Thursday, March 3, 2011

The strange places minis will take you

I'm just about finished doing up my special sauce for the X1 - Isle of Dread D&D Marathon this weekend, but tomorrow to Monday will be jam-packed, so this is gonna have to do it for the week. Hopefully I'll get my February minis photos completed and we'll have a nice post for Monday or Tuesday.

Speaking of miniatures, I've found that my hobby and my particular obsessions with getting the info on the particular figures I have takes me into some strange places. My minis have influenced the direction of my game at several points - most notable are the Otherworlds troll, the figure I'm using to represent Calypso (villian in @thePrincessWife's solo game), the figure that became the Mountain Ogre and the Otherworlds orc shamen holding a heart in his hand.

How so? Well, when I was constructing my Dark Ages world, I had just started putting together the OWM troll.  Putting him under a bridge on the main path to a tempting exploration destination came to me while assembling the big guy - making him a troll mage was probably the result of me slicing my finger open or something. If I feel pain... everyone feels it! The Mountain Ogre was a creation of imagination from having just played Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and looking at this figure and wondering how I could convert it away from the "Hellborne" look. The story wrote itself. The orc shamen influenced the game I just concluded on Sunday... what would be special that would cause so many orcs to show up? Hmm... shamen is doing some sort of sacrificial ritual... and that story wrote itself. The Calpyso figure was holding an orb and looking young and suave - and thus I've come up with more info on that villain and how he acts/thinks.

I also find myself discovering unusual things. For instance, did you know that FASA had released a game called Crucible that sounds an awful lot like they were wanting to take on WarHammer? (here, here and here). I found this out because I got a figure in a trade that I could not find or identify. It wasn't until I started a search based on the tiny words from the "slotta tab" on the bottom of this winged, demonic looking creature. "Olley" and "C 99 Ral Partha" led me to the photo on the left. Viola! Mystery figure found and a game that I had never heard of... and probably will never play. Sounds like it was an interesting game though.  (Picture is from - the Olley Armies wiki)

And yes, I am going to find some reason to stick this guy in one of my games somewhere!

Some people find their inspiration from the books and magazines they collect, I find a chunk of mine in my minis. How about you?


bighara said...


Many's the time that I discovered a mini hat just screams for an encounter (or an entire adventure) to be written for it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, all the time. NPCs & monsters, including available hirelings, are pretty much determind by the minis have on hand. I really started DMing in large part because I have all the minis in our gaming group & so I know what monsters etc. I have that never get used. 20 years of lead addiciton means that in 14 session my party has rarely encountered the same mini twice, and I stock dungoens largely according to which box o' minis I haven't opened lately. I even hold off on running particular encounters or scenarios I think up until the relevant minis are done being painted. At one time I envisioned the game helping me to paint more regularly but it is very much a series of spurts of furious activity with long intermissions of nothing. DMing did however finally get me painting terrain and other "boring" dungeon dressing things like furniture that I'd been putting off. The downside is I sometimes find myslef making new pieces for the game while the "waiting list" just sits there. For example one player gave me a mini to paint for him about 2 years ago and somehow I have not gotten around to it although I must have painted at least 100 minis since then.

So an example would be the second level of my local dungeon. I nickeda map with a central area and two "wings," and decided to have two factions in it. I happened to have placed all my drow/spider type monsters and all my snake-related monsters in one tackle box, and used that to stock the dungeon. (I have three medusa figures? OK, three medusae in this level. Two driders? OK, two driders.) Then I got the idea that dark elves were up to no good on a metaphysical level and remembered my three "piles" of Grenadier AD&D larvae mins, and worked in soemthing involving the use and abuse of the souls of the recently slain, and since those "pile" minis are kind of inconvenient I thought I should make some individual larva, which I did... Then finally I created a sublevel which will, if all goes well, be my first OPD submission and possibly a Dragonsfoot free module in it's "long" form. All on account of some minis.

ChicagoWiz said...

@BigHara - I am quickly running through my backlog of those minis though... Heh.

@mike - I find that I will really get to painting furiously to keep ahead of the pace of things. Like the cockatrices - I was relieved that they didn't end up finding the lair when I didn't have the figures done yet, and I really painted fast and furious to get them done prior.

I waited a year to finish my bro-in-law's mini and one of my players just gave me one that I have to somehow finish in between games.

How many figures *do* you have? :)

ken said...

Bob Olley's work is legendary and really loved by some folks. His Samurai Goblins are a work of art.

Crucible was weird and the figs were to match. I have a handful of them, an orc shaman and some other wild/savage orcs (like any are unsavage). Nice sculpts but just a little strange. So that means fun to paint.

I have a trio of minis that I will probably never paint cause they were going to be the bodygurads of the 'big boss dude' in my 3rd Ed campaign. But since I stopped playing 3rd Ed and no way anybody will ever make it there in B/X they may never get painted.

migellito said...

I always loved minis, but for me personally the big influences on the games I've run are fantasy art and heavy metal music :)

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

"Viola! Mystery figure found and a game that I had never heard of..."

I think you may have made a typo there...

ChicagoWiz said...

@ken - what is the trio?

ken said...

One is a super heavy plated Anti Paladin fig from Reaper.

The other is a scantily clad Female weapon master anti Paladin fig from Reaper

And the third is a female winged devil figure from reaper

And the Antagonist was...

I never got there, but I was thinking of using

But I never got the fig.

Anonymous said...

>>How many figures *do* you have? :)

I have never counted
Compared to RPGers, I have a lot.
Compared to wargamers, probably average, altohugh probabyl more varied. I don't have 400 Napoleanic gernadiers. I might have 200 Romans or Gauls, but they're plastic 1/72s. I would not be surprised to find I have over 1000 1/72s.
In terms of lead, I'm gonna guess between 500 and 1000 of the little bastards.
Now I want to count them this weekend. But I can't let my wife EVER know the number.

ChicagoWiz said...

You can tell me, there is a "Gray Line" for us lead lovers. :)