Desert Fantasy: A Bit More Focus


I’ve been thinking a bit more about the miniature side of my increasingly specific desert fantasy world again. The kind of things I need for small, RPG style games set in this desert/classical/city state world.

Thinking about this, I’ve been thinking about Isometric RPG games of old, and how they build their world with the pixel versions of models.

My favourite PC game ever is Fallout 2, which came out when I was 14, and I absolutely loved. Looking back, it’s very much a model game, on your PC. The animation is very limited, as are the sprites. You can go and Google a million screenshots, so I’ll just embed this one I used in a previous post:


but it’s basically very few ‘models’ repeated as necessary, then the odd bit of ‘colour’ (specific scenic elements, character models, whatever). How would that look on the tabletop? Basically, for any of the ‘regular’ environments of the setting (adobe building towns, open desert, ruins), and the same for any regularly encountered enemies or NPCs (wolves, guards, bandits, villagers etc).

I think this would also mean making a little ‘too much’ of anything (say, adobe buildings) so that you always had enough to set a scene.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to set myself a little list of things to achieve:

Firstly, scenic elements:

Town – a number of Adobe buildings, with bits and bobs to suggest habitation. If one building is a little more specific or standout, that’s OK, it can represent buildings that are the focus point of a scenario. I can still paint up very specific buildings as and when I need them. I’m starting with 7 varying buildings from the excellent Crom’s Anvil. I do need to make some fencing/a livestock area.

Ruins – mostly columns, for a palmyra effect, or large ruined walls.

City Walls – Know what I want here, courtesy of Baueda:


Open Desert – Hills, rocky outcrops, the occasional bit of shrubbery and an oasis. I’ve got a board’s worth of hills


so just need a smattering of shrubbery and cacti, then an oasis.

NPC’s and regular adversaries – I need probably 5-10 NPC villager types, in a generic ancient/dark age/classical style. I’ve done a few of these, and I’m a bit obsessed with civilian miniatures, so there’s plenty more in the queue:


I think I should also have in this group some generic, not too specific traders, priests and other minis that look like they could be someone important. I’ll want the odd livestock mini too.

For regular adversaries I’m taking my queues from the Witcher 3, which I played recently: wolves (7 on the painting desk at the mo – in my world there’s desert wolves), town guards (I’m talking here about generic town guard chaps) – these need to tie in roughly with the NPCs (a bunch of these on the go at the moment), generic bandits (again, not a specific, characterful warband), which arguable I’ve already got:


but I’ve also got a group on the painting table on the moment that will work as generic bandits, but also escaped slaves (multi-ethnic and both sexes in there) or other types of ne’er-do-wells. So that category is taken up twice. I’m also trying to find some simple, suitable skeletons, for undead encounters. Maybe some beastmen-type fellas too, which I may well have covered. More on that later.

So, that’s a chunk to do! Not masses though, and from there that’s a great base to build one. Want to visit a new city? Just paint up a few more *different looking* NPC’s and/or guards.

For the Witcher type scenarios (hunt a beast in ‘x’ ruins) all I need to do is paint up the beast, then I’m set. Want a new NPC encounter? Just paint up a new trader, or wizard or whatever. Once I’ve done this groundwork, it’ll mean that almost anything I paint after that will be instantly useful.

Better crack on then!


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