Like board games, D&D and other RPGs simulate luck and fate with the help of dice. However, unlike the more traditional board games which are more prone on using the “standard” six-sided die, these games use some special dices as well, known today by the term “D20 system” or “D&D Dice“.
So which dice make up an RPG dice set used in a standard D20 RPG system?
The set consists of one of each of these: D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 and D20, plus one other D10, numbered 10, 20, 30 etc. for percentile rolls. Most gamers have more than one set, of course, so that they can roll combinations all at once, like 3D6 or 2D12, instead of rolling them one by one.
Taking a closer look at each of
D20 – Icosahedron
This is the most spherical, as well as the largest of all the RPG dice. In every edition of D&D and in many other RPGs with different D20 based systems, the 20-sided D20 is the main “workhorse”, used in most of the rolls. For instance, in D&D it is used for every attack, skill, attribute, save and spell roll accept for the barbarian who is more focused around the D12. Each side represents 5% chance. Each of the values represents 5% of the chance to reach your target Difficulty Number, be it a shot with an arrow or to hide in the shadows.
D12 – Dodecahedron
This die has large, pentagon-shaped faces. In D&D, its most common use is for large, two-handed weapon damage favoured by the barbarian above others or for random time determination, representing hours or months.
D10 – Pentagonal Trapezohedron
Most commonly, this dice represents 10% with each value, but if used in pair, it is also an accurate percentile dice. In this case one of the dice represents the 10s, the other the 1s, consequently the first die is often numbered like 10, 20, 30 etc. In D&D, it shows either a percentile chance, or a special weapon damage die.
D8 – Octahedron
The 8-sided die has large triangular face, and is mostly a damage die for larger one-handed weapons, like longswords.
D6 – Cube
This is the well-known standard die, used in most board games. In D&D, it is commonly a damage die for smaller weapons or spells, commonly in a larger number like 3d6 or 5d6. It plays an important role during the character generation, to determine the attributes.
D4 – Tetrahedron
This pointy beast is the most feared die of all – while it is mostly used for very small weapons, like dagger, it can inflict nearly as much damage if you step on it bare feet!