Squaduary Dwarves WIP Update (and cat)

A quick update:  I’ve been picking away at my party of four dwarves that I’m working on getting done by February 28th for the Squaduary painting challenge.  I jumped in a bit late but I’m enjoying working on the project a bit each night so I’m hopeful of completing the challenge in time but we’ll see.

I think the familiars want to eat each other.  My money is on the toad.

I’m still putting basic colors on the dwarves, though I have gotten another familiar done in addition to the toad from last time.  So now our musket-toting wizard can team up with either a toad or a cat now!  I went down to the game store today and picked up some paint.  I want to try out the little red cloak tutorial from Warhammer TV.  I haven’t encountered many cloaks with the orks, daemons and such I’ve painted in the past, so this should be fun.  Fortunately, these cloaks and cowls look pretty easy.  Perhaps they’ll make me brave enough to someday tackle that Changeling miniature that has been lanquishing in my to-do pile for a year or more!

So the challenge ends on the 28th, and I hope to get a final picture up by then. Between now and then I plan on putting up a picture of poxwalker #17, who is finally done.

Paint Cat says, “Work harder not smarter!” ™

 

Squaduary and Toad Familiar

I decided that maybe I wanted to get four of my dwarves from last time done soon, rather than just picking away at them haphazardly until they are finished.  Such methods result in completed projects, albeit at a somewhat glacial pace.  The reason for my sudden alacrity is I want to run a one-shot Dungeons & Dragons adventure for up to four players using pregenerated dwarf characters.

So even though it is a little late in the game, I decided to take up Stepping Between Games’s Squaduary painting challenge as a way to motivate myself with a hideously looming deadline.  The idea of Squaduary is you complete a unit of troops and post your progress with the completed squad by the end of February.*  In this case “unit of troops” will be an “adventuring party.”

My Squaduary Attempt (Left to Right): Wizard, Cleric, Fighter, and maybe a Ranger.

I had to figure out what I wanted to do with the guy with the musket in a game where I don’t want any actual firearms, so I decided that he’s a wizard who uses it as a prop or “spell focus” (using proper D&D jargon) to cast his spells.  A little never-runs-out magic gem powder in the pan, a bit of prestidigitation producing a bit of flame and pow!  This time Magic Missiles for everyone!  Next time Stinking Cloud!  Might be amusing, who knows?**

Now all good adepts will agree that every wizard needs a familiar and it just happens that I have a pack of three gathering dust.  I thought the toad most appropriate for a dwarf wizard, though any of them would be fine.  Also happens I am partial to toads and amphibians in general so there’s that too.

Oddly, all those little scratches were only revealed by the camera!

I kept our magician’s familiar pretty basic, though I think it’s cute.  I thought the gold eyes came out better than they look in the picture, but I want to get this post up so I don’t have time to redo them.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing Toad again, since I plan on posting a WIP dwarf picture in a couple of days, so maybe they’ll come out better next time if I’m lucky.

For next time, I am nearly done with Poxwalker #17, and plan of getting a picture of my soon-to-be-completely-and-long-suffering zombie up soon.  (Toad will probably put in an appearance then too.)  I also plan on a quick picture of my current progress with the dwarves for the Squaduary challenge.


* Or the day before the end of February since we get a bonus day this year it being a leap year and all.

** If the idea proves popular, I might incorporate the idea of dwarf and gnome magicians using staves and wands that look like muskets and pistols while not actually changing any of the game mechanics.

Organic Ink 2 … and Dwarves

I was quite pleased to receive my author copies of Organic Ink, Volume 2, a poetry anthology from Dragon Soul Press.  I’m happy that the editors decided to include a bunch of my poems, including a longish one that I was hoping would find a home: “The War of the Jar.”

Yep, it’s February and the Christmas stuff is still up.

I read some of Hesiod’s work as a child and that was the second place I had heard the Pandora’s Box myth.  (I think the first place might have been Rocky & Bullwinkle.)  A few months ago, I happened to be in the middle of re-reading the bit about Hesiod’s five ages of Man in his Works and Days when I decided that it would be fun to write a longish poem set in the third or “bronze” age, and work in a somewhat different version of Pandora than the one I read/heard about growing up.

I’m thinking of doing some other Ages poems.  There is going to be an Organic Ink Volume 3, so if I’m happy with whatever I come up with then I’ll give them first shot at it since they were kind enough to print the first one.  That, and it would be fun (if I can pull it off!) to have all my Ages of Men poems appear in the same series of anthologies.

Thinking the one on the left is a wizard who casts spells from his enchanted blunderbuss!

I haven’t been playing Warhammer 40K, so I haven’t really felt much of an urge to paint more miniatures for that game in awhile.  I have been playing Dungeons & Dragons lately, so I decided to try some of those and ended up with these dwarves off of Etsy.

I wanted miniatures that were inexpensive and had some detail, but were still pretty basic and not hard to paint.  They had to not be fragile, which means being resin they can’t have thin bits that easily break.  (Especially since other people would be handling them.)  These guys at $9.99, including shipping, for a pack of six met all of my expectations.

The dwarf with the beer says, “Hey, you did say this was an adventuring PARTY!”

I’m not sure if these guys would fit into anyone’s upcoming painting challenge, but I am going to try and get the top four dwarves done this month or during March at the latest.  I am thinking of running a one session D&D game where a bunch of dwarves explore a dungeon, and the characters will be based off of these miniatures.

I also bought some goblins, bugbears and some other stuff from (I think) the same seller on Etsy.  I’ve primed the dwarves since I took these pictures and will prime a rust monster when I get home later today.

Next time I plan on getting the third issue of The Dragon Egg Gazette out.  After that, perhaps I’ll have some painted miniatures to show off.

The Dragon Egg Gazette, Issue 2

The Dragon Egg Gazette

Issue 2: February 5, 2020

A student newspaper that is part of my “Enchanted Forest” D&D campaign. 

 


The Giant Statue

by Staff Writer

Everyone knows about the giant statue and I’m sure many of us have taken a field trip and seen it.  I measured it myself a few years ago using certain calculations based on the length of shadows and estimated it at over 150 feet tall!  Here are five facts you may not know about the giant statue.

  1. The first recorded instance of the artifact being called The Cursed Statue is during the Vampire War which lasted from the late-1500’s until 1607, when much of the Enchanted Forest and even Dragon Egg was destroyed.
  2. It is believed that the statue was constructed in the Dark Ages and served as a focus and temple for an unknown goddess.  She was believed to give good luck, wealth and happiness to her worshippers in return for their faith.  This faith involved torture, ritual mutilation of themselves and others, and ceremonial sacrifice.
  3. People are warned against going alone to the statue.  Even touching it can be dangerous!  This newspaper was not able to learn details, but there are said to be secretive guardians at the statue site, who “protect the interests of the Enchanted Forest.”  We are not sure what that means.
  4.  Many believe that if the statue is harmed in any way the unknown, evil goddess will live again and bring her doom upon us all.  An inscription from the statue (source unknown) reads, “Death to any who defiles this place.  Death to Him.  Death to Her.  Death gathered upon death stretching forth my hand into the future and the past.”
  5. In his 1972 book, Points of Interest in the Enchanted Forest: An Adventure Tourism Guide, Doctor Forcrath Silverspur, writes that no one knows when the statue was built or why it is so large, but in the late 1500’s a group of dwarves attempted to bury the statue.  They failed for some reason and today the statue remains buried up to its mid-shins.

Tree Symbol Clip Art

Raising the Dead: Did You Know?

by Thulunil Ummair

Did you know that being raised from the dead is not as easy at it seems, and there are good reasons why it doesn’t happen very often?  First Priest F’Rhogar Goldleaf said that “The biggest hurdle in bringing someone back to life is the person must have a compelling reason to return.”  Normal things like loving one’s family, enjoying life, and so on aren’t enough.  Fulfilling a mighty oath or vow, an all-consuming revenge, and so on are the sorts of situations where a person might be a candidate for the magic.  Thus, “We try and speak with the dead first, cast the runes and perform other divinations to see if a deceased individual will be a good candidate for revivication.  In my sixty-seven years as a priest, I have only seen four successful resurrections and performed only one myself.  Our temple receives several hundred requests from within and without the Forest each year.”

Then there is the question of whether or not the Great Dragon will approve the priest’s request.  This is a simple matter because if the answer is no, the spell request will not be granted.  Fortunately our god seldom denies the request.

Finally, many people believe that if you cut off someone’s head or burn their body, then that person cannot be raised from the dead.  First Priest Goldleaf says that this is not true but declined to go into specifics.  He also denied the efficacity of certain methods we won’t go into detail about here for fear of shocking some younger readers.  He pointed out that these apply more to vampires but even then the remedies are not “universally effective.”

The First Priest ended the interview with, “Those who think that magic or magical beings follow universal laws or procedures are mistaken.  The belief that it is possible to penetrate to the Why and How of things is dangerous thinking, and has caused much suffering throughout the ages.  We’d do better to content ourselves with What, Where, and When and leave Why and How to the gods.”

Dragon Egg Auxiliary Forces Badge

Coming Attractions

  • A short interview with a ranger who has worked with the new special squad that was formed this year.  Also, other special squads from the present and past.
  • We learned about the Giant Statue this time.  What about some of the other points of interest in the Enchanted Forest?
  • Possibly some interesting art from a talented human artist from outside the forest!

Staff

Biri “Wondermist” Blackwing, Editor-in-Chief
Thulunil Ummair, Assistant Editor
Ann Wycoff, Contributing Editor
Your Name Could Be Here!


Classified Ads & Notices

  1. If you enjoy what you are reading and are in the Santa Cruz, California area and would enjoy a life of adventure in the Enchanted Forest, you may leave a note in the comments or send the DM an email to the address listed in the About page.
  2. Looking for help repairing a recently raised barn.  The people I hired got drunk and didn’t do a very good job.  Will provide food, and beverages will be non-alcoholic this time around.  Also, payment for work will be provided after the work is completed to our satisfaction.  No professional builders, please.
  3. Goblin family looking for situation in Dragon Egg and East Egg.  We are skilled at most farm tasks and have excellent references.  Ask for the Gloo Family in East Egg.  Please note that none of us can read.
  4. Our family would like to thank Burhe, Blase, and Fursel Moonspur, as well as unknown members of The Red Rose Society for rescuing our father from the Ogre Hills.  May the Great Dragon bless your lives forever!
  5. I represent a dwarven concern interested in the excavation of certain, forgotten burial sites.  Our latest project is the investigation of a site causing harm to the forest both by attracting undesirable elements and by the presence of certain energies or forces within the catacombs themselves.  Who knows what effect errant and misunderstood magic is having on the ecosystem?  Leave a message at Levar’s Eyeballs, West Egg or reply to the Gazette.  Sorry, dwarves and gnomes only.
  6. Editor’s Note:  There have been many ad requests concerning missing persons due to the recent attacks along East Egg Road.  The Dragon Egg Militia Office (DEMO) has asked that citizens direct all inquiries to them.  Also, we will not be publishing ads involving bounty hunters, vigilante groups, citizen committees, etc.  Thank you for understanding!

The Dragon Egg Gazette: Issue 1

The Dragon Egg Gazette

Issue 1: January 17, 2020

NB: To anyone wondering what by the Emperor’s left <redacted> this is all about:  Greetings, imperial scum.  I recently started running a D&D game and thought it might be fun to keep track of the public parts of the campaign and my inveterate world building with a sort of in-character “newspaper.”  So The Dragon Egg Gazette is born and now I turn over the reins to that precocious (and maybe a little precious) dragonborn and elf duo, Biri and Thulunil.  


From the Editor’s Desk

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Dragon Egg Gazette!  My name is Biri of Dragon Egg … of course.  I prefer to be called Wondermist by my friends, and I’m the editor-in-chief.  This newspaper is my required Outside Project for school and I’m really excited about it.

If you would like to contribute an article, please let me know in the comments.  You can also contact us through the email on the About page.  If you contribute articles at least once in awhile, I’ll list you as a contributing editor!  You can leave your letters to the editor in the comments too, and we just might print yours.

To business.

This is a really awful map of The Enchanted Forest.  They should get a cartography teacher so someone can make some decent maps, but for now this will have to do.  Who even knows if it is accurate?  You can click on the map for a much larger version, but I’m not responsible for broken crystal balls!

Yep, here be dragons.

In the next issue we’ll learn a little more about some of the towns and places like The Giant Statue and The Haunted Bridge!


The Dungeonmaster’s Corner

by Ann Wycoff

I just started running a Dungeons & Dragons (5e) game after taking many years off from roleplaying.  So far I am enjoying reading through the new books.  I see they brought player character “backgrounds” back from earlier editions so your alter ego was a tinker, tailor, soldier or spy before he was a protagonist.  The player comes up with, or rolls for, a personality trait, and some other basic stuff like a flaw or an ideal they have.  In return the character gets in-game benefits.

At first I kind of wrinkled my nose a little at all of this.  After all, back when I played I walked to the game up hill both ways in the snow (remember, I’m from Maine and couldn’t cast Fly then) and wouldn’t dream of playing a character with less than ten pages of history and background.  I certainly didn’t need to be bribed with free skills.

Anyway, I thought about it some and had a change of heart.  Now I like the idea.  As a DM I really enjoy world building to the point where I make up stuff that the players never learn about and I know they never will when I make it up.  I also enjoy at least some of the players having ties to the world outside of just “the party.”  I’ve found that there are some players, who I cherish as kindred spirits, who also enjoy a similar style of play.  For the ones that don’t, I have learned over the years not to force things.  Enforcing your play style and preferences on people is bad enough when players do it, but worse still when the perpetrator is the DM.

So what I’m going to do is provide in-game benefits for belonging to certain groups.  If you don’t want the benefits, you can happily ignore the group.  The benefits aren’t so great that your character is completely gimped if he doesn’t have them, though he may be inconvenienced.  That’s cool.  Some people will probably sort of go along halfheartedly with my nonsense to get the benefits while others will find they can tolerate (or even acquire a taste for) a bit more of the kind of thing that keeps my DMing energy levels high.

With that in mind I present the following, which serves as the starting point of the games I’m currently planning on running.  I made no attempt to balance it with the Player’s Handbook backgrounds since everyone has the opportunity to start with this background.

Unicursal hexagram 100 wide

 Dragon Egg Special Arbor Service (SAS) within the Militia

Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Survival.  If you gain these skills from another class, you may substitute one or two other skills.  Athletics, Animal Handling, and Nature are common ones.  If you want something else, make a reasonable justification/case of why your character might have that skill and I’ll say yes.

Tool Proficiencies:  Rudimentary to basic knowledge of Dragon Egg legal code.

Equipment: A good, green uniform cloak, wet and cold weather gear, two badges of office (a green dragon hatching out of an egg).  One is plain for the field, the other fancy for in town.

Miscellaneous:  You receive a +1 to hit points each level on your roll.  This cannot take you higher than the maximum of the hit die.  Also, if you roll a total, including the +1, that is less than half your hit die then you receive half the hit die instead.  For example, a fighter rolls a D10 and gets a 3.  He adds 1 for the SAS benefit bringing him to 4.  Half of 10 is 5 though, so the fighter receives 5 hit points that level.

Notes for Active Members

  • Authority to enforce Dragon Egg town justice on or around the settled areas and roads claimed by Dragon Egg. Other groups within the Enchanted Forest may look upon you with favor or enmity based on being in the SAS.
  • Your pay is enough to live reasonably comfortably so that you don’t have to account for mundane expenses between adventures.
  • You will probably be allocated resources, such as healing potions and the like to help with your adventures. Unofficially, you can keep whatever you don’t use unless it is rare or valuable.
  • You are part of the militia chain of command, though the SAS is viewed as an elite force. Also, you are viewed as part of a “special force” within this elite force and command usually involves a light touch.
    • Episodic Game: You’ll be given missions to complete each session.
    • Sandbox Game: Instead of missions, you will have a lot more leeway with the assignments because you’ll do the jobs other people don’t want to. After all, there may be better warriors out there but how many of them are willing to do the stuff that PC’s do without flinching?  Think about it.

Enchanted Forest as seen via Fly spell.  Click for larger version.

Did You Know?

by Thulunil Ummair

That a dragonborn’s ability to exhale poison gas begins to develop around the age of 12 to 13, and boys and girls take part in secretive rituals to mark their passage from childhood to becoming adults?  During this time a boy’s comb grows larger and fuller while girls of course develop their adorable cheek spines.

Did you also know that dragonborn consider it insulting to call their children “spawn,” or “a brood?”  They also object to their eggs being called a “clutch” or compared to chicken or goose eggs.  We elves don’t mean anything bad by it and we keep saying stuff like that by accident because of the translation of certain elvish words that are part of the Dracosindarin language.  I think everyone should just get over it and not be so thin-skinned.

However, during a recent interview, Galadriel Ummair, Dragon Egg teacher and noted linguist and arcane archer, stated, “While it is true that many elves can sometimes be insensitive of our dragonborn friends’ oviparous sensibilities, we must try to do better, for as any wizard knows, ‘Words have power.’  After all, we elves don’t like dragonborn calling us ‘Ears,’ in reference to what they, and some humans, see as overly large ears with the characteristic sharp helices.  Indeed, dragonborn do not have visible ears at all.”

This writer would like to point out that his girlfriend and editor of this newspaper says that his ears are his “cutest feature,” and I say the same about her cheek spines.  I do agree that words have power and that it costs nothing to be kind to one another, but they should still get over it.  Thanks for the quote, Mom!

Coming Attractions

  • Feature article on a new group of constables in the Special Forest Service.  Hopefully we can get some quotes or maybe even an interview.
  • The Dungeonmaster promises to write about some of the points of interest in the Enchanted Forest.  Maybe even some of the ones marked on the map with little skulls!
  • Did you know in ancient times there was a vampire king to the south, who tried to invade the Enchanted Forest?
  • Possibly some interesting art from a talented human artist from another plane!

Staff

Biri “Wondermist” of Dragon Egg, Editor-in-Chief
Thulunil Ummair, Assistant Editor
Ann Wycoff, Contributing Editor
Your Name Could Be Here!

An SAS Dress Badge

 

Classified Ads

  1. Goblin family looking for situation in Dragon Egg.  We are skilled at most farm tasks and have excellent references.  Ask for the Gloo Family in East Egg.
  2. Looking for help raising barn.  You would need to provide team of horses.  I have good pelts, liquor, and a few low quality gems for trade.  Some might be arcane.
  3. I represent a dwarven concern interested in the excavation of certain, forgotten burial sites.  There is some question of the site causing harm to the forest both by attracting undesirable elements and by the presence of certain energies or forces within the catacombs themselves.  Who knows what effect errant and misunderstood magic is having on the ecosystem.  Leave a message at Levar’s Eyeballs, West Egg or reply to the Gazette.
  4. To whoever has been stealing my chickens.  Stop now or beware.  I know who you are and I know that in a few months you wouldn’t want to find yourself holding a changeling.  Keep stealing my chickens and we’ll see if we can make that happen for you.
  5. Our father disappeared near Ogre Hills.  It is feared he is senile and cannot take care of himself.  Reward for return.  Contact via Dragon Egg Gazette.

Christmas 2019: Gaming, Writing, and Twist Yo’ Wrist!

Greetings and Felicitations, Dear Readers, I hope you are doing well.  If Christmas is your thing, then have a merry one, and if not then best wishes for whatever it is you celebrate this time of year, even if it is simply making it to the end of another year.  Some years are better than others and I hope that 2019 was a good one and 2020 is even better.

I had a nice time at a Solstice celebration where there was a big fire and I got to don a robe and everything, and an equally fun Christmas with my tiny tree that I bust out for a month before banishing it back to the dungeon, along with the tiny reindeer and bird, in their green and red plastic bin.

Reindeer wants to be a ranger or barbarian.  Naturally the bird wants to play a dragonborn.*

Received some pretty nice presents this year, which touch on my three favorite hobbies:  gaming, writing, and working out.

It has been quite a few years since I’ve played roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons, and I happened to mention to someone I’m getting the itch to DM once again.  The result was a Players Handbook from Jolly Old Saint Nick.  Now all I have to do is find some like-minded people in my area.

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is apparently a guidebook for plotting novels.  I feel pretty confident with short stories and such, but I feel like 2020 is going to be the year where I educate myself more with structuring longer fiction.  So I’m going to read through this book and see about applying what I learn to going back and revisiting the Gabby novel I was poking away at on Wattpad.

The metal thingie is a wide-grip wrist roller.  For anyone not familiar, you attach a weight to it and roll the rope up and lower it back down.  It targets the forearms and especially the grip.  Nice and heavy duty too.  Can’t wait to take it to the gym.  With the Twist Yo’ Wrist device I’ve been using for some time now, I’ll never meet a jar of pickles I didn’t like.

I updated my About page.  I thought maybe it was time considering I haven’t touched it since about 2014.

Take care and have a great 2020.

— Ann

 

* I’m fairly certain that the tree wants to play a Druid, though I’ll have to build back up to where I’m high enough level to cast Speak with Plants to be certain!