Wednesday 14 February 2024

2D steps... for the 2.5D dungeon... that look 3D (kinda)

 Here's the video where I put my latest set of textures to use:


And, as you'll see, the idea for these is to have a bunch of steps/stairs that are quick to build, easy to store/transport, and that conform to the original 2.5D design/philosophy.

So, here's hoping you like it! :)



Wednesday 31 January 2024

Miniatures Painted This Year (January)

As some of you know (and others might have guessed), I like to paint and collect miniatures... I have (off and on) since I was a young lad.

And, like a lot of folks, over the years I have amassed quite a 'pile of shame' (or pile of potential if you prefer)... and I seem to keep adding to it.

So, this year I have set myself the task of trying to paint more miniatures than I buy (I mean, I could have said that I'm not buying any new miniatures this year at all, and just concentrate on what I've already got - but let's be honest... that's not going to happen :) ).

In addition, the aim is also to simply 'get stuff done' ...so I'm not planning to paint everything up to a great standard - I'm just looking to get paint onto as many mini's as I can... and try to not fuss over them too much (though, obviously, I still want them to look OK).

And while, most of the time, I'm going to be concentrating on mini's for specific games/adventures/projects, there'll probably be a few random bits and pieces thrown in here and there... just because I felt like painting them.

So here's what I've managed to get done in January:


This first guy (above) is a Reaper Bones mini, and I've converted him slightly so that I can use him as a 40K psyker/astropath or similar (not that I'm playing 40K right now - but I have been playing a bit of Five Parsecs : Bug Hunt ...and given it a 40K spin). This is one of the few models that I've painted up to my normal standard (as I still want some of my heroes to be properly highlighted) - but he'll likely be the exception, not the rule.

Speaking of which, this next model is at the other end of the spectrum...

...a GW plaguebearer model (this one is going to be used as a 'boss monster' to accompany the poxwalkers I've already painted - again, for Five Parsecs : Bug Hunt). And the paint job on this one is just basecoats and a couple of washes (no highlights) - but I think it gets the job done.

Next up are some Reaper Bones giant snakes and werewolves...


...and some Ral Partha Europe (metal) giant stag beetles and wolves.


And, I've got most of these ready for the Blood Moon Scenario for Rangers of Shadow Deep (which I've been playing co-op with my brother).

That scenario also requires a young boy and girl model - so I've dug out these (metal) Reaper mini's...

...which, again, have had a quick paint job (i.e. base coated, various washes added over the various colours, and then one highlight layer with the same base coats ...as the washes tend to darken everything).

And finally there's these models (the first is a Reaper Bones model - which I'll be using as a garghoul, the others are 'vegepygmies' from Wizkids)...

...and these have just been sitting on my shelf for a while.. and, again have had similar paint jobs to the children that I just mentioned (i.e. basecoats, washes, and one highlight layer with the same basecoat colours that were already on my wet pallette).

So, all said and done, that's 22 models painted (yeah - I know the vegepygmies are tiny... but I'm telling myself that they still count :) ) - and I've only bought 10 new models (which haven't actually arrived yet - but they're paid for - so they also count :( ).

But still - I think I'm off to a good start!


Monday 29 January 2024

Starting the new year with another level of the 'build along' dungeon...

For the past few years, I've had a bit of a tradition of creating a small dungeon level from scratch (i.e. making the terrain, painting the mini's, and writing the adventure) throughout the month of January, and releasing one video a week over on YouTube to show how I put it all together.

And, as you've probably guessed, this year has been no different - so, to cut a long story short, here's a list of all the videos that I've made over the course of this month:

- note that you can get the pdf for this level HERE -

And, while these videos usually only deal with the terrain side of things (though I do quickly run through the encounter ideas - but they're fleshed out a bit more in THIS document), this time I've also had a go at making some miniatures for one of the encounters...

- four DIY elementals pictured next to a reaper bones miniature -

...which doesn't really fit with my usual 'print & paste' approach - but I thought I'd include them nonetheless (so here's hoping you like them :) ).

Anyway, now that level 3 is complete, I think that's going to be it for the Dungeon Build Along series (at least for a while). I'll not go into too much detail - but (generally speaking) multi-part videos don't do very well on YouTube... and it's a ton of work to get one video out a week (I really don't know how other folks manage it :S ) - which, when you think about it, doesn't seem like time well spent (i.e. knowing full well that each 'part' is going to be less popular than the last).

Now, that kind of thing doesn't usually bother me too much (chasing the algorithm isn't really my thing) - but this time things started to feel a bit like a chore towards the end (the needless pressure I put on myself to get 5 videos out this month was starting to build up). So, when you combine all of those factors, I think it's time to call the Dungeon Build Along done!

Don't get me wrong though, I'm really happy with it now that it's finished - and I'm looking forward to running level 2 and 3 with my new(ish) IRL group. In fact, I've managed to get the whole thing packed into this one box...


...so it's ready to go if we need a filler game of dungeon crawling one evening :) (we currently play at a friends house - so having something on the shelf that I can just pick up and take with me with little or no warning should be quite handy).

And speaking of 'the whole thing' - here's a picture off all three levels...

...and when you think that all of this fits inside that one small box (which doesn't weigh that much at all), that really does show how the 2.5D style of (cardboard) tiles is great for folks that play away from home (or that don't have much room to store all of this stuff).

But yeah, I hope you've enjoyed the series, and now that it's done I'm looking forward to getting back to the usual kind of content... as there's still a ton of stuff I want to get around to making... and the to-do list keeps on getting longer rather than shorter :D

So, here's hoping that 2024 is going to be a good year on the gaming front... and in my next post I'll be talking about it being a year of 'getting stuff painted' (as I have a massive pile of shame that I need to do something about - so this year I'm also hoping to put a dent in that).

Anyway, if you've got this far, thanks for reading to the end - and, like I say in the last video - if you use any of the ideas from the 'build along' in your own games... it would be great to hear how it goes!

Sunday 31 December 2023

Out with the old (2023)… and in with the new (2024)!

This year I’ve probably produced a similar amount of video tutorials (over on YouTube) as I did last year – starting off with the month long ‘build along’ project (featuring 5 videos), then 12 regular episodes (10 fantasy and 2 sci-fi), and one ‘tips’ video.

 

And, the most popular of these turned out to be the 2D dungeon tiles (with around 9.5K views):

 

I also experimented with a few more YouTube ‘shorts’ ...and the most popular of these was the magnetic dungeon tiles (with around 12.5K views):

 

And, generally speaking, it seems that ‘shorts’ seem to bring in more views (on average) than my regular videos – but they also get a lot more ‘dislikes’ (which, I suppose, is to be expected).

As a slight aside, I think it's also worth mentioning that I attempted the Dungeon23 challenge at the beginning of the year as well - but I only kept at it for one month (it was a challenge to write/map a dungeon room per day throughout the whole year - to make a megadungeon... but also as a writing exercise). As I say, I only managed one month/level - but this is what it looked like... 

...and HERE'S the notes that go along with it (spoiler: some of these ideas have influenced the next level of the 'dungeon build along' project).

* * *

Over on Patreon I’ve still not crossed the 100 patrons milestone yet (not that it really matters I suppose – but I’ve been close a couple of times)… and I think it’s actually lower now than it was this time last year. But money is tight for a lot of folks at the moment... so, that too, isn’t too surprising.

On a more positive note, the YouTube channel passed 15K subscribers this year :) …and it’s almost at 17.3K right now :D ...and it’s my hope that I’ll get to 20K sometime next year (by the end of the year would be cool… by my birthday in July would be even cooler).

And, that really is a lot of people when you think about it… and if I ever get to the lofty heights of 25K (the next big milestone) – I think I’ll have to do another giveaway or something like that (though I probably don’t have to worry about that for quite some time yet).

* * * 

Gaming wise I’ve managed to squeeze in quite a bit this year.

 

There’s the online group which formed mainly due to Covid… and that’s kept on going ever since (on a near weekly basis no less :) ). And I have to admit that I love playing with these guys, and it’s kinda annoying that (due to the distances involved) it’s highly unlikely that we’ll all get together in person :(

However, I also managed to get into a new(ish) IRL group at the local games store (I say ‘ish’ as I’ve been friends with one of the guys for years – so it’s not totally new) – and we’ve managed to keep that going at one of the guys’ homes after the store was forced to close a few months back (which was a bit of a blow to be sure).

And, on top of that, I’ve managed to squeeze in a few co-op games (mostly of Rangers of Shadow Deep) with my brother on a few weekends too.

 

However, the downside to all of that is that I’ve not run many drop-in games with folks over on the discord server of late – which is a bit of a shame… but it can’t really be helped (because even though I’m a bit of a sad git, gaming isn’t my whole life… just most of it lol :) ).

* * *

But looking forward, starting tomorrow I’ll begin the new year with another season of the dungeon build along project… and this time we’ll be delving level three.

 

 

And, if you’re not familiar with the project, then I basically provide a pdf file of textures (some new, some old), and over the course of a single month, I use those textures to build a small dungeon level from scratch (along with a few encounters to fill most of the rooms). 

Note that if you’ve not seen the previous two seasons (where I build level 1 and level 2) then you can find the playlist HERE

Other than that I don’t really have many plans going forward. I mean sure, I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm, and a sketchbook full of ideas – but there’s no real method to my madness – I generally just make whatever I think I’ll need, or what seems like it might be fun to build. 

I suppose the one thing I really want to make sure I do next year is get to the UK Games Expo.

I’ve only been once before (back in 2019) – and only for half a day… and I’d love to go again.

 

But yeah… I think I’ve rambled on for long enough – so here’s hoping you all had a good 2023… and I hope we all have a better 2024!

Game on!

-just a few of the models I got painted this year-

Tuesday 28 November 2023

New sci-fi terrain, plans for the new year, and hobby stuff...

 At the end of last week I released another new sci-fi video...


...in which I added some free-standing walls - which could also be used/repurposed to make sci-fi layouts on multiple levels. Here's a better picture of them if you're not interested in watching the video tutorial:

And, I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with how they've turned out! (note that you can pick up the pdf file HERE if you want to have a go at making some yourself).

* * *

It's also that time of year where I have to start thinking about whether or not to do another 'dungeon build along series' (if you're not familiar with the previous ones, you can find the playlist HERE) - as they are quite a lot of work, and I (obviously) have to get the pdf finished, the encounters written, and at least one video filmed, by the end of the year (so that episode 1, along with all the textures, can be released the first week of January).

And since I've been umming and arring about whether or not I should do another level of the dungeon, I thought I'd put the question to my Patreon supporters and youtube Members...

...and it seems that, out of the two options presented... Dungeon Build Along Season 3 is the way to go.

As such, I'm thinking that maybe I could introduce some 'elemental' themed stuff into this one... maybe even having a ruined tile (i.e. a tile with a hole in the middle) - and we could swap out the bottom piece for various effects... something like this maybe:


So the bottom 'texture' could be water, or lava, or something like that - and that just slots underneath the main tile for whatever 'elemental effect' is in play for the room in question (if that make sense ;) ).

In the meantime I could maybe try to squeeze in a 'quick craft' video or two - where I make some small elemental creatures to use in said encounters. Here's a couple of prototypes I put together yesterday (note that the GW model is just shown for scale):


However, there's already a bunch of videos out there (on other channels) showing how to make this kind of thing - so I could just refer to those instead I suppose. But if it's something you'd like to see, then please do let me know (EDIT: maybe a blog article would be a better fit for this kind of thing - similar to the written tutorials that I used to post here).

* * *

In other news, on the hobby front, I've been getting a bunch of stuff ready to play 5 Parsecs: Bug Hunt (though I'll be going with a 40K theme rather than the default setting).

And while I'm still getting all the relevant units together for my various 'teams' - I have been painting up a bunch of poxwalkers (which I picked up pretty cheaply on Ebay) to use as 'shambling re-animations' (I think that's what they're called anyway).

 


Though, to get them to the table ASAP, I've gone with a pretty quick paint scheme on these guys - so just primer, base coats, and then washes...


...which works well enough for horde monsters I think.

And sticking with the undead theme - earlier in the year my brother backed the Dungeon Saga Origins kickstarter (it's a dungeon crawler board game), and he asked if I would like to get in on his pledge, and see if there was anything that I would like to get.

So, I got one of the miniatures expansions (a set of 18 undead mini's for £18), and since the game has  recently fulfilled - he handed these off to me yesterday...

...and although it was advertised as an 18 mini's set - they actually supplied 20 (which was a nice surprise).


And for board game pieces that cost less than £1 per model - they're pretty good I think. I'm certainly looking forward to splashing some paint on them (whenever that may be).

* * *

But yeah, I think that's it for this little update (or whatever you want to call it). As I say, it looks as though I'm committing to doing another level of the 'build along' dungeon in January - but that might mean that I'm a little quiet in December - because, as I say, there's a lot that goes into making those.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Halloween Nonsense...

It seems that, more by luck than judgement, some of the projects that I've been working on this year have kinda culminated in my recent 'Halloween Special' video (which I've just uploaded to Youtube):


So, if I go back in time a little bit, back in April I thought it would be a good idea to sort out a bunch of mini's that I have lying around and 1) get some paint on them (as I have quite the pile of shame), and 2) use those as the inspiration for a little D&D adventure that I would put together (just as a little personal project - as I like to have a few one-shots up my sleeve for emergencies ;) ).

Anyway, as I mention in the video, some of these were board game pieces, some were basic kit-bashes, and others were just things that I've had lying around for years:

So, the first job was to get them primed...

...then get the basic colours and the washes applied...

...and finally just tidy/highlight them back up with the same colours that I used for the base-coats (as I didn't want to fuss over them too much with numerous highlight layers):

Though, as you might have spotted, I did swap out the lady (who has someone's heart grasped in her outstretched hand) for this guy...

...as I thought he'd make for a better 'cult leader' (and because I think the original model would be a better fit for a Vampire Spawn... which would be way too powerful for a 1st level adventure).

Anyway, armed with the monsters that I would need for most of the encounters, I then set about writing a few notes for the adventure itself - which, of course, needed to be set in a graveyard - just because that was the terrain that I was working on at the time (as you can see in THIS video), and also because most of the models I'd selected were either undead or cultist-looking.

However, I usually like to throw in some dungeon exploration as well (I do have a lot of dungeon terrain after all) - so I decided that the main location for the adventure would be split into two parts - the first being the graveyard, and the second being the catacombs.

As such, I would need to transition from the graveyard to the catacombs somehow... and I thought that the ideal way of doing that would be to have some kind of entrance in an old mausoleum - something that would lead down into these underground crypts. And, since I've had an idea for a mausoleum video on the to-do list for a while - this seemed like the ideal time!

And, throughout all of this, I was slowly putting a couple of maps together (bit by bit), as I fleshed out each encounter (as you can see in the picture below, I decided to go with the classic 'blue' look for these), and trying to make sure that it could all be made with the 'print & paste' terrain that I've been putting together these past few years.

But, as you know, once you start putting pen to paper (or in my case, fingers to keyboard), things can sometimes take on a life of their own -  and you start thinking to yourself ...maybe the characters will try to convince the NPC guardsman to accompany them? ...perhaps there are some other minor annoyances in the catacombs? ...should I have a token or something to represent the cult fanatic's spiritual weapon spell?

So, as you can imagine, that resulted in me digging around in my bits box yet again, and putting a few more miniatures together...


...and since I'd recently made some (very quick) 'giant fly' models for Rangers of Shadow Deep (which is a great game BTW), I thought I would include those as well:


So, here's all of the models once they had been based (with some Geek Gaming 'scrublands' basing material):

 
- I also found a very old GW? snake while I was rummaging around - so that ended up in the adventure too -

Anyway, back to the adventure...

Once I had it all written down (originally in a shorthand form that would probably only make sense to myself), some basic maps drawn, AND most of the terrain I would need if I was to run it in person...

...I started to think that perhaps I should turn this into a short 'tips and tricks' video (or something like that) - just in case some of this stuff would be useful for other folks too ...and maybe include a couple of new textures for some of the specific terrain pieces as well (originally just the corpse's head for the statue).

However, as you've seen, that short 'tips' video evolved into something more akin to a regular episode (and a longer episode at that), and my notes got tidied up into something a bit more presentable - and all of that culminated in the latest pdf file (which is pay-what-you-want, and can be found HERE).

That being said, in the video I show how the finished dungeon might look if you are using some of my dungeon tiles - however, I forgot to include a separate image showing how the individual tiles go together (that is, if you are using my suggested arrangement).

So I'll correct that now with this image...

...which, if you look at the example on the right, shows the exact placement of each individual tile!

And with that I think I'll bring this post to a close. As you can see, it's been a rather lengthy (and somewhat unintentional journey) to get this video released - but I think (or at least hope) that it's been an interesting one (it's been a fun one for me nonetheless... especially when I got to playtest some of the encounters with a couple of friends :D ).

Monday 2 October 2023

More Print & Paste Terrain

Last month I forgot to post about some ‘print & paste’ tents that I made…

...i.e. the kind of thing that could be used to put together a little campsite for the PCs when they’re out in the wilderness – or maybe (if you make a lot of them) that of an army on the march – or even (if you made some of them look a bit tatty) something more akin to a goblin camp.

Anyway, that was last month’s project… and this month (since it’s Halloween in a few weeks time) I’ve expanded on the graveyard terrain, and made a simple mausoleum…

...which has turned out pretty nice I think :)

And, as always, you can pick up the pay-what-you-want pdf files for both the tents and the mausoleum over on DriveThruRPG.

* * *

Also, since I’ve been playing some Rangers of Shadow Deep every now and again – that will sometimes prompt me to make a few bits of terrain for some of the scenarios featured in the main rule book.

So, as you can see in the pictures below, one of those scenarios calls for a small farmhouse – one that needs to be playable AND needs to have the positions of all the doors and windows clearly shown.

 

And so I thought I’d try out something similar to what Wyloch does with his clip-on features… and I think it’s worked pretty well. It might even be worth a quick ‘tips and tricks’ video at some point.

-a picture of the set-up before the game began-

* * * 

Another thing I'd like to get finished this month, is a little graveyard-themed adventure of sorts - just something that could be run as a Halloween one-shot (i.e. the kind of thing that would put the mausoleum and tombstone pieces to use - as well as a handful of dungeon tiles).

Now, I'm not sure if I'll actually manage to get it done (as I don't think I'll be running a Halloween game this year) - but the idea is there... it's just a matter of getting it out of my head and onto paper (in a form that will make sense to folks other than myself :) ).

Note that you can get these maps in their current form over on Patreon - and you don't need to be a member to view/grab them.

* * *

Anyway, I think that’s if for this post – I’m not quite sure what I’ll be working on next with regard to the Print & Paste stuff (I might have to do a poll over on Patreon) – but I have a to-do list as long as my arm, so I have a few things to choose from if I get stuck :)