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Crafting Your Own Pawns for Roleplaying Games

I made the move from player at my local game shop’s weekly Adventurer’s League game on Wednesday to being a Dungeon Master. And, pretty quickly, I realized my need for something to represent characters on the board, especially during combat.

While I could have pretty easily and effectively used dice or some other kind of token, I wanted to up the pizzazz level in a desperate attempt to cover my inadequacies as a new DM. That led me to discovering the remarkable Pathfinders Pawns.

Now, Michael Ray Johnson has previously written up the Pathfinders Pawns here at the site and his piece does a great job of explaining the benefits and uses of them. And he is correct in that they are great for helping in all the ways he explains.

But what do you do when you a very certain kind of creature and you don’t have a pawn for it? Surely, others have experienced this situation and, like me, can’t handle the idea of some other creature misrepresenting the terrifying fiends I want to unleash!

Crafting Your Own RPG Pawns

Well, rest assured, there is some great advice out there on YouTube around how to create your own pawns. For the perfectionist nerd in me, this advice and these tutorials were super helpful in moving forward with how to create the creatures I wanted and needed in my adventures. (Not to mention, there are tons of other crafting ideas around tabletop roleplaying games and the pieces needed for them!)

First, Wyloch at the YouTube channel Wyloch’s Crafting Vids made an excellent tutorial around how to print and make your own paper miniatures. (You know it is the best video out there when other YouTubers basically say “I don’t need to make that video because Wyloch already has.” which is a response I encountered more than once.)

His method will challenge you if you aren’t used to using software like PhotoShop or GIMP, but he does excellent work in breaking down and explaining his process. You can check it out here:

Similarly, The Weirdlings channel demonstrates a very similar process on their channel that I thought had a few more helpful hints that were worth sharing as well.

Finally, there are a few tips that I picked up from a variety of sources that are worth passing on.

  1. First, if you are going to print these, consider using a black background, especially if you are going to cut them out to size; not having to worry about if you have white edges trimmed precisely will speed this process up and you can use a black marker to color the edges.
  2. Second, consider having the figures printed on heavier card stock at your local print shop; the thicker paper they have available will help your figures last and most places will do color prints for less than a buck per sheet even on card stock.
  3. Third, as you saw in the videos, you may want to weigh down the figures. Attaching them to washers or coins seems like a good way to weigh down the figures so they don’t go flying around.

If you follow these simple steps, you can effectively create the pawns you need for every encounter and do it cheaply!

What other money saving ideas do you have for a new DM?