Friday, June 10, 2016

Visions of Confluence: Upon this Ground

When I first started to build terrain for Malifaux, I had a number of ideas for boards to create and themes to visit. Knowing I'd have to settle on one to begin with, I eventually settled on the concept of a mining/frontier town.

At the time I was living in Fort Wayne Indiana and my wife was working with the cities History Center. In the 1860s, Fort Wayne was a frontier town, so it seemed like a good way to work the community into the terrain project. Fort Wayne sits in the Northeast corner of Indiana, on the western edge of what was once known as the Great Black Swamp. The swamp was drained away and settled by towns in Ohio and Indiana and Fort Wayne was born at the meeting point of three rivers. Thus, I settled on the name Confluence for my frontier town.

When I decided what I wanted to build, I thought it would also be fun and interesting to build the town in a similar way to which towns are really built. Of course, when building game terrain, this means creating the land first.

In an older post, I talked about the process for creating my rock outcroppings, but so far I think I've only shown completed pictures of my forests. While I could go into all of the details about how I created the forest, I really couldn't explain it any better than the folks over at 3T Studios, who came up with a great tutorial on what is essentially exactly the same process I use. When I went to hyperlink the article however, it seems to have been lost, but I was able to find a copy of it at DakkaDakka.
Following the steps laid out in the 3T article, I ended up with several hills and crags. After adding some ground vegetation, they were really ready for the table top. For a moment, I even thought about just leaving them and having more of a wasteland table instead.

From the pictures, you can see that I wanted a dynamic look to the ground, so I used several different shades. For those areas that were going to be largely barren, windswept earth, I used an extremely fine sand (well, silt or dust, really) and took their highlights much higher than the rest of the rocks. As Confluence was to be more of an arid western town, didn't go very far in adding vegetation, settling on dry grass and just a little bit of scattered greens. A trip to Colorado mid-build was great for color reference.

The trees were added once every other step had been complete. To get them in place, I used a power drill to bore a hole into the hill where I wanted the tree, then simply hot glued them in place. I was even able to get my daughter involved in the process. She has become an expert "stick the tree in that hole"-er.

The nice thing about these forests is that they are usable for almost any game system. I will admit that I am a terrain builder, so the stuff I create is not always the most friendly, particularly when playing games like Warhammer. However, most people who play with the terrain don't mind sacrificing a bit of playability in return for the looks.

With the base of my terrain built and a good foundation laid for Confluence, it was time to look at the next steps...settling what would one day be the town.

More to Come,



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Visions of Confluence

Last year I dove headlong into making terrain for Malifaux. As I’ve mentioned before, terrain is my favorite part of the hobby, so brining my vision of Malifaux to life has been great fun so far. While I’ve posted pictures here and there as I’ve completed pieces and  set up tables, I’ve not had the chance to talk about the design of what I’m working on or to share any tutorials. Over the next several blog posts, I hope to change that.
In fact, this is the first of several posts that will be much more than pictures of the terrain I’m working on. They will also be a chronicle of the world I’ve envisioned in which the terrain is placed. In this way, I hope to craft this blog into a record of all aspects of my hobby work with Malifaux, from terrain and painting all the way to playing and running campaigns.
But to start, I want to talk a bit about inspiration. When I started the terrain project, I spent hours looking through old photos on-line and documentaries to find the direction in which I wanted to head. My goal was to make the boards feel like real places. The pictures included here are those I kept as reference. I had visions of port cities, railway stations, mining camps and downtown blocks and quickly I decided I needed to focus on a single concept. I chose to create the mining town Confluence. This week’s post will conclude with an introduction to the town and one of its more colorful residents.

"Augustine Gale was dead. According to the Marshal, who admitted having no skill in medicine, the body had lain for hours, a twisted smile breaking over its cold face. The corpse was covered in blood and its pockets were filled with what must have been a dozen Soulstones, humming and gently glowing in the darkening evening. Normally unconcerned with something as routine as a suspicious death, the Marshal had been called in when the milky opalescent stones were discovered. As he collected them, he noted not a single wound on the old man’s body. Whether the blood was Augustine’s, the Marshal was not sure. Nor was he sure what was meant by the words on the floor beside the dead man’s head. He pocketed the Soulstones and scribbled in his notebook the strange words scrawled in blood ‘THE FLESH’.
"West of the Black Swamp, the town of Confluence hides in the thick forest along Silent Creek. It is believed there were once three rivers flanking the small town, but today there remain little more than dry creek beds meandering through the woods. The town was originally established after the opening of the first Breach, carved from the woods not in search of Soulstone, but a large gold vein deposited along the riverbeds. When the Breach re-opened, Confluence, like most settlements, was rediscovered, emptied of its inhabitants and silently waiting. Among those to resettle was Augustine Gale, an enterprising mine operator from Earthside who had tried to make a name for himself in Soulstones, but had been squeezed out by the iron fist of the Guild’s regulation. In Confluence, Augustine believed he had found a way to make money, a lot of money, without the Guild’s constant oversight. Now he was dead, the ambition little more than a drying glint in his gleeful, dead eyes.
"News of Augustine’s death has spread quickly over the frontier. Even more quickly have spread the stories of the Soulstones he possessed. Never before have Soulstones been mined out of Silent Creek, but Augustine’s death may be a sign that a vein has been discovered. Whispers in the mining camps have grown as brave men and women gather supplies and sneak into the west, eager to set up their own claim where Augustine met his fate. Surely it won’t be long before the powers of Malifaux turn their eyes towards the quiet streets of Confluence as well..."

In the coming weeks, we’ll take a closer look at the story of Confluence, as well as the Shifting Loyalties campaign I ran in my local group. And of course, there will be more painting and more terrain. As always, any thoughts are welcome. Thanks for the visit!

More to Come.