Sunday 27 December 2020

2020 Recap

I think we can all agree that, on the whole, 2020 has been a pretty crappy year ...I don't think that there is any argument there.

However, I've been plodding along as usual, and even though I've only gamed 'in person' a handful of times this year, I've continued to make various 'print & paste' terrain pieces - in the hope that I'll eventually be able to put them to use when things get back to normal (fingers crossed that'll be sometime next year).

So, as you can see in the picture below, that's kept me quite busy, and has included things like: stirge miniatures, circular rooms, various bits of decorative/scatter terrain, spiral stairs, mine tiles, puzzle handouts, and (of course) the new buildings.

And if you're not familiar with the whole 'print & paste' concept ...I design paper printouts that can be glued to bits of cardboard/foamcore, drinking straws, toilet roll tubes, etc., to help folks (myself included) make cheap terrain for RPG's/wargames.

Note that the printouts can be downloaded from DriveThruRPG (they're pay-what-you-want grab them for free if you like), and the assembly instructions are on my YouTube Channel.

* * *

In addition to the physical tiles/terrain, I've also been adding to my library of smaller map tiles that are suitable for online play (using a virtual table top - like Roll20 for example) ...and here's everything that I was able to draw this year...

...and the idea behind these is that you can piece several of them together to make your own dungeon maps - i.e. something like this:

Furthermore, the guys who run the 'fantasy calendar' website also got in touch - and I agreed to let them use these tiles in their online random dungeon map generator - which you can find HERE.

And if you check it out, you'll see that they've done a really good job (as I say, I'm only responsible for the artwork - all of the generator stuff is a result of their own hard work).

Note that all of the map tiles that I've drawn thus far (i.e. since the beginning of 2017), have been compiled in THIS album.

* * *

Anyway, since I'm on the subject of online play and VTTs, I've also been running an online (5E) Barrowmaze game for some of my Patreon supporters ...and I have to say, it's been really fun so far.

If there's one good thing that's come out of 2020 for me, it's this game - as everyone has been super nice, and a pleasure to run for. I mean, I'm not the best GM in the world (not by a long shot), and I was really nervous about running a game for people I didn't know - but it's become something I look forward to each and every week.

And while we're never likely to meet in person (as the group is scattered all around the world), I thought it would be fun to paint a miniature for each of the characters. So here's the group as it currently stands (though each session  typically includes anything from 3 to 5 players - depending on folks' schedules).

 * * *

So yeah ...I think that's most of the stuff I've been working on this year - though there's always a few random things thrown in here and there... these maps, and various half-finished projects - along with one or two things that I've probably forgotten about or abandoned completely :)

So, what can you expect in the new year...

...well, it looks as though the YouTube channel might actually hit 10K subscribers at some point (which is a really big deal for me - I never expected that many followers), but luckily I still have tons of print & paste ideas that I want to try out (and a to-do list as long as my arm) - so I hope to keep this going for quite some time yet.

Furthermore, I don't think I'll ever get tired of drawing maps (and thinking up encounters to go along with them) - but I'm probably going to put up a poll on the Patreon page before the end of the year - just to see what direction I take next.

And, of course, I hope to keep the Roll20 game going for as long as folks are willing to put up with me :)

* * *

Anyway, thanks for getting this far ...all that's left to say is that I hope you're all having a good holiday period (hope you got lots of gaming goodies if you're celebrating this time of year), and here's hoping that next year will be better than this one.

Oh ...and if you're not already a member of the Discord, come on over and say hello!

Thursday 17 December 2020

Light-up Magic Circle (terrain)


I think the above picture says it all really ...but I don't think that's gonna stop me rambling on for a few paragraphs ;)

So, this latest addition to the 'print & paste' range uses a similar technique to the previous multi-level rooms found in episode 30 (in the sense that it's a raised section of the dungeon) - but this time I've also added some cheap (£1) Halloween/Xmas lights into the mix - just to give the whole thing a bit of an eerie glow.

Anyway, as usual here's the video that shows how I put it all together...


...and HERE is the link to the pdf file over on DriveThruRPG (as always, it's a pay-what-you-want download - so feel free to pay as much/little as you like ;) ).

Note that there's also a new set of stairs in this latest pdf as well ...and I think they have turned out rather nice :)


So - here's hoping you can put some of this stuff to good use!

Friday 4 December 2020

Community Challenge #2

I think I say it all in this latest video...'s hoping you'll be able to take part!

Monday 30 November 2020

Cyber Monday Giveaway

If you're anything like me, you're probably a sick and tired of all the 'Black Friday' nonsense you've been getting ALL of this last month - so to buck the trend (as I often do), I thought I would give away a few booklets instead :)

So, here's a couple of links to some of my older stuff over on DriveThru - just click on them and the booklet should get added to your basket for free :)

Little Book of Dungeons Vol. 1

Little Book of Dungeons Vol. 2

Little Book of Dungeons Vol. 3

Hope you can put them to use!

(note that the 'free codes' last until tomorrow)

Thursday 26 November 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : House Decoration

Despite it only being a single page, this latest download took quite a while to create - largely due to the fact that there's quite a lot of detail in some of the pieces, and I was trying out some new techniques.

That being said, I'm quite happy with the results (despite the fact that I might just be adding needless fiddly details at this point) ...and, as I say in the video, some of these bits and pieces should prove useful for the 2nd 'challenge' that I have planned.

Anyway, as usual here's the video...


...and HERE is the link to the pdf file over on DriveThruRPG (as always, it's a pay-what-you-want download - so feel free to pay as much/little as you like ;) ).

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Sheds & Barns

The title of this latest release might be a bit deceiving ...becasue, while you can make little sheds, barns, hovels, etc....

 (the exterior of a small shed or workshop)


 (the interior of a barn or small hovel)

...they can also be used in conjunction with the textures from the previous two pdfs/videos to add even more variety to the types of houses/buildings that we can make:

Anyway, as usual, here's the video showing how I put everything together...

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

So, if you need some buildings for an upcoming RPG session, a wargame scenario, etc. ...hopefully these will be of help :)

Friday 23 October 2020

VTT Tiles

It's been a while since I last spoke about the VTT tiles that I create each month - but the project is still going strong ...with around 400 tiles available now!

This month I've been working on a request for more cave-to-dungeon transition tiles, and this is what I've come up with:

So, as you can see, there are 4 tiles ...and all of them are slightly different in their design.

Furthermore here is a small encounter map that I've put together that features a few of these new tiles...

...and while I have no idea (yet) what the locals are 'feeding' - you can be sure it's not anything pleasant ;)

Anyway, you can find all of individual tiles in THIS album (they are free for personal use) ...and if you want to help support this (or any of my other projects) please feel free to check out the PATREON PAGE.

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Roofs

 Here's the next batch of print & paste textures...


...and the idea behind these is that we can use them in conjunction with the 'cottage walls' (from the last set) to make a few townhouses:


And, as you can see, we should be able to make houses of all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Anyway here's the video showing how I put them together...


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

So, here's hoping you can put them to good use!

Saturday 3 October 2020

Print & Paste Terrain : Cottage Walls

 I'm pleased to announce the release of my latest batch of print & paste textures...

...and, with THIS set we'll be leaving the dungeon behind, and heading back into civilisation :)

Anyway, as you can see, the idea behind these is to only use them in a few key areas - so that they help to give the layout more of a building (and less of a dungeon) 'look' - while at the same time, not affecting its playability all that much.

And, as usual, you can see how I put them together in my latest video:


Anyway, just like all of the other products in my (ever expanding) print & paste range, it's a pay-what-you-want download over on DriveThruRPG - so feel free to pay as much (or as little) as you like ;)

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 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) 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) 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 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 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) 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!