This week we're previewing three good-looking minis with just one thing in common: they can hit you from farther away than you can hit them.
Rask, Half-Orc Chainfighter
You may have met this fellow in Mat Smith's recent preview. We've just started scratching the need for PC-worthy miniatures armed with exotic weapons. Originally, this guy was going to be just an unnamed half-orc, but the original concept sketch by Des Hanley had so much personality that we started thinking of him as a specific character ...
... so when Drizzt's all-Unique warband put out the call for another tough fighting member, Rask answered the call. He's listed as pure Chaotic Good, but given the Cleric of Gruumsh and the Orc Sergeant, Rask can sometimes be tricked into fighting for Chaotic Evil. Rask's double melee attack is especially effective against high AC warbands that count on not getting damaged, while his one-use stunning attack is devastating against low-save warbands.
In the Lawful Evil corner, bobbing and weaving at around 7 feet off the ground on eight paralyzing tentacles -- the beak with brains, the brain with a beak, Kid Aberration, the Grell!
We could have handled the Grell's many paralyzing attacks in a number of ways. We opted for something simple, putting the Grell alongside the Gibbering Mouther as the creatures with four melee attacks. Unlike the Gibbering Mouther, the Grell is intelligent and can cooperate with other members of your warband. Any enemy that takes the full brunt of all four potentially paralyzing attacks will wish it hadn't -- especially if the first attack paralyzes so that the other three can hit for automatic double damage.
The current stats for this venerable D&D villain are on page 121 of Monster Manual II. A few months after Deathknell is published, the grells will also get a full chapter in our big splatbook on aberrations. A spellcasting grell philosopher is an even bigger challenge than the run-of-the-dungeon Grell whose stats we created for the RPG side of the card.
The Boneclaw comes to us from Monster Manual III. Check page 17 of that book and you'll see that Dave Allsop's original art was translated directly into our rare mini.
The Boneclaw is one of the new batch of undead that look more disturbing than puny dead people, not least because it's hard to know just how far those folding claws can reach when they snap out to impale you.
In skirmish games, the answer to the "how far" question is "Melee Reach 3." As the Aspect of Lolth demonstrated in an earlier set, Melee Reach 3 can be surprisingly effective. Because the skirmish rules are simpler than RPG, the Boneclaw can't take full advantage of its reach to get lots of opportunity attacks. Or can it? Without changing the way opportunity attacks work in D&D Miniatures, we gave the Boneclaw this ability: Double Opportunity Attacker (If this creature hits with an attack of opportunity, it can immediately make a second attack of opportunity against the same enemy).
That's it for Preview #2. I'm on vacation (yes, it's shocking that they allowed me out of the building), but before I left, I recorded a little ditty named "Big Shields," appearing January 6th at this spot on the dial.
About the Author
Rob Heinsoo started playing D&D with the original brown box in 1975. He's now the lead designer of D&D Miniatures.