Vrock — repaint

This is an old WotC D&D pre-painted figures, a Vrock (or Type I Demon, as they once were known).

I gave it a rough-and-ready repaint, just enough to make it table-worthy, and considering that this pretty shitty paint-job is a considerable improvement on its original, you can just imagine how bad that might have been.

I took these photos mainly to test a camera mount I made for the crappier of my two cameras: a little Nikon CoolPix point-and-shoot. It's not a very capable camera, and I really only keep it so that I have something small enough to slip into a pocket (my phone's camera is really bad, and hardly worth using except in an emergency).

The Dehydrator and MDF Flock

This is the first outing of my new (second-hand) dehydrator, courtesy of Pixi, and it does a sterling job of drying out paint-tinted MDF dust. So I'd call it a success.

It needs a two-step approach: an initial drying to get rid of most of the moisture, then a quick pass through my little electric coffee grinder to break up the clumps and back in the machine to get bone dry. I could use a mortar and pestle I suppose, but why bother having electric gizmos if you're not going to use them?

Altogether, it took about three hours of drying I guess. Or maybe less, but that's what I gave it.

This is generic "dirt" flock, and it's a very fine powder from my belt-sander. The "grass" flocks and the like go over the top.

You may well ask, why not just use dirt then, instead of going to all the trouble of tinting, drying and grinding MDF dust to do the same job? And real dirt can work well, but it needs to be dried and sterilized, and it can react unpredictably with glues and stuff. So, there's not actually much saving of effort in the end.

Cold War Project — Rapier

Heroics & Ros BM30 Rapier
Heroics & Ros BM30 Rapier
I've given my BAOR lads some more potent AA capability with the Rapier missile launcher.

The sprue(s) come with sufficient bits to make three launch teams, of which this is one. There's a bit of assembly involved, and it pays to make sure you know which bits go where before you start gluing things together.

This team is a bit more compact than it would be in real life, because I wanted to keep everything on the one base. The launcher and targeting radar would normally be quite a bit further apart.

There's a tripod arrangement at the front of this base that I think is the aiming and control post, but I'm not completely sure. There's a sort of blobby thing attached to it which, now that I look at it closely, might be meant to be a man hunched over it. If so, he's a lot smaller than any of the other figures. Maybe the BAOR employed 12-year-olds for the job?
Note: I've had it confirmed that the blob is indeed meant to be the operator. So that settles that.


Heroics & Ros 1/300 BM53 Conqueror Heavy Tank
Here's my Heavy Troop, all painted up and ready for the table.

I've painted these guys in their peacetime Deep Bronze Green, because I want to be able to distinguish them from the Centurions and Comets at a glance. If the balloon had gone up while they were in service, and assuming there was time, they'd almost certainly have been repainted in the drab green and black disruptive pattern common to British vehicles of the time.

I've replaced the cast soft metal barrels with steel wire, as I posted here.

H&R Conqueror - rebarreling

Heroics & Ros 1/300 BM53 Conqueror Heavy Tank

When I got my Centurions, I also got a troop of Conquerors to fend off those pesky IS-III from about ten miles away.

The Conqueror has a very long gun barrel, which is very vulnerable to damage from ham-fisted wargamers, as you can see in the top model. So, I'm replacing the soft metal moulded guns with new ones made from 1mm steel rod — I believe it's welding wire. It's very sturdy indeed, and should survive anything that won't completely destroy the whole model.

The diameter of the gun on the original vehicle tapers subtly from the mantlet to the muzzle, but that's not something I feel a burning desire to replicate in this scale. It would be quite difficult, for no real perceptible benefit.

The bore extractor is made from paper, soaked in liquid superglue and wrapped around the wire several times. The superglue penetrates the fibres of the paper, and you end up with a hard, plastic-like mass that can be sanded smooth to remove the seam where the last wrapping is cut off. It would be a lot easier to use a short piece of brass or copper or even plastic tube with a 1mm bore, but I have none.

The Conqueror's gun doesn't have a muzzle brake, which simplifies matters quite considerably.

Next Day

I remembered some useful stuff from my brief essays into stained glass — the bore evacuator on this one is made from some self-adhesive copper foil, cut to width and wrapped several times around the barrel.

The copper foil gives a much cleaner surface than the glue-soaked paper, and it's also much easier to handle. It's very thin, so it needs to be wrapped in more layers to get the required thickness, but you don't have to worry about smoothing off the end-seam as long as it's located on the underside of the barrel where nobody will ever see it.

The copper foil is intended to be wrapped around the edge of pieces of glass, which would then be thickly soldered together to create the complete stained glass object. It's an alternative to the traditional lead channel seen on windows, and is often used for three-dimensional objects like lampshades.

Centurion Mk.1

When I ordered a bunch of the new Centurion sculpts recently from Heroics & Ros, they very kindly included some examples of their new re-sculpt of the Centurion Mk.1 of 1945, soon to be released.

This first Centurion, with the coaxial 20mm Polsten cannon, never saw action, but it might have if WWII had lasted just a few weeks longer. I've painted one troop in the green and black disruptive camouflage used by the British in the ETO, and with the white star of the Allied forces, as it might have appeared in action in Germany in the closing days of the war. Or as it might have appeared if the Western Allies and the Soviets had come to blows, as they very nearly did.

Heroics & Ros B26 Centurion 1
This is a beautiful little model, and a real improvement on the old sculpt of the same vehicle. That one was perfectly adequate as a wargaming model, but the new one is really diorama quality.

Centurion Mk.V

 This is one of the Heroics & Ros 1/300 scale Centurion Mk.V models I just got. For size reference, the hull of this model is about an inch long.

I've painted this one in an overall green scheme, without any disruptive camo pattern, because I wanted to bring out as much detail as I could. Camouflage patterns, surprise surprise, tend to obscure detail a bit.

One detail that the paintwork has brought out is the moulding seam along the barrel, which I clearly missed. Bugger.

The presence of the bore evacuator indicates that this must be a Centurion 5/2 with the 105mm gun. If need be it would be a pretty simple matter to convert it to a 5/1 with the 20 pounder just by filing the bore evacuator off, or probably more easily by replacing the barrel entirely with a bit of wire.

Heroics & Ros Centurions (and Conqueror)

I ordered some of Heroics & Ros' new sculpts of the Centurion MBT, not because I have any immediate wargaming use for them, but simply because I have a fondness for the Centurion.

I got a few Conquerors too, just in case. You never know.

They very kindly included some of their very latest, the Centurion Mk.I, not yet released. I've shown it here next to one of the old sculpts of that model, and the improvement is clear. The old model was perfectly serviceable as a wargaming model, but the new one is just exquisite, well up to the standard required for diorama building. As are the other two models already available, the Mk.V and Mk.XIII.

I haven't done anything with these models except photograph them. They appear here as they arrived straight from their bags. As with most models, there is a little cleanup of mould seams needed, but it is minimal.

The Conqueror is one model that I'd probably replace the gun on. It's very long, and would be very likely to get bent out of shape under the ministrations of normal wargamer sausage-fingers It would be safer in steel I think, or even brass. Fortunately it doesn't have a muzzle-brake, which simplifies matters, and the fume extractor is easily added with a sleeve of lead foil.

Cold War Project — Blowpipe

Heroics & Ros 1/300 1980s British infantry — Blowpipe teams
These guys are equipped with the Blowpipe, a semi-disposable man-portable anti-aircraft rocket system. The reusable aiming system clips on to a disposable launch tube.

Reports from the Falklands did not cast the Blowpipe in a good light. At the time they were only reporting a 10% hit rate, even against slow-moving aeroplanes and helicopters, and later analysis indicated that the hit rate might have been as low as 2%. One senior British officer described using Blowpipe as "shooting grouse with a drain pipe".

Hopefully my guys will do a little bit better than that on the wargaming table.

The H&R Blowpipe infantry sprue just comes with five launcher figures. The loader/observer has been added from the general infantry pack.
Painting note: this time I tried building up the DPM camouflage from a brown base, splotching the green and sand over the top. It seems to have worked well enough, though the overall effect is slightly darker than going from a green base. I thought the brown would make a better base colour, as it's a more useful shadow colour than bright grass green.

Cold War Project — 81mm Mortar

Heroics & Ros 1/300 1980s British infantry — dismounted 81mm mortar
Here's another addition to my BAOR force, some dismounted 81mm mortar teams. They'd normally be dashing about the place in a FV432, and the mortar can be fired from the vehicle, but it could also be dismounted and emplaced in a sneaky hidden position and be a bit less obvious than a honking great tracked vehicle.

Cold War Project — BAOR Infantry

Here's a selection of Heroics & Ros' new 1980s British infantry, three rifle sections of them. I have enough squaddies painted now for a full-strength company, but there's still plenty of command and support weapons to paint and base.

The large bases are the rifle groups, and have five figures on them The smaller ones are the gun groups, and have three figures — they have a small red bead glued at the rear of the base to let me know at a glance what they are, since my eyes aren't up to distinguishing a 6mm figure's weapon load at tabletop distances any more.

The little 5mm d6 on the middle rifle group base is used to count casualties. My friend Steve got a bunch of them from China for next to nothing. He likes to have the die showing the number of casualties taken, while I prefer to have it showing the base's remaining strength — I don't suppose it matters all that much, but it would probably be a good idea to both be using the same system to avoid confusion.

I like the new H&R infantry sculpts a lot, but alas, my painting doesn't show the detail to best advantage, and it's not helped by my representation of DPM camouflage cloth which tends to befuddle the eye further — surprise, surprise.

Home-Made Clump Foliage

I had a go at making some clump foliage flock out of some budget kitchen sponges from the supermarket. Generally, I'd call the experiment a success, but there are improvements that could be made.

I have a cheap little blender that I bought specifically for model-making and the like, so that I don't have to be spending hours getting tiny fragments of unmentionable stuffs out of our kitchen blender. It's not large, nor is it powerful, but it's sufficient for my purposes so far.

I tore the sponge into strips and then soaked them in water to give them a bit of inertial resistance to the blender blades. If they're dry, they just bounce around inside the blender, and bounce right off the blades without taking much useful damage — the added water gives them more mass, and the blades can tear through them.

It takes a little while to get everything rendered down into sponge fluff, but after about five or ten minutes of shaking the blender and pulsing it and so forth, the resulting slurry is decanted into a fine-meshed sieve and as much water as possible squeezed out.

Then acrylic paint — I just used a house-paint test pot — is squeezed and kneaded through.  I found I didn't need a huge amount of paint.

Then the excess paint is again squeezed out, and here I may have gone too far — the final colour is a bit lighter than the paint I chose, and maybe if I'd left a bit more paint in there it would have stayed darker. Also, the dried, finished mass is more friable than I expected; though that's not necessarily a bad thing, more paint left in it would probably have helped it to clump more and perhaps shed fewer little bits.

I spread out the wet mass to dry on a sheet of baking paper in the hot-water cupboard overnight, and it was bone dry when I got it out the next day.

I'm not unhappy with the results at all. I already have some commercial clump foliage in dark shades that I've been working my way through for ages, so having a much lighter lot is advantageous at the moment. However, I do want to try another batch and see if I can make the end colour a bit more predictable.

Is it worth the trouble? Maybe. A commercial bag of clump foliage isn't all that expensive, but it does only come in a fairly limited range of tones. If I make my own, I can make it pretty much any colour I want — if I can just come to grips with staining it predictably.

Cold War Project — CVR(T)

FV107 Scimitar (30mm RARDEN autocannon)

CVR(T) stands for Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked). It's one of the multi-role, multi-function chassis series so beloved by modern militaries because of the way they streamline the logistics train.

FV101 Scorpion (76mm gun)
Scorpions in NZ service got quite a colourful camo scheme

The Scorpion was bought by the New Zealand army (in pretty small numbers — just a couple of dozen) in 1982.

They replaced our M41 Walker Bulldogs, and have since themselves been replaced by wheeled LAVs.
FV103 Spartan APC
These are the last of the vehicles I have so far for my 1980s BAOR force, so now it's on to the infantry en masse. They're a lot fiddlier to paint and base than the vehicles.

Cold War Project — Spartan w. Milan

FV120 Spartan MCT — Heroics & Ros, 1/300 scale
From Wikipedia:
"FV103 Spartan is a tracked armoured personnel carrier of the British Army. It was developed as the APC variant of the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family. The vehicle can carry up to seven personnel, including three crew members. Armed with a single machine gun, it is almost indistinguishable from the FV102 Striker in external appearance. Rather than a general personnel carrier for infantry, the Spartan has been used for moving specialist teams, such as anti-aircraft missile teams. An anti-tank variant of the Spartan has been produced, named FV120 Spartan MCT; this is armed with MILAN anti-tank missiles."
These will also be standing in for FV432 Milan carriers, which I don't have any of (as yet).

Infant Centurions

Centurion Mk.1 — Heroics & Ros, 1/300
I bought these some while ago, for no particular reason except that I like the Centurion.

This is the first production version of the tank, which appeared at the very end of WWII, though it never saw action, and I'm not sure that any even made it over to Germany before the surrender. The Centurion Mark 1 mounted the 17 pounder and a coaxial 20mm Polsten autocannon. It was soon upgraded to the new 20 pounder main gun, and the Polsten replaced with a BESA machine-gun, as the 20mm turned out to be largely pointless.

I'm not sure how old this sculpt from Heroics & Ros is, but they've recently released two new ones of the Centurions Mark V and XIII which, from the photographs I've seen, look as good as models from any manufacturer. I've ordered some, though like these Mark 1s, I have no immediate use for them on the wargames table. I just like Centurions.

Cold War Project — Land Rovers

Here are some light transports for my BAOR force — a bunch of Land Rovers. ½-tonne on the left, ¾-tonne on the right. How much I'll actually use them on the battlefield I don't know, but I guess they'll come in handy for whizzing observer teams and the like about. I'd think Land Rovers might be a bit vulnerable to be operating up the sharp end, but then my teensy-tiny lead men are VERY VERY BRAVE.

As ever, the models are all 1/300 scale, from Heroics & Ros.

Cold War Project — Air Power

These two aircraft complete my air support assets.

Both are 1/300 models from Heroics & Ros. On the left, the Jaguar, and on the right the Tornado.

Regrettably, the Tornado has its wings swept back as it would be in its interceptor role, rather than forward as they would be for ground attack, but never mind.
Note: I'm told by somebody who has actually seen them that Tornados did operate with wings swept back in ground attack. So, that's all right then.


Cold War Project — Lynx

Heroics & Ros 1/300 Lynx helicopter
The Gazelle gives me an air recon asset, while this helicopter, the Lynx, provides some ground attack capability in addition.

This model was more involved than the Gazelle, as I had to carve off the moulded-on tail rotor blades so that I could replace them with a clear plastic disc, and I had to tear off the rocket pods and remount them on brass pins because I got them the wrong way around the first time.

Cold War Project — Gazelle

Heroics & Ros 1/300 Gazelle helicopter
This little helicopter is going to give me some air recon capability.

The rotor disc is cut from a piece of blister-pack plastic and fixed in place with a pin stub.

Construction was a bit fiddly, but not too bad. Nowhere near as nightmarish as their WW1 biplanes.

Jigsaw Paint Shaker

 I've been using a cheap $20 jigsaw to shake the bejeezus out of my paints for a while, and it works very well.

Up until now, I've just been clamping the paint bottle to the masking-tape wrapped blade of the jigsaw with a bulldog clip, and that has worked OK, but from time to time I do get a flying paint bottle. Also, it's a bit of a faff getting everything mounted properly.

So, I've made this modification.

The main body of the frame is just a bit of plywood that I've cut out, drilled, and epoxied to the jigsaw blade. I filed down the teeth of the blade for safety's sake. The bottles are held in place by some bits of velcro I had left over from some household job or other; they're just stapled to the plywood frame.

Frame close-up

End view
I can shake two bottles at  a time with this setup, though how the jigsaw will cope with all the extra weight and vibration in the long term I don't know. It cost very little though, so I'm not risking much.

I cut a notch in the cap end of the frame to give the bottle some lateral stability. I don't know how necessary that is, but it can't do any harm.

Cold War Project — FV432

This is the bulk of my APCs finished, though I still have a few Spartans to do.

These are the British FV432, from Heroics & Ros. The two at the very back mount the Swingfire missile system, while all the others are pure APCs.

I accidentally ordered these twice, so I have twice as many as I actually need for the size of force I was intending. Oh, woe is me, to have too many toys.

I just realised that I forgot to paint the exhaust pipes running down the port side. I'll have to get on to that.

Cold War Project — GPMG teams

These are the new Heroics & Ros sculpts of the 1980s British GPMG teams, with the guns on tripods in their sustained-fire mode.

The red beads are a visual aid for my own reference, since my eyesight is no longer what it once was: red means a machine-gun of some kind. I use other colours to indicate other weapon loads. It also gives me the team's facing, since the bead is always at the rear of the base.

Cold War Project — Striker

Here's one of the ATGM configurations of the CVRT, the Striker. They mount five Swingfire missiles in the launcher at the back of the hull top; these are moulded in their firing configuration, which is good, since with the launchers lowered it's a bit difficult to distinguish the Striker from the Spartan APC, especially with eyesight as crappy as mine.

The models are Heroics & Ros 1/300 scale, and they're pretty good. The only real issue I have with them is that there's a fairly large casting channel entering the body of the model right over the rear access door, which is a pity. It would be quite difficult to clean it off properly while keeping the access hatch, and I haven't really bothered; I just cut off the excess as close as I could manage it and left it at that.

Cold War Project — APCs on the way

Here we go on the troop transports. They're FV432 APCs by Heroics & Ros.

There are a couple of Swingfire turrets in amongst them too; I debated leaving those in overall green without any disruptive camo, to differentiate them visually from the APCs, but in the end I gave them their stripes too.

I'm about half-way through painting this lot, and at the moment they're looking to me like a lot of licorice allsorts. Next step is dry-brushing to bring out the highlights, then painting the tracks, and finally a wash to define the shadows.

Cold War Project — Hawker Harrier

If the Chieftain was the archetypal British tank when I was growing up, the Hawker Harrier jump-jet was the archetypal British aeroplane. With its VTOL capability and futuristic lines, it evoked all kinds of "Captain Scarlet" associations in my juvenile mind.

Apparently it was not without its shortcomings, but I knew nothing of them and just thought it was indescribably cool.

This 1/300 model is from Heroics & Ros (as usual), and will hopefully serve to give my ground troops a bit of air support.

To tell the truth, I haven't really examined the air support rules in any detail, so I probably should do that.

Flight Stands for Gaming or Display

Occasionally — not often, but from time to time — my tabletop wargaming involves aircraft. It might be a specifically aerial dogfighting game, or it might be the aerial component of an all-arms game.

The thing about aircraft is that they need to be up in the air, or they just look stupid. So, here's how I make the flight stands for my planes. This specific one is a metal Hawker Harrier jet from Heroics & Ros, but I've used the same system to make stands for 1/144 plastic kits as well.

 The first thing to address is that a model on the end of a stick needs a bit of weight at the base to make it stable, or else it will just keep falling over and probably damaging the model.

The size of the base and the amount of weight required will depend on how long a stand you want, and the size and weight of the model to be perched on top of it. In this case I'm using quite a short stand, but the metal model is fairly heavy.

I create the base by supergluing together a stack of fender washers of decreasing size. In this case, the largest one is 32mm in diameter. You don't need to use much glue at all at this stage, just enough to tack them together: there will be a lot more glue going on later.

The stand is a length of 3mm clear acrylic rod. I prefer this because it's see-through, but a sturdy length of steel wire will also do the job. I've drilled a matching 3mm cavity in the belly of the aeroplane model; this one is a tight enough fit that it can just be pushed on and it will stay, but another option is to use a pair of magnets, one glued to the tip of the stand, and the other to the belly of the plane.

 Once I have my base stack, I flood the levels with liquid superglue and then cover it with baking soda.

The baking soda combines with the superglue and cures it pretty much instantaneously, and leaves a rough plastic-like mass. The excess is just brushed away — if you're cheap, and it's not going to be used for cooking, it can go back into the box for re-use.

 You will probably have to repeat the superglue + baking soda once or twice to get a more or less even covering over the stack of washers and to disguise their edges.

The next step is to get the acrylic stand attached to the base.

You can see here that I've taped the acrylic rod to a piece of folded card. This is to keep it square and vertical in the base while the glue is setting. It's best to make sure that the end of the rod is a few millimetres above the surface of the table; if it protrudes even a fraction of a millimetre below the edge of the support card, it will throw everything out of whack and your stand won't be perfectly vertical.

You need to make sure that the card's base is perfectly straight, and that it's folded with that bottom edge matching exactly — that will ensure that the folded crease is perfectly square to the bottom edge, and it will also be perfectly vertical to the tabletop when the card is stood like this.

I've cut a notch out of the bottom of the card stand — this is to accommodate the base for the next step.

The cavity in the stack of washers is filled with epoxy, and the acrylic rod, taped to its support card, is lowered down into it.

Leave it to set.

The epoxy in this image is coloured that diarrhea brown because there was a little bit of paint left in the silicon cupcake baking thing I use as mixing palettes. It's not necessary to colour it at all.
I had a lot more epoxy mixed up than I really needed, and spread some out over the base.

I poured some basing sand over it while it was setting to provide a bit of texture.
Once the epoxy has set, the stand is basically done.

Now all that remains is to paint and flock the base as you normally would, to match your battle mat or whatever.

Renegade Krome — first outing

Some time ago, I ordered a Badger Sotar 2020-2 airbrush from a US company. That airbrush has disappeared into the mail-service void, and I don't know at this stage if I will ever see it (or my money) again.

So, I bit the bullet and bought a Badger Renegade Krome from MightyApe instead. It's the most expensive airbrush I've ever bought, but since it came out of my Shapeways loot, it sort of feels like free, which is good.

Expensive it may be, but it's also hands-down the best airbrush I've ever used, even on the very brief acquaintance I've had with it so far. Which is very brief, since it only arrived this morning.

This model is an old 15mm (1/100) plastic kit from Battlefront, a StuG IIIG. It's one they put out with a beginner's box for one of the editions of Flames of War, and it's not a great model. Though, having said that, it's enormously better than the Sherman that came in that same set, which currently hold the record for the worst plastic tank kit I've ever encountered.

I'd given it a pretty basic paint job before, so I just went over the top of that to try out the lining and dusting capabilities of my new airbrush, and I am more than happy. It handles Vallejo paints, both VMC (thinned) and VMA (straight) very well, and it allows me to get in closer, with less spidering or splattering, than any other airbrush I've used. It lays down a very fine mist coat as well, for broader coverage. It points very intuitively, and the paint goes pretty much exactly where I expect it to, which is a very good thing.

I think this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Cold War Project — FV432 Mortar Carrier

Thes guys carry the 81mm mortar, a useful piece of kit for rapid-response infantry artillery support. They can be fired from the vehicle, or they can be dismounted and emplaced — there are dismounted mortars and crews available as part of the Infantry Support Weapons set, or you can buy the mortar sprues on their own.

These models are Heroics & Ros 1/300.

Cold War Project — The Heavy Boys

It's been a little while since I did anything on my 1/300 scale BAOR force.

This is the backbone of my armoured component, the Chieftain Mk.IX. They'll be standing in for Chieftains of any mark, because they're all visually very similar in this scale, but if I find I want Challengers I'll get proper models of those.

The models are from Heroics & Ros, as usual.

Grass tufts from false eyelashes

I don't know who came up with this idea, but it is genius and I'm definitely going to try it out.

Have you ever been experienced?

Well, I have.....
I've been sort of keeping an eye on the upcoming Pathfinder 2 FRPG rules. I'm not particularly interested in ever running a Pathfinder campaign; the rules are far too pernicketty and Byzantine for my taste, but I do like to see which ideas are worth nicking.

One that piqued my interest is their new level progression rules. Every level requires a base 1,000 experience points to advance. First to second level? A thousand. Fifteenth to sixteenth level? Still a thousand. If the GM decides they want progress the game faster or slower, they can just adjust that base number up or down, but it still remains the same for every level.

Naturally, this would require considerable judgement by the GM. If that first-level party defeated a Hideous Bugblatter Beast of Thraall, it would be worth a lot more experience to them than to the fifteenth-level party. The number of experience points granted for any given session would be highly situational, and to a certain degree subjective.

I haven't actually seen the PF2 playtest documents (yet) so I don't know what, if any, guidance is given to the prospective GM in this respect. I assume there's some.

Anyway, it's an idea that I rather like.

It would be possible to transfer it to AD&D, but it wouldn't be a seamless transition: the AD&D level progression rates are a bit.... peculiar. Some classes progress much faster than others initially and then slow right down, some get a speed boost at the mid-levels. Pretty much every class has its own particular level progression numbers for any given level. Frankly, it's a bit of a mess. Once upon a time I worked out line graphs to chart the relative advancement rates of all the classes, but where that work is now I have no idea.

To an extent it could be modified for AD&D by giving each class its own base advancement rate to reflect the relative effectiveness of the class: I'd probably set Fighters as the standard, at 1,000xp per level, while Rangers might be 1,100 and Paladins 1,250. Thieves would be faster at, say, 900, while Magic-users and Clerics I'd probably set at about the 1,100 to 1,300 level.

The thing that I like best about this system is that a player will always know, at a glance, how close they are to advancing in level. No more need for XP charts at all.


I started to work out the relative progression speed of the various classes by taking the number of XP required for each to reach level 10 (from OSRIC) and turning it into this bar chart.

The results surprised me quite considerably.

I'd never really taken any notice of this before; I was vaguely aware that Thief progression was quite fast, but I'd always assumed that the Fighter was one of the more average classes in that respect. I was quite wrong.

THE AVERAGE IS 330,000 xp

Druids, Thieves and Illusionists all scamper up the level hierarchy in the blink of an eye compared with pretty much everybody else. Clerics, Fighters, and Paladins trail behind, progressing excruciatingly slowly comparatively.

To be frank, I can't really see why, except maybe to make pretty lame classes like Illusionist attractive to players — but then, Druids are pretty goddam scary, so why would they need to be helped along like that? It can't be because of the characteristic requirements of the class — Paladins are really crippled in that way, yet they advance the slowest of them all. I suspect the relative progression rates were set pretty much at whim.

I think I might just compress everything. Probably quite a bit.

Even Later....

I've decided I am definitely going to adopt the "1,000 XP per level" system for all classes, for all levels.

I was going to adjust the amount of xp/level required by class according to the advancement rates shown in the existing XP table, but I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why some classes advance at different rates than others. Sometimes remarkably different rates. I can understand the desire of the designers to allow different advancement rates, but there seems to be little consistency to them.

This will mean a little bit of arithmetic to begin with, since we'll need to know what percentage of the XP you need to advance from your present level has already been achieved for each of your classes, to work out how many you've got right now.

It'll also necessitate a change in the "gp for XP" training fees, and I think I'll just set them at a straight 10 gp per XP because it's easy to work out. That will work out considerably cheaper for higher-level characters, but I don't really mind that.

If nothing else, this is going to make it easier for me to assign non-monster-killin' in-game XP rewards. Ten points for Gryffindor, for exceptional pluck!

I think I'll also look at allowing players to spend XP in the same way as Fate Points or Hero Points or whatever you want to call them. I'll have a think about the cost of things like re-rolls and the like; I don't want to make them cripplingly expensive, but neither do I want them to be a trivial cost.

Vrock — repaint

This is an old WotC D&D pre-painted figures, a Vrock (or Type I Demon, as they once were known). I gave it a rough-and-ready repaint...