Gaming Accessories: Dragonlock Tiles
Fellow Dungeoneers, let me share the latest game accessory. Dragonlock Tiles.
Now, when I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons, or other RPGs, it was all theater of the mind. It was our dice, character sheets, and the DM running the tale. It wasn’t until recent years that I started playing with a battle mat and miniatures. Those work great and add a different depth to the game.
Fast forward to a friend getting a 3D printer, and we knew we could do better. I started looking up different options to use tiles. I was back and forth on what to use. I was settled on using an easily printed system that you use on top of your battle mat. I was thinking less filament used would be the way to go.
Instead, my friend got and printed out Dragonlock tiles. I’m glad he did. These tiles use a clip system and are a modular tile. This means you can reconfigure the tiles to make any map you want.
The tiles themselves come in different styles. I’ve been trying to stick to just the dungeon style with bricked walls. They have different sets that can be used for cavern, village, and even have sewer tiles.
The tiles I use are the wall tiles, floor tiles, and hallway tiles. What’s nice about these is that they already have the grid printed on them. So when you’re in combat, it makes it easier to measure out distances and use ranges.
Each tile has removable clips that hold the tiles to each other. I find that these are somewhat hard to remove if you have a clip in each side. I try to only use clips on 2 sides and have them all the same throughout the map. This will make changing it up easier on the fly. I also found that having a tool you can use to grip and remove the clips is the way to go. I’d be lying if I said I never broke a clip. I’ve broken multiple. The good thing is you can always print more to use.
With Dragonlock Tiles, you’re paying for the printable file and the filament. I guess the paint too if you’re going to paint them. Then you print away.
I’m a travel DM. I pack my things up and go to a central house to play my sessions. So I like building the map into easy to place segments before the day of the session. Once I get how everything goes together, I take a picture so I have a good reference of map. Then I make sure I can show up a little early to assemble it.
During the session, I try not to have the monsters or traps in the map. If you really want to surprise the group, the segments just add on when they enter the room. Alternatively you can use scrap paper on top to hide the shape and any interior furnishing of the rooms.
I’ve recently started painting these tiles. I’ve got the time to do so right now, so I’ve been painting a couple at a time. So far I’ve got around 15 completed. I also wanted to make some of the tiles look different than others. I’ve taken some Green Stuff to make vines coming out of the walls. My plans are to paint these a brown color and then get some floor tiles with vines going across the floor. It’s easy to do, and brings me back to my days of painting and modifying Warhammer 40K models.
Price wise, the cheapest option is just using your imagination. Next would be a battle mat and some tokens or what ever you can find to use. 3D printers cost upwards of $200 with filament costing around $20 a spool. This is still a cheaper option than going Dwarven Forge.
As filament goes, we’ve tried all different types. Here’s a picture of what we printed out with the different brands and types. Filament comes in different colors. When you’re planning on painting the tiles, I would suggest a gray color as the filament.
White is Hatchbox ABS, light gray is Hatchbox PLA, and the dark gray was Prusa PLA. So far we’ve found that the light gray Hatchbox PLA has been the best at printing.
I have evolved in how I play Dungeons and Dragons. Starting with just my imagination, then moving to a battle map, and now using dungeon tiles. I can’t imagine going back, but I also never imagined playing any other way every time I play. When it was just imagination, it was I didn’t need those miniatures and maps. It just slows things down. Then with the battle map and miniatures it was, those tiles are expensive. I don’t need those. Every player and every group is different. What works for me, might now work for others.
I would suggest that not all your maps and sessions needs these tiles. I use these when it’s going to be a combat heavy session or I want to use traps. It adds a nice visual component in addition to the DM describing the setting.
So there you have it. The tile system that I’m using. If you have a 3D printer and are looking for tiles for your tabletop RPG, I can’t recommend Dragonlock Tiles more. Here’s the site to look at Dragonlock Tiles. Sets cost around $10 and up.