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Catch Up

"So you run and you run to catch up to the sun, but it's sinking"
- Pink Floyd, Time

The last two weeks have been crazy busy for me.  I've also been working on a few D&D side projects.  As such, my blog has fallen somewhat by the wayside, and for that, I apologize.  I think I should start having a better control of managing my time, and as such, we should be getting back into the swing of things rather quickly.  Let's begin, shall we?

I need to start using my Monster Tokens more.

Lately, I've been scrambling to purchase miniatures and get certain monsters that I need.  For some, like the sahuagin, that's fine.  There are no sahuagin monster tokens, unless you count the two medium sized and one large Baron from the Lair Assault Talon of Umberlee.  I've also purchased some cheap Star Wars miniatures to use for my Vellyn campaign.  Sometimes, you do what you gotta do.

However, as I'm going through and planning other games and playing them, I realize I need to start depending more on my Monster Token collection.  It's made up of all the tokens from the DM Kit, Monster Vault 1, Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentire Vale, The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond, Gardmore Abbey, and two Lair Assaults, Attack of the Tyrantclaw, Talon of Umberlee, and most recently, Temple of the Sky God.  That's a lot of tokens.  The big question is, why am I not really using them to their full extent?

When I first started playing D&D, we had no maps and no minis, and this was 4E (some of you may find this impossible).  As I've written about in various other blog posts, it didn't matter.  We used our imagination.  Somewhere along the way, I longed for tokens/representations.  When the DM Kit and the Monster Vault came out, I was ecstatic.  However, as my income increased, I began prowling ebay for the use of certain miniatures.  So now I have a large collection of miniatures and a ton of tokens.

I've always had a theory about miniatures: make sure your players have them, and as the DM, never take away a miniature from a player.  By saying that, I mean that if you have a wolf miniature and you have a Druid player who wants to transform into the wolf, give him the miniature!  There is nothing worse than having your miniature on the board while the player plops down a token.  As a player, it takes away the magic of the game, and almost sends the message that the DM thinks that the players aren't as important.  Remember, as a DM, your players always come first.

Next, I've been using Pinterest a lot, trying to collect various images and artwork that inspire me and the various areas of exploration I would want to use in my D&D Campaigns and world building.  My goal is to create something that the D&D community can browse for various adventure ideas, PC pictures, and just a place that inspires them to create awe-inspiring stories for their players.  As I've been building up the entire Vellyn campaign, my fiancee told me that she loves my Ice & Snow board, which is all pictures that make me think about Vellyn and how the world should feel.  Since she told me that, I'm pretty sure she'll get even more excited as the game comes closer.

My pinterest boards can be found here.

I've also been trying to get an assembled collection of the Lair Assault D&D adventures.  For those that don't know, Lair Assault is basically a survive at all costs encounter.  From battling pirates to surviving attacks against dinosaurs, Lair Assault comes with some awesome maps and extra tokens.  For me, the biggest selling point is the maps.  The maps to me are the biggest selling point and why I try to find the right bid in order to secure them.

I won Talon of Umberlee, which I wanted specifically for the ship map and the ship fortress map.  I bought Attack of the Tyrantclaw because I wanted a ton of awesome dinosaur tokens.  In my opinion, the map on that one isn't anything super special, as it's just a lot of tar pits.  However, poster maps are always worthwhile, so I won't complain too much.

The last Lair Assault, Temple of the Sky God, probably had two of the coolest maps I have ever seen.  Remember when I blogged about using air elements and battling in the sky? (Hint, I wrote about it a year ago).  Well, now I have the one of the coolest maps ever.  Let me show you some solid pictures of them.

These map pictures came courtesy of, so many thanks to him!  These maps, in my opinion, would look great with some 3D terrain thrown on top of them (which I plan on doing at some point).  So many ideas, so little time.

I'm trying to snag me a copy of the current Lair Assault, Into the Pit of Madness, but I'm having trouble securing a copy from my FLGS.  I plan on jumping in and playing once, so maybe that will get me a chance to DM afterwards.  For those interested, I'm planning on playing a Warforged Artificer.

I'm getting my next round of pitches together for Wizards of the Coast.  I have about 15 days until the submissions window opens, and I plan on submitting some pitches on the first day, just like what I always do.  Waiting to hear back drives me nuts, but this time around, with my wedding right around the corner, I probably won't think twice about it.  Dragon magazine came out for March today, and I hadn't even been paying attention.

I've also been spending a lot of time reading and understanding how other players and DM's are running their games.  By looking into what other people do, I can better understand myself and my games and what I want to do.  It has definitely been inspiring, and has made me think about my own games differently.

Let me know what you've been up to in your own campaigns in the comments below, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @artificeralf


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