Anyone who has been following my coverage of Wyrmwood Gaming’s Prophecy gaming table might have wondered if, with such a big project, they were abandoning their gaming peripherals.
Fear not, my fellow wooden gaming gear addicts! Wyrmwood has launched a new Kickstarter so that you can arrive at your next RPG session in style and with everything you need.
The Adventurer’s Arsenal combines a little bit of everything from Wyrmwood Gaming’s previous Kickstarters into one convenient package. The core of the system is the Master Vault, with room to store your character’s mini (like the Hero Vault) and up to 30 dice in three rows. There’s a convenient cutout on the front of the Vault so that you don’t have to dig your fingernails in to get the lid off. Helpful, since the rare earth magnets employed are just as strong as ever. Of course, you don’t have to fill all three sections with dice, you could spend a bit more to get the Wyrmwood Pencil.
The pencil is hand-turned from the same wood as your Master Vault. It has a built-in pencil sharpener and uses a 3mm lead. It’s the perfect hardness for making quick notes on well-worn character sheets or jotting down your recent loot haul.
Regardless of if you get the pencil or not, you’ll need a place to roll those dice. That’s why you can get a coordinated Personal Tray dice tray that’s just big enough to store your Master Vault, but still small enough to not take up too much space at the table (and less ostentatious than the Dice Tower). The pad is made from oiled buffalo leather and should soak up crits for as long as you’re rolling them.
As with all of Wyrmwood Gaming’s products, the Adventurer’s Arsenal comes with their Craftsmen’s Promise that every piece they produce is handcrafted. Not being a woodworker myself, I tend to take the term at face value. After all, I’ve held their products in hand, seen the results, and have no doubt that it takes human intervention for something to turn out this beautifully.
But I’ve also heard criticism of the term’s usage, pointing out that the regularity of Wyrmwood’s products means that machines must be involved at some point, negating the descriptor.
I mentioned these criticisms to Ed Maranville, Wyrmwood’s Co-Founder, and got his input on what, for him, “handcrafted” means.
Defining work as “handcrafted” can be nebulous in an era where there are so many machines, from simple ones like screwdrivers and hammers to complex CNC machines. However, the key difference between mass production and handcrafted, artisan work is in the attention to detail. We hand-oil each piece. There is hand-sanding, as well, and have never employed automation. Automation and machinery can replace some things, but it has limitations. A huge part of what we do is being sensitive to the needs of the piece – wood selection. If we were to throw lumber into a CNC and let it create a Dice Vault, it would not turn out well. It would not result in a beautiful piece. We have to mill proper stock, check them over for flaws and issues, both from the perspective of the physical integrity of the piece but also the aesthetic qualities. None of that can be done by a machine – we need a skilled, thinking craftsman to make those calls. And that’s a lot of the “hands on” element to the work. That craftsman will then employ machines, but that brings us to another element of modern craftsmanship.
Within the structure of Apprentice and Master Craftsmen, before the modern era, you would have a Master, who could obviously do the entire piece, start to finish, entirely alone. However, that isn’t what happened. The roughing out of lumber and, for lack of a better term, “drudgery,” would be relegated to the apprentice or apprentices. The master had more important things to take care of, and no one else could perform those tasks. At Wyrmwood, we maintain the apprentice/master relationship in many regards, but with the added benefit of machines that are excellent at replacing those elements that qualify as “drudgery” – freeing up all of our craftsmen, apprentice and master alike, for the parts of the work that cannot be handled by an unthinking tool.
So we will continue to explore the best ways to create our pieces, and machines will continue to be very valuable in achieving precise, repeatable results in an efficient way. But, there are limitations, things they cannot do, and that’s why we’re proud to have a team of more than 30 craftsmen getting their hands dirty every single day. “Handcrafted” means that they’re the ones that make every piece what it is, and consequently – along with our amazing customers and backers – makes Wyrmwood what it is.
While their consistency and quality might make some suspicious, for me it belies a love of their craft and a respect for their customers. After all, when you’re dropping $50-100 on something to store your gaming dice, that shows a special level of commitment to your gaming. Wyrmwood wants to honor that.
After only a week of being online, the current Kickstarter is currently on its fourth shipping Wave. To date, it’s one of Wyrmwood Gaming’s most popular campaigns, funding in 30 minutes and reaching $100,000 on the first day (their previous Day 1 high was $66,000 for the GM Screen). All of that means the Adventurer’s Arsenal is on its way to being Wyrmwood’s most popular Kickstarter ever.
If you’ve ever participated in a Wyrmwood campaign, you know the drill. Your pledge is for a spot in the current shipping wave and the final total will vary. Once the campaign is finished, you’ll get access to a campaign manager where you can select your woods.
The Adventurer’s Arsenal components start at $60 for the Master Vault, $60 for the Dice Tray, and $50 for the pencil in Red Oak or Alder. Prices rise exponentially from there, all the way to the extravagant prices for Snakewood ($580 for the Vault, $500 for the Dice Tray, and $420 for the pencil). However, if you’re willing to take a chance, you can get a lot more than the starter level Red Oak/Alder by spending just a little bit extra. Wyrmwood Gaming has brought their ubiquitous Roll the Dice promotion to this Kickstarter. For $85 each for the Vault and Tray and $60 for the pencil, you get a chance to receive, not just a price-comparable wood like Cherry, but one of their rare woods that would usually cost much more.
Shut Up and Take My Money
Having gotten hands-on with the Adventurer’s Vault, I can attest that it’s a gorgeous piece of kit. The Vault and Tray both feel satisfyingly heavy in-hand, the pencil fits easily into my grip and will certainly be more than comfortable for extended play sessions. The notch in the front of the Master Vault is a welcome addition to Wyrmwood’s “solid block” aesthetic. It makes it much easier to pry off the lid without scattering the contents of the Vault everywhere.
If you’re so inclined, Wyrmwood’s dice are top notch as well. The d6 logo dice and the full polyhedral sets that came with my Adventurer’s Vault are high-quality Chessex dice. I mean, you can always use another set of dice, right (sorry, Penny Arcade fans, substitute players are not yet an option)?
Unfortunately, holiday delivery for the Adventurer’s Arsenal is no longer an option. The Kickstarter has been so popular, full Arsenal pledges won’t be fulfilled until January and February of 2019. But you can still sneak in and get in on the early “Pencil only” waves in time for the holiday season. Head over to the Kickstarter page to peruse the wood options and get started. If you’re a RPG gamer, you won’t want to miss out.
Thanks to Wyrmwood Gaming for sending over a Adventurer’s Arsenal to get hands on with. Opinions are my own.