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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Inking Dice: A Rite of Passage?

Yesterday, Tim over at Gothridge Manor had a great marathon post up calling for gamers to show their dice. I posted a pic I took of a few of my own a while back in response. Yesterday when I got home I was pleasantly surprised to find my latest set of Gamescience dice I'd ordered had arrived a little earlier than I anticipated.

I ordered these dice uninked so I could do it myself. Back in the day, when you bought your D&D boxed set, these same dice were included along with a crayon to color the numbers in.

It's been a while since I colored my own, and the first set of gamescience dice I ordered came inked (I know...heresy.) I found this little orange set online for dirt cheap and couldn't resist.  I spent about 45 minutes or so last night meticulously inking them with my ultra-fine sharpie pen. Having done so for the first time in many years, I was happy to have accomplished this rite of passage, or at least what I perceive to be a sort of rite of passage in the OSR.

Dice are important instruments to the table top gamer.  Many of us remember our first set of dice. Some like me still own their first dice set and still use them, years later, worn edges and all.  Like some sort of shaman casting runes, we become attached to dice. Sure, many of us, if not most, own hundreds of dice, but we all have our favorites.

This probably sounds insane to the uninitiated, but there is something to be said about the connection that is established between your dice and yourself when you ink them on your own. It's the nerd equivalent of a jedi constructing his own lightsaber. Having experienced this again, I can say now, that where these little orange dice arrived as a set of blank ugly pieces of plastic, after inking them, I look at them differently. The sort of personalization that comes with inking dice changes this, I believe. They are no longer just a set of brutally ugly orange dice. They are my dice now.

It is my belief that every old school gamer, or anyone interested in claiming themself as such, go through this ritual. Yes, this is somewhat hyperbolic, but true nonetheless. At least, that's how I feel about it anyway.