FEATURED CREATORS: POCKET DIMENSION PODCAST

FEATURED CREATORS: POCKET DIMENSION PODCAST

Here at Dice Envy we want to use our platform to promote creators from throughout the tabletop community. From time to time we will feature one of them here for you to enjoy. Today enjoy our interview with Pocket Dimension Podcast 

 

  1. What are you playing? D&D? Which edition and campaign?

 

We’re playing kind of a Dungeons and Dragons 3.5/5e mashup! It’s a homebrew campaign created entirely by our DM, Devtrast. It takes place on the continent of Kaberon which you can see on our Instagram.

 

2. Talk about your players and DM. Who are they? What is their history with the game? What are their favorite roles to play? What are the characters in your current campaign?

 

Before the Pocket Dimension brought listeners the adventures of the Vaunted Valiant in the world of Kaberon there was a group of off-and-on Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts that streamed their adventures to the internet at large. Since 2016 the core team has consisted of Ryan, Colton, Keanan, Adrian, Anna, Jared, and Dan.

Ryan aka Devtrast is the grand mastermind of most of the campaigns the group has tackled, although he thoroughly enjoys playing any tabletop RPG from 3.5 to 5th Edition.

Colton is the sometimes DM of the group who has spread the love of gaming to other tabletops; he currently runs a game for his wife and friends outside of the Pocket Dimension. When Colton isn’t saving Atlas he goes by Odo Greenbottle, the nimble Halfling Marksman who uses his crossbow to assassinate orcs from afar. Aiding him is his noble Scorpion companion Ethel, who uses her claws and venom to distract Odo’s quarry.

Keanan is a fan of board games outside of D&D and plays Gloomhaven, Pandemic, Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and more. He started with Pathfinder, but recently adopted 5th Edition to play with a wider audience. Keanan goes by the name Ullster Croleigh when guiding the souls of the dead to the Ethereal River. Ullster is a necromancer cleric of Wee Jas, who used his mastery of undeath to guide spirits to rest.  

Adrian gets his kicks in the gym outside of the game, and spends his time fulfilling fantasies of felonius fancy, plundering his way through dungeons as the sneaky Halfling Rogue Gallahad Kibo Freihair.

Anna supplies the Pocket Dimension Insta feed with her portraits of the world of Atlas and its characters. This is a fitting use of her time, as in-game she is the bibliophile Tharsirion Bleakbriar, the Elf Druid who shapeshifts into fearsome beasts to face down the orcs of Grumsh.

Jared supplies the party with luscious tones as Silas. This Tengu bard’s big mouth has a tendency to get the party in as much trouble as it gets them out of. At the end of the day his brilliant inventions do come in handy when defending the city.

Dan is the de facto leader of the Vaunted Valiant, made apparent by his role as Mayor in the city of Atlas. He is a mighty Crusader, who uses his faith to grant him the strength to crush his enemies. He will need all the faith he can to overthrow Vecna and redeem his ravaged land.

 

  1. What are the aspects you are particularly proud of and that set you apart from the pack? How do you do it better?

 

Aside from being the sexiest D&D podcast on the market, the aspect I am most proud of as their DM is how much each player contributes to the world of Kaberon. They animate the world more than I ever could. Their character’s are more than an alignment; they are desires, fears, motivations, truths, and lies spun to create the vision of the characters they hold so dearly in their mind. Their interactions with each other, NPCs, and the villains breath life into the Pocket Dimension podcast.

To paint a picture: Odo lead an army of orcs he named the ‘Rat Pack’ (he is the Rat God) to a new headquarters named the Rat Nest. He is actively persuading them to worship himself instead of Gruumsh, the literal God of the Orcs. Ullster has kept their home city of Atlas safe after resurrecting two large ogre troll skeletons to guard the perimeter of the town. Siri has begun work on a teleportation network of trees that can take them from Atlas, to all around Kaberon. Galahad has trained the Atlas Army on the ancient interrogation technique of “good guard, bad guard” and makes sure that the orphans of Atlas are well taken care of. Lord Benedict uses his mayoral influence to call upon the residents of the city to continue worship and faith in the gods, even though most of them have abandoned humanity. Silas constructed plans for irrigation channels, mass-market weaponry, and most recently large scale ballistas to combat threat of orcs attacking from the sky in zeppelins.

The players are the Pocket Dimension’s greatest asset, and their creativity trumps mine tenfold. It makes the podcast an entertaining, lovable bi-product of our love to sit around a table and tell stories about a bleak and miserable made-up world where two evil gods are warring for control of the material plane. We are all hoping that they can make it to level 20, as no one at the Pocket Dimension has ever leveled a character that high. Maybe then they can take control of the world.

January 22, 2019 — David Derus
FEATURED CREATORS: HIT DICE!

FEATURED CREATORS: HIT DICE!

Here at Dice Envy we want to use our platform to promote creators from throughout the tabletop community. From time to time we will feature one of them here for you to enjoy. Today is Hit Dice! 

 

Hit Dice! is a meticulously edited real play fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons podcast. Praised for its audio quality, home-brew story, and all-star cast; it has 5/5 stars on every platform and has been designated a ‘must-listen’ for D&D veterans and newcomers alike.

The entire cast is made up by entertainers who also just happen to be Dungeons & Dragons veterans. Allen, Jonathan, Nina, Rachel, Caleb, and Wes have been playing as a cohesive D&D group for over three years now, a miracle by one group standards. Rachel plays Kallista the party Bard, constantly urging the other players forward – convinced they are all meant to be heroes in her epic. Allen plays Patches the quintessential rogue with a chip on his shoulder and a reluctant love for his party members. Nina sports the naive warlock who had her soul offered to her patron by another’s hand. Jonathan is the voice of reason as Professor Arwyl Garowyn the Gnomish Wizard and tinkerer. And last, but certainly not least, Caleb has perfected the art of the Ranger and comic relief as Guy who is accompanied by his trusty steed - the beloved Buffalo.

The players make a unique table experience and have play chemistry that is taught only in the most sacred of bard colleges. The story is driven heavily by their characters and their involvement with one another. However, their play would be at a loss if it weren’t for the intricate and compelling world that Dungeon Master and Editor, Wes, has created for them. With all of their combined experience and talent the cast of Hit Dice! has created something truly diverse, unique, and entertaining. The real play podcast aims to make it feel like you are sitting at the table with old friends as they accomplish this feat expertly and gracefully.

You can feel the genuine camaraderie with each laugh the party shares together and you share their sorrow when tragedy strikes. Hit Dice! boasts an impeccable balance of comedy and a driven narrative that leaves you satisfied and wanting more. The table chemistry and story are complemented by the critically acclaimed audio quality of the podcast. Caleb and Wes are audio engineers and editors by profession and the amount of care and detail they put into each episode makes for a seamless listening experience.

Grab your lucky dice and a goblet of your favorite elixir as you become part of the Hit Dice! experience. 


Twitter: @hitdicepod
Instagram: @hitdicepod
Website: https://www.hitdicepod.com/

January 16, 2019 — David Derus
New Year, New Skills

New Year, New Skills

January is the month for dreamers, as the cold tendrils of winter are momentarily halted by warm wishes for a better life. Perhaps you long to improve your health, your professional life, or work some organizing magic on your domicile. Or, better yet, maybe you wish to take your gaming to the next level. Do you long to run a live stream show with your best party members? Want to try your hand at self-publishing an adventure? Maybe you just want to play more TTRPGs?


All goals are good goals, and we’re here to help you achieve them. Here’s how to take your gaming to the next level and keep those dice rolling all year long.



Goals are not Resolutions

First of all, a successful New Year’s plan has nothing to do with resolutions. A resolution is a simple sentence that typically begins with “I want.” For example, “I want to be a better game master,” is a wish. A New Year’s plan is your battle strategy to get you there.


Write it all Down!


Just like your regular campaign, the most important thing is to take notes. How you do it doesn’t matter, so use the system that works best for you. Litter your apartment with post-it notes if you have to. The point is that it’s impossible to track progress or correct your path if you have no memory of it. If your mind is a steel trap, congratulations! The rest of us mere mortals need to write down our spells.


Find Your Weak Point


Improvement begins once your honest about your weak points. Are you late to every game session, or the type of player who bemoans fate with every dice roll? As a game master, have you heard a particular type of complaint from your players time and time again? Write them all down.


Can’t think of any bad habits? Talk to one of your closest party members and ask them to be real with you. I promise, they’ll give you plenty of ideas on how to improve.


Once you’ve compiled a list of your weaknesses, jot down what you can do to address each one. Always late? Ask a friend to keep you accountable. Do your battles fall flat? Research battle tactics and brush up on rules. For every weakness, there’s a way to improve!


Hone your Strengths


Most resolutions are abandoned because they only focus on what you want to “fix” about yourself. As if, by having a different stat block than another, you are somehow less. We’re not about that life, and it’s time to bolster your strengths!

So, flip the page and write down everything you’re great at! Are you awesome at making engaging NPCs your players want to run away with? Are you the party scribe who keeps track of everything you’ve gotten wrapped up in? Keep it up!

Just like your weaknesses, notate how you can continue to improve what you’re already great at. This is going to require a bit more creativity to get through. More often than not, you’ll find the way to continue improving your strengths is by moving on to the next step.


Try Something New


The most fun and frightful stage will require you to jump off into something new. Going back to your list of strengths and weaknesses, look for themes. Are all your strengths centered on story development and scene? Do you feel your miniatures and maps need work? How’s your character development going?

If you’re strong at something, consider spreading your gift to the world. Look for opportunities to teach others about gaming, or writing. Challenge yourself to start publishing adventures or magical items. Lead a group of new players at your local library or after-school group. If you’re artistically inclined, share your work with the world!

Picking up a new game-related hobby is also a great way to address where you feel weakest. Enjoying a new aspect about gaming gets you in touch with new people, new ways of thinking, and increases your confidence. For example, if you’re the type to zone out mid-battle, pick up a tactile hobby like crochet or knitting.  Keeping your hands busy will help you stay engaged while you patiently wait for your turn to rage.


Involve the Whole Party

No lie, hitting your goals and improving yourself is difficult. Life gets tricky, motivation gets low, and suddenly abandoning the whole idea looks enticing. If TTRPGs teach us anything, it’s that we’re stronger as a team than alone. So, get your party involved! If one of your goals is to eat a bit healthier, get in touch with your group and discuss new options. Pizza is great, but maybe it doesn't have to be a weekly meal.

Keep each other accountable for your goals and be honest about how it’s going. If your party can survive dungeons together, anything is possible! Just don’t force your friends to firewalk across dice the moment they hit a roadblock. What are your goals for this new year? Let us know in the comments below. Happy rolling!

 

Brittany Lindstrom is a mixed media illustrator out of ye olde Boise, Idaho. Under the banner of Spice & Rose, Lindstrom is oftentimes left dreaming of deep dungeon dives while chained to her studio. On the rare occasion that she's let out, you can find her presenting panels on art and Artist Alley at conventions all around the Intermountain West. She has a deep love for playing randomized characters. 

January 15, 2019 — David Derus
Get Your New Campaign from Zero to Hero in Just 30 Days!

Get Your New Campaign from Zero to Hero in Just 30 Days!

Get Your New Campaign from Zero to Hero in Just 30 Days!


The divine hand of fate, the gods and goddesses of fortune themselves have smiled on you: your entire game group agreed on an RPG system to play, owns the right dice, were able to print a character sheet, and had access to the books needed. And then? The shiny jewel to top this? You have a schedule that works for everyone!

But wait. You’ve agreed to act as dungeon master, though. You’ve never done that. How did this happen? And what comes next? Fear not, adventurer! These suggestions are designed to get the creative juices flowing to bring that tabletop roleplaying experience to life before a single d20 gets rolled.  These are designed to be system-agnostic, meaning that you can (and should) consider these questions and flesh some out before getting everyone together.

In the following lists, the underlined prompt titles are usually just for you as the GM. As you build your game, think of these as the permits and trips to the supplies houses that the players never see…you’ll be left with a solid, but unfinished, frame for the game.

The other prompts in each “week” of the challenge are the places where your group can use their “Session Zero” of the game to “decorate” your frame. Use italicized prompts to give the players incomplete information, and bold ones to draw out more info that’s general knowledge in-game.

As you read through this plan, a few tips:

  • Don’t limit yourself! Sometimes one or two words might be all that’s needed, but really take this prep time opportunity to consider all the angles each prompt is going to offer you.
  • While it’s fine to go with “one a day” for the exercises, you might find that one idea leads you to another. That’s great! But still take the time to consider each prompt.
  • Write your answers down! I promise you, you’ll forget at least one of them during the first D&D night.

And lastly, keep one thing in mind (and make a point to tell your players as well): You know the answers to these questions. As GM, you know what’s behind that door. Your players know their characters—no amnesia or lone wolf storylines permitted! Encourage yourself and the PCs to add safe personal experiences into the mix. As an example, in a Monster of the Week game I was part of, my off-screen nemesis was a rival of mine from elementary school, I lived in a housing development named for my hometown, and several real-world coworkers’ names were people I could call on in the game. You’ll have to put a coat of paint on these, sure, but trust me: you—and your players—got this.

To the challenge!


Week1: Warm up with Some Location Lunges

“Week 1” is all about where the game is going to take place. That first discussion with the group is going to guide you—obviously you’re not going to be worrying about dragon-slaying in Call of Cthulhu. But setting when and where helps you decide what else can be included or discarded as you set the tale. Feeling enterprising and empowered? Try free-hand drawing a large “world view” map that hits the major points of the actual world. The “GM-only!” thinking here is light to get you started, but still, take the first three or four questions for yourself, bringing your players all they need to focus on their characters. Obviously where and what kind of game isn’t a secret, but these are the heavy-lifting you’ll need to do to have the game ready.


Marching Orders

What kind of game is this: modern, ancient, magical, high-tech, etc?

Where again?

What is the main municipality, city or other location players are going to be starting in?

It’s just down the street…

Name three local haunts for this place (bars, governance, etc.)

Tours Daily

Name three tourist locations in this place (special sites, monuments, etc.)

The (something) City!

This place is clearly famous for something. Tell me that thing!

Can’t happen soon enough…

Why might someone want to get the heck out of this place?

The legend of…

Everywhere has a weird history, dark secret, etc. What are people saying about your place?


Week 2: Do some Plot Push-Ups:

“Week 2” is all about those devilish devices, tricks, traps, and twists! Here, the first week’s “public secrets” finally get the blackout shutters closed. You’re not telling them everything on these DM-only pieces.

To ease that transition of secret vs. known, choose one of your players and, apart from the group, flesh out the ideas in “I know a guy…” These may not come up immediately, but can be held in reserve for that time where all the dice fail you, where the check DCs are too high. The inside track is best used when the player knows a lot about why they’re that insider, so a good conversation in your 1-on-1 with them can make this a great tool and less a deus ex machina.

Previously on…

Give a short summary of the last major event in your world. This can be a cultural item, a shift in politics, new tech, first contact…it’s ubiquitous even outside the city you’re starting off in.

Team Up

Right now, who’s on what sides? Describe the groups who have stakes in the day-to-day events of the setting. Think big too—are there Red States and Blue States? Trouble between orcs and humans? What about those Pure Humanity kooks and the Cyborg Union?

Winds of Change

There are signs that things are changing. First, are they subtle or overt? Second, what are some that have caught the eye of those hiring the party or within the members of the party?

I know a guy…

One of the party members is an insider. They’re might know some of how, but likely know a lot more than they’re letting on. What kind of insider are they, and how are they flaunting/hiding it?

Well, you’ve got us all here…

What is the party’s mission? Start small: what do they need to do today in service of what needs done tomorrow?

…or ELSE!

Give one of each kind of effect of failing the party’s mission:

  • minor (“We can try again tomorrow”),
  • moderate (“There’re replacement parts, but we don’t have the money now”),
  • significant (“So, this is what jail is like”), and
  • catastrophic (“Been nice knowing you”)

These can be the failure of a single person or the entire group.

You’ll need this

Discuss an item, honor, etc. given to the group as part of their mandate. Are they extra-legal? Do they have the Goddess’s protection? (etc.)


Week 3: Break a Sweat with These Character Crunches


It might seem strange to have the GM be worrying about the characters for week 3. Here, you’re not smashing square pegs into the round holes you’ve made. You’re working more as the puppetmaster. Having these kinds of big changes to the story—major planned setbacks, emerging alliances, and unseen guiding hands—are all items you’re going to be using to keep the game on track.

By virtue of this being a character-heavy week, there’s a different kind of breakdown. Questions 1-3 are DM-only, 4-5 are maybe for a few in the group with you, but not everyone, and 6-7 are for the lot of you.


Well now what?

Midway into the story, players are going to have a MAJOR setback. Discuss it here. Will the supers have issues with their power? Is there a curse? Did they summon something that shouldn’t be?

The Proving

The players are going to end up proving themselves by their actions. Here, who are they impressing? What will that outcome gain/take from them?

Good Morning, Charlie!

The group has an unseen benefactor. This can be anything from a banker to a demigod. Describe who this is and how much the players know about them.

Something to fight for

Discuss what shaped the players into who they are. Why have they joined this superhero team or what makes them investigate Things that Go Bump? Two or three plot hooks are your goal here.

Someone to fight with

This is a double-ended prompt. Who do your characters ENJOY or NEED at their side in the group? Why? Also, who are they itching to show up, beat down, or otherwise fight? Again, why?

Your father wanted you to have this…

The story is opening and the plan is set; what last thing does the group’s benefactor give them just before the first mission?

Not our First Rodeo

You are not a random group that was mercenary-hired in a bar/tavern/inn. Have each player tell you how they’re linked to the player on their left.



Week 4: Get a Ripped Villain with these Big Bad Burpees


You know where.

You know who.

You know what.

So who’s stopping the party from doing what they want?

Finish your preparation by setting up the “Big Bad” of your game. This one is always the most fun and a place where your imagination can go completely wild. The best villains are those that the party, on paper, shouldn’t have a chance against. It’s only by grit and crits that this scrappy band can take them down!

GM: have good answers for the first five questions, and set a reasonable target for introducing “The Network” information. This can be a big Wikileaks style document-dump or something more insidious and slower drips of information; both create tension in their own ways.


The True Name

Start by naming, then giving a critical weakness to, your big-bad. Is it greed? Love?

The Offices

The Biggest Bad doesn’t get their hands dirty until there’s a worthy opponent. Who’s the next level down, the face of the organization that a PC would be afraid of even as he’s hosting a press conference stating how innocent the Bad Co. guys are?

The Warehouse

Take a moment and consider the next level down. Who do the entry-level mooks report to? These guys will likely have names, and are connected both in the bad and the normal world—shady landlords, bookies, go-betweens, etc. You might even have a local politico, vs. a state or national one, here as well.

The Storefront

Describe the basic flunkies and thugs that are loyal to your big bad. Purple-clad ninja footsoldiers? Pock-marked mooks in zoot-suits? What kind of bad are they doing?

The Network

As your game opens, will the players know just how big a conspiracy they’re up against, GM?

And players, are you ready to know more about the rabbit hole?

Researching

Clearly that first experience with the bad guy’s team leads somewhere. Players and GM both describe how the linkages between isolated incidents started to add up.

Contact

Each player tells you a little about the first time they tangled with the bad guy and his network. Was there a recruitment pitch or a fight?


No full-on plan is worth its salt without a couple built-in “Cheat” days. Use the following prompts if you’re stuck on something.

CHEAT #1: The Reveal

CHEAT #2: The Ladder

CHEAT #3: The Wild Card

Cut to the end! How are the players to meet their big villain? Will it be for the final fight? Did they know the bad guy from another time?

Step away from the 5W’s of your story and focus on “how:” plot out your storyline flow here. Using an outline (but not sweating all those rules your English teacher made you follow), chart the first 3-5 meetings of your game by hitting major and minor plot points.

The party has been so focused on taking down the machinations of the big bad that…well, do they get an easy loot day? Or is there another one-off adventure they’ll never see coming?

 

 

In the real-world, Jeff Chaffee is a level-15 speech therapist, multi-classed into 10+ levels of Hubby/Dad. When not slaying the sentient grasses of Northern PA or rolling yet another character up for that game he's TOTALLY going to be running, he can usually be found teaching a new game or figuring out how to illustrate a new beta test with only Wingding fonts in Photoshop.

January 10, 2019 — David Derus
Why should you join D&D Adventurer’s League?

Why should you join D&D Adventurer’s League?

What is Adventurer’s League?

Adventurer’s League is the official Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition public play system. Adventurer’s League, commonly referred to as AL, is present at game stores, conventions, and home games across the globe.

What’s Different About AL?

The AL community is led by coordinators that accept feedback from the community and constantly strive to improve the player experience. Being a part of the AL community connects you with individuals across the world.

However, there are some differences between an AL game and a homebrew game that alter the play experience. Namely, the rules of AL change yearly and are stricter than the rules listed in the DMG and PHB, in order to give a more uniform play experience to everyone. Starting in Season 8 (Fall 2018), Magic Items are purchased using in-game Treasure Points, rather than natively found in the adventure. Similarly, gold is not found in the adventure, but is instead gained on levelling up. AL character-creation is restricted to the use of the Player’s Handbook plus one other approved resource, commonly referred to as PHB+1.

In homebrew games, the rules can vary widely from table to table, but usually are comparable to those present in the PHB and DMG. The DM has more flexibility to create and award magic items and gold, as well as to create or allow new character options. The DM can also create homebrew content, adventures, items, spells, etc. This can be beneficial in crafting a more unique experience. However, the character may not be taken to other tables or other groups, so you are locked into a single group for that character.

Both AL and homebrew are valid and fun ways to play DnD, and ultimately you just need to choose which experience works best for you. However, if you’re just starting to play table top role-playing games and RPGs, and are looking to break into DnD as a hobby, playing with AL can give you a well-rounded and easy entryway into the hobby.

Why play Adventurer’s League?

The major upside of AL is the community is very open and accepting of new players, and you can always find a game to play. AL allows players to create characters, governed by a set of rules similar to those present in the Player’s Handbook (PHB), and play those characters at any AL-official table. This means that you can create a character and play them anywhere in the world, whether it’s a home game or game store, a convention, on a cruise ship in the Bahamas or online on a website like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. The only thing that determines whether a game is AL legal is whether the players and DM agree to follow the AL rules and guidelines.

This portability offers an unprecedented flexibility to play wherever you are, without being tied down to a specific home game or group. You can play as many (or as few) games as you want, with the same group or a variety of pick up groups, and adjust your gameplay to match your schedule.

Because thousands of people are part of AL, you have the opportunity to make friends with people you would have otherwise never met. AL is especially open and welcoming to new players, with DMs and veteran players teaching the game and offering advice to players during the game.

How do I start playing?

If you’re interested in playing, check out the How to Get Started and D&D AL Player’s Guide and FAQ. Follow their rules for character creation and then look for a game in your area.

Where do I play?

Wizards of the Coast has a Store Locator that can help you find a store in your area that runs AL games. You can also look on Facebook and Twitter at the official AL pages, as well as regional and local group pages that advertise games. Online games are often run on Fantasy Grounds and Roll20, and are advertised on The Moonsea Pub Facebook group.

What do I need to play?

You will need a character sheet to start playing, as well as a pencil and a dnd dice set, at minimum. Many players purchase multiple sets of dice, which you will need as your character levels up and requires more dice per attack. You may also want to have a separate dice set for each character, with different colors and textures matching a character’s clothing or attitude. A miniature can also be used to identify the character on a battle mat, or an extra die can be used if necessary.

You may also want to purchase the core player books, such as the Player’s Handbook, Volo’s Guide to Monsters, and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, which can provide you with expanded character and spell options.  

How do I start DMing?

If you’re interested in DMing, check out the D&D AL DM's Guide & FAQ. Anyone can be a DM, as long as they follow the guidelines for AL DMs; this includes running AL-approved hardcovers and modules, following the listed guidelines, and enforcing the Community Standards at their table.

You can also start your own group. Each game will need one DM and between two to seven players to be AL-legal. Recruit friends or advertise to find other players in the area.

What do I need to DM?

As a DM, you will need several Dungeons and Dragons dice set, including at least two d20s for advantage/disadvantage rolls. Because you will be running several monsters during each encounter, having several sets of polyhedral dice will help to speed up combat. Having sets of color-coded dice can also help match monster tokens to their dice, making it easier to manage combat.

A DM will also need the Monster Manual and DMG, as well as a battle mat and miniatures to represent monsters. In a pinch, extra dice can also be used as monster tokens on a combat mat. A Dungeon Master’s Screen is also a useful accessory for many DMs. 

 

Emily Smith is a D&D Writer, TTRPG Blogger and DMs Guild Content Creator based in Los Angeles, CA. She is a regular DM and player for Adventurer's League, the official organized play system for D&D 5e. In her free time, she enjoys playing League of Legends, cooking, and cat herding.

January 05, 2019 — David Derus
10 Reasons to Make Dice Envy Your Dice Go-To

10 Reasons to Make Dice Envy Your Dice Go-To

10. We want to make a bigger table

We encourage new players of all kinds through our help columns and through offering them their first set of dice for just 99 cents. 

9. Dice in new styles and materials monthly

We are constantly at work to bring you new types of dice. Not just new colors but designs and materials as well. 

8. Quantity Dice

We take pride in our work. If you don't like your dice for any reason, we will take them back and ship you a replacement free of charge.

7. Reasonable prices

We typically charge about 25% less than our competitors when it comes to metal dice. Our acrylic dice are about the same as anywhere else. We keep our custom dice in reasonable price ranges too. Our mystery dice sets have some of the lowest prices in the business. Also, we have regular sales that bring the price point down further. 

6. Wide selection

While some dice companies stock similar dice in some cases we have a large collection of dice that we are committed to growing. Chances are you will find the color and material you are looking for here. 

5. No Hassle Customer Service

You want out of our subscription box, you find a funny charge on your card, can't find a set of dice even though the USPS says it was delivered? We will fix it. We will not try to keep your money or make it so you have to tell us a dozen times that you want to cancel. We are in the business of getting you cool dice that you love. So lets do that instead of haggling over sales you don't want to make.

4. Fast Shipping

Speaking of shipping, we are based in the US. We typically ship all dice within 24 hours of ordering. While you might find slightly cheaper dice through oversees generic manufacturers, you will get our dice in days, not weeks. 

3. We help sick children!

Monthly we run auctions of some of our prototypes to help support Extra Life. Extra Life is a non-profit run by gamers that give 100% of their proceeds to children's hospitals. 

2. We support content creators

We use our success as a platform to give voice to content creators that may need the exposure. We do this buy featuring them in our subscription boxes, website, and social media feeds. 

1. No FOMO 

We are committed to making sure everyone who wants some of our dice gets them. Some companies rely on the fear of missing out in order to buy their small batch dice. We pre-sell our new dice styles to allow everyone who wants them to gets them. With our dice subscription box, every month you are guaranteed to get the newest thing we are working on. 

December 21, 2018 — David Derus
3D Printing for DnD and other tabletop RPGs

3D Printing for DnD and other tabletop RPGs

By: Maxwell Gawlick

 I’m one of many DMs out there who uses battlemaps, miniatures, and terrain to enhance immersion in role-playing games, usually the iconic Dungeons and Dragons. Being able to physically contextualize the playing field makes it feel more real than anything else. Imagination gets you far, but physical pieces get you even farther. 3d printing D&D pieces go beyond that, allowing you to perfectly customize pieces for yourself, along with a slew of other benefits. 3d printed D&D terrain and 3d printed D&D minis are here, and they’re easier to make than ever. If you’ve ever wanted to play God, now’s the time. Just remember to use a light touch. When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.

Typical Expenses

I’m a student, and if you know anything about being a student, that means you’re poor. I have 3 classes and no money. Why can’t I have no classes and three money? Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and typical D&D pieces are expensive. A good starter set of Dwarven Forge dungeon tiles will run you about $200, and larger miniatures can cost anywhere from $15 - 60 each. That’s not to mention the typical mooks, player characters, and paints. Going for themed sets can cost you even more. You can try handcrafting terrain, but that takes time that I don’t have. Luckily, 3d printed D&D pieces are our salvation.

Dragon figurine

The Alternative

3d printed D&D terrain and 3d printed D&D minis are the perfect replacement for expensive sets. I recently began 3d printing my own D&D pieces and it’s dirt cheap. Most models don’t cost me more than thirty cents to print. That’s more money for stonks. The starting costs may seem scary at first. Some printers go for thousands of dollars. But, just like with food, there’s always a cheaper option. I bought and highly recommend a Monoprice MP Select Mini V2 from Amazon. It’s only $200! That’s cheap for 3d printing. As far as materials go, a roll of filament can last you for over a month and only costs $20, also from Amazon. Altogether, that’s the same price as a single Dwarven Forge set but gets you countless sets going into the future.

The Time Factor

You still have to consider time for your D&D 3d printing. Depending on the model, 3d printed D&D minis can take 3-4 hours to print. 3d printed D&D terrain can take even longer. The good news is, once you’ve got printing set up, it automates itself. There will still be a learning curve and fine-tuning, though. If you’re smooth-brained like me and want something super simple, printers like the Creality CR-20 come pre-assembled and are ready to go right out the gate. More popular printers have the advantage of having more documentation as well. And, you can go join the apes at Reddit and Facebook for helpful resources and a dedicated community.

Warlock 3d model

 

Incredible Ease of Use

Once you’re beyond the initial time and money investment, your D&D 3d printing will be easier than ever. At 3 cents per 3d printed D&D mini, you can pump them out and quickly grow your collection. You’ll be popping out pieces faster than the BBG can produce faceless enemies. You don’t even have to design them yourself. There’s an extensive library throughout the internet, with my personal favorite being Thingiverse. And, you’re not limited to 3d printed D&D terrain and minis. You can print any number of things, from other game pieces to dice. You could even print yourself a metal dice set! Some of my best dice are 3d-printed (but don’t tell Dice Envy I told you that.)

A Worthwhile Investment

3d printing D&D pieces is incredibly worth it. Everyone I know who’s done it is more than satisfied with the results. As with most things, you’ll need to do your research and find what’s best for you, as well as invest some time and money upfront. But, when you start printing an expansive gaming tabletop, you’ll never go back. Regularly priced D&D pieces are a thing of the past. Welcome to the age of 3d printing.

December 15, 2018 — David Derus
Roll For It! December Microevents for Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs

Roll For It! December Microevents for Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs

The holiday season leaves everyone pressed for time. Between family engagements, merry parties, and yet another cookie exchange at work, what’s a Dungeon Master to do? The answer is simple—roll for it! So grab your favorite polyhedral Dice Envy caltrop and see where fate will take your adventurers.


Each wintry scenario below is crafted to fit into a D&D homebrewed campaign or become a stand-alone adventure with a bit of elbow grease. If you use any of the scenarios below, let us know how it went!


Merry rolling!


—1—


While out adventuring, the party discovers a beautiful lake. The recent rush of winter air has caused the water to freeze over into a perfectly smooth crystalline top. At the far end of the lake, the party spots a heard of deer frolicking on the ice. Anyone with a keen eye will observe a trail of tiny hoofprints curving away from the lake. A small, sad, bleating can be heard, along with the hushed whispers of a masculine voice speaking in elvish.

Following the trail, the party finds a soft grey reindeer fawn, laying down and clearly distraught. A wood elf druid who is kneeling in the snow, comforting the young doe. He introduces himself as Hadriel Autumnstrider, a caretaker and shepherd in these parts of the woods. The fawn, Snowball, is too small and sickly to play with her reindeer companions. Snowball looks to your party with pleading eyes, and Hadriel asks if you would be so kind as to play with her.


If you accept his proposition, Snowball bleats in delight and Hadriel shifts into a majestic reindeer form. You spend the rest of the day frolicking with Snowball and teaching her how to skate across the ice. Eventually, the rest of the herd will join you and Snowball lights up with joy.

A day of frolicking complete, the herd moves into the woods before nightfall and Hadrien invites you back to his cottage. As thanks, he offers the party safe lodging and food for the evening, as well as a sachet filled with berries and a tuft of soft fur. This minor magical item will allow a druid to wild shape into a reindeer. This transformation is a cosmetic upgrade to elk form.


—2—


Wandering into town after their latest adventure, the party is bombarded by fliers, town criers, and royal blue pennants. The pennants sport a crisp, white, runic sigil. A particularly loud Town Crier bundled up in furs exclaims, “Hear ye, Lords and Ladies! The Brawler’s Area annual Chills and Thrills Bash will take place in three days!  Those seeking glory are to sign up at The Chilly Cap Tavern by sundown two morrows hence!”

Should the party chose to fight, they must register at the booker’s table in The Chilly Cap Tavern. A world-weary gnome known as Dreary Shiverfeet will register the party in exchange for 10 gold per fighter. All fighters will be going head-to-head with fearsome creatures from the Northlands. Survival is not guaranteed, but should the party win all 4 rounds they will net a neat sum of 250 gold and a cache of weapons and armor. Shiverfeet also warns that anyone caught using fire-based spells, weapons, or abilities will be disqualified.

Winterhold Area is located 3 miles outside of town and is a massive Colosseum crafted entirely from ice and magic. Pine garlands and magically lit sconces provide light and decoration. Between rounds, players are allowed to mingle with other fighters, bet on fights, and drink. There are 5 other teams, including a solo female goliath barbarian. Should the party survive 4 rounds, they must fight the barbarian in a tiebreaker round to claim all the glory.


—3—


It snowed last night! The party wakes up to the gleeful sound of children running up and down the streets outside the tavern walls. During breakfast, the Dwarven innkeeper is exceptionally jolly. He shares with the party this town’s annual tradition--on the first snowfall, the largest and steepest hill in the center of town is converted into an extreme sledding course. He rambles on sharing stories of glory and crashes past.


By late morning, the obstacle course is ready. Children of all ages take turns navigating the steep curves while dodging snow walls and large snowballs thrown by onlookers. Shopkeeps are manning pop-up stands, offering fresh gingerbread, warm cider, sledding charms, and winter attire. A particularly popular stand, Snowpuff’s, offers sweetened snow in a cookie cup.

Anyone brave enough to challenge the course may do for 1 copper. The player must use their dice to roll a series of successful perception and dexterity checks. Anyone lucky enough to complete the course unscathed is awarded a toy sleigh and a Snowpuff treat.


—4—


A local Lord has put out the call for adventurers: He is offering a large sack of riches and a seat at his Winterfest table in exchange for the most beautiful and ancient pine in the forest. Finding the tree is simple enough, but the party soon discovers the evergreen serves as a home for the local fauna and a pack of dryads.

In a silvery voice, the dryads warn that the Lord’s prize is a sleeping Treant. They offer the party a deal. In exchange for leaving the Treant’s grove in peace, the Dryads will enchant a smaller tree to take on the appearance of the gargantuan evergreen. The enchantment will only last two days but would grant the party plenty of time to claim their reward and flee town. If they accept the deal, the dryads will also gift the party with a small acorn tree, capable of producing 3 nutritious nuts daily.

Should the party refuse the dryad’s offer, the forest awakens. The party must conquer the Ancient Treant and a score of dryads. If the victor, the party lays claim to the Treant’s body now a bit ramshackle and dropping needles. Seeing the Treant’s corpse, the Lord will be mortified. He is convinced that the party has cursed him, and will turn the party away sans reward.  

 

Brittany Lindstrom is a mixed media illustrator out of ye olde Boise, Idaho. Under the banner of Spice & Rose, Lindstrom is oftentimes left dreaming of deep dungeon dives while chained to her studio. On the rare occasion that she's let out, you can find her presenting panels on art and Artist Alley at conventions all around the Intermountain West. She has a deep love for playing randomized characters. 

December 11, 2018 — David Derus

6 Awesome Ways to Give Your DND Character Personality

Personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws form the backbone of an RPG character’s personality, and are recommended especially for creating D&D characters. Fleshing out these details and choosing unique options during character creation sets the stage for unique character development opportunities during gameplay.

Personality Traits

Personality traits are unique or quirky traits that define how your character behaves on a day to day basis. These can be minor individual traits, such as “I love a good cup of tea” or “I’m fascinated by new technologies”. Combining several of these traits creates a multidimensional character with different facets to their personality.

Alternatively, you can choose one or two personality traits that tie into a character’s backstory and offer a general impression of how they will act. An example of this would be “I was actually raised by wolves”. While this doesn’t have the fine granularity of the previously mentioned traits, it gives an overarching impression of how a character would act in many different situations.  

Ideals

Ideals are beliefs that drive a character. These can include ideas such as Generosity or Greed, Respect or Might, or Tradition or Freedom. These ideals help define the character’s alignment, which defines how other PCs and NPCs view the character. A common hero’s ideal is the Protection of the weak and the innocent, held by ancient heroes as well as modern heroes in the media, such as She-ra, Sabrina, and Mulan. Developing ideals help define what a character deeply believes in and shapes their history as well as how they will roleplay situations which threaten various beliefs.  

Bonds

Bonds are things, people, or places that a character cares deeply about and would fight to protect. A bard may be bonded to a specific magical instrument which was stolen from him long ago, that he now seeks to find and reclaim. A young monk could be bonded to her master, sworn to protect him and the monastery at all costs. A grizzled paladin who shares a bond with her giant lizard mount, is willing to sacrifice herself to save her mount in battle.

While many bonds exist during character creation, bonds can also be gained during gameplay. For instance,  Evelyn and Paultin from Dice, Camera, Action developed a bond with a living puppet construct during their time in Barovia. As the adventures continued, and they experienced various ups and downs together, they came to think of the puppet, Simon, as their son. This bond has led to many emotional and powerful roleplaying experiences facilitated by their DM, Chris Perkins.

Flaws

Flaws are weaknesses in a person’s character than can lead them astray. Common vices, such as lust, gluttony, pride, sloth, greed, envy, and wrath are common general flaws. More specific flaws, such as a treasure-hunter being blind to other threats when presented with large sums of gold, can offer unique roleplaying opportunities when the situations come into play.

Flaws can also be overindulgences of bonds or other traits. For instance, a bond may be “I care deeply for my friends”. However, a corresponding flaw may be “I am blind to danger when it comes to protecting my friends”. A character such as this may fail to fully evaluate a situation when their friend is in danger, rushing in to help but ultimately making the situation worse by putting themselves in greater peril.

While flaws are often seen as inherently bad, they actually offer the opportunity for powerful roleplaying moments and contribute to making a character feel like a real person, instead of a fictional ideal. When characters face their flaws head-on and choose instead to do what is right, their choices become more deeply meaningful and powerful.

Character Props

In addition to creating a character’s personality and background, additional props may be used for each character, to help other players identify them more easily and to help you roleplay more effectively. Buying a unique Dungeons & Dragons miniature for each character, including premade minis from retailers like Reaper Miniatures or Avatars of War, or designing a unique miniature from a service such as Hero Forge, can help other players identify your character and help them imagine what they look like. Additional props, such as Campaign Coins, can give flair and memorability to unique characters.

Getting a dungeons and dragons dice set, with unique d20s for advantage and disadvantage rolls, can also set the mood for specific characters. A warlock that worships Tiamat, for instance, may use a fire-red dnd polyhedral dice set to represent the burning flames that he burns his enemies with, channeled from the power of his patron.

How to RP

Once you have fleshed out a character’s personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws at character creation, you are ready to begin roleplaying. Roleplaying in a table top role-playing game can be a daunting task, especially for new players. Having a well-established personality written out during character creation makes roleplaying during game much easier.

Create notes of special traits for each character that you can easily locate on your character sheet. As you continue to play, add notes of special NPCs and locations your character visits, and how they feel about each place. Before the game starts, quickly skim your previous notes. Not only does this help to develop the character’s personality as you continue to play, it also helps remind you of the fun adventures they’ve had.

In summary, developing a well-rounded character during character creation, including a character’s personality, ideals, bonds, and flaws, sets the stage for easy roleplaying in game. Keeping notes of your character’s adventures continues to build upon their base character to create an evolving, multidimensional character, with opportunities for memorable roleplaying experiences.

 

Emily Smith is a D&D Writer, TTRPG Blogger and DMs Guild Content Creator based in Los Angeles, CA. She is a regular DM and player for Adventurer's League, the official organized play system for D&D 5e. In her free time, she enjoys playing League of Legends, cooking, and cat herding.

December 01, 2018 — David Derus

Three Simple Ways to Play It Safe

By Jeff Chaffee

The masks and costumes may be packed away, but there’s never a dull moment at your roleplaying table, oh humble DM. Your players are always ready to flex their bad-assery and it may seem like you have to escalate like a boss just to keep up. But memes and jokes aside, it’s absolutely possible to go too far. So let’s talk a bit how to keep things in your table-top RPGs tense and scary, but safe.

I want to borrow a lot from an article outlining the Luxton Technique, which you can find here: http://bit.ly/LuxTechDice. We’re going to hit the main sections here, and encourage you to delve deeper as needed.


  • Pregaming:
  • While designing in the space of the Luxton technique, GM and Players take a moment before the dice hit the table to cover the important points that may be triggering. Importantly, though, both the GM and the players will also accept that there is NO expectation where EVERYTHING potentially upsetting can be outlined. This gives the GM both the tools to set appropriate stakes not just for the players, but to outline what’s in and out of bounds.


  • Hitting Pause:
  • Next, as games begin and play continues, Luxton allows players to immediately take control of the narrative when things get uncomfortable. This doesn’t necessarily FORCE them to own up to a trigger or out themselves, but it does create a place where that material can be resolved to the player need. They use their control of the game spotlight to state their need for the story: “I want this secret to come out” or “I need this character to have a positive outcome.” I want to take just a second here and introduce two other more overt tools the table can use:the X-Card and the Veil technique. These will be discussed in greater detail in just a moment, but these are FAR more overt, and their use in and of themselves can be difficult.

    So what are the “veil” technique and the X-Card? These are ways to have the players dictate their limits in a judgment-free way, but doing so may force them to disclose more than they are immediately comfortable with. As with anything else that is close to a hard limit, use both of these with caution. It should be noted that neither X nor Veils are considered part of Luxton, but are included here as alternatives.

    To show these in action, I’ll disclose a hard limit of mine: overt body horror and cannibalism. Both aren’t deep psychological issues of mine, but they both make me VERY uncomfortable.  Let’s see how Veils and X work with those.

    Veils are a way of speeding-up and glossing over the big-time gory details, in effect “drawing a veil over” the action. Using my example, a “veil” would be the DM saying “there was an experiment and the result was this monster” as opposed to a d20 Medicine or Investigation check giving me the actual technical specs on transforming a runaway kid into a poison-spitting subhuman.

    The X-Card, however, is more drastic. It IMMEDIATELY ends a scene, no questions asked. Once X’ed, the game itself is put on pause: set the polyhedrals down, and break character.  In practice, the X break allows the player who invoked the X Card to say “my limit was __” or similar, and may include things such as a water break, etc. After the X, play will be in an entirely new scene, and the X content is not brought back in.

    In my example regarding the body horror items, I’d be inclined to X the scene where we walk in to see Dr. Badguy with the scalpel in his hand and the GM is ramping up to tell us just what is to happen. Now, this scary creation may still be our Big Bad Enemy, but how he created it will not be appearing in the main story.


  • Active Perception Checks:
  • The last main point from the Luxton technique is the most important: look after each other, keeping an eye out for players or tablemates who are behaving off their norm. Is Vorthnius the Night Elf’s player visibly uncomfortable? Has Pasigath not said anything in a bit? Is the DM flushed and sweating after that last scene? Checking in and gaining a player’s-- or even better, the party’s-- consent to continue ensure you’re not pushing too hard or smashing into areas they are uncomfortable with or triggered by.

               Ultimately, all these tools allow for games to tackle heavier content in a way where safety and fun are also addressed.  It allows everyone to know going in that despite rough journeys ahead, no matter what the guy to their left has a sword out and the girl to their right has a shield.

    You know, just in case.

    November 24, 2018 — David Derus
    Black Friday Dice Set Deals

    Black Friday Dice Set Deals

    The holidays are upon us and Dice Envy is running some huge promotions. We wanted to take a moment to lay them all out for you based on release time

     

    Live Now - Early Bird Shopping

    Original Box $15 (Normally $22)

    What do amber, wood, aluminum and zinc all have in common? They are just some of the materials that we used in our dice this year. Not only do we have great D&D dice, every month we include downloadable content such as new adventures, maps, and equipment for Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons. We have great things in store for 2019. Come join us!

    It is a great gift for your dungeon master and all of your role playing friends. 

    Use promo code BLACKFRIDAY to get our Original Monthly Box for a year at just $15 /month. Select month-to-month and cancel at any time.

     

    11/23/2018 - Black Friday

    New Set of 99 Cent Dice

    In order to encourage new players to the table we release 100 sets of dice every month for only 99 cents. This month is a pearled blue set with gold numbering we like to call "Edgbaston." No discount needed. Just show up. There will be a link to the deal on the top of our main page.

     

    11/24/2018 - Small Business Saturday

    Acrylic Dice 20% off

    We are a small business. A family business.  Our office is our spare bedroom. Our staff are friends willing to chip in during the weekend when needed. We are so grateful for the ability to live the dream of being our own boss. So we're spreading that love around and saying thank you for helping us make that dream a reality. Promo Code SBS20.

     

    11/25/2018 -  Charity Drive

    Online Auction for Extra Life

    We are running an auction for our prototype cherry wood dice. Currently we only have one set in existence and we are using it to raise money for Extra Life, a non-profit organization of gamers that  help sick children. 

     

    11/26/2018 - 

    Metal Dice 25% off

    Not much to say here. 25%  off is a good deal. Buy dice.  :)

    Promo Code CYBERMONDAY. 

    November 19, 2018 — David Derus
    Backstory Part 3: Avoiding Toxic Characters

    Backstory Part 3: Avoiding Toxic Characters

    I once led a campaign I worked hard on preparing. However, one of my players decided to play a "murder hobo". Not only did they insist on not leaving the opening pub scene until it was burned to the ground, they also managed to alienate their friends at the table. No one had fun that night and the campaign ended before it began. When we talked about it later he said, "I just did what I thought my character would do." 

    Dear friends, you are the ones making these characters. Don't make a character so  unlikable people do not want to play with you.

    "But David," you say, "My charisma is a 6. I can't exactly be Prince Charming."

    True but this does not give you permission to shit all over the campaign. Here are three ways to avoid building a toxic character.

     

    1. Conspire with your group to get around your characters flaws. 

    Just because your character is flawed doesn't mean you have to be. It is perfectly acceptable to conspire with your friends to thwart your characters toxic intentions. The classic example is with a LG paladin having to "investigate another room" while the rogues steals and murders without being noticed. 

    I once played with a dwarf with a fear of heights. We had to knock him out every time we got on our sweet Eberron air ship. The player didn't fight it. He just found a believable way or his dwarf to be looking the other way when we knocked him out. The DM didn't make it hard for us by making us role. It was just accepted, if the story was to progress the dwarf needed a reason to be constrained.

     

    2. Allow For Growth

    Characters are dynamic. Just because they are flawed in the beginning of the campaign does not mean you have to leave them there. In fact, any character worth their salt will grow as the story unfolds. Use your flaws as something to overcome. In the end that dwarf eventually found his courage. He became the ships mechanic and loved the ship and flying. It was a fun long story that lead from one point to another. A story totally worth telling.

     

    3. Give your character a higher charisma score. 

    Simply put, don't make a character with a built in reason to be gross. No one is forcing you in to making the character, build something else. Anything else. 

    November 16, 2018 — David Derus