Wednesday, October 10, 2012

All The Wild Horses Vs. The Dead Talk Back

* = Why thank you Christian Bale, I like to think so as well...

I’m in a surly mood. I think it’s a seasonal thing where I get sort of grumpy and isolate a bit. Perhaps it’s the recognition of the onset of the holidays just on the horizon. I like the holidays, I really do. It’s a lot of merriment, gift giving, and general fun. However, I don’t like the buildup. It causes me significant anxiety, frustration, and the last few years no small amount of sadness. I’m endeavoring to be more aware of my emotional swings, make adjustments, and prepare myself proactively. This year is especially perplexing because of the imminent visit of my family. I just want it to go well, to be fun, and for them to feel at ‘home’. It’s an irrational and childlike concern, and because I have all the maturity of a 12 year old I’m feeling it in spades. Maybe this weekend, which while busy isn’t going to be terrible, will help to give me a chance to turn my brain off and just ‘be’.

Speaking of just ‘being’ this last week there was a CRAP TON of Shattered Star previews out, so gird your loins this one is going to take up some serious room. 

First up is Koriah. She looks to be some sort of tattooed Pirate. As you well know, well at least those that plow this steaming pile of nonsense, I LOVE ME SOME PIRATES! Although upon closer inspection I think she just might be some type of warrior. Either way, even though I think this is a digital render and not a sculpt, it looks damn good. That hook weapon looks truly nasty, she has a defiant stance, and the colors work really well together. That’s something that I’ve noticed a lot of late is the color choices and the effect they have on the overall miniature. I think it’s because I’m really, REALLY bad at this when I paint. I could learn a lot from these prepaints, and I’m trying to do just that. Overall I like this mini, although I might have enough PC minis now so it’s going to have to be a PASS for me.

Second up is Pem, who appears to be a Halfling Bard. I dig on the ‘Small Folk’ and I don’t think I really have a large selection in my collection. In addition this character is right off a Wayne Reynolds design so it’s got my immediate attention. I like this miniature because of its utility. It’s not necessarily a PC mini; it could EASILY be an NPC. The fact it isn’t brandishing an obvious weapon makes it far more versatile to me in a campaign. The pose doesn’t blow me away, but since it could double as a non-combatant I’m cool with that. The grin on the face is outstanding, and I for one like the garish colors in the background of the outfit. Overall this one is a MUST BUY for me. 
Third up is Runelord Sorshen. What an amazing looking miniature, seriously. Again I’m reasonably sure that this is a digital render and not the actual miniature, it’s a bit to ‘clean’ to my eye, however it does not distract from the design. The color scheme is good, although I’m noting a lot of dark red and silver in this set so far, it pales in comparison to the pose. There is a strange regal nature to her stance, and a serious vibe of danger with that weapon behind her back. I also like the fact that she is actively walking toward you. It’s a strange menace that comes off this piece. I also have to point out and compliment the subtle movement of the tabard and the cape as they really give what is sort of a meandering pose a LOT of motion. This is a MUST BUY for me. 
Now let’s take a look at the massive Troll Champion. First off this thing looks to be a might sight bigger than the Troll we got in the original set. I’m good with that as I found that piece to be really of odd stature. In addition this thing seems like it is a PERFECT stand in for one of my favorite residents of the Pathfinder Universe, Skanderbrog the Troll from Hugh Matthew’s ‘Song Of The Serpent’. In fact I’m basically convinced that the art for Skanderbog served as the design model for this mini, and as ‘meh’ as I was on that novel I LOVED that character, so to get a really solid miniature representation of him has me extremely excited. My only real complaint is the color; it’s just too damn bright. We need the palate tone to be brought down from four color superhero to something more akin to fantasy. He’s practically glowing like a radioactive Hulk right now. I’m hoping that an in-hand sculpted version will have a more muted coloring. Oh and if you couldn’t tell by what I’ve gushed about so far this is definitely a MUST BUY for me. Now I can just hope we get an equivalent for Krunzle The Quick as well. 
Next up is Xin. I have NO earthly idea who this character is, and as we’ve been told over and over again in the previews The Shattered Star Adventure Path is the spiritual successor and in some ways a sequel to The Rise Of The Runelords Adventure Path I’m assuming he’s a ‘Big Bad’. He looks like a ‘Big Bad’. In fact he looks like a Chaos Sorcerer from Warhammer with the elongated fingers, the black and bronze colors, and the Runelords symbol which also looks remarkably like the symbol of Chaos. I like this miniature. The hand effect of elongated fingers is really creepy and works perfectly with the accusatory and/or beckoning pose. The colors work as well, they scream evil wizard, and I do like the Asian influence in the robes and iconography. Overall I’d say this one is a ‘MUST BUY’.
Last but not least are not one, but TWO shots of the ‘Buy It By The Brick’ exclusive, the MASSIVE blue dragon Cadrilkasta. I have to admit my first impression visually was a firm ‘WHA?’ I’m not sure, but I think we are sometimes so mentally married to an idea or an image that when we run into something that challenges that viewpoint our first reaction is to dislike it. I have spent some time though now looking at this miniature, and in that time it’s grown on my significantly. It’s something VERY different from almost every Dragon miniature I have seen, and own. The jewelry gives it a distinct character, it makes me want to know why this wyrm wears it’s ‘bling bling’ and how my PC’s can become interested in stealing it. It is also a far more classic take on Dragons than what we have been doled out in the last three, yes I’m counting 3.5 and 3.75 as their own thing, editions. 
Gone is that singular, usually worn down or broken horn from the center of the head. Instead we have a standing, dressed to the nines, version of a VERY dangerous enemy. I’m not sure as I’m as sold on the pose though. It’s sort of a ‘give grandma a BIG hug’ pose. If she had an adventurer in hand, or maybe more gold, anything but this arms out thing, I think I’d be far more sold on it. The other thing that kills me about it is the fact that if you want one you need to order a ‘Brick’ and then shell out like $30.00. I have quite a few Dragons, and while none have the pizazz that this one seems to display, I refuse to shell out that sort of extra money to Wizkids or Paizo. It’s not that impressive of a miniature and frankly I’d rather pick and choose my singles on the secondary market, thank you very much. It’s an interesting choice, and one that is sort of risky to take considering how a miniature line relies heavily on their pieces being utilitarian and that Dragon is anything but. I applaud the effort guys and the hutzpah to do something vastly different, but for me it’s still a ‘PASS’. That was an awful lot of miniatures in one shot.

Well I was finally able to finish and digest A. Merritt's "The Ship Of Ishtar" (***** out of 5). Amazing, simply amazing. I'd always read about this book, but never had found myself with the opportunity to read it. It's not all hype. This book is wonderful. It has the same lush and beautiful prose style as Clark Ashton Smith, there is some wonderful action and brooding in the mold of Robert E. Howard, a sprinkling of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and yet it is it's own thing. There is a uniqueness to this story that I'm not sure I've ever seen duplicated anywhere. The wonderful inventiveness of the two gods struggling over the fate of the ship as well as their lovelorn followers. By the end of the tale I could not wait for the dark god Nergal's priest to die a HORRIBLE death. I was not disappointed, however there was a heavy cost involved. The ending isn't happy. It is very matter of fact, very much in the vein of Strange Fiction of it's age. The imagery, the tone, the feel is without a doubt pulp but it is so chock full of myth and scope that it becomes again this unique entity. I can not recommend this book enough. If you love fantasy at all you owe it to yourself to curl up with this work of art, enjoy it, and languish in it's glory.

How 'bout we finish this up with some...


- I'm going to have to knock out a D&D review after last Saturday's blood bath. We almost had a Total Party Kill, but I'll save that story for another blog.
- The new Podcast is up, and while it is sort of bizarre without the usual format I think it's to be thoroughly enjoyed. I mean c'mon it's about Halloween and Horror movies who doesn't love that?
- I'm still hoping to get reeces peanut butter cup laden banana bread soon. This I desire.
- I'm watching The Mighty Boosh. It's very strange, but I can't stop laughing. 
- The new Terraclips sets are F'Ning AMAZING! I used them for D&D last Saturday and all they made want was another of each set. Just a must have item for anyone running almost any table top RPG.
- In a bit over a week or so I'm running a balls to the wall Zombie scenerio for DREAD. I'm really excited and I need to get on the stick and get the questionarres done as soon as possible. I think if we get a big turn out the game could turn into something really special.
- This change in weather is incredibly brutal on my joints this year. Even my elbows ache. I'm physically miserable.

You know I think that's all I got...
"Did You Not Grant Quarter To The Daemon, Giving Treatment To Its Wounds?
And Would You Not Consider It Unnatural To Be Born Outside The Womb?
We Eagerly Await Your Response And Your Best Defense.

La Curandera Is The Young Girl
In A Linen Dress Of White.
She Dances On Black Sand In The Night
In Her Linen Dress Of White.

Let Us Vote To Dunk The Witch In The River Styx And Photograph The Lye.
So In The Shadow Of Cerebus Her Spirit Will Reside.

La Curandera Is The Young Girl
In A Linen Dress Of White.
She Dances On Black Sand In The Night
In Her Linen Dress Of White.

Bird In The Fire, Mouthful Of Sand
King Of The Briar, Mouthful Of Sand
The Scale And Feather, The Lock And Key
The Lord Of Weather, The Beast At Peace"

* = Two great tastes that WOULD taste great together.  I would seriously punch babies for this cartoon to exist.

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