by, 01-20-2010 at 04:12 PM (855 Views)
I received some dice I ordered recently; crystal dice that are shaped differently from the standard polyhedrals with which we're familiar. These are shaped differently... like this. By the way; I can recommend that web site for ordering dice and bags. My wife got some nice Elven Runic dice from them, and I also got a black bag with silver and grey spiders in webs.
What is it about we gamers and our dice? We don't like it when other people handle certain dice. Other dice we will loan willingly. We have our favorites, and no matter how much of a skeptic we may be, we feel that, if they're handled by others, the "mojo" will be corrupted by some interference with their aura, or whatever we use to justify it. We go through great means to protect them, using velvet dice bags to hold them, and give them special pockets in our gaming bags or clothing, even though they really don't need that kind of protection.
They're plastic. In interesting shapes. With numbers. That's it. If they were actual knucklebones, then we'd have something to at least partially rationalize it ("the spirits of the deceased don't like your mitts on them!") But they're plastic, resist biodegrading, and will likely be one of the few things found in a billion years when other life forms either reach this planet or evolve from squid. They'll look at the ruins, their anthropologists will dig up our histories, and they'll wonder what the colorful things are, but note how well they roll... maybe they can make a game of it.
Stacking dice. Why? Didn't we get enough of that when we were kids and had blocks, which were actually made for the purpose? Someone saw gamers doing this, and invented Jenga.
Spinning them on one point... I knew a guy in high school that wasn't even a gamer, but he would sometimes borrow one of my four-siders and spin it, point first, in the palm of his hand. I still can't replicate the feat. Try it yourself; if you can, you go. The point is that even people that don't play RPGs think spinning the little bastards is fun.
That's right; I called them little bastards. They are. We all curse them at some point or another. For every fumble, when a critical was needed... for every 4 Charisma stat... for every critical hit that does happen, but has a damage roll of 1... these are the times we look at a die and say "That's it! You're retired!" Then we grab another from the bag, probably one that we retired long ago.
Why do we have so many? In my case, I just like them. I like getting different styles. I have some D6 that look like they have bony points on them. I have others that have Star Fleet Battles ships on them, or the fleet logo (Klingon, Federation, and Romulan). They're just fun by themselves! And they're fun to show other people.
And that's the next point. We like to show them off. They're a moment of geek acceptance and recognition; no matter how badly we're about to screw up when we hold a torch high on a hill at night looking down at a group of headhunters and say "maybe they're friendly..." we'll at least know, at the end of the game, that we have cool dice.
Dice are as important as the rule books. Try to play a game without a randomizer. I dare you. At that point, it all breaks down to "let's pretend." Without at least some skill checks, combat, and saving throws, you're playing make-believe with a referee. And you don't need rule books for that, either. Hells; if you know the rules well enough, or can fudge your own, you don't even need the books. But you do still need dice, don't you.
We hate our dice, we love our dice. We need our dice, although we only really need one set. I've told myself many times "Only one set! I'll get the best I can, because I'm only buying one set!" Yeah. I just ordered two sets, I'm planning on ordering a third, and I had a metric grunch of them from before. Why?
If you have to ask, then you're not a gamer yet.