There wasn’t much to report for the 10th. Spent that evening thumbing through books and scrolling through websites in search of things. For ideas. Some luck was had.
For the 11th and 12th, it finally dawned on me that if I’m going to be making tons of dungeon tiles, I should probably have a very large surface for them sooner rather than later. Working with the materials at hand, double-thick corrugated cardboard, project board, paint, glue, and duct tape, I’ve been cobbling together a folding table topper (I guess you’d call it) that opens to a room-devouring 96″ x 78″ (8′ x 6 1/2′). The vast majority of it is done. All that’s left for this stage, just to get it functional, are a couple of spots to shore up on the right leaf and a few more project board legs. They don’t look like much, but with the 90 degree bend running up the length, they’re more than able to handle the light load resting on them. They’re there to prop up panels where the panels are most likely to sag.
All in all, I’ve been very pleased. But there’s a downside. It’s that the table is so huge that there will be no reaching the center from the edge, so when I do layout on it, I’ll have to start from the center and work outward. This prompted some thinking. I needed a design solution. What I want must be sturdy enough to support light-weight cardboard panels, stable enough to support them securely, large enough to support them adequately, light enough to be easy to move around, and somehow allow me to make really large layouts while still having access.
And it hit me. Pedestals. Heavy-duty two-ply cardboard (same stuff the table topper is made of) pedestals that can be broken down for convenient storage. A base with a hat-box like insert piece mounted to it. A column comprising a single sheet scored in four places for folding around the insert on the base with a tie closure like on an inter-office memo envelope. A top that’s got the same kind of insert piece mounted to it that slips down into the column. Voila, pedestal! Affix some velcro to the top of it. Put some of the other half of the Velcro bottom center of a large cardboard panel, and there’s a sturdy, stable, sufficiently large, light enough solution that turns out to be conveniently stored and is from materials on hand. If I don’t have enough project board, there’s always more cardboard.
Then I can just slice the topper I’ve got now into 9 panels. That way I’ll only ever need to move one small unit out of the way to reach anything otherwise out of reach.
This’ll work. Then I can put the table I’m using now in the kitchen for breakfast nook/game table. I’m likin’ it.
Also, last night I put together a cut list for all the basic 2.5D (what I think of as low-profile 3D) dungeon tiles I want to make. I plan to run D&D 1st Edition’s module B1: In Search of the Unknown, so I’m making the tiles specifically for that, but I know I’ll want enough tiles of various shapes and sizes to do more than that one module. I’d like to have a decent headstart on most of the other modules, as well as whatever home-brew adventures I might run, so I’m making plenty of extra.
B1’s first level calls for about 300 pieces as I plan to cut them. I’m taking into consideration the reach of torch or lantern light (60′ in BECMI, I don’t know about later editions yet) for 28mm minis (1:60 scale), so I size them (generally) according to what can be seen from the edge of the previous tile. Large rooms get cut into chunks. Even though those chunks of room are strange oblongs, I figure they’ll still get plenty more use in other layouts by adding from the extras I’m making for other shapes and sizes instead of just adding the piece that went with it first.
When I tally up my cut list, it looks like I’ll be making upward of 1,200 pieces with tons of duplicates of shapes and sizes I think might be most useful. Next step on that project is one more experiment with PVA glue as a treatment. Also going to try something with wood filler. Once I have my answers from those trials, I’ll be ready to start cutting, starting from the large pieces and working my way down to 90 degree triangle half-squares, sides 1″, 1″, hypotenuse”. I’d hate to waste a great large sheet by making strips to cut hundreds of those little buggers out.
Meanwhile, here’s a shot of the table top when all I had was the center strip done.
And here’s the current state of it. I’ll finish creating and placing the stuff that goes in the center before I finish the right leaf, otherwise I’ll need one of those long robot-looking squeezy gripper hand thingums to put everything in place.
I’m stunned at the hugeness of it all. Honestly, I’d love to keep it that size and format just for the sheer oddity of it, but I think you can see why I’d want to slice that up into more manageable pieces and how pedestals might just be the trick.
More good news to come soon. I’m sure of it.