By Jason Campbell
In Ye Old Days the D&D red box set (and the blue expert set) came with six dice: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20. That’s right, no “percentile” dice! When we needed to roll 1-100 we rolled a d10 twice, the first represented the tens digit and the second represented the ones digit. Alternately you’d roll 2d10 and state in advance which color die represented the tens digit. But we don’t need a d&*#! D10 at all! But why am I picking on the d10? Because it’s the one of those things that’s not like the other! But first, a bit of math…
Image courtesy Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-five-regular-polyhedra_fig2_259604695
All of the other dice are based on regular polyhedra. A regular polyhedron is one where each ”face” is that of a regular geometric shape – one where each side of the shape is the same length. These object ideas had existed since at least ancient Greece, if not longer. They roll well, always randomly! Well ok, not the d4, but… you know. It’s a pyramid and stuff, c’mon!
“But, but but – we need the d10! How else do we roll 1-10, or worse, how would we roll 1-100?”
There was a time in the 1980s when the brilliant concept of a “rolling” d4 was the shape of a d8, but it was numbered 1-4 twice, with the second 1-4 including a “+” included with the number on the face of the die. In that way it could be used as either a d4 as is, ignoring the “++, and as a d8 by just adding 4 to the result when the side showed a ”+”. In fact, to play D&D and similar games you really only need three dice. Using the plus method you’d use: a d8 which is used as a d4 also, a d12 which is used as a d6 also, and a d20 which is used as a d10 also. But, I’d be trampled for suggesting that. However since the d10 is so different from other regular polyhedra, why not just use a d20 numbered 1-10 and 1-10+?
OK I’ll step off my soapbox now and take the “Lottery” style stones thrown at me. But what do you think? Let me know in the comments below!