Because unless you write this at the last moment, it doesn’t even count.
It’s December 24th, morning. You wake up and have breakfast. As you sit on your couch with your coffee you get the feeling you have forgotten something. At the third sip, caffeine finally kicks in and you realize you have forgotten to buy gifts for your group’s secret Santa event (of course, the event is online because these are trying times). You go into the internet to look for gift ideas and last minute digital gifts.
This is that guide.
For that one who can’t stop collecting new systems
The collections of these people are legendary. Bookshelf after bookshelf, and hard drive after hard drive. While they don’t get to play most of the systems they own, they do love reading them. For those I can’t recommend enough the Ind of the Year Bundle on Itch.io. They will get a bunch of new RPGs but you will also support small creators, which is something very important these difficult days of 2020. There are 3 tiers you can choose, which allows you to fit this into your budget more easily.
For the parents
I love new players. They are such amazing sources of inspiration because they aren’t affected yet by tropes that exist in our hobby. And so are kids! Thankfully, DriveThruRPG is running a pretty nice sale for RPGs that are more suitable for kids and can also be used as an introduction to RPGs for kids.
For the lore junkie
Ah, lore. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Consume it at the right amount and have a ton of fun, or have too much of it and get bored. It’s just that some have a higher tolerance than others and like to enjoy illegal amounts of it. I’m one of them but don’t tell anyone.
So, for my people I will recommend Warhammer. It has so much lore I don’t even know where to start. Well, that’s almost true because I believe a good place to start for someone who is a lore fan and a TTRPG player is Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound. The system is lore heavy and plunges you right away into the world of Warhammer. I also believe it’s a system you can easily start playing with. More on that soon because I have a review brewing. Don’t tell that to anyone either.
However, if you like learning about lore but enjoy creating it even more, I must recommend World Anvil. It is a tool box that helps you create your world that includes, articles, timelines, and a campaign manager. If you gift a World Anvil subscription to a lore master they will be forever grateful. You can check out the article below that talks about gifting subscriptions.
For the historian
Tabletop RPGs is a hobby that has seen quite a lot of winters. It has experienced situations other hobbies never had to. What I want to say is that it has a history.
An interesting book about Dungeons & Dragons and Gary Gygax is Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons. It shows the birth of Dungeons & Dragons from the perspective of Gary Gygax. It is a very easy to read book and I can see myself reading it again.
Since we have a publication that focuses on Gary Gygax in our list, we should also have something that focuses on David Arneson. For this there is Secrets of Blackmoor. This movie/documentary has been in my to-watch list for some time now and I will definitely find some time to watch it during the holidays.
Moving to more books now. I have another book that I am currently reading and this one focuses on the moral panic over Dungeons & Dragons. It’s called Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds. I cannot really give an opinion right now because I’m still in the early chapters. I hope, however, the next chapters aren’t as heavy as the ones I have read, because things get quite technical up until the point I’ve read.
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For the cartography lover
You can easily tell who I’m talking about. They probably have half a bookshelf dedicated to notebooks that are meant for cartography. If they’re GMing they usually provide some pretty good hand drawn maps or, if they’re players, they’re the ones mapping the dungeon or region from a character’s perspective. Then maybe you could get them How to Draw Fantasy Art and RPG Maps: Step by Step Cartography for Gamers and Fans. It’s a pretty good book for both newbies and more experienced fantasy cartographers. I have this one and I really enjoy flipping through it every now and then.
Another pretty cool gift you can get for a cartography fan is an Inkarnate membership. This platform takes digital cartography and makes it easy and enjoyable. It’s very easy to start creating maps with it but also has a lot of depth you will slowly discover as you make more maps. It provides a ton of assets you can use and every time I log in I see that more are added. There is quite a big community around it so you will find a ton of maps for inspiration, as well as tutorial on how to use the tools. And at $25 per year, you can’t really go wrong with it.
The only downside is that, currently, there is no way to buy a membership for someone else. One way is to create an account, buy the member ship, and swap emails after you have told your cartography junkie you’ve gotten them a pretty cool gift. However, I talked to the Inkarnate people and they told me something can be done so, if you are planning on gifting a membership make sure to contact them and they will gladly help you. Their support service is great.
And if these aren’t enough, there’s also the Maps Extravaganza Encore Bundle by Humble Bundle. It contains quite a few pieces of cartography software, such as Campaign Cartographer and City Designer. Can’t really go wrong with that.
For the fans of The Kind GM
For the indecisive
The indecisive can be you, the person you want to buy a gift for, or even both. Maybe you can’t decide what to get them, or they can’t decide what they want. For you this could be an easy way out. For them it can be a gift and a curse. Because by getting gift cards for DriveThruRPG or DMs Guild they can get whatever they like…but they have to decide what to get…muahahahaha.
Did you find everything?
I hope after reading this you have gained two things. An idea or two on what to get for your friends, and the wisdom to plan your gifts earlier. And if the latter isn’t true, fear not. Next year there will be another gift guide waiting for you (even though this one is pretty evergreen).
And until next time, have fun!
P.S: This list is in no way comprised of stuff I would like people to gift me. Any similarities with my personal interests is just coincidental. Or not. I can’t make you believe anything. I am no Jedi.
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