“Have you thought of a human-skin rug? That would be so cool in certain very devious and evil lairs.”
-A posting in a Dwarven Forge forum
So my dungeons have been looking pretty sparse lately. Sadly, these little projects are the most fiddly and time consuming so they merely trickle into my collection from the craft table. Here is a smattering of scale goodies to make my tabletop environments appear lived in.
No crossroads or gatehouse entrance is complete without a bona-fide crow’s cage! If I had this one to do over, I’d have made the frame a “T” and put another cage on the opposite side. The main design flaw on this one is that its balance is a bit touchy, hence all the stones and gravel on the base.
I used square dowels for the frame of course, set on a metal washer with a tiny chain I picked up at a big box store in the DIY jewelry section. The cage is thin strips of cereal box cardstock painstakingly glued together in a grid and trimmed, then glued into a cylinder.
I traced out the diameter of the bottom, and using hot glue, I applied some texture that I painted to suggest straw. Finally, I sculpted a teeny skull from Pro Create putty to glue in there. Then I glued the base to the cage. It’s worth noting that the cardstock technique for cage frames is best done with PVA or white glue, or Elmer’s glue, whatever you call it. This requires a bit of patience. At each joint, I used a little alligator clamp to bond them together. Hot glue is fast and all, but it makes for an ugly finish.
Doors are a thing that are absolutely essential, yet I’m never satisfied with them. Over the years, I’ve used computer printouts on cardstock with plastic bases, and they’ve served me pretty well. But what keeps me up at night is the thought that there has to be an easy and cheap way of representing entrances and exits that look better than what I’m using. This prototype is my stab at that goal. This door is largely inspired by DM Scotty, but where his doors are openable, this one is static.
While I like the aesthetic, I’m agonizing over a number issues with it. Namely, compatibility with future systems, whether or not it should open, and ease and speed of production.
As far as production goes, little is more tedious than making bookshelves. Yet no dungeon is complete without them. Monsters get bored waiting for PCs to smite them, they gotta have something to read, right?
And as far as pastimes goes, here’s a fun bit of furniture. It’s cool and all, but still think it’s missing something. Perhaps a better paint job. Anyway, this was a great use for some of those gear beads I found, and the shackles are pony beads of the very small variety. The rope is actually twisted wire.
And if that’s not comfortable enough for ya, you could try out these beds. I am seriously happy with how these turned out. the down side is waiting for all that glue to dry.
You might have seen a table like this posted among my stuff before. I picked up this trick, again, from the DM’s Craft. You can make a bunch of blank tables with table top veneers that have different settings on them without having to make a million different tables and without having to painstakingly set each table with tiny goodies.
The cups and candles are beads. The fruit and bowl and what-have-ya are made from Fimo polymer clay.
When you’re not using your goodies, you have to store them. I can’t have enough barrels and crates. Sadly, barrels are hard to make at this scale. But I manage with dowels cut and sanded to shape with cardstock banding. the little cage is made from craft sticks and toothpicks.
This is just a start. I’ve got loads more to make and they’re not going to make themselves, so I’ll leave ya there and get crackin’!