One of the first set piece battles my players faced in the campaign I’m running, was pretty much stolen right from Icewind Dale 2. It’s where the goblins attack the town under cover of darkness in the beginning of the game.
I wanted to make it epic so I spent quite a bit of time crafting stuff for the table. I figured I’d do my next few crafting articles about the props I made for that.
The first thing I needed was to make a palisades. No town can exist in the wild spaces if it’s not well protected. So I trudged down into the wash, every bit the commoner, to collect twigs to use for the wall.
I decided that I wanted to make my walls 15ft tall, surely tall enough and stout enough to keep out invaders. This would equate to 3 inches on the table. With that in mind I tried finding the straightest twigs out of the bunch and marked them out in about 3.5 inch sections. I made them long because I was planning on sharpening both ends, thereby losing some length in the process.
I prefer twigs for this over crafting sticks because it looks a lot more natural. Hell, it is natural. I picked them up off the ground after all. It gives a nice variation, since they won’t all be the same. I actually took a mini with me when I went to sort of gauge the scale. I wanted the twigs to look like freshly felled logs.
After quite a bit whittling I wound up with a whole bunch of twigs that looked like this:
Next up it was time to start building up my earthen-works. This would serve the dual purpose of allowing me to actually create the wall in three dimensions and give that extra bit of “realism” since most palisades walls were used in conjunction with earthworks. For this I used Crayola air dry clay. It’s pretty cheap and versatile but can be on the brittle side.
I molded up three inch sections, six in all. Enough to cover the width of my latex battlemat. I tried to keep them flat on the edges since I was going to be putting them end to end to make the wall. The front to back axis I was shooting for about a 45 degree angle, so it would seems like dirt that had been piled up against the”trees”.
Once the base was completed I started inserting my sharpened twigs. Rinse, lather and repeat as necessary.
When you’re finished it should look something like this:
and in the game
The hardest part is finding all the appropriate sized twigs that are straight enough to use. The longest bit is doing all the sharpening. Overall it’s a pretty easy craft to do and really cheap. The Air dry clay is multipurpose so it’s worth the money.
Next up I’ll describe the towers that can bee seen in the last photo.