Friday, 18 September 2020

A quick update (Sept. 2020)

Hello again! I just thought I'd make a quick blog post to, as the title suggests, update you on a few things. So, here goes...

 

After the release of the puzzle handout (pictured above), a few folks asked if it would be possible to make it so that they could input their own riddles and letter combinations ...and so I've come up with this:

 

As you'll see, it's just an additional pdf file that has several text fields that you can edit. So, all you need to do is fill it in (or use the sample riddles provided), print it out, and stick the whole thing on top of the original puzzle (it'll make more sense if you watch the video).

Now, the text is just that (plain text) - so it's not going to look as nice as the engraved script of the original file - but I think it should do the job well enough.

Note that I've uploaded this new file to Google Drive (and that it works best in something like adobe acrobat reader).

* * *

Anyway, during the course of the last month or so, I asked if any of my Patreon supporters would be interested in joining me on Roll20 - so that I could have a go at running the little 'goblins' starter adventure that I've written (as a playtest kind of thing).

 

(I actually mention this briefly in a recent podcast).

Well, a whole bunch of people signed up (enough for two separate groups) ...and I think both games went reasonably well (well, I'm calling them successful anyway :) ).

 

Anyway, these guys have made me realise that I should start running/playing online again (especially since I'm not managing to roll any dice IRL at the moment), and so I've decided to do just that ...and see how it goes.

So, once again, I've given Patreon supporters the first refusal to get involved with this ...and the plan is to start things off with Greg Gillespie's Barrowmaze! (the 5E version).


 

Now, I don't usually run published adventures all that much (so this might go badly ;) ), but I'm drawn to the idea of a drop-in/drop-out style of game (i.e. each session being it's own self-contained thing) ...and I think the mega-dungeon is an ideal setting for this kind of play.

So, the current plan is to run the game a couple of times a month, and whatever 3 to 5 players sign up for a particular session - those specific characters will form the adventuring party that heads out into the moors on that particular day.

I'm not sure how well it will work ...I guess only time will tell :)

Note that I'm posting the sign-up sheets in the 'patrons' section of my Discord server (as we'll be using discord for voice chat anyway), and the games will likely take place on a Saturday or Sunday evening (so 6pm 'till 9pm UK time).

* * * 

Another thing I'm working on at the moment is a texture to represent the (inner/outer) walls of cottages, taverns, inns, and that kind of thing.

And while you'll still be able to take a simple texture like this one...

 

...and do something similar to the dungeon room you can see below (i.e. just add a the odd wall here and there to help give the sense of a building rather than a stone dungeon)...

 

...the plan is to also make it so that it's possible to put them together in a more modular fashion - so that we can swap out different wall pieces, and replace them with others ...like you can see in this short video clip:


 

* * *

Anyway, that's what I'm working on at the moment (plus a few other things that I'll not go into, as this post is already long enough) - so thanks for getting to the end of this article, and here's hoping that some of this nonsense was of interest to you :)

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Make your own 'puzzle' player handout.

 I've taken a bit of a break from dungeon terrain with my latest video ...and instead I've had a go at making a puzzle piece that your players can get their grubby hands on :)

 

Now, the puzzle itself isn't much more that a crossword puzzle (albeit one where the players already have all the letters they'll need), and it's a simple matter of inserting the letters into the correct slots to spell out the answers to the four riddles.

So the answer to 'I have no wings, and yet I fly." goes along the top (and is 5 letters long) for example.

From there the answer to each riddle goes around in a clockwise direction (so riddle two's answer goes on the right, riddle threes' answer goes along the bottom), and once all of the letters have been correctly placed, the door unlocks (or the chest opens, the trap is disarmed, or whatever).

As usual, I've made a short video showing how easy it is to put together...

 


...and the pdf file can be found on DriveThruRPG (it's pay-what-you-want so feel free to pay as much or as little as you like).

Anyway, I hope you like it ...and I hope you'll be able to find a use for it in your games!



Friday, 28 August 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Mine Walls

 As usual, I've been posting some progress pictures of these on social media (and over on Discord too) ...but they're finally done - so here's the latest print & paste video (this one is a bit longer than normal, so you might want to grab yourself a drink first ;) ):

 

Anyway, this will probably be the last 'mine' video for a while (though I have got a few ideas for a couple of 'quick crafts' that I might squeeze in at some point) - as I think that we've got enough pieces now to make a nice little mine layout.

And, as is usual with these pdfs, you can pick it up from DriveThruRPG as a pay-what-you-want download - so feel free to pay as much (or as little) as you like!

So, here's hoping that you can find a use for these in your games, and that you enjoyed the video (or at least, didn't find my voice too annoying :) ).


 

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Rats in the Cellar

Some time ago I picked up Glynn Seal's 'The Midderlands' setting - as it's a fantasy take on the area where I live (i.e. The Midlands) ...so it was hard to resist :)

It's an OSR setting (so it's compatible with most of those kind of games) ...and since I've just picked up Chris Gonnerman's Basic Fantasy RPG - it's got me thinking about setting a game in the Midderlands ...and putting a fantasy spin on some of the stuff/areas that are familiar to me (just for a little one-shot to give BFRPG a test run).

So, I got to thinking about an old church that I used to pass on my way to work some years ago (one that's since been pulled down).

The chapel itself had fallen into ruin (despite it only being around 100 years old) due to the fact that it had become unsafe - as it had been built on top of old mines (my area is riddled with them).

So, an old ruined chapel ...built on top of even older mines ...that's RPG gold right there - so I figured it would make a good adventure site - maybe as a nest of wererats/ratfolk/skaven-like creatures that are making a nuisance of themselves (as I also remember there being a 'rat problem' in a park just down the road from the same place a year or two ago).

So, as you can see, I've drawn a little map in the old 'blue' style (to match the feel of an old-school setting/system) - and, since blogger will likely shrink the image down somewhat, I've uploaded a full size version (with and without labels) over on my Patreon page (note that you don't have to be a patron to download them - they are not hidden behind a paywall or anything like that).

Anyway, here's some of the things I was thinking about when drawing the map:

  • The steps down from the chapel (into the crypts) are filled with rubble - though this can be cleared given enough time (though it's noisy work).
  • A crack in the floor of area 3 leads down into area 6 (there's even a handy pillar spanning the crack that folks could tie their rope to).
  • There is a secret trapdoor in area 5 that leads down into an evil altar (or similar) in area 9 (as I'm thinking the original builders weren't exactly what they seemed ...and maybe the new occupants are their 'cursed' descendants).
  • A large hole in the floor of area 6 overlooks area 10 of the mine.
  • The mines themselves are the main 'nest' of the ratfolk (or similar).

Anyway, I've rambled on for long enough - so here's hoping that you can put the map to use in your own game :)

TLDR: A full size map can be downloaded from the Patreon page for free.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Mine Accessories

As I said at the end of the last 'print & paste' video, the plan was to follow up with a second video that featured a few accessory pieces for the mines.

So ...that's what I've done:


And, as is usual with these pdfs, you can pick them up from DriveThruRPG as pay-what-you-want downloads - so feel free to pay as much (or as little) as you like!

So, here's hoping that you can put them to good use ...and here's a sneak peek at what I've been working on for the third video in this 'mines' series...


Friday, 17 July 2020

Mine tiles

So, in my last blog article I posted some thoughts on 'mine tiles' and how I thought that steel rails were a bit inappropriate. And while that doesn't seem to bother most folks, I do like my own 'fantasy' to be somewhat grounded in reality ...with more of a dark-age to medieval vibe (though I do also enjoy a totally gonzo high-fantasy game from time to time ;) ).

Anyway, as you've probably guessed (and as you can see in the picture below), due to my own leanings, I've gone with a 'compromise design' - where the rails still have a bit of a modern look to them (so as to be instantly recognisable), but they are made entirely of wood.

 - some of the first prototypes with a 'bones' miniature for scale -

So, now that that's out of the way, here's the first video in the 'mines' series - and in this one I've started work on a basic tile set, along with a working turntable (again - I've gone with the latter, rather than a complicated 'points' system).


And, as is usual with my print & paste range, the associated pdf file is a pay-what-you-want download over on DriveThruRPG.

Now, as I mentioned in the video, the accessories should follow along either later this month or early next (essentially whenever I manage to get the video filmed and edited ;) ) - and that will feature things like the little cart that you can see below.


Anyway, one of the things I forgot to mention in the video is that there is both a gridded and a gridless version of the textures included in the pdf - so here's hoping that they'll prove to be useful for whatever game you're playing :)


Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Thoughts On 'Mine' Tiles.

Whenever we head down into the mines in our fantasy games (both as players and as GMs), we often think of sprawling complexes lined with minecart rails reminiscent of those found in the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom movie (or at least I do).


As an example, here's one of my own maps from not so long ago:


However, from what I've been reading - the whole 'wooden sleepers with iron/steel' rails didn't become commonplace until steam-power took off (as in steam engines) - so they're a little bit out of place in our faux-medieval worlds.

Now, I understand that most folks won't be troubled by things like that (I myself wasn't for the longest of times) - but now that I'm about to start work on some 'mine' textures for the print & paste range, I've been giving it some thought (because I'm a bit weird like that ;) ).

So, while I'm no expert on the matter (far from it), it looks as though something like this might be more fitting:


So, the cart/tub (above) is little more than a box on wheels - with a downwards facing 'pin' that is guided along a couple of planks of wood via a gap between those planks (below) ...kinda like a scalextric/slot-car.


However, I think if I were to draw my tiles to look something like this (and call them 'mine tiles'), most people would be left scratching their head (I know I would have been).

That being said, according to wikipedia, the following picture is a minecart from the 16th century (so probably more renaissance than medieval ...but I think there is some overlap) ...and I think this is more in line with what folks would expect.


So, I was wondering if you could help me out here? What style would you like to see me tackle?

Would you prefer the expected wooden-sleeper/iron-rails kind of thing? Or the plank/slot-car type of set-up? Or something else entirely?


The above picture is a prototype that I did a while back (and it's a bit of a cross between the renaissance example and a modern rail) ...as I think this might be a good middle ground (seeing as how it's still instantly recognisable) - but I'm still not quite sure.

So, please do let me know what you think (or if you have any further insight)!

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Rubble Piles (print & paste terrain)

I actually started work on these new textures a while back ...but I managed to break the cable that connected my camcorder to the computer - so I was unable to film any new episodes until the new cable arrived (though I did squeeze in a few 'quick crafts' using the webcam ;) ).

Anyway, if you're a long term follower of the blog, you might remember that I did something similar to this several years ago (i.e. before I started the youtube channel) - but I've refined the process slightly since then ...as you'll (hopefully) see in the video:


I've also uploaded a new pdf file for this specific purpose (which can be downloaded HERE) ...and, as usual, it's a pay-what-you-want product - so pick it up for free OR pay as much/little as you like!

But yeah ...I'm pretty happy with how these have turned out - and already have a few ideas for a 'collapsing dungeon' scenario. So here's hoping you'll be able to put them to use in your own games too :)

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Basic Dungeon Tiles: VTT Edition

When I first released my range of Basic Dungeon Tiles, the aim was to provide folks with a whole bunch of (pay-what-you-want) 2D tiles that they could print out on their home printer (for use at the gaming table).


Well, since a lot of us are gaming online nowadays, I thought I would take the time to convert all of these tiles to something more suitable for use with virtual tabletops.


So, with that in mind, I've released the above as a zip file over on DriveThruRPG ...and just like the rest of the range, it's available as a pay-what-you-want download.

So, pick it up for free, or pay as much/little as you like!

Note that all of the tiles have a screen resolution of 72 pixels per inch, and each individual grid square is 140 pixels by 140 pixels in size (i.e. the format recommended by Roll20).

Monday, 1 June 2020

Print & Paste Community Challenge #1

As I said in yesterday's post, I'm trying something a bit different in this next video ...as I thought it would be fun to see if anyone would like to join me in a little 'challenge' of sorts - one where we all take a bunch of random(ish) textures (i.e. those presented in THIS pdf), and see what we can make with them.



Anyway, I really do hope that a few of you will join in (and maybe post some WIP pictures, or discuss ideas over on Discord) ...as I'm sure it will result in some weird and wonderful designs that I never would have thought of myself :)

Sunday, 31 May 2020

More Quick Crafts

As I said earlier in the month, I've been putting together a few 'quick craft' videos recently (using the webcam while I've been waiting for a new cable to arrive for my camcorder) - just to get a few more ideas out there ...ideas that don't really warrant a full episode of their own.

Well, in this one I show how I make little dais-like platforms...


...and in this one, I show how I currently handle secret passages.



I've also got something a bit different planned for my next video/pdf ...but more about that tomorrow ;)

Friday, 15 May 2020

Quick Crafts

I'm trying out a new series of videos (just using the webcam*) - with the aim of keeping them short and sweet ...just to share a few more ideas (ideas that don't really warrant a full video).

Anyway, in the first one I've been making some magical green flames...


...and in the second one I've shown how to convert your rooms from 2" wide exits, to 1" wide exits (so that they can be connected to narrow passages).


So, here's hoping that they're of interest (and feel free to let me know if you'd like to see more of this kind of thing).


*as I can film these with minimal fuss ...for example, when doing a regular video I have to move my 'crafting table' into place, set up the camera & tripod, balance desk lamps on nearby furniture, and so on ...all before I even start :S

Friday, 8 May 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Skull Decoration

Well, it's time for another of my print & paste episodes ...and in this one I've been making altars, pillars, alcoves, and the like - all of which are decorated/filled with skulls.


So, if you're planning an adventure that takes place down in the catacombs, or in the lair of an evil cult, then (I hope) these new textures will be of use.

And, as is usual with this kind of thing, I've made the pdf available as a pay-what-you-want download over on DriveThruRPG - so feel free to pay as much (or as little) as you like!

Anyway, here's hoping you like 'em ...and if you're interested in chatting, sharing pictures of your builds, and so on - then come on over to the new Discord server and say hello :)

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Crooked Staff Discord Server

Last week I decided to make myself a Discord server to accompany my various projects (mostly my 'print & paste' terrain, and mapping endeavours) - just to make it easier to chat with folks and such (as I hear all the cool kids are using it nowadays ...well, all the cool kids ...and me ;) ).

 Well, I've decided to do another 'lets draw a dungeon map' over there (i.e. where I start things off with an entrance room, and then get people to suggest what comes next) - and here's how it's shaping up so far...



So if you want to join in the fun (or just want to check out Discord), here's the invite LINK

* * *
What's Discord?

As far as I can tell, Discord is kinda like a cross between social media, a chat/messenger service, and a forum (that works in your browser or via an app).

So,anyone who joins can post messages, pictures, links, etc. ...or even just chat with me and other members.

And just like a forum, I've split the server into several sub-pages - for example, one for general chit-chat, one for 'print & paste' terrain, one for my VTT maps, and so on.

So, if it sounds interesting, come on over and say hello :)

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Narrow Passage (VTT) tiles.

I've taken a short break from the cave maps that I've been drawing recently, and have instead been working on a small expansion set for the dungeon tiles... i.e. those pictured below:


And, at first glance, these might seem like a bit of a strange addition - as these maps do not conform to the usual size of 12x12 squares (or multiples thereof), and they don't have the normal '2 squares wide' exits.

However, the idea behind these is to allow us to add some variety to the dungeon in a few places - simply by overlaying one of the special narrow passages on top of an existing tile - i.e. this kind of thing:

Which means that we can turn something like this...


...into something like this!



So, as you can see, this helps to break up the 'modular look' that you can sometimes get with the regular tiles - plus it also allows us to have narrow passages that connect to the main dungeon at any point that we choose.

And if you're looking to get hold of all these tiles (both old and new) - they are freely available from my Patreon home page (i.e. you don't even need to be a patron ;) ).


Anyway, I hope all of that made some kind of sense, and I hope you'll be able to put them to good use!

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Coffins & Shrouds (and mummies)

I have to admit that my timing might be a little off with this one (considering the current situation) ...but I've been having a go at making some coffins for the 2.5D dungeon...

- left: the initial prototype / right: the finished piece -

And, as is usual with this kind of thing, I've put together a video showing how to put everything together...


...and (as you can see) I've also revisited the 'burial shrouds' that I made a while back ...and also made a few mummies :)

So, if you want to have a go at making a few yourself, then (just like all of the other products in the print & paste range) I've made the pdf available as a pay-what-you-want download over on DriveThruRPG.

Anyway, here's hoping you like 'em!


Monday, 30 March 2020

Random Dungeon Map generator

If you've been following the blog for any length of time you will probably know that I like to make lots of little (modular) dungeon tiles for use with virtual tabletops ...i.e. something like those pictured below:


Well, I was recently contacted by the guys from Fantasy Calendar ...and they asked if I'd be OK with them making a (free) random dungeon generator that featured my tiles.

So, of course, I said yes!

Anyway, the generator went live last night - so HERE is the link (note that only the artwork is mine - the website, the coding, etc., is all a result of their hard work)...

...and pictured below is an example map/screenshot:


So, as you can see, you can:
  • Generate maps of various sizes (or even make a multi-level megadungeon).
  • Click on some of the tiles to cycle through a few of the variants that I've drawn.
  • Export the full size map (that you can then load into your VTT of choice).
  • Download a dynamic lighting layer for (the paid version of) Roll20.

So yeah, I think the Fantasy Calendar team have done a fantastic job on this ...so if you like the idea of being able to generate a nice looking dungeon map with just the click of a button, why not give it a try :)

(note that Haxxer, from Fantasy Calendar Ltd., just posted on reddit if you want to give them any feedback)

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Spiral Stairs

Here's the latest (print & paste) video...


...and, as you can see, in this one I've been making a bunch of spiral stairways (ones that go up, ones that go down, and ones that go both up and down).

As usual, I've uploaded the pdf file to DriveThruRPG as a pay-what you-want download ...so feel free to pick it up for free - or pay as much/little as you like :)

Anyway, here's hoping that you can put these to use!

Oh ...and since I always forget to say it in the video - feel free to like/share/subscribe and all that other nonsense ;)


-here's a pic of the early design stages-

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Decorative Walls

Back in episode 30 of my youtube series, I introduced a way of making multi-level rooms and passages with a handful of new textures ...as seen below.


Well, in my latest video, I've included a bunch of new wall textures that can be used in a very similar way (just to add a bit more variety)...


But, as you can see in the video, you don't have to use them to make the aforementioned 'multi-level rooms' - as they're just as useful for making little stand alone pieces...


...as well as adding actual walls to some of the tiles (perhaps to add that extra level of detail for a particular encounter or end of level boss fight).


Anyway, as always you can pick up the pdf file from DriveThruRPG (it's a pay-what-you-want download - so pay as much/little as you like :) ).

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Hobbystreak 2020 (February)

As I mentioned last month ...I've been having a go at the #hobbystreak challenge - where I attempt to do something miniatures related every single day :) (it doesn't need to be much - just priming one model will do).

Anyway, I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep it up much longer (I might have to revert to a 'one mini every week' challenge instead ...like I did a few years back) - but here's what I got done these past 4 weeks...

WEEK 5
The 'statues' are more GW models from issue one of that 'mortal realms' magazine that I picked up earlier in the year ...as is the 'chainrasp' on the right.

WEEK 6
The two skeletons on the left are from Warlord Games (they are a bit fragile, and a bit of a pain to put together - but they do look quite nice). The guy in the middle is another 'chainrasp' - and the mini on the right is another of the Warlord skellies ...but this time I've tried to make it look like a 'fossil skeleton' from the Barrowmaze adventure/campaign.

WEEK 7
Top: two more Warlord skeletons on either side, and a mantic skeleton in the middle (with a head swap ...the head being a strange smiling skull from the Warlord sprue).

Bottom: yet more chainrasps.

WEEK 8
Left: A mantic skeleton - painted up as a 'black skeleton' from barrowmaze (this one didn't turn out very well :( ).

Middle: Metal stirge models from Reaper Miniatures.

Right: Another plastic Warlord skelly.

* * * *

So yeah, that's 31mini's painted this year so far ...which, I have to admit, is really good going for me!


Friday, 21 February 2020

VTT Maps for February

Here's a quick look at the two (large) map tiles that I've drawn this month...

...and here's a small example of them pieced together (with a few of the other VTT tiles) to make a small cave map.


As usual, I've added both of them to the (ever expanding) library of maps in THIS album - as well as organising them slightly better over on GOOGLE DRIVE.

So, here's hoping you like these latest additions!




Thursday, 20 February 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Wheels, Looms, and Stoves


My latest 'print & paste' pieces are based on the results of a poll I put up over on the Patreon page ...and, as you can see I've gone with looms, stoves, and spinning wheels :)

However, despite each individual step being pretty easy, there are a lot of steps that go into making the spinning wheel - so to avoid 'information overload' I've split the episode into two parts - the first of which focuses entirely on the spinning wheel...


Then, when you want to move on to the next pieces, you can find the instructions for the loom and the stove in part 2...


And while the spinning wheel and (especially) the loom aren't super accurate representations of their real-world counterparts - I think they work well enough for the tabletop (hopefully, you'll agree :) ).

Anyway, as always HERE's the link to the (pay what you want) pdf file over on DriveThuRPG, and here's hoping you like 'em!

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Hobbystreak 2020

A few folks online are doing this #hobbystreak challenge thing (I first saw it on the Crafts & Mini's YouTube channel) - where the aim is to do something miniatures related every single day ...and see how long you can keep it up.

It doesn't need to be anything special - for example it can be something as simple as priming or basing a mini ...just as long as it's something each and every day.

So, since I seem to have an ever increasing pile of unpainted mini's I thought I'd give it a go :)

And (as you'll see in the pictures that follow) I've just about managed to keep it going everyday this year (though sometimes my 'days work' really was just sticking some tufts to a base, or similar).

Anyway here's January's progress...

Week 1:
The larger mini's are Reaper Bones 'saproling warriors' and the smaller ones are old WotC 'twig blights'

Week 2:
Left: Reaper Bones 'demi-lich' (which I'll be using as a flameskull). Right: Ral Partha Europe 'wraith' (which I'll be using as a lich).

Week 3:
Reaper Bones 'dread wolves' (it's not the best pic of these - they actually look a tiny bit better IRL).

Week 4:
These are five of the undead models from #1 of that cheap 'Mortal Realms' magazine that was on sale the other week here in the UK (£2.99 for 13 GW models ...so it was a hard deal to turn down).

Anyway, that's 14 models painted in 4 weeks ...which is pretty good going for me. And the plan is to also stat out any monsters that I don't have rules for HERE.

So, here's hoping you like 'em ...and here's hoping you're managing to put a dent in your own unpainted stockpile (yeah, we all have one ;) ).

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Irregular Passages & Circular Rooms

The latest print & paste video is live!!!


As you can see, in this one I've had a go at making some forked passages, round rooms, and so on - just to add even more variety to the layouts that we can make.


Anyway, as always, I've uploaded the pdf file to DriveThruRPG as a pay-what-you-want download (so feel free to pick it up for free -or- throw a small donation my way if you feel so inclined), and here's hoping that you can put them to good use!