For keeping fiddly game pieces organized, I’ve always been a fan of the “toss everything in a plastic bag” method. It works great for dice, glass beads, and other large and homogenous (or small and finite) collections of stuff.
With the Dungeons and Dragons EssentialsMonster Vault, though, this approach broke down for me. Sure, it works fine if you’ve only got a small handful of tokens to keep track of, like the two or three sheets’ worth that came with the “red box” Starter Set or the Dungeon Master’s Kit. But with ten full sheets’ worth of cardboard tokens, representing every single monster in the Monster Vault’s 320-page book? I knew before I even got it that that wasn’t going to fly.
The easy token-storage solution
I posted a question on the Wizards.com community forums asking about it. Within a couple of hours, a Wizards.com community member called errvalunia answered me with the suggestion that I use Plano-brand fishing tackle boxes, which are apparently sold at sporting goods stores.
I ended up doing something similar: I went to Michael’s, an arts and crafts supply store, and bought a medium-sized plastic box meant for keeping beads organized. They had a huge variety of these, for people who make jewelry, and I spent a few minutes comparing them and holding three sizes of cardboard tokens up next to them.
The one I picked out was about a foot long and five or six inches wide, and had half of its volume divided up into compartments and the other half left free of dividers. It also came with nine plastic jars with screw-on lids, which I at first worried were too big for the Monster Vault’s smallest-sized tokens but turned out to work just fine.
Putting it all together
The way I have it set up right now, the divider compartments hold most of the large-sized tokens and a few of the plastic jars, while the largest compartment holds the huge-sized tokens with more plastic jars around them. I had to put some of the large-sized tokens in there too, but only a few. Everything fits in that one box, and I even have one of the jars left over to use with another set.
The cardboard tokens that came with the Monster Vault were sorted more or less alphabetically, but it’ll be easy for me to lose track of which is which if I don’t use a labelling system. I’m probably going to write on scraps of paper which alphabetical range of tokens are in each jar, and then put those scraps at the top where I can see them (the jars are transparent). Failing that, I could always make labels to tape onto the top or the sides.
The Dungeons and Dragons Essentials Monster Vault is the first D&D monster supplement to include cardboard tokens for everything, and I for one am thrilled with it. Even if their list of monsters is heavily pared down from the selection I was used to in the 3.5 edition Monster Manual, it’s great to have affordable props I can use (buying minis for everything is out of my reach). In many ways, they alone are worth the cost of the set.
What about the monsters not featured in this set? I imagine that’s what future Monster Vaults will be for, like the upcoming “Threats to the Nentir Vale”! In the meantime, I hope that this helped, and I hope you have fun with D&D.