Tag Archives: review

The Metamorphica is neat!

I picked up The Metamorphica the other week; it’s a lengthy collection of (as far as I can tell) totally system agnostic random tables, as well as some notes on how to leverage them.  I’d be leery of calling them “random mutation” tables: they cover that, but also insanities, super powers and psionics.

Anyway, the PDF is free, but I ordered the book because I’m a sucker for random tables, books in A5, system agnostic stuff (and it was easy to add to a Lulu order I was going to place anyway).

This thing is great.  When I say these tables are all over the place: I’m not kidding.  Entries look like this:

I could get into the specific contents (there are 104 body: form entries, 164 body: function entries, etc), but I’m not sure how useful those sorts of metrics are… and it’s free, so I’m sure you can figure that stuff out.

At a high level, though: it’s mostly mutations/psychoses/powers sorted into groups.  Appendix #1 is a bunch of tables for random stuff (plants! colors! animals! body parts!), #2 provides alternate arrangements of mutations & powers, #3 provides instructions for theming those mutations & powers to different settings and #4 provides instructions for creating specific types of creatures (like beastmen, demons, and plants).  Again, all of it system agnostic.

Really though, let’s do stuff with it.

Here’s a mutant: d6 mutations gave me 4.

Roll Description
780 Lights nearby are brighter and more violet
325 Photosynthetic
004 Amorphous
775 Crystalline Body

So, it’s a medium-sized crystalline blob that draws power from the sun, sucking away entire spectrums of light as it refracts through its hideous form.  That’ll do.

I’ve got WFRP on the mind, with its myriad and enthusiastic chaos/mutation systems, so I rolled up a few chaos characters.  Fortunately, Realms of Chaos is in Metzger’s bibliography, so there’s a page in Appendix 3 about creating chaos-y characters.

First, a  Chaos  Sorcerer:

Item Roll Description
Gift of Chaos 3 Demonic Weapon
Telltale 61 Turns to stone in sunlight
Mutation 671 Psychic Detection

Nothing mind shattering here, but definitely kinda creepy.  I can’t find a “demonic weapon” table anywhere, which feels like an omission, but at the same time, even though Slaves to Darkness has something like 18 pages on creating Daemonic Weapons, “has a weapon that’s a demon” is kind of enough, you know?

And now, a Chaos Lord:

Item Roll Description
Demonic Phenomenon 61 Food and drink spoils
Telltale 27 Plants move and try to grab the mutant
Gift of Chaos 1 Blood Rage
Gift of Chaos 8 Wings
Gift of Chaos 7 Pallid Siphon
Mutation 505 ADD
Mutation 661 Pain Broadcast

The Chaos Lord is more evocative: food spoils in its presence, nature itself attempts to strike at it.  It’s fickle, and reacts with a violent tantrum when injured.  It’s got wings and a pallid, colorless siphon, so I guess that makes it a loathsome mothman.  
So, this stuff is pretty cool.  The doc is great, and Lulu prints high quality books.  Definitely check it out.  This is one of the neatest supplements I’ve run into in a while.

Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven – Followup

So, on Thursday, I flipped through the new Skaven fluff book, and found it wanting.  Now that I’ve had the chance to read the whole thing, I’m considerably more positive about it.

My biggest complaint was the number of “filler” clans: clans that were, basically, one of the four great clans, but weren’t.  It’s not quite as bad as I initially thought:  Pestilens has 3, yes, as does Skyre… but Moulder’s only got 2 and Eshin’s only got 1.  There are 2 clans that are aligned with Grey Seers as well.

That puts Thrall Clans at 11 and non-Thrall Clans at 7.  (I’m not counting the one-off clans that back of the book: they fit 10 kind of neat clans onto the last page, two of which are Thralls.)   Not quite as bad as my initial flip-through indicated.

The art’s solid.  It’s what you’d expect from this sort of book, but no two rats look alike.  Each spread, for example, has a Warlord: and all of them look different, in very cool ways.

The fluff for some of the clans is interesting, some rather dull.  For every Clan Scruten (a Clan kept secret by the Grey Seers to use in case of uprising), there’s a Clan Volkn (they, uh, like volcanoes?).

There’s a great deal of Giant Pox Rat art in the book: four pieces.  Two of them are in the style of the book, but there are cover-quality pieces at the beginning and the end that are amazing.  This book really makes me want 1) for Pox Rats to be worth taking and 2) for GW to make a Pox Rat model (besides Nurglitch’s).

I’d mentioned Clan Skurvy last time.  They’re what really made me turn around on the book.  Their fluff is neat enough, I guess, and they’ve got a color scheme that’d be striking on the table (think lots of Iyanden Darksun).  But their Warlord (“Sealord”) art is brilliant.

What’s that on his shoulder? Is that some sort of bizarre rat-parrot hybrid?  A Par-rat?

You’re damn right it is!

Little details like that are all over this book.  There’s a lot more variety in here than meets the eye.  And I would buy the heck out of a Skrapp Warlord model.

If you’re a Skaven nut like I am: this is probably worth it.  If you think verminous pirates should have equally verminous parrots, you’re set.  If you’re running Skaven because they’re supposed to be a strong army: you can probably take a pass.

Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven

My ratty order from GW just showed up.  Didn’t order much: a Doom-Flayer ($20!?), the Magic Cards (very key) and the Skaven Uniforms & Heraldry book (which I’ve been unreasonably excited about).

Gave it a quick flip through and, I’ve got to say, I’m not entirely impressed.

The art’s about what you’d expect, which is fine.

The fluff is tragic, though.  Nearly all of the clans are: “Clan Morbidus, pledged to Clan Pestilens.  Clan Krizzor, pledged to Clan Moulder.  Clan Septik, pledged to Clan Pestilens.  Clan Ektrik, pledged to Clan Skyre.”  and so on.

There are unaligned clans in there, sure, but it feels like the bulk of them are along the lines, “So you want to run a Pestilens-themed army but also want to use other stuff.”  And that’s okay.  I just question the need for three (for Pestilens, at least) such clans.  The first is totally reasonable.  The second is pushing it.  The third really feels like filler.

There are some interesting clans in here: Clan Skurvy is totally cool, for example.  They feel outnumbered by the filler clans, though.

Interested parties should check out Children of the Horned Rat, for WHFRP 3E, which doesn’t have nearly as many new clans, but all of them are interesting (I thought, until checking, that Clan Skurvy was Clan Sleekit).  (There’s also a random Clan generator, I’m seriously considering wrapping a webapp around.)

Stripping Minis with a Jewelry Cleaner – Failure

About a week ago, I mentioned that I was stripping some minis that had a lot of gunk in the nooks and crannies, and that I’d ordered a cheap ultrasonic jewelry cleaner to blast that stuff out.

Well, it was a good idea, at least.

Earlier in the week my “Clearmax 800” showed up.

I played around with this the afternoon it showed up, but in the interests of science I’m starting from scratch and taking pictures for this post.

Here’s a picture of one of the minis.  It soaked in Simple Green for two days, and has been brushed as thoroughly with a wire brush and toothbrush as my back would allow.  (Hunching over the sink gets old pretty quickly, huh?)

After running the cleaner for 30 minutes…

(The picture’s blurry because my camera refused to focus.  You should be able to see some stuff there, though.)

So, clearly, it’s loosened something.  That water was clean when I started.  But:

Clearly, there’s more gunk still on the mini than in the water.  In fact, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between the two

The cleaner I got is cheap, and annoying.  It runs for 3 minutes before shutting off.  So, to have it run for 30 minutes, I’ve got to press “On” 10 times.  Clearly, I can’t run it overnight or anything.  Maybe that would have better results, but my cats aren’t particularly interested in pushing the button for me.

So, overall, I’m going to have to call this a failure.  Maybe a more expensive, higher-end machine would have worked better… but I’m not going to drop $100 to find out.  I’ve since picked out all the gunk manually.

Maybe, at some point in the future, I’ll try filling the thing with simple green and running it just because, but I have no expectations of it working better.

Review: Avatars of War Netherhound

In starting up my Khornate Daemon army, I decided very early on that 1) I wasn’t enthused about the Flesh Hounds (they fail to grab me and are all metal) and 2) I love the Warriors of Chaos Warhounds. So, it was a very easy decision for me to just use the Chaos Warhounds, instead.
When it came to Karanak, the decision was a little trickier. I didn’t want to use the Karanak model, because it didn’t fit with the Warhounds. I could have probably cut up three hounds and, with some greenstuff, made something work. Instead of doing that, however, I decided to use the Avatars of War Netherhound model. It fits much better with the warhounds, looks pretty cool, and will involve a great deal less sawing, greenstuffing and cussing, right?
Almost. As it turns out, this model involved a great deal of greenstuffing. Gaps were enormous and everywhere. Plus, I messed up slightly somewhere in my attemp to stick the front of the model to the two back halves (for things like this, where there’s nowhere really good to pin, I use superglue / greenstuff / superglue; it’s strong, but can be unforgiving), which made the non-negligible gap even more of a problem.
I’m more than a little disappointed by how much gapfilling I needed to do. If I want to add more to the model (and I’m debating it), that’s one thing, but I can’t think of another model I’ve had to work with that has had gaps like this out of the blister/box.
Even more disconcerting is the pose of the model. It doesn’t actually work the way it’s photographed on the AoW site. The flatness of the feet are out; the model is clearly sculpted to have its rear feet elevated half an inch!
Although this is manageable, it’s also painful. I’m basing all of my models with cobblestone plasticard that I’ll paint brassy. Now, I’ve got to figure out how to do a block beneath this model’s rear feet and have it look like it fits.
Overall, I’m pretty disappointed by the model. It looks good, but really required more work than I think it should have.