This last month has probably been the worst hobby month I’ve had in a really long time. I haven’t been really productive, and have been really distractible by some pretty silly things. Also, those things make perfect sense, too: surviving a pandemic responsibly means finding ways to connect with people without being physically in person, which means the audio group chat in my World of Warcraft sessions has been really alluring.
Downside, though- I suck at video games, and I would rather get my paints going again than spend a lot of hours leveling another character through WoW. So, back to the workbench!
Let’s get some badassery going with a regiment of Dwarf Rangers. This group of hearty warriors is made up of a mix of Mantic, Games Workshop, and Artisan Guild models, with the Artisan Guild figures having built-in magnetic bases so that I can pop them off the multi-base for some sweet Vanguard action!
The Runestone up front is landscape bark from the front yard, which I carved flat on the bottom, painted grey, then hand painted the runes and the dwarf face onto. It adds a pretty cool thematic element, and helps hide the base recesses for my removable figs.
The regiment is led by Herne and Frigga Ironheart, who lead the team together despite Frigga’s near constant intoxication. I really love these minis, and can’t wait to see them on the table. Any table. Someday…
Herne knew that they were in trouble. His group of rangers had been trudging through the fen for a week now, and their spirits were dangerously low. More importantly, their provisions were running even lower. Frigga had been sober for close to four days, and her temper had been at a steady boil since waking that morning.
And a sober Frigga can’t hit the broad side of an ogre’s nursemaid, he mused to himself. But she is capable of making everyone’s life a living hell until she gets something to quench that fiery thirst of hers.
The ranger pulled himself up from his hiding spot, and flicked his fingers in a silent signal to the rest of the regiment, which had concealed itself in the muck and the mire of the fen. Much more of this skulking about, and these warriors wouldn’t have much fight left in them.
They had been tracking a troop of kobolds for weeks, after coming across a horrific scene of carnage that the diminutive beasts had inflicted on a human village. Honor dictated action, and the hunt was on.
Suddenly, in the brackish water up ahead of them, came the sloshing crash of something big moving through the bogs that littered the fen. Whatever it was, it just made the misfortune of becoming today’s distraction from boredom.
Herne leapt up onto a nearby stump and started whooping and hollering, hoping to draw the as yet unseen intruder out into the open. Herne began to dance about on the stump, and at one point burst out into a lewd song about a halfling barkeep’s daughter.
The fen grew quiet, and Herne grew discouraged. He heard a less than amused “tisk” from somewhere behind him, and he knew that Frigga was quietly running through a list of insults to riddle him with.
There was a muffled yelp off to his left, followed by a ferocious crunching sound, and an all too brief scream of pure agony. Something flew through the air straight at him, and Herne barely had time to duck out of the way of the mystery projectile.
Herne hopped down from his perch and hunkered down into a low crouch, darting from the log towards where the mystery missile had touched down. After a moments searching, he found his quarry… or at least what was left of it.
The upper part of Duggart’s body was laying face down in the mud, both arms twitching at his side. A bubble of air popped as it rose to the surface next to the corpse’s submerged face.
His legs were entirely missing, the wreckage of his lower torso only hinting that extremities could have ever worked there in the first place. Duggart’s blood was seeping out in a lazy torrent, eventually mingling with the muddy waters of the fen in slowly swirling eddies.
A low, throaty chuckle purred out from the misty expanse, at once nowhere and everywhere. The hair on the back of Herne’s neck stood straight up, and he slowly unbuckled his daggers. His time on this earth may be coming to a close, but he wasn’t going to go to the Eternal Smithy without a fight.
There was an explosion of movement through the underbrush, and a humongous beast lumbered out of the fetid waters. The creature’s stunted legs ended with gigantic webbed feet, while its long, willowy arms were graced with craggy talons. Its eyes were flashing with wild excitement, its gore caked maw erupting into a vicious grin.
“TROLL!!!” bellowed Herne, even as bolts flew straight and true from at least a dozen hidden ranger’s crossbows. The troll reeled back in pain, then shook off the onslaught and redoubled its advance on Hernes position.
The doughty dwarf shifted his footing into a low fighting stance, and he juked to the left as the troll attempted to barrel into him. He chuckled quietly to himself, knowing full well that the creature had overestimated its odds of a quick meal.
The troll reeled up in sudden pain, scrabbling frantically at its leathery back. Frigga had somehow managed to find a perch between the creature’s massive shoulder blades, and had secured herself to its neck with a climbing harness.
Herne stood by to admire his sister’s handiwork for a moment, then gasped in mock horror as the tirade of obscenities she was yelling went on.
“I don’t think you can do that with a goat, even with a cask of oil, sister!” He shouted out. She replied with a curt suggestion of what he could do with his opinion.
A moment later, the troll fell lifeless to the muddy embrace of the fen, its eyes gouged out and a four inch wide trench of butchered flesh running ear to ear.
Frigga was a sight to behold as she unfastened the climbing harness, the fierce whites of her eyes flashing murder from beneath a mask of bloody gristle and mud.
Slowly, she smiled. Herne laughed. With Frigga able to blow off some steam, their ragged little group might be able to finish off the kobolds and get her to a proper tavern before her temper became truly impossible to manage.