Custom Soldier Tokens and Elspeth Emblem

I don't know how many times I've been preparing for a tournament, and realized that I have all the cards I need, but not the matching tokens. While I could go online and find some custom tokens to print out, why not just make my own?

Using the following process, I created these soldier tokens.
  1. Download Daz3D and create 3D art for free.
  2. Download Magic Set Editor and make a token template.
  3. Download a pdf printer (such as CutePDF), and save a .pdf file with nine on a page.
  4. Print them out, cut them out, and insert them in card sleeves with random basic lands (or those advertisement inserts).
  5. Save the .pdf file to print more later.
If you want to avoid all that trouble, feel free to download my Soldier Tokens by clicking here. There are nine on the page, and they're already sized correctly so you can just print & cut. You can also download eight tokens and an Elspeth, Sun's Champion emblem by clicking here.

Note: For some reason, the preview messes up the color, but everything looks fine once you download the file and open it in Adobe Reader (or similar program).


Master's Degree (Nearly) Complete, and Finally Back to Gaming

Today marks the first day of true freedom that I've felt in months. Working full time and completing the internship for my master's degree has taken away so much of my free time that I've barely managed to write or play games at all. However, last night I typed the last few pages of my capstone project and finally got some real rest.

If you're just passing through and haven't noticed, I've written almost nothing here since August. I've also set aside the novel I started writing last summer, and the only gaming I've managed to do consisted of sneaking in a few weekend Magic tournaments (with marginal success despite no playtesting). Needless to say, I'm itching to write more and have some fun.

The semester isn't over, strictly speaking. I still have some paperwork to fill out and a few forms to get signed, but the toughest part of the process is over. Finally, I can get back to all the things I enjoy in life. Even better, assuming no catastrophes prevent me from graduating in a few weeks, I'll get to take the first real steps toward a childhood dream. More on that childhood dream will be coming soon.

Until then, let your work and school never eclipse your gaming.

Rifts Characters with Daz Studio

I haven't had a ton of time for gaming lately because I've been working on a children's book that will be a Kickstarter soon. However, as I work on the artwork for the book in Daz Studio, my mind keeps circling back to the ability to create character portraits for RPGs. The models used in this render are ones that are being used in my children's book, but they could also conveniently fit right into a sci-fi RPG like Rifts. Could this be a merc and a wilderness scout in some ruins, perhaps?

Bastion: Infiltrator Updates

I've been a little less productive with Bastion: Infiltrator over the last few weeks, but the novel is still progressing. I have added the fifth chapter to Wattpad, as well as a prologue for some setting context and a short story that serves as a prequel to the novel. If you haven't been reading, I would suggest trying either the short story or the prologue to get your feet wet. The Heist is a great way to get introduced to one of the main characters of the novel, while the prologue gives just enough setting detail to get you hooked. Check them out below:

The Heist
Prologue: A History of Bastion

And for those of you who have been keeping up, feel free to skip right along to chapter five and find out how Damon spends his first day on the streets of a city he was never supposed to enter.

Elf Ranger & Wizard (Render)

I'm still fiddling around with DAZ 3D Studio. This time I whipped up a pair of elves, a wizard and ranger who must have encountered something nasty just off camera.

This particular scene uses elements from:
Note: Although it might look like I dropped a bunch of money on these, almost everything on the list was just $1.99 with platinum club membership

But... It Was Supposed to Be Sleeping!

Today's post is fun little render made from mostly free stuff from Daz Studio. I was toying around with a few of the head morphs (for the goblin) as well as the millennium subdragon figure. 

Click image for bigger version.

Theros Rumors and Spoiler

Set Name: Theros
Block: Set 1 of 3 in the Theros block
Number of Cards: 249

Prerelease Events: September 21-22, 2013
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Magic Online Release Date: October 9, 2013
Launch Weekend: September 27-29, 2013
Pro Tour Theros Dates: October 11-13, 2013
Game Day: October 19-20, 2013

Pro Tour Theros Formats
-Swiss: Standard Constructed, Theros Booster Draft
-Top 8: Standard Constructed
Official Three-Letter Code: THS
Twitter Hashtag: #MTGTHS
Initial Concept and Game Design: Mark Rosewater (lead), Ethan Fleischer, Ken Nagle, Zac Hill, and Jenna Helland
Final Game Design and Development: Erik Lauer (lead), Zac Hill, Dave Humpherys, Doug Beyer, Shawn Main, and Tom LaPille

Additional rumors and spoiler information can be found in the MTGSalvation forums by clicking here:

or here:

Outsyder Gaming Gets a New Look

It has been quite some time since I updated the style and feel of Outsyder Gaming. The header graphic with the Warhammer 40K figures has been at the top of this page for years now. However, ever since I downloaded Daz 3D and started toying around with rendering, I've been itching to try something new with the site's look and feel.

What you're seeing now is what I've been working on this evening. I debated using characters from my Bastion novel, but with the book cover displayed so prominently in the sidebar, I figured that would be overkill. Instead, I opted for newer characters, one of which uses the dark elf model that just went on sale at yesterday. What can I say? I just can't resist a good excuse to use a drow in my digital art.

While there are still a few kinks to work out with the overlapping images, I still think this is an upgrade to the previous formatting.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Update: As it turns out, the new look was cool in concept, but not necessarily execution. Here's how it looked for a couple of days, but I just couldn't get everything to line up correctly.

Grav Weapons in Warhammer 40K (Rumors)

If you've been paying attention to Warhammer 40K rumors lately, you will no doubt have noticed a interesting new type of weapon: the "grav weapon." Assuming the rumors are true, these weapons will wound based on their target's armor value rather than their toughness. This is an interesting spin on the wounding mechanic, and one that I like a lot... at least in theory. The whole idea has my mind wondering about...

  • Will they be cost-effective enough to play in competitive lists? If GW considers the mechanic semi-experimental, the point cost will likely be on the high end (like everything Forgeworld puts out, IMHO). This will make it a novelty at best, and you won't see them in competitive lists unless somebody just needs something to spend those last five or ten points on. Even in these cases, you'll only see one, and that's if there isn't another more efficient alternative.
  • Will other armies get access to these, or are they going to be imperials-only? Or maybe even marines-only? I hate it when something sweet is introduced to the game right after my favorite army gets a new codex. That means my Eldar will have to wait years to see use this new mechanic. Not that they need it... Shurikens > Gravity, right?
  • Can we please get an AP 2 or AP 1 grav weapon? PLEASE!!! Note: I seriously doubt this would happen, but I'd be psyched about it.
  • Will grav weapons be cool enough that I'm going to want to run my Blood Angels with the new SM codex rather than sticking to the good old tried and true?

The End of MTGMom :-(

That's right, I put a sad smiley in the title of this post. It really is sad.

Megan at is having a baby girl, and although this is news to celebrate, it means that many Magic: The Gathering players will be left without an all-inclusive event calendar. That's right folks. If you've been out of the loop, she has been combining official Wizards of the Coast events as well as Star City Games and TCG Player tournaments on one calendar for the past few years, and it has been an amazing convenience. However, now this message now appears on her page rather than the Google calendar that was once there:

Megan, good luck with the new child. Your contribution to the MTG community will certainly be missed. 

Hating Jund Mirrors

I think I'd like Jund better if one of the following occurred this weekend:
  1. I never had to play a mirror match.
  2. I knew how to play the mirror match.
  3. I didn't handicap my deck against the mirror match.
I probably got ahead of myself there, so let me go back and explain. This weekend I played in a Star City Games Super IQ in Indian Trail, NC. I came with a deck that I've been doing pretty well with recently at FNMs and other smaller tournaments: Jund. This would be my first time playing since M14 entered the format, and I was eager to try some new(ish) cards: particularly Scavenging Ooze and Doom Blade. Unfortunately, my call on Doom Blade was pretty poor. My Abrupt Decay/Doom Blade heavy list (and the new legend rule) left me with very few ways to deal with an opposing Olivia Voldaren, and my chances in the mirror were absolutely pathetic.

New Bastion: Infiltrator Cover

I've been playing around more with Daz Studio, and I put together a much better cover for my novel than the one I've been using for a few weeks now. It's in the right sidebar, but just in case I ever decide to take it down, I'm putting it here as well!

Magic 2014 (M14) Patch for Magic Workstation (MWS)

Kalonian Hydra and friends have really caught the attention of Magic players everywhere, and the new set just released last weekend. For those of you out there who want to playtest on Magic Workstation, you can get updates by clicking below:

Full MWBase with M14 update
M14 patch

Holy crap, is Kalonian Hydra expensive. I can't wait until the price drops...

Bastion: Infiltrator, Chapters Three and Four

Over the last week, I've posted the third and fourth chapters of Bastion: Infiltrator.  Click here for a good read. The story is coming along well, evolving as it develops and getting more and more exciting. Chapter four includes a glimpse into the tragic background of one main character, while the future of another main character takes a wild turn.

Here's the book's outline in case you're just catching up:
Bastion is a massive domed city that has stood the test of time while the rest of the world has fallen victim to disasters both natural and man-made. Its citizens live in relative luxury, safe from the perils beyond the dome. Magic and monsters only exist outside the city, and only the military ventures beyond the safety of the walls to clash with threats in the wilds. Bastion: Infiltrator tells the story of three men with very different pasts, whose paths cross when something from beyond the dome gets inside, and the fate of an entire city lies in the hands of its outcasts.
 And here are a few renders of characters from the book, just for kicks.

Casamir Andrews (Savage Worlds NPC)

Casamir Andrews, known as Cas to most, is a charismatic young man with a shady past. His earliest memories are of the orphanage he ran away from very early in his childhood, but he has come to realize that his past is much more complicated than he assumed it to be. He supported himself through his time as a homeless runaway through petty crime and the occasional odd job. However, he has recently taken a more permanent job with Cryo Corp, where he learned that he is capable of much more than surviving on petty thievery. Of course, at least one of his newfound talents makes thievery a lot easier, and stealing is exactly what Cryo Corp has in mind for their new recruit.

Novice Rogue
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d4, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6+2, Fighting d6, Gambling d4, Intangibility d4, Lockpicking d6+2, Stealth d8+2, Streetwise d8
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 4
Hindrances: Arrogant, Poverty, Wanted
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Power), Thief
Special Abilities
  • Power Points: 20
  • Power: Intangibility (5)
This post is supplemental material for the Bastion: Infiltrator novel.

Airman Gareth Nadir (Savage Worlds NPC)

Rendered with Daz Studio
Airman Gareth Nadir is a rookie power armor pilot in Bastion's defense forces. His family has been in the military for generations, and his father is currently an influential colonel. Gareth is committed to proving his own worth, however, and tries to avoid his father's influence making things easier for him.

Novice Power Armor Pilot
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d4, Fighting d8, Intimidation d4, Notice d6, Piloting d10+2, Repair d4, Shooting d10
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5
Gear: Makhai Exoskeleton
Hindrances: Heroic, Loyal
Edges: Ace
Special Abilities • Spend a benny to make a soak roll at -2 to negate 1 wound per success/raise for a vehicle

I've been doing character images in Hero Machine for a long time, but I recently returned to Greywulf's Lair (one of my favorite blogs, BTW) and was inspired to give Daz Studio a shot. This is my first full render. With practice and some of Greywulf's tutorials, I'm sure I'll get a lot better in time.

This post is supplemental material for the Bastion: Infiltrator novel. 

Makhai Exoskeleton

Image created with Hero Machine v3
Although Bastion counts many brave soldiers among its defenders, those who fly makhai exoskeletons are considered the most elite. Based on an old American prototype from before The Scourge, the makhai model of power armor was built from the ground up for aerial combat. Both inside and outside the dome, makhai exoskeletons rule the skies, but they are rarely deployed inside the city itself. Due to advances in ultra-dense plastics and carbon fiber materials, these suits are extremely durable yet surprisingly lightweight. Civilians sometimes refer to them as flying tanks, and the airmen who fly them know the nickname isn't far off the mark.

Slivers in Commander/EDH

With slivers coming out in M14, it's really tempting to work on a dedicated sliver deck again. Unfortunately, now there are far too many slivers to include them all. In fact, if you cut all the stinkers from the list (I'm looking at you, Screeching Sliver), there are still far too many to include all of them in a normal deck. Commander is a different story, though. With a maximum of one each, we can get in all the good ones as well as cards that have synergy with a tribal creature rush strategy, and we may just have a winner.

Bastion, a Post-Apocalyptic Adventure Setting

I've been working hard on the novel I started a few weeks ago, and I just posted the second chapter over on Wattpad (click here to check it out). I've also been thinking pretty hard about putting some of the characters and/or creatures up on Outsyder Gaming, but I can't decide what format I want to follow. It's definitely a multi-genre setting, with the whole magic vs. technology vs. nature conflict at its core.

Bastion: Infiltrator, New Post-Apocalyptic Fiction by Yours Truly

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to be an author. Unfortunately, I've never actually crossed the threshold of sharing my work on a large scale. That's changing now. I have been working on a novel (possibly a trilogy if the first is received well), and I've posted the first chapter online for feedback. If things go well, I'd like to do a Kickstarter and self-publish the novel as well as a series of RPG products, but I'm probably putting the cart before the horse here. Just check out the story over on Wattpad and see if you like what's there. Here's a quick synopsis:

Khitus, World of the Dragon Kings

Cover Painting by Brom
Remember Dark Sun? I do... it was an amazing campaign setting for D&D back in the 2nd edition era. I never actually played the tabletop setting, but I did make it through the Shattered Lands video game back in the early 90's. It seemed like everybody had psionics, and you could play all kinds of weird races like the thri-kreen and the half-giant. I didn't like it enough to completely make the switch from the Forgotten Realms or Planescape, but it was definitely a breath of fresh air.

Garruk, Caller of Beasts in M14

M14 is bringing us a new version of Garruk, and I'm not sure how much I like it. Garruk Relentless is probably my favorite of the series so far, with Garruk, Primal Hunter a close second. This Garruk has a lot going for it...

  • The card drawing is a +X ability rather than a -X ability.
  • You can use him to draw cards the turn you play him and keep him on the board.
  • It gives you the ability to cheat on casting costs for really big critters (I'm looking at you, Worldspine Wurm!).
However, it also has some notable disadvantages compared to previous versions. 
  • It's the highest cost of any Garruk printed thus far.
  • It has no immediate board impact on its own. You need either a creature in your hand or enough mana to cast a six mana planeswalker plus something you draw with the +1 ability in order to affect the board immediately.
Am I impressed? For casual play, absolutely. I'm going to make sure I have one of these, even if it's just a one-of that I use for commander. For competitive play, I'm not sure. I can see this complimenting Domri Rade because they both benefit from the same deck style (full of creatures and not much else). The second ability and the ultimate ability are more than a little reminiscent of Show and Tell, as well as Sneak Attack, and those cards have proven to be quite powerful. And it is a planeswalker... most of them see at least some play (sorry, Tibalt). We'll see how it all pans out.

As for the alternate artwork, I think that is pretty sweet. I hope I can get my hands on a one at some point, but I'm betting the price will be sky-high, and I'm not much for getting gouged for a collector's edition.

Deep Magic by Kobold Press

There isn't much more to say here except that this looks like a pretty awesome resource for the Pathfinder RPG. The stretch goal perks look pretty sweet too...

Geeky Thrift Shop Finds

From time to time, I end up thrift shopping with the Mrs. And from time to time, I find some pretty cool junk out there. Yesterday's trip to Goodwill brought these goodies to my attention:

South Park is an all-time favorite of mine. Hackers is a classic that I had forgotten about until I saw this tape... and that I'll probably find and watch again. And the Fallout: New Vegas graphic novel? I didn't even know it existed, but it'll be good filler reading material this summer between bigger goals.

I actually didn't purchase either of the tapes. South Park Episodes can be easily streamed online, and you can probably catch Hackers online somewhere as well (although I'm not linking to anything because I'm not sure how reputable the sites showing in my Google search results are).

Officially Married, Time to Play Games Again

I've been absent from both game nights and Magic tournaments for a couple of months now, but my schedule just opened back up. Now that the school year is over and the wedding is over, I have much more time on my hands to get back into doing other things I love.

Anybody want to do a tarrasque in the background for me?
Yeah, that's me getting stiff-armed by the new wife... LOL

So... game night should start back on the 27th (I hope) with a return to Pathfinder Night Below campaign for the gaming crew. I'll be sharing some updates on that campaign in the near future.

My Magic tournament schedule for the near future includes some decent sized tournaments close to home. These are the ones I hope to make in the next few months:

  • TCG MaxPoint Series in Hickory, NC on 6/15
  • SCG Super IQ in Indian Trail, NC on 6/29
  • SCG IQ in Hickory, NC on 8/17
Hopefully there will be enough Friday Night Magic tournaments in July to make up for the lack of bigger tournaments within driving distance in July!

And on top of all that... Games Workshop just released a new Eldar codex. There are far too many things I want to spend money on right now!

New Eldar Wraithknight

Note: This is a wraithseer from Forgeworld.
It's not a pic of the new wraithknight.
With a new eldar codex on the horizon, farseers and autarchs everywhere are looking forward to the new units that will be available in the eldar war host. Chief on my list of new goodies is a new monstrous creature type unit that I hear will be called a wraithknight. From what I understand, they'll be bigger than wraithlords, and will have a gun called a pulsar lance that is just sick. Check out its stats:

Primary fire mode:
36" S:8 AP2 Heavy 2, Lance
Overcharge mode (weapon may not fire next turn)
48" S:10 AP1 Heavy 1, Blast, Lance
According to the rumor mill, eldar preorders will go up near the end of this month and will actually hit the sales floor in June. That's right around the corner, and I can't wait to get my hands on a new copy of the codex... and maybe one of those giant wraithknights too.

For more info, you might want to check out the Bell of Lost Souls rumor roundup.

Pathfinder Prestige Class: Divine Magus

Divine Magus
Most magi focus on mixing arcane magic with combat. Some magi, inspired by some greater power, take this a step farther and dabble in divine magic as well. Those who know the fighting style of the magi have come to expect facing painful spells alongside vicious melee weapons. A divine magus will keep swinging his sword, but might blast you one moment and curse you the next.

Divine magi are multiclass spellcasters who can cast both arcane and divine spells, and have a knack for fighting as well. Although they usually focus on combat-related spells, divine magi are some of the most versatile spellcasters in existence.

Role: The divine magus is a powerful component for any party, supplying magic for attack, defense, and healing. Divine maguss travel the world in search of arcane and holy artifacts, magical lore, or divine revelations, and most have no qualms about teaming up with groups of adventurers so long as that group's goals do not directly conflict with their own.

Alignment: The motivations of a divine magi are as varied as the many powers they worship.

Hit Die: d8

Pathfinder Night Below Campaign (Session Two)

We had the second session of our Pathfinder Underdark Campaign last week. Honestly, it wasn't the best session. It's not that it wasn't fun... it just wasn't all that exciting. The session was more of a transition piece than anything else, moving from the "lead you by the nose" opening of the Night Below adventure to the entirely open-ended nature of a true sandbox-style campaign.

They began by defeating the orcs that had fired on the party while they were floating downstream on their raft, and then they spent quite some time scouting out Thurmaster (Shadowdale) before entering the town because they feared that the townsfolk would be itching to kidnap spellcasters as well (Eric's character, for instance). When they finally felt safe, they entered as a groupand did some housekeeping before their next adventure. The group:

  • delivered the box to Tauster, the wizard who serves the "old mage," and found out that the old mage is beginning to lose his mind to old age
  • picked up their gold from the Twisted Tower and then argued for a while over how to split it (Matt wasn't there, so there was a pretty heated debate over what share of the gold his character should get)
  • sold a bunch of spare (looted) equipment at the general store
  • checked out the message post, where they are most likely to pick up the trail of a new adventure
I printed off the following for the message post, some of it lifted directly from the 2md edition Shadowdale book, and some of it mixed in to draw the PCs in other directions:
  • Reward: 20 Silver Pieces for anyone who brings to justice the unknown cattle drivers who have wrecked crops and fences. See Silas Standard at grain booth on Market Day to collect.
  • Personal to Zeke. An envelope with a wax seal is attached.
  • Wanted: Adventuring party to perform reconnaissance. 100 Gold Pieces, plus percentage of any booty found. Inquire with the Captain-of-Arms and Warden of Thurmaster. This notice has been badly overwritten in some places with smudged and barely legible pencil markings to read: “Wanted: Adventuring party to perform suicide mission. 100 gold pieces, plus burial of your body, if found. Inquire with Captain-of-Harms and Worrier of Thurmaster.”
  • Rumors for Sale. Inquire of Llewellyn the Loquacious. Also available to sing at weddings, funerals, and other celebratory affairs.
  • Missing! Jelenneth, my bride to be, has gone missing. She is beautiful, of medium height, with dark hair and always wears a royal blue cloak. See Andren for more details.
  • Delivery. I'll be payin five silvers for any travelin to the Halfcut Hills willin to carry a message to me nephew. Simple job. Just ask for Old Grizzler at the Old Skull Inn.
  • Wanted: Guards for a shipment of goods from Thurmaster to Harlaton. Inquire at Baron Rodorigo Enano Casta's manor.
  • 6th Annual Challenge of Champions coming in three weeks.
We'll see next time which (if any) of these leads the party decides to investigate. No matter which way they turn, I'm sure they'll find something equally interesting and dangerous!

Also, I decided to go ahead and bump everyone to 2nd level even though they only legitimately had about a third of the xp necessary to advance. What can I say? I really don't like super-low level adventures! Jeremiah stayed the path of the paladin, while Rachel is contemplating her ranger taking levels in the witch class, and Eric clings to the idea of his mystic theurge.

Modifying the Night Below Setting: Adding Shadowdale

Although I plan to add a lot to the underdark regions of the Night Below campaign, up to this point I haven't had any plans of changing the surface world setting. However, when I stumbled on my copy of Shadowdale from the old 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms boxed set, I knew I had to work this old favorite in. Milborne is thematically a better fit for a Shadowdale switcheroo, but since the players have already visited Milborne, I don't want to confuse them by changing a location they thought they knew. Instead, since they're headed to Thurmaster anyway, "Shadowdale" will just take its spot instead!

Of course, just because I am who I am, I can't just drop it in as-is. There will be some changes to the new Thurmaster, starting with...

  • Tauster will be the second most powerful wizard in town. Elminster will be there in spirit, but will be an incredibly powerful but unpredictable mage who is just known as "the old mage." In truth, he'll probably have more in common with Fizban than Elminster.
  • Other ultra-powerful characters will be absent (Storm Silverhand, for example). Although I want the PCs to live in a world where there are major movers and shakers, I don't want them to feel like they can run off to this or that super-NPC to save the day.
  • The message post, while important to the original Shadowdale, will be emphasized even moreso in Thurmaster/Shadowdale. This will be an opportunity to present the players with lots of different hooks that they can investigate or ignore at their leisure. I'm going to develop a sizable list of rumors and jobs to be posted there, and they'll be able to pursue whatever they want.
  • I'm going to use this version of Thurmaster to introduce a lot of key NPCs that will play more and more of a role as the PCs gain experience (Hadrogh Prohl or Baron Rodorigo Enano Casta, for example)
Having a Shadowdale clone for the centerpiece of the surface world will be perfect. I'm surprised I hadn't thought of it before!

Most Awesome Game Trailer Ever

This isn't flashy like a lot of the game trailers you'll see nowadays. Instead, it takes things slow... and the effect is quite amusing. Watch the trailer... relax a bit...

Sweet Digital Gaming Table

I don't have the time or money to set up something like this... but if I did, it would be awesome...

Underdark Map (GIMP)

I haven't messed around with GIMP too much, but I can do some of the basics... enough to get digital maps that look considerably better than my freehand work. This is the starting point for my map of the underdark that I'll use for the Pathfinder Night Below campaign we started a few weeks ago. We aren't following the adventure very closely, so I want to make sure I have a big sandbox for the party to explore. I'm going to want a map to keep track of where everything is, especially since I'm piecing together elements of a half-dozen or more different supplements. Here's what I have so far...

Blue areas are water, tan areas are the big caverns, and dark
areas are the spaces between bigger caverns that are
riddled with smaller passageways.

Yeah, it's a blank map, and it isn't much to write home about. I generated the caverns by fiddling with cloud rendering. The water is just a transparent layer with those sections filled in.

Still, I don't think it's too bad for a 30 minute job. Now it's just a matter of labeling important locations, such as...
  • The Sunless Sea
  • Dylvwyllann
  • Sshamath
  • Underspires
  • Oenkmar
  • Mantol-Derith
  • The Vault of the Drow
  • Skullport
Not sure what else I'll end up dropping in the mix... I'll probably end up creating a few locations myself. Any suggestions for other classic locations that no underdark campaign should miss out on?

Tablescapes - Miniature Wargame Boards

When I first saw this, I immediately thought of the Realm of Battle board by Games Workshop. However, after taking a closer look, I think this might be better. The material looks very similar, and the cost is much more reasonable. Check out what Mister Justin has to say:

A few notes...
  • It sounds like the thickness of these boards is just about a millimeter or so off from the Realm of Battle board, which means it might not be too tough to combine the two sets on the same tabletop.
  • I'm intrigued by the idea that they're going to make lots of different themed tiles. The Realm of Battle board is getting a little stale, to be honest, as they only add a tile or two every once in a while.
  • I'm glad he mentioned transition pieces in the video, because I wondered when he was first showing off the pieces whether or not there would be any support for elevation.
If you're serious about awesome tabletops but can't quite justify the Realm of Battle board, I would suggest checking them out and throwing in your support.

Gatecrash Spoilers

That's right, folks. It's almost that time for a new set release, so it's time to start looking ahead to how the new cards will impact tournament play. Here are a few resources to help you keep up...

Spoiler discussion is here.
The official spoiler is here.
The (less than official) spoiler itself is here.

Tau Sun Shark / Razorshark

Although I wouldn't say it's as cool as the Riptide Battlesuit, this new Tau kit is pretty cool as well. I like how 6th edition releases are continuing the trend of adding a flyer to every army as they are released. I haven't seen the rules for these yet, but they look pretty sweet. This is the type of model that, as I say fairly often, I would love to assemble and paint even if I don't even play the Tau.

Pathfinder Night Below Campaign (Session One)

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was thinking about running an Underdark focused campaign, and since then I've gotten the chance to start. The beginning of the game will follow the Night Below adventure, but as things progress, I intend to just use the setting (combined with a few other Underdark-focused modules) and open it up like a sandbox for the players. With that in mind, we assembled a group of four 1st level characters and set off to deliver Gordrenn's chest to Tauster.
  • Matt - Half-Orc Paragon (Unearthed Arcana stuff - rules here)
  • Eric - Elf Magus
  • Rachel - Changeling Ranger
  • Jeremiah - Human Paladin
The first session went well. The heroes managed to...

  • Negotiate a better deal from Gordrenn than his initial offer
  • Survive a kidnapping attempt by bandits/farmers on the road to Milborne, despite the magus getting knocked unconscious after the first two or three rounds of combat
  • Agree to help Andren search for the missing Jelenneth, although he runs off to search for her alone because the heroes take too long to start the search
  • Travel down the Churnett River, stopping when they spot places it looks like Andren also stopped
The module states, "The PCs should reach the village of Thurmaster without anything eventful happening." Ha! I don't think so...

The session ended when the players decided to continue searching for Jelenneth through the night without resting. They continued down the river on their raft, using the exceptional vision of the demihumans to scout the riverbanks.  Unfortunately for the party, some orcs took notice of their passage, and we left off after the orcs fired their first volley of arrows at the raft.

The Pathfinder Switch
Honestly, I don't think anybody noticed! We didn't have any combat maneuvers that came into play, so we didn't use those rules at all.  Aside from the small differences in character creation, it was pretty much business as usual. Eric loves the "new" magus class, though. He mentioned at the beginning of the session that he was planning to go magus/cleric/mystic theurge. However, by the end of the first session, he was talking about going magus all the way. It's definitely an interesting class. He equated it to playing Oblivion with a sword in one hand and magic in the other, and I think that's a pretty good analogy.

Dwarven Forge Game Tiles (3D Terrain for Miniatures)

Dwarven Forge makes the kind of products that I first saw in Dragon Magazine back in the nineties... and that I have been drooling over ever since. Unfortunately for me, I have never been financially able to justify the prices. It was just too much cost for too little product. If I had the luxury of being rich, I might be able to pull it off, but...

But things might be changing, thanks to this Kickstarter. Now we'll have access to more affordable Dwarven Forge miniatures terrain.

They're still expensive, but they aren't that much worse than the plastic kits produced by Games Workshop, and they're a lot more versatile.

I just became a backer, and the only thing that bothers me is how obsolete my collection of Dungeon Tiles is going to seem when these arrive.

Kitbashing for RPG Figures

I know, I know. The paint
job needs major work...
I normally just stick to D&D Miniatures when it comes to RPGs. They're simple, effective, relatively cheap, and pre-painted. What's not to love? Well... when Rachel started a new campaign a few months ago, I ended up with a somewhat unusual character: a drow cleric with a strength score low enough to make melee combat... well... let's just say it's undesirable. I figured I could get by with a hand crossbow and some drow poison for a while, but the only figure I had that fit that kind of character was female (this one, if you must know). Instead of searching for an actual miniature that fit what I wanted, I decided to step it up a notch.

Back when I played Warhammer 40K all the time, one of my favorite challenges was creating figures that matched units for which Games Workshop never created an official kit. The idea is to take bits and pieces from several other kits and mix them together ("bash" them together) to create something unique and different. This farseer on a jetbike is an example of something I've worked on before.

Anyway, this time I needed a drow cleric with no melee weapon... so I went searching for appropriate bits. This drow cleric of Vhaeraun was created using a dark eldar body, a dark elf weapon and head, and a high elf shield. All of the pieces are from Games Workshop kits, but I just buy the pieces I need from Hoard O' Bits on eBay instead of forking out $20+ for each kit. I got all the pieces for this guy for around $10, with quite a few extra bits left over for my next project.

I should probably work on the paint job more, but he really doesn't look that out of place when he's side by side with D&D Miniatures.

Dante Deepshroud, Underdark Guide (Pathfinder Version)

Dante has been hired by Baron Cantor Quickseed to help his hired adventurers find the city of Dylvwyllyn and make it out alive. Dante is quick to remind everyone, however, that he was hired as a guide, not as a guard. He fights only when necessary, and his primary concern is the safety of Sehliss... not bringing the boss's daughter back alive would surely result in an unacceptable pay cut.

Dante Deepshroud 
Male whisper gnome ranger 3
LN Small humanoid
Init +4; Senses low-light vision, darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11

AC 18 (20 w/ shield); Touch 14; Flat-Footed 14 (16 w/shield)
HP 30 (3d10+9 HD)
Fort +6; Ref +7; Will +2
Defensive Abilities +4 dodge vs giants

Speed 30 ft.
Space 5 ft; Reach 5 ft
Melee Longsword +4 (1d6)
Ranged +1 Longbow +9 (1d6+1) or +7/+7 (1d6+1)
Special Attacks Favored Enemy +2 (Drow), +1 attack roll vs. kobolds and goblinoids
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 1)
At will—silence 1/day

Str 11, Dex 18, Con 17, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 8
Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD +2
Feats Point Blank Shot, Alertness, Rapid Shot, Endurance
Skills Acrobatics +8 (1), Climb +6 (3), Diplomacy +2 (3), Heal +5 (1), Knowledge (underdark local) +4 (3), Perception +9 (3), Sense Motive +3 (0), Stealth +18 (3), Survival +7 (3), Swim +5 (1)
Languages Common, Gnome, Terran
SQ Favored Terrain (underground), Track, Wild Empathy
Combat Gear Longsword, +1 Longbow, Chain Shirt, Heavy Wooden Shield
Other Gear

Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit

I haven't really been following the Tau rumors because I don't actually play them myself, but this little bit of info caught my eye...

That's right, folks... the Tau are getting a giant battlesuit called the XV104 Riptide. And in true Tau fashion, it looks like it will have... well... a really big gun. Most rumors I've read point to this thing being a monstrous creature rather than a vehicle, which is good. Something tells me they wouldn't make its armor values high enough to be worth investing in it as a vehicle.

I'm eager to see clearer pictures, but the idea of it is certainly cool. This is the kind of model I'd enjoy putting together and painting even though I don't actually play the Tau, just to have sitting around in the man cave.

Precision Machined Metal Role Playing Game (RPG) Dice

If you're looking for some sweet dice, here's an idea. David Saxey and Brian Kennedy have a Kickstarter going that will create super-balanced metallic dice with laser-etched numbers on each side. Sounds pretty awesome, huh? Check out the video... my description isn't even coming close to doing this project justice.

Sehliss Quickseed, Half-Elf Healer (Pathfinder Version)

The youngest daughter of Baron Cantor Quickseed, the elf noble seeking to reunite the Shards of the Day, Sehliss insists on searching for the legendary swords herself rather than leave the matter to people outside of the family. She is pleasant, but doesn't truly trust anyone aside from her father, and she is almost as obsessed with finding the shards as her father... if only to make sure that his life-long quest is completed during her lifetime.

Sehliss Quickseed 
Female half-elf healer 3
NG Medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses low-light vision; Perception +5

AC 16; Touch 12; Flat-Footed 14
HP 19 (3d6+6 HD)
Fort +4; Ref +3; Will +6
Defensive Abilities immune to magical sleep, +2 vs enchantment spells/effects

Speed 30 ft.
Space 5 ft; Reach 5 ft
Melee Shortspear +1 (1d6)
Ranged Javelin +3 (1d6)
Special Attacks 

Spells Prepared (CL 3rd):
2nd (4/day)—Cure Moderate Wounds x3, Lesser Restoration
1st (5/day)—Bless Water, Cure Light Wounds x3, Protection from Evil
0 (5/day)—Create Water, Detect Magic, Purify Food and Drink, Read Magic

Str 11, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 12
Base Atk +1; CMB +1; CMD +1
Feats Skill Focus (Sense Motive), Skill Focus (Healing), 1, 3
Skills Concentration +5 (1), Diplomacy +7 (3), Heal +9 (3), Sense Motive +9 (3), Spellcraft +4 (1), Survival +7 (1)
Languages Common, Elven
SQ Healing Hands, Cleanse Paralysis, Multitalented (Healer and Rogue)
Combat Gear studded leather armor +1
Other Gear wand of cure light wounds (50 charges)

Random Cave Map Creator

I'm always on the lookout for online tools that will make running RPGs easier, and having cool maps that I don't have to spend a ton of time creating myself is a big deal. Recently, I started looking for some ways to map out the underdark, as I'm considering running an underdark-focused Pathfinder game in the near future, and in my search I stumbled upon this little gem: the Random Cave Map Creator over at

While I've only just started to experiment with this, I have been quite impressed thus far. If you're looking for a way to quickly put together an underdark campaign or just need some quick caverns to house some orc savages, this is the way to go!

On New and Current Campaigns

After a hiatus of several years, I'm finally getting back into RPGs with my future sister-in-law's D&D campaign. It's going quite well, and we've been playing since mid-January with only a couple of missed game nights. She took over when I said that I didn't have time to devote to DMing, and my brother failed to actually prepare anything for the first session that he was supposed to be running.

It's the first time I've had the opportunity to actually play since I was in middle school and my dad was running a 1st/2nd edition hybrid. There is one problem with me not running the game, though... I miss it. There is a creative side of me that just enjoys building plots and settings, and I also really enjoy tinkering with characters to see how powerful I can make them within the rules - which I only get to do sparingly as a player but can do every single adventure as DM.

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