There’s nothing better than mixing your hobbies, as DnD dungeon master Todd Michael Putnam discovered when he combined his love of the video games Skyrim and World of Warcraft with his passion for crafting elaborate setups for his weekly Dungeons and Dragons sessions. This dedicated DM has used adventure tables to insert all sorts of video game locations into his DnD games, from the peaceful town of Goldshire, to the winding tunnels and snow-swept exterior of Bleak Falls Barrow. He’s even made a physical version of the Molten Core raid dungeon, complete with a Ragnaros mini for the boss.
Last time we checked in with Putnam, an IT Director from Lehigh Acres, Florida, we learned how he builds intricate tabletops for his DnD game every single week, and owns an astonishing amount of accessories to help with that task. As his stockpile of D&D terrain continued to swell, Putnam says he wanted to see if he could use his new resources to produce faithful recreations of areas and adventures in his favourite games: Skyrim and WoW.
Putnam aims to make adventure tables that “capture the feel of each of these worlds”, but given that digital worlds can be infinitely large, doesn’t tend to go for exact replicas of in-game locations. “What I can usually do is take either common themes from those worlds or iconic encounters and weave them into an adventure table that is both immediately familiar feeling, but still not fully predictable,” Putnam says.
“The players can immediately feel the Skyrim influence when they see a Word Wall, or the WoW theme when I try to approximate a classic zone from the game, but since it’s not usually an exact recreation, it still provides plenty of opportunity for surprise.”
Though Putnam has plenty of experience with both titles, he still finds it helpful to dive back into WoW or boot up Skyrim, and do some research ‘in the field’. Even if he’s seen a location hundreds of times, “there’s nothing like re-seeing those worlds at eye level digitally to help me craft that same feeling on the tabletop experience,” he says.
He adds: “It’s less about exact dimensions and a lot more about what evokes that feeling of remembrance when you were there in the video game that just makes you smile.”
Putnam says he’s sure to make more D&D tabletops based on WoW and Skyrim because the buzz and positive feedback he’s received have been very fulfilling. Putnam says he’s enjoyed seeing worlds collide, as people from different fandoms discover his work.
“Skyrim and WoW players are looking at what’s possible in a D&D campaign that they never imagined before, and D&D players are discovering worlds that are rich in lore that make incredible settings for tabletop RPG adventures,” Putnam explains. “It’s a great feeling bringing different groups together to share a common passion.”
You can find more of Todd Putnam’s fab DnD setups in our previous feature. And if you’re inspired to set out on a similar journey yourself, don’t miss our guide to the best D&D miniatures, and the top 3D printers for minis.