Meph, wow!... Now that is impressive. I forgot about the columns in the Great Hall. He did a really nice job with the Warg stables, changing the ground appearance to let players realize that area is open to the sky. It was built in 2010, which makes sense, as he had some D&D pre-painted Hill Giants in his figure collection. He did a really nice job on it. Thank you for sharing that with me. It truly is inspiring. That is the first time I've seen it built up, as opposed to looking at the 2D map from the module. Cheers!
Finally on the home stretch of this project! Here is a link to a slideshow of a full mock-up of the walls. What is missing: the Fire Pit in the Great Hall; the pillars which hold up the roof, within the Great Hall; fireplaces in numerous rooms; the doors were left off, as the wall sections need to be edged with a black marker yet. What I changed/altered from the original map: the door on the sentry tower is not against the wall, as it should be (Oops!), it is in the corner, closer to the main gate; the main gate is 1/2 of its original size, only 20 feet across, instead of 40 feet -- I did not want to custom build a gate that large, nor did I want to try to scale the PDF gatehouse up, to make it match, and I eliminated the walls on the outside of the gate, that the massive 20-foot wide doors would rest against, when fully opened.
The scale is 1 inch = 5 feet. This thing is HUGE!!! It is roughly 5 feet wide, by 6 feet long... It will be a challenge to put together, at conventions, but I made a bunch of custom walls, marked them, and the map, so that assembling them will be easier -- just follow the labeling. Still, it will consume copious amounts of time to assemble it all.
I still need to decide how to make the Fire Pit, and the fireplaces. I did some searching on the Internet for suitable images to paste on the proper wall sections, but nothing seemed to work. I'll keep plugging away at them, though. Below are a couple of images of the full mock-up of the walls, including a closer shot of the Great Hall, with the Chieftain's honored guests (Fire Giant, Frost Giant, and three Stone Giants), as well as his own peoples celebrating their successful raids against the puny Humans (Ettins, Ogres, and numerous Hill Giants). Cheers!
View of the entire Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, with a brave party of adventurers calling at the main gate, for a friendly tour of their neighbors' new fort.
A view of the Chieftain's Great Hall. You can see that he is already entertaining guests [Fire Giant (above the Frost Giant), Frost Giant (white base, red cape), and three Stone Giants (right side of the Great Hall)], so I doubt he will be willing to give a tour to some of the local yocal Humans...
Well, curufin, I plan to run it at Gary Con, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, in March of 2017. I will be running a couple of play-test games at ReCon, in Minneapolis/St. Paul starting in the Fall session (they run that mini-convention four times per year). Cheers!
Finishing up on the fireplaces (8-9), and the Fire Pit, in the Main Hall. The first play test will be Sunday. Looks like I will have 8-9 players to run through it. Should be fun.
Went through the original module, looking at HD of the Giants, and levels recommended for the PC's... Discovered that in 2nd Ed. rules, they increased the HD of the Giants by 4, so I bumped up the levels of the PC's by four: was for characters of levels 8-12, now I will be running PC's of 12th-16th levels. Hill Giants, back in 1st Ed. rules, had only 8 HD, but in 2nd Ed. rules, they have 12! Should be interesting to see how it plays out.
Look for photo's to be uploaded to this thread some time next week, with a summary of how it went... Cheers!
Finished the playtest... Learned many things, but also encountered a couple of serious issues. The set-up of the wall sections took 4-5 hours: the mats are not uniformly cut for the slots, so the slots do not line up perfectly. I had to rotate the mat sections, and swap them around, to get them to come close to lining up. This threw off the wall sections, which I had custom cut. I pulled them out, marked them for room number, both on the wall sections, and on the paper map, so I could speed up re-assembly... Then the mats got laid down out of order, and position.
I ended up custom cutting many sections, again, to make them fit. I got it all together again, but I know this will be a recurring problem. At a convention, you do not always have enough time to set up... A few times, I have had only 1/2-hour, or less, to set up my table! The slotted mats work great at home, where I have ample time, but at a convention, I could be sunk. Need to develop a faster system...
I tried using BattleSystem Skirmishes rules: no one but me knew them, and that caused issues. I am thinking since it is aimed at GaryCon, and it is a tribute to him, I will likely run 1st Ed. AD&D RPG rules, and run it like it was 1978, when the module was first published. Had a young teenager play, and that was a test of patience for all. By going with 1st Ed. AD&D rules, I may drive away the youngsters, which could work for the rest of us grognards. I'm thinking of making a poster, using only red and black Sharpie pens, to set the mood: "Let's game like it's 1978! Featuring the just-released AD&D rules..."
I'll post a few photo's, and a link to a write-up by one of the players, later. Cheers!
And now for some photo's, and information, on how I made the fireplaces, as well as the large Fire Pit, featured in the Main Hall of the Steading...
I made the fireplaces using a pattern created within MS Publisher 98 program: basically, two vertical rectangles for the sides, and a curved arch, for the top piece. These shapes were printed out on regular paper and then glued to 2mm cardboard, cut out, and left to dry. I had a long graphic image of dancing flames, with a black background, which I thought would be perfect to use for the flames -- much of this design is done in 2D, and this approach seemed very logical for the desired goal. I printed out the flame graphic, then I cut them in proper shapes, to get different flame designs, which were then glued on top of the MS Publisher printout. Once these dried, I used Wood Glue to attach some small aquarium rocks around the edges, within the rectangles, and the cross piece design produced in MS Publisher 98. After the glue dried, I painted the rocks with Minwax Polyurethane Stain Royal Walnut (aka, The Dip), to darken them up a bit, as they were quite light colored.
As you can see, above, the rocks are quite light in color. Below is a photo showing half the rocks with Minwax applied, which demonstrates the effect it has on them:
Here is a shot of a finished Fireplace, ready to be attached to a flat wall section:
Here is a photo of the unpainted Fire Pit. This was made by using a plastic sandwich bag. I cut off the zip-lock end, and then I applied Hot Glue, for texture. The U-shape was hand-formed, and the whole was then Hot Glued to the cardboard circle, cut out as a base. I used the same rock/glue/Minwax technique on the Pit base, as well. Here are a few photo's of it in various stages of completion:
The cardboard base was slathered with Hot Glue to secure the sandwich-bag-coated-with-Hot-Glue flames in place. This was then painted with Wood Glue, and fine, black sand was sprinkled on top of the glue, to create a coal-fire base. The coal was simpler to use as a fire fuel, as I did not have anything to use as logs. I created a U-shape flame in case the PC's chose to conjure a Fire Elemental in the game -- I could place it in the opening of the flames, and move it out from there. The fireplaces, and the Fire Pit, were quick, easy to build, and turned out acceptable.
The fireplaces were attached to the wall sections with blue tac, to avoid damaging either the wall section, or the fireplace. They worked really well, visually, and from a build standpoint: fast, easy, and looked decent. Here is a final shot, game in play, of the Great Hall. Cheers!
Another update: performed another play test game yesterday, using 1e RPG rules -- sort of... I made up 9 characters, of various races, and classes, with several multi-class types. Discovered that I had too many Cleric types, and not enough Fighter types. They took a different entry approach, this time. The roof of the Steading is shown to be grass mats, basically, over a timber structured roof -- think African huts. There is a drawing of the Steading which demonstrates the design. The roof is ridiculously tall, creating a vast dead space over the lower wall structures, but I largely ignored that. The PC's, however, chose to go to the far side of the Steading, where there are no doors to enter, climbing the walls, to mount the grass rooftop. They had one of the two Thieves climb up, and then walk a short distance up the grass matted rooftop, then poke his head through, to see if anyone was in the room he was looking into. Luckily for them, they chose an empty barracks room, used by the Hill Giant occupants, who were presently partying in the Great Hall.
They all climbed up to the rooftop, then they descended upon a rope secured to the roof structure. Once inside, they used one of the Wizard's Enlarge spells, to turn their Ranger PC into a giant version of himself, to try to blend into the local Giants. As they were preparing to exit the barracks, one of the Thieves heard noises of someone approaching. They quickly hid beneath the 10 or so beds, with the 'giant' Ranger lying down in one of the beds, covered up to hide his armor. Two Hill Giants entered the room, drunk, barely able to stand (rolled 2 Hill Giants, returning from the party, to sleep off their binge drinking, as per the Random Encounter Table of the module). The two quickly laid down, and within minutes, they were sawing giant logs. The PC's snuck out from under the beds, and dispatched the two sleeping Giants, quite easily.
Then they crept slowly out into the hallways, discovering that the kitchen was close by, across the hallway from the Great Hall, which was party central, for the Chieftain, and his honored guests. The PC's explored some of the nearby rooms, and discovered one room had a door into the dimly lit hallway which opened into the Great Hall, on the rowdy end, and it also led to the entrance area, near the Guard Tower, at the near end. They sent their 'giant' Ranger to cover the far end of the hallway near the kitchen, to deal with anyone who bolted out of that doorway from the Great Hall, while one of two Wizards snuck into the dimly lit hallway, to prepare a Fireball spell. The Wizard cast his spell, and the detonation point was the Chieftain's table, just opposite the great fire pit! The Chieftain failed his Save, and he, and his jewelry, were scorched beyond recognition. His not-so-lovely Bride, his pet Cave Bear (missing all of its burned-off fur...), and his Sub-Chieftain survived, and opened the Secret Door behind them, to escape into the dungeon level.
In this photo, you can see the Great Hall, full of reveling Giants, drinking, wrestling, bragging, and completely ignorant of what was about to happen... In the hallway, bottom center of the photo, you can see the figure representing the Enlarged Ranger PC, sliding the Giants' spears through the pull rings on the double doors. His fellow PC's are down the hall, in the rooms adjoining the dimly lit hallway which leads into the Great Hall party room. The open doorway in front of the Ranger, leads into the kitchen area.
The second Wizard in the party then unleashed a Fireball spell in the same round, centering it on a Cloud Giant guest (used an old Ral Partha Storm Giant figure, gray robes, white hair) of the now-deceased Chieftain, engulfing three Hill Giants standing next to him! Two of the lesser Giants were killed, while the other two were severely wounded. At this point, a Morale Check was made for the Giants, and everybody decided they had somewhere else they needed to be -- like, yesterday! The Giants panicked, and stampeded for the nearest exit!
The PC's used several spears they found in the Giant's Armory, to lock the pull rings on the double doors, heading towards the kitchen. This delayed the stampeding Giants for one Round, allowing one of the multi-class, Fighter-Mage characters to cast an Ice Storm spell (marked with blue rubber rings, al la' DM Scotty's suggestion), using the sleet form, outside the double doors, creating an ice rink, for everyone to slip on, when they did bust open the door!
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Great Hall, all of the Giants who were lucky(?) enough to head that direction, made it through the double doors, to safety. They then ran towards the courtyard where the Wargs roamed freely, and then they made their way out of the Steading, altogether!
The Giants easily breached the barred double doors, only to have the first Hill Giant to step into the icy hallway, fall flat on his backside as he slipped on the ice! It was not pretty after that, either...
We stopped the play test session after that, as the PC's had killed the Chieftain, and around a dozen of his clan of Giants. We knew, at that point, that we had done some things incorrectly, per the 1e rules. We are all accustomed to playing 2e rules, and there are subtle differences, which threw the play test off balance: we allowed the PC's to over-stack their Bless, and Prayer spell bonuses, which made the Fireball spells far too powerful. Still, we learned that Gygax has stacked the adventure in favor of the PC's by over-crowding the Great Hall with Giants... It truly is written up to be a target-rich environment! The figures were all to scale, per the 1977 Monster Manual, and the Great Hall was dead-on accurate for scale, with the specified number of Giants in the Great Hall. They are mostly drunk, and all are busy enjoying a rowdy party. The hallway leading into the Great Hall, is dimly lit, so it makes it easy for the PC's to sneak into that hallway, to get a clear shot into the Great Hall. It is like shooting fish in a barrel... The leaders, Chieftain, his Wife, and the Sub-Chief, are all sitting together, at the head table, in the center. You could not ask for a better setup, for cutting the head off of the snake.
Even with all of that, it was a fun game, and it should prove to be a fun game when I run it at conventions. My goal is to provide players with a chance to experience this classic adventure, using a full-scale model, with miniatures, to see just what it is supposed to be like, without having to resort to theater of the mind. Cheers!
Realized I never updated this post after the Tundra Con event, January 2017, where I ran this game...
It went off rather well, for the players. They managed to similarly storm the Great Hall, sneaking up on the reveling Giants, using the dimly lit entrance hallway. They, too, unleashed some Fireballs on the drunken Giants, achieving a similar result of panicking many of the Giants. What can I say, but that, again, Gary stacked this module heavily in favor of the PC's! The Giants were caught by surprise, their noses smashed (a euphemism indicating they lost their will to fight, very quickly, due to a decisive blow applied by the PC's!).
With regards to the lower level, I never made it up. I realized during the initial play-test session, that we would never have enough time to reach/explore the dungeon level. The speed of play slowed down, dramatically, as it always does when playing with mini's, versus playing Theater-of-the-Mind. I suspect the same speed of play with G2 and G3. The differences will be that G2 will be completely modular, full 3D, terrain, which I will deploy upon demand, so I could play either level of the Glacial Rift; for G3, it will depend: if I run the dungeon area, the walls will be deployed ahead of time, in the slotted mats, which means we will only have time to play the upper level. Time will tell, but experience suggests very strongly, how they will go.
Still working on painting the 30+ Frost Giants, as well as painting the glacier terrain wall sections. I hope to get it done by January 2019. Not working on the Dungeon walls for the Halls of the Fire Giants, yet. Did some proof of concept work, last year. Tabling this so I can finish the Frosty terrain. Cheers!
erho: I will once again rise above Lurker status if I ever get back to painting, Real life work transitions... Adulting
Jan 31, 2020 16:23:29 GMT
factoriatabletop: sgtslag...oh man! you are right about it...
Mar 3, 2020 10:13:15 GMT
Draklith: Hey everyone just a quick stop by to see if anyone is still here, hope everyone is doing ok
May 26, 2020 18:27:20 GMT
sgtslag: This forum seems to be slowing down. I hope everyone is still crafting, safely! I will be here until they turn off the power... Cheers!
May 27, 2020 13:46:43 GMT
factoriatabletop: maybe we should try to make a contest here, between us
Jun 2, 2020 8:40:08 GMT
factoriatabletop: no prizes, just proud....dont know, anyone else?
Jun 2, 2020 8:40:40 GMT
sgtslag: Still unpacking after moving in October... Too much stuff, crafting materials are mostly still in boxes. Weekends are busy with life, so little progress made. Getting the urge to push through, though, soon. I have several projects waiting...
Jun 2, 2020 20:14:39 GMT
erho: Yeah I'm down for a painting contect
Jun 8, 2020 14:28:59 GMT
sgtslag: Started working on making hills, which match my Tee-Time carpet I use for my "grass mat," on my gaming table, for big battles. Got two long chunks of open-cell foam, from a friend. Used my Proxxon Hot Wire Cutter to make terrain hills out of them.
Jul 26, 2020 20:12:40 GMT
sgtslag: Came up with around 80 hills. Covering them with the same carpet, from scraps. They will match the tabletop, perfectly. Contact Cement, is my friend. Will post on it, when I get the pictures uploaded. Some prototypes done, as proof-of-concept...
Jul 26, 2020 20:14:06 GMT
randywest: does anyone know more manufacturers for 1/72 fantasy minis besides Dark Alliance, Caesar and Elhiem?
Sept 14, 2020 14:16:19 GMT
sgtslag: 50 Hills completed, 24 left to cover the sides on. Hoping to finish this project within the week. Then I'll post a build description. For war gaming, but it can cross over to RPG sessions... They match the ground 'cloth', perfectly.
Sept 19, 2020 19:03:09 GMT
sgtslag: Sorry, randywest, the listed makers are the only ones I know.
Sept 19, 2020 19:03:34 GMT
sgtslag: Ran out of Hot Glue, with only five hills left to add a skirt to the sides of. Wal-Mart closes at 8:00 PM, thanks to COVID. GRRRrrr! Another 30 minutes of work, and I would have been done: ~77 hills, modular, perfectly matching my table's ground cloth!
Sept 23, 2020 2:50:39 GMT
sgtslag: Will post a write-up soon, or after next week's vacation. Cheers!
Sept 23, 2020 2:51:57 GMT
sgtslag: Hoping to acquire a Chop Saw within the next two weeks. Then I will cut up MDF into triangles, to form the skeleton of my d20 fantasy world globe... Posting will follow, with how-to guide. Cheers!
May 11, 2021 22:57:40 GMT
erho: I have a confession: I havnt painted a thing in months because I got a new guitar(#8!) but now that May "Megadeth month" is over I have a repaired airbrush and a early 90's Ral Partha Amethyst dragon on the table... pics to come soon!
Jun 11, 2021 17:49:58 GMT
margaret: too bad you can't post your music here =). Hadn't seen that dragon - looks like it came out when all my cash was going to raising kids. Looking forward to seeing your paint choices!
Jun 12, 2021 2:41:42 GMT