My wife and I recently got dice rings. If you’re like the me of a month or so ago, you might ask, “What are dice rings?” The answer, of course, is that they’re awesome. A dice ring is a spinner ring with numbers on. It’s a die for your finger. For someone like me, it’s very nearly the best thing ever.
Having a easily usable die on my finger is basically a dream come true for me. I was the kid who, when I turned out my pockets entering the Johnson Space Center, got to explain to the security fellow what all the dice in my pockets were about. I use dice to determine restaurant orders. I GM microsessions in the car or in line. I have, at one point, infuriated an unnamed Christian acquaintance of mine by bringing such Satanic paraphernalia into their house.
The point is that dice and gaming are a huge part of my life, and have been for some time, and it’s very unusual that I should find myself out of arm’s reach of a d20.
Which is why I’m amazed at how incredibly handy having one on my finger is. Like, I get that I’m basically THE target audience for this. I game a lot, I game on the go, I like knickknacks and doodads, my fashion sense can best be described as “tragic high-speed collision between a hippie and a bookshop,” and I have a somewhat draconic fondness for inexpensive bling. So I put it on my wishlist, and showed it to my wife, and she flipped her lid over it, and also had a birthday coming up, and made the argument that her birthday gift would be most effective if we each had one, and here we are. I got one of the rainbow-colored ones , sized for my index finger so I can use my thumb to spin it one-handed. I knew it would be handy, and I was excited to get it, but I didn’t really think of it as a game-changer.
But here’s the thing. There’s a difference between having a d20 in my pocket (at the bottom, inevitably, and inside a dicebag with other dice and also a zipper or a drawstring closure so I have to fish the whole thing out past my wallet, possibly while sitting) and having one on my finger. One involves thirty to fifty-six seconds of awkward pocket mining, and one involves flicking my thumb and waiting a moment.
There’s a difference between “I have a d20 handy on my desk somewhere hang on a minute it’s under one of these things wait no it’s one of the dice in the box I have on my desk specifically for this purpose wait that’s a d30 okay here we go” and *flick* “14.”
There’s a difference between “Excuse me, sir, I think maybe my d20 rolled under your shake machine back there, or possibly farther, could you check with the grill crew? It’s just that I really like that particular d20″ and *flick* “Nope, sorry, you will not go to space today.”
This isn’t even taking into account how hard it is to find stable, flat surfaces to roll dice on when you’re gaming . . .
- In line at McDonald’s.
- In bed.
- In the car.
- While taking a walk.
- While swimming.
- While digging a shallow grave.
- While digging a deeper grave because SOME PEOPLE get all up in arms about not hiding bodies properly.
- In the living room.
- Three hours into a gaming session when the table is covered with open books and discarded snacks.
These are all (or mostly) situations in which I thought the dice ring would be nice, but dramatically underestimated just how nice it actually was. But there’s more.
- I’m a fidgeter. I fidget. I always need to be doing something with my hands or I go stark raving mad. Now I have a spinner ring that I can just keep spinning.
- Or, if I’m not in a spinny mood and want something a little more involved, I can take it off and work it between my fingers. The ring needs to be broken in when you first get it, by grinding the inner and outer rings together to polish out any grit or whatnot, and then have this done again if they start sticking. This gives me something I can do constantly, even though it’s no longer strictly necessary.
- Constant spinning of the dice ring causes people on Vent to question my proximity to creepers.
- If I’m feeling socially awkward in real life I can say “HEY LOOK I HAVE A COOL SPINNY RING” and then run away while they’re examining my hand. No, wait, that doesn’t quite work.
- You know that thing GMs can do where they roll a few dice behind the screen, not because something important is going on, but as a smokescreen so the players don’t know for sure when something is going on? You know how that drives players out of their mind with paranoia? I can now do that ALL THE TIME.
This is all generally applicable to any dice ring. I, however, don’t have just any dice ring. I have an r24, entirely because I was discussing choice paralysis with my best friend while she was picking out her own dice ring, and she made the very good point that an r24 is very good at emulating most standard dice. You can, for instance, emulate a d6 by spinning the r24, dividing by 4, and rounding up. The d1, d2, d3, d4, d6, d8, and d12 all work very nicely this way. The d10 and d20 require rerolling once in a while, but the one-in-six reroll for a d20 doesn’t bother me nearly as much as I was afraid it would. I barely notice it.
So that’s the obvious reason for getting an r24. No need to get a full set of dice rings and use up all my fingers – I just have one, and it easily handles the whole spectrum. Neat! But then my best friend started questioning her choice and changed her mind to an r20, and that got me thinking. Had I chosen wrong? What a terrible fate that would be!
Short answer: Nope. Because while I love d20s, the r24 is awesome in a few ways d20s can’t hope to be, all of which I realized after I’d already received mine.
- Zosian months have 24 days. You’d be surprised at how often the need to generate a random day of the month comes up. My old go-to solution was to grab a d12 and a d6, recast the d6 as a d2, use it for the 12s place, and roll in base 12. That’s not quite as speedy or intuitive as *flick* “-the 19th.”
- There are 24 hours in an Earth day. Yeah. Surprisingly useful. “How about we meet at the Waffle House at . . .” *flick* “2 in the morning?”
- There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. Pick two you don’t really like and you’re good to go.
- Finally and most importantly, I like esoteric dice. I keep my d30 on my desk because I make tables to use with it constantly. I’ve made a system that uses entirely d12s because I just feel sorry for the poor things. So having a 24-sided die on my finger? Yeah, that’s just about perfect.
And who knows? Maybe the d24 System is just around the corner.