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I have managed to get my boys (6 and 10) into D&D Essentials and we're working through the starter pack. It's been a bit of a shock to discover that the rest of it is seemingly out of print.

The PDF versions do not include the game maps and tokens etc which are critical for my young group. They need the structure and tangible framework of the game board and monster / player tokens etc.

Are there any options for sourcing what we need to move on once we're done with the starter pack? Is an Insider subscription likely to help much?

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5 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

To source (rather than replace) the Dungeon Master's Kit and Monster Vault (the two big map-and-tokens Essentials products), you can look to second-hand sellers. There are some copies of these still floating around, and that's who has them.

Two examples off the top of my head that I successfully tried just this minute:

  • Paizo is offering the physical version the Monster Vault in their online store. (They have a listing for the DM's Kit, but it's marked as unavailable and out of print – since no more are going to be printed, they're not going to get any more.)

    Paizo is a good and reliable retailer. You can expect a pleasant customer experience with them.

  • eBay has several search hits for dungeon master's kit and essentials monster vault.

    My experience with sourcing out-of-print RPG books is that eBay can be a good source, but you do have to either have some skill at picking the good auctions from the bad, or just trust to luck and treat the bad sales as learning experiences. Put another way, eBay tends to be a reliable place to find stuff, if you're willing to put up with or skillfully avoid the unreliability of the quality of the product and interaction with the sellers.

Those are just two examples of places you can look to for out-of-print RPG products like the Dungeon Master's Kit and Monster Vault. There are a lot of second-hand retailers, and you'll probably be successful if you get to know them and have a look around for more Essentials items.

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Cheers. Marked as answer as it goes directly to the question posed. That said, it looks like I'll be getting by with third-party and just being a bit crafty and just the books, due to the cost of complete kits. –  Nathan Dec 8 '13 at 0:20
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Print your own minis.

Gnome Stew has lovely print-and-fold minis in 1x1 and 2x2 inch dimensions. You can use any image you like to get customized minis quick.

Laminate a grid

Professional maps are often rigid and easily marked up--a Chessex board is quickly ruined by the wrong marker, and I'm guessing with a 6-year-old playing that's more of a certainty than a likelihood. Laminated maps, however, are a lot more forgiving.

You can use 1x1'' grid paper, or draw your own grid on butcher's paper or newsprint (if you've got a local newspaper printer, they often give away the endrolls for free). Then laminate it at a copy shop.

Use wet-erase markers or (my preference) Crayola washable window markers. Window markers come in more colors than wet-erase markers, don't smudge as easily, and actually wipe off more cleanly. If you accidentally use a dry-erase marker or sharpie on the laminate, mild cleaners and elbow grease usually get 'em off.

The D&DI is a great resource.

You'll be able to download every D&D 4e Dungeon and Dragon magazine, by issue or by article, which includes enough adventures to run at least three 1-to-30 campaigns. It'll also give you a searchable compendium of all mechanics and mechanical elements from every official publication (books, magazines, adventures) and comprehensive character- and monster-building tools.

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I would recommend that you get the the pathfinder pawns bestiary and some maps from the Paizo store. They work for any D&D-style game, I've used them in 4e, D&D Next and LotFP games.

Dice, the maps and pawns (cardstock monster figures) should be everything you need for the 'tactile' part of the game.

D&D 4e Adventures and monster stats can be found in the D&D online tools that are part of the subscription. There are also quite a few free adventures available on the Wizards site, maybe you want to play through those before deciding to buy a subscription.

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I have found my Insider subscription to be very helpful. Aside from access to the Adventure Tools module, which helps you quickly find or create monsters, you get access to subscriber-only Dungeon magazine content. There are tons of prewritten adventures, complete with maps, encounters, monster stats, and NPCs, in back issues of Dungeon. This site has a list of DDI adventures by level, with links to the PDFs.

You might also consider looking for sources like Gaming Paper, which provides printable map tiles that you can combine and modify as you see fit.

As for tokens, you can print your own using tools like those available at RPTools, or just buy a big bag of those flat-bottomed decorative marbles from craft stores, and mark them with dry erase markers.

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Amazon.com has numerous used/new/like new options for almost all of the 4e books. I've bought almost all of mine from various retailers via Amazon and have had great luck and the prices are lower then retail as well.

Just click on the "23 used and new from $12.50" links below the amazon product price which will take you to a list of resellers. I've had especially good luck from a reseller called bellwetherbooks

Good luck!

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