The more immersive the game, movie or brand experience is, the more joy those who attend or celebrate it will have. This series of items was produced over a 2 year period for an excellent group of friends who play DND that would infrequently get together as they live across all parts of North America.

Laser Engraved Mugs (V1)

These mugs were designed with each character name within a common logo. As with most projects, coming up with the initial design took the largest % of overall time.

To have the design etch well onto glass with a 5W laser, I found the method of coating the glass with a cold galvanizing compound (zinc) spray paint before etching had very good results.

To translate the flat design onto a curved surface requires a rotary device like the Ortur YRR 2.0 Rotary Roller along with software such as Light Burn to convert the .svg file format into path/instructions that the laser can follow.

The zinc compound provides enough surface for the laser heat to actually etch the glass. There were time/power settings which would lead to the glass having an almost cracked effect, which would flake over time, but this approach which went 100mm/min left a surface that was smooth to the touch.

Laser Engraved Mugs (V2)

For the second iteration of mugs the goal was both to produce a more polished effect, literally, and allow others to pARTicipate in making them. So I combined efforts with Andrew Howard who cut the logo design, sans names, onto vinyl, and through a workshop provided the opportunity for anyone who wanted to make their own mug. They would use Armour Etch on the portions not covered by the vinyl, and then use a metallic wax compound like Rub ‘n Buff Silver Leaf to bring it back to a polished and shiny surface. Once you had gotten comfortable with the process, I’d say the overall time per glass was about the same. But, the downside to this approach in contrast to the laser, is the time that must be spent to ween out the portions of vinyl you want the compound to etch under.

From campaign to clothing

A logo/design that has been converted into SVG can easily be leveraged across multiple different mediums. My 4-colour screen print system, along with the setup to do UV-based screen exposures was able to pack up and travel to the US midwest so that during the same workshop-focused gathering, the More Beer design became a screen print option that both those young and only young at heart could create.

Session recaps: Comic panels and video

When not taking up the GM chair for this campaign and group I have often acted as lore keeper with this group. While that started out just writing session recap notes, after players designed their characters in Hero Forge, I found a pretty efficient workflow that would involve:

  • HeroForge to pose characters and add facial expressions / equipment
  • for background locations and NPCs for dialogue.
  • Photoshop to photobash it all together and add speech bubbles.

This set encompasses one game session of between 3-4 hours:

In one case, it has also gone a step further and become a lightweight slideshow in video. This session covers the party being in a mirror/clone battle (red eyes vs normal) and included the first player death in the campaign.

Minis: Prepared by a maker as characters prepare to meet their maker?

Hero Forge offers a very a flexible way to create models, mock up paint designs for character, clothing and accessory, as well as generate .stl files to 3D print. For the last IRL get together of the group, after printing an oversized version of each character in the game and enlisted the help of a few friends to paint. As our group most often plays online (Roll20), there wasn’t an expected/natural opportunity to bring the characters onto the board, so at the last IRL gathering of the group to date, the GM wove in a small side story of children in a mysterious town (think Hallmark Movie meets horror story tropes), where small children were playing with small clay copies of the characters. To say that the players jaws hit the floor when they saw the physical versions of their characters does not begin to describe the surprise and joy it brought. Except to Pip and his player Mario who, well, go watch the video above and you’ll understand.


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