Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dungeons & Crafts: Dice Tower

I've been a tad obsessed with D&D ever since skimming through the 5th Edition PHB. I haven't had a chance to play yet, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. A significant portion of my miniature collection was collected and painted when 4th Edition was released, and I didn't even like that game. You can imagine what I've been up to this past week.

If you don't play tabletop RPG's, you probably don't know what a "dice tower" is. Actually, I suspect a lot of gamers aren't familiar with the concept. Simply put, it's something that you drop dice into that funnels them to the table. In other words, it's a construct for rolling dice.

If you're unclear why anyone would need such a thing, allow me to clear it up for you: no one needs this or anything like it. It's entirely superfluous but kind of cool. Think less tool and more decoration. Sort of the geek equivalent of a nutcracker.

That brings us to Michaels. And to this "birdhouse," which would have been five dollars full price had I not had a 40% off coupon. It was fun as-is, but it wasn't about to roll any dice until the ceiling between the top and bottom floors was removed.

I can think of several ways I should have done this that don't include painstakingly carving out the top piece with a pocket knife, then just as painstakingly cutting the floor out of the now separate top piece. For instance, I could have just separated the entire top floor beneath the battlements by cutting through the glue, which would have saved me the trouble of carving the piece out on both sides of the wall. Also, a pocket knife - even a good one - isn't the ideal tool this job.

Oh, well. It's what I had handy.

When this was done, I realized the top window wasn't large enough to fit a D20, so I enlarged the opening.

I then cut out a piece of loose plastic from the package of an action figure to form a half-funnel to channel the dice out the front door. Once I verified this would work, I painted it to look like stone:

It works well, though D4s sometimes slide down the chute without rolling if you drop them in flat. I'm not too worried: everything else seems to work pretty well. Besides, I don't think this will see much use other than D20's.

Also, the tower has an added feature. Because the top piece is carved out, it can be popped off and flipped around. This means the entrance window can be positioned behind the tower (for DM rolling) or in front (for players). Neat!

Here it is in action:

I'm pretty happy with how it looks and functions. Not the most practical project, but it's a cool piece.

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