Tuesday 29 August 2023

Roadside encounters for Five Leagues from the Borderlands

 Travelling in Utavoll can be dangerous, what with the weather being so changeable and the possibility of meeting bandits or hungry wild dogs. With dangers like these around, most travellers will travel in larger groups and prefer to wait for a merchant caravan that they can join, rather than setting out on their own.

Dust hounds

Wild dogs are a nuisance to most, but can be deadly if encountered in large packs. Utavoll is home to packs of wild dogs. Mostly they avoid settlements, but they are opportunistic when food is scarce and will enter a settlement in the winter to pick off whatever they can get their teeth into.

I'm not particularly happy with the rank and file here, but I like the look of the two leader figures. Can't be bothered going back and repaintng them all yet though.

Iceborn curs (RPE Demonworld)

Petty robbers

These minor thieves are only minor in the sense that they are poorly armed and equipped. If there are enough of them and few enough of you, they will pick your corpse clean.

Unarmoured bandits (Two Dragons and Essex Miniatures)

Roving fiends

The beastmen of Utavoll are rarely seen, but they are generally hungry and not interested in pre-dinner conversation.

There are many different types of beastmen and I am using my werewolves here until I have painted up the beastmen for my Gnawling Horde.

Werewolves (RPE Demonworld)

Rag-tag Brigands, Organised Robbers and Infamous Marauders

Petty robbers aspire to become rag-tag brigands with better equipment and organisation. Rag-tag Brigands are more experienced and better able to take on larger groups of travellers. They may be based in a nearby village and supplement their earnings with a little light larceny.

Similarly equipped to the Rag-tag Brigands are the Organised Robbers, who are outlaws of the greenwood. These well-organised brigands live outside normal society in the forests of Utavoll. They are prone to singing, slapping their thighs and knifing you in the back so that they can take all your wealth.

The most dangerous of the outlaws, the Infamous Marauders have survived their time as Rag-tag Brigands and Organised Robbers to become the most feared and well trained of the robber groups a traveller is likely to meet. Woe betide the poor traveller that is set upon by them.

Light armoured bandits (Two Dragons)

Bandit leaders (Two Dragons)

Goblin war party

There is a reason they call it goblin mode. Mostly goblins want to stay in their caves and slob around. This makes them happy. As long as they are left alone, goblins keep to themselves and rarely bother anyone except on the occasions that they steal a sheep from a local farmer. That can be avoided by not putting your sheep out to pasture near a goblin cave. These guys are not in goblin mode. Someone upset them and now they are on the warpath. They are organised and can be deadly when met in large numbers.

N.B. Goblins rarely go anywhere in small numbers.

The Goblin entry here calls for slingers, but I cannot find any suitable figures, so my Goblins will have bows.

Goblin warriors (RPE Demonworld)

Goblin archers (RPE Demonworld)

Goblin heroes and leaders (RPE Demonworld)

Goblin shamans (RPE Demonworld)

More Goblin shamans (RPE Demonworld)

Stumbling dead

Sometimes the dead do not stay in their tombs, because they have unfinished business on this side of the veil. That said, they seem to have difficulty communicating what they actually want. As a result, Zombies can occasionally be seen roaming the wilderness. They are slow but that does not mean you should ignore them, because they are also relentless and do not need to sleep, unlike you.

Zombies (Alternative Armies and RPE Demonworld)

Northern wolves

Wolf packs generally avoid human settlements unless it is a hard winter. However, this does not apply to travellers in the wilderness, whom the wolves consider to be fair game. It is always best to travel in larger groups if going off the beaten track, because lone travellers may be set upon by a pack that is not able to find its usual prey. If the traveller is particularly unlucky, the pack will be guided by a goblin captain.

Wolves (RPE Demonworld)

Robber baron patrol

Not all hazards are outlaws, brigands and feral beasts. Sometimes the local lord decides that taxation is not enough and sends out his troops to encourage travellers to contribute to the lord's retirement fund. Occasionally, the minions will be accompanied by the baron's champion, or even by the baron himself!

A robber baron and his minions (Two Dragons)

Strange troops

Travellers occasionally report being attacked by troops "who b'ain't from roun' 'ere." No one knows where these troops came from or where they go to, but all report that they are unrelenting in their savagery.

I must admit to feeling a hefty dose of nostalgia while fettling these figures for the table. I have had some of them since the early 1990s and even got them painted then! I've lost track of the number of times I have repaired damage to their paint jobs and rebased them, but they are still here and ready to be fielded.

Partial armoured bandits (Two Dragons)

Half-fey raiders

The half-fey are often not welcome in human or fey society and are driven to the edges of civilisation where they are forced to prey upon others to survive. They are vicious and strong.

Elven warriors and Archers (RPE Demonworld)

Elven heroes and leaders (RPE Demonworld)

Saturday 26 August 2023

Lurking Foes: Dungeon denizens for Five Leagues from the Borderlands

 Lurking foes are a mixed bag of different opponents that you can encounter in dungeons. Here you will find everything from Rodents of Unusual Size (if they really exist) to giant omnivorous worms to undead warriors left to guard their liege's tomb for all eternity, which makes them a bit short-tempered.

I have mixed and matched from various different scales and ranges to put together a selection I am happy with. As a result, the ROUSs range in size from that of a medium sized dog to that of a pony. The dungeon worms are huge despite being 10mm figures, and so on. I have also reused figures from other factions to save time and money.

Giant rats

These are rodents of unusual size, ranging in stature from medium dog-sized to being as large as an average human being. Some people say they do not exist...

Rodents of unusual size (Ral Partha Europe 28mm rats)

Giant bugs

It is said that the larger the scorpion, the less venomous it is. That may be the case but these giant scorpions still hurt when they sting you, and their pincers are enough to take your arm off if you are not careful.

Giant scorpions (Pendraken)

Winged Imps

The imps of the third level of Hell take the form of giant flies in Utavoll. Their infernal buzzing can drive a person crazy even before they attack.

I took the cheap option with these and got a big bag of plastic Halloween flies. I really need to base the rest up too.

Giant flies (plastic Halloween decorations)

Skeletal defenders

Sometimes a necromancer just won't let a body rest in peace. These are the least of the undead, but they should not be discounted as foes. They can still kill you if you are not careful.

Skeletons (Ral Partha Europe Demonworld)

Decrepit worshippers

Sometimes the caverns and tombs under Utavoll are filled with the insane remnants of unspeakable cults. These people were formerly upstanding members of their communities until the Elder Gods called them to their service. Now they shamble round the tombs drooling and perform exotic and obscene rituals to honour their gods.

Sinners (Ral Partha Europe Demonworld)

Goblin infestation

"See the little goblin

See his little feet

See his little nosey wosey

Isn't the goblin sweet? Yeah!"

Goblins get a bad rap. They are just little guys trying to make it in a big person's world, and that makes them irritable and cranky when forced to confront larger people. It makes them inclined to attack big people in the hope that they can bring them down to the goblins' level. Seeing eye to eye with a goblin usually does not end well for the big person. Of course, you can avoid this situation by not going into goblin caves. So, knowing this, why are you in this goblin lair?

Goblin warriors (RPE Demonworld)

Goblin heroes (RPE Demonworld)

Cave Runners

There are only a few breeds of bear in Utavoll. The cave bears are the largest and most dangerous of those breeds, and yet you occasionally see a goblin captain leading the bear pack. No one is sure how the goblins have succeeded in developing a relationship with the bears, but it seems to work out for both of them, although some say that the goblin captains riding bears only did it for a dare, and now do not know how to get off again without being eaten.

Bears, one with Goblin rider (RPE Demonworld)

Gargoyle sentries

No one knows who summoned these stone demons or why they stick around after so long, but they are dangerous foes and the casual adventurer should be careful round them.

Gargoyles (Pendraken)

Tomb shades

Sometimes a person is just not done with everything they were planning to do in life, so their spirit hangs around after death. Sometimes that spirit finds company and they start to take out their anger on adventurers that raid their tombs. It seems unreasonable to the living but that is just the way things are, and these ghosts will not be happy to see you. The worst ones and the leaders of the other ghosts are those whose sheets got mixed in with the colours wash and turned pink.

Ghosts (Alternative Armies)

Delve crawlers

When people talk about the dead being food for the worms, this is not quite what most people have in mind. Nevertheless, tombs are a source of nutrition for the giant worms known as Delve Crawlers, and they do not care if the nutrition is still moving or not.

Giant worms (Pendraken)

Giant worm captain (RPE 28mm)

Crystal wards

It's nice to have your tomb decorated with crystal statues and some people in the past took it a step further. They summoned crystal demons into those statues and animated them to protect their worldly wealth from those who would seek to redistribute it in the nearest tavern.

Once more I am reusing figures in a different role. These figures are also the Fog Born (humanoid demons) from The Whispers from Beyond list.

Daughters of Xeribulos (Ral Partha Europe Demonworld)

Eternal Guard

The richest lords and ladies of the past hired necromancers to transform their personal bodyguards into undead personal bodyguards that would guard their tombs forever. No one fully understands why, but perhaps it was a test of those that came after. Only the bravest and the strongest would be able to seize their wealth. Or perhaps the rich were just greedy and heedless of the effect of hoarding their wealth instead of using it for the common good.

These look very like the Skeletal defenders earlier in this list. That's because I am being frugal and using exactly the same figures.

Skeletons (Ral Partha Europe Demonworld)