Monday, 30 May 2016

Dungeon Gaming in 15mm

Over the last few weeks I've been working on something that I've fancied doing for a number of years - creating a dungeon exploring game for 15mm fantasy miniatures.

I made some initial notes over Easter and got stuck in during April and May, although the Ayton painting deadline did have to take priority. Lots of discussions with a friend, who shares the same nostalgia for D&D and likes games like this, led to some early rules playtesting and the making of trial floortiles. Last weekend it all came together and we managed some 3 player games for the first time, and actually had a good time!

Which door next?

After trying card and high density blue styrofoam, in the end I took advice and went for 4mm cork tiles for the rooms and corridors. It takes paint well, doesn't warp (if you paint the other side too), cuts easily, has a nice texture for representing stone, and is very cheap. The whole set I made (2 dozen rooms and a dozen pieces of corridor), using about 8 square feet of the stuff, cost less than £10.

Doors are deliberately oversized (bigger monsters don't want to get stuck do they?); 28mm scale from Warbases. Pillars are cotton reels donated by Goat Major, other dungeon scenery is mostly scratchbuilt. The game is still developing, but the core is there already. I want to add things like sewers, fire pits and other stuff, and these will all be made to fit in with the basic kit.

Going to see the Boss:

Figures are from a mix of ranges, with Demonworld furnishing the majority. Characters get nice floortile-matching bases, while the monsters and other enemies are largely borrowed from other parts of the collection and are based for the outdoors - which actually helps to spot who's who!

As with all things like this, the game started out pretty simple, but has grown in detail - though hopefully not in complexity. The core things the group and I wanted were; levelling-up between games, finding treasure/magic items, end-game Boss encounters, and generally not having it too easy. I.e. a challenging game with rewards. Level 1 characters are weak, as they should be, and completing the first game is a mission in survival more than anything. From there, capabilities increase and more skills, spells and abilities can be obtained to give the party (made up of 4 characters, which come from the usual stereotypes) scope to tackle increasingly tougher dungeons.

"No, don't open two doors at once!... Oh dammit!"

Every game starts with the descent to a new dungeon level, with things kicking off when the first door is opened. Sensible precautions - Fighter at the front, Magic User in the middle:

Our first session was fun, but we took our time getting through 2 complete games due to some bad dice-induced protracted combats and lots of wandering monsters. Next time, though, we'll be 3rd level and those Orcs and Gobins better watch out!


  1. Lovely! I've been thinking about RPG-style fantasy in 15mm - your great set up show that this can look splendid!

  2. Looks great! I'm thinking about trying some 15mm's for my DnD campaign at the moment. How did you create the stone tiles, engrave them in the cork?

  3. Thanks guys, I appreciate the positive comments!

    Rens: the stone tiles and cracks are drawn on with a Rotring pen, and then I highlighted the great again to bring out a bit of depth to the look. I did test engraving high density Styrofoam, which worked really well, but I decided the material was too light and would move around on the table too much. It would probably be fine if you used a cloth as a table cover to place the floorplans on though.

  4. Sorry - I highlighted the 'grey', not the 'great'!

  5. Very nice, Dave. Brilliant ideas and nicely executed. I've got some 15mm zombies? ��

  6. Really nice terrain. Would work equally well with my 40 year old 25mm D&D collection or even 10mm (tries to forget he said that) Nice one. cotton reels great idea