Friday, July 6, 2018

My Dice Endgame

So after I found out that Gamescience makes jumbo polyhedral dice, I had to get my hands on a set and see how they looked next to my beloved casino dice.  And as it turns out, the set that Gamescience sells includes a d4, a d8, a d12, and an icosahedral d10; but no d6s.  As if it were meant to be paired with casino dice. (And, after all, why bother making precision d6s with a mold-injection method when the gaming industry already makes far more precise machined d6s in droves?)

So I got a set, and sure enough they're just about the most perfect dice I've ever beheld.  I think this is it—my one true set.  Fans of mechanical keyboards often speak of the search for their "endgame," that one perfect board with just the right size, key height, click sound, physical feedback on a keypress, keycap set, and so forth.  (It occurs to me that I probably haven't written a blog post about my own keyboard collection; yet another note to file away for the future.)  I've found my dice endgame.

As I've mentioned before, when I run D&D, all I need are a pair of differently-colored d6s, a d8, and a d20; and maybe an extra d6 on hand for rolling characters and a d12 for the odd die check involving a 1-in-12 or 3-in-12 chance of something.  This set fits the bill while having the advantage of being large and easy for everyone to read (and I do very much like everyone around the table to see what I'm rolling as I run a game).  The d20 is a "0–9 twice" type, which means that I had to either ink it in two separate colors (making it kind of ugly) or ink it all in white and roll it with a control die; I've opted for the latter option, for now, as it's no big deal to roll a d20 and a d6 together and read the d6 as "+10" whenever the result is odd (as the 1, 3, and 5 faces on a pipped d6 have a dot in the middle of the die face, and the 2, 4, and 6 faces do not—making it a very easy visual shorthand, hardly any different of reading an old d20 with 0–9 twice and a "+" mark on half the faces).

I still don't see much reason to bother using that caltrop d4, though.


  1. I've got a few of the Gamescience jumbo dice myself (a similar d20 which I inked in different colors, and two d4s), and they're certainly very nice. I was planning to complete the set, but my current set of metal dice has been serving me very well lately, even if adding a few extra matching d6s will be very expensive.

  2. "I still don't see much reason to bother using that caltrop d4, though."

    The reason to use it is contained within that sentence... that thing is a functioning caltrop. Sometimes DMs need to make a hasty escape, and that'll stop even the most slighted player from pursuing you.

    1. That might be the party after tonight.

      They slept in the Barrowmaze.

      I repeat: they slept in the Barrowmaze.

      They were very, very fortunate to escape from the horde of ravenous Romero zombies that caught the scent of their stupid, stupid brains in the night.


      This is what happens when I'm not around -_-

    3. Well, they got trapped in a crypt with a mechanical door that slammed shut behind them a turn after they opened it. They decided that they'd rather sleep where they couldn't be bothered and try to bust out in the morning.

      So I rolled the random encounter checks for them out in the open, three per hour they spent in the dungeon. As to what monsters turned up, though, I kept that hidden from them - but I legit kept rolling "ravenous dead" (the Barrowmaze version of Romero zombies/ghouls), normal zombies, or "referee's choice" over and over again.

      So, fine, I decided; the dice spoke. A ravenous zombie hoard was gathering outside the crypt, Dawn of the Dead style, sniffing out the PCs' brains, occasionally pressing at the door, scratching and clawing at it, trying to bash through (more bashing and banging and straining the door hinges as the horde grew, particularly after 4 AM).

      When morning came, the party's two Str 18 fighters rushed the door and decided to push it through/into whatever was on the other side, which was enough to smush the front pair of zombies; then another player discharged an item they had on hand with a 4-die lightning bolt stored inside it, which mostly cleared the room. And one of the newbie players (only his 2nd time playing, and he's running a 1st level magic-user with 4 hp and one spell I might add) very cleverly distracted the rest of the horde out in the hallway with some convenient half-eaten, still-fresh body parts that had been left behind by a pair of ghouls the party had slain in the crypt the previous night.

      This gave the fighters time to set up a shield-wall, bottleneck the door, and fight off the rest of the horde that the party's sole priest (they only took one priest on this delve!) didn't manage to turn.

      It was a heck of a game, I'll say that much.