What Are All The Different Types of D&D Dice & What Are They Used For?
For a player first getting started in Dungeons and Dragons, it can be incredibly confusing and intimidating. There are so many things that you have to learn and know and have. There’s the books, the people willing to play, the complicated rulesets, someone to run the game, and (if you choose to use them) there are even miniatures! But no matter what type of RPG Player you are, from one taking your first exploratory steps into Dungeons and Dragons to delving into the most arcane and indie Tabletop Games like Ars Magica, you can count on using one thing: dice.
Now when it comes to RPG Dice Sets and games like Dungeons and Dragons, even that can be confusing! And this is whether you’re just starting to play, or a good friend or family member who is trying to find the perfect gift for their loved one. Worry not, we’re here to help.
There’s a multitude of types of Polyhedral Dice Sets, or dice. When it comes to D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) though, there are seven different shapes or types you can expect to use:
A four sided die shaped something like a pyramid. These are useful for low damage spells or attacks, certain probability checks, and finding with your foot in the dark. Jokes aside, be careful with these! Stepping on them can feel worse than stepping on a lego!
You’ve probably seen the standard six sided die before, as most of these cubes come with pips and are useful for all sorts of board games and games of chance. The d6 is a little different however, as most ones for Tabletop RPGs come with numbers instead of pips.
The d6 is useful for a lot of standard attacks and spells in D&D. If you need to roll damage for the ever classic Fireball spell, or are using a shortsword to fend off some goblins, the d6 is going to be die for you.
The d8 looks something like two pyramids connected at the base, but don’t worry! It’s not anywhere near as painful to step on as the d4!
Any intrepid adventurer is going to find themselves using the d8 somewhere along the line, especially for weapons such as maces, and it wouldn’t do to go without one!
The d10. The ever important ten sided die. There are certain Tabletop Games that use only d10’s.
You can do everything with this bad boy, from determining when your character acts in the middle of combat, or using it to determine the fate of games of chance.
It’s also important to know that you can use d10’s to roll percentile, or determine the fate something on a percentile scale
(1-100). There are particular dice made for this with the 10’s already on the dice, but you can also use two d10’s and just declare one the 10’s place. That way if you roll a 7 on the 10’s place and a 1 on the one’s place, you know you’ve rolled a 71. Not a bad roll as far as percentiles go. Fortunately, most standard dice sets come with the percentile die so you don’t have to worry about the workaround.
The d12 is a dodecahedron and just like the d8 is used for all sorts of arcane events. Sometimes useful in spells, sometimes useful with the more exotic weapons. In 5th edition D&D, Greataxes and other horrifyingly huge weapons use this high rolling die, and an adventurer or D&D player would never want to go without it.
The classic d20. Entire systems and sets of systems like Roll20 have been built around the d20. When it comes to rolling for D&D nothing gets a player quite as excited as the outcome of a d20, and nothing can be quite as shocking.
For the 20 sided die it’s common among D&D players to use the 1 roll as a critical failure and the 20 roll as a critical success. Sometimes this can be taken to crazy extremes. I can guarantee you that every D&D player has fond memories of a time that they rolled a 20 at certain point performed some stunning feat. I can also guarantee you that every D&D player has memories of rolling a 1 and bringing about near certain doom.
Love them or hate them, you simply cannot escape using the d20 while playing D&D.