Friday, March 1, 2013

Picking the right mini for your PC

I'm sure it's obvious by now, but I'm a big fan of finding the right mini for my PCs. I thought I'd take you through my thought process when it comes to picking a good representation for your character.

I almost always start with a character in mind. I'll usually come up with a handful of character concepts at once, and prior to the start of the game I'll pitch these characters to the rest of the group to see who will fill the niche role needed by the rest of the party.

This morning I had an idea for a character who is a zoologist (cryptozoologist?) seeking to create a field guide of dangerous monsters (The Liber Monstrum). Of course, to properly document these creatures he'll has to seek out, fight, and take specimens. Think a combination of Indiana Jones, John Audubon, and a healthy smattering of Steve Irwin (Crikey! That Tarasque's angry!).

Once you have a character concept you start getting ideas of how your character looks, their class, and the tools you want them to use. You probably have an idea of their personality and role as well. So whether or not they'd be a taciturn sneaky rogue, as opposed to a jubilant swashbuckling rogue. Visualizing you character informs what kind of miniature you want, as well as the personality you hope it portrays.

With my "adventuring naturalist" summary in mind I break down a few things I'd like to see about the mini:
* Male
* Human, Dwarf, or possibly Elf
* Seems likely to be a wizard or ranger
* A rugged but scholarly look (preferably with a book)
* Also in my mind is that the mini shouldn't be overly aggressive. No charging into battle or screaming battle cries.

If I know the class I want to play I'll usually also list armor & shields among the things I want to see. I don't usually list weapons as deal breakers for my minis, since weapon swaps are a relatively simple modification. 

So with these broad ideas in mind I go about my search. If I don't have a mini in mind already I tend to start looking in one of two places: Reaper's Figure Finder, and Privateer Press. I like these two because they're about the same scale, and they both put out good high detailed metal minis.Privateer Press has a strong steampunk/technology vibe, but that can be worked around.

After a cursory search I found a few possibilities.

This dwarf has some good potential. He looks both formidable, and scholarly, which is a great balance for the character I have in mind. Likewise the armor is a little vague, so he could portray a variety of classes.

For a more ranger-esque character this guy would fit the bill. I'm not as keen on his hair, but I'm no stranger to adding a hat to a mini either. It isn't my first choice, but a decent option.

This one has a bookish "Egon" quality to it. So while it doesn't have a book or scrolls, you get the feel of an intelligent character (possibly a scientific/stuffy quality as well). One of the disadvantages to this one is that it's clearly a spellcaster of some sort. He isn't a ranger or fighter, he's a straight-up spellslinger. 

This one could work if I were to change the character concept to being a cleric or fighter. For the most part clerics with books looked like they were chanting, or casting spells, but this guy just looks like he's reading from it. If I were to paint pictures of monsters on the pages of the book it'd easily go from a religious text to a field guide.
Finally, from Privateer Press we have this guy. this guy takes the rugged adventurer cake. His gun and sword would put him at odds with most fantasy worlds, but that gun could be swapped with a crossbow, or wand, or just a hand. The sword is almost certainly detachable, so I can ignore that entirely (the bullet bandolier could be painted to be glass vials). The duster and clothes don't mesh perfectly with a high fantasy setting either, but a good paintjob can fix that too.

For the record, I'd probably choose either the "Egon" mini of the Privateer Press mini. My decision would be made after chatting with my fellow players, and brainstorming bits about our characters. I see the Egon mini as being a character at the start of their expedition, whereas the PP mini would be a veteran explorer.

Once you pick your mini you can modify, convert, and paint to fit your exact ideals. I always use minis to help me get a feel for my character, so the closer I can get to my vision, the closer I feel to the character. Hope this helps you the next time you need to find the right avatar for your tabletop character.


1 comment:

  1. Getting the right mini can make all the difference. That Privateer model is great.