My latest dice mail arrived yesterday — Astral Titans, from Random Encounter Dice.
This set is a new step for Random Encounter Dice, who have wanted to design and produce their own dice for a long time, but it has been a slow road to get there sustainably. They’re a small business based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and have been a reseller of popular mass-market dice since 2017.
Astral Titans were announced in October last year and were available for the first time at PAX Aus 2019. The remainder of the limited edition run have just gone on sale on the Random Encounter website.
The first run is a limited edition of 250, and comes with a very attractive “Certificate of Authenticity” card.
But what about the dice themselves?
Honestly, I have only good things to say about them. They’re absolutely lovely both in regular and ideal lighting conditions, and the high-shine polished finish is great. Sharp-edged sets from retailers (as opposed to handmakers) are pretty rare, and this is a very welcome entry into the market.
They feel almost dangerous to roll; the sharp edges are really noticeable in the hand, and if this is your first experience with sharp-edged dice you might find as I do that with the combination of size and finish, they really draw your attention when you’re using them.
The dice themselves are slightly larger than standard dice, and the sharp edges make them feel larger still, because you’re more aware of them. They’re resin, so they have a nice heft to them, and feel substantial in the hand.
The colours are great – they’re a translucent mix of navy blue and purple; it’s hard to tell whether they’re swirled or layered, because they’re also packed full of an iridescent microglitter which sparkles strongly under bright lights. They really pay off in good lighting; in dimmer lighting they’re darker, with less colour differential, with an occasional strong flash of glitter sparkle.
The design features clean san serif numbers in a humanist typeface – it’s generic enough to be useable in a range of settings, while deliberate enough to be a choice rather than just molded from generic no-brand dice. I am extremely picky about fonts on my dice and this one ticked all my boxes. Yes please.
Note, the D20 features a symbol in place of the 20, as is common with many boutique brands. It’s symmetrical and nice enough, although I’m not aware of any brand resonance beyond it being a cool-looking dragon head. If you don’t like ensymbolled dice, this might be a dealbreaker, but it’s one of the better-executed symbols I’ve seen.
It’s worth noting the finish. These are very high quality dice and Random Encounter obviously has excellent QA, but these are hand-finished dice (they have to be, being sharp edged) and it shows. I don’t mean that there were any visible flaws on any of my dice, simply that not every plane is 100% flat in every corner, and you can see that a human being has sanded and polished them. I like hand artisanship so that is absolutely a feature for me, but if you want utter machine-rendered precision and uniformity, sharp-edged resin is not the medium for you. Set your expectations accordingly.
The Packaging and Extras
The dice came safely wrapped in bubblewrap in a mailing satchel; each set of dice was contained in a small ziplock bag with a funny liability disclaimer label. My package contained the dice, the certificate of authenticity, a small velvet bag for the polyset, and two cute stickers seen below.
And best of all, after my histrionics all over the internet about how hard it is to find nice 10d10 sets from anyone other than Chessex, Random Encounter threw in a bonus bag of spare d10s in search of a new home! It’s safe to say I was absolutely thrilled!
“We are not responsible if you still roll after the DM asks ‘Are you sure?'” said one of my warning labels, and on the other “We are not responsible for that one player in the party that gets everyone else in trouble.” Nice touch.
I am, as you can tell, an entirely satisfied customer. The turnaround time was fast, the extras were very generous (and even without the D10s, I’d still be chuffed with free stickers!), and Kirra from Random Encounter was very responsive on social media when there was a problem with my address for the order. This is a lovely set, my customer experience was great, and I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to their next original set release.