Props – Do you Need Them?

You do what for fun?

When I first told my significant other that I cannot hang out with him on Sundays because that was my D&D day, he gave me the oddest look and was quiet for several seconds, thinking. A reaction I’m used to getting from people when they’ve just entered my life and I bluntly say that one of my favorite past times is Dungeons and Dragons.

Then the question arose. The question that always comes up from someone who has never played it before.

              “So… do you dress up in costumes and run around the forest with fake swords?”

The smart mouth in me couldn’t resist. “I don’t use fake swords,” I told him. At which point his eyes were drawn to my collection of very real swords hanging on the wall.

Mini’s and dice and tiles, oh-my!

Of course, then I had to explain the difference between table-top and LARP-ing (If you haven’t heard of LARP, Google it. You won’t be disappointed).

I am not a LARP-er. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still use props. Do you need them? Probably not. But battles are difficult to run without at least a grid to work off of. You can use coins, pebbles and dice to represent characters, monsters and terrain. But… it’s not the same. Once you have a miniature who looks like the character you imagine, and have used little trees and rocks, dungeon tiles and monsters, it’s hard to go back to dice and coins and/or fish tank marbles.

A DM’s Dream

The first time I played D&D, we just used paper. We made our own grid using a pen and ruler. We made origami figures for our miniatures. Then I got spoiled when I joined a group run by a DM who had been playing for so long she had just about EVERYTHING. Treasure boxes full of minis, crown royal bags full of dice. Crates of Dwarven Forge modular dungeon tiles. Her living room was a DM’s dream. During this time, I slowly built my own collection of D&D props as well, even though I wasn’t a DM myself.

See That Battlefield

As a DM, I find it WAY easier to run a game with props. It helps you and your players better visualize the battlefield, the town, the monsters. It helps keep the group engaged. But is it necessary? Do you NEED props? No. Not really. D&D can be a really expensive hobby if you let it. Minutes are usually pretty cheap, but they add up because they’re like potato chips and tattoos. You can’t just have one. Then if you start painting your own minis, add paint, brushes, primer and fixative to all that.

Is It Worth It?

So… Should you even bother with all the extra stuff? Heck yes! That stuff is FUN! Gaming aside, painting mini’s is really relaxing and can be a fun family activity. The plastic pre-painted mini’s are durable and kids LOVE playing with them. Dungeon tiles are fun to play with, just to see what you can come up with. Dwarven forge is so expensive but they’re like freakin spooky Lincoln Logs for adults, and those things will last FOREVER. I’ve seen a toddler throw a piece of Dwarvenite tile across the room and it didn’t even break. Put a dent in the drywall though. Dice towers are just awesome. And who wouldn’t want that much awesome? Just… pace yourself. Don’t try to collect it all at once or you will hurt yourself financially. And remember to be creative. I couldn’t afford a dice tower, so I made one from cardboard. It’s ugly, but it works great. If you’re a storyteller want o take your gaming to the next level, props are really where it’s at. It’s really cool to see the look of excitement on my players faces when they enter the game room and the table is set with a dungeon, and different props. They know they’re going to have an extra great time.

If you want some awesome gaming gear check out the websites below:

Dwarven Forge

Dog Might

Hero Forge


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