If you plan to run Hoard of the Dragon Queen with miniatures, here are a few suggestions on what you might use and how many you’ll need in Chapter 1. The counts are based on the maximum number you’re likely to need at one time, not the total that appear in the chapter.
Castellan Escobert the Red
Dwarf Maulfighter (Desert of Desolation 4).
Unfortunately, this miniature doesn’t have a red beard.
Unless, of course, you repaint it.
Village Priest (Angelfire 12).
Governor Tarbaw Nighthill
Purple Dragon Knight (Dragoneye 7) or
Dragon Knight (Dungeon Command: Heart of Cormyr)
Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, Half-Blue Dragon
Half-Red Dragon Fighter (Tyranny of Dragons 36).
You’ll just have to pretend he’s blue. There don’t appear to be any good prepainted miniature options for a half-blue dragon/dragonborn short of painting one yourself.
Lennithon, Adult Blue Dragon
Blue Dragon (D&D Attack Wing).
Although a bit small, I like the Attack Wing version of this Blue Dragon because it can be made to fly high over the battlefield by adding multiple pegs (something that’s not possible with the Tyranny of Dragons version).
Linan Swift, her husband, and children
Healer (Archfiends 9)
Man with Hoe (Reaper Townsfolk V)
Townsfolk Children (Reaper)
These reaper minis are metal, not plastic.
Human Fighter (Dungeons of Dread 35 or 4eGD4/5 Promo)
Doomdreamer (Legendary Evils 11) or
Cultist of the Dragon (Archfiends 48)
Ambush Drake (x2)
Guard Drake (Tyranny of Dragons 22).
There is no official 5th Edition Ambush Drake miniature, but the Ambush Drake will do in a pinch. And for the ambitious, you can always repaint it.
Doomguard (Bloodwar 47)
Shadar-Kai Warrior (Lord of Madness 42)
The cultists are described as not wearing any particular regalia and are made up of, at least in part, mercenaries. These minis seem to fit the bill.
Cult of the Dragon Enforcer (Tyranny of Dragons 20)
Mostly matches the picture on page 71 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen, makes you wonder why the miniature got a different name.
Prisoner (Promo repaint D&DC54) or
Prisoner (Night Below 40)
Caravan Guard (Angelfire 1)
Keep Defenders (x20+)
Sharn Redcloak (Demonweb 44)
Human Town Guard (Lords of Madness 22)
Dalelands Militia (Archfiends 2)
Greyhawk City Militia Sergeant (Night Below 13)
Human Crossbowman (Dragoneye 5)
City Guard (Giants of Legend 23)
A selection of guard miniatures to man the battlements of the keep. Want their stats to match the minis? Add the following to the Guard statblock:
Armor Class: 16 (chain shirt, shield) or 14 (no shield).
Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8 + 1) piercing damage.
Glaive/Halberd. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 10ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10 + 1 slashing damage).
Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 80/320ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8 + 1) piercing damage.
Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8 + 1 slashing damage or 6 (1d10 + 1) slashing damage if used two-handed.
Kobold Slinger (DDM4 27)
Kobold Fighter (Tyranny of Dragons 5)
Kobold Soldier (Angelfire 44)
Kobold Skirmisher (Dragoneye 35)
A majority of the time you won’t need more than 5 or so kobolds, but the “Sanctuary” mission involves 22. Although the Kobold stat block is statted out with slings and daggers, I chose to include minis bearing spears/javelins and bows for variety.
If you want the stats to match the minis, just add the following:
Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5ft or range 30/120, one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
Shortbow/Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 80/320, one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
Winged Kobold (x1)
Dragonwrought Kobold(Dragon Queen 32)
Swarms of Rats (x2)
Rat Swarm (Pathfinder Skull & Shackles 2) or
Rat Swarm (Savage Encounters 28)
I prefer the paint job and the sculpt of the Pathfinder miniature, but the flatter D&D mini makes it possible to slip the figure underneath another when they’re sharing the same space.
Anirion Wood Elf (Reaper Bones)
Balto Burrowell Gnome Wizard (Reaper Bones)
Juliette Female Sorceress (Reaper Bones)
Lem Iconic Bard (Reaper Bones)
Mother With Children (Reaper Bones)
Townsfolk: Innkeeper (Reaper Bones)
Townsfolk: Blacksmith (Reaper Bones)
Townsfolk: Grandmother (Reaper Bones)
Townsfolk: Village Rioter (Reaper Bones)
Townsfolk: Strumpet (Reaper Bones)
Townsfolk: Undertaker (Reaper Bones)
Townsfolk: Wench (Reaper Bones)
Man with Hoe (Reaper Townsfolk V)
Man with Sickle (Reaper Townsfolk VIII: Village Mob)
Woman with Rolling Pin (Reaper Townsfolk VIII: Village Mob)
Man with Pitch Fork (Reaper Townsfolk VIII: Village Mob)
The Reaper Bones minis are great for when you need to throw in a few townsfolk (“Seek the Keep”, “Wandering Encounters”, “Sanctuary”). Since they are unnamed NPCs I just use the unpainted miniatures.
The non-Bones minis in the list are made of metal.
A battlemap covered in identical miniatures can pose a difficult challenge to DMs and players alike when it comes to tracking hitpoints and statuses or indicating targets. Some of this can be mitigated through the use of aids like tokens, chits, or flags for marking conditions, but DMs often still need a way of distinguishing between monsters in their notes, and players shouldn’t have to resort to latitude, longitude, and GPS coordinates just to say which minion they are attacking.
Fortunately, if you’re using D&D miniatures, it generally isn’t too difficult to find a way of marking the bases in order to identify them. Avery makes round, colored, 1/4 inch, removable labels that work great for the task, and you can pick up a pack of 760 of them for less than five bucks at Staples.
The labels come in four colors: green, yellow, blue, and red. The red and yellow ones are perhaps the most useful as the provide the greatest contrast for black ink. You’ll probably find that something like an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie is your best bet for writing dark, crisp numbers.
Having multiple colored labels can prove useful for distinguishing between different but similar miniatures that are likely to appear together in an encounter. A perfect example are the Kruthik minis, which are all basically the same except for size and slight variations in color. Using a different colored label for each type of Kruthik makes them stand apart a bit more, ensuring that you won’t accidentally confuse your young with your hatchlings.
You could, of course, simply buy a metallic Sharpie to mark your miniatures, but that’s permanent and why mar a figure when a removable sticker works just as well, if not better. Besides, you might want to sell your collection on eBay some day so you can, I dunno, spend the money on a Gargantuan Orcus.