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A barren, frozen planet. A pristine icefield, burnished and cleared by constant katabatic gales. Graven in elegant Old High Martian glyphs a meter deep in the never-thawing ice, a mathematical proof of such beauty and elegance as to make a genius weep...and a series of universal planetary coordinates. No advanced species could forbear to investigate further!
These are the work of the Neh-Thalggu, more commonly known as the Braincrabs. Know them. Fear them. Do not trust them.
Rugose and four-limbed, the first instar is little more than a brain-shaped crustacean beast. (Little Nolzur's Intellect Devourers, came with the Alhoon or Illithilich.) They are shed when the parent has a surfeit of brains and wishes to jettison lesser ones to make room for greater.
Most perish, being less clever than their prey. But if one can bring down a sentient creature through luck and stealth and devour its central ganglion or brain...it begins to grow, absorbing the knowledge and cunning of its prey, much as some sea slugs repurpose the stinging cells of their prey and make them their own.
After absorbing a few brains, the instar grows into a juvenile. This involves generating more frontal eyes and a pair of brutal skull-cracking pincers. Recently-added brains are sequestered into thin-shelled bubbles, an adaptation to make sure other, stronger Braincrabs do not kill them when marauding.
The juveniles are very dangerous, acting as psionic predators with the strength of a tiger and the intelligence of three or four sentient creatures, all brought to bear on the problem of obtaining more brains. Depending on its previous history, it is very likely to outwit the average sentient being.
A Braincrab that has assimilated more than eight brains again metamorphoses, this time into a mountainous, many-limbed hulk, a spiny rugose colossus with a first-class think tank worth of neural tissue working for it. Psionic power abounds, and the elder Braincrab can create immersive illusions at-will or psychically dominate lesser wills.
The really unpleasant bit is the way it will out-argue you and succeed. It can make an excellent claim to being a Utility Monster, better at experiencing both reality and pleasure in the cosmos than us single-brained chumps. And what gives it the most pleasure, on the level you and I could never experience? (for so it claims, and has data to back it up--is the data faked? if so, it's too good for us to be able to tell!)? Why, devouring and assimilating more sentient brains! Do you have inconvenient brains in your society? Antisocial or sociopathic ones? It can redirect those energies! Oh, it's a persuasive monstrosity!
The Martians fear and detest them, of course, having as they do great juicy brains practically dripping psionic energy.
But hunting something that is hunting you, while your strongest weapon is their favorite prey--it's not easy!
A Martian High Intelligencer can outwit all but the eldest Braincrabs, but the gamble is a perilous one indeed. You do NOT want a braincrab with the powers of a High Intelligencer. That's how you get a planet converted to a brain farm, which in turn leads to Great Old Ones. Not even once!
Oddly, the best defense against the Braincrab is a hive of the insectoid Mandibulate Commonweal. One has the intelligence of a beast, two of a slightly smarter beast, five of an average human...and a whole hive can rival a supercomputer. Their individual brains are not worth a Braincrab's attention, and yet the hivemind can outmaneuver it intellectually as easily as the workers can swarm and savage it physically.
The Commonweal will not gain knowledge from the reclaimed brains, though. Only nourishment.
Below, how to make a juvenile Braincrab.
By Ryan S
Hi, I want to start this to get me motivated to get some accountability and hopefully guilt myself into working. So here is the very first of hopefully many steps.
The first step is to prime the miniature, I've done that, the 2nd step? To photograph the miniature to capture the volumes of real light that shows where I want my light source. For this I want two light sources. So really that means I just used my computer screen and my ceiling light, adjust the miniature to taste and get the angle I want to set the light.
The screen light is whiter and will be the light from outside the window, the yellower ceiling light will be my tavern fire light and will be the primary light source.
The skin will be fairly shiny so this is pretty much a mandatory process to get those realistic sheens....because I'm literally stealing form reality it helps a lot. If I were a better painter I could fake the light sources with enough knowledge. Thankfully I have some serious shadows on the model, and my mid tones will have a lot of room for blending.
The problem now? Picking my colors.
What do I know? I know the floor is wood colored and the axe/haft materials
I know that I'm going to want off white and pinks for eye whites and gums teeth etc.
The gold of the primer is actually a really beautiful color for a fantasy creature, so I might see if I can't keep that.
So Gold, pink, whites/off whites, and browns, I don't know if I want a two toned or patterned beholder. I think this is gonna be a challenge whatever I do. I think I want to go for a fleshy color
Since I haven’t had a WIP in a very long time, I thought this mini would be perfect for it. I plan to paint her up for a Christmas gift for a friend and figured to keep me on track I’d do a WIP.
I have a few minis in progress she’ll be my main priority after my Darksword Stephanie Law Bard. I prepped her and primed yesterday after the humidity finally dropped.
My current projects in various stages on my desk.
And just the pinup after some prep work
A few places I could have spent more time on but figured I’ll prime and see what stands out.
I used army painter matte black primer followed by Tamiya fine white primer. For the bits on her base I left them in black since she will be the focal point no need to use white on them, it’ll help the colors be a bit more muted.
And finally my quick mock up for color checking. I usually just print a stock photo and use my paints over it to plan the general scheme.
Now to finish up my bard then onto tackling her flesh. Since she’ll have a hint of sheer with her stocking I needed to be sure the color for her skin and the sheer works and won’t lose the effect due to the color choices.
Feel free to post C&C throughout, or ask questions. I’m always happy to share what I can. I’ll do my best to share the steps I take and colors used.
Happy painting everyone.
This is the latest Kickstarter project, expanding our fantasy range this time, and bringing light to the ones we have that might not have been noticed. Along with some super cool female minis, we have some brand new scenics too, and a whole bunch of add on bundles.
I'll post more on the lead up, but for now if you're interested, could you click the "notify me" on the pre launch page and it will help the algorithms, and you know algorithms are the new gods!