Thursday, 19 April 2012

Old Dice

I'm moving house at the moment, and you know what that means - opening cardboard boxes that have been dragged down from the loft and examining the contents with a mixture of laughter, puzzlement (why did I keep this?) and nostalgia.

One thing that has emerged from this scraping-over and sifting-through of old mathoms is my first set of dice. These things were bought when I was about 13 (before that I borrowed friends' dice as quid pro quo for the fact that I had the AD&D 2nd edition books) and they were carried religiously around the town I grew up to a collection of living rooms, friend's bedrooms, and basements for games of D&D, Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun and MERP. Since then they have travelled all around the world, until they wound up almost forgotten at the bottom of a large box which also contained other ancient relics from a bygone age: GURPS 3rd edition and Changeling: The Dreaming.

In Training Day the Denzel Washington character at one stage says to the Ethan Hawke one, "Any good narcotics officer must know and love narcotics." Well, I'm of the opinion that any good role player must know and love dice. Old friends, I salute you.

The appealingly retro sweet tin the dice are housed in, held together with sticky labels because at one stage I had so many dice crammed inside it wouldn't stay shut.

The inside of the tin. I could have sworn I had Warhammer 40,000 scatter dice and autofire dice as well, but they appear to be casualties of the dice tin's odysseys around the world.

The dice themselves. They are cheap and nasty, almost whorish gem dice with suspicious rolling actions and a weightless, soul-less, tacky feel. But time has given them character and significance.


  1. My first set of dice -- also a cheap set of gem dice, and including the second edition 40K scatter and autofire dice -- are sitting unloved but not forgotten in a storage locker in Norwich, of all places. I must rescue them one of these days.

  2. My first set of dice were the sharp-edged technicolor polyhedrals that TSR was packing in box sets for a while. I no longer have them, but my oldest surviving die is a red 20-sider that my grandmother (!) gave me after they learned I was into this "Dungeons and Dragons" game. When other parents and grandparents were worried about their progeny's souls, my father was my DM and my grandmother my dice supplier. I've still got that die in my dice bag and I call it "The Holy Roller" because it is so worn as to be nearly spherical.

  3. That nostalgia's a dainty thing, ain't it?

    My first dice were really old Yahtzee? dice that have long since turned yellow in colour from their original pearly white, and some odds and sods I looted or bartered from flea markets back when they did them in a nearby city. Also where I found my Conan novels. Good days, those.

    I like the tin.

  4. I have a rather naff looking velvet pouch literally brimming with various set of rp dice, along with a multitude of D6s.

    I have one 'special' D20 which has a white ring circling the number 1. I keep this as my Dragon Warriors GM dice, as in DWs a naturally rolled 1 is a crit/death. The complete opposite to D&D's rolled 20 crit. So I have two sets of DM dice; one D&D and one DWs. As it should be.