Sunday, February 7, 2016

Two Hour Terrain - The Village of Blackstone

Welcome to Blackstone!

A popular stop on the road to civilization (for fast-moving Marauder hordes, Orc warbands and herds of the shambling undead - who take a little longer to move on through), Blackstone residents spend much of their short, brutish lives rebuilding their burned-out, ruined hovels.

Still, if you are ever lucky enough to visit this little cluster of buildings on the dusty road to places far more worthy of pillaging, you'll learn the following from your (slightly-singed, recovered from-a-muddy-track) tourist scroll:

Why is Blackstone called Blackstone?
Well, every time the village is sacked, ruined and pillaged, the plucky (remaining few) residents pick up the blackened bricks and timber and rebuild. For this reason the whole village has taken on a perpetually soot-blackened, "Destroyed" (or "fashionably aged") look.

What can I enjoy during my visit?
Well, not much...
...but you might be interested in the following adventurer-friendly activities.

  • Try a night in "The Lord Castellan's Head", our friendly pub. As it is only half-wrecked, there are still a few corners and rubble that any self-respecting adventurer can hunker down and shelter in (or behind). Guests will also enjoy the welcoming "Open Fire in the Rubble"*, over which warm meals can be mixed (and bandages boiled and cleaned).
  • Climb the "Wailing Watchtower" (or "The old tall, haunted place" as Old Dave - recently deceased, used to call it). This three story defensive tower was built in better times (long ago). Locals attribute the fact that it remains standing to the screaming spirit said to haunt the tower, ironically said to be the lost soul of the landowner who sponsored it's creation....
  • Enjoy a "Live like a Local" night. Choose an overnight stay at any of the three semi-dilapidated hovels on offer. Each offers limited shelter from the elements (available on three sides), and attractive rustic-style peasant brickwork. To round out your cold, damp evening, enjoy the pleasant views onto the main road offered via the crudely-created, solitary window and various cracks in the walls. (Human companionship optional)
*weather permitting. Note that in the interests of safety this activity may also be cancelled due to roving warbands or undead. In times of plague, meager supplies will be left out in advance.

Your friendly local "The Lord Castellan's Head"

The Wailing Watchtower
Peasant hovel (1 of 3)

What is the fascinating architectural story behind this village of wonders?

Well, as you asked...


...I'll be posting a series of posts looking at the different building that I made, but for today, let's lay out the basics.

First of all, I'm not under the illusion that this looks anywhere near as good as any of the building kits that are out there, or many of the scratch-builds that I have found online. I just wanted to get something that I can throw on the table without painting (but that could come later.)

This was my first attempt at scratch-building a few semi-modular buildings out of cheap polystyrene board. My goal was to start to put together enough building terrain to populate a 4' x 4' gaming board for a skirmish game of Frostgrave, and to do so in a short time, at low cost. Skirmish games usually require more terrain than a traditional battleground where you want to allow large units space to maneuver.

Time required: 10-15 hours if you have never done this before (a few evenings, but this is an estimate!) On average, I'd say it took about 2-3 hours for each building set to measure, cut, glue and add a basic level of detail (brickwork etc.)

Cost: 2-5 dollars for the whole lot if using materials from the 1 Pound/ Dollar store/ 100 Yen shop (200-500 yen)

Materials required:

  1. Cheap polystyrene board, (x1 sheet maybe 4' x 3' or 4' x 4'). I went with black, which actually works well as I see less need to paint it than if it was white card.
  2. x1 Cutter knife
  3. x1 bottle of PVA glue
  4. x1-2 pieces of thin cardboard (could be from an Amazon box or even better a cereal box.)
  5. x 1-2 sheets of brown scrapbook paper.
What did I manage to get out of that board?
x3 small hovels, x1 roof, a two storey pub and a three storey watch tower.

Did I save time over buying professional pieces that I would paint? Overall probably, although the measuring, cutting and gluing takes a long time!

Did I save money? Definitely.

Do I have enough terrain now for a built-up area? No, but I'm a lot closer!

In my next few posts I'll look at the creation process for each of the kinds of buildings made. I hope you'll join me again.


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