You can play with simply the rules, pencil, paper, and dice. But the tabletop roleplaying experience is one of sight, sound, and touch. The right RPG accessories can help bring the table to life.
A gamemaster 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 below are by no means exhaustive, but should serve as useful launch points for further investigation.
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.
How to Draw Fantasy Art & RPG Maps by 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.
The Dungeons & Dragons Icons of The Realms Starter Set contains painted minis representing six iconic Forgotten Realms character types, ready for play.
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.