Monday, September 29, 2008

Old School Dice Question

As I mentioned previously, I managed to obtain some modern old school D20, numbered 0-9 twice, from Chessex. They're very nice dice and I look forward to using them. I just noticed today, though, that these dice don't differentiate between the the two sets of 0-9 numerals and, since they're already inked in the same color, how do I tell them apart in play? I seem to recall that, back in the day, we rolled a D6 along with the D20, with 1-3 meaning that we read the dice straight, whereas 4-6 meant we added 10 to the result. Did anyone else do this? What other methods of reading old school D20 did people use? I'd love to know.

19 comments:

  1. c.1983, I bought an orange d20 with 0-9 twice. On one series, the ink was black, while on the other it was silver.

    I would just call "black is 0-10" before rolling.

    This doesn't really help you though, does it? ;-)

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  2. I guess I would suggest buying a paint pen of whatever color best serves and re-inking half the numbers yourself. I love that sort of thing, though. I always enjoyed rubbing the crayon into the numbers of a brand new set of TSR dice.

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  3. If they're inked white (the red, white, and purple dice in the pic) re-ink one set of faces with a sharpie. If they're inked black (the white and yellow dice in the pic) color one set of faces with the same sharpie. Either way will eventually wear off so you'll have to "re-apply" from time to time (and, depending on how much you handle your dice you may end up with colored fingertips).

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  4. One of the "old" guys I played with in the 80's definitely used the d6 + d20 method you describe.

    2-color inking was used as well.

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  5. One of the local players STILL uses the d6&d10 method. But then, he is a True Grognard, so to speak, as he actually played in one of the first D&D games at Gen Con...

    Personally, using the d6&d10 method gives me the heebie-jeebies. The True d20 is a definite improvement, IMHO, as long as it is peroperly balanced.

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  6. The True d20 is a definite improvement, IMHO, as long as it is peroperly balanced.

    I have nothing against the 1-20 D20; it's the D10 that bugs me.

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  7. An ultra fine grade Sharpie ought to do almost as good a job as a paint pen.

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  8. My original Holmes D&D came with a White Crayon (really greasy). I had to "fill in" the black numbers by scribbling gobs of the white crayon into the numbers. Every few sessions I'd have to do it again. Still have dice but lost the crayon over the years.

    Funny thing about those old dice was how the edges wore away (all except the d4, it's still sharp enough to be thrown down and would be effective enough to stop even the most thick padded Hobbit).

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  9. I had a set that I just put a small dot of Testor model paint on on series of the 0-9 faces.

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  10. We used to use the d6 method..and then a buddy of mine decided that he got sick of rolling two dice instead of just one, so he took a bit of his mom's nail polish and applied a very small red dot for the 10's.

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  11. I use Gamescience d20s. Mine came inked with one set of 0-9 black, and the other set of 0-9 red. However, the red faded, over time. I re-inked with a fine point red Sharpie, and it looks great.

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  12. The true "old school" method (taught to me by none other than Jim Ward, IIRC) is to take a crayon and vigorously rub the entire triangular face of the D20--don't bother trying to stay within the number. Once the face is well-covered, wipe it off with a damp cloth or paper towel. This leaves the crayon markings only inside the embossed numeral. Looks perfect--like the number was printed in crayon's color--and doesn't rub off easily.

    Repeat until you've colored a complete set of faces 1-10

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  13. The method I recall, aside from rolling a D6 with the D20, was to colour half of the numbers green: these would be counted as 11 - 20, resulting in the mnemonic "Green is Teen."

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  14. Your previous post inspired me to use my Holmes dice last weekend. I used the d6 method and quickly found I didn't even have to think about it. It was a nice bit of nostalgia and I think I'll keep on using those rounded-corner old dice from now on.

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  15. The true "old school" method (taught to me by none other than Jim Ward, IIRC) is to take a crayon and vigorously rub the entire triangular face of the D20--don't bother trying to stay within the number.

    I'll have to give that a try.

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  16. I thought everyone knew the crayon rubbing, then "erase" with paper towel method. It's how I did my first dice, and I started in the mid-late 80's!

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  17. I thought everyone knew the crayon rubbing, then "erase" with paper towel method.

    I think the method that Ray described is intended for pre-inked dice rather than those like the TSR dice from the Moldvay/Mentzer boxed sets, which were "blank" and required a crayon to fill in the inscribed numerals.

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  18. BITD players used the crayon or inking method, although Laundry Markers (used by Dry Cleaners and the like) provided better results than regular crayons. We also used the d20+d6 method, but not as you described. Ours was simply odd on the d6 was low (face value), even on the d6 was high (add 10, same idea).

    We kept the d20+d6 method for years, and some of my house rules developed around the d6 (fumbles are 1+1, criticals are 0+6, etc). When the 0-9 twice dice were replaced with the 1-20 style, and 10 siders were introduced, the d10 naturally filled in the gap for our two die RTH system. Some of us, me included, still have our old 0-9 twice versions, but we mostly use d10+d6 for RTH now, BECAUSE of those house rules for fumbles and crits.

    I find rolling one of those 1-20 dice unfulfilling. I like to 'clink' multiple dice around in my hand before rolling. Strange but true.

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  19. We kept the d20+d6 method for years, and some of my house rules developed around the d6 (fumbles are 1+1, criticals are 0+6, etc).

    That's nice. I may have to swipe this idea :)

    I find rolling one of those 1-20 dice unfulfilling. I like to 'clink' multiple dice around in my hand before rolling. Strange but true.

    Not so strange at all. I think people are too quick to dismiss the importance of sensory experience in contributing to the fun of gaming.

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