Ben opens up a big ol’ box of nostalgia with some classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Trading Cards from 1991-92 and tells you how to integrate ‘em into your own #dnd game.
These wondrous trips down memory lane also make excellent in-game NPCs, monsters, and item cards. You may recall when Ben has showcased this slickery RPG storytelling technique on our YouTube channel. Hence, his overwhelming glee as these amazing old cards let you go beyond the Paizo series by providing a slew of additional options to choose from for your next encounter.
These days, miniature markers are booming – like aftermarket accessories for the iPad. So, this time Ben takes a look at the Gale Force Nine PHB token series to see what sticks.
So the first thing you will probably ask is how can Ben be objectionable when his gamer clan has already made its own very famous home brew miniature effect flags? Easy – Ben loves variety. Remember, one D&D accessory is rarely better than the other. Each piece can add something new to your own game mix so long as you keep an open mind.
There’s no arguing that Gale Force Nine tokens share a common marking trap. They lay flat and thus, can be tricky to spot on the table or get accidentally covered up. To maximize their use, Ben believes it’s better to put them on your character sheet as you go and not on the game mat near the affected creature’s base.
Note: We’re doing a single-clump review here: all 8 PHB classes (from Paladin to Warlock) as well as the DM Token set. However, be sure to watch for their two new DM expansion sets in December.
So, here’s what Ben particularly enjoyed from all the sets:
- Action Points: great colors, nice variety, feel good in the hand
- Horses: minis of all sizes rest well on the bases
- Torches: elegant light source representation
- Tomb Stones: very cool to lay down to track blown death saves
- Corpse Tiles: work great for dead humans
- Character Cards: dry erase and quick reference key stat cards = awesome
- Bloodied: The drop of blood symbol is a nice touch
If you need an easy, stylish, and portable solution, these GF9 tokens are a keeper. Better yet, consider grabbing the set and mix and match your favorite pieces in with the rest of your master collection.
Now, if we could only remember whose turn it was!
Questions to Ponder: Do you use common household items to mark minis? Do you have a favorite purchased token accessory? What have you seen lately in this category that peaked your interest? What on earth do those symbols mean?
Come on – who doesn’t need an RPG brain boost once in a while? Don’t fret, lads. The Ultimate Toolbox rocks and shocks with its content buffet of DM happiness. AEG has stuffed countless charts, tables, character backgrounds, and gaming seeds into its 400-page book.
Ben is constantly looking for new ideas and its absolute luxury to just flip to a page and drop down a d20 to smash your writer’s block. While our game group loves the structure that comes with a pre-existing module, we constantly spruce that story and map for greater game impact.
For example, your module says you walk back to town to re-supply and leaves it at that. Why not create a little skill challenge or mini encounter here to avoid the typical humdrum rest?
The Ultimate Toolbox provides plenty of ammo including: (all randomly rolled)
- Tavern names (and colored history): ex. The Mighty Quill
- Bar patrons: ex. Patrons trying to outdo each other with loud toasts
- Alcohol and grub menus: ex. Bourbon and baked goat hash
- Bar table games: ex. Mumblety Peg
- NPC Mannerisms: ex. Very deep voice/uses same word a lot
Questions to Ponder: Do you own the original Toolbox book? What other books similar to this style do you recommend (and not recommend) for others?
Other noteworthy chapters were Dungeon (trappings, empty rooms, caves), Magic (components, the bizarre, Arcana) and Plot (villains, gossip, quests and secrets).
The book works with any game system including old school D&D, Paizo and of course, 4E. Thus, you get some more mileageif you’re a gamer-of-all-trades.
Not every D&D accessory leaps out at you or is the size of the Colossal Red. This week Ben reviews some MBA must-haves including the Buddha and Bedroom Set.
You walk up and down Gen Con’s vendor hall – over and over again. Your eyes scan the booths like a lurking Predator and targeting Terminator. Where are thee? Show yourselves! Ben takes pride in this adrenaline-pumping hunt. It separates the Elves from the Half-elves.
Ben was ecstatic with a couple of beauties from Miniature Building Authority at Indy 2010. Thankfully, they’re now available from the company’s Direct Buy program. We’ll only be focusing on a few of ‘em but there’s a growing list of items for you to see.
First, the Buddha – it was Seinfeld-kitschy and had lots of fun uses. Picture it as a daunting temple statue, mysterious forest marker, or simple cave guardian. Plus, a Buddha always makes a man feel good.
Secondly, Ben grabbed a Bedroom Set. It contained two beds, a nightstand and a dresser. The beds are true gems: one is made and the other turned down. The furniture fits into any creature’s wooded cabin, remote farmhouse or humble residence.
Ben’s items were acquired pre-painted. For these kinds of micro-finds, that can be a rarity. If you’re smart, you can get ‘em though. Cons will often paint their prized items/molds for some customer shock and awe. The vendors just won’t sell them in great quantity and often charge a premium. Fair enough – nothing wrong with a little extra effort and currency if the product is done right.
Questions to Ponder: What’s the most unique thing you snagged at a Con? What do you wish you would have bought but passed on at the last second?