I am experimenting with making my own “pawns” compatible with Paizo’s Pathfinder Pawns line. This is an excellent line and a great supplement to Pathfinder Battles. Paizo publishes companion Pawns to their Adventure Paths, which I find extremely helpful.
A struggle I’ve had for years is the volume of monsters available at any moment with summon monster and summon nature’s ally. Because of this, these spells have never been made very prominent in my campaigns. Now I have a player running a druid wanting to use these spells. The Pathfinder Pawns: Summon Monster set is excellent and supplemented by the Bestiary set. However, the spells can require 1d4+1 monsters… up to 5 pawns. Even with multiple sets of Pawns you may not have enough. Plus, there are feats such as Superior Summoning or magic items such as the cauldron of overwhelming allies that can result in even more. I fully support purchasing Pawn sets and supporting this wonderful industry, but here’s how to supplement your purchases!
I started by reading S.W. Shinn’s post about making custom pawns. I liked the ideas he had, but cutting sheets and foam core seemed a lot of work. I remembered I have some black plastic card clips that came in the old Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set that would hold paper instead of cardboard or foam core. Similar stands can be found at Amazon. So, could I make reasonable pawns out of card stock?
I started by measuring the official pawns and getting the dimensions needed:
• Small – 0.8125 inches wide x 1.125 inches high
• Medium – 1.125 inches wide x 1.875 inches high
• Large – 1.875 inches wide x 2.4375 inches high
• Huge – 2.9375 inches wide x 3.875 inches high
I then created a template in Adobe Illustrator. For those interested, here is a PDF template with Adobe Illustrator editing capabilities retained. A good source of art is the outstanding Counter Collection Digital v3.0 by Fiery Dragon. I wanted a band across the bottom where I could label each pawn. I also wanted a unique identifier between each like pawn. I initially thought numbers, but that is inconvenient if you lose one or temporarily misplace one. How about color? I decided to add a color band across the top so each pawn could be identified by color easily during the game. I then made several 8.5 x 11 sheets filled with pawns. Once I had pawns ready, I followed these steps:
1. Print two identical sheets of pawns on 110 lbs. card stock.
2. Cut the rows of each sheet flush along the bottom edge of the pawns.
3. Cut apart each pawn on one row flush along the right edge of the pawn, cut the matching pawn on the other sheet along the left edge. When placed back-to-back, this will give you a corner to match up for alignment.
4. Place one pawn face down on a towel and apply a gluestick on the entire surface and especially around edges and corners.
5. Attach glued pawn back-to-back with its matching pawn lining up the bottom and cut edges. Press down firmly across entire surface.
6. Set aside to let dry a few minutes.
7. Trim all edges.
The new pawns will fit in the card stock stands, but they are obviously too thin to fit in the pawn bases.