The Best Miniatures on a Budget (Take 2)

I’ve talked about this before–the minis I use for my table.

I had the same problems most DMs find themselves having when they want miniature-based (or grid-based) combat… minis themselves. They’re a nexus of three major conflicts:

  1. Reference – we want miniatures that can be used in the place of monsters and players in a way that makes it easy to know what the heck they are. That old box of half-painted Warhammer figures and some random Bones minis, etc. is a disappointment because, end of the day, you end up having to say “that wolf there, that’s the hellhound; yeah, and that blue guy? he’s the Helmed Horror; and that giant is a dragon”.  Proxies (objects used to represent things) are a legit way of doing it all, but even then, random proxies are terrible (“I shoot at the hobgoblin!”…”Which one?”…”the d20 over there by Bill; no that one… no THAT one”).
  2. Quality – Paper miniatures can be alright, but they’re fragile. Cheap minis rip and break and it’s just no fun. Flimsy plastic warps. In the end, we want something with a little table weight, something durable, something consistent, and useful.  Quality.
  3. Cost – Sure… if we had an unlimited budget, then an unlimited inventory of well painted monsters of all kinds could be at hand. But, that’s not practical, it’s not cheap.  We would love to be in and out of the mini market for under $100 (many of us) and under $50 (if we’re lucky).

So, my solution was to take a note or two from other games.

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A Hardcover Magic Item Compendium That’s Better Than Nothing…

Well, we’re finally doing it... we’re in pre-production and principle art design for our first ever supplement to 5E D&D!  Many-Sided Dice will be the proud pioneer of the largest, professionally produced compendium of magic items and wonders out there.

Hundreds of new designs and images, a full in-character guide through the word of weird artifacts and lost treasures! Guaranteed to add so much content to your D&D game you will absolutely wet yourself with excitement.  Heck, we all did!

Please sign up below to get (occasional) notifications in the coming weeks about the launch of our Kickstarter, giveaways and prizes for our fans, and find out how you can get your hands on the book!

Click here to sign up for updates on this project!

Beholders – Crazy Alien Deathboxes


-Dark-Lord--Комиксы-854783If you don’t know what beholders are (the basics) you should read up on the Wikipedia article for them or even better the post at Power Score about them. Suffice to say, beholders are alien things from another dimension/reality that are not only an iconic D&D monster from way, way back, but also the feature monster on the cover of the 5e Monster Manual. They’re a signature character, as much a part of D&D as anything at all can possibly be.

Playing or deploying beholders in combat, RP-ing them so they pop and stand out is hard. Playing, say, gnolls or hobgoblins I found easier–as a DM. There’s a logic there that’s primitive for one and pretty classical for the other. Playing orcs or goblins is harder, but its still tribal and makes a “behavior of tribes” sense. Dragons are tricky to get right because they’re so large (in stature, I mean) that unless you go very BIG with the performance, you’re really just playing a mean person in the body of a dragon.

Beholders and aberrations or intelligent monstrosities are hard because they are–entirely–not human, not primate, not terrestrial. They are an alien mind. The Monster Manual tries to reflect this by emphasizing paranoia and arrogance, but I like my beholders to go to truly scary levels of alien. The less predictable, the better. The more the party feels like they cannot reliably relate to whatever a beholder thinks and feels the terror of what they see as irrationality (but is simply an alien rationality) the better.

So, here are my tips for playing beholders:

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Well, That Took a While…

keep-calm-we-re-backBack.  I am most definitely back from both real life and vacation… gone longer than I thought I’d be.  But that’s how it is when your group has holiday interruptions to sessions and a man has to pay the bills. But, that out of the way, we’re going back to our old update schedule starting this weekend.

At the moment, we have a half-dozen new items for our Better Than Nothing series, a half-dozen new traps for our Make Players Worry series, a review of the mass-combat rules from Unearthed Arcana (our game ran through a multi-battle war), and some other gaming content (we’ll be adding some reviews and opinions about Savage Worlds, some old school systems, and conversions from old D&D).

Oh, and we’ll post up some details about our building and playing our own full game of “Chardee MacDennis” (hundreds of cards, props, pain and terror, etc.).

It’s going to be a busy holiday.

On Itemry and Trappery – Part 1

As my own 5e Eberron game returns to my table this week after a month on hiatus (players on travel and vacation), we’ll be getting into the dangerous world of life as the secret spies and adventurers for a growing city-state surrounded on all sides by enemy nations and vile conspiracies…

Normally, in a given week, I’d be adding to my Worrisome Trap or Better Than Nothing Item collections, but as I’ve made a whole bunch in running up to my game returning (and my players read my content all the time), I want to hold back a week before posting them up.  The sad part is you’ll have to wait a bit for a half dozen new traps (well themed for an Eberron game) and a few more flavorful magic items; the good part is they’ll be slightly more playtested and balanced than usual by the time they do post up here.

In the meantime, though, I wanted to share the first, high-level overview of how I approach the making of magic items and traps.  The first stages are the same for either, but I’ll emphasize items in this post and come around to traps later on. Now, I want to emphasize, this is just my own process for creating things.  Everyone has their own, of course, and the DMG has a few on top of that… take what you like, leave what doesn’t jive for you.

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Magic Items That Are “Better Than Nothing” hits 200!

Well, that’s a wrap on that series, for now.  200 items (with mechanics, some play balance, histories, fluffy narratives for interesting Divinations or Identifies, etc. is a lot. It’s been fantastic shooting for the goal and crossing that finish line, and while we’ll be taking a break from that content for a bit we won’t be giving up entirely.

Next up for that collection is a well formatted, linked, searchable PDF and a Kickstarter to stretch goal for paying artists (we have a handful ready and interested) to help us included illustrations of at least some and maybe all of them!  And, if that turns out proper, a bigger stretch goal of a printed product with some celebrity/guest introductions.  All of that coming as a project this summer.

In addition, we’ll be continuing some of our other content series’ like Adventure Pitches, Class Histories, and Monster play-guides as well as trying out a few new ones.  Thanks for reading, everyone.