Elevation Indicators

By Emerald’s Emporium

Watch your Characters Get High

Woah. Looks like someone picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.No, this is not a review for a drug-addled baby-boomer product; it just starts with a drug-addled baby-boomer joke. Even though Gamer Bling is not a baby boomer. He’s a Gen-Xer. But the Gen-X jokes of his high school days involved dead babies and were pretty gross. So instead he went for the cheap drug joke. Even though he is neither Cheech nor Chong. He is not that hairy. Neither is he as rich. So maybe there is something to cheap drug jokes after all…

Be that as it may, in a desperate attempt to elevate this prose, Gamer Bling will jump to the point of this article, which is getting high.

Oops. Gamer Bling did it again.

Which is kind of a drug-addled Britney Spears joke. Such jokes are easy to make because Britney is not nearly so hot as she used to be. In pretty much any definition of the word.

Certainly no drugs in this man’s past. Nosirree. But an extensive knowledge of herbalism and alchemy. Yeah, that’s it officer; it’s an alchemy lab where I make these things to help little people get high…What is hot is Dr. Wizard’s Patented Elevation Indicator. Especially if you put one in the oven. Which Gamer Bling does not recommend you do with your Elevation Indictor; that’s what dead babies are for.

Okay, now that all of that is out of Gamer Bling’s system, the rest of the review should be pretty safe to read.

The interminably named Dr. Wizard’s Patented Elevation Indicator miniatures combat accessory (DWPEImca for short) is a neat little gadget to handle your flying characters (or, as the gamemaster, your flying encounters). Gamer Bling tested this out recently while playing Gleek, his flying anarchic kobold rogue-turned-sorcerer-turning-dragon.

It—Dr’s Wizard’s Patented Elevation Indicator, that is, not Gleek—is a simple cylinder of acrylic, some 3 inches high and 1 inch wide. It comes with a pair of elastic black rings (kind of like the hair bands that Gamer Bling Expansion #1 wears) for actually tracking things on it.

The bottom 3/4 of the cylinder is marked with elevation increments, running from 10-100. Then there’s a trademarked Dr. Wizard’s spacer featuring a copyrighted Dr. Wizard’s logo. At the top is a mulitplier section, with increments marked x0.1, x1, and x10.

Confused? You needn’t feel like Britney Spears at an algebra lecture. Unless you actually are Britney Spears, in which case you can be confused because using the full utility of this handy item does involve a little light mathematics and you’re too busy being a reprobate.

For most purposes, you can ignore the multiplier section at the top. In the vast majority of cases, you’ll be content with that. Considering that official D&D rules mark movement in five-foot increments, is handling elevation in ten-foot increments really that much of a reach? (Unless the flyer is, like twenty feet in the air, in which case you’ll need a reach weapon to, well, reach it.)

Thus, most of the time, you can get away with using just one of the elastic rings to mark the flyer’s altitude.

In some cases, especially involving aerial battles or high battlements or (in the case of the adventure Gleek just survived) very high cliffs, you’ll need more than a hundred feet of elevation. In that case, you can use the two rings, placing one at the 100-foot mark, and the other at whatever height over 100 feet that you’re flying at. This is good for indicating elevations up to 200 feet.

But what if you’re astride a dragon in the jet stream? In such a case, you’ll need two differently colored sets of elastic rings. And a parka, because the jet stream is awfully cold.

The first set of bands mark your elevation in hundreds of feet; place one band on the x10 multiplier and the other at the appropriate height. For example, if you’re flying at 400 feet, place one band at the 40-foot mark, and the other at the x10 mark. 40×10=400 feet. Then you can use the second set of rings to mark your elevation between 400 and 500 feet; place one at the x1 multiplier, and the other at your height (say 60 if you’re flying at 460 feet).

That, like, elevation thingie is like totally tubular, man. Or maybe cylindrical if you want to be a total square about it.

For extremely anal people, you can even mark the single-foot elevation changes by using a third color-matched set of rings, placing one on the x0.1 multiplier and one on the appropriate height indicator. Thus, as an example, the photo above shows a creature flying at 42 feet. The band on 40 is matched with x1, and the black band on 20 matches with x0.1.

Weak Points

There are not many weak points, and they are relatively small.

The wonky multiplier arrangement (using x0.1, x1 and x10 instead of x1, x10 and x100) initially seems counterintuitive until one considers that, in most cases, you’ll just want one rubber band marking height to the nearest ten feet. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of.

The ends of the cylinder are not perfectly flat. Gamer Bling surmises this is a side effect of the cutting and polishing technique used, since each DWPEImca is hand-made by Dr. Wizard’s handmaiden. The curve does not even create any discernable unsteadiness, but it is there nonetheless. Gamer Bling has triple-checked the roundness using a variety of straight edges and tabletops. Does it render the DWPEImca unusable? By no means. Did anyone else in Gamer Bling’s group notice? No. Is it a slight annoyance to someone as demanding and analytical as Gamer Bling, who singlehandedly puts the anal back in analytical? Well, if not, it wouldn’t have been mentioned.

There cannot be more than one miniature in a square if one is flying. While the DWPEImca has a footprint the same size as many miniatures’ bases, unlike them it is a geometric solid. You can often wedge two miniatures into the same square; that won’t happen with these.

The miniature on top of the cylinder can be knocked off quite easily by clumsy or over-exuberant gamers. Gamer Bling recommends topping your DWPEImca off with one of Alea Tools’ magnetic stickers to help your minis stick. Of course, you’ll still have to deal with the whole things possibly falling over. Gamer Bling cannot help you with that. (Gamer Bling will point out that the only time Gleek has fallen over is when his over-exuberant and under-blinged fellow gamers cruelly knocked Gleek over while moving their own miniatures about the map.)

If you are one of the shameful under-blinged gamers who have no magnetic stickers (like, say, the rest of Gamer Bling’s regular D&D group, who, by the way, have been whining about how they are portrayed in this blog as a set of envious grubby-fingered little munchkins, no matter how accurate such a depiction may be), you can use poster tack. Or heck, go all the way and use duct tape.

Since the DWPEImca uses white etching on clear acrylic, you cannot read the height of a flyer at a glance. This problem is much worsened if you use duct tape to hold your miniature on. Specific elevation only becomes really important when you have multiple flyers, but still, there it is. Gamer Bling assumes that with practice, one could get pretty good at guesstimating altitude by looking at the rubber bands, though. Or just remembering what altitude you’re at.

The Bottom Line

It is a handy little device. It is a great visual mnemonic that the creature is flying (or dangling from a web in the forest, or what have you). The clear acrylic appears to interfere less with battlefield visibility than is actually the case. It’s very easy to use. It’s not that expensive. And you get to make cheap drug jokes.

If you have a flyer in the group—and really, why wouldn’t you?—you need to get one. Gamer Bling commands it.

And they have elastic rings in a dozen exciting (or at least mildly envigorating) designer colors to customize your flying experience.

Summary

Bling Factor: 8
Quality: 9
Utility: 9
Price: $10.00/set
You Need: 1/2 of a DWPEImca per wing for a standard flyer

The Future

Gamer Bling can only assume that a blue-acrylic Dr. Wizard’s Patent-Pending Depth Indicator miniatures aquatic combat accessory is coming soon. Or at least as soon as submerged adventures become a hot item.

Until then, you could just turn your DWPEImca upside-down.

Products

Lots of things can fly through the air. There are little things like mosquitoes and small birds. There are medium-sized (i.e., roughly human-sized) things like Evel Knievel, golden eagles, the carpenter bees we get down here in Charlotte, and any receiver hit by Troy Polamalu. And the DWPEImca works great on all of these. But if you want to do bigger things, you’ll need some of these excessories below.

Dr. Wizard’s Patented Elevation Indicator

See above.

Dr. Wizard’s Large and Huge Extenders

No, these are not the products you get when you respond to the “herbal pilule for ecstasy land” spam messages of the sort that clutter Gamer Bling’s inbox every morning. Gamer Bling knows. Ignore that last comment.

Instead, these are accessories for your excessory to turn what looks like a graduated cylinder into something that looks like a techno-doric column on steroids.

The base is a slab of clear acrylic that measures two or three inches square, depending on which extender you purchased. It is 5mm (3/16″) thick, which gives it good weight, and more stability and gravitas than many would-be presidential candidates. A circular hole is cut through its center, which very snugly fits your DWPEImca. Gamer Bling could digress into a Freudian discussion about how you may really have to work to get your extended cylinder into such a tight-fitting hole, but he will take the moral high road and eschew such cheap humor.

The top is a disc that is 2mm (a very ugly fraction of an inch) thick. It has no hole cut through it; instead, Dr. Wizard provides a handy wad of poster tack with which you can adhere one to the other. Gamer Bling is unsure why they chose poster tack instead of cutting another hole, but it functions, which is what’s really important.

With these you can have big honkin’ dragons swooping down like great fire-breathing eagles upon your unhappy party of worms adventurers and watch them all scatter like quail. Because the only things scarier than a dragon is a dragon directly over your head.

Get them, if only for the sheer terror factor. Large: $4; Huge: $5.

Extra Rings

Hey, you need to color-coordinate your DWPEImca with your miniature’s paint job? Go for it! Just 50c for a set of two elastic rings!

Dr. Wizard’s Chips

Less edible than a Pringles chip, and more appetizing than a cow chip, these clear acrylic disks are the byproduct of making the extenders. Buy them. Find new uses. Just 5 for a buck.

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