NVDaydreamr: Bob Portnell

Musings and Sharings

This is the (I imagine) last website of Bob Portnell (that's me!). Please find my latest journal notices and useful files from my past and present.

Bob is a technical writer living in Sparks, Nevada. Bob is also a father, husband, nerd, disciple, and some other things. His internet presence beyond this website is not large.

Site content Copyright © 2015-19 W. Robert Portnell. It's all hand-coded HTML, CSS, and a splash of JS.

Scripting and site styling adapted from tutoriala at Yahoo! (thanks, Doug!) and w3schools.com.

Site Neocities, of course.

Here are the files I have available. Some are new creations. Some are ould favourites which have attracted kind comments in the past. This page runs long, so here are some shortcuts.

Library Sections

Dice Stuff

I've been crazy about dice since I was a toddler watching my grandmother play Yahtzee with friends. (Though compared to other gamers, I'm about average.) I've designed and bought "ideal" sets. I've written many dice-rolling programs. At this point in my life, I'm resolved that less is better. My personal dice set is now four pairs of d6 and d20, each pair in a matching color, for use with my Fake Book (see below). The Fudge/Fate box has ten sets of Fate/Fudge dice. The guest bag has eleven black/red DoubleSixes I bought with Traveller in mind, nine red/gold TFT dice, nine blue/gold TFT dice, five white Illuminati dice, and nearly three dozen d6 in assorted colors from previous collections. In the "back of the closet" are three d20s from the early 1980s including my first hobby die, two d10s in memory of my days with MicroTactix, and two aluminized d6s gifted to me by a daughter. Total of 124. That's not a lot, is it?

Bob's Dice Fake Book

A booklet that shows how to do any common dice roll with true mathematical fidelity using only a d6 and a d20. There are two versions: the printable version is great for printing with booklet settings. The tablet version is great for screen devices of landscape persuasion.

Dicepick Dice Rollers

Speaking of dice rollers, here are these two again. DicepickXR has positive dice on the right; DicepickXL has positive dice on the left. I'll probably write more rollers, as I explore the Python programming language. But these are my last word for the public.

Dicepick Manifesto, Brief Version: I like dice rollers, but I think most of them take us too far away from the physical and mental activities that make rolling real dice such fun. The DicepickXR/XL programs better echo the "real dice" process (or so I believe).

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Roleplay Game Stuff

I've been engaged with tabletop roleplay games since 1980. My websites have always had plenty of RPG documents; why stop now?

The Fantasy Trip

The first RPG I loved, and I'm over the moon to see it back in print and well-supported. Most of my roleplay these days is the solo sort using this game.

Risus: The Anything RPG

I love Risus so much, I stole ideas from it for EZFudge (below). And I'm (twice) a member of the International Order of Risus, so I can completely testify to its utter grooviness. I've written a few rules tweaks and designed some variant character sheets. They're in the Risusiverse somewhere, along with many other, much cooler, things.


This is part demonstration Fudge build, part game-engine heartbreaker.

It has been suggested here and there from time to time that EZFudge should be given a fantasy setting. I've worked on that for a while and concluded that EZFudge is not suited to supporting an interesting magic system. I recommend Fantasy Fudge, the not-very-heavy fantasy rules included in the free Fudge SRD.


I spent many, many years immersed in GURPS, and I even managed to get published a time or two. Probably my best GURPS work is Final Frontier (0.4 MB PDF), roleplaying rules for the Star Trek universe, rather minimalist by GURPS standards. Final Frontier requires GURPS Lite (3e), a 0.4 MB PDF. "This is the boiled-down 'essence' of GURPS: all the fundamental rules, but not the options and embellishments that often confuse new players." (I have no plans to update this to GURPS Lite 4e.)

The Black Hack

A wild and fun take on THE classic game, light, quirky, and flavorful. My twist is The T22 Hack (0.2 MB PDF), a rules hack to make rolling higher always better. Supports any version of TBH including the spanking new Second Edition.


Steffan O'Sullivan's roleplay game to be played outdoors. Here's my house rule to make Sherpa higher-is-better: For unopposed tasks, add the trait to the random number (and modifiers). The total must meet or beat 11. And here's my Character, Reference, and GM scene cards (0.1 MB PDF).

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Board Game Stuff


The classic space war game by Marc Miller, now ably published by Steve Jackson Games (and out of print again). I've written an article on the Basics of Space Flight which I hope is useful for the novice interplanetary traveler. One of these days I need to take a day to make the illustrations better.


The Looney Labs card game that's never the same twice. I made a playmat!


Steve Jackson Games' card game of the fantasy gaming experience without the pesky roleplaying. I made a (legal-size) playmat! And a long time ago I made the one-page Flowchart. It's dated, but might still help you through the first few games.

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Stargazing Stuff

Yes, just "stargazing." Maybe someday I'll put more investment into it, but for now I'm content learning and discovering via naked eye or binoculars. I've had two telescopes that didn't get used, so probably no point trying that again.

Being a nerd, I'm overprepared. I haunt weather sites — no point in going out if you can't see more than 10 miles up. I have grab-and-go bag with all my stargazing supplies: binoculars, basic star atlas, dim red flashlight, and a copy of Sky & Telescope's annual guide to sky events, Nightwatch. I don't use electronic tools in the field — I need my night vision! I just do a lot of prep, and here are some of my favorites.

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This is where journal posts will go, when I start to have them.

Fri 11 Oct 2019 — Top of the Stack

When the blogging thing starts all over again …

Sun 23 Feb 2020 — Where Have I Been?

A few updates …

Sun 26 Jan 2020 — Pocket Boxing

In which Bob recalls two games and reports news …

Wed 15 Jan 2020 — This is Madness

Slowly digested over a thousand years …

Sat 11 Jan 2020 — Odometer Rollover

Reflections and resolutions abound …


Thu 19 Dec 2019 — A Random Mess

In which Bob just starts writing and sees what happens …

Fri 13 Dec 2019 — Bye, O'Rhythm

In which Bob plays with numbers and mocks the hive mind …

Thu 12 Dec 2019 — Calculating Ways

In which Bob goes nerdy on old tech …

Sat 30 Nov 2019 — Logocycles

In which Bob learns, albeit slowly …

Mon 18 Nov 2019 — Echoes and Reverberations

I don't remember Memory Land being this round …

Sat 09 Nov 2019 — Round the Whirl'd in 80 GHz

In which Bob looks yet again at his use of tech …

Sat 02 Nov 2019 — Over My Shoulder: The Dice Fake Book

In which Bob answers the question "What were you thinking!?" …

Fri 01 Nov 2019 — Propulsion

In which Bob reports on the battle with inertia