Dice Oddities: Generating Stats


I’m weird about dice. I made a d366 table of spells JUST so I could have d6s only, no d100. I go the extra mile. Sometimes that extra mile is a circle, no real movement, just motion.

This is no sane person problem, I recognize.

In my view, there are only three options for dice:

  • d6s only (handfuls are preferred)
  • RPG dice set (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, d100)
  • Funky dice (FATE dice, Fantasy Flight’s weirdness, deck of cards, Jenga towers, etc)

Why? Well often I am the one to provide the dice for my table, which I do to make the barrier to entry to gaming as low as possible. It’s easier to bring the same dice for every player, including myself. It shows we’re all on the same plane with the tools we’re using. Nothing’s “weighted” or “extra special.”

  • When I play Maze Rats, any Ultralite game (like Avatar), or Skorne, it’s d6s all the way.
  • When I play Into the Odd or Electric Bastionland or Cairn, “standard” RPG dice.
  • And who the heck plays FATE or any Fantasy Flight madness? Psh.

When I play ItO/EB, I have a problem: to create a character, you roll 3d6 ala Original Dungeons and Dragons.

The problem? RPG dice sets only have one six sided die.

Now you can be a sane human and roll that d6 three times. But tossing one die nine times feels wrong. Plus once or twice more for HP and starting pounds. It’s not right.

One solution is to have 3d6 set aside as THE CHARACTER GENERATION DICE. That could work, except that that’s an additional dice set I have to bring. As part of this problem, I would like players rolling their own dice right off the bat. It makes them feel like they’re playing the game as soon as possible, which harkens back to the “barrier to entry” point from before.

So, solution #2, the one I’m likely going with: roll d4, d6, and d8 together for each stat. It’s one roll, it feels strange in a good way, and uses the same dice that the players will be using the whole game (albeit in a way that doesn’t come up often).

Worried about the probabilities changing? Well, it still generates 3-18, but this method produces a slightly “flatter curve” meaning the results are more likely at the extreme with d4+d6+d8 than 3d6 (which can be good or bad, based on your preference):

LEFT: 3d6, RIGHT: d4+d6+d8

The only REAL problem for this is that this isn’t what’s written in the rules. Whoops. Guess a redo of the “create a character” sheet is in order…

Another mile for me, probably in a circle.


One thought on “Dice Oddities: Generating Stats

  1. “Sometimes that extra mile is a circle”

    I felt this. Although, I feel like this is actually a really good thing to do. Plus, you can then open up the bucket of worms to more fun character creation rules! Like, Dwarves roll d6+d8+d10 for CON, or you have HP equal to the d6 roll of CON.

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