Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Revenge Of The Creature Vs. Tarantula

* = So this blog is a few weeks old now…  Things have been crazy.  From the heights of bliss to the depths of melancholy.  My life has never been boring, anything but.  I’ve reached a point where the highs are SO high now that I’m just left in awe.  It even takes the crappy stuff and makes it not only bearable, but simply relegates it to the level of minor nuisances.  Just when I thought I had it all in life, it just gets better and better.  So I apologize that I’ve lost some focus here on something that has been VERY important to me.  I’m going to try and get back on track next week.  Without further ado, I hope you enjoy…Or don’t…

I was thinking about a unifying theme for this blog, but I’m not sure I’m ready to fully form a thought on what is going on in my brain right now.  There has been so much going on, good and bad, that I’m just sort of overwhelmed, so instead I just decided to go the safe route and hammer out a bit of ole stream of consciousness I like to call…


- Holy crap, Halloween Party ’13 was INSANE!  There were over 30 people in our humble abode all hamming it up, wearing costumes, drinking, eating, being merry, and having a great time.  I was blown away by the turnout, by the mood of the event, and honestly by how awesome everyone was.  It isn't always easy to walk into somebody’s house and just mingle with a whole lot of other people who really don’t know you either.  Once we get the pictures gathered I’ll post them.  I have to say Cassandra was absolutely amazing in her facilitating skills.  She would go around the house introducing people, getting things started and then phasing out.  I on the other hand was a bit overwhelmed in the best possible way, by the sheer amount of people and how incredible everyone was.  I don’t generally care for crowds, in fact I don’t function well in them, but this was an exception, and what an exceptional exception it was.  Thank you to everyone who came out.
- Seizures are just the worst…Seriously.
- I DVR’ed a ton of Vincent Price flicks over the spooky holiday in order to watch back flicks I’d both seen and don’t remember and some that I have never watched but heard good things about.  The first one we watched was ‘Theatre Of Blood’ (** ½ out of 5).
This was Price towards the back end of his life and the flick was in that odd time of cinema where it was painfully self-aware.  I really enjoyed the pseudo Phantom Of The Opera vibe of the movie coupled with a painfully charismatic man building a freaky army of hobos to kill his critics.  I also thought the twist with Price’s daughter was excellent.  The series of murders being based loosely off of the plays of Shakespeare was an inspired idea as well.  The thing is the movie was just sort of blah.  Everything is done well, but there is a level of camp that sort of undermines the dread and just left Cassandra feeling the movie was flat.  It isn’t bad; it just isn’t that good either.  

- Heel Turn Radio Episode #4 FRIDAY NIGHT!  Or maybe not...
- The new Pathfinder Tales novel by Howard Andrew Jones, ‘Stalking The Beast’ (**** ½ out of 5) found its way to my doorstep and I devoured it in two days.
The book is a sequel to ‘Plague Of Shadows’ and continues the travels of the Elf Ranger, Elyana, and her Half-Orc friend, Drelm.  I liked the first novel a lot.  I thought the premise was fantastic.  By the time we catch up with these characters again, they’ve settled down a bit.  Drelm is the Captain of the Guard in a town in the River Kingdoms, with Elyana serving as an advisor.  He’s set to marry the Mayor’s daughter, is well thought of by the community, and seems to have gotten past the underlying potential racial hatred.  The thing is NOTHING is ever as it seems.  The book follows the great style of Dave Gross in that every single chapter is seen the perspective of one of the three main characters.  In this case Elyana, Drelm, and the newcomer, the pistol packing bounty hunter Lisette.  A great unknown beast is rampaging through the countryside leaving only death in its wake, so a group of heroes is assembled to hunt it down and dispose of it.  That is only the tip of the ice berg though as treachery abounds, racial hatred, old grudges, political and religious machinations, and back stabbing are the order of the day.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and think the characters are a LOT of fun.  My only complaints are that Drelm’s chapters can feel as straightforward and rigid as his thought process and that sometimes becomes a bit tiresome.  Elyana is the most balanced character so her chapters tend to be the most informative story wise.  While Lisette is the opposite of Drelm and her chapters can be so character and personal perspective driven that you can lose the overall narrative.  These are the most minuscule of complaints, because the fact is the style works and the story is a joy.  So go read ‘Plague Of Shadows’ and then follow it up with ‘Stalking The Beast’!  You won’t be disappointed.
- I really want chili, again…
- We got to meet Kedrin’s brother ‘The Nathan’ and playtest some D&D stuff last weekend.  In the process I am grooming Kedrin as a DM.  It isn't’t as easy as it sounds.  DMing is an art, and I think it is really hard to teach ‘art’.  That being said watch out world I feel like I unleashed a MONSTER on the world.  She is a natural, and the two Encounters we put the PC’s through worked SO well that they were almost T.P.K.’s that came down the final rolls by Cassandra in both cases.  It was TREMENDOUSLY fun, and she is only going to get better.  I look forward to the time when I sit on the other side of the screen playing in a game she runs.
- Diablo III we love you.
- WWE 2K14 is incredible.  That being said I have yet to really play, because I’m hammering through all the ground work of setting up My Universe.  This is ‘seriouz bidniz’.  I’ve filled about 85 of my 100 CAW slots, which blows my mind, because I have more that I want, but to do that I’ll have to make some serious cuts.  I've got a WCW Nitro show that is an odd mixture of Flair era WCW and N.W.O. era.  It is a loaded roster and will only get better once one of the future DLC are released, I’m looking at you Dusty Rhodes.  I dumped a lot of the hardcore WWE guys into a Friday Night Smackdown show, that I really don’t care about.  Then I have an ECW show, Ring Of Honor, PWG, and Chikara.  The rosters are chock full of awesome.  I have yet to even start hammering out other L.E.W.G.I. members.  So much to do…
- I demand hugs and cuddlin’!  DEMAND!
- We also watched Vincent Price in ‘The Conqueror Worm’ (*** out of 5).
This is one of those flicks I’d always heard about, but never watched.  I wouldn't quite call it a ‘Rite Of Passage’ film in the Mighty Mike definition, but it definitely isn't’t pleasant.  At all.  It is England during the Civil War and is a fictionalized take on the ‘work’ of Matthew Hopkins, the self-appointed Witchfinder General.  Hopkins was a ‘witch hunter’ and it is believed he is responsible for more deaths due to claims of witchcraft than in the hundred years preceding him combined.  So he was a real ‘winner’.  The film is loaded with graphic torture, some rape, and is just brutal in its take on the way that a man with a title and ‘God’ on his side could basically pillage at his whim.  It is hard to watch to be honest, because Price comes off so damn cold and conniving.  Even the ending robs you of any real ‘joy’ in the retribution.  The thing is this is not a bad movie, it is just brutal, and it seems to reveal in its brutality a bit.  It is almost a precursor to the run of ‘Torture Porn Horror’ we had five to ten years back.  So if you want a challenge go ahead and give this one a go, I for one will most likely not be watching it again.

- Sometimes things are just what they are, and that is wondrous.
- Two Fridays ago was the 2nd Annual Trivia Death Match and it was a wild one.  We have a new Champion, Zack Attack, aka the Tiny Yeti.  It was a wild night.  There was a crap ton of distractions, costume changes, terrifying clowns, groping, and some super BIG brains in a room trying to destroy one another’s hopes and dreams.  I love the event, and I’m glad we have been able to have it twice now, and look forward to the next defending of the Trivia Belt!  We’ll have a HIGH bar to try and reach for next year.  Thank you to Mighty Mike, ‘Magic’ Mike, The P-Bury, the lovely Cassandra, Joltin’ Julie, Zack Attack, Lady Christy, Killer Cassie, Mick, & the C-Fish.  
- I know I’m missing talking about so many cool things, but for the life of me I can’t remember what they are…
- Since I was outta sorts I missed a whole slew of miniature previews, so gird your loins it is going to be a long one…First up is a run of the new Pathfinder’s Battle set, Wrath Of The Righteous!
Let’s start with the absurdly incredible Baphomet!  This is an extremely cool Large Rare.  What is not to like here?  I just can’t find anything.  The colors are vibrant, but not overwhelming, the sculpt has such an odd tilt to it that is off putting, and that grin is chilling.  This is such a departure from what I think of when I think of this Demon Prince, but it so stylized and well done that this is the image I’ll be thinking of from here on forward.  The sickly skin tone just pops compared to those dark wings, and the colors on the tabard are glorious.  This lives up to that Rare painting quality and then some.  It is just a spectacular miniature and one that is a MUST BUY for me.

Next up is this set’s Minotaur, which is a Large, Uncommon.  I like the Heroes & Monsters Minotaur, it is a nice miniature, but this one looks to be a huge upgrade.  The paint fades from the brown to the black are fantastic; I like the savage grimace that is across his face, as well as the lack of clothing giving him a brutish appearance.  I like the hand ax as well; the look makes me feel like it was taken off a dead Dwarf for some reason.  The pose has a nice feel of menace to it, as if he is slowly advancing to chop you up and eat you.  This is just a nice utilitarian miniature that would work well as either a single or in a small group, and should fit well with the rest of the miniatures that I already have.  In addition it fits a theme of Minotaurs and their demonic brethren in this set.  It is therefore a MUST BUY for me.
We stay in that theme with Hepzamirah, the daughter of Baphomet.  She is a hideous Large, Rare.  I love this miniature.  I was sold just on the face alone which seems to have this sort of stupid malic imprinted across its ruined visage.  Even her eyes seem to be sculpted and painted in a way that just exudes this hatred.  It is just masterfully done.  Add into that the sickly yellow skin tone, the battered and worn but functional armor, and that truly nasty looking weapon and you have a Bad Guy who your PC’s would have to take a second glance at.  She is a fearsome look enemy.  She would make a great Exarch or Big Bad in any campaign and on any gaming table, and is a MUST BUY for me.
We move a bit away from the Minotaurs here, but stay within the confines of things with horns.  Here is Minagho, a Lilitu Demon (I had to look it up).  It is a Medium, Rare miniature.  I like the fact that this guy seems to be part of Baphomet’s realm, and fits in with the theme really well.  It establishes that the Demon Lord has more than just Minotaurs who worship him.  It builds the world around a Big Bad, and inspires me to want to use that particular Demon Lord to pester my PC’s.  All that being said this particular miniature leaves me cold, like a call girl in a shallow grave.  The dark armor makes the skin color look bleh to me, and the larger legs seem goofy.  He looks like he is in Gene Simmons platform boots.  That sort of ruins the menace of the stance and what appears to be some really cool looking clawed fingers.  It just isn’t that impressive to me, and especially not for a Rare.  This one is a PASS for me.
Rounding out our Baphomet driven preview is the Baphoment Cultist, a Medium, Common miniature.  I’m going to need a gaggle of these bad boys.  They are perfect as armored Cultists, would be great as armed guards for some type of ‘Horned Lord’, and are ladies on top of that so could be a PC miniature if needed.  First off I like the colors as they fit the armor, but also have that red in them that just pops.  The pole-arm stance works here, but unfortunately really isn’t anything new.  I really like the broken horned helm though, THAT is a touch that really gives this rank and file warrior its own vibe.  I’m going to need like 5 of these bad boys, hope they are cheap, this is a MUST BUY.
We get another Cultist in our next preview, this time the Deskari Cultist, who is also a Medium, Common.  The beautiful thing with this miniature and the one before it is they are versatile.  While this guy is a Cultist of the Locust Horde he also looks like a burly farm hand, or a very buff villager.  Hell, he could even be a really crappy henchman for a local warlord or even for a low level PC who needs some extra muscle.  The pose leaves something to be desired as it is super static.  The paint job is pretty standard, and while it doesn’t blow me away it certainly doesn’t look bad.  I’ll most likely grab three to five of them and use them as farm hands at some point.  This one is an easy, utilitarian MUST BUY.
Which brings now to some rank and file Demons, starting off with the Sloth Demon, this little guy is a Small, Common.  So this is a Demon?  I am non-plused by this.  In fact as a Demon, I’m disappointed.  That being said this is a KICK ass albino Goblin!  He looks like a great subterranean Goblin the vein of Mike Mignola’s art.  The loin cloth and that nasty improvised club spear thing really add to its savage nature.  Having it as a Common will greatly increase the amount of these bad boys I’ll be picking up.  As far as the sculpt goes, I dig it.  There is an almost roaring stance, but it isn't so over the top that it appears awkward.  It is an almost perfect rank and file savage monster pose.  This is a MUST BUY in bulk for me.
And now for something slightly different, the very interesting Slime Demon.  This piece is a Medium, Common.  Remember earlier when I went on and on about utilitarian uses of pieces?  Yeah I’m not going to do that again, BUT I will just say that this guy is another great example of a miniature that can be whatever you need it to be.  Sure this is a ‘Slime Demon’, but to me this is a summoned Mud Elemental, or some type of Sand Creature.  The paint job is pretty good, although again I don’t associate those colors with slime.  The sculpt is what really catches my eye, and the face in particular.  There is some really great negative space in the head that gives it this dark, foreboding, and hollow feel.  I like this miniature, I like it a lot, but I already have some miniatures taking up this very role, so I’m going to have to make this one a PASS for me.
I like Demons in my games, and I certainly like a variety of builds and looks to fill out my demonic forces.  That being said the Vermlak Demon, a Medium Common, doesn't do a lot for me.  There is a very cool idea in this miniature.  The worm like head, the sort of rotund body, and it almost appears as if the hands are bound to the waist.  Conceptually it is just a really interesting Demon.  I just don’t see how it would fit in any of my games.  So unfortunately for me it is another PASS.
We follow those two up with the Tiny, Uncommon Demonic Familiar.  I want to like this miniature, but damn if this pictures is blurry as hell.  I can’t tell at all what the face looks like, and the paint job looks REALLY splotchy.  I like the color choices with that light green and sickly yellow, the pose is decent, but man does the blurriness of the face really make me nervous.  Throw in that it is an Uncommon and I’m really on the fence with this one.  Until I see one in hand, this is just going to have to be a PASS for me.
Next up is the mighty Horned Demon, an Uncommon Medium.  Now THIS is what I’m talking about!  This guy is a straight up BEAST, and one of my favorite translations from a Wayne Reynolds piece of art.  He looks massive, the pose is perfect, and that gaping maw is incredible.  I love the small touches like the different color, the red around the white eyes, and especially those groaning faces on his belt.  It all adds up to something truly impressive, and something I’d like three of.  If you can’t tell this is a MUST BUY for me, it is simply a great looking miniature.
I’m not sure how I feel about the next piece; The Mongrel.  This strange looking guy is a Medium, Common.  I have some Mongrel Men from the old DDM sets, and it is a monster I really do like a lot.  They work on a lot of different levels.  This thing is a bit cartoony, but really does sort of work as an amalgamation of beasts smooshed into one bi-pedal engine of destruction.  The pose both highlights the things I like, such as that giant crab claw hand, and unfortunately shows off the oddities of the head and face which I don’t care that much for.  The colors work, and there is a nice balance of muted colors as to let the brights pop and not overwhelm the piece itself.  I’ll be picking up a few of these, like 3 or so.  This is a MUST BUY for me.
We follow that up with the Berbalang, or at least Paizo’s version of it.  This is a Medium, Common figure.  This isn’t a bad looking miniature, at all.  In fact the sickly green color, mixed with the looming stance, and the torn to shreds clothes really give this miniature a gross menace.  However, I really like the scheming Devilish DDM version, and I already have some re-based Mage Knight flying zombies that fit the niche’ this miniature is built for.  So this miniature becomes slightly superfluous for me.  I mean don’t get me wrong if I can find it cheap I’m sure I’ll grab a few.  However, based on my current situation this one is a PASS for me.
And now for something that appears to be a Pathfinder-centric beast.  It is the Suicide Demon, a Medium Uncommon.  Dang if I don’t love this monster!  All of the nasty self-induced cuts couple with that pale skin is so evocative.  We get the horn theme again, making this Demon a perfect representative of the ever popular Baphomet.  The pose is solid, I like the knife tucked back behind as if it is waiting to either gut an enemy or make another gash in her own flesh.  I find most of the face sort of lacking, but those gritted teeth really stand out as spectacular.  I really like this miniature, and it is therefore a MUST BUY for me.
Do you like Hags?  I know I do!  Next up is Jaruunicka, a particularly nasty looking Hag.  She is a Large, Uncommon.  I really like Hag’s as monsters and think I have the perfect place for this nasty beast, Moma Kell.  I love the miniature.  It has a strange and off putting stance.  Almost like she is dancing or prancing towards you.  Then there is that grin, gawds that grin is horrendously wonderful.  The clothing choice seems odd, but works, and the blood soaked bottom of the dress is fantastic.  The color choices of the green skin, the white and gold of the dress, just make that red of the blood pop even more.  It is a great miniature, but I do worry that it’ll have a serious lean to it.  Either way, if it is reasonably priced then it is a MUST BUY for me.
Last but not least in this death march of previews is Aponavicous, a Marilith of prodigious size.  She is a Large, Rare.  I have a few Mariliths, and this one looks to take the place of them all.  First off she looks massive, as befits a general in the armies of Hell.  There appears to be a rock solid, if not a little bit plain, paint job.  Nothing in it blows me away, but it is all done exceptionally well for what it is.  It is a perfect representation of its source art.  And in that lies perhaps its biggest drawback.  Do I need another Marilith, even one that looks this spectacular?  For the price it will most likely require in the secondary market makes that an unfortunate no.  This is a great looking miniature, and if I didn’t already have three plus other miniatures of the same type then I’d be all over it, but unfortunately that is not the case.  Alas, unless it is dirt cheap on the secondary market, this is a PASS for me.          
- That’s a lot of tiny plastic dudes…
- On a non-Pathinfinder Wizkids related note, they are putting out a DOTA 2 Heroclix set that has me sort of interested.  I am unfamiliar with the game these miniatures are based on, but I do like the way they look.  So let’s take a quick look at the preview picks.
First up is the Lich.  The bright coloring throws me off a bit, because you know I like dingy looking fantasy characters apparently.  However once you acclimate to that look it is a fantastic miniature.  The sculpt looks great in its floating sort of head cocked way.  This would also work as some type of Far Realm tainted undead with all that odd coloring and what looks like tentacles coming out of its back.

Next up is the Witch Doctor.  Again the coloring is odd compared to a lot of miniatures I own, but it sort of works, possibly as an Orc of some type that has dyed its skin.  The diorama type base also adds a lot to the figure itself.  The raising of the staff as if drawing power and that skull that is placed out in front really add a lot.  I like the awkward pose that looks to be one part dance and one part crazy.

We follow that up with Razor.  Now I don’t know what Razor is, or is supposed to be, and I really don’t care.  It would make a PERFECT Fey ‘power’.  It has the aloof stance of floating gracefully.  The colors scream water and winter.  It would also possibly work as some kind of Angel.  Perhaps some type of avatar of the Ocean.  It is an interesting miniature that almost boarders to far on Sci-Fi and/or Super Heroes but has enough of that Fantasy feel that I could see plugging it into any of my D&D games.

Last but not least is the Faceless Void.  I’m thinking either Demon, some kind of possessed human that has finally give in to the demonic taint within itself, perhaps that of Baphomet.  Or a Far Realm nasty.  The pink color makes me think a bit of the Warhammer Big Bad Slaanesh, just that almost obnoxious pink on top of something that looks like it wants to eat you raw.  The pose doesn’t do much for me and the armor seems pretty plain.  This would be a great mini to have 5 or so of, but I don’t think that is financially feasible.  There is one or two more in this ‘Starter’ set, but I don’t have any pictures of them.  Overall this isn’t a bad little product, and I could see my spending $15 to $18 on it.  We’ll just have to see if it drops that low in price.

I think that’s all I got, or possibly all you should legally be asked to tolerate.  Next week I get back on schedule!  Hopefully…

“Far beyond the desert road
where everything ends up
So good the empty space, mental erase
Forgive, forgot

Heal them, like fire from a gun
Kneeling, my god is the Sun
Heal them, with fire from above
Kneeling, my god is the Sun
I don't know what time it was
I don't wear a watch
So good to be an ant who crawls
atop a spinning rock

Heal them, like fire from a gun
Kneeling, my god is the Sun
Heal them, with fire from above
Kneeling, my god is the Sun

Heal them, like fire from a gun
Kneeling, my god is the Sun
Healing, kneeling
godless heathens

Godless heathens always waltz on the sky...”

* = Proof that Hulk Hogan can ruin anything...

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