Saturday, 15 March 2014

LV. Homo troglodytes

As I promised, I'll put down a few words about the background of the Troglodytes. 


I first mentioned these creatures in August last year, in the same post where I introduced the Bell-ringers of Hades.  At the time I briefly described them as following:
"Stray branch of humankind. Deformed inbred creeps who normally live deep in subterranean caves and have no dealings with the world above the ground. However, for some reason they have now emerged from the darkness and started attacking their Homo sapiens relatives. Their leader is the huge levitating Mother, the one they all descended from."
Basically, my Troglodytes are a species that belongs to the same genus of hominids us humans do, and that inhabits subterranean caves. They manufacture and use tools and weapons of stone and bone, but they don't possess the technology of metalworking. Because of this, metal objects from the world above are considered a luxurious treasure. In their cave complexes, Troglodyte workers farm fungi for food and keep herds of blind beasts that inhabit the underground as their cattle. Up until recently they could rarely be seen above ground, and when they did come out it was generally at night. But now something is making them emerge.

Troglodyte Workers.

On the tabletop, a large number of common workers will make the bulk of the Troglodyte crew.  Cheap and not particularly strong, but numerous, they will be led by one or two stronger magic-user characters to help them out.

When designing this faction I had in mind several themes, the most prominent being the idea of another species of human surviving alonside us. That is something I like to ponder on, as it is intriguing and in a way unsettling. It raises so many questions. For example, if we discovered another species from our genus today, how would we treat them? We probably wouldn't just leave them be and not interfere, since that's not in our nature. Would we give them the same rights we give ourselves, or would they be seen as animals? How would they see us? What would their culture be like? How about their language? If I believed in the existence of an immortal soul I would also have to ask myself whether those newly discovered relatives of ours had one? I'm sure they would be a subject of much debate. It's just as fascinating to me as the idea of a human-ape hybrid; though much less morally outrageous. Or how about imagining the future and the way we might evolve further (think H.G. Wells' Time Machine)? 
Anyway... Besides the "other human" theme, there's ants. Just like those tiny insects, Homo troglodytes live in colonies under ground, and at the head of a colony stands a queen (called the Mother). She is crucial for the survival of her colony, as she is the only female - only she can make more Troglodyte workers. Unlike with ants though, there are no drones. The workers are all male and very much fertile; as a result, to every Troglodyte his grandfather will at the same time be his brother. The very limited gene pool might be the explanation for their physical deformities. I might at some point add a warrior caste to give them more variety and hitting power.  


The ruler of each Troglodyte colony is the Mother, a hulking, obese creature which regularly mates with workers and spawns fresh Troglodytes. She is worshipped as a living godess. A Mother is too heavy to move on her own, and possesses neither eyes nor ears; just a mouth to feed through. However, she has telepathic and telekinetic abilities. This enables her to perceive her environment through senses of her subjects surrounding her, and when the need arizes for her to move she does it by levitating. She also communicates telepathically, but only with the chosen few individuals- the Shamans. 

I intend to sculpt the model from scratch, with Venus of Willendorf as reference material. That will make an interesting little sculpting project.


The Shamans are Troglodytes gifted for the spiritual and use of magic. It is through them that the Mother speaks, and they are figures of authority among their kind. They are able to conjure fire and travel to Spirit worlds, and in addition to that it appears they have the ability to resurrect their dead.

You've seen the first shaman last week, and now I'm working on another one:


The model I started from. Picture from Games Workshop website.

I wanted the two Shamans to sport a very similar look. I equipped them with the same items and details: a staff, preserved heads, metal rings, mushrooms, fishbone. For this second shaman I had to sculpt my own fish remains. Here is how I did it:

I. I took a little ball of green stuff and flattened it on a hard surface, vaguely in the shape of a fish.
II. I defined the outline better and marked the basic shapes with my hobby knife and sculpting tool.
III. Added the details with hobby knife.
IV. Given some more attention to the details and tidied up. Once it cures I'll get it off the wooden board and glue it on the Shaman. 

It's quite simple when you break it down to steps and go from rough to particular. : )

The Shamans were inspired partly by Fallen Shamans from Diablo II game: they attack by throwing fireballs and resurrect dead Fallen. The other important influence were Boggarts from Magic: The Gathering card game's Lorwyn cycle. These also liked to play with fire, and their mechanic in the game relied a lot on returning dead Boggarts back to play from the Graveyard. The appearance of my Troglodyte Shamans was inspired heavily by these two card illustrations (the one in the right actually being a Lorwyn Boggart):

  In my next post I will discuss my plans for the rules.

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The official announcement for this year's Agram Arena Summer Tournament is up:

Dear friends,

It is time for another (12th annual) Agram Arena Summer Tournament!

We are in the second decade of organizing Arena events and this year's Agram Arena Summer is going to be held over two weekends:

12-13th of July 2014 - 40K International tournament + Black Queen International hobby and miniature painting competition

19-20th of July 2014 -Malifaux International tournament + Demo Games / Open play (Infinity and LOTR SBG on Saturday 19th; Flames of War and Warmachine on Sunday 20th)

Location: MS "Cvjetni trg", Miskecov prolaz 3, Zagreb, Croatia.

Entry: FREE!

Refreshing drinks for all players will be free during the tournaments.
Accommodation for Saturday night is also free for the 1st-time-comers (read more in the rules)!
Lunch is available at the price of 75 Kn (around 10 Euro) for both days (= 5 Euro/day)!

Check out the tournament rules & other info:

Combo rules (40K, BQ & Malifaux)
with background:

w/o background (printer friendly):

Official languages of the tournament will be English and Croatian!

40K - from 1st of June to 05th of July
Black Queen - from 18th of June to 05th of July (not neccessary - see the rulespack)
Malifaux - from 1st of June to 14th of July
Demo Games / Open Play - from 14th of July to 18th of July
(you can find guidelines on registration in the rules (check out the above link))!

If you need any other information please contact us at or GSM +385 91 7620584



  1. Fantastic stuff Ana. Your minis are a constant inspiration.
    I really want to see what you come up with for The Mother...


    1. Thanks Eve! I'm glad you like them. : )
      The Mother is going to be a real challenge for me; I haven't got that much experience in sculpting entire figures from scratch.

  2. Great stuff as always, I look forward to your take on the huge levitating Mother. Also, an interesting (if slightly unsettling) read. I like the pic of the second shaman - nicely shows how smooth the conversion is, looks as if the minis was cast this way.
    I think I may actually make it to this year's Agram Arena but time will tell.
    One question - the music doesn't seem to be working, is it just me or is something wrong with it? And what's the title of the track you have/had there?

    1. Thanks Viruk!
      It would be just great if you could make it to the Arena! I hope I will indeed see you there.
      The music sometimes stops working for a while. Could be a problem with the site I have the track stored, but it is more probably Blogger's fault. It is incredibly bugged. In any case, the music is working normally for me now. As for the title: when I started the blog I commissioned a friend of mine who likes to compose and mix music in his spare time to make me a 5-minute ambiental soundtrack for the blog. When he sent me the final version, the Mp3 file was titled "ana_creepy_mastered_copy03". That's what the composer called it, so I suppose that's officially the title. ;)

  3. Thanks for the answer, you have a very talented friend!

    1. You're welcome! I'll let him know you said that.


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