Monday, May 30, 2016

3D printing tokens for use in Pathfinder home campaign

Hi everyone,

We have been enjoying a Pathfinder home campaign for several months now.  And, it has been lots of fun to get together with a consistent set of friends for some RPG fun.

One of the characters we have been using is Dartmouth -- an Oracle of Pharasma.

Dartmouth has recently reached 5th level.  And, as we worked on the list of feats available for her advancement, we stumbled upon the "Fated Channel" feat.

Reading up on the Fated Channel feat, it seems that people have enjoyed using it -- but have found a challenge with remembering that they can elect to roll twice on a d20 roll in the next few turns.  [And, Wow! that reminded us of the trouble we had remembering things playing Warhammer 40K!!]

So, we had the idea of creating some little tokens we could use as a reminder piece for everyone -- that they could roll twice on something in the next so many rounds.


1) Pass out Pharasma colored d20's to everyone.  Certainly practical.  But, didn't seem to include very much flavor of Pharasma or Dartmouth the Oracle.  And, while it would be really cool if there were Pharasma d20's, didn't see any easy way to make custom dice for our small group.

2) Print out paper tokens.  Maybe even laminate them.  Was thinking that we could print out the Pharasma symbol.  And, then pass these out....  Worried about them just getting lost though.  A D&D or Pathfinder table quickly get cluttered with paper and dice.  Not a friendly place for a two dimensional object.

3) We thought about printing cards.  But, that seemed just as bad as using paper tokens.  Would be fine if we were playing with a group who used cards to keep track of spells and things.  But, heck, we're not.

4) 3d print a token!  Aside from the fact that we didn't know how to pull this off -- it did seem like a very cool option.  Doesn't get lost.  Has nice spirit of Pharasma and Dartmouth.  Plus, probably fun to make a paint.

So, we went at it.  Here were our steps....

1) We do have access to an XYZ Printing 3d printer.  It is a zero-bells-zero-whistles model, but has been pretty darned reliable for us so far.

2) We found a website called "embossify".  The website claimed to be able to take a 2d photo -- and turn into an embossed 3d STP file for printing.

3) So, we tested this out.  We took the Pharasma image -- downloaded it -- then uploaded it to

4) Then, the trial printing.  Well, not so good.  We did not end up with something which looked ANYTHING like the Pharasma symbol.

 Our first attempt at 3D printing after the embossify process.  Not very recognizable!

Studying the problem, it seemed as though the nice coloring of the Pharasma "spiral" was causing the issue.  The embossify software seemed to be treating these as unique 3d surfaces. 

(Here is a link to Pharasma information -- including the colored in spiral:

So, we went with the brute-force solution.  We colored in the "spiral" using Windows Paint.  Then, all we had was a black-and-white image. 

Here is our Pharasma symbol after coloring it all in!  (Pharasma symbol from

After embossifying, here is the STP file pulled up in our 3D printer software.

5) Printing again with the file which came from embossify was money.  Printed out very nicely!

The good, the bad and the ugly.  The good one was generated after coloring in the Pharasma symbol.  The other two were trying to use the blue, white and yellow spiral.

6) We did some mass production -- printed out 9 of the little tokens.  (One for each of the players, plus a spare in case one gets lost.  And, one extra to light up.)

7) We did some priming and painting -- and bingo, little symbol tokens are ready to go!

Pharasma tokens; Pharasma symbols; Spiral symbol; 3D printing pathfinder
Here are our Pharasma symbols after mass production.  We made one for each member of the party (plus a spare)

For painting, we primed 8 of them black - and then came back and sprayed the top surface white.  The idea was to keep the black in the groove of the spiral.  Did some dry-brushing to make the top a little bit more white.

On one of them, we kept the plastic clear.  Our plan was to put this on top of one of our lighted bases (We had gotten these from Powered Play Gaming -- and here's our Blog write-up about that.)  Turned out pretty cool!

PS:  After playing several home campaign sessions, here is our feedback:

- The little symbols really help.  When someone is healed, they get a token.  If we're in the middle of a battle and they use it up -- they just turn it over (they are black on the back).  Then if they get healed again, they flip it back over again.

- Interesting side-point -- it's pretty fun to have the Cleric start having such a big impact on offense instead of mainly defense.  We have certainly not had as many misses since Dartmouth started fateful channeling :)

Pharasma holy symbol; Pathfinder tokens; 3D printing symbols; Pharasma Well, here is Dartmouth surrounded by her tokens.  You can see the one lit-up token as well.

Future thoughts....  Maybe build a magnetized attachment for Dartmouth which we can snap onto her base when she is spell casting....  Thinking of turning the spiral 90-degree so that it is spiraling outward from her toward her target(s)