Rolling a natural one in D&D is inevitable. You can’t blame your dice for that, surely? The problems begin when those critical failures start popping up too often – here players of tabletop RPGs start to get shifty, eyeing their favourite math rocks with newfound suspicion. Give a bad result on a skill check one last time, and it’s off to the dice jail to become a polyhedral prisoner.
For many TTRPG players, ‘dice jail’ is a metaphor. You scoot your dice set off to one side of the table, and you abandon them in favour of a new one. There’s no real probability being calculated here – we just don’t like the feel of the old dice anymore, and the luck gods clearly aren’t on their side.
There are those who take ‘dice jail’ a little more literally. Inspired (or enraged) by failure after failure, these crafty RPG-ers create physical prisons where the offending dice can serve out a sentence. And then they post these creations on places like Reddit and Instagram, where the rest of us can marvel at how cool and cruel they are. Below we’ve included some of our favourite dice jails and torture devices from the recent days of the internet.
Let’s start with some extreme Dice and Board Torture (DBT). On July 3 2022, Reddit user u/ilovemywinry posted a dice torture chair online – with the caption “when the dice dungeon isn’t enough”.
A d20 (crimes unconfirmed) is strapped into a seat of thumbtacks with leather straps, and it doesn’t seem to be having a very good time. The comment section has already taken to calling this one “the die-ron maiden”.
Other dice jailers like to keep things more traditional, but their holding cells are by no means less creative. Redditor u/sonik71 showed off a veneer plywood dice jail on July 2, explaining it was designed after the die in question nearly killed a friend’s character in their latest campaign. The jury finds the defendant guilty.
Back in September 2021, u/WolfofAsgaard also shared the silvery bars they put their dastardly dice behind. It’s both more and less cosy than the option offered by u/smells_like_robots in March 2020 – this is a cave jail, but at least it’s got lights.
“You have dishonoured me for the last time d20,” the post says, “I cast you to the forgotten depths”. “No more shall you squander the sun’s rays, the sweet caress of oxygen, or your freedom. Think well about your treachery and repent.” “An adamantine anchor and chain will bind you to the ocean floor and Claw-dius shall be your rehabilitation therapist.”
There are also plenty of punishment places inspired by our favourite DnD monsters. Check out the mimic and gelatinous cube jails from Instagram users Unnatural 20 Art and Joshua Ohmer. Ohmer tells Wargamer they bought their gelatinous cube jail from Etsy.
Update: This article previously credited Joshua Ohmer with creating their dice jail, and it was updated to include the seller they bought it from on July 11.