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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.

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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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App Review: (D&D) 5th Edition Spellbook

This is a first! A few people every week ask me my opinions on applications that can be used for my tabletop games. So, I’ll start out with the one I use every. freaking. game. At least once, anyway – whether I’m a spellcaster player, a DM, or running interference for the DM by quick-drawing those tricky spell rules.

Let’s take a look at 5th Edition Spellbook in more detail.

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DnDice UK Review: Legendary Tekthyrios (Blue and Gold)

DnDice.UK has been going far beyond your average dice shop. Since I was introduced to Grady, this company has continued to surprise me month after month with their dedication and hard work. Now we get a chance to look at their new precision milled aluminum dice – each of which are named after a Legendary dragon from D&D’s past iterations!

Today, we’re taking a look at Tekthyrios, a Storm Dragon who was fed mushrooms that let the portal in his belly open to fiends who nearly destroyed Celestia…. not making this up.

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TTRPG Advice: The Player Character Backstory

The majority of questions I’ve seen in my Tabletop Gaming history surround a single aspect of the game: The backstory. How much should a player prepare? How much should a DM use? Is there too much? Too little? Can a DM change it?

While the background generation is very important, I think we can tackle the vast majority of your questions and concerns in this one article – as well as give some tips to help you (or your players) make a more meaningful and memorable backstory! So let’s take a look.

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Polyhero Dice Review: Wizard Dice + d20 Wizard’s Hat

We’ve had novelty dice in the past (glow in the dark, free-floating dice, etc) but … never THIS level of novelty. These took the internet by storm when they were announced many eons ago – I was shared the Warrior Dice link at least a thousand times. Now we step away from the bloodsoaked carnage and into the realm of high magic.

These dice are clearly interesting, but do they hold up to what dice aspire to be? Are Wizard Dice just a fun toy to keep around, or will they make it into your weekly use at the gaming table? Let’s find out.

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The Great D6 Roundup: Which D6s are worth your time?

There is something special about d6s compared to other dice. From a throw at a Craps table, lifting the cup for Cho-han, or making a move in the popular Powered by the Apocalypse system, rolling 2d6s just… it just feels official. Today, let’s take a quick and concise look at my favorite d6s out on the market today.
Note: some of these are not cheap. But that’s true of most dice I review, after all.

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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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Die Hard Dice Review: Gothica Metal (Glow-in-the-Dark)

Novelty is sometimes dangerous. Dice that light up, dice boxes that have levels and snaps and foam inserts, dice trays that look like a honeycomb – they get annoying, in the way, or cheapen the product.

One example of novelty done right in my mind is glow-in-the-dark dice. Die Hard Dice is the first set I’ve had on this blog and, if the preview image isn’t a big enough spoiler, they’re pretty damn cool. Lets take a closer look.

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TTRPG Advice: Connecting Your Plot

We’ve all seen those thread-bare plots used in games and movies, tv shows and novels. But how to connect your “plot threads” into something strong enough to pull your story along is not so easy in a Tabletop Game where other people’s imaginations are involved in the creation of your story. Hopefully I can help shine some light on how to weave together your plot and keep your players from getting lost.

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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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TTRPG Advice: Persevering a T.P.K (Total Party Kill)

When you put in a video game, even a brutal one like Darkest Dungeon or Demon’s Souls, you are pitted against a faceless and brooding evil – mechanics. A team of developers spent years crafting that game to be beatable yet challenging, unforgiving but surmountable, hair-pullingly frustrating but rewarding in the end.

A Tabletop RPG, on the other hand, has a face, a name, and generally feelings to boot – we call them “Game Masters.” And when disaster strikes and you lose everything, you can throw your head back and shout obscenities at a videogame, but chances are your Game Master might feel a little cross after such a thing. So how do you work past a TPK as a Game Master or as a Player? Let me lend a helping hand with my Three-Step Program.

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Easy Roller Dice Co. Review: Legendary Metal D20s

Easy Roller Dice and I have had a wonderful professional relationship since I’ve started this whole blog thing. I have to say, I am a little partial to their products – they tend to be simple and well executed, clean and crafted well, pragmatic.

Today, we take a look at their Legendary Metal D20s!

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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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TTRPG Advice: How to Narrate Combat

“I run up to it and attack.” “I shoot it with my bow.” “Uhhh, I guess I run up and swing at it?” “I attack it.” “I’m going to create a ring of ice around it, that goes up 30 feet, and it’ll have to dive out of the way to keep from being trapped inside: Dex save.” “I poke it twice.”

Narrative combat should not be just flavor text for spells and abilities. It should fuel decisions and give each player a springboard to jump off of every turn. But it’s tricky to actually do in-game. Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll have a better grasp on how to draw your players, peers, and friends into the combat!

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Die Hard Dice Review: Scorched Rainbow Metal Dice

So we’re tackling yet another dice set this week – unfortunately they are the only photos I have prepared due to personal issues, but I’m incredibly excited to finally get my hands on Die Hard Dice.

First impressions are lovely – these dice are an oil-slick style multi-color metal set that may possibly go with every other color set you own. Unfortunately Scorched Rainbow dice are out of stock, as are most of them, on the Die Hard Dice website, but if you look around enough you can find them from other sellers!

Let’s look at everything these dice have to offer – ONWARD into the review!

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Wizards RPG Team Review: Tomb of Annihilation Dice

“Dare to defy death in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.”
This themed dice set was launched to help herald the coming of the Tomb of Annihilation RPG supplement from Wizards of the Coast.

The release of dozens of production shots and various artworks created a lot of buzz about these things before the dice were even on store shelves, but does it live up to the hype and is it worth your money? Let’s find out.

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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.