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Rangers of Shadow Deep – Solo play project

Rangers of Shadow Deep – Solo play project

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Project Blog by dugthefug1644 Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

I watched Ash Barker play this game on his YouTube channel Guerrilla Miniature Games as a let's play and I decided I wanted to get these rules. These rules are from the author of Ghost Archipelago and Frostgrave. I love Frostgrave, made lots of terrain and started on warbands and a bestiary of bad guys, but never actually got to play. This project shows my steps into getting my head into the rules, my warbands created, the minis painted and to try and get some games played.

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Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 3

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Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 3

The last room was the Shaman Workshop. Which was annoying because i had lots of fun painting terrain ready for the armoury room. We ended up setting up a wall of the better fighters so we would definitely get some gang up bonuses when we weathered the creature phase when they attack and then in the companions phase we managed to get a huge gang up bonus on the shaman and slay him easily with a crit. We were able to get to the stairs and the Golem wasn’t animated. Was able to get 57 experience points to take my ranger to exactly 100 points to level up. Eoin survived his post game injury with a 20, but to simulate his scrape with injury and death I will leave him with the prisoners on the lower level and take everyone else, including the Man at Arms up stairs.

Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 3
Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 3

Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 2

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Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 2

The next room was a torture chamber. I got to use my Gnoll Jailer and he did injure the soldier you meet in the chamber, but was later killed by him. The terrain was described as sparse so didn’t go overboard, but it was fun to see my racks in play.

The Rogue, Edwin was down to 2 health fighting the gnoll sergeant in the room, but the team rallied around and yet again Otto hit far above his weight killing more Gnolls. I chose to leave Edwin out of harms way and had time to gather around the door before opening it. Again we beat the 4 turn limit and ventured into the next room.

Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 2
Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 2

Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 1

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Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 1

The rooms are random in this mission and room one was a storeroom. I put a cart in there that can just about go through the door. I used barrels and tables etc. I used the Sigma statues to help shape the room.

Sadly Eion The Tracker fell to two awful rolls, but ultimately the team picked up the treasure available, killed the 4 gnoll fighters (Otto the recruit doing a lot of the killing) and made it to the next door within the 4 turn limit.

Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 1
Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 1
Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 1
Tor Vardon The Lower Tower Room 1

Going for it...

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Going for it...

Tor Vardon: The Lower Tower has been screaming out to be played but I didn’t have enough terrain to deck out the three rooms required for the mission.

I also wanted to add Otto to the warband and have typed up my warband details online and printed and laminated them. It just makes it easier to track now that only items and stats that change in game need to be added in pen.

I also decided to use neoprene mats from the Terminator miniatures game as the floor for my rooms. There’s a good chunk of the mat i can’t use because it has a modern road on it, but I overlapped the ones I have to cover it up.

I had primed some Age of Sigma minis grey already, so will use them as statues to add as extra terrain for now. 😊

Also needed a staircase to the upper floor and this is all i have. Also needed a staircase to the upper floor and this is all i have.

Otto the recruit.

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Otto the recruit.

Almost ready to play the lower tower mission. Just painting up some archery butts and weapon racks and I think I can call that ready.

The torture pieces in the background are from my Mantic Games Terrain Crate.

OTTO

Otto is made from an Oathmark Human body and arms with a Warlord Games German metal head and a Gripping Beast Viking scabbard.

Painted in the same style as the Man-at-arms made and painted earlier in the week.

The idea is that while they dodged the patrols on the way to the tower they found Otto up a tree. The young man wanted to fight his way back in there. But with everyone dead or having fled he just watched and logged the movements around the tower; hoping to be useful to whatever force arrived to retake the tower. Archibald says that sadly there would be no company of ‘heroes’ coming. That he and his companions were all that were coming and to make his report. His Intel helped them negotiate the patrols more easily and Archibald felt that after his companions had been lucky not to have suffered serious injury at the bridge that perhaps another sword might be worth having. In the confines of room to room fighting another blade might make all the difference. Green but eager, Otto would now share their fate as a companion of Archibald the Grim.

Melee test dummy

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Melee test dummy

Guard room terrain in the Mantic Games Terrain Crate is really going to improve the look of my next scenario. These melee dummies look nice based together. I figured that individually basing them might be a mistake as they will get knocked over too easily.

Used some winter static grass as spots of stuffing on show. Primed with Skelton Bone Army Painter primer and washed with Agrax Earthshade. Some of the bone colour was toned down with some Zandri Dust. The ropes and stitches touched with Wraithbone and used as occasionally highlights and signs of damage. Leadbelcher for the metal weighted bases and Vallejo Air Golden Brown i think for the wood.

The base is from my rarely used square bases (renedra).

Melee test dummy
Melee test dummy

Rules for Gnolljay

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Rules for Gnolljay

No idea why I am making life more difficult for my group, but I wanted to make my own class of Gnoll after modelling a Gnoll with a whip and calling him a jailer.

I decided to use the basic Gnoll fighter stat line with a +1 to shoot. I have given him a 3″ range for his whip which will act like a normal shoot action. I also added a 2″ snap-to instead of 1 inch to simulate that he whips you and drags you closer.

I will let you know how he plays. If he kills anyone i will no doubt curse my meddling ways.

Preparation J.

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Preparation J.
Preparation J.
Preparation J.

Gnolljay the Gnoll Jailer. And Beiddgar Verlassen the bold and abandoned Man at Arms, all for the next scenario. 😊

Also working on my toture and guard house terrain for the scenario.

Gnoll Jailer

Gnolljay was made using a gnoll arm with a mace cut off beyond the handle. I cut off a length of earphone cable and stripped the insulation. I discovered the copper wire was not likely to look right and was going to be a pain to use because it looked weak and began fraying, but there was a slender length of plastic running with the wire which was what I used in the end.

Man at Arms

Verlassen is German for abandoned andΒ Beiddgar is Welsh for bold. The mini is made from and Oathmark human sprue with a Gripping Beast viking shield and sword scabbard. I know that the sword he has would never fit in the scabbard, but it just looked a bit poor to be wielding a sword with no scabbard. For the sake of speed I kept him on his tab and made it out to be a slight step in a dungeon. The shield design plays into the militia guys I made previously in the project.

The human sprue has really impressed me and I might get more. If I decided to go for an army size Human fantasy force I might get a couple of boxes of Oathmark humans as a base for the army.

Preparation J.

Baskerville the Hound

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Baskerville the Hound

Thanks Sundancer for the help naming my hound. 😊

I looked for paint jobs of this Reaper mini online and felt a Rottweiler look was effective.

Black Templar Contrast Paint to the fore, with Jokaero Orange as the base for the feet and face. Aggros Brown Contrast Paint as a wash over the orange. Then in the transition from Black to Orange on the legs i used a band of Citadel yellow wash that seemed to add a subtle lazy man’s blend effect.

Might add a tuft to the base, but on some bigger Reaper models, like this hound and the troll I have, i don’t feel the need to base the model further than the one provided.

Rolling the dice, markers

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Dice Shop Online purchases for wound markers and combat dice. Dice Shop Online purchases for wound markers and combat dice.
Using for the bad guys woundsUsing for the bad guys wounds

I spent Β£14 on dice at The Dice Shop Online. Maybe not really necessary, but I found purple d22 and d15 dice for really cheap to act as wound markers for my group.

I worked out the max health the Rangers (22) and companions (16) can get after experience boosts and got enough dice to cover my team. I had been using Bolt Action / Gates of Antares pin markers. I ran some white paint over the numbers to make them easier to read. I only have 10 or 12 of these and was using them for both the Rangers and the creatures. The numbers on these markers also only go up to 12 which makes them less useful for my Ranger with 18 wounds base.

Now I am facing miniatures with several wounds and mulit mini combats being more prevalent it was becoming less clear which mini the markers belonged to.

Also the game only requires a single d20 vs d20 roll off for combat, so I picked two nice ones just for these games.

Mission 2 Scenario 1

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Mission 2 Scenario 1

That fun bridge battle… Wow. Gnolls are a begger to fight against when the alarm goes up. I lost three companions to the battle, but managed to pick up a clue marker, treasure marker and get safely off the board edge with Ranger, soldier and Myfanwy the archer.
I hadn’t had to roll off on the injury table between games until this game. It was a nerve wracking moment but they all sailed through the roll. If they had rolled that well in battle perhaps I wouldn’t have had those squeaky moments. 😊

The next mission requies a lot of furniture for a tower scenario.

Used some homebrew stat cards using my mini pictures for the enemy pieces. Kept me out of the book a little longer.Used some homebrew stat cards using my mini pictures for the enemy pieces. Kept me out of the book a little longer.

For whom the gnoll bells... or Bell tolls...

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For whom the gnoll bells... or Bell tolls...
Come here Ranger; I wont hurt you... 😊 Come here Ranger; I wont hurt you... 😊

Gnollsome. 😊

Needed a few more Gnoll fighters to start the next scenario.

Glad that I did. Enjoyed painting these but did rush them in-between night shifts at work.

Skelton Bone Army Painter primer did some of the work with Wyldwood Contrast doing a lot of the gnoll pelt pattern work. Some Yellow wash helped with the tone of the skin. On the metal I did what has become a standard rust routine for me.

Leadbelcher base, followed by a dull orange colour in patches up and down the effected area, then Typhus Corrosion to make it gritting and rusted. This paint can be very dominant so I go back with a very sparing use of orange spots and then revisit with Leadbelcher. The Leadbelcher revisit is usually vital, because it helps to get rid of any organge pieces that look too bold and unlike rust and break up any corrosion brown patches that might sadly just look muddy, rather than rusty.

For whom the gnoll bells... or Bell tolls...
For whom the gnoll bells... or Bell tolls...

A river ran through it.

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A river ran through it.

I have been trying to prepare my table for the start of Mission 2. That required a river. All went a bit wrong really.

Used parts of unwanted mdf paint racks to make a base. Used a filler /pva mix to give me banks and a river bed and sprinkled in flint shards to give texture.
Painted and then poured on clear varnish. The tape i used to keep the varnish in… let some of the varnish escape which was a pain.
I can’t tell at what stage, but noticed that the base warped fairly badly. Then i made a big mistake, thinking that adding a PVA glue might top up the level cheaply and dry clear… It dried as a misty layer. πŸ˜”
I tried to salvage it by painting with Army Painter Strong shade and more varnish, but I have been left with a very muddy finish.
I have learnt a lot of lessons and at least have something to game the next mission with.

A river ran through it.

Archimedes. 😊

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Archimedes. 😊
Archimedes. 😊
Lloyd shotLloyd shot

Metal Vulture from Reaper on a stack of books from a Mantic Games Terrain Crate.

I cut some lines in the base to give me a stone flooring look.

The next scenario says I may need a Vulture. The rules also give you the opportunity to use birds in your retinue. If he’s the enemy he’ll be “that darn bird”, if he becomes a part of my troop he will be called Archimedes after the Disney owl from Sword in the Stone. 😊

Troll

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Troll

First Bones mini i ever owned or painted.

Got caught up in the snobbery years ago, that soft, poor detail Bones minis aren’t up to much.

The price was right, I liked the look and I needed Trolls in scenarios on the horizon… so I got two trolls from the Dark Heaven Bones range.

Grey skin tone with a base grey of Mechanicus Standard Grey, with Celestra Grey mix for the highlight and messed around with drops of wash and straight Celestra Grey for the skin markings. Contrast for the wood and leather (Darkoath and Snakebite). Zandri base and heavy Wraithbone highlights on the skulls.

Used the gel glue trick again for the drool.

Troll
Troll

SkellyBob

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SkellyBob

SkellyBob here is made from the NorthStar cultists box, I think. He has been sat primed for a very long time. I have finally got around to painting him.

One of my concerns is that the rest of my skeletons are very chunky GW skeletons in no clothes. I think I saw there are more than one class of skeletons in the game. This might make easier to explain away the difference. The rusty sword and the grim skin covered shield were fun elements.

The base is made of sprue pieces as rubble. It doesn’t look particularly like a natural wall collapse in arrangement but i am happy with it overall.

Wounded Warrior Woman

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Wounded Warrior Woman

The Wargames Illustrated miniature range is great. Have got a couple of them over the years and they’re always fun to paint. This woman is pretty tall compared to even the barbarian NorthStar minis.

I would not like to be the fool that slashed her cheek and is now meeting her hateful steely glare of vengeance. 😊

Wounded Warrior Woman

Terrain Crate

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Terrain Crate

Mantic Games Terrain Crate painting. Enjoyed doing the watermarks / dirt marks on the tables.
Experimented with a large blob of wash allowed to dry for a few moments and then whipped away. The over saturated center is still wet and whipes away leaving a fairly convincing dry ring of wash for the effect.

I have seen a lot of marks on pub tables where the wood colour is actually taken lighter by the water marks. Might try that on a table later.

This is actually a project based in procrastination even though it is in aid of scenarios coming up in the near future, because what I really need to do is create river sections for the next scenario. I could just imagine it or use blue paper, but with all the effort in painting so far I would prefer something a little more pretty and realistic to help with the immersion.

Terrain Crate
Also working through a host of book shelves and other bitsAlso working through a host of book shelves and other bits
Terrain Crate
Terrain Crate
Terrain Crate

First Games played. Birthday treat

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First Games played. Birthday treat
First Games played. Birthday treat

Thank you Joseph A. McCullough for writing such a cool game.
Had my first game of Rangers of Shadow Deep on my Birthday.
Starting to understand the rules and got some scary rolling to start with, but everyone survived, lots of Rats and zombies died and we ended up with 100xp and treasure. 😊

Eoin and Godwin took their licks with the first zombie but buddied up expecting this zombie to attack them next turn.

No need to fear though. Myfanwy the archer took some herbs boosted her shoot ability and delivered a headshoot to the evil creature.

By turn 8 the only threat were two last zombies, but they were too late. Aventine’s dead body was found. Archibald would leave personal grief at his passing until later. Aventine’s sword retrieved for the King’s armoury and some tracks to be investigated Archibald marched his party away from the cursed village.

Ranger Archibald The Grim gave Edwin the Rogue a begrudging nod of praise as Edwin finds treasure and a survivor, when the only clue he found turned out to be a giant rat. The survivor saw little. He passed out drunk at the barricade and must have been left alone, mistaken as dead already, by whatever came through here.Ranger Archibald The Grim gave Edwin the Rogue a begrudging nod of praise as Edwin finds treasure and a survivor, when the only clue he found turned out to be a giant rat. The survivor saw little. He passed out drunk at the barricade and must have been left alone, mistaken as dead already, by whatever came through here.
End of scenario 1.End of scenario 1.

SCENARIO 2. SPIDER TIME. 😊

First Games played. Birthday treat
Archibald gets nibbled by a spider. Archibald gets nibbled by a spider.

Addicted now, I set up the next scenario with nest trees, spiders and lichen foliage. 😊

Great fun had, the archers in the group killed a lot of the spiders before they even got into melee. We even had a couple of turns without enemy minis being available during the Creature Phase.

Godwin got stuck in a web for three turns. Edwin and Eoin set the nest trees ablaze and Myfanwy found some treasure.
Archibald got poisoned, but showed great leadership on the last turn. Rather than see a survivor get attacked he got the creature’s attention and drew the beast onto him. His companions rallied around him, mobbed around it and slew it.

Web troubleWeb trouble
Turn 10 complete. Turn 10 complete.

Dirty rats and boars

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Dirty rats and boars
Dirty rats and boars

The bestiary grows. Giant rats and a boar. From the Frostgrave NorthStar metals range.

Primed with the last of my rattle can Mournfang Brown and hit from above with a spray of Monster Fur Brown.

The rest of the look just created through washes. Needed to knock back the glossy finish that some of the washes left with some brush on Army Painter brush on Anti-shine matt varnish.

The basing has made up for a bit of a lazy paint job I think.

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