DM of the Rings CXX:
Luck Thief

By Shamus Posted Monday Jul 2, 2007

Filed under: DM of the Rings 218 comments

Gimli is stealing Aragorn’s luck.
Legolas points out their mistake.

The Truth About 20-Sided Dice:

There are a limited number of “twenties” in any given d20. That is, no matter how many times you roll a d20, you cannot roll another twenty once the supply has run out. These twenties can only be replenished by rolling a corresponding one with the same die. Thus every gamer is duty-bound to protect their supply of good rolls. If a friend rolls a twenty using your die, not only have they stolen your good roll, but they have doomed you to the extra one required to replenish the twenty.

Some players get excited when they roll several twenties in a row, concluding the dice are “hot”. Don’t make this blunder! This is like driving your car for 400 miles without gassing up, and then concluding that your car is a perpetual motion machine. After a few good rolls, pass the die off to an unwitting companion and let them charge it up for you.

Statisticians have known about this behavior for years. They call it “the probability seesaw”. Unlike the bell-shaped curve, in the seesaw system the odds of rolling high or low is directly proportional to what has been rolled in the past. They usually pretend this isn’t true. If a statistician hands you a die insisting that “any given roll has the same odds of rolling a one or a twenty”, it means he’s handing you a depleted die in the hopes of taking advantage of you. Don’t fall for it!

Now the secret is yours. Please put this knowledge to good use*.

*By “good use” I mean, “take advantage of other players”.


From The Archives:

218 thoughts on “DM of the Rings CXX:
Luck Thief

    1. Billos says:

      Damn you for making me read the comments! :P At least the first post is worth reading now :D

      1. Shamrock says:

        Yeah, it’s refreshing to come into the comments and not see a bunch of people spamming “FiRsT!!”

  1. Jindra34 says:

    The post comic comment was funnier than the comic… and second post.

  2. Kaz says:

    Hrm. A fruit basket… I should try that next time I ‘accidentally’ use my husband’s lucky d20. Maybe it’ll grab his attention long enough for me to escape… ya think it’ll work?

    Classic, Shamus… I laughed, I cried, I snarfed!

  3. Mordaedil says:


    I remember this fondly from my days of playing Yatzy with my family as well. “You took MY full house, b****!!”

  4. DB says:

    A very interesting theory. Horses are over-rated anyway. Legolas’s eye popping “They’re on our side” seems out of place, but is still funny to look at. Good luck on your diplomacy roll, the statisticians are against you.

  5. Tyler says:

    love it shamus keep it up

  6. elda says:

    hahaha…if only fruits baskets and cards made up for all blundrs. “oops i killed your dog.” here’s a fruits basket. “woops i completely forgot our anniversary” here’s a card. *sigh* i wish life were that easy.

  7. Arnold says:

    Okay. This marks the fourth (by my count) episode with a exclamation referencing Conan, all having occurred since CII: A Minor Omission. What’s the deal? Whence came this newfound love of the Barbarian/Destoryer?

    (Oh, and great episode. Wonderful screen captures, etc.)

  8. Cenobite says:

    Here’s another law of dice rolls: Any dice that are thrown for no good reason whatsoever (such as taking them out of your gamer backpack and putting them down on the table for the first time) will always roll better than whenever they are actually thrown and used during a game session.

  9. Eltanin says:

    I recently discovered the webcomic xkcd. It’s brilliant! I’m probably the last person on the internet to hear about it or something, but just in case you or some of the readers of your site haven’t found it, you should check it out.

    Here is an appropriate comic to start with:

    P.S. – please forgive my inability to post a link. I’m not sure how the syntax works here.

  10. Eltanin says:

    Cool! Syntax is automatic! I almost looked smart!

  11. Telas says:

    It’s funny how a bunch of enlightened, educated, mathematically competent, literate people will subscribe to the strangest theories.

    Now please exscuse me, I gotta go get my dice out of the freezer; they’ve had enough punishment.


  12. Wulfwen says:

    I think it’s hilarious that Leg-o-lass is actually voting *for* restraint and less bloodshed! I guess it had to happen sometime… :)


      Actually, he just wants to kill ’em all himself

  13. Wraithshadow says:

    There’s another, lesser known way to recharge dice.

    When one die refuses to roll well, line up all the rest of your dice so they can all see the offending die. Then crush it with a hammer. This will show the price of failure, and encourage your other dice to avoid a similar fate.

  14. Cryptoknight says:

    I recently had a bad run of dice (my character died), so I made an emergency run to the geek store before our next session. I compared and contrasted about 10 different sets before settling on a set that looked like ice. Clear plastic with faint blue swirlies in it. Awesome looking. Yes, I have dice fetish. Leave me alone, I’m a geek.

    Anyway, as my buddies were looking at the wall o’ game-books, I cracked open my new set and gave them a trial roll. The d20 rolled a 20. The d4 rolled a 4. The d8 rolled an 8. Stunned, I quickly put them back in the box and into my pocket. Friday game-night came and went. They rolled unbelieveably well.

    Funny thing is I’m moving to California in a month and all my gamer friends want to buy my new dice, so don’t tell me there’s no such thing as lucky dice!

  15. Rolld20 says:

    But what about all the complicated training and conditioning regimens my friends swear by (and occasionally at)? It can’t be ineffective- I’ve seen them actually roll good numbers!

    Humph, this is almost as bad as my husband’s delusion that dice are just small lumps of plastic that generate numbers completely randomly. Me and my pearlescent green buddies know better. ;)

  16. Gothmog says:

    Great comic today, and I LOVE your clever ‘first’ post solution you’ve implemented, Shamus.

    I’m so very sorry to nitpick- but isn’t it ‘Thief’ not ‘Theif’?

  17. Dan says:

    I implement a different method: I hope for 19 and act disappointed if I roll a 20. This negates the effect of over rolling 20s.

  18. Vrym says:

    Hah, the comments on d20 probability were possibly better than the comic itself… and so true. Well done, sir.

    ~On a side note, I totally predicted Stephen Furst as the first poster this time around. ;)~

  19. Bruce says:

    One of the best – and so true.

    What do you want woman!

    Nearly made my head explode by swallowing my laugh behind my PC in work.

  20. Mrs T says:

    I’m disappointed that there was no horse f*cker reference :(

  21. Modrons a'marching says:

    Ah, the dice fetish. I recall a time that I watched, horrified, as one of my fellow players took a lighter to his 20, using the flame to ‘exorcise the demons’ after one of the worst 1 rolling runs that I have ever seen. This let to a couple of interesting coincidences. At the end of the session, he scooped up his dice and poured them into his open dice bag. Not one of those dice made it into the bag. You could almost hear them crying out for freedom from tyranny as they scattered, most of them landing under the couches and chairs. The other coincidence is that those dice never rolled that poorly anymore, but I never saw another 20 out of that set again. I guess you can burn all of the 20’s out of your d20 as well as roll ’em out.

  22. Bugsysservant says:

    My theory was always along the lines of “for every unlucky player, there is a lucky counterpart.”
    Thus, whenever I roll poorly, I seek out my lucky counterpart, and slay him. Works every time.

  23. Wtrmute says:

    It's funny how a bunch of enlightened, educated, mathematically competent, literate people will subscribe to the strangest theories.

    It’s just like electric engineers subscribing to magic smoke theory… It’s better than the truth!

    As for holding a die under flame, one of the easiest ways to load a die is to put it (highest side up) in the microwave and blast it for a couple of seconds. The plastic melts just a little and the center of gravity for the die moves down. Perhaps it was the same with the lighter?

  24. Fickle says:

    I love the fact that LEGOLAS, Mr. ADHD himself, was the one to figure out that they were killing off their own party. XD Fantastic bit of usefulness there! What with killing Gollum and everything, he’s turning out to be pretty useful.

  25. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    Not as bad as luck vampires. When we first started playing RPGs and wargames, for two to four years there was a vacuum of players in the immediate area of my younger brother.

    Anybody sitting next to him would roll pitifully, and he would roll tremendously well.

    I remember, one time we had a team war-game set up where he would repetively resist large numbers of the games strongest units with individual squads of the weakest, meanwhile his teammembers were getting pounded, one (me) because he was badly outnumbered on another side of the table, the other because he was sitting next to my brother and thus couldn’t roll higher than a 7 on the d20. Of course, their opponent had the same problem.

    Occasionally, we would make sacrifice in the form of a newcomer who we would let sit next to him, but otherwise we avoided the area.

    Now, my brother doesn’t seem to do that anymore. Instead he just a statistically bizarre number of both 1s and 20s.

  26. harrowed1 says:

    A d20 I’ve had for 13 years rolled one 20, in my last session, then nothing over 10. I nearly wept when I saw the third 4 rolled. Is there any hope for it, or should I just retire the poor old thing?

  27. Nogard_Codesmith says:

    Shamus quiet! You’re giving away the secrets us veteran gamers have held from the rest of the world for decades!

    Don’t listen to him folks. An unbiased d20 has a 1 in 20 chance of coming up on any number. Its simple statistics and physics. Don’t believe the lies… and keep your hands off my dice!

  28. Da Rogue says:

    Mr. Morden: “…and what is that you want?”
    Vir Coto: “I hope to live long enough to see you head thrust on a pike outside the imperial palace; I’d look up at those lifeless eyes and wae just like this…”

  29. Da Rogue says:


  30. wererogue says:

    See, nobody else understands why I leave my dice with 1’s face up.

  31. Vinchenze says:

    I wish that statement about the odds were true, it’s NEVER worked for me. i ALWAYS get 5-9, with the odd 11 in there, i’ll get a 20 everyothere GAME, and i’ve onlt rolled a one once. so i can Truely state that my Luck sucks.

  32. brassbaboon says:

    Dice karma…. It’s always bad when you talk to a player. I know in my case that dice have always hated me. When I used to create my own games, way back in the day, I had one overriding rule that was never violated.

    No dice allowed.

    I have had Risk games where I have had statistically overwhelming odds destroyed by a steady diet of bad dice rolls. My brothers used to mount suicidal attacks against my units, knowing that any seeming advantage I had in numbers would be quickly overcome by my mythic bad luck with dice.

    So, all of the success I have had in games over the years has all been due to my superior strategy and tactics, made doubly so because I have to not only overcome the opponents, I have to also overcome my karmic deficiency when it comes to random chance. ;)

    This is also why I don’t play the lottery….

  33. Al Shiney says:

    Shamus, I echo Nogard’s chastisement for giving away the most holy of holies. I never knew the official name of the “probability seesaw” until today, but you shouldn’t have released it to the masses like this. I hope you’re not rolling dice soon, the karma is going to kill your character.

    We have a player in our group who is the reverse of a luck vampire … not only will we avoid using his dice like the plague, we won’t even HAND them to him across the table.

    Mike: “Hey, pass me my dice bag”
    Everybody else: “Go to hell”

    It’s a little more pleasant than that, but the sentiment is pretty much the same. Most of Mike’s troubles come when he’s making a saving throw, although his experiences rolling above a 14 “to hit” can be pretty easily counted too. He has particular trouble with saving against “Hold Person” … which is why he is frequently envisioned in a frozen, statue-like pose holding one index finger in the air to signify what he rolled for the save.

    It’s quite humorous, really.

  34. Jim says:

    The closest I come to being superstitious about die-rolling is to blow on the dice and utter some witty variant on the “new pair of shoes” line, like, “Baby needs a new pair of orc nipples.”

  35. AndiN says:


    I do the same thing. Everybody I game with thinks I’m nuts.

    “What are you doing? You’re going to encourage them to roll ones!!!”

    I then calmly explain that I’m letting all the ones waft into the air, instead of clogging up in the dice waiting to burst out at the worst possible moment. :-)

  36. txknight says:

    Telas Says:
    “It's funny how a bunch of enlightened, educated, mathematically competent, literate people will subscribe to the strangest theories.

    Now please exscuse me, I gotta go get my dice out of the freezer; they've had enough punishment.”

    Lol! This actually needs to be on a t-shirt or something. But now if you will excuse me, I need to go back to cussing out my software and asking it why it won’t work for me!

  37. Senalishia says:

    I think it all boils down to what has become my motto for a surprising number of things:

    “Couldn’t hurt; might help.”

  38. Browncoat says:

    Good Comic.

    I’ve enjoyed all the comments about the dice; I guess this is what they’ve been reduced to. At Helm’s Keep, Aragorn was all, “It’s my turn? Fine, I kill another orc.” Now he actually has to roll, and Gimli’s taking all his katra or karma or something.

    I love this campaign.

  39. Lovemonk says:

    Superstition goes up in direct proportion with how vital to survival an activity is and how unpredictable it is. The mind wants to make order so badly it will hallucinate it where it does not exist.

    That said, our group (myself included) will NOT touch the GM’s dice. They work wonderfully for him, awfully for all else. More to the point, really.

    Genius strip, Shamus.

  40. Rico says:

    Nice commentary on the truth about the d20.

  41. Shamus says:

    Proof of the Seesaw distribution: Roll the dice long enough, and the number of ones will always be roughly equal the number of twenties!!!

    Coincidence? Chance? I don’t think so.

    1. Christian Irwan says:

      Mathematician have word for you. The seesaw distribution = Gambler’s fallancy. Read thoroughly.

  42. Roxysteve says:

    Your summation is the truest thing I’ve ever read. This is why I roll bad dice at tourneys: All the jouncing and bouncing in the car on the way there shakes the luck out of my entire dice collection before I even get them out of the trunk.

    On the subject of using up your luck, I remember a game that GDW put out called “Asteroid”. One player took the part of a mad genius who had uploaded his personality into a computer controling an Asteroid that was now going to hit the Earth.

    The other guy played the crack team sent in to save the world. One of the characters the hero player could pick was “Lucky McGee”, the luckiest man in the world (but if he did, then he had to take his brother “Muscles McGee”, the strongest man in the world). Before the game started, the computer player rolled dice to determine Lucky’s luck score. Each time Lucky used his luck (to banjax the combat table or fix broken equipment by thumping it) that score was reduced by a set amount. When the score reached zero, Lucky’s luck ran out, at which point he usually got crushed, electrocuted or torn in half by mad robots.

    In light of your comments, I’ve come to realise that this was the truest simulation game ever.


  43. The_Shadows says:

    The comic is, as always, awesome. I think, however, I laughed harder at the “Furst Post.” Of course, I’ve also been rewatching B5 lately.

  44. corwin says:

    My own main d20 went bad a couple months back, so I put it in the freezer when I got home as a lesson to the other dice. I then bought three new d20s, all of which roll quite well indeed now.

    When I bought the new dice and explained why I needed them, the guy at the game store said he actually knew a guy who lined up all of his dice outside the microwave to witness the execution of a bad d20.

  45. Coyote says:

    Dang, Shamus, I think you’ve been spying on our gaming table.

    We discovered this truth back in the late 80’s, and have followed this superstition since then. I discovered it playing Risk or something like that… I’d pick the dice that rolled low on the last roll. Defying all laws of probability, they tended to roll high on the subsequent roll.

    I guess that shows how universal this law is!

  46. Dev Null says:

    Oh man that brings back memories!

    Back in the Dark Ages, playing 1st ed DnD (yes dear – and we rode dinosaurs to school) there was a character in our group who you have all brought back to mind so vividly I can remember his name: Chrisofax the Danger Detector. So known because the first sign of danger which the party encountered was invariably Chrisofax failing a saving throw – usually with a 1. So it was always:

    *shing!* *klunk!* (Chisofax’s petrified corpse topples to the floor.)

    “Battle stations!”

    It was so bad that his player eventually rolled a second character to have something to do in the battle sequences (and he rolled fine for the other character, and in any other circumstance but saving throws for Chrisofax.)

    Worst. Cleric. Ever.

  47. brassbaboon says:

    It actually all boils down to the most bizarre of all quantum mechanics predictions. “Things behave differently when you watch them.” Dice are real-world manifestations of quantum events, and as such will operate substantially differently depending on how much you have invested in the outcome. So all the experimental research showing that if you roll a die 10,000 times it will follow the “rules of probability” are pretty much just academic nonsense. Of course they will, because nobody really cares about the outcome.

    But let the roll determine the life or death of a character you have nurtured for 13 levels, and suddenly the investment in the outcome becomes so profound that the result of the dice through becomes a purely quantum event, and as such follows only the rules of whim or karma, which is why we gamers all know how dice “really” act when the white-robed number crunchers aren’t around.

    This is scientific. Honest it is. Ask Heisenberg.

  48. Atanamir says:

    I have a lucky dreidel. Landed gimel (the winningest letter) 12 times in a row. I got permission from my GM to use it as a d4, mapping nun = 2, gimel = 4, hei = 3, shin = 1. That thing never seemed to run out of gimels.

    Sometimes it’s the situation, not the dice. In one game, my standard d12 usually rolled high for combat purposes, but the same die never rolled higher than a 2 when used to see if I was getting drunk. This phenomenon held true even if I swapped dice. I was playing a dwarf who apparently could not drink.

  49. Arson55 says:

    brassbaboon, I know exactly what you mean about Risk. I have lost more that one game of Risk because I have burned off upwards of twenty units trying to take one territory with a single defender.

  50. brassbaboon says:

    Heh, the “dice through” in my last post should have been “dice throw.” This is an example of a mental lapse that goes well beyond your ordinary typo… sigh….

  51. General Ghoul says:

    13 Wulfwen Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 11:14 am

    I think it's hilarious that Leg-o-lass is actually voting *for* restraint and less bloodshed! I guess it had to happen sometime…

    Of course he wants restraint, he justs bluffing the DM, so he doesn’t request his character sheet to see how many arrows he has listed in his inventory.

  52. Melfina the Blue says:

    Personally, when one of my dice starts to roll badly, it gets a nice salt bath to restore it back to um, norm, balance, whatever you wish to call it. Just stick it in rock salt for 3 days or so. It goes back to rolling normally after that.

  53. Isoyami says:

    Great strip!

    As usual, I had to read through it twice to catch all the little nuances. “What do you want, WOMAN?!?”

    Aragorm-less’s and Leggy-lass’s expressions in the fourth-to-last and third-to-last panels are utter win.

    Oops indeed.

    And come on, can’t Aragormless be more creative with his Conan’s curses? I really like the alliterative ones.
    Like: “Conan’s Crotch!” “Conan’s Canines!” “Conan’s Carpals!”

    And my favorite: “Conan’s Cruciate Ligaments!”

    Also, I’m surprised the DM let them sneak a quoting of Holy Grail in there. Unless he wants to say “Ni!” at them. Or have the Green Ghosties kill the insuspecting orcs by shouting it at the top of their undead lungs as they charge through the battle. ;)

    And yes, I am eagerly anticipating another big event in this battle being deconstructed with Shamus’s usual razor wit in the next few strips or so.

    *Hums “He was a skater elf” under my breath and giggles.

  54. LO-stink’n-L!!!

    The screen caps of Legolass are absolute GENIUS!
    His faces are just…Perfect! With a capital P :D

  55. Bex's says:

    *snigger* it’s all true I swaer it is LOL.
    another GREAT page :D

  56. MOM says:

    The title “Luck Thief” reminds me of the Luck Dragon in The Never-ending-story.

  57. Proteus says:

    Fruit basket… heh!

  58. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Telas Says: Now please excuse me, I gotta go get my dice out of the freezer; they've had enough punishment.”
    Let me guess, when the dice come out, do they ask “What did the turkey do?”

    Who remembers 1976's Rookie of the Year, Mark “The Bird” Fidrych? He had the same theory, just with baseballs instead of dice, throwing them aside after it gave up a hit, because “you just didn't know how many hits were in each ball”. Fidrych did quite well, until he was punished for revealing the secret of baseballs with a series of career ending “injuries”.

  59. Smith says:

    @ wererogue: No, no no. When your dice aren’t being rolled, you must set them highest number up. This will train them that highest number up is their natural state, and they will roll better for you.

  60. lastakodo says:

    It might just be my own group but no matter how poorly a player rolls if he/she is the GM they will never stop rolling phenominally well, that is untill they become a player again.

  61. Daimbert says:

    Is it safe to assume that using the Babylon 5 picture with a comic that mentions sending someone a fruit basket is an odd coincidence, or are you finally watching Babylon 5.

    (Potential spoiler: in the original pilot movie, the original Lt. Commander makes a VERY funny comment about sending a fruit basket to a waiting Narn vessel to G’Kar).

  62. Eomer32 says:

    I DM’ed for a bunch of Noobs several years ago and made them use MY dice to roll. They were sufficiently clueless and never knew what hit ’em…BWAHH-HAAAA-HAAA-HAAA!!!

    PS Shamus, if you don’t use the “wild-eyed Eomer” screen cap during the Pelennor Fields set-piece I shall be forever disappointed… :)

  63. Jurrubin says:

    “What do you want, woman?”


  64. Simon Jester says:

    Is it conversely true that if your friend grabs one of your dice and rolls BADLY with it, that you should thank them for “taking one for the team”?

  65. Crystal says:

    In all of the games I’m in, we use the “roll 4 drop low” method, and get to arrange our stats. I have a frightening propensity to roll poorly every time–many times, I’ll actually get lines with a negative modifier. It’s become so bad that I’m the only person allowed to reroll 1’s when rolling stats.

    I have a friend that inherited his dad’s dice, touched by “blessed gygax”, and they would always roll very well, once providing a +15 line. After I used them, they rolled so poorly we had to “baptize” them in very good alcohol. It’s hit the point that someone usually asks another player to contribute one of their lines for me to use so I can at least hit the +3 mod requirement.

    So, really..d20’s aren’t the only ones that store luck. >.

  66. Zalan says:

    Heh yeah we’re pretty superstitious about die rolls around our gaming tables as well. Our DM in particular has a reputation for often rolling high numbers, causing some among us (Not me H I swear! don’t kill my char!) to think he cheats.

    Unfortunately the *EXPLETIVE DELETED* will also roll high numbers when we can see his dice. A conspiracy to steal his dice has been set in motion, using his cats.


  67. hank says:

    WtrMute had the microwave thing entirely wrong, sorry…

    You put the die in the microwave low number up and cook it for a few seconds. This is to condition the dice that low numbers are bad. You then reinforce that conditioning by removing the die from the microwave and placing them high-side up in a cold drink, a slurpee, or some icecream. It’s all about negative conditioning and positive reinforcement, not silly physics ideas like ‘center of gravity’.

  68. Elyandarin says:

    “Full Frontal Nerdity” did some funny strips on the subject of dice, unlucky or not.

    DMotR is turning into one of my favourite webcomics, btw. And considering the amount of webcomics I read, that’s saying a lot…

  69. Jindra34 says:

    I at one point had a D20 that for one straight session rolled nothing but 1’s and 20’s… considering it was the only d20 being used the players were grumpy…

  70. xbolt says:

    I’ve never played D&D, but I have played a fair amount of Risk. Often, I would have a massive army (20+) poised for battle against three or less puny defenders. I think to myself: “Hee hee, he doesn’t stand a chance!” But to my amazement, my opponent repeatedly rolls fours, fives, and sixes, while I roll ones, twos, and threes. This goes on for a while, sometimes the defenders are finally defeated, (After losing half my army,) or they miraculously destroy every single member of my huge army. And I’m left thinking to myself: “What on Earth happened? The probability was on my side!”

    Generally being a statistical kinda guy, I would never believe what you have said, if not for my own experience.

  71. Spongie says:

    I’m so glad you (the player playing Aragorn) called it a “die” and not a “dice”. If he’d got it wrong, I’m sure Gimli would’ve corrected him… :)

  72. PotatoEngineer says:

    While we’re on dice myths, beware anyone who plays games that require only one type of die (only d6s, only d10s): the players will start buying dice with an eye towards what they’re for. “These dice for rolling treasure, these dice for skill checks, these dice for divine intervention, these dice for combat….”

    As a side note, if you’re training d10s for a system that uses percentiles, train them towards 9, not 0. While 00 is very good indeed, 0 – anything is very, very bad. Training is not 100% reliable, and thus it is far better to train towards 99.

  73. Cenobite says:

    Conan’s Cojones?

    And…the next strip should start off with a Faust Post!

  74. Dean says:

    Used to play Axis and Allies. Anyone else ever see “The Killer Transport from Hell”? This is the transport ship that on a 1 in 6 chance to defend will survive 5 rounds of attacks by battleships, planes and subs. Destroying them all.
    Then do it again on another turn.

  75. Jindra34 says:

    Dean: I assume you have never seen 1 army defend succesfully against over 100 in Risk… now that is sad.

  76. Kirenna says:

    I have 3 shot glasses sitting on the shelf. At any given time, there can be up to 3 dice in “prison” for its “crimes” in those shot glasses. I fill them up with cheap scotch and let them get good and enebriated.

    Once it’s time to roll, the ones freshly “liberated” are so hung over they don’t know better than to roll randomly instead of concentrating on killing my characters.

    I let the other dice watch when I’m not playing, so they know what will happen to them if they cross me.

  77. Nob the Hobbit says:

    People, people… there’s no training, or punishment, or physics gobbledegook involved. It’s much simpler.

    The laws of probability are suspended within a metre or so of anyone playing an RPG, or, for that matter, any game involve dice and (in theory) chance.

  78. Jindra34 says:

    Nob: That is what we have been saying … its just some law(s) must replace the suspended laws of probability…

  79. GEBIV says:

    From the complexity and downright perverseness of the laws that replace the suspended laws of probablity, one must assume that they were written by the Congressional Subcommittee that comes up with the Tax Code.

  80. Telas says:

    brassbaboon at #48 has it figured out. The amount of observation will impact the die roll. It’s quantum.

    Which is why you roll a string of 20s when you’re just cleaning out another goblin lair, and you just need a 3 to hit. Who cares?

    But when the entire two years’ campaign is on the line, and it’s “save or die”, and the entire table (including significant others, children, pets, and pictures on the wall) is watching your roll… You get a one.

    “Stop watching my die rolls! You’re getting your observation in my quantum!”

  81. Captain Rufus says:

    As a casino dealer, and someone who hates superstition in general, I find the best way to end dice superstition is to PUNISH it. People start talking about and switching bad dice and whatnot? TAKE A MINUS/PLUS 4 PUNK.

    The only way to end stupid silly thinks is to horribly abuse people who do it.

    And its fun!

  82. Casper says:

    xbolt Says: And I'm left thinking to myself: “What on Earth happened? The probability was on my side!”

    King Xerxes said the same after attacking Spartans.

    1. Biggles-the-Brolga says:

      1. Xerxes won at Thermopylae.

      2. Why do people always forget that the rest of the Greeks (medizing Boeotians excepted) sent about 5000 total to Thermopylae as well? And that even at the Spartan last stand, the 300 were joined by 1100 from Thebes and Thespis? (Miller has a lot to answer for).

      3. The point of guarding Thermopylae (and why the Greeks and British defended it against the Nazis) is that is was a *chokepoint*. I think they call that a “equalising factor”. So, no, the odds were not so against the defenders.

  83. Darkenna says:

    This was actually posted in reply to a cross-post of the dice discussion on someone’s LJ:

    But it’s true — your odds of rolling any number on the die are equal. it is a random function. Even softening the corners doesn’t help. YOu are just as likely to roll away from the 20 as toward it. Doctoring a die with some mass is about the only real mod you can do to affect it’s probability curve. For that matter, a 20 being a good thing is an arbitrary decision. A 20 could as easily be a critical miss if the rolls were different; only the ruleset makes any roll a good or bad thing.

    The difference between the car and depleted dice is that the car has a finite fuel capacity. A die has no maximum number of rolls. So unless someone can show me a can of Dice Fuel, there is no analogy to be made.

    To which I respond:

    Spoken like a true non-Gamer.

    Every Gamer knows that dice are intelligent critters. They decide as they will how they are going to roll, a decision which they base upon a set of very specific variables: how much they like the player (some people are just anathema to dice), the race and/or class of the character (paladins and kender have a tendency to survive pretty much anything; rangers have an equal tendency to wind up dead), the “risk of death” of the situation requiring the roll (certain dice will always “fail” except when the character will definitely die upon failure; other dice will only roll a critical failure in a situation where death is the only possible result), and how the dice have been treated in the past (have they been mistreated or have they been coddled?). This is why Gamers go to great lengths–in time, distance, and dollars–to find the dice that like them best, and why some Gamers provide their dice every available luxury (I’ve seen silk-lined mink fur dicebags for sale before)… and why some Gamers take great delight in torturing and punishing dice as an abject lesson to the others in the bag (which may be as simple as “exiling” the die to a different container, or as gruesome as freezing the victim in liquid nitrogen and then hitting it with a hammer in plain view of teh other dice, so that they all know the price of failure, mwahahahahahah—–er… umm… ahem.)

  84. Darkenna says:

    GEBIV says:

    From the complexity and downright perverseness of the laws that replace the suspended laws of probablity, one must assume that they were written by the Congressional Subcommittee that comes up with the Tax Code.

    And GEBIV for the win!

  85. tigerdreams says:

    @Smith: No, you’re both wrong. The default position for a d20 should be with some middling, inocuous number facing up; an 11 or 12 is usually good for the purpose. This is true for three reasons:

    1. It prevents you from “using up” high rolls or 20’s.

    2. It prevents you from “training” the die to roll poorly or 1’s.

    3. It allows you to “sneak up on” the die; leaving the die on a 12 is tantamount to walking past it, whistling innocently. It deprives the die of the opportunity to plot against you.

    The d10s I use for White Wolf have a very specific formula attached to them: After every roll, they have to go *back in the bag*. When I want to make a roll, I need to pull out *exactly* the right number for the roll, without looking. If I pull the wrong number, or if there are still some dice out of the bag when I reach in, only suffering will follow.

    That said, I loved the punchline: “Give me back my lucky die. I need to make a diplomacy roll.”

  86. Gadush Kraun says:

    Yea gods! Die are plotting against us now?

    I find that training it on the 20 is very effective my d20 has been sittting on a high number usually a 20, for about a month now, and probably 8/10 times it will roll over 10, usually a 15 or a 16.

  87. Thomas says:

    In my experience, is the combination of the dice and the person which provide spectacular (and spectacularly bad) results. I have a set of 36 Chessex Marble blue with gold spot dice, and the bell curve on them is about 2 points higher than on standard oness from all appearances. :)

  88. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    Dean: “Used to play Axis and Allies. Anyone else ever see “The Killer Transport from Hell”? This is the transport ship that on a 1 in 6 chance to defend will survive 5 rounds of attacks by battleships, planes and subs. Destroying them all.
    Then do it again on another turn.”

    My brother and I started with Shogun (later renamed “Samurai Swords” by some unwordly idiot) and we call it “the Lone Spearman effect”.

    It got to the point where we would avoid attacking places with single spearmen (unless the other player didn’t have anything else.

    Round after round, that spearman would steadily be rolling under his target 4 (d12) while his opposing archers, rifleman, samurai and frigging Daimyos couldn’t beat their 6s, 4s (not big difference there save the first shot deal gunners get), 5s and 6s.

  89. Darkenna says:

    “Used to play Axis and Allies. Anyone else ever see “The Killer Transport from Hell”? This is the transport ship that on a 1 in 6 chance to defend will survive 5 rounds of attacks by battleships, planes and subs. Destroying them all.
    Then do it again on another turn.”

    We used to call these “Schwarzenegger Troops”, especially in Risk or Castle Risk: where one lone army could easily hold a breach against 30, without even getting a sore wrist.

  90. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    Oh, and we haven’t even discussed dice confusion for when you switch game systems.

    Imagine trying to play Champions where you want low numbers on skill and to hit tests and high numbers on damage or effect rolls.

  91. superfluousk says:

    Wait a minute, *Legolas* is the one who notices the error in troop assignation? Something is gravely wrong with this picture…

    Nooo, don’t do it, Aragorn! The balancing 1 is just waiting in the wings for you to make an important roll!

  92. John says:

    Has no-one else read the epic tale of Cohen the Barbarian in Terry Pratchett’s ‘The Last Hero’? He simply and easily explains how it works. Basically there is a statistical anomaly at million to one chances, in that they occur 4 out of 5 times, and as the odds of something happening become infestimately small, it becomes equally inevitable that they will happen

  93. Narmoth says:

    I have a friend that had to test a new dice before buying it. By testing, I mean that he rolled it for an hour in the shop, with the seller waiting for him to decide what dice he would buy, as he was checking if there were a dice which would land more often on high numbers than the other d20. He insisted on that all the dice wouldn’t have their weight equally distributed, so they were bound to land on some numbers more often than on other.
    The seller, a girl in an ordinary bookstore, not a gaming store, was damn mad at him (and complained to me, who were watching and offering my sypathy to her. :) )

  94. Nefke says:

    I do have multiple D20s in my pouch of die, and will grab another one as soon as one start to roll on the low numbers more than once.. I just hope I can ´recharge´ them just by tossing around my pouch once in a while ;).

    The ´what do you want, woman?´ is priceless! The text as well as the pic used!

  95. Bored of Silly Names says:

    Of course you are right about d20’s. That is why wealthy gamers, such as my self, have our d20’s sent to a factory in China, where specially selected unlucky peasants roll a string of 1’s and 2’s to load up the luck.

  96. w00hoo says:

    Argh! Target numbers. I hate it when my players refuse to roll a die without being told what number they need to get on it. Sometimes I’ll just want to know odds or even when I’m working out which one to hit (erm, which character that is) and asking them to roll a die just helps to focus them on what is happening.

    “Roll a d10”
    “What do I need?”
    “Just roll the die.”
    “But, high or low?”
    “roll the bl00dy die!”
    “grumble grumble grumble.”

  97. Little Gen says:

    Oh yes, dice have intelligence. In a previous game, my character was supposed to be an excellent healer, and lo – all my dice gave out 20s and such for each and every one healing. Even the couple of botches came in technically very playable. In this game, my character isn’t so good, so my dice give him a little less spectacular numbers, and a variety of botches which also come in very playable.

    Or it’s just that I’m so ***ng good player… ;)

  98. Joe Werner says:

    Well… in my experience, dice luck is not game / system invariant. While I usually roll quite well in Exalted I just seem to attract critical failures in Ars Magica… I usually confirm about 2-3 of those per night…

    Luck also seems to be dice invariant for some people:
    One in our group has huge pools (usually about 20 d10) and few successes (=7 or higher, 10 counts as two successes). Another player seldom uses more than 5 d10 and gets three or four successes. Using the same dice… that roll bad for everybody else. Except for player No 1 for whom they roll _critically_ bad.

    Theorem 1:
    Denis’ dice suck.
    Corrolary 1a)
    except for Jan (our master of entropy).
    Corrolary 1b)
    do not let either of them touch your dice, they will spoil them!

    Theorem 2:
    Dice can be trained. Ones that are usually being used for d20 prefer to roll low, those used for DSA (a german system) roll high. You can trick them from time to time though.

    Theorem 3:
    If the storyteller says somthing like “and try not to botch this one!” you will fail. Miserably.
    Corr 3a) it is actually the DM’s fault if you roll bad!

  99. Phil says:

    See, nobody else understands why I leave my dice with 1's face up.

    Oh good – it’s not just me then!

    Meanwhile, I have lots of d6 – so before every session I usually roll each several times to select which 2-3 I’ll use. Usually I choose the ones that rolled highest, but having read this strip now I’m wondering whether I should be choosing the ones that rolled lowest… :)

  100. Zaxares says:

    So THAT’S how it works! O.o I’ve been lied to this whole time!

    Then again, as the DM, I could just have easily fudged rolls behind the screen anyway. Nyaahaha!

  101. Serafina says:

    You are all completely bonkers – I love this discussion! *hugs*

    Finally, I no longer feel odd, geeky or mentally unstable as it appears I am not the only one in taking great pains (and costs) to buy just the right dice. And then to carefully select the right one before playing by taking 7 d20 and having them compete against each other in a k.o. system.

  102. Scarlet Knight says:

    Of course dice are intelligent; and also evil. Who was the wise man who said : “Help! My dice are trying to kill me!”

  103. Jindra34 says:

    That would be Shamus.

  104. brassbaboon says:

    Due to my realization of the inherent quantum mechanical behavior of dice (my PHD thesis on this important probabilistic theory is in the works…) I have not invested a great deal of time or money in purchasing dice. This is because of the realization stated above that dice, being quantum mechanical systems, will react to the circumstances instead of any internal dynamic.

    Those of you who believe that dice have some sort of “seesaw” effect where too many 20s means that a string of 1s is coming up, or those who believe dice can be trained or believe that dice can be intimidated have not yet understood this fundamental fact of quantum mechanical systems. The result of the die roll is affected by the circumstances of the roll, and the amount of attention that you put on the roll. So the more important the roll is, the less random it is. Pure and simple.

    What actually impacts the roll is technically defined as the “collapse of the RPG wave function” and actually involves the state of the entire universe at that instant. Advanced RPG Quantum Mechanical theorists speculate that the result of any RPG die roll actually spawns multiple universes that all become fully functioning universes where the RPG experience continues on with each possible result. Where YOUR consciousness ends up (critical hit, or critical fumble) depends on your karmic balance at that moment.

    So go ahead and train your dice or roll them for hours at the store looking for an advantage. Consider such activities to be a sort of innocent hobby. But just remember that the only rolls that count are the rolls that COUNT, and the dice and the entire universe know that. Try instead to train your consciousness to flow into the universe where your future self rolled the critical hit.

    And when you figure out how to do that, let me know.

  105. NeedsToHeal says:

    Oops, Monday was totally crappy for me and I forgot to check the one thing that brings sanity and joy to my life.

    As always, the best screen capture I’ve seen. I cracked up with “What do you want woman?” and the fruit basket thing. There’s always the classic fruit basket to remedy any situation.

    Nice work.

  106. jperk31260 says:

    How many players would have shot Aaragone in the ass for calling thier male character a woman?

  107. Alex says:

    Another great comic and an even better Comment on it.

    I think all of us, even the ones that went on to get degrees in math and statistics, have always felt a little pinch in our hearts when somebody else used OUR die to roll a natural 20.

    The thought is litteraly: “If I would have rolled it instead of him I would have had a critical!”
    And then you think of the exact action you’d take knowing that your roll would be a 20 so that you can maximize that sweet, sweet natural 20…..

    Good times.

  108. Roxysteve says:

    jperk31260 Says:
    How many players would have shot Aaragone in the ass for calling thier male character a woman?

    I’ve been wondering about the in-game passiveness of Legoless under the constant barrage of “wit” from Aragormless myself.


  109. Jochi says:

    Fickle@25 said
    “What with killing Gollum and everything, [Legolas]'s turning out to be pretty useful.”
    But he didn’t. Go look. He killed somebody or something the GM described as “you think it might be Gollum”. They didn’t drag the river for the body. See the discussion on what is and isn’t ‘railroading’. SOMETHING is dead. Gollum is as alive as the GM wants/needs him to be.

  110. Isoyami says:

    @jperk (#107): Nah, Aragorn has been calling Leggylass a woman and hitting on his(? or her?) character for (I assume) weeks, since they met in Elrond’s Council.

    I daresay Leggy is used to it by now… *shudder*

    @brassbaboon (#105): Easy, grasshopper. One must meditate on the Universe and open one’s mind to the future to gently shape events before they occur.

    As Obi-Wan Kenobi once said: “Luck is merely the suble rearraingment of certain small favorable elements so they move in one’s favor” Or something like that.

    Cause we all know that’s why the Jedi spend years learning the ways of the Force … to cook their die roles.

    Its true! Remember Qui-Gon using the Force when rolling against his DM Watto in The Phantom Episode (that must not be named?)

    Just close your eyes, empty your mind, reach into the very fabric of spacetime itself and be the 20. Be the 20.

    Daoism? Zen Buddism? Jedi meditation? Meaningless babble? The world will never know. ;)

    Oh, and I never said it would be easy. *Wink wink, nudge nudge*

  111. Cenobite says:

    “Finally, I no longer feel odd, geeky or mentally unstable as it appears I am not the only one in taking great pains (and costs) to buy just the right dice. And then to carefully select the right one before playing by taking 7 d20 and having them compete against each other in a k.o. system.”

    Nothing unusual about it at all. That’s just the basics from On the Care and Feeding of your Dodecahedrons.

  112. Althanis says:

    I have always threatened my dice with a little “alone time” in the microwave if they don’t perform well. They usually respond well to this threat. =)

  113. Jindra34 says:

    Of all the methods shown here the microwave and freezer are often mentioned… ever tried drowning them in hot water… now that works.

  114. Rolld20 says:

    Actually, there is a benefit to allowing a fellow player to roll to-hits with your dice: Any successful kills they get count as ‘assists’ for you. Good for bumping up your count if you’re playing a non-combatant, or when you fail a saving throw early in the combat.
    “All right, we got another one! Hey, try the purple one for the ogre, it’s due for at least a 17.”

  115. Jindra34 says:

    Rolld20: DO you get anything for an assist i think not therefore do not perform the player assist. 116th comment.

  116. Librain says:

    I had an awesome d20, it got me through half a session of a zombie game, with about 10 saves involved. Sure I didn’t make all of them, just the important ones. The game was in fact d10 based, but my d10’s were all sucking at the time so the GM let me take half my d20.

    Sadly I later gave that die away as a present to my now ex-girlfriend. I have others, but they just don’t seem to be the same. Perhaps they need training, I believe the freezer seems a common suggestion? Smashing them seems a bit extreme, I think I’ll save that for my sucky d10’s.

    Unfortunately they’re all the same so I can’t tell which ones need to be smashed and which ones just need a little gentle coercion.

    “I’m not arrogant, I really am that good.”

  117. Dernwine says:

    I remember playing D&D and we all fell into a trap where our equipment had to be sacrificed to avoid drowning. I man edged to keep my sword and bow, but lost my shield (which was the one thing I cared about)everyone else swam back out and dived for their stuff, and got it, but when I went into the water for my shield I immediately rolled a 1 on my check against cold, falling unconscious. I never got my shield back… (I banished those dice to behind my wardrobe for eternity)

    Suddenly Caesars comment “Alea iacta est” (the Die is cast) seems very odd, I mean, all things considered, I would be most unwilling to risk my life and my army on 1 roll of a d6, especially if it was untamed.

  118. Clyde says:

    Superstitious? Me? No, not at all… But I haven’t cut my hair since Hurricane Wilma knocked my power out for a week in 2005. Hey, it kept the hurricanes away last year!

  119. Sewerman says:

    So we’ve gone now from “God does not play dice with the universe” to “Dice playing God with the universe”?
    Just so you know, my dice always giggled with glee whenever they screwed me over. Everyone commented on it.

    -Tortured by dice with wicked senses of humor.

  120. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    heh, I often buy dice to specific color schemes to match a character theme

    black and gold for my teifling shadow-dancer

    mottled grey for my super-hero Greyskin

    purple dice for my purple-scaled disciple of medusa

    when I ran a game at A-Kon, I had color coded dice for each of the pre-gens. Had a pair for each character so that I could roll notice checks and be able to roll all the dice at once and not have to decide which die was who each time.

  121. Roxysteve says:

    [Shamus] Shamus, I know you’ve answered this for someone else before and I swear I looked high and low with zero success before I decided to ask you again.

    My daughter has become inspired by your work and wishes to publish her own webcomic. I’ve googled and used “The Algorythm” (and I didn’t get what I was looking for) but I cannot find any suitable webcomic authoring software. What do you use?

    I have a couple of professional level image processors, but not anything specifically targeted at producing frame-enclosed webcomic artwork.

    Sorry to bug everyone with this but she’s driving me nuts.

    The hosting I will probably put on a yahoo!group since she wants to kepp it restricted to a closed group of friends and that seems to be the quickest and easiest solution.


  122. Roxysteve says:

    [Dernwine] Did you know that there is a second (disputed) translation of Ceasar’s famous quote that goes “Let the dice fly high”?

    In Esperanto dice are called ĵetcuboj (pronounced zhet-COO-boy) which literally means “throwing cubes” and cracks me up every time I hear it* ‘cos I’ve hurled a few of them away in disgust a few times in my life. I generally roll 7 for 1 (in any combat, I’ll whiff seven times and hit on numer eight, only make one save in eight and so forth). In fact I’ve rolled dice so abominably anti-me during a Wonkhammer 401k tournament that my opponent begged me to reroll almost every combat. I refused of course. The effect on his morale was devastating and I managed an almost-draw as a result (I lost every battle that year and had set my sights by then on reducing the victory point spread to single digits if possible).

    We hates the dice, but we hates re-rolling more my precious.


    * which I only do once in a blue moon owing to the fact that alhough 200 million people speak Esperanto, most of them live somewhere other than NYC.

  123. Roxysteve says:

    While I’m at it, may I wish all my American Friends and Acquaintances a safe July 4th celebration.

    Please take care not to drink yourselves stupid or blow yourselves up as you celebrate your ancestors’ mutinous rejection of benevolent British rule.

    I shall be busy myself draping my house in black ribbons and flying a tattered Union Jack at half mast while my stereo plays gloomy music such as the works of Leonard Cohen.


  124. Jindra34 says:

    Steve: Do you want to cause trouble?

  125. Varen Tai says:

    As I read once on the “Everything I needed to know, I learned from RPGs” list:

    Dice have their own minds. Usually mean, spiteful, little minds.

    (I don’t suppose anyone has a copy of that list anywhere? I lost mine… :) )

  126. brassbaboon says:

    Steve, that was classic. Maybe we need to do “DM of the American Revolution.”

    DM: “The crown has increased taxes on tea to improve the roads between Boston and Philadelphia.”
    Patrick Henry: “Tea, who the heck drinks that girly junk? I stop at the store and pick up some Red Bull.”
    DM: “There is no Red Bull in Continental Boston. High-priced, over-hyped energy drinks haven’t been invented yet.”
    PH: “Oh, uh… well what do we drink then?”
    DM: “Tea. Lots and lots of tea.”
    PH: “And the King just raised taxes on tea?”
    DM: “Again. Yes.”
    PH: “OK, I guess that might tick me off, I attack the King.”
    DM: “The King’s in ENGLAND!”
    PH: “I hate this campaign!”

  127. Roxysteve says:

    Jindra34 Says:
    Steve: Do you want to cause trouble?

    Not here. If you’re offended by wishes that you don’t blow yourself to Smithereens (a small town just south of Cork), please accept my sincere appologies.

    I sent much the same message around the office. No-one complained (and I work with a bunch of reactionaries) so I figured it was safe to pass it on.


  128. Jochi says:

    For RoxySteve: ???
    Celebrate WITH us, but from your POV.
    Little Yank boy: Don’t you celebrate Thanksgiving in England?
    Smiling Brit: Yes, we do, just not in November.
    Puzzled kid: OH? When do YOU celebrate Thanksgiving?
    Brit: On the 4th of July.

  129. Sara says:

    61 lastakodo Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    It might just be my own group but no matter how poorly a player rolls if he/she is the GM they will never stop rolling phenomenally well, that is until they become a player again.
    See, it’s the reverse for our group. My husband rolls 20s for the NPC he’s toting around for us, and then rolls critical fumbles for all those huge, high CR creatures he’s spent all week imagining for us. And we don’t do so badly… Of course, I don’t touch my blue dice. I think they’re mad at me. My new swirly black ones like me better right now.

  130. Alyc says:

    As a perpetual poor-roller no matter what I did (dice changing, handing off dice, warming dice up, cooling dice off, putting them all at their highest number up to prime them, putting them at their lowest number up to drain out the bad mojo, you name it, I’ve tried it), I was never so happy as the day that the luck feats were introduced. I have a factotum entirely dedicated to luck feats, and she is the only character I’ve ever had that regularly kicks ass, because I roll 1’s so often. I win!

  131. SteveZilla says:

    Are you tired of paying for mistakes in a former life? Do you wish you had as much luck as the lucky ba***rd sitting next to you? Had an unfortunate run-in with a Luck Vampire?

    Go to Karma Consolidation now!

  132. SteveZilla says:

    Small nitpick. Panel #5 looks to be just a crop of #2.

  133. Dave says:

    Hmm.. I agree with all your 20-sided die logic.. But I have a question.. or maybe it’s more of a problem…

    Dear Shamus… I have a problem. I have a d20 that is cursed. It has always rolled 6 or less. I have had this die since (pauses and thinks).. yikes! since the late 70s. It is a crystal blue die with paint-washed in red numbers… I know it’s cursed.. that is not the problem.. The problem is.. that when I really need a 20.. I am always tempted to grab this die and roll it.. it MUST be due.. it HAS to have a 20 in it. But as always.. less than 6.. usually under 3.. often a 1.

    Now I understand that these numbers are as hard to roll as any.. I don’t hate the die. It is what it is.. cursed.

    I did hand it off to someone once.. and they rolled a few high numbers with it. Yet, I don’t think it is used up.. I truely believe that it was just tempting me further. Showing me that those numbers do exist. Yet this just makes me more likely to use it and fail a desperately needed save.

    Nope.. it is cursed.

    My question is this.. How do I get rid of it?

    Polyhedrally yours,


    Thanks for listening.

  134. Dragonkiri says:

    These stories about “punishing” and “executing” dice are just about the best thing I’ve read in a reaaaaally long time!

  135. haysoos says:

    I have a set of dice (3d6) that seem to swing back and forth to either end of the probability seesaw with every roll.

    Since we usually play GURPS, this means that they always seem to roll low on the first roll (which in GURPS is very good – as the ‘to hit’ roll is rolled under the skill level), and then high on the next roll (which is usually the damage roll).

    My players have taken to calling them the “Evil GM Dice” and have grown to fear their appearance on the gaming table.

    I love my Evil GM Dice.

  136. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Jochi Says:
    Puzzled kid: OH? When do YOU celebrate Thanksgiving?
    Brit: On the 4th of July.”

    Oooo, that’s funny!

    Maybe this day IS a good time to remember all the contributions Mother England gave to role playing?
    Even with Yankee ingenuity, where would D&D be without King Arthur, The Tower, Richard the Lion Heart,Thee’s & Thou’s, Monty Python, and of course, Professor Tolkien, himself.

    Now, let us celebrate in a truly American fashion, by eating as many hotdogs as humanly possible….

  137. ChristianII says:

    Aragorns face in the last panel is perfect.

  138. inq101 says:

    The other rule about dise is whenever you say ‘anything but a …’ that number is certain to turn up. If someone jinxes your dice (‘you need anything but a one to kill the goblen’) You can confuse the dice with a cry of ‘Anything but Pi’

  139. Roxysteve says:

    [inq101] I like it!


  140. Dernwine says:

    [Roxysteve] No I didn’t actually know that there was an alternate translation, however the image still remains, that he is putting everything on the throw of a dice (but then again don’t we all :D)

    By the way I have a love/hate relationship with this comic, I love it because its so funny, but I hate it because it reminds me that I don’t have a D&D group right now :(

  141. Sevenhills says:

    A few years ago I bought a bargain bag of 20 d6s for £1 at a convention. I used them in a demo game, and as soon as one of them rolled a number I didn’t want I threw it away. By the end, I had 6 proven lucky dice left.

  142. SteveDJ says:

    I wonder what would happen if a GM made an outcome table that had all the good stuff not at the end for high numbers, and not at the end for low numbers, but instead positioned in the middle of the table.

    So, the GM says to roll a d20. The player asks if they need to roll high, or low. The GM laughs and says “No, something in the middle”!

    That would surely confuse the dice! :)

  143. Carl the Bold says:

    [RoxySteve] My favorite July 4 memory was many years ago; John Cleese was on Letterman a few days before Independence Day. Letterman asked the banal question, “Do you guys celebrate July 4th over there?”

    Cleese: “Actually, um, we celebrate on July 3rd. We call it ‘Dependence Day’, and we take statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the like and we put them up in our town squares, and we jeer at them all day long. ‘Don’t you think it’s about time you got a little more independent?!'”

    Good times. Good times.

    BTW, a d20 is an icosohedron–a d12 is a dodecahedron.


  144. 5h4n6 says:

    to [post #45]

    from wikipedia on Dice: ‘Plastic dice can be biased to roll a certain number by heating them (for example in an oven) with the desired face upward, so that the plastic will soften slightly and “pool” at the opposite (bottom) side of the die without showing much, if any, visible distortion.’ So, the dude of the microwave oven might have been, in fact, very near to the solution to his problem, however, that IS cheating. :P

    I think that the very reason we play RPGs is to have fun. I do recognize it involves math, thinking, lots of creativity and intelligence and the truth is, believing our dice can behave this or that way is part of the whole deal. But the essence is the same: to have fun, and literally roll with the dice :P

    And also… is it me or the anti-spam word is always the same?

  145. 5h4n6 says:

    Although, brassbaboon’s theory of quantum dice is really interesting :D

    well, if light does it… :D

  146. I love it when my players complain about this stuff.
    Oh noes! A one!


  147. Jindra34 says:

    Nearly 150? how can we still be on topic? post 149. and never enforce critical failure rules on attack roles. It quickly reuses the 20’s they gain from rolling 1’s

  148. Jindra34 says:

    Shamus can i get a list of all the comments that could appear up top?

  149. Isoyami says:

    Wow, over 150 comments and still going strong! Sweet.

    Yea, Aragon better take his lucky dice back… we all know what happened the last time Gimli made a diplomacy check for the Rohirrim.

    “Sorry about almost TK’ing you with the creepy ghost guys. Enjoy your fruit basket, Horsef–ker!”

    That joke just never gets old. :D

    (Oh, BTW, where is the comic for today?)

    And happy 4th of July for all the American types!

  150. Dannerman says:

    Dernwine I know exactly how you feel.

  151. Theron says:

    I’m cursed.

    D6 are my bane, I can’t roll stats, or damage, or, well, anything with a d6. Playing the old Chapmpions was positively humiliating. And when I played a wizard, it was pathetic.

    Me I throw a fireball
    Them: hehehe
    Me: 9 d6, that’s… 14 total.
    Them: snicker

    My only recompense was in killing other players. If the GM wanted them dead, he would simple possess my character and it was crit city with lots and lots of damage. It didn’t happen often, but I lived for the clarion call to attack the party!

    On the other hand there was Reggie, who always rolled way high. I sat in and watched him play Champions just to record his average. Over hundreds of d6 die rolls, he averaged a bit over 4.2.

    I’m a big believer that the law of averages is really more of a “suggestion”.

  152. Severed Hand says:

    I got a friend (with whom I don’t play d&d anymore, for various reaosns) who is currently studying quantum mechanics at university. I remember he once spent about 20 minutes trying to argue that the critical I rolled on an opponents power attack wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t changed dice just before, because the old ones were being pathetic and making the combats way too easy.

  153. inq101 says:

    We used to have a manager in my local Games Workshop who could aparently alter the laws of probability by entering the room. No d6 ever rolled greater than a 3 in his presence. I saw one game of 40K where no-one scored a single hit for the first 3 turns (total game casualties were something like 12 at the end). Even today, the store veterans believe that the verry mention of his name will jinx any game in progress.

  154. Valley says:

    Ohhh… I’ve been doing it wrong for so many years. Dice have to be train and punished. Good tip.

  155. Retlor says:

    Personally I’ve instituted a harsh training regimen for my dice. They must be turned desired face up at the beginning of the day. They break for lunch at midday, when they may spend an hour or so relaxing in a soft, velvet dice bag. Then back to training for another few hours. Personally, I don’t like to punish dice too much, as all of mine get petulant when I do. Does anyone know the ideal diet of a die?

    Some of the other players in my group will turn their dice lowest side up. Apparently this is an offering to their mystical ‘dice gods’ so he will take all of their 1s away. I don’t believe in the dice gods, though, prefering to use a scientific method of training.

  156. Steve says:

    inq101 in post 140:

    I agree with you. I was playing a game of Warhammer a few months ago (my Dwarfs versus my friend’s Dark Elves). He managed to charge two chariots with spiked wheels into one of my units. 1d6+1 impact hits for each chariot.

    Just before he rolled, I yelled “Snake-eyes!” You can guess what he rolled. Luckily he didn’t roll that well to wound, but when you’re rolling _fourteen_ dice to try to wound, you don’t need to roll very well to have an impact (pun intended.)

  157. Hoyce says:

    Loved the Stephen Furst pic…

  158. Cenobite says:

    Microwaving is nice, but what can you do if your dice are made completely out of metal?

  159. Roxysteve says:

    [Carl the Bold] I’m a British ex-pat, married to a massively cute US woman who gave me a supermassively cute baby girl a dacade and a half ago and we normally run a july 3rd party (on or about: we pick the weekend just before or just after the real thing) so that people can come to ours and go to a real one. This year we didn’t, and people have been phoning up to ask why (a bathroom renovation took up all the free time and we just forgot it in the chaos).

    One year I wore red and made everyone immigrate before they could have delicious viands and refreshing beverages, but I haven’t done anything like that since. Note: No-one refused to come in, possibly because I had stuff on the barbecue and the “immigration” point was downwind.

    I don’t really do any of that black ribbon/half mast stuff of course. My daughter’s tree house normally flies Old Glory from when we get up to sunset, at which time guess who has to remember the rules and respectfully take it down (the Americans chez mois are typically asleep in the sun or too busy arguing about The Twighlight Zone, Black Adder or Shakespeare or whatever else they want to have a frank exchange of views about to remember by then).

    Indeed, the meanest I’ve been to Americans at one of these affairs was about 18 years ago when I was keen on parlour magic and had a dozen of them on the hook for an hour with the old “knot tying rope” gag. Latecomers could not figure out why everyone was sitting about with lengths of rope and waggling their arms about. Best part – Jeff the Kung-fu Accountant getting metaphysical and trying to ‘will’ the knot to happen.

    Personally, I love July 4th. Ich bin ein hamburger.


  160. Roxysteve says:

    [Cenobite] Re: metal dice.

    Nip down to Home Despot and buy yourself a 4lb single-jack hammer (aka “Lump Hammer”). The answer will then present itself.

    In fact you’ll rarely be at a loss for what to do in any situation once you have your trusty lump hammer at your side.

    I wrote a song about my lump hammer. It’s called “My Happy Place Has A Hammer In It (Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang)“.


  161. Doom Chicken says:

    My friends hate me when I call die rolls.

    They’ll be rolling their d20 to hit something, I’ll yell “1!” and they roll a 1. This has happened countless times. A couple times, I’ve even called the number on a percentile roll. Almost every time I call a roll, that’s the number that comes up. I think it’s hilarious.

  162. Pffh says:

    So am I the only one that has had a ritual sacrifice of a bad dice with a knife to torture the dice before eventually soaking it in petrol and throwing it on a open fire while the rest of my die sat on a nearby table to watch?

  163. brassbaboon says:

    I think there’s a clear dividing line between RPG gamers who believe that the dice have inherent attributes (such as evilness or memory) and those who believe that dice are simply the conduit whereby the underlying universe itself inflicts its capricious desires on them.

    I fall into the latter category. I assume my dice are innocently doing the will of the fates, and I am sure they are much happier when they are allowed to roll critical hits than when forced to roll critical fumbles.

    In general I tend to not be a “blame the messenger” sort of guy. My problems, and they are legend, with the capriciousness of games of chance is not the fault of the dice. And they can’t be fixed by finding different dice. That’s because “luck” is a far more profound and deeper manifestation of the will of the universe than can be explained by any single piece of plastic, bone or wood.

    How I wish that were not so, and that I could find some “lucky dice” to correct my serious luck deficiencies, but alas that search long ago proved fruitless.

    Bottom line in my case is, it’s not the dice. So why would I torture those poor innocent creatures who are already suffering enough just having to produce the results the universe mandates? It’s not their fault. Poor little things.

    As I said, it’s all about the quantum nature of chance… The truth lies in the quantum foam at the very limits of our awareness and imagination…

  164. M&a says:

    Ah, the good (and bad) times with the dice.

    First D&D session ever rolled a 20 in a barroom brawl (borrowed a friend’s dice). I knew that had to be either really good or really bad, and was pretty sure it was bad.
    Me: “Is that good?”
    DM: “Were you trying to kill him?”
    Me: “Uh… no?”
    DM: “OK, then what WERE you trying to do…”

    Suffice it to say the offender found himself pinned to the wall of the tavern with a javelin through the ear. Not one of my finer moments, but hilarious for my first encounter.

    When I went and bought my own dice, they weren’t nearly as agreeable. I cursed at their ability to roll low frequently… about as much as I cursed at the DM’s dice for rolling high. Finally after complaining to the DM (who also happened to be my now husband), we compared dice.

    The sum of the opposite sides of the dice should equal n+1, where n = the number of sides on the dice. Thus 20 should be opposite 1, 19 should be opposite 2, 18 should be opposite 3, etc. The DM’s dice followed this rule. The alignment of my dice was just plain weird.

    Those dice were sequestered to a dark corner and I went and bought some properly numbered dice… which in comparison are pleasantly balanced. Now I just need to find a lucky set of dice *eyes her husband’s dice*.

  165. Scarlet Knight says:

    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our dice,
    But in ourselves, that we are pc’s.”

  166. Lorgin says:

    A few years ago, we were playing a Vampire campaign with our GM who, I must point out, is evil both in and out of the game. In Vampire, rolls are made using large numbers of ten-siders – you need to roll above a certain number, but every “1” you roll takes away one good roll. If you roll more 1’s than successes, you botch.

    One evening, one of the players was having a fantastic run. His dice were rolling 8’s, 9’s and 10’s (which are particularly good ‘cos you can re-roll them for extra successes. And Jack was very happy with himself, announcing every roll with glee.

    Until he had to go to the bathroom.

    After he’d left the gaming room, the GM stood up and came around the table, then before we realized what she was doing, leaned forward and touched each of his dice before we could stop her – just tapping them with her fingertip. Then she went back to her seat.

    Jack came back, and we started the next round of the combat. When it came to his turn, we all watched his dice carefully. He picked them up, with a confident smile, threw them onto the table. About 4 1’s, a couple of 2’s and 3’s and maybe a 6 or 7. Fumble.

    Next round I think was just a failure, but over the rest of the night, he fumbled so much and barely scored a success. After ten minutes he was getting unnerved by the giggling from the rest of us, and we had to tell him what happened. “How could you let her curse my dice?” he wailed.

    It was hilarious to watch – but more importantly we all learned an important lesson. To this day, if anyone has a good night rolling, if they leave the room the instruction goes round the table – “Don’t let Conny touch my dice”

  167. lorgin says:

    Sorry – forgot the obligatory “Great work Shamus, keep it up” comment.

    Great work Shamus, keep it up.

  168. Falxo says:

    This is absolutely true… When you roll dices “for fun” outside the game and get several twenties, you’ve made a terrible mistake and are doomed to fail every action you’re going to perform once the game has started. Basic RPG rule that EVERY SINGLE NEW PLAYER should learn before they make this mistake.

  169. Parzival says:

    Corollary rule: Never play a dice-based wargame against a child. Dice favor minors.

  170. Obfuscato says:

    I really have to wonder about most dice not being true. I’ve had too many board games that had lopsided dice. Even the weight removed from incised numbers has gotta have an effect in the long run, which is why the casinos paint numbers instead of cutting them into the plastic. Cheats will use paint with dense metals for the side they want down, and swap in their dice. It’s enough.

    I once bought some standard-looking clear green plastic dice from a local liquor store. I was getting 7 and 11 rolls like crazy. Finally checked them, and found I got what are called sharps and flats – the down side faces are made slightly larger. I find out much later the clerk screwed up by selling $20 under-the-counter cheater dice for 89 cents. Even though I’d hide them away, the dice had powers to influence others’ minds to find them, and they would somehow make their way into board games over and over again.

  171. johnnychan says:

    This is HILARIOUS.

    Well done, dude.

  172. Toil3T says:

    “Now the secret is yours. Please put this knowledge to good use*.

    *By “good use” I mean, “take advantage of other players”.”

    Will do. I never really liked our psion…
    (Just kidding- or am I?)

    Hey, I wonder if this’ll be the first comic to breach the 200 mark with its comments?

  173. Tengokujin says:

    I disbelieve you all.

    Disbelieve! Disbelieve!

    Rather, I entrust my arm to do a precision routine of precisely throwing the dice in an exact fashion that results in one number.

    This method has proven to give me a 16 on a d20 for the most part.

    Only when I do get overzealous do I overdo the throw and the die rolls to a 1.

    But I know where the problem is: it’s me and my throwing hand for not being precise enough.

    So all your comments about dice being fate or quantumly collapsing functions… I disbelieve!

    (Seriously, I try to throw my dice in exactly the same fashion, with the exactly the same positioning, every single time… it might not necessarily be the best number, but it’s a consistent number.)

  174. f;oah says:

    I heard another theory about dice: put a d20 in the microwave with the 1 facing up, then line up the rest of your dice in front of the microwave. Close the door and cook a d20. They will larn, and they will never roll a 1 again. Great comic.

  175. Doug says:

    M&a: “The alignment of my dice was just plain weird”.

    Nothing weird about the alignment of my dice. Plain, straight-down-the-middle, just like Momma used to make… chaotic evil.

  176. Mina says:

    Gimli made me laugh so hard… that was too fing classic!

  177. Speak for yourself, Shamus. I have an Iron Law of My Luck.

    A) Low roll for random encounter, trap, what have you. This means it will be difficult to solve.

    B) High roll for solving the problem. Once, we stole an antlion’s tusk from its mouth then robbed the chests it was guarding. Got more experience for not killing it. True story.

    C) High roll for loot. That means the chests in question are filled to the brim with rare and powerful goodies.

    D) High random encounter. This usually means finding another treasure chest.

    E) Repeat A-D several times.

    F) Scripted event solved by high rolls.

    Whether D10s or D20s, I charge every dice I use with luck.

  178. MSchmahl says:

    So, in the annotation of the latest Darths and Droids, DMM linked to tvtropes. The article on RandomNumberGod quotes you. I thought you might enjoy this, if you already didn’t know of it.

  179. Siosilvar says:

    I find that throwing dice that rolled low in the refridgerator works, for some odd reason.

  180. dyrnwyn says:

    I already knew how a dice work

  181. dyrnwyn says:

    no, how a die works

  182. elopingcamel says:

    Even the most rational of minds quiver in fear at the sheer awesome power of spiteful dice.

  183. Shorgoth says:

    I think I’m probably one of the statisticaly unluckiest person with dices in the world. Here a couple of examples and experiences we made:

    Risk, 143 units(for me) 1 for my brother. After the fight: complete defeat for me, my brother still had his 1 unit.

    DnD: for 20 rolls I make I have 4.5 1 as result and around .15 20. The other rolls are mostly between 3 and 5. No 2 and that’s kinda curious.

    Ars magica: you use a load of d10, 0(10) are actual botch. and 1 are crit reroll gioving you a multiplicator .Once you botch with your first dice you have to roll an amount of dice depending on the situation you are, somtime I had to roll up to 13 d10 in extreme conditions. My average on 10 rolls is: 4 0, 3×2 2×3, the last roll is random and nearly never a 1. On the good side, when I have to roll a fuck ton of dices to see if it’s an actual botch(you need to roll more 0 on the second roll with more dice) I end up not having a true botch with 13 dices.

    Constatation: when I touch dices they are cursed to never do any good rolls after.

    I have 8 d 20, and make a rotation depending on if they roll good or not. Sometime I’m a bit luckyer and can make 2 or 3 rolls higher than 5 in a row so I keep the dice until he run out of strenght again then I switch.

    A friend who wasen’t supersticious at first took my d10, his character ended up dead due to multiples botchs while he was climbing a tree using magic. First he botched his spell, ending 1 feet from his target position, then he botched on 4 consecutive rolls trying to catch a branche. After that every rolls he made with my dices endeed up similarly. After a couple of game cession with my dices he finaly bought a new set and was scared of touching my dices again. Every time he accidentaly touch my dices he is cursed by bad luck.

    I don’t get benefit from draining luck from other player’s dice.

    I finaly found a way to play a game without being slave of my dice, I play mutants and mastermind and I took the power: probability control at lvl 10: it mean once per turn I can take a dice and before roling it I can anounce it’s a minimum 10 on the roll. I can then roll the dice and if it’s a 9- on the result I get a default 10. This is the only way I’ve found up to now.

  184. Some random guy says:

    I already knew about the dice rules. I usually play with peoples with out dice, so I let them use my dice… after I use up the high rolls.

  185. Sulacu says:

    I don’t really buy this statistical dilemma. When I roll my d20, there’s nothing for it but for me to commit to the result. After the action decided by the d20 has taken place, the roll result is in the past. Ignoring your previous rolls is – to my knowledge – the best way to treat your personal d20.

    Still, there can’t really be two mutually exclusive probabilities for rolling a d20 at any given time, can there? The ‘probability seesaw’ derives its distribution from making retrospective assumptions regarding conditional probability;

    Sure, rolling a natural 20 with the condition that the previous roll is also a natural 20 is a 400:1 chance, but only insofar as you haven’t yet made the first roll. After that first blessed natural 20 oozes from your die, it changes from being probability to being certainty and the probability of the second is 1/20, same as always.

    So, that’s why I let my players bring one d20 and stick to it. When my players treat their d20s as ‘luck capacitors’ and try to go about exchanging them after a discharge of high rolls, I occasionally give them a ‘Jester’s Gambit’. When I do, it means that the first natural 1 that is rolled by that player from the point that the gambit is given becomes a natural 20, or the first natural 20 becomes a natural 1. It helps dissolve the boundaries between good and bad luck, and makes them realize that the probability for total failure and irrefutable success are equal, whilst at the same time getting rid of a lot of infighting about dice. For let’s be honest, rolling a 1 or a 20 would be both good and bad luck in such a situation.

  186. Sulacu says:

    Forgive the double post

  187. Shamus says:

    No problem, it happens. :)

  188. Gravaviel says:

    Dear Shamus, your logic is epic.

  189. Shawn says:

    I am sorry, the best thing about this particular one is the Babylon 5 reference :)

    My obsessions definitely have a pecking order… and a pack of Shadows or Vorlons dominate just about anything else… (except of course, for the Host of Valar! (And I will be forever bitter over the fact that, “Of the march of the host of the Valor to the north of Midle-Earth little is said in any tail…” WHY THE HECK IS THAT?!!?!?!?! Morgoth defeated, all Beleriand destroyed…. good stories I would think!! GRRRRR!)) <— Note that as a good coder, my parens ARE balanced!

  190. dlantoub says:

    I utterly subscribe to this theory about dice. However I protect my dice whether or not they roll good or bad. I was the only DnD fighter I met to have 4 hitpoints and a full set of field plate at level 2. i was also the most unluckily luckiest character in the game. In spite of weird random bonuses the GM gave me 90% of the time my character would miss completely in any type of combat. however the occasional 10% saw me roll near to maximum damage on every hit.

  191. Moridin says:

    It tells a lot about gamers that this specific discussion is the first(and probably the only) on to reach almost 200 replies. They are also, for the most part, wrong. The key to rolling high is to not to look, even glance, the die before it stops rolling when the roll is important. That way the die believes that the roll wasn’t important and will roll good.

  192. Andrew Jensen says:

    Some times probability doesn’t work. Onesesion of mine, a player rolled 3 20sin a row with the samedie Then other players proeded to roll about six more twenties with the die over that hour. The lowest number rolled was I believe a 5…

    And come on, reach 200 posts!

  193. Andrew Jensen says:

    ARGH! It screwed up and I wasn’t able to edit my post for the abundant typing errors!

  194. Robin says:

    The purpose of dice is to give an unpredictable result. You bought them specifically so you would have no control over the result. The game uses them precisely to give you no control over the result. That’s why there is so much effort spent trying to control the result.

    Having said that, here’s my take on why your dice hate you.

    Dice are pedantic mathematicians, and if you want to them to treat you well, then treat them well.

    1. One die; two dice. Never anger them by referring to a singular dice or plural die.

    2. Proper dice have opposite sides that add up to n+1. If the opposites sides of your die don’t add up to the same number, then they are not proper dice, and cannot be trusted. Wrap them up in fancy paper and give them to some kid you don’t like.

    3. It’s not a twelve-sider, it’s a dodecahedron. Once you’ve made friends with it, you may get less formal and call it a d12. But it’s still not a twelve-sider.

    4. Use correct plurals. They are not polyhedrons (tetrahedrons, octahedrons, etc.); they are polyhedra (tetrahedra, octahedra, etc.) How can you expect them to give you high numbers if they know you can’t handle numbers larger than one?

    5. Don’t mix dice from different manufacturers. If you put Koplow dice and Gamescience dice in the same bag, the Koplow dice get envious and the Gamescience dice get insulted. They can tell the difference.

    6. The five basic dice (tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron) are Platonic solids, or regular polyhedra. Many new dice out are Catalan solids (the d24, d30). Any die whose faces all meet at two unique points (d10, d16), whose faces aren’t all the same shape (d5, d7) or which isn’t a polyhedron (d100, d3), should be kept in a separate bag. The Platonic and Catalan solids know that these upstarts aren’t “real” dice.

    Oh, and Dave, about your d20 that never rolls higher than a six? The problem is that this die is a cube. (Last week, I had a player upset that he was rolling low numbers. I eventually noticed that he was rolling attack rolls with a d12.)

  195. BattlingDragon says:

    Before any game session, I will line my D20 up, 19’s up. I’ve noticed that when you roll, you usually miss your training point by 1. If you train for 20, you get either 19 or 1. By training to 19, I usually get 18 or 20. I will also roll all of them just before play begins and use the one that rolls highest until it rolls below 10. After that, I re-roll the remaining dice and send in the highest.

  196. BattlingDragon says:

    Sorry for the double post, but I couldn’t resist.


  197. Friedenmann says:

    Rolling a 20 tactics? This is just silly. The roll is bound to be random, unless the die isn’t well-balanced.

    In my experience there’s often a rule “the DM makes all rolls”, to avoid people arguing with him/her as to why somebody didn’t succeed when they have rolled a high number. If such rule exists people may went on talking about the DM cheating with their rolls or having unlucky throws, but they can’t do anything about it. Having the players fight over dice and arguing who sabotaged their throw with a mean look is worse than that, I guess.

  198. Rev says:

    After lurking so far I finally decided to comment; Thank you- It was a great day when I found this strip. love the “I need to make a diplomacy roll” line

  199. Caradoc says:

    If anyone is still reading this preposterously long thread, I thought I’d tell a little story about dice rolls. I am usually a quite rational person and I understand frequency distributions, but my own sort of ‘luck’ seems a bit off kilter. My die rolls in D&D (and everything else, it seems, that involve random sequences) are consistently long stretches of bad to middling numbers, punctuated by lunatic runs of good ones.

    One I’ll never forget came when rolling up a character in Runequest or some other early system. Rolling percent dice for my character’s race, I hit 00 which sent me off to some ‘unusual race’ table. Another 00 sent me to a ‘monster’ table, and then a final 00 landed me in a ‘gods and demons’ table. A 97 there made me a Balrog. Hoo boy.

  200. Aeon_the_Hermit says:

    I have a chant that seems to replenish dice. it goes:
    “My dice are all rolling ones”

  201. Rob #2 says:

    Rule of First Posts: “First-Posters” should be kicked in the junk and banned from reading the next comic.

    Unless it was done in a way that everyone finds funny. Then all is forgiven and the poster is given encouragement.

  202. Saphroneth says:

    That is a really nice screencap in the penultimate panel. If it’s edited, it’s a masterful job – and if not, very good eye.

  203. Thom says:

    YAY Story time again! So my group is now playing Dark Heresy (fun game :D) which has open-ended damage. Invariably you roll max damage, then confirm that you can continue to roll, but your second die always, ALWAYS turns up “1”

  204. Spike says:

    “What do you want, woman?!?!” this is excelent!

  205. Arkanabar says:

    I accumulated dice for a decade or more, and then decided to prune them down. I kept the ones with warm colors — a Chessex Fire set, some Chessex Strawberry (though I painted the green numbers gold), a pack of five red & white D6s that we’d bought back in the 80s, an early yellow-orange high impact d20 that was numbered 0-9 twice, that I colored half of with a sharpie to tell 1-10 from 11-20, some others in varying shades of red, orange, yellow, and/or black. They were AWESOME. They were so awesome, that I unintentionally came very close to TPK when running games a number of times. I called them my “Hot” set.

    So I built up a second set — a Chessex Water set of 7, supplemented with many 12mm Water d6s bought for Shadowrun, some solid blue d6s with white pips (and really awful quality control), four Chessex blue-and-maroon full sized d6s with silver spots, and some Barracudas (blue with black specks and gold numbers), and an extra Chessex “Cobalt” d20. They roll randomly. I call them my “cool” set.

    One day I accidentally left my backpack behind sitting in a common area at college. When I returned, the ONLY thing missing was my Hot dice set. I miss them still.

  206. WJS says:

    It’s true you know. If a die rolls low, it will probably do better next time. Conversely, if it rolls high, it probably won’t do so well next time.

    Seriously though, I just want to point out that you only get a bell curve if you’re rolling 3 dice or more. If you roll just one die, it’s a flat or uniform distribution, and if you roll two it’s a triangular distribution. 3+ and it starts to approach a proper bell-shaped normal distribution.

  207. I Art Laughing says:

    Or just file off the edges leading to the 20, round off the edges on the opposite side of the one and crisp up the edges opposite the 20.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.