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What is Secret Sophie, you ask?
Well, it's a lot like Secret Santa, with a more attractive (albeit more dangerous) delivery person! (For those not in the know, Sophie the Succubus is Reaper's mascot.) This is the time of year for Reaper forumites to give a little holiday cheer to each other.
Unlike most of the exchanges we do on the forums, this will have two categories
- miniature & gift exchange and gift-only exchange.
Signups will run from November 1st until midnight (PST) November 14th, with the assignments going out by the end of November 16th.
If you've never done an exchange before, how it works is like this:
Everyone who is interested PMs me (SGHawkins09) with the questionnaire below filled out by the deadline. The organizer (SGHawkins09) then matches you with a person to whom you will send your gift/mini, and another person from whom you will receive a gift/mini from in return (sometimes it's the same person). Halfway through the exchange, you'll need to send the organizers a WIP. You have until the deadline to send your gift/mini out.
This exchange is based on trust. Please be respectful of the fact that someone else is investing their time, money and energy into painting a mini for you. I am simply the organizer, but I will do everything I can to make sure that everyone who paints a miniature receives one.
The Rules (tl;dr version)
Gifts should be primarily new, Reaper-branded presents. Exchanging painted miniatures is optional (gift only exchange). Fill out the questionnaire below and send it to me via PM. Painters must post a Work In Progress (WIP) image of your mini under a spoiler tag to this thread by December 31st. The deadline for non-painters to mail their items is December 21st. The deadline for painters is January 31st.
Decide whether you are doing gift and miniature exchange or gift-only exchange. "Gifts" are Reaper paints, unpainted miniatures, or other Reaper painting supplies. Recommended dollar value of gifts is $25 or less. The miniature exchange is where you paint a Reaper miniature for someone and mail it to them. If you want to paint more than one miniature, you may do so. Reaper minis are the focus. If you want to paint more than one miniature, you may do so. If you wish to include other gifts for your recipient, you may do so, but please keep them small. The focus of the exchange should be a Reaper product. Fill out all the appropriate sections of the questionnaire below and send it to me via PM. Please fill out the current version of the questionnaire, Please don't just send an old one, as questions may have changed. Please don't contact your partner unless they have listed themselves as okay with contact. I've included it on the questionnaire, so you'll know who wants to keep it secret and who doesn't. You will need to acknowledge your assignment message and/or post or message me that you have selected a miniature by December 1st. Basically, if I do not hear anything from you once the assignments go out, you will be dropped, and your recipient will be reassigned.. I really do not want to do this but there have been too many instances in the past of radio silence once assignments go out. In order to encourage people to start painting early, you will need to post a Work In Progress (WIP) image of your mini under a spoiler tag to this thread by December 31st. The mini should be at least base-coated by this time. If you don't post a WIP by this point, I may have to demote you to gift-only or drop you from the exchange. Please don't make me do this. Try really hard to get your miniature out by the deadline. Let an organizer know if you are going to be late. Please post in this thread once you have received your miniature from your partner. We all love seeing what everyone did and it serves as an acknowledgement that you received it. In the past some people have wanted to send food - please verify allergens, etc. with your partner before proceeding. If you are mailing internationally and plan to send more than just miniatures/paint, you must contact your recipient to get any "bonus items" approved. We don't want any trouble with customs. As an example, plant matter or powders can cause a lot of trouble. The organizers (SGHawkins09) can help facilitate any anonymous conversations you want to have with your partner. Have fun!
The deadline for acknowledging your assignment is December 1st.
The deadline for mailing gifts is December 21st. This is for the gift only participants, painters can send the gifts separate and earlier than the painted figure but it is not required.
The deadline for a WIP photo is December 31st.
The deadline for mailing exchange miniatures is January 31st, but it's even better if you can get them out by Christmas.
It is just me (SGHawkins09) this time so be patient if you send me a message or post a question, I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Secret Sophie Exchange Questionnaire
Are you signing up for the gift exchange only, or for gift + miniature exchange?
-Gift Information: Inbound-
What are you interested in receiving?
Other gift preferences?
-Painted Miniature Information: Outbound-
What can you paint?
What do you like painting the most?
-Painted Miniature Information: Inbound-
What do you want to receive?
What DON'T you want to receive?
What material do you want to receive?
Do you have a particular color scheme in mind?
What style of basing would you prefer?
Please give your partner some inspiration, especially if you have very few preferences above.
Will you ship internationally?
Would you be willing to have multiple exchange partners?
Would you like to know who is painting for you before they start painting?
Would you like your partner to know who is painting for them before you start painting?
Is there anybody you would prefer not to paint for? (please include why)
For the organizer, your painter, or your recipient:
Secret Sophie Exchange Questionnaire - Examples and Notes
Name: Forum Guy
Address: 1234 my street .
My town, My province or state
(Postal code) or (ZIP code)
Notes: Remember to include your zip code and country. Please format this correctly for your country in case you have an international partner.
-Gift Information: Inbound-
What are you interested in receiving? Metal or Bones fantasy monsters
Examples: metal/resin/bones, scenic elements, Dark Heaven Legends/Chronoscope/Warlord/Pathfinder/Savage Worlds, paints Other gift preferences? I love peppermint but hate licorice
Some people like to include other holiday related gifts, this would be were you could not if you like or dislike stuff related to that. Some things that are commonly asked about are candies, cookies, hot chocolate, tea, etc. If you note something here, it is not a guarantee you will get something extra as non Reaper items are optional.
-Painted Miniature Information: Outbound-
What can you paint? Fantasy PCs or monsters
Examples: fantasy, sci-fi, monsters, PCs, women, undead, demons, etc What do you like painting the most? bugbears and orcs
Notes: if possible, the organizers will try to match you up with someone who wants this thing, but if we can't we'll fall back to what you "can" paint
-Painted Miniature Information: Inbound-
What do you want to receive? Fantasy enemies for my players to fight! Monsters or human(ish) are both fine.
Examples: mouslings, necromancers, warriors, dual-wielders, etc What DON'T you want to receive? No nudity please. Also, I have plenty of goblins so I don't need more.
Examples: gross, nudity, undead, kobolds, animals, etc What material do you want to receive? I'm fine with any material
Notes: Reaper miniatures come in Bones, resin and metal Do you have a particular color scheme in mind? No preference.
Notes: If you're asking for a miniature to be used in army, you can ask your partner to match the colors. What style of basing would you prefer? Plain or basic - I will use these miniatures in my PFRPG games.
Examples: round or square preference? Unbased, plain base (simple black base), basic base (standard sized base with some scenic elements), or scenic base (fancy base not really suitable for gaming) Please give your partner some inspiration, especially if you have very few preferences above.
I'm starting the PFRPG Adventure Path "Jade Regent" soon. Try painting non-human skin tones. My favorite color is blue. "Spring has sprung!"
Notes: Consider this a non-binding word of inspiration for your partner. If they're stuck and can't figure out what to paint, maybe this will help them. No need to repeat your preferences above. You partner may ignore this question if they already have an idea from the your previously answered questions. Examples: Are there any books or movies you've enjoyed recently? Is there a challenge or technique you'd like your partner to try? How about some song lyrics or a quote from a book?
Will you ship internationally? Yes
Notes: Be aware that postage costs will be higher than domestic postage. If you mail internationally, you will need permission from your partner to include other gift items so that we don't run afoul of customs. Most participants in these exchanges are located in the USA. Would you be willing to have multiple exchange partners? Yes, I love painting!
Notes: If yes, specify if there is a limit (though it is unlikely we'll ask you to do more than 2) Would you like to know who is painting for you? No
Examples: Yes, No, No Preference Notes: If you say yes, your preference will be communicated to your partner. It will be up to them to contact you. Would you like your partner to know who is painting for them? No
Examples: Yes, No, No Preference Notes: You can contact them directly to work out details or ask for advice. We will attempt to match people with similar preferences, but can't guarantee this is the case. Is there anybody you would prefer not to paint for? (please include why) I painted for johndoe123 in the last miniature exchange.
Notes: If you like to paint for a variety of different people, you can list those you've painted for in the past. We will do our best to pair you with someone new. Another situation is that you know certain people in real life, and would prefer to paint for someone you don't know.
For the organizer, your painter, or your recipient:
Better late than never.
Here's some fun Pumpkin Horrors I painted up for @Inarah for Secret Sophie this past December. I was still riding on my Halloween spirit when Secret Sophie began, but wanted to do something that fit the winter theme. Inspired by the snowman-like design of the Pumpkin horrors and my own past mistakes of leaving pumpkins outside to rot all winter, I decided to do a holiday mashup with these guys left out in the cold too long.
With some time having passed, I wish I would have made them look a bit rotten and frost-bitten, but I also like the more colorful result.
More Photos Below the Spoiler:
These were some fun minis and my first time working with metal. I have now broken the seal and have started looking into other minis that I previously considered off-limits. I also enjoyed participating in Secret Sophie and joining in to some of the forum shenanigans. I highly recommend participating in these kinds of things for any who have been reticent.
What are some of your favorite holiday minis?
Like most people minus a few games here and there with my wife I haven't played a proper wargame or skirmish game in quite awhile. My wife and I did start a Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago campaign awhile back but instead of an ongoing campaign it halted after a single game. As she usually steamrolls me in most games I understand why she prefers to wait until our usual group finally starts getting together again. I guess she just knows me too well, making me an easy opponent. As for myself I'd rather be playing, even if I always lose, but I can see how always winning could get boring (Not that I'd actually know). The need to play finally brought me around to solo games which I'd never tried before and here we are. On many recommendations I ended up with Rangers of Shadow Deep, which makes sense as its only a modified Frostgrave system with a bit more meat to it.
Before writing up my first experiences with the game however there is one problem I've found. Its nothing to do with the system itself instead it has to do with my own shortcomings. Apparently my terrain and miniature collection (especially when it comes to monsters) is amazingly lacking. Up until playing this first game I thought I had a fairly decent collection but I guess I was just fooling myself. My warband didn't even escape this oversight and ended up being the most ramshackle bunch of any of my armies/squads. With that warning out of the way here is my first game...
The first mission begins just after the destruction of a neighboring kingdom and the appearance of the Shadow Deep itself. The book describes this as a realm permanently covered in black clouds and filled with evil creatures. With the entire kingdom on high alert you are tasked with locating a missing Ranger that was investigating attacks on a nearby village.
As you approach the village you feel that something is wrong. Everything is too quiet and the village itself smells of recent death. You pass bodies lying in the dirt as you move into the village proper. As your group reaches the village square and is beginning to form search parties you hear a horrible moaning sound surrounding you.
Seems like a great place to start the actual game right, but there are still a couple last pieces of bookkeeping. First up is introducing my actual warband (you were warned they were an odd lot).
Missing almost all of the necessary monsters I had to improvise.
The modern zombies are filling in for fantasy zombies.
The kobolds are filling in for giant rats.
The skeletons are filling in for giant spiders.
The three adventurers will be filling in for the village survivors.
As if that wasn't enough proxying I also had to proxy buildings with small wall sections. With the scenario needing houses with doors I selected center of the open area on each wall to act as the door.
Starting out your warband is deployed in the center of the village represented here with the well. There are six different points of interest that may act as clues to the missing rangers whereabouts. As you can see four zombies and two giant rats are deployed around the village. Clue 1 was moved 6" closer to my Ranger as he passed a perception check prior to the game.
With my first turn I started pairing my warband off attempting to reach all the clues. Going clockwise starting with my ranger (I'll be doing this going forward), he easily reached the first clue and managed to find a survivor (represented by the red wizard). Recruit 2 (The Ninja) managed to kill a zombie right off the bat. My arcanist (Oswald the overladen) started moving toward the clue inside the "house" while my knight (female half Orc) and hound (dog from a quarter machine) killed a giant rat. The archer (high elf archer) almost completely hidden by the well shot the zombie in front of him and brought it down to half health. Meanwhile my templar (old pikeman) and recruit 1 (villager with torch) were having trouble with their giant rat as the templar went down to only four health. That rat really did a number on him. Finally before the turn ended the event deck brought two more zombies onto the board.
On turn two my Ranger started working his way over to the other clue "house" and killed a zombie. The survivor made a beeline to the center of the village. Recruit 2 was knocked out fighting a zombie and the arcanist had to finish the job. The knight and the hound managed to defeat their first zombie while recruit 1 had to step in and save the archer after he was nearly killed. The templar slowly made his way closer to another clue. Then the event deck spawned another two zombies.
Turn three my ranger entered into his second combat. The survivor reached the well and the arcanist finally reached the door. The door requires either a Pick Lock or Strength roll (TN8) to enter, he tried to pick the lock but failed. Using a double move the knight went around the building getting closer to the second clue. Also using a double move recruit 2 started moving toward clue five. The archer shot at another zombie almost killing it but came up short. Meanwhile the hound tore across the board with it's double move and the templar reached the third clue. The third clue ended up being a mutilated body and with a very lucky survival roll he was able to determine the nature of the bite marks. Finally the event deck caused one of the buildings to collapse (Going forward it received a die on top of it), recruit 1 was too close and was nearly crushed. Fortunately he came away unscathed.
Turn four found my ranger and hound struggling to kill a zombie with my hound taking a hit. The survivor was content to hold his ground at the fountain while the arcanist continued to struggle with the door. The knight made it to the second clue but all she found was a zombie. The archer finally one shotted a zombie while recruit 1 finished off another. Recruit 1 also made it to clue five and found a potion of Wraithwalk. Try as he might the templar was still too far away to help the ranger and hound but he did close the distance. The event deck even spawned a zombie beside one of the clues inside a "house".
Turn five my ranger killed his second zombie with an assist from the hound. Again the survivor was content and the arcanist struggled with the door. Poor guy just couldn't get a decent roll. The knight began trading blows with a zombie and after just one turn they were both down to half health. Recruit 1 used a double move to start heading down to the arcanist hoping to put his +3 lockpicking skill to use. Obviously I should have sent him there in the first place but I really underestimated that simple TN8 roll. The archer like the survivor was content to stay where he was as he was very close to death. Last but not least the templar reached the "door" of the second clue "house", unfortunately he missed his strength roll. Finally thanks to the event deck my hound was struck with terror completely incapacitating him for a turn.
Turn six the ranger opened the door (after the templar failed during a group activation) and found strange tracks at the fourth clue. Using his tracking skill he was even able to determine their nature. The hound remained where it was frozen in fear while the survivor chose again to stay at the well. Recruit 1 used a double move again trying to get to the sixth clue. The arcanist continued to struggle with the door while the knight finished off her zombie and moved in to assist. The archer again stayed at the well. Then event deck then spawned four more zombies at the same location as the starting enemies.
Turn seven found my ranger, templar, and hound stuck fighting two zombies and managing to only kill one. The survivor and archer finally moved away from the well and closer to their allies. This didn't work out to well for the survivor as you see. The arcanist left the door and positioned himself between the archer and the incoming zombie. Recruit 1 killed another zombie and the knight opened the door. Instead of a clue as to the whereabouts of the missing ranger she found a treasure token (represented here by an old scatter die). The event deck had one more surprise in store for me however, it spawned two more giant rats.
As you can see in the picture I initially placed them incorrectly and forgot to take another picture after discovering my mistake. They are supposed to spawn out of line of sight beside a random building but if that's not possible they must spawn beside the building as close as they can to an enemy. In this case I could spawn only one out of line of sight (the one on the left) but the other one was clearly visible to my knight no matter where I placed him behind the building. The photo doesn't give this justice but believe me my laser pointer had the last word on the matter. So instead of spawning behind the building they spawned almost right on top of the survivor as the altered picture shows.
As you can imagine turn eight was quite a melee. The survivor was killed by the giant rats before I could intervene. I did however manage to kill one of them. My arcanist even got his hands dirty again at the end but only managed to lose two health for his trouble.
Things were a bit better with my ranger's group as they killed their last zombie.
They didn't exactly achieve their goal of finding the missing ranger but that wasn't due to lack of trying, that's just the way the dice rolled. Securing a treasure wasn't bad though as it turned out to be a Herb Pouch which in this system is a pretty good "magic item". The ranger received almost enough XP to level up while all his companions received two progression points, minus recruit 2 of course. As for recruit 2's injuries I'm happy to say he'll make a full recovery.
As far as a first game goes this actually went pretty smoothly, already knowing most of the system certainly helped though. I've got to say I really appreciate the way the scenario system handles monsters, knowing everything you need ahead of time for a mission is great. I know that comes at the sacrifice of a table of random encounters but it certainly makes it easier to plan for (even though I just proxied everything, you know what I mean). Also the number of each monster that it suggests was spot on, I really thought I'd have to grab some extra zombies or "rats" but I didn't. I really think this system might be the perfect fit for me. Even before lockdown and everything that came with it I had trouble finding anyone interested in playing Frostgrave or Ghost Archipelago (which I prefer). So a system that expands upon that and offers solo play is right up my alley.
With any luck I'd like to play this once a week for at least the foreseeable future. I'm a little rusty with writing battle reports and honestly I haven't written that may to begin with but with practice I hope to get better. I can already see that my notes need to be way better if for no other reason than to make writing the report quicker and less tedious. I had to look up so many things that could have been avoided had I just taken better notes.
My Secret Sophie arrived at its destination i can share with everyone. My recipient wanted something cute. I thought it would be cute to have a man feeding his pet. Just because his pet happens to be a rust weevil should not be held against him.
I saw the barbarian and it looked like he was throwing the swords rather than. Actually using them to hit anything. I also had a spare rust weevil and the whole thing just came together.
Roger got the old swords out of the box from his adventuring days. It had been a while since he'd been out to the dungeons but at the rate George was going through weapons, he was either going to need to buy a new crate or go delving. Maybe this time he'd just buy a box of old weapons, let the younger kids go fight the baddies. These two look okay. He grabs the weapons and heads out to the field. When he reached the edge of the field he looks out over the fine red and tan soil and dust. HEY GEORGE! He yells out over the field. In moments George shows up jumping and chittering. "Hey George" he says again, "its dinnertime! FETCH!"
The battle against the forces of evil takes place on many levels. Sometimes it's a clash of mighty armies, whilst other times terrifying behemoths clash in the sky, terrifying the populace for miles around. Others.....well, they're far more personal.
This was my contribution to this years Secret Sophie gift exchange. It portrays the winner of a long, hard won battle between evenly matched opponents and I suspect the only thing keeping that little dragon up is pride and a good dose of adrenaline
This was a number of firsts for me- my first semi successful NMM attempt, first ever diorama and first Secret Sophie. I had a great time and I'll certainly do it again!
Thanks for looking, as always any comments/criticisms are certainly welcome.