I built this terrain setup to commemorate the final session of our group’s D&D 5E playtest campaign. I decided to do something special for the last session and I was pretty satisfied with the results. The module that I ran was Temple of the Dragon Cult by Goodman Games.
Here’s where the insanity begins. I purchased 4′ x 8′ sheets of 2″ and 1/2″ polystyrene insulation from the local big box hardware store. They nearly blew away in the parking lot before I even got them on the car, but some friendly passers by assisted me in strapping them down.
The dungeon was a mountain lair consisting of four round levels with a central shaft passing through each of them. I wanted to have the effect of the central shaft being open even though it made construction a good deal more difficult. Step 1 was tracing a circle for each level then drawing out the portions that needed to be cut away. The top level had a large cavern opening where the party would enter.
I did most of the cutting using a drywall saw along with a hot wire foam cutter for some minor cleanup. The drywall saw was extremely messy (see all of the little pink bits on the floor) but went quickly and allowed me to do inside cuts easily. I did a quick sanding job with some coarse sandpaper to knock off the loose bits on any cut surfaces, but overall the texture left by the saw was a pretty good approximation of rough stone.
Once all of the pieces were cut out, I cut floors for each of them from the 1/2″ foam and lined them up. I did a little extra trimming around the outside to make them line up as closely as possible.
With all of the shaping and floors completed, I moved on to painting. At this point our gaming schedule changed slightly and my timeline for the project was cut a couple weeks shorter than I had originally planned, so apologies if I missed pictures of some steps here. I base coated all of the pieces using flat black latex paint bought by the gallon at my friendly big box hardware store. It went pretty fast using a large paint brush. I also did a light layer of drybrushing with grey and did some water effects using painters gloss.
All that was left to do was add some room dressing for each level using various accessories, minis, and some Dwarven Forge doors. Here are the final results.
The top level had a removable floor covering the central shaft. This was intended to represent an illusory floor trap. It worked as intended, with one of the players taking a 50′ plunge down the center of the mountain. Fortunately, it was the monk who happened to fall in and he was hardly worse for wear.
I probably worked on this for about 6 weeks off and on, but I was very happy with the results and it helped make the final session of our campaign a memorable one.