Gaming Thursday: Counting Those Dice

This may be a common trick, but you never know!  Whether it’s a high-level fireball, a gaggle of dice types in a multi-die system, or fistfuls of d6s (I’m looking at you, Champions, with your 12d6 energy blasts…), here’s a method I’ve been using to speed up counting dice:

First, group the dice into clusters that add up to 10. This is a pretty easy visual task to do.  Once you have the clusters, it’s quick to count the number of clusters to get a 10s value.

Next, group (if any) highest number on the remaining dice.  Multiply the value by the number of dice to get a value.  Then, add any remaining individual dice to that total, starting with the largest die and working down.  By this point, there are usually only a few dice left, so you can even count up by ones/count the pips.

Take that number, and add the 10s value from the cluster.


For example:  rolling 12d6:

6, 4, 1, 4, 3, 5, 4, 6, 5, 3, 4, 4

Getting the 10s together:

(6,4) (5,5) (3, 3, 4) (6,4)

This leaves us with

4, 4, 1

Adding the highest pair

4 x 2  = 8

add the last die

8+1 = 9

then add the 4 clusters of 10

9 +(4×10) = 49


Another example, rolling one of each 1d4 to 1d12:

4, 3, 5, 5, 9

Grouping 10s:


There’s no pairs, so add the remainder:

9+4+3 = 16

and add the cluster of 10s

16 + 1×10 = 26


And voila!  Hope this proves to be of some use.  Game on…

Philosophy Tuesday

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Recently I heard an interview on the radio regarding the upcoming elections in the USA.  “The thing is,” the interviewee stated, “everything negative said about [My Candidate] is conjecture, while everything negative said about [The Other Candidate] is TRUE.”

In many ways, I’m not sure what to add to that.  It’s very stark.  And yet, in some ways, remarkably honest.

It is such a strong reminder of how coloured our views in life are and can become.

Moreover, it’s a statement that hints at one of our most powerful tools, our trump card* if you will, that we use to keep our views intact:  our incredible amazing ability to be dismissive.

Whenever information has made it past both our various pre-filters and our ability to rationalize just about anything, a threat to our views on the world can emerge.  The cognitive dissonance makes us feel uncomfortable.  And, especially, if that view is tied to our identity, our identity is going to mount a full scale defense.

The breach, though, has already occurred  — the information is there.  What to do?

Easiest solution:  make the information disappear.   Turn it into non-information.

If we can ‘discredit’ the information, it goes away.  Cognitive dissonance fades.  Our identity is secure.

And we can be dismissive in so many easy ways.  (Pick one!  Fill in the blanks!)

“You’ll understand when you’re older.”

“If you had my education…”

“You’re just a [category], what do you know?”

“Back in my day…”

“That’s not how the real world works.”

“A real Scotsman wouldn’t say that…”

“Common sense tells us…”

“That’s just too crazy.”

“I’ve never seen that.”

“That’s all fine and good, but at the end of the day/in the final analysis [this is how things are].”

It really doesn’t take much to be dismissive.  We’re all pretty good at it.  And it’s very likely each of us does it often without even realizing it.  And like all other areas of bias, it has its drawbacks and downsides and pitfalls, for ourselves, for our communities, and yes, most certainly for our societal and political institutions.

The beauty comes from being aware and mindful.  We can be responsible for being dismissive and choose.  We can gain freedom.  We can make the sandbox bigger.


* I do get the irony of that term given the candidates in this current election…

Architecture Monday

Here’s a nice little chapel that invokes classicism without falling into an overwrought caricature of what classicism was all about.

Like all so-called architectural “styles”, classicism (and neo-classicism) goes well beyond any particular building element or the use of a stylistic vocabulary and ornamentation.  There are design philosophies and ideas of form that transcend these individual skin or building elements.  In this chapel, proportions and the basic tripartite structure of classical thought are brought into the design while also integrating elements from local architecture.

The simple lines and wonderful proportions of the chapel really work together here to create a feeling of both humility and of preciousness.  Subtle bits of ornamentation, such as around the pediment, and of adjustment to the basic form, such as the cutbacks at the corners at the top of the steeple, draws the eyes and keeps the building lively.  And the steeple, with the fins and frames like a trellis for the bell, is playful and speaks to the vernacular architecture of this hot and humid region.  Overall it’s a subtle and balanced composition.

Inside, the pilasters and division of windows continues the classical rhythm.  White walls let the play of light and shadow be the prominent  texture and articulation of the space.   Through fine details it is a room that doesn’t need grand materials to express itself.

Lovely.  A simple, elegant, and overall nicely done building.

Seaside Chapel by Scott Merrill

Architecture Monday

A quick adaptive reuse project tonight from David Adjaye & company, in the heart of London.  Born of a brick warehouse long fallen into decay, a few simple moves (and a lot of black paint) reinvented it into a whole new realm.

Overall, the transformation is kept relatively simple, using both mirrored windows and deeply set windows to enhance the character of the existing building.  The almost perfect cube keeps its weighty presence, enhanced even further by the uniform black paint.   By filling in the patchwork of plaster on the ground floor, a subtle progression is created, from smooth(ish) black to the more textured brick above that brings a surprising richness to the dark surface.  Similarly, the deep set windows really let you feel the thickness of those old brick walls.  The mirrored windows on the ground floor reflect the colourful surroundings, creating an ever-shifting gallery of the surroundings.

But the one move that really sets the composition right is the addition of the floating roof.  Hovering above the massive bunker, the juxtaposition is really striking, especially when lit at night.  The narrow slot also lets in light for the living quarters on the top floor, with floor-to roof sheets of glass.  Below, a large studio space comprises the majority of the volume.

A wonderful conversion, taking the qualities of the existing building and pushing them forward through reduction and a luminous, hovering crown.

As a bonus, here’s an interview with Sue Webster, the owner of the building/studio, as she describes working with David and how the building came together (while also showing off additional views of the interior):