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Dungeon-crawling! They say it's a young humanoid's game, but that's not always true. A lifetime of experience and the survival skills necessary to get to one's golden or even orichalcum years are pretty useful. Here's Sebastian, a knight of some experience from Hasslefree. Well armored and cautious, probably why he's still around. And another, less cautious but equally seasoned adventurer, Conran the Barbarian, also from Hasslefree. More pictures: Here he is bonding with the grandkids (Serris, 02997 and Cuth Wolfson, 03701) and at his day job. (Conran is definitely a version of Pratchett's Cohen the Barbarian, who conceded that after a few hours of fighting a ten-thousand-man army he might start getting tired too--but so would his enemies, as they would be running uphill at that point.) Fighter and barbarian-thief are a good start, but a well-rounded party should also have an arcanist and a healer. Jos Gebbler, 14317, and Estra, 60198, seem like good fits. A combined three centuries of adventuring experience pays off! But there are threats yet older than they...
...and whilst gathering Firewood of an evening, I chanced to see a glow from a clearing a-nearby and hear sounds as of Chanting; taking it upon myfelf to enquire further, and creeping to the edge of yon Clearing I beheld Gooddame Wembley and Goodwife Jessup comporting themfelves oddly round a curious ring of stones; likewise with them was an uncanny Moppet malign of afpect, conftructed of string and rags, and also Effigies of wood and bracken made, which same did appear to move of their own Accord as though they had Volition, and did consort with thofe worthies... ...Prefently there appeared from out the Foreft a Hierophant, chasubled and mantled with vainglorious trappings akin to any robed Prieft of ROME, with a Ram's skull to mask therewith, and brandishing an Axe with Divelish cries and ensorcellments moft terrible to hear, which Cacophony was join'd by the other two and likewife a black Cat which wove in and out from between their legs... ...Anon came forth a monstrous Fiend, in shape like a Man from the Belly upwards and like unto a Goat below, crook-legged, hoov'd, and hairy, unclad, and similarly with a Countenance like that of a Ram's from shoulders upwards, the skull being without Skin or Flesh, yet do I atteft this was in no wise any mask, but its veritable Head undisguif'd; and the three of them did make obeisance to the Thing and venerated it abandon'dly with blafphemous Rites more Hellish and vile than thofe of the unregenerate Heathen, and the wooden Effigies did dance the while, and the Moppet also... ...whereupon with clean Conscience I could endure to see no more, and fled. Thif I do atteft before God and before the Affembly to be a full and complete Account of my Experience in the wood that night, and affix my Hand thereunto, the same being --MILES WIGGLESWORTH his mark X. Another from Crooked Dice! I've posted Dita (80006) and Estra (60198) last Fall in the Early Modern Monster Hunters series, but Crooked Dice's Wasteland Cultist and Goatman are new. (There's an almost identical mini to the Cultist in the 'Children of the Fields' line, but I like the more tattered version here.) The Goatman is just straight-up creepy in a way that many more overtly brutal or vicious sculpts are not. No demon genitals are visible on the model but I have placed the full frontal view in a spoiler just in case.
Well, you know what season it is as the leaves start turning and the air starts getting chilly... ...the season of the WITCH! Specifically, here's Dita, the Steampunk Witch, 80006. Her techno-accessories look like they put her well after the 17th century, but let's not forget a) prostheses were actually very advanced for those who, like Gotz of the Iron Hand, could afford them, and b) WITCHCRAFT. Here's more Dita. And that description, witch*craft* is a powerful thematic indicator. Witches are hobbyists and craftspeople. They make things. In a fantasy schema or in a folktale context, this is what distinguishes them from your average sorceror, warlock, or diabolist. The old witch from "Hansel and Gretel" was a baker and confectioner. Baba Yaga makes bone lamps and flying cookware. The witches from Macbeth make horrible stews. Bread and herbs, roots and wax, comb and yarn, thread and needle and pins; imbued with will and spell and spite and hate, these are the tools of the witch. (An artificer is different in that they require witch-*engineering.*) So here's a horrible little moppet with a rusty knife. This one was fun to paint. Comes from the Familiars 2 set, 77096. Hard to parse until there's a layer of paint on her. A big mop of tousled yarn curls, a single button eye, a little smock and bag. I love the wobbly toddling pose of the thing. The little Creepy Rag Doll from the Familiar Set 2 (77096) is a bitty wee thing. Here's a close-up, penny for scale. Click for thorough turnaround. And here's Estra, the Iconic Spiritualist. A glorious sculpt--it's good to see more elderly women. She's got all kinds of shawls and wraps and ribbons and scarves. Fun to paint, especially with some eastern-European-inspired designs. (Also with her is a cat stolen from Edna the Cat Lady.) Definitely a wise woman. A witch? There are rumors in the town, as there often are about old women who live alone and have cunning and practical skills. More angles (and witches know all about angles; ask Keziah Mason): More witch-crafts! Here are three horrible wooden "Mannikins" from Warmahordes' Circle Orboros. They are definitely NOT fae or natural plants, being lashed together with cord and twine. Hobbled, ungainly, bent and jointed in ways that seem viscerally wrong and cruel. Is she calling them forth or putting them down? The sharp-tongued biddies and resentful burgomeisters know which story they are going to tell, either way.