Nature's Protectors

Monday, February 12, 2018

We're now a full month into our journey through the Jungle of Despair, the next set of Pathfinder Battles miniatures from WizKids, and this week I get to show off some of my favorite figures in the set. So without further ado, let's begin!

As long as humanity has stood on the edge of the jungle and peered into the darkness beneath the impenetrable canopy, the imagination has created as many phantasmal dangers as actually exist in the unforgiving environment. But not all of these dangers are primeval, unthinking beasts that see explorers as little more than a potential meal. Many, in nearly every culture and mythology, exist to protect the untamed, untainted regions of the world from humanity's encroaching influence.

The first such creature in Jungle of Despair is the couatl, a lawful good staple of fantasy roleplaying games that takes its inspiration from the Aztec god, Quetzlcoatl, who is often referred to as "The Plumed Serpent." As such, the couatl is a mighty, mystical flying serpent with wings the color of a jungle bird's plumage. Couatls make for great protectors of jungle ruins or sacred sites for their ability to aid the adventurers, but only if the interlopers can convince the winged serpent of their true intentions and veneration for the purity of the unaltered wilderness. The couatl is a Large uncommon figure.

Similarly, nature spirits from the First World, the capricious realm of the fey, often serve as protectors of portions of the Material Plane. Comprised in large part of dense undergrowth and ancient trees, jungles make for the perfect habitat for dryads, each of whom is linked to a specific tree and given dominion over a particular copse or grove. The dryad in Jungle of Despair is a re-posed version of the reclining dryad illustration from the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, and thus can be used in nearly any wooded environment, from a palm tree in a desert oasis to a lone evergreen high atop a mountain vista. The dryad is a common Medium figure.

Often filling a niche similar to that of a dryad but found in other environments beyond the woods is the enigmatic nymph, a paragon of natural beauty who uses her charms to bend would-be defilers of the wild to her will. Also based on the primary creature illustration from the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, the nymph has been given some clothes in her miniature iteration, in the form of a seaweed skirt. With a pair of starfish stuck to her legs, she makes a great protector of seaside grottoes or isolated beaches but can still easily fit in anywhere that nature needs a steward. The nymph is a Medium common figure.

Mortal protectors of the natural world are no less powerful and intrinsically tied to the land, as in the case of the elf druid, a Medium common figure perfect for either a player character or in a cabal of Green Faith worshipers. In fact, the illustration used as reference for this figure was the Green Faith druid in Pathfinder Player Companion: Faiths of Balance; now where could his hawk animal companion have gotten off to?

Finally, we have a guardian not born or spawned by the raw power of nature itself, but rather created with arcane magic and set to a specific, ceaseless task by its master: the clay golem. As a construct, this Large uncommon figure has no natural habitat, and thus can serve campaigns set in ancient jungle ruins, high-magic metropolises, and everything in between. While a clay golem can take any shape its creator molds it into, the iconic Pathfinder clay golem (and thus the miniature) has a hulking humanoid form and the head of a jackal, giving it a decidedly Egyptian feel, making it equally appropriate for use in the moldering pharaonic tombs of the Osirian desert.

That's it for this exciting installment of Jungle of Despair! Be sure to tune in next week for a look at some of the player character-appropriate figures in the set. Until then, roll high, Pathfinders!

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Jungle of Despair Licensed Products Miniatures Pathfinder Battles

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The Nymph and Dryad are awesome. I probably don’t need quite so many, but they should be great trade material.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

4 people marked this as a favorite.

For both the nymph and dryad, neither required so many paint steps to require a higher rarity, and while we could arbitrarily make them rarer, that would mean one of the figures that cost more to make would either need to get cut or be less detailed by getting bumped down to common rarity.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

COUATL!!!!

And a Dryad! And a Nymph!

Sqqqqqqqueeeeeeeeeeee!


This is shaping up to be my favorite set since Dungeons Deep. Plants, faeries, and possibly a hawk companion? The Coatl looks pretty but I'm not sure the angle of the photo does it justice. On the other hand, I hope the final paints on the dryad look half as nice as the digital rendering.

Dark Archive

I called/expected the first three minis in this set, thanks Erik! :-)

The Couatl looks great, more colorful than the artwork on page 49 of the Bestiary. 15 foot wing span and 12 feet lenght seem to translate well.
Mark, it´s hard to see how the head looks, could you maybe show us a side view?

The Dryad is very similar to the artwork from page 116 of the Bestiary, only the skin should be a little darker to reflect that the "flesh that seems made of wood".

The Nymph also looks like she was taken from page 217 of the Bestiary and i like don´t mind the added green seaweed skirt at all.

Love the Elf Druid, simple but beautiful. Makes for a great PC or NPC.

The Clay Golem seems to be too small (over 8 feet if the Bestiary is to be believed), but it is the last missing Golem from the Bestiary and it looks loike the artwork on page 159, so i´m good.

Great preview and great text - again. Thank you, Mark!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

At first, the Clay Golem was a bit off to me. But I’m really starting to warm up to it. The two D&D offerings look like they were crafted by wizards that lacked any artistic skill and were in a hurry to crank any old golem out ASAP. This Pathfinder version looks like it came from an artisan who takes pride in his work. I like it, just like I like the Rise of the Runelords Stone Golem. Well done.

Dark Archive

Hm, maybe a hawk will be in this set too, but we already had this:
Falcon, i´d rather have a lizard, monkey and viper as animal companions are concerned. ;-)

I also expected the Pixie to be in this preview, it was announced to be in the set in the initial introduction text... :-o

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
For both the nymph and dryad, neither required so many paint steps to require a higher rarity, and while we could arbitrarily make them rarer, that would mean one of the figures that cost more to make would either need to get cut or be less detailed by getting bumped down to common rarity.

Thanks for the insight. Nice to get an insight into the process anditanswer my questioni regards to rarities. Very fine additions to the range. Love the cuoatl, as an uncommon perhaps in a repaint the way excess. Would also appreciate an image fro side onto get a better feel for the pose.

If the golems only 8ft tall then that mini is about spot on. Looking forward to seeing that in hand.

Dark Archive

With 5 out of 8 uncommon large minis now revealed:
-TIGER
-MURDER VINE
-SHAMBLER
-COUATL
-CLAY GOLEM

i fear one of my other 4 predicted/desired uncommon large minis:
-CROCODILE
-GORILLA/DIRE APE
-GIRALLON
-PTERANODON

won´t be in it. ;-(


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

liking the text to the previews as much as the previews.

Mark Moreland wrote:
For both the nymph and dryad, neither required so many paint steps to require a higher rarity, and while we could arbitrarily make them rarer, that would mean one of the figures that cost more to make would either need to get cut or be less detailed by getting bumped down to common rarity.

couldn‘t you trade the time saved on these two for time spend on the more expensive ones?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

With 5 out of 8 uncommon large minis now revealed:

-TIGER
-MURDER VINE
-SHAMBLER
-COUATL
-CLAY GOLEM

i fear one of my other 4 predicted/desired uncommon large minis:
-CROCODILE
-GORILLA/DIRE APE
-GIRALLON
-PTERANODON

won´t be in it. ;-(

hopefully the croc as we already have the hodag to stand in for that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm loving the blog posts! Keep up the great work!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.
DropBearHunter wrote:
couldn‘t you trade the time saved on these two for time spend on the more expensive ones?

Not at a lower rarity, no. I mean, we could just do fewer minis with uncommon-level detail, but that's not ideal.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
DropBearHunter wrote:
hopefully the croc as we already have the hodag to stand in for that.

And the Desert of Desolation croc on top of that. ^_^

(I recall Marco not wanting to count the older DDM lines, and I respect that. But it's still technically part of the supply.)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
DropBearHunter wrote:
couldn‘t you trade the time saved on these two for time spend on the more expensive ones?

Not at a lower rarity, no. I mean, we could just do fewer minis with uncommon-level detail, but that's not ideal.

so you can do the time swapping within the same level of rarity, but once a sculpt is so simple it slipped to common you can‘t bump it to uncommon again, to make another uncommon a common sculpt?

I thought that was why a blind mix was done in the first place, and can remember Eric writing something on those lines around the time I started collecting.
that was quite a while ago (2013, me reading it, the post might be older) so maybe it didn’t work out that way.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

There’s a Girallon in the set, pictured on the side of the box. I b3lieve it’s a named one from the serpents skull AP possibly.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Angazhani or something similar, most likely - girallon is a D&D name, and Paizo can't be bothered to put the entire OGL on every single pack. Same reason we have Demonic Familiars, not Quasits, and so on. ^_^

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
DropBearHunter wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
DropBearHunter wrote:
couldn‘t you trade the time saved on these two for time spend on the more expensive ones?

Not at a lower rarity, no. I mean, we could just do fewer minis with uncommon-level detail, but that's not ideal.

so you can do the time swapping within the same level of rarity, but once a sculpt is so simple it slipped to common you can‘t bump it to uncommon again, to make another uncommon a common sculpt?

I thought that was why a blind mix was done in the first place, and can remember Eric writing something on those lines around the time I started collecting.
that was quite a while ago (2013, me reading it, the post might be older) so maybe it didn’t work out that way.

The number of steps has always been a driving force on rarity... if you read the rise of the runelords set blogs, its mentioned on why some of the humanoids are rare. The blind packs allow for a bigger variety, because in theory you buy more to get the ones you want, which offsets the price to make the larger ones....

look at it this way - say a paint step costs $10,000 a mini for an uncommon and $20,000 a mini for common (since they make about twice as many) If you move something like the nymph who has 3 paint steps to uncommon, and try to move something that has 5 paint steps (like most uncommons do) to common, you just cost wizkids $70,000 of profit. Note: these number are simplified for the examples sake - I'm guessing its actually closer to 20K/40K leading to 140K loss if not more based on the number of cases produced). Based on conversations, it sounds like a common can't have more than 3-4 paint steps and a wash. an uncommon averages 5-6 paint steps, and a rare can have up to 12.

Dark Archive

Cat-thulhu wrote:
There’s a Girallon in the set, pictured on the side of the box. I b3lieve it’s a named one from the serpents skull AP possibly.

Kalindlara is right, it´s an "Anghazani" or "High Girallon".

It may be the "King of the Jungle" mentioned in the descriptive text.

Normal Girallon have Int of 2 and are not able to wield weapons, whereas High Girallon do have an Int of 12.
You are right about the one pictured on the boosters, it´s from Serpents Skull book 3 and called Olujimi.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I’m looking forward to adding a High Girallon to my Girallon army (which is a grand total of six pieces currently). I hope it is not rare, As I’d actually like a few of these minis.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
DropBearHunter wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
DropBearHunter wrote:
couldn‘t you trade the time saved on these two for time spend on the more expensive ones?

Not at a lower rarity, no. I mean, we could just do fewer minis with uncommon-level detail, but that's not ideal.

so you can do the time swapping within the same level of rarity, but once a sculpt is so simple it slipped to common you can‘t bump it to uncommon again, to make another uncommon a common sculpt?

I thought that was why a blind mix was done in the first place, and can remember Eric writing something on those lines around the time I started collecting.
that was quite a while ago (2013, me reading it, the post might be older) so maybe it didn’t work out that way.

The number of steps has always been a driving force on rarity... if you read the rise of the runelords set blogs, its mentioned on why some of the humanoids are rare. The blind packs allow for a bigger variety, because in theory you buy more to get the ones you want, which offsets the price to make the larger ones....

look at it this way - say a paint step costs $10,000 a mini for an uncommon and $20,000 a mini for common (since they make about twice as many) If you move something like the nymph who has 3 paint steps to uncommon, and try to move something that has 5 paint steps (like most uncommons do) to common, you just cost wizkids $70,000 of profit. Note: these number are simplified for the examples sake - I'm guessing its actually closer to 20K/40K leading to 140K loss if not more based on the number of cases produced). Based on conversations, it sounds like a common can't have more than 3-4 paint steps and a wash. an uncommon averages 5-6 paint steps, and a rare can have up to 12.

This is really the issue. A common mini can only have so many paint steps due to the increased volume of that rarity compared to uncommons and rares.

Let's pretend instead of minis, we're talking about making cookies. It's a set of 60 cookies of different shapes, some plain, some iced, and some are delicate macarons.

Spoiler because holy cow this analogy got out of hand:

We have three sheets of 20 cookies each that are going into three different ovens. Let's say the plain cookies take 5 minutes to bake with little oversight from the baker, the iced cookies take 10 minutes including the time needed for them to cool and be iced, and the macarons take 20 minutes with constant attention because they're so delicate. We can get four trays of plain cookies cycled through the oven in the same amount of time it takes to make a tray of macarons, and two trays of plain cookies in the same time as one tray of iced cookies.

Thus, in 1 hour (which costs us $1,000 in overhead to run the ovens, pay the bakers, and for flour and sugar and other ingredients), we get:


  • 240 plain cookies (12 each of 20 unique shapes) at $1.38 per cookie
  • 120 iced cookies or (6 each of 20 unique shapes) at $2.78 per cookie
  • 60 macarons (3 each of 20 unique shapes) at $5.56 per cookie.

Totalling 420 cookies of 60 unique shapes. Our average cost per cookie is roughly $2.38.

If we decided that we wanted to make the nymph-shaped plain cookies (they don't need icing) along with the trays of iced cookies, they'd still be on a tray that was going through a 10-minute process. We'd have half as many dryad-shaped cookies when we were done than if they were on plain trays, because that oven runs on 10-minute rather than 5-minute cycles. We also need to move a cookie from the iced tray to the plain tray to make space for that nymph cookie in the 10-minute oven. If we said we wanted the couatl iced cookie to replace the nymph, suddenly we're going to end up with twice as many couatl cookies as we want and they're not going to be iced, because it would take too long to specially ice just the double batch of couatls we made by putting them in the 5-minute oven.

If we do this, we end up with the same total number of cookies, but now both the nymph and the couatl aren't iced. We could decide to ice the nymph, since it's on that tray, but it's ultimately overkill for that particular cookie, and it leaves us unable to put the icing on the couatl cookies that they really need to look and taste right.

Why can't we just ice the couatl? Well, we'd be going from icing 6 couatls in a batch to icing 12 couatls in a batch, and we'd only be saving ourself enough time to ice 6 nymphs (which aren't getting iced, remember). That leaves a deficit of 6 couatls that don't get iced every hour.

We have to pay an extra baker to make these 6 couatls, so that's an extra $14.28/hour added to our cost of goods. Over the course of an 8-hour day that's $114.24 extra overhead, and in a 40-hour week, an extra $571.20, or over half-a-day's cost just to make 6 extra iced cookies an hour. Since I've still only made 420 cookies an hour, my cost per cookie has increased from $2.38 to $2.41.

Now, let's look at how I sell my cookies. I put them in little boxes, each containing multiple cookies. If I put more than one of them in a box, I'd run out of macarons, so I make a point of putting 1 macaron in each box, meaning every hour I can make 60 boxes. Since I need to box every cookie made in 1 hour immediately, I thus need to put 7 cookies in each of the 60 boxes: 1 macaron, 2 iced cookies, and 4 plain cookies. The actual cost per box is thus $20.14. If I want to make a profit, I set the price per box of my gourmet cookies at $21.00. I can't set it much higher than that, despite cost of goods, because the market simply won't support cookies more expensive than that. If I sell all 60 boxes of cookies each hour (people love these cookies, btw, and the line stretches around the block), I make $1260, or $260 on my $1,000 investment. I'm making $.62 in profit on each cookie, on average.

Now let's consider what my profits look like if I make the nymph-couatl swap. I still have the name number of cookies at the end of the hour, and I'm still limited to 60 boxes because I have 60 macarons. So the box construction doesn't change. There will be slightly more iced cookies overall, as I have 6 extra iced couatl's in the mix, but overall, things are pretty much the same for the average cookie customer. They pay for 7 cookies, get 1 macaron, 2 iced cookies, and 4 plain cookies. There will be some variety in there because of the those extra 6 iced couatls coming off the plain tray, but the distribution scheme won't change drastically.

In this case, I've still made the same $1260 on an hour's worth of cookies, because I can't raise the price any more without people giving me negative Yelp ratings. My operating cost, however, did go up. So now that same hour only nets me $245.72 in profit, or $.58 per cookie, down almost 6.5% over my margin per cookie. While that might seem like a minor thing, when we're talking about profit margins this small to begin with, that's actually a really big deal. If we were to do this with more than one cookie (like say, the dryad as well as the nymph), suddenly we're losing 13% or more on what our business model expects.

So!

Back to minis. While we could swap the dryad and nymph to uncommon rarities, doing so has very real costs to the profitability of the set. Adding more paint steps to a common figure and reducing paint steps for an uncommon is not a 1:1 trade. And the alternative of cutting paint steps from something that really needs to have more just makes for weaker figures overall. I know I'd rather have a few extra dryads or nymphs in my collection than have any figures that look like they could have used a step or two more to polish them to their ideal quality.

The profit margins on minis aren't quite the same as the cookies in my analogy, especially given the economy of scale. But the fact still remains that WizKids isn't going to look favorably on any request we make that would cut into their profits, even by just a small percentage. Ultimately, deciding on figure rarity is a juggling act that involves consideration into both what level of detail a given figure needs, how many of them are needed or useful at the table, what similar figures have already been released, and what we and WizKids believe will result in a profitable set that gets good reviews and sells lots of units. If it weren't for actual business and logistical concerns, the effort would be so much simpler, but it also wouldn't be worth anyone's time, as it wouldn't generate revenue for anyone involved.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Awesome minis. I will point out, however, that the dryad is wearing heels...

Dark Archive

Mark Moreland wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
DropBearHunter wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
DropBearHunter wrote:
couldn‘t you trade the time saved on these two for time spend on the more expensive ones?

Not at a lower rarity, no. I mean, we could just do fewer minis with uncommon-level detail, but that's not ideal.

so you can do the time swapping within the same level of rarity, but once a sculpt is so simple it slipped to common you can‘t bump it to uncommon again, to make another uncommon a common sculpt?

I thought that was why a blind mix was done in the first place, and can remember Eric writing something on those lines around the time I started collecting.
that was quite a while ago (2013, me reading it, the post might be older) so maybe it didn’t work out that way.

The number of steps has always been a driving force on rarity... if you read the rise of the runelords set blogs, its mentioned on why some of the humanoids are rare. The blind packs allow for a bigger variety, because in theory you buy more to get the ones you want, which offsets the price to make the larger ones....

look at it this way - say a paint step costs $10,000 a mini for an uncommon and $20,000 a mini for common (since they make about twice as many) If you move something like the nymph who has 3 paint steps to uncommon, and try to move something that has 5 paint steps (like most uncommons do) to common, you just cost wizkids $70,000 of profit. Note: these number are simplified for the examples sake - I'm guessing its actually closer to 20K/40K leading to 140K loss if not more based on the number of cases produced). Based on conversations, it sounds like a common can't have more than 3-4 paint steps and a wash. an uncommon averages 5-6 paint steps, and a rare can have up to 12.

This is really the issue. A common mini can only have so many paint steps due to the increased volume of that rarity compared to uncommons and rares.

Let's pretend instead of minis, we're talking about making cookies....

Thank you for going above & beyond the call of duty, Mark. :-)

That was a really great read (also thanks for the overall paint budget comment on plasticrypt).

The only problem is: now i'm hungry for "Pathfinder Battle Cookies"!

Dark Archive

I'm not even kidding, atm i'm imagining what a "Gelatinous Cube" cookie would taste like. :-)

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Mosaic wrote:
Awesome minis. I will point out, however, that the dryad is wearing heels...

Not just heels, but very nice shoes. I'm jealous.

I guess you have a lot of time to work on making stuff like that, out in the forest. ^_^

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The nymph looks like she's eying that shoes, wanting them for herself...
Also the shoes the druid is wearing color-clash with his robe, so maybe he has some interest too.
Man, i see whole new quest adventures for these shoes come up... ;-)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
... Lengthy Explanation ...

wow, thank you for that.

I feel like I ow you a box of cookies now.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Aww, you don't have to do that!

Spoiler:
Be sure it's addressed to my attention or someone else will eat it first!


Damn, Mark that was some detailed and great read! Much appreciated and understood. The detail and explanation that you gave was way beyond what would be required and needed! You went far beyond the calling! Thanks a bunch!

Community / Forums / Paizo / Licensed Products / Miniatures / Paizo Blog: Nature's Protectors All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Miniatures