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:

See The Updated Prototype Dice!
7 months 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
7 months 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
8 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

It's Done! Thanks for Helping Make This Happen!
9 months ago – Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 10:21:03 PM

That's a Wrap!

The DM's Advice Dice campaign just ended, successfully funded at just over 700% funded. Incredible!

This is just a quick note to say thanks to every one of you. I can't wait to make these for you all.

While not much will happen over the next two weeks or so while Kickstarter's gnomes work out the details, I'll be busy and look forward to having something to share with you later in April. Take a breather!

Last 24 Hours, Want to Do Something? Do it now!
10 months ago – Thu, Apr 02, 2020 at 11:29:17 AM

Last 24 Hours!

The campaign's coming to an end and I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone about the upgrade option to include the 4th die, just in case anyone missed it or needs a reminder. 

(If you're not interested in the 4th die -- it's optional after all -- or have already adjusted your pledge, you can skip this section. It is a recap.)

What's the 4th die? It was covered in detail in this update. The 4th die is a completely optional add-on. The DM's Advice Dice will work fine without it, but if you are interested in obtaining it, there are pledge levels that include it for a slightly higher price. (Note that all Limited Collector's Editions already include it.) 

Now that we're in the last 24 hours, this is a reminder that every reward level (either one set of DM's Advice Dice, or the "share with friends 3-pack") is available with or without the optional 4th die. It's completely up to you, but if you were intending to change something, now's the time!

What Happens Next?

Once the campaign closes, pledges will be collected by Kickstarter and after their gnomes sort through everything, I'll have the green light to proceed with production. Nothing too exciting happens during this phase, as it's all busywork and nothing creative goes on for at least a couple weeks.

After that, you can look forward to updates (like this one) keeping you informed about the whole process of getting these made and sent to people. One of the things I will be sharing is how I made the prototype dice shown in the campaign. Hint: a laser was involved.

Are You a Retailer?

If you're interested in carrying the DM's Advice Dice, I will be offering retailer options once fulfillment to backers is done. Here is a list of the best ways to stay in touch and be the first to know when that happens. Pick whichever one works best for you:

  • Watch these updates. I'll make an announcement after production and once fulfillment to backers is underway. As long as you have pledged at least $1, you'll get these updates.
  • Send me a direct message here on Kickstarter with your name and email address, and I'll be sure to give you a personal heads up when the time comes.
  • Sign up to the mailing list on ticktocktoken.com which will also receive news. Tick Tock Token (which is me) will be carrying the DM's Advice Dice once all Kickstarter fulfillment is done.

Thanks everyone, and I'm looking forward to the next stage!