While the imagination is strong and the most valuable tool to role-playing games, visual aids can often help on many fronts. They can help make sure players get a consistent vision of a non-player character, help with directions on maps, or even help bring a bit of flavor and flash to someone’s character. My Dungeons & Dragons group uses a few props, mostly maps, scroll cases, letters, and coins. While those are things can be broadly used, what about something more specific to a character, maybe even something that character uses to engage in the fantastic? This is where Hrothgar’s Hoard’s wands come in to, literal, play.
Hrothgar’s Hoard is a company out of Athens, Ohio that focuses on wood and leather goods for various geekery. They offer leather spellbooks to hold spell cards, some great looking dice trays and towers, and have even done Critical Hit and Miss decks. Certainly a company that is a jack of many trades. Their products look solid and are not over done, while keeping at some very reasonable prices. However, their next step is into wands for role-playing game and cosplay props with a Kickstarter for them going live on October 2nd.
Hrothgar’s Hoard sent me one of their wands, complimentary, asking for me to do a review of it. Not a problem. My only condition was that I wanted to get see how it went over with play at my table. I thought of no better player than Rebekah and her sorcerer, Olya Tchotchke (especially since she wields a wand in our game). As such my review will be split into two parts: a look at the build quality and design of the wand; and then an actual play report of both Rebekah and mine observations during our session of Dungeons & Dragons.
I gave my first impressions of the Molten Metal wand in a quick unboxing video and they are positive.
But now that I have spent some time with the wand I have a bit more to say about it. First off is the size, this is not a paltry wand and honestly is larger than I had anticipated. As you can see it measures about 14 inches in total length. The storage/display box is just a tad longer (which will be an add-on for the Kickstarter campaign). The diameter of the smooth purple heart handle with metal bottom is about an inch. This means it has a robust grip and is honestly comfortable when held.
Speaking of the grip, it is apparent that it opens up, as shown in the video. According to the letter I received with the wand, all wands with the secret compartment will include a set of the little dice. What I did find with the open handle is that regular sized, about 16mm, will not fit. I would love to keep my favorite d20 in one of these, but alas that will not be the case. That said, there are all kinds of other uses I can think of: use to pass a secret message, rolling of mini dice, or have a backup healing potion in there.
Moving up the wand, we get to the real eye catching element: an acrylic blended shaft. This is the part that makes it “Molten Metal.” It is a very solid material. Both acrylic and wood shafts will be available to pledges. The taper on it from the handle to the end is subtle and comes to a point, but is not sharp at all. So when waved around I was not worried about injury. The shaft is secured by a glue and polished, making it smooth and looks magnificent when light hits it.
I say this with all honestly, this is not the only wand I own. I have one from Willowroots Wands. The two are very different, in terms of style and how they are made. What they definitely have in common is the quality. Hrothgar’s Hoard is going for a simple build style, but one that can have a variety of designs for customization. According to the draft of the Kickstarter I have had access to, the price on this particular wand is $84, which allows pledges to select from eight different woods for the handle 12 unique acrylic shafts. The sample I was provided is the most “engineered” of their offerings, has a good heft, is well built, feels solid in hand, looks great, and a price that is respectable for a custom item to match your gaming or cosplay needs.
Before rolling dice, everyone wanted to see the wand. According to the Kickstarter this is for casting Witch Bolt, but after conversing with my group we went with Heat Metal, due to the swirling silver, copper, and gold of the shaft. That is beauty of props, it is still an item of imagination and anyone can bring what they want to it!
The main thing I noticed was that once the game began, Rebekah did not put the wand down for much of it. She utilized it to help point out targets on the board and did some waving with it while Syrinscape was playing spell effects. These actions were noticed and enjoyed by the other members of my gaming group and did not go unappreciated.
Rebekah’s post game quote on the wand, “This wand was elegant and beautiful! Sturdy and even functional if you get the twist handle to hold a set of adorable dice. It will shine in the hand of any noble wizard or cunning sorceress. I definitely want to get a custom one in the Kickstarter”
The one piece of utilization that I did not expect was Rebekah using the wand’s box as a rolling tray. That was a nice touch. I could see it being more conducive to rolling if the bottom had a felt lining (this would also make the wand pop a bit more against the background when displayed).
Overall this wand by Hrothgar’s Hoard is a winner for my group and me. At worse, it looks great on my shelf as a part of my tableau. At best, it helped one of my players have a lot of fun at my table making the game come to life for her and others playing. So thank you Hrothgar’s Hoard for making my game and time with my friends better and more fun!
A link to the Kickstarter will be posted when it goes live on October 2nd, 2018!
Thanks again to Hrothgar’s Hoard for the wand, I wish them success on the Kickstarter. Let me know what you think of using props at your game table during RPGs, hit me up @OnlyPlayWizards