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""Steading of the HIll Giants", in miniature, Update:" Topic


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2,758 hits since 26 Nov 2015
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Sgt Slag26 Nov 2015 7:48 a.m. PST

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I am building the Steading wooden fort using the 2.5D WorldWorks Game's Skull Cove set (OOP, currently, but they occasionally bring it out of the vault, and offer it for sale again). The fort's pieces have been glued to 2mm-thick, backboard cardboard.

For a base, I am using rubber mats, from ‌Freight Harbor, which have been painted, and cut halfway through with a snap-off razor, with a cross-hatch pattern of 1"-squares. The backboard terrain pieces are inserted into the cut slots, in the rubber mats, to form the necessary walls, rooms, and such, to form the Steading, itself.

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The Steading is noted as having a stone floor, rather than dirt; I suspect Gygax made it this way, in order to prevent convention gamers from using an Earthquake Spell to level it. For this reason, I selected browns, and yellows, on top of the gray color of the mats. I used the natural sponge painting technique: I applied the lighter colors first, followed by the darker colors, while each layer was still wet, to allow them all to blend. I cleaned both the sponge, and the white ceramic tile painting palette, between each rubber tile section, as it all blended too well after one tile was done.

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Above is a photo of four rubber mat sections, joined together. These have not been cut, yet. I plan to use a ball-point pen on these, to make the grid less pronounced, and less obvious. The first tile, which has been cut, was gridded with an overhead projector felt-tip pen, which made the grid pattern very obvious.

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These mats are neoprene rubber, with an unusable, rough woven texture on one side, and a smooth foam surface on the back side, which is perfect for sponge painting. These mats could be painted, and used, for virtually any terrain type needed: desert (different shades of tan's, and yellow's); grasslands (different shades of green, perhaps with some bright yellow's, and/or purple's for flowers); water (different shades of green and blue's, with some white's as wave caps); space (black base, with different painting techniques to create stars, nebula's, planets, etc.). Cheers!

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian26 Nov 2015 8:56 a.m. PST

Wizards released JPGs of the maps years ago. Not hard to print to scale (especially if you have a plotter). Scary thing is I think I have all the figures I need to do this.

Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut26 Nov 2015 9:07 a.m. PST

The Skull Cove fort walls are perfect for this! I was in the planning stages of building the whole thing as a single structure a few years ago, but then my D&D group fell apart :-(

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2015 2:13 p.m. PST

Love this idea!

Sgt Slag26 Nov 2015 2:59 p.m. PST

Duplicate thread…

Sgt Slag26 Nov 2015 2:59 p.m. PST

Thanks for the comments. My goal is to put this game on at Gary Con, in 2017. I will be using the OOP BattleSystem Skirmish rules, which simplify 2nd Ed. AD&D combat, drastically, but they retain a lite veneer of role playing.

After I finish the Steading, I plan on building modular caverns for the Glacial Rift, as well as modular dungeon, and cavern pieces, to play out the Fire Giant adventure. I could print out the maps in strictly 2D, but I want to do these games in 2.5D, and full 3D, if possible. I am uncertain about the dungeons, at this point. All I have so far, are Fat Dragon Games' Copper Dungeons, which are strictly 2D. My caverns (both ice, and rock) will be full 3D, and the Steading is 2.5D, so it really is a mixed bag. Oh, well, we shall see what the next year brings. Cheers!

Sgt Slag02 Feb 2016 8:19 p.m. PST

Another progress report, of sorts. Here is a photo of a layout, with the full-size of the Steading marked off: the tape measure, and the gray border pieces sitting on top of the mats sections. I used a hodge-podge of mats, just to see how many brown sections I will need. The entire Steading, in a scale of 1" = 5 feet, comes out at 5'2" x 6'8". I will be cutting the width down, by a few inches, to make it fit on my 5' x 9' Ping Pong Table, so there won't be any hangover for players to catch, as they move around the table, leaning over to move their figures.

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Seeing just how huge this monstrosity is, makes me think that no one will be able to move through it, in a 6-hour session, to reach the dungeons! The dungeons are quite massive, also. This could be a good thing, though… Here is a link to a slide show, with photo's of some 25-28mm Human figures, to give a better idea of just how incredibly large the Steading is: Slideshow Link. Cheers!

Sgt Slag14 May 2016 4:43 p.m. PST

Another update: mats were cut with a 1/16" kerf saw blade, which is the perfect width for the cardboard wall sections to slide in easily, but still be held in place with sufficient strength; finished all of the wall sections, and put together a full mock-up of the entire Steading, above ground.

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There are some details still missing: pillars, and huge fire pit, in the center of the Great Hall; doors were left off as I need to edge the wall sections with a black marker yet; and there are numerous fireplaces which need to be made yet, and installed on the walls. I altered the main gate: it is supposed to be 40 feet wide, but I made it a mere 20 feet wide, as it seemed pointless to have it be that big. I think this is a minor point, so I took a little poetic license with the build.

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Here is a shot of the Great Hall, with some of the Chieftain's honored guests: Frost Giant (white base, red cape), a Fire Giant (above the Frost Giant), and across from them, are three Stone Giants. Here, also, is a link to a slideshow with a couple of additional photo's of the layout. Cheers!

Sgt Slag01 Jun 2016 10:00 a.m. PST

Finished the playtest… Learned many things, but also encountered a couple of serious issues. The set-up of the wall sections took 4-5 hours: the mats are not uniformly cut for the slots, so the slots do not line up perfectly along the edges. I had to rotate the mat sections, and swap them around, to get them to come close to lining up. This threw off the wall sections, which I had custom cut. I pulled them out, marked them for room number, both on the wall sections, and on the paper map, so I could speed up re-assembly… Then the mats got laid down out of order, and position.

I ended up custom cutting many sections, again, to make them fit. I got it all together again, but I know this will be a recurring problem. At a convention, you do not always have enough time to set up… A few times, I have had only 1/2-hour, or less, to set up my table! The slotted mats work great at home, where I have ample time, but at a convention, I could be sunk. Need to develop a faster system…

I tried using BattleSystem Skirmishes rules: no one but me knew them, and that caused issues. I am thinking since it is aimed at GaryCon, and it is a tribute to him, I will likely run 1st Ed. AD&D RPG rules, and run it like it was 1978, when the module was first published. Had a young teenager play, and that was a test of patience for all. By going with 1st Ed. AD&D rules, I may drive away the youngsters, which could work for the rest of us grognards. I'm thinking of making a poster, using only red and black Sharpie pens, to set the mood: "Let's game like it's 1978! Featuring the just-released Advanced D&D rules…"

I'll post a few photo's, and a link to a write-up by one of the players, later. Cheers!

tshryock Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Jun 2016 6:20 a.m. PST

Impressive project. Brings back fond memories.

Sgt Slag06 Jun 2016 12:40 p.m. PST

Finished the playtest… Learned many things, but also encountered a couple of serious issues. The set-up of the wall sections took 4-5 hours: the mats are not uniformly cut for the slots, so the slots do not line up perfectly. I had to rotate the mat sections, and swap them around, to get them to come close to lining up. This threw off the wall sections, which I had custom cut. I pulled them out, marked them for room number, both on the wall sections, and on the paper map, so I could speed up re-assembly… Then the mats got laid down out of order, and position.

I ended up custom cutting many sections, again, to make them fit. I got it all together again, but I know this will be a recurring problem. At a convention, you do not always have enough time to set up… A few times, I have had only 1/2-hour, or less, to set up my table! The slotted mats work great at home, where I have ample time, but at a convention, I could be sunk. Need to develop a faster system…

I tried using BattleSystem Skirmishes rules: no one but me knew them, and that caused issues. I am thinking since it is aimed at GaryCon, and it is a tribute to him, I will likely run 1st Ed. AD&D RPG rules, and run it like it was 1978, when the module was first published. Had a young teenager play, and that was a test of patience for all. By going with 1st Ed. AD&D rules, I may drive away the youngsters, which could work for the rest of us grognards. I'm thinking of making a poster, using only red and black Sharpie pens, to set the mood: "Let's game like it's 1978! Featuring the just-released Advanced D&D rules…"

Here is a link to a write-up written by one of the players: link (scroll down a bit…).

And now for some photo's, and information, on how I made the fireplaces, as well as the large Fire Pit, featured in the Main Hall of the Steading…

I made the fireplaces using a pattern created within MS Publisher 98 program: basically, two vertical rectangles for the sides, and a curved arch, for the top piece. These shapes were printed out on regular paper and then glued to 2mm cardboard, cut out, and left to dry. I had a long graphic image of dancing flames, with a black background, which I thought would be perfect to use for the flames -- much of this design is done in 2D, and this approach seemed very logical for the desired goal. I printed out the flame graphic, then I cut them in proper shapes, to get different flame designs, which were then glued on top of the MS Publisher printout. Once these dried, I used Wood Glue to attach some small aquarium rocks around the edges, within the rectangles, and the cross piece design produced in MS Publisher 98. After the glue dried, I painted the rocks with Minwax Polyurethane Stain Royal Walnut (aka, The Dip), to darken them up a bit, as they were quite light colored.

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Here is a shot of a finished Fireplace, ready to be attached to a flat wall section:

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Here is a photo of the unpainted Fire Pit. This was made by using a plastic sandwich bag. I cut off the zip-lock end, and then I applied Hot Glue, for texture. The U-shape was hand-formed, and the whole was then Hot Glued to the cardboard circle, cut out as a base. I used the same rock/glue/Minwax technique on the Pit base, as well. Here are a few photo's of it in various stages of completion:

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The cardboard base was slathered with Hot Glue to secure the sandwich-bag-coated-with-Hot-Glue flames in place. This was then painted with Wood Glue, and fine, black sand was sprinkled on top of the glue, to create a coal-fire base. The coal was simpler to use as a fire fuel, as I did not have anything to use as logs. I created a U-shape flame in case the PC's chose to conjure a Fire Elemental in the game -- I could place it in the opening of the flames, and move it out from there. The fireplaces, and the Fire Pit, were quick, easy to build, and turned out acceptable.

The fireplaces were attached to the wall sections with blue tac, to avoid damaging either the wall section, or the fireplace. They worked really well, visually, and from a build standpoint: fast, easy, and looked decent. Here is a final shot, game in play, of the Great Hall. Cheers!

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Xintao28 Jun 2016 6:14 a.m. PST

Very cool. I always thought this would be a cool convention game.

The Angry Piper07 Jul 2016 2:50 a.m. PST

Sgt. Slag: You are a true inspiration. I just remembered this game idea of yours and wondered if there had been an update. This is really amazing. You're making me want to make the trip to Garycon!

Sgt Slag08 Jul 2016 2:04 p.m. PST

(Smile)

I am excited to run another playtest session, only this time, using 1st Ed. AD&D RPG rules. That will truly take it all back to its roots. I have not played 1st Ed. rules since 1989… I plan on using the optional THAC0 rules, however, to simplify combat -- I still have my Combat Calculator, from Dragon Magazine, but I really don't want to use it.

I am pretty excited to begin crafting the Glacial Rift, but I am holding myself back, until I finish this project, and get some additional playtesting done. I hope to run it in the Fall, at the Minneapolis/St. Paul ReCon event. Then I should be ready to begin work, in earnest, on the Glacial Rift.

I've got some ideas on how to portray the volcanic abode of the Fire Giants, as well. I'm going back to E. Gary's descriptions for inspiration. Certain rooms won't be easy -- at least right now. I hope to come up with some simple, but effective, ideas on how to portray some of the more unique rooms. Cheers!

Sgt Slag30 Aug 2016 10:58 a.m. PST

Tabled the idea of running this at Gary Con 2017… Too much going on in life, can't guarantee I will be able to make it. Will try for Gary Con 2018. Also, will not be able to run it at ReCon in November, in Minneapolis, life has too much going on for me to even make that date. Will try to run it at ReCon in February of 2017. Cheers!

DesertScrb05 Sep 2016 6:01 a.m. PST

Hey Sarge, great layout! Sorry you're not able to get it done as soon as you'd like, but we've all been there. Once it's done, this looks like it will be a huge hit at Gary Con, which is aimed at the old-school crowd.

Speaking of old school, are you familiar with the Dragonsfoot website, dragonsfoot.org ? Folks over there would be thrilled to see your project.

A few years back, someone on DF posted about a similar project that might give you some ideas:

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Here's the link to that thread on the DF forum: link

Sgt Slag05 Sep 2016 6:02 p.m. PST

DesertScrb, yes, I am a member of DragonsFoot forums. And, yes, I believe I saw this topic, over there, and there is a video of it (I think they are the same people) on YouTube. His version is a truer 3D modeling of the Steading. I like what he did with it. His model is a cut far above mine, but his was a home-game, I believe, and mine needs to be portable (hope to haul it to two, or more, conventions). Thanks for sharing, and the comments. Cheers!

Chgowiz02 Nov 2016 1:04 p.m. PST

Looks great! I wish you were coming to GaryCon 2017, it would be great to see your set up.

If you want to run AD&D combat where the math is quick in your head, I recommend taking a look at Daniel Collin's "Target20" system which is statistically accurate to OD&D/AD&D 1e. I've been using it with AD&D 1e for years and it works great! Just add 2 or three numbers in my head and I know if it's a hit or miss. link

Sgt Slag08 Nov 2016 3:05 p.m. PST

I was planning to run it at GaryCon 2017, but I know I would need to reserve a motel room a year in advance, and that was just not possible. I am planning for GaryCon 2018, though. I will be running it at a few, smaller venues, during the 2017 year, I hope, in preparation.

I will check out your link for combat resolution. I need to find something simpler… Cheers!

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2018 8:25 p.m. PST

Went in there once with a party of eight.

It did not end well since the DM had the Giants ambush us.

Now four players did get out but that was because the Cleric finally had his God answer him (he was always calling on his God). He got torn to pieces and the other four got teleport hundreds of miles away.

Well that left Me, my brother's Character and one other player.

My brother turn his Wand of Frost on himself and basically became one big Ice Cube.

I had just jumped out and fired off a spell and was rewarded with a face full of rocks.

I survived that but when I turned around there was my brother's character locked in a big cube of ice.

So I ran for it and made it out of there.

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