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Bones 6 Enthusiasm and Commentary


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I think they are waiting to long on releasing things another $100.000+ till the completion of the next set with 13 days left the way it is going the next release might leave 8 days left.  Show us what is coming up and the pledge will go up.  As it is I have no real interest in Briarwood vale expansion so I have to sit around waiting for something , anything of interest.

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2 hours ago, Olaf the Stout said:

The reality is that Bones 1-5 backers are no longer the core audience for Bones Kickstarters, as much as we’d like to be.

Being new here, I am excited to be the core audience!


That said, Reaper seems to be trying to have it both ways here.  A lot of the core set is stranger stuff that is not super useful for a new-ish DM trying to build up a basic figure collection.  The core set is not all that great as an introductory set of miniatures.  Note, for example, the lack of basic monsters (orcs, goblins, kobolds, ogres, skeletons, rats, spiders, etc.) that are encountered frequently by low-level parties.  Imagine if you were building a new campaign for inexperienced players, and you only had the core set to work with; it would be a challenge, to say the least, and probably a very zombie-heavy campaign.  On the other hand, there are just enough basic figures (adventurers, zombies, city guards, a surprising number of wizards) in there to potentially drive away long-time backers who are looking for something different, but not enough for the new collector.  Reaper has made the core less than ideal for just about everybody.


I suggested earlier that maybe there should be multiple core sets, but after much contemplation I have a different idea.  Have a core set that is just new and exotic creatures, perhaps selling for a little less than the $125, but also have a basic set available from the beginning that is more of a "starter" set: orcs, goblins, adventurers, basic undead, rats, spiders, etc.  That starter set could even include figures already in Reaper's catalog.  The idea would be to offer an option for first-time backers who need a lot of basic miniatures, while still making the core set appealing to everybody.  Maybe some of those first-time backers will pass on the core set and focus on more pressing needs, but I suspect most would buy the core set and the starter set.  After all, the stretch goals would mostly add to the core set, as the starter set could stay pretty much fixed.


Maybe these ideas are crazy.  Maybe I've been spending too much time thinking about and analyzing this Kickstarter.  (It's my first one, and it is kind of exciting and frustrating all at once, so I can't help it!)  But I think it is an idea worth considering, especially since the early Bones Kickstarters were so good for filling out a basic starter collection.

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Loving those hellborn and the gargoyle (?) looks very classic and medieval as well. I think Reaper done a good job of giving this KS a bump in the mid period lull. 

I'm still in and really tickled to see the rest of Hakir and the Dungeon expansion. 

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4 hours ago, YronimosW said:

Why would it be a historically accurate Egypt?  I don't think there's any reason to believe it's a Chronoscope/Mtyhos Egyptian theme.


I'm pretty sure it's aimed at Reaper's fantasy line, and it's not like the rest of the terrain and figures in Reaper's fantasy lineup portrays a historically accurate Europe.  Even the previous "alt culture" expansions like the Greco-Roman expansion were fairly broad-strokes in their treatment of sculpture, architecture, and mythology. 


And even if it is for the Chronoscope/Mythos setting, the Hakir expansion isn't bound by the rules of history, but the still by rules of pulp sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and adventure.


As for why any real-world culture would use a skull/undead theme, we do it all the time:

  Reveal hidden contents

Just check in with the Aztec cultures, for examples:





Or modern Mexican:





Or 18th and 19th century USA gravestones:





To modern counter-culture:




To medieval Roman Catholic cathedrals:





To European architecture and art during and after the Plague:




...and no doubt lots more.


In spite of the wide variety of possible meanings, the skull and similar imagery seem to be nearly universal in its presence in various cultures - BUT, to be fair, as near as I can tell, the skull and similar death imagery is suspiciously almost non-existent in Egyptian art - suspicious, because really, we're talking about thousands of years of a vast culture that surely changed over time, saw fads and fashions come and go, would surely have been influenced by the cultures around it, and influencing those cultures in turn.  I can't imagine that for thousands of years, the Egyptian culture consistently idealized their death symbolism behind youthful and beautiful death-masks, with only the barest hints of desert scavengers helping to prepare them for an eternal youth and vitality without change managed to somehow persist for thousands of years without interruption. 


Is there a trove of Egyptian skull art and imagery stashed away somewhere because it doesn't fit the properly-accepted stereotype of what it meant to be an ancient Egyptian?  (In truth, it seems that Egyptologists do not like to have their neat conclusions about this culture challenged!  And to be fair, much of the challenge comes from some real crackpot ideas, with a history of junk science baggage for Egyptology to try to defend its respectability from....)  Or, has some trove of more "morbid" death symbolism been lost to the ravages of a more historical censorship?  (It wouldn't be the only example of something like that happening in Egyptian history - for example, Queen Hatshepsut was apparently virtually obliterated from Egyptian history by her stepson Thetmus III for political reasons, and more interestingly, Akhenetan seems to have tried to reinvent Egyptian culture around a new religion by obliterating the temples and records of the old faith, only to have his new religion in turn obliterated on his death and the old faith revived, while Horemheb seems to have attempted to obliterate records of an unpopular period of Egyptian history in which a solar cult had been suppressed in favor of a form of monotheism. )


Or, perhaps, Egyptian culture truly did "stagnate" into relative stability without death and skull symbolism creeping in from the outside world for thousands of years, to interrupt the seemingly consistent Ancient Egyptian religious and cultural "obsession" with eternal youth and vitality without change that the funerary art otherwise seems to suggest!




In these various contexts, this morbid imagery has had various meanings:

  • Skulls on palisades and walls have served as eloquent warnings that even the illiterate can easily understand:  "Go away - to enter here is death!"
  • Skulls on cathedrals and temples have served as a reminder of our our mortality, the memento mori:  "Your time in this world is limited, be careful of how you spend that time, because even now Death is by your side, and tomorrow might take you away."
  • Skulls in Buddhism can represent the emptiness without fleshly distraction or turmoil of life.  "Your life is a source of constant distraction from an ideal peace and unity with the cosmos - that peace can be achieved, if you can learn to abandon those distractions."
  • Skulls and death in Hinduism and other cultures can represent just a part of the cycle of an eternal life.  "We must die in this life, before we can be reborn into the next, and better, part of our eternal life."
  • The Death card in Tarot suggests a similar concept:  far from the menace of literal death, the Death card would symbolize the end of an opportunity or the end of one phase of a life, which must be laid to rest before we can move on to better things.  On the "flip side", an inverted death card can represent an unwillingness to let go of the past, which interrupts us from moving forward, causing us to become lost in a futile life-in-death obsessed with things we have lost and can never regain, while the opportunities of life pass us by.
  • Skulls and ghosts in Halloween imagery suggest the thin boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead, a boundary which might be crossed under the right conditions.  "Our ancestors are not gone, they have simply entered another world, and under the right conditions, they might come back to us.  Death is not the end, it's just the beginning of a new life beyond this one."
  • A skull combined with wings might suggest the freedom from this world's troubles, pains, and sorrows, which comes with the liberation of death.  The danse macabre of plague art - the dance of death - depicts plague victims dancing feverishly with death, or sometimes being led, smiling, from this world into the next.
  • Skulls in Celtic culture represent magical and vital power, and in Gothic culture hold the secret of things known in life long after death.  The combination of a serpent - a creature believed to know secrets - with a skulls, such as emerging from an eye socket, symbolizes the serpent's ability to learn the secrets of unknown worlds and forgotten histories.
  • Skulls and corpses can serve as a reminder for what has been lost, and that symbolism plays a part of the use of death symbolism in some European pagan-themed heavy metal:  "The conquered and converted pagan culture of my ancestors is dead, but not forgotten, and its destruction is not forgiven...."
  • Sometimes skull and death imagery simply run on Rule of Cool:  they are shocking, they are creepy, they are scary and strange, and there is even a sort of strange and eerie beauty to them.  The shock of coming face to face with the morbid and weird induces something of an altered state of consciousness - an awareness of our temporary place in this world, the mystery of what lay in worlds beyond the wall of death, the unknown ways we might die which lurk just out of sight in the darkness, the strange and alien menace of the uncanny valley and the threat it represents to our health and safety....  Cultures throughout history have been fascinated with death and the grotesque, and have held it close to the otherworldly:  exposure to these kinds of symbols can be a sort of mystical or religious experience.


Considering the idea that - in a pulp horror/fantasy setting - we're talking about a sculpture on the walls of a house of an undying, mummified lich whose youth and vitality have decayed away in undeath rather than lasting forever, leaving behind in that living tomb only dust and bones and burning rage against time and death, any of the above possible symbolic meanings take on all sorts of possible meanings that range from the weirdly logical and appropriate, to the grimly ironic. 


And, to those possibilities, you can even add the fantasy possibilities that the carving was either made by the (presumably unpopular) mummy's enemies after death, to obliterate his symbolic eternal youth and replace it with a symbolic death or life-in-death (part of the usual pulp-style mummy's curse - "King Hakir is dead forever, and let no mortal disturb his grave nor speak his name again, lest he rise from his tomb and return!"), or the possibility that the undying king had the carving made in his mummified, lichly likeness long after he decayed.


Any of these possibilities and more might suit your fantasy story the best, if you're willing to just roll with it and see where you can lead it!



All of your examples above are of correct ways skulls are used throughout various cultures.  The undead sarcophagus is not a correct use.  It is like if Dracula had made statues of his coffin with a skull on it to represent himself.  Yes he is undead.  Yes he uses a coffin.  Is he ideally represented by a coffin?  No.


Using the Egyptian theme gives you a very nice setting that has Gods, Undead, Monsters, and enormous monuments that all work toward a goal.  If that goal is that the Pharaohs were undead that is cool but having all of the art showing them as undead seems a bit spot on loosing the factor Horror actually plays on that.  I mean can you imagine how weird it would be to be an egyptologist and finding a sarcophagus with a skeleton on the exterior, containing a mummy with a skull death mask, that when taken off shows that yes there is a dead person there.  A little too obvious to me.


Now imagine discovering a sarcophagus with the image of Horus on the exterior, then a Death mask with the same on top of a skeleton.  Same end result of a skeleton, but now you have the mystery of why the face of a god on the outside.  


Having the outside being the same representation as the inside is pretty much someone playing Captain Obvious a little too hard.   Everybody knows what you will typically find in a sarcophagus, there is no mystery in that. 

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Hmm I also just realised that Daffodil's, Lily's and Daisy's skirts are each inspired by the flower they are named after.  That is a nice touch. I am not sure what the spheres on Daffodil's wings are. They are too perfect to be dew drops and their positioning makes me thing of the circles in butterfly wings, but they don't fit that with their protruding nature. 


The teaser looks interesting. A devil or gargoyle.


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16 minutes ago, aku-chan said:

Hope we get some close up piccys of that Hellborn set, they could tempt me to pledge.

Agreed. That is one limitation of the KS format that frequently irks me. I love that Reaper had been giving us close-ups as a result.

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So To date Bones kickstarters have made $16.7 Million dollars so take anything I say with a grain of salt. I am in NO position to explain why Bones 6 is "under performing " at over 1M. But Yet I keep doing it. Why I want MORE. so here is a list of some of the reasons proffered so far:


Poor overall economic shape

huge piles of unpainted bones

competition from 3D printers

Competition across marketplace

5 Core break up

2 years to shipping

ROW shipping uncertainty

Not enough females models

not enough basic starter models

not enough unique models

Lack of Dragons

I dunno but Ron did it...


And I'm sure I have missed another dozen.....


Truth is it might be a little of all,  some or none. OR it just might be my expectations. Its not a bad set of minis and at a great price. I hope it progresses and gets  bigger. BUT  for me I'm kinda done with playing Armchair  QB.  Reaper is full of CPA's that that have done this time and time again. They  will deliver, it will be economical and completed with Level 10 customer satisfaction. That works even if I get a small pile than Bones 1-5.



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