Damage dice as representational art

When playing D&D or similar games, dice can represent a wide variety of things. A roll of this 8-sided die might represent the damage done by a longsword, or a roll of that 6-sided die might be a part of a lightning bolt spell. But they don’t look like it: The dice themselves are still just Platonic solids.

Until now.

I’ve opened up a new Shapeways shop, Geometric Precision. So far, I have two main lines. Weapon damage dice are dice shaped like a D&D weapon that does that damage: For instance, a [d8 shaped like a battleaxe

[or a longsword

or [a d12 composed of greataxes


And spell damage dice are dice shaped like various magical damage types. So far, they’re all d6s, but I plan to expand out to other sizes which are commonly used for those damage types. I currently have [fire



https://images1.sw-cdn.net/product/picture/625x465_18386135_10816876_1491866383.jpg](https://www.shapeways.com/product/TYMF49YWQ/snowflake-d6?optionId=62401943), and


I’m continually designing more, so expect frequent updates for the next month or two. I’ve also ordered a batch of them for myself, so I should be able to get some photos up (instead of preview renders) as soon as they arrive.

It’s a cool idea!

But based on these photos, I can’t tell how you actually read the roll results for some of the dice, or even how they’re supposed to be rolled.

And apparently I don’t have editing rights in this forum. That came off a little critical. It might be helpful if you upload some video so that they can be seen in action?

I agree. Very cool idea. :slight_smile:

I have the same question Johnny did about the non-6-sided dice. I think the video suggestion is a good one.

Now that you mention it, I can see how some videos would be useful. I can’t make any yet, as I don’t yet have the physical dice, but as soon as I do, I’ll look into that. The short version, though, is that you read them like any other dice: When they’re sitting on the table, one number will always be uppermost, and that’s the number you read.

I think the images, particularly of the axe, make it hard to visualize how it would work.

I think these are awesome, btw. My daughter has just recently gotten into D&D. I’m considering setting her up. :slight_smile: (No, no, I certainly would not be playing with them. Why do you ask? ;))

Those look really cool, how are they made? Are they die-cast, 3d printed? Other?

They’re available in a variety of materials, and the process is different for each. The plastics are directly 3D printed. Steel and aluminum are, too, but through a more complicated process (or rather, processes). For other metals like silver or bronze, they use a lost-wax process: They 3D print a wax original, then make a plaster mold around that, fill the mold with metal, and then break the plaster away. All of what you’re seeing right now are computer-generated images, given the default material I’ve chosen for each; none of them have actually been made yet.

I have input. You wanted some criticism, right?

I’m not sure I would use any of these gameplay, but I could definitely see myself buying one as a gift for certain folks I’ve gamed with.

I like the two arrows with different values - I’d recommend expanding that with other items if at all possible (easier said than done, I’m sure) . As a fr’instance, I would have been very tempted to make a gift of that axe die for the barbarian in my long-running campaign, but since he used a 1d12 axe I would’ve passed. The “great axe d12” is neat looking (I’d personally be much more likely to use that one than the fancier models) but I know that this particular friend would get a serious kick out of throwing an actual axe to roll axe damage.

Also, a nitpick. You wanted spellchecking, right? It’s not spelled “mourningstar.”

If I’m understanding you correctly, you’d like to see a 12-sided version that’s shaped more like the 8-sided version? So would I… but I don’t think it’s really possible. The arrows, I can change the number of sides fairly easily, because those are barrel dice. The symmetry of an arrow is about right to make that possible, while still being recognizable as an arrow (heck, I could make an arrow-shaped d5 or d7 or d9, if there were some reason to). But axes aren’t really barrel-shaped in the first place, and 12 sides is pushing the bounds of practicality for a barrel die. About the best I could do along those lines would be to have three axeblades intersecting at 60º angles, with handles coming out of both ends, and that really wouldn’t end up looking very axe-like (it’d be a lot more like a mace, and in fact I have a mace design much like that that just needs a little more work).

You’re understanding me correctly and, yeah, I didn’t figure it’d be doable. But I’m not the sculptor, what do I know? :stuck_out_tongue:

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Bumped for three reasons. One, my dice have just been added to the collection of Kevin Cook, the largest collection of dice in the world (if that link doesn’t take you right there, scroll until you get to “Geometric Precision”).

Two, I’ve added more designs, including flowers and sports balls.

And three, the battle-axe, longsword, and daisy now have videos attached, to show how to use them. I’ve actually had those uploaded for a while now, but didn’t want to bump just for that.

It is for the family of the guy that gets hit with it!

As for the odd dice and how to use them, I suggest picturing a square with a number on each side and a spike down the center. Balance the square on its spike and give it a spin. Eventually one of the sides will wholly touch the floor, two of the sides will only touch the floor at a corner, and one side will be wholly in the air. Declare your “result” to be the number of the side that is wholly touching the floor. If you look at the designs for “battle-axe”, “sword”, “cold” and “radiant”, you can see that each has a center “spike” - presumably a spike on each side, doubling the number of possible outcomes. You could theoretically make an infinite-die based on this (just increase the number of sides) though very quickly the sides would get so small (even if the “die” is increased in size to the limit of what can be conveniently used by a gamer) that reading the one that is fully “down” becomes impractical.

If you want a one-sided 38-die (or a two-sided 76-die) you’re starting to get up to the size of a small roulette wheel.

I’ve been presuming that the uppermost face (which on the cold and radiant, is also the horizontal face) is the one to be read, because that’s the way that a normal die is read. But if you (and everyone else at the table with you) agrees to read the lower-most face, well, I won’t tell you how to play.

And there are large-numbered dice like you describe out there, but I agree that they end up being wholly impractical.

Business has been booming as of the past couple of weeks, though I’m not sure why. Maybe mouth has just gotten around to wording, maybe it’s from Cook’s collection, maybe it’s something else. I probably ought to ask a few of my customers.

Oh, and be sure to check out my newest set, based on the Dread Gazebo (d4 d6 d8 d10 d12 d20), as well as a line of six-sided scientific symbols.

Sure, the side fully touching the table, or the side opposite the one fully touching the table - it’s all good.

Back in the day, an acquaintance of mine showed up with a D-100. It looked like a golf ball and was a pain in the ass to read.

I’ve read of a Chinese mace that had the character “longevity” embossed on the head – backwards so you could read it after it had been applied. Methinks there was a weaponsmith with a warped sense of humor and a little too much time on his hands.