The name of today's entry is an homage of sorts to my father, who passed away just about seven weeks ago. I miss him greatly.
It's an odd homage, seeing as how he never really approved of my playing RPGs--kind of tolerated it and accepted it only.
But when I was young, he designed and crafted a needlepoint/plastic canvas Christmas tree ornament that was two white d6s hanging from a little tab that had our family name on it. His explanation? "Our family is my paradise!" Pair of dice? Get it? Yeah...we all groaned too. But my father and I shared a love for puns and bad jokes.
Have I told you how much I miss him?
Anyway, today I'm jumping in on the game-blog bandwagon to bare my dice collection to the world. Those who know me know I love dice. My main gaming group all games with our laptops, using DMGenie to track everything, which rendered the use of dice a little ridiculous.
But I still collect dice. (Details below. Warning! It's image-heavy.)
This is it. All the Samolians. Ain't they purty? I know it's not as huge a collection as many out there, but they're all mine. All 298. My preciousssss.... Bwahahahahahaaaaa....
(Ahem.) Excuse me. I'm back now.
Let me take you through a quick tour of some of these little beauties.
These are the ones that started it all. They're my oldest and dearest. In the bottom center are my three remaining dice from the 1981 Basic Set. I don't know where my others have gone over the years. The two crystal dice on the top left were the first ones I purchased for myself. I had just read the Sword of Shannara, and of course I had to have my own elfstones.
Yeah. I know. But I was young. Now, of course, I just wish I knew the manufacturer. They have the flattened tops that were common way back when.
The red and green d6s are from some long-lost board game, while the four d6s at the top were scrounged up the same way. These four, however, were the dice I used with Car Wars. The orange d10? I don't remember it's origins, but I know it's old.
Next comes my "grab bag." This was a leather pencil bag I found at an office supply store right after I got back into gaming in 1999. These were also some of my first "new" acquisitions. For awhile, this was my go-to bag. Now, it's my Bag of Holding. Everything shown there fits inside the bag. Included there are some miscellaneous clear crystal dice, my kanji dice (because I speak Chinese, these make for good dice to use when I don't want my rolls known). Several large d20s and two d20s. The d20s were included in a grab bag of d6s I purchased from my FLGS and are LOTR counters of some sort. I painted the rings on the reverse side into Eyes of Sauron, just to differentiate heads from tails. The grab bag also included eight each Saruman and Rohan dice, as well as twelve frosted clear d6s (pictured in the large picture above).
I also have the ubiquitous blank dice. I keep telling my players that the numbers wore off, but that it's OK, I remember where the numbers were. "Trust me." For some reason they don't believe me.
Yeah. It's an old joke, but it's still funny, right?
Y'know...It just dawned on me. I'm missing a bunch of dice. I have a whole pile of these somewhere. Koplow bone-shaped d6s. They roll horribly, so I've only used them once. I only miss them because, hey, they're part of my collection. It also means my count is off. Also, they're the closest thing I have to real bone dice. Dang. Now where would I have put them? Now I have an obsession for my upcoming vacation-time.
Here we have my everyday dice. The first set is the set that I carry in my backpack with me everywhere I go, complete with a little velvet drawstring bag. As I said, they go everywhere with me, because, hey! Who knows when a game will break out or you'll need to use a random table?
These, on the other hand, are the dice that I keep in my desk at the office. A standard 7-piece set, plus an extra d20 and a micro-die from a set of The Pirates Constructible Strategy Game. (This one's from The Spanish Main release, I believe. There's also another 44 of the little guys in the bottom of the main picture, collected from two other sets.) And of course, everyone needs a d30. Particularly when you're a member of the Order of the D30. Conveniently, I have an antique wooden "in-box" that fits perfectly into my bottom desk drawer and doubles as a wonderful dice tray. It's a double-decker and puts the dice just high enough to be convenient and still keeps them off the top of my desk and out of sight of my employees. After all, I've got to have somewhere to roll dice while DMing my PBEM game, right?
I found this little guy at a local teacher supply store: a d10 within a d10. I thought it was a great way to carry a percentile dice around without worrying about losing one of the dice. I was really proud of my find; that is, until I started looking at everyone else's online dice collections this past week. Now I see that these are fairly well-known little dice. Still, though, it's a handy little piece.
Another thing I've learned this week is that there are no gamers who are neutral about the good old Crystal Caste geometric crystal dice. You either love them or hate them, it seems. I happen to like them; they're not easy to use, neither do they seem to give good random results. The d20s are a pain in the neck to use unless you have a good soft-sided dice tray. Otherwise they just roll and roll and bounce around. But when you pull these out and drop them on the table? Especially when you're roll-playing a dice game in a tavern? Other players' mouths can simply drop open. The response to these is entertaining enough to warrant their occasional use.
These are no doubt familiar to anyone who took part in the 2011 Free RPG day. The Chessex d6 and the Q-Workshop d10. I got to the FLGS late and they had all been handed out. However, the managers of the FLGS are good friends and look out for me: they had set one of each aside just waiting for me to come in. Great people at a great store! I'll have to give them kudos in a separate post sometime soon.
I love d20s. I don't exactly know why, but they are very appealing to me. I have a full range of sizes as shown above. I have several colossal d20s, a few huge d20s (not shown here), a pile of "regular" medium d20s, and my gold nano-d20. The red d20 shown here is my "pocket die"--a lucky d20 that I carry in my trouser pocket with my pocketknife and keys. Again: you never know when you'll need to roll-to-hit.
These are the sets used when I game with my kids. The red & black set (Chessex, I believe) is my DM set, which roll AMAZINGLY brutal. The plain multi-colored ones are the kids': the multicolored blue d20 is from the WotC Miniatures Starter Set and the set of 6 plain dice are also from WotC, this time from the 3.5 Basic Set. Those sets are also the main source of the minis I've used with the kids so far, but that's another post.
These green & blue crystal Chessex dice are the wife's. She doesn't game often, but when she does? These dice are en fuego. If they weren't so...well, I find them ugly...if I didn't, I'd probably steal them and use them for myself.
These last two sets are my pride and joy. The first one here is a set of Crystal Caste Dwarven Stones. They're made of hematite and I find them glorious. Of course, that may be because I'm a dwarf. I love the Dwarven Stones series and have longed after several of the sets (the dinosaur bone and meteorite sets, particularly) but never seem to have a spare wad of cash when I think about buying a set. Maybe when I'm rich and famous. These have never been used, however, because I don't want to risk any kind of damage.
This is my other favorite set: pewter. I don't remember who sold these, but I bought them back in the early 2000s. I've used them once or twice; they roll terrifically and they're nice and heavy. The downside is that they're soft. Really soft. And they're dinged up from just a couple sessions' worth of use. So, they're the emeritus dice in the collection. They're the 600-pound gorilla on the dice shelf, just daring the other dice to step out of line.
OK. So, I lied when I called those last two sets the "last" two sets. This last one (I promise this time) is my most recent acquisition. This d30 is my "alpha dice": all 26 letters and four "wild" sides. Obviously, it has limited applications; I will now confess my folly in purchasing it. I purchased it with the goal of randomizing names of characters, NPCs, towns, etc. The idea was to roll a d10 to establish the number of letters in the name in question, then to roll the alpha dice that number of times. The "wild" side was for a letter of the roller's choice, or an apostrophe. (All Elven names seem to have an apostrophe, right?) I had a blog entry all ready to draft and post. Here's the problem, however. I was an English major, not a Mathematics major. Does anyone else see the problem? The first time I tried I literally rolled the die 22 times before I got my first vowel. The 23rd roll was an "a," the 24th was an "e," and the 25th was my first "wild." No joke. So, now I have a unique little die, that doesn't roll all that well, with no foreseeable purpose. I guess I could use it as a d26, though, right?
Yes. I love dice. I'm seriously considering to declare in my will that my bones are to be made into dice. Either that or all my dice are to be buried with me. At any rate, I have some more pictures and more stories, but I've gone on and on long enough. I'll have to save the rest for a future post. Until then, keep your dicebag dry.
Remember: it's Paradise.