I've gotten to the point in my D&D campaign where the party is starting to go to places other than fields, roads, villages, cities, castles, dungeons, etc. I've been looking around for things that have an otherworldly fantasy feel to them. I see that zsezseworks has a something that fits the bill; Plane of Havoc
Paper models of giant mushrooms, oddly shaped crystals, alien plants, and other things that wouldn't fit into a standard setting, or low level campaign. A library with a portal to outerspace in one of the books?
What have you guys found that looks like really fantastic locations, different planes of existence, etc? I'm starting to piece together bits at a time with custom maps, but someone must have run into this before
Having been a purely cast-miniatures gamer/modeller for decades, when I first discovered the wonderful world of online paper modelling in 2012, my "excuse" for pursuing it was I could use it to represent alternate planes/dimensions - so the 2D nature of flat paper minis happened because on the "normal" plane, they had this "magical" ability to turn side-on and effectively vanish, and so forth, for instance. So I started looking for anything that would contrast with the 3D scenery and mini collections I already had, and I think it's all kinds of such contrasts which work to help throw players off their stroke. Of course, paper modelling has taken over my life since then, but that's where I began!
Overall, it depends how "otherwordly" you want. For instance, look at the WWG "Hellworks" products. Why not use a spacecraft model as what's through the portal - even one without monsters could be deadly enough, with lasers and airlocks accessible at the touch of a button... What about using something like the Lord Zsezse "Ancient Worlds" range, but using contrasting stones and basic terrain from the layer options - moss and vine covered stones in the middle of a desert, say. Even something quite simple, like printing floorplans (and walls) onto transparent sheets (or tracing paper) instead of the usual opaque card; or use coloured or patterned card as your basic printing medium (could be due to a different coloured sun). Transparent-printed minis too, maybe.
Three years ago, I bought a paper and card craft set cheaply at a local bargain supermarket, one of those occasional promotions you sometimes find. That had a lot of different types of paper and card in one-off sheets, including a few things I'd never seen even in art shops (such as heavy paper weight transparent film with patterns printed on it; one of those was flames - the pack had an autumnal theme overall - so sparking ideas for a fiery dimension, and partly inspired by the Papercraft Dungeon "Blazin' Bones" set). I still keep going back to that pack for fresh inspiration in paper modelling.
The key thing to me has been just to keep thinking outside the box, not being very restrictive on what another plane/dimension could contain - even a simple reversal of a few key people's attitudes to the party (friends become enemies) might be enough to keep things fresh. If you normally use highly realistic terrain and scenery, what about using something more stylized instead, maybe like the Inked Adventures products; or vice-versa?
One to check out is WorldWorksGames' megabash Crystal Caves, which is only available on paizo.com, and cost $15. You can download photos of it from the product page. It includes multiple colours of crystals, and I imagine you could make them even more otherworldy (if more fiddly) by printing them on transparencies, and perhaps adding LED from inside (great time to pick them up! even Christmas village-sized strings would work!). Wyvern's thought of transparencies reminds me of other things I've printed on them, you could just find interesting textures/patterns in fabric, or anywhere online, and print them out, and shape them to your liking for compelling environments...
I've got a jaunt into the underworld in mind, as well as a castle in the clouds. Some of the zsezseworks items are ready to be used as otherworldly, but I find it odd that there's not more of that type of thing available. I guess people are more comfortable mapping what they know, and no one knows what the heck the weird stuff should look like, heh.
My party has fought titans in volcanoes,
giant rust monsters and their offspring that are eating metals from the ground and creating giant pits,
saved villages that lived on the back of a zaratan,
and gotten into fights with pixie pirates, been abducted by alien ilithids, and fought off a xenomorph infestation, and crashed the ship back down into the ocean
Those were all inspired by pre-existing ideas though. Every fantasy world seems to be the same as this one; green grass, green trees, brown dirt. I like the idea of changing the colors around on things, due to a different sun or just general weirdness. There's a bright pink tree in that WWG I linked in the first post, and that's one of the things that makes that set stand out. Inked Adventures is my go-to product, as they're the easiest to edit and change. Maybe I should change things up and see what else I can make. Thanks
Edit: And good example with the crystal caves Anne. Amazing how different each example looks with a simple color change.
Last Edit: Nov 15, 2013 4:27:11 GMT -9 by bortorama
Wow! Those are some fascinating adventures! I'm envious! I wish I could find a DM around here, as it is, I'm having to be my own, and learn everything from the ground up. A couple of Pathfinder Society Organized Play sessions hardly count... Ah well, my learning means my sons will have the benefit of being guinea pigs
For other ideas, I can only suggest perusing pulp-era through early 1980's sci-fi and fantasy book covers. After that, they actually started reflecting was what inside the book
Or, there is Cerulean Seas. I got a chance to read through the main book, and it's wonderfully rich, including not only underwater combat rules but techniques for demonstrating in 3D, excellent story and race/species ideas, and immersive details throughout. I think it's run under Pathfinder rules, so also fairly easily transportable to D&D and other D20 systems. Now, that is a campaign setting, and probably adventures and so on by now, rather than terrain, but it might inspire you none the less. Of course, no-one's saying that the seas would have to be cerulean, either
Thanks for the heads-up about WWG's Crystal Caves, Anne. Weird the set's not on WWG's own website, and somewhat disturbing to find how much simpler it is to locate specific products of theirs on the Paizo site...
Cloud Castles: This is something I've done before, but many years ago, by hand (that is, long before computers could generate such things easily). It is strange they haven't been used in more recent times. But there are a lot of things that could still be done that aren't - Anne's mention of Cerulean Seas calls to mind undersea settings, for example, ones where the creatures should be posed swimming, not looking like they've been dumped on the sea bed (cast 3D minis), or are posed unreasonably upright, including human swimmers not dressed as deep-sea divers.
That flowering almond tree in WWG's "Garden" set is indeed really striking! Plus they used scattered blossoms on some of the grass surface mats, which is a nice touch. Although for 3D paper modelling, I prefer walls to have some genuine thickness, WWG's double-surfaced printout card flat walls can also create a weird setting, much as I mentioned regarding stand-up flat paper minis earlier. Face-on, you can use them for cover, side-on, you can't, a bit like the confusion in a hall of mirrors setting.
My sense is that the sets on Paizo are all older stuff. They don't have the TerrainlinX system on there, for instance. The Hinterlands version on Paizo is pre TLX, and on WWG it's split into two TLX sets. I find it annoying tho, that for any image other than a tiny "cover" you have to download a zip file with 5 images and a copy of their 2008 catalogue. However, you are much better off buying their paper minis on WWG - $5 each for Citizens of Himmelveil 1 & 2, and A Maiden's 20, which on Paizo are like $8 & $10 or something.
I find it annoying tho, that for any image other than a tiny "cover" you have to download a zip file with 5 images and a copy of their 2008 catalogue.
These seem to be the same photosets WWG use/used to use on the product pages of their own site; I'd guess it's a webpage storage issue, since the zipped file will presumably be smaller than individual JPGs set up with a viewing system.
Pricewise, I'd imagine it's a markup to help cover whatever percentage Paizo take for maintaining the items on their site. If you want the discontinued items though, there's no other option...
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