Monday, March 4, 2013

Make-it Monday: Effects Box and GM's Day!

March fo(u)rth my minions, for today is GM's day. A day on which to lavish your game master with praise and gifts of tribute in hope that your character will live to see level 20. Seriously though, it's a thing... make with the gifts and praise.

I engaged in a bunch of random creativity this past week, but nothing that felt like a full project. The Fiancee is in full-blown spring-cleaning mode, and I am desperately clinging to her silky, pegacorny hide in an effort to avoid the lashing maw that is her vacuum cleaner. As such, over the past weekend we tackled the office/guest bedroom like an owlbear on a forest sprite.

Along with more mundane tasks like purging unnecessary paperwork, I took inventory of my unfinished papercraft projects. I laid a select few tiles onto some scrap foam core in order to move them into the finished column. I also finally picked up a can of clear coat and got my painted minis sealed up to prevent flaking and dryness.

Today, however, I would like to introduce you to my cheap and easy effects box. In D&D, as players increase in level, they have to deal with a wider variety of persistent effects that can help or hinder their abilities. Keeping track of just who these effects apply to gets tricky when everyone is hasted, half the party is invisible, the wizard is poisoned, etc. etc.

My simple solution for keeping track of such things is my effects box. I picked up a small sewing kit from a local craft store, and have filled it with a number of generic tokens and other markers. The box currently has black and white go stones, some colored glass hobby "gems", my homemade death pogs for tracking which victims are only mostly dead, and several sets of status markers made by wrapping colored pipe cleaners into little loops to represent different effects.

I also have a couple large area of effect (AoE) templates, also made with pipe cleaners. I made the first to help the Fiancee's sorcerer more quickly figure out who she could catch with a single fireball. After our last play session, however, it became clear that we needed more. We had two persistent AoE effects on the battlefield, plus the sorcerer still slinging fireballs, but only one template to mark them. So, this weekend, I worked up a couple more 20 ft radius hoops for good measure.

Newly sealed minis on newly finished papercraft

Do you have any quick and easy tricks for keeping your players' buffs and debuffs sorted out?


  1. "bristling hide" eh? -_- (your fiancée is not amused)

  2. It's adorable when you bristle. :D

  3. But "bristling" implies boar & that's not a very flattering association, dear. Can't I be a dragon or pegacorn or something?

  4. YAY! You changed it to pegacorn! I'm the luckiest girl in the world! :) XOXO! I am sure that all of your readers are now jealous that *their* significant others don't refer to *them* as pegacorns ;)

  5. These are awesome! My GM invests in Paizo merchandise so we have a Buff Deck, Critical and Fumble deck plus a Condition Deck. We use different colored magnets to mark our minis and I bought my husband a set of spell templates a while ago. I wish I had thought to be as crafty about gaming as I am in other things!

  6. I love the Paizo stuff, but my game-monger at my FLGS wasn't sure if the Pathfinder-based buff and de-buff decks were fully compatible with 3.5, which is what we play. I do, however, have the Critical Hit deck, which I love. Unfortunately, some of my players are wary of crits that can potentially deal normal damage plus a side of de-buff. They want straight killage.

    I may need to put those spell templates on a wish list. $30 is a bit more than I can justify spending on my own for four pieces of bent wire.

  7. My significant other, aka the half-elf druid, and I are ROFLing at the first comments and the update of pegacorn. And she guessed right away that it must be a pegasus unicorn. Is it sad that makes me proud?

    Your pipe cleaner AoE idea is genius! I'd heard of ringing the minis with them before to track effects (was that from you as well?), but the large area idea is sheer brilliance. I was thinking of making pre-cut templates for my players to keep track of fans/cones spell ranges, but I may adopt yours instead.

    Sewing kit? Wouldn't a tackle box be manly-er? Because I know you want to look like the toughest geek ever to swagger into a gaming/hobby shop. Doesn't everyone?

  8. Oh, I have a tackle box as well, but that is for my main DM Tool kit. It holds my dice, the PCs' minis, pens, pencils, etc. I'll make sure to feature it in a post soon.


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