Tuesday, July 31, 2018

New Dungeon Tiles!

I have been working on how to run a dungeon crawl convention game that is sort of like what I ran a couple of years ago at Barrage:  light rpg with a boardgame/minis game feel.  I want it to be somewhat random, so that I can run the same game again and again but not have it be exactly the same so that people can play in it more than once if they want to.  The biggest stumbling block, frankly, is how to do the dungeon itself.  It obviously needs to be modular, but the ones I had before while modular, were a) too big in terms of how many spaces were on each tile, b) not uniform enough so that you could avoid situations when the dungeon build was impossible (such as having a hallway be too long because it goes into an existing room), and c) they looked more than a little on the boring side.  The tiles were flat pieces of thin wood with spaces painted on them ... <yawn!>.

So I decided to take a look at the tiles used in some of the dungeon crawl board games.  There are several on the market where you build the dungeon as you go and you never know how it is going to turn out because each piece of the dungeon is randomly determined.  This is exactly what I needed!  There are several out there, but the ones I liked the best were from a game called "Dungeonquest."  There are two versions, an old GW effort and an updated modern one, and both of them used the same types of tiles.  They are squares with a random number of exits coming out of the tile.  The thing is, though, that the exits are always centered in that side of the tile.  This makes building a dungeon really easy and you do not run into the "tile won't fit here" problem because all the tiles are the same size, same shape, and the exits are always in the same place.  Perfect!  Plus, honestly,  I think they look really cool!

So I decided to give it a go and make some out of foam.  However, I wanted these to be a little more intricate than the foam ones I have been making which are essentially just a piece of thick foam with the floor painted on them and in some cases I draw on a grid.  I wanted to use thick foam for the floor, thick foam for the sides, and thin foam for individual tiles.  This would be some work, but I probably won't need more than 30 or so total tiles for a convention game that lasts a couple of hours.

I've got 5 of them made so I thought I would share them with you, arranged into what an actual game might look like.  I also made some new doors, but what's nice about these doors and the way this game is you only have to paint the front side.  After a door is opened, it stays opened so you can remove the door from play.  Here they are:

The entrance is there on the far right, stairs leading down to the dungeon from the outside.  The rest of the pieces are all the same size (9" squares) with a border for each depending on the type of room or hallway it is, and 1 1/8" thin foam tiles for the "squares" of the board.  I of course added some dungeon "furniture" and heroes and monsters for looks.

Here are some close ups of the various tiles.  First is the entry chamber.
Next is the torture room complete with Naga.

Now for the Troll's treasure chamber.

And finally another overview shot of a section of several tiles of the dungeon.
Here is a shot of a constructed but not painted tile.  It makes it a little easier to see all the pieces.  This is a "dead end" room that has only one entrance (at the top).
The tiles are durable, light, and easy to transport.  Since they are all the same size I can stack them easily and they should take up very little space in a box when transported relative to how much space on the table top they take up.  The construction takes a little bit of time, but most of the time is waiting for the glue to dry.  Painting them is a breeze.

Although this might not be ideal for a traditional rpg situation where the rooms differ in size as do the hallways, for a convention board or minis based game, I think they will work very nicely.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Two New Monsters!

Sorry for the delayed update, but I was trying something new, new, new with a monster figure and I just finished painting it last night.  So that means pictures today!

I finished painting a Naga (snake with a woman's head in case you didn't know what that was) and a troll.  I know, I did a troll a while ago, but for this one I had a construction break through, and I wanted to try doing more with the hot glue gun in terms of "sculpting" the miniature.  Here they are:
The Naga is just the bead tentacle construction I've been doing lately with a simple round bead head and hair like I do for the character figures.  I like how she turned out, but nothing new construction or painting wise.

The troll on the other hand, is an all new construction.  Honestly, he was a test figure and I absolutely did not like him at all until I painted him.  So what's new you ask?

You can't really see it in this picture, but his torso is completely different.  I took two of the larger (I think they are 1.25") split eggs and glued them together smaller ends facing each other, but not overlapping completely.  It produces "shoulders" in the back and a "belly" in the front.  His arms and legs are the tapered beads, with hands a feet that are tile spacers.  His head is a split wren's egg (the smallest split egg available) with a small bead split in two for the two eyes.  The nose is also tile spacer, and the hair is paper.  He also has two "buttocks" that are made with a split bead as well (you'll see them in a later picture).  The arm muscles, mouth, facial contours, etc. are all done with the hot glue gun.

The Naga didn't look like much until I got the hair on her, then she really took shape.  I'm happy with the figure, but I think next time I'll go with larger beads to make the figure larger and more impressive.  This is a "young Naga" let's just say.
I went for more anatomical correctness, and most of the time trolls don't wear any sort of clothing, so this is "pants optional Saturday."

The two Fighters thought it was a good idea to bait the Naga and Troll forward so the Thief could get in a backstab ... but they are having second thoughts at this point!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

New Wizard and a Bubbling Hell-pit!

Today I finished that Wizard figure that was a hold-over from the other three guys I recently finished, as well as a bubbling pit terrain piece.  Here are the two new pieces are with some of my more recent PC miniatures in a mini-diorama.  Entering the small room, the party discovers a bubbling pit that may well reach to the edge of hell in the center of the room.  Bravely, the Wizard uses his crystal ball to divine the source of the bubbling ooze!

The bubbling pit was made with a precut thin round plywood circle, about 2 inches across.  In the center I glued several different sizes of split beads to make the "bubbles."  I also glued a row of split beads of various sizes around the edge to give it a simple borded.  I then took the hot glue gun and made some ripples in the ooze that I could easily highlight with paint later.  For paint, the rocks are the standard earth tones I use, but the ooze was done by first painting it all a dark brown and then dry brushing the raised sections (the bubbles and the lines made by the hot glue gun) with white.  Then I painted the whole ooze the redish neon paint color and after it dried I painted the raised portions the yellow neon color.  Then I covered all the ooze with a clear gloss craft paint.

Here are some shots of the scene from different angles.

The Cleric attempts to ward off evil while the Wizard divines with his crystal ball, and the Thief and the Fighter look on cautiously.

Here is a close up of the Wizard.  I think he came out pretty good.  I like the peaked-in-the-front hood I gave him, the oversized staff looks cool, and his holding the crystal ball looks pretty cool as well.  He is equipped with a wand and a scroll in his belt, so he is ready for adventure!  It is harder to see in the picture but his hair is tapered forward underneath his hood, giving him good movement.  I forgot to paint his fingers (I'll do that right now) but that is a minor detail for the painting.  Pretty happy with how he turned out.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Lurker in the Lake!

I made the tentacles a while ago for a LotR minis game, but I just don't like the look on the table top of having the tentacles sticking out of the water with no head or gaping maw to strike terror in the hearts of the Fellowship players.  So I did a head of the foul beast to go along with the tentacles.

He was pretty easy to do.  The front part of the head is a large lady bug shape, the mouth is a split barrel bead.  This was glued onto a pretty large (no idea the size) round precut thin wooden base.  The back part of the head is just a goose (I think) split egg.  It is glued to a smaller round precut thin wood base.  Then I used split beads to make the eyes and took the hot glue gun and gave it some interesting folds and textures, as well as ripples in the water as it breaks the surface of the water to eat Frodo.    Here is a closer up shot.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  Looks much better than just having the tentacles there.  Here is a shot with Frodo and Aragorn to give you an idea of the scale.

Now, I need to put on the game!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

More Fighter Types!

I had 4 figures on my painting table this week, three fighter types and a magic-user, but I only got the fighter types finished.  The magic-user figure looks cool so far, but he has a lot of different parts, so it will take me longer to paint him.

Here are the new fighter types.

From left to right, we have a utility fighter in back and breast plate armor, a first attempt on my part to do that.  Middle is a paladin type with a magical two-handed sword.  And on the right is a ranger-type that might look familiar both pose wise and color selections.  More on that later.

The most significant difference for these figures compared to the ones I have been doing is that I added bangs and facial hair to the utility fighter and the ranger.  Ranger's hair is black so it's a little harder to see, but this is new and I'm pretty pleased with how the facial hair in particular turned out.  It makes painting a bit trickier, but not too bad.

Here they are from the ranger's side.

It is actually a better shot of the paladin, but you can see the ranger's hood good in this picture.  For the ranger, I first put the saw-toothed top part of the hood that covers the shoulders on first.  It is made of paper.  Can't see that part too good in this picture but it is visible in the first one.  Then I put the hood on.  Nothing too new with the paladin figure other than the two-handed sword arm pose.  Was a little tricky, but not too bad.  I think the couple of barbarians I did before helped me to do the arms right, but it is honestly easier to do with the barbarian because of the split eggs.  It's all done with tile spacers with the paladin and trimming them exactly right is a bit of a chore.

Not much visible in this shot that is new except it is a good picture of the paladin's shield he is carrying on his back.  You can also see the peaked part of the ranger's hood which I also think turned out well.

So this is the best shot of the utility fighter.  You can see the texture that is created by the bangs and facial hair and again, although painting is a bit trickier, I think the effect is worth it.  Gives more depth to the figure.  This was my first attempt at doing a back and breast plate torso armor.  I'm happy with the shoulder pieces, they are just thin strips of paper, and I also like the bottom of the armor, another thin strip of paper that is flared out at the bottom after it is glued on.  The middle part I tried to create a seem or middle bridge part but it didn't go so well.  It's okay, but I think I need to try again.

Not sure if you remember or not but I have done the ranger figure previously without paper.  To show my development and the growth of how I do these figures, I'm putting the two figures together in the same shot.  Moving to the paper for cloaks and hair has really amped up the level of my figures I think.  But you be the judge.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Half-orc, Dwarf, and Human Cleric!

Got three new PC figures done, the dwarf before NTRPG Con (since he was used in the game obviously), and then two more after I got back.  In all fairness, I had already constructed the other two and primed the figures before I left, so I came back and painted these two new figures in about 2 hours. Not surprisingly, the more of these figures I do, the faster the construction and especially the painting goes!  Turns out I could go into work later this morning than usual, so I decided to go ahead and do a blog post this morning.

Here are the new trio.

Half-orc fighter type on the left, Dwarf fighter type in the middle with a big-ass hammer, and my newest take on a male Human Cleric.  What is new with them?  Nothing really new with the Half-orc but he is my first "orc-type" PC figure I have done.  Essentially he is a male upside down milk bottle body with a split bead head and split bead helmet with the "goblin" ears glued on sticking out under the helmet.  I also used the larger size tile spacer for his feet (not sure why I have it in my head that orcs and half-orcs have big feet, but there you go).  On the Dwarf, the hammer is a new construction.  Toothpick handle with a small bead at the base of the hammer part of the weapon.  The hammer part itself is two oblong beads glued onto a small round bead.  Then I just ran that through the toothpick for strength.  On the top is a split very small bead to cover the top hole of the small bead that makes up the head of the hammer.  I think it looks pretty cool.  For the human Cleric, not too much new except for the mace.  Instead of a round bead for the head of the weapon which is what I have done to date, I used one of the oblong beads as the main part of the head and then a split very small bead as the top part.  I love the oversized look to it (just like for the hammer) and I think it looks great on these more cartoony style figures.

Here is a shot from the back (pretty boring since it's just cloaks and hair):

And here is a shot from the left to right side of the line.  Good shot of the Half-orc here, I think his scale mail armor turned out really well.  I'm happy I went with the lighter shade of gray rather than the medium shade which would not have stood out so prominently and I wanted his scale mail armor to be a focal point. Better view of the Dwarf's hammer as well, you can see the construction a little better in this picture.

And finally a shot from the right to the left side of the line.

I really like how the male Human Cleric turned out.  Nice pose, great mace, and I like his full mail suit head to toe but having the green coat over the mail breaks it up nicely.  You can easily see how doing all those Norman figures has made my painting of this type of fantasy character figure better.  The helmet looks great I think!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

North Texas RPG Con Game!

Back from the North Texas RPG Con and had as much fun this year as last!  I think attendance may have been a little lighter than last year, but the games were stellar.  I played in 5 games, it's the most games I've ever played in at a Con.

I helped out Thom with his game although I didn't play in it.  I essentially handed him the figures he needed after describing the situation to the players.  They all used the wooden warriors I bought and Thom used the monsters.  This was an RPG convention, not a minis game convention, but the people that played the game seemed to really like the figures.  I did not however get one person who stopped by to take a look at them, which never happens at a minis convention when I have used these guys.  Even if they end up not liking them, people stop by the table and ask about the figures and take a look at them.  Didn't happen at this Con but again, I think that's because it isn't a minis convention.  Also, and this is great for the people running the games, each table has its own dry erase gridded map which makes drawing the dungeon super easy.  Unfortunately, it means that there is not terrain.  The figures are just on the dry erase mat.  But I totally understand why they do it that way, it makes it super easy on the game masters.

Anyway, here are some pics of the game with my figures.
The party went into this room and finished off a bunch of undead gray goblins.  The players chose the male dwarf figure (I don't think I've posted pictures of him yet now that I think about it!), the female elf with a bow, the male young wizard, the female young wizard reading the scroll, and the male elf with a bow.

Another room where the party was fighting the goblin gargoyles.

Probably the best picture I took, the party fighting the dreaded alter mimic!  That figure, more than any of the others, was the biggest hit I think.  Ironically, it's by far the easiest one to make and paint!

And the last room in the dungeon, the party fighting the Lovecraftian horror.  Unlike the alter mimic, this figure was a bear to construct and paint, although people seemed to like this one too.

It was great getting some exposure for my figures at the Con.  As I said, I hoped to get more walk-up traffic about them, but I didn't really get much.  However, Thom has been incredibly supportive and he made an explicit effort to get people to take a look at them and heaped plenty of praise on the figures.  So I'm feeling good about it.

Maybe tomorrow or Friday I'll try to post some pics of some new figures I've been working on, another human cleric, a half-orc fighter type, and that male dwarf that I used in this game but haven't posted pictures of yet.



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