Monday, 13 May 2013

DIY Rot Grubs

As I alluded to in my Monster Mini Box - Level One post, there's no point buying rot grubs unless you're a serious D&D mini collector or have oodles of cash to throw about.  So I'm gonna show you how easy it is to make your own.

You will need:

  • Coins, washers or other basing material - In the UK our second lowest denomination coin is the 2p (worth about 3 cents) measuring exactly 1 inch across.  I've used them as bases for my miniatures for decades despite the fact that it's technically illegal (sorry Queen) but where else can you get readily available metal bases for 2p a pop?
  • Modelling Putty - I use milliput (mostly because I have it) but other putty's like green stuff, fimo and DAS Pronto would work just as well.  Obviously you may have to modify these instructions if you your putty needs to be baked to cure.
  • Modelling tools - I use a metal ruler, a craft knife and a cutting mat, but to be honest you can use just about anything as long a you don't tell your wife.

Rot Grubs A-go-go

Build up your base with putty
Step 1 -  Build up your bases. 

Tear off some putty and squish it onto your base to make a decent base for your pile of grubs and to cover up the face of whichever monarch or dead president is staring at you with dissaproving eyes.  Pile your putty up in the middle, if you want to have a big writhing mound of grubs or you can spend hours modelling a crazy paved floor for them to crawl over.  The amount of time you spend on your bases is entirely up to you.

Step 2 - Make some sausages. 

Make a putty sausage and score it
A sausage sandwich would go down really nicely at the point, but you should concentrate on your sculpt and start rolling out some putty sausages using the ruler and a flat durface.  These sausages can be any length but try to keep them about 2mm in diameter. 

Step 3 - Score your sausage. 

Using a sharp edge, like a craft knife, roll grooves all the way along your putty sausage to simulate the segments of your rot grubs.  Take care not to cut all the way through other wise you'll be making little slices of black pudding and we ain't modelling them this week.  Varying the spacing of the grooves can give you options for heads or tails when you get to the next stage.

Croissants or Chippolatas?
Step 4 - Chippolatas and croissants. 

Chop up your sausage into small lengths, about 1/2 an inch is perfect, and put a bend in them to resemble semi-circles or croissants.  You can try longer ones with more complex curves, it's entirely up to you.  In a short while you should have about 10 to 12 grubs, that was easy don't you think?  Try having longer segments at the ends to simulate either heads or tails.  If you're confident with your modelling skills you could even try opening up a mouth at one end with a cocktail stick.

Step 5 - Plate them up. 

Rot Grubs curing in the noonday sun.
Start piling your grubs onto your base in as random a fashion as possible.  You can rinse and repeat steps 2 to 5 as many times as you like to get the perfect pile of grubs, the great thing is that unlike a production miniature each one of yours will be absolutely unique.  When your satisfied leave to cure as indicated by the instructions for the material you're using.

Step 6 - Presentation is everything -

Your rock hard grubs will need a lick of paint to really finish them off.

Painted, but finished? the question is do I give a flock?

How to Play Them


Despite the fact that rot grubs feature in Head Injury Theatre's hilarious Celebrating 30 Years of Very Stupid D&D Monsters, they are an effective way of making challenging choices that bit more icky or just punishing failure.  Use them sparingly when your party has just got a little bit too cocky or blasĂ© about this dungeoneering lark.  It reminds them "Who's the Daddy?"

I'm an Adventurer, Get me out of here!!


Let's make no bones about it, they live in shit (and other nasty fetid places) and that's nasty.  If you've not seen Jo Nesbo's Headhunters then I suggest you rent that puppy now.  Simply put, Aksel Hennie's lead character has to make an unpleasant choice to avoid a confrontation with Nicholas Coster-Waldau's bad guy Greve.  You can make the "eeeeuwwww" factor even worse by keeping this to yourself until they're half way across the river of merde and they start feeling the little blighters nibbling at their extremities or worse burrowing into their faces.

Where there's muck there's Brass

How easy it would be just to let the PCs root through that pile of corpses to recover the awesome treasure.  Woah Stop!! where's the fun in that?  Remember how fun it was to bob for apples as a kid? Well bobbing for booty is more fun when there's rot grubs in the pile of poop.

Don't Cross There!!

Sometimes you need to subtly railroad (also known as convincing or dissuading) your players using obstacles which, although not impenetrable, have obviously undesireable outcomes.  So you ignored my warnings, eh?  Well not only have you just fallen into the poop but you now realise that the poop is infested with rot grubs.  You get the point.

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