Category: Gaming on a Budget

i dont know about you guys and girls but 9.5 times out of 10, i’m jonesing for a game of D&D.

the problem is, i’ve been sick for the past 5 days with pneumonia and now my girl is getting sick too which means she wont be writing me any quick adventures to get me to shut up.

what’s a gamer to do? well, you can sit on your butt all day ‘trolling the WotC forums which was a first for me until the other day, you can watch movies based on rpgs like Midnight Chronicles (not very good at all, by the way), read your gaming books, draw dungeons, or play by yourself.

ahem…i said BY yourself.

anyway, the Red Box Starter set for 4e came with a link to a solo game PDF download called The Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens.   you can find it around with a good old bing search.  the The Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens was actually a really fun adventure that i played all by my lonesome and was my very first D&D game EVER when i played it last year when i got my Red Box.

out of desperation i said, hey i’m gonna dust that baby off and play it.  this time i used the minis i got with my Dungeons of Dread Starter set for my character and the NPC (i wont spoil the surprise!).  and since i had all the stuff you needed that came in the Red Box like the adventure itself, the mat, dice, and tokens you see in the pic below, i was set and it didnt cost me a dime!

by the way, The Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens is really really fun.  its written quite well and involves everything an adventure should be.  there’s traps, logic, good encounters, major decisions, time management, a decent challenge, a good story, all that good stuff.

playing it again was so fun now that im experienced and i even had a different outcome this go around.  the adventure is done in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” type style where your decisions lead you to flip to a certain page to get the results and you go from there.

i got so inspired playing it again.  i had all sorts of fun rolling dice and reading by myself.  i had my own adrenaline going even!  my girl walked in on my rolling  my d20 with my mat all out exclaiming “YES!” on a good roll.

she laughed at me.


The Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens solo adventure


being a new gamer, i missed out on experiencing the awesomeness of actual brick and mortar game stores filled with miniatures, gaming books, meet ups, cards, and all that delicious nerdy heaven.  granted, there are some stores hanging on here and there but, from what i’ve heard, they are almost nonexistent.

most of what i have to game with i have purchased from online stores.  be it amazon, ebay, reaper, and the like, at least they have what you are looking for, well, most of the time.  the downside to ordering online is the cost of shipping which can really be hiked up to ridiculous amounts and, of course, the wait.

oh the wait!  i am like a kid on Christmas with the waiting, i want my stuff and i want it now!  you have to wait for your order to be processed, you have to wait for it to be shipped, and the shipping wait, oh just kill me now!

well, i feel compelled to hold up a particular online store up  for a very good transaction i had over the weekend.  i ordered an opened set of the WotC Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Dungeons of Dread Starter kit that comes with 2 battle mats, 5 awesome minis, (a dwarf in some killer armor, a sexy female elf, a human fighter for my new level 1 character, a young green dragon, and a yuan-ti) a d20, and some little rulebooks.

first off, these things are expensive since WotC stopped making minis (god knows why) and things are becoming rare.   i was able to purchase just the minis alone for under 10 bucks with shipping.  and, AND, they even threw in 2 extra minis for me without even telling me.  nice detail in these minis, by the way.

i also have no idea how they got it across like 6 states in 2 days right to my mail box.  they threw in an extra elf with a different paint job which i loved and an extra yuan-ti!  and its not like these things are getting any more common.

so thanks, Noble Knight Games, for a great online transaction!  this gamer really appreciates you going that extra mile!

i’m not rich.  i admit it.  i work hard for my money but just don’t have a lot of it.  like drumming (which i do), gaming can get expensive.  there are books, and lots of them:  monster manuals, dm guides, multiple players handbooks, books on settings, battle mats, dice, markers, oh my poor paycheck!

but does gaming really have to cost us an arm and a leg?  nah.  just use your imagination, get inspired from other peoples idea, buy some oven bake polymer clay, and turn on the toaster oven!

here is a bunch of props that my sister and i made with that polymer clay.  click it to expand it ;)

as you can see, for the small price of about 1-2 dollars per block of clay, we were able to make a ton of little things for our dungeons.  treasure chests, stones and blocks, coffins, tables of various looks, a campfire, jars, potions, gold pieces, skulls and bones, dressers, and my favourite, the torches.  also take note of the little black round thing at the bottom with a token in it.  that expands the size of the monster to bigger size than 1 square!  good idea, huh?  oh, and there are my zombies that i got out of those 25 cent machines and glued some clay bases onto and gave em a coat of paint too.

for the paint, i used cheap acrylic craft paint that comes in those little plastic tubs thinking it wouldn’t work well but it actually worked rather well on this type of clay and dries in seconds much to my surprise.

im also working on some “3-d dungeon tiles” which are actually cardboard.  these little details can help make your game just that much more fun and it really doesn’t have to cost you all your GP.

how about you guys and girls?  do you have any little props too?

hello fellow gamers!  i’m pleased to be part of the GamerGrrls community as an author so that i may finally get to share my thoughts on, well, gaming!  and i can also share with you what its like to be a newbie gamer and my learning process as well as my insane and unconventional love for 4th edition d&d.

let me first start off saying that, unlike my partner in crime here, i do not have a pair of tits but i do game and i do love girls.  in fact, i owe it to the GamerGrrl herself that i started tabletop gaming in the first place.

1 year ago almost to the date, in passing conversation, i found out that GamerGrrl played rpgs, and not just video game rpgs of which i have been a fan of since i first played zelda on nes.  she actually played games like dungeons and dragons, vampire the requiem, and others.  after many questions later, i decided i was going to get my own set of d&d.  granted, i’ve always heard about it but had no idea exactly what it was, what you did, what you needed, nor how to play.

thats when a lucky trip to a megastore shined upon me.  there it was, the D&D Red Box Starter Set in all its glory.  for 20 dollars, you get everything you needed to play D&D.   this was amazing for someone like me who didn’t know anything about the game or where to start.  the back of the box said it all..

-a DM guide

-a players book with hero creation rules and a solo play adventure

-monster and hero tokens

-character sheets and power cards

-a double sided battle map

-and my favourite part: 6 polyhedral game dice.

-embarrassing enough, i didnt even know you needed dice to play at the time.  long story short, i purchased it.

so, what do i think about it?  well, i know i’m quite late to the party, 4e came out around 2008 and i started playing in 2011.  but all the same, this goes out to all the future 4e players.

i’m glad i purchased it.  it wasnt expensive, it had everything i needed to start, i didnt even have to play with other people right away, it had solo adventures to practice with which, by the way, was actually very fun to do!   the guides were abridged and easy to read and learn, it included monsters from the monster manual and all their stats.

player creation is really easy with a kind of “choose your own adventure story” guidelines that teaches you how to play and create your character.  a goblin hits you, you just took 4 damage!  lets see how much HP you have as a fighter/wizard/rouge, turn to this page.  if you’re a wizard here’s the spells you can pick, and here’s some cards to keep organized.  easy, fun, simple.

the dice are great looking, the map useful for a few adventures, you can even cut em up and arrange them for your own dungeon.  the downloadable Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens pdf was also very fun to play a solo adventure before i could convince my girl to play with me.

which leads me to my one issue with the box that i have been dealing with until today: the powers included.

so, i picked to become a human fighter named Tantalus Relm.  everything was great until i picked up the actual players handbook and a WotC character builder.  you see,  Tantalus was given two at-will powers.  one was called poised assault which gave you a bonus to your attack rolls and the other was battle fury which gave you a bonus to damage.  they are really nifty powers, but, they never made it past the Red Box.  i looked high and low, nothing.  no mention of either power.  the same happened with my sister’s wizard and my girl’s elf fighter.

why include powers that you cannot use?  i have no idea.  also, the Red Box can get you going but only to your 3rd level, after that, you have no idea how to level up and what happens to your stats.

but for about 20 bucks, it was well worth it.  its just a shame that we had to scrap some powers when we went to the official rules.  it did make things a little confusing.  By the way,  Tantalus is still with me and going strong!


When it comes to using miniatures, every Dungeon Master has their own preference.  One of my old DMs from the gaming past would have a few cases of pewter minis for our Dungeons and Dragons game, those miniatures didn’t come cheap.

Another game master used figure flats since they were nothing but little strips of paper with the baddie (and hero) printed on them.  He also has loads of proper miniatures.  Thankfully he always alerts me to deals when he runs across them.

While I have some proper miniatures (even painted!), I tend to either use figure flats since they travel easy (try carting boxes of minis on public transport…not easy) or stuff out of my bits and bob box.  I’m the queen of cheap miniatures.  Somewhere in that box among the bottle caps, colored stones and whatnot there’s a 3 year old pistachio with a face drawn on it that was meant to represent my other half at the gaming table.  It’s become a household item.

Oh yea, and I also use candy.  Dungeon Masters beware, edible NPCs can backfire if you buy the good stuff.  It doesn’t take players long to figure out if they kill your monsters and NPCs, they get to eat them.  I’ve lost several good NPCs this way!

However, today one of my converts to the gaming table made a post on my work forum showing off his newest miniatures that came on the cheap.  Zombies! They cost him a whopping .50 cents and came out of one of those machines that spit out cheap plastic toys in those little plastic eggs.  I’ve got to say, this is a pretty awesome find!

He made bases for the zombies out of black bake polymer clay to turn them into perfectly good, cheap miniatures! This is just proof that miniatures don’t have to cost an arm, leg, and your soul!

What are some of your cheap miniature creations?

Cheap Zombie MiniatureZombie Miniature Too