Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dungeon Delves #1

In May of 2009, I started my current D&D campaign. I created some 3D terrian for the very first session and documented the work I did.  I had intended on posting on a wordpress blog each month with information about the campaign story, allowing the various players to post from their character's point of view. Well, things fell through with all of that, but I wanted to repost a few of my old posts from the old blog that never became anything. So, without further ado, I present: Dungeon Delves #1 (parts 1 and 2 combined in a single post).

Well, I've begun working on some 3D terrain pieces for the first delve listed in the dungeon delves book. Take a look at my (admittedly slow) progress. These pictures are from my iPhone and auto-resized by wordpress, so I hope they turn out alright.

Ah...the unadulterated piece of foam. An empty canvas for the taking.

I started by marking off the 1" squares to help me keep perspective while cutting.

Next I started working on the corners. There's supposed to be a lot of rubble here in the end, so I roughed it up a bit and will add rubble-y pieces to it later.


Here's an overhead shot showing both corners.

Next, I either forgot I was taking pictures for this blog, or decided I didn't want to share my hole cutting secrets...because the next picture is from about an hour later. I cut out the center piece, made and glued stairs in and added the hole (entrance to the underground dungeon).

I still have quite a bit of refining to go but in the end I'm hoping to have something pretty close to this:


I have to be honest, I was disappointed with the progress I showed in my last post...even though building the 3D terrain is all new to me and I am learning as I go. I feel much better and more encouraged by tonight's update! Woo hoo!

Ok, now the jubilation is out of the way, here's the update! If you recall from my previous post, I ended with this pieces:

As I was looking at it tonight I was thinking about the different places where an athletics check would apply. According to the Dungeon Delve book, there is a fence (obviously not on my terrain yet) that requires an athletics check if you hope to hop it. There is also another check if you jump down into the pit instead of taking the stairs. It is a 5 foot drop after all. Since my brain works in very literal way at times I would then - if strictly following the rules - need to require an athletics check to actually get the player's miniature onto the this terrain piece. Now I know, you're probably thinking "...that's stupid, it's just a prop for the game! Why ruin all the fun for the players with needless checks?!?!" Yeah yeah, I know...but like I said, my brain...

So, what to do? Well, supposing this terrain piece is truly raised 5 feet from "game table level" I need more terrain that has an incline to allow the players to walk up to the terrain level without any undue hinderances. To do this, I decided to cut me out another piece of foam:

I then measured it out into 2 inch pieces and cut it up.


So now I have 2 pieces that nicely fit around the main terrain piece (it is technically a corner piece). Then, using clay modeling tools on borrow from my wife, I shaved and cut and whittled and shaped the foam into a ramp.



That turned out rather nicely, don't you think? The 2nd ramp I did a little differently since they have to meet at a corner. it would be silly for these pieces not to match up!


The slant is at a steep enough angle to reach the main terrain piece but not too steep that the miniatures can't stand on it. My brain has been satisfied. :)

Now it's time for some detail. Obviously if I went through all the trouble to build little ramps, I don't want to leave these terrain pieces an ugly blue-ish green color. I really don't have a lot of painting materials right now, but any little bit will help so let's see what I have...

This will do nicely. Next I laid out some trusty local newspaper and began spraying down my pieces. A few light coats and things are turning out nicely. I also sprayed down some rubble pieces for the corners.



Let's see how it looks all together again!

Sweet! Now for MORE detail! It just so happens I have some special water-based glue spray and this....

BAM! I love this little grassy stuff. After a few layers of glue and grass and glue and grass, we now have...


I still need to find a nice cardstock to glue these terrain pieces onto and a green felt or something to serve as grass as the players approach the cave entrance.

Well, that was fun! With the addition of the rubble and trees, I think this turned out waaay better than I expected. Please let me know what you think here in the comments!


  1. Very impressive! I never had the steady hand to create these kind of scapes for my players. And I never painted my pewter miniatures. My poor players lived in a world of grey figures and 2D maps. But, something 3D like that would have been awesome.

  2. Hey GeekInsite! Thanks for the compliment. You can check out my post from last week titled "Mining Other Games For Props" for ideas on where to find 3d terrain pieces if you don't want to make them yourself.