Tools Review: Awesome Dice Die Rollers For Your Blog

Here’s a first for Game Knight Reviews… I’m reviewing a WordPress plug-in!

Last week I was contacted by Brian Wood from Awesome Dice, who asked me to take a look at a new plug-in for WP that adds a die roller to the sidebar of your blog. And recently I’ve found myself hunting for a quick online die roller to test out some of the fun random tables I find online at places like Rolang’s Creeping Doom (anybody know what that weird, busted Goblin machine does in the corner? roll a d20 and see!). Usually I pop over to Wizards of the Coast’s online die roller or one of half a dozen others I can find quickly with a Google search. But having the ability to roll a die from my own site was definitely appealing.

Within about 5 minutes of checking out the web page for the Awesome Dice WordPress Dice Roller and seeing how it looked on the Awesome Dice blog’s sidebar, I installed it on Game Knight Reviews’ sidebar as well.

There are three different versions of the plug-in the folks at AD have made available at the WordPress Plugin Directory.

The first is the Gaming Dice Roller Widget. This is the all-in-one, generic roller that enables you to roll any number of d4, d6, d8, d10, d20, or percentile (d100) to get a result. Set the number of dice, the type you want to roll, and click Go. Pretty simple. And it integrates beautifully on the GKR sidebar. My one complaint is that it’s not instantaneous and I’m not sure if that’s an issue with my Internet connection (Cable modem), the browser (Chrome), my domain host (1&1), or the plug-in itself. But there’s often a lengthy (1-5 seconds) delay between clicking the button and seeing a result. The delay doesn’t happen on the Awesome Dice Blog, so I’m guessing it’s something on my blog specifically (perhaps the fact that I’m running a really old – 3.0.1 – version of WP?).

The second is a more focused version of the plug-in for D&D that just rolls a d20. You can set a modifier (i.e. +1, +4, -3) and then click “Roll d20″ to see the result. On this one, the Modifier field is a bit short it seems and you can’t easily see the pluses or minuses in the text portion. But other than that it seems to work great. It will show you the Modified result, the Natural result, and whether or not it’s a critical (20) hit. It also might be nice to be able to adjust the range of crits and be able to expand the Results field instead of having to scroll it every time.

The third is specifically for the World of Darkness RPG – so for Vampire, Mage, Changeling, etc. You enter the number of dice you want to roll, the target difficulty, and whether the 10s are supposed to explode – click Go – and you see the results. Any successes are colored in green and it counts successes for you below the result field.

All three widgets have some configuration you can do on the back end, such as changing the name of the widget in the sidebar (all), whether you allow modifiers or not (D&D), the base target number (WOD), whether you allow 10s to explode and can cancel successes (WOD), and which colors to use on hits and misses (WOD).

Beyond the minor nits I mentioned earlier, I would suggest that perhaps the developers offer different color choices (or a drop-down of color choices) for those users who have color blindness issues or potentially bold, italicize, or underline particular hits, misses, crits, etc to avoid the color issues all together.

That said, I think Awesome Dice is offering a great
(and free!) option for RPG bloggers who want to add a bit more functionality to their sites. For more details, check out the Awesome Dice site and the blog to play with the various widgets in the sidebar there. I look forward to seeing if they do more with these offerings or add even more varieties for other RPGs! Great work!

Thanks Brian for letting me know about these great widgets!

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5 comments to Tools Review: Awesome Dice Die Rollers For Your Blog

  • Jenn

    I got the delay, as well. I’m also running Chrome, fwiw.

    • Fitz

      @Jenn – What version of WordPress are you running? I’m on 3.0.1 and I think it says “3.2 or Higher” on the plug-in page at WP… Wondering if that’s the issue, since it runs fine on the Awesome Dice blog site.

  • There is a brief delay in getting the result, but usually on the order of 1 second. We developed the plugin for 3.2+, so perhaps it’s a version issue. But yeah, that’s crazy slow on this blog : (

    Also there’s a known issue with Chrome where the input boxes render a tad to small, and we’re looking into fixing that.

    • Fitz

      @Brian Wood – Thanks for checking on it and letting us know we’re not (quite) crazy. :) I’m hoping to update to 3.3.1 in the next few months, so maybe that will fix some of the speed issue…

    • Fitz

      @Brian Wood – Just updated to WP 3.3.1 (dang it was easy and seamless – good job WP!) and the die roller now works great.

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