'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

Corrupt Cliffs

Corrupt Cliffs
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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Sci-Fi Dungeon Sticks

Welcome back to the blog! 2024 is here and I'm done school, for now at least, leaving me more time to focus on gaming and my online presence! Near the end of 2023 the RPG Alliance held their annual convention, and I ran a couple of games: Vaesen online and Mothership in person. I had a great time running both and got to play some fun games.
Getting the game set-up at the convention.

Running Mothership in person prompted me to dig out my Ultimate Dungeon Terrain (check out how I built it!) and sci-fi scatter terrain so I could set up a few rooms on the fly if the players encountered the creatures lurking in the darkness of the derelict spacecraft. While I love the giant dungeon set-ups (both sci-fi and fantasy) I find them largely impractical, especially when it comes to traveling to and from a convention. Another aspect of many large dungeon set-ups I dislike are full-height walls. I find they make it hard for the players to see their miniatures and in the end, while looking cool, they just get in the way.
The sci-fi UDT with scatter terrain.

Of course, one solution is the 2.5d dungeon tile giving a hint of a wall without actually being a wall. This does not work that well with UDT-type setups. The solution to this is to use modular low or half-height walls, such as "Dungeon Sticks". Given the options I have stated so far it should come as no surprise that this is the method I employ. Digging out sci-fi terrain I haven't used since before the pandemic reminded me of a project I had worked on for an ALIEN game I ran: Sci-Fi dungeon sticks. Looking around I saw a few ideas (Check out this collection on Thingiverse) for this but I didn't love any of them, so I did what any self-respecting terrain-making GM would do, I designed my own solution.
Some new freshly printed scatter terrain for the game.

When I started this project I had a few ideas in mind. I wanted to leverage the 3d printer (Elegoo Mars), I wanted cool walls and I didn't want to print full-length walls to save on resin.

My solution was to print small end pieces that I could slot foam core into. I would then do some simple textures on the foam core and paint them up all the same. This ended up having two main advantages. The first was using less resin, and the second was to allow the walls to come apart for storage and transportation. Since I had the original STLs stored on an old computer I didn't have access to I had to redesign the STL, and at the same time, I created one that would accept straws as wall piping.

One of the 3d models for half-height walls.

I've made the basic stl files I used available on thingiverse if you are interested in trying these yourself.

One of the piping walls in action!

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