Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Slaadi

The slaadi were monsters introduced in the Fiend Folio that are now considered part of D&D product identity.


The original creatures written up by Charles Stross and illustrated by Russ Nicholson included the red slaad, blue slaad, green slaad, gray slaad, and death slaad. In later editions, the white slaad and black slaad (among others) were added.

These creatures were never of particular interest to me, so I never used them in any adventures, but in reading up on the slaad, it looks like later editions introduced new material on slaad reproduction that was very similar to the G-virus life cycle from the Resident Evil franchise.


Red slaadi generate blue slaadi by injecting hosts with eggs that grow into blue slaad tadpoles, while blue slaadi generate red slaadi through infection with a chaos phage that mutates a host into a red slaad. These mechanisms are pretty much how the G-embryo and Golgotha virus from RE2 work.

The most common miniature of a slaad seems to be the Gray Slaad, of which I have three. Two come from the D&D Miniatures Icons of the Realms line (Monster Menagerie 3 #21A, #21B), while the third comes from the Nolzur's Marvelous Unpainted Miniatures line (WZK73353).


These models scale out to 7½ to 8 feet tall in 1/72, so they are perfect for use as the more common red slaad with just a little modification and the proper paint job.

The next miniatures are a Death Slaad (part of the Nolzur's set with the Gray Slaad) and a Slaad Spawn from the D&D Miniatures line (Legendary Evils #36). The Death Slaad can pass as another red slaad, while the Slaad Spawn can be used as a green slaad.


The Slaad Spawn is a bit on the short side, but I'm willing to let it slide since it is difficult to gauge whether a slaad is standing fully upright or not.

The final miniature is not a slaad, but rather a Nightmare Thing from the Massive Darkness game.


I've included it because the miniature looks almost exactly like one of the G-mutants encountered in the sewers of the RE:2 remake.


These mutants are created when a human host is rejected by a G-embryo, so instead of becoming a horrible inhuman monster, becomes an even more horrible inhuman monster. I'm thinking that the same could be true for when a host proves to be incompatible with a slaad tadpole.

I cut away the weird armpit fins from the gray slaad figures. I think the fins are supposed to represent the webbing seen between the arms and body in the original Nicholson illustrations, but they just look silly in this new form.


The blades on the backs of the hands were removed, as were any fireballs.


I slapped some red paint on a Gray Slaad, some green paint on the Slaad Spawn, and voilà.



Saturday, February 23, 2019

Curse of the Werewhale

Despite how preposterous they seem (or perhaps because of it), werewhales enjoy quite a bit of popularity in fiction, art, and even heavy metal music.

The graphic novel The Curse of the Werewhale from Artgasm Studios includes four stories about werewhales. I particularly like Gugliotti's artwork for the story Arriuk Auminal.

Cover art by Chris Gugliotti

Werewhales also are mentioned in the Wereworld series of YA novels by Curtis Jobling.


Pop culture aside, these creatures also exist in real-world mythology. The self-proclaimed world expert on "whale-ish lycanthropy" is Lyonel Perabo, who's master's thesis about pre-modern Fennoscandian literature (available as a pdf from Skemman) includes a section on Sámi werewhales.

The creatures mentioned in the thesis are typical of real-world mythological were-creatures, in that they take on a full animal appearance, as opposed to the typical modern depiction of a creature that is halfway between man and beast.

I don't think that there are any miniatures of werewhales being made at this time, but WizKids produces the HeroClix Giganto (Avengers Infinity #G007), which would be a great representation of a modern-style werewhale.


This version of Giganto is green, which seems a bit odd for a whale, but perhaps it is a relative of the troll werewhale that is mentioned in Perabo's thesis.




The figure stands at a bit over 3½" tall, which would be over 21' tall in 1/72 scale. This would be approximately the size of the Giganto that appeared in Fantastic Four #149 as opposed to the much larger original beast from Fantastic Four #4 (who was killed with a nuclear bomb).

Take that comrade!

I haven't been writing much lately because the cold weather this last couple of months has put me into a state of hibernation. However, I plan to start posting more regularly again when the temperature starts to warm up around here.



Saturday, December 22, 2018

Joulupukki

Last year, Finland inducted Joulupukki (aka Santa Claus) to their National Inventory of Living Heritage. The modern Joulupukki looks pretty much like the version of Santa Claus popularized by the advertising paintings produced for Coca Cola by Haddon Sundblom.

Joulupukki and his tontut.

However, there was a time when Joulupukki bore the literal appearance of his name—Yule Goat, and was said to have been an actual goat, or some kind of weregoat.



The concept of [were]goats bearing gifts is said to have come from the merging of Joulupukki with Nuuttipukki. Nuuttipukkit were Krampus-like figures who would make the rounds at the end of the Yuletide festivities. Some say they represent spirits to be appeased, while others say they drive off spirits who would otherwise overstay their welcome during the Yule.

Anyway, the Yule Goat is an appropriate subject for this time of year, but the post is really about weregoats (of which the Yule Goat is the closest thing in mythology that I could find).

There is only one weregoat figure that I am aware of. It comes from the Judges Guild City State Miniatures line. I'm not sure if there are any stats for this creature in any of the Judges Guild publications, but current homebrew D&D stats found on the internet seem to treat weregoats no differently from satyrs.

The Judges Guild weregoat happens to be one of my grail miniatures, but unfortunately Eisenwerk miniatures are near impossible to find. Thus I decided to make do with a proxy from the Ganesha Games Miniatures line produced by Alternative Armies.


This particular miniature is the mount from the Skeleton Undead Ram Rider (Hammer and Forge UDD007).


The creature is supposed to be a ram and not a goat, but the face is rather bovine, so it doesn't really look like either. I'll probably modify the horns to point backwards so that it is more goat-like, but I'm not sure there is too much else I can do about the head.