Mike's Autojournal 2010-07-04
Mike Shea's Website
If you’re a continuing reader of the site or you’ve visited my Flickr album of D&D pics, you’ll notice I’m a big fan of Dwarven Forge. I wrote about these heavy resin-based 3D dungeon props in my Dwarven Forge Review, and my Battle Map Comparison articles. I recently received an email from someone who had about $600 to spend on Dwarven Forge and wanted to know how to get started.
First off, the disclaimer. Dwarven Forge is expensive and addictive. A single set of Dwarven Forge costs as much as 14 Dungeon Tile packs and you can’t buy just one set. You don’t buy this stuff if you want a low or even average cost solution for your game. There’s no reasonable explanation when spending this much money on your D&D game. You simply buy Dwarven Forge because you want the best.
That said, there are ways to maximize your dollar when you’re buying Dwarven Forge. It is this maximum Dwarven Forge per Dollar that we’re going to talk about today.
Rooms and Passages
With your first $600, your best bet is to buy a few sets from the Rooms and Passages line. These are relatively generic brick-style pieces that can fit in just about any setting. You can build ancient temples, crypts, castles, buildings, basements, or catacombs with them. They are the most universally usable pieces in the Dwarven Forge line.
This is a double-edge sword, of course. Too generic and your players will become bored of it. It loses the excitement after your first few times using it. There’s a way around this, however, and that’s to use a lot of the unique accessories that fit in well with this set. These accessory packs, however, come at a price.
Here is a list of the sets you will want from the Room and Passage line:
Room and Passage set: $119
2x Room sets: $99
Wicked Additions 1: $99
Wicked Additions 2: $99
Fantasy Floor set: $69
This is enough sets to build out a variety of rooms and interconnecting hallways. If you want fewer wide-open rooms and more hallways, buy an extra set of the Room and Passages instead of the extra Room set.
The detailed accessories of the Wicked Additions and Fantasy Floor sets will give you nearly unlimited options to make the rooms different and exciting. They add a whole variety of floor and wall pieces as well as much-needed stairway pieces to help you build upwards with your Dwarven Forge sets. Building multi-platform 3d environments is what really sets Dwarven Forge apart from flat maps and tiles.
Though not nearly as universally usable as the Room and Passage set, the Cavern line is easily my favorite line. It uses large 4×4 pieces instead of the normal 2×2 pieces. The detail is amazing and the look is just awesome. It works well for any ancient chambers, caverns, or underdark realms. You don’t need as many sets of this to build out a few nice rooms. Here’s a buyer’s guide priced out at $550.
2x Cavern sets $140
Cavernous Passage set $120
Cavernous River and Wall sets $150
If you want more elevated platforms, consider adding a Cavernous Chasms set into the mix for another $119.
Realm of the Ancients
Finally, if you’re looking for something more detailed than the room and passage set, the Realm of the Ancients set is the most detailed set I’ve used. It’s very well designed with lots of options and setup arrangements. It isn’t as universal as the room and passage set but it is very highly detailed. It works perfectly for ancient temples, crypts, castles, and other ornate setups. You can also build a lot of different arrangements with only three sets:
2x Realm of the Ancients 1 $140
1x Realm of the Ancients 2 $140
Your Set of Expensive Golf Clubs
Dwarven Forge is for those who want to take their hobby up a notch. It doesn’t work well if you travel a lot or play at any other home than your own. It’s heavy, expensive, and not as flexible as your standard dry-erase mat or a bunch of Dungeon Tile sets. That said, Dwarven Forge will make your encounters look as cool as they ever can. I have never been disappointed with my purchases. Be warned, however. Once you buy a set, you won’t be able to stop. There is a reason Dwarven Forge enthusiasts call it “The Addiction”.
That said, the above guide can get you on your way with the best bang for your buck.
If you enjoyed this article but Dwarven Forge just isn’t in your budget, please consider using these links to buy D&D Dungeon Tiles from Amazon or the Gamemastery Flip-Maps from Troll and Toad, an official Sly Flourish sponsor. You can also support Sly Floursh by bookmarking and using this link to purchase anything from Amazon.com.
Twitter / mshea
- mshea: @mike_schiller happy anniversary!
- mshea: @slethik around the 15th
- mshea: Michelle is teaching Tom to play Angry Birds. I'm reading His Majesty's Dragon. http://yfrog.com/jo5ovyj
- mshea: Playing Zombie Dice with mom and pop in law. http://yfrog.com/f1qd1dj
- mshea: Back to the Blog Cabin for the beat arbique in Va! All the best bloggers come here. Look! Is that @wilw? http://yfrog.com/7efoxkj
- mshea: If you love me, twitter followers, you'd use this link to buy lots of Kindle DXs: http://amzn.to/dCbtLX Daddy needs more dwarven forge.
- mshea: Woo, Babylon 5 and Highlander are both on Netflix on Demand. That's a lot of awesome show.
- mshea: RT @jwhdavison: Woot CEO's letter to staff about Amazon buyout is hilarious stuff http://tcrn.ch/awLUhm
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Twitter / SlyFlourish
- SlyFlourish: Saw a frog slide at the water park that looked like it was vomiting children. I'm going to turn it into a solo monster that vomits ghouls.
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: Even if monster identification skills take an action, have the players roll them off-turn while someone else is up. Saves time.
- SlyFlourish: @Wizards_DnD Ghengis Kahn butI bet he'd hog all the pizza.
- SlyFlourish: @ThadeousC practice and cheating behind the screen, though as little as possible.
- SlyFlourish: RT @gamefiend: tired of forgetting what your character does exactly? This combat sheet from @theweem will help: http://bit.ly/cH78Fu
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: If a player looks bored, ask them to roll a skill check to learn something interesting.
- SlyFlourish: Excellent advice on running a #dnd Epic tier game http://bit.ly/dmZuBe - above all, have a way to deal with status effects on solos.
- SlyFlourish: RT @matt_james_rpg: #DnD Tip: Be fair when DMing a game. If you bend too much, players lose the fear of consequences. Make them pay atte ...
- SlyFlourish: @carolinacharlie My assumption is that it uses MM3 math and formats. If I recall, @gregbilsland was working on this after MM3.
- SlyFlourish: @Destrin They say it has new content for existing players but it's clearly focused mostly on new players.\
- SlyFlourish: Interesting stuff about #dnd essentials. http://goo.gl/fb/O8AfS Can the Monster Vault be a re-built Monster Manual 1?
- SlyFlourish: @Squach anytime!
- SlyFlourish: @gamefiend My campaign is going to end with Orcus. I'm just glad the mini came out in time.
- SlyFlourish: @ThadeousC I run one game a week and play in our local RPGA games once a week.
- SlyFlourish: RT @criticalhits: New Critical Hit: The Dungeon Master Guys, Episode 3 http://critical-hits.com/2010/07/01/the-dungeon-master-guys-episo ...
- SlyFlourish: In case you missed it: Sly Flourish Dwarven Forge Buyer's Guide: http://bit.ly/9lxWxb #dnd
- SlyFlourish: Very much enjoying this months #dnd @wizards_dnd podcast on the MM3 http://bit.ly/9hNJI6
- SlyFlourish: There will definitely be a "Pimp my Orcus" article in the future but it will have to be after I run him in my current game. Prob Sept. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: Look who followed me home! Time to start feeding him virgins. http://yfrog.com/bcrt2jj
- SlyFlourish: RT @ThadeousC: People of twitter, in case you missed it, Orcus is watching you! http://tweetphoto.com/29916120 #dnd #rpg
- SlyFlourish: .@cwgabriel describes the mechanics behind his awesome Elemental Chaos encounter design: http://bit.ly/9CNy9L #dnd
- SlyFlourish: RT @gregbilsland: In case you missed it, I put up a new #dnd post on my blog last night: The DM's Dirty Secret. http://gregbilsland.word ...
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: Watch out for too many dazes and weakens - they generally just slow down a battle.
- SlyFlourish: RT @gregbilsland: The DM's Dirty Secret: http://wp.me/pPNTx-4D
- SlyFlourish: @blindgeekuk Sorry, I meant that a level 30 party is definitely going to resist a lot of necrotic damage.
- SlyFlourish: @newbiedm I think its tweaked from the E3 adventure. Still somewhat lame.
- SlyFlourish: @blindgeekuk Doesn't look much better than the original Orcus. 10 necrotic damage is like 0 necrotic to any level 30 party. 20 is maybe 5.
- SlyFlourish: So with the coming of the Gargantuan Orcus mini, how would you rebuild Orcus's monster stats using MM3 math, powers, and style?
- SlyFlourish: Gargantuan Orcus minis have shown up on Ebay. Looks like about $85. I'm not sure what the MSRP is. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: Take a look at how @cwgabriel built his #dnd Elemental Chaos adventure: http://bit.ly/cTDXHI
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: When customizing monsters, think about what makes that monster unique. Example; vampires have dominate, enervate, transformations.
- SlyFlourish: @Bartoneus I don't think so. I think it just piled up a huge amount of rules on the player so it feels like it.
- SlyFlourish: RT @thekiko: The Elemental Chaos is a pretty interesting place #dnd http://twitpic.com/20uugb http://twitpic.com/20uvl0
- SlyFlourish: RT @plays2much_DnD: Enjoying the MM3. Whoever said that they should go back and redo MM1 and MM2 with MM3 style and math was right. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: RT @thekiko: Well... This is new http://twitpic.com/20ufda #dnd
- SlyFlourish: @cwgabriel Share more of this high concept D&D game!
- SlyFlourish: RT @Wizards_DnD: Some cool new #dnd #darksun terrain, effects, and encounters from @wotc_rodney in today's Eye on Dark Sun http://bit.ly ...
- SlyFlourish: @ThadeousC What can WOTC do for me? Publish an updated MM1 with MM3-style math and layout.
- SlyFlourish: I dig the Sunwarped Magic Zone from the Sunwarped Flats article: Arcane check; fail= surge dmg; success = +1d10 per tier elemental dam. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: #dnd SlyFlourish: Dwarven Forge Buyers Guide http://goo.gl/fb/zT5yG
- SlyFlourish: RT @Kersimus: @slyflourish write a campaign recap as a bard recounting the party's exploits to catch up new players #dnd
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: Remember not to run a monster more than 4 levels higher than your PCs. They might still win but it will take hours.
- SlyFlourish: At the Gamers Syndicate dinner. There's a lot of geek here. Awesome. http://yfrog.com/izc7ryj
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