TTRPG Cathedral Build Tutorial Pt 1

Welcome to the first installment of my cathedral build! As I eagerly await the arrival of new tools for my project, I’ve decided to share the step-by-step process in installments. In this tutorial, we’ll focus on creating the foundation of our TTRPG terrain cathedral using affordable materials like Readi-Board Foam from the dollar store, XPS foam, a utility knife, an L-shaped ruler, and a cutting mat (optional but highly recommended).

Materials Needed for this part:

Cutting the Base, Altar, and Balconies from XPS Foam:
a) Base: Cut a floor piece measuring 20×10 inches. Remove 3×7 inch sections from two corners to create a distinctive shape.
b) Altar: Cut an altar step measuring 10×5 inches. Remove 2×1 inch corners from one side and 2×2 inch corners from the other.
c) The altar top should be 8×3 inches with 1×1 inch removed from all corners.
c) Balconies: Cut 2 balconies to 3×4 inches each.

TIP: Ensure you have a sharp blade in your utility knife. Foam tears easily, making for a rough cut, but a sharp knife will help with this. Also, try using a lot of shallow cuts with lighter pressure, instead of a few strong cuts.

Add your playing grid:
a) Mark out inches on each side of your base pieces (all pieces cut so far.) Having a cutting mat with a built in grid is great for this, but a ruler will do.
b) Use a utility knife and a ruler to cut shallow lines between your markings to form a uniform 1″ grid.
c) Accentuate your lines by pressing a ballpoint pen into the cut and running it over the line.

Cutting the Walls from Readi-Board Foam:
a) To add rigidity and depth, use 3 pieces of Readi-Board for each wall section.
b) Cut three wall pieces measuring 6×13 inches, six pieces measuring 7 3/4 x 13 inches, and six pieces measuring 6 7/8 x 13 inches.
c) You can use this PDF printout to size your stained glass windows (separate tutorial for those coming!). Since each wall is made from 3 pieces of foam, we will cut the windows in the outer pieces slightly smaller to create a framed effect. To do this, trace the first paper cutout window where you want it, cut it from the foam, and then use the foam piece as a template for the others, angling your pen to make the second and third pieces smaller than the first.

Tip: For the pairs of long, skinny windows, position them higher on the walls (about 5 inches from the base to the bottom of the window) to leave room for the balconies underneath.

Making Balcony Arches:
a) Refer to the image for dimensions and quantity.
b) Each side of each balcony should have a short side with a smaller arch. The shorter inner wall allows the balcony floor to sit inside like a frame.

With these steps, you’ve laid the foundation for your TTRPG terrain cathedral. Stay tuned for the next installments where we’ll make stained glass windows and put our pieces together. Happy crafting!

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