D&D 5E Dice: What Are They Used For? (A Poll)

At my table, I prefer to roll for:

  • Ability score generation (3d6 method)

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Ability score generation (4d6 method)

    Votes: 20 57.1%
  • Ability score generation (another method)

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Adventure framing (see DMG, pg 79-82)

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • Character's background traits

    Votes: 5 14.3%
  • Character's description (height, weight, starting age)

    Votes: 8 22.9%
  • Chases

    Votes: 21 60.0%
  • Downtime

    Votes: 17 48.6%
  • Downtime complications

    Votes: 18 51.4%
  • Hit points recovered over a Short Rest

    Votes: 28 80.0%
  • Hit points at 1st level

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Hit points at every level-up

    Votes: 16 45.7%
  • Injuries

    Votes: 10 28.6%
  • Madness

    Votes: 7 20.0%
  • Monster hit points (instead of using the number in parenthesis)

    Votes: 11 31.4%
  • Monster damage (instead of using the number in parenthesis)

    Votes: 27 77.1%
  • NPC generation (appearance, abilities, talents, etc.)

    Votes: 9 25.7%
  • Planar traits and effects (astral pool colors, ethereal curtains, etc.)

    Votes: 6 17.1%
  • Random dungeons

    Votes: 10 28.6%
  • Random encounters

    Votes: 25 71.4%
  • Random magic items (Tables A-I, for example)

    Votes: 21 60.0%
  • Random settlements

    Votes: 8 22.9%
  • Random treasure hoards

    Votes: 17 48.6%
  • Random weather

    Votes: 21 60.0%
  • Starting gold/wealth

    Votes: 10 28.6%
  • I have an unconventional way of handling something specific, see below.

    Votes: 6 17.1%
  • I use a diceless system, so there is no "rolling" for anything.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
When you're playing D&D, dice can be used as often (or as seldom) as you wish. The way you use dice, or don't use them, can say a lot about the kind of playstyle you enjoy and the type of game you run. As a player, do you prefer to roll for your starting ability scores, or would you prefer to pick them a la carte? As a DM, do you randomly place treasures in your dungeons, or do you pick treasures from the appropriate list?

The poll assumes that you are already rolling for things like attack rolls, ability checks, and save throws...there's no need to check those boxes (if that assumption doesn't quite apply to you, scroll to the bottom of the list.) But what about all the other fiddly bits? Check all that apply, and add any nuance in a comment.
 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
As a DM, I'm one of the (probably) rare birds that use random monster hit points. Roll20 makes this really easy (automatic, even) with the proper API scripts installed: I drag the monster onto the screen, and it randomly rolls its hit points for me. Same thing for all damage rolls.

We don't roll for healing potions, either. Instead, all healing potions automatically heal the maximum amount possible, and they cost 50% more.

And as a player, I prefer to roll my ability scores and hit points at every level-up, because I think random numbers are more interesting than fixed ones. But weirdly, I prefer to "take average" when I'm spending Hit Dice over a short rest because it's less swingy...but my DM disagrees.
 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Also, props to whoever is using the tables for Injury and Madness!
I've always wanted to use those, but couldn't get player buy-in. How's it working out for you, whoever you are?
 

ichabod

Legned
You left out "hoarding," "bragging about," and "just looking at."

Edit: I should add that I have two favorite dice when DMing that I use a fair bit. A d8 with eight compass points for random scatter and positioning, and a yes/no die I have for answering questions I have no good answer to.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
You left out "hoarding," "bragging about," and "just looking at."

Edit: I should add that I have two favorite dice when DMing that I use a fair bit. A d8 with eight compass points for random scatter and positioning, and a yes/no die I have for answering questions I have no good answer to.
Fair point....dice are pretty, and I love to collect them.

I will never have enough clicky math-rocks.
 

Oofta

Legend
Dice are used to be a more neutral arbiter for uncertain outcomes. Most of the time I don't want to roll anything related to a PC I'm making, I'd rather just come up with a concept and story and then figure out how to implement that with the confines of the game. I also don't want my big buff fighter I had envisioned forced to be the guy who stands in the back with the wizard because I rolled poorly on my hit points. That goes back ... well forever. Long before the idea of using point buy or average HP at level.

On the other hand chases should be dynamic and unpredictable so I want that to be randomized. For other things like NPCs it's more of a "it depends" answer. Sometimes I'll randomize (or use an online randomizer) as a though starter, other times I know what I want. I don't do random encounters, although I sometimes ask for group stealth rolls in dangerous areas.

So other than character generation, it varies. Chases aren't really much different than combat for me, I usually have an idea of what I want for a lot of things but if I'm stuck I'll roll the bones for inspiration.
 




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