Sunday 16 March 2014

LVI. The Rules

It's time to give a bit of insight to my plans for gaming with all those minis I display here. Especially since some of you have expressed interest in this matter.  : )
Mind you, this is still far from done and I'm not yet sure about a lot of things.

I. The Ruleset


For my games I'll be using Malifaux 2E rules pretty much as they are. There are several reasons for that: Malifaux is the only game I play at the moment, I actually really like the game mechanics ( the first edition was good as well, but I feel M2E was an improvement), my two main warbands from the beginning were constructed as couts-as crews for Malifaux. It's very convenient.
However, there are certain interventions I wished to make on the ruleset. Nothing too extreme, though. Many things are only cosmetic.
  • First, there is the Fate Deck. For those of you who are not familliar with the game, Malifaux uses a deck of cards where most tabletop games use dice. The deck contains four suits of 13 cards and a pair of Jokers: one black and one red. The four suits of Malifaux are Crows, Masks, Rams and Tomes. Purely for the sake of aesthetics and background story, I replaced them with my own four suits: Bone (O), Blood (B), Flesh (F) and Spirit (S).
A handmade Gardens of Hecate Fate Deck.
  • Then there is the matter of Soulstones. They are rare magical gemstones in the Malifaux background, and are used for a number of things in the skirmish game. In the beginning stages of a game each player has a set number of Soulstones to spend on models for their crew (each model having a cost in Soulstones). Additionally, a player can add some leftover stones to the Soulstone Pool. These can be used during the game for things like reflipping initiative, drawing additional cards, preventing damage and increasing their chance of success when they attack, defend or perform other actions. In the world of Gardens of Hecate there is no such thing as Soulstone. So, the point cost of models will be expressed in Silver Pieces. The Soulstone pool will become the Fate Stone pool, and Soulstones will be called Fate Stones. They, along with the Fate Deck, are instruments used by the players to influence the fate of miniature characters on the tabletop. They do not exist in the world that the characters inhabit. 
A cache of Fate Stones.

  • A game of Malifaux is not necessarily won by obliterating the enemy. Victory points are awarded for successfully solving Strategies and Schemes - a player's primary and secondary victory conditions. A fine number of them to choose from can be found in the Malifaux rulebook. However, most of the time I will invent my own scenarios - often with specially designed terrain pieces and models.
The page to the right contains an early sketch of a possible scenario.
  •  I will be completely ignoring Malifaux factions system and hiring restrictions regarding this. It is simply unnecessary for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have a small number of crews. Furthermore, each of my crews is actually its own faction and will have a personal list of models and upgrades/items that are available to it. And finally, some other things I changed, such as fixed scenarios and the fact this is going to be a narrative campaign and not competitive play, render the system even more pointless. 


II. The Model Rules

The rules for my characters are conversions, just like the miniatures themselves. For many of these I took M2E stat cards and messed with them a bit- adding, removing and changing abilities and tweaking stats here and there to fit my vision. These are not the final versions, and haven't yet been playtested.
  • The Plague Doctor: based on Malifaux's Doctor McMourning and crew. This crew likes to poison their opponents, which damages them over time. Though they also like to throw in some biting, pounding and shooting for a good measure.

  • The Countess: based on Kirai Ankoku, my very first Malifaux crew. Most of the gang are Ethereal, which enables them to go throught terrain and receive less damage. The Countess herself is great at movement tricks and summoning more spirit minions. If I remember correctly, I've made quite a bit of changes here. 

  • The Troglodytes: I couldn't find a suitable starting point, so I started from scratch here. Troglodytes are quick, simple and great in numbers. Their Shamans are good spellcasters, though. They are able to revive fallen Troglodytes and throw fireballs at the enemy. These rules are a very early version.

  •  The Horde of Hades: I have not one stat card for them yet. But in general, I want the Bell-ringers to be slow, Undead, have Terrifying and possibly damage their attacker with their corrosive black blood when they are hurt. Their masters, the Horsemen, will be nasty and quick. And there are some models I have ideas for but haven't yet made, but all in good time.  

III. The Campaign

I'm going to need some sort of campaign rules. This can't be found in the Malifaux rulebook, but in one of the past issues of Wyrd Chronicles there were published campaign rules for the first edition. This is something I have yet to look into more deeply, so I can possibly adapt them to fit 2nd edition. The idea, of course, is that the crews gain new members, items and upgrades, but also permanent injuries, along the way. These can be bought/hired, or received as rewards throughout the campaign. I'm even toying with the idea of skill trees for the Masters of the crews.   
I'll be designing a whole array of different weapons, armour, trinkets, etc. which the crews will be able to purchase or find. Also, there will be a number of hodgepodge Mercenaries available for hire.  
I'd just like to add here that the Troglodytes and the Hades Horde don't work the same way as the Countess and the Plague Doctor crews. The latter are the protagonists of the story; human characters with personal motivation and quests. They gain experience, and collect equipment, and evolve in the course of the campaign. The former, on the other hand, don't. They are "monsters" that appear in scenarios as enemies for the (anti)heroes, and their masters are like bosses that need to be defeated at a certain point. Most games will be played with a "protagonist crew" against a "monster crew", and a smaller number will be direct conflicts between the Doctor and the Countess.

That's more or less it for now. If you managed to get all the way down here, thanks for reading! ;)

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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


Saturday 8 March 2014

LIV. The Troglodyte Shaman

This has been quite a hectic week, with me rushing to meet several deadlines, the new semester beginning and whatnot. But I managed to scrape together some time to do a bit of hobby work (mostly late at night). I made a Shaman for my Troglodyte faction.

I went through my box of unpainted plastic goblins and picked one with a suitable pose. After removing his weapon I replaced it with a staff (made of brass rod and a little bit of green stuff to make the ends look more natural). I decorated it with a couple of heads from the Plaguebearer kit, and to the top of the staff I tied a metal ring using a length of very thin wire.The bones around his neck come from Empire State Troops.

 He definitely needed some more detail to make him stand out as a hero. Mushrooms seemed like something a shaman might carry around, so I put them on his belt. These are pins, cut to length and covered in a few layers of white glue. The glue makes the shapes less sharp and more organic. I got the glue idea from the way Don Hans makes his wonderful chaotic scenery, as explained in his blog
Another detail I added was a little fish skeleton. I found this in my bits box; it's metal and I'm pretty sure it came off one of my old metal River Trolls. This should be fairly simple to sculpt from scratch, though. I'll do just that for my next Shaman (there will be another one shortly). And the final bit I put on his belt was another metal ring. These guys like to collect metal objects, since that's something they don't see every day where they come from. I'll explain more of their backstory and inspiration for them soon enough. 

Along with the Shaman, two more regular Troglodytes joined the crowd. The crew is coming along nicely.

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It's March 8th, so happy International Women's Day to all the ladies among my readers!

Today is also the final day of UMS "Agram"'s annual exhibition I announced here a couple of weeks ago. For all those of you who didn't have a chance to go see it I have some pictures: 

This is the building where the gallery is situated.
A cabinet dedicated entirely to Malifaux.

Most games played in the Club are represented. For example, these two glass cabinets hold some Mordheim, LoTR, Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Warhammer 40K and Bloodbowl.

Gardens of Hecate has a whole shelf to itself. I'm hoping that next year I'll have twice as much stuff to put here.
Bell-ringers haunting a graveyard. But the Doctor's undead hounds seem to have picked up their scent.
The Countess and her Spirit entourage emerging from a forest.