Defiance in Phlan Delve Terrain: The Goblin Lair

DSC_0047 - CopyEvery year that I DM for Gencon, it seems like I don’t get the adventures in time to prepare top notch terrain for my tables. It’s either something I already have lying around, or something I cobble together last minute. However, this year I was given a very early preview of the maps that would be used in the Gencon Delve adventure. Not one to waste an opportunity, I got right to work on making really cool terrain pieces for the tables I would be judging. This is the third of three pieces I made.

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t played Defiance in Phlan yet, but plan to, read no further until you have!)

Oh, and as always, click any picture to embiggify.

I’ve worked with foam before, but I’ve always cut it with a utility knife. I was wondering whether a hot wire would improve my end product, so I picked one up at AC Moore (at 55% off, of course). A couple of rechargeable D batteries later, and I was in business. First, I cut the foam down to size with a jigsaw. The jigsaw is also a recent acquisition, mostly for home improvement projects, but it made clean cuts and short work of the foam. I’ll probably use that from now on, even though the foam left blue “dust” all over the tool.

Then, I transferred the outline of the map onto the top pieces. Time to try out the hot foam cutter!

photo (960x1280)

image (960x1280)

This particular piece followed my philosophy of “only reveal a little at a time,” so I had a “lid” on the whole cave that came off in three sections. When I plunked the bad boy on the table, this is all the players got to see:


One of the problems with this piece is that it’s frikkin HUGE. It took up most of the table. At one end, the players would see this (the other end doesn’t look as intriguing…)

When the players enter the cave, they encounter a blocked off hallway and a room.


Of course! There’s a secret door! (If you missed The Crypt, check out the secret doors there too). The cage at the back of this room held a couple of wolves, and a frantic goblin trying to open the cage and let them out.


Finally, the back of the cave reveals the prisoners the PCs are looking for, as well as some nasty goblins and their bugbear leader. And several passages lead off deeper into the cave…



Which raises the question… what’s deeper into the cave?

DSC_0054All in all, I had a ton of fun judging at Gencon this year. Because I had made these terrains, I ended up running those three tracks of the delve for the most part. I did run one “non terrain” track for one table at a player’s request, and we also had a lot of fun with theater of the mind. I would definitely recommend playing all five tracks if you get the chance. I would also recommend any one of the tracks as a perfect beginner’s adventure – they’re quick, and showcase many features of the system. Shawn Merwin did a great job!


5 thoughts on “Defiance in Phlan Delve Terrain: The Goblin Lair

  1. dmfumbl

    Wow, great job. I ran Defiance at GenCon as well (all TotM), but I wish I had played at this table!

    And thanks for the WIP pics, if I ever try a terrain myself, this would be it. Not not mention the adventure itself is a great quick starter!

  2. jason magolan

    with this particular piece (awesome by the way), it bein long maybe with some sort of rotating device underneath, that way everyone could turn it so everyone saw what was going “down”.
    and i like the revealin a section at a time it works great.
    good job.

  3. Peter C.

    This looks awesome! I bet it takes a damn lot of time to make all of this?
    Do you make any profit from these or you just do it for yourself as a hobby? I looked over your other posts as well and saw you have a great collection. You can open a toy store, I’m sure it would be a profitable for you :)

    Keep it up, great talent you have!


    1. Brian Benoit Post author

      It does take some time, though things go faster nowadays than they did when I first started making this stuff. I do sell pieces from time to time to make room for new stuff, and have also done commission work in the past, but it’s not a steady thing. Mostly just for fun.


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