#RPGaDay, Day 14: Favourite RPG Accessory

A battered reminder of good times.

A battered reminder of good times.

Dice. Don’t even have to think about. Dice are my hands-down favourite gaming accessory. You give me a cool, weird, awesome set of dice and I am your friend for life. If a game has a cool set of custom dice with it, I am immediately interested.

Games like Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice, which use custom dice are among my favourite. So are King of Tokyo and King of New York. Why? Pretty coloured dice! Plus, they’re awesome games.

I love to collect them, I love to look at them, I love to roll them and decide the fates of my players.

Pictured: Steampunk d6 (left), Elvish d10 (centre), Elvish d6 (right)

Pictured: Steampunk d6 (left), Elvish d10 (centre), Elvish d6 (right)

Dice, man. Dice.

Gamer Gift Guide 2013

With a week to go until Christmas I thought this would be a good time to break out the gift ideas. Nerds are sometimes hard to buy for, and gaming nerds can be among the hardest (hir hir hir). If you know what games the geek(s) in your life play your task is a little easier, but even if you don’t there are plenty of options your gamer friends will love.

1) A Drive-Thru RPG Gift Certificate – Perfect for the role-player in your life, a gift certificate to Drive-Thru RPG lets your friend pick the games they want from DTRPG’s vast digital library. The GC is also good for the RPG Now and WargameVault pages, so your giftee will have plenty of gaming goodness from which to choose. Plus your friend can enjoy their purchases at the speed of light! Sort of. I mean because it’s a digital download. And far from being impersonal, a gift certificate to DTRPG shows you were listening when your gamer friend said, “Don’t bother buying me a specific book, I might already have it.” Speaking as a gamer, I appreciate that.

2) Dice – Yes, your gamer friend already has dice. But no gamer ever has so many dice they won’t appreciate more of them. And there are so many dice from which to choose: Chessex,Q Workshop, Crystal Caste…the list goes on. Or step it up a notch and get them a sweet dice ring from Crit Success! And if you don’t know your friend’s ring size, no worries; they have gift cards as well.

3) Magazine subscription – This is a great gift idea because it’s the gift that keeps coming throughout the year. And most magazine subscriptions come with a digital or digital add-on option. For general gaming goodness I’d recommend Gygax Magazine, covering a wide range of role-playing games. Or introduce your friend to the antics of Knights of the Dinner Table, the monthly that is half comic book, half gaming mag. While it does tend to focus on the Hackmaster game, many of the articles touch on general gaming topics and reviews. Plus the comic is pretty darn fun as well. And if you want to branch outside of the gaming realm, consider a subscription to a sci-fi/fantasy fiction magazine. For perfectly reasonable reasons that have nothing to do with me editing there, I’d recommend the amazing On Spec magazine. But I hear tell Asimov’s is a pretty swell magazine, too.

4) Tickets to your Local Con – This is assuming you have one, of course. And assuming your friend can make sure they’re free that weekend. But I know I’d be pretty stoked to get the gift of a free weekend of nerdery! Don’t have a local con? Then sign you and your friend up for games at ConTessa, a free on-line gaming convention. Then show up with food and drink, and turn the weekend into a virtual con/slumber party!

5) Run a Game for Them – This is especially cool if the friend is a constant GM in your circle of gamers. Give them a night or two off and run something fun for them to sink their teeth into; a system they’ve never had time to try or an adventure they’ve always wanted to play. And if you want to kick it up a notch, write a scenario or adventure just for them! Include people from their life as NPCs/monsters, make it about their work or school. It doesn’t have to be high art, the important thing is to make it as personal and fun as possible. Stuck for ideas? Here’s some 5-room Dungeons to get you started. While you’re there, why not sign yourself and them up for Roleplaying Tips?

Those are some of my holiday gift ideas. What are yours? Share them in the comments!

My Dice Obsession

I love dice.

“Well duh, Brent. You’re a gamer, of course you love dice.”

Well sure, but I reeeeeally love dice. When I was 12 I typed a program into my VIC 20, in Basic, that allowed me to apply a chi-squared test to my dice. I then rolled each of my dice 100 times, entering each result into the program, to see whether my dice were returning unbiased rolls. Also, the gamer gene that makes a gamer prefer one colour of dice over another? I don’t have that gene; I will play with any dice of any colour. I also lack the gene that tells me I have enough dice. Because I Never Have Enough Dice! I could be swimming in a room full of dice, Scrooge McDuck-style (and thank-you, Wil Wheaton and Hijinks Ensue for capturing that image) and I would style want more dice. And while I respect your quaint myth regarding the touching of another gamer’s dice, I don’t personally believe it, so you can use my dice any time. Because science.

So I’m always on the lookout for cool, special and/or unusual dice to add to my collection. I thought today I’d highlight a few dice I have that are special to me for one reason or another, or just plain neato.

Of course I have d20 of various sizes…

The d20 on the left is about the size of a baseball; the right-hand d20 is regualr size.

The d20 on the left is about the size of a baseball; the right-hand d20 is regular size.

I have themed dice, depending on what type of game I’m playing:

Pictured: Steampunk d6 (left), Elvish d10 (centre), Elvish d6 (right)

Pictured: Steampunk d6 (left), Elvish d10 (centre), Elvish d6 (right)

I have dice that don’t even use recognizable numbers, because adding that layer of complexity to dice-rolling is fun!

Centre: A d10 using oriental-style calligraphy, with Yes/No markers, below.

Centre: A d10 using oriental-style calligraphy, with Yes/No dragon markers, below.

I have a set of spindle shaped dice that were a fad a while back. While I like them, I think they’re really only practical for d10 and lower; you need a really level surface to make the d12 and d20 work.

20130621_114632

d20 on the left, down to d4 on the right.

One of the prides of my collection is a die I made myself. When I was about 13 or so I came across a piece of gravel while digging out my Mom’s garden. At first I thought Mom had

A battered reminder of good times.

A battered reminder of good times.

thrown out one of my dice, but it turned out to be a piece of rock shaped almost perfectly like a d4. So of course I cleaned it up, painted pips on it, and used it until it became a little too banged up to be considered truly random (if it ever was). But I keep it as a reminder of my early gaming days. Every once in a while I even sneak it into use when I’m GMing. Don’t tell my players.

Okay, that’s all I’m showing off today. I was trying to figure out a way to properly take a picture of my Flashing d20 (courtesy of Think Geek), but I couldn’t capture it flashing with my simple camera phone technology.  So I’ll hold that back, along with some other special dice, for another post.

In the meantime, why not tell me about your special dice. Do you have any dice superstitions or rituals? The comments are there, just waiting for you…

Humpday Links for March 27

Greetings, internet citizens!  Thanks for coming by and exercising your eCivic Right to amusing internet links.  You are what makes this interweb the best interweb in the world.  Without you, we’d all just be a bunch of lonely people trying to find fulfillment in the consumption of internet memes and cats.  Er…

Anyway, your eCivicly-mandated links are below:

– For my fellow gamers: you are not going to find a better deal on a whole swack of dice than this. Yes, I mean a metric Swack.

– Courtesy of Squidoo, free printable board game templates of some moldy classics.  Now is your chance to make your own, actually enjoyable version of an -opoly.

– Got a friend interested in board games, but doesn’t know where to start? Show them this board game primer courtesy of Tested.

– Ever wonder what Adam Savage keeps in his home office?

– Here are SEO tips made simple. And belligerent.

– If you need a desk for travel, or just because you have a really small place, you can’t do much better than a Ninja.

– Ever wonder how your fav webcomic artists made the leap from a regular job to working full-time on their strip?  Wonder no more!

– Geek’s Dream Girl weighs in on why we attack what people love.

– As if I needed another reason to move there, Scotland may allow Jedi to perform weddings.

Because sometimes the answer is a nerdy fez.

– Dwarven Forge, makers of really great gaming terrain, have a Kickstarter for their new line of affordable terrain.  It’s already funded, and if you have the cash it’s a no-brainer.

– Speaking of Lord of the Rings fan films (master of the hard segue, that’s me), Born of Hope is a neat, good looking film about Aragorn’s father.

DIY is a great site if you are a parent, an aunt, an uncle, a babysitter, whatever, and you want to teach your kids how to make things.  Heck, use it for yourself even if you are a beginning “maker” looking to hone skills.

– If you are a writer, here are some suggestions on using Pinterest to aid your work.

– We end with a snowman that pretty much sums up how we all feel about winter hanging on, and on, and on…

That’s it, that’s all!  We’ll see you all next post, gentles.

The Best Little Dicebag I’ve Ever Owned

I’ll admit, I was just a little stumped about what to write today.  Oh, I have things for tomorrow and Thursday, no problem.  But today I was struggling.

And then it arrived.  The package I have been waiting for since I placed my order ten days ago.  The parcel that had me staring out the window everyday as the postman dropped off the mail, my shoulders slumping in disappointment when no package materialized.

Today my Dragonchow dice-bags arrived!

Now, you may say to yourself, what’s the big deal?  A dice-bag is a dice-bag, right?  Oh my friend, how much you have to learn.

Let’s look at design first.  Unlike the traditional dice-bag which is basically a draw-stringed envelope of fabric, the Dragonchow dice-bag has a flat bottom and four sides.  This keeps the opening upright, thus keeping your dice from spilling all over the table.  This design also makes the bag extremely spacious for it’s size.  Both it and my old dice-bag are the same height, slightly over 4″.  But my old envelope-style bag could hold two sets of dice, three if I crammed them in.  I just dumped all the sets I use for playing/GMing into my new bag; this includes three full sets of dice, an extra four d20s, about ten assorted other dice, and a “brick” of 36 d6s (in case of an emergency Shadowrun/Star Wars game).  And it is only half full.  Two obvious conclusions: I need more dice, and this bag is gold-pressed awesome!

Other great design points?  Each bag is fully reversable, so if you want to change things up for another character you can do it with ease.  The drawstring has a locking toggle, so when you pull the string tight and slide the toggle in place your dice remain locked up tight!  And if you get one of the super-awesome tall bags with a pencil strap, you have a built-in location to hang your pens and pencils.

With all of that, if these were just plain black bags they would be swell enough.  But along with this wonderful design, Dragonchow offers a wide range of fabric patterns (56 in the standard bag, 21 in the Pencil Strap bags currently), enough to suit every walk of gamer.  And should you stroll through the site and not find something to suit your fancy, you have the option of ordering…a custom dice-bag!  How can you possibly go wrong? (Hint: you can’t)

And if all that were not enough, Dragonchow’s owner/proprietor Lyndsay is an absolute delight!  My package arrived with a “Finally, they’re here!” scribbled on the envelope flap.  Inside I found a little thank-you card hand-written by The Lyndsay herself.  And as an added bonus, each of my bags came with a complimentary d20 (which I of course rolled right away. I got a 14, 5, 17 and 8.)  And if you are lucky enough to follow her on Twitter, you will know she has a wicked sense of humour.

I cannot recommend these bags highly enough.  If you aren’t lucky enough to track Dragonchow down at a con, then don’t hesitate to slide over to their site and order a bag or three.  Your dice will thank you for it!