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Having Fun With Six-Sided Dice

Having Fun With Six-Sided Dice

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Published by JD Neal

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Published by: JD Neal on Sep 10, 2012
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06/01/2013

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Six-Sided Fun

Copyright© 2012 J.D. Neal Six-sided dice are simple and easy to use, but also tend to limit possibilities when making random tables or playing games. Or do they? Consider a game that uses a roll of 2d6 (two six-sided dice, added together) for hit rolls and similar rolls. Since the players are rolling and adding two dice, they could mark the faces of one die with the numbers 0, 0, 0, 6, 6, and 6. Rolling it with another die will give a flat number range from 1 to 12. Some player may want or enjoy the fact that 2d6 creates a bell curve of probability (most rolls will be towards the middle of the number range (6, 7, and 8) while far fewer will be 2 or 12). They need only keep rolling 2d6! The concept of making special adder dice can be extended even further. Consider the following table. Mark a sixsided die as follows and roll it with a regular die (adding the two results) and you get a flat number range. Name d12 Adder d18 Adder d36 Adder Used For Roll d12 (1 to 12) d18 (1 to 18) d36 (1 to 36) 1 0 0 6 2 0 0 12 3 0 6 18 Remarked d6 4 6 6 24 5 6 12 30 6 6 12 0

NOTE: The "d36" adder can be marked however you wish. The system shown makes it easy to roll a regular die and multiply by 6, counting the die face of "6" as "0" instead of 36. There is no reason to stop there. Mark a third die as follows: Name d24 Adder d108 Adder d216 adder Used For Roll d24 (1 to 12) d108 (1 to 108) d216 (1 to 216) 1 0 0 36 2 0 0 72 3 0 36 108 Remarked d6 4 12 36 144 5 12 72 180 6 12 72 0

Roll (and add together) the d24 adder, the d12 adder and a normal six-sided die (d6) and the result is a number from 1 to 24. If you own a normal d12, you can roll the d12 adder with it for a total of 1 to 24. Roll the d108 adder, d36 adder, and a normal d6 and the total will be a flat number from 1 to 108. This is clumsy, but it works. With common six-sided dice, a gamer can easily play any game based on d20s and d100s (d%). With a d20 game, for example, the only real change needed would be to reduce the number needed by 1 and adjust the minimums and maximums to 1 and 18. This concept is not new: it was suggested in the some of the earliest role-playing games produced. It can be expanded to the use of other dice in infinite ways. Consider an 8-sided die interpreted as follows: d64 adder 1 8 2 16 3 24 4 32 5 40 6 48 7 56 8 0

Roll it with a regular d8 and the total is a flat number from 1 to 64. This system works because the probabilities of the numbers created by two or more dice rolled together are affected by overlap of the same number appearing on both dice and adding together to create an array of possible combinations. Consider the total of 2d6 as follows. Running down the list of numbers that will result when adding the die faces, you will find a total of 2 occurs once; a total of 3 occurs twice; and so on.

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2d6 First Die 1 2 3 4 5 6

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Second Die 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Number 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 TOTAL:

Occurrences 1 2 3 4 5 6 5 4 3 2 1 36

Using a d12 adder eliminates overlaps such that the combinations occur an equal number of times: 3 times each as shown below. Of course, the 6s do occur on both dice, but said overlap happens as often as any other combination. d12 First Die 1 2 3 4 5 6 d12 adder 0 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6

0 1 2 3 4 5 6

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 TOTAL:

Occurrences 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 36

The d18 roll works because it generates combinations that occur the same number of times: 2 times each. d18 First Die 1 2 3 4 5 6 d18 Adder 0 0 6 1 1 7 2 2 8 3 3 9 4 4 10 5 5 11 6 6 12 Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Occurrences 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Number 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 TOTAL: Occurs. 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 36

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

12 13 14 15 16 17 18

12 13 14 15 16 17 18

The d36 die works because the combinations occur once each. This is a decent replacement for the "d66" roll some people use whereby one d6 is counted as the tens die (10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60) and the other as the "ones" die. Rolling a ready-made die like a d20 is the easiest way of making a random die roll. On the other hand, if you only have d6s (or only want to use them) you can make quiet a few die rolls this way. They are extremely handy when making tables for games that are based on just d6s. And if you use any of these, you can still indicate the original die rolls when making tables for those who do not want to make their own dice or do not understand what is going on. For example: 2

d18 First Die Second Die 1 1 1-2 2 2 3-4 3 3 5-6 4 4 1-2 5 5 3-4 6 6 5-6 7 1 1-2 8 2 3-4 9 3 5-6 10 4 1-2 11 5 3-4 12 6 5-6 13 1 1-2 14 2 3-4 15 3 5-6 16 4 1-2 17 5 3-4 18 6 5-6

or d3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3

Wandering Monster Result 1d6 goblins patrolling 1d6+6 goblins from hostile tribe 1d6 giant rats 1d6 orcs 1d6 hobgoblins 1d6 wolves 1d6+6 giant bats Footsteps in the distance Giant snake Water drips noisily from the ceiling Giant frogs Friendly party of delvers Hostile party of delvers Burst of fire engulfs party A pool of ooze flees under foot 1d6+1 goblins out hunting Hill giant Ogre with a goblin in a sack

I personally have marked a number of d6s in custom ways for my own use and found that they work well enough. It helps to use a spreadsheet (or word processor tables) with borders to print the numbers being used in order to make it easier to cut them out in uniform sizes. And using decent glue is a must (some glues seem okay when they are wet but the paper falls off when it dries). Expensive glues are not needed: I have a tube of kitchen and bath acrylic adhesive that works quiet well that cost $1; some less expensive white "school" glues work well (though some are poor). A good sealer can protect the paper from smudging and smearing (not that I have that problem) and give the die a glossy plastic-like seal. Once I started doing this I started making my own custom d3s (a d6 marked 1 to 3 twice), d2s (a d6 marked 1 to 2 three times) and different odd dice, including such things as averaging dice (marked 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5 for example). Getting involved in arts and crafts only expands the realm of possibilities for clever gaming. I currently don't have a camera (even a camera phone) so I scanned some of the dice I have made - I haven't had time to remove the gray areas around them.

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