Thursday 23 October 2014

Mother of Monsters #4 It's Evolution Baby!

It doesn't get any bigger with the Nephilim. The Mature one is the final version in the evolution of these Malifaux-native creatures. It measures about nine feet and  looks like a true monster with its massive wingspan.

The Mature Nephilim can fly, combined with its considerable Wk6 and Cg8, he can get quickly anywhere he wants. There are also some other mobility tricks involved that allow it to push other models away or  even Charge Through them in order to reach other targets. It is Terrifying a wounding it is harder thanks to Armor +1. And should you decide to deal with the beast in melee, you should remember about Black Blood. As far as its offense is concerned, it can be summarized by one word - ferocity. Monstrous Talons can quickly tear opponents to pieces and even Rip them in Half, potentially causing other models to panic.  The model costs 11ss but it can be brought into game as a result of Growth upgrade.

Once again, I've used skull bases from Micro Art Studio and I think they suit these minis perfectly, going well with their ferocious, blood lust-driven nature. Similarly to the previous ones, I've also used gore effect to highlight this aspect even more.

The theory of evolution, Nephilim style

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Gardens of the Moon

The first word that comes to my mind when I think about this novel is "epic". "Gardens of the Moon" are not only a long book (650+ pages depending on the edition), the numerous strands that are laid out from the start and the impressive number of memorable characters (returning to the dramatis personae section is often necessary), can make it hard to get into. And that's just the first of ten novels in this massive series!

The main plot does not seem too complicated at first glance. The Malazan Empire is torn by long wars fought on different fronts. It is firmly ruled by Empress Laseen who commands her deadly Claw assassins. Her firm rule started after her assassination of old Emperor Kallenved. This situation is presented from the perspective of Whiskeyjack and his squad of sappers - the legendary Bridgeburners. After suffering heavy and unexpected losses in a siege of Pale, the soldiers struggle to find their place in the aftermath of the battle. As the dust settles and the readers can begin to feel at ease with numerous (though well-defined) characters, Erikson begins adding more twists to the plot, thrown in several new characters who act independently of the Bridge Burners, in completely different places and in practically different realities too. Some of them are: a young thief Crockus along with his peculiar friends, powerful alien mage Anomander Rake and his elite host (inhabiting "The Moon's Spawn" - a giant floating fortress), alchemist Baruk, Quick Ben - a mage of many talents, Tattersail - one of the few mages who survived the battle of Pale, Adjunct Lorn and unlikely companion who are on a secret mission to free an ancient power, Kruppe who is... (who the hell is he? I've no idea but he's my favorite character by far, it's really hard to describe him, I wouldn't know where to begin). Each of them brings a lot to the story and nicely moves the plot forward by adding a different perspective on the events taking place in the book. If you thrown in a mix of gods who enjoy meddling in the affairs of mortals and play their own games without considering their impact, you get a really interesting mix.

It may seem like humans are the ultimate pawns of gods in this brutal reality but the truth is the mortals play them as well to their own ends. This interaction is truly fascinating and Erikson handles it masterfully. It's a dark, brutal world but the fate of humans is not entirely grim. There are individuals who rise above others and despite being drawn into various conflicts against their will, their actions have profound effects on the world (captain Paran comes to mind immediately).

The numerous plots and a mind-blowing array of original characters can be confusing. The action shifts seamlessly from one character to another and at times this seems like a bit too much to follow with so many unanswered questions to remember about at the same time. "Gardens of the Moon" is definitely not a plain novel, it's is a challenging book and some may even get discouraged from reading it after being overwhelmed by all the facts presented in it. I've actually re-read the book. I read it in Polish (the cover from that edition can be seen above - it's probably my favorite) the first time several years ago. I read the original version this time round and it was still a very enjoyable read. The complexity of Erikson's work can make it hard to sympathize with the protagonists at first. There are so many of them and the author doesn't seem to focus on developing their personalities too much. At the same time he hints at significant events in the past that shaped who they are. It can be hard for a reader who encounters Erikson's work for the first time but at the same time it is understandable that he wouldn't want to give away too much in the first novel of his 10 book-long series. After finishing it I felt that many questions were answered but at the same time even more were posed and I look forward to reading the second novel.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Mother of Monsters #3 Painful Growth

Young Nephilim are the next step in the evolution of Neverborn native to the world of Malifaux. Their growth is very fast and thus extremely painful. Their limbs become longer, the wings develop, which causes enormous pain to the creatures.  The only way to lessen it is by consuming raw meat. They're so desperate  that they'll even eat a still living, thrashing being as long as it gives them even a temporary relief. But their suffering has a purpose as a fully developed mature form is a true monster. But we'll get to that later.

This cruel reality of their condition is well reflected by their profile. Their Wk of 5 is pretty standard but combined with Flight and a Cg of 8, they become incredibly mobile. Their melee attacks give them a chance to get into frenzy or... heal themselves after gorging on the remains of their latest victim. Overall, they are pretty solid melee fighters with high mobility at a nice cost of 6ss. Not to mention a 1ss upgrade, which gives them a chance to turn into a Mature Nephilim.

I used a very similar color scheme to the one that can be seen on the Tots. The same gore effect was used on their hands and I have to admit, they do look mean...

Thursday 2 October 2014

Mother of Monsters #2 Terror Tots

I love everything about these miniatures. Even their name is awesome. When you think about it on a linguistic lever, the words "tot" and "terror" are an unlikely pair. Yet they fit these guys perfectly.

Terror Tots are perfect objective runners. They can Sprint and reach remote areas on the board very quickly, which makes them a perfect choice for dropping markers . Their Df of 6 isn't bad but once they get hit, they die quickly with only 4 Wd to spare. They have black blood, so they can deal a little extra damage if they manage to get close enough. Their offensive output is far from impressive and they have no way to attack from distance.

As far as the miniatures are concerned, they are amazing. The sculpts are very dynamic and the details are very nice. They look almost... adorable... Almost, so I went down that path and made sure there is a mean edge to them by choosing nasty-looking skull bases and adding some gore effect to them.

Well, working on these little guys was a lot of fun. Now it's time to move onto something bigger.
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