Cosplay Review: Hrothgar’s Hoard Wands

This week we’re going to take a look at a piece that will be available very soon for magic enthusiasts everywhere.

Hrothgar’s Hoard, a high quality gaming accessory brand, was recommended to me by fellow board gamer, Kristen (IG: @blooming.boards). The company is launching a collection of custom wands in a Kickstarter campaign next week (10/02/2018) called Dragon-Slayer: RPG & Cosplay Wands. I was overjoyed to get in on the pre-launch excitement with this beautiful acrylic and hardwood wand.

Infrared

As it happens, I had a couple of D&D sessions and a Hogwart’s wedding to attend, providing good action time to give her a spin. Thanks to emailed post office alerts, I knew the day that my wand would arrive and I waited anxiously for our mail carrier. At some point, I had to leave the house, but he waved me down and delivered the package directly into my eager hands…while my car idled in the middle of the street. Not kidding. Totally worth it.

As soon as I cut the packaging away, I could smell the amazing wooden display box. Full marks for presentation!

Dat Box

I popped the top and was instantly giddy at the velvety coloring in the wand’s shaft. I know very little of acrylic and the processes necessary for this type of prop work, and I was rightfully stunned. This wand is absolutely beautiful. Stills do not do her justice (she’s now an extension of my arm, so she gets to be a she). She is lighter than I expected overall, but the solid acrylic shaft is a noticeable counterpoint to the wooden handle. Due to this weight distribution, I found her to be a fantastic offensive wand–stick with me here. Imagine feeling the magic in the tip of your wand rather than your hand. Think of the way you might tap your pencil against a table versus the way you might tap the table with a spoon–not unbalanced, but there is a definite “business end” of the piece. Importantly, because of my two younglings, this is not an ideal wand for child-sized hands. The handle is not uncomfortably larger than my other wands, but is wider for a great reason.

Like a great dress, the wand has a pocket.

Pocket

Hrothgar’s Hoard wands have compartments in the handle. This one came with a set of mini dice, but I can think of a number of fun secrets for my future magical adventures. For the Hogwart’s wedding, I slipped in a slender glass vile containing a Hippogriff feather–a super fun detail for Harry Potter fans. A wedding attendee remarked that an “adult-level” potion bottle would be a nice secret, but based upon the pocket size, one would not feel the effects of such a potion, so it is not recommended.

During our weekly D&D session via Roll20, I pulled out my new wand and flicked it around during an encounter. While props are really only for personal benefit in this online gaming situation, my wandless group humored me and that was enough. Again, the acrylic shaft is a great weight for power hungry players, and I could see this being very beneficial in a live-action setting.

Linkosa

Back to the beautifully crafted handle: For costumed individuals, specifically those who look to purchase standard size wand holsters and robes with wand pockets, please be aware that the handle is slightly larger than a generic wand. If you make your own wand carriers, you should be fine.

Holster
I take great pride in my five-minute wand holsters.

Based upon my experience playing with this beauty, Hrothgar’s Hoard Wands are a great fit for costumers, cosplayers, D&D magic casters (or their DMs who just like to point at people), and LARPers. For Potterheads, there will be great fun in customizing your wooden wand once the Kickstarter campaign goes live next week. Stock up on your dragon heartstring people!

Visit Hrothgar’s Hoard for your tabletop accessories and get in on this magic!

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Costume For A Day

Halloween is less than two months away, and I don’t have a costume. This is a costuming blog, so, obviously, there are a few clarifying statements that need to be made, but the dilemma is the same for many people: “What am I going to wear for Halloween?” Parties, school, work, candy distribution, candy collection, parades, charity appearances, scary movie marathons–all of these events get our wheels turning to come up with the perfect ensemble for “the one” (HA!)  day of the year when dressing in costume is deemed acceptable. As a hobby costumer, Halloween is my nightmare scenario.

Krampus
Only a nightmare for the naughty…

First, my Halloween costume will be worn solely for a contest at work. Important to some people, there are “cash” prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. There are rules to be followed with regard to the level of appropriateness, the ability to physically work, and the inability to harm coworkers (unintentionally or otherwise). The winners are decided by popular vote, which equates to a costume contest at a bar where a cosplayer shows up in Warhammer 40K gear, then promptly loses to a mundane in a Naughty Wizard costume-in-a-bag based upon crowd noise. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s fucking devastating.

JosGun
“I bought it on Amazon–tee hee!”

Second, I do not like competing, but I do enjoy office participation…within reason. In a business casual setting, wearing a costume is a good way to show your team members something about yourself, and to learn something about them in return. When I wore my Clockwork Droid in 2011, I quickly found the Doctor Who fans in the building. However, my company has grown to multiple offices across the country, and the Halloween costume contest has gotten ugly in the 10+ years that I’ve been around–rallying for votes, trash-talking, using kids as props–it’s all absurd and only touches a handful of participating folks company-wide. The fun of the holiday has been tarnished because some people just want to win.

ClockworkDroid
“Calm the fuck down, Chad. I’m not a real robot.”

Third, I’ve been told to “let someone else win.” As it happens, I’ve won the contest a few times…and placed every year that I’ve entered. Even years when people feel inclined to ask me, “What are you supposed to be?” [Cue costumer rage], I end up with a little extra coffee money. The first, second, and third years that I won first place, I took the following year off–still dressing up, but not entering the contest, only to be berated, “Why didn’t you dress up? I wanted to beat you this year!” I’ve stopped taking years off. I only dress up because costuming is fun for me, but I wouldn’t turn down a bonus in my paycheck just because someone’s feelings could potentially be damaged. I never go in to win, I just make and wear what appeals to me and hope for the best. A wise t-shirt designer once wrote, “Those who hate, shall hate henceforth.”

PhotoGrid_1535479952494
2nd, 2nd, 1st, Year Off, Had a Baby, 1st, Year Off, 2nd, 1st, Year Off, 1st, 1st

Fourth, regardless of how I feel about entering the competition, Halloween at work is a great opportunity for me to make a costume that I wouldn’t wear to comic con or to the ren faire. I always make something new, but I do appreciate a receptive audience–be it one person or many persons. I want to bring joy (or abject terror) to at least a few fun lovers. I’m a giver. Which also means that I fret over what I’m going to wear up until the day of, in the same way that I would fret over baking a pie for a potluck–is my contribution going to fall flat?

Costumes that I would choose for a comic convention include characters that are often too specific for a group of three hundred people to connect with–Hawkgirl, Twi’Link, anything anime. Garb that I would wear to a renaissance faire or pseudo-historical event are obviously beautiful and well-made, but do not give off a Halloween vibe (excluding the headless Anne Boleyn idea that I’ve been toying with). When it comes to Halloween at work, my costumes have been popular characters, company themed characters, and clearly time-intensive pieces of art.

TwiLink
Chad: “What even are you?” Me: “Stand down, little boy, and I’ll give you a cookie.”

For pop culture, I try to stick with fandoms that I’m into–sci-fi, fantasy, video games–that other people may also enjoy. The company themed characters got me labeled a suck-up, but they were both badass and I’m still proud of what I did. The harder pieces that I’ve created tend to be mash-ups and I often ended up wearing those costumes more than once (something I don’t do with con costumes for some reason). My ideas have come months before and hours before, but there’s always something. This year, I am completely stumped.

I’ve considered upgrading an old work costume, wearing one of my cosplays, not wearing a costume at all, polling my friends and making whichever character they choose, and leaving it to the week before Halloween to see what comes out of my studio. As an added bonus, I have a number of other costumed events that will require my attention before I can even start on a Halloween outfit.

Killmonger
“Oh, I ain’t requesting nothing. Ask who I am. “

All that to say, “I’m taking suggestions.” Thanks for reading!