Dungeons and Dragons Dice

Dungeons and Dragons Dice

While out in the garage digging through moving boxes (remind me to never move again!) I stumbled across this purple Crown Royal bag. Upon seeing it I immediately knew what was in the bag — my old Dungeons and Dragons dice!

Dungeons and Dragons Dice

The light blue dice in the picture came from the D&D Basic Set, which I got back in the early 80s. The basic set came with six dice: 4-sided, 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided, 12-sided, and 20-sided. About a year later I graduated to the D&D Expert Set, which came with the same six dice but darker blue in color. The other six-sided dice in this picture came from various other board games and just ended up in the bag with the others.

(Trivia: on the dice that came with the D&D sets, the numbers were not originally colored white. The game also came with a white crayon, which was used to scrub the dice and color in the numbers.)

Dungeons and Dragons Dice were used by Players and the Dungeon Master (the person running an adventure) to generate random numbers during gameplay. For example, a module (an adventure) might call for a single roll of the 4-sided die to determine the number of orcs your party was about to encounter. This would be written as “1d4”, or “1 roll of the 4-sided die.” When in combat, a dagger might inflict 1d4 of damage, whereas a sword might cause 1d8 (or more) worth of damage. Percentages could easily be figured by rolling the 10-sided die twice. Successful attacks, the amount of damage done, and the types and amounts of treasure found were all determined by a role of the die.

Hobby shops sold custom dice in unique shapes, colors, and sizes. At the local hobby shop in the mall I remember seeing a 100-sided die about the size of a golf ball. Dice could be purchased individually for generally a buck or two, or slightly cheaper when purchased as a set. Although I can’t seem to find them now, I used to own a complete set of translucent green dice that I paid $5 for by skipping lunch a few days at school. Ah, the sacrifices we made back then.

If you are looking for high quality Dungeons and Dragons Dice, might I suggest you read about the return of GameScience Dice.

Rob O'Hara

I'm into old video games, old arcade games, old computer games, writing, photography, computer/network security, and of course, the 1980s!

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8 thoughts on “Dungeons and Dragons Dice

  1. Drahken says:

    I still have a bunch of assorted dice, even though I never actually played any RPGs. I used to have a 20 sided die which had 0-9 twice (once with a negative sign in front) but that got lost a long time ago. I currently have another 20 sided die or two, a few 8 sided ones, a 10 sided one, a bunch of “normal” dice of varying sizes and styles, and one set of dragon dice.

  2. I had the blue ones that you had to color in. The translucent ones were the most desireable in my group.

  3. Great post, Flack! The amount of fate deciding items in that photo is inspiring to say the least. :)

    @Payton I’ve heard a ton of great things about Pathfinder, friend. I constantly flip through the rule books while at the book store, looks pretty neat.

  4. Payton (@cyxodus) says:

    My first set was the Red Box and it came with a set of orange blank dice. Till this day, I have a soft spot for dice like that and I’m currently using GameScience’s Pumpkin Orange set (http://www.gamestation.net/s.nl/it.A/id.3716/.f). Sharp little buggers.

    @VicSage…Pathfinder is loads of fun and their weekly Society play is blast. I just love their scenarios and their world mythos.

  5. I still have my Crown Royal dice bag filled with dice. All you need is one set and yet I have several. I think I was addicted for awhile.

  6. Atari Adventure Square says:

    I love being reminded how much I love my polygonal die from all those years of adventuring.

    Like Vic said, imagining the sheer amount of hit points dished out, saving-throwed escapes and odds-clearing percentile achieved from those pictured dice is staggering.

    I still have my orange D&D Basic set die, blue Expert set ones, and multiple AD&D snazzier sets.

    I’d forgot about the white crayon.
    We went with black crayons for starters.
    (And for our Basic Set character sheets)

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