Tag Archives: rpg dice

The Golden Age of RPG Games

Hi gang, Mac here from Dark Elf Dice. Last Friday I was busy counting inventory for a new shipment of dice we received when Calvin (one of my cheeky employees) referred to me as the “old man.” At first, I didn’t know who he was referring to. I stopped my counting and looked over my shoulder to see if someone else had walked into the room. No one had of course. It was just me, Calvin, shelves loaded full of rpg dice, and a nickname that I didn’t think I’d ever hear in my lifetime…

I hear it all the time, but I'm NOT He-Man!

Now don’t get me wrong — there’s nothing the matter with growing older or being considered old for that matter. It’s just that I’ve only had one other nickname in my life. In grade school I was known as “Lightning” because I could run faster than my classmates and won all sorts of ribbons for track and field (I suppose you could say my agility score was a natural 16 — not bad for a gawky kid who had no greater ambition than to play Atari 2600 after school and watch Thundarr the Barbarian on Saturday mornings). I have to be honest though — it’s a little hard jumping from “Lightning” to “Old Man.” To make matters worse, I read that Mark Hamill just turned sixty years old this week. Somehow, I just can’t wrap my brain around Luke Skywalker being sixty. It’s like an evil Sith Lord mind-trick…

Oh well. As Calvin stocked the shelves, grinning to himself at his perceived cleverness and listening to his iPod, I realized that he was correct in some ways. Even though I’m only in my forties, in his teenager eyes I am the “old man” and always will be. I also realized that I felt a little sorry for Calvin. He may not realize or appreciate it, but he missed out on one of the greatest decades ever — the 1980’s.

Take heed 'cause he's a lyrical poet

All right, I fully admit the 80’s weren’t without fault (Vanilla Ice and parachute pants anyone?), but if you were a gamer the decade was righteous. Dungeons and Dragons became a part of our very culture and literally hundreds of companies (both large and small) were creating role playing games and unique gaming accessories. Just flip through a back issue of Dragon magazine from this era and take a look at the obscene amount of companies advertising not only their products, but gaming conventions as well. The 1980’s were in fact the golden age of tabletop role playing games, and I’m afraid we’ll never see the like again.

Which brings me to something that I wanted to mention. Much of the success of role playing games (both from the 1980‘s and today) can be attributed to Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s safe to say that Dark Elf Dice wouldn’t be in business today if it wasn’t for the creative genius of this one man. It was with pleasure then that I learned that a Gary Gygax memorial is in the works in his hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The project is moving along and the memorial will be placed in Donian Park. Stefan Pokorny (founder and chief sculptor of Dwarven Forge) has volunteered to sculpt the memorial (apparently the design will include a castle turret with a bust of Gary on top and possibly a dragon wrapped around the turret). You can read more about the project by going to the Gygax memorial website.

Until next time faithful readers! In the meantime check out this week’s installment of That’s How We Role and our blog poll.

Click on comic to enlarge


That’s How We Role

Hi everyone, Mac here from Dark Elf Dice. We’ve been missing in action for the past few weeks, but believe me it’s been for a very good cause. Everyone here has been working feverishly to put the finishing touches on the Dark Elf Dice website. Five months ago, we began a complete website redesign with the customer in mind. When we first started the project,  I thought it would take thirty days or so to jazz everything up. Boy, was I wrong! Once we started making improvements we had a hard time stopping. Not only have we made the site easier to navigate to find what you’re searching for, we’ve literally added hundreds of new rpg products. Some of the new products that I’m personally excited about include our even greater selection of rpg dice (including the d3 hybrid dice and metal dice), our expanded dice bag collection, and the addition of more role playing game books and board games (including a game I’m really psyched about called Castles and Crusades — I plan on writing more about this game in a future blog post). If you haven’t had a chance to test drive the new website yet, take a look when you have some free time. We think you’ll like what you see.

Also, during the last few weeks we secured the talents of the up-and-coming cartoonist, Jordan Smith. Jordan has created an exclusive weekly comic strip for our Dark Elf Dice blog entitled That’s How We Role, a comic about the adventures (or should I say misadventures) of Marco the Mysterious, Princess Serenity, and Boris Warmaster. Jordan is an avid gamer himself (no posers here!) and his work has recently been published in the Zenith newspaper (a comic strip called Candance ‘N Company). We’re excited that Jordan has come on over to the “dark side” and joined the Dark Elf Dice team. So with that, I’ll leave you with the first installment of That’s How We Role. Enjoy this week’s installment and keep on gaming!

Click on comic to enlarge.

Moonstone Dice Contest Winner

Happy Labor Day weekend! I just want to take a moment and thank everyone who entered the Moonstone dice giveaway. We had a lot of fun this week and recorded a total of 97 entries. I wish we had enough Moonstone dice to give to each and everyone of you, but alas, there can only be one contest winner.

And that winner, as decided by random selection at Random.org, is…

Karla Pickford

Congratulations Karla! You now have a brand new set of rpg dice to use on game night. We can’t guarantee that you’ll always make a successful savings throw or perception check with the Moonstone dice, but we do guarantee that they’ll look fantastic as you roll them across the table.

Thanks again everyone! We had so much fun that we’ll do it again next month. If you follow us on Facebook you’ll have an opportunity to pick the dice we giveaway. Stay tuned!

Indigo -- The Newest Moonstone Color

One last thing: if you think you just can’t live without a set of Moonstone dice we recently added two brand new colors on our website: red and indigo. For the next week you can save 10% off the sale price of these dice by using the coupon code MOONSTONE.

Moonstone RPG Dice Giveaway

Moonstone Dice

Moonstone Dice

All right! Hang onto your pointy wizard hats because it’s time for another Dark Elf Dice giveaway contest. We ran a poll on our Facebook page earlier this week asking our fans to choose between three sets of rpg dice for the prize. The hands down favorite was a set of eerie, translucent Moonstone dice! As always, we have super quick and easy entry rules for this month’s contest and you can earn 2 entry points + 1 super cool bonus point for a maximum total of 3 entry points. The more entry points you have the better your chances of winning this month’s giveaway, so here goes.

Entry Points for Non-Blog Subscribers

Not a Dark Elf Dice Game Night: The Blog subscriber? You can earn up to two entry points by doing the following:

  • Leave a comment for us on our Dark Elf Dice blog (Earns 1 Entry Point): You can earn one contest entry point by simply leaving a comment on this blog post. Just go down to the bottom of this post and click on the comments section (located directly below where it says “Rate this”). Your comment can be as zany as you’d like, but it must have the words “Moonstone dice” in it. Some examples: “I’d like to enter the Moonstone dice contest,” “Give me some Moonstone dice,” “My grandparents went to New Jersey and all they got me were Moonstone dice,” etc.
  • Subscribe to our Dark Elf Dice blog (Earns 1 Entry Point): You can earn a second contest entry point by becoming a subscriber to our blog. Before you subscribe we encourage you to take a look around. If you like what you see, sign up at the top right hand side of the page where it reads “Email Subscription.” Once you sign up you’ll receive notifications of new blog posts by email (roughly once or twice a week). WE HATE SPAM MORE THAN LIVER AND ONIONS and will ABSOLUTELY NEVER use your email address for spam. Our blog subscribers are our friends, and friends don’t treat friends like garbage.

Entry Points for Current Blog Subscribers

Already a current Game Night: The Blog subscriber? Cool! You can earn two entry points by doing the following:

  • Leave a comment for us on our Dark Elf Dice blog (Earns 2 Entry Points): You can earn 2 contest entry points by leaving a comment on this blog post. Your comment can say anything, but you must use the initials “BS” (the “BS” stands for “Blog Subscriber”). Some examples: “I’d like to enter the contest BS,” “Really cool dice BS,” “This contest is total BS,” etc.

Super Cool Bonus Point

This bonus point can be earned by both non-blog subscribers and blog subscribers. All you have to do is:

  • Share this contest with others via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Press This, Reddit or Google+ (Earns 1 Entry Point): Share this contest through any of the sites listed. Simply click any of the social bookmarking buttons below this post. To get credit for your entry you just need to tell us in your blog comment that you shared the contest.

The Moonstone dice contest runs from August 27 through September 3, 2011. During this time we’ll collect each individual’s entry points (remember, you can earn up to 2 entry points + 1 bonus point) and the winner will be determined by random selection at Random.org. We’ll announce the winner on Sunday, September 4 on our blog . Best of luck everyone!

Don’t Game On An Empty Stomach! 5 Quick and Easy Snacks

Hi everyone! Jackie here from Dark Elf Dice. Mac is off this week so I’m guest writing this week’s Game Night: The Blog post. Mac told me to write about anything I wanted. “Anything” is a pretty big field, so I decided to narrow the post down to two things I really enjoy: role playing games and food. I love exploring dungeons and I love to cook. Who knows, maybe I’m part hobbit. So here it goes…

Even Stooges get hungry!

It’s game night, and you’ve invited some of your friends over to your place for a good old fashioned role playing game. You’re totally psyched and can’t wait to start playing. You have the game mat laid out, the miniatures, your rpg dice and everything is all set….suddenly, there’s a knock at the door. Your guests have arrived, and you all settle down for a great evening of fun. Then Moe comments offhandedly, “Man, I sure am hungry.” Your other friend Larry nods in agreement. “What’ve ya got to eat??” he asks eagerly. “I hope it’s something good,” says Curly.

You stop to think a moment, realizing that you don’t have anything in the fridge worth sharing, and you’re quite frankly too embarrassed to offer everyone some old KFC leftovers….

As silly as the above scenario sounds, I contend that snacks are an important part of gaming. It’s hard for your friends to fully appreciate the fighting prowess of your elf warrior taking down a band of owlbears when your stomach is rumbling so loud it sounds like a freight train. So, here are five quick and easy snacks to have on hand the next time you invite your buddies over.

Chips Ahoy!

– Chips. I think chips are the most common snack set out during game night. Everyone likes them, especially if you have dip, but there IS a downside to this flavorful snack. No, I’m not talking about the recent Harvard study that says potato chips are one of the culprits of steady weight gain throughout life (like it takes an ivy league professor to figure that one out!). No, I’m talking about the seasoning and grease that coats your fingers and runs the risk of messing up your wonderfully painted miniatures. Not only that, but if you’ve got four or more people crunching on chips during your game, it can be unnerving and make it difficult to hear what’s going on. Still, chips are always a popular choice (even with the downside). Just make sure you have plenty of napkins available. For a less messy alternative, try pretzels or nachos.

– Cookies. I don’t think anyone can pass up a good cookie. Cookies are another nice snack to put out for your guests during game night. Chocolate chip is probably the most popular, but if you want to try something different, peanut butter, sugar, and double chocolate cookies are very good, too. In fact, we have a recipe for double chocolate cookies right here on our blog.  Just make sure you have a gallon of milk handy! Nothing sadder than eating cookies without a cold glass of milk to go with it.

– Veggie tray. Okay, I know what you’re thinking…why a veggie tray? Isn’t game night a great excuse to eat junk food? While chips and cookies taste good, a veggie tray is a nice healthy alternative. Carrots, celery and whatever else you can think of make a nice veggie tray. Pretty much any vegetable tastes good with ranch dip, or even by itself. Nicely arrange your cut veggies on a serving plate and your guests will be impressed!

Say cheese!

– Cheese and crackers. All right, I’m from Wisconsin. If I didn’t mention cheese in a post about food I’d be violating at least three state statutes. Wisconsin is the dairy state and we wear wedges of cheese on our heads (yeah, I know is sounds crazy, but it actually is sort of fun!). Take it from this “cheesehead”: slices of colby, cheddar, or monterey jack are an awesome snack when parred with your favorite crackers.

– Pizza. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like pizza? I didn’t think so! It doesn’t take long to heat up a few frozen pizzas for a group of hungry gamers. No frozen pizzas on hand? No worries! Just call your local pizza joint (most deliver). If everyone ponies up a couple bucks you’ll have enough cash on hand for a large pizza or two with extra toppings. Just remember the napkins — pizza is another snack with the potential for disaster. Nothing like pizza sauce dripped on the pages of your Dungeon Masters Guide to give it character.

Do you have a favorite snack for game night? Leave a comment in the reply section below and share your ideas with your fellow gamers 🙂

Oblivion Dice Contest Winner

To the victor belong the spoils.

I want to thank everyone who participated in July’s Dark Elf Dice giveaway contest. We had a total of 33 entries. And the winner (as decided by random selection at Random.org) is… Justin Leroy Bell. Congratulations Justin! You just won a set of Oblivion orange rpg dice. Now go out and slay some dragons with your new lucky dice. Happy gaming!

4 Great Sources for RPG Character Names

What’s in a name? – William Shakespeare

Whenever we start a new role playing game the thing I look forward to most is rolling up a brand new character. A new beginning is always exciting, not to mention the element of chance that exists when you roll a handful of rpg dice across the table and hope for high attribute numbers (life is  good when you roll 18!). I enjoy all the creative aspects of crafting a new character — everything from selecting armor and weapons to writing a character’s backstory. One thing that proves difficult for me though is coming up with a character’s name. Sure, I got me a brand new Barbarian complete with leather armor and battle axe, but what do I call this sucker? When it comes to naming characters I need a little help. Here then are four great sources I use when picking a character’s name:

You take the high road & I'll take the low road.

Atlas. When I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons years ago the atlas was my best friend. This was way back before you could Google information on the internet, but even today I keep my trusty atlas on the bookshelf next to my role playing books. An atlas is not only a collection of maps, but is a great source of names. Just pick a country and browse through the names of cities, towns, lakes, etc. For my barbarian I studied a map of Scotland and found two towns with names that I liked: Brechin and Stonehaven. Put ‘em together and you get Brechin Stonehaven — a mighty fine name for a rpg character. If you don’t have an atlas, you can find a good collection of world maps at siteatlas.com.

Novels are a great source for names.

Novels. It goes without saying that novels are a great source for names. If you love reading I’m sure you have copies of your favorite books near at hand or stored on your Nook or Kindle. I’ve always enjoyed the Shannara novels by Terry Brooks. When it came time to name our first child, my wife and I chose “Brin” for my daughter’s middle name (named after the  main character of The Wishsong of Shannara). I don’t necessarily advocate naming your children after characters in fantasy novels (Smeagol anyone?), but Brin worked for us and would easily do double-duty as a rpg character name.

Baby Name Books.  If you can get your hands on a baby name book I dare you to place it on the table the next time you host a party (put the book right next to the chips and dip). I guarantee your guests will pass the book around and have a blast reading through the lists of different names and their meanings. Why? Because people love names (especially their own names and those of their friends). Not only are baby name books entertaining, they’re a great resource for finding names for rpg characters. Take a look at babynames.com for inspiration.

Name Lists and Generators. The internet abounds with good websites that help gamers discover character names. If you’re looking for a list of unusual names check out the huge collection of fantasy name links at Fantasy Land. The site has tons of links to character name lists — everything from elves, to monsters, to Sesame Street characters (Elmo the Barbarian???).  If you’d prefer not to browse through lists of names for inspiration, you can randomly generate character names by using an online generator. My favorite is the Fantasy Name Generator. Simply select what type of name you’re looking for (short names, long names, consonant heavy names, mushy names, etc.) and click the button. The site is fun to play around with. Sometimes the results are zany, but you may just find the perfect name you were looking for.

Do you have any good sources for RPG character names? Post a comment and share your ideas with your fellow gamers!