Dungeon Accessories: The Crystalline Orb

This entry is part of a series where we discuss different accessories you can make for your 3D dungeon sets. The rest of the series can be found via the “Article Series” link on the menu bar. While Hirst Arts molds generally feature prominently in these articles, there are always ideas at the end to incorporate the accessory into your campaign, even if you don’t have the actual, physical accessory to use. In short, if you’re not going to make it, just scroll to the end for adventure ideas!

I’m currently working on a super-secret Hirst Arts project for which I had to design a dungeon trigger mechanism. It had to be useable by PCs, and obvious in its function. Not wanting to go the traditional “lever” route, I came up with this dungeon accessory. While it will represent a trigger in my project, I realized that it can be a very versatile accessory, especially if you make a few of them.  So here are some very simple build instructions, with usage ideas at the end!

In case you hadn’t figured it out, the “crystalline orb” is simply a glass marble.  I found a bag of 50-ish for a couple of bucks in my local craft store’s floral aisle.  I guess some people use them in flower vases.  Boooor-ing.  Don’t worry about buying so many, I’m working on another project right now that will use quite a few of these.  You will probably have a choice of different colors; I went with classic “clear,” but use whatever you like.

You only need one piece from mold #45 – there are three to choose from that will work equally well.  I’m using the pillar; the pillar top (upside down) or the torch holder (also upside down) could also be used.  No matter which you choose, you’ll have to glue two of them back to back.

Since the marble is round, you’re going to want fast drying glue so you don’t get stuck holding it in place until the glue dries.  Epoxy, hot glue, or super glue all came to mind, though I used hot glue since it was what I had on hand.  I had some trouble getting the hot glue to hold the marble, so I roughed up the marble with some sandpaper where I was going to glue it.  Also, as a result of the poor glue bond, I decided to fill in some of the gap between the marble and pillar with more hot glue, and while I was at it, added some drips down the side.

Total build time, including letting the hot glue gun warm up, 8 minutes.  If you want to paint it, add another 2 to make it a nice round 10 minutes. 

By the way, if you are going to paint it, I would suggest doing that before attaching the orb, especially if you intend to add the hot glue drips down the sides.

Here are some ideas for using the crystalline orb in your campaign:

  • Answer the question: What is the ball made of? Glass, crystal, solidified Gelatinous Cube, air, ice, water?
  • The ball opens a door
  • It’s simly a magic orb (i.e. magic implement that a wizard could use)
  • Touching the ball traps you inside
  • The ball is made of water; drinking some of the water recharges one daily power.
  • There are three (four, five, whatever) of them, and they’re on the wrong pedestals. The PCs need to place them on the correct pedestals to progress.
  • There are four of them, one at each corner of the room. Entering the room triggers a sort of “security system” that fills the room with (energy type). This could be a trap to disable, or a skill challenge
  • Obvious suggestion: scrying device. But you can’t take it with you…
  • When touched, it acts as a portal or teleportation circle. With multiple pillars and orbs, swapping them around could affect destination.
  • Place the orb on a grid intersection; standing in one of the four adjacent squares conferrs some sort of combat benefit.  Ideas for that:
    •  
      • All attacks do radiant damage
      • Grants immunity to radiant damage
      • Minor action to touch the orb and do close burst 2 radiant damage (recharge 5/6)
  • A puzzle involving more than one orb on pillars
  • A quest to return a missing orb to its pillar

// How would you use the orb?

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5 Responses to Dungeon Accessories: The Crystalline Orb

  1. Geek Ken says:

    I’ve avoided going too deep into tiles and 3D terrain, but I have to admit they look cool and make for an amazing setup. I really think little things like this get the players into thinking creative solutions to traps and challenges.

  2. j0nny_5 says:

    Those look great. Good stuff, I just love D&D crafts.

  3. Gregwa says:

    You can also make the orb removable by not gluing it to the pedestal. Simply sand a depression into the top of the pedestal so it’s slightly rounded, and that will be sufficient to keep the globe in place. This would be important, for example, if the players need to move the orbs around.

    • Benoit says:

      Sanding a depression would not be my first choice. Too fiddly and difficult. I would do one of two things:
      -Use the brazier piece (second one pictured) right side up. There’s already a bowl at the top of this piece, so the marble would stay in. You would just need to stabilize it somehow so that it is not top heavy.
      -NOT sand the marble, and still use hot glue. Once the hot glue cools and dries, the marble should easily pop out. There should now be a bit of hot glue perfectly shaped to the marble at the top of the pillar.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I LOVE this series! I’m trying to get into 3-d gaming myself and I love all the ideas and inspiration. Keep them coming please! 😀

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