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Late with this, but so excited for it. I feel like I need a tag for dice from Kickstarter. Probably going to go ahead and add that, since I’ve got more coming up later in the year.

Icy Everglades 1

These guys are the Metallic Dice Games Icy Everglades Unicorn dice, plus a Kickstarter exclusive logo d6. Now, these dice combine three things that I’m starting to find I really like in dice sets. They’ve got a fantastic vibrant green color that’s slightly muted by the acrylic and the sparklies. The sparkling bits are super fine and show up from just about any angle on their sides, but the color reflects differently depending on which side you’re looking at. And, the semi-translucent aspect of them with the swirls of green and the clear acrylic makes for some really fantastic play of light and color peak through makes each dice seem more suffused with color than the swirls would normally afford them.

They also feel really nice. The numbers are engraved reasonably deeply and the paint job is, largely, fantastic. The set is bright and easily readable and honestly just looks really nice.

Icy Everglades 2

Now, another bonus from the clear acrylic is that it’s easy to see that there aren’t any bubbles to throw off the balance. And the set does roll fantastically. They feel good in the hand too.

So, this is decidedly a set that I’m a fan of. I’m actually planning on getting a couple more of the Unicorn sets later on because of how much I like these. The only real question I’m left with is whether I’m going to use them for a druid or a cleric. Dual classing is always an option, right?

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I’m running late on everything this week. What’s new?

I got the chance to go to a Renaissance Faire this weekend and was painfully reminded that the sun and I don’t get along. It was fun! I got to see friends that live away from the rest of my social group and a lot of really fantastic costumes.

The dice review of the week’s going to go up later today. It’s mostly done, I just didn’t get it finished yesterday.

Book review eventually. I swear, I’ve got more than one that’s in the process of being finished. I’ve just hit that point where nothing about them seems good enough and I can’t exactly convince myself that good enough is good enough.

It’s bad.

But, that’s the state of things for me right now.

Still working on getting financial aid to go back to school. I’ve been accepted, I just need a way to pay for everything. That’s another thing to work on today.

And that’s about it. My car’s back in working order. Most of my stuff just needs finishing. And financial aid is a list of things away from being, hopefully, worked out.

So, standard stuff. If you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. It’s a $3 weekly reminder that I still can’t spell caffeine correctly on the first try.

I’m down to the wire on getting this posted on Saturday. Sorry about that, I scheduled badly.

But! Here’s the important part! I’ve got two winners for the dice giveaway.

Goldiefc8, you’ve won the Confetti Dice.

drakedourden, you’ve won the Tombstone Bone dice.

Congratulations to both of you!

Shoot me a message in the next few days with a way to get in touch with you and I’ll get your new dice on the way!

As ever, I really enjoy it when I get the chance to host a guest post from an author. Even more so when they’re interested in coming back later with another one. Damien’s previous guest post can be found here and, notably, Big Red has released just this week. Definitely worth checking out, links for that are down below. Enjoy!

A few years ago, I decided to become an app developer as a bit of a side project. I was already busy with looking after my two young children full-time – while working a part-time job – so that didn’t leave a lot of spare time. Despite the time constraints, I was driven.

More than anything, I wanted to grow this side-project from something that earned me some pocket money into something that could provide for myself and my family. One of the goals that spurred me on was the idea that once I achieved this, I could then focus my time on what I really wanted to do: write novels.

With the odds stacked against me, I landed several contracts and for a while, it really felt that my goals would come through. And then… everything fell apart.

Three projects crashed and burned in epic fashion. Months of hard work went up in flames, forcing me to re-evaluate my priorities. I spent an entire day soul-searching, really trying to peel back the layers and asking myself what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My thoughts drifted back to my list of goals and as I thought about those fantasies of becoming a writer, it struck me like a lightning bolt.

If I had all this time to focus on app development, wouldn’t that mean I had plenty of time to write too?

Without hesitation, I cut my losses and dug out a few pages of a story I had started two years previously. Based on a dream, this story followed a bunch of teenage cadets trapped in a vicious and brutal war while their country collapsed around them. With renewed determination, I picked up where I left off and had just over one hundred thousand words done within three months.

I spent another six weeks with edits and rewrites before I began submitting to agents and publishers. Within three months, it had been rejected upwards of thirty times. Unfazed, I decided to self-publish and after a surprisingly good start, book sales inevitably waned until they became practically non-existent.

I remember having another heart-to-heart with myself and asking if I really wanted to keep going with this. Unlike with app development, I had finally found something I was passionate about, so I dusted myself off and dived back in again.

Spurred on by another vivid dream, I set about writing what would become Big Red. Again, the standard rejection template emails came flooding through my inbox. Gritting my teeth, I prepared to self-publish again when something happened.

In a Twitter pitch-war, several different publishers liked my tweet about Big Red! Out of those, I got my first request for a full manuscript followed by an offer of a publishing deal. To this day, it still feels like a dream come true.

I wanted to share this because I’ve failed at a lot of things in my life. It can be painful and raw, but I’m a firm believer in taking the positive (as much as possible) out of everything that happens in life. If I hadn’t failed with my app development venture, I would have missed knowing this feeling. I’m doing something I’m passionate about and watching a story I crafted come to life in book-form. It’s amazing!

Whatever it is that you want to do; whatever your passion is, go for it. Yes, it will be hard and there’ll be plenty of times when you’ll want to give up but push yourself to keep going. Failure is good – it’s not taking action on your dreams that is the real enemy.

Big Red cover

Big Red

By Damien Larkin

We have always been here…

Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth’s Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.

With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.

But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is…

https://www.damienlarkinbooks.com/

Damien Larkin is a part-time Planning Analyst and a full-time stay-at-home father of two young children. He enjoys turning terrifying nightmares into novels and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.

Links:
Barnes & Noble  Kobo  Amazon ITunes

20th of Spring, Year 256

I would have liked to have left the Goblin issue until we knew how the situation with the Black Hand and Whitehall was going to work out. I would have liked that, but here we are.

A force of Goblins attacked the surface farms. By the time we were alerted and the militia was formed up and ready, the fields were on fire and the Goblin forces were advancing. The farms are, for the time being, mostly a loss. We can replant and the food we get from our trade partners and the mushroom farms will hold us. Well, will hold us at least until we can get the surface farms operating again.

The Goblin attack force was thoroughly routed. Between the adventurers and the militia, most of them were dealt with before they could react. Eclair, Chonck, and I followed the ones that managed to retreat. Albeit, we followed them separately and with no planning. Something to work on later perhaps. Regardless, I managed to track them to a hidden tunnel and flagged down Eclair. She wiped out the lot of them. With any luck, we also destroyed any supplies they were using.

There was, it turns out, a survivor back in the fields. One of the Goblins caught in the back swing of one of Chonck’s attacks was knocked out and away from the battle.

From what I understand, she speaks common and went willingly with the guards. Importantly, that might mean that we can get more information out of her than the last one. A healthy, calm Goblin has to be easier to deal with than a panicked or injured one. I hope.

Give that the storage room we’d been keeping the other captive Goblin in is still a mess after it died, this one will be staying in the library room. It’s cleaner and largely unused, since Chonck keeps all the books with him. Maybe if she speaks common she can read it too. That would be helpful, have another way to keep Chonck distracted when we aren’t adventuring.

House Keeping 5/14/19

It has been a week.

My car’s in the shop for the second time in four days. I still need to follow up on stuff for classes. And, I still haven’t finished the review for this week/last week/April.

Good news is that all three of those are being worked on.

It would be better news if I had a timeline on any of them.

I do know that I’m mostly done with the book. I’ve just got to grit my teeth and finish it, I’m sort of living in fear of second hand embarrassment in the last 15%. Kind of dragging my feet on that. Especially when I’ve got another book I need to jump on.

My “Birthday Dice Giveaway” is still running. You all have until midnight central time this Friday to enter.

And that’s about it. I’ve got a couple things that I want to work on, but they aren’t anywhere close to started, much less done.

So, standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. I’ll eventually have book reviews for you to talk about again. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing here, you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. It’s likely to get eaten up by my car, but any bit helps. In either case, have a great rest of the week!

Brimstone Dice

Running a little late today. This set is a Dice Envy exclusive and thanks to Dice Envy. Enjoy!

Brimstone 1

So, the Brimstone dice set is one that I’ve had my eye on for a while because they just look delightfully ridiculous. I mean, these are black dice with red flame patterns on them. It’s great in a way that reminds me strongly of doodling stick figure battles in my school notebooks. So, fun in concept and a well balanced set of dice in practice.

Something that I land on with this set of dice though is that the font for the numbers isn’t very good. A lot of the numbers have flourishes  or extra filled in bits that can make them look like they’ve been engraved in upside down. This can, of course, make the dice a little hard to read, especially the d20 due to its smaller sides.

Brimstone 2

The numbers and designs on the dice are also, largely, shallowly engraved. The shallow engraving is likely to maintain balance with the odd font. The paint job on my set is also a little messy, particularly on the d6, and thin in places. Neither of those is an immediate problem, but they do detract from the over all appearance of the set. A brighter red might help with the visibility of the numbers.

This is a set that I like pretty well. It greatly amused my entire game group, to the point that our current DM wants to roll up an anti-paladin based on them. But the font and shallow engraving take away from it some. The set gets a three out of five from me for those two things. It isn’t a bad set and I certainly had fun rolling them around for testing them, but I do feel like they’re limited in their active use.

18th of Spring, Year 256

The elf has brought me a rather non-portable portable writing table with some kind of clamp on one end. I’m not sure what the purpose of this was, but maybe it’ll be useful once we have use of the wagon back? Chonck’s still on the “H”s so it might be a while on that.

On to our glorious return to White Hall and more information on our Goblin problem.

We ran into a group of them just off the road as we headed out. It seems their king sent them orders to attack any traders leaving Caskfire. We dealt with them and took the letter and some kind of carved chicken mask from the leader’s body. I’m going to hang it off my belt, maybe it’ll serve as a warning, maybe it just looks nifty.

Anyway, the letter specified lightly guarded caravans, presumably to keep their losses down. Said to do the attacks because they “want to keep them worried.” I’m assuming that the “them” here is Caskfire and that the King Eebaku who signed it was also our mysterious Mr. E from before. It’s something to worry about after I’m sure that White Hall and the Black Hand are going to play nice with each other.

The tower in White Hall was a pain to get into. The doorman was a nuisance to deal with, likely a facet of his job but all the same. I would have rather liked to not have to have mentioned the danger to our trade agreements this poses. It got us into the tower proper, but that’s something that can only be used so many times to any effect.

The whole tower is some kind of school and, despite the Minister’s insistence otherwise, it is definitely a school full of necromancers teaching necromancy. He, and his school and possibly the whole city, is very much up to something. At the very least, bringing up the bandits’ issues got him seriously panicked. One of Eclair’s special cookies and a touch of magic to bring the room’s temperature up bit by bit can only have helped with that.

End of it all, we got a guarantee from the Minister’s assistant that there won’t be any necromantic creatures going south of Dunhill anymore. Something fishy about that, but he made the claim under the Minister’s power so it’ll have to do for now. When I asked if they’d had any issues with Goblins in the area he also confirmed that no Goblins were anywhere near White Hall, so either he’s lying, someone’s importing the Goblin corpses, or there’s another necromancer in the area acting outside of White Hall. I’m thinking we’ll need to keep an eye on White Hall for the time being.

Needless to say, I don’t think any of us wanted to stay the night after all that. It’s likely a good thing we risked it too, since we ran into a merchant on the road to Caskfire. He was armed but alone, no telling what the Goblins might have done to him. I’ll have to make sure he’s warned about them before he leaves.

All things to worry about tomorrow. I have a room of my own now with a bed of my own and a map engraved in the wall. Churt’s done a really good job with the engraving, but no one would expect anything less than that from her.

House Keeping 5/7/19

I don’t have a ton to talk about this week.

I got my acceptance email for going back to school, so that’s pretty cool. Just going to sit over here quietly panicking over that. There’s some things I still need to check in on, but that should be workable.

Dice Envy has their “Your First Set of Dice: King’s Heath” back in stock. Plus there’s some other new sets that’ve just popped up in the last day or so and a couple more dice that are about to land. Definitely excited for that.

Speaking of, I should have something cool dice related to talk to in the near future. I’m kind of jittery with excitement over it.

And this week should be the week that I finally have another book review for you all. I think I finally have my schedule organized and my time managed for it.

But that’s about it.

Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. I’m going to need it with classes looming. In any case, have a great rest of the week!

Chessex Lustrous Shadow Dice

Another week, another Monday, another dice review. These guys go way back for me, so I figure this is as good a time to review them as ever, I’m feeling nostalgic.

Lustrous Shadow 1

For me, I’ve been sort of keeping an eye out for this set since back when I first started playing table top games. And that, is because it’s the set that my favorite d20 is from. Way back in high school I picked up a really nifty d20 at a pop up shop in Mobile’s mall, it struck me because I’d just started running the Planar Chaos: Unraveling Mind Magic deck and the colors felt like a good match for the set. Plus I needed a life counter any way, so it fit.

I do love the colors on this dice set. It’s a deep swirl of dark cool colors, almost velvety in the way it reflects the light. There’s bits of lighter colors swirled in too, sill cool but bright enough by comparison to make them stand out when you see them. This set is heavy on the blues, where my old d20 is more purple, but it’s nice all the same.

Lustrous Shadow 2

Now, Chessex is kind of the standard basic polyhedral dice. They’re the ones you can find at the Books-A-Million, at the local comic shop, I even found some at a video game shop once. They’re good enough and a good place to start without breaking the bank. So quality is pretty standard here.

This set might be a little lighter than the ones I’ve been using the last couple months, but they still feel nice in the hand. They roll well, though I admit, I haven’t done enough with this particular set to see if they get hung up on one side or the other. They didn’t seem to when I was just rolling them around to look at the colors. And if this set is anything like the old d20, they’ll be knocking around for a good long while.

Over all, I like these dice. That’s tinted quite a bit by nostalgia and my finding them out in the wild after not seeing the pattern for years. So, yeah, these dice get a five out of five. They remind me of good times.