Roll for Infinity

By Shamus Posted Thursday Dec 21, 2006

Filed under: Tabletop Games 24 comments

So it turns out the universe is a dodecahedron with 12 pentagonal faces? I knew there was a reason I’ve always loved the oft-overlooked 12-sided die.

The idea is that the universe “wraps”, so if you were to “exit” a face of the polyhedron you would enter the opposite face, but rotated 36o. Okay, that’s really hard to picture.

What I’ve read of the original article doesn’t explain what happens with gravity. I can’t picture it. (Keeping in mind that these “faces” are no more meaningful for the laws of physics than the boundaries on a map: They are there so people can keep track of space.) An object in the middle will exert gravitational force (miniscule) on itself, from twelve directions at once.

Bah. I keep trying to build some sort of mental model to play with but I can’t hack it.

Ah well. I’m just glad the universe isn’t a d4 or a d6.


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24 thoughts on “Roll for Infinity

  1. Tom Zunder says:

    I think very many gamers love the d12, it’s a lovely shape, but seems numerically wrong. I had a friend who always used a d12 for encounter tables just so he could have his d12 in play. John Kovalic’s Pokethulhu uses a d12, but the best use of an odd dice is my friend Gus who just ran a Rome based game using replicas of Roman d14s he made himself!

  2. hanov3r says:

    Not *everyone* overlooks the d12. I mean, in the D&D campaign I’m in right now, I’m playing a straight-up barbarian wielding a greataxe, so that’s two uses for a d12 right there.

    Then there’s….


    Um… there’s….

    Hrm. I’m pretty sure there’s at *least* one more.

  3. Yunt says:

    Maybe if you were in a restaurant and there were only 12 things on the menu and they all looked good to you?

  4. Telas says:

    You can also use a d12 for months of the year, but that’s about it.

    (In addition to the Barbarian: “Thog power attack for 567 +1d12 damage”

    I’m glad it’s not a d4, because God might step on it… “Ow! Why in My name did I make that danged thing?!” POOF!! Gone like that.


  5. Batmanintraining says:

    “I'm glad it's not a d4, because God might step on it… “Ow! Why in My name did I make that danged thing?!” POOF!! Gone like that.”

    That’s so NOT funny. My cat got a hold of my dice bag a few years back and I found out the hard way that caltrops on bare feet slow your movement down to way less than half, try ZERO. =) Stupid cat, well really stupid human(me).

  6. Telas says:

    At least a d4 is nonlethal!

    Try this scenario: You’re in the Army, living in the barracks. Yesterday you spilled all your rank insignia on the floor, and thought you recovered it all. Now it’s 4 AM, and someone bangs at your door HARD. You jump out of bed, finding that last Specialist insignia the hard way – through your heel.

    Cutting through the not-yet-awake blurries, and the literally stabbing pain of having two, third-inch tacks in your heel, you hear your First Sergeant’s voice, “Wake up soldier, emergency formation!”

  7. Deoxy says:

    “At least a d4 is nonlethal!”

    Only the plastic kind with rounded corners. The sharp cornered ones or the metal ones would both do a fine job at non-subdual damage.

  8. Justin says:

    Hrm. I'm pretty sure there's at *least* one more.

    Great falchion from the Sandstorm splat book.

    What? =/

  9. mom says:

    Revelation 21:1 and following
    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first earth had passed away,…I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband….’come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the spirit to a mountain , great and high, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God….It had a high wall with 12 gates….The wall of the city had 12 foundations…

  10. oleyo says:

    “Ah well. I'm just glad the universe isn't a d4 or a d6.”

    Dang strait. d4’s stink, they don’t really roll, just sort of…fall, and stop. Come to think of it, SUV’s should be tetrahedron shaped; call it the “Platonica”. The driver will have a commanding view of the road from the pointy top hatch, and if you hit a skateboarder he will just glide right over and yell “gnarley” I’ll write to GM. They need these inovative concepts to keep the company out of the toilet. Anywho, I always ask to roll a d8 then cut in half(round up), if it can’t roll then I just cant consider it a die.

  11. oleyo says:

    *oops I meant round down

  12. Scott says:

    Speaking of dice did you see this
    dice/rubik hybrid?

  13. Kevin says:

    Two D12s came in the game I received as a Christmas gift…

    “What Game?,” you may ask…

    “Order of the Stick, The Dungeons of Durokan” game…of course! Rich decided that the D12 needed more reason for existing, so he used it in the game.

    And my, but it’s a twisted game….

  14. Steve says:

    The D4 is clearly an unsafe and unsatisfactory gaming component in that it a) does not so much roll numbers as splat them, 2) poses a significant danger to delicate bare feet if carelessly allowed to splat on the floor and γ) has at least two different ways of having the roll displayed on the faces, causing unnecessary feelings of unease in the gamer. Fortunately the answer is simple and uses a resource known to be under-utilized normally: Instead of rolling a clumsy, ugly and downright dangerous D4, roll an elegant, universe-shaped D12, divide the roll by three and round up.

    Now to fix that pesky World Peace problem….

  15. Bob says:

    Be glad the universe is not a d3…

  16. Felblood says:

    The D12 is also for undead hit dice. If you roll all your monsters, and want to keep your cleric supplied with things to turn, your d12 can get quite a workout.

  17. Marty says:

    The d12 has always been my favorite next to the d20… The best part about a d12 is that you can model almost every other lower die with it.

    Need a d4?
    d12 / 3


    d12 / 4


    d12 / 2

    2d12 / 3 (Ok, so that one’s not exactly precise…)

    Even so, the 12 sider rocks! :)

  18. viktor says:

    I had a damage roll recently that was 1-24. That was fun to find. We spent 20 minutes debating how to do it, then we just doubled a d12.

    One of us discovered a d24 a few minutes later. That thing was cool.

  19. Anon says:

    (d12/3)*2[round nearest] (no wait… yeah)

  20. Adeon says:

    Actually the best way is to roll d24 without owning one is to roll a d12 then roll another die of your choice (or flip a coin) to determine high or low. High you add 12 to the result of the d12, low you don’t.

    In general this works for a lot of non-standard rolls, use high/low determinations to reduce the range until it fits into something that you can roll. Of course it doesn’t work with odd numbers but even then you can do it although the logic path gets convoluted.

  21. Confanity says:

    Ahh, old posts. Anyway, I felt the need to point out that since the d12 shape is a thought construct, any given bit of matter would be at the exact center of its own die, and thus any “wraparound” gravity, coming as it does equally from all directions at once, would cancel itself out.

  22. Coming *very* late to the discussion, Michael Grey’s boardgame SHOGUN (later SAMURAI SWORDS, most recently reprinted as IKUSA) uses d12 for all combat rolls. It allows some gradation of to-hit–weak units hit on 1-4, middling units on 1-5, and strong on 1-6. The probabilities are more satisfying than 3, 4, 5 on a d10 would be.

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