You can play with simply the rules, pencil, paper, and dice. But the in-person tabletop roleplaying experience is one of sight, sound, and touch. The right RPG accessories can help bring the table to life.
A game master can use a battle mat and markers to show what’s happening in the game world, from quick maps of a route through the forest to a detailed layout for a dungeon battle. Miniatures add to the visual and tactile experience, and painting minis is an engaging activity on its own. To take it to the next level, terrain can be used to create a full 3D experience.
Maps are a common RPG accessory because they’re useful in almost any setting, from dungeon delving to two-fisted pulp action archaeology to exploring alien science fiction worlds. They provide a visceral connection to the game world, bringing it to life in a tangible way for players.
The products shown below are by no means exhaustive, but should serve as useful launch points for further investigation.
Fat Zebra Designs RPG Battle Game Mat Set — two 2-sided 36″ x 24″ mats + Markers, Eraser & Dice
Evolve Skins Battle Grid Game Mat — 36″ X 24″ mat, markers and eraser
Paizo Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Basic — 24″ x 30″ mat folds to 8″ x 10″
Dyson Logos is great at explaining how he creates maps of towns, villages, and dungeons. Check out his work at Dyson’s Dodecahedron and level up your mapmaking skills.
Jared Blando lays out how to draw fantasy maps, from selecting paper and pencils to building out geographic features and decorating your masterworks.
At Fantastic Maps Jonathan Roberts shares his maps and runs through the digital tools and techniques he uses in his commissioned works.
The Learn to Paint Bones Kit from Reaper Miniatures includes three plastic minis ready for painting, two paintbrushes, a how-to booklet with basic painting techniques, and 11 colors of water-soluble paint, all in a padded storage case.
Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments Adventure Paint Set includes water-based primer, a metallic, and eight other colors in dropper bottles, with a starter brush and one miniature.
With Hero Forge you can design your own custom minis online with an easy 3D tool and have them shipped to your door. The minis come in different sizes and materials, and cover a broad range of genres including fantasy, modern, and scifi. You can even order them pre-colored, so there’s no need to paint ‘em.
Dwarven Forge produces a wide range of painted and unpainted terrain pieces, which can be combined in endless variations to produce caverns, dungeons, towns, and more.
The Dungeonstone range of modular terrain pieces are made for caves, caverns, and dungeons. They are provided unpainted but the company also provides custom painting.
The 3D printed, unpainted RPG Terrain line from Ender Toys is suitable for a range of fantasy uses, from cottages and bridges to dungeons.
Surprise your gaming crew by designing your own custom stickers at StickerMule. The prices for short runs are surprisingly affordable and they come in many varieties and sizes.
Dozens of artists promote their skills on Etsy, where you can obtain commissioned character portraits. If you’re looking for a particular style, you’ll probably find it here.
At The Voyager’s Workshop, artist Wouter F. Goedkoop sells a range of RPG-themed maps, posters, mugs, t-shirts and more. He also creates character drawings, maps, and other art on commission.