While I was at Gen Con I had a chance to volunteer at the Cheapass Games booth, which was a blast. I met James Ernest, which is something I’d wanted to do since I discovered Cheapass Games lo those many years ago, and I also met some of the fantastic folks behind the scenes at CG, like Julie Haehn the marketing director and all-around excellent badass. I was there on the Sunday, which is important to the story only because that seems to be the day that companies will come around looking to trade some of their cool stuff for the cool stuff in your booth. It is the very geekiest of barter systems, and it is just a small part of what makes this industry cool.
As chance would have it, and fresh from their successful Kickstarter campaign, CritSuccess had a booth just across the aisle from Cheapass Games. CritSuccess were fans of Cheapass Games and vice versa, so the inevitable trade happened. As part of my thank-you for volunteering I was sent over to get a d20 Ring of my very ownsome, which I thought was very generous of both parties. I snagged myself a basic black (as shown in the picture) and tucked it away in my pocketses for later.
Regular readers of the site will know I am a bit of a fan of dice, in the same way Lady Bathory was a bit of a fan of virgins. So my initial impression of the d20 ring was, “Cute, but I like my dice.” I also had my doubts of its true randomness, so it was looking like it would stay firmly in my “neat curiosity” category. But I’d never use it in a game.
Which just goes to show, first impressions can be a joke.
Having had a chance to play with and test out the d20 ring since getting home, I have to say I am really impressed. It is never going to replace dice for me; until I can get a random number generator installed into my cyborg mind, dice are here to stay. But I performed a chi test on my ring, and it performed as well as my control d20s did…what? Look, if you aren’t willing to spend an afternoon rolling dice hundreds of times to generate both a control and result set, then you just don’t love dice like I do. And you are probably better for it.
But that test cleared up my first concern, whether the ring was as random as an actual d20. Then I put it to practical use in game, to see how easy it was to use. And over the course of several game sessions it bit me in the ass and confirmed crits much like my regular dice, which is to say plenty of the former and distressingly less of the latter.
I heartily recommend the d20 ring from CritSuccess. Not only is it a fully functional d20 I can wear, but it is a pretty subtle piece of gaming jewellery, much more understated than the popular d20 necklaces and earrings. Which I have nothing against, by the way, but I tend not to wear that type of jewellery. It sits comfortably on my finger and I have the added bonus of never being without a d20. I don’t wear it everywhere, of course; like most rings you’ll want to take it off if you are working with your hands, to avoid damge either to yourself or the ring. But if you want a cool piece of gaming jewellery you can actually use, this product is right up your alley. And the $20 price point makes it a very affordable option for something that will see a lot of use. You can also get a wide variety of other ring types: the R100, 3R6Pips (3d6 equivalent), and even a ring that lets you play Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock, if you are into “The Big Bang Theory” or just enjoy a nerdier version of the classic game.
When ordering, make sure to size yourself properly. If you know your ring-size, great, but if not you’ll want to get that to make sure your ring fits. CritSuccess does offer re-sizing, however, so if you are wrong you can get a proper size just by sending it back and covering shipping plus a $3 exchange fee. Not the end of the world, but a hassle, so better to get it right the first time. Also, when your ring arrives they recommend you wash it in hot, soapy water and really grind the ring around while doing so. That clears out the machining dust from manufacturing and allows your ring to spin freely. You’ll want to do that periodically as you use it, just to keep it clean and spinning smooth.
Do you have a CritSuccess ring? What do you think? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know.