The most basic function of any tabletop rpg is the rolling of dice. It’s a simple action, but a necessary one – without it, you’re basically just LARPing.
LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) is a form of improvisational gaming in which players fully act out the role of their characters, rather than describing it around a table with pencil and paper. LARPers will often dress up in character costumes, rent recreational spaces, and spend whole weekends acting out their campaigns and storylines. There are smaller, pre-written ‘party’ LARPs also available, such as murder mystery parties.
Since you’re going to be doing it over and over again, it can be fun to spice up the basic action of throwing and rolling your dice. That can come in the form of unusually shaped dice, fun dice trays, or, one of my personal favorites, dice towers.
What Are Dice Towers?
Dice towers are fairly obviously named: vertical structures that you can drop your dice through, usually with an internal pathway or structure to knock the dice into a well-randomized roll on the way down.
They come in any number of shapes and sizes, just like dice do. Some are simple hollow boxes that can fold down for ease of storage. Others have more intricate internal builds, often accompanied with a more elaborate exterior. Castles and decrepit towers are common and popular appearances, since they tend to fit into the fantasy or supernatural aesthetics.
What Are Dice Towers Made Of?
You can build a dice tower out of pretty much anything.
Wood and 3D-printed plastic are the most common for personal use. These mediums are easy to customize if you’re making one for yourself or for your friends, and they’re pretty sturdy. They take a little work to make portable, but they can look pretty realistic.
For 3D-printed towers in particular, you can find a ton of designs available either for sale or for free online. They usually require either 3D printing them yourself, or hiring someone to do so for you, but the results are a ton of fun to paint and customize to perfectly match your character.
Other mediums for towers include cardboard and cardstock – these are usually the medium of choice for buildable and collapsible towers (like the Call of Cthulu tower pictured below). They’re easy to wrap as gifts and find for sale in gaming stores, since they can be popped out and assembled in minutes. Cardstock towers aren’t quite so sturdy or realistic as wood and plastic, but they’re more than sturdy enough to roll your dice down without problem.
If you’re looking for something extra fun, there are also Lego towers out there (as seen above - we even carry them!), that you can build and customize with your own collection of buildable bricks. They’re fun to build, especially with your kids or other Lego afficionados, and they’re easy to redesign for new campaigns and characters, too.
Do I Need A Dice Tower?
Strictly speaking, a dice tower isn’t a necessary component of a tabletop game.
They make rolling more interesting, and can help set the mood at the table, but they aren’t a must-have for play. They do randomize the rolls a little more than rolling by hand, though, and can help ensure that your players aren’t fudging their rolls (intentionally or otherwise) with their palms or in the shadows of their gameplay tools.
But if you’re making sure that you’re rolling properly, instead of just raising and dropping your dice, a dice tower isn’t going to give you any more of a randomized result. That’s not to say they can’t be a just a little bit luck, though!
Where Can I Find a Dice Tower?
Pre-Made Dice Towers
You can buy pre-made dice towers pretty much anywhere that gaming paraphernalia can be bought!
That includes your local gaming store, online shops, and our very own D20Collective! Buying in person means that you can check the size and height, as well as what dice will fit in it to be rolled, but there are plenty more options available to you online.
Custom Dice Towers
If you’re interested in getting a tower that isn’t manufactured, there are plenty of online patterns and tutorials that you can use to make your own!
You can find some DIY tutorials here:
And you can find plenty of 3d printing files here:
Many sellers of 3d printing files are willing to print their products for you if you don’t have a 3d printer of your own. If they aren’t, plenty of people will print anyone’s files, for a small fee.
Or, alternatively, check with your local library or university if they have a 3d printer that you can use! More and more are becoming available nowadays. It can be difficult to get quite perfect, however, and I’d recommend at least finding someone experienced who can guide you through your printing attempts.
Happy crafting and shopping!