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Guido on Gaming: Dice!!

Take a minute to think about a gaming table. Imagine everything you would expect to see on that table. Surely you are imagining things like character sheets, books, pencils, maybe a GM screen, possibly even miniatures. Without a doubt you are also imagining one of my favorite gaming things in the world, dice. Dice! I can honestly say that I love dice with an unhealthy passion. I own three different dicebags stuffed with hundreds of dice. And I’m not satisfied I want more!

As I mentioned in my previous article, I was sitting at my new local gaming store Gateway Games and More, and I was helping them to unpack some product. One of the things I unpacked was a veritable horde of dice. Something like twenty or thirty of those plastic cases with dice sets in them. After unpacking them I sat there and stared at this:


I stared at that and thought to myself… I want those. I want all of them, every single one. My next thought was what I could do with them. What I mean is I thought of what they could represent in terms of my gaming. See, I don’t just use dice as random number generators in my game. I use them to help me express myself and express my characters. I find that its something that a lot of people do to one extent or another. Just recently I talked my wife into trying gaming again, under one condition. That condition is that she got to buy pink glittery dice. So I found some, and will be buying them for her. Its just that she wants dice that make her feel like herself.

Back when I first started gaming I played a game called Legend of the Five Rings. This game is a feudal asian game where the people are organized into clans. Each clan has an animal totem such as Lion, Crab, Scorpion, Phoenix etc. The clans also have a sort of color scheme. You can recognize a person a lot of times by the colors that they wear. Personally, I am a big fan of the Lion clan, the Lion clan colors are golds, browns, and general earth tones. So when I first started playing I made it a point to go out and buy these dice:


To me these dice represent the Lion clan. When I roll these dice I feel like a samurai bushi who stands for honor and duty. I kept this idea in the back of my mind the entire time I played L5R and continued buying new sets of dice for each clan.

Then I moved on to Pathfinder and felt lost. Without that clan aspect to hold onto I felt almost as if I couldn’t get behind my characters quite as much as I could before. So I looked for something else I could latch onto and pull me into the character in that same way. Again, dice were there for me. One of the first characters I played was a fighter who was chaotic neutral, not so much because he was trying to be in the middle, more so because he was fighting within himself to find a balance between his good and evil sides. So I bought this dice set:


They perfectly represent that “shades of gray” image I was striving for in the character. I moved on to playing an avaricious wizard. He was completely driven by the idea of gaining wealth and constantly carried a small bag of gems. In order to get into the mood of that character I picked up these dice:


So as you can see dice can really help you not only express yourself, but also express your character as well. There are many things that dice can do for you. For example look at this picture…


The first thing that pops into my head is the white dice at the back. They look like something pure that was tainted by blood. So in my head I immediately get the idea of a paladin character. A character who embodies purity, but does so while splattering their ideals with lots of blood. Now look at the red and black dice with green numbers in the front there. Those dice evoke a feeling of deadly poison to me. So maybe a deadly assassin character, or an alchemist, maybe even an herbalist. Maybe the blue ones to the right of the picture could represent something sort of heavenly like a cleric, an astronomer, or an astronaut. Lastly, look at the two d20’s up front. They are made of two separate colors. Could these be dice that represent someone with a dual nature? Maybe a superhero with a secret identity or someone with a multiple personality disorder.

Next time you are creating a character or buying some dice, give some thought to how those dice affect your gaming. You never know, they might just inspire you in new and interesting ways.

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SirGuido has been a Happy Jack's RPG fan since the first moment he heard Stu on Kicked in the Dicebags. He hopes one day that he will get to meet all of these great people and play lots of games with them.

Filed under: Misc

4 Responses to "Guido on Gaming: Dice!!"

  1. david schwarmNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent observations. All of the dice are rather ‘standard’–where are the Q-Workshop and for the love of all that is holy where are your Gamescience dice?

    1. SirGuidoNo Gravatar says:

      Hey David,

      Thanks for the comment. For the most part I don’t ‘t care that much for Q-Workshop dice, I think they look cluttered and unappealing to me. Personal preference I guess. As for Gamescience, I want some pretty badly, I just haven’t had a chance to order any yet.

  2. JazzIsBluesNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent essay Guido. I’ve always had a deep love of dice kind of like the knuckle bones of ancient soothsayers. I admit that as a player I have a deep fondness for GameScience dice. Part of it is a certain mystique in that they were used by the U.S. Naval War College for their naval combat simulations, but also because they have very precise edges and neat lines. Chessex dice have the amazing color schemes and are totally fun.

    I used to be VERY superstitious with my dice and (1) would not let anyone else touch them, and (2) would only use full sets. If I somehow lost a die from a set the whole set got retired immediately. Which meant that they got put into a bit index card box of random dice to be used for gm’ing and as loaners, but I didn’t use them to play with anymore.

    Great article with very insightful thoughts on what dice mean to us as gamers. Good work as always.


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