Washington Post: Amid a pandemic and a racial reckoning, ‘D&D’ finds itself at an inflection point. “Victoria Rogers got in trouble when she started playing Dungeons and Dragons online. It was the mid-1990s, and Rogers, unable to find people to play the tabletop fantasy roleplaying game as it’s traditionally done, played over a bulletin board system (BBS) powered by her home dial-up connection. “It was all text-based,” she said. ‘It was like writing a novel and everyone would take turns posting written descriptions of what they’re doing.’ Games of Dungeons of Dragons (D&D), where people control characters on open-ended adventures based on rules, stats and dice rolls, can famously eat up entire afternoons. But Rogers’s childhood sessions were even longer than usual.”
Boing Boing: Download these free D&D character sheets designed to help players with dyslexia. “Redditor Inuyasharuls is a Dungeon Master who runs campaigns for several players with dyslexia. With help from another Redditor and gamer, Axelle123, they created this colorful character sheet alternative, using Comic Sans instead of the standard font found on D&D materials, to make life easier for everyone. Or, well, maybe not everyone, but still for some people.”
New-to-me, from Polygon: An artist created 3D models of every D&D monster, and you can have them all for free. “For more than five years, one man has been creating 3D models of every single monster in Dungeons & Dragons’ 5th edition, and giving away those digital files for free, so people with 3D printers can make them at home. Miguel Zavala’s art project consists of more than 1,900 digital files, and he has nearly 3,000 paying subscribers supporting his work on Patreon.”
Kottke: RPG Dungeon Generator. “One Page Dungeon generates small dungeon layouts for RPG adventures (Dungeons & Dragons, etc.)” I’m surprised at how much of a timesink this is.
Comicbook: New ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Adventure Takes Place in the Real World . “Dungeons & Dragons is sending people on a wild quest that involves secret websites, Yelp reviews, and even excursions into the real world. Earlier this week, we reported that Dungeons & Dragons had started an ARG (alternate reality game), likely to promote their upcoming adventure story that will be revealed in early June. The game began when the brand’s Twitter account was briefly ‘taken over’ by someone claiming to be an associate of Elminster, a popular wizard from one of the campaign settings in the game.”
Some fun from AI Weirdness: D&D character names – generated by a neural network. “I’ve trained neural networks to invent new Dungeons & Dragons spells (part 1, part 2) and also trained them to name new D&D creatures. It worked very well (Shield of Farts, anyone?), thanks to the spellbooks and monster manuals I could use as datasets. But there weren’t any datasets for another big aspect of Dungeons & Dragons: all the characters who populate these worlds. So, over the past few months, readers have been helping me to build a dataset – which has now reached a staggering 20,908 entries.” I think my favorite is The Cowben, whose race and D&D class is noted as “Human Opera”.
In development: a database of events from 50 years of the Gen Con gaming convention. “The Temple University Digital Scholarship Center announces the creation of an online database of events for all 50 years of the Gen Con gaming convention. The database will be available for use by the public with an accompanying exhibit site for hosting articles related to the information that is gleaned from the gaming history of the database. The database and exhibit site are expected to go live in July of 2017.”
Now available: a a library of Dungeons & Dragons printable 3D figures. “About a year and a half ago, US Army vet and hardcore Dungeons & Dragons player Miguel Zavala started what at the time must have sounded like an impossible project. Using his newly acquired hobby of 3D design and 3D printing, he decided that he was going to design and 3D print every monster in the legendary Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual Sourcebook. That is almost three hundred different 3D models, including dragons, orcs, trolls and every weird, bizarre and downright ridiculous creature that the classic roleplaying game had to offer. Now, after a ton of work and the almost constant running of his Printrbot Simple, Zavala has just released the last of his models.”