Monday, October 1, 2018

Towering Defenses Against My Chronic Bad Rolls

I mentioned a couple months back in my post about Alistair "Lefty" Rockhammer that my group gets together on Thursdays to do crafty stuff. Sometimes it's related to gaming, and sometimes it's just drawing, hot gluing, or beading our way through the evening while we shoot the breeze. While I've been doing some character artwork, the main thing I've been doing with these weekly get-togethers is trying to find a solution for my terminal ill-luck with dice.

Which is why I started building dice towers.

You gonna roll initiative, or just stand there and bleed?
Now I'm not that crafty of an individual, but I had some parts and pieces lying around, and the results are better than I expected them to be. So I thought I'd share what I've managed to put together this week.

The Diceman's Box

Tumble the ill-fortune from your bones.
The first piece I made, the Diceman's Box is a simple, stable box that's easily transportable. The top even opens, with one half of it meant for dice storage, and the other side filled with angled wedges to make sure your dice get quite a tumble before they're spat out the bottom end.

I have been contemplating turning this little box into a segment for Dungeon Keeper Radio, and the new show we're debuting soon called Exploring Evora. The priests of Se'da, a two-faced god of chance and luck, carry these boxes with them. Using special dice carved from knuckle bones and blessed in holy rites, they can predict someone's fortunes, and divine the future.

If that sounds like a feature you'd like to see get made, leave a comment below telling me so I can work on the script! Also, if you'd be amused at an expanded history of the other two towers, let me know that as well.

Thornwood Hall

A day without a corpse on the thorns was a day the lord had not been displeased.
Thornwood Hall, though simple in design, went in a different direction. More of a traditional tower, it uses what I call the plinko method to tumble dice (which means there are several sticks pushed through, and the die bounces off of them before hitting the angled floor, where it rolls out). At first I thought about trimming off the protruding spikes, but I decided to leave them in order to give the tower kind of a bargain basement Hellraiser feel.

The resulting structure, known as Thornwood Hall, is a rickety pile of stone that was the ruling seat of Lord Horace Thornwood. A brute and a bully, Horace often insisted on heinous punishments for crimes both real and imagined. He would often impale those who displeased him outside his hall, as a sign of his strength. One morning he was found impaled on the tallest spoke, a look of enraged disbelief on his features. No one knows who put him there, but even in death the Lord of Thorns refused to cede his seat. Now haunted and bloodstained, few will risk the dangers of this place.

Rookwood Hall

You take the queen? Sure, roll for it.
My most recent tower, Rookwood Hall used the same basis as Thornwood Hall (which is to say, a Pringles can), but inside are half a dozen plastic tumblers. And instead of trying to paint over the exterior, as I did with Thornwood Hall, Rookwood got a full complement of foam masonry. A little uneven due to a forced change in materials, the stone coating and gloss helped. Additionally, adding a simple base to weigh it down meant that there was no need to hold the tower while the dice tumbled through. The final touch was the bronze elk skull above the exit.

Built and established by Cerene Rookwood, the hall was originally a place for hunters and rangers to keep eyes on the forest around them. While the tower fell into disrepair over the years, and its lady grew old and gray, it still stands firm. Some say the great skull atop its entrance is part of what sustains it, granting the tower the protection of some fey lord whose name has been long forgotten, even if his pacts have not.

Do They Work?

A lot of folks consider dice towers to be just one more thing cluttering up the table, and adding unnecessary terrain to a player's space. However, I'll be the first to say that now that I have a tower of my own, I'd be loathe to game without it.

If you've thought about making your own tower, this video from Blue Shark is the one I used to get a grip on the basics. If you would prefer assembling your tower from a kit, instead of making your own from scratch, then you might want to check out this Dice Tower Kit from Blue Panther, or the Mini Dice Tower Kit from the same company. Or, if you'd prefer something that's a little more than just the basics, you might want to take a look at The Ultimate Dice Tower from Fat Dragon Games.

That's all for my Moon Pope Monday installment this week. Next week I'll get back to deep thoughts about player agency, or talking about how to be a more open-minded DM. For now, though, I just wanted to do something fun and simple.

If you'd like to see more of my work, check out my Vocal archive, or just head over to my Gamers page to see only my tabletop articles. You could also drop in on the YouTube channel Dungeon Keeper Radio, where I work with other gamers and creators in making videos for players and dungeon masters alike. To stay on top of all my latest releases, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you'd like to help support me, then you should consider either Buying Me A Ko-Fi, or going to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a regular, monthly patron. Either way you'll get a lot of sweet gaming swag, as well as my thanks for helping me keep the lights on.

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