Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dungeons & Dragons miniatures / Revolutionary new gaming accessories

One of the hot news topics making waves across geek/nerd web community is WotC's recent announcement (some would say 'blow') that they are discontinuing their line of pre-painted miniatures and replacing them with tokens and pixie dust.
This seems to have provoked a mass panic amongst D&D players, who need mini's to play, what with the game being specifically designed for them, and measuring all its effects, distance and movement in Squares. I even suggested, during my last ill fated attempt at running D&D that all in character references to distance be made in Squares, and that the Forgotten Realms had adopted it as a standard measuring unit.
The minimum number of D&D miniatures required
to run a game from level 1 Heroic Tier to Paragon Tier

There have been frantic blog posts and forum questions, screaming "Where can I get more mini's from?!?!?! I need some more Vampire Mind Flayers and Rogue Beholders to complement my Metallic Blue Dragon Riding Goblin Lord."
Ok, maybe that's not a direct quote. It would be a Chromatic Blue Dragon Riding Goblin Lord. A Metallic Blue one just makes no sense.

Now, back when I last thought about running D&D I got a bit concerned about miniatures. I didn't want to let random packs of eight figures back into my life, as I knew from painful experience that you have to buy at least five boxes before you have the right figures to represent the party and stage a fight that doesn't involve saying "The elf archer, troglodyte and wolf are all zombies, the shambling mound is a wraith and the kobold is the lich necromancer that summoned them".
Then I had a revelation. An epiphany. A moment of clarity.

Why the fuck was I not using a chess set?

The board is the right size, if a bit limited in utility (you enter another 40'x40' room).
The pieces are ingeniously designed to allow the portrayal of the party (white pieces) and any adversaries (black pieces).
When it comes to monsters, the boss is always either the King or Queen. Any expendable cannon fodder are obviously Pawns, and other roles can be represented by the remaining pieces.
Let's look at the party:

  • King = Warlord or Paladin
  • Queen = Rogue or Wizard or Ranger
  • Bishop = Cleric or Wizard or Warlock
  • Knight = Fighter or Paladin or Rogue or Warlord or Ranger
  • Rook = Barbarian or Fighter
  • Pawn  = Fighter, Rogue
Fucking genius. I have now added a decent quality Chess board (with Checkers as well, because they played it in Lost) to my Amazon Wishlist.