1) Several washes applied, which corrected the issue with the transition zones between rock and bone. Have to remember that washes are working THAT great when in some future project I shy away from block painting.
2) Eyes painted & varnished. I went with margaret's advice and like the result.
I won't gloss varnish the inside of the mouth like I usually do with flesh tarrain. It's already a bit glossy, and that's enough for that project. What I didn't do was gluing some hidden metal scraps into tue surface, where I would be able to work with magnets to add some stuff later on. I can do that later on if I want to, and speed was essential since I need this thingie for tomorrow's game night. Hope my players like it!
If I'm not completely misjudging my players, I think they will love the idea of having their personal arcane submarine. That it is an artifact of planar origin that the Netherese arcanists lootedfound on their planar research missions will make it stand out from the overly long list of magic items they amassed (the campaign started at level 1, now we're at level 12). And I hope the design will be an added bonus.
We'll see tomorrow. Much depends on me being able to present this as part of the city and planting the thought that this is just a cool-looking tavern. Which will be rather difficult because they visit this place explicitly for acquiring something like an arcane submarine, and this think looks, well... fishy. I really hope for a 'woah this is ours now!' moment.
If someone tells you that you have enough craft suplies and you don't need anymore, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
My players are on a sidequest to find the arcane equivalent to a submarine, to attack an aboleth city in den Deepdark. So they made some contacts with allies, and one of them will lead them in a beholder city below the Anauroch, one of Faerun's largest black markets. There's supposed to be a dysfunctional Netherese artifact there, an ancient ...boat, in the shape of a giant anglerfish, that the Netherese arcanists captured on some planar raid, erm... adventure, well, lets say research mission. It is lacking the magic control crystal*, which is the reason nobody could use it. If it was working, it wouldn't be for sale at all.
* an artifact in itself, which the players have, again with help of the same NPC, just a few days back looted from the hoard of a red dragon, being able to teleport away a split second before the enraged dragon's flame hit them.
Nowadays, the giant anglerfish is used as a very small, and not very cosy tavern for visiting guests. They will arrive in the city, make some contacts (and try to avoid making trouble, haha...), get themselves a room (guess where the only free roms will be...), ask around for that arcane boat, try to win an auction where they buy it (giving me a long-looked for chance to melt their treasure by a hundred thousand GP) and then... buy the very tavern they're booked in.
Can hardly wait to see their faces! Of course they won't know all that backstory beforehand. The NPC ally is quite powerful (an ancient green dragon, filling the classic Elminster role in my campaign) and will tell them only as much as they absolutely have to know for security reasons. The streets and slums of the beholder city is home to packs of cranium rats which try to extract secrets from the minds of unsuspecting visitors, which are then used as an edge against the clueless visitors in the deals they're here for.
They will have to find a way of removing an artifact the size of a warehouse from an underdark cavern full of beholders, but I'm sure they'll think of something. They always do.
Quick recap of yesterday's session:
The green dragon gave them a quick briefing about the most important things that you should know when you visit Ooltul: A city below the sands of the eastern Anauroch, housing one of the largest black markets where almost anything can be bought and sold. I mentioned the population: about 11K humanoid and goblinoid slaves, ruled by 400 beholders, half of which are beholder mages, plus more than 1500 undead death tyrants (I left them in the dark about the phaerimm). Yaws dropped for the first time.
They were given a bronce amulet which worked as a kind of visitor pass and posed as members of the Zhentarim. The dragon protected them with optical illusions, mind blanked them and gave them each a potion that would work as an emergency mind blank, should anything dispel their magic (*cough* beholders *cough*). The mage also got two enscorcelled beetles that, when munched, allowed them to communicate with the dragon (lose inspiration from douglas adams babel fish idea. I wanted something gross so they use it only in real emergencies). The dragon would go straight to a high-up contact and negotiate the main transaction while the party should get the best prices on the loot they would have to sell to pay* for the artifact.
* A word about buying magic and magic shops in my campaign. Magic shops have always been contentious, as they can trivialize magic. Magic items should by mysterious, and in my games nowadays, even a simple Longsword +1 gets at least one or two lines of description that always has some interesting details (like the coat of arms of the royal house of Cormyr from 500 years ago). My players know that they have to earn the chance to 'simply' purchase magic. They have to make contacts, pay with double-edged favours or have to take chances with unknown consequences and/or dangers. Some magic items can't be identified completely so the players are left guessing what else this thing does. When they went to magic shops in the past, they had to travel to a city on the plane of shadows, a planar tavern or something like that. This time it is a black market in city full of beholders where they could run into villains from all over Faerun. Using magic shops that way, magic stays something special. At least it works in all of our campaigns...
...oh, and having to pay well over 500.000 for an artifact works well too. It eleminates most of the treasure pile they had looted in gems, gold, jewellery, exotic art and furnishings when liberating a derro settlement and then a kuo toa city.
I quickly threw a generic town scenery on the table with some papercraft houses (the large one is the inn where they had intended to stay) and some dungeon scatter terrain, plus a WotC cavern map. It worked well to set the mood. Sadly I forgot to play some background noise (dripping water in a cave or something like that) but they got the idea: A dark and crowded, with a constant drizzle from above. None of the shops had signs, so visitors depended on renting guides (25 GP per shop shown, or 100 for five shops shown)
Their first surprise was that the inn they had planned to rent rooms in was almost booked out... by other Zhentarim. There was a long-ish discussion (30 min out of character) among the players whether they should come up with a cover story but in the end they decided to bite the beetle and asked their ally what he would do. He was totally for avoiding contact with the Black Network, and referred them to the other side of the town, where they should book rooms in the least popular inn, an establishment called 'The Anglerfish'.
They arrived at their destination, where we agreed that for sake of simplicity, we'll use the same generic town scene as before, and then told them that they instantly recognise their destination:
I placed the anglerfish on the waters near the shore, and jaws dropped for the second time. I was quite happy.
They rent the whole thing from a rather rude beholder who explained them how the round bunks worked (subjective gravity, i.e. you have to imagine which direction is up and then make a jump toward your bunk, where down is towards the center of the mouth cavity). They had to shell out 10GP per head and night and were given tokens for a meal in a tavern a few streets away. They also were shown how to activate the magic darkness 'curtain' that could be 'drawn' over the mouth, then the foul-mouthed beholder left.
They wasted no time, rented a guide and went for a shop to sell magic weapons and armor they had looted on their last adventures. They were led to 'Alarius his Magick Weaponz and Armor', where they were greeted by an old grumpy man who rattled an obviously memorized greeting formula without much enthusiasm.
They asked for permission to open their extradimenional 'warehouse' and piled their loot on the counter. The old man ase them to come back in one day while he would identify the wares and then make them an offer. Identifying that amount wouln't be possible for our two party mages in one day, so they were pretty sure that he would have some unknown help, but they had expected something like that. Actually they were pretty sure that all non-beholder shop managers are charmed straw men, and they are dead on with that.
When they left the shop, they were accosted from a dark side street by a shady, sleazy... ratty guy.
I took inspiration by Lefty (Schlemihl in German) from Sesame Street. 'Hey you, you there. Ya need sumting? I've got some cool magic shtuff! Ya dun wanna miss it!'
They immediately played along, and... roundabout declined the offer and went on to their next shop: 'Berkud's Collection of the Wonderful', where they wanted to sell all that Kuo Toa art. they had literally tons of larger-than-life sized stone(!) statues of the Sea Mother and Kuo Toa figures, pearls, giant clams with mother of pear and other stuff that they could only sell to a discerning collector, if they wanted to get anywhere the market price. Without their extradimensional warehouse they'd had to let that stuff in the underdark. They estimated it was about 90.000 GP or something like that, provided they found someone who liked that perverse style. They entered the gloomy shop and immediately sneezed, as the air stank of ...rats. Dozens of small glowing eyes blinked at them, and they were greeted by a familiar voice. Of course Berkud was that rat merchant. Smiles...
Obviously the rat man knew someone with a weakness for fishy art, so they were sure they would get a good price. Which brought them around and they him show them some of the magic he had to offer. Most were ancient Netherese items, some of them incomplete or malfunctioning, and most of the stuff was probably made for completely different uses. I used a list of oddities from the Rusthaven supplement for Monte Cook's Numenera; here's some of the highlights they were shown:
3 small rocks that always stack themselves on top of each other unless kept separated. A human jawbone whose teeth grow back 28 hours after they are removed. An iridescent lump of metal that screams “Help me!” in Truth when it gets wet. A small knife that sharpens itself whenever it wetted. A doll of an alien creature that causes whoever squeezes it to speak their own name. A singular boot that when placed on the ground moves as if someone is walking in it. A cup that makes whatever is in it glow brightly. A pulsing lump of flesh that makes all that sleep in short range of it share each others dreams. A partially decayed finger with five joints that always tries to crawl northeast. A collection of small, green statuettes of orcish make that emit tapping sounds at night. An empty synth box which always appears full of nightmarish creatures when glimpsed out of the corner of your eye. A fossilised claw that always balances on its sharpest point. A perfect replica of a human heart made out of metallic insects stuck together. The insects crawl and move when near blood. A small, handheld mirror that shows you dying in a different way every time you look at it. A beholder's face rendered in amber, that changes expression every full moon. A chicken skeleton that when touched flies into the air for a few seconds before it collapses into a neat heap then slowly reconstructs itself. A stone rod that continually grows a flap of pale, white skin from its tip. A set of immortal gums lined with jagged teeth that salivates in the presence of children. A transparent, crystalline shell that lets out a rumbling growl when near water. A glass decanter that when opened, counts the number of seconds until it is closed again in a frightened childs voice. A small wreath of metal fibres that when held or worn, drains the holder of all ability to feel shame. A rough cloth pouch that permanently turns anything stored inside it a sickly yellow colour. A large spike that when held against a creatures head, causes it to run at full speed into the nearest being. A small wooden contraption that slowly moves towards the nearest person whenever they are not looking. A rigid skin mask that hovers in the air where it was last placed. Whenever it is facing somebody, the expression turns to a manic, wide‐eyed grin. A dull stone with human finger nails growing from it.
They found uses for some stuff but shook their heads and rolled their eyes at the weirdness of most items. Which was exactly what I had hoped. They promised to come back tomorrow when the final prices would be negotiated and they had decided on what stuff they'd buy (I made it relatively low-priced to give them an incentive to buy some of that crazy stuff).
Early in the morning their dragon patron rejoined them at the Anglerfish (they still didn't suspect that this would be their submarine) and told them that he had managed to acquire the Netherese artifact but didn't get the price below 700.000 GP. The players were quite dissapointed because that was a bit more than their whole loot would be worth, so they wouldn't be able to shop for other cool things (mid- to high level spells protecting against aboleth divination and domination, etc). The dragon joined them on the negotiations and both times had to save the day when the player whose wizard was also a merchant rolled poorly on their haggling skill. They actually got two pretty good deals.
Their ally then took the money and gems, told them that we would seal the deal asap and that they should meet in about an hour at the Anglerfish. Time was of the essence because he wasn't sure whether the cranium rat swarms or someone else might have broken into their minds and discovered what the artifact was doing and thus, would be really worth. Still nobody at the table suspected anything...
They raced back to the inn and an hour later were joined by the dragon. He teleported/gated (?) them all out, and my players were quite puzzled when they reappeared...and were still inside the inn. However it now swayed back and forth, and they could hear calls of alarm in harsh dwarvish voices outside.
Long story short, they discovered that dragon had teleported them into the small lake that belonged to a dwarven outpost on the surface entrance of the underdark route of the campaign, an outpost they had erected themselves in the past. And they finally realized that the inn was actually the artifact they wanted to purchace. Jaws dropped for the third time this night. Not one of them had suspected that - which really surprised me because I though it would be quite obvious.
Now the party's mage will join the dragon (who's an archmage, they correctly suspect) in researching what this artifact is able to do, and how to modify it to the mission's needs.
Btw: I'm bad with coming up with people's names and shop descriptions, so I used the donjon shop generator to give me a few ideas about shops and their owners, which I then tweaked until I liked the final result. There might be better generators out there but I needed some quick input and was quite happy with donjon, so I can recommend it. I had intended to use AEG's Toolbox and Ultimate Toolbox but I simply didn't have the time (my usual problem: I start too late with GM prep...). I had scooped up both books quite cheap and I'm sure they are super-useful, but so far I haven't really dug into them. Which is a shame because everytime I quickly browse through I find more cool stuff that just begs to be used...
After well over one year, I finally got around to touching the second ship again!
I had it lying in the nether reaches under my craft desk, so it was forgotten for months. a few days ago I got it out again and had put it on the table where it was blocking my crafting area, so I couldn't ignore it any further. Today I accidentally stumbled on a review for the Complete Guide to Beholders, a book I had wanted to read cover to cover for quite some time now but never acutally did. That gave me the final push I needed.
I was about to blackbomb it in the workshop when it dawned on me that it needed some more texturing work, because the transition between tinfoil (future rock texture) and paper mache (organic flesh paint scheme or something resembling skin/leather) really looked not good enough:
So I fired up the gluegun and 'upgraded' the seams to make them more organic looking. I also hid a strong neodym magnet in the tip, plus four more on top of the shell:
I know fully well that work-wise, I didn't do myself a favour by adding all that textures: The 'ribs' will get a bones paint scheme, the tin foil a simple rock paint, i.e. black basing, grey drybrushing, white highlights plus a dirt wash. The shell will be painted either in my usual flesh scheme or some yet-to-be-found leather/skin paint.
The real problem will be all those places where two different areas border each other. It was easy enough on the first ship where I could blend rock and bones into each other with a dark wash, but now there's all those hotglue whisps and strings that should by all means get the 'flesh' treatment - without getting the dark red wash onto the paint below! Not sure how I'm going to pull that off or if that's even possible...
I avoid spraypaint whenever I can, because it's more expensive than acrylics (not counting GWS or Vallejo pots, but that's comparing aples to melons), bacause it stinks and I need to go to the workshop instead of staying in the flow in my craft desk. And not the least because of all the environmental sins.
Then I realized that spray can art is a real thing:
Thanks, pinterest. Now there's yet another thing on my to do list!
Tok me one and a half year to get something new for the beholder thread, but here it is...
While I was waiting for the glue of Batch 3 of the Oculants/Booklings to cool down, I took that broken table tennis ball that's been waiting for months in my trashgeneral crafting materials box for getting made into a beholder, and, well, made it into a beholder.
Not much to say on this one, except that, as wich the booklings, the mouth - maw in the case of the beholder - is the damn hardest thing to create. Which is why I procrastinated and left it mouth-less, so far.
The central eye is made from cheap eyes you can get on ebay in different sizes, and in totally different colors and pupil shapes. Love these things!
At this stage, I didn't care which eyestalk goes where. I just take care to bent them in random curvey angles and don't repeat the curves too often. I trust that I will find a good place for each, and had never any problems with that.
Texturing the eyestalks.
A magnet is glued in on the bottom. No surprise here, just for the sake of completeness.
Fors and Cale are staring at their doom, once again.
If someone tells you that you have enough craft suplies and you don't need anymore, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
erho: I will once again rise above Lurker status if I ever get back to painting, Real life work transitions... Adulting
Jan 31, 2020 16:23:29 GMT
factoriatabletop: sgtslag...oh man! you are right about it...
Mar 3, 2020 10:13:15 GMT
Draklith: Hey everyone just a quick stop by to see if anyone is still here, hope everyone is doing ok
May 26, 2020 18:27:20 GMT
sgtslag: This forum seems to be slowing down. I hope everyone is still crafting, safely! I will be here until they turn off the power... Cheers!
May 27, 2020 13:46:43 GMT
factoriatabletop: maybe we should try to make a contest here, between us
Jun 2, 2020 8:40:08 GMT
factoriatabletop: no prizes, just proud....dont know, anyone else?
Jun 2, 2020 8:40:40 GMT
sgtslag: Still unpacking after moving in October... Too much stuff, crafting materials are mostly still in boxes. Weekends are busy with life, so little progress made. Getting the urge to push through, though, soon. I have several projects waiting...
Jun 2, 2020 20:14:39 GMT
erho: Yeah I'm down for a painting contect
Jun 8, 2020 14:28:59 GMT
sgtslag: Started working on making hills, which match my Tee-Time carpet I use for my "grass mat," on my gaming table, for big battles. Got two long chunks of open-cell foam, from a friend. Used my Proxxon Hot Wire Cutter to make terrain hills out of them.
Jul 26, 2020 20:12:40 GMT
sgtslag: Came up with around 80 hills. Covering them with the same carpet, from scraps. They will match the tabletop, perfectly. Contact Cement, is my friend. Will post on it, when I get the pictures uploaded. Some prototypes done, as proof-of-concept...
Jul 26, 2020 20:14:06 GMT
randywest: does anyone know more manufacturers for 1/72 fantasy minis besides Dark Alliance, Caesar and Elhiem?
Sept 14, 2020 14:16:19 GMT
sgtslag: 50 Hills completed, 24 left to cover the sides on. Hoping to finish this project within the week. Then I'll post a build description. For war gaming, but it can cross over to RPG sessions... They match the ground 'cloth', perfectly.
Sept 19, 2020 19:03:09 GMT
sgtslag: Sorry, randywest, the listed makers are the only ones I know.
Sept 19, 2020 19:03:34 GMT
sgtslag: Ran out of Hot Glue, with only five hills left to add a skirt to the sides of. Wal-Mart closes at 8:00 PM, thanks to COVID. GRRRrrr! Another 30 minutes of work, and I would have been done: ~77 hills, modular, perfectly matching my table's ground cloth!
Sept 23, 2020 2:50:39 GMT
sgtslag: Will post a write-up soon, or after next week's vacation. Cheers!
Sept 23, 2020 2:51:57 GMT
sgtslag: Hoping to acquire a Chop Saw within the next two weeks. Then I will cut up MDF into triangles, to form the skeleton of my d20 fantasy world globe... Posting will follow, with how-to guide. Cheers!
May 11, 2021 22:57:40 GMT
erho: I have a confession: I havnt painted a thing in months because I got a new guitar(#8!) but now that May "Megadeth month" is over I have a repaired airbrush and a early 90's Ral Partha Amethyst dragon on the table... pics to come soon!
Jun 11, 2021 17:49:58 GMT
margaret: too bad you can't post your music here =). Hadn't seen that dragon - looks like it came out when all my cash was going to raising kids. Looking forward to seeing your paint choices!
Jun 12, 2021 2:41:42 GMT