Let’s settle one thing: I’m a big Theater of Mind D&D player. Miniatures have always been optional in my mind, but I do love having miniatures for a big boss battle. So the players can finally visualize this epic moment in this collaborative story we, as a group, have conceived during this length of time. During my early years of playing 3rd Edition D&D and my college years, buying miniatures was not something I was financially incapable of doing. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have that Great Wyrm Red Dragon “mini” from Wizards of the Coast from way back when. It was an excellent reference to scale and scope, and amazing to look at too. But there were some inherent flaws with miniatures, especially if you’re the Dungeon Masters, one of them was transportation. Most of the Wizards of the Coast variety were plastic, so those were fine, but the nice ones like from Reaper Miniatures required more finesse. I don’t denounce using miniatures, but for my personal needs, I was felt restricted. During 4th Edition D&D, where the battle grid had a more considerable influence on the gameplay, creating paper and disc-like tokens proved fundamentally rewarding and comfortable to transport or start a game. Paizo had some great minis with their Beginner Box, the creatures were in hard cardboard with black plastic stands, I loved them immensely. They were easy to identify and maneuver across a board. Once I got my best friends to play their first D&D game through the 5th Edition ruleset, I used some of the old tools like the character and creature tokens and the few other minis I had leftover from when I first started. Fast forward, and I got gifted my entire Team BAJA adventuring group with their own miniatures from Hero Forge. I still use paper miniatures when I can, there few ways to create your own, and I often did just that. It served my needs as a Dungeon Master while crafting a story.
But then there are times when you genuinely want to flex the flair and spellbound our players with stunning visuals while still having functional pieces. I’ve been a long time fan of Trash Mob Minis with their unique art style, and the easy to assemble paper miniatures scaled to fit on your traditional 1-inch square battle maps.
I’ll be covering exclusively with Trash Mob’s latest product: Elemental Enemies but also showcase some of their other products. You can grab your own copy of Elemental Enemies here. You can also check out the rest of Trash Mob Minis on their DriveThruRPG storefront here.
I Know I Don’t Use Minis But…
Seriously, have you seen this art? Most paper minis are generic square pieces with fantasy pictures on them. Sure the images are lovely, and sometimes you can sort of look at the details, but you lose quality as you scale down. When you’re using more three-dimensional applications, well height doesn’t matter as much so long as the paper mini fits on their stand. The color palette is striking and engaging, it feels like I’m part of a roleplaying game comic. If you’re a realist with your art style, this may not be for you, but you can’t deny the quality of the color choices and visual poses present.
All of the paper miniatures are offered as PDFs and after purchasing you can print as much as your heart’s content. Assembly is pretty straightforward, you cut the outline of the creature, fold along the prescribed edges. I recommend using a glue stick instead of wet glue. Make sure to not glue the halves of the base together, you want the black background to be sticking upward as you place it out the appropriately sized and colored base. I also recommend printing the miniatures on card stock to give them some weight but durability. If you don’t want to use glue sticks, you can use double-sided tape instead though the edges may have a tendency of getting snagged. You can take this advice to fit your needs.
Elemental Enemies is a collection consisting of four elemental cults, each with an armored elemental, elite cultist, and cultist leader along with elemental creatures such as a Fire Dwarf, Water Serpent, Dust Devil and Gravel-Duhr. I genuinely love the armored elementals, but they elemental cultists work great for your Prince of the Apocalypse gameplays or even for your own narratives whenever an elemental cult would spring out as the real villains of a story arc. These minis are also great for a big Elder Elemental Eye showdown too. Imagine all four cults working together for their glorified elemental lords and the all-powerful Elder Elemental Eye.
At the time of this article, Trash Mobs is having a sale on their DriveThruRPG storefront (click here) and most of the packs are anywhere from a little over $1 to 4 at most. That is far less expensive than buy packs or collections of miniatures (plastic or otherwise). I would encourage color printings if you can, the cardstock might be a bit more upfront, but honestly, these minis should last you at least half a dozen sessions (or more). The monetary investment is minor compared to pewter or plastic, but they are very portable if you haven’t fully assembled them. If you want to make these paper minis more transportable, don’t glue the entire base of the mini down, keep one-half open so you can fold it down and use for later. There you have it, an easy to carry and lightweight solution. These miniatures are not only visually fantastic, but they’re very portable and suit my needs immensely.
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