Saturday, October 31, 2015

Proxy Figures: SHQ Cultists as Véshgayal (Shunned Ones)

Cultist #1

Cultist #2

Cultist #3

Cultist #4

Cultist #5

Cultist #6

Cultist #7

Cultist #8

Cultist #9

Cultist #10

Back on October 9th I blogged on about some of the Best Kept Secrets in 28mm miniatures: SHQ Miniatures. Some of the miniatures I highlighted were their "Cultists", which they sell in two sets. At the time I was thinking only in terms of human cultists - Cthulhu types, Chaos Cultists, that sort of thing.

Yesterday I received an email from fellow "Petal Head", and customer, Mike Lung, who sent me this scan and asked what I thought about using them as Shunned One proxies. 

I think he is onto something!

This is a scan of part of the back cover of the Tékumel Source Book, literally the "bible" for Petal Heads. The figure upper right is of a typical Shunned One, presumably a soldier or guard. Thee are only a few illustrations of the Shunned Ones, called the Véshgayal by the Tsolyáni, or the Bláshagh in Yán Kór. All show the double joints in the arms though curiously this feature is never mentioned in any of the text descriptions. What is mentioned is that they are tall: 1.85 to 2.33 meters.

So that appears to be two strikes against these figures as proxies, despite looking generally pretty good. That said, it should be noted that while the figures are 28mm and in scale a match to our figures, some are not standing upright so one could easily imagine them being taller if they did straighten out. If you are the sort to be bothered by a small detail like that. 

The double jointed arms are a bit more problematic. There is an unfortunate tradition, however, that there are often inconsistencies between the art and the text in the printed materials. This usually occurs with regards to things like the number of eyes, as many of Tékumel's creatures have three eyes instead of two. It is not always clear which do and which don't and sometimes there are contradictions in the sources. Given this history one could dismiss the double jointed limbs in the art and adhere to the text which is silent on the matter.

For me this is the convenient route, and the best, as I would much rather pay retail for Shunned One proxies than go to the bother and expense of getting them sculpted! :-) That doesn't mean I won't ever get any made, just not in the near future. 

The next thing now is to consider the hound-like beasts the Shunned Ones employ. These are described in Flamesong, IIRC. Now I will have to start the search for proxies for them as well.

Correction: Some friends have pointed out that the reference is in chapter 3 of The Prince of Skulls, not Flamesong. :-)

I should mention that I have been working on a sort of "Lost Valley" scenario which incorporates both the Shunned Ones and the Lorún. That will require its own blog post though...

Some last notes:

1) The numbering on the figures above is my own, based upon the order I took the pics which was completely random.

2) The weapon types listed for the Shunned Ones is mostly pretty close. It also lists 2-handed swords which would be easy enough to make from #4 or #10 above. It does say they do not use slings, bows or crossbows, but rather prefer throwing darts which they use with atlatl-like spear throwers. Myself, I have no problem ignoring this, and perhaps converting some dart throwers if I feel the urge.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dark Passage - the Anatomy of a Naval Scenario - Part 1

A "Large Chinese Junk" - 28mm figures for scale.

A close-up of the bow.

Yup, it's "large"...

This is one of the vessels I hope to use in an up-coming naval game, tentatively called: "Dark Passage". Yes, I am a Bogie fan! :-)

I bought this either on eBay or in a flea market somewhere. I don't remember where, though I suspect eBay is more likely. I've had it for ten years or more. At the moment I can only guess at the manufacturer, assuming that it is a commercial product (or at least, was at some time.) My guess is either Iron Mammoth [edit: I meant Scheltrum!] or Monolith Designs but there is another UK company that made large resin boats but I can't quite remember their name. It is on the tip of my tongue...IIRC they also did Pirate ships. I want to say "Hovels", but did they do ships? I'm not thinking of "Snapdragon Studios". Is there one that had "green" in the name?

As to the scenario, it will be set here, in the general area of the Gulf of Perudáya. The gulf is that estuary north of Lilsú Isle for those unfamiliar with the maps. It is over 200 km long and about 20 km wide at the narrowest point. The horizontal hatching in the water represents shallows which I am taking to be tidal shallows. Think of the Thames Estuary and how the sandbanks extend for kilometers out into the North Sea.

In My Tékumel, the Gulf of Perudáya is a treacherous place for navigation.  At high tide the areas of shallows are much as they are shown, only one must realize that the channels are constantly changing. At low tide large sandbanks are exposed and the channels change again. Wise merchants employ local pilots, eagerly supplied by the local clans, to guide their vessels safely to port. Their task is made all the more difficult by the early morning fogs that frequent the region...

Friday, October 23, 2015

The House of the Lord of Fire Triumphant - the Vengeance of Grai!

Rough Sketch of the Site

I've been thinking about my "Vengeance of Grai" scenario again. Grai is - was? - a town in Saá Allaqí that was taken by the Tsolyáni during the recent war with Yán Kór. It was raised to the ground and the entire population sent to the flames as sacrifices to Lord Vimuhla, the God of Fire. This was done under the orders of General Kárin Missúm a fanatical worshiper of the Lord of Fire. That his name means "Red Death" gives one the proper sense of how much of an extremist is the General.

After the war a civil war broke out in Tsolyánu around the secession to the throne. After several years the General's faction won and Prince Mirusíya ascended to the Petal Throne. This was in the year 2368 AS of the Tsolyáni Imperium. (AS = After the Seal).

The present time is some years later. There is war on both the Eastern and Western frontiers but the hot-headed General has been ordered to cool his heels in the capital. Frustrated, he has retired to his pleasure palace in the northern suburbs of Béy Sü to spend his time enjoying slave girls and sacrifices. Enter the "Survivors of Grai"...

This scenario is of course based upon the "Revenge of the 47 Ronin" recently described in detail in an Osprey Elite book of the same name. The concept is that a band of survivors or relatives of those that died in Grai have sworn vengeance and tonight is the night they take their revenge.

The above sketch shows the compound - the House of the Lord of Fire Triumphant - on the edge of Asumétl Port north of Béy Sü. This is an affluent suburb composed of mansions belonging to various nobles. The General's compound is surrounded by a low wall but is not really fortified. The Féshenga pens actually belong to the neighbouring estate.

This scenario will be a tabletop skirmish game on perhaps a 4' x 8' table. The intent is that the table comprise the area of the compound with only a little beyond the walls being used. Having laid out a rough area for the compound I now have to fit the palace and outbuildings into the space...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

More Plastic Proxies...

A pair of Mi-Go, Chasme Demon and Elder Thing

Malfeshnekor and Forgefiend

Stone Golem and Nightwalker

Vermlek Demon, Lost Soul and Crystals

Giant Crawling Hand

Giant Butterfly and Nuglub Gremlin

Grimslake and K'lor'slug

Thunderblast Cyclone

Chain Golem

Two views of a Vescavor Queen and Locust Demon

Our friend, the Baron and his able - but for some reason always slightly out-of-focus - assistant are back for another round of plastic proxy pics. :-)  Most of these are Wizards of the Coast plastic D&D figures; some are of a recent vintage, others go back a few years. I think one might actually be a Star Wars figure.

From the top:

1) The Mi-Go, Chasme Demon and Elder Thing are all from the most recent release. Or very recent, in any case. I like them all, but not for their original purpose. Some fine Tékumel fauna here, me thinks! Or in the case of the Elder Thing, maybe flora instead.

2) There seem to be a fair number of Malfeshnekor around so it is either recent, common - or both - or just has sucky stats. I like it though, as some sort of pack animal. I mean an animal that travels in packs, not one used for carrying loads. It is sort of like a mix of cat and monkey! Or maybe with that tail, I should say fox and monkey? The Forgefiend is nice with the translucent belly. Some creation of the Lords of Latter Times maybe, but for what purpose? A Gene Vat Tender, maybe? Inside his belly he generates the required chemicals to adjust the vats appropriately.

3) The Nightwalker is my favourite of these two principally because he is translucent. Quite a lot of Tékumel's creatures are invisible or semi-invisible because they don't exist on the same Plane, or phase in and out. I think translucent or clear plastic is just the way to depict that. The Stone Golem is probably OK as a tomb guardian.

4) Vermlek Demon, Lost Soul and Crystals. I've included the Vermlek because of the bizarre face but overall I don't like his costume. Could be part of some laboratory, I suppose, or a demonic assistant. The Lost Soul represents just another source for an ordinary undead figure. The Crystals might actually Reaper Bones - I'm not sure as they have no markings and I haven't taken the time to look them up. They are nice because I am an enthusiastic supporter of the idea that magical effects should be represented on the table if they have physical form. Some sort of "Wall of Ice" perhaps?

5) Giant Crawling Hand. Actually I think this should be called a "giant's crawling hand". I think what has happened is that some giant was reaching through a nexus gate and got his hand lopped off. The hand was later animated. Where this occurred and who was involved I do not yet know.

6) The Giant Butterfly is I think from the local toy store. I think it's a Safari brand product, being soft rubber. Probably sold in one of those sore-thumb displays next to the cash. I never really checked it for size before. I think I need to get some more. I like the little Nuglub Gremlin. Some sort of servitor. These sort of things show up in a number of Professor Barker's early pieces of Tékumel art, like this one from the original Empire of the Petal Throne rule book:

Not a match for the figure in lower right but that doesn't matter. That figure isn't referenced or described anywhere to the best of my knowledge. It's presence indicates, to me anyway, that some time at least, Professor Barker imagined imps or some other form of demonic servitors or minions as being a part of Tékumel's magic. The Nuglub Gremlin could be one such minion, as I am sure they would take many forms.

7) Grimslake and K'lor'slug. More Tékumel fauna. I need to take side-on pics for each of these. The latter one I suspect is a Star Wars figure. It has 6 sets of legs and I'm sure there should be a story to go with the "face". Is it actually a face, or do people just imagine it? Does the creature try to mimic humans in some way?

8) Thunderblast Cyclone. Great spell effect, I reckon.

9) Chain Golem. Great summoned creature or animate object (chain) spell effect.

10) Vescavor Queen and Locust Demon. I picked these up a while back because I thought they would fit well with Tékumel's weird and wonderful array of flora and fauna. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cthulhu Wars! On Tékumel???


Hunting Horror and Nyarlathotep 
(left arm unglued in box)

Nightgaunt and Flying Polyp

Shoggoth and Star Spawn

Fungi From Yuggoth and Dark Young


Deep One, Cultist and Byakhee

Cultist size comparison

The unflappable Baron Áld has graciously consented to appear in this "Photo Op of the Old Ones", ably assisted by one of Lady Mríssa's officers. These are all plastic figures from the "Cthulhu Wars" board game. I backed their Kickstarter mainly because I wanted the cool figures - sorry Sandy! ;-)

At the top is Hastur, who I suspect is currently residing deep in the bowels of the city of Hlíkku. I think he is my favourite of this bunch. :-)

All the others - the Hunting Horror, Nyarlathotep, Nightgaunt, Flying Polyp, Shoggoth, Star Spawn, Fungi From Yuggoth, Dark Young, Shub-Niggurath, Deep One, Cultist, and Byakhee - are all great figures. Most of them I am intending on introducing into My Tékumel, not as demons or creatures from the Outer Void, but as regular Tékumel fauna. 

Let's face it, the run-of-the-mill Tékumel beastie is typically pretty weird. There are no miniatures for any of them. And on top of that, I've been re-reading the Tékumel bestiary and there are large parts of the descriptions that I don't like. Numbers occurring, abilities, physical description - I have quibbles with quite a few. I "get" that they are meant to be alien creatures but there are some things that don't work for me. So I'm going to be "tweaking" things here and there.

So, on My Tékumel, good old Shub-Niggurath is reduced from Elder God to simple herd beast. Sorry, HP! :-) The Dark Young are also simply another denizen of Tékumel's jungles. Nyarlathotep I'm still considering but the others are pretty much decided how they are going to fit in.

All with a minimal of SAN loss! ;-)

The last thing I wanted to check was how tall the cultist figures were. As you can see they are slightly tall compared with our figures. The reason I was checking is that there are 24 of them in the box and I had an idea to use them as assembled magical contingents for Tékumel battles. Even with the height they probably would do fine.

There are at least four expansion sets with lots more figures that should be heading into stores soon - being part of the original Kickstarter. And there is a second "Onslaught" KS starting up on the 19th IIRC so there will be even more Cthulhu goodness coming down the pipes! :-)