Tobold's Blog
Monday, October 15, 2012
D&D stick figure tokens

4th edition Dungeons & Dragons standard rules don't have "facing", it is supposed that somebody can turn around quick enough so that "attacking him from the back" rules aren't necessary. Thus 4E works perfectly well with flat tokens, which is what I am using. Some flat tokens come with the monster vault, the starter set, or with boxed adventures. Others I just print out and stick on self adhesive felt pads to make them thicker. But of course other people prefer 3-dimensional miniatures. And as it gets rather expensive to buy painted metal or plastic figurines for all D&D monsters, you can print those out as well. A fellow blogger wrote me and told me he had just the site for that.

Which brings us to a question of art. How "realistic" do you want your tokens to look? The site I linked to is using hand-drawn stick figures, resembling those in the Order of the Stick web comic. Personally that is a bit too comic style for my campaign. But otherwise the tokens look nice, you fold them into triangles for the 3rd dimension; thus you get a front, a back, and even character stats printed on the bottom. So if that is something you would be interested in, go and check the site out.

I want them to look at least halfway decent, so unless I've got about 20 Kobolds I kind of want to be able to see what it is the PCs are fighting.

Yesterday, I pilfered one of the upright pieces from the kids' Pathfinder Beginners Box for an encounter, and that has worked reasonably well enough.

I stopped playing with dolls about 25 years ago.
I'm partial to pixel art, so I hate stick figures with a vengeance.

For me, they break the immersion and subsequently the very idea of roleplaying.

I like miniaturs, esp. Warhammer ones, though it will depend on your setting. Warhammer is too humorous or too dark, depending on the race choice.
Right now I'm using a two sided set of very nice, heavy tokens made from high end pogs from a school supply set. Each fits nicely on a 1" square or hex, and is labelled with a letter and a number (e.g. "B4"). They are two sided, with black letters on a white label that doesn't quite cover the two sided white on one side, red on the other base, so they can be flipped to show a red ring for "bloodied" status.

I use different letters for different enemy types, so that a group of Gnolls might use "M1" - "M4" for Gnoll marauders, "D1" and "D2" for Gnoll deathpledged, and "F1" for the Gnoll Fang of Yeegoghu."

The characters have similar one with full character names on them. That makes it very visually distinctive where they are on the map.

It's been working very, very well for us. I generally put translation notes on the whiteboard in play, alongside initiative.
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