Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Crafting and D&D

Dwarven Forge dungeon tiles
A few weeks ago I opened the Pandora's Box of D&D Dungeon Crafting... yes I'm now doomed, because —let's admit it— as with dice, you can never have enough dungeon terrain for your table top gaming.
I've been looking —for a while now— at those gorgeous images of 3D dungeons people post in table-top gaming forums. I'd also pondered —for a while too— about buying some molds (Hirst Arts seems to be the staple) and start working on my very own 3D dungeon tiles.
But two things had been stopping me from buying them, a) I'm not sure the required materials are easily acquired in my city (I'm from Mexico), and b) I'm sure I won't have enough time to do all the cool things I would like to do.
Another option could be to buy pre-made sets, like the ones made by Dwarven Forge, but a) my budget is already thin enough gaming-wise and b) do I need to mention a point b)?
Nonetheless, this is a part of the hobby that's been flirting with me since the mid 90's, when I used to buy at my local magazine store the White Dwarf issues printed in Spain, just for the cool pictures and crafting tips, even if I couldn't get any Warhammer minis at that time.

More recently I've found some very nice websites where people talk about crafting the terrains from scratch with polystyrene mainly (here is a very good example, even if it's more war-gaming oriented). As well as videos on the subject, here is a pretty nice one:

So, I don't know how it exactly happened, but suddenly I found myself at Home Depot asking for high-density polystyrene. The clerks at the store didn't get it at first, I have to explain it was like "nieve seca" (that's how we call the regular polystyrene here in Spanish) but more compact. So they point me out to a guy who seemed to know more about the stuff, and he finally said "oh yeah it's a pink stuff, right?" Right!
And that was it, there's no turning back now, as I said... I'm doomed!

Here is my very first tile, before painting.
I like the way the high-den polystyrene feels when working with it, and I'm happy with my first attempts:
Here they are now painted.

In actual play with some Descent doors (for now!)

The brave PCs facing Strahd!

The miniatures belong to a friend of mine (a player in my table), all kudos for the minis go to him. But we have to admit it, they get a new dimension with the 3D tiles, and I'm of course started to brew a couple of ideas for walls!

I'm definitely doomed!
All I can wish for now is more time to work on all of this, because I know is gonna be a lot of fun.
(I'm planning on posting about my crafting methods and ideas, although I'm not reinventing the wheel here, but I want to share my own approach on solving some of the issues I've been and I will be encountering.)


  1. Great idea. I have used the pink stuff for years for terrain building, but never thought to make flooring out of it. Some more of the obvious right in front of me I am missing...

  2. That's great looking! Keep it up, I'm looking forward to those walls!

  3. That's great looking! Keep it up, I'm looking forward to those walls!

  4. Awesome and tons of work. missed your calling in the glory days of cinema when they used to use models instead of CGI man.

  5. I'm already down the rabbit hole on the Hirst Arts/Reaper Miniatures path. I'm right on the cusp of beginning a campaign set in an Arabian-style city on the edge of a desert full to the edges with Egyptian-style tombs. The heroes are adventurers with an explicit profit motive of cracking open tombs for profit, but I'm going to throw twists and surprises in and it will have more depth before long.

    1. I've been resisting Hirst Arts for quite a while... don't know if my wallet can handle it! But sure they are quite the product.