Any time someone asks me if “I’m too old for that”, I just direct them to Advanced Style.
This 1981 ad for TSR’s Dragon Dice* touts the blister pack as a “pocket-sized carrying case” and grandly promises “a special die marker” (it’s a wax crayon). Of more historic significance is the inclusion of both a d10 and a d20 that the ad claims is “the only die of the market numerically labeled 1-20”.
It was later that we started using two different colored d10s to roll d%, then later still after many arguments about which die to read first that we finally got dedicated percentile dice with a tens place die labeled 10-00.
Image via Grognardia, where James Maliszewski recalls 1981 as the first year he saw a die marked 1-20.
(*Not to be confused with TSR’s collectible dice game “Dragon Dice” introduced in 1995.)
Been practicing bass a lot this summer, came up with this line that is fun to play but don’t know what to do with it yet.
Dice. (AD&D Dungeons Masters Guide by Gary Gygax, TSR, 1979.)
WHERES THE D10???
In this picture it’s the d20, which probably was numbered 0-9 twice. The true d10 did exist at this time, but most of us had not seen one yet. Gygax wrote in the DMG that “Non-platonic solid-shaped dice are available in some places. The most common of these is a ten-sided die numbered 0-9.”
There seems to be dispute about its first appearance, but the true d10 didn’t become widely available until around late 1979 through 1980. The popularity of percentile mechanic games soon exploded.
Games using d10 or percentile mechanics go back earlier in the 1970s, and probably into antiquity, with the d20s numbered 0-9 or 1-10. To read a d20 as 1-20 you had to hand color one side of the die yourself to mark when to add 10, or roll a d6 as a “high-low” indicator.
I still think of the d10 as a recent addition to the original five.