I will be playing my first 5e session here soon. I got to skim the basic rules PDF, so I know that it plays a bit like 3.5 with some modernization. (Please don't stone me if I'm oversimplifying that.) I'd like to know what I should bring in my dicebag.

I know that it's usually best to have one of each dice in D&D, regardless.

That's not the point. The point is that I'd like to know if gameplay can be improved/hastened by having multiples of any of the dice.

For example, casting fireball in 3.5e without a big stack of d6's was a very slow task.

Likewise, there were many, many instances in 4e where multiple dice of the same kind were rolled. Especially so for damage rolls on Encounter/Daily powers: [2w], [3w], etc.

Would be wise to bring extra dice of certain types? I'm open for theory based on your understanding of the rules and what may come up as much as I'm interested in personal experience.


5 Answers 5


Critical Hits

When you score a critical hit (roll a natural 20 on the attack roll), you roll double damage. Therefore, you'll probably want to bring a second weapon die, depending on what weapon you'll be using. Greatswords and mauls are a 2d6 weapon, so you may want four d6s if you plan to use one of those.

Half-orcs and barbarians each have a feature that grants one extra weapon die on a critical hit, so you may want another one extra if you'll play a half-orc or barbarian, or another two extra if you'll play a half-orc barbarian.

For clarity, a weapon's die can be a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, or 2d6.


Damage-dealing spells like fireball usually require several dice to be rolled. Most spells require a number of dice equal to the spell level plus one or two. Fireball and lightning bolt are notable exceptions; they each are 3rd-level spells, but deal 8d6 damage.

Spells with attack rolls can score critical hits, but most spells that require attack rolls are cantrips. Spells that provide a save DC (like fireball) cannot score critical hits.

Spells tend to use d6s and d8s, but some (like magic missile) use d4s and some (like inflict wounds) use d10s.

Spell damage does not passively increase as your character gains levels, but lower level spells can be cast with higher level slots. This usually adds one damage die per increased slot level.


Cantrips do increase passively as your character gains levels (unrelated to which class, in case of multiclassing). Cantrips all deal one die of damage from levels 1-4, two dice from levels 5-10, three dice from levels 11-16, and four dice from levels 17-20. Most cantrips require attack rolls and therefore can score critical hits. Most cantrips deal 1d6 or 1d8 damage, but some (vicious mockery) deal 1d4 and some (firebolt and eldritch blast) deal 1d10.


Most situational modifiers have been replaced with the advantage/disadvantage mechanic. For advantage events you will roll two d20s and take the better, for disadvantage you will roll two d20s and take the worse. These are frequent enough that you will certainly want to bring two d20s.


Occasionally, you may need to roll two d10s to emulate a d100 roll. Unless you are the DM or are playing a Wild Magic sorcerer, this event will be extremely rare.

Class Features

Bardic Inspiration

Bards can distribute up to 5 bardic inspiration dice to their allies. These dice are d6s, but they upgrade a die size (d8s, d10s, then finally d12s) every five levels.

Superiority Dice

Battlemaster Fighters have special abilities that add a die to something (usually an attack or damage roll). At first you need four d8s, but at the number and size of the dice increase as you level (capping out at six d12s).

Divine Smite

Paladins can expend a spell slot to deal additional damage on a melee weapon attack. Like many spells, the damage equals a number of d8s equal to the spell level plus one. It deals an additional d8 of damage to undead and fiends.

Colossus Slayer

Hunter Rangers can take this option to deal an additional d8 of damage to already-injured targets.

Sneak Attack

Rogues will often deal additional damage equal to half their level in d6s (rounded up).

Wild Magic

Wild Magic Sorcerers will probably roll a d100 a few times each session to determine the additional effects of their spellcasting.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Percentile rolls seem to be such an exotic event these days that there is some debate over how to do them using 2d10: How do I read 2d10 as a percentage? We've come a long way from the original AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide, which was full of tables requiring percentile rolls (as did many other game systems of the '80s)! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 25, 2015 at 8:21

The dice I always seem to be short on are d4s. For healing potions and magic missiles, mostly.

Two d20s is essential, for rolling with advantage.

But seriously folks, there's no such thing as "too many dice" :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for " ... there's no such thing as "too many dice" :-) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 26, 2015 at 15:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ But, there is such thing as "too many dice to easily take somewhere, in addition to the other stuff I need, and not lose track of any" \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    Sep 18, 2015 at 1:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus sure, but that amount is usually best measured in kilograms.. not dice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Leliel
    Jun 10, 2019 at 4:59


You should bring extra dice to any roleplaying event. In large numbers.

There are many situations where you need more dice and they are for the most part independent of the actual system you are playing:

  • Maybe 5 enemies attack. All with the same stats. Roll 5 dice.
  • Maybe all 5 hit and the character needs to dodge 5 times. Roll 5 dice.
  • Maybe someone forgot their dice. Just give them half of yours.
  • Maybe you got a bonus and your grenade or fireball does double damage. Roll all the dice together.

And finally, if the enemy evil boss monster has just one life left, the barbarian is taking a swing with it's double-bladed laser axe of instant doom aaaand... you roll your single die a bit too enthusiastically... off the table, over the floor and under the cupboard. That's it. The die is gone. End of epic scene. Or you just ignore that one die, take the next and kill the big bad evil guy.

Dice are dirt cheap. You need to make sure you buy dice and not brand names. If you do, a hundred will cost you less than a meal at your favorite burger place.

Bringing only a set amount of dice because "I don't need more" is like bringing a set amount of candy because "I will not want more". Yeah. Like that ever worked :)


This really depends on the level of the characters, if starting with level 1's then the basic 7 dice set, or pair of each is more than enough to cover you for a while.

At level 5 you get access to extra attacks and to level 3 spells. There might be a need to add additional dice, lightning bolt/fireball damage starts off at 8d6.

Having multiple dice is always useful for speeding up game play, but you're not throwing around massive damage spells or attacks every combat round, and with the mechanics of spell damage being based on the level slot you are not throwing around tons of dice for a level 1 magic missile.

I play with my family and while still low level they each have their own base dice set and I have a few extras as the DM and it's been more than sufficient. A pair of each dice and a couple extra D6's will hold you over without slowing down game-play.

I have not run any games above level 10, but a few extra dice D6 and D8 again and any dice related to your primary weapons would probably help speed things up a bit.


In my experience (I have a 5th level Ranger/Rogue in my current group), and if getting more dice isn't a hassle, I would for sure bring 2 D20(for when you need advantage or disadvantage), 1D12, 1D10, 1D8, 1D6, 1D4 for each player.

Additionally I would look at each player to see what their most common attack is. For my ranger I use a short bow, with Hunter's mark, and Colossus damage often. (2D6 and 1D8) So as far as additional dice it all depends on what characters and their attack rolls they use the most. From the sessions we have played together we have 10D6 for a fireball and then borrow others dice when we score a critical and roll double or just roll it twice.

In conclusion if I was a new GM I would again bring 2 D20,1D12,1D8,1D6,1D4, per player and have 1D12, 1D10, 2d8, 10D6, 2D4 on the side so they are quick to grab and use for when players score critical hits or when their attacks involve multiple dice. These are the dice I have used most often in my games. You could always have even more dice on the side if you are worried but that is where I would start.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .