Dead Suns Dice Set

Well, would you look at this?

Dead Suns Dice 1
Dead Suns Dice Set
Dead Suns Dice 2
Dead Suns Dice Set

I never expect a gift for Easter. It’s a time to give treats and small gifts to kids. Chocolates and candy and books. So imagine my surprise when my husband and kids gave me an Easter gift. A gorgeous set of dice.

.JPGDead Suns Dice

A vibrant dark blue with orange numbers and designs, these beautiful dice are highly detailed. Made by Q Workshop for the Starfinder Dead Suns Adventure Path, it contains a d4, d6, d8, d10, percentile, d12, and d20. The standard seven dice set.

Dead Suns Dice 4
Dead Suns Dice Set
Dead Suns Dice 5
Dead Suns Dice Set

They’re easy to read and look amazing at the table. I own a lot of dice, but the Dead Suns Dice Set is right up there with my very favourite sets. In fact, it’s tied with my Iron Gods Dice Set (also by Q Workshop) for my favourite dice. I love them!

Here’s hoping they bring me some luck!

The Dead Suns Adventure Path consists of six adventures:

To check out more of Q Workshop’s amazing dice head over to their website. To find out more about the Dead Suns Adventure Path head over to Paizo’s website or watch the trailer for the Dead Suns Adventure Path below.

Gotta fly! I’ve got some new dice to roll!

Jessica

 

Happy Easter!

My daughter’s obsessed with rabbits.

Seriously.

So it should come as no surprise that Easter is her very favourite holiday. Stores that she would normally take no interest in are packed full of rabbit clothes, rabbit knick-knacks, rabbit pictures — rabbit everything! Add to that the chocolate, the treats, the family celebrations, and the high probability someone will give her a new stuffed rabbit, and she couldn’t be happier.

And then yesterday she got sick. Headache, nausea, stomach pain, fatigue. Nothing fun. The poor dear’s curled up on the couch whimpering on her favourite day of the year.

So we’re having a quiet Easter this year. I’m resting at home with my family, comforting my daughter, trying to prevent my son from gorging himself on chocolate, and tidying up the house.

But, we’re taking some time out of our (not) busy day to say thanks.

THANKS.

And thanks again.

Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, and however you celebrate, we’d like to take the time to wish you a Happy Easter. (Or as my daughter would say if she was feeling better: “HOPPY Easter! BOING BOING!”).

For those of you who don’t celebrate Easter, we’d like to wish you a wonderful day.

All the best!

Jessica
(and family)

Happy Easter!

D&D Starter Set

For Valentine’s Day my seven-year old son received the D&D Starter Set. He was pretty proud of this turn of events, as it marked the very first d20 product he has ever personally owned. He has some hand-me-down books, of course. And he reads my books all the time, but this one? This one was HIS.

Today we’re going to take quick look at the contents of the D&D Starter Set, and let you know what we thought. For more information on our experiences playing through the D&D Starter Set, tune in later this week!

The D&D Starter Set comes in a high quality, really nice looking box that is deeper than necessary. Although this might seem like a waste, at first, it’s not. The box is the perfect size to also place a D&D Player’s Handbook in, which any fan of the D&D Starter Set is going to want to do pretty quick. You can also fit in a notebook and a few pens, which is also a must have. Being able to pack all of that up in the box is great.

Inside the box you’ll find a set of beautiful little dice, swirled in shades of vibrant blue, with bright white numbers. The dice are really nice looking and incredibly easy to read — which is a must! I despise dice you have to squint at just to figure out what they say. Not that it matters what I think, since the dice belong to my son. Happily, he loves them, ranking them as his very favourite set of dice (he owns two sets and a variety of extra dice of all kinds). There are six dice total: a d20, d12, d10, d8, d6, and d4. There is no percentile dice in this set, or extra d20, which is a little unfortunate. It’s always nice to have a second d20 for all those advantage and disadvantage rolls.

Starter Set Dice
Dice from the D&D Starter Set

Beneath the dice is the D&D Starter Set Rulebook. 32 pages long, this 8 1/2″ by 11″ booklet contains all the rules needed to play and run a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The first seven pages explain how to play D&D, the six ability scores, and their uses, as well as advantage, disadvantage, and so on. After that there’s six pages on combat, six pages on adventuring (including equipment), four pages on spellcasting, a description of all the spells mentioned in the D&D Starter Set, and finally, the back page is an appendix that lists conditions. The book does it’s job well, providing enough information without overwhelming players too much. That said, it doesn’t contain any information on creating your own characters, so anyone who wants to move on from the Starter Set into regular D&D will need to pick up the D&D Player’s Handbook.

The second booklet in the D&D Starter Set is an adventure: Lost Mine of Phandelver. This adventure is a whopping 64 pages long — much longer than I expected from a starter set! I was really impressed. The adventure is split into four major parts: The opening ambush and a small dungeon crawl, time socializing and solving problems in the town of Phandalin, a sandboxy exploration of the surrounding wilds where your players can further investigate the quests they may have taken on, and the finale, a final large dungeon crawl. Before the adventure is an introduction, which gives a quick run down of how DMing works, and explains how to go about it. At the end of the adventure is an appendix containing all the magic times found in the adventure, and a second appendix which contains details on all the monsters and enemies found in the adventure. Finally, the back page of the booklet is a rules index, which lists different rules and the page numbers that they can be found in the Starter Set Rulebook.

D&D Starter Set Contents
Contents of theD&D Starter Set

Lost Mine of Phandelver is a fun adventure. It’s got a simple opening premise that’s easy to attach a wide variety of characters to, and has a good balance of combat, exploration, investigation, and social encounters. The plot line is easy to follow, and contains a few twists. It’s not overly complex and will appeal to a wide audience. Throughout the adventure there are plenty of notes for DMs, which give further guidance, rules references, and advice. This is super handy for new DMs and was really well handled.

The town of Phandalin was interesting, but I found it a bit brief. The only locations detailed are those where the PCs can pick up quests, which is unfortunate. That said, this adventure isn’t made for me, it’s made for new DMs. And for new DMs? There’s more than enough details, information, and NPCs to work with. Plenty of the townsfolk have tasks and information they can give players, links to other organizations (which can be used for continuing the campaign after you’re done with the Starter Set), plus there’s some trouble in town the players can stumble into on their own. Many of these quests can be completed in the region surrounding Phandalin, in Part Three of the adventure.

There’s some nice maps in Lost Mine of Phandelver, and art representing all of the monsters that need it (although not all of the monsters total). A few humanoid enemies are also illustrated, although none of the NPCs are. I really wish there was art for at least one of them — Silas Hallwinter, for example — but despite lacking art, each NPC in the book has a line or to about their physical appearance and behaviour, so DMs aren’t adrift.

Overall, Lost Mine of Phandelver is a fun beginner’s adventure with lots for player’s to do. It showcases the major types and styles of D&D, and weaves it all together in an entertaining and coherent story. I was really pleased with the adventure’s length. Groups will get more than a few play sessions out of this one, which is really nice to see.

This brings us to the final components contained in the D&D Starter Set: pre-generated characters. This box contains five already made characters. A neutral good hill dwarf cleric soldier, a lawful good human fighter folk hero, a lawful neutral human fighter noble, a neutral lightfoot halfling rogue criminal, and a chaotic good high elf wizard acolyte. The character sheets are easy to read and understand. Abilities are explained right on them, with more information on each one’s race, class, and background on the back of the sheet. Each of these characters has their own personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws which is simple to understand and really useful for roleplaying the characters. As the adventure will allow you to get multiple level ups, the back also has detailed information on what each character gains at each level. The best part? Each of the characters feels unique and fun, and none of them have names or genders. Which is great! Each player gets to decide their personal identity, and add those finishing touches themselves. I thought the characters were all really nicely done. The only downside? Whoever plays the wizard will need to make use of the Starter Set Rulebook to find information on their spells.

Which is it! The entire contents of the D&D Starter Set! This little box is packed full of fun, with everything you need to get started playing D&D. The dice are gorgeous, the rulebook is useful but not overwhelming, the adventure is fun, varied, and much longer than I expected, and the characters are well-made and enjoyable to use. The only thing this starter set lacks? A play mat and minis, but technically you don’t need those to play D&D. They really add to the game, though, so player’s who continue on to play D&D are likely to wish they had some. But, the best part of the D&D Starter Set? The cost! This box is an amazing value! We picked ours up for only $15 Canadian, which is only a few dollars more than the cost of a set of dice. Getting the rules and a good sized adventure in there, as well, makes this a great deal. I highly recommend the D&D Starter Set for anyone interested in learning how to play D&D, or for anyone who just wants a nifty new adventure and some cool dice. Well worth the investment!

Thanks for joining us today. We’ll talk again soon when we discuss our experiences playing through the D&D Starter Set adventure: Lost Mine of Phandelver.

Until then,

Jessica

 

PaizoCon 2019: Event Submission, Volunteers, and Updates

As the month wears on PaizoCon is creeping closer. Registration to attend PaizoCon began just over a month ago and this past week event submission began.

PaizoCon 2019 will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in SeaTac, Washington over Memorial Day weekend (which is May 24–27). At PaizoCon you can meet your favorite Paizo artists, authors, designers, developers, editors, and personalities. You can also play games at the Pathfinder and Starfinder Society organized play tables, attend panels, seminars, and workshops, get some snazzy sneak-peeks, and (of course) buy stuff! This PaizoCon will also mark the relaunch of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (which has been getting an overhaul) and their new Adventure Path: Curse of the Crimson Throne. The Starfinder team  apparently has some secrets to share, and Pathfinder Second Edition is sure to be a hot topic, as well.

The Guests of Honor for PaizoCon 2019 are Liane Merciel (author of Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight), Wayne Reynolds (freelance illustrator whose work includes every Pathfinder RPG hardcover release and the Pathfinder Iconics), and The Glass Cannon Podcast (weekly live-play podcasters who play Pathfinder and Starfinder. I’ve previously written about them here).

In addition to the wonderful events that Paizo employees are going to host, everyone else out there — fans, artists, authors, gamers, third party publishers and so on — are all welcome to host their own events! This is an opportunity to host a seminar, run a game, or just book a table. Whoever you are and whatever you’re hoping to do, now is the time to sign up! By signing up in advance you allow the team running PaizoCon to ensure they have time and space available for you. This also allows PaizoCon attendees to sign up for your events in advance (Very important!).

For more information on how to submit an event for PaizoCon 2019 you can click this handy link that will take you to the appropriate part of Paizo’s website! Event submission closes on March 1st.

Curious about pricing to buy tickets to PaizoCon 2019? Look no further!

  • 4-Day Badges are $75.00
  • 4-Day Kid’s Badges are $40.00
  • PaizoCon Preview Banquet Tickets are $45.00 and include an exclusive commemorative item available only to attendees at the Preview Banquet and through auctions or prizes at select charity events.
  • Purchasing a 4-Day Badge (regular) and a Preview Banquet ticket together are $110 ($10 savings)

For more information on PaizoCon 2019 and to register head over to PaizoCon.com. Want to learn more about the special guests? Check out LianeMerciel.com, WayneReynolds.com, and GlassCannonPodcast.com.

In related news, the Organized Play Foundation (OPF) has put out the call for volunteers for some of the year’s most popular conventions. So if you’re going to PaizoCon, Origins, Gen Con, UK Games Expo or PAX Unplugged and want to volunteer to lend a hand, now is the time to sign up! Paizo is looking for volunteers for Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild, Pathfinder Society Academy, Starfinder Society, and Pathfinder Society version 2. Volunteers are rewarded with some awesome swag, although what you receive will vary based on which convention you’re volunteering for, and how much of your time you volunteer. To register as a volunteer head on over to the OPF Convention Volunteer Page and fill out the appropriate questionnaires.

Have fun, everyone!

Jessica

Pathfinder, Studying, Paizo
Image courtesy of Paizo Inc.

3… 2… 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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2…

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My family and I want to wish each and every one of you a wonderful, amazing, SPECTACULAR, New Year.

I mean that. Truly.

We wish you all the best in the coming year, and every day afterwards.

Thank you for visiting d20 Diaries. And thank you for sharing this past year with us. I hope you join us for another one.

Jessica
(and family!)

Dragon Dice Tree - NEW YEAR.jpeg

Happy Holidays!

Snow is falling, lights are twinkling, there’s a chill in the air, and a pile of torn up gift wrap all over my floor. My kids are running around the house testing out new toys, reading new books, playing new video games, and shrieking in glee over the letter Santa left them last night.

It’s Christmas morning.

Some people say this is a magic time of year. A time for reaching out to loved ones and old friends. A time for reflection. For gratefulness. For spreading joy and cheer. For some people it’s a time of faith and prayers. For others it’s just another day. For me it’s always been about family.

It’s that one time of year we always make the time to visit our extended family, even though we don’t really have the time. It’s the time we share meals, and hugs, and showers gifts on the kids. It’s the time to say ‘I love you,’ and to tell your friends and family how much you appreciate them.

And so, in spirit of the holidays, we here at d20diaries would like to take the time to say to each and every one of you: thank you.

Thank you for your time and your attention. Thank you for your feedback and kind words. Thank you, thank you, and a thousand more times, thank you. It means the world to us that so many of you choose to spend some of your precious time with us.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Yule! Happy Holidays! And if you’re currently celebrating a holiday I haven’t mentioned, then happy that, too!

We wish you all the best today, tomorrow, and every day afterwards.

Best wishes,

Jessica
(and family!)

Holiday Dragon

A Whirlwind Week!

Whoooo! It’s been a busy week.

My kids had their school holiday concert this week. They were supremely excited for it. My daughter’s been practising her holiday songs and dancing around every day since they first started practising two months ago. She would give me a mischievous smile every time I saw her practising, then shut the door in my face. Haha. Anyway, the concert was a lot of fun. They sang Hanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, and holiday songs, and had a ton of fun. I had my niece and nephew with me for both shows (they do an afternoon and an evening show) which I suppose might make some people nervous. What two and four year old want to sit nice through a concert, never mind the same one twice? But they’re usually pretty good for me, and I bring them with me every year, so they were pretty excited to see their cousins put on a show for them. They had a lot of fun and were actually really, really good. Which was nice. I got to enjoy the show too, haha. I parked my niece in her stroller at the edge of an aisle so she could see, but other parents kept getting up and standing in front of her and blocking her view. I suppose they figured she was ‘just a baby’ and wouldn’t mind. Ha! She’s two and at that age where she’s using new words every day. So, every time someone purposely stood in front of her she’d shake her little fist and exclaim, “HEY! CAN’T SEE! YOU! GO! I CAN’T SEE!”

So many parents jumped and looked around shocked to see it was this tiny, cute little chubby toddler giving them a scolding. Some moved, some ignored her, some scowled at her, some jumped a foot like we were on some gag show, but either way I had a laugh. She’s adorable. Haha.

Later in the show Santa made an appearance and went through the crowd greeting kids so my niece and nephew were just AMAZED. “SANTA! ITS SANTA! LOOK AUNTIE! SANTA!!” My kids up on stage were pretty excited about it to. Apparently Santa had made a few visits to their rehearsal ahead of time to say he was coming and greet all the kids. My daughter explained to me later that night that someone from her class had written him an email to invite him to the concert, so OF COURSE he came. It was cute.


Last night we went to a fancy gala for my husband’s work. Princess Auto is celebrating its 85th year in business. Not only that, it’s a small Winnipeg-based, family owned, Canadian business that stretches from coast to coast. Many of you won’t have ever heard of Princess Auto before, but let me start by saying: no, they don’t sell cars. Haha. They were originally an auto wrecking business based on Princess Street here in Winnipeg, but as the years went on their owners were always adapting to the current and future retail market. They got into army surplus at the end of the war, mail order catalogs, and later stores. They kept changing with the times and now they have 43 stores across Canada and are opening one more that I know of this year, with a few more in 2019. They sell products in all kinds of categories: hand tools, outdoor, farm, trailer, driveline, hydraulics, and surplus (where you can find good deals on just a bunch of.. stuff. Haha). Where I live people either have never heard of Princess Auto, or LOVE IT. Like, OBSESSIVELY love it. Their customers are absurdly loyal. I suppose it’s mostly due to their ethos. Princess Auto has made it their mission, and always has, to treat their customers and employees with kindness and respect. They’re one of those businesses where the regulars come in and hang out all day, chatting and visiting and browsing. Staff probably knows them by name, what they do for a living, and about their family. Like at an independent coffee shop, or your local gaming store. A little community where everyone’s welcome. I’m just some employees wife, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the owners, CEO, and all kinds of other wonderful people plenty of times. A lot of customers bring in gifts for the staff and store, just because. I have some smoked fish and pepperoni sticks made by some happy customers sitting in my fridge right now.

Anyway, the folks over at Princess Auto are super nice, and they always throw a great party, so it’s one of those work get-togethers that is always fun to go to. For the 85th Anniversary Gala they hosted a big dinner and dance, with a live brass band, free food and drinks, prizes, gifts for everyone, and (very important) free cab vouchers to get home. There were staff in from all over the country, and guests of honour from the early days of Princess Auto. It was a lot of fun.

My kids went for a sleepover to my Mom’s house for the evening, so I’m sitting in my living room as I type this with a hot cup of tea and… silence. There’s just the tap of the keyboard as I type, a distant drip in my sink — I really should get up and turn that off — and my husband’s snoring from the other side of the apartment. It’s so… still.

I’m not used to that. Being still.

Even when my kids are at school I’m watching other young children and trying to stop them from tearing my modest apartment apart. Life is never quiet for me. And certainly never still.

It’s weird. But nice. Give me another few hours and I’ll miss my kids. Haha. But, for now, it’s the first quiet break I’ve had in a long time.


Later this week it’s my birthday. I’ll be turning… (pardon me while I count) … 33! Yes, I literally had to count. Honestly, once I turned 18 (which is the year you’re an adult where I live in Canada) I just stopped counting. I’m an adult! That’s all I need to know. Haha. I don’t do much for my birthday. I’m not one of those people who has a big party, or even family over really. I usually just take a day off from babysitting and spend the day with my husband. My birthday wishes? Same as always! Hugs from my kids, a day free from chores and cooking, and a slurpee for a treat.

I’m a fan of the simple things. Haha.

Not sure what I’ll be doing this year. Taking my kids to school. Probably cleaning my house and cooking. Haha. But, my husband booked the day off (he’s a sweetheart), so maybe I’ll make him do all my chores for me.

Hey! A girl can dream!

So, from me and mine to you and yours, here’s wishing you all happy birthdays throughout the year. I value every one of you that comes by to visit our little corner of the internet.

A thousand thanks!


In other news, PaizoCon registration has officially begun!

PaizoCon will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in SeaTac, Washington over Memorial Day weekend (which is May 24–27). I may admit that I’m a little jealous of all you folks who are going to attend. Haha. At PaizoCon you can meet your favorite Paizo artists, authors, designers, developers, editors, and personalities. You can also play games at the Pathfinder and Starfinder Society organized play tables, attend panels and workshops, get some snazzy sneak-peeks, and (of course) buy stuff! This PaizoCon will also mark the relaunch of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (which has been getting an overhaul) and their new Adventure Path: Curse of the Crimson Throne. The Starfinder team  apparently has some secrets to share, and Pathfinder Second Edition is sure to be a hot topic, as well.

The Guests of Honor for PaizoCon 2019 are Liane Merciel (author Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight), Wayne Reynolds (freelance illustrator whose work includes every Pathfinder RPG hardcover release and the Pathfinder Iconics), and The Glass Cannon Podcast (weekly live-play podcasters who play Pathfinder and Starfinder. I’ve previously written about them here.).

Curious about pricing? Look no further!

  • 4-Day Badges are $75.00
  • 4-Day Kid’s Badges are $40.00
  • PaizoCon Preview Banquet Tickets are $45.00 and include an exclusive commemorative item available only to attendees at the Preview Banquet and through auctions or prizes at select charity events.
  • Purchasing a 4-Day Badge (regular) and a Preview Banquet ticket together are $110 ($10 savings)

For more information on PaizoCon 2019 and to register head over to PaizoCon.com. Want to learn more about the special guests? Check out LianeMerciel.com, WayneReynolds.com, and GlassCannonPodcast.com.


In other news, Wayfinder is announcing their accepted authors this week. Wayfinder is a free Paizo magazine written by fans, for fans, which features a ton of new content for the Pathfinder RPG. The issues are always a free download on Paizo’s website, and are always a treat to read. Usually they follow a theme and this year it’s not about Pathfinder at all! It’s about Starfinder! Absalom Station to be exact. They’ve been accepting entries from fans since the summer, and reading through them for another two months, and now this weekend they’re supposed to announce everyone who’s articles and submissions they’re going to use. My kids each created a creature for Wayfinder this year, and I submitted a Weal and Woe article and two themes. We’re all excited to see if any of us made the cut. My kids, particularly, are on the edge of their seats. It’s adorable. We’ve got our fingers crossed.

Wish us luck!


Finally, I want to talk about Pathfinder Friday. This past week’s episode was AWESOME! Erik Mona, Chief Creative Officer and Publisher of Paizo, was on the show and was an amazing guest. Erik has been with the team at Paizo the whole time. From back in the Dungeon and Dragon Magazine days, when Pathfinder wasn’t even born yet. This marked his first time on the show since they got they’re snazzy, comfy set for the twitch stream, and wow! They should really get him on more often!

Erik shared a ton of information with us about the Starstone! From behind the scenes inspirations, to the history and lore of the Starstone, how it arrived on Golarion, it’s effect on the world, its powers, and how you can use it. Just a ton of interesting information. Some of it was even new to me (exciting!).

For those of you who don’t know, the Starstone is part of a giant meteorite that was called down from outer space by some ticked off aboleths in order to put those uppity humans back in their place. The meteorite was slowed and detoxified by two Azlanti gods, Acavna and Amazden, which prevented much of the devastation that could have been caused at the expense of their lives. But, the impact still shook up the world. Civilzations ended, the sun was blocked from the sky, the terrain was literally reshaped, some races fled to different locations, which even created new races. In short, it was a BIG DEAL. A long time later a survivor by the name of Aroden found the stone, raised it up from the oceans, created the isle of Kortos, became a god, and made a city for his worshippers called Absalom. Thanks Aroden! When you interact with the Starstone you undergo a series of phantasmagoric visions and experiences that is different for everyone. This is known as the Test of the Starstone, and it sort of pits yourself against yourself. This inner test determines if you’re worthy to be a god, and if so, what you’ll be god of. If you pass you can become a living god, which is sort of like a demigod and is the most available method for ordinary people to become divine. Some people managed (Norgorber, Iomedae, and Cayden Cailean), while many more died in the attempt. Around the Startsone Aroden built a temple and filled it with dangerous tests, traps, and guardians.

“The first part of the Test of the Starstone, the dungeon part, tests your character sheet, but the second part tests your character,” said Erik Mona.

The Starstone is an artifact which had a huge historical impact on Golarion, it’s people, and the Pathfinder Campaign Setting as a whole. It even has a role to play in the Starfinder universe. Which is why this episode was such a neat one to get to see. Because, despite its importance, the Starstone isn’t really something that Pathfinder has focused on. It set the stage for the game and the world, but then it’s been sort of… idle. Nothing’s really happened with it lately, in and out of game. This is something that they hope to remedy in Pathfinder Second Edition. Erik explained that they’re going to do the Test of the Starstone one day, but the question is when and how. Is it better served as an Adventure Path or a high level deluxe adventure? He also mentioned that the team at Paizo is putting in a lot of thought into some central themes which may have been neglected over the last few years. This includes Absalom (which only PFS has focused on), Aroden, the Starstone, and much more.

If you haven’t seen the most recent Pathfinder Friday episode, I highly suggest you give it a watch. You can watch it and other previous episodes on Paizo’s Twitch stream, as well as on youtube. Although, I highly recommend watching it on Twitch so you can see the Q&A portion of the episode as well.

Enjoy!

Have a great week everyone,

Jessica