Sunday, March 11, 2018

D&D Arena Board 1

One of the gamemasters in our local RPG community organised a D&D Arena event for charity, and I volunteered to make a couple of terrain boards for it. After some discussion, we decided on the size and themes for the two boards, the first of which is featured in this post.

The event pit teams of two point-bought 5th level characters against each other. The board needed to be large enough so that characters couldn't get into melee range in just one round, but not so big that it disadvantages melee-based characters excessively. Based on this I recommended a 20 x 20 board, which is a common size used for commercial battle-maps.

For the first board the organiser asked for a ziggurat. Thanks to my experience in building the inverted ziggurat in White Plume Mountain, I knew it was easier to build than it sounded. A trip to the art supplies store got me all the materials I needed: cardboard, 3mm MDF boards, hot glue sticks, glue sticks, and 5mm thick cork boards (for the other board).

I was fortunate to be able to find 12" x 12" MDF boards, which meant that each arena would be based on a set of four boards, which can be taken down for easy storage and transport. It also meant that I could use one of these MDF boards as a base for the ziggurat itself, as cardboard would not be sturdy enough in this role.

As the primary aim of the arena board is for a competitive event, the layout had to be symmetrical to ensure it does not bias against one side or the other, lines of sight had to be unambiguous, and measurement of movement and range had to be easy. With these considerations, I chose to use printed grid maps for texture, such that all movement increments were in 1" (with the exception of the steps on the ziggurat).

The maps used were all from Heroic Maps, with their river set providing the field and the moat, and their Ancient Dungeon set providing the stone pattern for the ziggurat. Despite being designed for use as a 2D terrain map, the stone pattern worked well for a 3D structure, and allowed me to "wrap around" the corners of the ziggurat, giving it a more natural look.

I am not sure whether this set-up favours a melee-based character or a missile-based character, but I will be attending the event to see how the players deal with its challenge.


The Kiwi said...

Looks awesome. cheers

Stephen Holmes said...

A really superb looking piece.
It seems to satisfy the main criteria of Apearance, playability (Figures can stand on it), robustness and portability.

I wonder how long before a player declares "I have the high ground (Anakin)".