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I've seen 30-sided dice for sale from a number of places (such as here), along with 24-sided, 16-sided, 5-sided, etc.

Are there any RPGs that actually use these?

More precisely, are there any RPGs that use dice other than 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 20-sided?

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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Assuming as standard the set: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20, all sequentially numbered from 1 to number of sides.

Dungeon Crawl Classics also uses d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, d24, d30, and d%.

Many older games use half dice: d2, d3, d5. AD&D, the Arcanum, Hero System, RuneQuest, DragonQuest, Dark Heresy, Deathwatch, Rogue Trader, all the 1pg system games, and many others.

Traveller: the New Era used 1d16 for aging saves, but faked it with a d20, rerolling 16-19. (It used d6, d10, & d20 otherwise.)

Fudge and Fate systems normally use rolls of 4dF to generate a range from +4 to -4. Each dF is marked plus, plus, blank, blank, minus, minus. Diaspora, Dresden Files, Spirit of the Century, and several others use dF as standard, and several others use them as options.

Hero System and some Fuzion system games use "body dice" as an optional accessory. They include standard numbers, but also dots... 1 dot on 2-5, 2 on 6, no dot on 1. When told to count the body, count the dots.

Burning Wheel, Burning Empires, Mouse Guard, and d6 Batman all use d6, but custom marked dice are available to speed play. Mouse Guard dice are marked Axe, crossed sword x2, and snake x3. Burning Wheel black dice have special success mark, success mark, fail mark, and special fail mark; black has 2 success and 2 fail, grey 3 and 1, white 4 and 0, but the specific symbols vary by run. Batman dice have 4 bat-symbols, and 2 jokers; one of the dice in the set is off color, and has a special mark on one joker and one bat sign.

The One Ring uses special marked d6 and d12. The d12 is marked 1-10, sauron, gandalf. The d6's are numbered 1-6, but 1-3 are in outline text, and 6 has a small rune next to the 6. Standard dice can be used with little extra effort.

d7, d24, d30, all have ready use in time randomisation. d28 are used in a 13 month calendar.

Many board games also use non-standard dice. Some need to be watched for in competitive play...

Formula De and Formula D use standard looking d4, d6, d8, d12, d20, and d30, but they are not standard numbered. They are, however, numbered.

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The question is about dice with different numbers of sides than the standard set, so there's quite a bit of chaff in this answer. Or shotgun pellets, maybe. –  SevenSidedDie Jul 14 '12 at 20:12
    
The various d6 variants are not normal d6's. And I'll note, Mxy also "shot wide" with dF... which are merely d6's. They are relevant. Raising the specter of Formula De is shooting a bit wide, but serves an important warning to casual readers: Just because it looks like a d6 doesn't mean it reads as a d6. I didn't bring up some of the really obnoxious wargaming bits, like dAvg and deviation dice. –  aramis Jul 14 '12 at 20:26
    
Consider it feedback! (Unnecessarily brusque feedback, true. Sorry!) I'd upvote the content if it were presented as less of a question-deaf list and more a "Yes, and boy howdy are there a lot more dice out there than you know of. Let me show you the broad vista of unusual dice, not just strange-sided dice…" Or something like that which demonstrated more connection to the question. :-) –  SevenSidedDie Jul 14 '12 at 20:46
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Yes. The most notable and recent example is Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, which was deliberately designed to take advantage of these especially strange dice.

Otherwise, there are very few games that use dice outside of the "standard set". There are a few that use the d30, such as The Window, but ones that use the others are rare enough that I don't know of them, and I know a lot of oddball RPGs.

(As an aside, there are many RPGs that use d2 or d3, including early editions of D&D, but since those are usually explained as flipping a coin or as trivial variations on how to read a d6 I'm not counting them. I would think that a game that demands you use an actual d3 – not a modified d6 roll – is so unlikely it's not worth considering.)

If you are a fan of especially funny dice, you might consider joining the Order of the d30. There are very many fan-created tables and such that use the d30 in order to make it a more useful part of their collection. Such things aren't strictly "RPGs" that would satisfy the question, but if you like random tables and think d20 makes for too small a list of possibilities, you'll enjoy the many, many d30-based random tables that have been made.

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Yes, of course, there are many.

Many of the "unusual" dice date back to early D&D, where "1d5" or the like was frequently found as a required roll - of course, you'd usually use 1d10 and divide by two... I got a d30 way back in 1e AD&D days and got a book of d30 tables to use with it. AD&D has d24 tables on pages 41, 42, and 111 of the Players Handbook, and on pages 101 and 137 of the Dungeon Masters Guide.

Of course, FATE uses custom +/-/blank 6-sided dice by default. Many other games have strange custom dice involved.

Of course, there are generally things in game worlds that require unusual randomization. a d24 is pretty helpful for a random hour-of-day, for example.

But in general this is a question that doesn't understand exactly how many RPGs there are. Oh look, here's 3600 of them. Every dice combination and non-dice combination (like Jenga towers) has been used by some "innovator" somewhere.

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In all fairness, even if your specific game system doesn't use the whacky dice, let's face it - there's always a use for it. My personal favorite is the Calendar method.

d12 for month, d30 for day #, d7/d14 for day name (or d5 if business week), d24 for hour of the day, 2d30-1 for minute / second.

And as for "Innovator", once I found a set with d14 and d5 in it, the contribution revolutionized the tabletop skirmish game I'm working on.

EDIT: D&D 3e defaults unarmed damage to 1d3+Str for a practical application. A parody game called VIOLENCE! had need for a d16. For the most part, the games I have encountered go either all d10, all d6, or if they use a menagerie they use the Standard 7 (as I call it) although I rarely see d20 in use except for d20 system or inverted d20 system which is strangely true for the d12 as well which only adds the Cortex system.

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While not on your list of dices, Fudge/Fate use fudge "funny" dice which look like this:

enter image description here

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