The tabletop gaming world has benefitted so much from 3D printing capabilities becoming affordable to the average person. Gone are the days when you have to find a particular hobby store that carries gaming stuff or order it online and wait days for it to arrive. Now, you can simply make your pieces yourself; however, it can be hard to know where to start when printing for your next adventuring party.
There are so many great things you can print for your table, but here are ten of the best:
- Player figures and tokens
- Monster figures
- Set pieces
- Puzzle boxes
- Dice towers
- Connectable floor and wall building pieces
- Spell effect tokens
- Inspiration tokens
- Terrain pieces
All of these will take your campaigns to the next level and set your table apart.
1. Player Figures and Tokens
First up, player figures and tokens are a perfect way to use your 3D printer with your table.
This is a great way to get your players involved in the character creation process and encourage them to build on their designs.
These also make great gifts for your players. You can give them out for holidays, birthdays, or even to commemorate the end of a campaign. The level of care you have to put into these models is a significant gesture that will make the model a stunning gift.
Player figures are one of the best options for putting your 3D printer to work. Who hasn’t dreamed of making a completely custom minifigure for their beloved player character?
If you aren’t as design-savvy, you can always work with a site to make the design for you and generate other basic figures you can modify.
One of the best sites to build character models is Hero Forge.
This is a crowdfunded website that specializes in custom minifigures. While you can order the custom figures yourself, you can also pay for the 3D model. This is much cheaper than buying the figure outright, and you can plug it right into your printer.
Hero Forge also has a massive gallery of clothing, armor, weapons, and magical effect options so you can capture your character in living detail. With their new update, you can also customize the color of every single effect and each piece of clothing.
Hero Forge has successfully used their 3D printers to make high-quality models and then ship them out. However, if you are an experienced printer, you can make your own high-quality models.
If you want a smaller, easier-to-make alternative to minifigures, you can always print player tokens.
These are small, disc-like tokens that usually feature the name or a symbol for your character. Sometimes, the tokens can even come with a face to match the player’s character. You can also customize them for the players themselves so they can use them over and over again.
Tokens are a great choice for tables that do a lot of one-shots and go through many characters. If you’re only playing a character for one or two sessions, you don’t want to spend all the time, energy, and materials on a complete character model. Player tokens identify your character on the board and aren’t overly complicated.
Another great part about this choice is that they don’t take very long to generate, and they don’t need a lot of print materials. You can make the model and have it printed within moments.
Again, if you and your table are going through many new characters, tokens make it even easier to customize something you can move on the board.
2. Monster Figures
Monster figures are another top pick for what to make with a 3D printer.
Sometimes, it can be hard to describe or visualize a monster that has entered the initiative order. With printed models of your enemies, this is an issue of the past. You can make your enemies look precisely how you envisioned them. You can control every design aspect and even make them to scale with your party.
The monster figures don’t even have to be small; you could make a massive assembly required enemy for your Big Bad Evil Guy! 3D printed models of monsters make for great dramatic effect and will spice up your table.
If you don’t know where to start, or you want to print stock D&D enemies from the Monster Manual, there is a massive library for you to peruse.
They range from animals like baboons or cats all the way up to a massive multipart model of Bahamut! Anyone can go in and download them for free, but if you want to buy the printed models ready to go, they do cost money.
This may sound like a larger category, but we are just talking about props you can hand out to your players for this list. Props are a great choice, especially for tables that play sessions in costume.
This can be anything from gemstones to amulets to a key they need for the next part of the dungeon. The world is your oyster, and you can print them as you see the need to crop up each session.
Having physical props to hand out will get your players in the spirit and make them pay more attention to their inventory. They have to keep track of what they can fit in their bag and get a better view of what they have.
You could even keep certain plot-relevant props on hand to give out. These could be things like allegiance pins or trophies from their various victories. All of these will make the immersion unforgettable and set your table apart.
You could even mass print coins for the different countries your characters are visiting and make your players keep track of their actual money. You can introduce full bartering to your table and game and keep track of what different countries’ currencies look like.
4. Set Pieces
Set pieces are another excellent choice for printing. These can be anything from a wagon your party passed to a chest that totally isn’t a mimic. These props bring the setting into the real world and help your players visualize the world around them.
All of these will bring your battle map to life and make your players feel like they are really in the game. This can also make your towns and other buildings feel more realistic. It feels even more like their home if little cups and bowls are in an NPC’s cabinet.
You can also make puzzle set pieces that they can open and find other props in. A drawer that moves is a great place to hide a portion of a map or even some treasure. You could even make them into a puzzle for your players to solve.
5. Puzzle Boxes
Rolling right into this next pick on the list, puzzle boxes are a great choice to 3D print.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to solve a dungeon puzzle in real-time? Do your players keep getting around your traps by making auspicious rolls? You should make them a 3D printed puzzle box!
A genuine puzzle box will force them to solve the puzzle in real-time. It will challenge them even more and make the payoff feel even better. It also gives great opportunities for other roleplaying since they’ll have to stay in character while they solve it.
Puzzle boxes are one of the more intricate models on this list, but there are so many great 3D printed puzzle box options out there. They can be as challenging or accessible as you need, and you can even reuse them for later campaigns.
6. Dice Towers
Perhaps more complicated, dice towers are another great thing to build with a 3D printer.
Dice towers are an alternative to rolling trays. All you have to do is put the dice in the top and let gravity roll it down to a little spot where you can see what number appeared.
Dice towers are somewhat of a complicated issue in most tabletop circles. While they can make rolls more random, some have said that it takes away from the experience of rolling the dice yourself.
Dice towers have been used since the Roman era to make sure dice rolls are random. One of the oldest dice tower examples is the Vettweiss-Froitzheim Dice Tower from the Roman-controlled Germanic Gaul.
In tabletop games, dice towers are an excellent tool for GMs and players alike. They can be used for blind rolls and make sure that there is no cheating at the table. It is nearly impossible to manipulate rolls from a dice tower, so there is no way to fake rolls.
However, some have said that dice towers create an overly competitive and distrustful atmosphere, so it’s up to you and your party to determine if you want to use a dice tower. Whatever you choose, your game is going to be great!
Outside of table use, dice towers are great gifts for anyone who plays D&D or other tabletop games. They are an excellent addition to an otherwise complete game kit and can be great conversation starters.
You can pretty quickly make a dice tower with a 3D printer. However, know that making your dice tower in parts is better, so you don’t have to pull apart the material to release movable parts.
7. Connectable Floor and Wall Building Pieces
Connectable floor and wall building pieces are some of the coolest options on this list and are reusable in so many different ways. For example, they are crucial for big battle settings and designing custom dungeons.
With 3D printing, you can perfectly scale your battle maps and ensure that everything down to the individual tiles reflects the distance around them. You can build everything yourself like they’re made of LEGOs!
You can even make floor pieces that have locks to snap together and create a more significant piece. You can physically build a dungeon for your players and take it apart so you can reuse the parts.
These pieces can also come with score marks so your players can calculate distances and be prepared for anything. This way, you can also calculate if something is in spell or melee range or not!
8. Spell Effect Tokens
Spell effect tokens are a great way to make sure your players remember to keep track of their character effects. They pair well with spell decks and are a great way to remember what you can cause to happen.
These physical reminders will keep your players paying attention and keep them engaged. They can hand in specific spell effect tokens to the DM to keep track of the effects the players have inflicted on their villains.
9. Inspiration Tokens
Hanging out DM inspiration is always a special moment, but why not make it even better with tokens you can physically give your players!
These can also be handed back to the Dungeon Master, so there is no way to fudge having more inspiration than you do.
You can also customize the Inspiration tokens to fit your DM’s aesthetic. For example, if the campaign is mostly steampunk, they can have gears or little icons that match your Dungeon Master.
10. Terrain Pieces
Last but certainly not least are terrain pieces! These are small features like bushes, trees, and other landscape items.
These could also be sections of difficult terrains, such as quicksand, inclines, ice, or other features you can’t get naturally. You could make these features removable, too, so they can mimic spell effects when players cast terrain spells.
You could even print some scenery for a backdrop and set it around the village or trail your players are going down.