Monday, October 29, 2012

New WMLP and update...

Spoooooky news everyone! The new issue of Wizards Mutants Laser Pistols is out now! Issue #3 is packed with lots of scary stuff to help you maximize your Halloween RPGing.

Pick up this issue here for a measly $3.50 in the US, $4.50 to Canada, and $5.50 to send overseas. While you're at it, you can also pick up copies of the first two issues as well! I mean, you want the whole set, right?

As for my update, I've been busy working on a couple of different projects lately. The main one I'm spending most of my free time on is quite detailed and intricate so it's taking quite a while. Progress is coming by the millimeter, but every so often, I get a week like this past one where part of it comes together nicely and it looks really awesome which inspires me to keep pushing forward. I'm keeping most of the details under wraps 'cuz, well, I can. I usually prefer to complete a project before blogging about it in detail, but a certain someone at work can't seem to wait. You know who you are.... So here are a few pictures of what I've done so far:

A lot of wiring went into this project. This is just one small section. 

What's this? A printed circuit board? You betcha, golly gee whiz!

Gears, motors, and hardware - Oh my!

I'm thinking it'll be a few more months before it's completely done. There's (at least) one *HUGE* hurdle to overcome first that might reserve the whole thing to a shelf somewhere to sit and just collect dust.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to get a copy of our latest issue of WMLP. I hope you enjoy it!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Low Life Miniatures Kickstarter coming to a close!

I thought I'd mention this Kickstarter again since it's now getting down to the final hours. Check it out:

Low Life Miniatures by Andy Hopp

A lot of great and unique minis have been unlocked. Here are the greens of a some:

And here's a chart of everything that's been achieved so far (as noted by the green star symbol):

I think these look pretty cool. Not your typical undead or other dungeon creature for sure! Show your support cuz I wanna get to those Cute Little Duckies!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Low Life Miniatures by Andy Hopp

Hot on the heels of the over-the-top successful Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter, another awesome miniatures Kickstarter project is starting to pick up some good momentum and well into some nice goals now:

Low Life Miniatures by Andy Hopp

I don't know how to explain them. You just have to take a look at 'em yourself. I personally really like them. They're just... different. I like to add a bit of light humour every so often in my games and plan to use these minis.

The actual minis aren't done yet, but here's a drawing of one of my favourites. It's called the Coblin. A (corn on the) Cob/Goblin:


This might be a tough sell if you recently sunk some serious gold pieces into the 
Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter but I thought I'd just mention it cuz I think the minis are going to be awesomely both funny and cool!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Dwarven Forge Catacombs Set

Well, they did it. Dwarven Forge has raised the bar with their gaming terrain sets and will be releasing their new Catacombs Set (not sure of the actual release date yet though). This set looks fantastic and has some way cool new features that other (past) sets of theirs don't have. There's no "official" picture of the pieces yet, but here's one that jls304 posted on the Dwarven Forge forum page. It's from the Dwarven Forge booth at GenCon:

Catacombs Set (from jls304 on the Dwarven Forge forums)

I seriously can't wait to get my hands on this set. There's a brand new design for the floor tiles. The folks at DF have added electronic "flickering torch lights" using LED's in the corner pieces (given the size of the "flame", it looks more like a small forge or a brazier to me) and they've designed some freestanding walls that can be placed anywhere - even vertically on top of other walls to add depth to the rooms. Side note, as cool as the stackable wall idea is, I'm kinda bummed that they did this because this was an idea I had a long time ago and wanted to implement in one of my creations, but I just never had the time to do it.... oh well - I'll get over it! :)

Here's a short video clip of the set from Dwarven Forge:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Back from SoCal MiniCon 5

Hey all,

I just finished playing in Bedivere's 1st edit. AD&D Puzzle Tower game at SoCal MiniCon 5. It was a lot of fun to be able to hang out and play and also meet some really cool people.

It was a sparse turn out this year, therefore this was the only morning/afternoon game going. There were some familiar faces from last year's event as well as a few new ones (well, new to me at least!). The other players were Mobad (human paladin), Tony (elven magic user), T. Foster (human magic user), and Cimmerian (human cleric). I played a half elven bard named Jonathan Wolf. We almost had a 6th player (jallison86), but unfortunately he was there only for a short while and didn't participate.

Bedivere's game was a lot of fun. Great DMing too. There was a great mix of combat encounters and other situations where a little thought and creativity was needed. In the end our gang of stalwart adventurers was successful in completing the adventure!

Cimmerian (white shirt), Tony (black shirt), Bedivere (standing),
T.Foster (back to camera), Mobad (behind Bedivere)

Bedivere plotting the demise of the party.....

One of the levels from the tower

Many thanks to Bedivere for holding the event in his area and also for DMing! I'm looking forward to next year already. But can we all wait that long? Monk and I have been knocking around the idea of getting a Mini-Mini Con going in a few months..... We'll see how that pans out!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wizards Mutants Lazer Pistols Issue #2 is now available!

That's right folks, you heard me correct-a-mundo! Issue #2 is available and can be bought here. Don't miss out. Get yours today. It's jam packed with good stuff! (Unbiased opinion of course!!! ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Old School character sheets

I love seeing other people's documents from their past adventures. A few weekends ago, my friend (and Original Dungeon Master) and I got a chance to hang out for the first time in a long time. We caught up a bit and of course chatted about D&D (for some reason we didn't actually play though). He broke out some of his old maps and character sheets from a game he used to play many, many years ago (did I say many? Because it was MANY!). Anyway, he's shown them to me before, but I always enjoy hearing about his adventures as he reminisces about his old game while we hunch over his maps and old notes.

He's the one who introduced me to the game. Keep in mind that that was around.... oh let's just say if my D&D game was a dog, it'd be over 200 years old. Off and on over the years we've kept this one game going. More off these days than on, but technically, it's still alive. After seeing him and looking at his old stuff, it got me thinking I should post some of the papers from the game I'm playing with him. I consider posting more stuff later, but for now, here are my character sheets (incase it's hard to read, the stats are, in order from top to bottom: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma, Comeliness, Perception, and Ego):

Tauron and Radagast met each other in a bar in the city of Nyrook. Radagast was getting beat up by some rowdy half orcs when Tauron came in and rescued him. Soon after, the two met Trose and Elros. The four adventured for a long while and one day, while traveling through the Dim Forest, they encountered a goblin tribe led by an ogre. They had this HUGE man named Daron as prisoner. He joined our group also. Later on after more adventuring, we met Thorin and convinced him to join us.

I know this is a quick and dirty post, but I just wanted to get this off my "to do" list. Looking over these sheets and all my old notes brings back some great memories.....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Manor - Another great issue

I got home from work yesterday to find issue #2 of The Manor had arrived in the mail. I quickly opened it to give it a quick flip through. I didn't have time to give it a good reading, but I liked what I initially saw. 

Today I was able to dedicate some time to giving it a good read and I was not disappointed. Another great issue by Tim! I have to say, he certainly has a knack for creativity. There's a perfect balance of information and great ideas, but it's not burdened with too many details. Another thing I really enjoy is the cross pollination (for lack of a better term) of people, locations, or plot hooks, etc between the different articles. 

Great layout, great art, well though out. I can't praise it enough. Do yourself a huge favour and shell out the cash for this gem.

Tim, when's issue #3 out???

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Necromancer's Cave Entrance

Excerpt from "The Necromancer" by Rush

[I. Into the Darkness]

As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky,
the three travelers, men of Willowdale,
emerge from the forest shadow.
Fording the River Dawn, they turn south, journeying
into the dark and forbidding lands of the Necromancer.
Even now the intensity of his dread power can be felt,
weakening the body and saddening the heart.
Ultimately they will become empty, mindless spectres...
stripped of will and soul, only their thirst for freedom
gives them hunger for vengeance...

The Necromancer's Lair (oops! I forgot to turn on the lanterns!)

The entrance to a small Dwarven Forge set-up

Angle shot

Here's a short video of the piece showing the flickering lanterns:

(This is quite a long post, so if you just want to see more pictures of the finished piece then just skip to the end)

A while back, I decided to try and make my own Dwarven Forge compatible piece. I always thought that their Realm of the Ancients Ruined Entrance piece was pretty cool and that got me thinking of other kinds of "entrance pieces" that would be more generic to use with their Classic Dungeon Sets.

Inspired by the song, "The Necromancer" by Rush, I thought that something a little darker and sinister would make for a great look. While out picking up pet supplies one day, I saw this cool aquarium decoration:

Resin skull decor for an aquarium

I thought the teeth on the skull looked somewhat vampiric which got me thinking that they'd be pretty cool in the opening of my cave entrance piece. So I started by cutting the bottom teeth off, making a mould of them, and casting two resin copies for use in my project.


The original teeth and the rubber mould I made of them

I started by using polymer clay to shape the base and walls. I inserted the resin teeth that I cast in the front opening and added more clay to make it look smooth and fill any gaps. After baking it (so it hardens), I sprayed a grey primer on the entire thing then afterwards thought to put the shelves on each side of the opening to later add some lanterns. I wanted to see how it looked with a pathway leading up to the opening so I put some brown gravel on (I later removed it).

Overall view

Close-up of the opening

Side view

As usual, I thought it'd be cool to add some electronics to the project. I drilled holes in the shelves to install LED's and used a dremel tool to cut slots in the clay on each inner side for their wiring (to route to the back of the piece). Then I embedded a tiny, yellow LED into each shelf so that it's flat with the surface and showing through the top, then filled any gaps with putty.

Slots drilled for the lantern wiring

In the picture above, you can see on the outer left side I added a big lump of putty. Once it was dry, I drilled it out and installed the electronics from two flameless tea candles in there. I connected the lantern LED's and a power plug (in hindsight, I wish I had of made this piece battery powered instead of plug-in). ANY-way....

I began to put the individual "boulders" on the walls one at a time. As you can probably imagine, this took quite a while to complete as I had to shape each one by hand so the overall look of the walls wasn't too repetitive.

Adding the boulders was.....

a slooowww process!

I had a bit of a setback after a while. When I initially started making this piece, I was actually just winging it - not really thinking too much about compatibility with Dwarven Forge products. After I had a rough prototype done, I decided that I did want it to fit with their products. At that point the project underwent a major overhaul and restructure to get one of the walls in proper alignment (went from Chaotic Evil to Lawful Good! ;) And of course, when I was hacking away at the wall, I nicked the wire for one of the lanterns. Cursing ensued. But I eventually managed to fix it all up nice and spiffy!

Major overhaul underway

Rewiring the lantern

Aligning the wall with a Dwarven Forge piece


Ok, after that fiasco was done, I finished putting the boulders on the outside and puttied the inner floor like the Dwarven Forge Passage piece. I then started installing the inner boulders and got that part all done. I slapped on a dark black wash to fill in all the spaces then did the best I could to match the paint scheme of actual Dwarven Forge. This took quite some time as I'm simply not that good at painting much less paint matching.

Outside boulders are done!

Starting the inner boulders (floor is done)

Back view with black wash applied (the power connector can be seen on the lower left side)

The painted boulders (the base is still in progress)

To make the small flames, I glued a little dollop of cured, clear silicone seal over each LED. Once powered up, the flickering light from the flameless tea candle circuitry shines into the silicone and makes them look like small flames.

I made the lanterns by soldering some small metal pieces into a square-ish frame. I used a small pyramid shaped piece of plastic that I cast from a Hirst Arts mould as the top and added a loop from an old chain as the handle. I painted it black then dry brushed some other colours on to give it a weathered look.

Assembling the lanterns by soldering some small metal pieces together

I wanted the overall look of the terrain to be sort of barren and desolate, as if a dark and twisted evil has moved in and taken over the surrounding land and because of this evil, mostly dead, dry plants and no wildlife remain. I decided to give the base a more grey "dead earth" look. The teeth are an off white and I painted the gum line reddish to make it seem like the opening might be a real mouth. Is it a trap that closes on those who attempt to enter? Only one way to find out.....

So for the ground debris, I simply added some Woodland Scenics flock and bushes. I looked around outside for some sand, twigs, wood, and small stones that worked well for the ground scenery. The dead tree is actually a part of a root from a dead plant I found. The sign is made from some driftwood. I simply tied the two pieces together with some fine thread. The cross on the grave is from an old piece of jewelry I got at a flea market. I made the ruts in the path by simply carving them in the clay with a knife.

For the skull, I simply painted a small skull from Secret Weapon Miniatures. When I was looking for ground debris, I found a small, dried up twig that had tiny thorns on it. I thought they looked like small spikes and I wanted to somehow incorporate them into my piece. As I was removing them from the twig, I noticed they were close to the right scale as the skull so I put them on as horns and loved the way it looked!

Here are a few more pictures:

A close-up of the skull

Overall look

Side view

The "EVIL" sign and cross grave marker

I hope you enjoyed this blog posting. I think this is my favourite piece to date. I have a lot of ideas for more projects so stay tuned in. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just got a new zine - The Manor

I've been getting into OSR style zines lately. When I hear of a new issue or a brand new one, it honestly can't get to me fast enough. Yesterday, my copy of The Manor arrived in the mail.

The Manor Issue #1

On the back of the envelope, Tim wrote a little blurb that I got the last issue of his first run. A nice personal touch. Upon opening this little gem, I quickly flipped through to see what it was like. I didn't like it at all. I LOVED IT! Some random encounter and item charts - loved 'em! Some quick adventures - loved 'em! I think what got me hooked was the good laugh I had when I read random shiny item #12 (I don't wanna give away too much - you'll have to get the zine to find out more!). Great artwork. Nice layout. Easy to read. Anyway, very cool and useful adventures to play a la cart or plop in the middle of a bigger campaign. I'm going to try to play one with my friend and his son this weekend. Even if you don't use any of the good stuff in there, just reading it got the ol' creative juices flowing. 

Well worth the couple of bucks. Can't wait for issue #2!

You can visit either of Tim's blogs, Gothridge Manor or Gothridge Manor Games for more info.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Dwarven Forge accessory set just released!

Dwarven Forge just released a new Ancient Treasure Set. 

Ancient Treasure Set by Dwarven Forge

It looks pretty nice and I can't wait until mine arrives. The newsletter for this item can be seen here.
However, like many fans of their products, I wish they'd re-release the original Treasure Set too!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Dragon's Gem

Down, down, down the blasted, eternal staircase! After twisting and turning through miles of endless, wretched passages you come to a door. Locked! The brute force of the fighter eventually breaches it and beyond, in the stale, dank, chamber you gaze upon more gold and treasure than you could ever imagine. You scramble toward the pile delirious to claim your share when you notice THE Gem! Meanwhile, something in the room has noticed you....

Hi everyone! Here's another Dwarven Forge conversion piece that I did a while ago. It's a dragon's treasure hoard with sparkling gold treasure and a glowing gem. The got the itch to make this piece from a tutorial I saw on the Reaper Miniatures website.

Incorporating some electronics into my conversion pieces makes for a fun twist. So I thought it'd be sweet if some of the gold pieces in the pile were made to look like they were twinkling or sparkling. Also, I wanted to have a huge, colour changing gem as the main piece of treasure (sort of inspired by the Arkenstone from The Hobbit).

I started by moulding three flat oddly shaped disks of polymer clay (each one smaller than the previous) and stacked them together before heating them in the oven to harden. Sorry, but I don't have a photo of the finished stack but it looked kind of like how a snowman would look if each section of it was flattened. Anyway, once it was hardened, I took my dremel tool and hollowed it out from underneath. This was done so I could install the LED's and the electronics.

Next, I designed and built a "pseudo" random flashing LED circuit for the twinkling effect in the pile of gold. I built four timer circuits using miniature 555 IC's and made each one with a different clock rate (this is done by using different external component values on each IC). I then routed the four clock signals to the input pins of a 7447 Seven Segment LED Driver IC and on each output pin I soldered a tiny, yellow LED. Then I drilled seven small holes in the clay to insert the LED's so that when they flash on and off it will look like some of the gold in the treasure pile is twinkling.

The short video clip below shows the flashing circuit with green LED's, but I switched to yellow ones before the final installation:

For the main gem I used a small, clear, rhinestone. I drilled a hole in the top of the clay that was a bit smaller than the rhinestone (so it wouldn't fall through). From the underside of the clay, I installed a slow changing, multi-coloured LED in the hole. From the top, I simply glued the rhinestone over the hole. Now when lit, the light shines through the "gem".

Getting all the electronics stuffed in the area on the underside (while keeping the LED's glued in their proper places) was a bit tricky. But after a while I finally got everything to stay in place.

A tight fit for all the wiring!

After that was done, I drilled a small hole in the centre of a big Dwarven Forge floor piece to route the power wires through and then glued the clay pile in the middle. I applied a good amount of glue to the top of the clay and then dumped a bunch of gold glitter on top. After letting it dry and removing the excess, I added some small coloured rhinestones to look like smaller gems and a few other trinkets as treasure a dragon's hoard might have. Here's a few close-ups:

The main gem when it's green...

changed to purple...

and now red (a bit out of focus though!).

A close-up of the skeleton, scroll, and shield (near the top above the big gem).

The power wires come out of the side of the piece (see below). I used very long and thin wire so that they can be run beneath the floor pieces of the dungeon set-up and therefore unseen. Here's one last close-up of the entire piece and a short video of the treasure pile only. I took the picture outside in the sunlight to get a good sparkle from the gold. Notice a small bit of the black power wires are barely visible at the top edge (before they go behind the piece).


Hope you enjoyed this. Now onto my next project!