How to Read a D4 Die Dice of Dragons

In a set of dice commonly found in tabletop gaming, the D4 dice stands out as a unique and somewhat perplexing member. While other dice typically have one clear number on each face, the D4 dice often features three numbers per face, which can be confusing for novice players. Let's delve deeper into the complexity of this distinctive and essential die.

The Structure of the D4 Dice

The D4 dice is a type of polyhedral dice, typically presented as a three-dimensional shape composed of four equilateral triangles, resembling a four-sided pyramid. Each triangular face is marked with three numbers, usually ranging from 1 to 4. 

How to Read

D4 dice, despite having three numbers on each face, come in two distinct types: the old-style and the new-style. Their difference lies in how the numbers are arranged, affecting the method of reading the dice. Specifically:

New-style D4 dice:

Most these days RPG dice are manufactured in this style. In new-style D4 dice, the numbers are typically placed at the vertices of each triangular face. Therefore, when the dice comes to a stop, players need only read the number at the top vertex.

Old-style D4 dice:

In contrast, old-style D4 dice often have numbers arranged along the edges of each triangular face. After rolling, players must identify the number located at the bottom edge.

In summary, the method of reading D4 dice depends on the arrangement of the numbers. However, there's a simple trick applicable to both styles: after the dice  stop, read the horizontally positioned numbers and ignore the slanted ones.This can help players more easily understand the outcome of their roll.

Are D4 Dice Fair

D4 dice are considered fair, with each face having an equal chance of appearing and the numbers evenly distributed. However, they may be influenced by various factors that affect their fairness. Poor manufacturing quality, wear and tear from prolonged use, improper rolling techniques, and uneven rolling surfaces can all impact the randomness of the results. Therefore, it's important to purchase high-quality dice from reputable sellers and maintain them properly to ensure the fairness of the game.

Other Styles of D4 Dice

In addition to the more common styles of D4 dice mentioned above, there are many non-mainstream varieties that are equally fascinating and creative. These dice feature a single number on each of their four faces, ranging from 1 to 4. Their method of interpretation is akin to that of D20 dice, making them very beginner-friendly. I believe that using these D4 dice will certainly captivate tabletop gaming enthusiasts.

How to use other dice instead of D4 dice

Using other types of dice to substitute for a D4 is relatively straightforward. Here are common methods:

  1. Using a D6: One of the simplest substitutes is to use a standard six-sided die (D6). When you roll the die, if the result is 1 to 4, take that as the result. If it's 5 to 6, roll again until you get a result between 1 and 4.

  2. Using a D8: Alternatively, you can use an eight-sided die (D8). When rolling a D4, simply divide the result of the D8 by 2 and round up to the nearest whole number. For example, if you roll an 8 on a D8, dividing by 2 gives you 4, so the result is 4;If you roll a D8 and get a 5, divide 5 by 2 and round up gives you 3, so the result of the roll is 3.

  3. Using a D10: A ten-sided die (D10) can also be used. After rolling the D10, divide the result by 2 and round up to the nearest whole number. For instance, if you roll a 7 on a D10, dividing by 2 and rounding up gives you 4, so the result is 4.If you roll to 9 or 0, roll again. The number can only be calculated from 1 to 8.

  4. Using a D12: Finally, a twelve-sided die (D12) can serve as a substitute. Divide the result of the D12 by 3 and round up to the nearest whole number to determine the outcome. For example, if you roll a 9 on a D12, dividing by 3 and rounding up gives you 3, so the result is 3;if you roll a 2 on a D12, dividing by 3 and rounding up gives you 1, so the result is 1.

These methods provide effective substitutes for a D4. Simply choose the method that works best for your game and available dice.


In conclusion, mastering the D4 dice is an indispensable skill for any tabletop gaming enthusiast. By understanding its structure, learning how to read it accurately, players can enhance their gaming skills and immerse themselves in captivating gaming experiences. 

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