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"The D30" Topic

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23 Mar 2020 11:17 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian09 Mar 2019 6:31 p.m. PST

Back in the late 90s, the wargaming magazines were excited about "…that wonder of random number generators, the thirty sided dice…"

Why didn't the D30 catch on with miniature wargamers?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 6:43 p.m. PST

Because it's not needed?

21eRegt09 Mar 2019 7:05 p.m. PST

I got one, used it to generate birthdays for D&D characters. Never found another use.

Narratio09 Mar 2019 7:15 p.m. PST

Agreed. Got one as a browsing buy, never did find a use for it.

Stryderg09 Mar 2019 7:33 p.m. PST

The d20 goes up in 5% increments.
The d30 goes up in 3 1/3 % increments, with a little left over.

No one has figured out how to determine if it's a hit or miss with a little left over.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian09 Mar 2019 7:44 p.m. PST

Supposedly it gives game designers more flexibility, right?

Twilight Samurai09 Mar 2019 8:55 p.m. PST

I thought D30's where an Urban Legend, I've never seen one. If you keep adding sides to a dice at what point does it become a ball?

Stryderg09 Mar 2019 9:18 p.m. PST

Twilight Samurai – around a D100.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 9:37 p.m. PST

I have a d30 that I bought a very long time ago. I don't believe that I've ever used it for anything.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 9:41 p.m. PST

Because it wasn't a d60.

Several cultures started with a sexagesimal number system. It's the lowest base that is evenly divisible by one, two, three, four, and five which is fairly useful (also 6, 10, 12, 15, 30, and 60 – other than 10 for 10 fingers, the rest are not as interesting).

A d30 doesn't have evenly divisible groups of four.

Toaster09 Mar 2019 10:42 p.m. PST

I had one but it's gone missing, favorite use for it was save vs pregnancy for players who decided on employing the seduction skill. "Your fertile 7 days a month roll this."


Thresher0110 Mar 2019 4:01 a.m. PST

Very useful for determining the day of the month, if desired – not perfect, but it works for many/most of them, on average.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 5:42 a.m. PST

I use a D30 for working out which figure is hit in my 30 man Zulu units!

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 5:45 a.m. PST

I have both a D30 and D100 (actual 100 sided die). They are novelties- nothing more.

Dynaman878910 Mar 2019 6:45 a.m. PST

I have a d100 and rolled it once. Still rolling to this day.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 8:25 a.m. PST

Well, all the reasons given are good, and boil down to "not especially useful and rolls perhaps too well." But I think really it's the absence of an otherwise very attractive game which requires a D30. Without that, we don't buy, stores don't stock, and designers know requiring one makes their game unplayable. There's a reason GW sticks to D6's.

Personally, I think we've already got one type too many. You can't do anything with a D4 you can't do with a D8, and a D8 actually rolls and can be read easily.

coopman10 Mar 2019 8:41 a.m. PST

The D100 was very close to rolling a golf ball.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 8:56 a.m. PST

You can't do anything with a D4 you can't do with a D8, and a D8 actually rolls and can be read easily.

I have some d8 marked 1-4 black and 1-4 red. I used it to serve as a d4 and d2.

So … d60 = d2, d3, d4, d5, d6, d10, d12, d15, d20, d30, and d60! :)

The D100 was very close to rolling a golf ball.

If that works anything like me putting, the d100 can't go more than 3-5 cm at a time.

Now … where's my d7 and my d23?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 9:11 a.m. PST

etotheipi, it's been obvious for years that we keep dice in bondage. They get even with us by going wrong side up on critical casts, and every time we roll a bunch of dice at least one of them makes a break for it.

Picture a YouTube video of rolling 12 D6's in a game of Lion Rampant. Three of them are cocked, three leap off the table and one of those three tries to hide behind a bookcase. The music is the theme from "The Great Escape."

Winston Smith10 Mar 2019 10:11 a.m. PST

My reaction was "Isn't that cute?"
That's it. Saw no reason for it.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 11:14 a.m. PST

And I forgot the three who hide under terrain features--woods and bridges normally. That's D6's. Roll a dozen D30's, and you'll never catch them all.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 1:09 p.m. PST

Great Scott!

I have at least FOUR of them--in different colors, no less.

AND the D-100 originally produced, if I recall, by Lou Zocchi games.

I also used them for random dates in a month, but now they lay in hard bondage with the couple of hundred other dice I have stored in a pair of Crown Royal bags (subdivided by type in ziplock bags).

Please remember to spell my name "Oh-See-Dee."


Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 6:37 p.m. PST

If you want a d30 result, roll a d20. If you roll a 20, roll it again. On 1-10, add the result to 20 for a result of 21-30. Otherwise, the result is 20. I'm sure that's not the same level of probability, but it's close enough for any reason you might need a 21-30 result. As I never had such a need, I never even looked for a d30, though I knew they existed.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 7:03 p.m. PST

If you want a d20, roll a d3 and a d10. Just like a pair of d10 for percentile.

If you want days in a month, write a little random number program. Otherwise, roll your d100 for leap years, then a d12, then either your d30, d31, d28, or d29. Unless you're rolling on one of the different calendars, then modify as appropriate.

N Drury11 Mar 2019 6:45 a.m. PST

Mine don't get used as often as the D16s or D24s

Oppiedog11 Mar 2019 8:16 a.m. PST

Never used one.

The Last Conformist15 Mar 2019 12:27 p.m. PST

I've got one, but I've never used in a game. If I were playing a game requiring one, I'd probably do as etitheipi says and use a d3 and a d10.

I've seen a couple RPG rules that called for their use, but I haven't played thm.

I have used the 30-sided die in Formula Dé, but that's not a d30 in the sense of a die numbered 1-30.

tkdguy17 Mar 2019 1:45 a.m. PST

If you play MERP or use that game's critical hit and fumble tables for D&D, you'll notice the results go up to 120. So you can use a d4 and a d30 to get the desired results.

Phrodon20 Mar 2019 1:16 p.m. PST

I had one. It was too big and horrible to roll. I think when it came out someone made tables to use the d30. Not sure who (maybe the Armory)?

Sort of a solution looking for a problem.

N Drury21 Mar 2019 8:28 a.m. PST

You can make a type of 'Average' D10 with a blank D30 numbered:


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 10:39 a.m. PST

Or you could roll 3d10 and discard the high and low. Different distribution, but the same concept.

Minimum of two (or three), Maximum of two (or three) and Median of three are good concepts to use "regular" dice to represent useful distributions. Roll 2 (or 3) and choose is also an interesting performance space.

N Drury22 Mar 2019 2:02 a.m. PST

Indeed, a simple and rather under-used mechanism.

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