More Cartography for The Ruins of Old Soguer

I’ve been bitten by the cartography bug again.  Honestly it’s one of the things I most enjoy about game design – making maps.  And these are both big maps of something that I particularly enjoy drafting: cities – one prosperous, one in ruins.

These maps will be featured in the upcoming adventure The Ruins of Old Soguer , an exploration-oriented 4e D&D adventure for 10th level characters.  Over the course of the adventure heroes will search the ruins of a destroyed city in search of the last king’s sword, and by strange paths relive the cataclysm that brought doom to the mighty city of Soguer.

Stay tuned for more maps for the adventure coming soon, as well as preview art for our upcoming board gameVampyre Women of Venus.

Happy Gaming,

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One Page Dungeon Contest 2012

Campaignwiki is holding a compdragonetition (one they seem to have held for a few years now) to generate a one-page dungeon.  I am about to submit one to the contest (post to come later this month), and thought I’d make sure you were aware of the opportunity to enter you work into this friendly competition. Here are some examples to inspire you as you put your together:

  • Catacombs beneath a manor where a thieves’ guild has taken up residence.
  • A Dragon’s den protected by various minions and assorted pitfalls.
  • A cave complex originally inhabited by an ancient civilization.

More examples are available on the campaignwiki site.  Hurry though; entries are due by April 30th!

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Dungeons and Dragons Coloring Book

G01-300x190reg Irons and Gary Gygax collaborated on a dungeoneering coloring book back in 1979.  The book is 30-some pages of room descriptions and lively black and white drawings that are guaranteed to inspire youngsters to color outside the lines.

The nice folks at Monster Brains have posted each page as an image to Flickr, found here in a complete set.  These pages have been meticulously scanned and should print well for your and your kids’ inking enjoyment.  Download them now before they disappear because of some copyright lawyer’s quest for promotion!

What better way to introduce the little ones to using their minds to create worlds?  Seriously, can you picture a better coloring book for an aspiring kid DM?

Images range from single, stand-alone creatures to complete scenes with aesthetic composition that spills out over the borders of the image.  Note the eyestalks rising high above the fold in this sample page.

It is unclear what exactly inspired the coloring book (though the original images in all the classic DnD modules and sourcebooks share many of the features that we find in these pages.  It is also unclear why there were not more of these projects.  So many coloring books out there are so bland; this leaves many of them wishing they could inspire.

To celebrate this online find, and inspired by it, we are busy putting together an updated fantasy coloring book for you to zoob out to or to introduce your young broodlings to role playing while they sit in the booth at T.J. McCluckeys or wherever you find yourselves for a family dining experience.

Keep an eye tuned to Claw/Claw/Bite for sample pages and for a future release date for the full coloring book!

And, happy coloring!

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Over the past 14 months, I’ve been slowly incorporating Dungeonstone into our role playing sessions, replacing handmade and Wizards-produced tiles in our more dungeon-oriented encounters.  The idea has been to create more 3d effects and to provide the feeling of walls and convey the close quarters of combat better than flat tiles.  3d terrain allows players and DMs to take advantage of corners, nooks, crannies, and to use tables, chairs, and anything else as cover, which undoubtedly makes encounters more exciting and action-packed.

Until recently, I’ve been using the resin and carbon infused diestone composite terrain unpainted, which has been fine to get the basic 3d idea across.  I have found that using the walls in various configurations yields interesting room properties and challenges for my players.  Choke points along the corners, raised platforms in the center of the room, and the narrow passageways provided by the set help evoke high intensity on the battlefield.  I’ve supplemented the terrain with my own hand-made and found additions (I’ll cover these in a follow-up post) to add additional character to our encounters.

This terrain is fully-compatible with Dwarven Forge products; I’ve mapped out a few rooms using DF’s sci-fi accessories to present futuristic dungeons full of strange equipment, and have linked Dungeonstone up to DF’s ice caverns with great success.

Now for the simple review.  This product is amazing!At $100 for a 97-piece advanced set, you’ll have enough pieces to map out a few full rooms with interesting features.  The basic set is $40 and comes with 43 pieces, enough to build one large room or a few small ones.

On top of all of this, the owner/sculptor/producer Leo is a nice guy; we’ve discussed his product and our respective campaigns at the past two OwlCons.  He’s quick to respond to questions and has a slew of tips for making the paint stand out on his models.  Paying him for his hard work and the quality of his results is only too easy; as I write this I’m considering order a few of his 4×4 and 6×6 tiles for quicker setup.

Dungeonstone is currently limited to flagstone-style dungeons; he hasn’t yet ventured into caverns or other non-standard architectures, but does have a crypt (with angled-walls, a skull-mounted wall as shown in this sample layout, and a stone sarcophagus set into a dais), wizard’s chamber (with summoning circle and rounded corners), and a working door and portcullis in his stock.

The only downside is the cost of shipping, but he takes care to wrap and pack the terrain in snug layers of paper and foam.  I’ve always purchased my Dungeonstone in person, so I can’t speak to the quality of the packing post shipping, but everything I’ve read online indicates his thorough packing stands the test of modern cargo transit.

I recommend picking up a set or two from his online store at, or at any of the cons he frequents, including at least OwlCon and ChimaeraCon.  But get there early; I understand he sells out pretty quickly at these events.

Other dungeon terrain elements available in the Dungeonstone line include diagonal passageways, rounded corridors (my current favorite), rounded daises, and pre-made corridor intersections (3-way and 4-way).  These go a long way toward providing a flexible dungeons assembly kit.  Unfortunately, the sets don’t come with many diagonal or rounded passageways by default, but fortunately, they are available as an accessory in the online store.

My hope is that in the near future, Dungeonstone releases more large pieces to make rooms easier to assemble.  Yes, larger pieces may be more difficult to store (and perhaps they are difficult to engineer as well), but these pieces allow DMs to use the smaller pieces as room accents, nooks, and other interesting room features.  Other ideas for expanding the line include modular archways that rise up over the hallways and room intersections to added flair (I’ve hand-made a few of these using clay) and secret passageways that disguise well with standard walls.

In a future post, I’ll cover the painting, sealing, and mounting process that I’ve undertaken on my small yet growing collection of Dungeonstone.  This will cover paint selection, techniques, and other tips for making your terrain rock.

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