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Dungeons & Dragons Dice

A game of Dungeons & Dragons being played, with orange dice and painted metal miniatures on a vinyl battle mat.

Dungeons & Dragons Dice

Dungeons & Dragons (also known as D&D) was the world's first fantasy role-playing game. You can be an elvish wizard or a dwarven fighter, transporting yourself to the realm of fantasy.  All you need to play are some rulebooks, character sheets, pencils, and D&D dice.

So, what are D&D dice?  We're going to give you everything you need to know about them so you can pick out the best D&D dice set and get on with rolling natural 20s with your friends.

Here's what you'll need to know.  We're covering it all here:

What's in a D&D dice set?

A D&D dice set contains seven different dice.  They look different than the regular six-sided dice you're used to from games like Monopoly or Risk.  D&D dice are called polyhedral dice, because they have many sides.

A standard set of D&D dice includes a 20-sided die, a 6-sided die, a 4-sided die, an 8-sided die, a 12-sided die, and two 10-sided dice.

These are used for different things in the game.  Most of the time, when you're taking an action and want to know if it succeeded, you'll roll a 20-sided die (also known as a d20).  If you roll high enough to beat the difficulty of the task, you succeed.

The other dice are used for different kinds of weapons, for rolling hit points for different classes, or for certain other rare and special cases.  The 6-sided die is also used for generating ability scores, including Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.

How do I choose a D&D dice set that's right for me?

Every player is different, and every character is different.  Thankfully, there are many different kinds of D&D dice sets to choose from!

While most dice are made out of plastic, you can also get stone dice sets, wood dice sets, or metal dice sets, and in all different colors.

Some factors to consider when choosing the D&D dice set that's right for you:

  1. Are the numbers readable?  Make sure there's enough contrast between the color of the numbers and the color of the dice, and that the font is clear.
  2. Is it the right kind of material?  If you're rolling on a wooden table, you might want to stick with plastic dice instead of something like metal or gemstone dice, which can cause damage if you're not using a rolling tray.
  3. How do I feel when I look at them?  You should pick a dice set which makes you feel good and which matches the theme of your character.

What are the best D&D dice sets?

The best dice sets will depend on what you're looking for exactly.

The best plastic dice sets are made by Chessex in Europe, and come in a wide array of exciting color effects.

The fanciest dice sets you can buy are real gemstone dice sets, made out of minerals like amethyst or lapis lazuli.  (They're also some of the most expensive dice sets you can buy, but it's cool to have at least one set).

The most durable dice you can buy are metal dice sets, usually nickel, with different colors and finishes.

The most accurate random numbers come from precision dice sets, which have sharp edges and so are more equal on each side.

How do I use D&D dice online?

If you're using a program like Roll20, it has a built-in dice roller.  There are also lots of dice-rolling apps you can get on your phone.

The simplest way to roll dice online is just to type your query into Google, like with one of these examples:

  • roll 1d20
  • roll 2d8
  • roll 4d6

And you can get results right in your search engine window.  (Of course, it's not as satisfying as the real thing.)

Why are D&D dice sets the way they are?

For playing Dungeons & Dragons, you're going to want a set of seven polyhedral game dice.  These dnd dice sets are standardized for most role-playing games because of D&D.  You can buy dice for Dungeons & Dragons here in our store; we have them in all colors and materials and styles.

Since D&D was one of the very first RPG systems, most RPG dice sets are based on the 7-die configuration.  The dice for Dungeons and Dragons are used for many other systems such as Pathfinder.

The original Dungeons & Dragons dice set

The original 1974 Blue Box edition of D&D came with a set of 4-sided, 6- sided, 8- sided, 12- sided, and 20-sided dice.  These Dungeons and Dragons dice were based on the Platonic solids, which is why the d10 wasn’t included. 

Eventually, for ease of use, two 10-sided dice were added to the standard set—one numbered 0-9, and the other numbered 00-90, representing the tens place.  (Together, you can generate a random number between 00 and 99.)

Dungeons and Dragons uses dice to determine outcomes of actions your player can take.  The rules have changed over the course of the various editions of DnD, from the basic edition, to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, to the 2nd edition, the 3rd edition, 3.5, 4th, and then 5e.  The basic kit and gaming equipment have stayed about the same since the establishment of the 7-dice set.

The 20-sided die, called a d20, determines most skill checks and actions you will take in the game.  Rolling a natural 20 is an automatic success, or a critical hit; rolling a natural 1 is an automatic failure, or critical miss.  Otherwise, you add modifiers to the dice roll based on your character sheet.

The d4, d6, d8, and d12 are typically used for determining weapon damage once you hit.  The percentile dice, which is the d10 and the d100 rolled together, determine other things like whether you can see your opponent through a thick fog, or for randomly generating treasure from a table.

The d20 is used so frequently that Wizards of the Coast even established what they call the “D20 System,” which is based on Dungeons and Dragons.

How to Buy D&D Dice Sets

There are so many dice on the market today for D&D, from all kinds of dice manufacturers, who make plastic, metal, stone, or even bone dice.  Sometimes you can get them with different colors, or glitter, or other things that make them beautiful and unique.  So how do you know which kind to get?

I’d recommend starting with something simple for your first D&D campaign, like an opaque set which is easy to read.  Once you’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons for a while, you might want to upgrade to something a little more exciting, like a green specked “recon” set for your ranger, or a swirly arcane purple set for your wizard.  Eventually, you might even want to try getting a premium game dice set, made from metal or real gemstones.  Either way, the dice you pick will help you immerse yourself in your role-playing experience, and help tell the story and make the game your own!

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