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Roll a d20!

... for initiative! look for traps! kick down the door! attack the darkness!

When you roll a d20, the fate of your character can hang in the balance. The iconic twenty-sided die has become synonymous with many role-playing games (RPGs). In this article, we'll explore the different ways that popular games utilize the d20 and how its mechanics can make or break crucial moments.

We will also introduce Die Hard Dice's new free Virtual 3D Dice Roller Game—a fun new way to make your own random numbers from the comfort of your web browser or (coming soon) your smart phone.


Table of Contents:

All About Die Hard Dice's Virtual Dice Roller

Say goodbye to basic JavaScript dice rollers with Die Hard Dice's new virtual online 3D roller game. Experience rolling beautifully designed dice within dungeon scenes that bounce against walls and floors. Roll a single d20 or even dozens simultaneously while enjoying stunning visuals that bring your favorite hobby to life.

Features of Die Hard Dice's Online Dice Roller

  • Realistic physics: The platform uses Unity's world physics engine to simulate the actual physics of dice rolls, ensuring an authentic experience every time you roll.
  • Multipurpose use: Whether you're playing Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder this free tool is perfect for all your saving throws and other in-game needs when physical dice are not at hand.
  • User-friendly interface: With its intuitive design and easy-to-use controls, players can quickly get started rolling their favorite sets without any hassle. Just click your mouse or touch your screen to roll the dice.
  • Completely free: Ads? No thank you! Todd's beautiful dice designs have always been our best advertisement, and Paul was able to fulfill one of his childhood dreams by programming it in April 2023, and that is enough for us. Just try to resist the urge to buy a set so you can feel the power in your hand as you roll a d20 in real life.
  • Cheeky Interactive Dungeon: Roll a d20 or 2d20 and see what happens when you roll a critical success or failure. See if you can light the dice on fire, put them into the treasure chest, or put them into the chest while they're on fire!

Tips for Using our Virtual Dice Roller

  1. Add up to ten individual dice at a time by dragging the dice upward before releasing the mouse cursor when adding dice to the scene. You can add also scale the dice to be as large as you like.
  2. To roll a d20 virtually, simply click on the first d20 you see when the game loads. It will be thrown into the interactive dungeon scene. Watch it bounce around and interact realistically with the environment. Then click and drag or long-tap and swipe to make the dice follow your movement.
  3. Keep track of roll results displayed on-screen, which can be easily cleared or saved for future reference during gameplay sessions.

With Die Hard Dice's new virtual online 3D roller game, random numbers never looked so good. Try it out today and experience the joy of beautiful dice rolls for yourself.

What’s Next for our Virtual Dice Roller?

You can also expect updates and improvements as Die Hard Dice remains committed to providing useful and fun tools for tabletop gaming enthusiasts everywhere. So gear up, start rolling d20s in style, and stay tuned for the upgraded version of Die Hard Dice's free 3D roller apps!

The History of 20 sided dice

The earliest example of a d20 is from ancient Egypt, where a twenty-faced polyhedron was found dating from between 304 and 30 BC. This ancient icosahedron had Greek letters carved into it and might have been used for divining the future.

In the late '60s, people started utilizing these dice for their favorite activities. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson created Dungeons & Dragons in 1974, which popularized the use of a variety of polyhedral dice, including the d20, to determine character actions within their game system.

How is the d20 used in Dungeons & Dragons?

In Dungeons & Dragons, rolling a d20 is used to determine various actions such as:

  • Rolling for Initiative, which determines the order of play during combat. All players entering combat roll a d20 and apply their Dexterity modifier. The DM rolls a d20 for each of the monsters, then battle proceeds in order from highest to lowest initiative rolls.
  • Skill checks, such as any attempted action that has a chance of failure. Throwing a weapon at a target, attempting to sing in a tavern, searching for traps, etc.
  • Saving throws, also known as saves, are just skill checks which attempt to resist a threat. Dodging a rotten tomato in a tavern, attempting to resist the influence of a magical song, avoiding a trap once it has sprung, and even the ominous Death Saving Throw.

Skill checks and saves are modified by your character's relevant skill modifier. Forcing a stuck door might require a Strength check: roll a d20 and apply your strength modifier. The DM will often use judgment to determine the threshold for success.

Use of the d20 Across Different Game Systems

  • Pathfinder: Another example within the tabletop RPG genre, Pathfinder, also relies on d20 rolls for various in-game actions, such as combat and skill checks.
  • Infinity by Corvus Belli: The d20 takes center stage in this futuristic squad-based wargame, but you generally try to roll below a target number that shifts based on difficulty.
  • Mutants & Masterminds: A superhero-themed RPG that uses a d20 system for determining success in combat and skill checks. It offers a high degree of character customization, allowing players to create virtually any type of superhero or villain they can imagine.
  • True20: A streamlined version of the d20 system, True20 aims to provide a simpler and more flexible ruleset. It can accommodate a wide range of settings and genres, from fantasy to science fiction, and from horror to modern-day espionage.
  • Iron Heroes: A gritty, low-magic fantasy RPG that focuses on martial combat and skillful play. The game uses a d20 system with modifications to encourage tactical thinking and resource management.
  • Spycraft: A modern-day espionage and action RPG that uses the d20 system, Spycraft offers a wealth of options for creating spies, infiltrators, and other covert operatives. The game provides rules for vehicle chases, intrigue, and a wide range of gadgets and gear.
  • Stars Without Number: A science fiction RPG with an old-school feel, Stars Without Number uses a d20 for combat rolls and a d6-based system for skill checks. The game focuses on sandbox-style play and exploration, with an emphasis on creating unique and interesting settings.

Though the first d20s may not have been used for gaming, it is now an iconic symbol of tabletop gaming culture. Its versatility and widespread use across different game systems make it an essential tool for both casual players and seasoned enthusiasts alike.

Key Takeaway: 

The d20 is an iconic and versatile die used in many tabletop role-playing games.  Its origins can be traced back to ancient Egypt, but it wasn't until the late 1960s that modern gamers began using these dice for their favorite pastimes. Today, the d20 remains a beloved symbol of tabletop gaming culture and an essential tool.

FAQs about Rolling D20s

Here are some common questions about how d20 rolls are used:

How do I read a d20?

When you roll a d20, the number on the top face of the die is the result of the roll. In most cases, you will add or subtract various modifiers to the roll, depending on the context of the action being resolved.

Why is a d20 used in RPGs?

Why is a d20 used in RPGs?: The d20 provides a wide range of possible outcomes for various actions in the game, allowing for a good balance of randomness and probability. This helps create a sense of uncertainty and excitement while playing.

What does it mean to "Roll With Advantage"?

In Dungeons & Dragons, rolling with advantage means rolling two d20 and using the higher of the two results.  A player may roll with advantage for a number of reasons: a spell, a special ability, a magical item, or at the dungeon master's discretion.  Conversely, rolling with disadvantage means you roll two d20s and take the lower of the two results.  

Statistically speaking, the average value of a d20 roll is 10.5, and rolling 2d20 and taking the higher or lower value results in 3.4 points such that the average advantage roll is 13.9 and the average disadvantage roll is 7.1.

This game mechanic is sometimes assigned at the Dungeon Master's discretion when the task of a character is especially easy or difficult for that character due to the current circumstances in the game. 

What are the odds of rolling a 20?

Also known as a "natural 20" or "nat 20", the odds of rolling a 20 on a d20 are one in twenty, or in other words, 5%.  For any fair and balanced 20 sided dice, there's an equal chance (5%) of getting any result from one through twenty when you roll.

Rolling it all up...

To roll a d20 is perhaps the most iconic action in tabletop role playing and plays a crucial role in many popular RPGs.  

If you're looking for a quick way to roll a d20 or other tabletop gaming dice, check out our free 3D online dice roller for a fun way to play with 3D dice in your browser!

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