Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Players And Dice

With at least a couple of brand-new RPGers due to sit at my table on Saturday, I’ve been working down the checklist of what I need. Extra pencils, yep. Fine beverages such as Sun Drop, Dad’s Root Beer, and Mountain Dew? Got it. Dice for the new players? Hmmm….

Now, I am pretty particular about my dice. I bow at the altar of Gamescience, although I am not adverse to grabbing a Bucket O’ Dice from Chessex for extras, or checking out unique ones from other companies. This weekend, I made up four dice sets for our potential campaign novices, complete with some extra d6s and an extra d20 (for when the luck’s gone bad in the other one).

I’ve never been one of those guys who swears up and down he’ll break the fingers of anyone touching his dice. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me if you need to borrow my dice. At the same time, I finally decided against just giving away a dice set to the new players. On one hand, I have no idea (nor do they) if this is going to be their thing or not. If they try it once and hate it, they’ve got some nice they’ll never do anything with. On the other hand, they can borrow my dice for the next few years, and I won’t care.

But really, my point of not just giving them away and making a distinction is that I’ve always felt picking out dice was sort of a special thing. I know how incredibly geeky that sounds, but I really think of it as a Gamer’s Rite of Passage. You find and buy a dice set that works for you, and that’s a bit special, somehow. I want them to pick out a set that just doesn’t seem like a loaner, I went them to find a set that matches their style and their personality.

Typing this out, I know how silly it must sound, but that’s why I’m playing “borrow” instead of “give” when it comes to dice. There are thousands of possible dice sets to buy out there. If they really enjoy gaming, I think they’ll want to get their own in good time. If not, hell, they can have some of mine. They’re just dice, after all….right?


Marshall Smith said...

Sun Drop? Whereabouts do you live?

I actually think that your point about letting players pick out their own dice is totally valid. I generally think that people aren't really gamers until they've bought their own dice. Until then, they're just dabbling, probably to be social more than anything else.

Zachary Houghton said...

Sun Drop has started a national distro campaign. I know it used to be regional, but now it’s going nationwide (they’re an IndyCar sponsor, hence my deep knowledge on this subject). ;) And I’m just outside of Indianapolis.

Boric G said...

I agree with Marshall.... Choosing dice is a rite of passage, a final wall to be broken down in order to embrace your inner geek.

And there is no such thing as "just dice." That's a heresy in my book.

A.L. said...

Having broken in more than my share of new gamers over the years, I have to agree with you.

I'm not sure if I'd call it a rite of passage, but it is definitely a clear sign that the person is onboard and is starting to think of themselves as a gamer. Choosing dice can be very personal, and nothing signifies that you are now committed to the hobby like throwing down $10-$15 (or more) for a set of dice.

Besides, than you get that wonderful "these are mine" feeling. That said, I need more dice....

guttertalk said...

I agree. As a new gamer a couple of years ago, I bought some regular Chessex. But then I really got into it and bought some nice Game Science dice, which I love (except for the d8 which has a burr that seems to affect the rolls).

If nothing else, choosing the colors can be personal. I think you're right to encourage them to buy their own if they want to continue playing. They're not expensive (though finding them might be a hassle).

cheeseshop said...

I agree that getting your own dice for the first time is an RPG rite of passage. I equate it with the buying of your first player’s guide for the system you are playing. I can remember the first set of dice I bought. It was the mid 80’s for the Paranoia RPG. Though at that time I would not let any other Citizen touch my dice.

I always keep some extra dice to give to the new player. Once they realize how individual the dice choice is, they soon buy their own.