Can A D&D Campaign Be Created From Dollar Store Items?

Is it possible to create an entire Dungeons and Dragons experience using what they supply at the Dollar Store? The answer is 100% YES! Will it be the best campaign? No, of course not, but everything is a dollar or dollar twenty-five, so who can complain!? Take this trip with me in trying to create a campaign for cheap.

D&D 5th Edition Resources - Tribality

SCENARIO: We need to create a campaign, or at least something like a one-shot for four players and one DM, with one map-based combat encounter. Without anything like character sheets or map programs. We have to supply everything needed for the game.

Things Needed:

  • Dice
  • Pencils
  • Grid
  • Notebooks
  • Player/Monster Minis
  • Terrain
  • DM screen

You see I didn’t mention books, well there are a lot of PDFs of the books online if you search, but you can at least get the basic rules for free on the site. Now dice was the one thing I didn’t expect, and my Dollar Tree didn’t have it, but there are dollar stores that have them! That is amazing and may inspire people to try to see if they can create a game cheaply themselves like I am doing now. I think we can thank things like Critical Role for making D&D popular enough that even a dollar store would supply dice.

We can start with paper, index cards, and pencils to create character sheets, write the campaign, and keep up with what’s happening in the campaign. Maybe buy a clipboard to keep it professional looking. I was looking at the journals and thought of a fun idea of using them to keep a record of my character’s trials. My character would definitely go for the book with the cat on the cover.

Did you know the back of all wrapping paper has a grid line? Standard maps have 1×1 squares and so do these wrapping papers. Perfect for our use, there’s no use for the front, but I still wanted to choose the mint green one with flowers. It makes me think of a wallpaper in a royal’s room where a quest could be given and accepted.

Miniature time! This dollar store didn’t have a lot of choices like a few others I’ve seen, but there was still enough to get a game going as long as no one is picky (my biggest worry is someone will take it literally, and I will have to stat Po from Kung Fu Panda). We can also use any of the minis for a boss encounter or a monster. There are also animal figures we can use for pets or just something for random encounters. Lastly, we have clay; for the creative type, we can have people create their own miniatures. It’s not going to be the best, but I feel some people would enjoy it.

From little houses to circle balls that, with some imagination, can be used as boulders, even some sand for beach adventures. The paint could be used to draw rivers and colorful things and can even be used to go back and color your minis too. There was a lot to choose from for terrain and places to adventure. By this point, I had been wandering the Dollar Tree for fifteen minutes taking pictures and not buying anything, so I couldn’t get the full range of photos of items because I was starting to look like I was gonna rob the place (which could be a real-life quest but I’m not about that life).

The Dungeon Master screen is the simplest, with just a poster board to hide all mysteries. You can use paints to draw, write, and make the screen personal.

Now some extra fun. I found small bottles that I thought would be cute to make into potion bottles with some other things we would have bought, like paint mixed with water or glitter with water and sand. There are also tins you can use for salves. Those tiny see-through green stones can also be used to show magic attacks. It’s the extra stuff that adds more to adventures.


SNACKS!!!! Tons of snacks needed, never enough snacks. Which character is a glutton? Do you think maybe mine? Snacks keep a party together; it’s more fun to share with friends during breaks or even in the middle of having some mead side-by-side talking quests in-game.

The final list of items:

  • Sheets of paper
  • Four clipboards
  • Three journals
  • Index cards
  • Wrapping paper
  • 15 figures
  • Three clays
  • Four wooden houses
  • Three bunches of flowers
  • Christmas style balls
  • Two bags of sand
  • Eight paints
  • Two bags of small balls
  • Poster board
  • Eight travel bottle
  • Three bags of smooth glass
  • Eight more bottles
  • Three glitters
  • Eight various snacks

Grand total: $106.00.

Not bad. Now, it’s time to play. See ya!

About Tiffany Padilla

Tiffany Padilla is a cryptid that enjoys anything horror and nerdy. They collect taxidermy frog purses and are best friends with the shadow person who lives in their closet. Tiffany's proudest nerd moment is they once played Tupac in a one-shot D&D campaign.

View all posts by Tiffany Padilla

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