D&D Dice Explained
What are DnD Dice?
7 mystical shapes link your decisions to your character's fate. As the dice fall from your hand, your character boldly advances. Roll with the Best!
Dungeons and Dragons made these seven dice an unstoppable team. Use of a D&D dice set is common to most tabletop role playing games today.
You might be wondering:
Which 7 dice make a set?
To start playing, you only need one of each: the D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, and D20, but standard 7-dice sets also include a second D10 which is used for percentile rolls. Gamers often prefer to have multiples of some die in order to roll pools of dice, such as 3D6 in one roll instead of 3 individual d6 rolls.
But what are their common uses?
In general, the D4, D6, D8, D10 and D12 are used for weapons damage, attacks, spells and healing amounts. D20 dice are used most often to see if an attempted action succeeds.
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The signature die of Dungeons & Dragons, and taller than its siblings, the D20 rolls further because it is the most spherical. The faces are equilateral triangles. The D20 is used any time you want to know if an attempt is successful: attacks, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. Each value has a 5% chance. After you roll a D20 to see if you hit an enemy, you will roll other dice to see how much damage you deal. Small weapons use a D4, larger weapons deal D6 or D8 damage, and the biggest deal D10 or D12. D20, The "decider" of D&D dice.
The twelve sided die is often used for damage for large weapons carried by a raging barbarian. Each face is shaped like a pentagon. These dice also stack very well for those long dice-stacking intervals between combat turns.
The ten sided die is used often while playing D&D. There are actually two ten sided dice in a standard 7-dice D&D set. The faces of one are numbered 0 to 9, and the faces of the other go from 00 to 90 by tens. To make a 'percentile' roll, you roll both die and add them together, with one exception: a double zero roll is 100.
The eight sided die, each face is triangular and it resembles two pyramids attached base-to-base. Often used for damage done by larger weapons.
The standard cube shape die found in most boardgames is also used in D&D. Many gamers gather a set of D6 for quickly rolling multiples, like the original 3D6 rolls for attributes during character creation. This practice later turned into rolling 4D6, discounting the lowest roll, and assigning each number where the player wants.
The unloved D4, also known as the caltrop. If you have stepped on a D4 with bare feet, you will never forget it. Because of its large flat sides it does not roll as well as the other shapes. In Dungeons & Dragons, the D4 is used where you want low variation, and an average roll of 2.5. Damage rolls for small weapons is a common use, as well as use for healing spells.
"He [rolls the dice] to find the answer,
The sacred geometry of chance,
The hidden law of a probable outcome,
The numbers lead a dance."
-Sting, Shape of my Heart