Skip to main content


Showing posts with the label RPG


Last week , Andy dove into one of the most "D&D" of all topics, Alignment, to ponder (if you'll pardon the expression) the role it can  play in our modern tabletop experiences. As editor, of my (self-assigned) roles (I swear I'm not doing this on purpose) is to add links wherever possible to back background information, support claims, and, if it's a topic where I have interest, but little experience, act as bookmarks for further research on my own. The links in " Misalignment " largely fell into that last category. I am something of a Dungeons & Dragons outsider - ironic for a person who co-founded a gaming blog, as the game/system is largely synonymous with tabletop roleplaying as a whole. Aside from sitting in on a few games and haphazardly reading the handful of TSR books (spread across multiple editions, naturally), my D&D experience comes from media attached to the franchise: several generations of gamebooks, the original Dragonlance


Alignment, as a concept, has been in tabletop roleplaying games, original Dungeons & Dragons from 1974 . It was different back then, a choice between "honor," "chaos," and "neutrality." What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were they just born with a heart full of neutrality ? In the 1977 reorganization into " Advanced Dungeons & Dragons " and the " Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set " , a second axis of "good vs. evil" was added (allowing for the worst character, the neutral neutral , or "true neutral.") Of all versions, D&D’s third edition probably sees the most recognition today, with nine-box "alignment chart" memes made up for any number of media ventures. The oft-maligned fourth edition changed things yet again, reducing alignments to five options: "lawful good," "good," "evil," "chaotic evil" and "unaligned." Again, Wiz

GMing on the Cheap

Let’s say upfront one thing we lifers tend to take for granted: TTRPGs can be an expensive hobby, especially if you prefer (or need) printed editions of materials. To be fair, a well-made book can last for years or even decades, and the costs can be spread across numerous purchases. But, as is often described via boots and toasters [find appropriate link or alternate metaphor], it doesn’t matter how much one saves over the long term if you can’t afford the initial investment… not to mention that beginners are often only aware of the most prominent (and, thus, expensive) RPGs on the market. While old-timers like us know well how to navigate and/or mitigate costs when it comes to our TTRPG purchases, it can seem like a wild, pricey world out there for newbies. So this week, we thought we’d talk about the different ways to battle fiduciary gatekeeping, whether it be for yourself, or any newcomers you know looking to break into the hobby. - B B : If there's a standard baseline form for

Lego My Product Placement!

If you're a fan of Dungeons and Dragons , Lego, or (if you’re like me) both of them, then you’ve probably already heard about the latest cross-promotional Lego D&D set. Posts have already spawned on most of the nerd sites, and apparently this week Never Say Dice will be no different. Well, perhaps a bit different. While a review of the soon-to-be-released set will be featured, it seems important to spend a little time talking about cross-promotion in our games. While it may not hit our table-top roleplaying games often, you’ll see it throughout other sorts of tabletop and video games. Before we go into either, though, let's get the Lego and D&D adventure out of the way. Inn Plain Sight Putting Lego into your D&D is a pretty obviously choice, and we’ve been doing it for years. Those who already owned Lego before playing D&D, or, just had easy access to the plastic minifigures, have come upon this idea on their own, if they haven’t already heard about the con

Game-ComPIEtable Items

Though occasionally we may wish it was January’s National Pie Day , a Happy belated Pi Day to all! Also, a Happy Blogiversary to Never Say Dice. Baking up 4 years of posts has been a tall order, but we’ve risen to the challenge every week. It should be no surprise that we've baked up another post for our dear readers that's crusted over with sprinkling of delicious puns. In previous years we’ve provided adventure hooks , rolled out a number of character concepts, and even some proofs of pie-rates . One thing we haven’t yet filled the posts with  are Pi-tems. So this year, you’ll find a small collection of pi and pie themed items for your consumption. Enjoy! - A Pi-noculars - Sure, you have your regular noculars in games. You might even have some bi-noculars. But what about pi-noculars? They let you see just as far as the standard binoculars from your game, but you can see around the largest object in view. Bakery in the way? Crusty old tree blocking the path? Use the pi-noc

100%: Completionism in TTRPGs

In the world of digital games, there's often a final goal of completing everything the game offers. On a modern gaming platforms, you'll probably even receive a “trophy” or “badge” for doing this, and we’ve previous discussed bringing these kinds of achievements into our tabletop worlds. Certainly, one might feel a sense of accomplishment from having reached platinum status in Spider-Man or a feeling of regret when you just can’t finish everything in a GTA game and need to move on. Personally, I’ve been in both these scenarios, and still may re-play San Andreas yet again and finally make it to 100%. Generally, though, this is a situation that can leave you with feeling either very satisfied or with a sense of longing and missed opportunity. Both ends of the spectrum, and all points in between, can be seen in tabletop gaming as well. How can we identify different forms of completionism at our tabletops and how can we tackle them as a team? Quarrelsome Questing Your tabletop

Look Before You Leap (Day)

While someone born on February 29th in the year 2000 would be 24 in regular calendar years (they'd use March 1st as a birthday) they’ve technically only had six birthdays. While "technically correct" is the best kind of correct , we still can’t stop the ravages of age. Leap days/years are of course necessary with how we’ve set up our calendar: due to some large egos (and poor math), we need an extra day every four years to keep things like the solar year, equinoxes, and solstices on track and synchronized. While keeping track of calendars is something many of us neglect in our games, and those that do are likely try to keep it simple, adding a special “leap day” to games can provide an opportunity to include new adventures, events, items, or quirks. So in honor of our real world’s Leap Day 2024 , take a few moments with Never Say Dice to ponder some of the possibilities of this rare inspirational event. Character Changes Plenty of people are born on leap days. As mention

AI DM: Olyphants from Gemini

How far can we travel down a solo-TTRPG path with AI before we’re stopped? We’ve talked about the ways people solve solo gaming in previous posts . What we’re doing in this series , though, is using AI to create a solo RPG experience that's less bound by the limitations of pre-scripted offerings. While AI has been around for awhile, we’ve really only recently started to see big advancements become available to the general public. In our first post , we used Google's AI Bard to get suggestions on setting the scene, provide feedback on actions, generate random events/encounters, and give prompts to help with brainstorming. We’ve also worked with Bard and randomizers to create a new PC - a bard tiefling Echo Shaw, and even the generalities of an island forest area of Whisperwind. This week, let's address a potential major issue with this project and then focus on creating a particular point of interest in this town. The Olyphant in the Room A funny thing happened when I sat

Enter... the Entrance Theme!

It happens in all sorts of media that incorporates music: movies, TV, plays, audio dramas... a few notes play and, at least if you’re a fan, you know who's about to show up even before they actually enter. It even happens in other live activities such as sports - that song starts, the crowd gets pumped,  and you know exactly who's coming out onto the field or into the ring. While we’ve had posts about music in the form of Never Say Disc , and even a few posts that mention choosing music to set the scene in your tabletop games, we’ve never focused on music for a particular group or character. Something to bring you into the game, get you pumped, put you in the right mindset and/or set you up for a good gaming session. So this week, let’s do just that - discuss using music to bring you into the game and increase your immersion at the tabletop. - A A : Picking intro music for a group can be an easy task, depending upon what you’re playing. If you’re sitting down to a Star Wars se

...And Services

Twenty dollars?! I wanted a peanut! Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts. Explain how. Money can be exchanged for goods and services.   When we talk about tabletop roleplaying games, one thing often featured prominently (usually via tables) is all the things you can buy in-game. You’ve got standard adventuring gear such as rope, backpacks, and bedrooms. You have arms and armor from rapiers and plate mail to blasters and jumpsuits. You can find specialty consumables such as scrolls, potions, ammo and energy packs. You might even have magical, or mystical, items such as bags of holding or kyber crystals. There are also the purchases that almost split the difference between "good" and "service" - for example, the meal you might eat at an inn includes the not only the food itself, but also its preparation, having it served to you, and the clean up. So for all the talk about purchasing goods, you ever hear about other services far less often. (And no, we’re not talking a

Raiding Winter

We’ve talked previously about the various holiday specials that may make their rounds at the Never Say Dice households on a yearly basis. We’ve even looked at gathering inspiration from a few of those specials with dives into How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer . Lately at the blog, perhaps due to the passing of Jules Bass last year, our collective minds seem to be gravitating toward Rankin-Bass 's holiday productions. Fortunately, there are a number of these holiday stories to choose from. As a child, one of my favorites was Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town . Maybe it had to do with being exposed to Fred Astaire movies at an impressionable age, as he serves as narrator here. It could just be that it's another Rakin-Bass classic. Perhaps, though, it's more about the magic they included in the story. (No Bugsy, I'm not talking about the yo-yos.) While you can take "magic" in a more generic literary sense to describe the supernatur