. As I am a frequent fan of their brand of miniature painting, sculpting, and terrain products, I thought it was time for me to actually tell you about what I think of their individual products. As I was recently introduced to the art and science of the wet palette and having just recently purchased the Army Painter brand one, I figured I would do an unboxing (I’ll do a separate product review post once I’ve gotten a chance to use it)!

Here it goes…

First we have the unboxing. Here’s what I pulled out of the box:

As you can see, it comes with both a miniature painting and assembly guide (they are really great at providing beginner instructions!), as well as the wet palette itself, and the pack of other things.

Let’s check out the wet palette:

First we have an elastic band to help hold the wet palette together. As I soon learned, the palette came in three parts:

After removing the lid (which I would like to add seems like a very sturdy plastic; all the better to preserve the contents!), I was met with a paintbrush holder. I’ve discussed the paintbrushes I use, but I do own a single Army Painter brush that would fit nicely in here. Unfortunately, as I already have a good holder for my brushes, I won’t likely be using this any time soon. Once my current set of brushes need to be replaced, I’ll likely be replacing them with the Army Painter brand sets (of note, the one I have is their Psycho detail brush; I’ll be reviewing their brushes later when I get some more of their detail brushes).

Taking off the next layer, we find the tray for the wet palette itself.

Not much to say here. It looks like it will do the job.

Next let’s look at the contents of the plastic package:

The front.
The rear.

As you can see, there seems to be some instructions contained inside. Let’s take a look!

It looks like it contains a “How to Use a Wet Palette” guide, a guide on using paints, a warranty card of sorts, the hydro-foam mats (x2), and a stack of 50 hydro sheets, and a product catalogue. Let’s take a look at the guides for using the wet palette and paint/brush care.

In my opinion, the instructions seem clear and concise, with appropriate warnings about lack of water tightness. Additionally, it’s nice to have the reminder of brush care, with something I can pass on to new or younger miniature painters.

The last thing in the box was this, probably the most important object in the box:

I have had to use this only twice, and I cannot describe to you how amazing they are with this.

  1. I had a cracked tip on one of my paint droppers. They sent me a whole small bag of paint tips. Holy smokes! All they asked for was a picture of the cracked tip.
  2. My gaming ruler thumb-stop broke out of nowhere while using it normally. I sent them a picture and offered to send it back. They said that was not needed and sent me out a brand new measuring tape!

Their willingness and awesomeness in standing by their brand is beyond anything I have ever seen from any company in my 39 years, and is why I will keep going back to them time and time again.

Well, Dear Readers, what did you think? I’m, frankly, excited about using it, and will be doing just that when I work on the mini for our giveaway winner!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

How-To DM: Combat Encounters – Design — The Daily Dungeon Master Blog

by yourdorkmaterials

A Moon Druid, a Barbarian, a Rogue, a Monk and a Wizard walk into a cave…sounds like the start of a joke, doesn’t it? But a party like this can be a nightmare to build challenging encounters for. The Druid and Barbarian effectively have twice (or even three times at low levels) the […]

How-To DM: Building Encounters – Design — The Daily Dungeon Master Blog

DM Story: How The Daily DM (accidentally) Traumatized a Table of Middle Schoolers

Image is the property of Wizards of the Coast, All Rights Reserved

So, I was DMing a table of mostly middle schoolers (one of them is my son), and very early into the campaign, the party bard was tired of how long it took to get across the city and asked me how much it costs to hire a wagon. According to the PHB, it costs 1 cp per mile to hire a coach. Being as they were tavern owners (this was Waterdeep: Dragon Heist) and had cash to spend, the bard threw 5 gold at him and said “Alright, buddy, you work for us now!” and thus, Greg the Cabbie was born. Greg was a simple commoner with a wagon and two horses to pull it, who drove the party everywhere and had an uncanny talent for (whenever I rolled for it) NEVER being caught by the city watch for his reckless driving! Please keep in mind that this NPC was created on the fly. And the party started wanting to know more about Greg. Greg had a wife and 8 kids. He typically made about a silver a day (standard wages for average joes), until the party hired him to be their personal transport as well as the advertising cab for the tavern. Keep in mind, they hired him on session 2. It’s 4 levels and many sessions later, and the party is heading to the final confrontation. The adventure calls for them to be stopped on the way by minions of the hidden bad guy, to steal the McGuffin they needed to get into the confrontation. The party consisted of a human (that was short and thought he was a dwarf), dragonborn sorcerer, an elven wizard, elven rogue, halfling rogue, elven cleric, elven rogue, and an elven ranger.

Image is the property of its owner; all rights reserved.

So, they were in the wagon. And fanned out in front of them were 8 (in human form) wererats who were standing in near profile with hands below cloaks or behind them. I showed them how they were standing in front of them. The party was trying to talk them down while the bard was whispering into Greg’s ear to bolt and run them down when he gives the signal, which is yelling “FOR GLORY!!”

It is at this point that the wererats are going to act.

I have the song “O Fortuna” playing.

Image taken from Wikipedia

I have been planning this for weeks.

I know when the music crescendos

I am setting out minis and the board.

The cleric tells me he gives the signal to Greg the Cabbie.

And right before the music crescendos, I describe them as the wererats all pull out hand crossbows. As the music finishes building, I describe as the wererats shoot Greg (in serious detail), who death grips the reins of the horses, and the horses rear, and then are cut down by the remaining crossbow bolts. As I go on and on, I watch as each of these kids sit, eyes wide, tears misting their eyes, mouths agape. As I go quiet, they scream, nearly in unison: “NOOOOOO!!! NOT GREG!!!”

The elven rogue’s player throws his d20 against my DM screen and says “ROLL FOR INITIATIVE! I’M KILLING ALL OF THEM!!”

Que epic battle which was absolutely awesome.

NONE OF THE KIDS CAN HEAR THAT SONG WITHOUT A FULL TRAUMA RESPONSE (maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration; they still talk about how awesome that twist was)!!

TL;DR – I as DM plan epic encounter and using music, kills a beloved NPC almost traumatizing a table of middle school players.

Epilogue: the party spent the money to raise him from the dead and apologized profusely. He works for them to this day.

Premium Subscriber Post: When Awesome Campaigns Fizzle Out

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Tuesday Game: A Player’s Perspective – Shadowhold Outcome and Grassel Farm

When last we saw our adventure party, they had found themselves in Shadowhold at the precipice of a demonic statue that held their goal, the sword of Veldspin’s father. Veldspin desired to pull the sword so that she may reunite the lands her father had ruled once before, but her hired help of daring adventures had sensed the sword may be doing more than just decorating this statue. However, the warforged monk, Rain, sought to tempt fate itself, and precariously removed the blade from the statue. Upon the withdrawal of the likely magical blade, the party found itself beset by maleficent and shadowy specters and a demon wishing to cause harm to all living things before them.

The group defended itself with every blade and spell attack at their disposal in the hopes of vanquishing their attackers, and the fates were in their favor as a hulking goliath barbarian, named Spray, barreled down into the plaza launching a flurry of axe slashes and wild magic in the form of lighting streaks from his person. Then, the grung warlock, Natty, called upon her ancient one’s oath to focus a fantastical and fatal Eldritch blast on a shadow specter, and with the intent of finishing off their foes, the dragonborn cleric, Quibli, hurled a divine moonbeam onto the shadow demon. This beam of glittering light dispersed the demon’s form with a satisfying blast, and the adventures were able to catch their breath once again.

After a short rest and some deliberation amongst the group and the priestess, it was decided it would best for them all to leave the sword in the statue, for the group suspected that the sword was the key in holding back the dark forces of the Riven from entering the material plane. Though the priestess was disappointed in not retrieving her birthright, she thanked the companions for helping her connect with her father’s deeds of the past, and she headed on the road home to finding another way of bringing her lands together while the group headed back to the Three Wolf Heads Inn and Tavern.

Upon return to their usual spot, the adventuring party was advised to stop by Grassel’s farm for free room and board while traveling back to their keep, Dope’s Hope. The party rode out for one week until they happened upon the mentioned farm, and they were greeted by an older rugged looking woman by the name Tara Grassel, her young adult son, and an oddly larger-than-normal badger. The farmers provided a quick tour of their apple farm and offered the group stay with them free of charge, but the adventuring party ensured this act of kindness was repaid by at least help in the harvest produce.

An apple picking and farm duty montage later, the dinner bell was rung, and everyone prepared to partake in the feast prepared by the Grassel family. However, the always vigilant cleric detected a poison that prompted the dragonborn to discuss the matter in private with his compatriots. This further led to an awkward situation where the cleric questioned Tara on the purpose of the poison, and she declared that the poison was meant to keep rodents from damaging the crops. However, this answer only served to put the cleric and others on edge for the rest of the night, and it was followed up with further deliberation while standing guard over the farm.

The discussion became so heated and passionate, that even the most perceptive of the group were caught off guard by the sudden arrival of several unsavory guests who yelled out for Lyra Firebrand, head of the Badger Brigade, to show herself. The band of bandits proceeded to descend unto the farm with breaking into Tera/Lyra’s house and setting the orchard on fire. Our adventuring companions responded in kind with fighting back several of the bandits with sword and sorcery. They were able to prevent the unpleasant outlaws from abducting Tera, who revealed herself to be Lyra Firebrand, and the group was able to put out several flames consuming the farmland. The crooks, seeing the tides turning against them, finally fled back into darkness from which they came, and left our travelers with questions they needed answering from Lyra Firebrand…

Painting Miniatures: Space Marine

Dear readers, today’s painting installment will be a step-by-step on how I go about painting a Warhammer 40K space marine. These are, in particular, primaris space Marines.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to show you what they look like prior to priming, as I have already primed them. But I will go over how I primed them.

Of course, I started with base coating. For this I used the spray can that Citadel paints offers. Since we are painting Primeris marines, I went with Macragge Blue.

After the base coating, I used the Citadel Balthazar Gold to to do the shoulders and the aquila on the chest plate. When I got these marines, they were already pre-assembled making the job of painting the chest plate much more difficult. had I been the one to assemble these I would have painted this before assembling the blaster. But that is neither here nor there.

As you can see, there are some tiny imperfections; I fixed those after taking the picture

As you can see, it’s a very precise paint job. I recommend keeping a pot of the Macragge Blue on hand to go back over areas you accidentally over paint. The shoulders are a real beast of a job to get without over painting.

As you can tell, the gold is a little more prevalent in this photo that’s because I used Agrax Earthshade to highlight the gold areas to make them stand out a little bit more.

Next, I will move on to the blaster.

We just want to get it all nice and black, using Abaddon Black.

After that dries a bit, we go on to using Leadbelcher to paint the metallic parts of the blaster. Notice also how I used Macragge Blue on the blaster where I did. This will come in later when we dry brush the mini. Trust me.

Again, if this miniature had not yet been assembled, I would have done the painting of the blaster before I actually assembled the mini it just makes it easier to get the entirety of the rifle without having to accidentally paint on another part. Maybe that’s just my preference, but it just seems more logical to do it that way.

I also realized, after taking the picture, that I had forgotten to paint the sidearm he has here’s a picture of the painted sidearm:

You can also see that I’ve begun detailing the space marine. Painting on his backpack the silver ring as well as the outtake vents. Those are both Leadbelcher. This goes with the tubes on his helmet.

Now I’m starting work on the detailing. Notice I painted the pouches Leadbelcher. We’re going to do a little dry brushing on that later.

Yes, I know I missed the top of one of the pouches. I fixed it after I saw it in the picture.

The next thing I’m doing is using Nuln Oil shader to do the flexible bits between armor plating, and around the parts of his armor. I used Agrax Earthshade for shading the rest, except for the helmet. At least yet. We’ll talk about the helmet in the next step.

Now for the eyes.

No matter what anybody says, do not under any circumstance use Mephiston Red for the eyes. I’m going to use the Mephiston Red in other places, which you will see in the picture as well. For the eyes? White. Again, trust me.

Gah, those eyes are hard to paint. My hand isn’t very steady today. MS is kicking my tail!

Notice how I use the Mephiston Red on some details. Now for some more touch-ups and detailing.

For me, dry brushing is one of the more difficult activities in painting. I had not been using the technique due to the fact that I, frankly, suck at it. That said, here we go.

Not bad, if I do say so myself! Aaand now some more detailing and shading…

Lastly, let’s do the base; some basic gravel and a tuft of grass…

So, what do you all think? Did he come out good enough for a mediocre painter?

I hope you enjoyed today’s installment of miniature painting. if you have any constructive criticism, feel free to leave it in the comment section below.

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Until next time, Dear Readers…

Home Campaign Combat and Battle in the Throne Room (Rime of the Frostmaiden)

Home Campaign

As you may recall, my family’s home campaign is the Curse of Strahd. After dealing with the fallen paladin’s of Argynvostholt and gaining their support with defeating the Devil Strahd, the party headed to the Amber temple to retrieve The Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, a unique holy symbol created specifically to help in defeating Strahd.

Image the property of its owner, all rights reserved.

The party found a side passage off of the main entrance that had several people speaking of evil things.

The party, thinking of getting the drop on them, headed inside hoping to flank them. The party entered into the main entrance, and found two guard rooms, where the gnome wildshaped into a bug to get into the room with a skeleton holding a wand.

After retrieving said wand, the party went into the temple proper. And all hell broke loose.

First was the 40′ tall statue with blackness where the face should be. Then all the doors and the arrow slits to the northwest with a green flickering light emanating from within.

Image the property of its owner, all rights reserved.

Upon walking inside, a fireball was launched from the statue’s face region. Then, as the party attempted to regroup and figure out what was going there, those berserkers, for that’s what they were, came out of the room the party had earlier spied.

The battle was long and continually fraught with danger. At the end, there was only one being standing, and elderly Man who claimed to be the guardian of this temple. The party did not accept his excuse for attacking and attempted to grapple him, but the man showed uncanny strength for his appearance.

The man turned invisible and disappeared.

Taking stock of their surroundings, the party took a short rest.

Battle in the Throne Room

Xardorok Sunblight, the king of the fortress, stood at his throne, roaring at the intrusion of the party.

The party fought the quaggoths and duergar that flooded into the throne room, the ranger concentrating his fire on Xardorok, while the paladin/barbarian and the cleric/paladin held off the hordes. The gnome wizard lay down a spell to keep the enemy taking damage, sculpting the spell around his allies, preventing their being affected by it.

The battle seemed to take an eternity, with Xardorok falling during the melee.

Bloody but still standing, the party stood triumphant, their foe laying dead at their feet. They claimed his crown and spiked gauntlet, both made of chardalyn, and tended to the myconid sovereign. Communication was easy as it had telepathic abilities.

It told of its capture at the hands of the duergar, and of its desire to return to the underdark. It communicated that their lay a small squad of duergar with a captured umber hulk between its freedom and their current location.

Using a spell of invisibility, the party used mage hand to remove the sack over the umber hulk’s head, letting it wreak havoc among the duergar.

Using the ensuing chaos as a cover, they let the myconid sovereign run to its freedom.

Returning back to the main floor with Grandolpha, the party cut a deal for her to take control of Xardorok’s fortress and forces, clearing out back into the underdark.

Searching throughout the fortress, now absent of any enemies, the party found some decent treasure, enough to share around.

With that problem solved, the party headed back to Brynn Shander to rest and recuperate.

There, they met a woman called Vellynne Harpell, who claimed to be (after much interrogation) part of the Arcane Brotherhood, although not of the ilk of Avarice and her crew. She sought the Codicil of the White, a book she claimed could help end the Everlasting Winter…

Vellynne Harpell

She told them to look for word or clues at a tower that allegedly broke from the Netherese city of Ythryn, landing in the wilderness of Icewind Dale.

Wary of her true motives, The partying nonetheless headed towards the lost spire, beginning to explore its area, only to find that it broke off and landed upside down!

What will the party find? Will they be able to successfully find the codicil?

Join us next week to find out!

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Until next time Dear Readers…

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Currently Traveling

Dear Readers, I apologize for the lack of posts today, as I am traveling to take my daughter back to college after visiting this weekend. Tomorrow I will have a wonderful post talking about our home campaign and the awesome fight that happened there in as well as a summary over the events that happened at today’s game.

As always, don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on any posts.

Until next time, Dear Readers…

DM Story: Near TPKs

Dear readers, this blog post is brought to you by me using voice to text, so if there are errors or mistakes, blame Android.

There comes a time in a dungeon master’s life where you build what you believe to be a good, challenging, and balanced encounter. Often times, due to the nature of how the dice roll, or can roll as the case may be, some of the more easy encounters can turn deadly. Here are two recent examples of this very story.

Story 1

I haven’t written much about my Tuesday campaign, although our guest writer, one of my players from Tuesday has been writing the player’s perspective of that game. He began covering our Tuesday game after the infamous incident.

The adventure started innocently enough. A woman was asking the party to recover some climbers and explorers who had gone missing in an area. party did some searching, found evidence that these people had been kidnapped and taken towards the mountains.

Heading that way themselves, the party soon discovered a cave complex that led deep into the mountain. Eventually, the air grew hot and the party Saw that the cave opened up to reveal an island filled with treasure in the center of a pit of magma. The party saw the four captives and several people, cultists, looking like they were preparing to sacrifice the victims to some entity. The party began making a plan, only for the goblin to decide to go Leroy Jenkins on the cultists. Absolute chaos ensued.

What the party was expected to do was to sneak around, use the surrounding terrain to make their way close to the center island towards the south end, the party beginning in the northwest corner, and then engage the cultists and the fire newt warlock.

With the goblin acting as he did, he brought in every cultist, the two hellhounds, the fire snakes, and the warlock. Add to that, the ranger, one of the frontline fighters, broke through obsidian glass causing lava to start filling where she was. You can only imagine how bad this went. The level one cleric with the party, a new player, attempted to do what he could to keep the party alive. Despite his efforts, Karthaal, one of the party’s own warlocks, died while valiantly fighting cultists and the hellhounds by herself.

The party won the fight, but it was a pyrrhic victory. One of their own lay dead, the hostages they were sent to be rescued had all died, being thrown into the lava, and the amount of treasure found was not enough to raise the warlock back from the dead.

There were several moments, and if I’m being honest, more than one, where I truly believed that the party was going to be wiped out. Between bad rolls, a poor decision at the beginning, and me playing the cultists intelligently, the party had a very rough go of it.

Story 2

This one is my own fault, and not the fault of the party, especially since the previous story’s encounter had been pre-written. This encounter? This one was made by yours truly. And I almost killed the entire party.

So the group was getting a little bored wandering around Icewind Dale during our Sunday game of Rime of the Frostmaiden. I decided that it was time for them to move along in the context of the main storyline. This involved a party heading out under some pretext towards the fortress of the duergar and trying to prevent them from unleashing the chardalyn construct that was allegedly being built.

How did I choose to do this? I had the big bad guy send an assassination team to attempt to wipe out the party. They weren’t supposed to nearly succeed!

These particular creatures, of course, have the ability to be invisible. they additionally have the ability to grow to immense proportions. I had a squad of relatively low challenge rating critters, plus a warlord leader and a wizard type waiting for the party.

The ranger, with his insanely high perception check, knew there was something going on, but couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Has he moved off to the side, he actually bumped into one of the dark dwarves. Combat followed.

Party members went down left and right. The sorceress who had some healing magic, did her best. The party was drinking healing potions like they were going out of style. Then the sorceress went down. Then the rogue went down. The ranger went down. See where I’m going with this? The barbarian / paladin was up for quite a while, spreading his lay on hands ability as far as it would go, additionally keeping himself up. The dice rolls were not in the party’s favor most of the time.

In the end, the party lay battered and bruised, with their sorceress having bled out, failing her third death save. What should have been a challenging encounter for a relatively powerful, at least at that time, group of adventurers, turned into a bloody slugfest. Almost every member of the party, if I remember correctly, went down hard at one point or another.

This was another time when I thought that the party wouldn’t make it.He would have only taken a few more bad rolls for the entire party to go down. A couple saving graces did help them: at one point, the ranger role the natural 20 on his death save, bringing him back to one hit point. his sniping ability helps save the party almost as much as the barbarian / paladin’s staying power.

Dear Readers, when I say it was close, you got to understand that it was a hair’s breadth from going the other direction for the whole party, let alone the sorceress.

Conclusion

In the end, some of the time the party is at fault for making an encounter harder than it should be. Other times, it’s the luck of the die, or our miscalculation as to the deadliness of an encounter. In either case, It is my opinion that it is better to allow the party to feel their characters mortality then to do anything less than let the dive fall where it may. And in this game, sometimes characters die, and that’s okay.

Until next time, Dear Readers…

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HOW-TO-DM: THE HOUSE RULE

Hello everyone! In this week’s installment of How To DM, I’d like to talk about house rules.

Ah, the temptations of the house rule. Most of us can’t resist the urge to open the Pandora’s Box of Amateur Game Design and homebrew some rules while we’re homebrewing everything else, right?

But fewer things can totally derail a game faster and more thoroughly than bad homebrewed rules or simply too many house rules no matter how well-intentioned.

This post is about my own personal guidelines I use when considering a new house rule. You might have very different opinions, and the number one rule is always – Whatever adds fun to your games is always a good thing. So take these points with a boulder of salt.

I also want to say up front that when I say “house rule” I’m strictly talking about rules that change or add to the existing rules mechanically.

So, let’s talk about house rules in this week’s How To DM!

Never House Rule on the Fly: If I’m considering adding a house rule to my campaign, it’s usually because a player has suggested something, and that suggestion is almost always during play. If I’m not going to disallow it immediately, then I will usually allow the change for one game only and will give my permanent ruling next game after I’ve had a chance to really think about it.

Get Your Players’ Buy In: If I do decide to incorporate a house rule, I usually take a session and let my players test it for me. It’s important that everyone understands how the rule works and when it will be applied. Everyone needs to be on the same page as to how this rule will affect the game. Player input can help you improve on your idea, or even help you avoid something disastrous.

Encourage Good Roleplay By Giving Inspiration:

Ground Rules for House Rules: Here are some specific things I consider before bringing a new house rule to my table:

Can everyone take advantage of it? If you start homebrewing rules for specific classes or species, then it is inevitable your players are going to want something special for their characters too. Pretty soon, you have a dozen house rules that everyone has to keep up with.

Is this house rule really needed? How exactly is a rules change improving the game? Or am I simply fulfilling a player’s wish list because they want their character to be able to do something they once saw in an anime? If it’s the latter, then many of these types of things can be handled using optional rules or simply letting someone occasionally have advantage on something.

For example, I have an Artificer in my current game, and he found a mechanical device he wanted to analyze. Of course, none of the basic skills really cover that sort of thing, but – instead of coming up with a new skill – I had him make a INT check using his proficiency bonus.

Is this house rule going to make things more complex? Is that added complexity (or “realism” as it’s more often called) going to slow the game to a crawl? Have I really thought about how this particular rules change might affect other, standard rules?

What tips, tricks, and advice do you folks have? Put them in the comments below, so we can all share in the info. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next week for another installment on How To DM!

Tuesday Game: A Player’s Perspective – Delving Into Shadowhold

Dear Readers, this post is brought to you by our guest poster (and player at my Tuesday Group), Brandon. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did!

The group found itself gather round the The Three Wolves Head Tavern and Inn licking their wounds after their most recent encounter that cost them a companion. While looking for their courage at the bottom of a mug, destiny decided to present our battered adventures with an opportunity.

A humble woman named Veldspin, dressed in priestess garbs of Lothander, beseeched the adventures to accompany her on a quest to retrieve her father’s sword from the town of Shadowhold to unite her lands. Shadowhold is a town known to historians as a cursed place after the twisted experiments the dark warlock Dhreda Bazmad, and the priestess revealed that her father was part of paladin cohort that sought to vanquish the warlock. She further divulged that after the warlock vanished into the Riven, her father had returned without saying a word about what happened at Shadowhold or his sword.

Seeking to turn the fortunes around, the group took on the priestess’s request and headed several days to the abandoned town of Shadowhold. The influence left by the warlock were apparent in the supposedly deserted town, as destruction and rot were evident in the buildings and waterways nearby. Portals connected to the Riven were scattered amongst the burned out buildings and eerie silence gripping the streets.

Art taken from https://www.deviantart.com/artofreza/art/Abandoned-village-views-01-528546969

No sooner had the group entered into the town, then they were assailed by unholy aberrations and crazed scavengers looking to take down unwary travelers. Unfortunately for these enemies, the group was on a call for redemption, and they struck their foes down one after the other in a myriad display of bladework and magical retribution. After felling the last foe, the group found themselves alone again in this deserted town, and nowhere closer to finding the quested sword.

Art taken from https://www.deviantart.com/devburmak/art/Frostgrave-cultists-2-587023740

As if called by destiny, the priestess inquired down a long alleyway that opened up to a plaza with a statue of demon and magical rift connected to the Riven and shoved into the statue was the sword. The air surrounding the statue reeked of evil, so the group advised the priestess to wait while they ensure no stone was unturned. With due haste, the group searched the remaining buildings that included the town clock tower. Led by the artificer, the group was able to find a locked safe that revealed, with some magical motivation, a trove of supplies and treasure that included a Bag of Lodging!

The group returned to the demonic statue with the priestess staring keenly after the object of her desire, and with few options left available, the Warforged companion volunteered to pull the sword out from the statue. The group waited with bated breath as their mechanical friend pulled the sword from the statue, and no sooner had he touched it, then four gruesome and dark specters rose from the ground yelling “DREHDA!” and seeking to bring doom to our companions.

What will come of this encounter? Will the sword be pulled from the stone? What other secrets is this town hiding? All will be revealed when the die is cast…

Painting Update: Fighting Laziness and New Projects

So, here’s some of the projects I have worked on since the Space Marine, using the new techniques for drybrushing that I have learned.

Behold! Manshoon!

I know…it’s kinda pixelated, but I had to work with what I got!

As you can see, the drybrushing/highlighting and shading techniques I learned turned out very well, I think.

Next, we have Artemis Entreri…Gah, I shouldn’t have started this mini. I am so not motivated or ready to paint him, but I added another base coat to get his darker brown areas painted.

Next, we have the project for the winner of our 25 subscriber mark giveaway!

Here you can see, by her shoulder, that I had to fill in an imperfection with green stuff. I thought it turned out okay.

As you can see, I’m going with a green motif for her outfit, making her a forest-y ranger. I’m thinking brighter colors with dark accents.

Let me know in the comment section if you have a better idea!

My last project…by request, is this beauty (gah, I sound like Steve Irwin!):

Apparently, Dear Readers, my post did not save correctly and the end of the post was cut off. Here’s the rest…

So this is my current project list. I’ll also be attempting to shade, drybrush, and thereby finish the tiefling warlock, and I’ll post that up as well. Frankly, I recently saw that I messed up some parts so I’ll be fixing those up first.

As Always:

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Until next time, Dear Readers…