I Bought The $120 DnD Dragon Mini To Feel Like A Parent

Whipping out a fancy D&D mini is kind of like Christmas.

Image Via Wizards of the Coast

Dungeons & Dragons players are known for spending excess money on things for the game: metal dice, gorgeous maps, and fancy notebooks, to name a few. I’m no exception, as I dropped over £100 on two minis just for the reaction that it would illicit from my players, much like how a parent buys an expensive toy for their kids, anticipating the response they’ll get when they open the box on Christmas day.

Miniature figures are a typical investment among D&D players, especially if you’re excited about playing a particular character and expect to participate in a lengthy campaign where you’ll be whipping the figure out weekly. This isn’t true of all players, as some are happy with a plastic toy soldier or a blob of clay to represent their character, as their hero exists in their mind, while the figure on the field is just a marker to help work out what’s going on in battles.

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Lord Soth & Greater Death Dragon Figures Are Pricy

Image Via Wizkids

There is a market for premium pre-painted minis, ranging from online stores to custom figures made by individual sellers on eBay. There is also an official store for D&D minis, as WizKids produces licensed figures alongside the new campaigns and rulebooks, bringing the characters from the game to life in plastic and metal.

Some of the higher quality minis are expensive, making them premium items for the most dedicated of DMs and players. Case in point: the D&D Icons of the Realms: Dragonlance – Lord Soth on Greater Death Dragon figure set on the WizKids site will set you back around $120 online. The figure comes with a massive Greater Death Dragon wreathed in violet flames, with a detached mount leg set for Lord Soth, who can also be attached to a regular mini that stands on its own.

Lord Soth is one of the most iconic villains in the D&D multiverse, being a Death Knight in the Dragonlance campaign setting and appearing in many novels. He’s even referenced in the Death Knight section in the D&D 5E Monster Manual, heralded as one of the most fearsome iterations of the monster. This is because Lord Soth was given a chance to prevent an upcoming apocalyptic event in his homeworld, but he gave in to pride and jealousy and turned back from the path of good. For this act, he was transformed into a horrific Death Knight and forced to linger on in the world of Krynn.

So, why did he appear in a WizKids mini? Lord Soth appears in Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, a 2022 D&D 5E campaign. The Greater Death Dragon monster also appears, as it’s created from apocalyptic flame and brought back from the dead to serve Lord Soth. If players are unlucky, they can encounter the Challenge Rating 19 Lord Soth in Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, and if they’re really unlucky, he’ll be riding his dragon into battle. Legendary Actions and Legendary Resistances for all!

Who Is Lord Soth & Why Did He Get An Expensive Mini?

Image Via Wizards of the Coast

So, guess what campaign I’m running in my home game? I’ve been a huge fan of the Dragonlance novels since I was a kid, but I wasn’t interested in running it in an actual D&D game until the 5E era. This is because the Dragonlance setting has dense lore that requires more explanation than running a game in Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms, so it always felt out of reach to me. Giving players a history lesson before a game is an easy way to kill their interest in a campaign.

That changed when Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen came out. The 5E era of D&D is far less restrictive regarding the rules, and there’s more leeway for DMs and players to shape the game in whatever way they see fit. The fact that Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen is set at a certain point in time in the lore also means it’s easy to introduce new players to the unique aspects of the setting without needing to say, “Go read the novels” every five minutes.

The Thrill Of Hyping Up A D&D Group With New Purchases

A D&D red dragon from Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
Image via Wizards of the Coast

I’ve known about the Lord Soth & Greater Death Dragon figure since it was first announced; honestly, it seemed like a needless purchase. $120 (or £100 for me) is a lot for some plastic I’ll use once, maybe twice, and then relegate to a position on my shelf. There are a lot of people with stacked nerd shelves who will scoff at me while waving their arms at their expensive collection (looking at you, Mr. “I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on Starfield merch”). Still, a D&D figure isn’t in the same vein as an anime or superhero collectible, at least not to me.

So, why did I shell out so much money for the figures? I love Lord Soth and his role in the Dragonlance novels, but indeed, there are more important things I can spend my money on than owning his replica in plastic.

I did it because I love the players in my D&D group and that by whipping out a figure that dwarfed theirs in size and quality, they’d be excited for the conflict to come. As someone who doesn’t have kids, the excitement they’d show when I put the figure on the table resembles what I remember when I pulled the paper off my Super Nintendo for the first time. It’s an unexpected second of hype, where they’re suddenly face to face with an overwhelming threat. While I like to think I’m a pretty good DM (having done it for over twenty years), I know that no description I have is going to have the same impact as seeing it right there on the battle map.

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£100 is a lot of money to spend on D&D figures, especially ones I know I will only use two times max, with diminishing returns if I use it more. But, to me, that first moment of surprise and excitement makes it worth it. D&D is often filled with memorable moments when players do something stupid, epic, or surprising, and they’re the experiences the party keeps with them when they walk away from the table. Buying a big figure like that is just a way of guaranteeing that excitement, of bottling it and bringing it out for the first time. For me, it’s a bonding familial moment I’ll remember just as fondly as my players, which has more value than a measly £100.

(Side note – Anyone interested in buying a Lord Soth & Greater Death Dragon figure? Slightly used but in great condition. Free delivery in the United Kingdom.)