Monday, 23 March 2015

Quick & Easy Bocage

A little while back I posted a couple of tutorials on how to make basic trees, hedges, bushes, and roads, for use with miniatures (and if you missed them ...simply click on the links provided :) ).

Anyway, while I quite like the look (and simplicity) of the low hedges, I've been wanting to make something a little more suitable for use as bocage - but at the same time I wanted to keep things quick, cheap, and simple ....and this is what I've come up with:

- my first two test pieces placed on either side of one of my road sections -


To make the base of these 'bushes' you'll need a wooden tongue depressor (the one pictured is about 6" long), a couple of cocktail sticks, and some cheap (ready mixed) wall filler (this tub cost £1 from the local Poundland store).

You'll also need some cheap brown and green acrylic paint, PVA glue, super glue, and a old paintbrush (anything between size 4 and 8 will do).


The first thing you'll need to do, is apply some of the 'filler' to one side of the tongue depressor. To do this I generally build it up to at least ¼" high, and then give it a bit of texture by stippling it with an old paintbrush.

However, it's worth noting that, as the filler dries it does shrink somewhat - which means that the tongue depressor will warp quite badly. To combat this I tend to glue the tongue depressor to an old place mat (or my work table) with a spot of PVA glue - which will keep the wood straight while it dries (and because its only PVA, it's pretty easy to remove afterwards).


Once the filler is dry (note that I usually leave it overnight), you might find that it has not stuck to the tongue depressor very well. If this is the case, simply glue it back in place with a bit of PVA (note that you can also add a bit more filler to the edges, if the piece has shrunk a little more than you would like).

Then, cut 3 or 4 cocktail sticks in half, and insert them (pointy end down) into the filler at regular intervals (note that I also like to secure them in place with a spot of superglue - just to make the whole thing a little more solid).


Once you've got the cocktail sticks fixed in place, it's a simple matter of painting the base brown and the sticks green.


For the foliage I'm using three different types of aquarium 'grass mats'...

...all of these are roughly 10" square, and cost less than £5 (for all three, including P&P) on ebay - though they did come from Hong Kong the delivery took a couple of weeks. However, if you're interested in picking up a few for yourself, HERE is a link to the seller that I used.


The next step is to simply pluck some of the 'grass' from each of the mats and start threading random pieces onto each of the cocktail sticks (as each piece will already have a perfectly sized hole running straight through the centre).


Once you've filled all of the cocktail sticks, you're done!

* * *

And while these pieces don't look 100% authentic, the overall appearance isn't too bad at all (or at least that's my opinion) ...especially when you consider how easy (and cheap) they are to make!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Dungeon Monthly (March 2015)

Well, it's the start of another month again it must mean that it's time for another map:

Note that you can also find an unlabelled version of this map (and all the other dungeon monthly maps) in the following G+ albums:

And, thanks to my supporters over on Patreon, we're getting close to my first milestone/goal ...which would mean that I'd be able to dedicate more time to the dungeon monthly project, and begin work on some smaller 'mine' geomorphs (similar to the ones I created back in 2011/2012) to complement those I've drawn thus far :)

So, my thanks go out those folks that have supported me oven on Patreon, and indeed to everyone who continues to visit the blog!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Arengar's House

As most of you probably know, I have a number of free products available over on RPGNow (most of which also serve as examples of various product lines), and if you've been following me over on G+ or facebook, you might also have noticed that I've recently put a basic 'overland' map together - whose key features can be represented by a few of these free products, thus creating a nice little encounter location for folks to slot into their games.

So, before I go on to tell you a little more about Arengar's House, here's a list of all the free (or in some cases pay-what-you-want) products you'll need to populate the map:

1. Arengar's House (Into the City : Map 0)
2. Workers/Errand Riders Lodging (Into the Village : Bonus Maps)
3. Barn/Stable (Into the Village : Bonus Maps)
4. Privy (Into the Village : Bonus Maps)
5. Smoke House (Into the Village : Bonus Maps)
6. Copse (Into the Wilderness : Map 0)
7. The Old Barrow ('tomb tile' and 'stairs tile' from the Basic Dungeon Tiles range).

(note that you can see a version of the overland map with all these tiles overlaid upon it by clicking HERE)

What follows is a brief description of this location, which might serve as a springboard for a random encounter or two - or simply provide a safe place for characters to rest up for the night.

(note that, where applicable, statblocks and names for the Age of Shadow RPG have been provided - though these can of course be ignored if you're using a different game system or setting)

* * * * *


Arengar's house is located on the eastern bank of the Lunuin River, approximately half way between the (human) settlements of Reedhollow and Stoneford. The house itself is somewhat distinct in appearance, with pale stone walls and overlapping roof tiles that suggest an elvish origin (even though it appears slightly more utilitarian in design than most), which is served by a smaller road that arcs away from the main road (in a vaguely crescent shape) and back again.

It's original purpose (centuries ago) was that of a way-station for errand riders carrying messages to and from the Eyries (i.e. the great elven fortresses to the north of here) - being a well provisioned staging post where both fresh horses and riders were readily available. However, during the past few years that function has been taken up anew (though to a lesser extent), largely due to the increased activity at the Eyries of late (almost as if Arengar had been waiting here apurpose).

As such, several horses are picketed in the fields surrounding the house, or (if they are one of Arengar's own beasts) allowed to wander freely.

As elves go, Arengar is fairly unexceptional in appearance (being practically average in every way), with sandy hair shorn about his shoulders, and a quietly confident, though unassuming, manner. Yet his skill and mastery of aught that goes on four legs is second to none - so much so that he has become known as Arengar Oborher (Arengar horse-master) - being indeed a distant relative of Calibor Oborher (and so alike to him, in both skill and temperament, that he has earned the very same epithet).

However, what sets Arengar apart is the fact that a freak riding accident (in which he sustained severe head injuries) robbed him of his sight while he was still a young man. Yet, despite this, he retains a love of horses - and those few that he breeds are considered to be the finest steeds east of the Luniun river (and, as such, are highly sought after).

Indeed, Arengar's reputation as a horse breeder extends throughout most of the eastern portion of the Northern Kingdom, though he himself rarely ventures far from his own home - where he has dwelt in peace for many generations of men.

*Note that Arengar's movement has been halved (rather than divided by four) as he is well accustomed to his blindness. However, the GM may decide that he is not hampered at all in areas that are very familiar to him (his own house for example).

Whenever Arengar is abroad he is always accompanied by at least one of his dogs (great elvish wolfhounds named Honlorin and Bramhon), which assist their master and alert him to (or guide him around) any potential hazards (a feat which is aided greatly by Arengar's ability to understand the speech of animals*). Indeed, both Honlorin and Bramhon appear to be more intelligent than most canines (as is often the way with elvish hounds), seeming to comprehend much more than any animal ought to, and are as dear to Arengar as close kin.

*in game terms Arengar has the Animal Whisperer, Beast Call, and Talk to Animal innate spells (as featured in the OpenQuest 2 rule book by D101 games).

Many rumours surround the origin (and occupant(s)) of the old barrow to the east of the road, and it is believed to have stood there for several centuries (perhaps even dating back to the great wars of the north). However, if Arengar knows its secret, he seems unwilling to share that knowledge, revealing only that it is named 'Cauth-an-Amandess' in the elvish tongue (the mound of the shield maiden), and that the sorrowful sound of a woman's voice can sometimes be heard upon the mound when the moon is full and the wind is in the east.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Into the Village...

They've been a long time coming, but I can finally announce the release of the Into the Village range of building maps...

Just like the existing Into the City range, each of these new map-packs depicts the layout of a single building (though in this instance they have a strong 'dark-age' theme), and are supplied in the following formats:
  • A pdf booklet featuring a labelled version of the building.
  • An unlabelled jpg image of the building (for use with virtual tabletops).
  • A miniatures scaled battlemap (printable at 1" per grid square)
So if you're looking to inject a bit of a Viking theme into you games, or simply want a few buildings that look a little less refined than those found in the Into the City range, then this new range of maps might just be able to help...

Into the Village maps on RPGNow

Into the Village map on DriveThruRPG

* * *

In addition you can also pick up a FREE bonus map-pack that will not only let you sample the style of artwork found in these maps for free, but will also provide you with a number of small outbuildings that will complement both the Into the City & Into the Village ranges.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Dungeon Monthly (February 2015)

Here's this month's dungeon map ...and as you can see, we're heading into the mines with this one.

Note that you can also find an unlabelled version of this map (and all the other dungeon monthly maps) in the following G+ albums:

And if you would like to show your support for the Dungeon Monthly Project, then feel free to head on over to my Patreon page (which will not only ensure that the project continues indefinitely, but will also help me to spend more time creating additional maps for the project ...which, in the end, means even more free maps for everyone to use :) ).

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Half-a-dozen Hand Drawn Maps...

These maps have actually been available for around a week now, but shortly after I uploaded the booklet I lost my internet connection and didn't get chance to post a message about them. But now that I'm back online I can finally announce the release of the latest map-pack (albeit a little late :) ).

As you can probably see, this map-pack is a departure from my usual style and features six hand drawn maps (digitally coloured) that are provided in the following formats:
  • A pdf booklet featuring a colourised version of each map, along with the original line-art version.
  • A 50-pixel-per-square and a 100-pixel-per-square image file of each map, suitable for use with virtual tabletops.
So, if you're looking for several maps with more of an old-school look to them, then you can pick up Volume I of these hand drawn maps for just $2.99 over on RPGNow & DriveThruRPG

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Dungeon Monthly (January 2015)

If you saw yesterday's post, then you'll already be aware of the fact that I'll be continuing the Dungeon Monthly project for at least another year (all being well).

But just in case you're new to the blog, here's a quick recap of how it all started...

* * *


Back in 2011 I had the crazy idea of drawing a dungeon geomorph each and every week, and posting the resulting map here on the blog. As you'd expect, at the end of the year I amassed 52 different maps ...all of which can be found in THIS google+ album.

The following year, I did the same again, except this time I decided to draw cave maps (instead of dungeons) ...all of which can be found in THIS google+ album.

After that I was feeling a little constrained by the size of these geomorphs, and so from 2013 onwards I have been drawing larger maps (though at a slower rate of one per month) ...and thus the Dungeon Monthly project was born.

So, as you can see, although the Dungeon Monthly project is only just entering it's third year, there's actually four years worth of maps to delve into - all of which can be connected to one another to produce a wide variety of dungeon layouts.

 -five maps pieced together to create a large dungeon-

* * *


Anyway, now that I've got all of that out of the way, here's the first map of 2015...

(note that unlabelled versions of all of the maps from 2013 onwards can be found in THIS google+ album).

* * *

It would also be remiss of me if I didn't also mention that I've just launched a Patreon campaign for the Dungeon Monthly Project if you want to show your support (and perhaps spur me on to create even more of these (or similar) maps) then head on over to the Patreon page, or simply let me know what you think in the comments section below :)