How to read a D4

Two different types of D4 dice

While the d4 may seem straightforward, there are two main types of d4 dice, and understanding how to read them might not be as intuitive as it seems.

Fear not, as we'll walk you the various styles of d4 dice. Mastering the art of reading and rolling a d4 is a fundamental skill for any player. Let's dive into the intricacies of this unique and essential polyhedral die.

What is a D4?

The D4 is a four-sided die, also known as a pyramid dice or tetrahedron. It bears four numbered faces, ranging from 1 to 4. There exist two main types of D4 dice, each with its own quirks.

Pyramid d4 dice

This seemingly simple die, crucial in many tabletop adventures, often confuses beginners.

How to read a D4

There are two styles of D4 that you might get with a DND dice set: one where the number is read along the bottom face, and one where the number is read at the top of the face. These are called ‘bottom read dice’ and ‘top read dice’.

Bottom read D4

A ‘bottom read D4’ is nice and easy to read. Simply look at the number at the bottom of the die, and that’s what you’ve rolled.

How to read bottom read d4 dice

In our example above, you’ve rolled a 4, the best possible outcome!

Top read D4

‘Top read D4’ are the reason why there’s so much confusion. Traditionally, D4 dice were solely read at the bottom, until manufacturers began experimenting with different styles and thus, created the ‘top read d4’.

To read this type of D4, take a look at the topmost number, and that’s what you’ve rolled.

How to read top read d4 dice

Again, in this example we’ve rolled a 4.

What is the proper d4 dice rolling technique?

To roll a d4, it's best to take it in your hand, give it a good shake, and then either drop it or gently toss it within the confines of a dice arena. This technique ensures a fair and unpredictable outcome for your rolls.

Some TTRPG players, opt for an alternative approach. This involves rolling a d8 and dividing the result by 2, rounding up. For example: rolling a 5 on a d8 would be considered a 3 on a d4.

Some players prefer this method as it allows for more visible rolling action, and they believe it adds an extra layer of randomness. It's worth noting that, when using the proper technique, rolling a d4 should also yield fair and unbiased results.

Are D4 dice fair?

Yes, a D4 die is fair. Its design as a tetrahedron ensures that each face is of equal size, resulting in an unbiased roll. With four possible outcomes, you have an equal 25% chance of rolling each.

It's worth noting, however, that ensuring fairness also involves purchasing quality dice from reputable retailers. Poorly manufactured dice may compromise balance and affect the randomness of the rolls. When building your collection, choosing a reliable source is one of the main things to think about when buying D&D dice.

What do you roll a D4 for?

In Dungeons and Dragons, you roll a d4 to determine the damage dealt by small weapons and certain spells. As the smallest die among the seven used in D&D, the d4 has a specific role in calculating damage outcomes.

For a comprehensive understanding, check out our guide that delves into the dice used in D&D and how they work.

What size are D4 dice?

Our d4 dice come in various sizes, ranging from 16mm to 27mm. In our dice size comparison guide, we found that the average size of a traditional pyramid-style d4 is 18mm from bottom to top.

Are there alternatives to pyramid D4 dice?

Some other styles of d4 exist, for instance in many of our sharp edge resin dice sets, such as the pyramid style with rounded corners, and the elongated long style with four slim triangular faces.

Alternative style of d4 dice

Above: a quirky D4 from our Rolling Dragon Eyeball dice set.

Dice to help guide your adventures

Now you're well-versed in the art of rolling and reading d4 dice, go forth on your adventures with confidence! Make sure you know how to roll and read a d100 as this too is deceptively tricky.

As you embark on your tabletop journey, consider enhancing it with our range of D&D dice sets, including our exquisite metal dice sets. Whether you're a seasoned adventurer or a newcomer, there's something special waiting for you.

Best of luck on your adventures, and may your rolls be ever in your favour!

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