Somewhere around mid-August, 2014, I, along with a handful of old friends and a couple soon-to-be old friends, embarked on a new and fantastical journey. A journey that was so epic that I just had to use up all acceptable commas in my opening sentence. A journey into the Fifth Edition of the perennial classic Dungeons and Dragons.
Yes, there are tomes upon tomes to be written about the over two years of adventure (hand-baked by our very own intrepid and super-creative Dungeon Master), but I want to scrawl today about the most important part of the D&D experience: the dice.
Any seasoned gamer has at least one set of dice that can do no wrong. Said seasoned gamer probably also has about three or four sets that can absolutely do no right. Fickle thing, though, that set may change day to day and game to game.
I, personally, have between eight and eleven full dice sets in my “D&D bag” for any given gathering. That being said, I generally only roll from two to three sets. If I’m feeling especially crazy (and/or inebriated), I’ll give one of my direly unlucky dice a toss to see if it may gain my good graces again and be deemed worthy of getting regular play. To put that into context, I carry around between fifty-six and seventy-seven small chunks of colored plastic and embue upon them a sacred reverence so that they be good to me (thank you, RNG-sus) and grant me all the crits a Dragonborn Barbarian could want (which is all of them). Let’s get a little crazier, shall we? Of said fifty-six to seventy-seven chunks of colored plastic, I generally only toss two or three on a given night of adventuring. That means–if you are math-inclined–that there are fifty-three to seventy-four of these small plastic polyhedral chunks that I carry around with great reverence just for the sake of fearing what might happen if I did not have them with me.
Yes, my dear non-initiated, that is how it works. The only thing we adventurers fear more than a wrathful Dungeon Master is the terrifying lie of those polyhedral baubles.
Some of us are cavalier about our throws: grabbing whatever d20 (that’s a twenty-sider for those not hip to the lingo) and chucking it gallantly to the table. On the opposite side of that d2 are players like me. In my case, any attack will always be made by either the red or opal-white dice kept in my Hex Chest. All other actions require an in-depth understanding of some of the most insane logic one could imagine. Trap checks (when I’m not just barging through locked doors) are almost always made with my swirly green set (because poison, duh), saving throws are made with my multi-colored carnival set (because carnivals are fun) and so forth and so on.
I understand that it makes absolutely no sense at all to a non-gamer, but this is one of our OCD triggers.
There are even sub-sets of this insanity that express themselves among the folks I’ve played with. There are players who incessantly stack their dice into neat vertical columns, there are players who make sure all of their corralled dice are sorted by shape and, generally, all facing up with the same number, and there are those who will not bring their dice out until they are needed for a throw and then secret them back into their dice bag/box as soon as the throw is read.
Yeah, we’re not weird at all. OK, enough of this. I think my dice need polishing.