The holiday season is here, and everyone is searching for the perfect gift for a gaming loved one—even if that loved one is a little hard to shop for. Not sure what to put under the tree?
Well prop up your boots, Santa. Kobold Press has you covered with a list of great gifts and enough background so that you know what you’re buying even if you’re not much of a dice goblin yourself. We hope this guide adds something to your shopping list and brings a grin to that gamer you know.
These sturdy plastic rings fit around the base of a miniature figure and help players keep track of what’s going on with their character during a battle. The rings come in an good-quality plastic case with foam sections for the various rings to keep them organized. Each ring is marked with what it’s supposed to represent, and the writing is clear and easy to read, even from a distance.
I’ve used these in my games, and they really help me (and everyone else at the table) keep track of everything. The labels on the outside of the box also make putting the rings away effortless.
Price: $19.99 ALIZERO Miniatures Condition Rings
Yes, there are candles made for roleplaying games! When playing games where imagination is a huge part of it, engaging every sense helps to share the experience of escaping into another world. When lit during a game, these scented candles help create a distinct atmosphere and offer an immersive experience.
An example is the Dwarven Tavern (scents of smoked oak and whiskey), which can bring a smile to a whole table as someone describes how their character asks for a mug of ale. I used these candles when my group explored a dark crypt; the smell helped bring out the eerie feeling of delving into the dark and unknown.
Price: $5.25 and up. GMDICE scented candles
Quick, One-Shot Adventures
You probably already know this, but the GM has a lot of jobs, and setting up the next adventure by game night doesn’t always make it to the top of that job list. Lots of companies make ready-to-run adventures for just such an occasion, but finding good ones can be another whole job in itself.
Enter: Tome of Beasts 3 Lairs. These fantastic small adventures have unique stories, but a GM can just as quickly change them on the fly to fit an existing story their group is playing through. As the GM, I plan to drop the 1st-level adventure, Proudheart’s Predator Problem, in as a one-night side trip when my group goes to town unexpectedly.
This collection of adventures is worth the purchase because it offers 23 adventures at lots of different levels that save a GM’s time and sanity!
Price: $39.99 Tome of Beasts 3 Lairs
Kids Love Imagining, and Kids Love Games
Gamers often mate and go on to spawn little gamerlings of their own. It’s like a circle of . . . something. I’m sure a good metaphor will come to me.
A natural advantage of having kids is that you can share your geeky hobbies with them. Anyone looking for an easy in should try Steamforged’s Animal Adventures Starter Set. It’s a whole box of roleplaying games for beginners.
This game has easy-to-follow rules for players who take on the roles of adorable, intelligent, dogs and cats who go on magical adventures! This starter set has everything you need to play, including miniatures, character sheets, a map, a GM screen to hide secrets behind, tokens, dice, and an adventure, Thwart the Evil Doktor Krankensteen!
Price: $44.99 Animal Adventures Starter Set
Flair for a Gamer’s Notebook
Taking notes about what happened in a game session is a natural part of the process. You have to remember a whole list of made-up names, locations, riddles, and vague ideas that float by in the middle of play. Writing it all down is a big help with that. (Some people also keep notes about the best jokes and quotes that come up during play!)
Forged Gaming has a product for those who love taking notes to add that WOW element when they look back over them. This product is the TTRPG Character Sheet Note & Tag Stickers, packed full of stickers to help draw attention to an important note or add humor to a funny moment. These sticker packs come in 5 sheets with more than 400 stickers in all! There are stickers to help identify a new quest, location, or vital enemy. If you know the person you’re buying for has a notebook for their roleplaying game days, this makes a cool stocking stuffer.
Price: $14.95 TTRPG Character Sheet Note & Tag Stickers
There are a thousand doo-dads and tchotchkes and wha-cha-ma-callems that you can add to make a game more fun. But what is the MOST wha-cha-ma-callem thing out there? Man, I don’t know. I wrote this and I don’t think I know. That sounds like a whole separate article.
But I’ll tell you what’s a strong contender: these spectacular Deck of Many Animated Spells: Cantrips! These cards have images on them that animate a spell effect in the rela world with lenticular motion. (That’s when the picture changes when you tilt the card back and forth.) If the person you’re buying for is always talking about their favorite wizard character, then this is a magical gift for them.
The website shows you examples of what they look like in action. And for the holidays, they’re on sale! You should click through and go take a look, even if you don’t think you’re going to buy them. These are super cool.
Price: $24.99 Deck of Many Animated Spells: Cantrips
Duel at Dawn! But . . . Where?
When the fighting starts in a game, it’s often time to put out some miniatures so you know where everybody is. And if you’re going to put out minis, you need to put them on something. A table? Meh. How about a cool looking map? Norse Foundry has an excellent section of Game Knight Map Packs that help you visualize the action.
These maps make for a great backgrounds in lots of different kinds of terrain—city, wastelands, high seas, forests, and more. Each map pack contains four maps with markings of squares used for the rules of combat in roleplaying games. This is an excellent gift for anyone who plays in this hobby because players and GMs love seeing it on a table!
Price: $20.00 for four maps. Game Knight Map Packs
Amazing Stories, EPIC FIGHTS!
Anyone who plays roleplaying games gets excited when they know a big, lousy villain of the story is joining a battle. It’s when things get REAL. (In an imaginary way.)
Players get even more enthusiastic when the game master pulls out a highly detailed miniature of the bad guy, along with a play mat where this fight is about to happen. It really ties the room together.
The fine people at Steam Forged Gaming know this feeling, so they made it happen. The Epic Encounters series is that epic fight experience in one convenient box. They have a variety of options to pick from. I’m recommending the Cave of the Manticore box which comes with a gargantuan manticore figure to paint, 12 tokens, a double-sided game mat, an adventure book starring the manticore, and advice on how to build the fight to be awesome. They have other Epic Encounter boxes like a nest of dinosaurs and a camp of bandits. This is an excellent gift for a GM or someone who would love seeing these miniatures on their table/bookshelves.
Price: $49.99 Epic Encounters: Cave of the Manticore
Everything Everywhere All at Once
GMs have to describe what the other players are seeing. Constantly. It’s enough to give you writer’s block—or whatever the talking version of writer’s block is—about what’s over the next hill or what phase the moon is in or whatever. It’s hard to think of EVERYTHING. Nord Games created their Elements of Inspiration to help during those trying times.
This big box contains nine tarot-sized card decks (420 cards total) to let you flip up interesting descriptive cues for exploration, roleplaying, and enhancing combat. Each is for various environments found in roleplaying games, such as deserts, forests, mountains, plains, swamps, and tundras. These decks also cover weather and moon phases to add extra layers of immersion. This gift is excellent for GMs or anyone who loves writing stories.
Price: $50.00 Elements of Inspiration
Scandinavian Folklore Fantasy
When people play roleplaying games, they play heroic characters in fantastical lands. I’ve always loved playing adventures in ready-made settings to make my life as the GM easier.
The traditional setting for fantasy roleplaying games is vaguely medieval European. But Lazy Wolf Studios has something special with their Norrøngard setting, inspired by Scandinavian folklore that respects its roots. Their newest adventure is written for Kobold Press’s Black Flag Roleplaying system. The adventure is Thrones & Bones: Banner of the Bull.
This adventure is an entry-level story in the Norrøngard setting. Besides being an excellent adventure, this book also has options for players and a rich world history. I find the layout of this book so beautiful; it’s fun to flip through the pages and look at the fantastic maps and artwork. This is an excellent buy for any roleplaying game fan.
Price: $19.99 (softcover color book) Thrones & Bones: Banner of the Bull
Music and Noise. But in a Good Way.
Some groups enjoy having background music as they play. A phone or laptop can play music and ambient noise to create a soundtrack behind a tremendous adventure! There’s something about having my favorite movie soundtracks playing as I describe something to players that amps up the whole experience. I play music during battles my players fight through or eerie music as my players delve into a dark dungeon.
There are even roleplaying game soundtracks available, such as the Tales from the Shadows from Syrinscape which has background music and sound effects to help create a mood. Typically, the GM sets the tone of a scene. But for many groups, a player acts as the group’s DJ, so this makes an excellent gift, even if the person you have in mind isn’t a GM.
Price: $19.99 Tales from the Shadows, from Syrinscape
If you know a gamer who loves playing spellcasters (by which I mean all of them), Kobold Press has a brand-new slew of options for them in Deep Magic: Volumes 1 & 2! These two books are chock full of spells, otherworldly patrons, class options, and magical enigmas. Deep Magic 1 introduces the new theurge class, blending arcane and divine into one. Deep Magic 2 has the witch class, bringing evil cackling to casting magic.
Together, these two books have a total of 900 spells, and they’re playtested to maximize fun at the table. Both books are great for anyone who plays roleplaying games since they can be used for player and as resources for the GM.
Price: Deep Magic 1 Hardcover $59.99 Deep Magic 2 Hardcover $59.00 Deep Magic: Volume 1 & 2
Shiny Treasures That Roll
It is a fact I that don’t even need to cite sources for—all gamers love more dice. They love collecting them, they love rolling them, heck, I don’t know, they probably eat the things. Kobold Press knows this and brings the magic!
Specifically, the Deep Magic 2 Dice Sets. Each die is handcrafted with polished, sharp edges. The dice are infused with beautiful glitter flakes and offer a precise roll compared to most mass-produced dice. Choose between fiery red or icy blue—get both for a gamer couple! There’s also the Witch d20, which has a liquid core with a snowglobe-like effect when rolled.
Price: Fire or Ice Dice Sets $19.99 or the Witch d20 $19.99 Deep Magic 2 Dice Sets