Dungeon Master's Advice Dice

Created by Donald Papp

Does the DM need a little help or inspiration? Roll the dice and take their advice! (or don't) The DM's Advice Dice are a fun way to add variety, spark ideas, or just plain let the DM take a breather in your favorite RPG! Can't quite think? Stuck in a rut? Players getting complacent? Roll the dice, consider the results, and incorporate into your game!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Pledge Manager Surveys Are Coming!
11 days ago – Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 09:59:08 PM

This post is for backers only. Please visit Kickstarter.com and log in to read.

Pledge Manager Coming Soon!
21 days ago – Fri, Jun 19, 2020 at 01:17:07 AM

Coming Soon: Pledge Manager!

Hello Backers! I have a piece of news I know many of you have been waiting patiently to hear about. I will be using BackerKit as a pledge manager. (If you have never used a pledge manager before, I will explain exactly what it is at the end of this update.)

The pledge manager is how I will be gathering shipping addresses, and it will give you an opportunity to purchase (totally optional) upgrades or additional dice sets. You don't need to create a BackerKit account, just follow the link in the email that is coming in the near future and answer the questions. That's it!

Upgrades and Add-ons: Did you Miss Out on the Fourth Die?

The pledge manager will also make it easy for you to purchase any upgrades or add-ons, such as:

  • Did you miss out on the Fourth Die?  The original DM's Advice Dice is a three-die set, but there is an optional fourth die. It was made available as a separate pledge level, but if you missed out on it, your BackerKit survey will let you upgrade to the fourth die!  (Only backers who missed out will get asked if they would like to upgrade.)
  • Small cloth dice bags -- perfect size for carrying the DM's Advice Dice from session to session -- are available as an optional add-on for a small additional charge. You will be able to add them to your pledge using the pledge manager.
  • You can also purchase additional sets of the DM's Advice Dice as add-ons in the pledge manager, with the same low shipping cost that was featured in the Kickstarter campaign.

What Will Be Happening Next

I will send another update as a heads-up before the BackerKit surveys are mailed.  That way you know when to watch for it.

When the invitation email from BackerKit arrives, it will contain a link to your personal survey. Please fill it out as soon as you can, because I use this information to figure out how many things I need to make!

If you need to change anything, purchase add-on items, or update your shipping information, just click the link in your survey email again or request your survey link under "Lost your survey?" on our BackerKit project page (it will only start working after we send the surveys out.) 

If you used Facebook to log in to Kickstarter, the BackerKit survey link will be sent to the same email address you use for your Facebook account. (If you have another email address that you prefer to use, please contact me and I will do my best to assist you.)

Never Used a Pledge Manager Before? I'll Explain.

(If you already know what a pledge manager is and how it works, you can stop reading here and you won't miss anything.)

A pledge manager (I am using one called BackerKit) helps me collect shipping addresses and get rewards out to backers in an easier and more efficient way.  Since I am only one person, every little bit helps!  BackerKit is separate from Kickstarter, but you can think of BackerKit as sort of "taking the reins" from Kickstarter now that the campaign is over and it's time to figure out how many things I need and who to ship them to.

It also lets YOU, the backers, do a few things that can't be done in Kickstarter. For example, if you want to upgrade your pledge, or add something to it.

This is all done in the following way: 

  • First you will get an email (not yet, I'll let you know when to expect it) from BackerKit. That email contains a link that you will click on, and you'll get a personalized survey. 
  • The survey will ask if you would like to add anything (like upgrades) to your order.  These are optional.
  • If you add anything, you'll be asked to pay for the new additions. (It already knows what you paid in Kickstarter and will not "charge you twice" or anything like that. Your Kickstarter pledge will not be changed.)
  • After that, you'll be asked for your shipping address. This is most important. This is how I know where to ship your rewards.
  • If you need to change anything (for example, if you move and have a new address) you can re-click on the link in your email to go back to the survey, and make changes. Once shipping starts, no more changes can be made.

Hope that helps you understand what to expect. Questions? Feel free to ask in the comments or send me a message.

See The Updated Prototype Dice!
28 days ago – Thu, Jun 11, 2020 at 12:16:54 PM

The Dice Are Looking Great! Here's a Preview!

Greetings, backers! I am excited to share with you some new prototype pictures!

You have all seen the prototypes I used for the campaign. In a previous update, I explained how I made those prototype dice with a laser engraver and paint infill. To recap: it works but it's a messy process that isn't well suited to producing large amounts. And I always knew I wanted better-looking dice than that process could deliver.

I have been working on this, and I can finally show you the latest results.  I am delighted with how much better they look. New and improved in every way! 

New and improved dice have a nicer shape and bigger, higher quality printing. HUGE improvement!

Work Continues

This is only a preview -- there is still much more to do before these are produced and ready to be shipped, but I am very happy with these results and couldn't wait to share them with you!

See you all next update!

Let's Peek at Prototypes
29 days ago – Wed, Jun 10, 2020 at 01:46:07 PM

 Hello backers! Thanks for waiting while things get rolling. Time has all flown by so quickly and I have a lot to show you! What I will show you today is a peek at the prototypes that were pictured in the campaign. Shortly before the campaign ended, I mentioned how I was going to talk about how I made them, so let's walk through it!

Prototypes Are Important

'Prototype' is a word you are probably familiar with. Before I launched the campaign, I made a small number of test dice (prototypes) using my own equipment. They are an important part of design, but I want to stress that the final versions will have better quality printing.

Prototypes, even if they are rough quality, are an important part of design because they allow a person to test the look, the feel, and the real-world use of a thing. Of course, the shape of the dice are not what I needed to test. What I needed to test were things like:

  • Can I fit enough text on the side of a die? What layout looks OK?
  • Is the text size readable?
  • What colors look OK?

... and things like that. To do that, I made the prototypes you saw on the campaign page.

Making Prototypes With a Laser

To make the dice I pictured on the campaign page, I used a laser cutting/engraving machine that I have in my workshop with some blank plastic dice. But it took a little finessing.

Normally my laser is for cutting through stuff. But if the laser is used at a very low power and moved quickly, it can be used as an engraver. When used in this way, it blitzes away a thin layer of material instead of cutting all the way through. It requires a lot of experimentation to figure out just the right power setting and speed for the material involved, but this technique works on most things.

Here is a picture of the laser in the middle of engraving: 

Laser head zips back and forth at high speed, vaporizing a tiny layer of plastic with each pass.

The wood is a frame (or jig) for holding the dice steady while the laser does its work.

You may have noticed that the dice in the picture still look blank! That's because after engraving, everything is still white -- the engraving is invisible! 

To make the engraved letters stand out, I apply thick acrylic paint to fill in the engraving. The way this is done is simple: paint is smeared on the face of the die, then wiped away before it dries. A small amount of paint gets left behind in the engraved area, and that's how the engraving gets colored! 

Thick acrylic paint fills in the engraving, and stays behind when wiped away.

This Method Is Only Good For Prototypes

This method is only for test pieces, for a few good reasons:

  •  It's messy. A lot of wet paint and paint-streaked paper towels is involved. Doing more than one color means doing it once for each color, too.
  •  It doesn't scale well. It works, but only for small quantities. Making a few dice is one thing, making several hundred would probably give you super carpal tunnel syndrome or something. 
  •  The results don't look as good as I need. The engraving looks OK at a distance, but the laser engraving isn't as sharp and clean on blank dice as it is on other materials.

 Here's a closeup so you can see for yourself. See how the letters look a little... out of focus? 

See how the text looks a little... out of focus?

That's from little extra fragments of plastic being vaporized by the laser during engraving. Some materials engrave better than others, and white plastic dice simply don't laser-engrave perfectly cleanly. Then those little extra fragments also get filled with paint, and the result doesn't look sharp when viewed in close-up.

It's great for prototyping, because I can do it in my own small workshop with my own materials! But the final versions need better printing quality, so they won't be done by laser engraving and paint filling. But it's a great tool for testing.

That's a small peek into designing and making something. Every little thing matters, so it's a long process of working out the kinks and doing things over and over, making them better bit by bit.

Thanks for joining me to learn a little about how I made the prototypes. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments. 

In the future, I'll talk a bit about how the DM's Advice Dice will get high quality faces, but for now I want to thank you if you're still here reading this and that I look forward to updating you all again in a few weeks. I'll have so much to tell you!

Development News
about 2 months ago – Sat, May 23, 2020 at 06:26:24 AM

Hello backers! Work continues on the DM's Advice Dice, and this update is some brief news about development. (If you're not interested in that, you can skip this update and not miss anything.)

Right now, development is at a stage that can feel stop-and-go. There's a lot of testing things and looking at materials and talking to suppliers and so forth. So there is a lot of waiting for things, and making decisions just to have to wait for more things. It can feel a bit frustrating to a guy like me, who prefers to dive in and sink my teeth into things when I work.  But it's also an opportunity to remind myself that it's okay to step back and think carefully about things. That way, when you encounter something you can control, you can feel good about your decision because you know you've thought carefully about it.

I've also been doing design work on the Collector's Box in the meantime. I haven't talked about them much. The Collector's Boxes are part of the Limited Collector's Editions, and I have kept them secret -- no one even knows what they look like yet -- but that won't last forever! That's all I can say about them for now, but I look forward to sharing more when I can!

So, things are moving but they are also in the middle of what is probably the most boring stage of development, where there is very little to show off. I'm looking forward to some future updates being a bit more visual!

Thank you all for letting me take you along on this.

Donald