'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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Showing posts with label Terrain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Terrain. Show all posts

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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Monday, February 5, 2018

New video up!

I finally managed to get the first half of a craft video up this weekend!

Hope everyone enjoys it, tried a bunch of new ideas with this one.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Episode 41: Portals of Doom!

New video on the youtube channel on building wall sections with removable panels.  I hope you find it useful!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Unknown Isle: Skull peak.

With my next session only a few days away I needed to put together the central piece for what will either be the climax of the evening, or very close to it. I have known what I wanted from the beginning of this part of the campaign.

The players are essentially shipwrecked on a mysterious island. There are hints of magic, there is a giant stockade, a small tribe of natives, an ancient city, apes and of course dinosaurs. On the peak of this island rests a skull cavern.

I had initially sought to carve this from foam and got a decent way into the rough cut of that carving, then I was in Michaels, and being as Halloween is the next major holiday I got a foam skull for about $5cad. It's scale was close to what I was building and would allow me to just short cut around the caving of the skull I was working on.

I didn't have time to film the construction, but I thought I could take a few photos and build a blog post around it. I hope you all enjoy it and find it useful.


You will need......

Razor knife or hot wire cutter.
Hot glue gun.
paint brushes.

A foam skull.
XPS or similar.
PVA glue.

The Skull in question. Foam, ~$5cad at Michaels.
Take the XPS, trace the skull foot print and cut it out.
Bevel the edges and make a cut inwards for the cave.
The skull sitting on it's rocky base.
Using some scrap foam, cut out to boulder shapes.
The front of the skull cave.
Using tinfoil build up around the skull.  Glue it with hot glue.
Test fit the skull and make sure you are happy.
I could have used more tinfoil, but it worked out.
Using some paper towel, water and PVA I applied some body to the piece.
Generally, wet the paper towel, place where you want and brush watered down PVA over it.
After it had dried I added some more shape with tinfoil to make it more rocky.
The other side of the skull.
Add more towel and glue over the new foil armature. 
The more of this you add the stronger it will be, but the longer it will take to dry.
Once the towel and glue is dry, give it a nice black base coat. 
Mod Podge and black paint.
Next base the whole thing in whatever color of stone you want.
I used a dark brown here.
Using a highlight color sponge paint the entire structure to bring out the texture.
You can use 2 highlight colors here for more depth.  Sponge the first darker highlight
on about 60% coverage and the next brighter highlight at about 10-20% coverage.
Add fake greenery liberally, yet sparsely over the skull.  I also glued in a couple of
plastic crystal gems I got at the dollar store.
And the skull peak in place on a rocky plateau ready for some adventurers to come and seek it's mysteries.

This was a fairly quick craft. I managed to build it over a course of a week spending a few minutes here and there on it.  It adds quite a lot of character to the scenario and a dramatic center piece for your game. 

I hope you enjoyed the idea and found it useful.  Feel free to browse the blog for other ideas, or leave a comment below with your thoughts on this project.

And of course come check out the You Tube channel over at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvCRyMzJoQBnjb-Qq5Rng_Q


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Episode 34: The Rope Bridge.

The rope bridge is a classic in adventure scenes. It even has it's own entry on tvtropes.org, have a look, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RopeBridge

Do you have one or two built for your D&D, Pathfinder or other RPGs? If not you have come to the right place. I am going to show you how to build a pretty simple bridge from basic materials: a bamboo matt, some XPS Styrofoam, chipboard and glue.

You can build it exactly like I did, or you can use this as inspiration and go your own way. The sky is the limit, or maybe the depth of the chasm is limited only by your imagination.

The video is available now on my YouTube channel, so swing by and have a watch!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Black Walls of Khemi

If you play any Conan RPGs and use terrain, you will probably come across the Black Walls of Khemi eventually.

This is my take on those black walls with a simple construction tutorial.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Building Fronts: Part 2

Once we have the building fronts constructed the next thing we need to do is build doors, prime them black and paint them.
Cutting stir sticks to size and using white glue to build them.

Once the doors are glued I reinforce them with some matchsticks.

The wooden doors are glued to a bamboo skewer and once dried inserted into the front and the base,  Cut them off flush with the bottom of the base.  They should be able to open inwards.

Once you have the fronts assembled, hit them with spray paint or brush them black.

Once painted black, choose your basic colors and paint the walls like plaster and wood or stone or a combination.

Once you have the building fronts built and some corner stones you can assemble them into a city street for your campaigns.

Adventurers are engaged by a a group of city guard,

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Building Fronts: Corner stones.

One of the issues when building these fronts is gaps when you place them next to each other.  Not a deal breaker.....BUT...could be cooler.

My first thought was pillars.  I placed round pillars in the gaps and it was ok, but I thought square ones might be cooler.   The bases are 1 1/2 inches wide so I attempted to build a stone column that size.  I decided it was too large.

I have decided to make the columns at .75 of an inch to fit in tighter to the wall.
Scored along the lines and folded into a column.
I decided to base these on a 1 1/2" base so they matched the height of the building fronts.

Test fitting into the wall sections to see how it fits.

Primed black and sponge painted with grey and light grey.

Walls with painted corner section added in to fill the gap.

Building Fronts. Part 1

As I continue to prepare for the start of my adventures in the Hyborian Age, I realized I would probably want to start in a city.  Further to that I know I didn't want to craft whole buildings.

1) It would be a monumental undertaking.
2) I felt they might get in the way of the actual play.

I went over to DM Scotty's Facebook group and made an inquiry about what other people do to handle this.  I had an idea from DM scotty already, but wanted to see what else people had come up with.  In the end I decided to go with a building front system.  False fronts to give the impression of buildings without the bulk allowing the layout of streets and other city features. Scotty's original youtube video on these is located here: Tilescapes: Building fronts.

I have now begun working on these so I can make a few simple and interesting layouts.

In addition to the pieces I am working on below I have completed 3 test fronts, and have 2 blank walls ready to be painted (assembled and primed).

Going forward I am going to use a measured base so I can make some uniformly size pillars to place as corners or building divisions to tie the fronts together.

Started laying out 6 fronts.  In this case 5 full size ones and 2 1/2 size ones to add a little variation and interest when they are set up.  As well I have made some sketches on the front to remind me what I am doing with each.

Pieces cut out with a sharp knife and beginning to cut out doors and windows.

Cutting some texture and depth elements for a stone/wood building.

Texture pieces glued down with a combination of hot glue and white glue.

Adding some detail to one of the end caps.

A selection of the building fronts.  Still two more basic walls to do from this set.  One will be a wall with windows and one a solid wall. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Lost in the Jungle: Ruined Huts

And so our brave band, after being shipwrecked on some lost coast of the Black Kingdoms and fighting their way past hostile tribes have come to a once open settlement that is now overgrown with jungle and in ruins.

The village huts, once likely thatched, only remain as rings of rough hewn stone.

Cut out a piece of foam core larger than you want the stone hut to be.

Shave the edges down to create a nice slope.

Draw a circle approximately where you would like the hut to sit.

Cut polystyrene blocks for the structure.  These blocks are about 1" x 1/2" x 1/2".

Begin fitting the stones to your circle by cutting corners at appropriate so they fit together.

Glue the blocks into place.  I used hot glue, but the high temperatures melted the foam in some places.  Next use your x-acto knife to distress the first level of stones.

Repeat with the second layer of blocks: fit, glue and distress.

Base coat the entire project in black.

Roughly paint the stones with a dark grey.

Add a lighter grey over the dark a little heavier than a dry brush.

Use a white to hit the edges of the stones.
Cover the base in white glue to prepare it for a covering of sand
Base covered in sand.  Once it is dry add more watered down white glue to cement it in place.
Paint base sand with a dark brown.
Dry brush with a lighter brown to bring out detail.
Add some moss flock to the edges.
Completed ruin.