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Dungeons and Dragons Markers on the Cheap

Posted by paradisio on December 20, 2008

In 4e, it is command to have a variety of effects: marks, curses, slowed, immoblized, etc… It can be a hassle for the GM to keep track of all this and make sure the players are informed, while being informed about the player’s conditions as well. In response, at least one company has release a commercial product to my knowledge with colored markers you can put the minitures on. But this isn’t about those magnetic markers, this is about something you can pick up for a fraction of the price.

Yesterday at my occasional Friday D&D session a player arrived with colored wooden, stackable markers. We were all stunned, they were dirt cheap, wooden checkers. You can pick them up in the crafts section of Hobby Lobby for just a couple of bucks; and at least here, they were on sale for the Holiday Season. So go pick some up if you are looking for some cheap markers for your miniatures playing. You can paint them or just write the condition on them.

Hope this little tip helps! I’ll try to get back with a picture of the packaging for ease when I go pick some up myself.

Happy Holidays!

P.S. They really only work for Medium sized figures, but they should for small as well; you’ll have to balance large figures on top of them if you want to use them.


10 Responses to “Dungeons and Dragons Markers on the Cheap”

  1. Neat idea!

    Instead, we printed up big effects on 8.5×11″ card stock (minor effects on orange; major effects on red). We folded these in half so they stand up, and if someone has an effect, that card is propped up in front of that player. Works like a charm; obvious who has which effect, and there’s plenty of space on each card to describe the effect’s details.

    The cards in question are at 4th Edition Character Sheets and Other Resources, about halfway down the page.

  2. Our group uses little numbers with some tacky glue on the back. You can just stick them to the base of the figure (or head, whatever). And it comes right off after the battle is done. Super cheap and effective.

  3. Hey all,

    This is Craig from Alea Tools – the guys with the expensive magnetic markers… 🙂

    So – if you really want cheap, go to Home Depot and buy a 1 inch wooden dowel and cut them yourself. It super cheap and you can color them with markers or paint or whatever. That is exactly how we started at our table and it works pretty well.

    You can do similar stuff with one-inch steel washers – we used those for a while too. We especially liked to use a one-inch hole punch to make tokens (print small pictures of creatures and pop out 1″ circles) and glue them to washers. Made for nice solid tokens that you could reuse by peeling off the pictures…

    Eventually though, the difficulty comes in moving the stacks. You have to grab the mini or token and all their marks to move the guy around. Gets to be kind of challenging. That is why we went with magnets and conversion material to make the minis stick to their information. That way you can pick up the whole thing and move them around easily.

    The other thing nice about our pieces is that you can write on them – it is very nice for numbering or to limit the actual number of pieces you need. You can for example write any condition on a gray piece and when you want to change that condition just erase it and start over…

    Lastly, the price point thing… I look at this hobby in a couple lights – stuff I buy for myself and stuff “we” buy for our table. If everyone at your game threw in 5 bucks you could get a starter set of pieces and try them out for the table. Maybe a GM pack plus a 10 pack – 34 pieces that would handle a lot of basics. If you liked them you could fill out the “table set” in the same way. Now for less than what you might spend driving around and finding raw materials, spending time manufacturing, etc… you have some thing really useful for the group…

    OK – that got a bit salesy, but you should see me at the booth in Gencon! 🙂

    Happy gaming folks!


  4. paradisio said

    I really appreciate you writing, and thanks for the great ideas. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to encounter a group where the people pooled for anything but a pizza. 😛 I as the GM/DM typically get shouldered with all the financial responsibility, including buying player’s handbooks at more than one point.

    Anyways, you obviously have a great product from everything I’ve heard, and I do plan on ordering them when I can spare the money.

  5. Dman said

    there are some markers on eBay from a company called Dungeon Werks.

  6. Todd said

    I have been making some with washers and a punch like Craig is talking about, and they look great!

    In fact, my friend and I have made enough to try selling some at a local game convention.

  7. Greg said

    Paradisio – Any chance on seeing those pictures you mentioned?

  8. Paradisio said

    Wow, didn’t expect anyone to reply at this point. Thanks for participating. I’ll see if I can get you some pictures, unfortunately, I don’t have any camera aside from the bad one on my phone. I’ll see what I can do for you. I lost my old set of markers as well along with one of my old group members, I need to make a new set anyways.

  9. If you folks are interested in some high-quality tokens for marking class abilities (marked, cursed, oath of enmity, etc), we sell some at a very reasonable price at the link below. 🙂

  10. Darrell said

    If you looking for condition markers on the cheap, come check out my site. I see someone has already posted a plug for ebay. I have 3 different sets that cover all of 4E.

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