Monday, November 29, 2010

Adding Dimension to My Games...

This is something I've become keenly interested in over the past year.

About a year ago, I was reading on the Penny Arcade site about how "Gabe" was getting a lot of Dwarven Forge terrain for free, for his D&D game. This was, of course, a clever marketing tactic by Dwarven Forge, because I am sure that scores of gamers said "I MUST HAVE IT!!". I'm sure, because I was one gamer that did, I'm far from an atypical gamer.

I started investigating 3D terrain, and found out how expensive it was, and my dream unfortunately died a sad death upon seeing that. At $100+ per set, with a set looking to be enough to make a small room and a short corridor, our budget just couldn't handle what it would take to put together anything significant. That was the impression, anyway.

Searching elsewhere, I happened upon the site of Hirst Arts, who make Castle Molds. These are silicon molds you can buy and use to cast your own blocks, to build your own 3D terrain. With the molds being around $35 each, and a container of dental plaster (the best stuff to use for this) being around $50, which can last you for a LOOOOOONG time, that was a much better option, but still a little bit expensive. Fortunately, I found out shortly thereafter that a friend of mine, Billie, had two molds... Fieldstone Wall mold #70 and Flagstone floor mold #260... which he wasn't using and was good with loaning to me for awhile.

Ordering a big box of dental plaster was still out of my reach at the time, so I first bought a small container of Plaster of Paris, which was pretty bad, and then switched to this other product called Permastone. Permastone turned out to be really good, and a lot closer to dental plaster than Plaster of Paris.

I looked up all the techniques and tips on the Hirst Arts site, about properly mixing the plaster, and using "Wet Water", and everything else to make sure there are no bubbles in the plaster as it sets. Once I'd gathered my supplies, and figured I knew (basically) what I was doing, I set about molding blocks.

It was slow-going at first, since I was still pretty bad at organization and time management, but I finally cast enough to put together part of a room!

We went through some difficult times after that, due to a minivan running a red light and t-boning us while I was taking Caroline to work one night (3 days before my 40th birthday!). It took me awhile to get back into it, but when I did, I bought the molds from my friend, along with his dental plaster and all the blocks he'd cast, and I focused on casting as much as I could as well. I started sketching some designs and plans, looking at different kinds of old bridges, and I came up with this...

I went on to use this bridge in an encounter. The encounter didn't turn out as well as I thought it would, mostly due to organizational issues, but it still went well enough.

Here's a picture from it.

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