Whew! 1st Place Die Finished

If in the future someone asks me to make a d20 with symbols, I’m gonna have to say no. That was hard! I’d like to get it perfect, but this was an order of magnitude more difficult than the other d20s I made.

My fuzzy photography actually makes it look better. There are quite a few stray marks but this was the best one of the bunch.

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Quick Character Generation Cards

One of the problems we’ve run into for character generation for The Artifact is that it takes time to sit down and record all the stuff that a character starts out with. We’ve also had times where all the game books are being used and someone needs one for finishing a character.

To fix that problem, I made a small format PDF that can be printed on 3×5 cards or easily viewed on a smartphone. Each type of character occupation take up a single card so if you wanted, you could just keep the card with your character sheet if you didn’t feel like writing.

Quick Character Cards

Whatever it takes to make it easier to get playing and into the action!

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The 2D6 Simulator

Here’s the 2nd place winner’s die.





There’s one problem. As submitted, the die shouldn’t have won. That’s my oversight. As proposed, the die has 21 sides which obviously doesn’t fit on a d20.

That’s embarrassing. My apologies to everyone, I should have checked that.

Edit: Nope, nope, I'm a dope. Uriah's idea works fine, there was just something wrong with my brain when I made this. I checked several times and I still didn't get it right. I remade the die as per his specs now and he should get it by Saturday.

But I was able to make the whole thing work regardless. When looking at the probabilities the 4’s and the 10’s don’t quite fill the probabilities of two whole sides. The 2 and the 12 (almost) fit with those probabilities to be a little over the 10% chance that the 4’s and a 2 would fill out and the 10’s and the 12 would fill out.

So this is what I did, I put a red pip next to one 4 and one 10 (the ones that aren’t doubles).

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If a number with a red pip is rolled, re-roll and if the result is a 5 or under the roll is the 2 (if a 4 was originally rolled) or a 12 (if the 10 was originally rolled). If the second roll is higher than 5, it remains the original number (the 4 or the 10).

It’s functional, and usually not obtrusive.

One down, one to go. My hand is getting steadier but I need more practice, which is why I did the second place first.


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And The Winner of The Dice Contest Is. . .

I like the card spindown die but it’s utility is limited compared to a lot of the other entries.

I think the +9 to -9 swing die could be useful but I’m not sure for what. In addition, you could do the same thing by buying one of those d20s uninked with 0-9 twice. Ink one side red and one black. The red side could be negative and the positive is the black side. Only, they’re pretty hard to find.

The fudge dice are cool, but other than using them for fudge, they suffer the same problem as the 0-9 die. I could see them being used by a GM to randomly assign what the bonus for an item is, depending on the game.

I really like the dungeon generator die and it very nearly would have won. It’s just there are two more that I see slightly more universality from. After all not all games are dungeon crawls.

That leaves the 2d6 simulating die 20 (2D6SD20) and the symbol die for GMing inspiration (SDFGMI? SDF-I? Where have I seen that before?). And that means that one is the first place and one is the second place winner. But which is which?

Well, The SDF-I is great for any game but usually could only be used by the GM.

The 2D6SD20 simulating die could be used by any player, when they need to roll 2d6, which might be never for some games but there are also a lot of board games that it could be used for.

It comes down to the criteria that the die be revolutionary. In this case to offer a function that isn’t available otherwise. And even though its going to be a lot harder to carve all those symbols, I have to go with Steffan’s SDF-I. I’m always splitting hairs, trying to decide for these contests. That’s actually a good thing. I’ve tossed these two back and fourth in my head all day.

Steffan O’Sullivan is the 1st place winner!

Uriah is the 2nd place winner!

I’m off to my basement to carve up some dice! Gentlemen, I’ll be in contact with the two of you for your prizes. This will take me a little time to get them in order, I’ll keep you updated.

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Dice Contest Finalists

d20x5 5It’s Friday! And that means I have to pick a winner for the dice contest. I’ve been thinking about this all week with my thoughts gravitating toward certain entries. Then, when I sat down and lined up the entries according to the judging criteria I was surprised that ones that I wasn’t thinking about, came to the top of the ranking.

A bunch of these entries are things I’d want in my dice bag.

We still have two entries for fudge dice. I figure they’re reasonably universal because you could use them in other games to see if something swings one way or the other.

For an even larger swing, we have a die that goes between +9 and -9

A die that mimics the roll of 2d6

A GM, or solo play die for helping make up what happens next.

A playing card spin down counter.

What do you think? Which one would you want in your dice bag?

Jake P – Fudge Dice

1 | -4
2 | -3
3 | -3
4 | -2
5 | -2
6 | -1
7 | -1
8 | -1
9 | 0
10 | 0
11 | 0
12 | 0
13 | +1
14 | +1
15 | +1
16 | +2
17 | +2
18 | +3
19 | +3
20 | +4

Steffan O’Sullivan – A Fudge die!

1 face = +3

2 faces = +2

4 faces = +1

6 faces = 0

4 faces = -1

2 faces = -2

1 face = -3

(Steffan’s probabilities are a bit different than Jake’s)

Maurice Tousignant – A die with negatives could be cool -10 to +10 except you would need 21 faces for the 0. Maybe -9 to +9 and two 0s 

Uriah – You could make a d20 that roughly mimics a roll of 2d6 (for settlers, monopoly, etc) 

Sides would be: 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 11, 2/12

The 2/12 is the only trick part as you would then need to determine which it was (by coin flip, re-rolling etc.). You could also color one each of 4, 6, 8, 10 and the 2/12 differently to show that it was a doubles roll for games in which doubles matter.

Steffan O’Sullivan – Sent in this entry, again, you can only win once but can enter as many as you like. His entry was more detailed than this but this gives an idea of what he’s suggesting. 

Thumb is either up or down depend on how it lands – a good yes/no or positive/negative – sideways is maybe or unclear!

Pointing finger can either point to an individual at the table or simply mean someone points something out.

Open hand can be giving, receiving, stop, or High Five!

Bomb and death’s head are obvious symbols, though there’s still a little time with the bomb – the fuse is still burning!

Flag: authority. Or Eddie Izzard.

Sun, Rain, Snow: weather impacts things.

Yin Yang: the turning of the wheel. Fortune becomes misfortune and vice versa.

Bell: an announcement.

Book: knowledge is acquired or required.

Letter: a message.

Super question mark: very mysterious!

Eye, ear: they see or hear something

Double arrows: a trade, or exchange of knowledge, or back to the beginning.

Spider: either a monster, or a gift (Grandmother Spider from Native American cultures) or a trickster (Anansi from African/Caribbean cultures)

Bag of money: it comes or it goes

Lightning bolt: something unexpected and powerful happens!

Lurking Meeple – A playing card “spindown” counter to denote things like trump, trump-rank, etc.

14 ranks: A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, C (Cavalier), Q, K
1 Joker/Excuse* star symbol: ★
4 French suits: ♣, ♠, 
1 Circle-backslash denoting no suit: ⃠

Update: I forgot to mention Shawn McCarthy’s dungeon generator die. Sorry Shawn!
Old school random dungeon generator:

2x == (Hall continues)
3x =+ (Side passage)
3x [ ] (Door)
2x ={ (Opens into chamber)
4x ➥/➦ (2 each of Passage Turns right/left)
1x X (Dead end)
1x ⌥ (Stairs)
1x N (NPC)
1x ? (Trick/Trap)
1x M (Wandering monster)
1x =:: (Building type changes)

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Dice Contest Is Closed

d20x5 5

Aaaaaaand it’s over. There are a bunch of great entries, this’ll be fun figuring out which one wins. See you on October 4th!

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Only 2 Days Left For Dice Contest

d20x5 95There’s only two days left to get in on the dice contest. If you have an entry, make it now!

On September 30th the contest closes and on October 4th the winners will be announced.

First prize is a hand made die of your description and a softcover of The Artifact third edition.

Second prize is your die hand made.

Get those little grey cells firing!

Full contest rules here.

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For the longest time, if you went to the store32.net url, it would just redirect here to The Artifact. That’s been split off now because there’s more and more that doesn’t fit under that model anymore. It’s just getting on it’s feet but there’ll be a lot more in short order at Store32.net

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The Rules of Attraction

How does a character get someone else to be their friend? Or get them to fall in love with them?

The first thing to get out of the way is that they can’t make anyone be their friend. You can’t make anyone fall in love.

So how do we make this happen? How can this work if someone isn’t getting forced? The answer is standard procedure for the Social Conflict rules. You push them.

Each time a character tries to get another character to be their friend or fall in love, they enter a social conflict and they actually cause mental stress to the other character. It’s important to understand that this isn’t explicitly the angry kind of mental stress of a shouting match. This can actually be very pleasant mental stress.

What this stress represents, is social pressure. It’s an open loop in the character’s thought process that is crying out for resolution. It’s the character’s choice whether they will consent or not. They could consent on the first try or refuse until they’re a miserable mess. It all hangs on how dangerous the character views the relationship. The stronger the proposed relationship the more danger it presents.

The following are guidelines for an GM to handle an NPC’s decision on if they should consent to a relationship. This isn’t intended as a chart the GM needs to consult, just as proposed milestones to help them in making choices for an NPC who may or may not have any kind of background.

So how does a GM decide for an NPC? The first time the NPC takes stress, the GM can check to see if they will accept. First, could the NPC handle the stress of the relationship breaking up? That includes friendships. Would the stress cause them to go over their Psyche attribute and cause a mental breakdown? Would entering the proposed relationship put the character in a difficult position? For example, falling in love with the enemy or it would conflict with existing relationships. Is the character that is proposing the relationship is deficient somehow that would effect the relationship? For example, the character’s Beauty attribute is lower than the NPC’s or the character is poor. If the relationship would cause little or no trouble for the NPC, they may take up the offer.

At any point the character can Stall the conflict or react with Aggression if the relationship would seem offensive to them. Follow the standard rules for this.

Only if a character immediately accepts the proposed relationship can it become a “True Love” relationship.

The conflict continues until the Mental stress built up is five points away from overwhelming the NPC’s lowest mental attribute (IQ, Int or Psy). Now the NPC is weighing the relationship more seriously. Remember though, they’re not stressed like they would be in an argument. They may be very upbeat, even ecstatic. Now the GM tests against the question, would entering the proposed relationship put the character in a difficult position? Especially if the relationship would cause a dangerous situation, the NPC will still refuse. Is the character proposing the relationship seriously deficient in some way? An attribute under 10 may be a good example, or more than four attributes are lower than the NPC’s attributes.

Once the conflict has overwhelmed the NPC’s Psyche the GM should consider refusing if the relationship would put the NPC in danger. Even at that, the NPC may still decide to consent. Is the character  proposing the relationship severely deficient in some way? For example more than seven attributes are lower than the NPC’s attributes. This may still be grounds for refusing but the NPC is still conflicted and strongly considering the proposal.

If the conflict should progress to the point of Mental stress doubling the NPC’s Psyche attribute, the GM should very strongly consider the proposal being accepted by the NPC.

Player characters always have the choice made by the player but the conditions above could be used as rough guidelines if a player desired.

Relationship Decay

Over time a relationship will decay if it is not maintained. This could lead to bothersome accounting if the players were required to track each relationship. To avoid this, any time the GM feels it is appropriate, they may require a relationship check. Only one of the characters needs to pass a Charisma roll. The Extra Effort rules can be applied. These may be frequent or infrequent according to how the GM interprets the nature of the relationship.

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Who Needs Emotions?

In so many games and with so many players, I’ve seen characters that are designed to be devoid of emotion. They are gruff, calloused warriors, loners with nothing to tie themselves to this world but their fortunes and their expertise.


Aside from a few poorly adjusted individuals, almost no one moves through life without emotional ties. Most people desire companionship and laughter. So why do players make characters like this?

Because it’s safe. If they have an emotional tie with someone, that person is a liability. They can be hurt, captured or even betray the PC. It’s better to be shielded from the outside world than risk that danger.

So what’s the solution? Will characters always be the heartless loners they are now? Can something melt through these hardened exteriors? Can you make the players risk the danger of an emotional connection? After all, the PCs face physical dangers all the time. Why aren’t they afraid of those? It has a lot to do with risk vs reward.

So how can emotional ties be a reward? When I look at this kind of question, I try to think of why people really behave the way they do. In this case, we have to think about what happens if a person has no emotional ties vs. someone who does.

People without emotional ties tend to get depressed more easily. They suffer from poorer health in most cases. They sometimes eat less healthy foods. Without people you trust to talk over issues, a person can make a string of poor choices. Over long periods, their behavior can become erratic.

People with emotional ties tend to be happier. They live longer. A lot of the inverse of what was just listed for a lack of emotional ties. But anther thing is that they have a reason to keep pushing forward when the going gets tough.

So what are these? A lot of the effects would be positive stress effects, not only mental but also physical. Maybe healing happens faster.  Maybe advice could be used to make more intelligent choices. They may be able to call on their emotions for a boost in will power and endurance.

My thoughts on how to implement these effects is that if left to the GM, they’ll never get used. The GM already has enough to handle. Let the players handle it. Let them call on the positive effects when they need them.

In this kind of a system, I’d like to see players with a list of people their characters have ties with. Wife, children, friend, best friend all being something like an equipment list. Each relationship imparting different effects on the character. For instance, having children could give a significant boost to will power and endurance when the character’s life is in danger.

Spending time with loved ones and friends could be a stress reliever. Having friends and loved ones at your bedside (taking care of you) while healing could give that healing boost.

Obviously, the risk is still there but the game should be all the better for having characters and players that care about other people. Obviously some players would think of them only for their mechanical benefit “No! My stress point reliever!” but I’m not looking for the player to form emotional attachments to NPCs, just the characters. A lot of times players form attachments to their equipment anyway, which are all about mechanical benefits. Maybe some of that will leak through. At that point it’s just an issue of how it’s role played.

The bonuses have to be significant but not turn the characters into super humans.

For the Children! – When the character’s life is in danger, they get a 70% Advantage to Psyche and Constitution rolls.

Good Advice – If a character can talk with a friend or loved one, for IQ and Psy rolls they can use the helping mechanic to make multiple rolls using the other character’s attributes and pick the best result.

Friend – Spending an hour with a friend allows for a Charisma roll, each fractional success relives 1 Mental Stress. Each character’s roll effects the other character in the relationship. This time can be spent doing other simple tasks like eating, traveling, etc. This effect can be stacked up to four times. If a friend is wounded, the PC takes 10 Mental stress. If a friend dies, the PC takes 20 Mental stress. Breaking a friendship causes 15 Mental stress.

Love – A spouse, children, parents are all examples of loved ones. Spending an hour with a loved one  allows for a Charisma roll, each fractional success relives 2 Mental, 1 Physical and 1 Functional stress.Can be time spent doing other simple tasks like eating, traveling, etc. If a loved one is wounded, the PC takes 20 Mental, 10 Physical and 10 Functional stress. If a loved one dies, the PC takes 40 Mental, 20 Physical and 20 Functional  stress. Breaking ties with a loved one causes 30 Mental , 15 Physical and 15 Functional stress.

True Love – Spending an hour with a true love allows for a Charisma roll, each fractional success relives 3 Mental, 2 Physical and 2 Functional stress. Can be time spent doing other simple tasks like eating, traveling, etc. If a true love is wounded, the PC takes 30 Mental, 20 Physical and 20 Functional stress. If a true love dies, the PC takes 60 Mental, 40 Physical and 40 Functional  stress. Only one True Love can ever be claimed by a character. Breaking ties with a true love causes 60 Mental , 30 Physical and 30 Functional stress.

Healing – Having a friend help with a character’s healing by staying at the PC’s side gives a 30% Advantage to healing rolls. This Advantage can be stacked up to 3 times. Having a loved one help with a character’s healing by staying at the PC’s side gives a 50% Advantage to healing rolls. This Advantage can be stacked up to 2 times.

Player characters can claim each other as friends and loved ones. The other player (or the GM in the case of NPCs) can choose to reciprocate or it could be a one way relationship.

Normally there is some kind of a cost when a character wants a new piece of equipment or something that gives them a mechanical bonus. Possibly the threat of loss would be enough to dissuade a player from claiming every NPC as their friend. Maybe it shouldn’t be that easy though. Maybe a friend or loved one needs to be attracted.

Next up? The Rules of Attraction.

Update: I added a Charisma roll to each hour for reliving stress.

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