Free GM Resource (and some cheap limited-time resources): Stars Without Number

Free GM Resource (and some cheap limited-time resources): Stars Without Number

Evidently I'm late to the party but there is a "Revised Edition" of Stars Without Number that is Free. That is a reason to check this game out, but another is the fact it is put out by Sine Nomine Publishing.

I've thought highly of everything these guys have put together and it doesn't help that they've released some good resources for the write-it-yourself GM (um, like me) that wants to make their shi....er, stuff to look "professional". 

Now free is good, great even, BUT if you like the "revised edition" you can jump over to this particular Bundle of Holding (for the next two weeks) where for about $22 you can get not just the Revised Edition plus:

  • Sixteen Stars (16 setting locations for the GM)
  • Stars Without Number Revised GM Screen
  • Starvation Cheap (Military Campaign Supplement)
  • Suns of Gold (Mercantile Adventures Supplement)
  • Skyward Steel (Stellar Naval Supplement)
  • Dead Names (Lost Civilizations Creation Supplement)
  • Polychrome (Cyberpunk Supplement)


Working on my Gaming Maker Space

Working on my Gaming Maker Space
For a few years now I've been posting pretty much every Sunday over at Tenkar's Tavern and between that and a "secret" blog (that the average moron can probably figure out) I've been pretty much "tapped out" when it comes to posting, and this blog has suffered as a result.

This is one of the big reasons I have decided to stop posting at the Tavern. The other reasons...honestly I don't see any benefit to sharing and since the reasons are mine, that should be good enough.

I'd like to say that now I will be posting here every week and that is my goal, but not necessarily every Sunday. I'd like to get back into doing some reviews, Free GM Resources, and shout-outs to cool creators....probably ones I particularly like.


This weekend has been game-less, not even video games, but I have spent a decent amount of time & money working on my gaming-project maker spaces. I have a shed out in my backyard that has power & hot/cold water, along with a small walk-in cooler (clearly set up to process deer). I've built out an enclosed space, with an exhaust fan, to house my resin printers and I had my laser engraver out in the shed as well. I had picked up an enclosure for the laser and while it worked well, it was a bit of a pain to switch between jobs. I had a bunch of 1x4's to stack up a build platform to set my stuff to be engraved upon, but odds are I'd have to change out the screw-in legs of the engraver and figure it out. I learned to tack down a piece of thin cardstock and burn in the outline of my stock in order to have that stock properly placed.

What I did was build out a large wooden enclosure that I can open up almost fully. The engraver is placed inside in such a way that it cannot move about and has all of the legs installed. The box is almost airtight, but there is a 2"x8" adjustable vent on the side to feed the exhaust fan which I was able to place in a better spot, hopefully keeping soot buildup on the engraver to a minimum. I have a set of 4 16" square platforms that can raise the stock instead of lowering the engraver itself. There are two stop blocks on the base so the bottom platform can be set into proper position. One of my platforms is covered in steel plate to that I can now pre-cut my cardstock placement paper to 16" square and held down with magnets.

The side of the enclosure has a tray to bolt down the air pump and hold the UPS I'm using as well. The only thing I have remaining to do is to add some weatherstripping for the cover, add a latch to secure said cover, and figure out how I'm going to add a wireless camera I picked up to keep tabs on progress. Since most of the jobs take hours, the camera isn't that important and I might just use it to check in on the shed in general. I don't plan on engraving when I'm not at home.

When I'm 100% finished and have successfully made my 1st (well, next) engraving using this equipment, then I might post pics.

My other project, which I'm taking a break from working on to type this out, is bringing my painting station inside. I had picked up this (HOLY CRAP....I did not realize it was so expensive...$180?!) paint booth "thing" years ago and hadn't got it setup. I was going to do so out in the shed and I realized that if I had to go out to the shed I wasn't going to be using it. Instead I got some wood to block out the window in my hobby room and cut out a hole for the vent. The rest of the window is sealed up and all I need to do is re-install the cat/window bed that now needs to be affixed to the wood blocking instead.

I also picked up a second paint station from this etsy seller. It was easy to put together and now I have all of my paints at hand. Before I'd used a giant spinning rack that was relatively compact, but was a bit awkward to use. I barely have enough 2oz paints to warrant a second station, but I like that I can spread my paints out more.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a "few" unpainted minis sitting around.....


Fat Dragon Games Kickstarter Appreciation Post

Fat Dragon Games Kickstarter Appreciation Post
So it is no surprise I have a "strictly professional" nerd-crush on Tom Tullis of Fat Dragon Games. Tom's just straight-up "good people" who generally enjoys having the public persona of a bonafide asshole...which is funny to me because we have enough actual assholes in our hobby already.

Anyway, a little more often than once a year Tom/Fat Dragon Games puts out a Kickstarter for new 3d printing STL files. Now these files are well worth the investment and on top of everything Tom had a youtube channel  Tomb of 3D Printed Horrors. If you haven't subscribed & bookmarked....do so now.


Tom is also rather active helping 3d printing newbs get their setups dialed in and I've seen him offer advice on Facebook several times. He's a one-man resource, but really that's all extra as far as the purpose of this post today.

This week FDG has released some files from the most recent Kickstarter and, as usual, Tom put together a simple listing of the status of EVERYTHING from said Kickstarter. I think this should be the defacto standard for STL creators using Kickstarter:

Fat Dragon Games Kickstarter Appreciation Post


Free GM Resource: Prisoner 13 Adventure from D&D Beyond

Free GM Resource: Prisoner 13 Adventure from D&D Beyond
This Free GM Resource is a D&D Beyond introductory adventure that can be used on it's own and seems rather easy to adjust to other TTPRG game systems.

Prisoner 13 is a special theft mission that can play out in several ways, which I like. As such though, it isn't a straight & straight out (i.e. railroad) adventure and any GM wanting to use this will really want to know the adventure front to back. No "winging it" if you want this to be successful.

If you like the adventure, it can start as a lead-in for an adventure path (series of adventures). You'll need to setup a D&D Beyond account if you haven't yet, but you don't need to pay anything (subscribe) in order to get Prisoner 13.


New Printable Scenery Campaign: Ramshackle & Ruin

New Printable Scenery Campaign: Ramshackle & Ruin
I don't know how many of my peeps here are into 3d printing, but I'm always collecting the STL files for when I get off my own butt and start printing.

I've supported a number of creators over the years, usually through their Kickstarter campaigns, and one of those creators is Printable Scenery.

I like the realism that Printable Scenery (PS) brings to their models and they've been simply awesome with regards to communication and updating files. PS hosts their own files, sends their own emails, and manages their own accounts. It only makes sense that they'd shy away from using Kickstarter for future campaigns and frankly I hope it works well for them.

The Ramshackle & Ruin campaign is strictly in-house and something you should be checking out if you collect .stl files for terrain printing.


Frugal GM Review: Mystery Dice Goblins Mystery Dice Packs

Frugal GM Review: Mystery Dice Goblins Mystery Dice Packs
Earlier this month I got a message & email about reviewing some mystery dice grab bags from
Mystery Dice Goblins. In general I'll review just about anything if asked (If asked it the important part as I have had stuff sent to me out of the blue), but I'm a bit of a dice snob and the idea of potentially collectible sets of random dice that I probably wouldn't personally use doesn't really excite me.

Knowing I already have a bias I didn't do ANY looking up on this company, but I did know they were based in the UK. The dice arrived far more quickly than expected (they were not overnighted or anything) and I got three sets. I'm keeping two sets back to give out to readers here and I took one set with me on a business trip, but I of course took my regular travel dice set because I assumed these dice wouldn't get the job done. I mean, come on, a bunch of random dice in a bag?

Well, you know what they say about assumptions.....

I had this preconceived notion that these dice bags were just a scoop or something of random dice. I was kind of surprised to find the bag was actually a complete set of dice and the randomness was about the coloration. I mean, that makes a lot more sense, but there isn't any indication of this on the packaging and even a cursory examination of the website doesn't clear this up (from the FAQ):

Mystery Dice bag

Why Mystery Dice?

Mystery dice bags and standard dice sets each have their own appeal, and the choice between them ultimately depends on your personal preferences and priorities. Here are some reasons why someone might choose to buy mystery dice bags over standard dice sets:

  1. Surprise and Variety: Mystery dice bags are all about the element of surprise. You don't know exactly what you'll get, which can add excitement to your purchase. If you enjoy collecting dice and appreciate a variety of styles and colors, mystery bags can be a fun way to expand your collection.
  2. Unique Designs: Mystery dice bags often contain dice with unique and uncommon designs that you might not find in standard sets. If you want dice that stand out and make your tabletop gaming experience more visually appealing, mystery bags can offer a diverse range of options.
  3. Collectibility: Some people enjoy collecting dice as a hobby, and mystery bags can be a way to discover rare or limited-edition dice that can become valuable additions to your collection over time.
  4. Cost-Effective: In some cases, mystery dice bags can offer a better value for your money compared to buying individual dice sets. You may get a variety of dice for a lower price per die.
  5. Gift-Giving: Mystery dice bags can make for interesting and unexpected gifts for tabletop gaming enthusiasts. The surprise factor can make the gift-giving experience more enjoyable.
I did find though, on the page for the actual mystery dice they do note that it's a complete set of dice you're getting and they've updated the packaging to indicate this as well. I was just sent some older packaging. The likelihood of you buying one of these bags and not knowing this is low, but i didn't actually buy a bag (yet).

I know a LOT of people who buy dice sets like they're freaking going out of style and I think a good number of them would just love this mystery dice grab bag. I'm kind of torn because well before my Gamescience days I was big into grabbing a set or two of dice that were just for one PC. That PC dies, and I need to roll another, then I'd find some new dice. Not right away, but maybe once I hit level two. I usually want two dice sets to make it easier too roll 2d4 or some such.

The set I got from the Mystery Dice Bag
On the flip side, I do like the mystery of it all and it scratches a bit of a nostalgia itch reminding me of my trading card collecting days. Did I ever waste so much time & money on those things, and I didn't do squat with those cards. At least with dice I can use them in a game.

Can being the operative word. I do have my dice bias and if you poke around this site a bit you'll probably figure out I have some superstitions and whatnot when it comes to my dice. You want to borrow my dice? Yeah, that's not going to happen! In the past I've picked up loaner dice just for that purpose and those dice are not allowed to mingle with my dice, at least not the dice that I have currently sanctioned for tabletop play.

Thing is dice can be expensive and going to the store to pick out dice I'm not personally going to use is a bit much. Last time I did that those pink dice (meant to be an embarrassment) actually rolled well and the player asked to keep them! 

I liked the set that I managed to get in the one mystery bag I opened. They were pretty colorful and if I had been gifted this set (well, I kind of was) I would not be disappointed. I'm not sure I think they're worth $9 a set plus shipping, but multiple sets have a discount and picking up 6 sets at something like $5.16 per set....that's a different story.  I'd spend the $ to have sealed sets of dice for guests to use if needed. I could conceivably keep them with my other dice and not risk contamination. That's defiantly worth $5.16 a set to me.

Since these aren't dice I'd use myself, I'm going to fixate on cost, but I really don't think the Mystery Dice Goblins are doing this for guys like me, but for my dice hoarding compatriots. The Goblins have a subscription service that I suspect would be like crack to some of my dice-hoarding friends. A monthly subscription of mystery dice bags that get some bonuses added in? Oh yeah, I can envision that being real popular with my friends. They also have some related Mystery Box Scoops that come with at least a full set of dice as well, that is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Long story short, you don't know what you're going to get when you buy a Mystery Dice Bag from the Mystery Dice Goblins, pretty much self-explanatory in the freaking name! They're dice, kind of a commodity thing, but you don't have to spend time figuring out what color to get. If you like getting new dice all the time or enjoy the mystery aspect of it all, then I say go for it, but don't do half measures. Either buy a lot and make the bulk discount work for you or go with a monthly subscription and get that metered dice fix. 

Note: I'm going to be picking up some more of these dice bags so I have loaner dice on hand and when they arrive I'll be doing a contest/giveaway (purchased dice + the two freebies) since I hadn't done one in some time. I'm thinking early December, so keep an eye out for that.

2023.10.28 Edit: I just got back in from a visit to a FLGS and I ended up taking a long, hard look at the dice on hand, of which there was a metric buttload. I was a bit shocked at the prices as most all the dice sets were a good 30% higher priced than what I remember. This store also had some small grab-bags of mystery dice, but they were mini-sized. There was also some "official" D&D mystery bags that had a set of dice, a pin, and a cheapo dice bag. Aside from a cute marketing gimmick I wouldn't have given it a second glance ($25, really?!).

I tried to do this review in a bit of a bubble and not compare them to other dice, but at the game store it was hard to not compare and unless I really wanted a specific color, or I was willing to pick up one of those "pound of dice" bags, these Mystery Dice Packs from the review were superior. I went ahead and pushed it up to 5 stars, which is not really a thing I would normally do, but I felt it was warranted. I also went ahead and placed an order for two 6 mystery bag sets so I have some gift, giveaway, and loaner dice on hand. The shipping was free for an order over $40, so I know I'm getting a good deal.


Free TTRPG from Obsidian Entertainment (Pillars of Eternity)

Free TTRPG from Obsidian Entertainment (Pillars of Eternity)
I picked up this console RPG this weekend for $7, liked it enough to get another copy for my PC, and I noticed there was a sequel that so far I won't be picking up. Not saying I will never get it, but undoubtedly the price will come down after I have a few hundred hours playing the first game.

Anyway, I was on the sequels website and discovered they wrote a TTRPG, which is...you guessed it..FREE!

Like always click on the lead-in graphic or use this link.


Free GM Resource: Dungeon X

Free GM Resource: Dungeon X
I came across this on Facebook and while it is a Free GM Resource, it's also an ad (of sorts) for a Kickstarter than ends in a bit more than a week.

Dungeon X is an interesting concept, and one I think I can get behind. Unfortunately I'm not in a position to test this out before the end of the Kickstarter, but the whole idea is basically you spend a little bit of time 3d printing corner supports and you just print off the floors and walls.....

...this just seems rather resourceful in that you don't have to use nearly so many resources to make a complete dungeon. 3D printing would take a LOT of time for a complete dungeon....and printing is relatively cheap & easy.

I'm wondering if you could make foam insulation corners or even wooden corners that you just slice or saw up......