I originally saw Derek Laursen share his church dice tower in The Tabletop Crafters Guild on Facebook. I loved the look of the tower and asked if I could share the project and he shared a couple other projects with me, as well! Check out his church dice tower, World of Warcraft themed Ogrimmar dice tower, and some dungeon terrain below and find out a bit about his crafting process.
To Play Is Human: I love your dice towers! And the terrain, particularly the camp fires!
Derek Laursen: Thanks a lot! I really love making terrain pieces and towers when I have some downtime. Not just for campaigns, or as gifts for friends, but I’ve always been a bit artistic and it gives me a creative outlet for it.
TPIH: What game do you use the towers and terrain for? Is it a mashup or mod? Or something created yourself?
Derek: I play Dungeons & Dragons 5E, and usually it has been my own personal homebrewed campaign, but have lately been trying to play some out of the box adventures, like Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Definitely takes a lot of stress out of DMing, and challenges me to craft something I may not have conjured up on my own.
TPIH: Your camp fires look awesome. I love the effect from the LED tea light. What was the process for creating those?
Derek: DMScotty’s tutorial helped a lot, but I basically thought of the elements of a camp fire and fleshed them out. Little chunks of plastic and scrap foam made the rock ring, toothpicks for the sticks, and a few actual sticks to form the logs. You then drag your glue gun along the tealight to create a ‘fire texture’. Everything (excepting the light of course) gets based in a black Mod Podge, a la Black Magic Craft, and then painted and drybrushed. Lastly a seal coat, pop the battery in, and we’re ready for shenanigans at a goblin cave or player encampment!
TPIH: I love the moss on your steeple tower. What tools and supplies do you use when you create moss on pieces like this?
Derek: The moss is a mixture of a couple different mediums. For the ‘brand new’ moss, that is more flat, and hasn’t quite built up any layers yet, a couple of different watered down dry brushes of various greens, browns, and yellows help. Be heavy handed in some areas, but barely any in others, as that’s how my reference images of moss looked at least.
Also keep in mind that moss loves to follow grooves and channels where water settles. It’s not enough to just slap some green here and there, unless you need it for that campaign tonight of course! For the old, heavy, layered moss, I actually used Eileen’s Tacky Glue and plopped on some rough green tree flocking.
Once it was in place and the excess shaken off, I covered it in Mod Podge and a sealer, otherwise you’ll have pieces coming off all over. Just be careful not to mash down too much of that beautiful, natural volume. Once it’s sealed and stiffened, I dry brush some lighter or darker colors, just to highlight and simulate light shining through various parts of the foliage.
TPIH: Thanks for sharing your projects with us, Derek! I bet your group enjoys playing with fun towers and props during your campaigns. I look forward to seeing new projects from you in the future!
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Do you have a tabletop gaming project that you’ve created? Contact me with some information and photos. No project is too big/small — as long as you made it yourself and you use it when you game, it is eligible for submission! I would love to see projects for board game upgrades and accessories, RPGs, miniatures (I would love to see mini paint jobs!), terrain, dice towers, custom playmats, custom dice, or anything else you have made.