2016 Whisky Wind-down, 28: Home is Where the Dice Are

A whisky bottle containing dice sits on a bookshelf. Leaning against it is a filled black dice bag. Foreground: A d6 bearing the 2016 World Dice Day logo. Background: Books in The Vampire Files series, stacked horizontally, topped with a bookworm from the Giant Microbes plush figures collection.

Today’s dram: 13th Colony Southern Corn Whiskey, Limited Release, 2013 Bottling, #621

Today’s tasting notes: This is corn whiskey, distilled to sweet, smooth excellence. I daresay any drinker could enjoy sipping this straight-up, but I allow it is suitable for use in cocktails and would probably go well in a pecan pie. Possible best use? Pour a hefty measure into a good coffee, then add heavy cream for a decadent delight that is ideal on a cold, rainy winter morning.

Today’s thoughts: Yeah, so I didn’t drink this today. More’s the pity. I do know it, though, having consumed all of a bottle I was a gifted a couple of years ago. I enjoyed it to the last drop, then kept the bottle because I liked it and saw a suitable purpose for it as a place to keep some extra dice.

Yes, I have extra dice.

Um, a lot of them, actually. So many, in fact, that I was able to half-fill that bottle using only my extra dice of a particular sub-type (rounded 16mm Chessex d6).

Today is World Dice Day, by the way.

I know that because I’m part of a world-spanning dice-collecting club.

We cool.


It wasn’t always thus.

These days it’s cool to be part of Geek Culture ™, patent-pending, as seen on the big screen, only $19.95 at ThinkGeek …

I’m from a time before that.

I explored my first dungeon with a borrowed d20 in the music file room during lunch break of rookie band camp my freshman year of high school.

I got your cool right here.

I bought my first set of dice* shortly after that session and never looked back.

From that day to this, gamers have been my people.

If I meet someone who makes a reference to rolling a critical fumble and how it got their character killed, I know we’re going to get along.

I mean, yeah, that person could still be a complete asshole in other ways, but we’ve got common ground, and it is drenched with the blood of many critical fumbles.

We are one people.

The people who smile at Stanley Two-Brick, and Wood for Sheep, and so on and so forth.

The people who judge a home on how it’s arranged to make room for books.

The people who know that it really doesn’t matter whether the Leeroy Jenkins video was staged or not because we all know a Leeroy, and he’s like that whether the game is WoW, or D&D, or Risk. Hell, he’s probably like that at Tic-Tac-Toe.

The people who live by the phrase “there is no such thing as too many dice.”

My people.

Today’s note on finding your people: They’re out there. They always were.

Today’s toast: To my people: May your dice not try to kill you next session!


* It was a black/smoke double-set** from Armory. (Those dice are in the bag in the picture. Original bag, too.)

** Back when a set meant six because we didn’t have a fancy d10 with percentile numbering to make seven.***

*** If you chime in with a comment along the lines of “Pfft. In my day, we not only had six-dice sets, but they were made of cheap plastic, and we had to fill ’em in with a crayon” … not only will I love you, I will invite you to my next game day. Bring the dice.

Dice: A Footnote to "Dungeons & Dragons Just Turned 40"

As I was writing “Dungeons & Dragons Just Turned 40,” I got off on a bit of a tangent about dice. I didn’t want to leave such a narrative-diverting spiel in the middle of what I had intended to be a short piece, but, at the same time, I kinda liked my little reminiscing session about these old friends. 


Oh, the dice. 

When I saw them, I knew I wanted to play. 

The ubiquitous twenty-sider: Nearly round and used for nearly everything — attacks, saving throws, and non-combat actions. The d20 is probably the iconic die of D&D, closely associated with it to the point of becoming the namesake of a D&D successor game system.

The utilitarian ten-sider: Longsword damage and warrior hit points. Always carry a pair, because sometimes you need to role a percentage.

The dutiful eight-sider: Friend to the cleric for hit points and mace damage. Oddly balanced, despite basically being a pair of conjoined pyramids.

The lonely d12: Hardly ever used in typical play, unless you dare wield a greataxe (or, in later versions, dream to be a barbarian).

The basic six-siders: What most non-rpg gamers think of when someone says “dice.” In D&D, they are the tools of character creation, the very first dice you’ll use on your adventuring journey, though they pop up here and there throughout the game, as well. Carry a bunch, if you like to fling fireballs.

The friendly four-sider: Maybe the most distinctive of the bunch, certainly the one I remember puzzling over upon first sight — how do you roll those? — and later learning to love, as the determiner of dagger damage, last resort of a spell-exhausted wizard or the weapon of choice for a back-stabbing thief.

It wasn’t long before I acquired my first set, which, yes, I still own and treasure fondly.