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Home / Tips and Tricks / This is how to make your next DnD night even better with lights, gadgets and speech assistants

This is how to make your next DnD night even better with lights, gadgets and speech assistants


Do not worry, you do not have to replace your reliable d12.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Dungeons & Dragons make for fun, funny fun, and I should know – I've been playing with a group of CNET Smart Home team members for about two years now. Whether it's the craft beer we bring with us to share, or the 3D Printed Cube Tower our senior lab technician Steve kindly made fun for us.

And, you would not know, some of the very smart home appliances that we test and write on a daily basis here in the office can actually come to fruition if we take initiative outside of office hours. We already use some of these tricks almost every time we play – and if you want to push things further, we have some ideas on how to improve your approach.

Disclosure: CNET may receive a small portion of the revenue for all purchases made through the links on this page.


"Hey google, throw six d8."

Chris Monroe / CNET

Have your intelligent wizard do complicated dice rolls.

D & D and dice go hand in hand A big draw for many D & D players, including me.

Well, no, I'm not telling you that instead you should drop the dice and throw dice. However, D & D sometimes requires you to roll dice several times and add up the results, such as: For example, roll a W6 ten times to determine how many hit points a healing spell restores. This quickly bores you and forces you to simultaneously track the running total and the number of throws.

More information: Setting Up Your Smart Speaker for Google Home

Alexa and Google Assistant each offer a much better option. Just say a command like "Alexa, roll 10 W6" or "OK, Google, roll five W10", and your chosen assistant will quickly tell you the result. It works the same for both, but I'm giving Google the smallest edges to add a quick dice sound effect before the assistant responds. It's the little things!

You can either access the wizard on your Android or iOS device (and that does not work with Siri, by the way), but I say you have your phones in your pocket and only play within earshot of a dedicated smart speaker. If you choose the Google route, you're well-served with the Google Home Mini, which you usually receive for less than $ 50.

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An intelligent speaker like this Amazon Echo Plus can be a versatile buddy on the D & D night.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Alexa can also look for other things.

I admit that my compatriots and I are not diehard D & D experts. We were all curious newbies when we started playing a few years ago. We are in the process of preparing our third campaign, and for the most part, we all have the gist of it, but it definitely took some getting used to, as we spent a lot of time browsing through the player's manual to read the details of various spells, weapons and Regulate.

These breaks can really disrupt the course of a campaign, especially in the early stages. So why not ask Alexa instead?

The Alexa app's Skills Store features a variety of Dungeons & Dragons tinkering skills.

Screenshot of Ry Crist / CNET

Read more: The 10 Best Things You Can Do With Your Amazon Echo

Just open the Alexa app and go to the Skills Store, where you'll find a number of free apps , D & D-specific skills that can retrieve information about the game with a quick voice command. Some of the ones I've tested, such as "Dungeon Master" and "Ask the DM," offer a fairly comprehensive catalog with answers to frequently asked questions, although admittedly, their use can be somewhat cumbersome.

Skills that are more focused and narrower in scope are usually much easier to apply. A good example is the "Dungeon Wizard," who can search for information about spells and answer commands such as "Describe Magic Rocket" and "List Warlock Spellcasting."

Of course, you'll need one of Amazon's Echo Smart Speakers. Each of them will do it, but your best bet is probably the third-generation Echo Dot, which costs only $ 50 and trades frequently. With a sound quality that is better than the previous versions (and also stronger than the Google Home Mini ), this will definitely succeed.

Another Alexa ability worth investigating is called "Vicious Mockery." It is entirely dedicated to the eponymous spell of the Bard, in which an opponent is thrown with a magical insult. Just activate it and say "Alexa, Vicious Mockery". The Amazon Assistant will find the insult for you. It's nothing special, but it's fun for kids and easy to use. It contains hundreds of insults that are read by a real person (for example: "Your lack of personal hygiene does not require perceptual testing.")

Color changing lights can be a wise investment if you host many game evenings.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Consider color changing light.

Dungeons & Dragons is a collaborative role-playing game normally played as a group storytelling exercise. To this end, you will often find that players create custom characters of their characters that contain certain details from their backstory, or dungeon masters (DMs) who use a playlist of different background music for different settings and encounters.

Color Changing Smart Lights can also help create a mood. With just a few clever bulbs, you can program funny, colorful scenes for different situations that your characters might encounter – strong greens as they wander through a forest, flickering reds when exploring a dungeon, blatant, icy blues when you brave the wintry north … you have the idea.

Read more: The Complete Guide to Philips Hue

The good news is that you have more options than ever before today if you want to shop. From chic, fully equipped lamps from Philips Hue and Lifx to more favorable alternatives from names such as GE Sengled and Sylvania You will not have much trouble finding some good color changers that work with your smart home platform or the language assistant of your choice.

Dollars for Dollars, I think GE's new Color Changing Smart Lights, sold in twin packs for just a few dollars more than a single Philips Hue bulb, are a great choice, especially if you use Google Home Speakers or Google Nest Smart Displays . Need help choosing light bulbs for another platform? That's why I'm here for .

Once you have the lights you need, just use the app you use to control them and set up different scenes that you might want to trigger. Then decide how you want to trigger these scenes in the game. Voice commands from Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant work well. But you can always keep your phone handy and trigger things with a tap of a finger directly in the app.

Do not have enough lights to go around? Consider using color-changing LED light strips. The Lifx Z light strips are my favorite as they can output several colors at once, but single-color stripes with names like Sylvania and Sengled . This costs less and also goes well with your furniture.

With Nanoleaf's color-changing wall panels, you can take your smart lighting scenes to the next level – and Nanoleaf's 12-way remote control is more suitable for D & D nights than ever before.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Give Everything

Want to grow taller? Hey, do not let me stop you.

A relatively simple way to take your D & D light scenes to the next level is to invest in color-changing LED wall panels for your wall. Their main options are the square Lifx Tile panels and the growing range of Nanoleaf panels available as triangles squares or later this year Hexagons .

Both support voice control via Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, but between the two I would definitely lean towards Nanoleaf. You can not output multiple colors per panel like the Lifx Tiles, but you get more panels in the starter kit and more room to expand. Plus, Nanoleaf's panels are easier to animate, they have a built-in microphone that lets them synchronize these animated effects with the sounds of your campaign, and they cost a little less than Lifx.

Another reason why I like Nanoleaf: They offer one of the most elegant (and most suitable for D & D) remote control accessories on the market.

It's called Nanoleaf Remote and is basically a large twelve-sided cube that lets you assign different light scenes to each page. A built-in accelerometer tracks the movement of the remote so you can trigger those scenes by turning this page up. Lights too bright? Simply turn the remote control counterclockwise on the table to decrease the volume. In addition, your Apple HomeKit scenes can also be triggered.

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