The Annis Hag’s Tree (and an update)

mindflayer┬áIt’s been a while, and like always the reasons vary from different view points. The typical reasons are apathy, but i haven’t just been apathetic, i’ve also been busy – continuing working on my novels, working on a secret project, playing dungeons and dragons… you name it, i’ve been digging my hands through it – so some things have to suffer. And, in this case, the thing to suffer the most has been this page.

Now that the colder seasons are descending upon us here in Ohio, i’ll have more time in front of this computer away from the distractions from the outside (other than shoveling snow… it’s coming soon, believe me).

Last gaming session my players came upon a planar crossroad as they sought out an Annis Hag (don’t worry, I’ll have a Dungeons and Dragons session story time soon enough – we’re only getting to session 8, so there isn’t all that much to cram). As they made it to the Annis Hag’s home, they found that it was surrounded by Nothics. That ended the session, and the next session picked up right in the beginning of a fight, and i figured, instead of just drawing it out on the battle map, i’d build some battle terrain for them to play with. The end result looked something like this.


The “tree pillars” were pretty straight forward to build. Just papertowel rolls, cardboard, hot glue, and paint; but the center piece was the real point of interest. It was the first time i attempted paper-mache.

I started with a base of some twistie ties, three towel paper rolls, and some carboard, and then crushed them together. Then i just used a mixture of white glue and toilet paper and covered it up. The next step was to add rubble, which was just a mixture of fish-tank stones, pebbles from the yard (which i have a ton of since running a powerline to the garage last summer), and this fine stone stuff (the black stuff in the pictures above) to get this look. Then I used a stink load of modge-podge to seal it all together… and then i waited two days for it all to dry.

Next, after the two days have finished, I made a mixture of black acrylic and modge-podge to lather the whole thing. The mixture not only made a nice base coat, it also sealed all the rubble in (because, even after drying, a lot of it started flaking off). This part took my longer than i expected because i found that after letting the mixture start to gum up, i’d apply another thin layer, making upward brush strokes, which game the model a more bark-like look instead of gummy paper mache.

After the undercoat finally dried i moved onto the next step, painting. This is something that i’m still getting the hang of, especially when it comes to mixing and knowing what they will look like when they dry. I’m using cheap acrylics which can just be found at any art store (you can actually see a red bottle of it in the background. Since the tree was dead and ash colored, i used light blues and grays, then cool blues and whites with lighter passes. In the end, it looked like this:

For creating this, i used a lot of methods taught by DM Scotty over at the DM’s Craft (check him out). Thanks for checking it out!


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