Sunday, January 29, 2012

Elder Futhark Rune Dice

In October of last year an idea crossed my mind. I thought of making dice with the Runes of the Elder Futhark. Not the usual 6 sided dice, but three dies of eight sides. That's 3d8 for those of you who have played table top RPGs.

Each d8 represents an Aett of the Elder Futhark. Each die has 24 angles and represents the whole Rune row. Freyr's Aett has the Runes Fehu through Wunjo and the numeric values on the Runes on any two opposite side is 9. Hagal's Aett contains the Runes Hagalaz through Sowillo and the sum of opposite sides is 25. Tyr's Aett contains the Runes Tiwaz through Othala and the sum of opposite sides is 164. The sum of all Aetts is 300. The following table shows the pairs and sums:

Frey'rs Aett
Rune PairsFehu & WunjoUruz & GeboThurisaz & KenazAnsuz & Raidho
Numeric Value and Sum1 + 8 = 92 + 7 = 93 + 6 = 94 + 5 = 94 * 9 = 36

Hagal's Aett
Rune PairsHagalaz & SowilloNauthiz & ElhazIsa & PerthoJera & Ihwaz
Numeric Value and Sum9 + 16 =  2510 + 15 = 2511 + 14 = 2512 + 13 =254 * 25 = 100

Tyr's Aett
Rune PairsTiwaz & OthalaBerkano & DagazEhwaz & IngwazMannaz & Laguz
Numeric Value and Sum17 + 24 =  4118 + 23 = 4119 + 22 = 4120 + 21 = 414* 41 = 164

All 3 Aetts add to 300

I searched all round online and the first mention I found that sounded similar to my 3d8 was on Witch School. The post popped up in a google search and reads:
Does anyone use rune dice? I just purchased a set of futhark 3 dice which are 8 sided. They haven't arrived yet for UK, I live in the USA. So I am not sure how to read them. My intial thought is a 9 rune spread, with 3 rolls of the dice. I am very connected to Dragons and I expect my Dragon guides to give me push in the right direction. But was hoping this group might have some information.Brightest Blessing, Runestar 

So I joined the website just to ask about these Rune Dice. No answer yet.

I have been making the dice in paper and clay since October of last year. I would really love to make them of wood, but I have no idea how to go about that.

A couple of hours ago I found a patent in google patent search. It's the exact same layout as I have. I can't find them for sale anywhere, though. You can find it HERE.

Anyway, I have been making my dice from Premo Sculpey clay. I just knead them until they feel and look right, bake them and then sand them down and paint on the Runes with paint markers.

As you can see from the picture, I've worked everything out on paper first before marking the Runes on the clay dice. I made my dice extra large because I like the over-sized feel.

If you would like to see what the 3d8 Rune dice look like, print this out, cut and fold. I'm sure you can figure it out.

Of course, the first thing that one tries to work out is a system of divination, but I am now playing with concepts for true Rune Games. I'm working on unique dice notation and figuring out the probability distributions. Is there already a Beowulf RPG? I need to do more googling.

Creative Commons License
Elder Futhark Rune Dice by Jason Bales is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

Addenda: On further inspection, the patent does not match my dice in the Rune forms or in their pairings based on Runic Numbers.

7-2-2012: I just found these on Etsy. They also do not match my design, but they look cool. No, I don't know this person and I won't make any money if you buy from him (seems to matter to some people).


  1. What sort of probability distributions are you looking for? I am just learning futhark, but I KNOW dice. You can find me as unclehyena on gmail.

    I know that there are people out there doing really cool things with custom dice on 3D printers; please let me know if you ever find a source for commercial rune dice. Thanks!

  2. I'd love to know if you came up with any rune games. I am teaching a group of homeschoolers and I'd love to have a game for them to play with their runes.

  3. I did not ever make any cool rune games. I have been teaching people to write in runes. One useful tool is sudoku. I use a program called HoDoKu that I found on If you have it use my rune font (sorry, you have to set the font size to something huge), you can play sudoku with the first nine runes. This helps to learn rune order and gives a sense of numeric value. I think I'll make a post about this.

  4. I could make something like that for you pretty easily out of ceramic clay. If you would like to get into doing something together, let me know.

    Victoria at

  5. I'm mazedasastoat, I've been making & selling wooden rune dice online since late 2008... the Hawthorn ones pictured above are mine. :-) I can send you step by step instructions on how to make them from wood, just contact me through Etsy. BTW, I'm not a him, I'm a her! LOL