Ah, gaming dice. The Bones. Math Rocks. Plastic Platonics. Whatever you may call them, so very much in a role-playing game can come down to a roll of the dice. So much so that some folks love to debate about the merits and distinctions between role-playing and roll playing. And certainly, there’s a lot more than dice rolling to our favorite hobby.
We love our characters (and can tell people about them ad nauseam!), the settings, the stories, the quests, etc. But, there’s no denying that dice have been an absolutely key element to most RPGs from the very beginning. They’re vital as a determiner of success, failure, or sheer randomness.
Gamers tend to have rather strong feelings about their dice. They may love them, hate them, curse them, punish or reward them, sing their praises, or cast them away violently.
Let’s jump in and find out the best dungeons and dragons dice to use.
How to Choose Your D&D Dice and RPG Dice Sets
When one considers the average player’s connection to their dice, and the importance they play in our gaming, it’s not surprising that opinions and advice on the subject of choosing dice and what makes one set ‘good’ and another ‘bad’ are many and varied. My aim in this particular article is to sort through some of that glut of information and help you to narrow things down a bit to find best dungeons and dragons dice for YOU.
|HEIMDALLR Metal DND Dice Set 7pcs - Indestructible Metal Dice Set w/ Dice Bag; D&D Dice Set D&D||Check On Amazon|
|Haxtec Metal Dice Set D&D Silver Navy Blue Metal Polyhedral DND Dice for Dungeons and Dragons||Check On Amazon|
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To mercilessly paraphrase George Orwell, “All dice are equal, but some dice are more equal than others.” There are some things one expects to be standard and reliable for gaming dice, and then there are other characteristics which are far more variable and subjective. How you weigh those particular aspects will have great influence in choosing one dice set over another. Let’s dig in.
A die has got to be fair. I think we can all agree on that. If you’ll forgive me for waxing metaphorically for a moment, our dice function as the spinning gears of the machine of statistics and probability that make up the rules of our imaginary worlds. The gears of the rules machine can’t have any tendencies towards favoring certain results over others. However, what exactly determines whether a die is truly fair is a bit more complicated than it might seem. What do I mean? Well, let’s first talk about what exactly I mean by fair.
A fair die, at its most elementary, would be one with which each of the sides has the same chance of landing face up. If each of the four faces of a four-sided die has a probability of 1/4, the die is deemed “fair.” Simple, right?
But there are a lot of factors that come into play here, and things get even more convoluted when you start thinking about dice that have more than 4 sides. You know, like everything else that’s not a d4 in your dice bag! There really are three crucial factors that govern the fairness of a die roll.
- The die’s physical geometric shape (tetrahedron, octahedron, pentagonal trapezohedron, etc.)
- The roll’s mechanics or physics (a very complicated series of variables)
- The real-world environment (rolling surface material, gale-force winds, sticky soda residue, etc.)
So how do these three things actually factor into determining fairness? Well, the shape and composition of the die plays a huge role in that each face (where the numbers are etched) has to be exactly the same size and the center of gravity for the entire die needs to be perfect.
If either of those things isn’t true, then you reduce the odds of each roll producing a truly random result. Depending on the specific slant of that tendency, it could really blow the mood of a game, not to mention the overall fairness for everyone else at the table.
In truth, there are so very many aspects of a single roll of the die that true fairness can be difficult to establish objectively. Minute variations in weather, style of roll, starting position of the die, and more can factor into how it all plays out. Ultimately, we give the die a good visual and tactile once over, do some test rolls, and hope for the best.
Now we come to accuracy. This one really comes down to how the die was made and how well it was made. Materials matter. Precision cutting matters. The weight of the dyes or paints involved matter. There is absolutely a link between the concepts of fairness and accuracy. You’re simply not going to have one without the other over the long haul or lifetime of the die.
First, I want to touch on the subject of weight. I have one set of dice that are absolutely nothing but a single piece of molded plastic, homogeneous throughout, with the faces showing engraved numbers.
No paint. No designs. No dyes. They’re clear and look a bit like glass. Frankly, this makes it a little harder to see what the number result is sometimes. But I like them, and I’ve been using them for 30+ years.
I also have a set that I was just given as a Christmas present last year that are tricolored with a steampunk-styled gear motif, and they’re cast from some indeterminate metal. These bad boys are solid.
As you might imagine, there’s a distinct weight difference between these two sets. The clear plastic dice seem almost weightless when compared to the metal dice. Does this matter? Not necessarily. Ignoring the possibility of potential repetitive strain injuries, heavier dice don’t objectively roll better or worse (more fairly) than lighter dice.
However, there are more chances during the manufacturing process for the heavier dice to end up with weight discrepancies from one face to another. There are the variables of the gear designs as well as the weight of the paints/enamels being used.
For example, it obviously takes more paint to coat a raised number 18 than it does to coat a raised number 1. There’s simply more surface area. These things must be taken into account if the die is to be truly accurate.
Dice Material: Metal Vs Plastic Dice
Now, what about the other obvious difference between the two dice sets I mentioned? Does the die material itself make a difference when it comes to determining what’s ‘best’ for a dice set purchase? Let’s break it down a bit.
Metal might take a slight lead in accuracy in that the molding process may tend to have a more reliable and stable center of gravity. However, being made from metal or plastic doesn’t inherently have any great impact when it comes to overall accuracy.
As you might expect, metal is the winner in this category. Unless you’re dealing with some serious space age polymers and comparing them to inordinately soft metals (cesium dice, anyone?) you’re generally going to get more durability out of a set of metal dice than plastic ones.
That means you’ll be looking at less scratches, cracks, chips, etc. With that being said, it’s always a good practice (that I all too frequently ignore) to keep your metal dice and plastic dice in separate bags. The constant jostling tends to go poorly for the plastic dice.
Regardless of whether they prove to be accurate in the long run, I do so love to roll my metal dice. They just feel so great in my hand, and the weight with which they hit the rolling surface is strangely satisfying. I dig that feeling.
However, it bears mentioning that you want to be conscious of the nature of the surface onto which you’re rolling metal dice. For example, giving them a nice hard roll across a buddy’s shiny, antique wooden dining room table…. maybe not be appreciated.
Unprotected glass surfaces, also not so much. This is when specially designed wooden, leather, or felt rolling areas are especially welcome.
I’m leaving this one entirely up to you. Whether they’re metal or plastic (or something more exotic), ultimately what looks better is a very personal preference. For myself, nice-looking dice are important, but accurate and fair dice definitely rank higher.
At the end of the day, the overall answer is probably a qualified, “Neither.” Both have their upsides and downsides, and neither comes out as a clear winner. Go with what works best for you.
Secondary Dice Characteristics
So, we’ve hit the big two; fairness and accuracy. We’ve taken a look at the subject of material and how that might factor into your decision. But surely that’s not all that’s worth considering?
To be completely honest, you could definitely start and finish your dice quest armed only with the insights above. Does a set feel good in your hands and seem to be both fair and accurate? Good enough. Go with those. Nothing wrong with that at all.
However, there are a few other factors that might bear consideration. If nothing else, let the following serve as potential tie-breakers should you find yourself spoiled for choice!
This is precisely what it sounds like. Some dice are molded or cut with very sharp and distinct edges, whereas others are more rounded. What does this mean statistically?
Honestly, almost nothing. While each camp has its zealots who will argue, produce spreadsheets, and probably make totally valid points, the bottom line is that there is very little difference in the final results.
Both sharp and rounded edges produce a completely unique set of variables that can influence how they roll, both during the manufacturing process and with regard to how they actually roll. In the end, go with what you find to be the most appealing overall.
I’m confident that, in this age of vast consumer choice, we’ve all had the experience of picking up a product and thinking, “This feels like quality” or conversely, “This just feels cheap.” Dice can have these qualities as well.
A set might be absolutely gorgeous sitting there in a box, with choirs of angels singing and shafts of heavenly light illuminating their numbers, but if they feel cheap in your hand and start cracking and chipping after a dozen rolls, you are not going to want to buy those dice.
They’re not going to last, and they’re not going to make you happy for very long.
You might, however, consider asking the shopkeep where he sources his celestial marketing gimmicks. That info could come in handy.
Is that a 6 or a 9? Shouldn’t it have, maybe, a little line under it, so we know which? Or, could they have used a different font for these numbers, so we don’t have to debate whether that’s an actual number or some kind of stylized squid?
Readability matters. Remember my clear plastic dice from 30+ years ago? I still use them exactly as they came to me, but I occasionally will have a lighting situation where I find myself wishing I’d used a crayon or something to add a bit of contrast to those numbers.
It’d help. A lot. So, that’s something else to keep in mind. Large, easy-to-read numbers, whether raised or inset, with very clear indications of what’s a number and which way it’s facing, are absolutely essential.
Ok, I get that it might be great to have little space nebula dice for your Starship Jockey character and stone runic dice for your Dwarven Avenger character. I absolutely can relate.
Just be aware that choosing dice based on their looks and overall design is fine, so long as you take all the other characteristics we’ve discussed into account as well.
The Rule of Cool goes a long way and can compensate for some flaws, but chipped, inaccurate dice that never roll as they should just aren’t worth it in the long run.
Dice Bag, Pouch or Carrying Case?
Whether you tend to host games at your own domicile or if you’re prone to travel, it’s definitely a good idea to keep your dice in some sort of container. Otherwise, they do have an unfortunate tendency to get lost or end up, painfully, underfoot.
There are quite a few options available for dice organization and transport and, frankly, it’s hard to really say that one or another is the best choice. Carrying cases, whether designed to be for dice or something else entirely (fishing tackle boxes, for example) have the advantage of separate compartments to keep dice sets or types organized.
Additionally, there are a lot of very cool cases on the market these days which combine a carrying case with a rolling surface. Very handy, that. Alternatively, a dice bag can be easily stuffed in a pocket or larger bag, or even tied on a belt loop.
A potential downside to the dice bag is that, with all the dice clattering around together, they’re getting some level of wear and tear even though they’re not being used in play. That may matter more or less to you depending on what sort of materials they’re made from.
Personally, I use a chainmail bag woven from links in shades of natural steel, orange, and red. It’s distinctive, portable, and suits my needs just fine.
However, I also have a series of flat, stackable plastic boxes that I picked up from a craft supply store for my ‘extra’ sets. This allows me to switch out my ‘kit’ if I decide I want/need different dice for a particular occasion.
On the subject of dice bags and cases, I thought I’d include a quick roll call of some notables in that category. After all, if you’re gonna start carrying a lot of dice, you’d better make sure you’re equipped for the task!
Talk about absolutely nailing it when naming a product. This bad boy is immense. It’s still a basic drawstring bag, but it measures over 6” across at the base, almost 9” at the mouth, over 4” deep, features 7 individual interior pockets, a padded base for stability, triple-stitched seams for strength, and comes standard with cool metal skull toggles and the wicked-looking King logo embroidered on the side. By their count, the Immense Dice Bag holds 150+ gaming dice.
Not to be outdone, Forged Dice Co. toyed with extradimensional spaces (always a dicey proposition anyway) and came up with the Pouch of the Endless Hoard.
Made from velvet-lined, Faux Dragonhide, this 9.25” x 10” Pouch has 6 divided dice storage pockets and closes with a solid drawstring, each of which ends with an actual d20! This behemoth reportedly can hold over 1,000 individual dice and comes in 11 different color combos.
Who doesn’t want a Dragon’s eye starting at them while they pull dice from a bag made from their scaly hide? Alright, that got a little dark…but you know it’s still pretty great. These dice bags are made from a soft PU leather that’s been printed with a knobby pattern suggestive of a dragon’s skin.
But it’s really that eternally-staring glass draconic eye that makes this an amazing gaming dice bag. Big enough for 2+ full sets of your favorite DnD dice, the bag can be ordered in any of 5 different eye colors.
I had to bring this to your attention because I think it’s just plain classy. It’s a portable dice display case, suitable for lugging to the gaming table or sitting there (upright or lying down) looking great on a shelf with your RPG library.
It has not one, but three separate removable, divided trays for storing your dice. By their count, it holds up to 60 individual sets of 7-10 dice, which gives you a potential maximum of up to 600 dice.
Plus, one of the trays has a velvet-lined open section specifically suited as a rolling surface. It’s got aluminum edges and heavy plastic sides, with a very clear plastic lid to show off your collection.
Nothing’s free. We know this, and dice are no exception. I’ve lobbied repeatedly for some sort of governmental dice subsidization program in my home state but, alas…
However, the good news is this; whatever your budget, there are dice sets that are a good fit. I have seen full plastic dice sets at dollar stores (and bought them, I mean, c’mon one dollar!) and have seen (but not purchased) dice sets made from precious metals or semi-precious gemstones.
I’m one winning lottery ticket away from those diamond and platinum dice I have my mind’s eye on…but I’m not there yet. In the meantime, this review will try to pick some great sets from across the price spectrum.
Best Dice Brands and Companies?
The subject of brands and companies to watch for has become more complicated and somewhat difficult to address over the past several years. But, I mean that in a good way. What I mean is, while there are a few notable companies that have been around for a good while, there has also been a relatively recent boom in the homemade dice-making sector.
Larger manufacturing companies like Chessex, Gamescience, Q Workshop, and others are available via a wide array of retailers. A quick search online for homemade dice (or #homemadedice) on Amazon, Etsy, or your social media of choice will turn up a lot of great folks.
Some are individual artisans, some consider themselves hobbyists and others are making a go of it as a full-blown business. I’ve seen some truly stellar creative designs coming out of this movement, and I have nothing but good things to say about it.
The best part, to my way of thinking, is that many of these industrious dice-crafters are also gamers, so they have a very good idea about what is and is not a good die.
When it comes to actually buying a dice set, we could not be living in more fortuitous times. Walk into your favorite big box store, dollar store, variety shop, etc. and you have pretty darned good odds of finding at least one pack of dice.
You may have to look around a bit, as they show up under a variety of monikers (gaming dice, campaign dice, RPG dice, polyhedral dice) but I’d start in the toy aisle. I’m not too proud to say that the first time I came upon a set of game dice in my local Walmart, I shed a single tear of geeky joy.
Best D&D Dice in 2022
We’ve explored all the ins and outs of choosing a quality dice set, and now, at last, we have arrived at the reviews! It should be noted that all of these sets have made the Top 10, but they are not ranked in order of preference or superiority. They are, simply, the 10 best dice sets in various styles and price ranges.
For easier reading and comparison, I’ll be sticking with the same format throughout this list; the product name and who makes them, a link to purchase them, a quick summary, and then a short breakdown of both the pros and cons.
Attractive, rugged, and accurate. These zinc alloy dice weigh in at 105 grams (nearly ¼ lb. for the non-metric folks) and come with a classy velvet drawstring bag. These sets come in seven different colors, including Mithril, Iron, Fool’s Gold, and Portcullis! These are some of the best metal dice in the business!
Pros: Heavy and solid. These feel great in your hand and sound great when rolling. Dice arrive individually bagged. Covered by the HEIMDALLR Lifetime Warranty. Excellent price point.
Cons: Depending on the lighting at your table, some have had difficulties reading the numbers on the darker colored dice (bronze and iron, notably). This collection is sized just a bit smaller than some other sets, but whether that’s really a Con is pretty subjective.
This is a fantastic set to pick up, especially if you’re a Dungeon Master/Storyteller/Game Master/etc. or someone who is prone to be borrowing dice. Includes 20 complete quality dice sets (that’s 140 dice!), each in a completely different color, and they all come in a sweet black drawstring bag.
Pros: 7 full sets of polyhedral dice all but assures that you won’t be borrowing dice from anyone, let alone coming up short on a ridiculously huge dice pool. And the colors were all named by fans in the Wiz Dice community, which I found to be very cool. All in all, a heck of a deal for so many good and colorful dice.
Cons: Some very few customers have reported some quality control issues, such as bubbles in their dice, slightly-askew paint lines, or stitching issues with the bag. Fortunately, Wiz Dice also has top-notch customer service, so nobody is left disappointed for long.
Haxtec makes several really amazing dice sets (check out their gemstone line!), but these really hit all the right buttons from my perspective. Bold, solid, and easy to read, the inclusion of a faux-leather dice bag brings it all together. They’re composed of a very well-balanced zinc alloy and colored with shiny and durable enamel. These are some of the best metal dice choices available.
Pros: All the perks of metal dice along with very clear, very bold numbering against a nicely contrasted solid-colored background. Numerous long-time users have shared that the enamel used on the dice has held up remarkably well, especially when compared to other similar metal dice sets. Also, Haxtec customer service gets top marks!
Cons: Possible accuracy problem? I’ve read some strange reviews that seem to indicate occasional issues with d10s (but not the percentile dice) from this collection. Statistically, some have reported that they have a tendency to roll with a bit of a slant towards lower numbers.
That may well have been some kind of molding discrepancy, however, because I haven’t read anything about that problem since about 2019.
Straight from the Plane of Shadow (or the Shadowfell or the Demiplane of Shadow, depending on your D&D vintage), these remarkable pieces of functional gaming art are actually crafted from genuine obsidian.
Pros: I really love obsidian. There’s something almost magical about holding glass formed from cooled lava in the palm of your hand. But then to have that earthen fire carved into dice and roll them in a D&D game?
Especially to determine fireball damage!? Sublime. Plus, that raised number is so very different from all the etched, inlay, or painted numbers that are the norm. So yeah, the pro here is that these are obsidian and stunning.
Cons: As much as I love them, these gorgeous dice do have three potential cons working against them. First, they’re at a much higher price point than your average set of gaming dice. Second, depending on your lighting and eyesight, the numbers might be a bit difficult to see.
Finally, as actual obsidian, they are somewhat fragile. I can’t recommend using dice towers or rolling a handful of these dice across a hard surface.
These dice have been around for years now, and are made by one of the biggest names in dice. The Borealis dice come in a variety of different colors and glow in the dark. I don’t know why you’d be rolling dice in the dark, but they’ve got you covered…whatever it is you’re up to.
Pros: Did I mention they glow in the dark? Beyond that, I’m especially fond of the size of the numbers on each face. They take up as much space as possible but stop short of creating a cluttered look. Overall, all the dice in this collection are very attractive, made with an eye for accuracy, and will hold up for the long haul.
Cons: Honestly, it’s hard to really find a con for these dice. When I showed them to my wife, she made a sort of purring noise and just said, “Pretty.” And she doesn’t even (usually) play RPGs!
We know that some grim and bloody-handed violence occurs in our beloved role-playing games from time to time (ok, a lot) but this isn’t typically echoed by our dice. Well, Darksilver Forge has decided that needs to change. Enter this set of blood-spattered antiqued silver dice.
Pros: Bloodstained. Metal. Dice. They really do speak for themselves. Sturdy metal, great weight. Oh, and they come with their own pouch as well.
Cons: While it makes for a nice counterpoint to the hard lines and angles used to border the dice edges, the slightly curvy stylized script of the numbers might be hard to read for some.
Another absolute winner for gaming on a budget. This set is actually a full 5 sets of the standard gaming dice, plus each set comes with a black drawstring pouch. Every set is bicolored (red-black, purple-blue, etc.)
Pros: Much like the Chessex Borealis collection above, the designers of these dice made sure to use all available space for the numbers on each face.
Some use gold text, others are a nicely-contrasting white. When you factor in the larger print and the individual bags, you really can’t beat these for the price. As a side note, they also sell larger sets than the 5 pack; 6, 10, 20, and even 26 (182 dice!).
Cons: Some have found issues with imbalances that are affecting fairness, but others have refuted this with their own dice. So, it’s very possible that there was just a hiccup in quality control at some point.
These are a personal favorite. In addition to the solid metal, just take a look at that hammer and runic-style number design. Just all-around great dice.
Pros: The word that comes to mind with these dice is, “Thud!” They’re heavy and solid and would likely serve well as sling stones in a pinch. I love the overall look of these dice and want to play a Dwarf specifically so I have an excuse to buy them!
Cons: Admittedly, they’re a little pricey. But, I definitely think this is a “get what you pay for” situation. Also, in case it needed to be said, you’ll want to roll these on a softer surface or at least a surface that won’t result in heartbreak when these dice leave dings and scratches after a night of heavy rolling.
Now, these are just plain fun. By this point, you know your basic gaming dice: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20. Typically, a complete dice set includes one of each, and typically 2 of the d10s to handle percentile rolls. Bescon takes issue with that definition of complete. This set comes with all the usual suspects, but also a d3, d24, d30, d50, d60, and a d100! This really opens up some interesting possibilities on game night.
Pros: You get to roll a d3 or a d100. Those are pretty great pros. This set is available in Black, White, Purple, and Red with nicely contrasting numbers. Also, Bescon reportedly has excellent customer service.
Cons: While a d100 is fun to roll, it’s not always easy to get it to stop rolling. With that many faces, it has an unfortunate, but unavoidable, tendency to kinda just keep going, and going, and going.
These are, admittedly, a rather non-traditional option for gaming dice. However, I just couldn’t leave them out. They each measure roughly 3 inches across and are super light and soft.
Excellent for fun household novelty toys, younger players, players with limited motor control, players with eyesight problems, or players with anger management issues.
Pros: These just have so very many potential uses that I had to have them. The bright colors, larger size, and soft nature of these dice are just fantastic.
Cons: No d6? What are we, barbarians? Seriously, though, I did find that to be an odd choice. Learning Resources offers a variety of foam six-sided dice of differing styles and sizes but chose not to include them in this set for some reason. Weird.
Best DnD Dice FAQ’s
Truthfully? The ones you like. Certainly, it’s a good idea to be aware of any overt flaws in the individual dice which might prevent them from being fair and accurate (and thus actually random), but otherwise, it really is largely a matter of personal preference. Metal or plastic, sharp or rounded, pips or text; these distinctions each come with their own variables which affect fairness and accuracy when tested over time. However, even with thousands of individual rolls, the statistical outliers are negligible and insignificant.
If the dice “work” and you find them aesthetically pleasing, then those are definitely the best dice for you!
Generally speaking, you’ll want to have the following dice on hand to start playing D&D.
d4: Four-sided die
d6: Six-sided die
d8: Eight-sided die
d10: Ten-sided die
d12: Twelve-sided die
d20: Twenty-sided die
Realistically, beyond those basics you’ll want to have a handful (at least 3) d6s, and it’s helpful to have a pair of d10s for rolling percentile.