So as mentioned before, one of the players– the best player, upon whom rocks shall not fall, unlike some other characters I know— read the instructions and picked something from my stock. She chose the armoured gnome with the punk haircut, and is currently playing a Gnome Fighter named Nyx.
The other four needed custom minis, which I delivered at a much slower rate (about one every two weeks) since I was now trying to fit mini construction in between adventure prep. Which was kinda… like… what I had been trying to avoid? By doing the minis in advance?
It’s cool though.
I’m not bitter.
Dragonborn Paladin (Wizkids D&D Unpainted)
Of the five players in the group, only one has ever played D&D before. That player arrived having decided in advance not only on a character concept– a dragonborn paladin named Tethyra– but also to serve a deity that I wasn’t planning to include in my setting– Torm, the god of justice and battle and other paladin-y stuff from the Forgotten Realms. I built my setting around the pantheon from Fourth Edition D&D because it’s a really short list of gods compared to most other settings, which always made them much easier for me to remember. However, this player was clearly attached to the pantheon from the Forgotten Realms (with its sprawling roster of 20+ deities), so, whatever. Bahamut goes away, and Torm joins the 4E pantheon. Easy swap. 😛
This player made up slightly for not reading the campaign document by scrounging up some pretty sweep concept art for his character:
Art Credit: Birdy on Twitter
He wanted to look exactly like this, except: silver scales instead of gold, heavier armour, and a hammer and shield instead of a longsword. But the overall look, including the cool cloak/tabard thingie, should remain the same.
I didn’t own any good dragonborn minis to base this off of, so I once again went to Wizkids’ line of unpainted D&D minis. I bought a blister of Dragonborn Paladins and picked one in a pose that I liked:
I scraped off some details I didn’t need, like the dragon’s head icon on the shield, and used Green Stuff to add the tabard, horns, and some symbols of Torm. I also sculpted a new hammer from scratch, and swapped it in for the model’s original sword.
Once I was happy with it, I tossed on some paint:
He turned out okay, though I continue to be frustrated with metallic paints. It’s probably been five years since I used any true metallic paint, and I’m having a lot of trouble getting it to look clean. Bleh. :/
When I play a character in D&D instead of DMing, I tend to come up with incredibly elaborate backstories for my characters (see Pirisca and Helen for prominent examples). I’ve noticed that other players in my games rarely do the same thing, but one player in my work game did me proud by coming up with his own wonderful biographical monstrosity:
Meet Colin Cartwell, a human orphan who was adopted by halfling river traders. He grew up thinking he was a halfling, and only learned that he wasn’t when his family’s boat was attacked by river pirates. The pirates took Colin captive, and he eventually spent years serving on their boat before eventually escaping and becoming an adventurer. Because Colin grew up among halflings, he was accustomed to wearing their hand-me-down clothing, which has a, err, interesting fit over a six-foot human frame. 😛
Colin is a sorcerer, and wears clothes that are WAY too small for him. I obviously knew that I wouldn’t be able to find a stock mini wearing such an odd outfit, so I instead dug around to find a mini that was close to naked and sculpt clothes on top of it. Naked female miniatures are incredibly common, but very few companies make nearly-nude male figures (because of our old friend sexism, as usual). However, I did find one that fit the bill– and it didn’t even cost me anything this time, because this was yet another mini that I had bought years ago for no particular reason and rummaged out of the bottom of my Reaper minis bin. 😛
These minis are a pair of “Sea Elves” from Reaper Miniatures. While the distinctive swimming pose wasn’t ideal, I figured that I could work with it as a base and then sculpt a new limb or two to give him a more normal standing pose. Once that was done, I would sculpt on the teensy-tiny clothes. Oh, and one other modification was needed based on my conversation with the player about his physical features:
“He’s black, and he’s always smiling, and he has big dreadlocks tied up on top of his head. He looks like… um… actually he’s just Lucio. Lucio from Overwatch. Just make me a Lucio model.”
I mean… sure. Why not. 😛
I was super happy with how this one came out. It’s definitely a silly concept, but I treated it as seriously as I could and I think the end result looks pretty sweet. 😀
Wood Elf King (Reaper)
Next up, we have Melorion Ganadonel, an elvish Druid. This player had the least clearly-defined idea of what she wanted her character to look like, so I picked a sampling of miniatures for her to look through and narrow down what she wanted. Druids can’t wear any metal, so the miniatures were largely broken down into three categories– long robes, standard adventurer leather, and “elfy”. She liked the latter category the best, and ended up immediately latching onto one of the miniatures I showed her: Reaper’s Wood Elf King.
The player is a graphic designer by day, so I let her choose the colour scheme for her character by sending me hex colour codes. She picked a really nice sea-blue for both his hair and armour, which I offset with a lot of neutral browns.
The bird was a bit rushed, but I think the rest looks pretty awesome. 🙂
Skreed Gorewillow (Reaper)
The last party member to receive a miniature was Torpid Glim (direct quote: “It means sleepy lamp!”), a half-orc punk bard who plays the electric bass lute.
It turns out that Reaper doesn’t sell bass lutes, but they do sell an instrument pack with a normal lute that I’m sure they intended you to extend on your own. 😛
I had a quick chat with the player about what he wanted Torpid to look like, and it didn’t take long to land on a concept: half-orc Billy Idol.
“But Spud!“, you exclaim. “Billy Idol doesn’t play an instrument!“,
Shush, you. Half-orc Billy Idol does.
Not gonna lie, the face turned out SUPER creepy and cadaverous. But, whatever. I did what I could with the face that came on the model. 😛
Finishing all of the new minis took me until the fifth session, but it I think you’ll agree that in the end, they ended up as a pretty dashing group of murderhobos:
And just for fun, let’s toss them in with the original group for a single giant family photo, covering most of a decade of Spud’s D&Ding:
I’m still super pissed off that I can’t find those missing minis, though. They’re either in the “five years from being a hoarder” catastrophe of my apartment, or at my friend Rich’s house, or at his friend’s house, or at my other friend Ben’s house.
Or some other location I can’t think of.
I think I took Miss Frizzle’s advice to “Get Messy!” a bit too far. :/