Your first 100 miniatures: how to build up a collection (Part 2)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how to start off your mini collection. To recap, so far we have:

  • Five player characters
  • Ten (or more) goblins
  • Ten (or more) undead
  • A dragon
  • An imp or a balor
  • Four giant spiders
  • Five wolves
  • A troll
  • A bear
  • An ogre
  • A vampire
  • Ten orcs or lizardfolk

(The numbers are not meant to be exact, by the way. For example, it may be cheaper to buy 20 goblins than ten, and you may need more or less of one monster type, depending on your campaign.)

So: what next? As a reminder, I’m using u/LibraryLass’s Average Fantasy Bestiary as a guide, coupled with the 5e Monster Manual and a few other sources. As you might expect, the monsters in this post are getting increasingly ‘specialized’. Start with the previous post, for sure.

Minis 51–75

Some of the awesome models available from Otherworld Miniatures (UK)

Let’s pick up a few showpiece minis. I would recommend the following:

  • a minotaur
  • a giant (the WizKids frost giant is particularly great)
  • a griffon or a manticore
  • a dire wolf (the WizKids winter wolf would work well here)
  • a hydra or a basilisk

Some of these creatures are called out as pack animals in the Monster Manual (eg, griffons and dire wolves), but it’s not the end of the world if you only have one of each for the time being. These miniatures will be a bit larger (and more expensive) than most of the minis you have already, but they are fun to paint and look great on the table.

If you don’t already have some, I would also pick up some incorporeal undead: wraiths, ghosts, spectres, shadows, banshees, that sort of thing. I would get five of these, and you could always get a mix to keep your options open. I haven’t been able to find any particularly cheap options, so you might be best going with WizKids and picking up blister packs of two undead for around £5 ($7) a pack.

I’m deviating a bit from u/LibraryLass’s list here, but D&D wouldn’t be D&D without a few dire rats in a basement somewhere, so grab a handful of these. They could stand in for other critters, too.

For the last ten minis in this section, I would prioritize some human NPCs. I would recommend five that look vaguely criminal – thieves, thugs, cut-throats, bandits – and five that look a bit more soldierly – guards, knights, veterans, etc.

What would I pick to fill out the last 25?

Minis 76–100

More great minis from Otherworld Minis. (I promise I’m not taking commission!)

At this point, it’s getting harder and harder to keep it ‘generic’. If you’re picking up this many minis then you may very well have a concept of where you want the campaign to go already – in which case, my advice is a bit redundant.

Some ideas:

  • Some kind of lich or mage
  • Something mounted, like a knight, or something that could take the place of something mounted (eg, a unicorn, pegasus, or centaur)
  • A big snake (could even be a purple worm)
  • Some kind of golem (stone golems are particularly easy to paint)
  • A second dragon, or perhaps a wyvern
  • A second giant, or maybe a treant
  • One of each elemental

It’s good to have some swarm minis, or some more giant arthropods like scorpions or centipedes. Or stirges. I would pick up a handful of these. I would also look to get five more humanoids: gnolls, hobgoblins, bugbears, kobolds, whatever you think you’re most likely to use.

We’re nearly at 100! What to pick? We’re getting super subjective here, so take my advice with a largish pinch of salt:

  • An ooze (everyone loves a gelatinous cube!)
  • A large winged thing like a giant eagle or giant bat
  • A big cat (good for animal companions and wildshaping)
  • A hag
  • A third giant or second golem

Of course, this will be totally wrong to some people. I have missed off hundreds of great monsters. No owlbear! No medusa! No genies! No werewolves!

Yes – it’s inevitable. In general, I have leaned towards monsters that can stand in for something else or monsters that, in my experience, appear more frequently than others. Your mileage may vary. If in doubt, ignore my advice, and pick the minis that work best for your game.

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