What Size Are DD Miniatures? Understanding Their Scale
Role-playing games (RPGs) are everywhere you look. Sure, some prefer to join an online collaboration and team up to defeat enemy teams.
But true die-hard RPGers still love to gather around a table, use their maps and miniatures, and roll the d20 (sided die) to determine the fate of the world they have created.
What size are D&D miniatures? Officially, an adult human miniature is 25 millimeters high. Because there are multiple manufacturers in the marketplace, the answer to this question varies based on the miniature’s manufacturer.
In most cases, an adult human is between 25 – 28 millimeters. All other gaming pieces are created to scale established by the baseline of the initial adult human piece.
So if an adult 6 tall human is around millimeters, an adult dragon will be much larger than 28mm. An umber hulk will be larger. An imp will be smaller. You get the idea. They all scale off of the 6 height = 25mm.
Whether youre just learning to play D&D (find my Getting Started Guide here) or are big fan already, at some point youll want to paint your own figures for a custom look.
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Maybe now your dreaming of your future creations or wondering about the best place to get your D&D miniatures, but for now, let’s take a deeper look at why the size of these pieces matters.
What Does 25 – 28 Millimeter Scale Mean in D&D Miniatures?
When you become involved in a role-playing game, one of the key components is that the playing field is consistent.
Because of this, an expectation has developed regarding the standard sizes of various pieces.
When we talk about a 25 – 28 mm scale, it generally refers to the overall height of the piece from top to bottom – or in the case of an adult human, from head to toe.
Be sure to also read Miniature Scales: The Complete Guide for a closer look at scaling in general and an explanation of the different types of proportions, such as Hero, Realistic, Chibi, and Top-down.
Because miniatures are not a regulated industry, there tend to be some minor variances in how different manufacturers define these sizes.
Fortunately, a 3 mm difference is not enough to make an obvious difference on a gaming board, so overall, the expected standard is still in place.
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Two Manufacturers to Consider for D&D Miniatures
Although there are several companies that claim to make scale miniatures for Dungeons and Dragons, let’s look at two in particular.
WizKids is considered to be the gold standard and the “official” manufacturer of role-playing game miniatures.
It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) and has been producing its products since it was founded in
WizKids’ collectibles are true to scale and are 25mm for the baseline product. Child characters will be smaller, and Giants will be larger than the baseline.
Although their pre-painted miniatures are fantastic (like this Icons of the Realm Starter Set), they also carry a full line of unpainted miniatures that you can custom paint yourself.
For instance, check outthis pack of townspeople and accessories.
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This is what I like to do. In fact, I have an entire set of articles dedicated to miniature painting(yeah, it really is that fun!) and a complete guide on what youll need to get started.
Check it out for yourself, but be warned once you get started with the hobby, you may never buy a prepainted mini again.
If youre not quite ready to dive into painting, then once youre done here, head over to my games page for interesting and informative articles on tabletop RPGs
Although Reaper miniatures state that they are 25 mm high, they tend to run slightly larger – thus the range of 25 – 28 mm.
Even though they run slightly larger than the standard, they are generally close enough to work well for table gaming fun.
Personally, I love Reaper products, especially their Learn to Paint kits, like this one:
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This set comes with three Bones Miniatures, brushes, and 11 paints everything you need to learn basic painting skills, like applying a base coat, washing, and dry brushing.
The included instructions are easy to follow, and you wind up with three hand-painted miniatures you can be proud of.
At Least You Have Options
The nice thing about knowing that the scale is close enough to work well between these two manufacturers is that if you need to get a particular piece for your adventure, you know it will be compatible.
It’s important to know that the size is reasonably comparable. When using the 1” grid size for play and battles, you want to know that one character is not going to overlap into another grid.
The miniatures help the visual of the role play allowing other players to get a better grasp on what the entire group “looks” like.
It also helps all players understand the strengths and weaknesses that are represented at the table.
Dont forget that a really cool dice tray to corral your amazing dice adds to the entire experience. Check out a few of my favorite dice trays here and some awesome dice sets in this article.
If youre looking for a quick jumpstart to your collection, I recommend this pack of unique fantasy figures.
It comes with prepainted Goblins, Orcs, Bandits, Gnolls, Kobolds, Skeletons, and Zombies ready for immediate gameplay. I found my set on Amazon.
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Different Roles in the Game
Dungeons and Dragons is not a game that can be played in an hour before the Monday night football game starts.
This is an ongoing commitment to your group – usually once a week for at least four hours, but sometimes once per month for eight to 12 hours.
When group members don’t participate in a session, it throws off the dynamic of the adventure and the overall gaming experience.
How do you find a D&D group? Youll learn the easiest way here.
DM (Dungeon Master)
The person who controls the direction of the game and provides pertinent information to the various players is the Dungeon Master.
This person is responsible for the initial set up of the fantasy environment. They may decide to use one of the pre-formatted games outlined in the Dungeon Master guide.
However, if the DM is experienced, they may decide to create their own adventure for the group.
PCs (Personal Characters)
The personal characters are the individuals that each player creates to represent him or herself.
There are various character creation sheets that walk a player through the various attributes, strengths, weaknesses, race, class, and alignments associated with their character.
Each individual player controls their character to the extent the Dungeon Master provides clarity of where they’re going and what they can or can’t see.
NPCs (Non Personal Characters)
The non-personal characters are controlled by the Dungeon Master. These are the characters that add to the interest of the adventure.
Just as the personal characters have to define attributes, so do the NPCs. The more NPCs the group brings together, the richer the role playing can be.
Some of the original non-personal characters have been discontinued and are no longer being manufactured. This makes them collectibles, and some go in excess of $
5 Rare Collectible NPCs
The following can be very hard to find, but a diligent individual with deep pockets, at times, can find them on eBay or other collectible sites.
1. Huge Gold Dragon
This character is known for its alignment with lawful good. It is graceful, majestic (meaning it is larger than 25 mm), strong, and wise.
Its primary goal in the adventure is victory over bad but will try to do it diplomatically as fighting is its very last option.
This one is the least expensive on our list – at last check collectors were paying about $65 for this miniature.
2. Spiked Nog War Devil
This character is no nice guy, as he is known for his bad alignment. He was part of a limited holiday edition in which added spikes to the traditional war devil and is hard to find.
3. Snow Angel
Also, part of a limited holiday seasonal run, although this one was in
The Snow Angel is known to be able to disguise itself as a snow angel that a child would make while playing in the snow, thereby allowing it to sneak up on unsuspecting prey.
4. Winter Umber Hulk
This limited holiday release is larger than life (interpret that as larger than the 25mm baseline).
This character is not kind and is ready to devour any unfortunate character that crosses its path.
He doesn’t care if he’s simply eating his evening meal or if he’s making sport out of the kill and looking for personal amusement – he’s not one you want to seek out while gaming.
5. Colossal Red Dragon
This fire-breathing character is impulsive and readily aligned with “chaotic bad” motivations.
If you want to search for a character that is confident, cruel, selfish, and vain, this monster would be the one to find. At last check, this oversized miniature was going for about $
Thats A Wrap!
Although Dungeons and Dragons has been around since the s, it has gained traction and an entirely new generation of gamers thanks to popular television pop culture shows like Big Bang Theory.
With its resurgence over the past decade, several conferences have been created specifically for role-playing gamers who want to spend time with others with similar interests.
These conferences are also the perfect place to find some quality miniatures.
If, however, you don’t want to wait until you can get to a conference, we have shown you two reputable manufacturers of gaming miniatures.
Either WizKids or Reaper is likely to have both the personal characters and the non-personal characters you want.
With their inventory, you should be able to create a robust and exciting adventure you and the rest of your group crave.
If youre even thinking about learning to paint your own miniatures for gaming, grab your copy of The Miniature Painting Level Up Guide today to be sure you have everything you need to start your new hobby the right way not by trial and error!
Image Credit: Cory Doctorow
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++Miniature Base Sizes++
The Endungeoned rules require that all miniatures used in the game are mounted on bases of appropriate size. Why is this necessary? Because unlike most other RPGs that use miniatures Endungeoned isn’t grid centric and thus doesn’t use terms like ‘adjacent square’, ‘diagonally’ and ‘blocked square’ to define where miniatures are in relation to each other on the board. Instead Endungeoned uses a term that will be familiar to those of you who have (or still do) play table-top wargames of the skirmish variety and that term is : Base Contact.
Base Contact (just in case there is someone reading who doesn’t know) means when the base of a miniature is touching something (normally the base of another miniature). Base Contact is used in a similar way to the way a grid centric game might use the term ‘adjacent square’, for example - To Attack another miniature in Close Combat the miniatures must be in Base Contact with each other, To interact with a dungeon feature (open a door, pull a lever, drink from a fountain) a Hero must be in Base Contact with the object in question.
The other function of a base (besides the obvious one of keeping a miniature stable and up-right) is that a base defines the floor space a creature needs to manoeuvre and fight in freely - Again this is similar to the way a grid centric game might define the number of squares a creature takes up, you may want to think of a base being like a miniature carrying it’s ‘square’ with it - thus bases should never be overlapped to cram lots of miniatures into narrow spaces. Of course the GM is free to make a few judgment calls here, for example a character could feasibility squeeze through a gap slightly narrower than it's base and should be given a suitable penalty to it's movement when doing so.
In addition there are also a few Advance Abilities and other Special Rules which relate to a creature’s Base Size Category most of them involve grabbing, picking up, pushing and even throwing other creatures!
Thus it is important that the miniatures you wish to use in Endungeoned are mounted on the right size of base. Creatures listed in The Bestiary have at the beginning of their Type entry a 2 or 3 letter code. This is the creature’s suggested Base Size Category, in some cases a creature may have 2 or more Base Size Categories listed (separated by a / ), this simply means that the miniature can be mounted on either size base, whichever it fits best. If you look at your miniature collection you should find that in 90% of cases your miniatures will be already mounted on a base that falls into the Base Size Category suggested for the creature it represents and you will rarely need to re-base a figure for use in EnDungoned (we did our research). In a few rare cases you may find a particular creature miniature you own fits better on a base of the next size category up, if this happens don’t worry, the miniature can be used to represent an exceptionally big member of it’s species called a Brute and optional rules for these impressive specimens will be provided in The Bestiary.
All Hero miniatures (with exception of Halflings and Ogres) should be mounted on Standard (ST) bases.
+Base Size Categories+
Below is a chart that lists all the Base Size Categories, which of the most common commercially available bases sizes fall into each category and the Abbreviations used for each base size, followed by some notes on the bases in each size category.
+Notes on each Category+Small (SM):
This category of course covers the smallest of bases. Some miniatures that fall into this category may have their own special integral base, normally this will be perfectly ok for the miniature, but in some cases you may want to mount the integral base on top of a commercially available plastic SM category base to make the miniature easier to pick up and move as well as for added stability.
Probably the most common Base Size Category. It’s likely that the majority of miniatures in anyone’s collection will be on bases that fall into this Category, your standard humans and similar sized creatures such as Dwarfs, Elves and many, many others should all mounted on bases ST bases hence the term Standard. Smaller creatures, mostly things like Giant Rats and Beetles may also be mounted on ST bases – it’s worth remembering that base size represents the floor space a creature needs and not the overall size of the miniature.
Most miniature manufacturers supply their miniatures with either 20mm Square or 25mm Round plastic bases.
Some gamers (mostly older ones) will have a few human sized miniatures based on coins or washers that fall into this category.
25mm Hex (Hexagonal) bases are a nice variant on 25mm Round bases and can be quite useful to help a special creature (such as spell caster) stand out from other miniatures.
If placed on a 1” grid you’ll find bases in this category comfortably fit in a single square.
You’ll note that this category carries the abbreviation ST rather than STD, because ‘STD’ often stands for something else, something a promiscuous Hero might catch from a comely bar-wench.
These bases are mostly used for big-muscled creatures that stand a good head-and-shoulder height above your average human, such as Black Orcs. Although a few smaller creatures such as Wolves might be mounted on such bases.
The most common base of this category is the 25mm square base
The 30mm round ‘lipped’ plastic bases favoured by a few miniature manufacturers also falls into this category (but please note that human-sized figures that come supplied with these bases should really be mounted on ST category bases if you wish to use them in EnDungeoned.)
Non-lipped 30mm round bases also exist but are rarer.
When placed on a 1” grid square bases in this category will completely fill a single square and round ones will partly over lap the edges of the square
Your most common ‘big monster’ miniatures come on these bases, such as Trolls and Ogres come on these bases so we have called this category Monstrous.
If placed on a 1” grid bases in this category will sit comfortably across 4 squares with a little space to spare all round.
These bases are also called ‘cavalry bases’ because they are normally used for cavalry in wargames. However you don’t often find mounted troops inside a dungeon (what with the low ceilings and all) and not everything that uses this kind of base can be considered to be cavalry (having a creature listed as Cavalry when it isn’t could be confusing). We chose the name Bestial for this category because (in dungeons at least) you’re more likely to find huge beasts like Giant Wolves on this kind of base – also it’s the size of base most often used for a ‘beast of burden’ like the donkey, mule or pack-horse that a Hero might use to carry home all the treasure they’ve looted from the dungeon.
Most manufacturers use a rectangular ‘cavalry base’ that measures 25mm x 50mm, but there are pill-shaped and oval bases of similar dimensions. If placed on a 1” grid bases in this category generally take up 2 squares.
This category is of course named after Giants one of the most common creatures you’ll find mounted on these bases. Your average Dragon and other similar creatures are also mounted on this size of base as are Great Demons and the like.
If placed on a 1” grid, bases in this category will cover a space of 4 squares and normally overlap into the surrounding squares (some will cover the better part of a 9 square area).
In most cases creatures on these bases are of such a size that they won’t easily fit down your standard foot (2”) wide dungeon corridor, if at all.
The bases in this category are those of the largest of Dragons and other truly huge creatures, colossal creatures that you wouldn’t want to find yourself in shadow of. These kinds of bases are also used for war-machines such as huge trebuchets and vehicles like chariots.
Some miniatures in this base size category are ‘too big for a base’ and won’t be supplied with one
In an ideal world Colossal would be the biggest base size needed but we know people always like to take things one step beyond. Miniatures that need Stupid sized bases are just that – stupidly big, more often than not resin-cast monstrosities that are too large to practically be used in a game. Things that use this base category should be rare, they are not recommended to be used for EnDungeoned and because of this you won’t find any creatures listed in The Bestiary with SPU as their base size.
+Other Base Types+
Flight Bases ( … -FLI)
The affix -FLI to a Base Size Category indicates that a creature should be mounted on a Flying Base or 'Flight Base'. Creatures that use Flying or Levitating as their prime mode of locomotion are normally mounted on Flying Bases. Flight bases normally take the form of a flat base with an (often transparent) plastic stem onto which a flying miniature is mounted to give the impression of flight. In other cases the stem might be an integral part of the miniature itself or even be cleverly disguised in the miniature's sculpt as a trailing tentacle, raised tree-branch or swirl of arcane energy.
Having the -FLI affix on a creature's Base Size Category does not necessarily mean that the creature can Fly (It may just Levitate). If a Creature can Fly it will be indicated by the word 'Fly' and then a number of Inches listed after it's Movement.
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Sizes d&d base
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