Sunday, June 5, 2016

Dungeons and Dragons Terrain

The first simple "I wonder if I can build something cool" did turn into a good solid 8 or 9 months of building this and that. Unanimous feedback from my players has been that adding the miniatures and terrain dimension to our games has elevated things, and made it easier to immerse in the experience. I'll post more on our game experiences later, but for now I just wanted to lay out some stuff in the basement and take pictures of some of the different terrain sets I have worked on. Some I like more than others...

The first set is what I now call my "negative space" set. A four foot by three foot "rock" base board is used in conjunction with geomorphic cavern and passage wall pieces to allow for the definition of what part of the overall area isn't solid rock. In the picture below, the party comes to a passage junction, but their course of action will soon be determined for them by the encroaching bad guys. There are a couple of mushroom patches thrown in for good measure.
"Negative space" Underdark terrain

The next picture shows the opposite of the "negative space" set, and thus could be termed the "positive space" set. In this setup, a black felt base serves as the background for putting down caverns and passages defining the spaces that aren't the void.
"Positive space" Underdark or cave terrain

The closeup of the central cavern shows a couple of detail pieces (of which there are a great many...). The pools are made by applying nail polish to the bare foam, letting the chemicals in the polish eat away the foam into a nicely textured depression. These have been painted a basic bluish green color and then coated with a few layers of gloss decoupage. The four huge mushrooms and the weird green fungus growth are made from different applications of Great Stuff expanding spray foam. Photos, as always, give a different effect than what we see on the table.
Cavern with pools and fungus growths

The next picture shows the same three foot by four foot "rock" base board as shown earlier covered with a variety of 2-inch foam "big walls" and an abundance of scatter terrain, including a few pieces of rock crystals. This is the setup that I use for big cavern layouts in the Underdark (although I also now have a four foot by five foot "rock" base board...sometimes bigger is better).
Cavern with "big walls" and scatter terrain

The next geomorphic set up my sleeve is a number of 2 foot by 2 foot base boards painted in a number of different patterns. I have water (shown below), lava, rift (black) and swamp. All of the geomorphic pieces layered onto these base boards can be used in any combination. Picture, for example, the scene above (in the prior picture) on a "water" base board. It works.
2 foot by 2 foot "water board"

The geomorphic nature of all these pieces is the beauty of the whole thing. All of the walls, scatter and detail pieces can be used interchangeably, and complement each other very well. I've gotten to the point that if I feel like doing some crafting, I can make a few pieces that I know can be used in any number of different configurations, which is great. Or I can know that I have enough modular stuff to be able to spend some time making a one-off piece that would be cool but has limited utility. Either is fine at this point. I have enough stuff to get by with whatever (and then some).

Beyond the above, I took a few more pictures today that I can't show you yet. Our party has chosen to once again descend into the depths of the Deep Realms, searching for the Tombs of the Alberneth. I can't show you what they will find until they find them...

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