Paint 2 Play – Clay 2 Play

Normally in Paint 2 Play I open my box of Unpainted Miniatures, pick a miniature I feel like painting, and work out things like mechanics and tabletop purpose alongside choices like colour scheme and complexity. This time, the box stays closed because I made my own miniature that I’m going to stat up for Pathfinder 2e!

The Miniature

We recently ordered some clay off Amazon for Scarlett’s friend’s birthday, and then ordered a different set when the first box arrived. It’s not that there was anything wrong with [checks box] Good! Ultra Light Clay, it just wasn’t a product we had any experience with, so it was too much of a shot in the dark that Scarlett’s friend[‘s parents] would appreciate it. But we were intrigued, so we didn’t return it, and this week we finally dove in.

Let me start by saying that Perram’s been an ambassador for 3D printing miniatures lately.* He can make a Hero Forge mini dance, put on a new hat, and ride a chocobo off to adventure. I can’t.

Let me continue by saying this is not a review, nor is this post in any way associated with the manufacturer of this product.

Let me conclude by saying that I am not an artist in any medium, including sculpting. However, for the purpose of concepting monsters, I don’t think “pretty” is as important as “clear.” That said, here are some models my wife and daughter made, to show the prettiness potential of the foam.


And here are mine…

Maybe some day I’ll stat up the pincer newt and the sorbet golem, but the monster that inspired me the most today was the animated coil of rope, which I named a rope dancer, then a bighter, before settling on belayer.

The Build

The original name, rope dancer, reflected my original vision of how this creature attacked: it danced around its target, laying rope down like a net that it eventually drew tight, capturing its victim. This idea was a fun visual, but made for impractical mechanics. This is an animated rope, all it has to do is tie targets up to fulfill its purpose.

To build this monster, I went to the indispensable and used their monster tool. It is extremely handy for guiding you through the charts in the Gamemastery Guide’s monster creation section. Once the stats were set, I looked up rules for strangulation, found the Derro Strangler, and modified the existing Strangle action slightly based on creature context.

Who Is This Mini Character?

I had a lot of fun writing the backstory for a rope person monster. Adventurers leave rope around all the time. What, are they going to climb back up the sheer wall to retrieve the rope they needed the rope to get down? Even if they can retrieve it, is saving their rope worth saving the 5 sp?

So adventurers leave their garbage lying around dungeons when they’re done. Dungeons full of radiant magic and alchemy and god stuff. The garbage gets irradiated, gets wistful for its days of adventure and decides to kill anything on sight.

The belayer is obviously a metaphor for pollution. And murder hoboing. Don’t disrespect the dungeons you crawl in, folks, or the dungeons will disrespect you back… to death!

Painting The Miniature

No paint was required, since this was built from scratch.

With all three monsters I made, I started with a modeling technique and saw where it would take me. In the case of the belayer, I thinned it out like a really long and skinny clay snake, then started coiling it around itself. Once I recognized a coil of rope in what I created, I decided to anthropomorphise it and ended up with a reasonably cute little guy who was definitely deadlier than he seemed, a recipe for a low level threat!

A Few Final Notes

Theoretically, I could have used the clay figure I made as a miniature in my game. The scale was off, however. But it inspired a monster design, and if I really needed it, I could try to recreate and dare I say improve upon the original figure in order to use it in my game.

If you want to make your own Belayer miniature, cannibalize the rope from an old Clue game. I realized after I finished with the figure that it was my iconic image of a coil of rope.

The real potential of these miniatures is in a game like The Excellence or Ponyfinder. The foaminess and pallet is well suited to a threat in a lighter, Adventure Time/She-Ra/My Little Pony setting.

*If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you haven’t seen his recent posts in the Painting and Crafting channel in our Discord server.


Ryan Costello

What started as one gamer wanting to talk about his love of a game has turned into an empire of gamers talking about their games. Ryan founded what would become the Know Direction Podcast network with Jason "Jay" Dubsky, his friend and fellow 3.5 enthusiast. They and their game group moved on to Pathfinder, and the Know Direction podcast network was born. Now married and a father, Ryan continues to serve the network as a co-host of the flagship podcast, Know Direction. You can find out more about Ryan and the history of the network in this episode of Presenting: