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!

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 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 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 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... 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 I did a few years back) - but here's what I got done these past 4 weeks...

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

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.

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.

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 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!

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Just another podcast ...Season 2 - Episode 1

I wasn't sure if I was going to continue with these, but I've kind of got into the habit of recording a segment or two each Saturday morning I think I'll stick with it for a while (and now that I'm actually gaming again, I might have something more interesting to say).

(note that the podcast should be displayed below ...but HERE's the direct link if you prefer)


0:00 Intro.

0:12 Call-in from Che (from Roleplay Rescue).

0:42 Random Dungeon (HERE is my blog post, and HERE is the pdf).

3:06 Miniatures Rant.

6:42 Rant Addendum (HERE is my travelling GMs kit)

7:48 Plans for 2020. Note that I didn't get to the games store/venue in the end :(

12:35 Outro

Note that you can send me a message by logging into anchor and using the mic on your computer, or by using anchor app on your phone, or you can just send in an mp3 file to

Alternatively, just drop me a regular email (or comment on this blog post, or send me a message on facebook, or whatever), and I'll read it out on the podcast (just make sure you mark it as 'podcast mail' so that I know to include it).

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Make your own stirge miniatures.

Back in December, I started playing around with an idea that I had to make a bunch of stirge miniatures (if you've been following me via any of the social media platforms you might have already seen this pic)...

...and a few folks seemed to like them - so I've gone ahead and made another video tutorial (to show you how to put them together)...

...and I've also uploaded the pdf file to DriveThruRPG as a pay-what-you-want download (so feel free to pay as much or as little as you like).

Now, they're obviously not as good (or as durable) as regular/proper miniatures ...but if you need a whole bunch of them for an upcoming encounter/adventure, then they should do the job.

Anyway, here's hoping you like 'em :)

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Some of the 'print & paste' highlights from 2019

I said that I would follow up my last post with a similar article about the print & paste stuff that's been appearing on the youtube channel here goes...

So, I think the channel has gained around 3000 subscribers over the course of the year (which is pretty amazing if you ask me), and most of the responses and feedback I've been receiving have been super positive.

I mean sure, there's always going to be a downvote or two (and the occasional snarky comment will surface every now and again) - but that's just the nature of youtube, and is to be expected (or at least, that's what I'm telling myself :) ).

Plus, the regular dungeon terrain has expanded to include sewers...

...papercraft(ish) miniatures and player handouts...

...sci-fi tiles and terrain (though this is still very much in its infancy)...

...multi level dungeons...

...and I've also teamed up with SquareHex again to produce more sheets of textures that you can buy (at a very affordable price) - instead of having to print everything out at home...

So yeah, it's been a busy year on the youtube front - though I've still not got as much stuff done as I had hoped (filming and editing videos takes up a huge amount of time ...not to mention all the design work) ...but it's been (mostly) fun nonetheless - and there's still lots more to come.

Furthermore, the channel is getting pretty close to 5000 subscribers now ...and I'll be doing another giveaway when I get to 5K you might want to keep your eye open for that.

Anyway, a huge thanks goes out to everyone that subscribed, commented, and got in touch or sent pictures of their builds (via social media etc.) really has been a great experience thus far :)

Thanks again!

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

All of the (VTT style) map tiles from 2019

Well, now that 2019 is behind us, I thought I'd write a short article to show off all of the tiles that I created last year - thanks to the support of my kind patrons (without whom, I probably wouldn't have got nearly as much done).

Anyway, the main focus for 2019 was 'caves' (you can find the full size images HERE by the way) ...and over the course of the year I managed to get all of the basic cave tiles finished...

...which, as you can see, includes:
  • Small chambers with various exits.
  • Large chambers that can be pieced together from multiple tiles.
  • Tunnels/passages/dead-ends of various shapes and sizes.
  • A few cave 'assets' that can be placed on top of the tiles to add a bit more variety.

Plus, if you take a look at the maps on the right hand side of the above picture, I also managed to squeeze in a few 'feature caverns' that can be used for specific encounters.

So, with all those done, we can now build nice 'little' cave maps that look something like this:

However, it's also worth mentioning that I did manage to get a few dungeon tiles (and one transitional tile) done as well can be seen in the image below:

So yeah, that's another year's worth of maps done, and I've added them to the growing library of over 300 tiles (found HERE) ...which contains all of the (VTT style) maps that I've drawn over the past three years.

But what's next I hear you ask? (or is that just the voices in my head ;) ) ...well, to start things off, I think I'm going to concentrate on more 'feature caverns' and 'assets' for a little while - as I think that will really help to add some variance to the type of maps we can piece together.

So, all that's left to do is repeat my thanks to those of you that support this little ongoing project* over on Patreon, and to wish you all a happy new year. Here's hoping that 2020 will be a good one!

*along with my print & paste stuff ...there'll be
a separate post about that a little later on.