Mages Guild Coins & Jewels
By Mages Guild Treasures
The Realm of the Coin
Gamer Bling woke up this morning with a very odd idea. Take the most random thought that crossed his mind and use it as the intro to a review, then find a way to segue that randomness to the subject at hand. And the next thought that came into his mind was musing about the way the Gamer Bling Official Expansions have been losing their teeth.
Pretty random, huh? These things happen when you’re half asleep and suffering from the flu. But every new release brings with it a few bugs that have to be worked out, and the Gamer Bling Expansions are no exception, being the high-power germ magnets of the Gamer Bling household.
Gamer Bling Expansion #1 has been losing teeth so fast they’re practically shooting out of her mouth like bolts in a submarine below safe depth, but without the risk of imminent death by implosion. With her, there has been no problem. She walked up to Yours Truly the other night and said, “Dad, this tooth is bugging me.” So Gamer Bling reached in, grabbed that molar, and pulled it right out. Bippity boppity boo.
This has been a trend since she started losing teeth. The most extreme example of which was when she was losing her second incisor, and asked Gamer Bling to pull it out. She opened her mouth, and, no sooner had Gamer Bling gotten a good grip on it than she pulled away to give her father one last admonition to be totally tender when trying to tug teeth.
Little did she know that when she pulled her head back, she left her tooth still tightly pinched between Gamer Bling’s fingers. At which point Gamer Bling felt confident enough to put his hand casually behind his back and say, “No, it won’t hurt, sweetie. You won’t feel a thing.” It took her another several seconds to realize that the tooth was gone. At which point she squealed so high that Gamer Bling suffered auditory nerve damage.
Gamer Bling Expansion #2, however, has been the opposite. His teeth are worse than The One Ring for unable-to-be-got-rid-of-ishness. His teeth get loose, then hang on by tenacious little threads of sinew or monofilament or something, like tiny enamel leeches, while the sharp little edges of his mostly detached dentation slash nasty little holes in his gums. Gamer Bling can’t even rock his teeth back and forth as doing so (a) hurts him, (b) makes him bleed, (c) causes Child Protective Services to lay siege to the house like Janet Reno with a platoon of tanks, and, worst of all, (d) sets Gamer Bling Expansion #2 to whining, which for him is not only a trained skill, but one in which he has apparently taken some specialization feats as well. Rest assured no sense motive checks are necessary when Gamer Bling Expansion #2 begins to whine.
Gamer Bling looks forward to the day when all of his teeth have been pulled (cue SFX: gb_whine.mp3).
Speaking of pulling teeth (ta-daaaa!), Mages Guild has been kind of patiently waiting for Gamer Bling to post a review of their gaming materials. I’m sure they have oft felt like whining in a manner akin to Gamer Bling Expansion #2.
Of course, there might have been more communication between them and Your Humble Reviewer, except that the email address Gamer Bling has for them bounced when he last used it.
Mages Guild produces (and Gamer Bling says this fervently hoping that it has not changed into a past-tense “produced”) a variety of ersatz treasure, not of the “pretty-pictures on cardboard” variety but of the “actually pick it up and pretend it’s worth something even though you know it’s not” variety. And once again Gamer Bling’s mind casts to memories of the First Edition Official Companion. Very much a trophy wife, inasmuch as trophies sit around and look very nice but have no intrinsic value.
You know, Gamer Bling may never tire of dishing on the First Edition Official Companion. At this point, it’s kind of like a Monty Python joke that gets beat to death over the course of an episode; if you don’t hear it every few minutes, you feel like something’s missing. But if y’all get tired of hearing ex-wife ventings, let Your Humble Reviewer know.
Anyway, Mages Guild is a true bootstrap startup company, selling their goods through the Intertubes, typically via eBay. And they offered Gamer Bling a tidy variety of items for reviewage: coins and jewels.
The coins come in two varieties: goldish and silverish, both of which Gamer Bling’s spellchecker wants to change into small animals, namely goldfish and silverfish, which means that Gamer Bling can no longer use those adjectives lest one autocorrection escape his preditorial eye and the resultant posting of a typo on the Intertubes besmirch what tattered remnants can still be found of Gamer Bling’s good name.
The jewels come in four colors and sizes, which are, apparently, not available in mix-and-match. But that’s okay.
The point here is not whether you can get a small faux pink diamond in a marquise cut (answer: not yet), but whether you hand your gaming buddies an itemized list of treasure illegibly scrawled on a torn piece of notebook paper or a handful of bling (answer: yes, now).
Gamer Bling is a major fan of handing out the bling. He has been using a variety of treasurey goodness, and rest assured, there is a big difference between gold as graphite digits and gold and something being dumped on the table. Even more so for gems. Magic items are a little tougher to handle, but even having them printed up on cards for the players to grab and swap and such is better than nothing.
The other day while Gamer Bling was DMing, the party decided to sell an antique mirror (yes, from the digging pits near Shadowfell Keep). They approached the town’s resident crackpot mage, voiced a la Sean Connery, and asked his price. Rather than saying, “He offers you this much,” Gamer Bling instead proffered a handful of coins. The party had to make a gut call based on the pile in Gamer Bling’s hands.
Much more entertaining, and much more in line with the cinematic staple dropping a bag of gold on the table and asking, “Will this procure your services?” Gamer Bling recently rewatched Shrek 2 with the Expansions, and this is exactly how Puss in Boots was hired.
Well, let’s see:
Real faux treasure weighs more than a notebook and some paper.
In a move that is realistic for actual medieval action, these coins have no imprinted values. So, unlike our modern currency, where you can have one coin that is worth 100 smaller coins—or 200, if you live in Canada and use a twonie, which reminds Gamer Bling of an opinion that will extend into a serious digression, namely that if Canada names their $1 coin a loon, why didn’t they name their $2 coin a double loon, or dubloon for short? Answer? None that Gamer Bling can think of. All of which to say that this parenthetical aside has gone on far too long already, and people will begin to think that Gamer Bling is a loon, so he will curtail this digression hoping that you remember where in the rant we were—unlike modern currency, with these treasures a coin is a coin is a coin. For low-treasure worlds, this is fine, but it’s rather counterproductive when trying to reproduce treasure on the order of hundreds or thousands of gold pieces.
The gems only come in a few standardized sizes, delineated in the product description below. So your gem valuation may be a little unrealistic. At least your gems aren’t scraps of note paper.
And, finally, Gamer Bling is not entirely sure exactly how to contact Mages Guild or purchase their goods or even find pricing. He hopes this posting reaches their ears eyes, and that they comment with appropriate data and/or a functioning email address.
Gamer Bling has visited http://stores.ebay.com/magesguildamulets, but it shows no listings, and that makes Gamer Bling sad. If his procrastination testing (see below) has contributed to their downfall, so much the worse.
The Bottom Line
Real fake treasure! How can you not love it? Faux treasure is, in Gamer Bling’s humble opinion, way freakin’ cool, and adds much funocity to the gaming experience.
Detailed bottom line analysis in the varying products descriptions below. Read them.
Bling Factor: 5-9
Quality: 5 (gold coins) – 10 (big phat diamond)
Price: Gamer Bling isn’t sure.
You need: Oh, a dozen gems, 40-80 silver pieces, and who knows how much gold?
Gamer Bling would aim you at their website, but it would do little good.
Gamer Bling would love to see new colors (amethyst, amber) and cuts of gems.
Here we go: three categories at this time.
Of the items that are the subjects of this review, these are far and away Gamer Bling’s favorites! Nicely nice niceties of the plasticated gemological variety, these faux stones are a wonderful and colorful addition to the real virtual treasure trove.
Just to be sure, Gamer Bling carried some in his hand for a week, rattling them around in his palm rather incessantly as he proofed a manuscript. And Gamer Bling is capable of serious rattling-around-in-the-handage. When he worked at WotC, someone once referred to him as “the dude with the quarters,” which was what Gamer Bling at that time used to assuage his fiddly impulses. Anyway, after a week of being severely rubbed up one against the other, Gamer Bling inspected the gems most carefully and noticed neither chips nor scratches nor, in fact, any signs of wear. This is A Good Thing™.
The gems came in four varieties, which gives Gamer Bling another spreadhseety excuse! Totally tabular, dude!
|Sapphire||Small||1″ x 3/4″ x 3/8″||Oval||2.2g|
|Ruby||Medium||1 1/16″ x 3/4″ x 5/16″||Maltese Cross-cut||2.5g|
|Emerald||Large||1 1/16″ dia x 3/8″||Brilliant (but very flat)||3.3g|
|Diamond||Mondo||48mm dia x 25mm||Brilliant (and nicely done)||56.1g|
Yes, the diamond is measured in mm, because using the English system just came up with a very odd fraction.
The baggie that the diamond came in, just in case anyone is wondering, weighed in at 1.0g.
Using these gems means that you might have to standardize the values of gems found in treasure, but the bling factor is worth it. And using these makes it much easier to suspend disbelief than using, say, gem dice with unpainted numerals.
Oh, and one other thing: if you’re playing 4e up in the epic levels, the diamond are PERFECT for astral diamonds! Ooh! Ahh!
The gold coins are 1.125 inches in diameter and just under 2mm thick, and weighing in at 6.6 grams apiece. This makes the gold coins smaller than the real-life make-believe Greyhawk gold piece illustrated on page 168 of the 3.5 PHB, but larger than the newfangled presidential dollar coins. Dollar coins that tarnish? Scoff! Scoff! When Gamer Bling was a kid, we had big dollar coins nearly half the size of Rhode Island that were made of real silver!
They stack nicely, though at the curious ratio of 17 to the inch.
On one side is a coat of arms (properly blazoned as “party per cross with lion rampant and tower, overall three keys inescutcheon, um, opposed boss… and supplanted by a crown… and others such and stuff alike unto therewith”), although why there is a V.B. inside the crown is beyond his comprehension. Sherlock Holmes, after all, once inscribed a patriotic V.R. on his wall with the bullets from his pistol, for Victoria Regina. But V.B.?
On the reverse side is a crown that inexplicably reminds Gamer Bling of those cheesy Imperial Margarine commercials of the 70s. He can even remember the agonizing trumpet fanfare. Why, oh why doth the brain retain such drivel when there are much better things to have memorized? Like every line from The Terminator… oh, wait, Gamer Bling has done that, too.
Candidly, the goldish coins are the weakest offering of the three treasures reviewed on this page, primarily because they tarnish. Gamer Bling held one in his sweaty palm for a while, then let it sit for a good, long time (longer, presumably, than Mages Guild wanted, but quality investigations take time). And, as he feared, it tarnished rather badly, just like a Sacagawea dollar. Foo.
But hey, they’d be good for copper pieces, for you gam3rs out there.
The silver coin has the same coat of arms as above, but this time backed with a nice gryphon rampant that, sadly, reminds Gamer Bling of not a single commercial anywhere. Advertising executives of the world, take note: We need more gryphons in commercials! We’ll even take griffins! Or hippogriffs! Or rabid carnivorous hippopotami as long as they eat certain untalented music-mill po-po-po-popstars!
The silver coins are slightly smaller than the gold ones, being a nice round 1-inch diameter. They are just as thick as the gold coins, and weigh in at a welterweight 5.5g.
They don’t tarnish the same as the gold coins do. Woo-hoo!
Gamer Bling uses these for silver coins in his games. They are ideal for that purpose: Smooth, clean, silvery, and (silver coins not being worth overmuch in D&D), not too ostentatious.