Wednesday, February 1, 2012
So, I sought out a set of dice and found them wherever I could. As it turns out, the dice I bought were identical to the ones some people got in their Holmes sets. I later acquired a duplicate set in my copy of Gamma World. When I got those dice, I thought they were the coolest things in the world, not knowing any better. I used them for a couple of years, since I hadn't yet succumbed to dice fetishism and saw no need to buy more, even though the D20 was rapidly losing its edges and becoming spherical through continued use.
After that initial set of dice, the next set I acquired came in the Moldvay-edited Basic Set. They were blue, like the ones pictured above (those in my Expert Set were yellow), and they also exerted a strange fascination for me. For one, they came with a little black crayon to color in the numbers. This struck me as peculiar, since my original dice came pre-inked. Also of interest was that the D20 was actually numbered 1-20 as opposed to 0-9 twice, a fact that TSR proudly proclaims in its advertisement. I honestly don't know if the ad is correct in its claim, but, if so, it wasn't until 1981 that the hobby saw a "true" D20. I can't speak to the truth of it one way or the other, only that I personally never saw one numbered 1-20 until 1981.
Over time, I acquired several more sets of "Dragon Dice," as TSR called them. For some reason, I really liked them, even though they weren't of the greatest quality. Over time, they too started to show signs of wear, losing their edges through regular use. But they were smaller than my original dice and were of uniform colors, two qualities my younger self found very appealing. Indeed, Dragon Dice were my gateway to the wider world of matched dice sets. When I started playing, I never saw anyone with matched dice sets, only hodgepodge collections of them. Once I acquired my Dragon Dice, though, I found it harder and harder to use "mismatched" dice and slowly started acquiring a sizable collection of dice sets.
Eventually, I stopped using my Dragon Dice, moving on to dice produced by Gamescience or The Armory, both of which were much, much better made and available in a wider variety of colors and materials. But I still have a certain fondness for these TSR dice, as they introduced me to one of the weirder aspects of our hobby (at least to outsiders): its fascination with dice.