Collectible Thoughts – Why Does the Price of D&D Miniatures Fluctuate So Much?

snowball beholderThis post is to answer Jose’s questions in the comments section from my previous post.  They are important as they illustrate a good lesson and one of the most important traits of a collector, at least one who doesn’t want to break the bank on his hobby.

First, though, I’ll answer the question on the Snowball Beholder.  Wizards produced (as far as I can find) 4 Holiday Promo Miniatures.  These were repaints created specifically for employees at WoTC HQ.  They are pretty rare and generally sell for about $70-$150 each; I’ve read there are no more than 50 of each made, but I can’t confirm that.  The Beholder tends to sell at the high end, and the Spiked Nog/Snow Angel at the lower end.  They were:

2007 – Snowball Beholder (Beholder)

2008 – Spiked Nog (War Devil)

2009 – Snow Angel (Angel of Valor Legionnaire)

2010 – Winter Umber Hulk (Umber Hulk)

I picked up a Snow Angel on eBay a few weeks ago for $72.00, it’s definitely a beautiful mini.  I’d like to get the other 3 at some point, but they are not high on my list of priorities.

To answer the question about fluctuation in minis prices, it is a combination of supply and demand and what I call ‘bidder intensity‘.  In general, most miniatures will hang out in a general dollar value range.  For Aspect of Tiamat, right now that is about $50.  However, if you look back in eBay’s ‘completed listings’, you’ll see an AoT that sold for $74.77.  Why is that?  In general, it is because the person who bought that figure ‘needed it right now’.  Whether it was for a game they were running, a birthday present, or other occasion.  One of the most important lessons you can learn as a collector is patience.  Looking back over eBay’s completed listings, I know that the average selling price of an Aspect of Tiamat is $50.  However, when I look on eBay right now, there are only 5 available minis, all priced between $74.99 and $101.99.  These listings are, for the most part, storefronts or speculators.  At some point, someone who doesn’t have any patience will come along and purchase the $74.99 mini if there aren’t any other options.  This leads to some interesting effects on the market…the next seller to come along might think ‘hey, the value of AoT is $75’.  So he lists it at $69 and is surprised when it doesn’t sell.  So a week from now he lists it at $59 and it still doesn’t sell.  Eventually, he lowers his price enough and ends up selling it around $50.

This leads to one rule:  Don’t ever buy an expensive mini via ‘Buy-it-now’ unless you know it is selling at a good price.  Most times, the ‘Buy-it-now’ minis are between 50% and 100% more expensive than the actual ‘completed listings’ values.  The large fluctuations you see (Someone spending $75 on a $50 mini) are generally outliers, or someone who is willing to spend more than he has to to acquire a collectible because he doesn’t want to wait.

One other item to note…I have noticed a marked uptick in the average price of D&D minis in the last 3 weeks. I would posit that is due to it being ‘Income Tax Refund’ season in the US.  In the US, income taxes are due on April 15.  However, most folks in the US get a refund each year (As they typically overpay their taxes through payroll withholding during the year) around February, and many retailers see more sales during this time of year.  Many car dealers run ‘Bring your refund to us and we’ll double it!’ ads, among other ads trying to get folks to spend their refunds with a particular retailer.

During times like this, I don’t change my buying behavior, and so I’ve lost more auctions recently than I’ve won, when back in January I won almost every auction I bid on.  For lots of miniatures, snow angeldepending on the rares, I value minis lots at between $1.00 and $2.50 per miniature.  For lots with no rares, I value closer to the $1.00 range, and for lots with many or good chase rares, I’ll be in the $2.00-$2.50 range.  This is because I know that when tax season is over, miniatures will settle down and I’ll be able to pick them up in my price range again.  Interestingly, the best time of year to buy miniatures seems to be in November/December, when folks are spending their money on other things.  While right now is the time to be selling miniatures if you have any extras, as you’ll likely get more than you would most other times of the year.

I hope that helps, good luck!

Iced-In Friday Updates

ice devilLongest…week…ever.  A massive wave of snow and ice here in TN has made things rough this week.  Deliveries are slow or not happening, driving is treacherous. The warehouse is getting cramped as I prepared a bunch of large orders for a customer, but they haven’t sent routing instructions due to the weather.  Most of the supplies I ordered for this week haven’t shown up on time, including a desperately needed mouse for my home PC.

I haven’t been avoiding DDM, but I have been working on different things than the Skirmish I want to play (Team Underdark vs. Lightning Arms).  If folks don’t know the ‘Official’ owners of DDM is DDM Guild (Their home is currently here; I’m working to get it fixed so it shows up on the proper URL).  They are the folks making 2.0 new cards for miniatures that are released, and they are tentatively in charge of any organized play.  The goal of the organization is noble (keeping DDM alive), however they’re struggling with essentially everything.  Plus, they’ve made some odd choices that have only split our very tiny community even further (Breaking off the 1.0 players to their own website is one of the more mysterious) , when they should be doing whatever they can to keep everyone in one place.  I’m trying to work up a ‘kick in the butt’ action plan to revive the site and interest in the game, but there’s so much that needs to be done I’m afraid I’ll offend folks with my laundry list of challenges and proposed solutions.  Still, I think it is an important endeavor…if you haven’t been to the DDM Guild site, you should go and participate!ice devil card

My other DDM project, the Pathfinder/3.5 Conversion is coming along well.  A couple of my players have started their characters in Roll20.  It’s been pretty simple to go through the first chapter of the Shackled City Adventure Path and convert each of the monsters to DDM format.  For spell-casters, I’m taking their best combat spells and converting them to DDM-style, though so far many of the spells already have equivalents in DDM (Bless, Magic Weapon, Color Spray (Nebin has it, though I had to use Bifur to look it up and find it)).  We also decided that we would be using DDM-style initiative, as keeping track of initiative individually is for the birds.  (One more rule in favor of DDM over D&D).  It’s taken less time than I would have guessed to covert the entire chapter’s worth of monsters, at probably 2 hours.  Plus, it did take another couple of hours to set up the new card template I demonstrated 2 posts back.  Overall though, the more I work on it, the faster it seems to go.  I’ll let you know how I feel when I get the characters to level 8-9, which is where the troubles usually began when I DM’d years ago.

I’ll try to finish up my project list for DDM today or tomorrow, and get to the skirmish Sunday!

As always, thank you so much for stopping by; feel free to offer any questions, comments or suggestions in the comments section or via email at

Sealed Warband 4: Lightning Arms (Blood War Boosters x 2, 200 points)

marilithThe tingle in the air was palpable as the demon and her warband stepped upon the field.  A Marilith, an abomination, six arms protruding from her snakelike body.  Each held a vicious-looking cutting instrument, and even the Drow Enforcer that gazed upon her had no desire to test his swordplay against the terrifying creature.  Her lightning-wielding lieutenants were close behind.  First, her bodyguard of a hundred years, and if demons could have them, what one might call a friend.  It was a huge stormlizard, it’s head the size of boulder, and the ground shook at its advance.  A vivid blue lightning halo arced across its great azure body.  Next, a Red Hand Sorcerer, vicious master of the elements, though his preferred magic was that of storm and lightning.

Behind came the demon’s thralls, two heroes caught up in the Blood War, their minds wiped by wicked magics.  A Harmonium Guard, his shield still polished, looking tormented by his betrayal.  Contrasting his shame was a Hero of Valhalla, who didn’t need much convincing to fight as long as he was able to sheathe his sword in blood.  The Sorcerer noted their numbers were fewer than their enemy, and he knew the Shadow Dragon opposing them could shred the humanoids should they stray too far from their master.  Still, he trusted the great demon that led them; they had won a hundred battles together and the numbers of their foes slain was countless.

The boosters:

Booster 1 Points Rarity Booster 2 Points Rarity
Marilith 73 R Chasme 49 R
Bluespawn Stormlizard 39 U Large Water Elemental 36 U
Red Hand War Sorcerer 34 U Living Flaming Sphere 26 U
Soulknife Infliltrator 24 U Soulknife Inflitrator 24 U
Doomguard 26 C Harmonium Guard 27 C
Blood of Vol Cultist 18 C Hammerer 16 C
Soldier of Bytopia 12 C Hero of Valhalla 11 C
Greenspawn Sneak 6 C Greenspawn Sneak 6 C

A lot of 20 and 30-something point creatures make figuring out the optimal build a bit of a challenge.  It also means there are going to be at least a couple of good, playable minis that aren’t going to make the cut.  In this case, I chose not to play with the Large Water Elemental, even though it it a great creature for the points.  Solid AC, good damage line, and decent special abilities.  However, I took the Bluespawn Stormlizard in its place.  The Bluespawn has +3AC and double the movement speed of the LWE.  With 2 large minis per team, maneuvering becomes very important; one of the reasons for the final fall of the Blood Golem was its difficulty getting into a good position.  The Bluespawn doesn’t get any use out of its Electricity Link, but a high DC Lightning Bolt and a hefty 20-damage attack (30 when charging) give it some damage potential.

The Marilith is a big beastie, not much to say other than that.  Putting down a potential 60 damage on any creature within 4 squares makes her threat area enormous by most creature’s standards.  Maneuvering her into a position to use her Enhanced Mobility 2 plus Melee Reach 2 to eliminate a big creature ASAP will determine whether Lightning Arms gets a win.

It’s sad the Chasme is pretty bad as far as rares go.  Maybe not as bad as the Zombie Ogre, but still.  It’s main problem is it’s very weak attack line…sure, a potential 30 damage is good, but a +7 attack isn’t.  It’s biggest strength is its Drone ability, but that is mainly for putting to sleep grunts who probably aren’t much of a threat anyway.  With a 17 AC he can be shred pretty easily in a round or 2, especially if Drone doesn’t put several creatures to sleep.   Maybe I’m underestimating the Flight 10+Drone combo, I’m just not sold on it…maybe I’ll try the band again + Chasme.

I keep looking at the 2 Soulkife Infiltrators as well.  Working with a Chasme, they could take down any sleeping enemies very quickly with both a Smite +10 and Melee/Ranged Sneak Attack +10.  They are pretty fragile, so my worry is they would just trade 1 for 1.

I like the Red Hand War Sorcerer a lot.  However, his value will depend on whether he gets 1-shot by the Shadow Dragon.  He has enough spells that he can reasonably use 1 every round there is a target.  The trick will be ensuring he sticks close to the Marilith, as she will have to be there to punish the dragon if he does come close.  It’s nice that both the Bluespawn and the Marilith are immune to Electricity (and Fire for the Marilith).  While the Red Hand’s commander ability makes that moot if they are close together, if either of the large figures chases someone down, he can still use most of his spells without hurting his team.  Enemies getting -2 save is not trivial either if they choose to engage him.

The Harmonium Guard is in the build mainly for the additional AC bonus.  If I wait to activate the Stormlizard until last, he’ll have an AC 26 for most of the round, which gives anyone in Team marilith stat cardUnderdark less than a 50% chance to hit him.  The Marilith at AC 22 wouldn’t be shabby either.  The choice for fodder was either the Hero of Valhalla or the Soldier of Bytopia.  I took the Hero for his additonal move speed.  The 2 Greenspawn Sneaks round out the weenie department.  The ability to start on a VP area though is pretty good and should net at least 10 points for a 6 point creature.

Prediction:  Tossup.  I had initially predicted Team Underdark by 25, however as I was looking down at the Marilith card I noticed she has Blindsight.  That means the Shadow Dragon can’t rely on his Conceal to prevent any damage and let him jump in and out like he did against Sune’s Goons.  If the Marilith gets a go at the dragon, she’s likely to get a Morale roll out of him, if not a one-turn kill.

Considering the number of medium-cost creatures available, I’m not convinced this is the best build, so anyone who thinks they’ve come up with a better one, please let me know!

Pleased With Myself: Successful DDM Card Counterfeit

Just passing along a little tidbit…

I’ve always said to folks that, even if it doesn’t feel like it to the millennials, the Internet is the greatest tool in the history of mankind.  The power it provides toDefault_1 anyone willing to delve deep is nearly limitless.  So I’ve been working on my Roll20 Pathfinder/D&D to Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures conversion, and I was wondering if I would be able to easily create DDM style cards for the characters.  Sure, we could’ve used any template, but I really like the original DDM cards with the red backgrounds.  So after a bit of poking, and just a few hours work, I’ve managed to create DDM cards.  The best part is the data is fed to the card from a spreadsheet, so I’ll be able to enter all the Adventure Path monsters into the spreadsheet, and then spit out card images to print and use.  (I’ll likely keep track of larger scale combats on my gaming table while also on Roll20)

They don’t look perfect, but I could’ve matched the fonts and colors more if I wanted to spend another few hours doing so.  For anyone interested, the program I used is called Card Maker Beta, and I found it over on Board Game Geek.

If I can find the individual alignment icons, I’ll update that section of the card with the appropriate icon.  If anyone uses Roll20 and is interested in just tracking the games progress (or potentially even playing it when its ready) you can join here.

D&D 3.5/Pathfinder to DDM Combat Conversion – Initial Thoughts

Players Map of Cauldron

Players Map of Cauldron

So why a D&D Combat conversion?

There are several reasons, at least in my D&D games, that caused combats to take forever.  I often thought it might be my bad DM’ing, but I attended a D&D 4.0 game at a local card shop, where we were given 1st level characters and put into a basic encounter.  Even with a licensed RPGA DM running it and having players well versed in D&D (even if not that version), it took over 3 hours to finish a 1st level encounter.  Who has time for that?  I guess I did many years ago, but no so much anymore.  My last skirmish had 17 creatures, probably over 100 combined levels of creatures, but took only an hour to finish.  Plus, it still offered plenty of strategy, a sufficient amount of dice rolling, and quite a few tense moments.

Here are the main challenges with standard D&D combat as I see it, and what I hope to address with my DDM conversion:

1:  Too many options – Even for basic characters, I notice the players in my game constantly referencing the various rulebooks, character sheets, spell lists, etc. for the actions their character can take.  Often, a wizard or cleric with a lot of spell options could take 10 minutes picking out something to do.  Even when I instituted a ‘30 second turn‘ rule, it was very difficult for some characters to figure out what to do, often resulting in skipped turns and hurt feelings.

In contrast, DDM has all the information about the actions a character can take on a single small stat card.  There are a couple of options not mentioned on the card, such as charging, but in general, everything you might want to do is right there.

2:  Too much complexity –  D&D cleaned up a lot of things over the editions, such as saving throws…remember the charts from Advanced D&D?  Now we have 3 types of saves and a lot less bookkeeping.  Still, having to refer to even 3 modifiers is an example of something that takes time.  D&D (4.0) IMO was a step backward in terms of ease-of-use, with multiple attack types vs. defense types, instead of just a standard AC.  While I don’t deny some of these things offer more ‘realism’, I don’t think they provide enough realism to be worth confusing the game.  Original DDM uses your level for all saves, removing a ton of bookkeeping from the game.  If necessary, there are abilities that can be used that provide a bonus to certain types of saves:  for example, there are several creatures that get a general ‘+4 saves‘ to account for their toughness, and it’s easy enough to say a mage gets ‘+2 save vs. spells‘ or similar if players want to have a character be somewhat better at saving vs. things in their area of expertise.  Warriors could have ‘+2 save vs. fear effects‘, etc.  These bonuses will be right on the players cards so they know to account for it.

3:  Too many dice rolls – Every dice roll can take several seconds…after figuring out whether your ranger hit that random minion, now you roll damage.  Then recording that damage takes several more.  If players are doing damage a hundred times during a session, that can quickly mean a lot of time.  While again, static damage as DDM uses may not be as ‘fun’ as rolling dice, it is a lot easier in terms of bookkeeping.  Plus, there are still critical hits, smites, sneak attacks and the like to offer some variety in terms of possible damage.  This also has the side benefit of reducing variance, e.g. ‘OMG that roflzombiedragon just crit my rogue, rolled max damage and one-shotted him’.  Damage is also one of the easier items to convert from D&D to DDM; if a sword does 2d8 damage, it has an average damage value of 9, which is easily rounded to Damage 10 in DDM.

Even prior to my thinking about a D&D conversion, we had some house rules to try to speed up our games.  Fighters, for example, could attack level 1 grunts (orcs, goblins, kobolds, etc) once per level of the character, plus any hit by any character on a grunt killed it.  This also provided more of the ‘I’m Aragorn and I’m a bad*** who is going to slice through 50 orcs to get to the boss.’

Side benefits to a DDM converson:


An ex-girlfriends angry father

4:  Balancing encountersPoor balancing of encounters was definitely my fault, as that wasn’t my strong suit.  Other than adding or removing HP or giving a boss an escape spell on the fly, it was more about ‘did this fight challenge the players‘.  If it didn’t, critters were made tougher; if the party was about to die, the monsters got fewer hp.  That was honestly a very stressful aspect of DMing for me.  We had one player who hardcore twinked his characters, one who made decent characters, and several who never really understood the game.  As the one who min-maxed all his characters is now GM’ing his own game, he finally understands the challenge he posed in making the game fun for everyone.  This goes back to point 1; if everyone has a very simple, easy-to-understand character card, there will likely be fewer vast power level differences among characters.  Plus, I plan on making it very clear in the next game I run that my constant tweaking of encounters is going away.  If characters TPK, so be it, we’ll make more.

Plus, as long as I have an idea of what a player would ‘cost’ in DDM, knowing whether a party is headed for trouble is easier to spot and maybe deal with before an encounter.  With the material I’ll initially be working with (Shackled City Adventure Path), I’ll also start honing my ability to offer different flavors of combat encounters, instead of constant straight up dice-fests.

5: More roleplaying – Often, it felt like the role-playing in our later games was rushed, as we knew that the big combat coming up was going to take a fortnight to finish.  Plus, we had one player in particular who liked the role-playing more, and a couple who liked it, but liked fighting more…if this conversion can speed up combat significantly, we could end up with more of both role-playing and combat.

This got pretty long, so I’ll leave it here and discuss some of the specific mechanics I’m working on and the challenges I’m having next time; as a conversion is a lot more work than I initially thought it was going to be, if you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions, please drop me an email, as the more minds the merrier!


D&D Minatures Sealed Match #2 Complete: Team Underdark defies Sune’s Love, Wins 200-123

2015-02-05 16.18.45

Set Up

This skirmish was absolutely brutal.  Just when I thought that Team Underdark was going to blow out poor sexy Sune and her boys, a series of ridiculously bad rolls by Team Underdark  almost took victory from the jaws of defeat.  The Night Below team was absolutely dominant most of the game, getting to choose both the map and winning all but one initiative roll (two of them on ties, which gave the Naga the win due to her higher commander rating).  I will admit I absolutely underestimated how good Shadow Dragon is on the right map, and he was by far the MVP of the battle.  I did make a number of mistakes during the game, both ruleswise and strategically, which I will continue to try to get better about.  One thing I didn’t want to do was over-analyze every move, as that slows the gameplay down.  I used to play Chess with my friends and it could take me 10 minutes to make a move, which drove us all crazy (myself included).  I’m trying to keep the turns short, so I’m not thinking about things more than about 20-30 seconds per turn.  So if you see some strategic mistakes on my part, please consider that!

I tried to keep better notes about the match, including points scored by turn, and who killed who.

Setup:  Underdark Wins initiative, chooses Keep of Fallen Kings.  I didn’t do much right this game, but I think this ended up being a great choice for Team Underdark, as the walls allowed plenty of antics by the Shadow Dragon.

Turn 1:  Sune:  16, Underdark: 13

Imagine Charging Dragons!

Imagine Charging Dragons!

Turn one was busy.  The Darkmantle got rolled onto the correct Victory Tile (Though I placed him wrong due to a brain cramp).  Underdark made a mistake (sort of) and made Sune play first after winning the initiative.  This allowed Sune to move the Air Mephit and use his cone attack to kill the Darkmantle.  This didn’t end up being as bad as I thought as it allowed the Shadow Dragon to charge later in the turn and one-shot the Mephit.  The Fire Mephit was able to get to their VP for an additional 10 points.

Turn 2:  Sune:  16, Underdark 42

The Greater Barghest was able to move and one-shot the Fire Mephit on the VP, while the Shadow Dragon flew behind 2 of Sune’s Goons and routed the Disciple of Silver Flame.  The slowness of the Blood Golem was really telling here, as he wasn’t able to even get to the dragon.  This is partially due to the slowing terrain on Keep of Fallen Kings.  I did make a mistake here in that I allowed the Shadow Dragon to attack of opportunity the Disciple which I forgot wasn’t allowed (the creature causing a figure to route doesn’t get an AOO on that figure when it routes).  Honestly, however I don’t think that would have made any difference as she failed her morale check anyway and was going to be quite a ways from the battle if she ever did recover.  During turn one I had kept a path open for the Gnoll Claw Fighter to charge, and it works out as he is able to hit with both attacks and rend the Wild Elf Warsinger that moved to attack the dragon, killing her.  Also, +10 VP for Naga.

Turn 3:  Sune 40, Naga 85

This is where it started to get ugly and where I thought TU was going to run away with the battle.  The dragon was based by the Bugbear Gang Leader and the Blood Golem of Hextor, and the two managed to do 30.  However, on the dragon’s activation, he was able to kill the Bugbear Gang Leader, Shadow Jump to behind the Guardian Naga, who then proceeded to heal her wounded friend for 30, putting him back to max health.  The Pentifex Monolith then entered the fray (flying with his soulmeld), charging the Bugbear and killing it with some help from Sune’s Commander Ability.  Team Naga then added +10 VP (which is a theme, as they were able to block the lanes and sit on their VP most of the game)2015-02-05 17.13.35

Turn 4:  Sune 40, Naga 95

This is where things turned bad for our cave-dwelling hereos from Night Below.  With the Shadow Dragon being so dominant and thinning Sune’s team pretty handily, and the Blood Golem based by the Greater Bargest, which has magic damage to get through the Blood Golem’s DR5, I (I still think reasonably) thought that killing the Blood Golem was possible over a couple of turns.  So the Shadow Dragon Shadow Jumps behind the Blood Golem, giving both him and the Barghest flanking.  This was going to allow 5 big attacks per round on the Golem, at +15/+10 for the Barghest and +14/+10/+10 for the Dragon.  Plus, the Drow Enforcer joined in, though he did all of 5 points total to the golem.

The Shadow Dragon then rolls the first natural 20 I’ve had in two skirmishes for an attack, but of course the golem is immune.  And unbelievably, the Greater Barghest proceeds to miss the Golem on turns 4, 5, and 6.  He rolled 4’s on his first attack for all 3 turns.   The Blood Golem did not miss, forcing a morale check on the dragon, which he made with exactly 20 (including the +1 provided by the Naga).

+10 VP Naga

Turn 5:  Sune 88, Naga 105

Team Underdark still felt they could kill the Golem, so the Dragon again attacked it with all 3 attacks.  Barghest whiffs.  It ended up being just a huge slugfest, with the Golem dishing out more than he got in return.

+10 VP Naga

Turn 6:  Sune 123, Naga 177

After much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, the combined forces of Night Below finally take down the Blood Golem, with the last 5 coming from a desperate Earth Mehpit cone.  However, he took the Greater Barghest with him, and the last major damage dealer for the Underdark team.2015-02-05 18.09.05

Turn 7:  Sune 123, Naga 187

Turn 8:  Sune 123, Naga 211

Turn 7-8 were ‘hold your breath’ worthy as Sune and Pentifex vainly tried to push Naga’s minions off the VP’s.  Cleric of Sune managed to route the Deep Legionaire and Pentifex routed the Guardian Naga, but alas it was too late, as the fleeing Phalanx Soldier pushed Team Underdark over the top.

Final Thoughts:

The game was much closer than it appeared, as it was the 70 straight Victory Points that allowed team Underdark to win, as Sune’s Goons still had 68 active points worth of minis on the board at the end of it.  However, after her spells were exhausted, Sune really couldn’t contribute anything.  She ended up wasting her Confusion by casting it on a high level creature in a desperation move.  Had I thought mid-game battle with the Blood Golem was going to go that bad, it’s likely Team Underdark could have used the dragon to pick off Sune or the Pentifex, and only then come back to the big construct.  Still, I think focusing the Golem was the right call, as he would have had at least another turn on the board and maybe 2 without the dragon’s damage.

Opportunities to Improve and Mistakes to Avoid Next Time

The first two were pretty minor and technical in nature, and even though they might be considered mistakes, likely gave TU an advantage by allowing the dragon to kill the mephit.

1:  I misplaced the Darkmantle, and should have had him in a corner, avoiding the kill by the Air Mephit.  However, that might have resulted in the dragon not being able to kill kill the Mephit.

2:   At the very least, I could have placed the Naga to where the Darkmantle would have made it’s morale save. (This too would have made the dragon’s charge impossible)

3:  I had the dragon make an Attack of Opportunity on a creature it routed, which it is not allowed by the routing rules.

4:  Be more cognizant of Legion’s Magic Weapon and it’s attack bonus and it’s bypassing DR.  I’m not sure if I misplayed this at all, I just need to remember the effect.  I do put a label on the wall behind the map to remind myself, but I might need to put something on the board itself.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!


D&D Miniatures – Collectible Thoughts and Ease of Acquisition by Set

champion of eilistraeeSo I may not have enough information to make any heavy generalizations about how hard it is to acquire minis of a particular set, I am going to do so anyway.  It’s just how I roll.

So far, I’ve purchased and traded for around 3,200 minis, and resold or traded about 500 of those.  Based on this small statistical sample, I will say that it is currently harder to acquire Archfiends and Giants of Legend minis than it is Harbinger and Dragoneye.  What I mean by that is while I have seen quite a lot of the first and third set on the market on eBay (both in lots and sets), I have yet to see a large lot of Archfiends or GoL.  It was this way back when I was playing 5 years ago as well, more so for Archfiends, as I remember buying a GoL case and cracking it, and picking up quite a few GoL off eBay.  I purchased a 240 mini lot last week that was entirely Harbinger and Dragoneye (About 70% Harbinger), and many of the other lots I’ve purchased also contain miniatures from those two sets, with far fewer from the set in between.

Currently I’m well on my way to completing a Harbinger set (I have 11 of the 27 rares, including 3 Drow Cleric of Lolth, 2 of which I hope to trade for several of the missing ones).  I have fewer than half that in Archfiends rares, though I picked up my first-ever Champion of Eilistraee this week.  I don’t think there is any denying that while Harbinger has collectible value for age, the figures in general improved quite a bit in the next set, especially in the paint process.  It’s my guess that this is the reason there are fewer Archfiends coming on the market.  Plus, while Harbinger had a couple of chase rares, it also had a lot of ‘bleh’ non-unique rares like the Troll, Mummy and Medusa.  Archfiends introduced two of the most sought-after pieces in the game (Drizzt and Champion) as well as having several great demons/devils and the first dragon.  champion of eilistraee card

I would love for Wizards to publish the print run size of each of the sets, just for historical purposes, as I am fascinated by the statistics of DDM.  It would also make it easier to attribute more of the costing that goes into the price of each piece on the secondary market, ie.  How much is the fig quality, how much the paint, how much the size of the print run, usability in the RPG etc.

Coming Soon:  Tomorrow I’m going to post my initial thoughts on converting Pathfinder to DDM 1.0…let me say, it’s turning out to be harder than I thought!  I was going to do D&D 3.5 to DDM as I already had the books, but because I’ve heard that Pathfinder is basically 3.5 improved, I figured I would start there.  My goal is to run Shackled City (a Pathfinder Adventure Path) as the first test of the conversion, and to improve upon it over additional Adventure Paths.

Sunday Updates: Sick Kids, Working Like a Dog, Gaming Dreams, Sealed Fight #3

drow enforcerSorry for the slow week!  The twins have been sick, and work has been hopping.  Normally our e-commerce business slows down significantly in January/February, however I added some additional product lines last year and that seems to have filled the gap.  I had planned to play Sune’s Goons vs. the Night Below warband (name forthcoming!) on Friday, but the afternoon got away from me and my wife needed early reinforcements for the poor bebbies.

We’re also in the process of buying a new house.  My goal is to get a house and piece of land where I can build a new warehouse for the business.  I’m currently operating out of a small warehouse of about 2800 square feet, with offices taking up about 500 of that.  We’re pretty limited in where we can go from here in terms of adding new products (not that I currently have the manpower to do much more than we’re doing).  So we found a perfect house and property…it has 5 acres, about 3 of which are perfectly flat to fit a 10,000 square foot warehouse and a driveway turnaround for tractor trailers.

My plan is to take about 2000-2500 square feet of the warehouse and create an awesome gaming/recreation space, for both my family and the small town we’re moving to.  I’d love to host D&D groups, bridge clubs, board gamers or whoever else might want to take advantage of it.  I picture stands or cases around the outside of the room to house the different sets of D&D miniatures, a big bookshelf for our boardgames (which is currently very modest, but with some space I’d definitely expand the collection), a big screen TV to watch Twitch streams or the League of Legends LCS series, and a bunch of couches to entice my gaming group to drive in for the weekend and know they’ll have some place to crash.  It would also be a perfect spot to home school the kiddo’s and be a classroom for any other similarly minded folks.drow enforcer card

At least that’s the dream!  My wife and I are pretty frugal and try to pay cash for everything we do (other than our mortgages), so a project like that is probably most of our cash flow for a couple of years at least.  However, as I hope it’s the last place I’ll ever need to move to, I’m going to do my darnedest to make it the grooviest place I can to raise and hang out with my family.

Speaking of which, I have to go try to get on the docket for the zoning board where we’re moving to see if they’ll even allow us to build there!  I’ll definitely try to get the next skirmish done this week and post the results.  I think both warbands are pretty even and its a challenge to predict, but I call it 200-175 in favor of Sune’s Goons.  I think the match will be all about whether team Underdark can put out enough damage fast enough to kill the Blood Golem and still have enough to mop up!

Sealed Warband 3: (Night Below Boosters x 2, 200 points)


Would someone please pick up some conditioner from the elves?

Deep Legionnaire:  Aye, it must be time for a grog now, isn’t it?

Drow Enforcer:  No grog for you, peck, get back to digging!

Deep Legionnaire:  I would, but this daggin’ dragon keeps lookin’ at me like ‘am dinner!

Booster 1 Points Rarity Booster 2 Points Rarity
Guardian Naga 47 R Large Shadow Dragon 48 R
Cerebrilith 65 U Greater Barghest 35 U
Greenspawn Zealot 33 U Trained Carrion Crawler 28 U
Drow Enforcer 16 U Earth Mephit 13 U
Gnoll Claw Fighter 24 C Guard Of Mithral Hall 19 C
Greyhawk City Miliia Sergeant 13 C Delver Sergeant 15 C
Carnage Demon 10 C Kobold Trapmaker 10 C
Deep Legionnaire 7 C Darkmantle 6 C

This Night Below sealed is probably the toughest to build so far.  It has some good creatures, the Large Shadow Dragon at 48 points is probably on par with the Blood Golem from Unhallowed, being a bit better in some circumstances and worse in others.  For example, if it’s an outdoor map, it may not get to use Shadow Jump.  It doesn’t have DR5, but it does have Conceal 6, which probably cancel each other out. The breath weapon is very good (25 damage and save -2) and could rout several creatures with one go.  However, it does have to make a morale save and even with a Commander 4 Naga it will fail 35% of the time.  Plus, it’s AC 16 won’t help much against any of the more powerful opposing creatures.  The Cerebrilith at 65 points is similar to the Nessian Warhound at 62…both solid creatures, but too many points to consider for a non-premier mini.  Plus, it’s prime ability Mind Thrust is DC 15 Negates, which seems too much of a risk against any decent target.

The Guardian Naga at 47 seems an average if not extraordinarily efficient Commander.  Like Cleric of Sune, her damage is underwhelming, though similarly she makes up for it with a good spell selection.  Cure Critical Wounds on the Shadow Dragon could keep him in the fight a bit longer.  Two Lightning Bolts will allow her to do some softening up, especially if the map is crowded like Keep of Fallen Kings.  And Battering Ram seems a perfect disengage spell, assuming there is any of her team left to kill the disengaged creature.  Her Death Burst is nice if she’s out of spells and needs to engage with her modest naga card

I’m hoping Greater Barghest is as good as he looks for 35 points.  Solid AC and HP, DR 5, a heal (Feed 10) and 2 magic attacks of 15 make him seem a pretty good bruiser.  Plus, Disguise Self should ensure he gets to position well before pouncing, and maybe even lock up a victory area quickly.  Gnoll Claw Fighter will see play only because he’s Fearless. His potential damage is high, though that will require a bunch of things to go right, as he probably only has 1-2 rounds to live in combat.  Then of course there is the usual pile of dudes, several which are viable.

I am not at all confident that the below is the best team due to the number of decent lower-cost creatures not being used.  Plus, I am not comfortable with 8 activations, however I can’t see leaving any of the top 3 creatures out, which would be necessary to really squeeze much more in.  If you see a better team in my packs, please drop me an email or put a note in the comments, as I’d be interested in seeing how others build this.

Team Points
Large Shadow Dragon 48
Guardian Naga* 47
Greater Bargest 35
Gnoll Claw Fighter 24
Drow Enforcer 16
Earth Mephit 13
Deep Legionnaire 7
Darkmantle 6

Who I left Out:  The Trained Carrion Crawler is likely the most obvious.  Paralysis is so good; however, at 40HP and very little actual damage, I’m not sure how often paralysis would ever come into play.

Sunday’s Updates – Trade List Updated, Bulk Purchase #2, Warbands for Contest Incoming, D&D 3.x to DDM 1.1 Conversion


I’m easy like Sunday morning.

Howdy y’all!  Hard for me to do anything real specific on Sunday’s due to hanging with the awesome and beautiful Fam, but I can do some random updates.

Have/Want Update:  I now have a spreadsheet on my trade page of my haves/wants.  Currently it only has the rares, but I’ll get at least half the uncommons done next this week then the commons.  I’m at around 2000 commons/uncommons (though at least half of those are bottom tier) so its going to take a bit.  I’ve definitely got to get some eBay lots up as the numbers of miniatures are quickly getting unmanageable.  I’m going to start with all the non-DDM pieces, then move into lots of duplicate commons and uncommons.  I usually keep 4 copies or so of any common/uncommon minis so I have enough to trade, and they are easy enough to get back even if I trade them all.

Collecting Update:  Made a semi-decent bulk purchase this weekend…it was a lot smaller than the first, but had a much better rare set (264 total, 25 rares, $473.67, $1.79/mini), including a Silver Dragon, Erinyes, Elminster, Mordenkainen, Ice Devil and a Large Green Dragon (potentially my favorite sculpt in all of DDM).  I’ll do a full analysis once I receive it.  I also forgot to mention I picked up an Archmage this past week.  He is one of my favorite minis and it was $6 shipped, which I think is decent for him as a single.

Contest Update:  I’m very happy to already have two warbands submitted for our contest, thank you so much guys!  I need 2 more and we’ll get the matches underway, so tell your friends, or build them something and have them send it from their email!;)  Both of the submitters have great tools they created for sorting/searching minis.

This is Irafay’s DDM stuff.

And this is FEMC’s DDM searcher tool.

Seeing these kinds of tools reminds me of the fondness folks had/have for DDM, and makes me thankful that I’ve gotten back into it, even many years after the height of its popularity.mordenkainen card

D&D DDM 3.something Conversion:  I’m currently working on a DDM/D&D 3.x conversion.  This is where one would play the role-playing portion of D&D normally, but use a modified character creation system based on DDM.  There would be some additional rules around having some additional NPC’s to fill out your ‘warband/adventuring party’.  I’m pretty excited about it, as I always loved D&D (The role-playing side) but hated the combat.  I’m hoping this brings together the best of both worlds.   I’m going to buy the ‘Shackled City’ Paizo Adventure Path and try to convert that to the DDM style combat.  If anyone is interested in playing it when I get the first scenario up and running, please let me know. I have a group of 4 (including myself) already in our gaming group, but we could probably use 1-2 more.  We’ll be using Roll20 to run the game.