Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Feelings Occasioned by Dice

I got the last of the Zocchi dice I ordered so that I'd be set to play in my first game of Dungeon Crawl Classics tomorrow night (you can be sure I'll post about the experience later). I couldn't find a complete set that included everything I needed, so I had to get a few of them separately. Likewise, I'd been told that the "standard" D7 doesn't roll very well, so I got a D14 numbered 1-7 twice instead. And, to be honest, I didn't like the looks of the D7s I saw anyway, though the modified D14 I got is no prize, being large than I expected.
I know, for a lot of people, the use of all these additional dice types is a big turn-off. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a bit gimmicky too. Plus, the cost of assembling these dice was not insignificant, especially when compared to how cheaply one can acquire a full set of "ordinary" polyhedrals these days.

Having said that, I want to be honest: it was a lot of fun assembling this new collection of dice. In fact, hunting down all these weird dice reminded me a lot of what it was like in early 1980 finding my first set of polyhedrals. As you may recall, I started with the Holmes set. My copy included chits, not dice. I knew what the dice were supposed to look like, since I'd seen pictures of them and my friend's older brother had some, but I wanted my own. Finding them in suburban Baltimore at that time was no easy task, at least not for a kid who was as yet unaware of the existence of hobby stores that stocked RPGs.

The process of finding that first set of dice is something I'll never forget. It's not only one of my early RPG-related memories, but it reminds me of an aspect of the hobby that's very important to me -- initiation. Finding those dice was like a quest for the Holy Grail. Bringing them back to my friends and showing them off was proof that I'd ascended Mt. Olympus and returned. It was a rite of passage that showed I was now a full member of the fraternity of gamers. I suspect that this was a big part of the initial attraction of the hobby to me -- I felt like I was joining something "mysterious" and "elite."

I'm sure that sounds silly to a lot of people reading this, especially those who either didn't have a mentor who brought them into the hobby or who entered it by way of miniatures wargaming long before annoying kids like me appeared on the scene. For me, though, it's a fond memory and one that Goodman Games has not only conjured up but helped me to relive, if only a little. To my mind, that's what more contemporary RPG publishers ought to be trying to do.

26 comments:

  1. I suspect that this was a big part of the initial attraction of the
    hobby to me -- I felt like I was joining something "mysterious" and
    "elite."

     
    This is exactly why Future Publishing decided to call their  mid-90's roleplaying magazine Arcane. "Requiring secret knowledge to be understood" was the line they bandied about at the time, as I recall.

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  2. I've also enjoyed putting together my set of Zocchi dice, though I had a bit of trouble with the first place I tried to order a d30 and a d7 from. Put in the order and it just never went through, even after I contacted customer service... Strange. Anyway I eventually got both and I'm excited to give the game a go!

    I may also have to look into getting a modified d14, as I'm not totally sure about the d7 I have (I mean it's fun to have a weird die, but I'm not sure about how it'll roll exactly...).

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  3. The old dice aren't broke, so why fix them?

    I can appreciate the fun of collecting though.

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  4. James, I found full 12 piece sets including the oddball-siders through Gamestation.net and was very happy with their service.

    The way the 7-sider rolls is surprising and nothing like what I anticipated. It looks like it would land wide-side most of the time, but really does appear to roll truely random, landing on edges just as often.

    The three-sider allows for number generation or rock-paper-scissors.

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  5. Do you have links as to where you got the d10 (1-5 twice) and d14 (1-7 twice), or did your FLGS have them? Thanks!

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  6. Buying the dice isn't an issue for me, but I'm concerned how all those dice will slow down the DCC game. For example, a 5th level Warrior with a sword will need a d20 and a d7 to roll to hit, a d8 for damage, a d24 for criticals, and a d20 plus d14 for action dice. That's five different types of dice that the player needs to have handy just to run a combat (compared to 2 for D&D). God help me as a DM if I'm trying to handle multiple classed NPCs. 

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  7. My collection includes some new Zocchi dice as well, but some Zocchi dice nigh 20 years old (bought c. 1986). They weren't Zocchi dice back then, but GameScience dice. There's a picture of them on my G+ page.

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  8.  I agree, we should stick with just using a d20 and a d6.

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  9. Geoffrey McKinneyMay 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    "I'M NOT GOING TO BUY ANY MORE DICE JUST TO PLAY THIS GAME! WHAT A RIP-OFF!"

    says the guy with hundreds of dice who buys yet more standard dice every month or so. :D

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  10. The process of finding that first set of dice is something I'll never
    forget. It's not only one of my early RPG-related memories, but it
    reminds me of an aspect of the hobby that's very important to me --
    initiation. Finding those dice was like a quest for the Holy Grail.
    Bringing them back to my friends and showing them off was proof that I'd
    ascended Mt. Olympus and returned. It was a rite of passage that showed
    I was now a full member of the fraternity of gamers. I suspect that
    this was a big part of the initial attraction of the hobby to me -- I
    felt like I was joining something "mysterious" and "elite."

    I have lurked for a long time enjoying your blog.  I just had to tell you that this paragraph filled me with such nostalgia that I just stared helplessly at my computer screen.

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  11. Since your last G+ dice thread I've come to love the feel of rolling that dubious-looking d5. :-)

    I was wary since this die - http://flic.kr/p/9SSTkX - was our childhood go-to d10 when we needed a 9 or a 10. It's irregular like that d5 but I can see how the d5 is fair when dropped.

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  12. Funny-shaped dice are one of the great joys of the hobby; I fully understand your feelings. :)

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  13. Gamestation sells them in sets on amazon.com too.
    Just type in " Precision dice " and enjoy the choices.
    Mine should be here friday for my DCC

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  14.  The need to buy more dice is one thing among many that put me off of DCC. Of course what do I know, my usual non OSR games are GURPS (which uses d6's only) and Unisystem (the Buffy/Angel ruleset) which is diceless for the GM (players use 1d10)

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  15. Not only did I buy all the funky dice, I actually filled out the numbers myself, using a golden pen. Awesome stuff.

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  16.  You know, I absolutely adore the stranger dice, and always try to find a use for them.  Didn't even realize that DCC had them.  Now I'm really tempted to get it.

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  17. Reverance PavaneMay 24, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Q) Where did you find your d7?  All I seem to be able to find are those non-isometric ones.

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  18. Wow. Do you know what game that funky d10 came from? I'd love to try to get one. I collect dice and I have these similar ones from Japan:
    http://www.dicecollector.net/JM/d10.D.Japan.jpg
    but they seem to differ in that the 9's and 6's on yours don't have underlined numbers and the corners are slightly more rounded on yours. I've only seen the Japanese ones in red and blue.  
    There are a few other d10's with similar shape:
    http://www.dicecollector.net/JM/d10.D.poker.jpg
    some with more pointed corners:
    http://www.dicecollector.net/JM/d10.D.sharp.jpg
    and more spherical shapes:
    http://www.dicecollector.net/JM/d10.D.round.jpg

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  19. Just saw some strange d50's on ebay called "Sangoma."

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  20. got mine today! green glow precision to match my normal polyhedral set from good ol' Zocchi

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  21. got mine today! green glow precision to match my normal polyhedral set from good ol' Zocchi

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  22.  He said the old dice.  We should stick to the d4.

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  23. Buy regular polyhedral dice and reroll the numbers that don't fit?

    Shoot, come up with some weird mechanism where rolling an 8 on a 'd7' means in addition to the correct, rerolled number, something weird happens. ;)

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  24. Steven ThiviergeMay 26, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    I've had mine for a while now,and I'm pleased to be putting them to use. When I first met Joseph Goodman, I mentioned that the extra dice were not all that easy to find. He responded,
    "well, yeah but they're cool!"
    That's all there was to it. He owned the dice, wanted to play with them, and made a game so he could.
    The shop where we were playing only had the d24 and d30 that day, but I bought them immediately. I had the chance to use both the very same game. Thus, I was hooked on DCC RPG and Zocchi dice from then on.

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  25. I purchased all of my dice from sellers on eBay.

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  26. Despite my evident fondness for the d7, I must say you've heard right. I have two, gifts from my wife's PAX trip, and we put them to the test after the game one night. As predicted, they heavily favoured 1s and 7s over a few dozen rolls.

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