Friday, 7 December 2018

Ye Olde Inn 2018 Christmas Exchange

I entered into the Christmas miniature exchange over at Ye Olde Inn for the first time this year. It's organised like a secret Santa, where the names of the participants are drawn randomly and you have to paint a Heroquest figure during November, and send it out to the person you drew in time for Christmas.
This year was the 7th incarnation of what is a really fun ideal, and a great way to give and receive a completely unique HQ model from another part of the world. Most of the mini's are customised in some way.

It turns out my name was drawn by Lestodante, a huge Heroquest fan from Italy. Here is the mini I received from him this week, in all its glory;

It's a very cool undead Chaos Sorcerer!!!!!
I've found that its really useful having different versions of Chaos Sorcerers, and this formidable looking creature will make a great boss for some of the side quests. It has been converted to make a truly unique HQ model.

Thanks Dante!!!

(I can't post the model that I sent out yet, or even the name of the recipient, as the Exchange rules are that it must all be secret until the gift is received.....I hope it arrives soon.)

Edit; below you can see the model I sent out. Recipient; Whitebeard in the USA. It's a converted orc that's supposed to look like one of the monsters on the Heroquest box (artwork shown). I had a lot of fun creating this character, and it took some willpower to give it away!

One year later and it's another Christmas exchange!
I was gifted this classic orc by billdask from Greece, a nicely painted fellow indeed. Not as exciting maybe as the undead chaos warlock I received last year but I welcome recruit to Morcar's armies, especially considering that we are getting closer and closer to playing the orc-fest that is Kellars Keep...

And this is my annual offering, this time to tasoe (yet another Greek member of Ye Olde Inn!). A converted chaos warrior and a bonus figure that#s supposed to depict the Eye of Chaos, a one-off quest for HQ published in White Dwarf many years ago.

A close up of the butcher. I was hoping that Tasoe would find it useful for his games, either for a doomguard, a boss, or just a variant for a normal chaos warrior.

From behind. The axe arm fitted like a charm, which was quite lucky really considering that it was originally from a mounted figure (chaos knight) and I had no plan B if things went wrong...

A closer shot of the Eye of Chaos. The original White Dwarf article described it as a glowing green skull on a red tentacled body, but I opted for this cluster of eyes instead. The model was originally a tyranid spore thingy from Warhammer 40K.

I had lots of fun again, and am already thinking about what to make for Christmas 2020!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Alternative expansion pack models

I recently converted and painted my own Ice Gremlins to use for the Frozen Horror expansion. It's a GW Goblin with added icy boulder, ice-shard weapon and blue-green skin tone, all designed to add a frosty feel to the icy little bugger.
The icycle weapon was just a piece of clear plastic sliced into a triangle and then lightly scored to give the appearance of depth.

There will be three gremlins in total, but the other two are yet to receive paint.
Not a great first photo but I'll be adding a few more soon a long with my other alternative models that I use for the expansions.

Update, two more sneaky gremlins added to the roster, and some of the other monsters that I'm planning to use for the Frozen Horror quest pack.; two Polar Warbears and a Yeti. The Frozen Horror itself is going to be a bit of surprise that will have to wait until I round to playing the quests.....

I picked up these two werewolves from my local hobby shop. They are Deepcuts models, and I think they are really useful for the Mage of the Mirror (The Elf quest pack). I've placed a hapless mercenary between the two monsters to give a size comparison. I plan to use the smaller werewolf on the left for when small heroes such as the Dwarf are affected by the curse, and the one on the right for large Heroes such as the Barbarian.

The Witch Lord cometh!!!! Shown facing Mentor himself, these wonderful figures were specially commissioned by the Italian collector Lestodante. There was also a 3rd model for Sir Ragnar, depicted in chains and perfect for the Rescue of Sir Ragnar quest. Fun fact; in the Italian version of Heroquest Sir Ragnar was renamed Sir Manfred.

These fellows would make for interesting additions for the Expansion quest. I plan to use the one on the left as an alternative Dwarf Hero for Kellar's Keep, seeing as he has updated weapons from the original Hero. The other one I might use as one of the many NPC characters that are scattered about the official and non-official quests.
They came from one of the first set of plastic miniatures released by Citadel, 'Warhammer Fantasy Regiments Boxed Set'; It featured a sprue with 6 bodies (Elf, Dark Elf, Orc, Goblin, Dwarf and Skaven) and 12 heads (2 for each race) that you could assemble to create your own models.

Here's a close up of my favourite of the two;

I've also been working on two versions for the female Elf Hero from the Elf Quest Pack. The official model is now hideously expensive, and IMO not that great a figure anyway, so I'll use these instead. First up I have a more sorcery orientated version, focusing on the strong magical feel of this expansion and the powerful new Elf spells. The model is by Deep Cuts.

My second female elf model will emphasize the more martial element of the game.

Edit; and here she is;

A model of two halves; metal torso (with some sculpting) and a plastic dark elf lower half. Plastic quiver added from a third (unknown) model.

A couple of better pics of Witchy (great model sculpted by Fabio Rizzo, commissioned especially for Heroquest by Lestodante);

Update on my Ice Goblins. The original conversions were only so-so, and I felt that I could do a lot better at making them look like the actual monsters in the expansion artwork. These guys now have more appropriate winter clothing, extending the existing garments and added white fur trim. Santa would be proud.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Quest 4 - Escape from Ulag

"You have been rotting in Ulag's Dungeon ever since you were captured at the Outpost at the Mountain's base. You have not seen your fearless leader, Sir Ragnar, since you were captured. Hopefully he is still alive and is being held captive somewhere else. Finally, an opportunity has presented itself; the lone orc guarding your prison cage has fallen asleep just within reach...."

This quest was designed by Sjeng, although I have given it a few tweaks.

Sarymoor, Sneeks and Garmin are in a prison cage. They are down to 4 body points each due to neglect, and have been stripped of all their weapons, armour and gold. They defend with 2 dice but attack with only one (basically using their fists).
Sneeks cleverly pickpockets the sleeping orc guard, who stirs but doesn't wake. Sneeks uses a small key to open the cage door, but it swings open noisily and the orc starts to wake. Sneeks now has one attempt to silence the guard before he can sound the alarm. Sneeks closes the distance quickly but unfortunately for him doesn't roll a skull with his single attack die......

The orc bellows a warning and the door to the next room opens, revealing 2 more orcs.
Garmin charges into the new room (which has 4 doors, one on each side) and kills one of the orcs with his bare hands.
The heroes proceed to take out all the guards in both rooms, but not without cost; Sneeks has lost 1BP and Garmin 3 (down to just 1). The Heroes need to find their equipment fast.

Sarymoor opens the south facing door and sees a torture rack, a Fimir, and another portcullis door. Between them, Sneeks and Sarymoor manage to bring down the big beast. Garmin is hanging back as he is seriously wounded.

A larger iron key is found on the rack and this opens the portcullis door, revealing another prisoner. It is a wizard who appears to have been here for some time. He introduces himself as Zaphod Swiftspell. He thanks the heroes for releasing him and offers to join the party. He says "even though I am probably the greatest wizard who ever lived", that he will not be able to cast any spells until he can find his wand. That is presumably stored with the other heroes' equipment somewhere. 
"Greater even than Mentor?" Garmin asks skeptically.
"Never heard of him" Zaphod replies dismissively.

Sarymoor then tries the west room and spies their lost equipment hanging from a rack. There are 2 goblins here as well, one of which is slain by Sarymoor. Sneeks fails to kill the other goblin, but thankfully Zaphod takes it down instead, strangling it with his own beard. "Count that as revenge for keeping me cooped u like a clucking chicken! the wizard cries. The other heroes exchange glances over the odd wizard, wondering how long the strange fellow was held captive here.

As the heroes are busy strapping on their armour and weapons, it is revealed that Zaphod knows 4 "Sorcery" spells. Only 4, but they are very powerful (see last photo for details). There are no healing or attacking spells, but they are important support spells. With 6 mind points, he will also be the keeper of most of the spell scrolls that are found. For this quest Zaphod was played by myself (Morcar). I didn't search for traps or secret doors, allowing the others to do that instead. Zaphod will become a recurring character if he survives this quest, gaining access to more spells and exotic abilities.
Sarymoor finds a treasure horde in the same room, 100 gold coins that will be very useful if they ever escape Ulag's dungeon. 
After limping around the top corridor they head down and open up a room with an orc and a cupboard. Sarymoor shoots the orc plumb in the forehead, then lovingly pats his crossbow as if he has missed it intensely. There are 2 healing potions in the cupboard and Garmin uses one to heal himself back up to his standard 5 BP.

Sneeks disarms two traps out in the corridor as they move down around the centre room. Sarymoor opens the door to a green coloured room that is well stocked with greenskins (I forgot to get a photo of this room). He eyes an orc as the greatest threat and fells it with his crossbow, then calmly draws his dagger ready for the inevitable attack from the goblins. He rolls one white shield but it is not enough to save him from losing 1BP (down to 3).
Zaphod then casts Enchant Weapons and moves to stand next to Sarymoor. This spell gives any adjacent hero 1 extra combat die in attack. It is potentially very powerful as it stays active until a hero is killed.
Sarymoor uses his now enchanted dagger to kill a goblin, then steps aside to let the more powerful Garmin through. Garmin soon clears the room, chopping left and right with his broadsword.
Zaphod finds 50 gold on the table, whilst Sneeks has wandered off on his own to scout out the southern passages. 
Sarymoor opens another door to find an orc and a fimir stoking a hot forge with pokers used to torture prisoners. Sarymoor shoots the Fimir dead, whilst Garmin makes short work of the orc. "These beasts won't be torturing anyone today", he says, wiping his sword clean.

Sarymoor finds a treasure chest protected by 2 traps. He triggers a pit trap and falls in. There appears to be no way to get to the chest without a toolkit, so they holler to Sneeks to come and help. After disarming the other pit trap, Sneeks collects a dagger and a potion of healing from the chest for his troubles.

A close up of Zaphod Swiftspell (the model comes from the Advanced Heroquest game, which is also OOP).

Next the heroes enter a small room with two orcs. They are swiftly dealt with by the Sarymoor/Garmin killer duo.

Sneeks reveals a room with three orcs and a trapdoor in the middle. This intrigues the players no end, as it is something that they haven't seen before.
The orcs charge but the heroes defend well and lose no health. Sneeks then slays one orc with his shortsword, Sarymoor kills another with his dagger (enchanted again as he is stood next to Zaphod), and Garmin finishes the 3rd. They all then enter the trap door...

....which turns out to be a bit of an anticlimax as they emerge into another room using a second trap door, and locate a secret door that just leads to a corridor already explored by Sneeks earlier.
The heroes now have a choice to open the door to the centre room or go south towards the bottom corridor. Sneeks was too wary to open that door earlier when he was on his own, and even as a group they are still too nervous to chance it. They are of the belief (unfounded as it happens) that Ulag is in there with his whole army, and they have still not recovered from their experience with him in the previous quest. I treacherously hint that Sir Ragnar might be in there in need of rescue, but they see through my lie and move down the corridor instead.

Zaphod finds a lone orc in the bottom corridor and casts Psychedelic flash on it, rendering it unable to fight effectively on its next turn. Sarymoor then shoots it dead. 
Sneeks then locates a stairway in the bottom-right room. This is the exit from the quest, a route back up and out of the mountain from where the heroes can reach a safe haven. In truth they were never really in any trouble apart from when Garmin went down to 1BP before they could find their equipment (and the healing potions).

Here's a close up of Zaphod Swiftspells small but effective spell deck. These spells were created by Ethica.
(I just combined a selection his Sorcery spells and Illusion spells together into one deck and called it Sorcery spells. There are 10 spells altogether in my deck and these will be for maverick wizards who are not taught in the Imperial school with its usual elemental spells.

So the companions live to fight another day. And as for Sir Ragnar? The other heroes; dwarf, elf, wizard and barbarian are currently on route after receiving an urgent message from Mentor concerning the rescue of the Empires greteast knight....

Quest 3 - Outpost at the Mountain Base

"The foot of the Black Mountains north of Blackwater have long been a strategic point for those who desire control of the charcoal peaks. Chaos has decided to gain some footing by constructing an outpost here.
Sir Ragnar, you are to gather your companions and claim this base in the name of your Emperor. Be wary, good knight, for a vicious orc warlord, Ulag, maintains this outpost. His minions will fight tooth and nail to keep it. Be strong, fight with valour, return safe".

Enter our new heroes; they have begun the quest through an iron door in the base of the mountain. Sir Ragnar is at the front, followed by Sneeks, Sarymoor and Garmin. Rumours are that this place is packed full of greenskins, so the heroes know how difficult it will be to claim the outpost for the Emperor.

Ragnar rounds the first corner and sees two goblin archers guarding the long corridor. Fearing that there might be traps in between him and the goblins, Ragnar calls for help from his marksman, Sarymoor. The crossbowman duly steps up and skewers the closest goblin with a nice shot.
The second goblin misses his shot and on the next round Sarymoor kills that one too. The other heroes have been waiting sensibly for the corridor to be cleared before advancing.

Sneeks easily disarms two traps in the corridor, allowing Sir Ragnar to enter a room with 2 more goblins and a weapons rack. The knight slays one, Sarymoor shoots the other through the doorway. The heroes are working well together like a team of pro's, moving like a well-greased machine.
Ragnar finds an old battle axe on the rack. It will allow him to attack with 4 combat dice, but unbeknownst to him it is not long long for this world and will only last for 4 attacks before it breaks and becomes useless. In the same room Garmin the swordsman, who has yet to see action in this quest, triggers a trap whilst searching for treasure and loses one body point.

Sarymoor rounds another corner and shoots another goblin archer dead. He's proven his worth already in this quest. 
There then follows a long series of passageways, full of traps which are all disarmed by Sneeks without incident. Only goblins have been encountered so far. "I thought this was supposed to be an Orc stronghold?" Sarymoor says. Ragnar warns his men to stay alert.

Right on cue, a Fimir pops up from its hiding place around the corner, and Ragnar steps right into it. He rolls no skulls with his attack with the battleaxe, as if he was surprised by the monster. The Fimir rolls 2 skulls in attack but both are defended by the knight in his heavy plate armour. Ragnar then makes no mistake and kills the Fimir in his next attack.

The heroes enter the room in the top-right corner of the dungeon, and get their first dose of orcs. A big brawl developes. Sarymoor and Ragnar kill one orc each, but Sneeks fluffs his attack on the goblin. Garmin finishes it off however, his first kill of the quest.
Sneeks pockets 50 gold found on one of the corpses, then they all step out into the top corridor. At the junction they meet two more orcs, one of which rolls two skulls on his attack against Ragnar. The knight rolls 4 white shields in his defence, proving to be quite the warrior!The other orc fares little better, and Ragnar fells them both without the other heroes having to get involved.

The heroes are now running into greater numbers of the enemy, in the corridor above the centre room, and in the rooms off to the sides. They steel themselves for a tough fight. Sarymoor shoots a goblin in the blue-coloured room and Sir Ragnar demolishes the Fimir with one attack. However, his battle axe shatters in the process and has to be discarded. 
On Morcars turn the two orcs in the corridor attack Garmin from each side but he skillfully defends himself. The remaining goblin in the blue room squeals in terror and attacks Sarmoor in the doorway, thinking he will be an easier opponent than the knight. It has no such luck, and it too dies screaming.
Garmin despatches the other two orcs, and then the whole party combine to clear out the room to the right without loss.

Garmin enters another room via a concealed door and searches an old bookcase. He finds two spell scrolls (the fire spells Courage and Ball of flame). To use a spell scroll a hero must roll the same or less than his current mind point total on one die. This counts as an action, so failure has a consequence (although the scroll can be kept for a future turn if the attempt to activate it is failed). I have introduced this rule to give more of a role for mind points, which are woefully underused in Heroquest.

Sir Ragnar disturbs a goblin banquet. The Heroes clear out the goblins but Ragnar is wounded slightly and loses 1 BP.

After a long walk around the bottom-left corner of the dungeon they enter this room. Garmin attempts to use his Ball of flame scroll on the Fimir, hoping to kill it in one go, but he fails his roll to activate it. Sarymoor shoots the goblin by the left wall, Sneeks kills another, and as usual Ragnar goes for the biggest baddy, causing one wound on the Fimir. The monsters fare badly in their own attacks, and are then cut down in short order.

Two orcs were warming themselves by the fire from the cold of the mountains. Ragnar stomps in and kills one, and the other orcs attack clangs off his heavy armour. Sarymoor then fires an arrow into its chest and it falls back into the fire for a painful death. The heroes are starting to believe that they can clear an entire base of greenskins, against the odds. They are indeed rolling very well.

The heroes now march down an odd corridor towards the centre room. Odd in the sense that there is an open doorway in the corridor itself, separating it into two halves. Sneeks takes point position as usual, clearing the area of traps.

Garmin opens the door to the centre room and....holy heck, thats a lot of monster muscle. Ulag's main force is gathered in there - 4 chaos warriors, 4 orcs, 3 goblins and the beastly looking Ulag himself. The heroes confidence from a minute ago starts to evaporate. 
Garmin is unwilling to charge in with so many monsters in there. He attempts to use the Courage scroll on himself and this time he's successful. Its a very useful scroll to have in these circumstances.
Sarymoor, yet to lose a BP in the entire quest so far, confidently strides into the room and fires his crossbow at a chaos warrior. He watches in horror as the bolt simply skips of the warriors chaos armour for no damage. Oh dear.

The heroes call on Ragnar, he begins his charge into the monster-filled room but then something unexpected happens; a portcullis gate clatters down where the open doorway was. The way back is blocked, no retreat is now possible and the heroes will have to defeat the entire horde.
On Morcar's turn the two chaos warriors closest to the door attack Sarymoor. He defends for his life and "only" loses 2BP (down to 3).

Here's a close up of the orc warlord, Ulag. 

Now full of courage, Garmin charges into the room....and falls straight into a pit trap. He is also now down to 3BP. To make matters worse, as he is down in a pit he can no longer "see" a monster and the effect of the courage spell wears off. 
Ragnar roars into the room and destroys a Chaos warrior. There is some hope yet with him around. Another chaos warrior attacks the knight and he is hard pressed to hold him off. A goblin tries to poke Garmin down in the pit, but fails to harm him.

Garmin then climbs out of the pit and....walks straight into a spear trap. Ouch!
Sir Ragnar slays another chaos warrior then stands to the side, giving a field of fire to Sarymoor the crossbowman.
Here's another view of the desperate fight. Ulag seems to be hanging back, letting his minions kill the heroes.

Garmin is now outmaneuvered and pinned by 3 greenskins and quickly loses his last body point from an attack from an orc. Sneeks howls in anguish at the loss of his comrade, and in his mad attack actually succeeds in wounding a chaos warrior.
Ragnar slays an orc, but he is now surrounded and loses 3BP (down to 2). The heroes now think that they should have stayed in the corridor and waited for the horde to attack them one by one. How the fortunes of a quest can quickly change!

The brave knight kills a 3rd chaos warrior and Sneeks slays an orc. However, the last chaos warrior rolls four skulls in his next attack and Sir Ragnar too falls!
The picture below shows the last stand of the heroes, with Ulag giving orders to his remaining monsters to capture them. As Sneeks and Sarymoor lose their last body points, Morcar reveals that none of the heroes are actually dead, just unconscious.
The limp bodies of the heroes are dragged off to unknown locations and the quest is over.

Overall a good solid quest. It is a bit long and most of the board is used which slows it down a lot, considering that all of the good stuff occurs in the final room anyway. If I play it again I'll cut out a corridor or two and also give the goblins in the final room some shortbows; this will force the heroes into the room if they decide to wimp out and not try to go toe-to-toe with Ulag's horde.

We will discover the fate of the captured heroes in the next quests....