Well, we're back from Gen Con, where attendees got glimpses of a few different figures upcoming in Blood War, the next D&D Miniatures expansion. If you weren't there, I'm sure you've already had a chance to see pictures of the D&D Miniatures Game seminar, the promo minis handed out, or even the action of the D&D Minis tournaments that took place all weekend.
Speaking of tournaments, congratulations to Michael Derry, who survived an international onslaught of top D&D Miniatures players to emerge victorious as the 2006 D&D Miniatures Constructed Champion. In addition to the repainted colossal red dragon trophy, Michael won the chance to help R&D design a miniature for an upcoming set!
This week, we look at a pair of Astral raider miniatures -- both creatures that you definitely don't want to meet in a dark alley.
Vlaakith the Lich Queen
Vlaakith CLVII (the 157th) is the ruler of the githyanki race. She is also a lich, at least until she can find a way to ascend to godhood. Vlaakith maintains her dominance over the githyanki people by eliminating any githyanki that grow too powerful (those above 16th level). She devours the souls of those powerful githyanki, subsuming their power into her own. It doesn't pay to stand out when you're a githyanki.
The art for the Vlaakith miniature was based on the Wayne Reynolds piece that was featured on Dungeon Magazine #100 -- the July 2003 issue that also included The Lich Queen's Beloved, a high-level adventure that culminates in an epic battle against the Lich Queen herself. William O'Connor provided us with the excellent sketch, pictured here, of Vlaakith as a miniature, which we have since transformed into the painted plastic that you may see drop out of a Blood War booster.
In the D&D Miniatures skirmish game, Vlaakith provides a high-level commander for the Chaotic Evil faction. In most respects, she's tougher than the Lich Necromancer (from Giants of Legend) with higher numbers in hp, AC, and attack bonus. A competent spellcaster, Vlaakith has quite a bit of direct-damage potential with both a fireball and a disintegrate spell along with spell penetration to get around pesky spell resistance. Vlaakith definitely adds to a fight -- she better, because she represents almost 40% of your warband! Epic Vlaakith is even tougher, as disintegrate moves down to her lowest level spell and she picks up wail of the banshee and finger of death. She also picks up her signature silver sword, letting her emulate a certain Queen of Hearts (off with their heads!).
Githyanki Dragon Knight
Vlaakith CLVII's ancestor, Vlaakith I, was an adviser to Gith, the hero who led the githyanki from the slavery of the mind flayers. Vlaakith I was instrumental in convincing Gith to secure powerful allies in case the illithids attempted to reclaim their lost slaves. At Vlaakith I's urging, Gith sought out Tiamat, the Dragon Queen, and forged a pact with the dragon goddess that stands to this day. Githyanki can call on red dragons as allies, and many young red dragons join the githyanki for decades at a time, serving as mounts and reveling in the carnage and destruction of githyanki raids. The Githyanki Dragon Knight is a blackguard in the service of Vlaakith. He has earned through prowess in battle the privilege to ride a red dragon into combat at the vanguard of a githyanki raiding force.
The Dragon Knight represents half of your warband in a typical 200-point game, and his skirmish stats hearken back to the first appearance of the Large Red Dragon in the early Dragoneye set (the first expansion to the D&D Miniatures game after Harbinger). In designing this mini, we wanted to capture the flavor of the dragon getting a bite in while the githyanki strikes down with his silver sword, so we gave the Dragon Knight two attacks, both at +14. One hits for 20 damage and the other for 20 magic damage. Though that damage output may seem low for a tough, Chaotic Evil figure, the githyanki rider adds a few special abilities, such as Spell Resistance and Mounted Melee Attack, to the dragon's fire breath. If the Dragon Knight is paired with Vlaakith, then it fights even harder, gaining a damage boost from the Lich Queen's commander effect (which affects any githyanki or red dragon).
Next week, I'll extract a lucid thought or three from the madness of my mind and perhaps shed some light on the silhouette pictured here.
About the Author
Stephen Schubert is a Developer in RPG/Minis R&D, Lead Developer for the D&D Miniatures Game, and has worked on a variety of D&D game products, including Monster Manual IV, Tome of Battle, and Magic Item Compendium. He is the author of the upcoming Eberron super-adventure Eyes of the Lich Queen.