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Alea Iacta Est

Devices to ensure fair play in dice games go back a long way. The Greeks and Romans used devices like internally-ridged dice cups to make sure game players couldn't unfairly control the spin and roll of the dice.

And, of course, they invented the dice tower. The earliest known dice tower is a 4th century item found near Cologne.






I started playing with a 3d-printed implementation of it a while back, forgot, was reminded of it, and finally got around to finishing.


It's not a perfect implementation. It lacks the pine cones of the original (not included in the picture above), nor the little bells, nor the dolphins, but those can be added easily. It isn't hinged like the original (Lightweight PLA hinges? Nah.). And the steps appear to go up a bit higher in the original. Still, it gets the job done and looks reasonably Roman.


And for anyone interested in making their own, I've put the files on Thingiverse.








Recent posts

Cardboard Miniature Stands

I like paper miniatures like Cardboard Heroes. The price per figure is tiny compared to miniatures, they don't have to be painted, and they're easy to flatten out and store. Unfortunately, they're not particularly durable (though, with digital files where you can print as many as you like, that's a significantly smaller problem these days--go a head and set fire to those orcs when you kill them; I'll just make more) and their light weight makes them liable to being knocked down if someone bumps the gaming table or a light breeze blows through the room.

The Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game contains a very nice accessory: plastic stands to put the miniatures in. They're sized for the cardboard on which the DFRPG figures were printed, but they do a perfectly good job with folded paper ones, particularly if it's thick stock. They line up nicely with the hex grid, add a little heft, and bring the center of gravity down to make them even harder to knock over. The…

DFRPG GM's Screen Frame

What could improve the GM's screen for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game?

Not much. But that didn't stop me from building something to go with it. This is mostly just scaled-up OpenForge pieces, artfully connected to one another at a suitable scale to frame but not cover up too much of Brandon Moore's art, and of course painted to a nice stone look.


The really nifty thing about it is that the crenelated wall forms a parapet where the GM can put dice, pens, and other small items, keeping them out of the way until needed.



Against the Rat Men Designer's Note

The DFRPG Kickstarter update #88 addresses Against the Rat Men, so I'll add a note here of my own. This is one of those "how the sausage is made" things which doesn't actually help anybody's gaming.

When I was offered the chance to write Dungeon 2, aka Against the Rat Men, for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, it came with an additional consideration about components. It had been determined that Dungeon, aka I Smell a Rat, would require three maps. Two of them would occupy the sides of one large sheet in the boxed set, but the second map would have blank back. That side could be used for a map for Against the Rat Men.

But there was a complicating factor. Unlike the electronic products I usually work on, which are rather flexible until quite late in the game, there were a physical product with its own serious deadline involved and a cartographer who wasn't me to work with. I had to finalize the map in a matter of weeks, well before the adventure was finish…

Sonnet On a Custom-Made Munchkin Shakespeare Board

Shall I compare thee to a Munchkin game?
Thou art more ruthless and more intemperate.
So lest my Munchkin Shakespeare board cause shame
I used an Elizabethan template.
The CNC is where we set our scene,
Half-inch birch plywood board a blank-versed plain.
The Minwax can’s labeled Jacobean
For the Virgin Queen is without a stain.
Through GIMP and Inkscape and on-line software
A bitmap image becomes a toolpath
A sixteenth-inch fishtail bit cuts through there
Polyurethane coats it water-fast
The edge is plain and without a bevel.
I’ll monsters slay, and go up a level.





Dunegon Fantasy Roleplaying Game: Production Values

Now that I've got my hard copy of the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game box (woot!), I can look at it as a physical product, and I'm quite happy with it.

Consider, for a moment, the GM screen:
Currently available images of the screen don't do justice to it as a physical object. We'll ignore the art and such for the moment (I'll be coming back to it). This is a substantial item, made of thick cardboard under those glossy covers. The four-panel display stays up quite nicely on its own and is unlikely to be collapsed by passing breezes.

The cardboard heroes are made of the same sturdy material. These are designed to fit into the manufactured stands, a significant change from the original version made form sheets of thick paper/thin cardstock, designed to fold up into triangles. The fold-up-triangle approach was certainly viable, but they were still easily knocked over by drafts and inadvertent table collisions. These are heavier and less subject to the vagaries of the …

That's A Lot Of Meetings

A little while ago, I mentioned that rather than spending my meetings doodling on a notepad, I was painting 3d printed gaming terrain. Unfortunately, as useful as that is keeping my hands occupied, I can't actually use it. I play GURPS, which uses a hex grid, rather than a square grid. I've found some designs for wall-only terrain, which I can plop down on a hex map, but I've got a bunch of terrain that doesn't do me any good. As it happens, I've got a nephew in town this week who has recently started playing D&D, which does use a square grid, so I'm shortly going to hand the terrain off to him (and cleverly obligate his parents to ship it back to the Left Coast where they live rather than do it myself). Before sending it way, I thought I'd lay it out and see how much there was.














Turns out there was a lot.

In other news, I go to too many meetings.