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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

Recommendations: 162

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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Bits box zombie

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Bits box zombie

Bits box zombie. Mantic fantasy bitz box I got on ebay is a gift that keeps on giving. This guy was painted in thick white paint and was missing one arm and two hands. Greenstuff dried up left overs and a bit of zombie skin painting fun and this guy is good enough to play a part. Obvious having a rotten mangled hand and just a stump doesn’t make him terrifying offensively, but I guess in a horde setting and with a few good teeth left in his face, he may well be the biter that takes you out.

Radagast the Prismatic

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Radagast the Prismatic

What happened to Radagast the Brown? He became Radagast the Prismatic. 😊

Wizard for a new Frostgrave warband or perhaps part of my Rangers of Shadow Deep warband.

Radagast the Prismatic

Community Spotlight: Wild Wizards, Tiny Troops & Mystical Mice

Yay! I got a Golden Button for this little fella. 😊

Gnoll Sergeant Zim

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Gnoll Sergeant Zim
Gnoll Sergeant Zim

Zim is nice and colourful.

Not sure how many of these you can use in game, but it seemed a waste not to use this weapon and these arms from the northstarminiatures gnoll sprue.

Gnoll Gunny

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Gnoll Gunny

Needed a touch more work here and there at this stage. The Contrast Dark Angel green came out quite glossy so need to dull it down a bit. I like the shield design. I think this counts as a gnoll sergeant with the Double handed weapon.

Gnoll Gunny

Finished this guy. Knocked back the glossy contrast dark angels green with a thin watery coat of warpstone glow.

Zombie celt

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Zombie celt

Greggore the Zombie.

His dying memory was to hold his sword close to him.

When some dark magic awoke him the wrist was broken but the hand tight shut. Then a hunger gripped him and hauled him up and sent him stumbling into his new undead existence.

The tartan attempt looks OK. The palid rotting skin was fun to paint. I have used the Warlord Games plastic celts for my Blood and Plunder conversions and other projects and now have run out. I can’t remember why his arm ended up being cut off or for what project. With SPQR I have been considering getting some celts, but with this guy having one arm I thought making him a zombie was a good option.

I cut the good arm at the wrist and reset it in a deliberately awkward angle. I imagine him flailing his arm at his target and the sword following after, rather than him using the sword as he had in life.

The head is a Mantic Games Zombie head. (Those zombie sprues are great.)

Zombie celt

Gnoll Gallagher

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Gnoll Gallagher

As famous Noels start to run thin for my recent pun obsession, I had to make this mini Gnoll Gallagher. Mainly because he is the only conversion I have with a musical instrument.

Gnoll Gallagher
Gnoll Gallagher

The black gnoll of Calcutta.

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The black gnoll of Calcutta.

Don’t worry. Just a fun pun. The black hole of Calcutta was just a prison, no racialΒ connotations here. Liberal family values to the fore on this post I assure you.

I enjoyed this paint job more. The pelt patterning came out better this time, the ooze from the eye wound, the grain on the spear shaft and the general detailing felt neater and I am happy with this guy.

The black gnoll of Calcutta.
The black gnoll of Calcutta.

Gnoll Fielding.

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Gnoll Fielding.

More mighty botch than Mighty Boosh but the pun train keeps on rolling.

Not very happy with this guy. Not sure why. Happier to move on and maybe come back to him, rather than persevere and bore myself into stopping painting entirely for a short while.

Gnoll Fielding.
Gnoll Fielding.
Gnoll Fielding.

Kitbash zombie - putting old sprues to good use

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Kitbash zombie - putting old sprues to good use

Brains!!! Too many Gripping Beast plastic Vikings and too few fantasy Zombies for my Rangers of Shadow Deep solo campaign missions.

Easy conversion with a Mantic Games Ghoul hand and Zombie head added to the Viking body and left arm.

Thank you OnTableTop for the fast delivery of my paints. I used my Typhus Corrosion tech paint and my Mournfang Brown on the leather parts.

Kitbash zombie - putting old sprues to good use
Kitbash zombie - putting old sprues to good use
Kitbash zombie - putting old sprues to good use
Kitbash zombie - putting old sprues to good use

Gnoll Coward

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Gnoll Coward

Gnoll the coward has clearly been busy creating blood spatter and got his club wet somehow, so I am going to guess the name is ironic – like Little John or Dug the Fug. 😊

Gnoll Coward
Gnoll Coward
Gnoll Coward
Gnoll Coward

Gnollllllll Lazio.

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Gnollllllll Lazio.

This is Lazio the gnoll. The pose looks a little odd, but I was working with Beastmen prebuilt by a friend and modifying as best I could. I like the simple carved dungeon floor I did and I think the shield came out well. The broken spear on the back was just stuck there by the previous owner so I added a painted on strap to at least give it some context.

I have dragged this project on for a long time now and realise I should bring it to a close and maybe do shorter projects as I prepare for each mission in the book.

I am going to try and finish painting the converted Beastmen Gnolls I have done and then turn my attention to preparing everything for the first mission instead. I will be following the mission guide from the RoSD Facebook page, posted to let people know what they will likely need miniatures and terrain wise to play out each mission.

Gnollllllll Lazio.
Gnollllllll Lazio.
Gnollllllll Lazio.

Hello Sailor.

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Hello Sailor.
Hello Sailor.

I loved the Francis Drake style Wargames Foundry pirates, but they don’t fit Blood and Plunder era esthetic.
I have now begun a new Rangers of Shadow Deep warband gathered from the navy of Alladore. 😊
I found out that a likely Blood and Plunder opponent is going to be playing with some tricorn hat wearing fantasy looking minis. So if historial accuracy isn’t going to be a big deal, I have based these with 20mm bases just in case they do make it into a Blood and Plunder game.

Some zombies shamble on the double...

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Some zombies shamble on the double...

A zombie. Bit freshers and more eager than some of my others.
Made from a Warlord Games Celtic warrior torso and legs with a Mantic Games Ghoul or Zombie head.

He is going to beat a Ranger to death with his bloody stump. He’s hardcore. 😊

Some zombies shamble on the double...
Some zombies shamble on the double...

Poor Goredon, alas he turned into a zombie in the dungeon. His blood lust saw him tear and wrench his hand free of the lone manacle securing him. Goredon caught his jailer napping and took his head as a snack.

 

Made from a Warlord Games Celtic warrior torso and legs with a Mantic Games Zombie head and the Zombie hand with the head attached.

The gore is made from dried Blood for the Blood God paint from the pot lid. 😊

Some zombies shamble on the double...

Not quite lego... 😊

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Not quite lego... 😊

Between the NorthStar sprues there is a minor scale issue, but only in how buff the barbarians are compared to the normal soldier sized sprues. Which makes thematic sense.

I used the body from the NorthStar soldiers sprue and arms from the barbarian sprue. I wanted to use one of the soldiers sprue heads with a helmet, but the head looked tiny compared to the huge shoulders. I cut the helmet off and stuck it onto the head of a Barbarian sprue head.
He has the tan uniform of the local militia. He has the blue and white stripe livery of the local Lord on his shield. The rough looking clothes and helmet being the wrong size shows that the militia aren’t well funded.
I like that the uniform ties in with the mini I painted yesterday.

Rangers in dangers

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Rangers in dangers

The pessimist in me has me making a back up ranger or companion, just in case. 😊

Alladore kit bashing

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Alladore kit bashing

@brennon set us a challenge to kitbash from NorthStar “legos” kits. These are some of my efforts so far.

First guy is made from Frostgrave soldier body and sack with Frostgrave barbarian arms and head.

I will use him as a survivor / citizen model for some of the scenarios.

He might pass as a Frostgrave thief too. 😊

The base is made from the cut up feet tabs from other minis to look like dungeon or castle flooring.

Alladore kit bashing
Alladore kit bashing

I liked making this guy. The right arm if a bow string drawing arm, but I think the fact that he is heavily laden makes it look like he is adjusting his shoulder strap.
The head is from the barbarian set.
The rest of the body is from the NorthStar soldiers sprue, but I think one of the pouches on the back might be from the female soldier sprue.

He will make a fine survivor model or a pack mule again for Frostgrave. Still can’t remember what the pack mule’s advantage is in game.Β πŸ€”

Alladore kit bashing
Alladore kit bashing

Another survivor with a lantern. 😊 He clearly used to be a sergeant with pointing skills like that.
NorthStar soldiers body with a head from a Conquest Games medieval archers box sprue.

Not much of a kit bash, but enjoyed the basing and trying to hint at some light coming from the lantern.

Citizens of Alladore we can all adore continued...

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Citizens of Alladore we can all adore continued...

Survivor or civilian model. Packed her bags and decided “that’s enough giant rats for me, I am off to me mother’s”.
Made from the Frostgrave NorthStar female soldiers box.

The wife thinks she has a mustache. I did wonder why some of the female head sculpts aren’t more femanin, but I couldn’t sculpt a better one so I will not judge.

Citizens of Alladore we can all adore continued...
Citizens of Alladore we can all adore continued...

Frostgrave female soldiers box mini again.
She took some scrolls for a bit of light reading, a dagger because why not, and a lantern? She seems suspicious… 😊

Citizens of Alladore we can all adore continued...

Stick to the path, you'll be safe...

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Stick to the path, you'll be safe...
Stick to the path, you'll be safe...

Variety.

I used Mantic Games Ghoul body parts and Mantic Games Zombie heads to add some variety to my zombies (common all garden).

Basing.

I chose to use the tab between their feet as a pathing slab and this gave me the idea of having them on a path with forest flock and flower tufts either side for their bases.

Stick to the path, you'll be safe...
Stick to the path, you'll be safe...

Golden Button!

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Golden Button!

For my RoSD painting efforts I got a community spotlight Golden Button. πŸ™‚

I had painted some skeletons, some gnolls and most of my warband at the time and the praise was really welcome, at a time when it was really needed and appreciated.

Golden Button!

The Sword Tree and the Lore.

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The Sword Tree and the Lore.

@brennon shared a doodle on instagram and it inspired me to write a piece of narrative that jumped to my mind as soon as i saw it.

“Don’t the locals usually make their sword offerings in the lake? Why are these here?” asked the young ranger on is first foray out into the forests beyond The Pale.

“Don’t touch that sword boy. There’s a reason no one goes to the lake. There’s foul dark magic there. Not even we go there unless we have to. And this tree hid an ancient king that the locals successfully revolted against. They overthrew the Gillhammer line of kings centuries ago, but the king that hid here kept a bloody civil war going for another grusome decade. They say that since then, the tree has lost all it’s leaves; summer or winter it stays bare. Not sure if the swords are meant to thank the Gods for overthrowing tyranny, or maybe there’s a darker purpose. Lets get moving. This place chills my bones…”

Archibald punched the youngster playfully in the arm to try and shock the look of concern from his face. The young man smiled unconvincingly and stepped away from the ring of ancient swords. Archibald unconsciously gripped the pommel of his sword for comfort and led the scouting party deeper into the woods…

On the RoSD Facebook page someone was asking for thoughts on the Lore. I offered my thoughts, that i have formed from reading only the opening sections of the book, and the directions my imagination is going in as a result.

I like the description of the cities in the book. I see the mining men of one border being well represented by the NorthStar barbarians minis, being hardy and less bothered about the refinements of capital life.
I see the capital as a cosmopolitan mix of all the region’s people and more in the way of Dwarves, Elves etc that have a healthy taste for trade with us. So any fantasy minis would seem to fit in there.
I see the capital as a city where there is political strife, but ultimately the threats to the kingdom focus the collective mind against outward enemies rather than within. The kingdom is relatively well run. Those that show strength and feats of arms are held in high regard, though wealth and historical links to the Crown still hold influence, even in the state of emergency they must be approaching.
The king being young always creates strife early in a reign, but it appears that balanced heads and advisors are around him and none of the standard power struggles at court seems to threaten the status quo.
The further you get from the secular cities the more religious the people become. The traditions differ wildly from region to region. Some commit offerings of swords to lakes and rivers. Some encourage magic users in their community to be schooled by druid-like, experienced magic users in the expectation they will return with spells to benefit the villages of their birth. Most communities have a healthy respect for the land and live in harmony with the seasons.
My band has a member from each of the 3 main cities, one’s full past isn’t really known and one comes from a rural village in the North.

Giant Spiders

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Giant Spiders

Some of the early missions have giant spiders as a requirement. Someone on the RoSD Facebook page suggested these Halloween party favour spiders as a cheap Giant Spider option and I took their advice. I am selling my lefts overs from the packet on ebay. 😊

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/264149229669?ul_noapp=true

I have based these, tidied up the paint that was already applied and added some extra colours myself.

Didn’t want to spend a fortune, when I won’t need these often after these missions, so was glad I got some passable spiders cheaply.

Swamp Zombies

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Swamp Zombies

I got side tracked. I saw in the rules that there were Swamp zombies that made me consider how the swamp zombies would differ from the main ones.

I got carried away with the glue and the Nurgles’s Rot technical citadel paint and made several of them, when if i was remaining focused on playing I should really have been making standard zombies.

Used a dab of glue on the base, you can be fairly liberal because it finishes clear, glossy and boggy looking on the base, then using the nozzle or hobby knife drag from the base blob to a prominent point like an elbow or hand. The tricky bit can be that it finishes too thin as you drag. If it is strong enough you can apply nurgles rot a few times to build it up. If it does look way too thin try taking from the blob and aim another drag to the same point. Hopefully it merges with the old weaker strand on the way up. If it all goes wrong you have a reasonable amount of time to remove it before it sets. I have been told that bostick sets firmer and is easier to manipulate.

 

Swamp Zombies
Swamp Zombies

I also converted from a Mantic Games The Walking Dead All Out War game Walker mini. I chose to remove the feet because they were modern high heel shoes. The swamp was an easy way to hide the change. The bullet holes are a problem, but the spear through the back does take your focus away from the holes in the apron. The collar looked modern too, so i cut at it slightly and made it look like the apron neck straps. I liked it so much that i wrote a back story for her.

Fidelma the Blacksmith’s daughter was brutally murdered. Her ghost was said to walk the swamp where her body had been dumped and swallowed up. Resurrected in zombie form for some unknown dark purpose, she still wields the hammer of her trade; hell bent on revenge.

Swamp Zombies
Swamp Zombies
Swamp Zombies

Common all garden Zombies

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Common all garden Zombies

After enjoying my time painting Gnolls I realised that I should focus on the first scenario which requires Zombies.

I have tons of Walkers from The Walking Dead, but next to no fantasy zombies.

I love the Mantic Games zombie sprue.

I hope to mix in some heads of legs from the Mantic Games ghouls for variety.

I have also used some of the parts from the NorthStar cultist box.

I love using UHU glue (slightly slow to set tube of super glue) for gore – as I have used for the mini eating from the head in his right hand.

ManticMantic
NorthStarNorthStar
NorthstarNorthstar

Citizens of Alladore we can all adore

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Citizens of Alladore we can all adore

BoW Ben set a challenge to mess around with plastic on the Hobby Hangout show (16th Jan 19?).

I knew I would need citizens to bump into and protect during some of the scenarios so I went ahead. These are a mix of the barbarians and the Frostgrave soldiers box sprues and also assembled two women from the female soldiers box from NorthStar. (The guy pointing with a lantern also has a head from conquest games medieval archers box)

I knew i may also want to develop another warband eventually and may sadly (sniff) end up replacing a fallen mini at some point, so had fun and made two guys that are better prepared for a fight.

The painted guy with the drink problem is a metal Viking character mini from Black Tree Designs.

Citizens of Alladore we can all adore
Citizens of Alladore we can all adore
Citizens of Alladore we can all adore
Citizens of Alladore we can all adore

Claws trouble

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Painted toesPainted toes

With the different bodies with the GW hooved feet and the Northstar gnoll feet theres a chance that they won’t mix. On the Shaman with the staff I just painted claws on the hooves and think it looks OK.

On two archers I converted, I used claws made from shoulder fur from Mantic Games demons and they seemed a bit too much like talons. I still like them, but on the other models I want to change away from hooves, I will try to cut the length down even more.

When it came to the patterning I allowed myself the freedom to change it away from strictly being hyena pelt if I wanted. I did look at their basic pattern as a guide. I have given them all pale ear tops and eyebrows and taken the hair at the centre of the back darker than most of the hyena images I have seen

The Gnoll toes as on the Northstar sprueThe Gnoll toes as on the Northstar sprue
Mantic demon shoulder fur snipped off and used as toes on the GW beastmen gnolls (pick the bones out of that description)Mantic demon shoulder fur snipped off and used as toes on the GW beastmen gnolls (pick the bones out of that description)
Claws trouble
Claws trouble
Claws trouble

Any Gnolls a goal

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Any Gnolls a goal

To keep the cost down, I bought 2 sprues of NorthStar Gnolls and hope to use the spare heads etc to kitbash more than the 10 bodies provided.

When I got the sprues it dawned on me that that a standard pair of human legs and torso was not going to look right, especially the legs. They would need to be the hyena style, with different knee shape entirely and ending in a paw or claw to look right.

I realised that a friend had given me a box of GW Beastmen so I picked out some of the smaller minis and began converting and painting them.

Made from just the Northstar GnollMade from just the Northstar Gnoll
Gnoll head on a Beastman bodyGnoll head on a Beastman body

Completing the band

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Completing the band

I came up with a back story for Archibald The Grim as he heads into the Shadow Deep.
War scarred him and drove him to drink for years. The army spat him out after horrific campaigns and a civil war and he found solace in the bottle. Moving from town to town as a sellsword, bodyguard or even carnival wrestler, he wandered in a drunken directionless fug. A bar brawl saw him bloody but victorious when a wizard came recruiting for a trip to Felsted. After a year of fighting for Wizards in the Frozen city he has begun to turn his life around. He is a brutish weapon of war and has chosen to put that to good use as a Ranger. He is again a leader of men. He leads well, his men fear his rage and respect his experience and skill. His men’s only concern is that he is brave and loyal to a fault. Many have been with and around Rangers all their lives and feel the honour and feel a duty to protect every villager and urchin in their domain. Archibald was given the choice of rescuing a fellow Ranger or a villager and he chose the Ranger. This was against their code and expectations.
Archibald has impressed his betters through his commitment to completing missions and willingness to put himself in harms way, but his Grim blunt attitude towards anyone beyond the Rangers and his trusted companions is a cause for concern.

Aragorn completes the band. (I looked into some of the lore in the book – In my group Aragorn will be a Tallis born lord’s welp called Godwin, but the resemblance is uncanny).
I didn’t paint this guy. To make him my own I painted the trousers the same rangers green as some of the cloaks in the gang. They had done a nice job but needed a matt varnish over the gloss one they seemed to have applied. Only cost about Β£5 delivered from ebay. Archerongames was the user name but not sure who to credit. (whoever they were they were old school, because they painted the base green 😊)
Also enjoyed the gargoyle head I added to Myfanwy’s base.

 

Completing the band
Completing the band

The band comes together

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The band comes together

I bought a Black Cat Bases – Book Golem (still in the blister). While I was there I bought 2 dogs to add to my random encounters list, but they looked more tame and smaller than I expected.
Then I got my Nickstarter Frostgrave Folio with the extra barbarian sprue and I wanted to try making a tracker (Staff and Bow). Then I remembered the dogs and felt that one would really add to the look. A barbarian using a working dog to track seemed to fit.

So when i turned to RoSD this unpainted mini seemed to be a great starting point.

Another Northstar Barbarian mini became Edwin The Rogue. I used an archery arm with open fingers and put a throwing axe in the hand without any real thought as to how he would fit into Frostgrave. When I read the RoSD rules it mentioned that the Rogue in the companions section could have throwing knives or axes so the model immediately got drafted.

Myfanwy the Archer was made from the new Frostgrave female soldiers box.

The band comes together
The band comes together
The band comes together

Lets Play

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This really helped me get into the game and giving me ideas of what abilities i might want to give my team and my ranger to help them survive.

Starting out

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I got the rule book as pdf and printed copy. I visited the Rangers of Shadow Deep (RoSD) Facebook page. in the documents section they have suggested lists of what terrain and minis you will need, to easily complete the different missions in the book. I looked to these lists and started to check my collection and make small purchases to work cheaply towards preparing for the first few missions.

IΒ  pieced together my warband at a stats and abilities stand point. The game feels very narrative driven, I have named all my companions and I will definately be gutted when anyone in my band gets injured or dies.

Archibald The Grim my Ranger, Edwin The Rogue, Godwin The Swordsman, Myfanwy The Archer and Eoin The Tracker.
realised I will need buildings, swamp zombies, common all garden zombies, giant spiders, gnolls, skeletons and civilians, corpse markers and clue markers to act out the missions.

Archibald The GrimArchibald The Grim

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