The Fickle Nature of Dice

Alternate title: The Fitzpatrick Family Die Curse

We all know there’s a bit of a superstition in the gaming community when it comes to dice. How many times have you heard that a die was cursed? How many times have you banished a cursed d20 or “punished” it by replacing it with another for the night after a series of bad rolls?

Well, I have a confession. I am one of those superstitious gamers who believes there’s a bit of a curse that follows me around as far as dice is concerned. Why? Well, usually I roll for shit. And if you ask the players in the D&D 4e group I play with, that curse spreads to whoever is sitting next to me.

There are some sessions where no matter which d20 I use, I can’t roll above a 9. And others where I can do no wrong and hit every roll in the 15-20 category.

We played last night and I started with a roll of 1. My friends Ben & Jonathan told me to retire that die, so I pulled out another. And the very next roll was a 20. I had a few critical rolls that were decent and a few not so much, but it was pretty random from that point on.

The first thing I do when I get to the game table for this 4e group is ask where they want me to sit. They decided years ago that my curse has an “area of effect,” so I let them guide me. And last night I sat near our GM Jason. Though it took a few rolls to infect his dice, eventually it did. A few of us took damage initially but soon he was rolling for crap. 🙂

And honestly everyone was on a streak. I think we had more 20s rolled on our side of the GM’s screen than I have seen in forever. At one point we had 4 or 5 20s rolled in about a 5 minute period. It was crazy.

So is the curse crap? Yes, I think it is. But it’s a fun theory to continue at the table. 🙂

To combat “the curse,” I do one thing. I “retire” dice. So if I roll a 1 on a d20, I put the die back in my bag and pull out another one. I usually have three or four d20s that I can go through – and if the night is REALLY bad, I can pull out my big bag of dice or the box of dice I carry with me and grab another set of three or four d20s that hopefully aren’t corrupted by the curse. 😉

Though “dice shaming” seems to be a thing these days, I haven’t resorted to it yet. I have largely been using the same set of dice since college (though I have supplemented it greatly with a “pound of dice” purchase a couple of years ago).

After all… it’s not the dice that are cursed — it’s me, remember? 🙂

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