Let’s talk DICE! An essential accessory for most TTRPGs and, let’s face it, the object of our addiction. So, what makes a good dice set? What do you need to know to choose a D&D dice set that will not only be practical but will also be the perfect fit for your character and your group?
What dice do you need for D&D?
The most important dice you’ll need for D&D is the d20, that is, the 20-sided die. Additionally, you’ll need all other standard polyhedral RPG dice (d4, d6, d8, 10, d12, d100) for some specific actions like damage rolls and random tables. Lucky you, most dice sets come with one of each kind! However, keep in mind that you’ll often be asked to roll multiple dice of the same kind in a single roll. For example, with advantage or disadvantage rolls on D&D. So if you can get two dice of each, this will make everything faster for you!
If you don’t want to go overboard buying dice, one of each with an extra d20 will cover 99% of your rolling needs. And if you ever need to roll two smaller dice at the same time, you can always borrow (or steal if you play rogue) some dice from your friends!
What’s the history of D&D dice?
Polyhedral dice of all shapes exist since ancient times, although historically the six-sided die (or d6) has always been the most popular one. But it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that polyhedral dice sets began to rise in popularity, thanks to wargames and RPGs.
In the 70s, the first D&D Basic Set was published, with an included dice set: d4, d6, d8, d12, and d20. As you can see, it initially was missing the d10 and d100, but later on, they would become part of any RPG dice set out there.
Some RPGs use non-standard dice too, like d2s, d3s, or Fudge Dice (which don’t have numbers at all!). Check out this blog post for a breakdown of different ways games use dice.
What to look for in good D&D dice
The most important thing about dice is, of course, balance! The best way to make sure a die is balanced before buying it is to go to reputable brands such as Norse Foundry for RPG dice. For example, their aluminum, copper, and tungsten dice are milled with CNC machinery, which gives them precision within 0.05 of a millimeter!
Once you get them, you can try the salt water test if you want to be 100% sure they’ll be fair. If the dice are made of a material that can float (like plastic), make them float in salted water and flick them several times. If the number that ends up on top is often different, you got a balanced die!
Then there’s, of course, durability! Make sure the materials don’t break or deform easily, as this could change the balance of the die. And check that the numbers will still be visible after a lot of use. There’s nothing worse than having to squint after an epic roll to see that tiny worn-out number!
Finally, think about aesthetics! Using bright rainbow dice for a dark, edgy rogue can be a bit of a tone whiplash, so choose dice that fit your character’s mood and tone. And it’s not just about the color! Some companies, like Norse Foundry, make metal and gemstone dice, which aren’t just extra shiny but also provide a very satisfying weight! Of course, some materials (like gemstones) will be more fragile than others, so you’ll have to choose what’s more important to you.
Where to buy dice
If you’re looking to get good D&D dice that not only help you on your adventures but also look and feel amazing, Norse Foundry is the brand you’re looking for! They make dice of all sorts of materials, from gemstones to wood, including ceramic, metal, and even glass! And of course, they also sell accessories like dice jails and towers to spice up your gaming table.
Which are your favorite kinds of dice? Let us know in the comments! And create a World Anvil account to start managing your campaigns and characters!
Follow World Anvil Blog on WordPress.com
Want more posts like this? Subscribe to the World Anvil blog!
It can be a nice bonus to have dice that match your character in some way, but I very much disagree with this article making it sound like not having them can impact your game negatively through “tonal whiplash”. Use whatever dice you like; you don’t have to buy a set per character to enjoy the game