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Monday, 27 March 2017

Cthulhu Dice Go Metal

For as long as there has been gaming, there has dice and every gamer has a set that he loves, loathes, and places the fate of his characters upon. A gamer’s dice can be as simple or as sophisticated as he wants, whether that is a set of dice that he can use with any roleplaying game or a set of dice particular to a specific roleplaying game, for example, the dice for Cubicle Seven Entertainment’s The One Ring RPG or any one of the Star Wars RPGs published by Fantasy Flight Games, such Star Wars: Edge of Empire, because their mechanics and their dice warrant it. Of course, this does not stop publishers and manufacturers creating and publishing dice for specific games which are themed around said games rather than mechanics. Chaosium, Inc. is one such publisher, working with Q-Workshop to create several dice sets for Call of Cthulhu, including for Call of Cthulhu, Seven Edition. The very latest dice set for Call Cthulhu from Q-Workshop makes the dice go heavy metal.

The Call of Cthulhu Metal Dice Set is a complete set of polyhedral dice—one four-sided, one six-sided, one eight-sided, one twelve-sided, and one twenty-sided die, plus one ordinary ten-sided die and one ten-sided die marked in tens so that percentiles can be rolled. Altogether, the complete set weighs just under six ounces. Each die is roughly two thirds of an inch high and is sculpted with a tentacular theme along the edges with the corners on some dice ending in toothy, gaping, sphincter-like  maws. The faces are etched and inked in black so that the numbers stand out. Bar the four-sided die, the highest face on each die has been replaced with an Elder Sign—star not tree!

In practice, each of the dice in the Call of Cthulhu Metal Dice Set is a hefty gaming accessory. They feel sturdy in the hand and they do roll with solid thunk upon hitting the table. The fact that they do land with said solid thunk is a possible issue with these dice. They are not dice that you want to roll on a glass surface or any one that would be damaged or scratched. A tough plastic surface, a table cloth, or a dice tray is recommended if you want to roll these dice in anger. The other issue is one of legibility. The numbers on the twenty-sided die are small, especially in comparison to the numbers and faces of the six, eight, and twelve-sided dice. This makes them hard to read—the Elder Sign in particular—under low light conditions. So a good strong light is equally as recommended, though good strong light is not always inducive to the atmosphere of a horror roleplaying game like Call of Cthulhu. Though, that said, the twenty-sided die is relatively little used in Call of Cthulhu.

Ultimately as beautiful as the dice are in the Call of Cthulhu Metal Dice Set and as much as a presence as they can have on the gaming table, they are not absolutely necessary to your play of Call of Cthulhu—or other roleplaying game of choice (mine is currently King Arthur Pendragon, published by Nocturnal Media), but they work well for either. Except of course where you roll double Elder Sign on the percentile dice; that is very Call of Cthulhu! The Call of Cthulhu Metal Dice Set is a very nice set and if you like nice dice and you like Call of Cthulhu, then the Call of Cthulhu Metal Dice Set is a fetching accessory.