Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dragonscale Goblet. DIY? More like WHAT NOT TO DO

Watch and before you will unfold two star-crossed attempts at making a dragonscale goblet.

Attempt #1

My first attempt was based around this black glass "pimp" goblet I found on amazon. I liked the size and the opacity of the glass. I did not want the bedazzling.

Using a craft knife, I pried off all the gems and glitter as I could.
Then, I went to sand the outside of the glass, thinking it would make it easier to hot glue to. The glass broke. Don't sand thin glassware.

Attempt #2
I still wanted a dragonscale goblet but my glass broke. I realized I had sculpey clay on hand from a sale at Joanne's. 

This being my first sculpting attempt, it ended up a little lopsided and uneven, but that's "intentional".
Propping it upside down so it does not fall over, I baked the clay as instructed.
Now comes the fun part, gluing a couple hundred pistachio shells with hot glue in a scaled pattern. For the sharp corner where the stem meets the cup, I just butted the tips of the scales up against the tops of the previous layer.

I added a rim of large glass beads that I will repaint to be gemstones. The hot glue did not hold them well, so I re-glued them with E6000.
Base coating the whole piece with black paint. I would recommend against painting any parts you will be drinking from, especially if you want to use spray paint.
Turn it upside-down and get in there real good!
Now, hit the scales with your base scale color. I chose blue because my red paint is shitty and why not.
Then, give your scales some dry brushing in a highlighting color. I used a metallic white mixed with a light blue to make it a lighter color that also looked like the scales were shiny and metallic where they are rubbed.
For the gemstone lip, I did a silver rim around the gems and then used an online tutorial to try and do gemstones. Break out your color chart and pick a gemstone that contrasts your chosen dragon color. Note, I should have started with a darker base orange to make it more of a gemstone, but these still work as simple polished stones.

Here is where my goblet starts to inexorably move towards its own doom. I had read many articles about the food-safe qualities of polymer clay. Polymer clay is technically safe to eat off of once baked, but it has many micro pores that harbor bacteria and can make it impossible to sanitize properly. I thought I would be clever and use a water based polyurethane to seal the clay. Polyurethane is food safe once fully cured, and water based polyurethane plays nicely with polymer clay (oil based liquids will degrade polymer clay and could leave it a sticky mess after a few months). Give it a couple good coats and let it dry in between.
Unfortunately, even after giving the polyurethane an incredibly long time to cure, it would still turn cloudy in the presence of water. Not wanting to chance ruining my goblet or ruining the polyurethane seal, I thought I would try curing the polyurethane at a low temperature in the oven.
 Note, the second cloudy goblet is after letting water sit in the goblet for a week. It didn't feel tacky to the touch or runny, so it may very well be fine, but I don't know.

Here lies the remains of all my hard work. I was done in by my hubris and idiocy. Remember, hot glue melts when it gets hot. Like when you put it in the oven to try and cure the polyurethane.
I still really want a dragonscale goblet, but I am taking a break from any ill fated attempts. Maybe if I find a cheap plastic goblet at a thrift store I might try again. If you make an attempt, I would love to see how it turns out!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Envisioned Eldritch Equipment, etc. (Part II)

Chitin 100

Specially prepared chitin of various large insect creatures, these weapons are useful in their association with poisons and toxins. (+1 DC to poisons on this weapon)

Cold Iron Longsword 500

A longsword, forged of cold iron is of a high quality and does full damage to Fey and Devils.

Combat Maneuver  1250

A melee weapon thus enchanted has been imparted with the knowledge of a skilled combatant. This weapon will make the unskilled proficient and add further to the skill of the proficient. (Offers proficiency in one combat maneuver. If already proficient, adds a +2 to that roll. Bluff, Intimidate, Bull-Rush, Grapple, Trip, or Disarm)

Combat Maneuver 22500

A melee weapon empowered with the knowledge of a master combatant. This weapon will make the unskilled into adepts and make the proficient into masters. (Offers proficiency in one combat maneuver and a +2 bonus. If already proficient, adds a +2 to that roll and gives advantage. Bluff, Intimidate, Bull-Rush, Grapple, Trip, or Disarm)

Copper 300

A rather poor substitute metal for a combative weapon, but works rather suitably for channeling magic spells. A copper weapon used as a spell channel or focus improves the casters abilities. (+2 Damage or +1 to save DC)

Crystal 3000

Crafted from crystals slowly grown underground, crystal weapons and projectiles have jagged edges that shatter on impact, sending tiny shards fanning out.  These jagged edges are constantly reforming from minerals in the air to replace the shattered edges. (½ Weapon Damage to foes in a 5ft burst)

Custom 50

Fitted out with a personal crest, bits of flair, and custom tailored to the hands of the intended owner, a custom weapon is harder to disarm and is uncomfortable for others to use. (+1 vs Disarm. -1 to Attack for others to wield)

Dagger of Venom 2500

Originally created to mimic the fangs of snakes, a Dagger of Venom can coat itself with poison. (3/day. DC 14 CON save vs poison. 1D6 Poison Damage for 3 rounds, save ends)

Dancing 4000

This weapon can be loosed from its wielders hand to dance around its wielder, attacking at mental orders. (Attack once per turn with its owner's attack bonus. Lasts 3 rounds. 2/day)

Dark Ice 2000

Formed of permanently frozen, magical ice from the coldest reaches of great tundras, dark ice weapons draw the warmth and energy from the air. On a near miss, the dark ice deals half damage as it rapidly sucks the heat and energy from the foe. (On a miss of 5 or less, dark ice deals weapon damage die only).

Defending 3000

Lending some of its magic to defending its wielder, a defending weapon confers its magical bonus against attacks from a single foe. (Bonus to defense against a foe that was targeted since your last turn).

Defensive 1000

A defensive weapon can utilize some of its magical bonus towards defending its wielder, but this sacrifices some of its combat ability. (On attack, transfer any amount of the magical bonus to defense until the beginning of your next turn)

Demon Cleaver 6000

This wicked blade was first forged by a tormented blacksmith who lost his wife to the tortures of a mad king. Some say demons were its muses. It functions as a battleaxe and will rend the flesh of its enemies and cause great pain. (On hit, -1 to all actions for 1 round and DC 13 Con. On fail, bleed 1)

Double Cross 1250

This double crossbow was first fashioned by an eccentric Gnome, but the x-shaped limbs of this weapon allow it to fire two bolts with a single shot.

Dragon Bone 900

Weapons made of dragon bones function as steel, but hold the most promise for spell-casters. Depending on the type of dragon the bones come from, the weapon acts as a powerful channel for spells of that element. (On hit, normal weapon damage + spell  with +2 DC or +2 damage per die)

Continue on to part III.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Envisioned Eldritch Equipment, etc. (Part I)

For my games, I have been working to put together a magic items document. I am doing this mostly because the 5e play-test has been pretty limited in terms of magic items, but also because I am constantly adding new items and want a unified document that describe all of them. If you've got interesting ideas or ideas for better mechanics/flavor for any items, I would love to hear them!

Acrid 4000
Laced magically with insidious chemical agents and alloyed with acidic alchemy, this weapon deals acid damage instead of its normal damage type. (+1d6 Acid damage)

Adamantine 3000
Once a secret dwarven alloy of adamantite and steel, metal weapons forged of adamantine ignore hardness or toughness based damage reduction. They are also tougher and more resistant to damage. (Always a finely made weapon, +1 to Attack)

Aligned 8000
Marked with holy symbols, profane markings, or aligned runes, this weapon deals extra damage to foes of the diametrically opposed alignment. (Good, Evil, Law, or Chaos: +2d8 Damage versus the opposite alignment. Neutral: +1d8 Damage versus non­-neutral alignments.)

Arrow of Slaying 2000
These arrows are created targeting a type of monster, and are made in a ritual requiring everything that creature loathes, and will devastate against their intended foe. The more specific the ritual, the greater harm Slaying Arrows will bring. (20 arrows. CON save vs Death, damage on success. Type: DC 12, Monster Type: 3d8 Damage. Species: DC 14, 5d8 Damage. Personal: DC 16, 8d8 Damage.)

Astral Silver 1500
Mined from mysterious veins of silvery metal from drifting rocks in the Astral plane, this alloy makes a wispy, swirling metal that is excellently suited for finesse weapons. (Advantage on sleight of hand rolls with this weapon. Can strike ethereal or astral opponents normally for half damage. Always a finely made weapon, +1 to Attack)

Balanced 450
This weapon is exceptionally well crafted with hidden weights and hollow chambers, allowing a non-­throwing weapon to be thrown and a throwing weapon to be thrown further. (+15 ft. throwing distance)

Bane 2500
Macabre markings denote the number of victories or victims brought about by this blade. Magically anointed, this weapon is designed to destroy a foe that is chosen during a ritual when the weapon is forged. (Type: +2d8 Damage. Species : +3d8 Damage. Personal: +5d8 Damage.)

Banshee Flail 15000
The head of this flail is a pale white, screaming face. When swung, the head emits a quiet sob, but upon striking will release a blood curdling shriek, causing opponents to shiver in terror. (+2 to Attack and Damage. Within 30ft, DC 14 Will Save vs Stun for 1 round, on success ­1 to all roles to until the end of the encounter)

Blinking 3000
A blade for tricksters, an armament enchanted with blinking jumps in and out of existence at its wielder's command. This unusual behavior allows the wielder to attack with advantage on one attack each encounter before their opponents catch on.

Bone 150
Necromancy infused bone makes a passable weapon, but where this material shines is being used as a channel for damaging touch spells. (On hit, normal weapon damage + held touch spell with +1 DC).

Brimstone 1000
Forged as an alloy of blood, steel, and brimstone results in a menacing and mean weapon. When dealing damage to a bloodied foe, deal one extra damage.

Burning Light Darts 1500
Devious darts that, when thrown, leave a wave of burning light along their flight­path. (1d4 Fire Damage to any foe that begins their turn in the flight­path. 2 round duration)

Bursting Elemental 30000
Infused with more powerful spirits of elementals or greater nature spirits, this weapon adds elemental damage and explodes fury on a critical blow. (+2d6 Elemental Damage: Fire, Shock, Cold, Acid, Sound, Radiant, Necrotic. +4d10 Damage on a critical, 10ft. burst)

Charged 4000
Sparks arc across the surface of this weapon and hidden metal chambers honeycomb the interior. This weapon deals shock damage, but if the wielder is targeted by damaging magic, the weapon overcharges. (+1d6 Shock Damage. Additional +2d6 Shock Damage for 3 rounds after being the target of magic.)

Chilled 4000
Almost too cold to touch, this weapon has a thin layer of ice frozen from the moisture in the air. The weapon deals additional cold damage with additional damage as the wielder comes closer to death. (+1d6 Cold Damage. +1d6 additional Cold Damage if the wielder is Bloodied).

The list continues in part II.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Itar's Workshop Dungeon Dressing (Part III)

Part II
Quick update to the dungeon dressing, I read various online sources using a polyurethane sealant to give the paint job and miniatures more durability. . The exact brand I used was Minwax water based Polycrilic protective finish, clear semi-gloss. Then I followed it up with a dull, light coat of a spray sealer, to dull the shine of the first coat and add a second protective coat.
 Note: In the future I would put my sealed miniatures, on parchment or wax paper. These ones pulled off a big of orange from the scrap paper I was using.
 A word of caution to check the weather before taking your stuff out to give a light spray coat. If you forget or the weather surprises you, don't worry the polyurethane will dry out pretty quickly.
 If I was to do all this over again, I would hold off on using any mod-podge to make areas shiny until after I sealed everything.

Below is a side project I wanted to try for an idea. I enjoy pistachios and sunflowers a great deal and have a good deal of shells. I wondered if I could make an interesting texture of them, and wondered how each of them would look.
 With a large hot glue gun, I glued on successive layers of shells.
 I gave them a base coat of black spraypaint.
 Now a layer of dark green as my base color and a darker green wash.

 Finally, I gave both the sunflower and pistachio scales a dry-brush highlight of a metallic green.

I thought the effect turned out really well, and it gave me a cool idea for a project. I chose the pistachio shells for that project, as they remind me more of dragon scale. The sunflower seeds trick is something I will keep in the back of my mind if I ever want to make a very nice lizard/snake scale.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Itar's Workshop Dungeon Dressing (Part II)

See Part I here.
Now that I had the basic parts of the miniatures painted, I looked and started to find some more advanced techniques to try. Here is a whole list of advanced painting techniques I found with links. These links had everything I needed for the stuff I tried out below.

Here is where I started with a base of color for everything. It took a few coats to cover the white in the gemstones, but they look brighter for it.
The flames and lanterns I gave a base of bright yellow. The bottles I did a mix of blues and reds, but I changed my mind later and went with green bottles instead to represent wine bottles.
The fires and lanterns I then hit with an orange and then with just a little red and a final sprinkle of black on the tip to give it a smoky feeling.
 The gems I hit with a light and dark version of their respective colors in the method as colors in part I.
 I thought my sarcophagus looked a little boring and remembered from my Egyptologist grandmother that the inner coffin was usually the most elaborate. I decided to add a trim of gold and rubies for eyes.

For a few of my pillars, I wanted some flair. The obilisk got a shiny black, obsidian trim and a sandy base made of simple white glue and baking soda. I brushed it lightly after it had dried to get rid of any loose powder and then painted it. It turned out really well as a miniature sand, where actual sand looks like gravel or small stones in a miniature scale. I added a little growth to one broken pillar, with flocking made with twine. Lastly, for the bloody pillar, I mixed a darker, wine red with some white glue to make it a little more goopy.

The bookcases... oh these I wasn't sure I was ready for. I took a while to figure out what I wanted to do. Luckily, I found a good glass bottle tutorial. After a few tries, and some accidental coloring of the bookcase (notice the "spilled" bottles) I think I got half-way decent look on these. I tried some interesting bottles of black splotches (originally intended to be eyeballs or maggots, but w/e), a golden potion, and a blood filled vial.

 Take a look at my finished dungeon accessories! If you have any questions or suggestions for a better paint job, I welcome your comments.

What's that secret project in the back there?


See the final post, Part III.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Itar's Workshop Dungeon Dressing (Part I)

So a while ago, I supported the Itar's Workshop Kickstarter for a large number of dungeon dressing items. Itar's Workshop is a cool shop that licenses Hirst Arts molds, and with nice investments in molds and molding machines, produce high quality terrain and tiles. I was more interested in the dungeon accessories because I default to the less expensive 2.5D style originally coined by DMScotty that uses cardboard based tiles. Take a look at their website for more stuff that they make (albeit at a higher price than I paid during the Kickstarter campaign. I am ecstatic to have some high quality dungeon accessories to run in my games, and I am quite happy with how these all turned out.

This is my first attempt at some real miniature work, so I hope it will be of help to those of you who are getting into miniature painting. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes or maybe understand the techniques better than I do. I basically followed the steps given here.If you are trying your hand at painting for the first time, try not to be too worried, you will be surprised by what you can do.

1. Get everything out and take a nice picture for a before and after.
2. Wash the pieces in soapy water and scrub lightly to remove any mold release remaining.
3. Use an exacto or craft knife to remove any flash or mold lines. 
4. Assemble all the pieces together. I used a combination of E6000 and super glue. The E6000 has a little give but is a little less precise, so I used it for any small, fragile joint or for pieces that could see a lot of wear. The carts and the open coffins were the two most annoying pieces to get together, I had to use a little hot glue to really get them to stay. For the pieces with smaller bases, I E6000'd them to a small washer. The super glue was great for flat surface to flat surface quick bonding. 
5. Base everything black with spray paint. By keeping the can a moderate distance away, I was able to get a thin coat that did not cover up any details. Warning, be patient and take your time. Trying to move the pieces around to do all the sides and the base quickly might result in you accidentally pulling off spray paint. I used disposable latex gloves so I avoided getting paint on my hands. 
6. Paint on a base color in the neutral color for the piece. For the dungeon dressing, this split my items into three base colors: brown for wooden items, grey for stone, and beige for sandstone. I used a slightly watered down paint at first, but personally found it easier and more covering to not water it down (although this might be based on my inexperience as a painter and/or my cheaper craft paints). The brown pieces took at least four coats, but the beige and grey went on quicker.
See below where I based the glass and paper items in white to make them brighter when I paint colors on them later. Also see where I messed up my stone pieces by used a wash that was not watered down enough so it just sat on top and darkened everything instead of leaking down into the gaps.
7. For each color, I chose a dark version of that color to do a very watered down wash. I also added a gunmetal to any pieces that had metal bindings, locks, or handles.  
8. Lastly, I took a lighter version of each of those colors to do a dry-brush to highlight the raised areas and add some texture to the piece. Notice some of the pieces where I second guessed myself and tried to re-darken the coffin. It still looks nice, but unless you really messed up, just trust your first go-over (if you really messed up, re-base and start over).

 The white paint was the base for the gemstones, fires, and skulls to make sure they would really pop.

After all these steps, I have a pretty serviceable set of wooden and stone items. In part II I will paint the bottles, books, gems, fires, and more. Part II