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Thread: Unhallowed Booster Pack
Monday, 19th February, 2007, 10:19 PM #1
Unhallowed Booster Pack
UNHALLOWED BOOSTER PACK
Wizards of the Coast product number 95790000A
8 random plastic miniatures, $14.99
Along with my Gargantuan Blue Dragon (see separate review), I also received a single booster pack for the upcoming D&D Miniatures set called Unhallowed. Since these are the first "normal" sized D&D Miniatures I've ever owned, I can't do a very good job of comparing them to previous booster packs. Likewise, since I'm not a D&D Miniatures player, I'm not going to go into the rules. (I'm sure there are other reviewers out there who play the game and can comment on that aspect of the booster pack.) Since I'm pretty much a straight D&D player, I'm going to focus on that aspect of the booster pack.
Let's start with a rundown of the 8 specific figurines I received in this booster pack, shall we? Please recognize that these are only 8 out of a total of 60 different miniatures in the Unhallowed set (there was a checklist of all miniatures in the box), so this is not necessarily a representative sample.
- Asura: From the pages of the Book of Exalted Deeds comes this blue-skinned, fire-winged female from the Upper Planes. She's a bit of an odd-looking creature, being basically an attractive woman up to the point where her bare legs turn into bird-style talons. Still, she's an accurate representation of the illustration in the Book of Exalted Deeds, even going so far as to be wearing the exact same armor. Her wings and flaming scimitar are both done in a clear orange plastic, which makes for a nice effect. She's also apparently flying just above a sheet of flames made from the same plastic, and the only addition to her armor is a diaphanous piece of "clear orange plastic" cloth covering what would otherwise be a "bare-but-for-the-width-of-a-thong" butt. In the DDM game, she's CG and worth 40 points.
- Celestial Giant Owl: Easily my favorite piece in the bunch, this Large figurine stands about 1.75 inches tall and has a wingspan of 3.75 inches. As you might imagine, the larger size allows for a greater amount of detail, and you can see each individual feather on the creature. Best of all, there's nothing particularly "celestial" about its physical appearance, so it could easily be used as a normal giant owl. Now that I own it, I'll probably have the spellcasters in my game rely heavily on giant owls in their summoning spells. A very nice figure. It's LG and worth 30 points.
- Devotee of the Silver Flame: My first Eberron figurine! I'm not sure if this piece was warped by being squished in the box or what, but he's canting over in a rather precarious position, as if he's about to take the Nestea plunge but wants to get one last stab in with his sword before he goes. Besides the odd (and perhaps accidental - is there any good way to "unbend" a plastic figurine like this, or will it revert back to a more normal position now that it's not squished in a box?) position, it's a nice platemail-clad fighter - without a helmet, I should add, allowing his long, golden locks to flow freely behind him - wearing a cape and wielding a longsword and shield. I hadn't noticed it before, but he's a "lefty," too. LG, 7 points.
- Knight of the Chalice: According to the accompanying card, this is a male elf paladin 7/knight of the Chalice 2 ("Knight of the Chalice" being a prestige class from Complete Warrior, a book I don't own). He's another "lefty," wielding a scimitar over his head with his left hand while holding a shield in his right. There's some nice detail work on his armor, but his purple hair and "large-black-dot" eyes make him look much too anime-ish for my tastes. LG, 25 points (he's a "Commander 3," whatever that means).
- Phalanx Soldier: This guy's a human fighter 4, wearing full plate (with helmet this time) and wielding a polearm of some sort. (Check the card, silly! It's a ranseur.) He's thrusting forward with it, and while I appreciate the attempt at keeping the ranseur straight - it came with a harder plastic "support" keeping the polearm from getting bent during shipment - it was only partially successful, as my ranseur is a bit wobbly. LG, 12 points.
- Pseudodragon: My first Tiny miniature, and the most disappointing in the set of eight. Just as the celestial giant owl turned out so well because the larger size makes it so much easier to show detail, the pseudodragon suffers tremendously from its much smaller size. (The poor thing sits at 5/8" tall, not counting the height of the base.) As a result, its most distinctive feature - its scorpionlike tail - is all but obscured by having to be tucked in close to its body, and the result is pretty much a reddish-purple blob that you have to hold up close to make out any details. I appreciate the attempt to keep the size scale as accurate as possible, but I wouldn't have minded at all had they made this one just a little bigger. CG, 12 points.
- Strahd Zombie: Or, as one of my players dubbed it, "grey-faced Jesus." If you look closer, though, it's actually a female zombie with red entrails hanging out of her stomach area. Nothing spectacular. LE, 20 points.
- Torturer: Or, in D&D terms, a human fighter 4/rogue 3/blackguard 2. He's a very typical torturer, being a fat-bellied human male wearing only a pair of breeches, boots, a leather apron, and an executioner's hood. And look at that, he's a "lefty" as well, since he's wielding a scourge (which actually looks a bit more like a black snake with a silver head) in his left hand, ready to provide another good thrashing. It's an okay figure; I notice they didn't bother painting the inside of his brown leather apron brown - from behind, you can see quite a bit of the leather apron between his legs, and it's the same black as his pants and boots. LE, 27 points.
Shall I go through the D&D stats on the cards? Each miniature comes with a double-sided card, with its DDM stats on one side and its D&D stats on the other. Frankly, while I see the need for the DDM stats - they provide the only stats available for the game, after all (I don't think you can purchase a Monster Manual styled book with all of the DDM game stats for the individual miniatures) - the D&D stats are much less a requirement, although I admit they could be handy, if they're accurate. So, are they? See for yourselves:
- Asura: Skills should include Knowledge (the planes) +11 (as listed in the Book of Exalted Deeds), Survival +2 (+4 on other planes) [0 ranks, +2 Wis, +2 synergy bonus from Knowledge (the planes)], and Use Rope +2 (+4 bindings) [0 ranks, +2 Dex, +2 synergy bonus from Escape Artist]. In addition, Escape Artist should be at +13, not +11 [11 ranks, +2 Dex]. Only 1 of 4 feats is listed on the card; the others are all "tucked into" the stats where appropriate. (I can see why they might have to do this due to space considerations, but there's plenty of room on this card to include them.)
- Celestial Giant Owl: Skills should include Knowledge (nature) +2.
- Devotee of the Silver Flame: Initiative should be -1, not +1 (-1 Dex). Only 3 of 6 feats are listed; judging from the stats, the missing three are Lightning Reflexes, Weapon Focus (longsword), and Weapon Specialization (longsword). Only spent 17 of 21 skill points.
- Knight of the Chalice: Only 2 of 4 feats are listed; one of those must be Weapon Focus (scimitar). Caster Level for his paladin spells should be 3rd, not 1st. (If his Knight of the Chalice levels stack for paladin spells, that would be 4th level.)
- Phalanx Soldier: Only 4 of his 6 feats are listed; the others have to be Weapon Focus (ranseur) and Weapon Specialization (ranseur) for his attacks and damage to balance out correctly. He only spent 17 of his 21 skill points.
- Pseudodragon: SA/SQ line is missing "telepathy 60 ft." Skills should include Diplomacy +2 [0 ranks, +0 Cha, +2 synergy bonus from Sense Motive] and Survival +1 (+3 following tracks) [0 ranks, +1 Wis, +2 synergy bonus from Search]. Weapon Finesse is not listed as its sole feat.
- Strahd Zombie: Toughness is not listed as its sole feat. (And it's not like there isn't room.)
- Torturer: Only 5 of his 8 feats are listed; one of those has to be Weapon Focus (scourge). SQ doesn't list "poison use." The save DCs for his cause fear and inflict light wounds spells should be DC 12, not DC 11 [10 + 1st-level spell + 1 Wis]. "**Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting" is at the bottom of the card, yet none of the stats are annotated with a double-asterisk.
Judging solely from my 8 miniatures from one booster pack, and admittedly focused solely from a non-D&D Miniatures aspect, I give Unhallowed a low "4 (Good)." The quality on the majority of the figures is pretty good, and there's an overall fairly high level of commitment to having the figures look like their previously-established illustrations. Adding Tiny miniatures (besides the pseudodragon, there's a bat familiar in the set, according to the checklist) was an interesting experiment that could have been done a bit better, in my opinion, and the D&D stats are a bit hit-and-miss. But still, as a whole, these are pretty good.
I still think I'll stick to purchasing the specific miniatures I'm looking for, though. While I completely understand the reasons that the miniatures are randomly packaged, I'm not enough of a gambler to plunk down fifteen bucks on something that I don't know ahead of time what I'm buying.
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