I think any of us who play an RPG or two (or ten) will agree that it is a GREAT time to be a role-playing gamer. Between Kickstarter and Twitch.tv and the explosion of gaming cons, there is no shortage of places to play, new RPGs to explore, adventures to watch or join, and new products to try out. When it comes to new products, sometimes there’s just too much new stuff to share with readers… a good problem to have. Below you’ll find a wrap-up of some recently released fantasy RPG products (mostly Kickstarters) that may be of use to DMs or gamers.
Note: Most all of the images below are thumbnails — click on them to view a larger, more detailed image.
Fat Dragon Games
The most recent news with Fat Dragon Games is its current Kickstarter for Dragonlock 2: Fantasy Village Terrain for 3D Printers. The Kickstarter features cobblestone streets, mix-and-match walls and roofs for assembling village structures, building furnishings (beds, fireplaces, and more), add-ons (fountain, cart, vegetable basket, etc. plus sewer pieces and an amazing windmill) and some freebie stretch goals that include an outhouse, wood pile, stockade, cart, well, and fence! Even better, if you missed the first Dragonlock Kickstarter of 3D printable files, you can add those for $70.
Here’s what I absolutely love about the Dragonlock system — the files are incredibly detailed and you OWN them. Print as many as you like… print only what you need. Paint them in whatever colors and styles you prefer. The Dragonlock system also provides these tiny clips that are used to hold the pieces together so they don’t slide and separate on your table. (There are three sizes of clip available, so you’ll want to print all three and see which size works best for your printer’s results.)
Below you can see some photos of some of the Dragonlock tiles (from the first Kickstarter) that I recently printed. They look great, and after priming them black and drybrushing them with some gray, they look even better… so good, that I printed up a bunch of 2×2 tiles, painted them (and glued a laminated image and date on the bottom), and gave them out as rewards to my players for completing the Curse of Strahd adventure so they can display their game’s miniature on a bookshelf as a reminder of the fun (I hope) they had.
I got to meet Fat Dragon Games’ owner, Tom Tullis, at Gen Con 2016, and he allowed me to examine one of the 3D-printed cottage houses and its components. The detail is just as amazing as the dungeon tiles, and I like how the walls lock together to make a very sturdy structure and that the rooftops are removable. The Dragonlock 2 Kickstarter has already reached its funding goal, but just as Tom did with the first Kickstarter, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of his surprises for backers. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one right up until the Kickstarter ends on October 11, 2016.
Update: I just received Expansion #5 of the first Dragonlock Kickstarter that contains half-height walls and other items. I know half-walls are popular with many DMs because both the DM and players can see down into the action, so this should be a well-received expansion.
I recently reviewed Arcknight’s Core Set of Flat Plastic Miniatures… 310 colorful and detailed heroes and creatures printed on heavy plastic and laser cut so you can pop them out and insert into the laser cut bases also provided. Arcknight has another Kickstarter on the horizon (and I’ll let you know when I see it go live) for even more miniatures, but I’d also like to point out that they have some really cool terrain options in their online store that you should check out.
Below you’ll find some closeup photos of some of these maps — the colors are vivid and the details are incredible. The maps are covered with a heavy laminate that guarantees they’ll last long and repel spills. I’m particularly fond of the grid-printed clear sheets that you can place over maps that don’t already have a grid — you can choose from 1″ squares or hexagonal patterns.
Arcknight is also close to delivering (or may be delivering at the time this post goes live) another product to backers of its last Kickstarter — these are spell effects, and they look outstanding! There’ll be no more debates between spellcasters and the DM over who falls into the cone-shaped area of effect. Players will be able to pick the perfect point to place that cube-shaped spell, too. Other effects such as ice storms, fog clouds, and full-sheet effects (that you can cut your own shapes from) will be available. The Kickstarter for Spell Effects also raised funds to allow for other spellcaster classes to be included, and as I understand it, the Backerkit option will allow backers to select the class of sheets they wish to be sent. I don’t have any details yet on when non-backers will be able to place orders, but I’ll let you know when I do find out.
Update: I received the info below from Arcknight regarding their products:
The object sheets and other things are all transparent, the white is just a coating that you rip off. So the small object sheets in the picture give the impression they’re printed on white. Our grid sheets come in about 60 varieties, not just 1″ square and hex. We have colored grids, different opacities, different sizes, grid clusters, etc. they’re on our website as different items with drop downs. The class spell effects are available to back now via our BackerKit – you can follow the pre-order link from the Kickstarter page and it’ll take you to https://Roleplaying-spell-effects.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders and we’ve actually set up that BackerKit to be a catch-all for every item we manufacture, many of which aren’t even on our website. As a pre-order, it’ll have the cheapest price possible, often beating our website price, and be put into our production queue.
I’m a fan of DM Scotty and his terrain making videos, and he’s got a great Facebook group that you should seriously consider checking out if you like to learn how to craft things on the cheap. In that Facebook group are a lot of individuals who share their own creations and ideas, and Kris McDermott got my attention with some of his terrain products he sells at Game Tile Warehouse. I haven’t had a chance for a hands-on review yet, but I do like enough of what I see to want to share it with readers. I’m including Kris’ notes about what you’re seeing in the photos below:
- A massive 580 piece tile kit (below) ideal for Heroquest/Dungeon Crawls. Supplied with stands and a mixed assortment of hundreds of double-sided tiles with barrels, crates, portals, forge, doors, balconies, stairs, tables and much more.
- A sample of my 10×10 Forest Terrain. Printed as Mats/Boards or available digitally in Forest, Jungle, Snow, Desert with up to 24 different designs per terrain style.
- A layout of my Deluxe Reversible City Rooftop Set which features day tiles on one side, night tiles on the other. Sold as a massive all-in-one 2d kit or as digital files.
- A set of my 2×2″ dungeon-mapping tiles called Soloman Temple Squares. Uses over 144 designs to randomly generate or build and map dungeons using tiles and token markers for making notes. The tiles can scale and are also produced in a 8×8″ format making dungeons that are built reproducible and playable.
Black Scrolls Games
The guys at Black Scrolls Games continue to release the most eye-catching battlemaps, and their latest releases include the PWYW (pay-what-you-want) The Hut of the Half-Blood Hag which is a perfect little map for a one-off swamp encounter you can toss into any campaign.
The other new title is the Forest of Fallen Giants… a well-timed battlemap that may fit well into any DM planning on running the new Storm King’s Thunder. It consists of 29 double-sided tiles that you can arrange as needed — you can order the tiles already printed or grab the PDF files and print them yourself. I’ve printed plenty of Black Scrolls Games’ products, and I can tell you the quality of the maps is excellent.
I missed Erik Bauer’s first three Mega Dungeon Kickstarters, but not the fourth one! What I really like about the Mega Dungeon series is the fact that the individual pages work together to create a MEGA dungeon while at the same time working just fine as individual 1″ gridded pages for small skirmishes or investigations by the players.
Backers of a Mega Dungeon can choose between the PDF file or actual printed pages (with included PDF file). For the Mega Dungeon 4 Kickstarter, I took that opportunity to grab the first three packages of printed pages and I don’t regret that decision one bit. Arriving in the mail were four large packs of grayscale pages. Mega Dungeon 4 consisted of the rooftops and alleyways of a village. If you place the 100 pages in a 10×10 grid, you end up with a nice village (first image below on left, other image is closeup of a single page) ready for exploration.
Mega Dungeon 1 is a 10×10 sheet dungeon called the Citadel of Pain. Mega Dungeon 2 contains The Lost Catacombs and consists of 5×5 sheets plus an adventure to run for your players using the pages. Mega Dungeon 3 is another 10×10 sheet collection containing The Sewers.
Note: Each Mega Dungeon pack also has two thumbnail pages that show you the front and back images on all the pages — very helpful for picking out specific pages you can use. But do try to keep the pack in original order if you can — makes it easy to find what you need at any time. Each page has a letter and a number to help you match it up to the reference pages.
All four Mega Dungeon packs are designed to work together, with the village leading down to the sewers that lead down to the catacombs and then finally down into the dungeon.
If you’d like to grab any or all of the Mega Dungeons, you can find more info at gamingpaper.com. You can also download some free sample pages from the Mega Dungeon collection to see if it will fit your need.
Glenn McClune was kind enough to provide me with some sample PDF files of a few of his terrain styles for his recent successful Kickstarter, AdventureCraft Tilemorphs for RPGs. Based on DMScotty’s 2.5 tiles (a mix of 2D and 3D tiles with walls existing of slightly higher material that allows DMs and players to easily see inside rooms and other structures), you can print out the style/color of tile you want and glue it to cardboard or foam board to make as many tiles as you like.
I used the Deep Cavern tileset provided by Glenn to create a few rooms my players (images below) encountered during their exploration of Castle Ravenloft for the Curse of Strahd adventure I’m running. The tiles received a lot of compliments for the color scheme, and this is just one style — backers will receive the original 11 styles as well as a bunch of stretch goal styles that were added. In total, it looks to be well over two dozen different tile styles that will be made available.
You can find other tiles created by Glenn over at his website — take a look at the photos for Dark Castle! Glenn expects to have the new tilemorphs from the Kickstarter available for purchase from his website sometime in October.
DMs have a LOT of options for creating terrain these days, and files for 3D printing terrain seem to be on the rise. If you own a 3D printer, the ability to print tiles as you need them is a great way to save money ($0.30-0.60 per piece versus $2-3 per piece from some well known tile vendors). TrueTiles just completed a new Kickstarter that offers up dungeon tiles with chasms and water hazards. The TrueTiles files consist of STL files to print out half-height wall tiles… the grid system is also 1.25″ versus a standard 1″.
Right now there are three packages available — the Base Dungeon Set and the new Chasms set and Water set. The Kickstarter is over, so if you want to order any of the kits, you’ll have to wait just as bit as I’ve been informed by the creators that they’re working on a website but it’s not yet ready. I’ll keep you informed as I get more details.
Paul Weber Cards
I’ve covered terrain, terrain, and more terrain, so I’m happy to change things up here and share with you something that I spotted on DM Scotty’s Facebook page and blew my mind. Paul Weber is a freelance graphic artist who has created numerous sets of cards (for FREE!) that DMs and players can download and print out for use in their D&D 5e games. He’s created Equipment Cards, Condition Cards, Inspiration Cards and even Treasure Cards, and what I like best is that the style is consistent between the decks. Paul offers up his cards for free and user feedback allows him to tweak them and fix small errors.
Paul maintains a Word document with links to all his various card collections that you can download if you join his Facebook group. A lot of his fans have downloaded the decks and then submitted the files to be printed on high quality cards (versus self-printing on card stock) and have shared photos — I’m totally convinced that’s the way to go. Paul includes imagery for both front and back of each card, and in many instances he offers up different styles/colors for the back of the cards so you can customize the decks a little bit.
- If you know of some terrain products that should be reviewed, please let me know in the comments below. Honestly, there is just so much stuff popping up for DMs and players, it’s almost impossible to find it all… so I’m always appreciative if someone points out something new and useful. If you’ve got a Kickstarter coming up, do please check out the GeekDad.com Kickstarter Guidelines here.
- Have you started watching (or finished) the original Netflix series, Stranger Things? It’s got some great nods to D&D, including an opening scene of four kids playing D&D in the basement. As someone who has a strong interest in the history of 2D/3D gaming terrain, I was also pleasantly surprised to see this image in the show:
Someone on that show REALLY did their research and was fully committed to being true to the period (1983). What you’re seeing in that image are sample chits and walls from the The Dragon Dungeon Design Kit from Dragon issue #45 (January 1981). I’ve examined the photo carefully, and those white chits have exact matches in the issue. As best I can tell, someone involved with the show obtained Dragon #45 and took the time to cut out the wall pieces (there were both stone and wood grain — the wood grain is hilariously large for walls) and the chest and doors and other items and arrange them in a nice little room. It even appears that the grid pattern of the floor comes from the actual grid pages found in issue #45. The chits visible include a double set of iron doors (with staircase outside), a lantern (looks sort of like a skull, but there isn’t a skull in the kit), a chest, a round bowl, crossed swords, a bookshelf, two additional smaller doors, a spiral staircase, and an iron bar gate. Inside the wooden wall room there is a blurry chit in the upper-left corner that I have not been able to match up 100% but it may be one of the wooden tables. Stranger Things Period-Accuracy-Staffer — I salute you!
I’ve written a number of articles on GeekDad.com related to RPG terrain. Below is a list with links if you’re interested in more products: