Saturday, December 4, 2010

Keeping my game afloat. Part 1

In my continuing search for things to add to my game, I ended up on such sites as, and the tutorial there on making your own dungeon tiles. Given how rare and thus expensive some of the tile sets are now, finding this tutorial was quite the boon, as I hadn't even considered that idea before.

However, my first project using his methods was going to be a bit more ambitious. :)

I am currently running a 4th edition D&D version of the U-series modules from 1st edition D&D. I probably should have played around with them a bit more, and actually created them as 4th edition adventures, but I just took the lazy route and changed the populations of the monsters from 1e to 4e stats and left everything else as is. Nothing wrong with that. It just affects pace a bit more.

I'm running the game as an online adventure, on, but as I was running the "Giant Octopus Attack" from the third module, while they're on their way to a lair of Sahuagin, I was thinking that it would be cool to run this with miniatures, rather than doing it with the Photoshop maps I was editing at the time. I had the images of the ship's decks from the original module, and I just altered them so that they had 5' squares instead of 10' squares. Then I put counters on the map, which were perspective shots of various miniatures, keeping each "miniature" as a separate layer in the Photoshop image, and I moved the miniatures about as their players dictated a change in location.

Since there are three decks to the ship that you can fight on, I started thinking about building a 3-D ship, and putting the miniatures on their, and moving them about, taking pictures of the map and uploading those, instead of using the Photoshop images.

Well, I never did get around to doing it that way, but I did create the tiles for the various ship decks and they are all set to be put together into their 3D representation.

I started off with The Newbie DM's tutorial on making your own D&D tiles. I found the Caravel deck plans from WotC's Stormwrack sourcebook, did some editing in Photoshop, to remove the room numbers, and then separate the decks into separate images. I removed as much of the water background from the image as possible, except for around the hold, since that would become the bottom tile, and I extended the grid in the image of the hold, so that it covered the water as well. Once I added in some yards across the masts, just for the option, I figured they were ready and I printed them out on cardstock.

Gluing them to medium weight chipboard, and cutting them out, I had this:

Unfortunately, that's as far as I've gotten with it at the moment, but the plan is to do this, but with wooden dowels in place of the dice:

There's some issues I need to fix with the "Fo'c'sle" and the Quarterdeck. I shouldn't have put the yards actually on those deck pieces, but I should have just had them as separate pieces. Also, the crows nest needs to be wider, to accommodate the base of a mini once the dowel is in place.

Then I plan on passing this beauty on to Craig, for use in his game (at some point), and I'll make another for myself. :)

Related Posts:

Keeping My Game Afloat, Part 2
Keeping My Game Afloat, Part 3
Yo Ho. Yo Ho. It's an Astral Privateer's Life for Me
Keeping My Game Afloat, the Finalé


  1. Do have copy of plans i could print out? Thanks
    very cool looking.