Laura Gray wrote last year that D&D players love dice in part because we like to be organized. I heartily disagree.
Just the other day, my husband bought his nephew a beautiful dice set. I was immediately entranced. “May I roll just one?” I begged. That’s not how someone who loves organization reacts. (My husband let me roll a D20 and I rolled 18.)
Players are Superstitious
The emotion I felt is akin to superstition. When you roll the dice, you decide your (or your character’s) fate. Will the wizard’s spell work, the ranger’s magic arrow fly true or the little Halfling bleed out and die? What will our future be? Only the dice can tell.
Dice and Divination
Oddly enough, dice were used for divination years ago. Long before the first D&D game, the Vedic Indians played games of chance whose spirit at least was somewhat similar to that of D&D. If teachers were to use D&D in history, they could explain this in more detail.
I suspect that’s why every player wants her own set. You don’t want someone else’s luck. One time a fellow player forgot his dice and the Dungeon Master leant him his. At first, we thought the gesture generous but when the forgetful player rolled poorly again and again our opinion changed. He was getting the DM’s luck, not his.
Staying in Character
It’s not just superstition of course. You also want the set most appropriate for your hero. An elf might want to have an Elfish dice set; a stone giant would want to roll an enormous D20. That helps explain why there are so many different sets. Every player wants something a little different.
So yes, we love our dice. But not because we want to be organized.