Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Painting the Mythos: Nightgaunts

"...Shocking and uncouth black things with smooth, oily, whale-like surfaces, unpleasant horns that curved inward toward each other, bat wings whose beating made no sound, ugly prehensile paws, and barbed tails that lashed needlessly and disquietingly.  And worst of all, they never spoke or laughed, and never smiled because they had no faces at all to smile with, but only a suggestive blankness where a face ought to be.  All they ever did was clutch and fly and tickle; that was the way of the nightgaunts."
- H.P. Lovecraft - The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

Here's the latest miniature in my quest to finally paint my boxed set of Call of Cthulhu mythos creatures.  The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath was the very first Lovecraft story I ever read, and so nightgaunts (and ghouls) were the first mythos creatures I was ever introduced to, and for that reason they occupy a special place in my heart.  There is something chilling about a silent bat-winged and faceless creature that carries its victims off to untold terrors even if their signature 'tickle-attack' struck me as little silly back when I was young.

The nightgaunt was a tough one to paint; at least difficult to paint well while remaining true to Lovecraft's description.  Once upon a time I might have simply painted the whole thing black and called it done, but this does a grave disservice to such a nicely-sculpted miniature and would obscure much of the detail.  While I've stuck with black as the dominant colour, I also highlighted the body with dark grey to make the details stand out as well as suggesting light reflecting off the smooth, oily skin.  The deep red on the inside of the wings does not strictly accord with the description, but it provides a spot of much needed colour to punch up the model and emphasize the detail.  The wings were painted with Reaper Deep Red, then dry-brushed with Reaper Blood Red, then lightly dry-brushed with Reaper Entrail Pink.

Armour Class: 6                     Special: N/A
Hit Dice: 3                              Move: 12/18 (when flying)
Attacks: Grapple or tickle       HDE/XP: 4/120

Grapple: if a nightgaunt makes a successful melee attack against AC 9, it has successfully immobilized its victim.  The victim may attempt to break free by making a successful strength check minus the HD of the nightgaunt.
Tickle: a victim previously immobilized by grappling can be tickled, which will paralyze him for 1d6 rounds unless the victim makes a successful saving throw.  No type of clothing or armour will protect the victim from  this attack.

Nightgaunts may be summoned by sorcerers who serve the Lord of the Great Abyss, and they are often employed to retrieve objects or kidnap subjects for the sorcerer.  They also sometimes dispose of the sorcerer's enemies by dropping them from great heights or stranding them in some forlorn and dismal locale.

New Spell:
Summon Nightgaunt
Spell level: M5
Range: Near caster
Duration: 1 turn per level of the caster

This spell may normally only be learned by priests and cultists of the Lord of the Great Abyss.  It must be cast at night when moon is below the horizon, upon a flat stone surface inscribed with an Elder Sign.


Trey said...

Cool nightgaunt, though that unavoidable minature "chunkiness" doesn't serve the sculpt too well.

Sean Robson said...

This was always a problem with Grenadier, in my opinion, though I think the Call of Cthulhu line is much better than their AD&D sculpts.

There are some exceptions though, like the amazing Nyarlathotep miniature, which I am saving for 'desert.'

Wymarc said...

That is a nice looking miniature but a great paint job. That is a skill I wish I had as I love miniatures.

Sean Robson said...

Thanks, Wymarc. If you love miniatures and love to paint, the skill will come.