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The False Tome of Holding

Longtime readers will know that I’m obsessed with gaming widgets, especially little boxes and other containers. Office supply stores are dangerous places for me; to a lesser extent, so are craft stores, housewares stores, and the like.

I recently dropped into Pier One to kill some time, and wouldn’t you know it: I walked out with a new gaming widget. Behold the false tome of holding!

Why a false tome, you ask?

I thought this might make an even awesomer dice box than the one I posted about a little while back (my cigar box GMing screen [1]), so I prowled the store and found the smallest one they had — it’s the perfect size, about 9x6x2.

They also had several other larger sizes, and those looked even more like cool fantasy tomes than mine, but they were too big to be easily portable.

When I brought it to our Star Trek game for the first time, my whole group thought it was just a cool book — and when they found out it was a box, they all perked up.

Two of them made plans to check these out for storing Warhammer: Invasion cards, which got me thinking: You could easily use the larger versions of this box to store all sorts of gaming-related stuff.

The size I bought was $15. It’s lined, so dice don’t clatter too loudly when I roll them in there; some of the larger sizes were unlined. I didn’t price the larger sizes, but I’d guess they climbed into the $30 range. If you go looking for them, walk the whole store — they use them as accents in different places, rather than putting them all in one spot.

If you share my obsession with dice boxes, storage solutions, and other widgets that can be repurposed for gaming, get thee to a Pier One and check these out!

Update: Razjah pointed out in the comments that he’d suggested false tomes — “fooks” — in the comments on the cigar box GMing screen article that I linked to. Five months is an eternity when you have a two-year-old, and I’d forgotten all about Razjah’s suggestion when I wrote this article. Sorry about that, Razjah — and thank you again for the suggestion!

Razjah also noted the magnetic closure, which I forgot to mention here. It’s small but strong, and does a great job of keeping the tome closed when you want it closed.

11 Comments (Open | Close)

11 Comments To "The False Tome of Holding"

#1 Comment By Ben Scerri On October 3, 2011 @ 6:40 am

I honestly couldn’t recommend them more myself. I own 2 very large ones and 2 medium ones. The 2 large ones are used for my GMing stuff (notes, etc, and I use it as a GMs screen by resting the lid against something tall) and the medium ones I use as dice rolling trays and as spots for players to put things they deem important.

The second option is a really good one, in my opinion, as it allows the players to feel like they are ‘writing’ an in game journal (they have told me this) by placing items inside the ‘book’. When they need to reference a prop or a note or something, they pull it out and pretend that their Scribe character is reading about it from their ledger. They have begun writing down their deeds and plans on notes and adding it to the box as well.

They also (as I have noted) are very useful as GM boxes as post-its can cling to the lining of the lid and you can roll dice unseen and stand up index cards inside of it. Then, you just close the lid to hide everythign away when you’re narating or winging it and don’t need your notes 🙂

#2 Comment By bobg On October 3, 2011 @ 8:17 am

is it just me, or have none of the images been loading recently?

#3 Comment By Mutak On October 3, 2011 @ 8:33 am

Good find! Available on their website in 2 basic varieties: $12-$14 [2]

$9.95 [3]

#4 Comment By Razjah On October 3, 2011 @ 9:16 am

Martin, the false tomes work wonders for dice trays. I have dice bagged and separated for my players in there plus a large bag of dice for me. I have used it as a prop many times, and it is easy to transport because the lid attached with a magnet to keep it closed as it bumps around.

My brother also has a “fook” and he uses his to store his Warhammer army book, templates, army lists, cards, and other small things like his tins of dice. They work great for any project with lots of small bits to keep together.

Okay, one final thing. In the post you linked to I described a false tome. I called it a fake book or “fook”. I am not looking for a shout out or anything (they do rock) but simply saying that some reader(s) have already suggested them would be cool. I have talked about the “fook” a few times. I’m sure if you use the search bar to hunt down some other items that readers use and have suggested in other gear related articles then an article could be made that talks about reader suggested items. It would be an evolution of the What We Haul to Games, and How We Haul It There article and its predecessor.

#5 Comment By Martin Ralya On October 3, 2011 @ 9:29 am

[4] – Okay, you’re selling me on checking out an 8.5×11-sized one the next time I’m in Pier One. That sounds pretty awesome!

[5] – I haven’t gotten any feedback about images not loading — have you tried clearing your browser’s cache? They’re served from a consistent directory on the same server as the Stew.

[6] – Thanks for the links!
[7] – My bad! I remembered having written about my cigar box GMin screen, but I didn’t go back to the comments; I just linked it in. I’ve updated this article to reflect your “fook” suggestion and mention of the magnetic closure (a great detail I forgot to include). Sorry about that!

#6 Comment By Patrick Benson On October 3, 2011 @ 9:35 am

I was never impressed by these when I saw them, but after reading this article and the comments I am now very tempted to pick one up just to see if my impression of their usefulness is wrong.

As for images, I have not had any problems with images appearing on my browser from this site.

#7 Comment By Razjah On October 3, 2011 @ 11:06 am

I really can’t stress enough the cool uses of these as props. Hiding something in it like Ben Scerri suggested is awesome. I have used them to give my players size information for tomes they find, “it’s this big, or it is this big minus a the thickness of Savage Worlds Explorer Edition. It really helps the players know what I am talking about.

You can also hide notes. Find a cool old book, hand it to the player with a note inside.

Or pull the classic “hide item inside a book” then give them a hollowed book with a toy gun or whatever in there.

[8] – Thanks, Martin. What do you think of compiling reader suggested GMing gear? I know that some people have suggested really great things or ways to tweak something the Gnomes suggested.

#8 Comment By Keianna On October 4, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

I love book boxes for storing all sorts of stuff. I found a tiny (approx. 4″x3″) that I store sewing bits in. There are many more stores than Pier 1 that sell them too. I have found ones at Tuesday Morning, Michael’s, Hancock Fabrics, TJ Max and others. Actually, I hadn’t heard about Pier 1 so thanks for the tip.
I have a nice top shelf that can hold even the biggest ones and it looks so cool. I’m glad to see this neat old.concept coming back.

#9 Comment By Martin Ralya On October 4, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

[9] – I like the idea, and I’ll definitely consider it for a future article. Right now, it’s more collection than I have time to do.

[10] – Ooh, I could really go for a 4×3! That sounds like a cute box.

#10 Comment By get2joe On October 5, 2011 @ 11:25 am

After reading this I ended up picking up the one large and one small book. Great replacement for the cheap plastic pencil box I was using.

#11 Comment By nolandda On October 6, 2011 @ 9:28 am

You can also find a book that you aren’t using or buy one for a quarter when your local library has a book sale and [11].