My list of dungeon mastering gear needs a new addition. In my original post, I recommended that 3rd-edition Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder players use Steel Sqwire templates to determine the area of spell effects. The wires map circular and conical areas to squares on a grid.
The fifth-edition Dungeon Master’s Guide drops the jagged spell templates of 3E. Instead, the rules suggest that players measure actual circles and cones on the battle map. Spellcasters no longer need to stay inside the lines. Despite the change, eyeballing spell areas on a grid remains a chore.
To show circular spell effects, use macrame rings. The rings come in variety of sizes, so you can get an 8-inch ring for Fireball, a 6″ ring for Darkness, and a 4″ ring for Antimagic Field—or for the tactician who wants to launch a fireball above the battle to catch a smaller circle. The sturdy rings pack easily into your game bag.
I still hunt for wire templates for cone effects. I may try to bend my own.
Back in 2014, I backed a couple of Kickstarters from Jonathan Wilson at Tabletop props. He makes covered wagons, tents, campfires, and dead trees all scaled to match miniature figures. The tent and covered wagon props pleased me so much that I wish I had chipped in for more rewards. The props are now available for sale.
Almost as many D&D adventures have PCs guarding wagons as exploring dungeons. During the inevitable ambush, I used to put a dungeon-tile wagon on the battle map. Now I have the covered-wagon prop.
The wagon boasts stunning details. The top-half comes off, turning the wagon into a flatbed. The wheels turn. At two squares across and three long, its scale suits the battle map.
The tent spans a 3-by-3 square on the map, so it represents a big shelter.
The campfire fits perfectly into a square and features translucent flames.
The wagon’s $25 price led me to only order one, but I plan to order a second. I will use the wagon in many more encounters than any of the more expensive dragon figures in my closet.