Ultimate Dungeon Terrain, working on one, anyone else?

If you don’t know what it is:

I have taken a lot of pics which I will probably amend to this post later. Still in process of making it.

I got really into this, so I will share a ton of thoughts on it below, just skip to the end if you never intend to make one:

  1. It is truly excellent if used as described in the videos above, it does not work for every situation, but it doesn’t need to. You can or ought to still (also) use theater of the mind or a flat battle mat in certain situations. I love how it does away with a ton of problems that other terrain types/dungeon tiles have (cost, table space, visibility, flexibility, storage) and that it simplifies ranges and movement a ton. This potentially means a lot less measuring/figuring out what ranged or melee weapon can hit who/what/where etc.

  2. It is not hard to make at all, I suck at painting miniatures etc, but I can easily manage this. It will however take you at least ca. 4 x 20 minutes spread out over a few days to make it. That has mostly to do mostly with the many different paint layers, coatings and drying times to make it look very good and give it a durable finish. I do think you can dispense with a few of the layers Prof DM does, but I will report back on that.

  3. It is a bit messy. You will need to vacuum after cutting the foam and you really should have a decent sized surface to work on and cover it with two layers of old newspaper.

  4. It can be made for extremely cheap. I found my foam on the street, cool for environment and wallet but it meant I spend more time since had to fix some minor damage on the piece I found. Presuming you have some basic crafting/DIY things such as a box cutter, a somewhat thick pen and ideally some glue and some black, grey and tan acrylic paint, you could throw it together starting at 10 euros. More realistically you will probably spend €25 to €50. I already had the previously mentioned things as well as the IKEA lazy Susan, but that costs ca. €12, so the only thing I bought was a €5 Acrylic spray fix/finish and a set of 8 colours of Acrylic paint for ca. 9 Euros. If you are not used to doing DIY at all, get the thinner kind of foam, it really saves time during the cutting out phase. I got the thicker, I think it looks a lot better and I like that it raises the surface of the UDT a bit closer to eye-level and out of harms way, and it will be stronger, but the cutting was kinda challenging and took some elbow grease.

  5. Process is pretty forgiving. If needed you can fix/fill the foam back up with a nr. of filler materials, and if you don’t like how to paint looks, you can simply paint a new layer over it, acrylic paint has pretty good coverage.

  6. I didn’t do the soldering iron thing, I liked the look better of doing the lines slightly rough/uneven/aged with a thick ballpoint and an awl, rather than the surface and edges looking almost like it could only be an ancient ruin and not so much a decently maintained fort or castle.

  7. I looked around for a vinyl sticker with nice dungeon tiles pre-printed on it, so that I could just forget the foam and instead glue the sticker on to the lazy susan and use a white-board marker on the sticker! I might still do this. It would mean options and expanding the utility even further. I could even imagine just having different stickers glued on to hard-board “plates” which you could then attach to the lazy susan with velcro or something along those lines. That way you could have any kind of terrain ready to go. Forest, City, Fungeon, Castle, Hell, Space marine battlefield on high tech planet… Or, you could have about 5 stickers the way you have dungeon tiles and use a marker on them to draw different dungeon areas ahead of the session. As the players move through the different dungeon chambers you can put a new sticker on and still retain the central focal point and being able to spin the surface so everyone can see easily. I was thinking I might just ask a sticker printing service to print a tiled /flagstone image for me to try out having a surface I can draw on coupled with the lazy susan.

  8. The size of the IKEA lazy susan version is perfect for slightly narrower tables, groups of up to 5 characters, it is a size you can fit into a big packpack etc. But if make a somewhat bigger one, it will become even more versatile.

  9. It is primarily useful with a bit of dungeon terrain to simulate walls (which he also explains how to make in a different video). I might make these walls, doors and more, but for the time being I opted to buy this:

    My next plan is to make little bases for these out of foam or wood and glue them on, so I can easily chuck them on the UDT and as such both delineate as well as stock the room(s). Could buy 3D doors, walls etc, but they are all relatively expensive and almost all require painting, which I have no time for, nor much skill in.

  10. I wasn’t a big fan of the esthetics of his 2.0 version. I didn’t like the colours or size of the stones in his inner ring. I dispensed with those. But I did carve the 2 circular lines in the foam to distinguish the ranges/zones. I will also likely paint each ring a bit darker as you go further away from the center, to suggest distance. I made the center a bit bigger and the 2nd zone/ring a bit smaller. I figured most of the action would take place in the center anyway, and wanted to leave myself a bit more space for characters, terrain features, objects etc.
    The nice thing about this material/idea is that you can make your UDT any way you prefer. If you look online you will see a bunch of examples that are each unique.


UDT certainly won’t work for everyone. I can totally see why some people would prefer large battle-maps or even not minding to invest 100s of Euros into copious amount of rooms, terrains, tiles or walls to put together larger dungeons all over a big table. That has it’s charm for sure as well.

Any thoughts? Anyone made one?


Man, that looks great. One of favorite youtubers, Runehammer, opts for a similar approach. I’ll have to check this out.

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Yes, it is honestly a lot of fun! to make if you have the time and inclination. :slight_smile:

And it does really fire the imagination of both your players and yourself and focus all the attention to a central location that is actually more 3D than a battle mat, especially with these add ons I just ordered:

Certainly not necessary nor that cheap, and I will have to paint this, but worth while in the end I think. I guess I am going to learn how to paint. xd
It is a lot like playing with Legos as a kid, making a room, putting items in it but of course in combination with an actual RPG narrative, exploration and likely battle. It makes combat come more alive and seem more real.

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