If you are not one of the tabletop RPG fans who are ready to spend an entire evening playing their favourite games exclusively with a pen and a piece of paper, you might be interested in the ways you can create a more immersive gaming atmosphere. We have already described great apps with music and sounds dedicated specifically to playing tabletop RPGs. Yet, this is not the only way you can raise your playing experience to the higher level. One of the best options available to the RPG enthusiasts are 3D printables.
In this article, you will find the most essential information about printing 3D models for creating terrains and creatures. Note that all the recommendations we are describing are suitable for fantasy RPGs in the first place.
The basic aspects of 3D printing before you start
As you have understood, we are going to focus on the use of the 3D printing technology for creating our miniatures for tabletop RPGs. Although 3D printers are quite affordable today, they are still not the cheapest devices, so you should be aware of a couple of facts concerning this technology before investing anything in it.
First of all, you should understand that 3D printing is not used for producing hundreds of items of the same item. Actually, this method is used for prototyping which means printing unique objects which are not available on the market or even the ones you design on your own.
Don’t set too high expectations for the quality of the printables as well. They wouldn’t be exactly of the same quality that is available for the commercial 3D printers. Still, your home printer will make the printables for a relatively small price which is now something around 10-20 USD for a filament used for printing one model. Yet, you can choose colours for your models which is great for printing elements for games.
Finally, point your attention to the fact that in the reality small elements are not thus easily printable as you ,might think. In fact, larger objects tend to have better quality than the small ones. Particularly complex objects of small sizes can even downright disappoint you.
How can you use 3D printing for creating miniatures for your tabletop role-playing games?
There are several ways you can make use out of 3D printers for enhancing your gaming experience. Here are some of the most popular and affordable ones.
Printing the minis of your own design
One of the best things about 3D printing is bringing your ideas into physical reality without any challenging prototyping. Yet, in order to be able to do it, you first have to create the design for printing.
The easiest and most pleasant way to do it is with the use of the virtual reality technology. Special services, for example Gravity Sketch compatible with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive can be used for sculpting in 3D. You can also download some of existing designs and print them or combine for creating your own miniatures.
Of course, not everyone is lucky to own a virtual reality set at home. Fortunately, it is not a problem, since you can still create your 3D models for printing. For instance, the users of Windows 10 can access a special 3D-designing programme developed especially for this operating system which is known as Microsoft 3D Builder. This app is suitable for prototyping for the majority of 3D printers available on the market at the moment.
Download ready designs
If you are not sure of your own creativity or don’t want to spend time on designing anything new, you can use ready sets. Fortunately, there is a great variety of options available to the fans of fantasy tabletop RPGs.
For example, a great package of over 200 miniatures is available under the trade name of Monster Manual. One of the greatest things about this set of minis is the fact it is totally free. Furthermore, some of these models are quite large which is rather scarce even if you want to purchase original elements.
Monster Manual created by Manuel who is a very talented designer is available on the Shapeways website. In order to get the package, you will have to create a free account.
Dragonlock Ultimate: Dungeon Starter
If you are ready to pay for enriching your gaming experience, pay your attention to Dragonlock Ultimate: Dungeon Starter which is an amazing package of premium models of stone dungeons. A great feature of these models is the possibility to snap them with each other and do it many times since the miniatures are quite rigid and can be reused for building different terrains.
You can print the models of Dragonlock Ultimate: Dungeon Starter in the grey colour and then use the technique of a dry brush to print them.
The price of a starter pack is 10 USD, however, you might find it somewhat limited. Further expansions will add to the total between 10 and 15 USD. Note the re is also a free set which can be downloaded as a sample for printing in order to understand whether you are satisfied with the quality of the models.