Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Bright Wizard...

Painted in two nights - which is a record (by a long shot) for me. I stuck to a very simple pallet which helped but it was a very fun miniature to paint.

It is a Darksword miniature. I made a large batch purchase of their minis at one point and I'll say, the sculpts are outstanding - but I will never buy a miniature from them again for two reasons; A) the metal/pewter is so soft that these miniatures are almost unusable for any gaming, though nice show pieces perhaps; and B) the 'base' is part of the sculpt yuck! ...the models are already large (heroic) for most game systems but they have these huge bases as part of the miniature. It took a lot of filing/cutting to remove the pewter base and get the model on a comparable base to the rest of my models.

Anyway here are some more pictures. Considering I did so little work on this model I am pretty pleased with how he came out:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Primed and Ready - Some Good Guys!

Not a ton of progress but I've got a handful of good guys primed and did base-coating work on the Bright Wizard. I decided I can't have a proper Advanced Heroquest blog without painting up at least a few of the original miniatures. The Knight and Dwarf are from the original box and the Elf is from the Advanced Heroquest Paint-set - one of the Wizards is from either Warhammer Quest or Talisman (I don't remember which) and the other is a Darksword miniature.

Here is just the Bright Wizard with some basic base-coating:

And here is the Wizard again with the "80's Rainbow Bright" filter, that I discovered totally by accident - but will use to help learn where his highlights will go.

Monday, November 25, 2013

How to - Dungeon Tiles: Part 2 (Creating Basic Tile)

Let me just start out by saying, if you are feeling lazy and would rather buy some nice tiles, be sure to check out DriveThruRPG. Otherwise, if you don't already have your own technique you might find this helpful - carry on...

1) Ok this step is the easiest (funnest!) and will give you a simple, usable tile without any additional steps. The folks at Pyromancers have created an amazing tool (see The Tools below), it's practically cheating. Using the "Pavement" pens you can draw any size/shape tile you like. Keep in mind that the normal Advanced Heroquest tiles are 5x5 and 10x5. For the sake of this exercise, create a 5x10 area in one pavement color, then create a single-tile thickness border around it in another pavement color. After you have created a basic tile to your liking, "export to JPG,PNG". Be sure to change the "Cell size in pixels" to 64, then create PNG, then save to your computer.

At this point you could stop, and still have a decent looking tile; but I prefer to tweak them a little bit using Gimp (see The Tools below) or Photoshop.

2) Open your new image in Gimp and configure the grid to 64 px ("Image > Configure Grid..."), then you'll want to Show grid and Snap to grid ("View > Show Grid", "View > Snap to Grid").

3) Use the Select tool and select the inner floor area, then create a new Layer (important!) and make sure it is selected. Then choose the Airbrush tool and create your shadows:

4) SIZING! You have several choices here (I'll cover 3). I wanted my tiles to be a little bigger (the room squares are just so small otherwise!), so they don't perfectly match up with the original tiles but I'll show you how to size them to fit exactly if you want.

--- A) First we'll try just cutting off the outer wall - the result will fit perfectly with original game pieces. Use the select tool and select the inner floor again, then "Image > Crop to selection". Now check the canvas size and note it down (important for later!)... this one is [W: 640, H: 320]. You can export the image and be done, but if you want to keep the outer wall goto step B.

---B) Undo the "crop" (CTRL-Z) to get back your wall. Now change the grid size to 0.178 INCHES (not px), select the inner most grid-divide of the outer wall and "Crop to selection". This is how my tiles are sized; you can stop and export here but if you want them to match the original tiles (with those annoying small squares) continue to step C.

---C) Easy... working off step B), change the canvas size ("Image > "Canvas size") and enter the figures from step A) [W: 640, H: 320]... this will shrink your tile to fit exactly with the original game.

5) SAVE YOUR WORK!! it as a Gimp project file so your Layers are retained. You'll need this when you go back to add your splash image to the floor.

The Tools (all free/open-source):
Pyromancers Dungeon Painter

Coming Soon - Part 3 (adding your splash image to the floor)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Collecting the OOP Skaven - a few more pieces...

Here are a few more Skaven, I need only 3 more to complete the collection. I could've had the rest but I forgot to bid on an ebay auction today hah... oh well.

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Dungeon Tile - The Phoenix Landing!

"Elves once lived in what is now the Kingdoms of Estalia, long before the men of Tylos came to settle on its warm coastal shore. Many ruins and relics of this distant past still remain to remind the humans of the elder race.

This Phoenix Landing is just one entrance to a hidden lair deep in the Irrana Mountains of Estalia."

The Wilderness part of this tile came from one of the great "Into the Wilderness" map-sets via DriveThruRPG. Most of these maps are less than $2, and truly worth buying in my opinion.

In the DOWNLOADS page of this blog you can download a printable version of this tile - enjoy!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to - Dungeon Tiles: Part 1 (Floor Images)

This first step goes over how I create the splash images for the floor of my Dungeon Tiles. Keep in mind, this is the floor of a dungeon (haha!) - so your image shouldn't be too complex or too colorful; it also needs to be flat (2-dimensional). You might get lucky and find an image that is already perfectly suitable, but chances are you'll need to doctor up the initial image a bit. There are plenty of ways to get this done - here is mine:

1) Find your image; I'll start with this one (used without permission):

2) Crop out the part you want and open the cropped image with Inkscape (see The Tools below).

3) Zoom in and then 'Select' your image. Then open the "Path > Trace Bitmap" window, update and hit OK.

4) Delete the original image from behind the new bitmap, the result should look like this:

5) Save the new bitmap image, "File > Export Bitmap"; be sure to increase the size to at least 300px and give the file a name.

Now you have a basic, 2-dimensional image to work from. Later you can add more color if you want but this is a good starting point.

I still need to go over making the basic tile, adding shadows to the tile, and finally adding your new splash image to the tile and fitting it to the floor. Most of this stuff you folks have probably already figured out and have even better methods but this is for those that don't. Stay tuned for more!

The Tools (all free/open-source):
Pyromancers Dungeon Painter

Coming Soon - Part 2 (creating the basic tile)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Collecting the OOP Skaven - my latest find!

I grabbed these beauties on eBay... I now have most of the original Skaven from the Advanced Heroquest rulebook, though I still need a handful. What do you think?

Of course I'll have to strip all of them and re-paint but (eventually?) it will be worth it!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The first batch of Bad guys - Skaven!

Here are my first Skaven, ready for play. They took me several nights of work, which was admittedly longer than I had intended, but in the end it's still a quick and dirty paint job. My photography skills are quite poor clearly but here they are:

Tweaking the Crawler...

Another small change - this time to the Dungeon Generation tables.

We found ourselves playing "CorridorHammer" after a while as the players kept rolling 2 Sections and Nothing for features. They were fired-up to encounter some monsters and new rooms but kept rolling corridor after corridor. I made some changes on the fly (see below). The GM Reference sheet and the tables in the Enhanced Advanced Heroquest rules are already changed, you'll find them in the DOWNLOADS page.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dungeon Tiles RESIZED! - Please read!

If you've downloaded any of the Dungeon Tiles on this Blog, THEY'VE ALL BEEN RESIZED. On the DOWNLOADS page you can find the new re-sized tiles in PDF format.

Unfortunately, it wasn't until I went to have these printed on card that I realized they were off by 4 pixels! Worse yet, they were small by that amount. The original Advanced Heroquest tiles are already quite small and the round model-bases overlap as is. I wanted my tiles to be comparable but just hair (a millimeter or two) larger. If you are making your own tiles a good reference point is 64 pixels per square-tile.

I'm sorry if I caused anyone to waste ink printing the previous set of tiles. Keep in mind that these image (PNG) files are too big to print on your home printer. They need to be printed at original size at your local print shop.

The PDF versions however, are sliced into printable sized bites that should work for you at home.

Ok, well here is another tile then - this time sized correctly!

Another New Dungeon Tile

I wanted some large sacrificial chambers for the Dark Elf quest, and while a few of the Terror in the Dark tiles would have fit the dimensions they didn't fit the character. On the DOWNLOADS page you can find all three dungeon tiles in PDF format.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Small Stuff...

After much discussion (thanks again Patroclus) and play-testing it was time to tweak a few little things to optimize the gaming experience.

All of these changes are small and subtle, and you can of course use any or all of them at your discretion. I believe they make the game run smoother and in my opinion more fun for the players. Be sure to check out the DOWNLOADS page of this blog for the full rule set.

  1. Dungeon Counters on a roll of 1 only. Let's face it, if the GM wins, the game is over! Advanced Heroquest is already very challenging for the Hero players and should continue to be so, but the GM's goal shouldn't be to kill them off immediately. That said, when the Heroes advance in level and ability the GM can then increase the frequency of dungeon counters. This is a great way to level the game without simply adding several more monsters into an already cramped room.
  2. Fumbles with Ranged Weapons. You can only accidentally hit your ally if he is in an adjacent square to the target - in the case of a fumble with a Ranged weapon. This is easier to work out, less chaotic and slightly more forgiving than the original rule.
  3. Arrow / Missile weapon Retrieval. In a tiny a dungeon cell it should be easier to retrieve missile weapons that have been shot or thrown. In Enhanced - Advanced Heroquest you retrieve all non-magical arrows on a 4+ and all non-magical thrown weapons on a 2+. Magical weapons however, regardless of type are retrieved on a 10+ as they are generally unpredictable and somewhat unstable in the mortal realm.
  4. Less frequent Sentries! In the Enhanced - Advanced Heroquest monster tables the frequency of Sentry models has already been changed. In your own games you can simply replaced rolled Sentries with Champion or Warrior models at your discretion. The rare Sentry found in a dungeon adds variety and excitement but can be potentially brutal. Unless they are part of your pre-designed dungeon plan / narrative, it is tedious to have them show up too often. 
  5. Searching for Secret Doors per Section. In dead-end corridors and rooms you can search for Secret Doors, checking the entire section with a single roll. Have the Leader then choose which wall to place the door(s) so the GM can add them to the dungeon. In my opinion this helps the game run smoother - checking for doors per "wall" was needlessly time consuming.

So that's basically it - nothing to drastic. In my games I decided to also give the Heroes an addition 'Wound' to start as well as some pre-determined starting gear (see the Creating Heroes section of the rules). The primary goal is for everyone to have fun.

Monday, November 11, 2013


The mechanics for spellcasting in Enhanced - Advanced Heroquest are changed a bit from the original system. Keeping track of spell components was tedious and needlessly complex - so they've been removed!

Well almost, spell components are still listed in the various spell books and continue to serve one purpose; that is determining if the magic user can move and cast (spell has 1 component) or if he must remain stationary in order to cast (spell has more than 1 component). Buying and/or possessing the actual components however is no longer necessary.

Without the restriction of having to stock up on and maintain these various ingredients, a Wizard could conceivably hurl endless spell-craft at his opponents barring further regulation. This is where the Tremors in the Warp rule comes into play. Basically throughout the combat, the magic user can cast 3 spells as normal - then he can continue to cast but things start to get risky!
Tremors in the Warp
In the midst of battle a Wizard can easily become mentally exhausted, and the insidious and treacherous powers of the chaos empyrean are quick to capitalize on any weakness. Until play has once again returned to exploration turns, for every attempted spell after the initial three, the Wizard must make a Tremors in the Warp test with progressively difficult odds of success. The depleted Wizard must roll a D12 for each subsequent attempt after the third. On the fourth attempt, he must roll a 4 or better to succeed or else something has gone terribly wrong. On the fifth attempt things go awry on any roll less than 5; on the sixth attempt he fails on a roll of less than 6, and so forth. When the Wizard fails this test he must then roll on the table below to find out the results and may not cast a spell this turn. The risk is always great but obviously there is a point at which the Wizard will simply be unable to cast anymore spells.

Be sure to check out the DOWNLOADS page of this blog for the full set of rules regarding magic and otherwise.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

New Dungeon Tiles...

I have some lofty quest writing goals that may never be realized, but at a minimum I'd like to complete the Dark Elf quest I've started... Here are some of the floor tiles (the PDF's can be found in the DOWNLOADS page of this blog):

Our way is the old way?

It's 2013 and this game has been out of print for 20 years; what the f*** is going on here? Advanced Heroquest has a high nostalgic value to me for sure - but outside of that, the built-in mechanics of the game, the tables, the dungeon generation, and the core rules in general hold up quite well to other games that have come and gone. It was a solid addition to the dungeon crawler archive despite the lack of miniatures, and despite coming with only one quest! The character advancement was tight, the monetary system was extremely tight, and the combat was brutal. I found that one of the greatest aspects of this game is that it is also highly customizable. It's great right out of the box, but with a little tweaking you can push it really far (see the Dicing with Design podcast for inspiration).

For me it is also a great excuse to collect all of those old fantasy miniatures I had so many years ago. Here is the original WD Advanced Heroquest launch-splash from 1989.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Monster Placement and Surprise...

The GM places the monsters in the dungeon section where they were discovered, then both the Leader and the GM make a surprise roll. The adventuring Heroes are always on alert, naturally expecting the unexpected and thus receive a +1 to surprise. Additionally if an Elf Hero can see into the room they gain another +1 to surprise and yet another +1 if they possess a map of the room.

The GM can gain a surprise bonus of +1 if a Sentry is present, or other specialist creatures as noted (such as a Skaven Assassin).

If the Leader scores equal to or higher than the GM, the monsters have been surprised. The Leader can then move each monster one square. Now start a combat turn.

If the GM scores higher, the monsters surprise the Heroes. In this case, play then proceeds to the GM phase of the first combat turn (in other words, the Heroes miss their first turn!).

Having nearly completed their Quest, the Heroes discover a group of Skaven (including a Sentry) behind a door. The Leader and the GM each roll a dice (the Elf can see into the room so the Heroes add a total of +2 and there is a Sentry present so the GM adds +1); the Leader gets 7 and the GM 4, so the Skaven are surprised. The Leader may then move each Skaven model one square. Obviously, he will look to set them up in such a way that gives the Heroes an advantage. A normal combat turn will now begin. Note the door on the far side. If the GM chooses to have the Sentry open this door during the GM phase, whatever lies beyond must be generated at the end of the phase. If this is a Lair or Quest Room, with more Skaven, heavy reinforcements could soon be forthcoming...

As you can see, in the Enhanced - Advanced Heroquest version of the rules, surprise heavily favors the Heroes but the GM will always place the monsters. This is more realistic, especially in pre-designed dungeon sections, and also more balanced.

Be sure to check out the DOWNLOADS page of this blog for the full set of rules, though each of these modifications can be used alone or in any combination.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Dicing with Design Podcast...

These guys (Dicing with Design) have a fantastic gaming Podcast… this particular episode focused mostly on Advanced Heroquest and really exemplifies how far you can take this game while having a great time:

Dicing with Design has become one of my favorite podcasts to listen to while painting; they are focused on game design and they are quite entertaining - check them out!

While I’m at it… The Spiel, a Canadian gaming Podcast gave AHQ a little spotlighting near the end of this episode; if you like all kinds of gaming (kids games to boardgames to roleplay games, etc) this is a good Podcast to follow:

A simple mechanic - Doors...

One issue with combat that I personally wanted to address was the door-bottleneck scenario. If you've played Advanced Heroquest enough you know that the combat tactics can sometimes become repetitive and even stagnant. Digging through several of the other variants I've found many different solutions to this predicament, though most are quite complex. The one very easy solution however, seemed to also be the best to me. Simply change the door to count as 2 squares!

While the door models included in the Advanced Heroquest box are 1 square in width; it is advisable to count them as occupying 2 squares for all in-game purposes (ie, movement, line of sight, ranged attacks, etc...). This will provide greater tactical flexibility and prevent a bottle-neck at the door that is otherwise inevitable. This is one of the small changes included in the Enhanced - Advanced Heroquest rule set, be sure to check out the DOWNLOADS page of this blog.

You can continue to use the standard door with a little imagination, you can use the larger doors from Warhammer Quest, you could make your own doors, or you could download/print some paper doors. I recommend these:

Free paper doors (Inked Adventures)


And of course this one; when I saw this recently I nearly lost my mind and just had to reacquire this old gem (Advanced Heroquest):

Why Re-reinvent the Wheel (Advanced Heroquest)? - and a Disclaimer...

You might be asking yourself, what is all this? This game is so long out of print and the standard rulebook and expansions can generally be found online. Further there are many fantastic fan-made variants already floating around the internet. There are even some dedicated fan sites and online-communities with heaps of great ideas dedicated to Advanced Heroquest.

Advanced Heroquest was a game I discovered as a young adult. It filled too many nights to count with great adventure and treasure hunting. I obviously have a deep nostalgic respect for this game. And despite an entirely botched game-box release this game provided a lot of fun for a lot of folks. It suffered mainly from a lack of miniatures; Warhammer Quest in contrast came with enough miniatures to populate the entire fantasy universe, even Heroquest, the predecessor to Advanced Heroquest, came with a wide variety of monster models. The initial box release for Advanced Heroquest didn’t even come with enough proper Skaven to run the built-in mission! The expansion Terror in the Dark came with no miniatures! Aside from the content issue, like every game, some of the mechanics could be improved upon; though the general rule-set as is still holds up quite well to other games that have come and gone.

With a little searching online you can find some of the great rules variants to Advanced Heroquest. I’d recommend starting at Greywolf’s Advanced Heroquest page and the Kabay: Advanced – Advanced Heroquest page. If you prefer a more “DnD” style role-play adventure be sure to grab Advanced Heroquest Second Edition; it’s beautifully done and is really an entire rework of the rules and game-play. If the simple elegance of old-school Heroquest is more your speed then Toco’s Allied Heroquest is for you. He managed to merge Heroquest and Advanced Heroquest quite seamlessly in an impressive rule-set. Finally there is Slev’s AHQ2. While not as visually impressive as some of the others, this is by far the most significant content variant to the game. My own variation borrows a lot from Slev’s great work. He went through great pains to improve the game and clearly put an enormous amount of time into design and play-testing. Slev managed an expansive reshaping far beyond my skill level and every diehard fan should check it out.

So why do this? Well first, I want to play and enjoy this game with my friends. One rabbit hole (or dungeon) leads down to another and the next thing you know you are writing your own variant. Basically I wished to have all the rules, from the core game, Terror in the Dark, the White Dwarf articles, and the better variants (mostly poached from Slev) all in one place. I wanted to be able to search them and edit them where I see fit. I wanted to stay mostly true to the standard game, but the two issues I wanted to address specifically were the lack of Hero character variety, and the monster-placement/combat bottle-neck. Along the way I ended up changing quite a bit more but each change is subtle and the standard game is generally intact.

The following is a generic list of the items that have been changed in this rules variant known as Enhanced! Advanced Heroquest (EAHQ); doors are now 2 squares wide, spells expanded, monster-placement/combat altered, death zones altered for long reach weapons, components removed, a new magic test for casting too many spells is added, arrow/missile retrieval changed, dungeon counters less frequent, sentries less frequent, hero creation amended / new classes and more wounds, blackpowder weapons and finally - skill cards.

Skill cards was the Hero advancement solution I was seeking (thanks Sjeng and Patroclus at Ye Olde Inn). Through the use of Skill Cards a Hero can flaunt his skill when the time is right, and as he becomes more proficient he can do this more frequently. Giving a Hero a permanent skill may be too powerful, but a limited number of Skill Cards will still allow him to benefit from his training without ruining the game balance. Having them limited in number also made it possible to provide potent and mighty abilities that are as fun to use as they are deadly.

So that’s it basically; there are probably a few more little things I’m forgetting. Stay tuned for a new Dark Elf Quest coming at some point down the road. Please enjoy Enhanced - Advanced Heroquest!

This is not an official website and none of the links, photos, and documents are official and in no way represent the original brand. This is a modification of a (20 year old) out-of-print game called Advanced Heroquest. The use of any name here does not constitute a challenge to trademark status. All names, rules, tables, and artwork here are used without permission. This is entirely fan assembled and is not intended for sale or distribution. The purpose of this document is to generate interest in our small community for a once great game, while encouraging the collection, and purchase, of Citadel fantasy miniatures.