Dungeons and Dragons props – Initiative tracker and dice tray

A few months ago, one of my brothers-in-law asked me if I wanted to join his first ever Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Of course I said yes! We played our few sessions now, and I have been making props to enhance game play or make things easier. In a series of a few blog posts I will outline the things I made, and provide considerations and details if you want to make them yourself. In this installment two small wood working projects: an initiative tracker and a dice tray.

Initiative tracker

“Roll for initiative!”, those famous words the dungeon master utters at the start of every fight. Each player rolls for a Dexterity check (roll a d20 and add your Dexterity modifier) and the values are listed from high to low. This order determines the order of combat. You can use an initiative tracker to keep track of this order, so that everyone knows when their turn is. This is a very simple project. All you need is a dowel rod (8 mm diameter works fine), clothes pegs and a piece of wood to make the base. I think the photo gives enough information on how to make this yourself. I made the base from a left over from another project, for which I made a herringbone structure using plywood.

Figure 1: Initiative tracker.

Dice tray

Dungeons and dragons, and many other role-playing games, requires a lot of dice rolls and often of multiple dice at the time. To keep them from rolling all over the table, you can use a dice tray. It keeps the dice confined to your area, and in essence is nothing more than an open box. You can make these as fancy as you want. If you are looking to buy one, Wyrmwood seems to make some very nice looking ones using hard woods and leather bottoms. I made one from small scraps of other projects.

It is essentially just four pieces of wood to make the walls, and one piece to make the bottom. I used a miter saw to chop down the pieces and miter them. If you saw accurately, it is a simple glue up. The box doesn’t have to endure any heavy loads, so you dont need to reinforce the corners. I used a router to make a pocket, so that the bottom sits flush with the bottom of the walls.

Figure 2: Dice tray

The bottom was made of MDF, on which I drew a d20 die with thick pencil lines. A bit of spray varnish protects it from fading.

Figure 3: My version of the twenty-sided die with with temporary lines to mark off the corners.

One of my friends, Jochen, was inspired by the dice boxes I made and took the design of the bottom of the tray to the next level. He used transparant plexiglass and masking foil he had left over from renovating his garden shed to make this (which I think looks really nice!):

Figure 4: Jochen’s design using masking foil for the bottom of his dice tray.

This project is also very simple, and a great way to make something fun and useful from scraps.