Even the staunchest traditionalist will occasionally admit that a dice rolling app can come in handy for some of the bigger encounters in a campaign. Dice rolling apps make it easier to roll for multiple characters. They’re convenient for spontaneous games or for playing on the go when you don’t want to risk losing your prized collection on a trip. They’re handy for players who just don’t care about the “authenticity” of rolling physical dice. They’re cheaper (re: usually free) than buying dice.
This is not anti-dice propaganda. I, myself, am decidedly analog. I’ll take my sack of dice with a record player and a mechanical typewriter, please. But, as I said, the apps come in handy. Whatever your preference is, a solid dice rolling app for D&D is good to have—even if it’s just your backup. With that in mind, here are some of the best free dice-rolling apps that work great for D&D.
For Uncomplicated, No Frills Rolling: Wizards of the Coast’s App
As the publishers of Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games, it makes sense that they would also put out a dice rolling app. It would also make sense that it would be pretty effectively tailored to roleplaying purposes.
Visually, the Wizard of the Coast dice roller is a no-frills design meant to get the job done without any flourish. If you’re not concerned about flourish, it is very practical. It includes one row for each of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20 along with a d100 row and a dX row where you can input a die with a custom number of sides.
For each die, you can set the number of dice being rolled and add any positive or negative modifiers the character rolling has.
After you set your quantities and modifiers, clicking roll will display the total value rolled along with the individual score of each die rolled. So, if you’re rolling for a group of Non-Playable Characters, you can roll for all of them and still see their individual scores.
It’s simple, no nonsense, and easy to access. You don’t have to sign up or download anything. However, more advanced features like storing rolls in case you need to reference past encounters later are missing or automatically inputting character modifiers so you don’t have to set them for each roll are missing. If you want all those bells and whistles, this isn’t it.
For Integrated, Automated Rolling: D&D Beyond’s App
D&D Beyond is a popular resource for D&D sourcebooks and a way to build and manage characters or campaigns. Recently, the developers behind the website added a built-in dice roller for its users. If the Wizards of the Coast app felt too basic, the D&D Beyond dice roller will probably be more your speed.
Digital Dice, the integrated D&D Beyond dice roller, is made to be as seamless and easy-to-use as possible. As a player, all you have to do is tap on any rollable ability in your character sheet and a digital die (or dice) will roll across your screen and give you your result.
Visually, it’s meant to replicate the experience of actually rolling as much as possible. So, it’s definitely satisfying to watch. It also saves players from working out how many of which die they need and all the math involved in deciding if the roll was a success or not. After the roll, it does the math for you to give you your final result. Now, it’s just up to you and the DM to argue about whether that was high enough to succeed or not.
Rather than a standalone dice rolling app, however, Digital Dice only exists as an integration in your character sheet. If you already use D&D Beyond, this is super convenient. If you don’t, you’ll need to create an account (which can be done for free) and input your character sheet. It might seem like tedious extra steps, but you can also manage your character in the app so it’s not without its perks.
While there are far worse fates as a player than having to make a free D&D Beyond account to take advantage of a cool dice roller and intuitive character management, it’s not necessarily the best option for DMs.
Because the dice roller is integrated into character sheets, you can’t use it on its own. You have to roll for each character, individually and separately, by clicking on their sheet and rolling from there—with the final scores automatically calculated based on that character’s modifiers.
For smaller encounters, that might not be too much of an issue but for larger encounters, it can get tedious. At the point where you’re rolling separately for a half dozen brain-hungry zombies, you might as well just break out your real dice.
For the DM or Player with Very Specific Rolling Needs: Roll20
The Roll20 dice roller is a dream for anyone with rudimentary coding knowledge and a passion for precision customization. If there are very specific features you’re looking for in a dice rolling app, you might as well just build it yourself, right?
Instead of coding an app from the ground up, you can use Roll20 to code specific features like rolling in secret, exploding dice (not literally, exploding dice are dice you get to reroll if they land on their maximum score like a 6 on a six-sided die) doing drop or keep rolls (where you roll a large batch of dice but only keep a certain number of the lowest or highest rolls), or rerolling.
This kind of customizability is especially helpful if you’re not just playing D&D. If you’re playing multiple different systems, you’ll likely have different dice rolling needs for each one. With Roll20, you can customize your rolls to the system you’re playing.
There’s also a basic Dice Rolling GUI which allows you to roll without typing complicated formulas or commands. So, if you don’t need any customization, you’ve got that option available. However, at that point, why download an app or create an account (which you need to do to use Roll20) when you can just pull up the Wizard’s of the Coast app without any extra steps?
It’s a great option if you need that customizability and you’re willing to learn the commands and formulas. Otherwise, there are less complicated options out there if you don’t already have a Roll20 account and don’t intend to use it for anything more than the dice roller.
For the Mobile Dice Roller: CritDice
For a simple, no-account-required dice roller that you can use on your phone or tablet, CritDice is a solid choice. It’s a bit more feature-rich and user-friendly than Wizards of the Coast but still a good choice if you just need a dice roller and want to skip all the frills.
The interface looks like a calculator with the numbers 0-9 laid out in standard calculator arrangement and then your choice of dice at the top (ranging from d2 to d100). To roll, start by tapping on the number of dice you need, then select the die you are rolling. Then, add or subtract any modifiers and tap roll. You’ll get your result immediately, including both the total and the individual score of each die.
Unlike Wizards of the Coast, however, you also get a log of past rolls. Just click on the history tab at the top to see all your previous rolls. The “favorites” tab is where you can store specific roll configurations you’ll use often. If you’ve got a penchant for throwing fireballs, you can store the roll configuration for your fireball in your favorites (and label it accordingly) so that next time that pyromania kicks in, you can just tap on “fireball” in your favorites tab and go.
Simple, reliable, functional for both players and DMs, CritDice is the best all-around choice for anyone who just needs a self-contained dice roller that they can used without being attached to a virtual roleplaying platform.
The main drawback: it’s only for android. As of yet, there’s no desktop version so if you’re an Apple-only household, you’re out of luck. It’s also not very visually interesting so those looking for dice rolling graphics will be underwhelmed.
For the Most Fun Graphics: Dice & Dragons
Dice & Dragons is all about the visuals and effects. You can choose different dice designs, watch (and hear) the dice roll on a virtual tabletop, and enjoy other fun graphic and sound effects like fire trails and steam. There’s a handful of default designs and effects to choose from as well as add-ons you can buy.
In terms of functionality, the app supports D&D 3e, 4e, and 5e as well as non-d20 systems so you can use it for all of your roleplaying. To roll, you pick the dice you want to use, the quantity, and add your modifiers. You can also add critical hit and bonus information to let the app do all the math for you.
Visually, this app is impressive. Functionally, it does what you need but it’s not quick. You’re spending extra time not only combining dice and adding modifiers but choosing designs, sounds, and special effects to add to the roll. It looks cool but if you’re just trying to get your roll results and carry on with the encounter, it might feel a little distracting. Fortunately, you can save dice combos to easily switch between setups that you regularly use.
The main drawback: It’s only available for iOS so Android users will have to look elsewhere.
A Fast & Functional Dice Roller for Apple Devices: Dice Ex Machina
For iOS users who want something more practical and quick than Dice & Dragons, Dice Ex Machina is a solid option that features a simple and purely pragmatic design along the lines of CritDice.
When you open the app, you just tap the dice you need and roll. For more complicated rolls, you can switch to the dice calculator tab where you can easily combine dice and add modifiers. You can also save custom combos that you use regularly and set custom modifiers for different rolls. Save your favorite attacks so that you can just tap the attack you’re using and go.
You can also roll an entire folder of stored combos for even quicker results. And there’s a notes tab you can use to track inventory or write down anything else you want to remember.
This is really handy for big encounters and for storing tons of different saved rolls for different characters or attacks. For players, it’s equally handy for storing all your favorite attacks and keeping notes on inventory or secretly brainstorming pranks to pull on your other party members.
It’s just not available for anything else but iOS. Fortunately, CritDice offers comparable functionality for Android.