Introduction: Dungeons & Dragons in the Pool

So this was a project I fell down a deep hole on. It started as a simple idea maybe even a joke but I ran with it. I had no intention of writing an instructable for this until long after I made all my toys. I can only show you my end results and describe what I did to make it. None of it is particularly hard, and not all original, but it is, what I think, a unique application.

Step 1: Materials List

This is an eclectic list which includes some hyperlinks. You may, like me, already have some of this stuff, if not the links will make it clear what I used. In no particular order .......

Sharpie Permanent Marker

Yardstick - A ruler helps as well

Utility Knife

Scissors - A good sharp one is best

Glue gun

Glue sticks for the glue gun

Caulk Gun - Yes. That's right a caulk gun. Though there is an alternative.

Silicone Caulking If you get the "you squeeze" kind you can skip the caulk gun.

Caulk finisher - Optional. I liked the finish it gave me. You can use your finger if you don't mind getting your finger dirty or just leave a glumpy finish if you do.

Bamboo Skewer or Toothpick - Optional as well. I found I got air pockets in the caulking and the skewer helped to remove them.

Spray Adhesive

Drill - No you don't "NEED" a drill but it was useful

One Inch hole saw - as above you don't "NEED" a hole saw. I had one and it was much easier than the alternative explained later.

1/2 inch Washers. How many you need depends on a few factors. I used 72. After I used these, I had a thought that modeling clay could work and possibly be cheaper. I don't know, as I will probably never do this project again.

2x2 Foam board

Felt - A little larger than 2x2 for best results.

Beads - I used "dice" beads to fit the RPG theme.

Velcro Mini dots

Plastic Clipboards - I found these cheap online at Office Depot.

Grease Pencils - I do recommend these mechanical ones and not the paper "peel" type for the pool.

One Pint Plastic Food Storage Container - These need to be as transparent as possible. I used these.

Cardboard Coasters - These can be used for other craft projects. One idea I liked was making your own air freshener by adding essential oils to them.

One gallon Ziplock bags. I used the food storage bags not the freezer bags because the freezer bags were not as transparent.

One pool noodle - Choose your color!

Polyhedral Dice Set - You want an easily readable set. I used 2 sets though I did not use all the dice from both sets. I also went for large dice.

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

a 1/2 inch dowel rod was useful

Access to a laser printer is suggested. On the off chance that your paper character sheets get wet, inkjet ink will probably smear.

Step 2: Let's Do the Easy Stuff First. Floating Pencils

I felt it a bad idea to have my grease pencils sink to the bottom of the pool. Solution! Make them float!

This is where the drill and hole saw come in.

Use the hole saw to cut plugs out of the pool noodle. The mandril creates a hole you can push your pencil through. And voila! Floating pencil.

Now if you don't have a hole saw, just use your utility knife to cut little, about an inch, squares and you could use a regular pencil to push through those plugs to make a hole for the grease pencil.

Step 3: Floating Clipboards

Again the easy stuff. You need something to press against when writing with your grease pencil and again it's a bad idea for your clipboard to sink out of reach.

Use your utility knife to cut a 2 1/2 to 3-inch piece of the pool noodle. I just eyeballed the measurement.

Cut a little more than halfway through the middle of the noodle.

Slip the clipboard into this cut

Lift the edge of the noodle up enough to get your glue gun tip in and put a small dollop of glue down and press the noodle into it.

That's all I did. My wife suggested gluing a couple more on to the top of the clipboard so it would float level. You could try this and let me know how it works.

Step 4: Shake Them Bones!

If anything you may be noticing a trend. Make everything float! Dice don't float and you want some way to keep them relatively stable after rolling so you can read them.

I made 8 floating die rollers. 2 with 1d20, 1 with 2d10 or percental dice, 1 with 1d10, 1 with 2d4, 1 with 2d6, 1 with 2d8, and 1 with 1d12 (I made a house rule that if you needed only 1d4, 1d6, or 1d8 you could take the higher die roll)

I started by gluing three washers together.

If you have a 1/2 inch dowel rod like I did it helps to line them up.

I slipped my first washer onto the dowel, put small amounts of glue in three places on the washer and dropped a second washer down the rod and gave the washers a little squeeze. Repeat for a third washer.

I kept doing this until I had 24 sets of 3 washers glued together. If you want more, make more.

I placed 3 of these onto a coaster to get an idea of how they will need to be spaced and not extend beyond the edge of the coaster.

Picking up one washer set, keeping the other two sets in place as reference points, I put glue on it and then pressed it back in place onto the coaster.

Repeat for the other two set of washers

Repeat on the next seven coasters.

Get your first food container ready by placing it on a flat solid surface without the lid.

Grab one of your coaster/washer mashups and add glue to the washer side. You can be more liberal with the glue at this point.

Once glued up, carefully drop it into the food container and press down gently.

Repeat for all the dice sets you want.

Put your dice combinations into the food container and put a lid on it.

Turn the container upside down and use your silicone caulk to seal the lid to the container.

I used a skewer to press the silicone into the space around the lid removing any air bubbles. If needed I added more silicone.

I then used my caulk finishing tool to make a nice looking bead of silicone around the lid and container.

Let the silicone cure overnight.

The washers act as ballast when in the pool keeping the container upright, relatively level and resistant to small waves while in the pool.

Step 5: Words of Caution

I need to point out that the glue from a glue gun does not adhere fantastically to the plastic of the food container. It gets the job done but is susceptible to jarring and rough treatment. Before I had placed the caulk on, I was testing the die roller and dropped it. The coaster/washer popped off and had to be reglued. I was grateful I learned this before I had the caulking on as that would have been a bigger fix and probably scrapped a container.

The photos attached to this step show the results of an overenthusiastic shaking of the die. Not only did the washers release from the plastic container but also were ripped off of the coaster.

This was our only casualty. We did not have to be overly gentle but neither could we go wild!

Step 6: Prepare Your Field of Battle

First, a little advice on the felt you're going to use before you buy. Get a little piece of velcro hook side and run around like a crazy person using it on different material until you feel good about how well it sticks. Now pretend to be as normal as possible and make your purchase.

Get your foam board and spray adhesive

Find a well-ventilated area with nothing around you don't want to get sticky.

Follow the directions on the adhesive. This means to shake the can well and spray from at least 6 inches away.

Cover one side of your foam board with the adhesive. You are trying for an even coat without getting a build up. I did make two passed but, DO NOT OVERSPRAY! The felt may lay uneven and the adhesive will take longer to dry if you overspray.

I then folded my felt in half and placed it on the foam board with the fold in the middle.

Then unfold to cover the whole board.

Pulling to put a little stretch in the felt is good. You can lift and adjust if needed but try to keep it to a minimum.

I was a bit impatient and barely gave the adhesive a minute to dry before using my scissors to trim the excess felt from the board. I got away with it and got good results even though my scissors were not the sharpest. Cutting at an angle along the corner seemed to work best.

Step 7: Grid Map - You Gotta See Where You're at and Where You're Going

So now we have our board and now we need a grid.

It is a simple but tedious task to make the grid. Most grids for Pathfinder or D&D use a One-inch grid for your miniatures. Using a 2x2 board and a one-inch grid would only be a 24x24 grid. I did not think that was enough room to maneuver since most characters have a movement of 30. Getting a larger 4x4 board I felt would have been too large. Since I thought the 24x24 grid was too small and a bigger board was out, I went with a 1/2 inch grid for a 48x48 grid. Actually, I did not want to go all the way to the edge, giving myself a 47x47 grid. Though I could not then use my miniatures.

The process is simple, start along one edge using your ruler or yardstick and mark with the sharpie every 1/2 inch and repeat on the other three edges. I put my marks literally on the edge of my board so I would not draw over my marks. I did add marks 1/2 inch in for where I wanted my grid corners to be.

Line up your yardstick with your first set of marks and the corner marks and draw the border square.

Line up your yardstick with the next set of marks and draw your line from border to border.

Repeat and repeat and repeat

Turn 90 degrees and REPEAT! I notice I say repeat ALOT in this instructable.

Step 8: Miniatures?

I did not have a lot of time or money at this point to go looking for 1/2 inch miniatures so I went back to what my friends and I did before we could afford miniatures. We used dice. Using actual dice was a bit expensive but I found those beads that I have in the Material List.

It was very simple to put a velcro hook dot on the bottom of each bead to make a miniature. Oddly these beads do not have a "one" pip. I decided to use a "six" pip face for the player characters though in hindsight I would now go with the blank face. I only planned for five enemies maximum per encounter and picked all blue beads for my aquatic themed one-shot adventure. I thus put a velcro dot one each bead so a different number of pips showed. You probably noticed them in the picture back two steps.

One encounter I planned was for four huge creatures. I glued nine of the beads together as shown in the picture to make those miniatures.

Step 9: Finishing Touches

I printed out stat blocks for all of my pre-generated player characters and nonplayer characters using a laser printer. The attached document has blank pages inserted for two-sided printing and seven pre-generated characters. (I have a large group.)

I created and generated each character using Hero Lab for Pathfinder. I love Hero Lab.

From Hero Lab, I generated the stat blocks, exported them to a PDF file and then copied the PDF to word for some editing. Mainly adding the tables for hit point tracking and blocks for tracked resources.

I thought about getting these sheets laminated but the cost per sheet was about $2.50. Ziploc bags work well enough though I did get small spot leakage for two of the bags.

Ziploc bags as just a little bit smaller than 11 inches so I trimmed the top and bottom by about 1/4 inch of each sheet. Placed them in a bag.

I made an effort to get as air out of each bag as I could.

I took the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and cut those into strips to allow erasing of the grease pencil marks. I got four strips per sponge.

Lastly, I used my Initiative tree. I thought there was an instructable for that but a quick search did not turn one up. You can google it and find many good examples. Mine is an over the top large version. I suppose that can be my third instructable I post.

I did not write out my "story" for the encounters as it was to be a short one-shot. The very short version is...

The characters hear of a treasure ship that has sunk near shore.

They need to use their skills to win a regional tournament to win enough gold to pay for the potions of endure elements, water breathing, and free swim. They are about 1,000 GP short per character.

They encounter the crabs on the beach.

They run into the Sahuagin and Lieutenant who summon Sharks.

They run into the Tiger Sharks

They have the boss fight with the Baron who summons more Sharks maybe even another Tiger Shark.

Step 10: Have Fun

I hope you found this entertaining and would love to hear if anyone steps up to the challenge of playing D&D in the Pool.


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