The writing dice on the market just aren’t good enough.
I don’t mean that disparagingly. They’re a great starting-off point if you’re looking to play a storytelling game or you’re using them as prompts to start a writing exercise, but they’re jam-packed with things I don’t need.
I have two sets: the original Rory’s Story Cubes with the 3-piece Fantasy add-on*, and the Magic & Fairy-Tale Dice. The Rory’s original set has some great stuff: a key, a book, a clock, a flame. It also has stuff I’ll never, ever use, like an alien, an airplane, a cellphone, a pyramid, an office building. I wanted something better suited to the sorts of stories I write, which are mainly fantasy, even if they’re based in the real world. So I bought the Magic & Fairy-Tale set. That hits a little closer to what I need, but it’s got some stuff (explosions, superpowers, top hats) that just don’t resonate with me at all. Where Rory’s wasn’t fantasy enough, M&FT was almost too fairy-tale.
I needed something in the middle. I needed to make my own. I needed something that shakes down to the bones of what’s in the stories I love. I ended up with a set of 11 dice. So far I’ve made them out of paper dice patterns, with written words on them. But I also found icons to represent each word (easier to interpret in multiple ways), printed them on clear sticker paper, cut ’em out and separated them into their sets of 6. Now I’m just waiting for the blank dice I ordered to get here so I can stick ’em together and have my own test set of storytelling dice. But in the meantime, I’m going to try out the paper set in the next few days to see how it goes, and if I want to shuffle any of the image sets. I think I got a pretty good distribution, but I won’t know until I try ’em out.
Have you ever put together your own storytelling game or prompt set? What did you do? How did it turn out?
*These don’t appear to be available anymore in just the 3-piece set, but the dice from the set are now part of a bigger set called Fantasia.