Underdark Terrain Project

This project consists of 330 pieces of terrain based on the Underdark setting. This is primarily a part of the Forgotten Realms world, but could be part of almost any fantasy world. When it is all put together it can cover more than three hundred square feet.

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It started when a client commissioned a 170 piece terrain set for his RPG games. We decided to create a duplicate set for the studio which made this into a mammoth project.

There are two primary sets of terrain that serve as a foundation: the cavern modules and the dungeon modules. The cavern modules are very organic and can be put together in a very natural looking way. The dungeon modules are all quadrilaterals and fit together at right angles.

There are four different sets of terrain designed to go with the caverns called Cavern Formations. Likewise, for the dungeon modules there are Dungeon Architecture pieces.

Finally, three races are represented in distinct sets of architecture: Drow, Dwarfs, and (for spice) Imaskarans. Each has unique shapes and color. For the Drow, they have spiky, sharp and forbidding shapes with dark black fading to an almost glowing purple. Dwarves have solid, thick trapezoidal shapes (almost Egyptian, I think) with runes showing prominently. The Imaskarans have curves, spirals, and turquoise elements in their works. We also included gold and jewels to give a wizardly flair typical of their race.

If we do more terrain, I’d like to see some Illithid, Lich (undead crypt stuff) or Beholder structures. It would be awesome to do some figures to go with this. I think that Rackham Cynwall Elves would make great Imaskarans. Likewise, I'd like to re-do some of the Drow Caravan pieces we did a while back:


For the feel of the pieces, I drew inspiration from Gary Gygax’s 1984 release of The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. He presented the caverns as a natural ecosystem, all the way down to water and algae. So, the caverns have a bit of an organic appearance with slime, molds, and brackish water stains appearing in the cracks. This was one of my favorite modules and I have always been fascinated by caverns for fantasy RPG settings.

Many of the natural cavern formations are achieved with the use of expanding insulation foam. A belt sander is also an indispensable device.

There were six people working on this project over six days. There were long hours. For my part, I was always present, putting in at least twelve solid hours a day. At one time we broke the circuit breaker because we had about twenty things running in a single room. There is an enormous amount of specialty equipment and materials needed for a project like this.

I’m very proud of the crew at Blue Table, many of whom burned the midnight oil to make this happen. It's amazing what an organized crew can accomplish. I've often compared our team to a home make-over crew-- a custom house can be built in seven days if the right people pull together.

Shawn G.