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!
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.