I will start this post by confessing that I am yet to start any new terrain piece to illustrate this concept or project as I am attempting to finish off a test piece (or as I like to think of it - a proof-of-concept piece) that has been sitting on my workbench for some time. More details soon, very soon.
However I thought that a couple more ideas (and hopefully some more comments) would help to firm-up what my thinking is.
I'll start by admitting that I prefer my terrain mounted on bases and without removable roofs - there I've said it!
There is nothing wrong with free-standing terrain (in fact the project alluded to above has NO BASE), but in general I prefer bases. Comments posted on the earlier post have just as much weight and validity as any I can make, but I felt it right I make my case for terrain with bases and no removable roofs from the start.
I also believe that any terrain piece should be obvious. The first image in this post is part of an Ogre Shrine, hopefully the many offering show that this is a well liked or respected shrine and is looked after. The Vendee Windmill (at least to my eye) could only be a Vendee Windmill, - It is not Dutch or English or Spanish Windmill. I have decorated the base with a used or broken Mill Stone and a spilt bag of flour, this says that it is in use and not abandoned or run-down.
The image below is a scratch-built Ginger Bread Cottage and by definition can only be a fun element or a quirky model. It did however hatch a complete range of fantasy figures and a published scenario for the Fantasy-Napoleonic game Flintloque from Alternative Armies, so once again I believe that it has succeeded as a piece of 'believable' terrain.
Finally we have a Stone Built Storehouse. Another scratch-built model that has a run-down look to it, with broken roof tiles and a rough door and window. The small wooden barrel to the front shows that it is still in use and serviceable.
Each of these pieces of terrain (and the very many more that can be found on my Blog) help to tell a story, give the piece a sense of place. I think this is in part conveyed by the base, which adds to the 'total' structure and helps to set it in a particular place, time or genre. This is what I try to do with my terrain.
All have fixed roofs, no access to the interior and are still 'playable' pieces.
Can I do more?
As an experiment lets us imagine an Inn, not too big, not so well built, but looked after. If I add a base I can add some barrels, a table, some jugs of beer. All of which give it a sense of purpose. If I added a dray with a horse and more barrels being delivered to the side, this will portray that the Inn is being used, stocked-up with new liquid refreshments, but if the barrels are damaged or laid about in a rough heap, with the odd one broken. Is the Inn under attack?
What about a couple of marauding soldiers some the worst for wear, others trying to nick a barrel for drinking later on. I think you will agree that as well as a piece of scenery, this Inn now has a back story, a back story that may not fit in with your scenario but one that will add interest to the gaming table - a spectacle worth fighting over.
I think I prefer the Inn under attack, with broken barrels and spilt beer, believing it to be a more interesting piece of terrain - a Terrain Diorama. This is the concept that I am trying to imagineer with these posts
What do you think?