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WordPress Plugin: D&D Dice Roller

Today NERD TREK brings you an exclusive interview with Brian Wood from to talk about a new WordPress plugin that he and Dashifen have developed.  This plugin fills a desperately needed function for those of us with RPG websites.  

Brian, please tell us about this great new plugin!  

Well, we’re obviously huge fans of dice over at Awesome Dice, but the sad fact is you can’t always have dice on hand when you need them. We thought it’d be a great idea to make a dice roller that people could put on their own blogs, rather than having to go to a special dice roller site. One of the main motivations for this was the idea of using a WordPress blog as a sort of campaign headquarters — someplace where a DM can include all the backstory and plot hooks and NPCs for her campaign. A blog can do a really good job of this, especially when the players are able to include their own character details and even character journals (which are perhaps incentivized with some bonus XP). It just seemed natural to also have a dice roller available on the same site for the poor players who forgot their dice — of which we’ve found there’s always at least one.

WordPress is is great for this with their easily expandable plugin functionality. We started just making a simple Gaming Dice roller, but got to talking about the different needs of different game systems and pretty soon had a huge list of possible dice rollers — we decided to start small and just do the top 3: the general dice roller that hits all the commonly used gaming dice, the D&D dice roller for modified d20 rolls, and a World of Darkness dice roller that counts successes. Then if these are popular enough we’ll move on down the list and look into making dice rollers for more specific systems.

That’s great to hear Brian!  About 2 months ago I started building a website called where gamers can locate each other and set up gaming sessions.  It can be used for any type of gaming including video games, but the main focus is tabletop gaming.  

When I started searching for an WordPress dice plugin I was tortured by numerous terribly programmed disasters.  After fiddling around for quite some time I was able to get something “rolling”, but it still wasn’t in the sidebar like I wanted.  

Your plug-in D&D Dice Roller can be installed easily on WordPress by adding a new plug-in and then dragged and dropped into the sidebar for immediate use. 

Tell us about the development process and how you determined what features to integrate?

Well, once we settled on the first three plugins, we had to write up a pretty detailed list of exactly how it would function, including how the backend admin would work, what was editable, etc. It sounds like it would be really simple, I know, but it was surprisingly complicated. In particular the functionality of the World of Darkness one got a big involved (try explaining it simply: set the difficulty and number of dice, then roll and everything equal to or over the difficulty is a success — but 10s are a success and then reroll — and 1s are always failures, and then cancel a success, and they cancel 10s first, preventing the 10 from rerolling…)



Did you have friends test out the plug-in or do it all yourself?

We hired a developer to create the plugin — that kind of coding is beyond the skillset of anyone at Awesome Dice, alas. So he worked on it and then we tested it with a small group of people who tried to break it, and succeeded through several iterations.



Is making a WordPress plug-in lucrative?  

Ha! I know there are paid plugins out there, but since we’re offering it for free, not so much.



I can see that you will use this plug-in to assist in driving traffic to your dice website.  Which came first?  The website or the plug-in?

The website. The idea was to use the plugin to promote the website — this is one of the elements of the internet that I love: one of the best ways to promote an online business is to build cool or entertaining or useful tools and give them away for free. The nature of the internet encourages people to do good things with no price tag. It’s a win-win.



My friend and business partner Todd Gamble and I have started a website called which features a new Pathfinder and 3.5 compatible adventure each week.  How would our users benefit from your plug-in?  

Am I required to use it in my widget sidebar, or may I place it into a PAGE on WordPress?  

Is it still free to use if utilized on a website that charges a membership fee to access?  


How will you handle that?

The plugin can only go in any widgetized area of your WordPress site — so not in the content area of a post. However whether you charge for access to your site or not, the plugin is always free. Anyone can use it for whatever purpose they want.




What other types of plug-ins or apps do you currently have planned or in development?

One of the big ones that I’d like to get to is a probability calculator. Something with different iterations for different RPGs that will let you know what your probability of succeeding or failing is. For something like D&D the math is super easy and straight forward, but with systems with exploding dice and cancels the math is actually pretty complicated. This would probably be a tool we’d just provide on Awesome Dice rather than a plugin, but I think it’s something that gamers would really find interesting. Well, at least I’d find it interesting, which is probably motivation enough to get it on the to-do list.




Now, I have to ask:  What is your all-time favorite role-playing game?  

Call of Cthulhu — I love the atmosphere of Cthulhu done well and I also like how approachable the game is to non-gamers. It’s usually the first system that I run for non-gamers because the rules are super simple, and they get to play a character that is a normal every-day person, which makes it very approachable I think.



What are your playing now?

Eclipse Phase.



How did you get involved in gaming?

I was pretty much a gamer from the beginning, but started playing D&D in junior high along with a handful of friends. Within a few years I was playing in two games a week, from D&D to World of Darkenss and L5R and Cthulhu and dozens of others.



Do you have any cool dice that NERD TREK can check out and review?

We carry a ton of different kinds of dice, and a lot of them are super cool, from varieties of D&D dice to glow in the dark dice to tiny 5mm dice.



Have you heard of the Italian-made IRONDIE?  If not, check out our article on NERD TREK!

Indeed, we even sell a few of them at the store. I just wish it was easier for us to order them just as dice, rather than as the collectible game (which makes the rares crazily expensive).



Thanks again for talking with us today Brian!  We look forward to using your WordPress Plugin D&D Dice Roller!

Thanks for having me!


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Iron Die – Hardcore is the way they roll


I’m not kidding when I say these dice are HARDCORE.  IronDie dice are made from solid metal, custom crafted with unique shapes and colors, and laser engraved with exquisitely minute details making each die one of a kind.  These dice are crafted in Italy and were discovered by Dan from Green Lake Games in Seattle, WA.

NERD TREK spoke with Dan of Green Lake Games about how he came across IronDie in Italy and what he is doing with them.

“Back in October we saw IronDie at a game convention in Italy and thought that they looked and felt amazing, though were a bit pricey. We brought 72 dice back to Seattle (1 of each shape & color), priced them at $5 each, and were sold out within 2 weeks. After that we talked to the game designer and found out that he had about 500 dice left in Italy. So we shipped those to Seattle, got them into our store a week before Christmas, and by the second week of January had completely sold out of all 500 dice just through our small 1,500 sq’ storefront. We had a purchase rate of over 80% from customers that physically picked up and rolled the dice around in their hand. After seeing them fly off the counter like that we decided to bring them over from Europe and make them widely available to retail stores and customers across the states. So far the response has been beyond anything that we had expected.”

 “We have started a whole new branch of IronDie here in Seattle and will be advertising, marketing, and promoting the game throughout the states. In addition to advertising on the web and in print we will be demoing IronDie at conventions around the country, offering free demo and league programs, prizes, and incentives for retail stores, and have put together display packages that show off these gorgeous dice in the best ways that we’ve been able to find. We have been selling them as both individual dice for use in other games and as the IronDie game. This approach appeals to a very wide range of customers and has kept the dice moving off the shelf consistently, day after day. We are selling the dice individually at wholesale so that stores can reorder exactly which dice sell and not be left with a bunch of extra shapes/colors that aren’t working for that store.”

“IronDie takes Milan’s strikingly unique eye for design and combines it with the familiarity of a common game playing piece, creating a set of brightly colored metal dice that are equally suited for playing the IronDie Collectible Dice Game or simply as a regular set of dice that can spark conversation. The small metal shop in Milan that crafts these dice also produces metal accessories for the giants of the Milan fashion industry. They are die-cast in solid metal (a Zinc alloy), are *HEAVY*, and are true Designer Dice. Meticulously developed with an eye toward variety and unique shapes they are some of the most creative and interesting dice that I have ever seen. The customizable game that is played with them is fun, strategic, and very unique, though most customers still just purchase the dice for whatever other games they play.”



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Dungeons and Dragons – Why I’ll never stop playing

If you’re reading this then you too probably love Role-Playing Games.  I’m not talking about those computer games where you are given 3 different answers to a question but the game still goes down the same path.  I’m talking about table-top role-playing games with paper, pencils, and dice.  (Although some of my younger players now bring laptops to the gaming table!)  Ah, the smell of a fresh boxed set campaign setting split open with fresh polypropylene polyhedron dice rolling about the table while players finish filling out their crisp character sheets.  Soon those sheets will have holes worn in the HP box where the pencil eraser has dug a groove big enough to shove your finger through.  The gear section will be a list of hundreds of items that the character couldn’t possibly be carrying, but that’s what magical bags of holding are for.  Pass the greasy chips and the horribly enamel eating caramel colored carbonated beverages, it’s D&D.  One of the three reasons I’m alive.

Let’s dig right in with a brief history lesson starting with 2nd edition AD&D.  Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition, although highly beloved to me- was confusing as hell.  Thac0?  What the heck does that mean?  To-Hit-Armor-Class-Zero.  Try explaining how the combat rules work to new players and they won’t even want to play anymore.  The game sessions we played were amazing (and lasted 20 years!) and the classes cool, but it was lacking in certain areas such as customization of ones character and rules that didn’t make sense regarding skills (non-weapon proficiencies).  2nd edition was also around for a LONG time.  From 1989-2000 2nd edition dominated and TSR reigned. Then came Wizards of the Coast and their card game Magic the Gathering.

Magic the Gathering was such a successful game that Wizards of the Coast not only dominated the entire gaming industry but took the crown from the company that started it all; Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s TSR was sold to Wizards of the Coast in 1997 for $25 million.  Wizards revised the rules of D&D while retaining many of the key players from TSR (RIP) and moved them to Renton, WA.  (Luckily I live in Western WA so my friends and I used to dumpster dive at Wizards of the Coast and save artist sketches and prototypes for maps, magic cards, and D&D products.)

In 2000, 3rd edition came out; Followed by 3.5 in 2003 which made some revisions to the rules to make the game smoother.  This game has been played by nerds the world over and caused even us old hardened gamers of yesteryear to fall in love with Dungeons and Dragons all over again.  The best thing about these new rules is that some gamers get so obsessed with the them that they memorize them and can recall various obscure rules at the drop of a hat.  (We have such a player in my gaming group named Alex.) What a pleasure it is to DM a game where when a rule comes into question, Mr. Alex instantly has the correct response for the situation at hand.

I am a strong advocate of “role-playing” rather than “roll-playing” and when the rules don’t make sense or get in the way of the story I am all for throwing them out the window.  What Dungeons and Dragons (or any RPG for that matter) is about is losing yourself in another world and enjoying the creativity, the role-playing, and the fantasy.  It gives one the opportunity to play a character that they might not normally be comfortable portraying in everyday life.  You can be an evil tyrant, a pure priest, or an honorable warrior.  Anything is possible in D&D and anything can be attempted in this game.  There is no end unless your character dies.

People look at me weird when I say I play Dungeons and Dragons.  I think it’s my age, most folk can never believe that an adult would continue to play a “game”.  I truly believe that this game has kept me fresh and alive.  It gives me a creative outlet (outside my band) to act and play the role of many different characters.  I also get pleasure out of seeing players get actively involved in the game at the table.  The best is when my players get up and start jumping around getting completely lost both in the game and their characters.  Many popular actors such as Vin Diesel & Wil Wheaton are D&D players and still play to this day.

I’m not done yet, I’ll continue to both play and blog about D&D until the day I die.

“Here’s to Derris Strongsword, Alin Durqua, Taku Okimiya, and Iendelle Greenbottle!” (Jonathan raises his mug of Dwarven Ale and promptly dumps it all over his non-existent Dwarven beard)

You can Buy Dungeons and Dragons books new or used on