Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dice Cup of Pelor

I finished Pelor's Dice Cup yesterday but wasn't able to process the photos given the epic & awesome finale to our D&D campaign last night.  I didn't really like my first attempt at staining his emblem (couldn't give it a consistent depth) so I gave it a second go and stitched it on as an applique.  I think that's worked fairly well.  I've yet to find an effective white stain for leather so the dice cup is stained with "Pearl" which gives it a whitish, shimmery tone.  Listing is available here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

St. Cuthbert Dice Cup

I figured making some Dice Cups with the symbols and emblems of some classic D&D deities was probably not a bad idea.  I'm working on Pelor and Ehlonna too but St. Cuthbert was the first to be finished.  I'll be listing these separately on the store for anyone who might be inclined to display their appreciation for their character's beliefs.  Pelor shouldn't be too far behind but Ehlonna might have to wait until I can scrounge up another transfer sheet.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

2016 Overhaul

I try to review all my listings and the blog at least twice a year, nominally in January and June.  With the move and all the traveling around this year however it my review was pumped back a few... months.  In any case, it's finished now and I was able to make lots of good changes:

Etsy store changes
* Shipping prices are now included in the price of an item.  For custom orders I'll continue using the $12 flat rate or a $20 rate for particularly large or heavy items.
* Aside from including the postage, a lot of the prices have been tweaked to better reflect changing material costs.
* Brand names for product lines have been removed. I'm not sure how well they're really working but mostly this was about making titles more uniform across the store.
* Each listing has been sorted into a Section so they'll be a bit easier to browse.
* Several listings have had their pictures updated.
* A few listings have been retired, mostly for branding reasons.
* Any product with variations that affected price (e.g. padded vs unpadded shoulder pads) have been split into separate listings. Combined with the postage changes this means that the client will always see the final price right next to the item.
* New Listings have been posted (finally):

Blog changes
* The tags have been simplified by removing any tags referring to the material or color of an item.
* A new page has been added to the blog for Product Lines.  This offers a quick summary of the items I'm routinely cranking out.
* The Materials and Commissions pages have been rewritten or edited to be a little clearer.
* Images from 2014 or older have been scaled down to meet Google Photos specs.  More recent images might be scaled down in the future if I can find a method of doing that without having to back and manually relink them.

Still to come
There's still a list of items I'd like to add to the store, if only as demonstrations if not as recurring product lines.
  • Sword Coast map 6x8
  • Geeky Cuff (everyone does the Triforce or some video game logo. I'm looking for something D&D related that's maybe not a D20)
  • Geeky Barrette (It's pretty common to see the defacto barrette kit carved up nicely.  I'm thinking of making some from scratch, maybe in the shape of a dragon.  What librarian wouldn't love a little psuedodragon to hug their hair bun?)
  • Pencil Case (I'm sure I can do a lot better than the old model I used to have listed)
  • Ooze minis (I'd printed a simple version of these for my own campaign.  The printer makes it easy to scale the mini for when the ooze's split so once I finish revising the model it should be a nice addition to the store)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Home D&D Map: Eberron (Khorvaire)

The impromptu coalition that our group had originally fired up with eventually broke up into its own smaller groups that, so far as I know, could still be meeting regularly like we are.  After 7 months or so of Tallingroth though we opted to swap DMs and settings.  My wife took up the DM mantle and I became one of the players as we dove into our favorite D&D setting: Eberron.  We started out in Graywall and over ~60 weeks we crossed the continent of Khorvaire and eventually faced off with Vol herself.

D&D has a handful of settings that the publishers have devised for DMs to take prebuilt.  The best known is probably Forgotten Realms (home to the infamous Drizzt Do'Urden) if only because it seems to be the default for video games (Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, etc).  Forgotten Realms is excellent as a "defacto"/pulp fantasy but you'll have to pardon me if I point out that there isn't that much depth to it.  In Eberron though you can't toss an ooze without running into an interesting story hook.  Aside from giving D&D several interesting races (Shifters, Changlings, Warforged, etc) it's just dripping with potential narrative.

Technically my map only shows the continent of Khorvaire (one of about 4 major continents) but since our entire campaign took place there it seemed forgivable.  I love the map of Khorvaire and spending ~12 hours refining a draft of it really just helped to underscore how much detail and work was packed into the setting.  I certainly won't mind if we head back someday.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Homebrew D&D Map: Erd

One of the luckiest things about our move earlier this year has been dedicating a whole room to our tabletop games.  Not only has it allowed the construction of our massive table (which is working out pretty shiny) but it's also providing a place to collect all our gaming paraphernalia.  Along those lines I'd been meaning to carve some maps of the various D&D settings we've played in so far.  Our group's about to conclude its third campaign and we've already got the next two lined up after that so there'll be plenty of maps to mount.  Aside from giving us a way to display/document the worlds we've killed monsters in it'll let me scratch that cartography itch now that I'm not coming up with maps for our current campaign anymore.

This first map was for a setting dubbed "Erd".  Back in 2012 we hoped in on a local, impromptu gaming coalition.  Nobody expected very many people to show up but the first game in Jan 2013 wound up with 11 players.  The fellow organizing the whole thing didn't have a setting to start with but within a couple weeks we'd come up with a world, something of a history, and some reasons why our adventurers were off adventuring.  Our current group spun off of that a month later and we've been meeting every week since.

I've never been all that happy with the Erd map.  Relative to the maps that followed it it's very simplistic; more of a political map than anything that shows any terrain.  That kind of goes for the campaign on the whole, somewhat simplistic and boilerplate.  That said, it was meant to be a collaborative effort and for many of us it was a first real attempt.  Erd was my first experience DMing in a decade and I learned a heckuva lot from it.