On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From March 24, 2009, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Dice Rituals & Superstitions.
If you’re like me, you have a variety of dice in all shapes, sizes and colours. Many people, myself included, are very particular about their dice and have many superstitions about them. Let’s look at a few.
New Character, New Dice
This option works best if you generally play long-term campaigns and use the same character a lot. Each and every character you roll up gets his own set of dice. When you’re playing the Fighter you always use the green dice. And when you’re playing the Wizard you always use the blue dice. This can get expensive if you have the habit of getting killed. (If this is the case, check out Avoiding Death: Part 1 and Avoiding Death: Part 2.) However, if you’re willing to have one set of dice for each living character then this is a reasonable dice ritual.
Show Me a 1
There are two variations on this theme. The first take on this ideology (the one that I follow): Any die I plan to use during this gaming session must be left with the 1 facing up when I’m not rolling. My belief is that if it already shows a 1 when I pick it up I’m less likely to roll a 1 again. I don’t know if there’s any merit to this superstition, but I’ve been doing it for 20 years.
The second take on this ideology (which I’ve never done): Roll all your dice until each one actually comes up 1 and then stop rolling until you need that die. After you’re done rolling your attack, damage, save or whatever, you roll those active dice again and again until they come up 1 and then you stop.
This one isn’t limited to gamers. If you’ve ever been to a casino and walked past the craps table then you’ve see this one: people kissing or blowing on their dice for good luck. I’ll admit I’ve done this on rare occasions, but I’ve never had any noticeable successes. Plus, my dice are probably pretty dirty since I’ve never, ever cleaned them. So the last thing I want to do is put them anywhere near my mouth.
Never Touch Another Man’s Dice
My dice are mine and mine alone. If you need to roll 3d8 and you only have two you cannot use one of mine. Re-roll one of yours and add them up. If anyone but me touches my dice they may curse the dice and wreck my good dice mojo. I may sound crazy, but I know I’m not alone here. Most of the gamers I know are very protective and territorial about their dice. They’re mine, hands off!
The DM’s Dice
I have player dice and DM dice. I swear that when I use my blue dice as a DM I roll more 19s than is statistically probable (much to the dismay of the players). But if I use that same set of dice as a player I never see this same kind of trending. Of course you could argue that as the DM I roll more often and I’m bound to see more of any given number. You call it statistical probability and I call it “The DM’s Lucky Dice.”
Punishing Bad Dice
I may have superstitions about my dice but I don’t believe in punishing them. However, many gamers punish bad dice. If the dice don’t roll what you need as often as you like, they often become the victims of irate gamers. I’ve seen people yell at bad dice, explode dice in the microwave, smash them with a hammer, throw them in the lake or simply toss them in the trash. Gamers can become unforgiving and ridiculous when it comes to the need to punish bad dice. I can’t justify doing any of these things listed above because I’m too cheap (after all, I paid for that die, as crappy as it is).
One great thing about dice is that a set of 6 or 7 polyhedron dice generally cost between $5-10. This means that I get dice as gifts all the time. Over the years all those dice start to pile up. I can’t throw them out, that would just be wrong. So what do I do?
This Christmas I had a brainstorm (which I’m particularly proud of). My core gaming group has six regular players. We all have giant bags or boxes of dice. Many of these dice sit in the bottom of the dice bag and aren’t used any more. So we decided to hold our 1st annual dice exchange. Why should we all fork out $10 when we can just trade with other gamers? The results were fantastic. I got rid of a few old sets I never use, I got a few new sets which I’m using all the time, and it didn’t cost me anything.
This is also a great opportunity to unload bad dice. Just because your dice hate you doesn’t mean they have any ill-will towards the other players at your table.
Tell us about your dice rituals or superstitions? Do you punish bad dice, and if so, tell us what crazy things you’ve done?