Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fire & Ice: Reaper minis for Frostgrave

This week I worked on my Reaper I backlog, in part due to some Frostgrave inspiration.

First, the fire elemental which is cast in red translucent plastic. I held back on this mini because I had some plan of drilling out the bottom and installing an LED. No shortage of examples are out there on the web, but I pretty much decided that after two years that was a project that would never get off the backburner.

So, here it is, ready for summoning by an elemental wizard. I quickly applied some basic yellow highlights with hot ash and coal on the base. 

I really like this Frostgiant Princess, although it looks more like a shaman than a noble. Some of the design elements have an Inuit influence, or possibly Saami. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Oriental Adventures into 5th Edition: Korobokuru

     Oriental Adventures came in 1985 at the tail end of the 1st edition/AD&D era. Released as a hardcover, it introduced many concepts such as skill proficiency, comeliness, and honor. Of course, the real draw was new classes such ninja, samurai and wu jen. Other classes, such as barbarian and monk were repurposed to better fit the new setting. To an 11 or 12 year old who grew up on Kung Fu Theater every Saturday afternoon, this was a prize. From the classic cover to an Asian bestiary, this is an AD&D collector's essential..
       The setting of Kaan-Tur was initially meant to be the Oriental end of a generic European medieval world, probably Greyhawk. In 1987, it was specifically stated to be in the Forgotten Realms. A later edition of Oriental Adventures (for 3E) would place the story in Rokugon, of Legend of the Five Rings Fame. A good book, but one that was at cross purposes with itself. Many of the races and classes it contained were not a part of the setting the book described, and so the book never worked to a coherent whole.
The original Oriental Adventures contained only three non-human player character races, all of which I will adapt in the coming weeks.  First, the dwarves of Kara-tur:


The Korobukuru are a race of eastern dwarves who make their home deep in the jungle, on snowy mountains or in remote forests.  They rarely venture outside of their villages, and avoid contact with humans and other intelligent races.
Dwarf monk from Reaper Miniatures
Standing about 4 feet tall, the Korobokuru are nonetheless stout and powerful. Their long, hairy arms and slightly bowed legs and sparse beards give them a comical appearance to many humans. Nonetheless, they are extremely strong and hardy
Korobokuru live in small settlements where they farm, hunt and work at simple crafts. They are often considered primitive by settled and more advanced peoples, though the korobokuru’s pugnacious and boastful nature will not tolerate insults. Korobokuru adventurers who travel outside of their villages are most often barbarians, but might also include rangers and druids.  

Names are very important in Korobokuru culture. In addition to the clan name, parents give children a name or nickname at an early age. Upon reaching adulthood, another name is taken, which is mostly kept secret. Only very close family members or companions are told this secret name.
Male Names. Akihi, Horohoro, Isonash, Koshaman, Menkakush, Mici, Nupur, Pasekur, Resak, Takhaka,
Female Names. Api, Hotene, Katekemat, Kateyui, Mina, Oki, Opere, Nupeki, Pirka, Saki, Toitoi, Umoshmatek,
Clan Names. Hakket, Jomo, Kapo, Karafuto, Niputay, Ponape, Yezo,


Your Korobokuru character has a variety of characteristics in common with all other Korobokuru.
Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution Score increases by 2 and your Strength increases by 1.
Age. Korobokuru mature at the same rate as humans, but they are considered young until they are 50 years of age. On average, they live about 350 years, although rare ascetics among them may live much longer.
Size. Korobokuru stand between 3 ½ to 4 ½ feet tall and average about 125 lbs. Your size is Small.
Alignment. The majority of Korobokuru are chaotic or neutral, especially in their relations with outsiders.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Type. You are of the humanoid type.
Darkvision. Accustomed to the dark forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in the dark. You can see in dim light within 60 feet as if you were in bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You cannot identify color in the darkness, only shades of grey.
Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison and you have resistance to poison damage.
Hardy. You have advantage on all Strength and Constitution saves against magic.
Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level.  
Languages. You can speak Korobokuru, Trade and Hengeyokai.
Close to the Wild. You have proficiency in the Nature skill. If attempting to identify plants and animals of your clan's native area, you have Advantage on skill checks.

Oriental Adventures for AD & D at

Conversion notes: This is basically a 5th edition hill dwarf with a few changes. They have the nature proficiency instead of a tool proficiency. A couple of gnomish traits (small size and magical resistance) replace the armor and weapon proficiencies and bonuses. The names are borrowed and adapted from Ainu names. Korobokuru are a part of Ainu folklore and the Ainu thought the dwarves were the previous inhabitants of their northern islands. 

Goblin Villagers

My painting project for the week were these goblins from Rebel Minis from their Dark Hold line. They are 20mm to the top of the head. The sculptor is Bobby Jackson, and as you can see, the poses, character and expression is excellent. The casting is also top quality. Very little clean up required, and all are single piece figures.

I will possibly make use of them in a Frostgrave warband. They would certainly be very good low level minions for an unscrupulous wizard.

Order Rebel Minis

Thursday, September 3, 2015

As the Crow Flies - Stonehaven Miniatures' Tengu

This week brings me to three more completed figures from Stonehaven's Half-Orc Kickstarter. Obviously, these are not Half-Orcs, but Stonehaven always adds extra character types to its themed Kickstarters. In some cases, they are the most interesting of the figures. 

The Tengu, bird people from Japanese mythology, can be found as a PC race in a number of RPGs. On a recent D&D poll, they were listed on a ballot as a possible race in 5E. Here's my vote for an Unearthed Arcana bringing back some of the old school Oriental Adventures. Wait, can we still say Oriental? 

From the left, a mage, samurai and harrier. If I was doing 5E characters, I would play them as a sorcerer, fighter battlemaster and rogue thief respectively. As it stands, I will probably put together a Tengu warband for Open Combat. 

Stonehaven Miniatures make great characters and their is definitely a unique aesthetic to their figures. One can see a trace of humor and playfulness in the sculpts without making an ironic joke - which is what I perceive to be behind the whole Chibi style movement. The production quality is excellent. Mold lines are minimal and easily cleaned.

These figures, especially the larger two, have a lateral flatness common to many of Stonehaven's miniatures, no doubt to ease in the casting process. It is a minor detriment to an otherwise excellent and growing line of figures.