Norse Foundry Review: Atmar’s Cardography (Fiery Pits)

Improvisation is important as a DM. As is planning. The venn diagram overlap of those two is slight. However, this Kickstarter from Norse Foundry fits squarely between the two. It’s a very weird product – not for people who love cards, not for people who love maps – but perfect for both. Let’s take a gander under the hood of “Enter the Fiery Pits.”

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Wyrmwood Review: Bespoke Cherry Dice Tower System

It’s been over a year since we took a look at the Complete Dice Tower system by Wyrmwood, and in the wake of their new Kickstarter … I have such sights to show you…

Today we take an exclusive look at their new iteration, aptly named “Bespoke Dice Tower System.” Let us begin!

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Elderwood Academy Review: Hex Chest Elite Series

Our (yours and my) relationship with Elderwood Academy has been rock solid since day one. They’ve been a remarkable company selling incredible products for a pretty fair price, so when they announced their Elite Series Hex Chests, I just knew showing one off to you guys would be a wise choice.

Is the new Elite Series worth the cost? What’s new? How is it different? Well, let’s take a closer look!

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Wyrmwood Review: Customized Cherry Wood Hero Vault

In the beginning, I had several companies in mind to work with. One of those companies I never believed would take any interested in my work at all was Wyrmwood Gaming. But it’s touching and thoughtful showings of their appreciation like this that still blow my damn mind.

Today, we take a look at the Custom Hero Vault!

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Darksilver Forge Review: Óðinn Vígvöllr Terningbrett

Know him as WōdenWōdan, Wuotan, Wōtan, or Odin many are inspired by the one-eyed god of Old Norse mythos. So much so that he’s made appearances in every form of popular media throughout time. Now, you can be inspired by the god of battle when you need it most – we’re taking at look at the Odin Battlefield Dice Tray

Packaging

So, here’s a thing – I don’t like Darksilver Forge’s packaging for this dice tray. The cardboard box is very flimsy, the colors (gray, green, and black) do not match the tray at all (brown, tan). The lettering on the front is a little gimmicky, and the banner “premium quality” is pointless – since every item manufactured in the past 50 years sports that boast, I think.

The only redeeming quality to the face of the box is that completely amazing art on the cover. Crossed swords, a helmed viking-esque warrior with two working eyes and five miles a beard, a Celtic inspired circle, and two ravens. Very fitting and themeatic!

The back fairs no better, really, than the front.

I think the presentation of the tray is wonky – taking 1/4 of the entire packaging. The font for Specifications is a little too thin to appease the eye, but is forgiveable. The “Odin” font and “Darksilver Forge” font are far, far bolder than the rest of the case, which clashes with the 1950s noir typewriter font used for the webstie and @. The bar-code is not left-aligned with the font above it, the three logos for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are oddly placed and not aligned with anything.

And worst of all… I KNOW you see those poorly photographed dice in there. They’re not photoshopped (that I can tell) but sure look like it. The lighting for that photograph is SO HARSH that the shadows are obliterated, making it look like a cut-and-paste job.

The Tray

Luckily, the packaging does not matter all that much. What you’re here for is the tray itself. Now, we’ve seen this exact configuration from Easy Roller Dice Co a long, long time ago – including the size, octagonal shape, depth, and selling point (noise reduction). In that review, I commend the tray on doing exactly that, and this one does as well…

So what’s the difference?

Theme. Theme, my friends, is the only difference. The dark brown faux-leather of walls and back contrast well with the tan velvet liner and the dark grey/black image of Nealy-Odin in the middle!

Speaking of the faux-leather – I’m pretty happy to say they’ve matched the quality we’ve seen from Easy Roller in the past, as far as the leather itself is concerned.

The huge 11.5″ tray is pretty banana pancakes when it comes to practical use. Very often these trays are thought to be too large by players and DMs alike. I tend to agree unless you’re sharing with a friend or two – in which case, the ample space is useful. 

Anyone who plays at a small square or round table can put this dice tray right in the middle of the table and up to four can comfortably utilize it without even having their dice touch.

The Selling Point

Again, what you’re paying for is the baller-as-hell iconography on the play surface of this tray.

Now I know, I KNOW some of you are, like me, shrieking “Odin is supposed to be missing an eye!” to which I say “You’re absolutely right, welcome brothers and sisters; welcome into the fold.” It wouldn’t bother me nearly as much if it weren’t the only complaint I had about the image! Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s raven familiars, are both drawn very well. A lot of artists forget the trademark hook at the end of the beak of a raven – or opt for a more aesthetically pleasing swoop that you’d find in a crow. The swords, Celtic-like circle, and armor all look really good, the braided beard and hair looks good to me and draws the eye… one eye. Odin. Old one-eyed Odin.

Also: take note, they wrote “premium velvet liner” on the back and I didn’t have a snarky barb about using the word “premium?”

This is the softest velvet I have ever touched in my life. I’m not sure if I just got a special tray that someone conditioned and brushed before I got it, but it’s completely mind-blowingly soft and squishy. A++, would sleep on.

The Not-so-great

I do have some concerns about the overall build quality present. Let me point out some of the concerns:

Unlike Easy Roller Dice Co.’s competing tray, the seam where the wall of the dice tray connects is very noticeable. You can see it juts out a full 2mm from the corner where it’s joined.

The same is true with the outside seam – the faux-leather is not folded or heat treated enough to keep it very flat. Like a loose seam in the leg of your pants, you look at it and think “that’s not… right?” even if it’s not broken or holds forever!

The bottom plate of the tray, where the faux-leather wraps to form a nice flat base, luckily stays flat, but you can see the seam pokes out on the bottom as well. I just have fears that with excess use, the seam could prove problematic.

Note: the people over at Darksilver have always, to my knoweldge, taken great care of their customers – and I’ve been assured that should the seam fail, they work with you to make it right.

Overall

I like it. I really do like it. It photographs well, the colors are a good change of pace, the velvet is incredible, You can pretend that Odin is missing at least one eye, people remark “that’s cool!” whenever they see it. It’s huge in size, but not a giant investment like something from Wyrmwood, but it’s STILL pricier than some of the wood and leather options from Nerdist Woodworking and 50% more expensive than the competition tray from EasyRollerDice Co.

For that extra premium in cost, I’d like to see more care put into the packaging and the seam. Even still, take a look for yourself – and Hail to He Who brings both weal and woe.

I don’t always advocate rolling, but when I do… be sure you have to Drop the Die.
Review by JB Little, Follow me on twitter for more “useful” information.

Eldritch Arts and Kraken Dice Review: Iconic Blue + Fire and Fury

I’ve decided to tackle a double review this week. After 11 days of CONSTANT camera issues and photography hang-ups, computer problems and project failures, at least I’ve finally gotten around to writing about two of my favorite products: A new Dragon Themed Pencil Dice Box from Eldritch Arts, and the highly sought after Iconic Blue limited run dice from Kraken Dice!

Why a fire-breathing dragon and a sea-foam kraken together? Let me show you –

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EmBrace Leather Review – Premium Dragon Eye Leather Dice Bag

You can plainly see from any dice bag in Mandy’s shop – she’s got not only an eye for artist flare but one hell of a set of skills. Without a closer look, many people avoid a $30+ purchase to hold their dice, particularly bags, but this offering brings a lot of style, design, and craftsmanship to the proverbial and literal table.

Let’s take a closer look at this unexpectedly creepy leather dice bag. (Creepy good, not ‘balding unfit neighbor watering your bushes with no shirt on in red gym shorts he had from highschool’ creepy.)
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Easy Roller Dice Co. Review – Staging Area Lidded Dice Tray

Easy Roller has been exceptional at bucking average trends in the gaming world. While people were making small 4×8 dice trays, they made an 11.5″ dice tray. People flooded the market with cheap metal dice, Easy Roller launched high quality gunmetal dice.
Today, I’m here to let you know that they’ve went even further beyond their previous incarnations – with the Wolf Dice Tray we’re about to look at!

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The Rook & The Raven Review: Mischief & Misadventure Campaign Diary

So, lets imagine a nightmare scenario: You hate dice. You don’t care about rolling trays or dice boxes! You think ‘Who uses coins?” and one time your friend caught you spitting on their dice tower in disgust. You’re a honest to goodness monster.

But you still need a character sheet… You still probably write down something, anything, during your game. Chances are, you’ve also written some bullshit down on a random page and then use a post-it note with an even smaller note on the edge that says something vague to remind you what’s on that page.

Well, good news – I’ve got a product even you’d have to admit is pretty handy! Rook & Raven’s Campaign Diary! And better still: I’ll help you save a little bit on your order, just for reading. Use the offer code “dropthedie” at checkout to get $5 off on your preorders! (Good through 2/15/18)

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Eldritch Arts Review: Avalon Dice + Pencil box

You can all probably remember that I love EldritchArts a little too much. Gene is a really great and inspired guy, the honesty and care they put into their stuff is just… it’s great.

Last time I reviewed their products, it made a HUGE impact on their production. New additions were added to not only their smaller box, but other, bigger, products. Almost every issue I had before has been addressed in some fashion, so it’s no surprise that I’m incredibly excited to review the new offering from these guys: Their premium dice and pencil boxes.

Use Promo code: DROPTHEDIE15 to save 15% off any EldritchArts order! Holy cow!

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Cantrip Candles Review: A Walk In The Woods + Samples

Now we’re really bucking tradition! Not dice, not even a common accessory – these Cantrip Candles have taken Twitter and Facebook by storm the past few months. Allegedly they are appropriately themed to give ambiance to your gaming room that matches the scene of the game, leading to further immersion.

By Example: My D&D group was on a trek eastward from Waterdeep to Parnast in the Forgotten realms. As they passed by the enormous High Forest, I pulled out this candle and burned it for an hour to help set the mood of woods, mud, winding hills. How did the candle fair? Let’s find out! 

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NerdistWoodworking Review: Padauk Greater Tray of Rolling

Practically everyone, by now, knows of Wyrmwood Gaming and their amazing dice trays. I’ve loved working with them and have been blown away by their products.

Today, we look at a direct competitor: NerdistWoodworking  – an Arkansas based start-up company breaking into the quality wood gaming accessory world. This is the first product of theirs I’ve had in my hand, so lets take a close look.

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Wizards RPG Team Review: Dungeon Master’s Screen Reincarnated (On Location!)

Most, not all, DMs choose to use a Dungeon Master’s Screen to keep their notes and obvious cheating (for the betterment of the game) hidden from prying eyes. Keeping the screen artsy, stylish, and useful on both sides is paramount. Let’s see how WotC’s new DM Scren Reincarnated holds up!

Packaging

Packaging is just as expected. Nothing crazy, just a simple sleeve with the screen art on it. Tasteful, direct. No problems here.

Outer Art

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Luckily, they chose to make a continuous photo this time! I’m not a huge fan of the three-phase screens sold by Gale Force Nine. Having one single landscape photo let’s the eye travel smoothly.

The warm colored screen works well with the black and silver accents, making the screen glow without being one-note. Thankfully they chose to ditch the overly busy Orange-Yellow screen they previously released.

The dragon is FAR Superior to the original in my opinion. It’s menacing and violent looking. The dragon has adequate size comparison by the human clutched in it’s fore-claw. The city underneath being on fire also draws the eye westward to the last panel.

Pure, clean sky. I love the contrast the first and last panel have: one with a dragon’s wing barely visible, herolding death. The last panel showing no sign of the dragon’s presence – gone as quickly as it came. Fantastic job. 

Inner Panels

On the DM’s side, we see a rework of the info panels.

These shots are left intentionally awkward to protect WotC’s intellectual property.

An old favorite returns in two panels – the conditions. Always handy to have, the art is a nice touch. They also look far cleaner on this mountainside background! While the conditions take up a lot of real estate, they are very important to player and DMs alike. The art is also smaller and very appropriate to each condition. I enjoy it as the centerpiece of the screen.

Right of the conditions, we have some new additions. Nothing important is lost in the transition, only moved. We still get:

  • Setting difficulty
  • Cover
  • Obscure areas
  • Light
  • Skills and Abilities

But we also squeeze in:

  1. Tracking DCs
  2. Object Hitpoints
  3. Object AC
  4. Services (coaches, hirelings, etc)
  5. Food and Lodgings

In the transition we lose the Tarrasque image, which was cool, for a more useful size chart. To make room for our new charts, we no longer have access to the totally not pointless “Something Happens!” Chart (3. A metor shoots across the sky!) And the very much mostly useless “Quick Finds” chart (6. Letter).

I will not weep for our loss.

The far left side is COMPLETELY different, however. A total rework.

Our NPC Generation Charts are now gone, and replaced with a robust “Actions in Combat” chart, Long/High Jump, Suffocation, Concentration, and “things you can do” note.

I feel it’s a net gain, mechanically speaking. Though I did use the Name chart from time to time.

Overall

In the end, this is a great step in the right direction for a non-campaign specific DM screen. All the info on here is useful and none of the charts overlap. The art is insanely good on both sides.

I feel safe recommending this screen to basically anyone!
Buy the screen here, on Amazon, or at your local gaming shop today.

I don’t always advocate rolling, but when I do… be sure you have to Drop the Die.
Review by JB Little, Follow me on twitter for more “useful” information.

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Elderwood Academy Review: Scroll Codex Dice Tower System

So, you sit down at your gaming table and pull the shoe box lid out of your bag. Everyone nods, they know the struggle. You roll dice, have some laughs, and enjoy a night of gaming.

So, you sit down at your gaming table and pull out a blue velvet bag nearly a foot long. You unwrap a leather and cherry wood etched and ornate scroll sporting the likeness of a dragon on the black leather exterior. You remove the leather and cherry wood insides and snap them together into a dice tray just as gorgeous. Everyone nods, because hell yeah. You roll dice, have some laughs, and enjoy a night of gaming.

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VyseriArt: Deck of Many Things

Today we’re looking at one of those single use props that are completely worth buying. As I’ve always said, each person determines their own level of investment and involvement in purchasing gaming products. If you’re happy rolling in the lid of a shoe box and writing the various card names on index cards – DO THAT. Otherwise, let’s take a look at this Tarot style Deck of Many Things by VyseriArt from Etsy.

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Elderwood Academy Review: Spellbook

I have a PhD in being an overtly frugal dude. It’s what made this entire venture of mine happen – i never knew what to buy and only a handful of people were reviewing things adequately. I wanted weights, measurements, pictures, discussion.

One of the companies that always impressed the hell out of me with the up-front information they’d give customers – almost as though they weren’t trying to trick someone – was Elderwood Academy, and one of their most explosively popular items has to be the Spellbook! Lets crack this gorgeous thing open and take a look.

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Aggro Boxes Review: 5″ x 7″ Dice Tray

How cool does that look? Today, we’re taking a look at one of the most sought after of dice accessories: the affordable and small dice tray! The gents and gentettes over at Aggro Box (or Aggro Boxes – both are acceptable I’m told) have married two of my favorite things – beautiful wood and affordable, stylish options! Let’s start the review.

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Wyrmwood Gaming Review: Complete Zebrawood Dice Tower System

We’ve done boxes, we’ve done bags, we’ve done trays and coinage and NOW… We tackle the truly ostentatious. We tackle the most iconically one-use item at your gaming table: Dice Towers! Let’s start inspecting the various layers to this parfait of wooden pleasure… I have no idea where that came from, but lets start our review of the Zebrawood Dice Tower

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Dogmight Gaming Review: Chechen Viking Axe Dice Tray

There is no monopoly on RPG gaming gear, lucky for all of us. You’ve seen my take on the modern, very simple and clean design by Wyrmwood – so to contrast, we’re going to take a look at a more stylized and eye-catching product from the (very cordial) lumberjacks over at Dogmight Games.

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