Mar 16, 2012

DM Tools: Tiles and Stands

I've recently come across two sites offering some interesting accessories for my D&D games.

First on the list is Dapper Devil. They offer colored bases for D&D miniatures, in various sizes and colors. I think this was originally intended for use with the D&D skirmish games to help identify one person's minis from another.

For my D&D game I use them to help distinguish different versions of the same creature. If I have a bunch of lizardmen attacking, I can use the same mini, but each with a different color base to help keep track of hps and effects on each.

In addition to the miniature bases, the site also has a number of tiles that can further aid in a game, from various status effect tiles to spells, and even treasure tiles.

For character tiles, or paper standups, there are a number of companies that make plastic stands, from Steve Jackson Games, to Fantasy Flight Games. But I've found a solution I like more than those two for a number of different reasons.

RolcoGames sells pieces that can be used for a number of board games. The one product that I like for my game are the game stands. They are available in a number of different colors and at 3/4" x 3/4", they fit within a standard 1" space. Again, I like the color variety since I have multiple versions of the same creature with different color bases to track each independently. Also the price for these game stands is cheaper that the other companies listed.

If you use a lot of D&D minis or flat cardboard minis, check out these companies, I'm sure they have something you just might be interested in.

Mar 1, 2012

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 32) - Sword of the Kinslayer (Part 3)

This story begins a few moments after the last issue. Lord Silvercrown has just claimed the Sword of the Kinslayer for his own, as the evil force from within the cave emerges, and is revealed to be a white dragon.

As the dragon lays waste to Lord Silvercrown's men, the dragon is also silently communicating with Lord Silvercrown, instructing him to kill his son, Maric. Riva struggles with her father as Maric makes his escape. The dragon then instructs Lord Silvercrown to slay his daughter.

Riva runs away, her father close on her heals. While on the run, she falls down a snow covered shaft and finds herself in one of the mountains caves. Here she stumbles across Theolin who reveals a terrible find, deep in the cave are dozens of dragon eggs.

Theolin reveals a magical device, a Horn of Blasting, that he will use to bring the mountain down upon all the hatchlings.

At first Riva dismisses the idea, claiming that creatures aren't born evil, and that it could be a glorious site to see the Knights of Solamnia riding these dragons in the service of good. As Riva coddles one of the hatchlings, it bites her and then flees from the cave. Theolin instructs Riva that she chase down the dragon and slay it.

Outside the cave she wonders why she must kill the infant dragon, and if she could kill her own father that seems determined to see her and her brother dead. Just then she encounters the remains of her father's forces. They pledge to follow Riva's command. As she leads the men through the snow she begins to see herself grown up. She also sees her father, fully possessed by the Kinslayer blade. Vowing to destroy him, Riva charges at her father only to hear a voice whispering inside her head to kill her father, and take his sword. As Riva dispels the voice, she also see her followers disappear, mere illusions that were never really there.

Her father, on the other hand, is real, and ready to kill his daughter as a way to seal his pact with the dark mistress that gave him the blade and access to it's power.

Just then one of the white dragon hatchlings gets in the way and Lord Silvercrown first tries to dispatch the beast. For a moment, Riva sees her father, not as the blood thirsty killer before her, but the kind and protective man that chased away the mother goose all those years ago (as seen in issue 31). After being struck by Lord Silvercrown, the hatchling flies away with the blade impaled in its body.

Lord Silvercrown is distraught, but just then Riva hears the sound of a horn and realizes that Theolin is going through with his plan to destroy all the other dragon eggs before any more monsters are unleashed on the world.

In the cave, Riva is able to pull Theolin free, but not before she is confronted by the adult white dragon. Riva battles long enough to give Theolin time to sound his horn. She is unintentionally knocked free of the cave by the dragon as the walls and roof collapse all around.

Outside, Riva is greeted by her brother who tells her that Lord Silvercrown still appears to be possessed. Just then, the white wyrm bursts from the mountain, wounded and bleeding, but determined to avenge the deaths of all her dragon eggs.

Riva, armed only with the polearm bearing the family standard confronts the dragon. The dragon reveals that oracles claim Riva is destined to be the destroyer of dragonkind at it lunges at the young girl. Riva plunges the polearm into the dragon's neck, killing the beast.

In the aftermath of the battle, Riva's father has returned to his senses and warmly embraces his daughter. He admits that maybe he was wrong to oppose her entrance into the knighthood as his men around him cheer "Hail Riva!".

Riva, happy to have her father back says that knighthood can wait, and that she would prefer to enjoy her childhood a little while longer.

Commentary

I really enjoyed the ending of this arc. Overall, I might put this as the second best story line of the series (after the original four issues). Once again, the art and story were leaps and bounds above what the previous issues and arcs have contained.

Sadly, the writer on this arc only wrote these three issues of the comic, and this would be the last art from Ron Randall for the remainder of the book, which is such a shame because this duo really crafted a fun story and I would like to have seen more output from them.

First, I liked story in this last issue, even if there were a few weak spots. I thought having Riva chased AGAIN through the snow was a bit redundant. On the other hand, the way parts of this story tie in to the overall story of Riva (the claim that she will be the destroyer of dragons is a reference to some of the previous arcs) and the first issue (Riva's father fighting the white dragon wyrmling recalls Lord Silvercrown defending Riva from the mother goose).

Lastly, the ending was in great Dragonlance tradition with father regaining his senses and reconciling with his daughter, even if it is a bit contradictory with the first arc.

With the art, Ron Randal leaves the books with some of his strongest work. The detail in the caves, and the dynamic energy of the fight scenes are things I've been looking forward to all along.

Next time, we'll look at what will be the beginning of last arc of the DC/TSR Dragonlance series.