What Are D&D Dice?

What Are D&D Dice?

To new players or people unfamiliar with Dungeons & Dragons, D&D dice can be intriguing and perhaps even a bit confusing. The unfamiliar shapes of the dice, some with as many as twenty sides, aren’t often seen outside of tabletop roleplaying games.

So what are D&D dice, and what are they used for? These curiously shaped polyhedral dice represent fate, or chance. Whenever the outcome of an action is unsure, a player must roll the dice to determine failure or success. Dice for D&D and other role playing games like FATE, Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, and others are typically made of acrylic or resin. More expensive types can be found that are made from metal, wood, or exotic materials like gemstone, bone, or even fossilized mammoth tusks.

What Dice Do You Need for D&D

The standard D&D dice set consists of seven dice, each referred to by the number of sides it has. These dice include:

    Photo of a Critical Success - A Natural 20 Roll on a d20

  • D20 – A twenty-sided die. This is the most versatile and important die. Players roll a D20 to determine the outcome of a wide variety of actions in Dungeons & Dragons, such as skill checks, saving throws, and attacks.

  • Photo of a d12, or twelve-sided die

  • D12 – The twelve-sided die is not used as frequently as most other types. This die is usually reserved for dealing damage dealt by large and deadly weapons like a two-handed greataxe.

  • Photo of a d10, or ten-sided die

  • D10 – A ten-sided die is often used for determining damage, either from weapons, spells, or traps. The side representing the number ten will either have a “10” or a “0”.

  • Photo of a percentage die

  • Percentage Die – The percentage die is often included in a standard set of D&D dice. It has 10 sides and looks similar to a D10 except for a double zero on the side where the 10 would be. A percentage die is typically rolled at the same time as a D10. Together, they determine the percentage chance of something happening.

  • Photo of a d8, or eight-sided die

  • D8 – The eight-sided die is one of the most common dice used to determine damage from weapons. In D&D, players roll the D8 to determine the damage from popular weapons like longswords, warhammers, and longbows.

  • Photo of a d6, or six-sided die

  • D6 – A six-sided die is a crucial component of a set of D&D dice. The D6 is used to roll damage for many spells, such as fireball, as well as a wide variety of common weapons, from spears to shortbows.

  • Photo of a d4, or four-sided die

  • D4 – The four-sided die is curious because it looks like a tiny pyramid. Due to the shape of the die, a roll will always end with one of the vertices pointing upward instead of a side. Some D4s use the tips to determine the number resulting from a roll, while others use the flat resting side.

Why Is It Important to Have a Good Set of D&D Dice?

When a stealthy rogue attempts to sneak past the guards into the treasure vault, the player rolls a D20 to see how successful their attempt to avoid detection will be.

When a barbarian brings his axe down on a foe, the player rolls a D12 to see just how damaging the blow is.

A cleric reaches out a hand to heal a fallen comrade with divine magic. The player rolls a D8 to determine how much health is restored.

Since so many actions in Dungeons & Dragons rely on a roll of the dice, it is important for every player to have a reliable set of D&D dice. Many factors go into making a good set of dice, such as balance and durability, but often the most important things to consider are subjective.

  • How do the dice look and feel?
  • Are they too heavy or light for your taste?
  • Are the numbers easily readable?

For help deciding what kind of dice are right for you, check out our guide to choosing the perfect set of D&D dice.