Category Archives: Articles

A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – Over stick and stone

Dear wielders of the gilded fork, fishing enthusiasts and henge worshippers. The third part of my guide to the Margravate of Greifshold focuses on the areas and sites of interest surrounding the city of Greifshold.

We will travel to a lumbering village, the quaint fishing village Breka, ruins of steadfast castles taken back by tree and root and learn of the worshipers of Reigaro, the principal deity of the settlers. Continue reading A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – Over stick and stone

A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – The land and its myths

Dear readers, adventurers and fans of all things fantasy. As you may know I publish a campaign setting via Patreon with terrain crafting and painting tips. Part of this publication is an in-character guide to my setting: The Margravate of Greifshold.

Thanks to people supporting me on Patreon I can write such background material and release it for all to enjoy on my blog, basically embracing a Creative Commons mindset. Feel free to share links to the guide here on DaggerAndBrush and share the love and help GM’s with their efforts to bring joy to the table. Let me know how you like the guide, what else you would like to see and, naturally, consider supporting me on Patreon, where you get a PDF version of the guide and are always the first to see new content.

So far with the plug, onward to the guide. Follow the well traveled scholar Regis of Werta to Greifshold, an untamed land shaped by myth and warring tribes. A land to be conquered and civilized or a land to be cherished and defended from outsiders? Where do you stand, adventurer?

Continue reading A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – The land and its myths

Fantastic beasts and how to draw them – Hand-drawn fantasy maps step-by-step

I always thought the most intriguing aspect of historical maps such as the Carta Marina are the fantastic beasts and odd creatures depicted on them: Humanoid figures without heads, sea serpents swallowing ships whole and dragons terrorising villages. Many of these depictions are based on Roman and Greek myth or on tall stories told by sailors over an ale. But how can you add such beasts to your own maps and how do you go best about coloring the map?

In this short tutorial I will show you one way of drawing such beasts and digital colorisation techniques. I already covered the basics in another posts that gives you an introduction to hand-drawn maps. In this installment we draw a much more detailed map and use layers of translucent color  instead of layer masks to bring the map alive.

So come along and explore the Margravate of Greifshold with me, but be warned that we will meet dragons and sentient mushrooms in long forgotten ruins, serpents deep below the waves and fierce tree guardians deep inside an autumnal forest.

Continue reading Fantastic beasts and how to draw them – Hand-drawn fantasy maps step-by-step

Mapping fantastical fancies – Hand drawn campaign maps for your RPG sessions

If you are a Game Master it is always exciting to start a new campaign and let your players explore new shores, their peoples, customs and the secrets they hold in ruins old, mountains high and dungeons cold. To make it easier for your players to visualize this unfamiliar environment you may have provided them with a map of these lands, may it be as loot or after some negotiation with a Gnome in the local antique shop. A map may also come in handy for a wargaming campaign to show the position of warbands or armies and natural obstacles.

Often the first iteration of such a map is a simple hand-drawn sketch, but after more and more of the new area is discovered you may want to provide something with more visual appeal, add a background texture or even colorize your map.

I will show you some of my current exploits into the realm of map making that will be of help if you start out to make your own regional maps. I am still in the early phase of developing my drawing and coloration skills, but hope that the following ideas will be of use for your own development as a hand-drawn map artist.

I will show you my process of drawing a map by hand, scanning and cleaning it up and finally colorizing it using Photoshop. I will also provide you with some PNGs of elements such as ruins, towers and a city that you can use for your own creations as well as a generic parchment background. Future iterations will feature encounter maps, too. Continue reading Mapping fantastical fancies – Hand drawn campaign maps for your RPG sessions

A chill to the bone – Reaper Miniatures’ Iconic Wizard Ezren

Dreadful chimes can be heard in the larder, abominations in garish dress haunt the good people of our village and not long until a blood sacrifice to the old gnarly tree is due…yes, …the Quickening and Krampus are coming closer every day. But fear not gentle folk of Greifshold, archwizard Ezren will save your souls from damnation, as he will cleanse the putrid essence belaying our village with his powerful magicks.

*harumph* Oh, I didn’t see you there. Today we will look at a sculpt by Todd Harris, namely the Iconic Wizard Ezren. We are looking at the Bones version, not the metal one. As always after a short assessment of casting and sculpting quality a detailed list of the colours used is provided. Finally some words about the photographic set up may be of use for your own projects.

Continue reading A chill to the bone – Reaper Miniatures’ Iconic Wizard Ezren

Romans Advance! – A Review of Agema Miniatures’ Republican Romans and Carthaginians

Hastati spargunt hastas. Fit ferreus imber.

(Enn. Ann. 8.281)

We are truly spoiled for choice these days if it comes to high quality 28mm Republican Romans and their enemies. They not only come in ‘heavy lead’, for instance Relic Miniatures’ offerings, but Victrix recently added to existing ranges with their injection plastic Punic Wars range. All these ranges have one thing in common: They are all more or less heroic scale, some more on the ‘chunky’ side, others with more realistic proportions.

Agema Miniatures, a small company based in the United Kingdom, could be called the Minden Miniatures of ancient ranges. They are to my knowledge the only company that provides Republican Romans and Carthaginians with such realistic proportions and an almost classical beauty to their sculpts. Notably they offer injection plastic, metal and resin miniatures, combining the advantages of all three materials.  Reason enough to review their plastic and resin Republican Romans range, conversion kits to create Hannibal’s Veterans and a selection of their metal character models.

This three-part review will first focus on the scope of the range to date, sculpting quality,  poses, casting quality, historical accuracy, conversion potential, customer service and value for money. In the second instalment we put Agema Miniatures’ Greg to the question. Finally in part three I will present painted examples with some notes on the colours and techniques used.

Continue reading Romans Advance! – A Review of Agema Miniatures’ Republican Romans and Carthaginians

The halfman cometh – An interview with Kawe from Westfalia Miniatures

I hope you are all doing well and survived huge amounts of spiced ham and truckloads of cookies. While you are eating the remaining Christmas cookies I suggest a read of this first installment of a new interview category on my blog. The idea is to introduce a company I like and also include a short, fun interview with the goal to establish a more personal connection between my readership and the ‘face’ behind a company. I aim on featuring an interview once a month. Today we look at Westfalia Miniatures successful Halfling Kickstarter and put Kawe Weissi-Zadeh to the question.

Continue reading The halfman cometh – An interview with Kawe from Westfalia Miniatures

Männer allein im Wald – How to take scenic photographs of miniatures part II

Last time we focused on general advice if it comes down to taking scenic photos of your treasured miniatures. We covered the choice of camera, lighting, backgrounds, scene composition and photo editing. If you did not read part one of this tutorial I suggest to go back and have a look, as this part will be based on this general information.

We look at the initial idea, finding the right props for the job, setting the scene to bring the idea to life, framing the scene and finally photo editing. The last point will also include some falling snow effects.

Continue reading Männer allein im Wald – How to take scenic photographs of miniatures part II

Shutterbug – How to take scenic photographs of miniatures part I

In the early morning hours you finish your latest work: it turned out exactly as you envisioned; it looks glorious. But wait, how to share your work with the wider wargaming community? Easy! You take out your smartphone and take a snapshot. You look at the picture and, to your detriment,  all the glory disappeared. All you got is a blurry picture that is way underexposed.

However, you don’t need expensive equipment or even a light box to make nice pictures of your miniatures. In this tutorial I will show you how I take my scenic shots. I am not a professional photographer, but I try to improve my photography skills on an ongoing basis and would like to share the experiences I made so far. I will cover  the camera I use, materials needed to set up your scene and provide before and after shots to illustrate the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. A second installment guides you through a complete photo session, moving from the general to the specific.

Continue reading Shutterbug – How to take scenic photographs of miniatures part I