Celebrate D&D's 40th: AMA with author of "Playing at the World"


Jayson from Gygax Magazine sez, "This Sunday, January 26th, marks the 40th anniversary of the first publication of Dungeons & Dragons. To mark the occasion, Jon Peterson, author of Playing at the World and writer for Gygax Magazine, will be holding an AMA ("Ask Me Anything") on Reddit."

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12 Days of Christmas D12s


Eric sez, "I created these dice last night, with barely any time to spare before the 'twelve days of Christmas' begin (from 25 December until 6 January). I thought you might like to see what Leaping Lords, Milking Maids, and Turtle Doves look like when engraved onto a 12-sided die."

Eric'll make you a custom D12 for $4, which is a steal.

Twelve Days Of Christmas

HOWTO make gingerbread polyhedral dice

Our Nerd Home has a great guide to the finicky, difficult, but ultimately incredible art of constructing gingerbread polyhedral dice, with a little help from our old friends, graham crackers.

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D20 ice-molds


Thinkgeek sells a set of silicone D20 ice-molds for $12. I've never had good luck with two-part molds, but that product-shot is pretty spectacular, and the documentation makes reference to an ingenious-sounding interlock system that has you freezing the bottom half of the mold, locking the top on, filling it up and refreezing. If that works for you, you can also get a Death Star ice-mold.

Critical Hit d20 Ice Mold (via Geeks Are Sexy)

Name-your-price bundle of kid-friendly RPGs

Bundle of Holding -- a name-your-price download service -- is currently promoting a collection of family-friendly RPGs, including several games that are suitable for age 5 and up. Ten percent of the purchase price goes to two worthy kids' charities (Save the Children and St Jude's Children's Hospital), and you can choose how much you pay (the recommended payment is $17). If you give more than $14.14, you get six bonus games, as well. Click through below for a list of the games in the bundle:

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D&D-Themed movie Zero Charisma pits Nerds vs. Hipsters

Ethan Gilsdorf reviews Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews’ darkly comic fable of nerdliness, rivalry and belonging.

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D&D with toddlers


Gygax Magazine has posted my article about playng D&D with your toddlers on their site; it describes how I came up with a stripped-down set of D&D-like rules for gaming with my then-four-year-old daughter, Poesy. We had a whale of a time!

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Kickstarting laser-cut RPG terrain

Infinite Crypt, a Kickstarter project aiming to raise £6,000, is a system for building relatively cheap tabletop RPG terrain in quantity, using snap-together, laser-cut materials.

The pieces are architecturally ambitious and the accompanying photos show how great they look when painted. I don't buy a lot of RPG terrain stuff, so I can't really tell if £59 is a cheap price for the materials to build "a large room, a colonnade or a key intersection." But what's immediately obvious is that these pieces are gorgeous and well-designed, and that the project itself has pretty modest and sensible goals -- give us money to buy a laser. More money? We'll buy another laser. More money? We'll make more stuff.

As with all crowdfunded projects, you should be prepared for the eventuality that nothing will come of it, and you'll lose your money. That said, project founder James Wallbank runs a successful hackspace in Sheffield, and seems to be a together sort of dude. So caveat emptor, but also, FWOAR.

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Astounding game-tokens from Cthulhu Wars, the $1.4M kickstarted board-game


I'm the guest of honor this weekend at Fencon in Dallas, which is just getting started. One of the exhibitors is Cthulhu Wars, the Lovecraftian boardgame that raised over $1.4M on Kickstarter (they were looking for $40K). They've brought along the prototype for the game, and the tokens are amazing. They were kind enough to let me photograph them, and I've uploaded the hi-rezes to my Flickr; there's a gallery of some of the best after the jump.

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Critical Hits: a history of a the battle between gamers and game-designers for nuance in combat systems


A reader writes, "The early history of role-playing games seems like a constant battle between the creators of Dungeons & Dragons and its fans. Sometimes, like with critical hits, the fans wanted the game to be one way, but Gary Gygax and the folks at TSR just wouldn't have it. The case of critical hits shows that the fans have the real power, and that even if it takes decades, eventually D&D will implement critical hits, damn it."

The history of critical hits was written by Jon Peterson, author of the fantastic-looking Playing at the World, a history of wargames and RPGs. Looks like an excellent companion to David Ewalt's Of Dice and Men.

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Becoming a Web developer as an RPG skill-tree


Dungeons & Developers is a cute and useful "skill tree" in the style of an RPG levelling guide. It starts with basic HTML and works its way through various skills all the way to master Web developer. Each skill-box comes with links to free online tutorials and training materials, and the flowchart suggests a logical progression through all the varied topics.

Dungeons & Developers (via Hacker News)

Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It

David Ewalt's Of Dice and Men is a wonderful, energetic and personal history of Dungeons and Dragons. Ewalt -- an editor and writer at Forbes magazine -- played D&D as a geeky adolescent, gave it up through his early adulthood, then fell in love with it again. Dice and Men is the story of his journey in D&D and the history of the game itself.

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Assault on Equestria: My Little Pony themed D&D game with a young kid!


The debut issue of Gygax magazine (a reborn version of the classic Dragon gaming mag) carried an article I wrote explaining the variant D&D rules my then-four-year-old daughter an I were using. It involved a blend of random toys from the living room, painted D&D miniatures, dice, and pennies from the piggy-bank for scorekeeping.

Now, one of Gygax's readers has posted his experience playing the game with his own daughter. He used a set of My Little Pony toys (including an awesome MLP castle) to build a campaign called "Assault on Equestria" and it sounds like his daughter had an amazing time -- as did he! It's been a while since I've played D&D with my kid; this makes me want to go dig out the dice-bag!

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What FRPGs can teach us about gold

"Look at games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Dungeons and Dragons, or the original Final Fantasy. In those games, gold is the money, and you often get gold not by doing an honest day's work, but by running around and beating people up and taking their gold. In other words, the entire world of modern fantasy role-playing is a subtle joke on gold's unsuitability as a medium of exchange." -Noah Smith (via Making Light)

Anti-D&D video warns of satanic Dungeon Masters

In "Dungeons and Dragons, Satan's Game," we learn that D&D is a gateway to Satanism and human sacrifice. I remember being a young gamer in the early 1980s and meeting people who'd warn me about the peril it presented to my immortal soul.

D&D to a Fundie (via Christian Nightmares)