Mini's and play

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I have a couple of mini's for my campaign but, I don't have a lot and I have created some of my own monsters. What would be a good way of representing the monsters I have created and that I do not have the mini's for? I need a way of showing where the monsters are.
I have a couple of mini's for my campaign but, I don't have a lot and I have created some of my own monsters. What would be a good way of representing the monsters I have created and that I do not have the mini's for? I need a way of showing where the monsters are.

Coins of various denominations. Glass beads. Army guys. Dice. Chessmen. Pieces from other games. Scrabble tiles.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I have a couple of mini's for my campaign but, I don't have a lot and I have created some of my own monsters. What would be a good way of representing the monsters I have created and that I do not have the mini's for? I need a way of showing where the monsters are.

Tokens are currently the WotC standard for representing monsters. The monster vault should give you plenty, which you could use as proxies for your own creations (or you could make your own fairly easily).

fwiw: having regular miniatures for the PC's and tokens for monsters is pretty inexpensive... especially if the players provide their own PC miniature (or chip in to buy them online).
TokenTool from rptools.net lets you make tokens out of any picture you upload.  Just find a fitting pic on the net of the monster you want, fit them into the token space, and print them out. 

If you don't mind explaining and keeping track of which monster is which, coins and other small objects are fine.  I just think having a more accurate visual representation of enemies and characters makes for a better experience, especially if your players are new.
I have a couple of mini's for my campaign but, I don't have a lot and I have created some of my own monsters. What would be a good way of representing the monsters I have created and that I do not have the mini's for? I need a way of showing where the monsters are.

Coins of various denominations. Glass beads. Army guys. Dice. Chessmen. Pieces from other games. Scrabble tiles.



This was always good enough back in the "old days", and it should do quite nicely now

We used dice, coins, paper stand-ups (sometimes hand-drawn), little hand-made sculptures made from aluminium foil, boardgame pieces....


These days, I still like to recommend bargains, and some of the best bargains I've seen are Caesar Miniatures' 1/72 plastic Fantasy line.  They're a bit small and unpainted, but for the price it's hard to beat as a way to get a bunch of generic fantasy humanoid monsters, and they've got a nice, retro look to them.  I would love to see Caesar expand this product line with more cool fantasy gaming stuff in this scale....

The cardboard tokens published by Wizards of the Coast (Monster Vault, for example), and the cardboard stand-ups published by Paizo publishing (Bestiary Box - these are a very nice compromise between plastic and paper) are also great products for the price.
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
I have a couple of mini's for my campaign but, I don't have a lot and I have created some of my own monsters. What would be a good way of representing the monsters I have created and that I do not have the mini's for? I need a way of showing where the monsters are.

Coins of various denominations. Glass beads. Army guys. Dice. Chessmen. Pieces from other games. Scrabble tiles.

This was always good enough back in the "old days", and it should do quite nicely now

Some iconic D&D monsters were invented simply because the creators had a funny-looking plastic toy they wanted to use on the board.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I still like to recommend bargains, and some of the best bargains I've seen are Caesar Miniatures' 1/72 plastic Fantasy line.

Where did you buy these? I can't seem to find a place online.

I still like to recommend bargains, and some of the best bargains I've seen are Caesar Miniatures' 1/72 plastic Fantasy line.

Where did you buy these? I can't seem to find a place online.





Try Hobby Bunker - I'm pretty sure that's where I ordered from, but it's been a couple years? 

Sure, it's a bit smaller than the usual miniature scale, but one of the other fun things about the 1/72 scale is that this is the scale is commonly used for a huge variety of historical wargame miniatures and models, so you can also find miniatures for European knights and crusaders, Robin Hood and his band of woodsmen, Roman gladiators, Ancient Chinese and Egyptian warriors, Zulus, pirates, American Indians, Vikings and Gothic barbarians, Mongols and Huns, Samurai and Ninja, musketeers, siege engines, castles, sailing ships, American Civil War wagons, shacks, cathedrals, diorama accessories such as boxes and fortifications and trees, and tons of other stuff that might come in handy, with a little assembly required in the case of buildings and vehicles, and some creativity.
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
...Some iconic D&D monsters were invented simply because the creators had a funny-looking plastic toy they wanted to use on the board.



Coincidentally, I was just looking around a little while ago to see if anyone still manufactures those toy "dinosaurs"!  I had some of the same toys growing up, long before I'd ever heard of D&D... those toy packages included some vaguely familiar dinosaurs, but oddly mixed in with them were things that would later go on to become Rust Monsters and Bulettes and other familiar D&D nasties, but could only have been considered "dinosaurs" by the Japanese or Koreans or Chinese in the bizarre and psychedelic 1970's.

It's a shame, but my mom threw all my toys away back in the 1980's.  Those cheesy dinosaurs were among them, and probably no big loss beyond being curiosities today, but there were also Star Wars figures and all kinds of other stuff that would have been of interest to collectors today....


EDIT:  I found a picture of some of the vintage '70's stuff, but I don't think anyone makes them anymore - all the stuff in the top two rows looks familiar, but I've never seen the stuff in the bottom row before; the middle row has would would have inspired the Rust Monster and Bulette for sure, and a couple of guys that more than likely would have been used as Troglodytes or something similar:






Anyway, the moral of this story:  some other great bargains could probably be found in the toy department of your local dollar store... I'm sure they still sell cheap packs of plastic dinosaurs, monsters, bugs, and that sort of thing today
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
I found a picture of some of the vintage '70's stuff, but I don't think anyone makes them anymore - all the stuff in the top two rows looks familiar, but I've never seen the stuff in the bottom row before; the middle row has would would have inspired the Rust Monster and Bulette for sure, and a couple of guys that more than likely would have been used as Troglodytes or something similar

Interestingly: Gygax's bulette is still being sold (in Rite-Aid) in an ironically named "Realistic Dinosaurs" playset. The set also contains a Roc and a Dragon. Unfortunately, Gygax's rust monster is no longer part of the set.

Also, I believe the red one (middle row, right) inspired the umber hulk, bottom left (possibly) tarrasque, and bottom 2nd from the left: owlbear.
"Realistic Dinosaurs" - I love it! 

A shame about the rust monster, but it's good to know that many of those things are still around after all these years! 

From what I saw last night while researching it, the original set was based on a book of Japanese Kaiju monsters (the sort of beasties that turned up all the time in Godzilla movies and the like.)  When being sold in the U.S., I'm sure it must have been easier for the suits to market them as "dinosaurs".  That origin would make a lot of sense, as I remember seeing Japanese giant monster movies on TV every weekend at roughly the same time, and importing weird Japanese monsters must have seemed like a cheap way to make a living at the time from young adults settling down from the weirdness of the 1960's and raising families of their own.

If it's from Rite-Aid, I'm sure a package of... what, a dozen or so?... cheesy plastic "Realistic Dinosaurs" would cost a couple bucks - probably not much more (maybe a lot less, depending on rarity) than just one of their D&D Miniatures equivalents.
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
If it's from Rite-Aid, I'm sure a package of... what, a dozen or so?... cheesy plastic "Realistic Dinosaurs" would cost a couple bucks

It's surprisingly expensive, like $10 - $12. Other dinos are cheap, but not these cheesy classics for some reason.

If it's from Rite-Aid, I'm sure a package of... what, a dozen or so?... cheesy plastic "Realistic Dinosaurs" would cost a couple bucks

It's surprisingly expensive, like $10 - $12. Other dinos are cheap, but not these cheesy classics for some reason.

Hipsters are probably driving the price up, ironically.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

$10-$12!?!?  I mean, I know that inflation is out of hand and all that, but that's really just outrageous!  I will confess surprise.
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri

 TOOB makes some passable monsters, although there's really generally only one or two in each tube that are things I'd consider painting/repainting and slapping on my board. The dinosaurs, sharks and some of the lizards make good giant or dire versions and the mythology set contains a chimera, roc, dragon and phoenix (all on the slightly small side, though the phoenix less so), as well as a fairly oversized minotaur. They are expensive, however - about $14 per tube, so you're busting out anywhere from $2-3 per mini depending on how many in the tube are useable.
If you have a kid or two available to dump the rest of the toys on that you don't need it might be a worthwhile investment.

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I am the Lawnmower Man.

(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

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There are reasons they call me Mad...

They are expensive, however - about $14 per tube

Toobs are usually under $9 on Amazon, and I believe they are about $7 at your local Micheal's craft store, or about $4 if you have a coupon.


 Well, I guess you shouldn't buy them at Jo-Ann's Fabrics, then, lol...

Show

I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

 

I am the Lawnmower Man.

(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)

 

There are reasons they call me Mad...

Local hobby shop put all their Privateer Press minis on sale. I spent too much money last week, but at that price... The minis were... actaully reasonable.

You can always find an image online, print it out at 1" wide, trim it with scissors, and use that, either as a token or double-sided stand up.

MegaBlox made some booster packs with 8 knights or 8 goblins/orc/troll/??? creatures. Posable, modular, paintable, interchangable. You can probably find them on ebay for decent price.
There's a board game (sorta board game) called "Zombies".  With numerous expansions.  They also sell bags of zombies for $8 to $10 bucks or so at any hobby store that sells this game.

My group meets up and plays at our local hobby store.  One night, I left my minis at home, I just bought a bag of zombies.  There's like a hundred in a bag.  Here's a link to them on Amazon.

I don't like using coins / dice / tokens to represent monsters.  It's more fun for me visually if there's some kind of monster on the board.  And a bag of a hundred zombies is not a bad buy, especially in fights with **** tons of minions.
Used M&Ms and Reeces Pieces one session. If you killed the monster, you ate it.
A miniatures war game called Arcane Legions had booster packs of unpainted infantry vaguely inspired by history that I was able to get on sale for about U.S. $6.00 for a box of three or four dozen guys.  Like the zombies mentioned above, and Caesar's fantasy miniatures, these guys are about 1/72 scale or so, and a bit small compared to D&D miniatures, but they would another option for generic minions.  The Egyptian army pack contains some interesting mummies, and the other guys in the pack would probably pass for human guards, mercenaries, halflings, gnomes, elves, and that sort of thing.

For anyone who is interested, last year I wrote some (unreasonably long) reviews of some plastic miniatures, with (blurry) pictures for size comparisons between them:  (link)
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
Believe it or not, I still own some of those cheap plastic monsters pictured earlier. I am going to have to go dig them up now.
I don't like using coins / dice / tokens to represent monsters.  It's more fun for me visually if there's some kind of monster on the board.

Ditto (I'm a miniholic; 10k and climbing)

However: using non-identical miniatures to represent a group of identical foes can lead to confusion. I've played in a game where the DM had a set of gorgeously painted but non-matching drow to represent identical drow minions, and I've played in similar sessions where the DM used plain, unmarked (but matching) tokens to do the same. The latter worked much better.

There's several lots of minis to be found on Ebay, very cheap. I've seen lots of 200+ go for like 10$. It's worth a look.
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The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
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Another possibility is to use paper minis, i know Paizo.com sells a few of them. Just print them out a bit of thick paper and glue them on a solid base. They should last a while then.

Another solution that I used was woden "chips" found at a local hobby store. They were 1" in diameter, and I markde them all with a number code. A1 A2..., B1 B2..., C1 C2... and so on, then I could say that all A's are goblins, B's are Drow and C1 to 5 are your dwarven alies. To represent the players I had just painted 5 of the chips in different colurs, so one was yellow, another blue and so on. Even now with paper and "propper" minies one of my players insist on being the red one.
What I did was go to the Dollar Store and buy $5 worth of chess boards. That's (...32 times five... Uh...) 160 miniatures, 80 of which are extremely generic "icons" and the other 80 can still be used for just about anything. Plus they're the right size, they're solid, durable, and have no problem standing on their own (like some of the little standees I've made) and won't blow away in the wind if you play in your garage (like the tokens that come with the Monster Vault did... Now they're everywhere), and you can get a reasonable amount for even a dollar. If you're looking for something relatively generic like the Bag o' Zombies listed above, I might go this direction instead... Unless you're looking for something actually menacing looking.

EDIT: Also they come in two colours and it's super-easy to paint the rest any shade you want.
For my players' heroes, we use the pieces from a Lord of the Rings Monopoly set. Every archetype is well-represented and I've hand-painted them to make it so they're not obviously LotR characters. That way the players are clearly different from the monsters, what with the heroes being fully painted and all. They fit so well that only one of my players has bothered to buy his own mini.

What I did was go to the Dollar Store and buy $5 worth of chess boards. That's (...32 times five... Uh...) 160 miniatures, 80 of which are extremely generic "icons" and the other 80 can still be used for just about anything. Plus they're the right size, they're solid, durable, and have no problem standing on their own (like some of the little standees I've made) and won't blow away in the wind if you play in your garage (like the tokens that come with the Monster Vault did... Now they're everywhere), and you can get a reasonable amount for even a dollar. If you're looking for something relatively generic like the Bag o' Zombies listed above, I might go this direction instead... Unless you're looking for something actually menacing looking.

EDIT: Also they come in two colours and it's super-easy to paint the rest any shade you want.

...




I've got a very soft spot for the "stop by the Dollar Store and see what you can get for a couple bucks" approach, and I never really thought about just how much mileage a creative group can get from a few dollars worth of inexpensive chessboards.  That's actually rather cool, now that I think of it!
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
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