What are RPG dice?

What are RPG dice?

RPG dice are polyhedral-shaped objects, commonly referred to as dice, used to determine the outcomes of various actions and decisions in tabletop role-playing games. For example, a player will roll die to evaluate the likelihood of succeeding or failing an action taken in the game or how effective action is by determining the amount of damage dealt.

Role-playing game dice are made from many different materials, with plastic dice being the most common; however, RPG dice are also made of metals, epoxy resin, wood, stone, glass, and even bone.

Different role-playing games use various combinations and types of dice to play the games. Dungeons and Dragons, for example, uses the D20 system, which means that the majority of rolls are made with a 20-sided die. However, other dice used to play D&D - Learn more about the 7 D&D dice in our article on the 7 Dice You Need For Dungeons & Dragons.

Other tabletop role-playing games run on an assortment of dice systems, such as the Percentile dice system, the D6, and the D10 system. And there are even RPGs with custom dice, as with Fantasy Flight's Genesys RPG.

Reading RPG Dice Notation

In most tabletop role-playing games, the notation of Xd# indicates the number of dice (X) to be rolled and which type of dice you will be rolling (#). The letter "d" between the two numbers stands for dice or die.

For example, to determine the damage of the D&D Fireball spell, a player is asked to roll 8d6, which means that they will need to roll eight 6-sided dice.

DnD Fireball Spell

DnD Fireball Spell Text from DnD Beyond

In addition to the standard notation, a modifier can be added after in the form of +/-Y. The Y is a number to be added or subtracted from the rolled dice total. So, 1d20+2 would indicate a roll of one 20-sided die with 2 added onto the result. There are also other combinations of notations used, but with the basics, you should understand most.

Roll for Initiative

Now, we hope you have a better understanding of what RPG dice are and how to read the notation used in many TTRPG systems. If this is your first time encountering RPG dice, please let us know what caught your interest. If you're a veteran of tabletop RPGs, what is your favorite system? And, be sure to check out our collection of RPG dice.

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