Sand in your shoes – A tutorial on arid rough terrain

Arid terrain still preoccupies my mind and we shall not stop at dry desert lakes. Instead, in this second tutorial of the series, I would like to focus on the ever useful rough terrain, or in this specific case a terrain piece that features deeper sand. While you could depict rough terrain with a stretch of land filled with rocks and thorny bushes, I felt it would be much more interesting and challenging to depict an area that features fine, wavy sand, where with each step your troops or characters sink deeper, adding to the exhaustion of sun and thirst. I did also add some weathered rock outcroppings and sparse vegetation to round the piece off.

As always a list of the materials you will need for this build is followed by easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. Work in progress pictures will illustrate each step and naturally I won’t break with the tradition of including scenic shots of the final piece. So put on your pith helmet, fill your water bag and follow me once again to a harsh desert environment that offers much more than featureless stretches of land to the modelling enthusiast.

Continue reading Sand in your shoes – A tutorial on arid rough terrain

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Mirage – Making a dry desert lake or Oasis

I always found deserts to be fascinating habitats. A cursory look will leave you with the impression that it is hell on earth: sandstorms, unbearable heat during the day and freezing at nighttime. Yet, the desert is not only home to thousands of plant and animal species, it also has a simple beauty to it, dominated by the shapes the wind forms. They are thus a worthy subject for the modeler and can provide an atmospheric backdrop for our games. The exploits of the Crusaders come to mind as well as the cultures inhabiting Northern Africa, for instance the ancient Numidians.

In this first tutorial on arid terrain (more to follow) I will show you how to make a dry desert lake or an oasis that is slowly drying out. Using a similar technique I will also provide you with some ideas how to model a partially dry river bed, with only a small stream of water remaining. Per usual I will talk about the materials needed and provide you with step-by-step instructions how to make a cracked lake or river bed and scratch-built a dead tree to add further interest.

Continue reading Mirage – Making a dry desert lake or Oasis

A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – Over stick and stone

Dear wielders of the gilded fork, fishing enthusiasts and henge worshippers. The third part of my guide to the Margravate of Greifshold focuses on the areas and sites of interest surrounding the city of Greifshold.

We will travel to a lumbering village, the quaint fishing village Breka, ruins of steadfast castles taken back by tree and root and learn of the worshipers of Reigaro, the principal deity of the settlers. Continue reading A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – Over stick and stone

A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – A grand city

Dear bloggers, explores of a gallant disposition and fans of D20s. Last time we explored the geography of the magravate, but this time we will focus on the most important human settlement  on the continent: the city of Greifshold. Just like my last post this guide is part of a campaign setting I publish via Patreon.

Once again we  follow the well traveled scholar Regis of Werta to the city of Greifshold. Where to eat? Where to sleep? What to do? Fear not traveler, Regis will answer your questions and provide the one or other anecdote. Continue reading A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – A grand city

A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – The land and its myths

Dear readers, adventurers and fans of all things fantasy. As you may know I publish a campaign setting via Patreon with terrain crafting and painting tips. Part of this publication is an in-character guide to my setting: The Margravate of Greifshold.

Thanks to people supporting me on Patreon I can write such background material and release it for all to enjoy on my blog, basically embracing a Creative Commons mindset. Feel free to share links to the guide here on DaggerAndBrush and share the love and help GM’s with their efforts to bring joy to the table. Let me know how you like the guide, what else you would like to see and, naturally, consider supporting me on Patreon, where you get a PDF version of the guide and are always the first to see new content.

So far with the plug, onward to the guide. Follow the well traveled scholar Regis of Werta to Greifshold, an untamed land shaped by myth and warring tribes. A land to be conquered and civilized or a land to be cherished and defended from outsiders? Where do you stand, adventurer?

Continue reading A guide to the Margravate of Greifshold – The land and its myths

Fantastic beasts and how to draw them – Hand-drawn fantasy maps step-by-step

I always thought the most intriguing aspect of historical maps such as the Carta Marina are the fantastic beasts and odd creatures depicted on them: Humanoid figures without heads, sea serpents swallowing ships whole and dragons terrorising villages. Many of these depictions are based on Roman and Greek myth or on tall stories told by sailors over an ale. But how can you add such beasts to your own maps and how do you go best about coloring the map?

In this short tutorial I will show you one way of drawing such beasts and digital colorisation techniques. I already covered the basics in another posts that gives you an introduction to hand-drawn maps. In this installment we draw a much more detailed map and use layers of translucent color  instead of layer masks to bring the map alive.

So come along and explore the Margravate of Greifshold with me, but be warned that we will meet dragons and sentient mushrooms in long forgotten ruins, serpents deep below the waves and fierce tree guardians deep inside an autumnal forest.

Continue reading Fantastic beasts and how to draw them – Hand-drawn fantasy maps step-by-step

Mapping fantastical fancies – Hand drawn campaign maps for your RPG sessions

If you are a Game Master it is always exciting to start a new campaign and let your players explore new shores, their peoples, customs and the secrets they hold in ruins old, mountains high and dungeons cold. To make it easier for your players to visualize this unfamiliar environment you may have provided them with a map of these lands, may it be as loot or after some negotiation with a Gnome in the local antique shop. A map may also come in handy for a wargaming campaign to show the position of warbands or armies and natural obstacles.

Often the first iteration of such a map is a simple hand-drawn sketch, but after more and more of the new area is discovered you may want to provide something with more visual appeal, add a background texture or even colorize your map.

I will show you some of my current exploits into the realm of map making that will be of help if you start out to make your own regional maps. I am still in the early phase of developing my drawing and coloration skills, but hope that the following ideas will be of use for your own development as a hand-drawn map artist.

I will show you my process of drawing a map by hand, scanning and cleaning it up and finally colorizing it using Photoshop. I will also provide you with some PNGs of elements such as ruins, towers and a city that you can use for your own creations as well as a generic parchment background. Future iterations will feature encounter maps, too. Continue reading Mapping fantastical fancies – Hand drawn campaign maps for your RPG sessions

The right tool for the job – Recommended tools for making terrain

You just started making your own terrain or you intend to make your first piece. Excellent! Looking at a gaming table full of your hand crafted terrain is a grand feeling indeed. But which tools should you get before you start or which tools should you get down the road when you gained some experience with this important aspect of our beloved hobby?

Fear not, as I will show you a selection of tools that will come in very handy for pretty much any terrain project. I will keep it simple and recommend a number of tools for cutting and measuring; painting, sculpting and engraving; and tools that are nice to have, but not essential.

Continue reading The right tool for the job – Recommended tools for making terrain

Enthroned in darkness – How to make a ruined shrine and flagstone bases

Last time we fashioned a diorama base featuring weathered gravestones, a gnarly autumn tree and moss-covered flagstones. As promised  in this second installment we will focus on an objective token or a small piece of scatter terrain featuring a ruined shrine and a removable birch tree. Naturally nothing stops you to use it as a scenic base instead or to incorporate this idea into a gaming board.

We will also cover how to make a generic flagstone base if the miniature you are working on does not demand a very elaborate base.

Given I already covered the basic techniques in the graveyard base tutorial, I will only provide instructions for new elements and some work in progress pictures with short annotations for the rest. The list of materials needed is similar to the graveyard base one, with some exceptions noted below.

Continue reading Enthroned in darkness – How to make a ruined shrine and flagstone bases

Unrested souls – How to make a graveyard themed diorama base part I

Crumbling gravestones covered in moss, faded letters, weathered by rain, wind and ice, a gnarled tree, the cry of an owl in moonlit night; who does not enjoy adding an eerily beautiful atmosphere to a base  that will hold a vampire, ghost or necromancer? But how to go about it, what materials can you use and how should you arrange the scene?

Fear not fellow enthusiast of the dark arts, I shall answer these questions in a detailed step-by-step tutorial. In part one I will build  a base for a Vampire Lord based on Reaper’s Judas Bloodspire sculpted by Werner Glocke, but naturally you can use the techniques presented below in any project, may it be a scenic base or a  gaming board to add a somber, yet unsettling feel to your terrain.

Part II will focus on an objective token using the same techniques, namely a long forgotten shrine with a tumbled over statue and we will also look at generic flagstone bases.

Finally part three will present the painted miniature. We will also add some further details, such as walls and bats.

Continue reading Unrested souls – How to make a graveyard themed diorama base part I

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