Since the pandemic, more and more tabletop role-playing games have been happening online. This has fueled a huge surge in apps to help mediate the online experience - from Virtual TableTops (i.e. VTTs) to character sheet apps, encounter builders, and world builders. In this article we will be focusing on dice rollers.
Why use a dice roller?
Rolling dice is core to the tabletop role-playing experience, and sharing the suspense and uncertainty they create is second only to the socially interactive nature of the game.
There are a plethora of dice rolling apps that showcase a vast array of features for many different platforms. In order to make this list manageable, we feature dice rollers that meet the three requirements below:
1) Cross Platform: Users should be able to roll on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
2) Online: Dice rolls should be shared with your party in a live multiplayer setting.
3) 3D: Dice rolls should look good and resemble physical dice.
The newest offering on this list is dddice, having only been released in February of 2022. Despite still being in alpha, it has a full feature set and many 3D dice themes.
This app follows the philosophy of "do one thing and do it well", so if you want a more feature-rich experience for your tabletop gaming sessions, then one of the other apps might be for you. Their roadmap does list VTT integrations but they aren't a reality yet.
- Many 3D dice themes
- No signup required, start rolling in seconds
- Support for Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, World of Darkness, Fate, and Call of Cthulhu
- Customize 3D dice via an easy-to-use editor or more robust API
- Share custom dice with your friends
- Streamer support
- Support for third-party apps via API and SDK
- New to the scene, not much publicity
- No integrations with VTTs (yet)
- Documentation to create own themes is lacking
D&D Beyond is great tool you are playing D&D. If you play online then chances are you may already use this, but to those just starting their online RPG experience, this is worth checking out.
The dice offering of D&D Beyond is not as robust. The biggest con here is only the user rolling the dice sees the actual 3D dice roll, the party just gets the final number in a pop up. It's a shame too, because some of the dice sets are really beautiful and some are only available via pre-orders. Sure, having rare dice is cool, but rolling them in front of your friends is cooler.
- You probably already use D&D Beyond for your character sheets
- Beautifully animated 3D dice
- Party members only see results, not the animated dice
- Limited, but growing die selection (additional themes are $6+)
- No dice outside the standard set used for D&D
- No customization of the dice
Roll20 is a full fledged, super popular VTT. It does have 3D dice, but unfortunately it's offering is the slimmest of all on this list. There is one theme, and the color is matched your player color. If all you want is the dice, this probably isn't for you, but if VTTs are your thing this is a strong choice.
- Super popular VTT
- Just a bit of config to enable the 3D Dice
- Roll20 is a full VTT, users need to create an account and create a game to roll 3D dice
- The color of the die matches your player color, no other customization options
- Not all dice types are rollable in 3D, Fudge dice are the notable exception
- Lacks proper mobile support
Dice So Nice (for Foundry VTT)
This is our second VTT option. Dice So Nice is a plug-in for Foundry VTT, also a very popular VTT. Unless you are already on the Foundry platform this is the highest investment in time and money required roll 3D dice.
If you are already using Foundry or are keen to get started with it, this might be the choice for you.
- Integrated into Foundry which many people use already
- Built on top of Major's 3D Dice Roller (see below) so shares many of the features and themes
- Independent dice creators sell dice sets
- One-time purchase of $50
- Need to self-host or pay for hosting to roll with your party
- Foundry has a steep learning curve
- Lacks proper mobile support
Majors 3D Dice is at the core of the Dice So Nice plug-in for Foundry VTT. If you liked the dice above but don't want the overhead of buying Foundry, give this one a try.
The dice customization options are plentiful but not very precise. You can choose a few parameters and these influence the dice that are generated.
- Dice to support many systems with exotic dice including Genesys, Star Wars, and Fate
- Plethora of different dice style attributes that can be combined to make dice from
- User Interface is not intuitive, looks clunky
- No true detailed dice customization
This section is for notable dice rollers that didn't fit the 3 criteria but I thought we're worth mentioning because they came close, and are notable.
No 3D rolls but features a multiplayer experience.
A basic 3D dice roller with no customization. The oldest one on this list. The original version seems to be down, but mirrors exists and does not have multiplayer functionality.
There are lots of options to roll digital click-clacks!
Winner: If you're looking to get rolling in seconds, dddice looks to be a solid choice. With no signup required and lots of themes to choose from, your party is sure to have a good time rolling for whatever system your party plays.
If your party is looking for a more robust tabletop experience complete with character sheets, a VTT might be what you're looking for. However, with dddice's API and SDK integrations, they may soon be a worthy contender for your favorite VTT.
So what are you waiting for? Start rolling on dddice in seconds now!