RPG newcomers are sometimes confused as to how to read d4 dice. This is especially true if they encounter an "old-school" d4 die with the numbers at the base of the tetrahedron.

Reading a newer d4 is easy, just look at the number that lands "up" or at the top of the die. However, on older-style d4s–and on some newer gemstone d4s, you'll actually take the number at the base of the die.

How to read a d4 with numbers at the points

D4 die with numbers at the points

It is straight-forward to read a d4 when the numbers are at the points of the die. Simply look at the number that lands up. That is the number you have rolled. Thankfully, most RPG dice produced these days situate the numbers on the dice this way. However, not every d4 die you encounter in the wild is numbered like this.

How to read a d4 when the numbers are at the bases

Read the number at the bottom of a d4 die when the numbers are not at the points

When rolling this type of d4, you want to take the number that lands on the bottom. You'll see dice like this on many "old-school" d4 dice. Also, many modern gemstone dice are still produced this way so it's more common than you might think.

Are there alternatives to pyramidal d4s?

Some people choose to break from tradition and refuse to roll pyramidal d4s. For one thing, they don't roll very well. In fact, they do more landing than they do rolling. 🙃

Some RPG players choose to roll a d8 instead and divide the number by 2, rounding up. For example, rolling a 1 or 2 or a d8 would result in rolling a 1. Rolling a 5 would result in rolling a 3 (5 / 2 = 2.5 and round up to 3).

Also, there are unique designs like this one which may tickle your fancy.

 

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