Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Castle Ravenloft Gravestorm the Dracolich

And so I come to the final figure in my lengthy review of all of the 28mm scale miniatures from the Castle Ravenloft board-game for 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons. In my opinion, I have kept the best till last because Gravestorm is a truly awesome figure in size, sculpting and abilities.
Gravestorm is the largest figure in this game. He stands on a 75mm diameter base and is 90mm tall by 120mm long (would be longer still if his tail was uncurled). If you were wondering how can such a large creature fit into the rooms and corridors of a castle, he has a special ability called Squeezing, which allows the figure to be placed over walls as long as the centre square that Gravestorm is on is open.
There are only two named Villains in the Castle Ravenloft board-game - Count Strahd Von Zarovich, the vampire lord and ruler of the country of Barovia, and his most prized servant, Gravestorm the Dracolich. Both are formidable opponents capable of wiping out a party of Heroes on their own. Gravestorm is a level 6 Villain and he activates at the start of each Villain phase. His stats are AC14 and he has 20HP (gulp!).
Gravestorm's tactics are -
When Gravestorm is encountered, place the Dragon's Breath token on his stat card.
If the Dragon's Breath token is on his stat card and Gravestorm is within 1 tile of two or more Heroes, remove the token and then Gravestorm attacks each Hero within 1 tile of it with a Blast of Lightning.
If Gravestorm is within 1 tile of a Hero, it attacks the closest hero with a Bite.
If Gravestorm is within 3 tiles of a Hero, it moves 1 tile toward the Hero with the most Hit Points and then attacks each Hero on the closest Hero's tile with a Burst of Lightning.
Otherwise, Gravestorm moves 1 tile toward the Hero with the most Hit Points.
A Blast of Lightning gives a +8 bonus to hit and causes 3 damage if it hits or 1 damage if it misses. 
A Bite gives a +8 bonus to hit and causes 2 damage, as well as placing the Hero 1 tile in the direction of the arrow of his or her tile's triangle.
A Burst of Lightning gives a +8 bonus to hit and causes 1 damage.
Strahd is harder to hit than Gravestorm with Armour Class 19 compared to the Dracolich's AC14 but no one in Castle Ravenloft has as many Hit Points as Gravestorm. With HP20 he can soak up a tremendous amount of damage. In all of the scenarios provided with this game, the Heroes usually have to face only 1 Villain at a time. Just imagine having to face Strahd and Gravestorm together! What a frightening thought!
When you first open the Castle Ravenloft boxed game, Gravestorm just stands out from all the other figures simply because of his size. But look closer at him and you realise what a fantastic figure he is and how amazingly well sculpted he is. This game features some genuinely well sculpted figures, like the Blazing Skeletons, Dracolich, Flesh Golem, Howling Hag and Rat Swarm, as well as a few very badly sculpted figures like Strahd/Young Vampire and the Zombies. The rest are mostly good with a few being average. Ultimately, I am very glad that I bought this set, due to its emphasis on the undead. I enjoy playing it and will continue to play it. What more could I ask for?

Finally, I have created a new page containing all of my Castle Ravenloft posts so far. Just click on the label marked "Dungeons and Dragons" at the top of the page if you want to check them out.

22 comments:

  1. Looks awesome Bryan and sounds like the end boss he is meant to be :)

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    1. He fits the bill perfectly as an end boss, Simon.

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  2. Definitely saving the best for last, what a corker!

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    1. That was always the plan, Andy - keep the best till last.

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  3. Good GOD!!! I scrolled down and first thing I saw was that head on view of Gravestorm and almost wet my pants. That's utterly awesome.

    Not least, an incredible bit of photography.

    Paint job on your Dracolich is absolutely unreal. WOW mightily impressive.

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    1. Many thanks, Steve. I know how much you love D&D, so comments like yours are much appreciated.

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  4. Ah, I've missed a whole new game content of blog posts? Great work on him, I quite like the lightness of "dark" brown.

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    1. Welcome back. Mathyoo. I've missed you, mate. Thanks for your kind words.

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  5. Great job Bryan! Your painting has brought the massive beast to life. Err, so to speak. You know what I mean Dude! Great way to finish the series.

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    1. Cheers, Bob, and yes, I know exactly what you mean about bringing him to life.

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  6. Undoubtedly a case of the 'Beast til last' Bryan ;-) Wonderful sculpt and one you clearly enjoyed taking to task with your paintbrush. I really do think you do some of your best work on brutes like this, as you've captured a real dry-raspy look to this fiend's carcass with your technique. Your first picture especially makes me feel rather thirsty (amongst other things) on account of the parched look you've given Gravestorm. Terrific photo btw as it made me immediately click on your posting as soon as it appeared as an update!!

    One can only hope that a 'fangtastic' group shot is just around the corner, so we can all appreciate the sheer size and bulk of some of these models... and wonder in awe as to just why the manufacturers felt some of the lesser sculpts were suitable to be boxed alongside some of the more impressive ones?

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    1. Many, many thanks, Simon. Not counting the Dracolich's base I only used five colours on him - Foundry Boneyard 9A, followed by a wash of Citadel Seraphim Sepia, then dry-brushed with Foundry Boneyard 9B and 9C. He was finished off with black for his eye sockets and nostrils.

      That first picture is great because it has real depth to it by focussing solely on the head.

      I haven't done a group shot yet, but it would be a good idea to round this series of posts off.

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  7. And there he is...what an absolutely wonderful figure and a suitably 'dusty' paint job, Bryan! I thought the zombie dragon was cool, but this just takes it to the next level. To be honest, the idea of and representation of undead dragons has previous left me cold, but the sculpts on these and the way your painting has brought them to (un)life has changed my opinion.
    Now we jus need someone to do an Egyptian tomb board game, filled with undead horrors and get you to paint the figures...

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    1. I greatly appreciate your comments, Jez. Gravestorm was such a joy to paint and surprisingly easy (well, for me anyway!).

      I like your idea of an Egyptian tomb board-game. I'm surprised it hasn't been done before... or am I missing something?

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  8. Very old school, lovely paint work Bryan!

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  9. Yep, he'll do.

    I do like the way that each monster has its own set of programmed instructions for the game. Hopefully it gives a bit more personality to their behaviour.

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    1. Thanks, Hugh. The tactics of the monsters do vary a lot, which helps to keep the Heroes on their toes.

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  10. Really awesome! I've totally enjoyed your Ravenloft reviews. Great job, Bryan!

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