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TIAMATH: D&D-themed math worksheets!

TIAMATH: D&D-themed math worksheets!

It started as 6th grade math.

I recently started helping my 6th grader with a little extra math homework. I noticed that all of his foundational skills were there, but that he needed some practice with his attention to detail. Things like reading the problem thoroughly, lining up his decimal points more deliberately, and writing his numbers more consistently were more of a problem than the conceptual math itself.

And then I got bored of writing straight forward math problems.

Instead, I started writing problems based on topics we both enjoy like Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons. (And poop for humor, per my wife’s suggestion.) After seeing some success with this style of problem composition, I decided to share it with the Dungeons & Dragons community on Facebook.

24 hours, 1,118 likes, and 232 comments later, I was inspired to share this homebrewed content and TIAMATH was born! Here’s the first edition. Avoid looking at the second (and fourth) page if you don’t want the answers spoiled.

TIAMATH demands you download and solve now!

I wanted a D&D feel to the document so I included a parchment background on pages 1 and 2. However, if you’re printing and don’t want the annoyance of printing backgrounds, print ONLY pages 3 and 4 instead! Download the PDF here.

Bomarr, the wood elf monk and his clockwork dog, Kowaki.

Quest for a Clockwork Dog D&D Miniature

Our beloved Dungeon Master at Alpha Omega Hobby has a copy of an old book titled Central Casting: Heroes of Legend. With this book, we roll incredibly elaborate backgrounds where we learn story-enhancing details like the circumstances of our birth or the professions of our parents. Occasionally we’ll even learn of tragedies that befell us in adolescence or of an unclaimed inheritance.

Sometimes, we’ll even come into possession of unusual magical items like Spider Gloves or prosthetic limbs with as yet undisclosed abilities. Or a clockwork dog.


I really lucked out and acquired a clockwork dog that I anticipate will become a favorite semi-NPC of our party. It’s already done some bizarre things and we’ve only had one session with which to become acquainted.

Given our group’s affinity for Hero Forge custom miniatures and an increasingly contagious propensity for impulse purchases, I knew I’d have to find a clockwork dog miniature for our Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League campaign.

But who knew how difficult it would be to find ANY kind of mechanical dog miniature that would look natural with our minis?

Who knew?

Within five minutes, I knew. I found all kinds of vicious, snarling, drooling dogs. Cyborg pirate dogs. Dogs covered in weapons that made them look like refugees from Dominion: Tank Police.

But no dogs that looked remotely clockwork or D&D-esque. No dogs that looked like my quirky, eccentric dog that spawned from the pages of Central Casting.

And then I discovered Crossover Miniatures.

While Crossover Miniatures had no clockwork dogs, the did have robo dogs. Three of them. In a single pack (no pun intended). Ten seconds later, I placed my order with full belief that I could paint one up in a way that would look reasonable on our D&D table.

Full Metal Alchemist.

Awaiting a package in the mail, I took inventory of all the metallic Citadel paints in my collection and researched photos of REAL dogs. By the time my robo dogs arrived, I had a game plan ready to go. Here’s what I did:

  1. Spray-primed with Citadel Mechanicus Standard Grey.
  2. Base-coated with Citadel Screaming Bell.
  3. Painted the top half of my dog’s snout, his ears, his feet, and the juncture parts where the legs connect to the body with Citadel Balthasar Gold.
  4. Painted the bottom of his neck, belly, lower jaw, inner-lower front legs, lower back legs, and the tip of the tail with Citadel Leadbelcher.
  5. Painted a middle section of tail, the upper-back shoulder of his front legs and upper-front shoulder of his back legs with Citadel Retribution Armour.
  6. Dotted his left eye with Citadel Abaddon Black.
  7. Dotted his right eye with Citadel Evil Sunz Scarlet.
  8. Washed with Citadel Athonian Camoshade.
  9. Dry brushed with Citadel Retribution Armour.
  10. Dry brushed with Citadel Screaming Bell.
  11. Re-dotted his right eye with Citadel Evil Sunz Scarlet.
  12. Painted the base with Citadel Mournfang Brown.
  13. Washed the base with two coats of Army Painter Strong Tone.

While I lost some of the clearer delineations of mechanical panels and precision painting when I dry-brushed, I’m REALY happy with how much more cohesive and weathered he looks. He’s got that steampunk vibe even though I think he was cast with futuristic science fiction in mind. With that, here are some photos…

A post shared by Stephen Lin (@silinx) on

Hero Forge custom miniature of my Way of the Four Elements Monk.

Hero Forge: Peer-pressured into custom D&D miniatures

“If your friends all jumped off a bridge, would you?”

Well, no. But if my Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League party all bought Hero Forge custom miniatures then yes, I OBVIOUSLY would.

And I did. Our Dungeon Master at Alpha Omega Hobby had one created of himself (not in character). Then automagically, Hero Forge miniatures of our tiefling bard, human ranger, and wild magic sorcerer all appeared. Before I knew it, somehow I’d placed an order for a Way of the Four Elements wood elf monk and a Rogue Thief/Warlock Drow.

Someone must have inadvertently cast “Friendly Peer Pressure” in my general direction. Oops.

After several weeks of procrastination…

Motivated by a PM Dawn Stout (with cold brew coffee!) from Trillium Brewing and the freedom that accompanies Father’s Day, I broke out my supplies to paint Bomarr. Fortunately, I’d primed my miniature over a week ago and I’d also previously acquired the missing Citadel paint colors I needed to fulfill my vision.

And now a blow-by-blow account of everything I did.

If I don’t do this, I will absolutely forget the sequence of events and exact colors I used to achieve my final product. I’m sure this is TMI for some and just right for others. Here we go:

  1. Spray primed with Citadel Corax White.
  2. Painted Bomarr’s under robe in the front and visible pants with Citadel Sotek Green.
  3. Painted Bomarr’s boots, arm wraps, and lone visible sideburn with Citadel Mournfang Brown.
  4. Painted Bomarr’s face and fingers with Citadel Flayed One Flesh.
  5. Washed the under robe and remaining white parts of Bomarr with two coats of Citadel Coelia Greenshade.
  6. Realized that Bomarr’s arm wraps are more likely cloth than leather and repainted with Citadel Zandri Dust.
  7. Washed Bomarr’s arm wraps with Army Painter Light Tone.
  8. Washed Bomarr’s face and fingers with Army Painter Flesh Tone.
  9. Washed Bomarr’s boots with Army Painter Strong Tone.
  10. Dry brushed Bomarr’s arm wraps and boots with Citadel XV-88.
  11. Lined edges of Bomarr’s robe with Citadel Balthasar Gold.
  12. Dry brushed Bomarr’s robe with Citadel Screaming Bell.
  13. Dry brushed Bomarr’s robe again, this time with Citadel Sotek Green.
  14. Dry brushed gold edges with Citadel Balthasar Gold.
  15. Painted wood flooring with Citadel XV-88.
  16. Washed wood flooring with Army Painter Strong Tone.
  17. Washed candles with Army Painter Light Tone.
  18. Dry brushed floor and candles with Citadel XV-88.
  19. Touched up candle flames with Citadel Ceramic White.
  20. Painted candle flames with Citadel Sotek Green.
  21. Dry brushed candle flames with Citadel Ceramic White.
  22. Edged base with Citadel Mournfang Brown.
  23. Dry brushed base edge with Citadel Screaming Bell.


All of this was achievable with just the Army Painter Wargamer Most Wanted set of three brushes. The PK-Pro miniature grip was very nice to have, but not entirely necessary. This was the final result:

Hero Forge custom mini of a wood elf monk, fully painted with Citadel paints and Army Painter washes.

And yes, the Sotek Green candles are in homage to Acquisitions Incorporated.

Post-credit scene.

Brushes given a nice hot shower with Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo.

PAX East 2018: Acquisitions Incorporated

Inspiration from PAX East 2018: Acquisitions Inc.?

I’ve never been big a huge fan of podcasts. I occasionally listen to Song Exploder, Bill Simmons, Locked On Celtics, and Lore, but I’d don’t think a podcast has ever been in my top ten items of consideration for entertainment.  And I’ve definitely never listened to a podcast and thought, HAY-SOOS!!! I need more of THAT! Two and a half hours wasn’t nearly enough!

Until now.

Perception check, successful.

In a passing conversation at Alpha Omega Hobby, a fellow gamer perceived that I — a PAX East attendee and Adventurers League, umm… adventurer — would enjoy the Acquisitions Incorporated podcast.  Why?

  • It’s a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
  • Played by the creators of Penny Arcade and PAX.
  • With a great revolving cast of characters including Wil Wheaton and Morgan Webb.
  • And it’s REALLY funny.

Arcane knowledge check, failed!

It is MIND-BOGGLING that I’d never heard of this before. I consider myself a well-informed, well-rounded geek who is perpetually bathed in the soothing hot springs of pop culture. Make no mistake, I consider this a personal failure.

Investigation check, NAT 20!

Today, I made things right. I spent nearly three hours commuting through stupid rain-tainted Boston traffic and listened to the entire PAX East 2018 podcast. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Three thumbs up, six star rating, and an eleven on a ten-point scale.

In addition to being hysterically funny, the podcast was also unexpectedly inspiring. In a pinch, if asked to DM a game of Dungeons & Dragons, could I improv a game based on the PUBG/Fortnite concept with exploration and events cards the way they did at PAX East? Sure I’ve seen creature decks, dungeon decks, and encounter decks before, but the entire tongue-in-cheek Battle Royale structure was both fun AND funny. And oddly practical!

So, I leave this post here for me to find in the future. Maybe I’ll re-inspire myself someday and put this concept in my project queue. I leave you with the Twitch stream of the 2018 event below:

Watch PAX EAST 2018 – Main Theatre – Acquisitions Inc. from PAX on

Post Scriptum

It still pains me that all things Battle Royale aren’t credited back to Battle Royale.


Reaper Bones Miniatures

Reaper Bones Miniatures from a CRAZY generous co-worker!

I’m not kidding when I say I NEVER imagined that I’d ever pick up miniature-painting as a hobby. I didn’t think I had the patience or the fine motor skills to make it work. And while I always admired others’ craftsmanship, I pretty much knew that was never going to be me.

But then…

I met James at work. I’m pretty much a human divining rod when it comes to discovering people who love Star Wars. From there it wasn’t long before James — a hardcore miniature wargaming guy — turned me onto Star Wars: X-wing.

My ten-year-old and I now LOVE that game. It was also super-appealing to me that the miniatures were already assembled and painted. So, I still had ZERO intention of ever investing in miniatures that I’d have to paint.

But then…

I took my son to Alpha Omega Hobby where we met our future Dungeon Master, Adam. We joined the Adventurers League and my son fell instantly head-over-heels in love with Dungeons & Dragons.

Oh yeah, by the way, Adam isn’t just a great Dungeon Master. He also happens to be an incredibly talented and renowned professional toy painter. That said, I was pretty satisfied with the unpainted Reaper Bones Miniatures I’d purchased for our characters so I still wasn’t really driven to paint anything.

But then…

In a passing conversation at work, James extolled the benefits of washes and dry brushing techniques. On a weekend not far removed from that discussion, my son and I semi-inadvertently took a two-hour painting lesson with Adam. Not long after that, Fantasy Flight Games released Star Wars: Legion.

Well, crap.

I guess I have no more excuses. With the knowledge, experience, and support of James and Adam I feel like I can learn. With the interest of both my kids, I have a wonderful screen-less hobby that we can share.

Speaking of sharing…

In an act of CRAAAAAZY generosity today, James shared a box of Reaper Bones Miniatures for which he had no plans. I’m stoked. The kids are pumped. And now, I suspect, we’re in this hobby for a good long haul. I don’t think any of us is getting “MINI LIFE” tattooed across our knuckles any time soon, but I foresee us painting more weekends than not. And THAT is what inspired this post.

Thank you and a crisp high five, James!

Aaaaaaaaaand theeeeeeen?


Dungeons & Dragons 5e

Hello, friends!

Nearly every weekend, I take my eldest son to Alpha Omega Hobby for our regular Dungeons & Dragons fix. Invariably, every encounter begins EXACTLY the same.

Our party’s wild magic blessed-and/or-afflicted sorceror greets every NPC with a completely open mind, devoid of any prejudice or preconception. Be it ancient hag or dwarven barkeep, be it mountain giant or undead skeleton, it’s ALWAYS the same. It seems only fitting that I open this blog with that same genuine joy of gaming. And so, I extend our sorceror’s most warmest greeting to you, my future devoted reader:

“Hello, friends!”

Here, I’ll post my exploration into game customization. Whether it’s hand-made specialty boards for 7 Wonders or Star Wars Legion miniatures painted with a Snake-Eyes-of-G.I.-Joe-like color scheme or off-color personalized Cards Against Humanity cards, I’ll share my triumphs and inevitable mistakes. Let’s have a laugh, O.D. on geeky pop-culture, and learn something cool along the way.

PLEASE come back when I have real content.