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Your D&D character deserves an upgrade, this new wood and leather folio could be it

It’s affordable luxury for players on the go

A Masterwork Elderwood Dungeon Journal, featuring one each of the pen, rolling tray, rolling mat, and tracker inserts. Everything is leather, wood, and metal. Image: Elderwood
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Many tabletop role-playing groups have moved online, but the majority are still meeting in person to roll dice in anger. Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything you need to run your character all in one place? I certainly think your Dungeon Master would appreciate it. The Dungeon Journal from Michigan-based company Elderwood Academy looks like just the thing — a Trapper Keeper that holds your dice, a miniature, your character sheet, and any extraneous notes, all in a petite A5 portfolio.

A new Kickstarter campaign launched this week with a minimum buy-in of $89 plus shipping. Backers get a leatherbound A5 folio with a dice vault for a spine. Undo a few snaps, and both your character and your math-rocks are right where you need them to be. Crack open the folio, and you’re ready to roll.

But Elderwood is taking things a step further. The campaign offers a handful of thoughtful extras. There’s a dice tower and a rolling tray, both of which are made of soft leather and fold flat. Thanks to half a dozen metal grommets, they even clip right into the journal itself. Upgrades are available, for different qualities of wood, leather, embossing, all that good stuff. But I think the nicest feature is the nominal price for custom lettering on the front: Just $15, and you can affix your character’s name right to the cover.

In a world where fancy-ass dice can run you $60 on the low side, and where rolling trays can be found for hundreds of dollar a pop, a bespoke, multi-function little item like this seems like a really great value. And the fact that I can print out any old A5 sheet of paper for it later on down the line adds value. My only concern is that the rings might not hold up over time. But I tend to be hard on my three-ring binders.

I’ll be waiting for these to come to retail myself, as Elderwood has an excellent presence on the convention circuit. But if you’re an early adopter, or are looking for a gift for the role-player in your life, July 2023 isn’t all that long to wait for delivery. You can find the configurator — which will help you price out the set of your dreams — on the Kickstarter page.

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