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MoonHunter Sayeth 20180409


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
(cue reverb)Rollllling Thunnnnder(/reverb)
aka Roll it on the table and Dice Shakers

While many might deny it, gamers love rolling dice. Sure we all roll dice. One, or three, or maybe two dice at a time. But I am talking about A LOT OF DICE. That is where the fun is: a hand full. It is the clatter of roll. It is the hunt and chase of them on the table. It started with Tunnels and Trolls with multiple dice per action, and came of age with Champions and 10d6 to 12d6 attacks. Then came The Dice Pools (Vampire/ WoD and Shadowrun), and continues on with the next generation of pools. Yaaaaaah, lots of fun. Lots of noise. Lots of dice that go everywhere.

Yah, lots of dice that bounce everywhere.


Different groups have different rules for when the dice are rolled. You can tell a lot about a troupe when you hear their dice rules. What happens when they hit floor or off the play surface? When do we reroll? Does every roll have to be confirmed by another? Is hitting the floor an auto fail? Hitting the mini or the terrain a mortal sin punished by character damage? There are so many variations of the "when do we count it" die rolls.

However, no matter your troupe's rules, it usually comes down to "controlling where the dice are rolled".

Some people say, anywhere on the play space. That still leads to losing it upon occasion. Clipboard spaces are used, but usually fail if you are rolling more than a die or two.

People use dice trays to keep the dice under control. Dice Trays are those lipped spaces, usually with a green velvet space inside. They are either in the center of the play space (which is not always convenient for all the players) or in a passed tray (which always gets spilled). Still you lose one over the edge every now and again. Then the group invokes is it a reroll or a fail if it falls out sort or rules.

Dice Towers make it fun listening to it all rattle on the way down. They can be home made or purchased. Some are even themed. Gamers do love that clatter of when they come down the tower. Of course the tower requires space to play. It is better than the dice tray for dice control, but it is sometimes awkward to move it to an easy to use place.

There is always the "do we dice check the rolls" (Dice checking). This impacts play options.

None of these really work for us. My players are usually dice chuckers. Once they get excited: the dice fly. We have rules about rolling, but they always seem to go out the window.... and once the dice flew out the window - literally, not figuratively... it is one of those gaming stories that nobody believes.

We play outside sometimes. We do it because we need to prove that gamers are not locked in tiny dark closets in the basement. (With my younger players, we do it because it is a Boy Scout requirement, but I move on.) The sun gets to be a problem (we have a pop up cover to solve that one). The breeze can wreck everything (why we use makers with more weights). The real problem with us playing outside is the deck. Everything slips through. Token, Markers, every 3x5 note card/ fate card/ and so on. We have taken to calling the deck "Audrey (II)" because of this. And then, there are the dice.

The deck can eat dice. I don't know how, but sometimes they are just gone. "Gosh Darn it Audrey!"

So gamers have these problems with dice and dice control, no matter what they do.

I have a solution.

It is the Dice Shaker. My younger players call them Dice Slammers.

You need disposable plastic containers, usually 3 or 4 inches diameter, but any handy size will work. The container needs to be clear. The lid needs to be a different color than your die. Complimentary colors are nice.

Put the dice or dice inside. Seal it up. It does not have to be glued or anything. It is that simple.

Shake the container. Turn upside down. Put it down on either your clipboard or the play space.

(If you have younger gamers, they slam it down! You get it right? We move on.)

You have the dice that are not going anywhere. You can rattle them for as much as you want. You can slam them hard. You can throw dice slammers to your friends so they can roll.

This works best for fate, the 4dF kept in the die shaker. If you are playing Hero or GURPs, 3d6 works. To be honest, 1d20 works for us too. We have a couple for the table.

This does work for all games (that use dice).

Die Pools get messy, but a group could have 10 shakers for each number of dice in the pool. You know your dice, you know what to reach for.

To be honest, for dice pools we have two sets of shakers at the table. Each set has two 4D, a 2D, and a 1D. This lets us make any combination of up to 10 (which seems to be the max total in the game editions we are playing). The GM tends to hoard one on her side of the table (available to those right there) and the rest of us use the other set.

When play D20 games or Cortex, we have sets of one shaker per die type (For D&D, I got a yellow d4, an orange d6, a green D8, a blue D12, a white D20, and a pink D10 for each D20 Set). There are exotic dice games, they work this way as well. How they get grouped depends on the game. Cortex and the exotic dice games gets messy this way and need more sets or lots rerolling. Or you can go the player option.

Some players make their own set of shakers for their characters (or the game being played): the hit shaker, most of their actions have their own shaker, and the damage for their attacks. If most of your rolls are 2d6 and a d8, use a roller of that. One player got a huge plastic container and rolls 10d10 in it. He just loves the rattle.

And secretly, we all do. (*1)

You can still have that satisfying thunder of dice and keep them under control. Dice Shakers are the best option for gamers.

*1) Well, except spouses and other people in the house not gaming. They are not usually fond of the Thunder of dice.


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Note: There are diced larps that use similar dice shakers for their rolls. Dice Shakers aren't something I invented, just something I use and others might need to know about.


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Another Note: Never thought of it while playing D&D, but simply putting one of all the poly dice types, in one shaker. Multiple rolls could be done by several shakers used in succession.
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