As I mentioned earlier, in Meet the PC, a few years back I took my first foray into GMing by running a Dark Sun D&D campaign for my friends. Since it was my first time behind the screen, I wanted to bring a little something else to the table: Custom minis for encounters.
Dark Sun is a unique world, and to sell the setting I wanted
authentic feeling encounters. It's a desert world without Gods, and
without metal, and where arcane magic corrupts the natural surroundings.
So finding the right minis, and painting them properly posed an
Each week I'd make sure at least one fight featured a specially
prepared enemy. This sometimes had me painting a mini up until my
buddies showed up on my doorstep.
The very first encounter took place in a gladiatorial arena, where
they were pitted against dangerous desert monsters. The first was a
Winged Snake (Warlord's Couatl) that I painted to look like a
rattlesnake, and a pair of Drakes who sported a Gila Monster motif
(minis are Crested Fellrakes from the WotC Chainmail game).
Goldar (I named him Dru'ul in the game) would be the way to go.
Like I mentioned earlier, There's no metal in Dark Sun, so I replaced
painted things that would normally be metal as though they were hide,
leather, bone, stone, or wood. Most notably, I made his axe bone, and
tried to get his plate armor to look like it's reptile hide. This was
the mini that helped me realize that this would actually work.
I figured as a gladiator would be
in the sun all day, then get oiled up before a fight, like how
professional body builders look during competitions, hence the tan and shiny nature of the skin.
Incidentally, if you ever name a Mul gladiator Dru'ul, be prepared for your players to rename him "Drool the Mool"