I have to be honest, as much as I love playing D&D with my friends, I sometimes get a bit… neurotic…
What can I say?
I like things to be tidy and organized. Especially with a game that has as many moving parts as Dungeons & Dragons, I don’t think that’s a bad thing!
It stops games from coming to awkward halts when players have everything neat and collected.
Fortunately, the best way to make this happen is actually very cheap.
If there is one accessory that I would absolutely recommend to any D&D player, it’s the character folios from Ultra Pro.
(Any other Magic: the Gathering players will recognize that name. They’re the same company that make the most popular card sleeves and deck boxes!)
So today we’re reviewing the character folios from Ultra Pro for D&D 5e.
What are they? Are they worth the money?
Read on to find out!
So let’s start with a look over the folios’ features and what they mean to you.
First things first: do these pass the “spill test?”
(Seriously, I’ve lost more character sheets to coffee, soda, and salsa spills than I could count. This is a personal one!)
The D&D character folios from Ultra Pro are hardy and very easy to clean. The plastic that they’re made of does a good job at not absorbing food/drink spills and protecting your character information.
If there is a spill, some water, and a paper towel are usually enough. If it’s especially bad, some cleaner spray would do the trick, though I’ve yet to have a spill that requires more than just water to clean up.
The folio has 10 sleeves that hold the standard 8 1/2” x 11” sheet of paper. In most cases, this is way more than enough storage space for your character’s info.
You can write on these with a dry-erase marker to better keep track of your character’s hit point, spells, and abilities without making a colossal mess. That means your character sheet will always be clean and intact with no more needing to print a new one for every game.
If you are the type to take notes during your game, you’ll also like that these folios have front and back cover pockets. This gives you extra storage while also keeping your notes tidy and together.
But the best part of the folio is the spellbook card sleeves.
As someone who usually plays some flavor of spellcaster, spellbook cards are a game-changer. You can learn more about those by checking out that review article here.
Of course, for all of their utility, those cards can admittedly become a bit of a burden if you don’t have a way to store and organize them. Since the goal is to have all of your spell options available at a glance, being able to keep them neatly with your character information is very handy.
Each folio can hold 36 spellbook cards, which is plenty for most characters. You might need to improvise slightly at the very highest levels, but I never found this to be too much of a problem.
I can’t just “not mention” the artwork that’s featured on these bad boys.
Each folio features dynamic and eye-catching artwork that’s sure to turn a few heads.
Some designs feature famous characters like Drizzt Do’Urden, Halaster Blackcloak from the Dungeon of the Mad Mage adventure, and the Demon Lord Demogorgon from the cover of the Out of the Abyss adventure.
Who Are These Folios For?
All in all, these are definitely made with players in mind.
They’re lightweight and conveniently laid out to meet players’ organizational needs.
If you’re already the type to stay very organized, you’ll likely appreciate these the most.
If you aren’t really the organized type, these folios make it easy.
I’ve given these folios to so many people over the years who are constantly losing their stuff. Having a simple-but-tidy folio (with cool artwork that will make it less likely for you to lose) has enough benefits that even the most disorganized person will like using it.
But Dungeon Masters can certainly find these useful as well. It provides a simple way to store and organize your notes.
Each sleeve can be used to hold sheets related to specific cities or locations in your campaign. When the players arrive, you already have everything that you need printed out and ready.
If the party is going against a spellcaster, having that enemy’s spells already arranged in the folio makes for a quick reference to keep combat moving and tensions high!
It’s definitely meant for in-person games, so if you exclusively play online then these may not be for you. I’m kind of old-school, so even in my online games, I like to have my character printed out and stored in their own folio.
Are Character Folios Worth It?
So, yeah, I’m a raving fan of these folios.
But, as with all of our other reviews, we’re going to look specifically at three main criteria before giving a final verdict.
Usefulness is how much impact these have had on my own games.
Quality looks at how well-made the accessory in questions is.
Value is looking at the “bang for the buck” of the thing being reviewed.
Because stars and percentages don’t really tell you anything, the final verdict is one of the following:
“Get it Now!” – This is a must-have that deserves to immediately be added to your collection.
“Get it On Sale!” – Means that it’s a good addition, but it just doesn’t deliver for the price.
“Pass!” – Means that you’re better off skipping this as it has little or no use/quality.
Character folios are pure usefulness.
They make it very easy to keep your stuff organized and safe.
This isn’t a product that’s trying to reinvent the wheel. It has a simple concept and is specifically made for D&D players.
You’ll get the most use out of these if you’re also using spellbook cards.
While anyone can certainly benefit from using these to effortlessly store their papers and track their character’s resources in a way that won’t “muck up” the paper, those who are playing spellcasters will get the best use from these folios.
So I haven’t tried lighting my folios on fire, but I have admittedly not been easy on them!
All in all, these are indestructible from most common accidents like spills or pets.
I like things that are made to last and my clumsiness has yet to destroy any of my folios. If these can survive my tendency to drop and spill basically everything I touch, they should be perfect for you!
As far as looks go, the artwork on these is stunning as always. I’m not going to lie, I can’t get enough of the looks from others when I join a game and pull out my perfectly-organized folio with all of my character’s stuff in it. Without fail, there’s always one person who comments on it.
So I guess “Nerd Flexing” is possibly a hidden benefit to these?
If I had to come up with a gripe, it would be that I would like just slightly more space for storing spellbook cards.
Having just finished a higher-level game, some of my Druid spells were needing to be tucked off to the side for reference. 36 slots are plenty to cover the day’s prepared spells, but having just a bit more space to better store those that are prepared often enough that you’d want to keep them nearby would be nice.
The folios are usually priced somewhere between $10 and $15. For that price, they’re a steal.
I’ve noticed the price range on Amazon is pretty wide and fluctuates a lot.
Over $15 and I don’t think I’d bite unless I just really, really liked the design.
But considering how well these things last and how useful they are, I’d say the “bang for the buck” is definitely there if it’s in that price range.
My final verdict on the D&D Character Folios from Ultra Pro is…
“Get it Now!”
I’m a genuine fan of these things.
That said, there are a couple catches to this rating:
- This review assumes you’re playing in-person or are planning to.
- This review assumes that you find them in the price range I mentioned in the “Value” section.
If either of those don’t apply to you, I’d drop the final verdict to a “Get it On Sale” and very nearly a “Pass” rating.
But if both of those catches apply, then you should absolutely scoop up a character folio for yourself. It’s a little thing that makes a huge difference!