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:

Production Update, and Another Teaser Image
5 months ago – Fri, Aug 07, 2020 at 09:57:11 PM

 As part of this update of the DM's Advice Dice, I have a couple new photos to show you all. First, some news about production.

When the Kickstarter campaign for the DM's Advice Dice wrapped up at over 700% funded, I knew that I would need to look into getting some outside help in getting the dice made. Back in early June I shared a photo of a production sample from a supplier that I was very happy with.

Right about now is when I should be sharing photos of some beautiful production units, but that's not going to happen yet. The reason is that the dice my supplier produced aren't up to snuff.

Production Can Be Disappointing At Times

Getting a product made and produced can result in some disappointment, and sadly I encountered some when it came to production quality. In short, their production quality did not match the sample quality I inspected.

It was very disappointing, especially since at every step of the way, I was spending a lot of money to get samples and tests done (and shipped to me by courier.) They seemed knowledgeable and competant, but as soon as I paid money and pressed GO to let the work happen, things went badly. Here is what came out the other end:

Production sample on right
Actual production: Here's what came out the other end

What's even worse is that when I communicated to the supplier that I really wasn't happy with the bad alignment and wanted to find out how it can be fixed (I was even open to getting another production run of the "bad" dice done, and swapping them out myself if necessary) it quickly became clear that they didn't think anything was wrong.

But what about the fact that the quality of the samples I paid for (which are expensive) and reviewed -- and based my decisions on -- what about the fact that they clearly do not match the quality of production?  Well, according to them, sample quality isn't indicative of production quality and that's normal because reasons. (What the heck am I paying all this money for samples and trial runs if they don't represent the actual end product, then?)

I want to tell you all, that was a real blow. I couldn't help but feel I had screwed up and let myself and every one of you down -- that I was myself responsible for getting this outcome. I was also upset that despite verifying every step, as soon as I trusted things to be out of my hands, things went wrong.

So, What Now?

That was an expensive and wasteful mess that still isn't sorted out. Thankfully, this update doesn't end there. 

It did take some effort to remind myself that I'm not responsible for what this supplier did with my trust, but I am responsible for what happens afterward.

Happily, they weren't the only supplier I talked to -- far from it. I reached out to another supplier that I liked and had shortlisted earlier. I asked them "is what the first supplier is showing and telling me reasonable and normal?" According to them, it was not. They are more expensive but they assured me that their production would meet or exceed the quality of their samples and explained why. Their explanations made sense.

In short, I had them go ahead with a production run of their own. It's currently in progress.  So things hit a bump and I had a bad time, but we're still rolling. I look forward to showing you all beautiful dice pictures when this wraps up. (Knock on wood)

Let's Close With Another Teaser Image

Thanks for reading this far! If you're still here, have another teaser image for part of the Collector's Box for the Limited Edition!  (As usual, these are development pictures so colors and details may not be final.)

I've had a lot of fun (and it's been a lot of work) designing the Collector's Box. I can't wait to put them into the hands of backers that pledged for the Limited Editions. Thanks, you rock.

Teaser image for the Limited Edition Collector's Box

Collector's Box Teaser Picture
6 months ago – Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 11:19:03 PM

First Teaser Image for Collector's Box

One thing I haven't spoken very much about yet is the Limited Edition Collector's Box for the DM's Advice Dice, but I'm going to do so now!  Here's a teaser image of one of the development pieces.

Prototype teaser of the Collector's Edition Box. (That means ignore color, etc because it's a test piece.)

The Collector's Box Will Remain a Secret (for now)

You might be curious to see how it all turns out, but I won't be revealing everything about the box, because what is life without a little bit of mystery? Those backers who pledged for a Limited Edition will be the first to see the whole thing when they receive their rewards. 

I'll share more teasers in the coming weeks, but one thing to keep in mind is that these are just development pictures. I don't mind telling you all that I have changed several parts of the design several times by now, either because I think of an improvement, or because I realize an idea I was going for didn't work as well as I had hoped. It's been a lot of work, but at some point every design needs to be frozen, which basically means saying "okay, it's time to stop changing things or this will never get done!" It's definitely that time -- to be honest, even a little past that time -- and I'll share more about how it is all going in the coming weeks.

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Let's Talk About Product Development (But First, Surveys)
6 months ago – Thu, Jul 09, 2020 at 05:44:33 PM

Everyone Should Have Their Surveys By Now

Hello backers!  Those of you who have completed your backer surveys, thank you all so much.  Everyone should have gotten a survey email and link by now, so if you have not then please check your junk mail folder (search for "Backerkit" if you need to.)  If that doesn't help, then please reach out to me directly with a message here on Kickstarter (because messages here don't rely on email just in case email is the problem.) 

Dice Progress

The dice are still in the awkward phase of "lots of work done but none of it makes a good picture or story!"  I can't wait to show you what I've been working on -- but there will be news soon, I promise!

This is a good opportunity to talk a bit more about product development; by which I mean the process of making something new.

Let's Talk More About Product Development

From here on I'll talk about development and prototyping of a thing.  If you're not interested in that, you can skip this update and not miss anything.  I know some of you are interested in this part of things, so I hope you are still with me!

Making Something New is Fun

But let me share something from Amanda Wozniak (Steve Wozniak's daughter, also a brilliant engineer in her own right.)  She once observed that "when you have something working, you are 15% done and the fun part is over." I've found this to be true again and again. There is a huge gulf between making just one thing that (mostly!) works, and the amount of work needed to turn that one thing into something that has all the kinks ironed out. Most people would agree that making something new is the part that is the most fun.

Once all the kinks are worked out there is still a lot of work needed to turn that one thing into many things, because most prototyping methods don't scale well and can't be used to make a lot of something.  That usually means some amount of designing again to account specifically for production methods. (You may recall in an earlier update I talked about how I made the prototype dice, and how it's okay for making one or two sets but it just doesn't scale well.)

Making Something Can Be Easy To Screw Up

Developing something is often "two steps forward, one step back" because in development, one always discovers new problems that need solving to move forward.  This is in fact one of the main purposes of prototyping; forcing hidden problems to the surface. Tackling those problems one by one eventually leads to a finished project.  

But it's also how a project can have trouble: by not realizing there is 85% more work to be done (and the fun part is over!) or failing to account for the fact that there are always hidden problems waiting in the remaining 85% of the work.  That leads to being short on time, which leads to overwork and rushing, which leads to decisions made out of stress (or worse, desperation) and that all leads to nowhere good.

Are YOU Working on Something New and Having Problems?

If so, just remember it does not mean the project is in trouble or that you are in over your head!  Finding and solving problems is the hard work of how things get done.   (But if everything is always a problem that is always taking longer than expected... well than that indeed may be a sign you may be in over your head.)  

Let's do our part to normalize the idea that finding problems is not evidence of dishonesty or incompetence. Are you working on something and want to share it, along with sharing a problem you had?  Whatever it is, I'd love to hear about it, so message me or put it in the comments below!

Pledge Manager Surveys Are Coming!
7 months 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!
7 months 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.