Daemon Prince, Part 1

Molik Karn
Molik Karn, sans molestation

This blog is not just about my commentary on being a Dungeon Master or Roleplaying or being a huge board game geek. A part of my gaming experience for the last two years has been modeling. I actually have a whole lot of fun modeling, and even if you aren’t a modeler, I think reading about it and seeing pictures is still pretty fun.

My major modeling project at the moment is my daemon prince. If you’re not familiar with daemon princes, they’re warp entities who often lead the Chaos Space Marines into battle. Duh. Now, I am some number of weeks behind on this project, but this is what I’ve done so far, and hopefully I’ll get back to work on it soon.

So, this is what we call a “conversion.” I started with a miniature called Molik Karn, a big cyclops from another game, Hordes. To the right, you can see what Molik Karn is supposed to look like, finished.

Molik was a fun choice to start a daemon prince. Firstly, he’s a pretty tall dude. He’s a little taller than a Chaos Terminator, and he fits on a 30mm base pretty nicely. He’s all spikey, which is a good look for Chaos. His swords are wicked and large. He’s got big mitts, which will easily resemble power armor. His boots are cloven in the front. There are two main problems with him being a daemon prince – the face is all wrong and his ankles are slim (which does not resemble power armor.)

First, I took his face off (like in that movie, Face-off):

Face-Off

I also filed the design off his belly armor as I intended to add my own. In general, I’m going for a look more like an armored warrior and less like a demon-faced monster. First, I added a faceplate:

New Face...

The faceplate is made of fairly thin plasticard. It cut it into small pieces, glued each piece in place then trimmed it with a hobby knife. I filed at his new face to soften the edges of the plasticard. You can see the work I did on the belly armor. It’s basically some green stuff with patterns etched into it and a skull bit glued in the center. The end result is a pattern that looks like an eye with a skull iris.

Now, the head was still not very pretty. By putting a hood over the head, I could cover up the rough top and made the whole look even more mysterious and spooky. Hooray!

This part was fairly annoying. Green Stuff is a great compound, but it can be very difficult to work with. Anyone who’s used it knows it’s sticky as Hell, but always adheres to the thing you don’t want it to. Maybe some time I’ll do a whole post about Green Stuff… once I learn its secrets.

Well, regardless of skill, I did manage to put together a pretty swank hood for him:

And a Hood...
Not Too Bad...

The next step is to make his skinny ankles into thick boots (while keeping the cloven toes.) I’ll also be making extremely intricate designs for the front of his boots… hopefully.

Join us next time for more happy fun times!

The Personal Lives of Adventurers

The personal lives of Adventurers are an interesting case of sociology. In my experience, the vast majority of adventurers in fantasy worlds are unmarried, childless and homeless. They are philosophically aligned with “ends justify means” and use violence as a means to an end. They are constantly armed, often paranoid and generally incredibly rich compared to the peasantry, although their wealth is invested heavily in arms. They are generally vigilantes who make their own rules, although some are religious or political zealots who follow someone else’s rules.

Now, I don’t particularly think that’s bad or wrong. I think it’s usually a necessity of their situation. Fantasy worlds are usually unforgiving wastelands of a sort. It’s hard to follow a path of peace when you’re the target of random violence from the local savage beasts or evil cults. Adventurers are usually called to a life of fighting for wealth, power or – hopefully – the defense of the innocent people of the world, and that leaves little time for having a family and raising children.

I’m writing this article for a simple reason – are there alternatives to the paranoid, heavily armored lone wolves that make up so much of our D&D characters and such? Sure! In fact, it’s possible to have those characters without giving up any of the action, and I think most experienced DMs and players have seen it done.

Let’s talk about families and children. Defending your family is a fine way for an adventurer to start out. But why would you leave them once the immediate kobold threat is eliminated? Perhaps it’s the same reasons people volunteer to join the armed forces. Maybe the threat is obviously greater than a few kobolds, and the local militia doesn’t look like they’re solving the problem. Striking out with a few other skilled folks might allow you to strike directly at the evil wizard controlling the kobolds.

But a family is difficult – getting back to visit them can be difficult, and it really hinges on the Dungeon Master properly roleplaying your spouse and kids. Plus, they will inevitably be kidnapped by the evil wizard and used against you. That’s a given.

What about pacifism? There are rules about this kind of thing, but let’s ignore those for a moment. True pacifism isn’t really going to make for a great fantasy story. Action is a part of the genre, and action often means violence. Sure, an entire dungeon could contain only traps, but it doesn’t lend itself to the game for various reasons. However, a set of rules of engagement is easily accomplished. Whether it’s always challenging your foes and giving them a chance to surrender or simply never opting to kill them, I think most of us have encountered a character like that.

Homelessness? It seems like adventurers are transients until someone will give them a castle or stronghold or something. It seems odd to me, but I suppose it’s a part of the fantasy genre. Personally, I think a nice house or a shack somewhere can nicely tie a character or adventuring party to a place and given them direction when they might not otherwise have one.

As for wealth, most games are set such that characters get very wealthy but have a lot of that wealth tied up in magical items.  There is nothing really wrong with this, but once he’s filthy rich, the “selfish treasure hunter” archetype starts to wonder why he’s still risking his neck if it’s just for a better sword and not the earthly pleasures of an opulent lifestyle.

In the end, I think it’s perhaps best to think of adventurers as the fantasy equivalent of an extreme sports fanatic. You might not even need to go that far – maybe a professional sports athlete is a good enough analogy. There aren’t many of them in our society, but some people live to do crazy things for whatever sponsors or money they can acquire. Similarly, there aren’t many adventurers in a fantasy setting, and maybe everyone else from the king to the peasant sees them as nutcases, but basically like what they do.

The funny thing to me is that if I met a guy carrying four guns and insisting he was about to go fight evil, I would not think that was a good thing. But to be fair, kobolds have never attacked my village.

New Look, New Life

Welcome to the NEW Save vs. Blog. Yeah, it’s WordPress. I stubbornly refused to use any non-Chuck-produced blog code for years. But I don’t have the time or energy to fully develop a blog codebase. Oh well.

Now the posts can flow! The topics will mostly be D&D, board games, World of Warcraft and Warhammer 40k. A lot will focus on Dungeon Mastering, because I do that every week and it’s fun to talk about, but MMO raiding, modelling and all other manners of gaming will be discussed.

Hooray! Stay tuned!