As the leaves fall and the nights grow darker, a chill is in the air, heralding the approach of Halloween. And what better way to celebrate the spookiest of seasons than with a brand-new addition to your gaming table! Prepare to be bewitched by the macabre as we peek behind the veil of Firelock Games new Headless Seaman. This new Hostage /Advisor Character is sure to be a sinister addition to your tabletop battles. Firelock Games has released a free DLC for this special Halloween. So join me as we delve into the mysterious and eerie figure and how to bring him to your wargaming table.
What is the Headless Seaman?
Legends tell of an ancient mariner who was beheaded by a falling spar on a stormy night on All Hallow’s Eve. Sailors claim he continues to haunt the living, his lost head replaced by a flaming pumpkin with a carved face.-Legend of the Headless Seaman
The Headless Seaman is a special holiday release of a Hostage / Advisor Character. He’s not an “official product” and he’s not meant to be a tournament legal model. It’s part of a fun Halloween event. Periodically Firelock Games will release something that strays from the historical and branches into the whimsical fun. The “Luck of the Arr-ish Scenario” for St Patrick’s Day. Previous releases for Oak & Iron have included a John Finch, a captain that is overly concerned with the missing rum, and a heartless monster captaining the Flying Dutchman.
Headless Seaman Stat Card and Special Abilities
This unit costs zero 0 points and doesn’t affect the size limits of any unit or the construction of any force. Instead, both players create their normal forces and this creature joins the game at the start.
TERROR: At the beginning of a battle, all enemy units must take a Resolve Test on 1 d10. If the Test is failed, that unit gains 1 Fatigue.
EXTRA ABILITIES: If all players agree, This Character is added to a random unit determined among all Forces (it is not limited to units with a Commander). All units within 4” of this model (including this unit) suffer a +2 penalty to all Resolve Tests. If the unit this Character is attached to ever becomes shaken, the Headless Seaman will move on to a new unit which is also determined at random.
Terror Special Ability
Terror functions just like the standard Special Ability on some models and can also be gained from a Musician Character and some Faction abilities. This ability and how it works on the card is a little ambiguos as to how it works. Typically Terror is rolled at the start of the game against your opponent. And can be ignored if both players have the ability.
As this model is unaligned and can switch teams during the game, I believe the intention is that he inflicts fear in ALL forces on the board. And since he’s a special event unit with a supernatural level of evil, I think we’ll house rule it that ALL units on ALL teams have to roll for Terror, regardless of whether anyone has the ability themselves. And IF your opponent has Terror, you have the possibility of taking a second Fatigue and starting the game at a -1 Action due to fear. I think it adds a level of “spookiness” to the game that fits the spirit of the season.
Special “Extra Abilities” of the Headless Seaman
This model comes with some unique attributes that are unlike any other unit in the game. Presumably at the start of the game, the Headless Seaman joins a random unit across all forces. His mere presence inflicts fear among all in his presence by giving the unit he joined and all other models withing 4″ a +2 Penalty to their Resolve checks (to a max of 10, 10 always succeeds).
When the unit becomes Shaken, the ghoulish ghost vanishes and reappears at random among the ranks of another unit. This makes this model both a blessing and a curse. While part of your unit, you can use him to inflict fear on your enemies, but unfortunately, you suffer the consequences yourself.
The Headless Seaman and Strike Points
There is no official mention of how Strike Points work with this model. Typically, a Hostage/Advisor Character is a model you pay points for when adding to your Force and want to keep alive and protect. To reflect that, the Core Rules give you a Strike Point if that Character is ever captured or killed by your opponent. As this model joins the game on a random team and can shift loyalties at random, I would assume that rule would get vetoed. In principle the model can’t technically be captured, nor be removed as a casualty because well…. he’s already dead.
Crafting A Custom Headless Seaman Miniature
The Headless Seaman doesn’t come with an official miniature… but don’t let that stop you. You can craft your own custom model! It appears that Firelock’s talented graphics artist, Lily, started with the concept art for Le Buse from the Pirates of Legend box set to the mock up the Headless Seaman. So a shortcut would be to remove the head from La Buse and slap a pumpkin and hat on him and call him done… but that’s too easy.
Rather than use a full box of the Pirates of Legend, I built a custom model from the new 28mm plastic Sailor models (and an optional bit from the Cavalry set. Here’s a quick breakdown of my kitbash recipe:
Klotz’s Kitbash Recipe for the Headless Seaman
- Body: Sailors E1
- Right Arm: Sailors C5 – cut the should to change the angle. You’ll have to cut it beyond a visually usable level. You’ll also have to cut the wrist a bit to change the angle where the sword arm is attached.
- Right Hand: Sailor P42. So I cut it at an almost 45 degree angle as close to the hand as I could get and then reversed the nub and reattached it inverted. This gives you a reverse angled grip allowing you to get the sword blade properly facing the base.
- Left Arm: Cavalry B18 (snip the reins bits)
- Head: … um… none of the base pieces work so you’ll have to get creative. I’ll get to that in a minute
- Hat: There are several options that work fairly well:
- Sailor P9
- Militia G11
- Cavalry B2 or B5 (I think I used B5)
At this point you should have a model that looks something like this. I SHOULD have cut the neck flat BEFORE putting it on the base, but I got in a rush while waiting for the 3D print of the head to finish.
The Headless Seaman’s Head
The head is the core of this model’s uniqueness. You have a couple of options. Sculpt one from green stuff or clay or other material, or 3D print one. I used a 3d printer to print this free jack-o-lantern model from Thingiverse.com. You’ll want to resize it to 8 or 9mm wide (I printed multiple different sizes from 6mm to 10mm in 0.5mm increments so don’t remember which I used).
I used a low budget FDM printer not resin so I apologize that it’s not super clean. I recommend printing at 0.1mm resolution and lowering your print speed to try to keep it clean.
A quick and dirty paint job on the mini. Mostly speed paints and cheap craft paints. You can see in the rush to finish the project I forgot to fill the gap in the shoulder. We’ll do some magic in the next phase.
Finishing Touches on the Model
I rarely know when to stock and I tend to just keep going polishing things beyond the point that they really need to be. This mini is one of those projects… The concept art in the stat card has viney grown on the model or hay on the legs, wrists, neck, etc. Searching my terrain building bits box, I decided to try add some floral moss to fill the gap. I chopped it up finer than it came out of the box, and while it’s not stellar, I’m satisfied with the results for this one off project.
Floral Moss on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3FF6MFD
FIRELOCK GAMES 20% off Halloween Sale
For one week only, October 30 thru Monday November 6th, 2023, Firelock Games is offering 20% off ALL products. The discount will automatically be applied at checkout. So if you’ve been waiting to buy that new ship or need a few more minis to fill the gaps, this is the week to do it! And if you’ll kindly use this link or click the banner on your way to the Firelock Games webstore a percentage of your purchase will be given to us in an affiliate sale. We put in a LOT of hours to bring you nifty content, so throwing a few coins our way is always appreciated.
In the realm of BLood & Plunder, the Headless Horseman Mini is a spectral addition that will hopefully bring a level of fun…. er…. eerie excitement to your gaming sessions this fall season. I hope you enjoyed the quick kitbash and look forward to seeing those made by other brave souls. I’m sure Firelock Games and the rest of the community would love to see your battle reports and minis so be sure to share a picture or 12 on the social media sites or send them to use here. Be safe and happy gaming this holiday season. Dan, can you take us out…. Dan? uh…. Das?!? OH CRAP! DAN!!!!! Uh… I gotta go…. remember to keep your lanterns bright, and swords sharper than ever! And maybe take a Spiritual Leader model to guide you safely home.
Article and Miniature by Jason Klotz
Additional Content Suggestion
The team at Blood & Pigment has created a number of our own Halloween special releases. Including rules for PREDATORS (Inspired by the movie Prey), a Ghost Ship Scenario and more. Visit this section to check out our Halloween related content.