Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Von Krumm Expedition

The County of Saros lies on the northern Hungarian border and, with the capital of Krummstein nestled deeply amongst the alpine forests and snow-topped mountains, it is unsurprising that outsiders are rarely seen. The Von Krumm family has ruled from the imposing walls of Castle Krummstein for over 10 generations and the current ruler, the Count Konrad Von Krumm, does his best to rule justly over a people who are more rugged than the lands they occupy.

Like most ruling houses of Europe, the Count and his advisors spend much of their time engaged in a myriad of administrative tasks - tax-collecting, overseeing the provision of civil services to the people, and dispensing justice to the primarily rural population of the County. However, there is one charge that the Count and his family hold above all other stately responsibilities.

Almost 80 years ago, Konrad's grandfather founded the Order of the Lion, a monster-fighting fellowship of like-minded noblemen from the northern part of the country. All of the Von Krumm men are initiated into the Order during their adolescent years. The lower dungeons of Castle Krummstein house an impressive collection of tomes, scrolls, and artifacts which are all used to prepare the Order's members for their ongoing battle against the supernatural.

Both of the Count's sons, Helmut and Hector, are active members in the Order. In the Autumn of the previous year, the youngest son, Hector, left the Castle to pursue rumours of a vampire near the vicinity of Dertflinghan. Now that six months have passed with no word, the Count has decided to personally lead an expedition into Transylvania in search of his missing son.

The eldest son, Helmut, is a hunter of some renown and many members of the Order feel that he is a more savage warrior than his father. The photo below shows Helmut and his faithful hound Zeus just a week before their departure for Dertflinghan.

It goes without saying that the Von Krumms will not be making such dangerous journey alone. The Count may be a little impetuous, but he is no fool.

Lazlo the Wanderer & Captain Hatteras

Lazlo is a true renaissance man. Some of his past titles have included soldier, trader, seaman, schoolmaster, mercenary, and gentleman adventurer. Some years ago while exploring the interior of Africa, the Count became violently ill and was left for dead by his guides. Lazlo, who was working as a self-employed smuggler at the time, found him, nursed him back to health, and made sure that the Count made it safely to the nearest port. The Count was impressed by the stranger's bravery and resourcefulness and, by the time a ship with a berth was available, Lazlo had accepted the Count's handsome offer of employment and accompanied him back to Hungary. He has been a trusted member of both the Count's household and the Order for almost 10 years now.

During his life in Africa, Lazlo found himself in a violent disagreement with a pirate captain over a serving wench one evening. The disgruntled men chose to settle their differences with a knife fight. Considering Lazlo's skill with a blade, this proved to be a mistake for the pirate captain who lost by receiving the first cut. After a closer look at the prize wench, Lazlo agreed to let the losing pirate keep the woman and chose to take the man's monkey instead. The mischievousness primate, or Captain Hatteras as Lazlo calls him, has been with him ever since.

Dr. Franz Grunberg

After striking out for Dertflinghan, the Count's first stop was Dr. Grunberg's lunatic asylum. Some years back Dr. Grunberg used his cutting edge methods to treat the Count's older sister to great effect. Ever since her recovery, the Doctor and the Count have been close friends. They exchange correspondence regularly and, although not a member, Dr. Grunberg is very familiar with the work of the Order.

After telling the doctor the tale of Hector's disappearance, the Count requested the Dr's assistance in discovering the whereabouts of his missing son. Dr. Grunberg's only response was to pack his things and to prepare to depart.

Ernst Holdt

As the Doctor's trusted bodyguard and gamekeeper, Ernst goes where his master goes. Both his skills as a tracker and a marksman will certainly come in handy on this expedition.

Bjorn the Bold

Bjorn is a member of the elite Von Krumm Houseguard. He has distinguished himself in battle numerous times and, on one occassion, even saved the Countess's life by beating a would-be assassin to death with his bare hands. The Count has taken the man along as extra muscle.

Sister Basilla Benedicta

Although not a member of the expedition as such, Sister Benedicta is a member of the Order of the Lion's sister organization, the Sisters of Our Martyred Lady. The Count is aware that Sister Benedicta is somewhere in the area of Dertflinghan. He hopes to find her and to engage her assistance in case any of the restless dead are encountered during his mission.

Painted By: JET (aka Jason)
Thoughts & Commentary

Other than a few odds and ends, this installment of models marks the end of this phase of my Gothic Horror project. As per my calculations, I have completed 42 models, eight buildings, a set of dungeon tiles and furniture, forests, roads, hills, and numerous small terrain items to set the stage.

As to the warband list, here's how the model's shown above break down in game terms:

Count Konrad Von Krumm - Expedition Leader
Helmut Von Krumm - Slayer
Lazlo the Wanderer - Slayer
Dr. Franz Grunberg - Professor
Ernst Holdt - Expedition Member
Bjorn the Bold - Expedition Member
Dogs & Monkey - Hunting Hounds
Sister Benedicta - eventually an expedition member and sometimes a Female Victim

After painting Werewolves and Vampires, I knew that I just had to have a warband of Monster Hunters. Marc plays Dr. Frankenstein and His Creations, and I'm pretty sure that a couple of guys in the group will be painting up some Werewolves and Vampires in the future, so my hunters should have lots to keep them busy. Either way, they were fun to paint, so it's all good.

The one last substantial project I'm considering for my Gothic Horror collection is painting up a unit of henchmen representing the Von Krumm Houseguard. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Warmachine Action: Jeremiah Kraye vs. Morghoul and Vayl

Warmachine and Hordes was the order of the evening and I decided to field Jeremiah Kraye, a caster who I haven't had a lot of experience playing. I also played the most jack-heavy list I've ever used in a 35-point game. I put down Kraye, the Squire, and a battlegroup consisting of a Hunter, Ironclad, Centurion...

...Defender, Charger, and a Sentinel. I can't remember the last time that I played a game without a Journeyman. I really missed Arcane Shield.

The first game was against Ken's Skorne army. It was a relatively short game as I put Kraye in a very precarious position. Ken used various spells/abilities from the paingivers and Morghoul to allow the Titan Gladiator and the Cyclops Savage to charge my caster. As you would guess, Kraye didn't survive the encounter.

My second game was against Jordin's Everblight army and, for some reason, I forgot to take photos until the second turn. The photo below shows the centre of the field right after Kraye popped his feat. Thanks to extra movement from both his feat and the Full Tilt spell, the Ironclad destroyed Typhon and the Centurion shredded an Angelius.

The Raptors took some shots but eventually charged into my line in an attempt to keep my jacks away from Vayl.

After making a valiant effort to survive the my initial smash, Vayl eventually went down to a couple of boosted shots from the Charger. Although Vayl had some Fury on her there was no opportunity to transfer damage since the Seraph was the last surviving warbeast and it was already at its Fury limit.

Both games were quite enjoyable, and in each I had the opportunity to observe a slaughterfest, each one from a different perspective. I quite enjoyed using Kraye and my crazy warjack-heavy list and plan on trying it out again in the future, perhaps next time at the 50-point level with some Solo support.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Workbench Update: Back at the Workbench

Perhaps the biggest project news is that I've abandoned my temporary post at the dining room table and have re-settled my geek room in the basement. Now that Jake is 3 months old he sleeps in his crib so I can sit in the basement next to the baby monitor and paint away.

No staggering accomplishments lately, but just to prove that I haven't been completely dormant, here's a shot of my almost-complete Hungarian Monster Hunters for Chaos in Carpathia. I have two models left to paint and then it will be time for a gallery post and, more importantly, for the Von Krumm expedition to enter the story.

Some of you might remember my test-paint I did on the Chaos knight a little while back. The remaining models to complete the unit are primed and staring at me from across the painting table as well. Consider them on the short list.

And let's not forget the 15mm Irish project. It's slow-moving to be sure but it isn't forgotten. I've started the preliminary work on another unit and, as soon as the Hungarians are finished off, I will likely paint up my third unit of Irish

So, that's were things are at present. If the baby takes a lengthy nap later on I'll endeavor to finish up the Hungarians. In the meantime, however, I shall sit here drinking tea and reading my book until he does.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chaos In Carpathia - Recent Battles Against the Doctor's Creations

Although we've played some games lately, I haven't really had the energy to write a chapter for the ongoing campaign story, so I decided to post some photos and commentary instead. The outcomes of these battles, however, still count towards our ongoing campaign results.

Scenario: The Breakthrough

Bloodrunner took a free move before the game
began thanks to the Old Woodsmen's Guide rule.

Werewolves vs. Mad Doctor

Special Event: Grudge Match

Marc's warband started at a farmstead and my werewolves lied in wait across the road in the forest. He gained additional victory points for breaking through my line and getting models off the table. The game ended up being a melee pile-up in the fields with the werewolves coming out on top.

The Game:

Antoine's man Johnson fires his crossbow at Bloodrunner but the agile lycanthrope proves too fast.

Marc moved the Monster out early and it was likely a mistake as it put him in charge range of numerous threats, including the savage attacks of Blackmaw.

After Blackmaw's initial attacks, an inmate rushed in and finished the job. Werewolf players should definitely include inmates in their lists. In addition to the Dedication rule, they hit hard, and with Fate:4, they can make additional attacks at crucial times.

Before long an all out brawl was taking place. Because he was trying to get his models off of the table, Marc couldn't keep his monster controllers (Delilah and the Dr. Hartstone) as far back from danger as he might have liked. I did my best to target them so that the monsters would not be so mobile. Below, Bloodrunner takes Delilah out.

The Great Wolf makes it to the good (and unfortunate) doctor and by the following turn had destroyed him.

Things were going very poorly for the Doctor's warband. The black markers represent models that were KO'd. Since the Doctor was otherwise engaged he couldn't heal the downed creatures.

The Old Woodsmen spent most of the time supporting the werewolves from a distance with his crossbow.

Result: Major Victory for the Werewolves.

* * * * *

Scenario: Battle in the Wilderness

The sprawling Carpathian woods at night. Boo.

Warbands: Nosferatu vs. Mad Doctor

Special Event: Fallen Temple

My vampires duked it out with Marc's Doctor and creations. I felt confident that my vampires could stand up to his creations in combat, but I never counted on the darn crossbows. A hard-learned lesson for all vampire players to remember - vampires get DR re-rolls vs FIREARMS, not all ranged weapons. My vampires were spanked handily.
The Game:

Giant wolves follow the vampires from the forest. This poor fellow was put down thanks to Delilah's pistol.

One of the doctor's human henchmen, the French Hunter Antoine De Bellevue, hit my vampire Lyleth with a crossbow bolt, after which I learned how vulnerable vampires are to crossbow bolts. It makes perfect sense considering a crossbow is essentially a wooden stake shooter, and I saw the movie The Monster Squad when I was a kid, so there was no excuse for me not knowing this.

I just love this shot. Although the rules for the Fallen Temple Special Event specify setting it up in the middle of the table, we already had the terrain laid-out when we rolled our event and neither of us cared enough to move the terrain around. Marc's monsters had to spend some time negotiating the cursed grounds of the temple.

This is where the game crescendoed and ended - in a massive melee in which my vampires were unceremoniously put out of their misery. Marc put the outnumbering in combat rules to good use, especially considering that I lost a two of my six models en route to the enemy.

Result: Major Victory for the Mad Doctor

And there it was. Chaos in Carpathia is one of the games in our group that just keeps on delivering. In addition to providing challenging and relaxing gameplay, we get to banter using cheesy accents while we play. Stay tuned for more Gothic Horror action.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Impetus Gaming on the Rise

Ken and I played a game of Impetus last night, my Free Company against Chris's borrowed Milanese army. The Italians ran my mercenaries off of the table, and although it was a little too dark to get any good photos, the game put me in the mood to babble about my favourite mass battle rules.

My cavalry getting bashed by the Italians - what an embarrassment!

After a short hiatus, Impetus has made's it way back into strong circulation in the group. Although there haven't been as many photos as of late, Marc and I often play 6mm Roman vs. Parthian games while he prepares to paint his 15mm English army. Chris and I have played 15mm games with me forgetting my camera on a couple of occasions. Furthermore some of you have no doubt noticed that the group is getting started with 28mm Fantasy Impetus as well. It is a good time for Impetus fans!

All the while Chris and I have started the painting ball rolling with our 15mm Dark Age armies and the word on the grapevine is that Stu is asking Santa for a 15mm painted Crusader-era army for Xmas. Just what I need - an excuse to start painting another army. Which leads to probably the only point in this pointless thread...

I really enjoy painting 15mm Impetus units, and here's why:
  1. I can select, clean, file, prime, paint, and base the models for a unit in a reasonable time period. When I'm done, as I proudly hold the unit up, I feel a real sense of geekly achievement.

  2. Selecting the models for a unit and planning the diorama fuels my creative drive, so I find that I can finish a unit before the sense of excitement grows stale.

  3. The rules don't tell me how many models I must use per unit, or what type of models, or where they should be positioned on the base, or much else for that matter - I am free to plot and plan with very few limitations.

  4. When the unit is finished, I get to use it on the table by playing a game that I really love. For me, Impetus balances intense game play with a relaxed tea-drinking attitude. Not many rule sets accomplish this symmetry in my experience.
Anyway, I'm currently staring at a couple of primed 28mm Chaos Knights and a unit's worth of 15mm Irish javelinmen . These models lay scattered across a sheet of looseleaf that is scrawled with possible future armies - Fatamids, Marian Romans, Medieval Byzantines... enough typing, the paintbrush is calling me.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dismounted Men-At-Arms (unit #4)

Impetus Unit Type: FP
Base Size: 8cm x 3cm
Manufacturer: Corvus Belli
A pious mercenary? It's possible, isn't it? Perhaps this gentlemen fights as a mercenary and gives part of his share to Mother Church. Or for more cynical readers, we could assume that the kneeling knight is a hypocritical fool who puts on a sanctimonious show while burning, pillaging, and amassing wealth. So, he's on the way to becoming a medieval bishop then :)

It's been close to a year since I finished the first 400-point chunk of my Free Company army for Impetus. Now that I've been playing the army for a while, I realize how well heavy foot works in concert with formed missile units, especially since new rules amendments were released in Extra Impetus #3. With that in mind, it was time to add a fourth unit of heavy foot so that each unit of archers would have its own dedicated unit of men-at-arms.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Workbench Update: Chaos Knight Test Model

Since the group has decided to band together around a 28mm Fantasy Impetus project I've made a humble start on my army. After some deliberation, I decided to go with the Chaos/Corrupted/Bad Guy/Misunderstood army. I started by painting one of the GW Chaos Knight models.

When I first looked at the cover photography on the box I knew that I wouldn't be copying the GW paint scheme - too much work. These models are hyper-detailed and, with that in mind, I thought that I would put some metallic drybrushing and inking to good use and let all of that detail do the work. However, when the metallic parts were finished (about 80% or more of the model), I realized that I needed some contrast to make the thing look plausible. So I did the unthinkable - I painted a Chaos horse not-black. I realize that this may offend the sensibilities of the most die-hard GW fanboys but part of being a revolutionary is taking chances and making enemies ;). So there.

The current plan is to put three knights on a 12xm x 8cm base and to fill in the gaps with a Chaos Hound or two. We'll see. The thing is, I'm still contemplating what type of army to do. What I mean is, I intend to use this project as a sort of replacement for one of the historical projects on the wish list. With that in mind, I could make this army very Sarmation-ish (lots of knights with a unit or two of light horse and a handful of skirmishers) or I could go for something more balanced (some cavalry, some infantry, a little weirdness to smooth it out)

Now, I know that I could squeeze four knights on here, but I've decided not to for a couple of reasons. First of all, if our fantasy armies grow large it will be more feasible to build the army with the lower numbers. Secondly, if I decide to field some particularly elite knights (i.e. VBU 8 instead of 7) I could reserve four per base for those units. You see, I actually do think things through sometimes in spite of the popular opinion to the contrary.

I'll leave you with some rhetorical questions that I've been asking myself over the last couple of days (which you should feel free to answer):

  • Should I field some light cavalry? I was thinking of marauder horsemen models. Perhaps two per base with a couple of hounds for filler? Something like (VBU:4 I:2, Javelin).

  • For skirmishers I was pondering some plastic GW crossbowmen painted mostly in black (Long John SoAndSo and his cronies) as well as some bowmen based on GW's plastic Ungor models. Or perhaps I should stick with one or the other. You must understand that I came to the Warhammer World through Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, not through the miniatures game, so the idea of evil men retreating north in search of asylum fits very nicely in my vision of the Old World.

  • Chaos Warriors. I have enough to paint up a unit. However, my last three Impetus armies (EIR, Carthage, Free Company) have had considerable numbers of heavy foot and I wonder would this army make a nice break from FP units. Not sure.

  • Are the special fantasy characters really viable on the field? As Marc pointed out the other day, the average CH-Wizard unit in the game is about 50 points and must roll a 5+ in order to cast most spells. I could have a unit of Chaos Knights (VBU:7 I:5, Rush, Fierce Charge) for less than that. In short, I'm not convinced about the whole character thing at the moment. I would love for some enlightened individual who's played with characters to explain it to me.

  • I have a metal Chaos Spawn model down in the pile somewhere. If I go with a cavalry army, should I still use it or not? It would move as fast as the heavy cavalry but I wonder would it look out of place?
That's all for now, I haven't done much more painting since the day before yesterday, however I am filing up models for my third unit of Irish. I found out that Chris has begun priming his Normans so I'll likely get a 15mm Dark Age game before I get a fantasy one. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading,