Dragonfire 4e Markers and Other Goodness

By Dragonfire Lasecrafts

Hip to Be Square

In recent months, Gamer Bling has been railing against the campaign of ignorant statements, prejudicial judgments, and outright lies against Obamacare 4e. This has earned him the support and loyalty of 4e buffs and made him (at least in the realm of selecting game systems) a bit of a pari4h among the hat3rs. The gam3rs, well, they know that Gamer Bling has a soft spot in his heart and head alike for D&D 3e.

Gamer Bling also has a soft spot in his heart for Winchester Root Beer, which had the threefold advantage of Winchester: the Root Beer that Won the West(a) being the best-tasting root beer out there, (b) coming in large 32-oz. bottles, and (c) sharing a name with a lever-action .45 caliber rifle. But, as has been mentioned elsewhere, Winchester is, apparently, no more, although Gamer Bling hopes someone from the state of bankruptcy California can perhaps find out some more information for him, since that’s where it was made.

Gamer Bling also has a soft spot in his head for Milwaukee, even though the rivers smelled kind of funny and The Safe House was way too crowded during Gen Con. Although Gamer Bling (along with fellow conspirator Will Moss) did once manage to get elder gaming god Mike Pondsmith to snort an alcoholic drink out his nose. The fool! He should have known better than to drink anything when Will and Yours Truly were on a roll of rancid gutter-scraping innuendo-packed humor. And yet the Pondsmiths still indulged us with great German food and lots of German beer each year.

Speaking of good food, in the last year that Milwaukee hosted Gen Con, Gamer Bling found this wonderful hole-in-the-wall African restaurant that he will, in all likelihood, never eat at again in his life. Fried Plantains. Mmm.

Needless to say, Gen Con Indy is more tame than downtown Milwaukee. There are fewer hookers (“Nice costume!” said the noob, according to gaming god Doug Kaufman), fewer beggars plying the streets near the convention center, and many more places to visit outside the convention hall, which means the gamer crowds thin to manageable levels with increasing distance away from the dealer’s room.

All that to say… nothing. At this point, Gamer Bling must admit that at times his ramblings don’t exactly end up providing a viable segue to the review at hand. In this particular case, the only thread is Gen Con, which is a thread he could use for pretty much any story and any review.

So there it is. Sorry to underwhelm you.

Speaking of being underwhelmed (aha! a last-second segue save!) Gamer Bling admits that he was not entirely whelmed when he saw the items that are the subject of this week’s review.

See, one of the big problems facing 4e is a comparative lack of system bling. 3e had lots of OGL-fueled greed to bankroll the creation of some excellent bling, and has had many more years to build up a head of foam atop a stein of German beer steam.

Despite these overwhelming odds, Dragonfire Laser Crafts boldly stepped into the gap to rectify the situation.

With a name like Dragonfire, you'd better be stepping boldly!

Gamer Bling happened by their booth at Gen Con, and noted the blast/burst templates that they had available, and inquired after them. At which point the excellent people at Dragonfire Laser Crafts happily handed Gamer Bling a set of templates as well as an unasked-for set of status markers.

Note that Gamer Bling is a trained professional reviewer. Do not try this at a major game convention. You may, however, try it at home, especially if the senior female inhabitant of the house has recently made chocolate chip cookies. Gamer Bling uses the “quality assurance” tactic on The Gamer Bling Official Companion with both frequency and effect when the chocolate chips are still melty. Not that the Gamer Bling Official Companion presents a particularly high DC in this regard.

In any event, Gamer Bling had no time to inspect his lewt while at the show. Good thing that the markers weren’t still melty. In fact, the next time he pulled the markers out was to use them at his premier 4e adventure. And they were…

A set of squarish things contained in a little unmarked plastic promo baggie. So yes, Gamer Bling was underwhelmed. They had the look of being cardboardy, which makes them like unto game boards or preprocessed foods (yes, the Gamer Bling Official Companion is a self-described food snob, which means that Gamer Bling’s tastes have likewise elevated from the American norm).

As time went on, grognards got more and more numbers.Now, Gamer Bling misspent many many days of his youth pushing around little cardboard squares labeled “1st GDs” and “Wiking” and “4-4” on hex maps that depicted, by and large, sections of European soil, since history shows that Europe is a lot of fun to fight over. Especially since you get to run through Belgium on a regular basis. A not thoroughly exhaustive list of Belgium-runner-throughers includes luminaries Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Kaiser Wilhelm, Erwin Rommel, Bernard Montgomery—all of whom are dead—as well as various barbarians, Vikings, Spaniards, Austrians, and Dutch, none of whom have been world powers for years. There must be a moral here somewhere…

Still, it must be tough to be Belgian. Imagine Germany and France going at it again: “You’d better apologize, or we’ll invade Belgium!” “Oh yeah? Not if we invade it first!”

Not that Gamer Bling regrets spending any of that time. ''... and while we're there, I need to pick up some chocolates for the Little Lady.''Time spent gaming, that is, not time spent rampaging across Belgium, which he, personally, has never done. Wargaming has given him a great (if specialized) knowledge of European geography and history, an appreciation of good graphic design and iconography, and many reasons to hit his genetically related older brother. The one with the non-mutant number of teeth.

But when comparing even the best designed and most carefully die-cut cardboard squares to even the most tyro prepainted plastic miniatures, let’s face it: the cardboard squares come up short. Literally and figuratively. They’re shorter than the bases of most miniatures. And square. And cardboard.

But when Gamer Bling finally broke out the Dragonfire markers, he found (to his surprise and delight) that they were not cardboardy at all, but nicely plasticated.

And since they had rounded corners, the laser cutting process left little plasticated nibs that one could pry off and fiddle with ad nauseum to assuage one’s nervous tension. Now if they could create nibs to mollify restless leg syndrome, that would be something extra special, and would help the Gamer Bling Official Companion to get a good night’s sleep.

It also helped that, despite the corporate name, the markers were not actually on fire. Just to be clear.

The plastic used for the Dragonfire excessories is white with a layer of color on one side. All of Gamer Bling’s swaggy review materials are either red or black, but Dragonfire offers the standard array of colors, said colors being black, green, blue, gray, red, orange, purple, and burgundy. (For those of you who come to us from Games Workshop, those colors are Chaos Black, Snot Green, Viscera Blue, Brain Mush Grey, Spurting Arterial Blood Red, Help My Hair Is on Fire Orange, Bruised in Ways You Don’t Want to Imagine Purple, and Drinking Wine by the Cask While Bathing in the Congealing Blood of My Enemies Burgundy.)

The material is about 1/16th of an inch thick (1.5mm), with the colored layer just thick enough for a laser to punch through. You can feel the texture of the letters, but just barely.

The markers are 23mm wide at the base (for metric system aficionados in Rome, that’s XXIIImm), and have a slight bevel making them 22mm wide at the top.

The size means they fit nicely inside the squares on a standard gaming map without having to worry about wedging them into place when you have several adjacent critters all with status effects on them. But typically Gamer Bling doesn’t put them underneath the miniature anyway. Doing so makes the labels difficult to read, and it makes adding or removing markers kind of a pain. Instead, Gamer Bling places the markers near the affected figure. Gamer Bling hopes that he and his fellow gamers alike are intelligent enough to remember to whom each marker belongs.

So far, some tactical nonsense aside, his fellow gamers have indeed managed that level of intelligence.

Gratuitous non-sexy product shotThe markers are easily legible, since they use a fine sans-serif font rather than something illegibly Oulde Englishe and froofy as an umbrella drinke. Since many different powers can “mark” enemy combatants, the ability to have “Marked” markers marking markmarkmark… uh, suddenly Gamer Bling’s writing is sounding like an annoying little dog. All that to say each player can have “Marked” excessories in his or her own color, so the DM can readily keep track of who is marking whom.

They are light, easily portable, and indestructible when exposed to conventional gaming abuse. Gamer Bling can flex them between his fingers, but it would take serious and determined effort to bend one of these.

There are also some area of effect templates, but these are described under products, below. Funny how Gamer Bling inquired after them, but the add-on markers end up being the main focus of this review.

They also have other sorts of laser-engraved 4e excessories, which Gamer Bling hopes to review soon. And maybe even have news regarding.

Weak Points

While the bevel looks nice, it does make them harder to pick up from a smooth surface. They are, in fact, much much easier to pick up when upside down. A reverse bevel would be easy to pick up, but would not look nearly as nice. A double bevel would be a potential solution, but Gamer Bling has no idea how difficult that would be to engineer.

Some markers require two lines of text, which makes it even less appealing to place markers of that sort under miniatures.

And, um, well, some of the markers are a little specific. Consider, for example, the marker labeled “Ongoing Damage 5.” Well, ongoing 5 and ongoing 10 are by far the most common effects, the fact remains that many classes have powers that cause damage in other increments. For example, the wizard has a first-level daily attack that inflicts ongoing 2 damage on a miss. First level! Rogues get an odd one at 5th, clerics at 9th, and that’s just in the PHB. Goodness only knows what else might be found in PHB2 and all the Adjective Power books!

Gamer Bling sure doesn’t know.

So either you have to use some memory (which having markers is supposed to alleviate) or else you might need to order a few custom markers.

The Bottom Line

Easy, durable, and dirt cheap. Why wouldn’t you want them? Get the whole party together and assemble a custom order of tiles color-coded by player and customized to your powers. And get the templates while you’re at it.

Summary

Bling Factor: 5-9
Quality: 8
Utility: 8
Price: Count on spending between $10 and $30 to get your custom mix of products.
You need: Some natural number greater than zero.

E-tail

You’ll need to order direct from Dragonfire Lasercraft’s website.

The Future

Hey, when you have dragonfire-powered lasers, the sky is the limit. But if you can get custom tiles, then whatever you imagine is Dragonfire’s next product!

Products

Two great products as of this writing. More to come as Gamer Bling endeavors to win a schmooze skill challenge against the storekeeper’s insight.

4e Conditions Tiles (roughly 50¢ each)

These tiles cover all the basic conditions of 4e. Now, Dragonfire Lasercrafts has a regular set and a DM set of Conditions Tiles. In comparison, Gamer Bling received what appears to be a random variety pack for socially inept Internet reviewers. For example, Gamer Bling received the following tiles from the list of conditions on page 277:

blinded 1
dazed: 2
deafened: 1
dominated: 1
dying: 1
helpless: 1
immobilized: 2
marked: 2
petrified: 1
prone: 0
restrained: 1
slowed: 2
stunned: 2
surprised: 0
unconscious: 2
weakened: 2

Presumably, prone is handled by knocking over the miniature, while surprised is easily handled by the DM and his Combat Pad.

Then there are some requisite conditions that do not appear on the chart on page 277, of which Gamer Bling received:

bloodied: 1
combat advantage: 2
concealment: 1
cover: 1
grabbed: 1
ongoing damage 5: 2
ongoing damage 10: 1
stealth: 1

Preparedness: The DM's friend.The first thing that Gamer Bling noticed is that there are not enough bloodied markers. And when the PCs went crashing into the one way-overpowered encounter in Keep On Shadowfellin’, the paucity of dying markers was also noted.

Now this mix may not be for you. It certainly has some that Gamer Bling might not have ordinarily chosen. For one, Gamer Bling would have started by grabbing the 12 bloodied tiles for $5, and then rounded out the rest of his needs by picking up custom tiles at a mere 50¢ each! That’s ashtray change! So have it your way (if Gamer Bling can say that without a scary guy dressed like a bard and wearing a plastic king head coming and slapping a lawsuit on him).

4e Blast Templates ($20 for the set)

Players characters (and most players, for that matter) like to blow things up. AOE is not only a handy acronym, but it also is an onomatopoeia for the sound that players make then they grunt in victory after slaying a horde of minions and lieutenants.

In any event, if you’ve ever played with a geometrically challenged individual, determining which monster got hit by spells always causes arguments, even though you, the DM, are always right. If this is you, then these five templates will help you track of the blast and burst areas of effect for 4e D&D. The templates handle bursts from 1 to 5 and, according to their website, “odd-sized blasts ranging from 3 to 11.” Except that Gamer Bling has not seen a single even-sized blast anywhere in 4e (yet).

The templates are nicely and clearly labeled. They’re available in red or black, and the large ones are split in half so they fit easily into your gaming bag. So if your players are geometrically challenged chumps—or if you are (except for the “chump” part… heh heh)—get this pack and save your sanity.

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