Category Archives: DIY Projects & El Cheapo Gaming

Back to School Clearance Sales!

It’s that time of year for crafty and cheap gamers to save some money.  The stores stocked up on Back to School stuff and now the extra stuff is going on the clearance shelves.

So far, my best haul is more 3×5  graph paper index cards.  Because index cards are one the best little things to drag around into gamer bag and having them also be graph paper moves them up into the DM artifact level. As I have time, I’ll hit up more stores and see what I can find.

But wait! There’s more!  With the store taking down their Back to School stuff that means they’ll soon be stocking up on their Halloween stuff. Last year, the cool find was damn fine skeletons at Dollar General.

Who knows what cheap horrors we’ll find this year.  Remember. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart!

Still Working On Those Dungeon Tiles

As with most of projects, I’m taking it slow. Also, didn’t have a chance to grab up some more paint. That’s on the to-do list for this weekend. But I had a few minutes so I figured I try a little detailing on one tile and see how it goes. So you may remember this pic.

I decided to do a little more on it. A little outlining and a little shading.

I thought about adding some “coins” or blood spots but that would just distract players. “Is that coin really there? Can I pick it up?” So I left that out. Now, I’m too happy with my meager attempt at shading. On the future ones, I may just do the outline. Oh, well. I got more time to think about it.

More Dungeon Tiles

The stores are already stocking up on back to school supplies and that means every gamer should be stocking up on all those accessories like paper, pencils, composition books and what have you. Last time I was at the store I picked up a pack of cork tiles for about $5 for four 12x 12 inch tiles. Those of you who remember I did some way back when with some that I had just laying around the house and liked them so I’m making more. And I figured I do them a little bit differently this time around.
First I cut them to more usable sizes and here’s what I ended up with:
12 4X6 Tiles
8 3X6 Tiles
6 3X3 Tiles
4 2X6 Tiles

I just used a utility knife and metal straight edge to cut out the tiles. Then I did a base coat. I forgot my own previous warning on this. The tiles will soak up a lot of paint. That’s why the really cheap stuff is fine. When they absorb all this paint, it helps to slightly strength the tiles too. Don’t worry about getting every nook and cranny. The natural surface adds more to the stone-like look. Here’s some with a light gray base coat.

On the original ones, I basically drew/painted graph paper on them. This time I wanted them to look less organized and more like a dungeon floor but still keep sort of guide for when I use miniatures. So I made a little guide out of some old poster board.

The painting method was pretty simple. I used the guide to put four dots (one for each corner of the square) then painted it in free hand. Like I said I didn’t want them be exact.
The next step is some detail. But damn it I have to run to the store and get some more paint!

Episode 10: Liner Notes

So Episode 10 is up!  I’ve decide to cross post it here or you can just go Anchor or subscribe with your favorite ap (if available. Still waiting on Itunes.

Yeah I rant about the Ennies. Congrats to all the OSR stuff that was nominated. And like some others, I’m scratching my head about that whole organized play category. Plus I do more comparisons to gaming and food. Just listen to it. And I announce some plans for future episodes. I’m going to take you on the journey as make my Swords & Wizardry White Box world and campaign.

The Game Bag


This is my burden and the inspiration to redo the $20 Dungeon. Why because it’s gotten too damn big with too much stuff. This bag and those two plastic containers on top are just mini’s and miscellaneous terrain/map bits. That’s right no dice, no rule books, no notebooks. Juggling this stuff when it’s time to run a game is just too dang annoying and cumbersome.
It’s cool to have all sorts of stuff handy when you’re running a game at home but when you’re on the road, you travel lighter and if you’ve gaming for a while you start to accumulate lots of little bits and accessories.
This goal of this post is to get a starting point and start thinking about what to cut out. What’s duplicated, what I don’t need and things are multi-taskers. My main goal (to start) is pare this down so everything fits inside the bag.
Like I said before, I’m getting to switch from Dungeon Crawl Classics to Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells and then after that it’ll be a little Swords & Wizardry White Box. It’s going to be fun and a little bit crafting projects coming up.

The $20 Dungeon Revisited

It’s been years since I did the the whole $20 Dungeon project. So I thinks it’s time a I did an update and think over the project again and it’s a good time for that because I’m getting ready to change gears in the near future with the close of the Dungeon Crawl Classics game and the move onto some Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells (followed up by some Swords & Wizardry more than likely). That’ means it’s time to clean out and reorganize the GM’s accessory bag.
Now this isn’t my dice bag. That’d probably be a whole other post. Nor is it the bag with rule books and notebooks. Nope this is the bag with minis and various bits of flavor pieces to spice things. Now since the DCC game started I’ve bought a few things at the FLGS and they just ended up there plus I put in the things that I’d thought I need and, well, a bunch I haven’t used. I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. It’s nice to have but I need to be more selective about what I drag around with me. It’s time to clean the bag out and rethink the $20 dungeon and not only cheap but efficient.
Much of the thoughts and materials is going to remain the same. Wood makes a good material for the wall sections. It’s easily accessible. Not too heavy. Fairly inexpensive and easy to work with. I’ve found that 3/4 inch stock is the right size as I mentioned in the ancient post. But I want to fancy them up a bit more and see what other bits I can come up with that are useful. There’s a good chance, I’ll mix and match some of the wooden blocks I’ve picked up. Heck, I might even break all that felt from the wargaming days or do more of the cork tiles. These make nice map tiles. Just paint and they already look like stone.

So along with all the other projects, I have on my plate I’m adding another little crafty one. I know it’s crazy but sometimes it’s fun to work with your hands rather than your brain. And I know this post doesn’t have that much substance. It’s more of “I’m going to do a thing” but it’s start. Time to put on that thinking cap.

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells Character Sheet V3

Since it was requested Here’s the Version 3 of the character sheet. A few things have been rearranged and I’ve added Sanity.
My Character Sheet V3
And as a bonus here’s some ideas on house rules.
Initiative: I really like the idea of using Hit Dice to determine initiative. I was playing around with a similar idea before I’d even heard of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells so why not take that old idea and apply it in a new way. Now, I’ve played games with static initiative and while it was easy, generally everybody went in the same order every round and it got kind of boring and predictable. So what to do?
Roll your Hit Die and go in order from highest to lowest roll.
The more combat oriented characters have a better chance of going first but not always.

Blood/Hit Points: I like both so why not use both. Well sort of basically. The minimum uninjured HP that a character has is equal to their Physique. When the character gains a level and they could potentially roll (with all their Hit Dice) more than their Physique then roll the dice. If the total is less then nothing changes. If the total is more then that’s the characters new total HP and when the character gains their next level just roll an additional Hit Die as normal.

There’s more ideas bouncing around my head but that’s for later when they start making sense to me.