Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Four-sided dice are often used in role-playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, to get small numbers for things such as damage or character statistic increases. Each die is a tetrahedron with 4 equilateral triangle-shaped faces. This type of die does not roll well and is thus usually thrown into the air or shaken in a dice box instead.
Four-sided dice are unique in that the number rolled does not show up on the topmost face as with other dice, but as the correctly oriented number that shows up on all three visible triangles.
There are two configurations for four-sided dice. One places the numbers on each face at the midpoint of each side of the triangle. The number rolled is indicated by the number that shows right-side up at the base of all three visible triangles. The other configuration places one number at each angle of each face of the die. The rolled number is shown, correctly oriented, at the apex of the triangle on all 3 visible faces.
Because of their size and shape and the tendency of dice to fall on the floor and underfoot, gamers frequently refer to four-sided dice as caltrops.
See also: Dreidel.
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