D&D publishes its third and final miniatures set of 2009 in the new box format – Monster Manual: Savage Encounters.
Ben digs this Monster Manual theme as it reaps an absolute bountiful harvest of miniature goodness. Each booster mini count is still the same as its 2009 predecessors (5 per pack, 1 visible, 8 different packs in all).
So here’s our Savage top five: Sorrowsworn Reaper (put the “bad” in “bad ass”), Tiefling Necromancer (total package: great pose, paint job and detail), Zombie Hulk (green is in), Death Giant (an adventurer’s first instinct is to run away), and the Angel of Valor Legionnaire (perfect use of clear plastic).
And here’s our un-saveagely bottom five: Bloodspike Behemoth (dinosaurs are for dime stores), Bodak Skulk (looks like an alien sighting from the deep south), Githyanki Mindslicer (enough already on this lame race), Legion Devil Legionnaire (think a toy eraser from the school store), and the Skeletal Tiefling (a total leaner – too thin).
With no Players Handbook Heroes III set anywhere to be found (last released on July 2009) but rumored to be set for release in February 2010, it seems likely that a shuffle of the overall format might again occur in 2010. Still, it’s been a great year and let’s just hope miniatures stick around for another one.
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The constant flipping and um’ing of one’s stapled character sheet printout is enough to drive poor ol’ DM Ben to (finally) drink. He wants bing, bang and boom-like speed in his precious games. Fear not – enter Daniel of 4E Fan Publishing and his amazing Power Card customizable creation.
He’s masterminded a handy program (with slick video tutorials) that allows you to build your own Power Cards. Daniel’s invention actually preceded Wizards of the Coast’s own cards but we prefer to utilize both (see our May 27th entry for that review).
Ben’s assembly process is quite simple. Get some Ultra Pro Deck Protectors. Find the applicable D&D Power Card as a base. Create and print out your customized card. Assemble and…wallah! You’re well on your way to creating your own character deck.
We owe a heavy thanks to Yosho and his supporting Imagine Games fan site. He’s created a slew of existing templates for you to import and tweak.
You can even create your magic item power cards (but finding the supporting thumbnail pics can be a bit of hunt). Still, do yourself and the DM a favor – give these heavenly cards a try.
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Ben believes a kill on the battle map needs to be celebrated and properly noted. Sure, you could just tip your mini over and crudely call it a dead body but where’s the proper bliss and recognition in that? You own that square – now show it!
Dragonfire Laser Crafts makes the perfect corpse marker. Their death symbol is part of their RPTiles series and more specifically, comes in their Crypt Tiles set. Ben got sneaky though and was able to purchase an extra clump of singles out of their “bit box” by visiting their booth at GenCon earlier this year.
To mix it up, we also use the coffin marker (also part of the Crypt Tile set) to symbolize the bigger kills on the board. After all, those bosses or especially pesky monsters earned the right to have a fancier tombstone.
The Dragonfire corpse tile also allows for easy stacking of multiple bodies. This function is key as our game group’s house rule says two or more bodies in the same space makes it difficult terrain.
Great stuff, fellow gamers…and remember, it’s the little accessory touches that ultimately set your game board apart from the others
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Every DM reaches a point in their game where they decide to throw up a terrain Hail Marry. For Ben, he wanted to seal the deal on his Thunderspire Chamber of Eyes dungeon with a memorable piece of terror.
The assembly components touched on all the building basics including:
▪ Dire Vampire Wolf: D&D Miniatures Unhallowed.
▪ Rocks: Concrete Rubble Mix from GaleForce nine.
▪ Floor terrain & Accessories: Hirst Arts molds (#203 & #85)
▪ Chain: Michaels Craft Store
▪ Paints: Games Workshop series (Graveyard Earth, Silver, Blood Red, & Chaos Black)
▪ Flock: Grass and Dirt ground cover from Skullcrafts.
Ben’s finishing touches included body parts from the land of misfit minis (the bit box at Gamers’ Inn). He also grabbed an old toothbrush (and not his wife’s existing one) for the ominous blood spatter effect.
So now Torog’s Shrine has a focal terrain piece that is sure to make the party shat themselves. Pick a big battle in your own module and one up, Ben. If he can do it, so can you.
We got a lot of praise and such from our first home brew installment so Ben decided to double its pleasure with a review of our game group’s initiative board. Alas, Ben once again can’t take credit as this master craftsmanship is the work of our GenCon DM, Jeff. The board in this review is a spinoff of that original creation.
Sure, there are many, many initiative trackers out there including the GameMatery Combat Pad. However, Jeff has always taken a “Why buy it when you can build it yourself” stance. Of course, Ben doesn’t share that philosophy but it does ring true for many a gamer.
All of Ben’s homemade game aids are designed to increase game speed and combat efficiencies for the sole purpose of having more time to play. And everyone at the table has a task. McBeard runs our initiative roles at his end of the table.
The pegs are labeled with each character’s initials along with each monster number. We also built additional pegs for big battle expansion and keep several blanks on hand for additional numbering.
So, now it’s your turn to drill some holes, cut some pegs, and roll for initiative.