Going 3D

Of course D&D is a three dimensional world, many campaigns include even more facets and planes of existence  as well, however at the table a lot of that depth disappears when using minis on top of a map/graph/board or whatever 2 dimensional surface most of us use. While it may be as vivid and engrossing as an imax movie in your own imagination, some players may not have such creativity in them. No matter your level of imagination, I think we can all agree that seeing a 3 dimensional representation of your environment can be pretty damn cool. Along with the aesthetics it forces us to think in 3D when it comes to blasts and bursts as well as range and many other mechanics become more interesting.

I half assed the 2x1 long wooden table leg!
A close up of the tavern, including my makeshift leg for the 2x1 table

When we first started this campaign I used WoTC’s old Map Folio elements for the first few sessions and everyone loved it, afterward we dropped back to battle mats and gaming paper. However recently I’ve decided to put the third dimension back into our gaming sessions. Last nights game we made use of the Harrowing Halls tiles for the first time, I was in a hurry so yes – I copied the “example” tavern verbatim from the tile packaging but it worked out well and my players had a great time. I played a constant loop of tavern music I extracted straight from Baldurs Gate (the best video game series of all time) using this tutorial and ran my first no-combat gaming session, unless of course you count a small bar brawl breaking out only to be put to a stop by a powerful druid and a group of chaotic good characters. It was very well received and they got a kick out of the small 3D elements & music so I plan on implementing more in future sessions.

Using harrowing halls to create a tavern setting.
Harrowing Halls in action

I’ve been looking into some 3D options for our game, and no I don’t just mean the Harrowing Halls tile set, I mean everything from Dwarven Forge to 2.5D cardboard stand-ups. But seeing as how I’m not fabulously rich and a little too thrifty at heart anyways, I decided to go the paper craft route for the time being. I paint enough miniatures (I also play Warhammer 40k) to know how finely done the Dwarven Forge line is and how much I’d love to see it at my table, but I figured I should start off small and low key before diving into the deep end here.

After exploring the WorldWorks Games line of paper craft dungeon tiles I fell in love, however I wanted to try something a little more low key to get into the swing of this whole papercraft scene. I opted to check out products from QuickQuests as well as Fat Dragon and picked up the DM pack and the Dungeon Tiles Deluxe packages (respectively). I immediately ran my printer out of ink and began constructing and playing around with a combination of Harrowing Halls & papercraft tiles. I hope to make good use of these, however it seems i’ll be printing a second group out rather soon because I think the 65lb card stock I purchased isn’t quite as sturdy as I’d like.

Another shot of the action
My first attempt @ 3D

Have any of you used cardstock to create dungeon elements? If so what’s the best weight for paper, any techniques or tips I’m missing out on, or maybe a great site that provides printouts, perhaps even Free ones? Check out the gallery for some shots of the harrowing halls in action as well as my very first infantile attempts at papercraft dungeon terrain.

Update: Just found a great article on The Hopeless Gamer in regards to all things paper terrain and mini’s

3 Comments

  1. I’m following this with interest as I have some kind of sick fascination with 3d dungeons.

    The Mage Knight stuff was good, but to be honest but I stupidly sold it all as a job lot to raise some cash quick.

  2. The two papercraft projects I’ve done, I printed on 8pt Epson professional proofing paper, then spray-mounted to 12pt C1S board. Then I loaded the cuts and scores into a CNC packaging prototype table to cut out the 20pt board. Sometimes I love my job.

    So maybe I’m not the one to ask. But honestly, 99% of the time, I’m still all 2d. About half the time, I print the map, but half the time I draw it on a wet-erase battlemat.

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