P is for Paraphernalia (AKA Stuff!) #atozchallenge

All you really need to play a roleplaying game is one copy of the rulebook, paper, pencils (Ticonderogas, please!) and the requisite dice. But it’s so much more fun to have additional stuff.

You’ve already seen a glimpse of my dice collection and the dice bag I use to hold them in D is for Dice, and a few painted miniature figures in M is for Minis. What’s left?

D&D tiles

D&D tiles

Knowing where your character is in proximity to the bad guys is important, so map tiles come in handy. Wizards of the Coast, publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, makes themed sets of map tiles out of thick laminated cardboard.

D&D tiles with accessory tiles

D&D tiles with accessory tiles

Paizo Publishing carries a line of Game Mastery tiles, easily affordable in thinner card stock. If you want to get really fancy, Dwarven Forge makes beautiful cast resin dungeon walls, floors, water features and accessory pieces of scenery, such as doors.

Dungeons & Dragons game in progress. Miniature...

Dungeons & Dragons game in progress. Miniatures from Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game and others on Master Maze scenery by Dwarven Forge. Around the dungeon can be seen many multi-sided dice, a character sheet (bottom left) and a D&D manual (top right). Note that the circular template at the bottom is not from Dungeons & Dragons, but rather is from Warhammer 40,000. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lucite platforms and columns, called Combat Tier, are useful if you have creatures who can fly, or the need for characters to climb into the heights. They are marked with the typical one-inch-equals-five-feet grid.

Combat Tier platforms

Combat Tier platforms

Last but not least is scenery. I had great fun constructing this tavern for our Leviathan campaign, using some of the same materials for model railroad scenery.

Heart o' the Dog Tavern, made by the author

Heart o' the Dog Tavern, made by the author

Another view of the Heart o' the Dog Tavern, being visited by Rafael Ceurdepyr and Rashmali

Another view of the Heart o' the Dog Tavern, being visited by Rafael Ceurdepyr and Rashmali

What have I left out? What paraphernalia do you like to use in gaming? Comment below!

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D is for Dice #AtoZChallenge

Shiny diceI debated whether this entry would be about Dungeons and Dragons, or dice. You can tell which I chose.

I love dice. They are pretty and sparkly and come in such wonderful shapes. Yes, it’s a whole girly thing.

I suspect most people’s experience with dice is the six-sided variety, but dice for roleplaying come in various shapes (and sizes). They are referred to as polyhedral, because they have multiple sides.

Here’s a handy guide:

The standard Chessex or Crystal Caste acrylic fantasy dice come in these shapes:


20-sided (giving its name to the generic play rules called d20)

Percentile (two dice, one numbered with 10s, the other numbered with one through zero; together they produce a number from 01 to 100)

12-sided (seldom used, but mocked in this Order of the Stick t-shirt)

8-sided (used in d20 systems like Pathfinder for rolling damage for battleaxes, longswords and warhammers)

6-sided (they look different with numbers rather than pips, don’t they?)

4-sided (used for rolling damage for some light melee weapons)

Crystal Caste also makes a line of “crystal” dice in barrel shapes they say make for more accurate randomness. As you can see below, the 20-, 12- and 8-sided dice are the same. The percentiles are shaped differently (I’m missing one of the percentiles), as are the 6- and 4-sided. This set adds a 3-sided die. I don’t use this style as often; they tend to roll off the table.


Various other types of dice are available, depending on what gaming system you use. The Fate RPG, for example, uses 6-sided dice, marked with a plus, a minus, and a blank.

I buy new dice when we’re starting a new campaign, and suit the colors to the type of character I’m playing. I keep them in various dice bags, one of which is a leather bag purchased at the Tandy Leather store back in the early 80s. My dear friend Janica keeps her dice in a lovely Asian-style multi-drawer chest. She and I have been known to “squeeee” in delight at Chessex dealers’ booths at conventions.

Do you love dice? Share below!

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