I make dice...

I've decided to make a whole subsection of my website dedicated to various dice that I make. Most of these things are rather whimsical, and a person probably has to struggle to invent a real use for them. But some people, like myself, just like dice, and it's rather fun to have some that most other people don't have. If you see any that you like, most can be bought from me. I occasionally make custom dice for people too, but you should read this webapge beofre you send me any emails about custom requests.

Currently I am engraving 4-, 6-, and 12-sided dice, but eventually will expand to other shapes. Initially all of my 6-sided dice were 5/8" (16mm), but I have also begun engraving 6-sided dice that are 1". Pretty much any of the 6-sided dice that you see below may be created at this "jumbo" size (though they are more expensive). These larger dice are only available in red, blue, and green colors. Here is a comparison of sizes -- using my Trigonometry Dice -- 5/8" vs. 1"... plus a quarter coin shown for scale.

I engrave new designs whenever I think of something (halfway) clever, so please bookmark the webpage and check back often. Oh, I also engrave geeky pencils.

Go First Dice
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About My Dice




4-Sided Dice

4-sided dice are always a bit awkward to roll and read results from. My preference for most d4 designs is to put the result at the upper point of the die rather than along the lower edge. See the Card Suits Die as an example.

Card Suits Die

Pretty straightforward, four suits, four sides. Inked with both red and black. Here you'll note the design style I like to use for 4-sided dice. The result (in this picture a Spade) is the icon which dominates the upper point of the tetrahedron. The alternate style is to put the result along the lower edge (closest to the table), but I find the former usually affords more room for artwork.
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Elemental Die

Another colorful 4-sided. This one is an "elemental die" showing icons for the four basic elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. There are, traditionally, alchemic symbols for these elements, but they are all based on equilateral triangles and can be a little difficult to keep straight. I decided to just use some custom shapes for the elements and color them appropriately.

  • FIRE: Red flame icon
  • WATER: Blue water droplet
  • EARTH: Green octagon
  • AIR: White diamond (black outline)
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    DNA/Nucleotides Die

    Here's a die I never would have thought about on my own, but someone requested them, so I made them. So, if anyone else wants 4-sided dice that depict the A, C, G, and T nucleotides of the DNA structure, you know where to find them.
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    6-Sided Dice

    Unless otherwise noted, the 6-sided dice are 5/8" (16mm) cubes.

    1s and 2s

    Somebody wanted a "two-sided die" that was simply a six-sided with three 1s and three 2s. So I made him some. And, of course, I made extra.
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    2 Pip

    This is probably the most unusual die that I've designed. Standard six-sided casino dice have their 21 pips (dots) arranged in particular ways. Imagine you have a "Bicycle" die that you've used so many times that the pips have started to wear off. What is the greatest number of dots that can be removed from a die and it still be determinable what is rolled?

    Turns out you can go all the way down to two pips. The spartan design is pictured at right. Here is how you can deduce what is rolled:

    • If the 'center-side' pip is face up, then a "6" was rolled, because that is the only number with a dot in that position.
    • If the center-side pip is not visible anywhere on the die, then it must be face-down. Meaning you rolled a "1".
    • Otherwise, the center-side is on one of the four side faces. In this case, look for the 'center-center' pip (which, given its position relative to the center-side pip, must be the "5" face). If that center-center dot is face-up, you've rolled a "5". If it is not visible, you've rolled a "2". If it is also on one of the side faces, then you need to know that the 4-5-6 values are placed counterclockwise about their shared vertex (on Bicycle Dice); with that knowledge you can determine whether a "3" or "4" is face up.
    The above makes a couple of assumptions. First, it assumes you know that this is a 2-pip die (with its particular pip arrangement), and second that you can move yourself to see all non-face-down sides of the dice once rolled.

    Also note that the center-center "5" pip could be moved to two of the corners and still work (but not the other two corners).

    Got all that?
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    Alignment Dice

    Another set of dice that harkens back to my childhood Dungeons & Dragons playing. A pair of dice that may be used to randomly determine the "alignment" of a character. The green die is labeled with LAWFUL, NEUTRAL, and GOOD, while the blue die reads GOOD, NEUTRAL, and EVIL. Rolling both gives equal chances for each of the nine possible alignment combinations.
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    Archaic Number Words Dice

    Most people are familiar with the words "ace" and "deuce" from a deck of cards, but what many do not realize is that those terms were actually first applied to the number of pips on the face of dice. Furthermore, beyond "ace" and "deuce", the numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6 also have words associated with them: "trey" (which some still use in card-playing), and the rarer "cater", "cinque", and "sice".

    "Ace" was derived from the Latin word for "unit" while the other five terms are distortions of the French words of the same numbers. More information may be found at the Wikipedia page about dice.

    Anyway, I decided the archaic terms would look nice on dice...

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    Binary Dice

    For anyone who loves the joke, "There are 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary, and those who don't." This die has the numbers 1-6 represented as binary strings (1, 10, 11, 100, 101, 110).
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    Book Genre Dice

    A customer was inspired by my Coffee Dice and asked me to create a die with different book genres on each face (the die is for a librarian she knows). The faces were adorned with the following words and icons: Adventure (globe), Mystery (question mark), Fantasy (sword), Science Fiction (alien head), Romance (heart), Biography (open book).
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    Brick Dice

    I'm betting there's a fairly large overlap between LEGO-geeks and game-playing-geeks. For that audience I present these "brick dice". Instead of digits 1-6 on the faces, I have building block representations with one to six "studs" showing. The "5" side was tricky since there is not a standard 1x5 brick, so I depicted a 1x2 plate with a 3-stud L-brick next to it (the other digits are represented by a 1x1, 1x2, 1x3, 2x2, and 2x3 brick). These come in a set of 5 colored dice as shown.

    Note that these are in no way "official" products of the LEGO company (or any other construction toy company), these are products of me, Eric Harshbarger.
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    Cheater-6 Dice

    This die might look like a standard six-sided with pips, but that is somewhat the point. Instead of a "1" on the face opposite the visible "6" in the picture, there's another "6". In other words, it's a die with two 6s (on opposite faces). I'm not responsible for players getting knifed or shot because they are using a "Cheater's Die" in some game of craps or Axis and Allies.
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    Chess Dice

    Six different chess pieces, six sides on a die. This one was a no-brainer. I'm not sure how often people think to themselves, "gee, I wish this game of chess had more chance in it." But if someone does think that, I have the dice for them.

    After a specific request, I also engraved a couple of d8 with numbers (1-8) and letters (a-h) on them so that the buyer could, evidently, randomize the positions of the pieces on the board as well (using standard algebraic notation of the chessboard).
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    Coffee Shop Dice

    This is a pair of dice I made for a local coffeeshop/bakery where I hang out way to often (often bringing puzzles for other patrons to play-test). Too often I'd hear the barista ask a customer, "what would you like?" and the response was, "ooohh... I don't know..."

    As a joke these dice are meant to answer their indecision. The white die has different drink types (Coffee, Tea, Chai, Latte, Bottled, and Frozen) while the yellow die has various dessert choices (Cake, Cookie, Cinnamon Roll, Muffin, Pie, and Cupcake).

    I don't know how often people follow the results of the rolls, but they do get a kick out of rolling them.
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    Crown And Anchor Dice

    One fun consequence of making all of these dice is that I learn about dice games which had previously been unknown to me. Case in point: "Crown And Anchor", a betting game that is traditionally played by sailors in the British Royal Navy. There is a "betting board" or mat that is usually used in play as well, but I am just interested in the dice. They are six-sided, but instead of numbers there are three red faces (Heart, Diamond, Crown) and three black faces (Spade, Club, and Anchor).

    A game of Crown And Anchor requires a set of three dice to play, so that is what I have pictured here.
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    Decision Dice

    These dice were originally designed for a friend of mine who requested a die to help her make decisions. I made two version, each with different responses, some negative so affirmative. Therefore, you can roll both (to get two differing opinions). For a more quantified answer I also included a number of plus or minus signs under the expressions (to indicate the relative severity of the response). So, you can roll both dice and see if the combined result is over all more positive or negative.

    Of course, I would not advise using these to dictate important decisions in your life; they are for entertainment purposes only.
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    Emoticon Dice

    I have no idea how this could be useful, but I just liked the idea of covering the six square sides of a die with perfectly round emoticons. The interior of the die is made of white resin which did not contrast very well with the bright yellow surface after engraving, so I inked the etched faces by hand with a fine-point black Sharpie marker.

    Maybe if you are confused as to how you should react to some particular bit of news, you could roll this die and let Lady Luck decide for you. Here are the moods you might roll.
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    Evens/Odds Dice

    I'm not sure what the purpose of these dice are, but somebody requested one, so I now have the design on file and can make more. The die has the word "Evens" on three of the sides, and "Odds" on the other three.
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    G4G9 Dice

    These custom dice will be my "exchange gift" at the upcoming "Gathering 4 Gardner 9" (a congregation of puzzlers, mathematicians, magicians, and other people in honor of the writer Martin Gardner). As this gathering is often abbreviated "G4G9", I decided to make dice that have the numbers 1-6 represented by math expressions that use exactly four 9s on each side...
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    MATHd6

    I grew up playing tabletop role-playing games, including 1st edition AD&D (I still have all of my old modules and DRAGON magazines). I don't play anymore, but if I ever needed to roll up stats for a new character, I have created the ultimate geek-dice for just such a task: math-dice. Instead of dice with numbers one though six on them, I've designed three six-sided dice (blue, green, and red) with various mathematical expressions on them which equal the numbers 1-6.

    These are not your friendly, school-supply-store-dice to teach adding and subtracting. Screw that. If you want to know what number you've rolled, you better be fluent in calculus, matrix theory, probability, trigonometry, and modulo arithmetic. If you're lucky a die might land face up with "1+4" on it, or maybe just a square or cubic root. To the right is a picture of the dice, and here is a PDF file showing the expressions used on all of the faces. And yes, opposite faces add up to the fifth root of 16807.

    So, if your Dungeon Master can't calculate an infinite series or trignometric functions, I guess he'll just have to take your word on how high that Agility Score really is.


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    Math Constants Dice

    Math geekiness and dice just seem to go well together. This die gathers up a mathematician's favorite constants (yes, there are favorites), and puts them all on one six-sided. Euler would be proud. You'll find (0, 1, Pi, Phi, i, and e).
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    Math Sets Dice

    More math geekiness! Let's not limit ourselves to finite rolls; now you can randomly generate the Natural Numbers (N), Integers (Z), Rationals (Q), Reals (R), Complex Numbers (C), or crap out with the Null Set.
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    Number Words Dice

    A magician from the United Kingdon asked me to make these dice for him. Really. And if there's one thing I've learned after years of making dice: you don't ever quarrel with a magician from the UK. These dice simply have the words "ONE", "TWO", "THREE", "FOUR", "FIVE", and "SIX" on the faces.


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    NYC Cuisine Dice

    A resident of New York City evidently needed some help at deciding what she would be eating for supper every night. Thus she requested these dice from me. They are blue, jumbo-sized (1") and have the following text on the faces:
    Die 1:  West Village, Chelsea, EV/Nolita, LES, Soho, Roller's Choice
    
    Die 2: Italian, Roller's Choice, Sushi, Mexican, Asian, Ethnic
    


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    Periodic Table Dice

    Here's a set of 20d6 I designed around the Period Table of Elements. I included elements from Hydrogen to Ununoctium. I tried to assign many similar elements to the same die (e.g. all the Noble Gases are on a single die), but I had to be somewhat lax as they don't break down into nice groups of six. I just randomly used red, blue, and green cubes for the dice colors in this picture.

    Each face (at 500 dpi engraving) lists the element Name, Atomic Number, Symbol, and Atomic Weight.

    There are 118 elements (with the latest, Flerovium and Livermorium included!), so I put my name and an "atom" icon on the two extra faces.
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    Pets Dice

    The perfect gift for the friend who always seems to be acquiring more animal companions. In case they ae ever at a loss for what type of pet they should get next, this die will come in handy. The jumbo (1") sized cube is engraved with six different silhouettes: Cat, Dog, Bird, Mouse/Rodent, Fish, and Snake/Reptile. I'm afraid there was not room for Bunnies, Ferrets, Hedgehogs, or Spiders...
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    Polyhedra Die

    You probably thought I meant "polyhedral die", didn't you? No, this is a polyhedra die: a die with polyhedra on its faces; namely, the six most common polyhedral solids used as dice in games. Got that? In other words, its a six-sided die whose faces depict 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, 12-, and 20-sided shapes.
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    Powers Of Ten

    Math-themed dice are some of my most popular designs, and so I'm always pleased to cook up a new type. Here is a pair of dice that exhibits "powers of ten" (orders of magnitude).

    The blue die has 10 raised to the powers: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; and includes the number words: "One", "Ten", "Hundred", "Thousand", "Ten Thousand", and "Hundred Thousand".

    The green die uses exponents of ten: 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21; and names the numbers according to Short Scale nomenclature: "Million", "Billion", "Trillion", Quadrillion", "Qunitillion", and "Sextillion".


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    RGB Dice

    For all of the HTML/Web designers out there, here is a set of three six-sided dice that, when rolled, will generate one of the 216 "web safe" colors. I will engrave them on red, green, blue dice.
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    Rock, Paper, Scissors Die

    Let's take a simple game and convert all of its arbitrary decisions to random ones! Making "Rock, Paper, Scissors" even less strategic, if possible, I offer you an RPS-Die. Each "choice" appears twice on opposite faces of the six-sided die.
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    Roll Again

    A big thanks to puzzle/game friend James Stephens for suggesting this die. I think the picture explains it all. Nothing like a little dice-humor among nerds.
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    Sicherman Dice (Pips)

    Sicherman Dice are a special pair of six-sided dice first discovered by George Sicherman of Buffalo, New York. The pair of dice have the numbers [1,2,2,3,3,4] and [1,3,4,5,6,8] on them, and while that is obviously different that the typical [1,2,3,4,5,6] numbering of a die, the pair, when rolled together have the same probability distribution for the sum as two normal dice rolled together.

    For example, if you roll two typical six-sided dice and add them together, you have a 1 in 36 chance of the sum being "2", a 2 in 36 chance the sum is "3", and so on; with the chance of summing to "7" being the greatest at 6 in 36.

    The Sicherman Dice match those chances exactly, and they are the only such pair using only positive integers that will match that distribution of the typical dice.

    I have gotten many requests for Sicherman Dice over the years, and I've finally gotten around to making some with pips (instead of numbers).

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    Six Senses Die

    Here's another design that is kind of begging to have someone make a clever board/party game around it: a "senses" die. Of course, there are traditionally only five senses of the human body (Sight, Hearing, Touch, Taste, and Smell), but that would have left one side blank. So, I included a brain for a sixth "ESP" sense. Each sense is represented by an appropriate icon (Eye, Ear, Hand, Mouth/Tongue, Nose, and Brain).


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    Stats Dice

    Another throwback to my days of 1st edition Dungeons and Dragons role-playing. Here is a simple die that lists the six basic statistics of a player character: STRENGTH, INTELLIGENCE, DEXTERITY, WISDOM, CONSTITUTION, and CHARISMA. I'm not sure why you would need this die, but it's good to know it's there.
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    Trigonometry Dice

    More math-related dice! I can't believe I didn't think of this set earlier. There are six major Trigonometric Functions, so why not put each on the face of a die. And while I'm at it, I'll create another die with major increments of degrees (0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 90°, and 180°), and finally, a die with equivalent angles in radians measure. After rolling these things a few hundred times there's no way you won't know the Law of Sines, Law of Cosines, and who knows what else...


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    Weather Die

    Need to determine what type of weather awaits the fearless party of adventurers? Sure you do! Thunderstorms may accompany that encounter with the band of goblins and orcs. Snow might fall as they are obliterated by that white dragon.
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    12-Sided Dice

    Astronomy Dice

    The major bodies of our solar system represented symbolically on a 12-sided. The Sun, Moon, and nine planets (yes, I'm still incluing Pluto), and a Comet to round out the set.
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    "Go First" Dice

    Here is the Board Game Geek entry for Go First Dice (if you have bought a set of these dice and are a member of BGG, I encourage you to review/rate them on that website).

    This is a very interesting set of dice, usable with any boardgame in which you need to figure who goes first. The concept of these dice was first suggested by my game-designing friend, James Ernest, of Cheapass Games notoriety. I studied the idea for a while, but it was then another friend of mine, Robert Ford (a mathematician), who devised this specific configuration of numbers on four twelve-sided dice.

    So, what is special about them? Well, imagine that you want to play a game with 2-4 players, and you need to randomly determine who goes first. If you each simply roll a standard die, there is a good chance there will be ties; you'd have to re-roll... and no one wants that. These dice solve that problem.

    The carefully arranged numbers 1-48 on the four d12s guarantee the following properties when used to see who will go first (each player will take one of the dice and they will roll against one another):

    1. First, there will never be a tie.
    2. Second, and here was the tricky part in designing the dice, regardless of what subset of dice are rolled against one another, each player will always have an equal chance of rolling the high number (and thus being the "starting player"). Put another way, two, three, or four players may each take one of the dice, roll it, and each will always have a 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4 chance, respectively, of having the highest result.
    3. Finally, not only can the set (or any subset) be used to determine First Player, but the rolled numbers may also be used to determine all starting positions (the 2nd highest number can be the Second Player, the 3rd highest the Third Player...) The chances of all permutations of any given subset of dice are equal, so there would never be the chance of a particular subset favoring some ordering of the players. For those readers who would like to see a complete "fairness report" of the dice, here is a very large text file showing a complete analysis of all possible outcomes of all subsets of the GoFirst Dice.
    Bravo, again, to Dr. Ford who came up with this configuration by hand (which I then checked the validity of with a computer program).

    GoFirst dice are available for $15 (plus shipping) for a set of four. They are ivory color and consistently inked in the following way: Black 1-die, Red 2-die, Green 3-die, and Blue 4-die.


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    Months Die

    Twelve months, twelve sides on a dodecahedron... simple enough. I guess this could be handy if you need to randomly determine the birth date of your dungeon crawling character (use it with a d30, and it almost works perfectly!).

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    Musical Die

    A twelve-sided die with a variety of musical notes and rests. maybe useful if you want to generate some random musical compositions? Or at any other time you just can't decide whether a minim, quaver, or semiquaver is most appropriate.

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    Musical Scales Dice

    A music teacher in New York asked me to create some "musical scales dice" so that she could randomly determine what scales the students would have to play (her students complained that she always picked the hard ones when she chooses arbitrarily).

    Anyway, I'm surprised I had not thought of making such dice earlier. There are two styles, a "flat" and a "sharp" one...

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    Pentominoes Die

    I've always been fascinated with the geometric shapes called Pentominoes (the twelve shapes you get by joining five squares edge-to-edge). They make for a great puzzle, and since there are exactly a dozen of them (if you ignore reflected symmetries), I thought they'd look great on a 12-sided die. Maybe someone out there can combine the puzzle with this die and make a killer game...

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    Twelve Days Of Christmas

    This was a set of dice I had wanted to do for a long time, but I was never sure if I could make detailed enough artwork. Well, I finally got around to creating some images, and yes, the designs came out fantastic. I'm not exactly sure why you need a twelve-sided die with "... 8 maids-a-milking, 7 swans-a-swimming, 6 geese-a-laying..." and so forth; but if you do, I've got one for you.

    The detail on these is nearly as intricate as that of my (no longer available) Wonderland Dice. Click on the picture to the right to get a much larger view.

    If you are not familiar with the traditional "Twelve Days Of Christmas" song, you may read more about it here.

    I must note that most of the designs for the images I used were inspired by artwork originally done by Xavier Romero-Frias. You may find his work on Wikipedia where it is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. This license allows copying and adaptation as long as credit is given to the original source and the derivative work is also released under the same or similar license. As such, if my designs on the dice inspire you to create something of your own, you may do so (if you likewise abide by the license).

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    Zodiac Die

    Zodiac dice are certainly not brand new, but how could I resist put another set of 12 related symbols on another dodecahedron.
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    Buying These Dice

    Most of the dice on this page I'm happy to sell if you think they are so cool you just have to own them. I make them "on-demand" as people request them and mail them by USPS. The cost for most of them depends on two factors: 1) the number of sides, 2) whether they are inked or not. Here are guidelines (but email me for a final total):

      Red/Blue/Green
    (white lettering)
    White/Ivory/Yellow*
    (black inking)
    Colors usually available**
    4-sided N/A $3 Ivory
    6-sided $2 $3 Red, Blue, Green, White, Yellow, Ivory
    6-sided,
    Jumbo (1")
    $5 N/A Red, Blue, Green
    12-sided N/A $4 Ivory
    Shipping/Handling: add $5 per order for shipping within the United States. Shipping is free in the U.S. for orders totaling $50 or more. For shipping costs beyond the U.S., email me.
    * These colors are more because I ink the lighter colored dice (White, Yellow, Ivory) with black ink so that they are more readable (otherwise the white interior-material would not provide enough contrast). If you don't care about that, or plan to ink them yourself, you can save a little money.
    ** I do not engrave or make black dice.

    I might also be talked into designing wholly custom dice, but that would be much more expensive if I have to create new art files and so forth. If you ae looking for custom dice, you should read my custom dice guidelines before you email me.

    If anything on this page interests you, email me with the specifics of what you would like (and please include a note about how you heard about my dice). I accept payments by either Paypal or Bitcoin (I will give a 5% discount to any purchased made with Bitcoin). Upon request I can provide appropriate addresses for either payment type.

    I'll finish this webpage with a dice/gaming related palindrome:

    "No, wise Mage, nine dice (d6) decide nine games I won."
    
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