Great Outdoors: Granny Mammy Graul P1

D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, Great Outdoors, Home Brew Add comments

Our Great Outdoors home brewed encounter series marches onward as the Pile takes inspiration from a fellow game officiando and a cool ass vampire movie for its next dropdown D&D battle. Pathfinder’s Hook Mountain Massacre and The Eventide Chronicle give us a host of tantalizing material. Let’s see how Ben made it his own.

Reset the Scene
A quick recap: our game group is traveling to Winterbole Forest in search of entrance to the Pyramid of Shadows. DM Ben wanted to create a set of outdoor encounters to utilize his vast pile of open-air RPG accessories. We’ve called this custom jaunt experiment The Great Outdoors. Having already made an engaging town encounter and an adrenaline-pumping horse chase, it’s time to see create another area of interest.

The Inspiration
A while back Ben got a nice e-mail from fellow D&D enthusiast, Jericho of The Eventide Chronicle. He tipped his helm to our MageKnight miniature basing videos…so much so that he created an absolutely outstanding video of his own to share his spin. And if that weren’t enough, The Eventide Chronicle blog is stuffed with more tasty photos – it’s a must-view for your terrain inspiration library.

Ben was so enamored with Jericho’s brilliant Graul Family interpretation that he decided a spinoff of this Rise of the Runelords’ Hook Mountain Massacre module encounter was in order. It’s going to be the perfect off the beaten path mash-up for his Winterbole traveling game group. Hopefully, we can do The Eventide Chronicle proud.

The Plan
Ben’s gonna take the next few blog posts to show y’all how he’s going to create his own spine-tingling story. This is going to require all sorts of special terrain, miniatures, NPCs and plot points.

Editor’s Note: Ben is wearing his heart on his sleeve for this idea. He asks for your patience and suggestions as he tries to flush it all out in this open forum. Be gentle. He bruises easily.

The Plot
Nothing fancy here. The group is going to continue its journey through Winterbole when it spots a farm in the distance. Tired from their travels and dark weather looming from above, they decide to go check it out and get some shelter.

The farm is actually owned and operated by the Graul family – a maniacal, cannibal clan. Their twisted leader is the evil Granny Mammy Graul. Ben added “Mammy” to this NPC’s name in honor of a classic Three Stooges movie short (All the World’s a Stooge). Watch the clip here but feel free to slide to the 8:21 mark of the video for the mammy hijinks.

We’ll show you how we made her miniature, NPC card and monster stats in next week’s post.

The Basement
Remember the golden rule – every 3D game board is better with levels. Thus, our farmhouse is ultimately going to have three levels: a secret basement, a main floor and an upstairs master suite. This week we’re just going to focus on the bottom floor. Ben got the inspiration for a creepy cellar from the film Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter – a must-see for any RPG fans out there.

There’s an insane sequence in the movie where the main character unexpectedly falls through a trapdoor in the floor of a secret vampire’s place of business. Lincoln quickly finds himself hung upside down alongside some other victims from some wood scaffolding. The vampire is draining the blood from their bodies. It’s super spooky (see the 24-minute mark of the movie for the entire scene).

The second Ben saw this scene he immediately recalled Jericho’s outstanding video. It was quickly apparent that he had to recreate this scene as part of his own Graul encounter. After all, Granny Mammy and her family are cannibals.

The Centerpiece
Well, small problem – Ben had no such blood draining apparatus on hand. Thus, it was once again time to roll up his sleeves and do his best to make his own. An easier way to often conquer a homebrew project is to break the overall piece up into several manageable connecting elements.

So, to pull the terrain magic off, Ben needed the following:

  • Wood scaffolding
  • Unfortunate volunteers
  • Suspension gear
  • Blood containers

Wooden Scaffolding
Nothing crazy here – wood beams are our main ingredient. The Hirst Arts Wood Plank Mod (#220) will do nicely. In fact, Bruce has a nice tutorial on building gallows which Ben used to get his creative juices flowing. The top beam recommendation was perfect for his frame.

Rather than do a wooden platform, Ben decided to center the posts in some heavy fieldstone bricks and rocks. This base idea kept it more modular (and was honestly a little easier to make).

Ben dabbled on some simple flock to muss the base up a bit and suggest a little dirt/rock had occasionally fallen from the main floor onto the apparatus below.

Unfortunate Volunteers
Several old MageKnight miniatures are a nice source for our suspended bodies. They’re cheap to acquire and easy to modify. To preserve some realism, Ben avoided any figs with robed clothing since our fellas are going to be dangling upside down. He didn’t mind the arm positions as much because that could just be a little rigor mortis settling in (yeah, we know – it’s gross).

Ben settled on the MageKnight Grave Robber and Cult Enforcer minis. They were easy to doctor up, had the right poses and even possessed a bit of a pale complexion. The existing red faction paint could represent blood-soaked clothing. Ben did a little toothbrush paint flick as a subtle blood spatter.

Just use a metal snippers, sandpaper and touchup paint to prep your miniature for hanging. You’ll want to sand the feet down and clip those weapons to play up the victim-look as best you can.

Suspension Gear
The movie has honest Abe falling through the trapdoor on the main floor and then getting his feet looped in a rope noose. It’s awesome. Ben had some black rope from Galeforce Nine. However, the black rope with the dark wood kinda blended together so we went with the chain material for better contrast.

To adhere the chain to the miniature, just carefully apply a little super glue on a toothpick. You’ll have your previous victims dangling and draining in no time.

Blood Containers
A vampire shopkeeper drained the blood into bowls. To emulate the film, Ben decided a few wooden buckets from the Hirst Arts Cavern Accessory Mold (#85) would work just as well. All you need here is some Woodland Scenics Realistic Water and P3 Red Ink.

Basically, Ben carefully poured a smidge of water into the bucket and then mixed a couple drops of red ink into it.

Final Product
And presto! You got yourself a crazy cannibal family blood draining device for your Graul farmhouse basement. Now what…er who is for dinner?

Questions to Ponder: Have you ever made a similar terrain piece? Did ever play Paizo’s Hook Mountain Massacre? Did like the Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter movie? Which minis would you have used to dangle in the air?

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One Response to “Great Outdoors: Granny Mammy Graul P1”

  1. Jericho Says:

    Who is the Jericho you speak of? He sounds like a gentleman and a scholar!

    This is awesome. Thanks for the shout out. I can’t wait to see how this develops. Here are some snack ideas for your group during this game session:

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