Dice App: DnDice Tutorial and Review
Throughout your time exploring Dungeons and Dragons, you will come to know of many different tools that can be useful to your experience. One of the tools is something you will use constantly throughout your campaign….Dice! However, physical sets of polyhedral dice can be expensive. Buying a single set can cost you anywhere from ten to hundreds of dollars depending on the material and manufacturer. The best bang for your buck would probably be to buy a bag of dice with around 18 full sets of polyhedral dice. These bags will cost you around twenty bucks on average.
However, there is a cheaper alternative. There are a multitude of dice rolling apps on the Apple Store and Google Play. You can even ask Siri to make dice rolls for you on your iPhone. Most of these apps are free and so far, I have not witnessed one to be over two dollars. As I’ve said before, there are many of these apps but I’d like to share with you my experience and thoughts on a particular app called DnDice. This app lets you roll 3D dice on a background. Let’s go over what I’ll talk about:
- Download and Initial Opening
- Adding Dice and Modifiers
- The 10 Presets
- Adjusting Preferences
- Going Pro
- Final Verdict
Download and Initial Opening
I downloaded this app from the Google Play store. Unfortunately for those apple users out there, it does not appear to be available on the App Store. The download itself was very quick and painless. It took less than a minute for it to download and install. When you first open the app, a series of windows will pop up over the standard, wood surface background. These windows will give well organized and detailed instructions on how to navigate and operate the app. It is unfortunate that the app doesn’t give you a good visual perspective for visual learners. However, the brief and concise written explanations help to make up for lack of visual examples. After getting past these windows, which I recommend you read carefully, you are ready to begin messing around with it.
At first, you will notice that there are no dice on the screen which may seem confusing. After all, this is a dice rolling app! Don’t panic, you just need to add some dice. Along the bottom of your screen you should see a “+”. When you press this, a window will appear showing you a list of dice from d2 (which is basically a coin) to d100 (which is 2d10s, one with single digits and the other with double digits). There are also special dice in this list. Each is a d6 with a special signifier rather than a number. One has different colors on each side (dS2), another has different animals (dS1), the third had different sceneries (dS3), and the last has two “-“, two “+” and two “.” (dF). To add dice to the board, simply touch the desired die. To add more of the same die, you only need to tap it the amount of times equal to the amount desired.
For instance, let’s say the you cast the spell “Cloud of Daggers” and the Dungeon Master says “Okay, I need you to roll three d4.”
All you need to do is press the “+” symbol along the bottom of your screen, find the d4 button in the dice list, and tap that button three times. When you exit the dice list, you will see three d4 on the background. To roll the dice, simply shake your phone or tablet, or double tap on any open space in the screen. Be sure that once you’ve initiated the roll, you set the phone or tablet on a flat surface as the app’s gravity setting will be active and will affect the way the dice roll. In the upper right corner of the screen you will see a box with a number inside it. This number represents the total sum of the dice roll you just made. This will do the math for you, expediting the process of determining the roll’s outcome.
Now let’s say you’re done with that dice roll and you need to make a new one. Along the bottom of your screen, right next to the “+” sign you will see a “x” sign. If you tap this sign, it will remove all the dice that are currently on your screen so you can add different dice types. This makes adding and removing dice very simple and intuitive for on the fly dice rolls.
While playing Dungeons and Dragons involves a lot of dice rolls, it’s very seldom that the sums of those rolls are determined without the use of modifiers.
The developers of DnDice knew this, because they put in a modifier button on top of your screen. When you first see this, it will appear as a small box with “+0” inside of it. To change that modifier, simply tap that box and another window will pop up that will allow you to scroll through numbers 1 to 99. For example, let’s say your Dungeon Master asks you to roll a dexterity saving throw. Your dexterity saving throw’s modifier is +4. So, you would add a d20 and change the modifier to +4. Then, you just roll and the total sum of what you rolled plus your modifier will be shown in the upper right corner.
The Ten Presets
One of my favorite and the most practical features of this app is the flexible and easily customizable presets. You start off with ten presets available in the free version of the app labeled Preset #1 through Preset #10. You get double if you upgrade to the paid Pro version of the app, which I will talk about later. Then you can customize each preset with great simplicity.
First, add the dice to your board that you want to be on the preset along with any modifiers you may have. Then, you will press and hold the desired preset which will be displayed along the bottom of your screen just above the add and remove buttons. After pressing and holding the desired preset, a small window will pop up with the text “Do you want to save the current dice to this Preset?” You can either press “Ok” or “Cancel”. When you press “Ok”, another window will pop up that allows you to rename the preset if you’d like. Once you hit “Ok” after renaming your preset, that preset will show up as what you named it, and will have saved the dice you added as well as the modifier you selected.
For example, I want one of my presets to be for when I roll initiative.
My initiative modifier is +4. First, I add a d20 to the screen and select the modifier and change it to +4. Then, I press and hold my desired preset (in this case, Preset #1) and select “Ok”. I will then rename the preset from “Preset #1” to “Initiative” and press “Ok”. Now whenever I want to roll for initiative, I just press the box labeled “Initiative” and my d20 will show up along with my modifier of +4. I love this feature so much because of the amount of variety I have when assigning and saving dice rolls.
This app has a good amount of customization options that are available in the preferences window. To open this window, you must tap the button at the bottom right corner of your screen. It will appear as a box with what looks like sliding scales in it. Once you open this window, you will see a large menu of options from customizing the colors and textures of your dice and background to editing your presets and changing the effects and controls of the app. You can change almost everything. You can turn on and off gravity effects, set a live wallpaper as the background, limit your FPS (frames per second) to conserve battery life, select the size of your dice if you have a ton of them to roll, or even give the app a review if you feel so inclined.
I could go on for a very, very long time about all the different options you have when it comes to changing your preferences. Just know, the amount of customization is pretty extensive, even in the free version.
The free version of the app is more than most need to have dice tools for their tabletop gaming experiences. However, you can go a step further and upgrade to the pro version of the app for only $1.49. When you do this, you gain access to ten more presets, custom dice throws using text (i.e. 3d4+1d20+7), popping dice options, auto re-roll options, more success thresholds, and the ability to put your own images on the custom dice (dS1, dS2, and dS3). I myself don’t use the pro version, as the free version gives me all that I need. However, if you would like to be extra fancy, then by all means go for it. This is still cheaper than buying a bag of dice online that has only 18 sets of polyhedral dice and this app gives you as many dice as you want.
My final verdict for this app on a scale of 1 to 5…is a resounding 5!! This app has in depth customization, and is a wonderfully useful tool in my tabletop experience. DnDice is a tool I will be using for all my campaigns in the future, and I will gladly recommend this app for anyone who is looking for free tools. I implore you to check out this app, seriously!!
Thanks again for reading! I hope my thoughts and opinions have been helpful and I hope you will consider getting this app for your gaming experience. Please don’t forget to subscribe to our email list for more reviews, tips, tricks, and articles! Happy gaming everyone!
Author: Ven’Orik (Zach)
I’m just a regular nerd with a passion for storytelling and fantasy. Growing up I read books by Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, and this solidified my love for the genre. I first started playing D&D when I was 13 and have been pursuing it since. I’m just here to share my knowledge and hopefully learn a thing or two from all of you as well!