If you know me, you know I absorb ideas easily. I'm not saying I can't come up with ideas, but a good deal of what I do well comes from others.
A friend of mine in Portland came up with the very cool idea for making inexpensive AoE templates for D&D.
All you need is a quick trip to a craft store to get 18-gauge wire. They sell it for working on floral arrangements. The wire needs to be straight (not curved), but can be in several small sections.
Then, from a hardware store, purchase Spline, which is the rubber black ridged stuff that is pushed into the border of a screen door to hold the screen in. The .125 diameter works well with the 18-gauge wire.
Take your first wire and stick it into a section of spline. Now bend the spline to make a right angle. Measure this on a battlemap (or 1" grid) and guess where you should cut the metal so you end up with the total distance desired (a total of 3" for a burst 1 template, including the curves). Once cut, cut the spline. Now repeat for the remaining sides.
Keep in mind that a blast 3 template is the same as a blast 1, so you only need the following:
- Blast 3 / Burst 1 (3'x3')
- Blast 5/ Burst 2 (5"x5")
- Blast 7 / Burst 3 (7"x7")
- Blast 9 / Burst 4 (9"x9")
- Blast 11 / Burst 5 (11"x11")
I made two of each template except for a single of the largest with one pack of metal rods.
The templates are really useful for zones, for quickly establishing what can be affected, and even for measuring ranges.