More Stargazer’s World Posts I Wrote

For those interested in roll playing game news, I write for Stargazer’s World where I explore Dungeons & Dragons as well as product related to the hobby.

More Stargazer’s World Posts

For those interested in roll playing game news, I write for Stargazer’s World where I explore Dungeons & Dragons as well as product related to the hobby.

Transformers Macbook Pro Decal

The Finished Product

I used to be one of those people who took really good care of his possessions. Everything I owned had to be cleaned and put away back in its proper place. I was verging on the edge of obsessive compulsive. Then something changed and I am not totally sure what it was.

Reading books like Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek and David Allen’s Getting Things Done have really changed how I look at life and day to day living. I find myself trying to live more for the now then to save and anticipate for a hard and unknown future. To be honest I feel it has payed off greatly. I am a lot less stressed out and more aware of what is going on around me with family and friends.

My Desktop Pictures and iPhone Vinyl Sticker. This Photo Does Not Do The Desktop Pictures Justis

I recently purchased a new 15″ MacBook Pro. A computer I use all the time and take with me just about everywhere I go. It truly is a powerhouse work horse for me. When I got the computer I new right away I wanted to sticker it with some cool Transformers art. I had seen a few photos of other Apple users who had put Ironman or Snow White vinyl stickers on their Macbooks. Both stickers are really awesome and I wanted to do something smiler with my Macbook Pro and Transformers.

I ended up searching on Etsy and finding Rob who makes vinyl stickers for MacBooks. I sent Rob an e-mail asking him if he could make me a vinyl sticker for my new Macbook Pro. For the next two weeks we worked together over e-mail to come up with just the right Transformers image I wanted displayed on my computer.

I really wanted to find and image that worked with the Apple logo on my Macbook Pro  much like the Ironman and Snow White images did. I was sent a couple mock ups of  Optimus Prime with the Apple logo in his hand. It was a great image but I was not happy with that rendition of Optimus Prime. So we both went back to the drawing board. I finally came up with three images I sent in and asked Rob what he could do with them.

Autobot Matrix of Leadership

The first image was of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. I was soon sent back a render of the image with the Apple logo in the center of the Matrix. It’s a great graphic and I ended up using it on my older 15″ Apple Powerbook.

Getting Ready To apply The Vinyl Stickers

The second two images I sent in came from IDW Transformers posters. One of Megatron and one of Optimus Prime. I ended up having vinyl stickers made out of these posters and I ended up placing them on my Macbook Pro.

When I got the stickers in the mail they came in a large envelope between to peaces of cardboard to prevent them from getting bent or damaged. Inside the envelope where some simple instructions on how to apply the vinyl stickers along with a couple of Popsicle sticks to smooth out any air bubbles that might happen to form.

Wet Erase Marker
Wet Erase Marker

Putting the vinyl sticker of the Matrix on my Powerbook was pretty easy for the most part. I just lined up the Apple logo in the center and smoothed it out. The Optimus Prime and Megatron Vinyl stickers where a little bit harder to apply because they didn’t incorporate the logo. There was a lot of adjustments I made to make to make sure the images where level and centered. Once I had the image placed on my MacBook Pro just the way I wanted them I used a green wet erase marker from my Dungeons & Dragons battlemat to outline the stickers. That way when I picked up the stickers and remove the backing from the sticky side I could align it back up correctly before sticking them to my computer.

I am really happy how this little project turned out. I had a really great first experience with etsy and everything went so well. Rob no longer has a store front on etsy. He does however have an eBay page and he can be e-mailed here. He still makes custom vinyl stickers for computers and he is really great to work with.

I show off my computer every chance I get. You might just catch me with one of my laptops at PAX Prime this year. You never know.

Hirst Arts Castlemolds For Dungeons & Dragons

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I am always looking out for new ways to enhance my weekly Dungeons & Dragons game. Things that might help immerse the player and keep everyone excited. One thing people can do is buy miniature environments that player characters can use  to explore. The most popular of these are made by a company called Dwarven Forge.

Dungeons & Dragons Castlemolds
My Fiancé Testing Out The First Castelmolds

The Dwarven Forge sets are very well made and are pretty much the cream of the crop when it comes to miniature environments. They are a bit spendy and if you can afford them, then by all means knock yourself out. But I have been looking around the Internet for something in-between a battle mat and a Dwarven Forge set.

Personally I hate Dungeon Tiles. So they where not an option in my mind. I would rather just use graph paper if it came down to it.

What I have found is a product called Castlemolds from Hirst Arts.

When I found the Castlemolds sets on-line I showed them to my fiancé who immediately thought they where a good idea. As excited as I was to have found them, she is the one who really pushed me to order a few.

Dungeons & Dragons Castlemolds
Dried Molds
Casted Molds
Casted Molds

As the name implies Castlemolds are molds. They are made from silicone and according to their website they will last for years and hundreds of casts. I suggest reading the “How it works” page on the Hirst Arts website to get a sense of how much work and money is going to be required for building a miniature set. When you factor in the cost of the molds, Plaster of Paris, Paint, and time the whole project can become quite spendy and time consuming rather quickly. But in the end I find it still costs less then going out and getting a Dwarven Forge mini set. Your mileage may very

Dungeons & Dragons Castlemolds
Painted Molds

As soon as our first order of Castlemolds came in the mail my fiancé when right to work on creating the first set of molds, then another, then another, and so on and so forth. At one point she became quite the little multitasker, popping out hardened molds one moment and painting dried molds the next.

It took about three or four weeks of this before we had enough floors and walls made that we could use them for a full encounter. My fiancé even went as far as to glue felt under each of the completed Castelmolds peaces. She really did an amazing job with them. For the most part now she does the painting and I do the mold casting.

Castlemolds used in game
First Game With Castlemolds

Before long we were ordering more molds and expand the look and the feel of the Dungeons we can create. There are still times when I will use my battle mat and wet erase markers to lay out an area of battle. But as much as I can I try to use the Castlemolds sets.

All I Need To Know About Life I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons

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Recently I was reading a Wizards of the Cost Twitter post (@Wizards_DnD) and followed a link to a video presentation given by Chad Henderson. It was called “All I Need To Know About Life I learned From Dungeons & Dragons”. I thought it was a pretty good post and I wanted to share it.

How To Organize Your D&D Miniatures

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Table Of D&D Minis
My Table of D&D Minis

I had a need to organize my D&D minis. I was finding that just to  locate a particular one for D&D night had become a chore. I was always sifting through a box or bag of them just to find one in particular. Not to mention storing minis in a box or bag is not the best thing for them.  Parts get bent or broken if your not careful. So I have come up with a way to organize your Minis. For the most part your only going to need 3 things.

  1. Sterilite Draws (You can find them most retail stores)
  2. A Label Maker
  3. Apple’s iPhoto (mac only) or Google’s Picasa (Mac or Windows) Software

STEP 1: LABEL THE DRAWERS

The first thing I did was to label my drawers. I printed labels from my label maker saying “Drawer 1”, “Drawer 2”, “Drawer 3”, and so on and stuck them to the front of each drawer. The drawers I am using I picked up from Wal-Mart and they are called “Sterilite“. Just little plastic drawer storage units big enough to hold my minis.

STEP 2: LOOK UP EACH MINI ONLINE

I layed out all my D&D minis on the kitchen table. I then proceeded to look up each one online. I would use a site like Alter Reality Games to search for each mini individually. When the search would come back I would be presented with an image of the mini and some text including the mini’s name and the set it came from.

iPhoto D&D mini collection
iPhoto D&D Mini Collection

STEP 3: PUT THE INFO INTO IPHOTO

Save the mini’s picture to iPhoto (or Picasa).

SIDE NOTE: You can create a brand new iPhoto library so as not to add a bunch of pictures of minis to your personal photos by holding down the option key and launching iPhoto. The program will ask you if you want to create a new library or open an existing one. I created a new library and saved it in my computer’s D&D directory.

Next I created an album for each drawer. So I have one album named “Drawer 1”, “Drawer 2” and so on. As I copied pictures of minis into iPhoto’s album named “drawer 1”  I would select the image and paste in text related to the mini that I found from the website.

In both the iPhoto and Picasa programs you have the option to enter text information about the image. Here is where I enter the mini’s name and the set it came from. (See the image on the right)

D&D mini drawer
D&D Mini Drawer

STEP 4: PLACE THE MINI IN THE DRAWER

After all the all the information about the mini was entered into iPhoto I then put the mini in the corresponding drawer. Repeat steps 2 through 4 till your whole mini collection has been cataloged in iPhoto.

So now If your looking for a green dragon all you have to is type in “Green Dragon” In your search field and iphoto or Picasa and it will tell you what draw the mini is located in.

SOME HISTORY

I have almost been playing Dungeons & Dragons for a year now. For less time then that I have started collected D&D minis. My collection has grown quickly and I needed a way to store then. Rather then reinvent the wheel I turned to Google for help. I figured I was not the only one with this question and someone else must have come up with a solution that I could use.

Well sure enough I found a hand full for websites selling products for miniature storage. But I was not finding a lot of end user experience. Since I was not satisfied with what I found on a few Google searches I turned to Twitter and asked the following question of some DM’s I Follow.

@theodudek, @SlyFlourish, @newbiedm I need a way to store my growing #DnD miniatures collection. Do you guys have any suggestions?

NewbieDM sent me the following response:

@Nicap (thats me)  I buy these plastic drawer storagethings at Wal-Mart. keep them there, sorted by undead, PC’s, creatures, etc…

Right off the bat that sounded like a good idea to me. I went to the store and picked up a couple of these plastic drawer storage things and tossed my minis in them and life was good. Life was good till my collection of minis grew to the point that finding ones needed for a particular game was becoming a chore.

After some time thinking about the problem I am up with the solution above that has been working out for me very well. I hope you all find it useful.

5 Dungeon Masters

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Wizards of the Coast recently posted three videos about 5 Dungeon Masters located either in Seattle or New York. The following videos are from that page. I like to post videos about Dungeons & Dragons because I think it helps people who have not played the game get a better idea of what all the fuss is about. So enjoy!