Being a compulsive fantasy worldbuilder, I recently shared this shot on the Nerdtastic Facebook page to a great reception. Apparently my maps are ok? I’m good with that, and thanks for all the kind words! I never get to play these games any more but I can write and design the worlds and materials day in and day out. There’s something I just love so much about crafting a detailed environment and making it as organically “real” as possible.
The above is level 3 of a mega dungeon adventure I’m crafting for my homebrew Fantasy RPG campaign setting: The Lands of Easter Terrule. Also visible is the northern 2/3 of the world map I’ve been drawing for it since 1995. Almost 20 years old!
But anyway, I digress… On with the terrain crafting! That serendipitous experimental terrain piece I showed last has become quite the learning experience. I am certainly sticking with my decision to not try to construct the walls as seen on this piece. You’ll see the sculpted walls I’m making farther down this blog post, and I think you’ll agree they look much better.
Another change of approach I will be making going forward is that I will start putting down rocks, sand and gravel before I coat the foam in gesso. I’m also going to be basing the surfaces in brown acrylics before putting down the PVA glue and grass/flocking. I want to get to that professional level of realism that inspires me without wholesale lifting one persons techniques, so I’m learning a lot from many sources.
What I’m using here is just more of the same ground up volcanic (igneous) rocks I like to use. It’s basically free, I snagged a pocket load of them from our friends fire pit over a year ago (with their blessing, of course). I have had a ziplock bag of them ever since. A couple of the rocks easily create enough sand, rocks and gravel for several pieces of table top terrain of this size and you’ll still have a bunch left over if you save it. (I’m not against purpose-made hobby terrain and scenery materials, I’m just always in favor of saving money if I can use comparable materials.)
Modular WarGames Terrain Pieces
Below is one of the serendipitous offshoots of what became the terrain piece above. Learning to create and cut concentric circles of foam led to all kinds of ideas and these walls are one of them. Easy to make, applicable to both fantasy RPG and Warhammer style WarGames, I think these are very versatile. I can also try to get the scale of the bricks down to something that might work for WWII type of miniature WarGames. (One of the first things that came to mind was walls to protect gun emplacements; just imagine a Howitzer in the center of the semi-circle.)
These can easily be made with crenellation (and I’m surprised I didn’t already make one like that with as many as of these as I completed) as well as sculpted to look as though they were made with round stones instead of blocks.
The next picture shows the larger 2 inch wall next to a couple of the smaller diameter 1 inch tall walls.
Being baseless, they can be stacked to make taller walls or towers, and being baseless also means they are very flexible in where they can be used. ie; On any flat surface of your gaming table top.
Above you can see that I cut these a little past the 180 degree mark. This is because I started with a straight-edged piece and set a hole in the foam about an inch in from the edge. Using the hole as the center of my half-circle meant I went a little over 180 degrees. As I get these more consistent, I will probably be making them in exact 180 degree half circles as well as getting the brick size more consistent.
Having already gessoed, and painted, and drybrushed these pieces really makes it look like I’m doing stuff out of order (and I am) but I will be painting over all these rocks and the sand, etc… As I mentioned, I will be changing my order of operations as I’ve learned a lot with these pieces.