Remember Secret Project Update Club?
Yeah, I know, it’s been months since I provided an update. Five of them in fact. But, it’s relevant. Because I had something on there for a while called Codename : Pandoran Apothecary Chest – and it was on the list since October 2009
The deal is, I had someone who was going to develop the idea for me. And then they got busy. Really busy. So it kept getting pushed off due to them doing silly little things like earning a living, and I set the idea way on the back-burner because I had Other Things To Do.
But about a month ago, I got kicked in the head by the proverbial muse, so I did some design work and sent the prototype off to get cut. The pieces came back in last week, and I spent the weekend assembling it. It’s still a prototype, but I’m ready to show it off a little. Because I freaking love it.
Codename : Pandoran Apothecary Chest (Now that it’s no longer under wraps, I need to give it a name.)
Looks neat, huh? Cold be anything in there. But let’s take a look at it when it’s open.
So this all started with a portable desk I bought on eBay a long time back. I thought it was a great piece (some of you saw it at Steamcon), and it made a great side-table piece for running games, but it was too tall to use as a GM screen, and the bays and slots weren’t done with RPG stuff in mind. What I wanted, was a box that I could open up, set on the table, and have everything I needed to run a game right in front of me. One box – not a bag that I unpacked and set up, not a box and a couple books. I wanted to be able to open it up, and go. And when I was done, I wanted to be able to close it up, and walk away.
In the middle, there is a large bay and a small bay. The left one holds anything up to a file folder in size, which includes most gaming books. It’s deep enough to hold about 3 of those. On the right side, standard digest books, or half folds – like 2010 ENnie Nominee Shambles!
Each wing consists of an accessory bay, and a set of 6 slots to hold 3×5 cards. The slots also work good as holders if you fold a card in half, to indicate status, leave notes, and so on. There’s a little room under the 3×5 slots to hold a few things.
Each wing includes a cover that slots into place, to keep things from getting jumbled around. The covers are engraved with maps – one hex, one square. In addition, I got a bunch of hex tokens cut. In the picture above, I’ve used them to mark a fireball , some gold, a pool, and a little rise up to a tree.
Here is the square map, with the tiny wizard squaring off against a couple of orcs, near a forest, next to a river and a shed. I marked it up as I needed it. Marked it up with what?
Wet erase markers. The whole thing, inside and out, including the tokens, is dry/wet erase. I can write in the stats and charts I WANT, rather than needing all-purpose charts and lists.
Here you can see one of the mini-maps being slotted in as a cover on the left wing. The mini-maps are blank on the backside – which is also dry-erase.
Here’s a shot with both min-maps docked. The squares map makes a great grid for keeping track of things like character statuses, and so on.
Looking down from the top, you can see some character names and statuses. I marked them along the top according to seating arrangement. An especially useful thing when running convention games with new players – something I do a lot.
Here’s the whole thing from the Player’s side. It’s a beautiful white canvas, ready for marking up or stickering. I could also engrave this side, but I left it blank for now as it is just prototype.
I still have some kinks to work out of the thing. Assembly wasn’t as smooth as I’d like it to be, and there are design improvements to be had. But I’m really very excited about this. I’ve always wanted something like this, and to see it take shape is very satisfying. They dry-erase thing was a late change. Originally it was done in wood with a dry erase panel, but I like being able to write all over the thing in non-permanent ways.
Am I overly-excited? Is it as cool to you as it is to me? If you signed up for a convention game, and the GM came in with that, would you know you were in for a good time? Got a great name for this thing?
Tell me what you think. Sound off below.