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My son is off at college, and he has recently started a d&d group. We are close, but the distance between us, along with his schedule, have kept us from communicating as much as I'd like. I recently purchased a 3d printer, and I want to do something special for him. I want to make him a custom set of dice, but I do not know how many or what kind to make. Can anyone help me?

I will probably be using ABS or Polycarbonate, seeing that they are the most durable and the least pliable. I thought about using a wood filament, but I'm not sure if he would like that. I have several choices that would give me good results, but I might have to just play around with it to find the perfect match. My good friend has a rock tumbler, or polisher if you will, so I can use that to smooth them up. I plan to hand paint the inset numbers. I do plan to test each dice to ensure none are "weighted" to one side more than another. I appreciate your input.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A word of warning: if you want the gift to be useful, other than decorative, make sure your printer can print fair dice (that is, dice that land on each face with the same probability). Of course they will never be perfect but you should identify an acceptable threshold and see if your dice are good enough. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Oct 29 '17 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Y'all might want to make a "how can I 3d print fair dice?" question. These comments are getting into answers-in-comments-but-to-a-different-question-than-was-asked territory. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 30 '17 at 15:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelspooker done: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/109108/… \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Oct 30 '17 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zachiel If you want the gift to be really useful, make it more likely to land on a 20. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Rose Oct 31 '17 at 1:40
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The default set of dice used by Pathfinder (or D&D, as you mentioned in the question body, they use the same) would be:

  • a 4 sided die
  • a 6 sided die
  • an 8 sided die
  • a 10 sided die
  • a 12 sided die
  • a 20 sided die
  • a 10 sided die numbered 00, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90

A basic set (as you could buy in a store) includes one of each, although most players prefer to have some extra 6 and 20 sided dice because they tend to be used a bit more.

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    \$\begingroup\$ (I personally like having on hand a 6-sided die numbered 1 to 3 twice and instead of the traditional d4 a d8 numbered 1 to 4 twice. But I'm likely in the minority.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 29 '17 at 18:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I would second those two ideas for a custom dice gift. \$\endgroup\$ – Clarus_Nox Oct 29 '17 at 20:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Pathfinder also uses a d3. Yes, most people just use a d6 / 2, but a complete answer would include it. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Oct 30 '17 at 1:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Notice that the 10 sided die is numberd 0, 1, ..., 9 and not 1, ..., 10. \$\endgroup\$ – HSN Oct 30 '17 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HSN (A player in one of my campaigns is inordinately fond of his d10 that's numbered 1 through 10 (rather than 0 through 9). Such a unique d10 might be a worthwhile addition if already printing a set of custom dice!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 30 '17 at 16:43
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If you go to a store and buy dice for Pathfinder, you will get dice like this:

plain chessex dice

That's one four-sided die, one six-sided, one eight-sided, one ten-sided with numbers 0-9, one ten-sided with numbers 00-90, one twelve-sided, one twenty-sided.

Not all of these dice are used equally. The twenty-sided die is the most important: every player will need one, but no player will need more than one. Some players will need lots of six-sided dice (like ten of them); others won't need any. The 00-90 die is hardly ever used for anything.

For my own use, I bought four identical sets of dice like you see above, and I also have a set of twelve six-sided dice.

If you're wanting to make a nice gift, one option would be to make one of each die above, but you might consider making a single fancy twenty-sided die.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I doesn't hurt to have more than exactly one 20 sided die. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Oct 30 '17 at 9:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, fair enough -- I've edited slightly. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Oct 30 '17 at 16:40
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If I were to make dice as a gift aimed at a Pathfinder player, I would make:

2x 4 sided dice
3x-6x (or more) 6 sided dice
1x 6 sided die, with each of 1, 2, and 3 twice
1x 8 sided die
1x 10 sided die
1x 12 sided die
1x 10 sided die, numbered 00, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90
2x (or more) 20 sided dice

There are occasional rules that allow rolling d20's, and they are the most common die needed. If your son is the 'GM' of the game, he might be lending out dice when other players lack them, meaning his own cache of dice might be thin. d8 through d12 are typically rolled one at a time, periodically, whereas many of Pathfinder's mechanics use groupings of d6 that are as large as 15 or more. Not every setup does so, but if they were to need a lot of one die type, d6 would be it. d4 are an oddball in that there are a bunch of things that require a few d4, but those same things aren't frequently used. Having a couple on hand would be beneficial.

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The answers already here are very good, I would however add that if Shadowrun or similar is now, or may ever be, in the mix a "brick" of d6s is essential, 30+ more-or-less identical dice in a reasonably small size that can be rolled together, similar to Chessex's 12mm d6 range. If your son likes to play magic or psionic characters in Pathfinder up to a dozen d6s and d4s are a good idea for power and spell damage effects.

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