Tobold's Blog
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Rollable 4-sided dice

You might have heard me mention that I am not a huge fan of Kickstarter, as I consider it a platform where people who have no clue of project management can find funders who have no clue about the viability of the project proposed. Having said that, I did back some Kickstarter projects which seemed more realistic to me, especially when Kickstarter was the only way to get hold of the product. One of the projects I backed was for rollable 4-sided dice, back in 2014. While the project was late, I did eventually get my dice in 2015, and I am very happy with them.

Of course many of my readers won't even know what a 4-sided dice is, and why I would want one with a different shape than the classical one. These are random number generators pretty much exclusively used by people playing pen & paper role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. D&D uses 4-sided dice (d4) among many others: d6, d8, d10, d12, d20. Apart from the d10 and some exotic varieties like d30 which get little use, these dice are all platonic solids. The symmetry of the d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20 results in that when the dice land on a flat surface, there is a flat surface opposite showing up. Then there are numbers painted on that up side which give you the result. The 4-sided dice are the exception: When they land on a flat surface, a corner is pointing up. So to read the result you need to consult smaller numbers engraved on the edges. Furthermore the tetrahedron doesn't roll like the other dice, it just falls down when you throw it and sits there.

The rollable 4-sided dice solve both of these problems. While they are somewhat rounded and thus non-platonic solids, they can be rolled like dice and land with a number showing up. And now these rollable 4-sided dice are available on Shopify. Helpful if you missed the Kickstarter and want some of these. They offer both smaller quantities for personal use, and larger quantities in candy jars for resale in a games store. Recommended!

Blasphemy! Nothing shall replace the d4 caltrops! The only dice to fulfill dual purposes of wounding imaginary enemies and crippling real players!
I've long hated pyramid-shaped d4's. I use twelve sided "triple d4's" as in -
I find it very hard to believe there is anyone reading this blog who doesn't know what a 4-sided dice is.
But... now you can't use them to repel boarders!

Those standard 4 pointers are dangerous... you can put an eye out with them, or drop them by a doorway as a trap.
I find it very hard to believe there is anyone reading this blog who doesn't know what a 4-sided dice is.

Pen & paper role-playing isn't exactly a mass market, especially not since computer games and MMORPGs enabled people to play heroic fantasy games without going through all the trouble of assembling a group of people at the same time around a table with junk food and dice. I would guess there are now more people who are familiar with World of Warcraft than are familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, especially in the under-30 crowd.
I feel someone is dumb here, either me or everyone else:

Why do you need separate D4 dice when you have a D8? If you roll bigger than 4, you should subtract 4! This way you have a random generator that produces 1,2,3,4 with 25% chance each.
@ Gevlon

You don't. They're pretty much just a novelty item.

You also don't need a 100-sided die though they do exist. a 10-sided works just fine to roll the tens and ones digit.
Why do people want pre made food when they could cook food for themselves? There's a benefit in the immediate result on the D4 instead of faffing around with math. It removes some drama when you roll a D8 in front of a player, get an 8 and say 'You take four damage!'

It takes a bit of mental bandwith to constantly translate '5' to '1'. It's no biggie, but for many people it's less stressful to buy a few d4s and put them in the dice bag than to use the D8 and translate.

A D8 that's numbered 1-4 twice is a different matter, then it's more that you want a D4 that 'looks different' compared to a D8.
"Why do you need separate D4 dice when you have a D8?"

Roll playing is a social gaming. It is no surprise that people want to display a degree of competence and appear vaguely organised. You don't need a D6 if you have a D12, and you can replicate a D4 with a couple of dice, but what does that show except that you are too cheap or lazy to pick up a 50c piece of plastic. Besides, dice are one of the few tangible objects that non-GMs can bring to an RPG. It is no surprise that there is an arms race to bling them up.
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