For all the D&D Beyonds, Roll20s and digital companion apps in the world, nothing quite compares to the old-school feel of jotting down notes on your D&D character sheet with a good ol’ fashioned pencil. Y’know, one of those bits of tree (remember those?) with lead stuck in it.
If you also like to indulge in scribbling down incidental details about random NPCs, character moments that might spark another side-quest distraction in another 100 hours’ time and doodling what your elf ranger’s hair might look like, why not go that step further and buy the fanciest gaming pencil we’ve ever seen?
The Blackwing 20 is the latest in the premium stationary maker’s ongoing series of limited-edition pencils and accessories, which rotates in a new pencil inspired by culture, people, events and places every few months. (Previous pencils include the animation-inspired Volume 7, Volume 55’s homage to the Fibonacci sequence and a tribute to singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie in Volume 223, to give you an idea.)
As you’ve probably guessed from the name, Volume 20 recognises the use of pencils in tabletop games from Dungeons & Dragons and other pen-and-paper RPGs to chess and roll-and-write games.
“With just a pencil, notebook, and a set of dice, you can become a real estate tycoon, a wordsmith, or an adventurer on a quest,” Blackwing’s description extols. “You can team with others to solve a mystery, or build the ultimate baseball team to crush the competition. The only limit is your imagination… and the rules of the game, of course.
“Blackwing 20 celebrates tabletop games and the cherished moments they can create.”
The pencil has an embossed design inspired by the polyhedron shape of a d20, surrounding a core of firm graphite. An eraser in Blackwing’s familiar flattened shape (this ain’t your normal school HB) sits at the end.
Alongside the pencil itself, Blackwing has released a point guard - used for protecting the tip of a pencil while travelling - featuring the pips of a six-sided die on each of its edges, plus a legal pad with gridded pages featuring one-inch and five-per-inch hexes.
Outside of Blackwing’s $99 Volumes subscription, which will give you each new design for a year, the Volume 20 pencil can be picked up in a pack of 12 for $30. (That’s $2.50 for each pencil.)
I’ve somehow written almost 400 words about the Blackwing 20, but ultimately: it’s a pretty nice looking pencil you can go and buy now, if you want to.