Friday 15 December 2023

Rangers of Shadow Deep: A Gathering of Heroes

Rangers of Shadow Deep is getting a glorious new hardback from Modiphius including both new and collected material! You can pre-order now and immediately get the PDF for free. 

With the evils of the Shadow Deep clawing at his borders, the King of Alladore sent out a call to every realm, a summoning of heroes to come and stand against the darkness. In truth, he had little hope that his plea would be answered, and it is true that no large armies have come to Alladore’s aid, but help has come! Mainly they came in ones and twos, or small unassuming groups, but they came. Spellcasters, mercenaries, knights-errant, desert nomads… heroes from the lands surrounding Alladore have come to stand with their brothers and sisters. Individually, they seem an insignificant force, but with their skills and special abilities added to those of the rangers, they might just tip the balance!
  • Advanced Character Creation including new Traits and Limitations that players can use to bring greater tactical and narrative variation to their rangers.
  • Ten ‘Archetypes’ that players can use to create new characters, representing the heroes that have come from the lands around Alladore to join the fight against the Shadow Deep.
  • Collects five previously stand-alone supplements for the game: Blood Moon, Temple of Madness, Ghost Stone, Incinerator, and Menagerie.
  • Fifty-two unique enchanted weapons.
  • A bestiary featuring all the creatures from the core rulebook and all the collected supplements.
  • Copious new artwork from the visionary of the Shadow Deep, Barrett Stanley.
One of the best parts about working on this book was getting to write a bit about the lands surrounding Alladore. While this is far from a gazetteer, and there are no maps, the backgrounds of the different hero Archetypes talk about their history and the land form which they come. When I originally talked to Modiphius about doing this book, I was worried about collecting older material that some people have already purchased. I asked if we could release the Advanced Character Creation as a separate PDF. Standing alone, it would have been the largest supplement to date. Modiphius agreed to this, but as we worked on the price, we decided to just release the whole book in PDF for nearly the same price that we would have sold just that section. So, if you already have the old material, you can just wait for release and pick up the cheaper PDF.


Thursday 14 December 2023

Space Hulk: Genestealer

For many years, I have been looking to complete my Space Hulk, 1st Edition collection. I bought the basic box, the first supplement, Deathwing, and the Campaign Book in my youth, and have carried them all over the world, but I never acquired the second, and rarer, supplement, Genestealer. (Which is essential to use most of the Campaign Book). I have kept a close eye on ebay, and while there are usually a couple of copies there, they go for around £300 - significantly more than I was willing to pay.

Recently, it occurred to me that what I really wanted wasn't the expansion per se, but just a lot of the components in it. I didn't particularly care about the miniatures, as I plan to use my own, and the box itself would just take up space that I don't have. Really, I just wanted all of the cardboard! Perhaps if I adjusted my parameters, I could find what I wanted.

It took several months of looking, but then a big lot of Space Hulk stuff came up on ebay. The seller wasn't sure what it contained, but from the photos I could tell that it included most of what I was looking for (plus a lot of other stuff!). So, I took a chance. I maxed out my budget, but I won the auction.

When the package arrived, I realized I had a slight problem - I wasn't exactly sure what was supposed to be in the Genestealer set. After a bit of searching online, I was  able to find a detailed breakdown. Sorting through all of the stuff, I discovered that I had all of the cardboard from the box except one blip token! Blip Token D was missing. Thankfully, the lot came with a bunch of extra blip tokens so I converted one by sticking a label on it! Also, the 'Psychic Suit Tracker' was a bit mangled, but I made a replacement by photocopying it and gluing the copy onto some heavy card.

So, there we go! My collection is complete! Hopefully this means more Space Hulk in my future.

Also, I now possess a lot of spare pieces from the basic game and Deathwing. While it is tempting to keep them for some 'mega-game', I know that will likely never happen and they just take up space. So, if you are missing any pieces from your set, drop me a line. Otherwise, they'll probably go back on ebay at some point!

Wednesday 13 December 2023

So it Begins


Six years ago, my wife and I moved our little family from Oxford down to the Kentish coast to be nearer her family. We had some money from the sale of our house in Oxford, but neither of us had a full-time job. I was still working part-time for Osprey, but hoping to become completely freelance as soon as possible. So, after a lot of searching, we bought a small house in a great location, that was cheap enough to keep the mortgage payments low (a real good idea if you are planning to go freelance!). The downside - with only two bedrooms - we knew our son and daughter would eventually outgrow sharing a room.

Fourteen months ago, we seriously started searching for solutions to the issue. Things have improved financially. My wife works full-time at the moment and my transition to being a full-time, freelance, writer and game designer has so far been successful. That said, one of the best ways I can continue that success is to keep expenses low. Eventually, we ruled out moving as we couldn't afford anywhere bigger with as good a location, so instead, we decided to expand. Little did we know just how long a process that can be!

Architects, planning permission, surveys, water company approval and about £10,000 later, ground has been broken. We are adding a bedroom, a second toilet, and upgrading our utility room into a proper room. It still won't be a 'large' house, even by British standards, but hopefully it'll be enough for us.

I honestly have no idea how long it will all take from here. The first goal is to get the 'ground works' done before Christmas, and then look at the rest in the new year. For the moment, I'm just glad that it is underway! (Though jackhammers and diggers in your back garden do not make the best environment for working.)

Ironically, the scaffolding in the photo has nothing to do with the expansion. That is for some roofing work that became necessary due to the torrential rains we've had over the last month. 

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Cpl. Singh

Here is Cpl. Singh, the latest addition to my Colonial Marine force. I've decided that, among other things, I'd like to be able to use my colonial marines for Space Hulk. That being the case, I reorganized them into 5-man fireteams, but realized I was at least one flamer short. So, I pulled out the bits box and put this guy together. The body is from the Stargrave Mercenaries set, and the left arm is from the Scavengers set. The arm with the flame thrower is from the Mercenaries II set, which actually means it is meant for a female body, but I don't think you can really tell.

I found the head rolling around in the bits box. I think it comes from a WWII sprue from Warlord Games, that I suspect came free with an issue of Wargames Illustrated. It caught my attention because of a recent episode of Doctor Who which included a cameo by 'Sgt. Singh'. I thought he looked really cool in his UNIT black body armour and Sihk turban, so I decided to give it a go. My daughter walked in after I had primed the figure and said - 'I recognize that guy from Doctor Who', so I guess it worked!

This figure is also the first time I attempted using a magnifying glass to paint eyes on a miniature. It certainly helped, though they probably still came out a bit too big - though that is much less noticeable in person than it is in the photograph. I don't know if I will try it again or not. 

Cpl. Singh means I have completed 4 fireteams in my Colonial Marine platoon. I just want to add a command team to call it finished.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Force Wielders


I was playing around with some Stargrave plastic bits over the weekend, and ended up creating a new Jedi. I've shown my squid-Jedi before, but I thought the two looked great together. 

The new guy is constructed out of pieces from the Stargrave: Scavengers box. The arms are actually meant to be zombie arms, but with the right paint job you can't tell. I love the pose. You just know he's about to unleash something big! Either that, or he's holding up some kind of psychic shield to protect everyone else! I made his lightsaber simply buy cutting the handle off one of the tools in the box. 

These guys will be in support of my colonial marines. Also, since I'm planning to use my colonial marines for Space Hulk, I thought these guys could take the place of librarians with their 'force axes' and psychic powers.

I really should construct a light box for mini photos...

Monday 27 November 2023

Skin that Smoke Wagon!


I've just started running Deadlands for my Sunday night RPG group. It's the first time I've run a game in that setting for nearly twenty years and the first time using the Savage Worlds system. Two games in, I think the gang is loving both the setting and the system. They've already survived a train wreck, taken down a giant bug, and are now wandering the strange, haunted streets of the town of Coffin Rock. 

While I don't generally use miniatures in my RPGs, preferring theatre of the mind, there are times when things get confusing enough, when the stage gets big enough, that miniatures help. So, I figured I'd best paint up some weird west minis just in case. Thankfully, I thought this might one day come up, so I backed the Zombicide: Undead or Alive Kickstarter a few years ago, just for the minis. I've shown a couple off on this blog before, but last week, I painted up three more.

Apart from the exaggerated stances on some of the figures, I really enjoy painting them. Enough detail to be fun, without overdoing it. While the detail isn't as crisp as metal, it sure shows how far 'board game figures' have come in the last decade. Still got about 100 to go!

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Old Bones 3 - Out Now!

The third volume of Old Bones magazine is out now in both PDF and Print-on-Demand format from DriveThruRPG!

This issue focuses on Frostgrave, Ghost Archipelago, and Stargrave and opens with 'The Most Dangerous Game' by Phil Smith. This long piece is all about wizard-hunting and creating anti-magic cells who hunt down wizards, possibly over multiple games. It also includes 8 new creatures designed specifically to plague those that cast spells! 

The second half of the issue focuses on a new monster for the three games, the crocodilian, and includes a two-scenario solo campaign set inside a gigantic sea cave! Do you dare hunt the treasures of the crocodilian? So, while this issues doesn't have quite the variety of the first two, it does contain some more meaty pieces for players to sink there teeth into!

Tuesday 31 October 2023

The Fellowship of the Ring


Almost exactly 4 years ago, I painted a Reaper figure to use as my ideal Legolas. The Legolas that had been in my head since my father first read The Lord of the Rings to me, close to 4 decades past. In truth, I had no plan to take it any further. But not long after, North Star released the first miniature to accompany Rangers of Shadow Deep, and darned if it wasn't nearly my ideal Aragorn... 

It took a little conversion work to get Aragorn just the way I wanted him, but after that, I was on a quest. Gandalf is a straight-up Reaper figure. Boromir was much harder, but eventually, I found a Reaper ranger with a horn. The more I looked at him, the more I began to see the possibilities. I had to cut off a weapon and add a shield, and he'd need some facial hair...

Gimili proved the trickiest of all. I think this is because I had the least clear vision of the character. In the end, I found a Reaper figure I liked. I wasn't sure I had Gimili when I finished, but a couple of years later, the figure has really grown into the character for me.

I had some Reaper minis for hobbits, but I could never quite get it to work. I could find a good Merry and a Sam, and a third figure that I could never decide if it was Frodo or Pippin. Also, the more I looked at them, the more I became convinced they were just too large, more small dwarves than hobbits. So, I reversed gears, went looking, and finally found my perfect hobbits. I got them from Scotia-Grendel, but they were originally produced as part of the Harlequin, The Lord of the Rings line. I swapped which one was Merry and which was Pippin, and gave them their movie colours to better distinguish them. 

Four years is a long time to paint 9 figures (or actually 12 if you count the 3 discarded hobbits), but really, aren't these the most important 9 in the collection?

(Of course now that original Legolas is looking a tad dated... my painting has gotten better since then... maybe I should go back and paint him again...)

Monday 30 October 2023

Me Reading The Hobbit

I first tried to read The Hobbit to my daughter when she was 7. This failed. She was clearly frustrated by her lack of understanding, both of individual words and of the story, and constantly stopped me to ask questions. I put the book aside until she was 9. Then I read it again, and she loved it. If you can push through the first chapter, most of the rest of the book is easier. 

My son is now 7, and I decided to see if he was ready. While his reading and comprehension skills are slightly behind his sister at the same age, he's more comfortable not understanding certain things, and more happy to flow with the narrative. He didn't say a word as I read him the first chapter, though he seemed to enjoy it and grasp most of it. Yesterday, I read him the second chapter, with the trolls, which he liked even more.

He was drawing while I read, and at the end of the chapter, he presented me with this picture. It's me, reading The Hobbit

Thursday 26 October 2023

What I've Been Working On

The last few months have not been my most productive. Between the summer school holidays, travel, and my wife’s return to full-time teaching, my schedule has been all over the place and my opportunities for sustained creative time have been few. Still, I have made at least some progress on most of my games systems. For those that are interested, here is what I’ve been working on: 


I have just seen and approved the final pieces of artwork for Frostgrave: Mortal Enemies. Although aRu-Mor has been at it for awhile now, I am continually amazed by her work on the series. There is a wonderful depth to her colours, and a sense of menace in even the simplest compositions. While this is the only Frostgrave book currently on the schedule, I am in discussions with Osprey on another one. 


Bold Endeavour was just released last week, and I’m excited to see what players make of it. With the new rules for starships and space encounters, it brings a completely new aspect to the game that can really increase the sense of adventure and narrative within a campaign. I loved working on it. But that’s not the last for Stargrave, because I have also been working on a full, book-length version of the Dead or Alive solo expansion that was originally released when the game first released. This book greatly expands the possible settings, complications, and marks that bounty hunters can pursue across the Ravaged Galaxy! 

Rangers of Shadow Deep

have nearly finished a big project with Modiphius that will hopefully be announced soon. I have also been working on something much smaller, which I intended to self-publish, that looks at the game from a completely different angle… 

Old Bones 

Old Bones #3 is in the final stages of production. This one is basically an all Frostgrave & Ghost Archipelago issue. Actually, Old Bones #4 is not running far behind! 


I’m not allowed to say much about this, but there are ongoing discussions… 

The Silver Bayonet

I have just completed my final read-through of the layouts for Egypt: Shadow of the Sphinx. It was a lot of fun to take The Silver Bayonet out of its European setting and bring in some other classic horror monsters! I delight in seeing how much fun can be packed into these small books! 

Deathship One

This is a small-scale, ‘limited’ wargame that I originally wrote for Blaster. As it is now unavailable in that form, I am working to bring it back, in a slightly expanded form, as a stand-alone, self-published book. 

The Renaissance Troll 

Over the last couple of years, I have been quietly working on one other major project – I have been writing my ‘gaming autobiography’. Essentially, the story of my life in games, or perhaps how games have related to my life. It covers my earliest encounters with hobby gaming, the great games and game stores that influenced me, my immigration to Britain, working with Osprey, right up to the writing and publication of The Silver Bayonet. I have now finished the first draft of the manuscript and am slowly editing my way through it. It is the longest single work I have ever written. I don’t know what I’ll do with it once it’s finished, or if anyone will ever want to read it, but it has been an enjoyable exercise in self-reflection, nostalgia, game-philosophy, and writing in a different genre. 

So, plenty of irons still in the fire!

Thursday 19 October 2023

Bilbo Baggins, Esq.

Realizing that I didn't really know what 'Esquire' meant, I looked it up. Now that I've read the Wikipedia entry, I realize that no one else does either. Given that, it seems to me, if anyone should have Esq. after their name, it should be Bilbo Baggins, at least after he'd settled back into Hobbiton with enough money to be happily eccentric. (File under life goals). 

Waiting for the rest of my Fellowship hobbits to arrive, I decided to paint up this really nice Bilbo figure, that came in the same pack as Frodo, from Scotia Grendel. This figure is clearly based on an Angus McBride sketch, found in the Middle-Earth Role-Playing rulebook (any doubt being removed by the subtle decorations on his vest). Really though, it's just a nice little figure. He's got a great expression. He looks happy, but also ready to spring into action should a Sackville-Baggins come around the corner!

I must admit, at the moment, I'm finding these 'Old School' style figures much easier to paint, with their bigger, slightly out of proportion detail. Easier on the eyes and more friendly to washes to boot!

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Stargrave Crew

The sad truth is that I now write games faster than I paint miniatures for games! That's because writing games falls into the more protected 'work time' while painting generally falls into the scarcer 'relax time'. That said, at long last, I have finished my Time Lord Stargrave Crew! 

The crew is mostly plastic - except for two metal figures front and centre. It is also mostly made from official Stargrave kits. The only exceptions are my Time Lord, which is a special figure made for me, and the two figures to the right of that one which are mostly made up of Frostgrave plastics parts. Interestingly though - despite being from different places, I think all of the figures are sculpted by Bobby Jackson. That even applies to the little  robot doggie, which is a metal loot token from the Stargrave range. I'll be using it as a drone.

Now, as a last step, I just need to organize their dedication transportation. No, not a ship - they've already got a Tardis. I mean a dedicated figure case!

With that one ticked off, I can get back to work on my very slowly developing Oathmark army and start work on my The Silver Bayonet unit!

Tuesday 10 October 2023

The Three Hunters (Redux)

Having returned to my Fellowship, I decided to tackle something that had been bothering me for awhile. When I originally made Legolas I had cut him off his integral base before gluing him to the plastic round base. If you've done this, you know how much of a pain it is, and how easy it is to take a foot off by mistake. So, when it came to Gimili, I got lazy and just put him on the plastic base with his integral base still attached. The upshot was that Gimili always looked a bit too tall. It wasn't a big deal, but it always bugged me.

So, since I am waiting for my new hobbits to arrive, I thought I'd go back and rectify that mistake. Using my hobby knife, I managed to cut Gimli free of the integral base. Then I filed his feet down to even his stance and glued him to a plastic base. Unfortunately, the process had damaged the paint job. While touching him up, I decided it was a good opportunity to brighten him up a little. I gave him some more red highlights on the armour, painted his axes a brighter silver, lightened his beard, and gave him silver beard-beads! It doesn't change the overall look of the figure much, but just gives it a little more pop.

I'm really pleased with how it all came out and think he is much more in proportion to his fellow hunters as well as to my new hobbits! 

Monday 9 October 2023

Concerning Hobbits


I've been thinking about hobbits a lot recently. Now, that's not a terribly uncommon thing for me, but specifically, I've been thinking about the hobbits in my miniature Fellowship. Up to now, I have been using some lovely figures sculpted by Bobby Jackson for Reaper Miniatures (example on the right). I really like these figures, and if I were to play a hobbit in an RPG, I think I'd probably go for one of these. However, for my Fellowship, I started to feel that they are just too big. 

So, I ordered a sample pack of hobbits from Scotia Grendel*. These are actually from the old Harlequin Miniatures The Lord of the Rings line. I painted up Frodo, and you can see him on the left. In the centre is Aragorn (a converted Rangers of Shadow Deep figure). He's kind of my 'base' figure which I used to judge all of the others. Considering he is supposed to be a very tall man (with long legs to boot!), I think it is appropriate that a hobbit be close to waist height. I did worry, for a bit, that maybe the new mini was just too small... but that's kind of a defining trait of hobbits after all! 

Looking at them lined up now, the Reaper hobbit looks a little more like a dwarf than a hobbit compared to Aragorn. The Scotia Grendel model is close to Games Workshop hobbits in size, but has the more exaggerated features, which I prefer.  

I have now ordered another pack to make the rest of the Fellowship hobbits and am awaiting delivery. In the meantime, I think I need to have another look at my Gimli...

*Though for some reason my computer refuses to go to the Scotia Grendel site so I have to order through my phone, which is not the best way to look a minis! Beyond that though - I got great, quick, service!

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Geek Dreams are Real Dreams

In 2019, I bought tickets to see The Fellowship of the Rings at the Royal Albert Hall with live musical accompaniment by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (who performed the original recordings for the movie). I can't tell you how excited I was for this. As a lifetime lover of the books and the films, this  seemed the pinnacle of my fandom!

And then covid stuck. The performance was rescheduled... and rescheduled again. It finally settled, some two years later, on the same day as my sister-in-law's wedding in Sweden. I gave the tickets away. The disappointment was crushing...

This past weekend, four years after I bought those original tickets, I made it to the Royal Albert Hall to see The Two Towers with my wife. The only tickets I could get were expensive box seats, but I wasn't going to miss it again!

I can honestly say, it lived up to my hopes and expectations. It was absolutely epic! The music, the singing, the giant screen. I had purposely avoided watching the movies for a few years, hoping the event would hit with more impact. The last march of the Ents. Gandalf and Eomer arriving at Helm's Deep. Sam's speech at the end. I got some chills! 

And yes, I've got tickets to see The Return of the King next year! 

Friday 15 September 2023


I have really been enjoying Ahsoka on Disney+, and so I thought I might assemble myself a little Jedi figure. 

The body and arms for this figure come from the Stargrave Scavengers Box set. The right arm is actually a zombie arm but its got such a great hand that looks like its doing force tricks. Thankfully, the zombie aspects of the arm are so minimal that you can just paint over them. 

For the left arm, I took an arm and cut away the hand weapon it was holding. Then I drilled out the hand, and glued in a piece cut from a large paperclip. I had to use a little greenstuff to reposition the arm just slightly. 

The head comes from the Stargrave Mercenaries set.

Painting was a fun, uncomplicated experience. I wanted to give him Jedi-ish robes, though with a tad more colour than is usual. I gave him green skin, because it contrasts so nicely with the brown coat. To add a bit more colour I gave him some magenta spots on his head and at the end of his head tentacles. 

I have no idea how to paint a lightsaber. Since they are perfect cones, you can't really layer or highlight in the normal way. I'm sure their are youtube tutorials, but I couldn't be bothered. So, I mainly painted it light blue and gave it a coat of gloss varnish. The camera angles make the lightsaber appear bigger than it actually is.

I had enough fun with this that I might just have to make him a padawan... Or maybe not. It's all a bit of fun, with no specific need.

Monday 11 September 2023

Mining Robot


This fantastic figure is the Mining Robot that was released in support of Stargrave: The Last Prospector. I have no immediately need for such a figure... but it just looked so much fun to paint! I gave it a pretty basic paint job. Started with khaki, washed it, highlighted it, filled in a few little details. The biggest thing was adding the hazard stripes. I love the thought that even in the Ravaged Galaxy, or a galaxy far, far away, people still use hazard stripes. It's about safety, people!

This robot makes a great crewmember, adversary, or terrain piece, so I can see it getting onto the table in a lot of different scenarios.

The other figure is part of my colonial marines, assembled from the plastic Stargrave Mercenaries II box set. I can't remember if I've showed her before. That project is slowly developing. I need just one more figure to have the 5 complete fireteams I want for my company.

Tuesday 5 September 2023

Crew Recruits


With three members of my new Stargrave crew complete, I recruited a few more from figures I already had painted. The figure on the far left comes from the Stargrave Cyborg pack. I'm going to use him as a burner in my crew, as that arm cannon looks like it would make a perfect plasma thrower. The other three guys are all assembled from the plastic Stargrave Crew set, and really highlights the diverse figures you can make from the box. 

The guy with the red leather jacket is going to be my chisler. He's got his cutting tool in his left hand, ready to break open any crates or safes. In the orange is my pilot. Well, he'll actually start as a recruit, but when I can afford it, I will upgrade him to an apprentice (pilot), which will be explained in the forthcoming supplement Stargrave: Bold Endeavour. He'll be helping out with the time machine controls, but mainly he's around for when other piloting is necessary, as seems to be the case in a lot of space opera adventures. Finally, we've got the team medic. Again, he'll start as a recruit until enough credits are obtained to upgrade him. 

Is it coincidence that they are all facing the same way, or do I have a natural inclination to make figures face to the right? 

With these guys on the team, I just need three more figures to fill it out.

Friday 1 September 2023

Royal Guardsman


I was playing around with some bits from the Frostgrave Knights box set and the new Stargrave Scavengers box and assembled a 'knight with automatic weapon'. I didn't have any plans for him, wasn't even sure I was going to keep him... and then I started to paint him. I used the same blue I had on Queen Valdea. I started thinking he was one of her royal guardsmen. I gave him a shining silver breastplate, greaves, helmet, and elbow guards. 

There is something very Doctor Who-ish about a futuristic knight, which fits right into the warband I'm building. By the end of painting, he had earned a place on the team. So, I revised my Queen Valdea story a bit - she was rescued, along with a single member of her royal guard! 

Friday 25 August 2023

Vampires or Winged Demons

I love miniatures that work for multiple settings, such as these Vrykolakas. They are part of the North Star range for the The Silver Bayonet, part of the new figures for The Carpathians: Castle Fier. I'm sure I will use them for that, but I can also seem them appearing as medium demons in Frostgrave and maybe even as space demons or space vampires in Stargrave.

Painting these guys was a breeze. I hit them with Vallejo 'Gory Red' paint, gave them a black wash, and then layered it up by mixing in yellow. Just a bit of hair, eyes, teeth, and the base and they were done. Despite the minor effort, I think they've come out great! 

While painting these guys, I kept thinking of a line from Solomon Kane's Homecoming, 'And I have seen winged demons fly all naked in the moon.' It's a fantastic poem by Robert E. Howard.

Thursday 24 August 2023

Queen Valdea

The latest figure to come off my painting table is Queen Valdea, who will serve as the first mate in my Stargrave crew. A warrior queen, Valdea defied the Daleks until the bitter end; until her planet was destroyed around her. She only survived through the intervention of the rogue Timelord, Chance. While she has never forgiven Chance for his interference, or the curse of her rescue, she has vowed to fight the Daleks wherever they are found. Travelling with Chance gives her the best opportunity. 

I built this figure using the Frostgrave Wizards II and Stargrave Mercenaries II sets. As you can see, the sets are fully compatible, which is no major surprise as they are both sculpted by Bobby Jackson. I really love the juxtaposition of the two sets - the wizardly robes versus the cybernetic arm and the massive carbine. I had a lot of fun painting this one and can't wait to get her onto the tabletop! 

Wednesday 23 August 2023

The Original Boba Fett

Twenty-five years ago, I was living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ostensibly, I was there to get my university degree, but I actually spent most of my time in the legendary gaming store, Cerebral Hobbies. One year, the owner Steve and his wife, went off to GenCon.

Upon his return, he presented me with this signed photo of Jeremy Bulloch, the original Boba Fett. Although I've never been one to collect signatures, Steve knew I was a big fan of the character, and I have treasured it since.

Jeremy Bulloch passed away a few years ago, and really, the character has never been as cool since he played him. Boba Fett is a great example of a character that became less cool the more that was known about him. Creators beware, characters are often cooler left in mystery. 

Still, it's a great photo and a little link with another time.


Friday 18 August 2023

Me, the Time Lord


Last week I got a real desire to paint a Doctor Who figure, but I couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted. Then I realized I had a pretty good Time Lord figure sitting in my lead pile. What I had, was a miniature of... me. This figure was sculpted as a gift when I left Osprey Publishing. I was given a copy of the figure painted by Kev Dallimore and several bare metal ones. Until now, I've never had the courage to paint one, but I got inspired. Now I'm planning on him leading my new Stargrave crew!

This is the rogue Time Lord known as Chance. In his stolen Tardis he has rounded up a crew of desperate freedom fighters to battle against the Daleks (and possibly the Time Lords) in an effort to protect people during the Time War. 

I debated how to depict his Tardis. Logically, there is no reason it should look like a police box. In fact, it could literally be anything else. But, if it can be anything, how do you know its a Tardis? I toyed with using the cola machine miniature I've got, but it didn't look quite big enough. In the end, I think, if you want a Tardis on the wargaming table, it's got to be a police box. Luckily, I've had this one for years. It's a resin piece, but I cannot remember where I got it.

Now to get to work on the rest of the crew!

Friday 7 July 2023

The Power Generator!


On my return from taking the kids to school the other day, I saw half of a plastic Hubba Bubba gum container lying by the road. Doing my bit for the planet, I decided to recycle it.

I started by pealing the stickers off the side, which thankfully wasn't too tough. I then cut off a little lip on one side to get it to lie flat. I glued it onto a piece of cardboard, covered the rest of the cardboard in little rocks, and sprayed the whole thing in a neutral, industrial grey. I then gave it a brown wash and haphazardly applied two layers of lighter greys, to give it an old, worn appearance. Finally, I stuck on a few tufts of grass for a touch of colour, shot it with varnish, and called it done. 

To me, it looks like part of the famous 'power generator' from The Empire Strikes Back, so that's what I'm calling it. Really, it could be any old piece of machinery. It makes a nice bit of scatter terrain and works well with the rough colony I'm assembling for my Dropship Down project. 

I also finished up another trooper for the Colonial Marines, this one assembled from the Stargrave: Mercenaries II box set.

There is an important lesson here - I probably had as much fun making this terrain out of a bubble gum container as I do with most sets I buy...

Tuesday 4 July 2023

Free Growth Potion

As a little 'thank you' to all the fans who have supported my work over the last year or so, I present this 'Growth Potion'. It can be used for Frostgrave, Ghost Archipelago, Rangers of Shadow Deep, and even Stargrave (though you might not call it a potion for that game!). I even had a couple of friends turn it into an attractive card which you can download and print off. You can download your free Growth Potion Card here: GrowthPotion_card 

Since I've got your attention, I thought this might be a good time to review some of the stuff I have put out recently. First off, hopefully you've seen my creator-zine, Old Bones. This self-published, PDF or print-on-demand magazine contains little bits and pieces for all of my games, including new rules, scenarios, magic items, monsters, etc. If you play any of my games, it should have something for you. You can buy Issue 1 and Issue 2 on DriveThruRPG now.

Although it was a while ago now, I'm still pretty happy and excited about Grave Mutations, my unofficial supplement for Frostgrave (that can also be used for Stargrave, Rangers of Shadow Deep, and Ghost Archipelago with a little imagination). This book is basically just a single d1,000 mutation table with everything from body spikes, and explosive sneezes, through extra-long arms, and blinding auras. With a beautiful cover by aRu-Mor and hilarious interior artwork by Barrett Stanley, its a fun, if somewhat esoteric, addition to the game. 

The latest release for Stargrave was Side Hustle, a deck of 40 cards which add a load of depth to individual scenarios. Essentially, each player draws a card before the game, which gives them a secret mission/side quest/side hustle to try to complete during the game. Most of these are kept secret from your opponents, but that doesn't mean that what you are trying to do won't conflict with what they are. What I really like about these cards is how they layer on top of existing material, bringing fresh twists to classic scenarios and increasing the narrative.

In terms of official Frostgrave, Osprey Games has just released Wildwoods! This chunky new supplement is basically my 'Wilderness Survival Guide' for Frostgrave. It has rules for playing in the different types of terrain that surround the Frozen City. It also has a system for keeping track of your warband's supplies when journeying in the wilderness, including rules for cargo transports. Add in a bunch of new monsters, scenarios, and magic items, and its a pretty hefty expansion to the core game! 

Although it took awhile, I did manage to write a supplement for The Silver Bayonet! Osprey Publishing recently released The Silver Bayonet: Carpathians: Castle Fier. This supplement is kind of my love letter to Dracula, and includes both competitive and solo scenarios, as well as new soldiers and monsters. It's short, sweet, and bloody! For Rangers of Shadow Deep, I finally released Tenebrous Citadel, the third and final part of The Rescue Trilogy. Put together, those three books form the largest campaign I have ever written for any game. It ends with a show-down like no other I have written. It's a climatic end to a desperate adventure! 

The best news, perhaps, is that there is more to come for all of those games! I have written another supplement for Stargrave and The Silver Bayonet, and I'm currently talking to Osprey about another Frostgrave book. Meanwhile, there is another Rangers of Shadow Deep project in advanced stages. So keep your eyes open, I'll talk more about some of those soon!

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Pumpkin-headed Bugbear!

Long-time readers know that I've got a 'thing' for pumpkin-heads. I don't know where it comes from, or why it has endured, but I just love painting pumpkin-headed creatures. There is just something so weird about them - maybe the contrast between something as silly, harmless-looking, and inherently squishy as a pumpkin and a horrific, gonna-kill-you monster. I will say, that painting wise, it tends to give you a really nice contrast between the orange pumpkin and the rest of the figure.

Anyway, it was only a matter of time before I painted up this strange Reaper bones miniature, which it calls a pumpkin-headed bugbear. I don't know if this ties into anything specific or if it is the product of a Jason Wiebe sculpting session on Halloween after eating too much candy. Either way, I love it.

It was a pretty easy paint. The body is all various shades of brown, which contrasts nicely with the kermit-the-frog ruff of leaves and the pumpkin head. The head is just a mix of browns, oranges, and yellows, with heavy brown wash for the gooey mouth. 

A great little addition to the collection.

Monday 26 June 2023

Let's do it for the Mayhem!

The Muppets have had a pretty rocky time of it since the loss of their genius-creator Jim Henson. They've had one triumph with The Muppet Christmas Carol, and a few successes: Muppets Treasure Island, Muppets from Space, and The Muppets. They have also had a lot of... other material. With the release of The Muppets Mayhem, I think they can add another triumph to the list.

The Muppets Mayhem is the most smile-inducing show I've seen in a long while, a feat it accomplishes through a combination of zaniness, one-liners, cameos, a family-friendly storyline, and really good music! It even has some understated humour in it (keep your eye on Zoot in the background). 

The basic story line is the attempt by a desperate music executive-want-to-be to get the Electric Mayhem (the famous Muppet band) to fulfil their 40+ year-old contract to produce an album. The Mayhem aren't against the idea, they just have a rather large attention-span problem. Each member of the band gets their own time in the limelight and brings their own style of humour to the forefront. One might wonder how they can stretch that plot out to 10 episodes, but it kept rolling right along quite well. 

Now, I admit, I'm too old and too unhip to have recognized about half the many cameos in the show, but the ones I did recognize were fantastic. 

Perhaps the biggest and best surprise of the show is just how good the music is. This is heard right from the start with the opening credits number, 'Rock On'.

Although my favourite tracks are probably 'On on Our Way' and 'Believe in Us'. 

They also do a lot of covers including 'True Colours', 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters', 'All You Need is Love', and John Hiatt's 'Have a Little Faith in Me' (which I was once lucky enough to see him preform live in a club outside of D.C.).

The album has been released, and actually had some critical and chart success, although it is only available in digital and vinyl (no CD for those of us stuck in the middle-era of music technology!). 

If you like your television gritty and serious, best keep moving, but if you want feel-good family fun... well, I love it.

Friday 23 June 2023

Frostgrave: Wildwoods

Osprey Games has just released Wildwoods, my latest supplement for Frostgrave. The release is accompanied by a few new figures from North Star Military Figures, including some awesome-looking soldiers.

By my count, Wildwoods is the twelfth official supplement for Frostgrave (not including Grave Mutations or any of the Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago books). It’s an incredible milestone for any game to reach a dozen supplements, especially a game that isn’t owned by a big company.

But what is Wildwoods and why is it special? In many ways, the book is my attempt to write a Wilderness Survival Guide for Frostgrave. It is a manual for playing games set outside of the Frozen City in the forests, mountains, bogs, and ice-plains that surround it. It replaces the magical traps and weirdness of broken Felstad for the natural dangers of avalanches, forest fires, and hypothermia. It greatly expands upon the bestiary with numerous natural creatures that live in those frozen lands (and several not-quite-natural ones as well). It gave me an excuse to bring gigantic, vicious walruses into the game!

Also included are rules for the supplies that warbands will need to survive in the harsh wilderness, including rules for cargo transports. While these transports have an important mechanical function and have their place within a game, I admit that my main desire to include them was to give players (and myself) an excuse to paint up a cool model. Transports can really be anything – a necromantic wagon pulled by undead horses, a heavily-laden woolly rhinoceros, a very large load-bearing construct… It’s only limited by the player’s imagination, and I can’t wait to see what people come up with.

A couple other notes of interest about the book:

·       The first two scenarios in the book purposely use specific terrain pieces used in scenarios in the main rulebook – the mausoleum and the stepped-pyramid. I thought if you were good enough to buy the official terrain pieces from Kromlech or have made some yourself, you deserve the excuse to use them again.

·      The book includes a few rangifer subtypes that originally appeared in Spellcaster, Issue 3. 

·       The wizard on the cover of the book has appeared before. Anyone recognize her?

·       It’s now possible to have your construct do the cooking for the warband.

·       The bestiary includes a creature that has previously only appeared in Ghost Archipelago.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Gael Fairleaf (First RPG Character for a 9 Year Old)


This is Gael Fairleaft, a half-elf druid, and the first role-playing character of my nine-year-old daughter. 

A while back, my daughter got interested in the Pathfinder for Savage Worlds book that was sitting on the desk, so I took the opportunity to make a character with her. A couple of days later, I ran her through her first session. This consisted of Gael venturing into a cave, looking for a lost fairy. She found the fairy in a bed of sleep-inducing mushrooms, but managed to rescue the fairy using her wildshape ability to turn into a eagle and lift the fairy out without setting off any mushrooms. Then, a particularly aggressive and mobile fungus chased after her, but she managed to lose it in the caves before making her escape. 

All-in-all, it was a good little session, and my daughter has expressed interest in playing again. Savage Worlds is a pretty easy system for the most part, especially its dice rolling where a '4' is always a success. And I think they've done a great job translating those rules to the high-fantasy Pathfinder setting. We just used pencil and paper for the first session, but I thought it would be fun to use miniatures in the future, at least some of the time. So, I let her pick out a mini from Reaper's website. She actually picked quite a complicated one to paint, but I really enjoyed it (I offered to let her paint it, but she wanted me to do it). 

I'm starting to think about Gael's next adventure. I'm thinking I might have to send her back into the mushroom cave, as I think there a lot of play left there, and I think the mushroom threat works well for younger players. (A lesson taught to us all by Super Mario Brothers!). Plus, I've got some minis I can use.

I'm thinking this could be the gateway to getting my whole family into role-playing. I've bought my son a miniature as well. At 6 years old, I think he'll need the added familiarity of a miniature/game piece representing him.

Monday 5 June 2023

Wild Swimming


Last week was 'half-term' here in the UK, which means, no school! Our family headed north to the Lake District, to the town of Keswick. My wife and her family are big 'fell walkers'. I don't mind a good hike, though I'm not really a fan of all-day climbs or perilous ledges. As it turned out, after the first day in which we climbed Latrigg (a starter mountain), I took a tumble down the stairs of our holiday house and hurt my foot. This pretty much put an end to any rougher walks for me. Still, I tried to make the most of it and discovered a new way to enjoy the lakes - wild swimming! Over the next few days, I took a swim in Derwent Water and a couple in Buttermere, both of them gorgeous lakes surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery.

I'll admit it - those mountain lake are cold! But, having done a bit of swimming in the English Channel over the last couple of years... well, I'm not 'getting used to it', but I'm at least building up my courage to get in such chilly waters. In fact, the whole family got involved - especially my daughter, who is the most enthusiastic swimmer of the lot of us. 

Yes, I am wearing a baseball cap in the photo. This is not a fashion statement - it's just really not fun getting sunburn on the top of your head!

I had to leave the holiday a couple of days early in order to go to Birmingham for UK Games Expo, but I left feeling that I had discovered something new and important!

Tuesday 16 May 2023


The rare but deadly crocodilian lurks in the deepest, darkest swamps...  Having just finished up this Reaper Bones figure, which I think was part of the last Kickstater, but which I got second-hand, I decided I needed an excuse to get this guy into some games! So, included below are stats for using giant crocodile/alligator-men it in Frostgrave, Stargrave, Ghost Archipelago, Rangers of Shadow Deep, and The Silver Bayonet.

Crocodilian for Frostgrave, Stargrave, Ghost Archipealgo, & Rangers of Shadow Deep
















Amphibious, Deathroll, Large, Submerge, Strong, Tip Boats. Stargrave Only: Hatred of Gunfire, Primitive Weapons 

Deathroll – If this figure wins a fight while in water (shallow or deep) and causes damage, then the figure that took damage must make an immediate Swimming Roll with an additional -3 modifier, suffering drowning damage as appropriate. This has no affect on the figure's next activation.

Submerge - If this figure is in water, no figure more than 6" away can draw line of sight to it.

Tip Boat - If this figure is in the water and attacks a figure that is in a small boat, then after the combat is resolved, every figure in the boat must make a Move Roll (TN12). Figures that fail are moved the minimum distance required so that they are no longer in the boat.

Crocodilian for The Silver Bayonet








Experience Points







1 or 2

Attributes: Amphibious, Damage Reduction (3), Deathroll, Submerge, Strong,

Equipment: None

Amphibious – This figure never suffers any penalties for being in the water, automatically passes any checks made for the purposes of swimming or movement in the water, and never suffers any damage from drowning.

Deathroll – If this figure is in water and it makes a melee attack against another figure that cause 1 or more points of damage, that figure must make an immediate Courage Check (TN10). If the figure fails, it suffers drowning damage equal to the amount by which it failed, as it is spun about under the water. If the check is passed, no additional damage is suffered.

Submerge – While this figure is in water, figures more than 6” away cannot draw line of sight to it.