D is for Dice #AtoZChallenge

Shiny diceI debated whether this entry would be about Dungeons and Dragons, or dice. You can tell which I chose.

I love dice. They are pretty and sparkly and come in such wonderful shapes. Yes, it’s a whole girly thing.

I suspect most people’s experience with dice is the six-sided variety, but dice for roleplaying come in various shapes (and sizes). They are referred to as polyhedral, because they have multiple sides.

Here’s a handy guide:

The standard Chessex or Crystal Caste acrylic fantasy dice come in these shapes:


20-sided (giving its name to the generic play rules called d20)

Percentile (two dice, one numbered with 10s, the other numbered with one through zero; together they produce a number from 01 to 100)

12-sided (seldom used, but mocked in this Order of the Stick t-shirt)

8-sided (used in d20 systems like Pathfinder for rolling damage for battleaxes, longswords and warhammers)

6-sided (they look different with numbers rather than pips, don’t they?)

4-sided (used for rolling damage for some light melee weapons)

Crystal Caste also makes a line of “crystal” dice in barrel shapes they say make for more accurate randomness. As you can see below, the 20-, 12- and 8-sided dice are the same. The percentiles are shaped differently (I’m missing one of the percentiles), as are the 6- and 4-sided. This set adds a 3-sided die. I don’t use this style as often; they tend to roll off the table.


Various other types of dice are available, depending on what gaming system you use. The Fate RPG, for example, uses 6-sided dice, marked with a plus, a minus, and a blank.

I buy new dice when we’re starting a new campaign, and suit the colors to the type of character I’m playing. I keep them in various dice bags, one of which is a leather bag purchased at the Tandy Leather store back in the early 80s. My dear friend Janica keeps her dice in a lovely Asian-style multi-drawer chest. She and I have been known to “squeeee” in delight at Chessex dealers’ booths at conventions.

Do you love dice? Share below!

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