Ever since I started playing Dungeons & Dragons fourth edition early last year I have read all I can about the game to try and make the gaming experience as fun and enjoyable as possible for my players. There are countless websites, blog posts, and forum threads talking about all kinds of ideas for enhancing D&D. Everything from speeding up and simplifying initiative order, to how to track effects more effectively. The RPG community on the Internet has provided so much great information to improve my own game. You don’t have to look far to find a wealth of great ideas.
Today I want to talk about a product I found by Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture Inc. called Castlemolds. Castlemolds are silicone rubber molds used with Plaster of Paris to cast environmental pieces for your RPG. The molds they offer are by no means limited to just Dungeons & Dragons. Their flooring molds can be as small as ¾ of an inch to as large as 2 inches. They also offer molds for walls, doors, and many other environmental pieces that could be used in an RPG.
I have purchased several molds from Hirst Arts and have been very impressed with the results. The detail put into each casted mode really shines through to the finished product.
I found the Hirst Arts website was very helpful for someone like me who has never done any kind of mold casting or painting like this before. They offer step-by-step guides to help you though creating your mold casts, and painting them. They also have a forum where users talk about their own techniques and show off their latest creations.
There are aspects to using Castlemolds that might hinder some people. For one it takes time. Up to 30 minutes in some cases before you can pop out a block from your silicone mold. Then up to a day to let the blocks air dry before you can start painting them. You will need a place to store the finished blocks and molds in-between uses. With paints, brushes, Plaster of Paris, blocks, and molds these items can quickly take up a lot of space.
The plus side is that you get to present to your RPG players a rich and interesting environment to explore and unravel your adventure in.