Monday, July 23, 2018

My Keyboard Endgame

I mentioned this in an earlier post about dice, wherein I found a set that feels like my personal "endgame"—the set of dice that I want to continue using for as long as I play tabletop games.  I had mentioned that the use of "endgame" in this context is a bit of slang that comes from the mechanical keyboard enthusiasm hobby.  In past years, I've posted quite a bit about my fondness for retro computers and game consoles and my efforts to collect them; but I don't think I've discussed keyboards very much, because my interest in the subject is relatively new.

Naturally, in collecting old IBM machines, I've come across my fair share of Model M boards with their legendary buckling spring key switch mechanisms: loud, stiff, and just a joy and a pleasure to type on.  At the moment, I only have one Model M, plugged into a Pentium IV machine that I have running Windows 98:

As much as I love typing on this board, though, I don't use it much with modern computers, because I tend to make copious use of the window key for all the handy shortcuts.

My Barrowmaze Campaign: Month Seven

As the end of July approaches, my Barrowmaze campaign's mid-game looms ahead.  Most of the long-running player characters in the game are solidly 5th level, with one of the longest pushing 6th and a couple of sporadic players and/or demi-human characters lagging back at 3rd or 4th.  Two new players joined the game about three weeks back and rolled up a 1st level fighter and mage respectively, and the mage has already made 2nd level.  The fighter might have as well, except that we had to end this past Saturday's game in the dungeon—not the Barrowmaze, mind, but the Caverns of Thracia.

Cool, right?

Friday, July 6, 2018

My Dice Endgame

So after I found out that Gamescience makes jumbo polyhedral dice, I had to get my hands on a set and see how they looked next to my beloved casino dice.  And as it turns out, the set that Gamescience sells includes a d4, a d8, a d12, and an icosahedral d10; but no d6s.  As if it were meant to be paired with casino dice. (And, after all, why bother making precision d6s with a mold-injection method when the gaming industry already makes far more precise machined d6s in droves?)

So I got a set, and sure enough they're just about the most perfect dice I've ever beheld.  I think this is it—my one true set.  Fans of mechanical keyboards often speak of the search for their "endgame," that one perfect board with just the right size, key height, click sound, physical feedback on a keypress, keycap set, and so forth.  (It occurs to me that I probably haven't written a blog post about my own keyboard collection; yet another note to file away for the future.)  I've found my dice endgame.

As I've mentioned before, when I run D&D, all I need are a pair of differently-colored d6s, a d8, and a d20; and maybe an extra d6 on hand for rolling characters and a d12 for the odd die check involving a 1-in-12 or 3-in-12 chance of something.  This set fits the bill while having the advantage of being large and easy for everyone to read (and I do very much like everyone around the table to see what I'm rolling as I run a game).  The d20 is a "0–9 twice" type, which means that I had to either ink it in two separate colors (making it kind of ugly) or ink it all in white and roll it with a control die; I've opted for the latter option, for now, as it's no big deal to roll a d20 and a d6 together and read the d6 as "+10" whenever the result is odd (as the 1, 3, and 5 faces on a pipped d6 have a dot in the middle of the die face, and the 2, 4, and 6 faces do not—making it a very easy visual shorthand, hardly any different of reading an old d20 with 0–9 twice and a "+" mark on half the faces).

I still don't see much reason to bother using that caltrop d4, though.