The Red Box Blog

Ramblings about D&D.

8 Funky Dice Rituals

Professional poker players are people who make their living by intimately understanding probability. Yet despite the fact that understanding the underlying math behind poker is a job requirement, most of the them fall into the trap of becoming very superstitious. I think the reason this happens is that no matter how logical your brain may be, you can’t watch random events happen all day without starting to see patterns that aren’t there.

So if professionals, with a deep understanding of odds can’t resist the lure of superstition, what chance do gamers have? One thing it seems all gamers have in common is the need to have superstitions and rituals; here’s a quick list of 8 of my favorites I’ve seen over the years.

1. Buy More Dice!
I don’t think there is a more universal ritual among gamers than the need to buy more dice. Some just do it for the love of dice, but many more are always either hoping to find a lucky set or replace a set that has become unlucky.

There's no such thing as too many dice.

2. Warm Them Up
This is another very common ritual. Most of the gamers I’ve ever played with have had a desire to get in a few meaningless rolls before the game starts. The funny thing is that some want to get a good streak of rolls in hopes it continues later, while others want to get all the bad rolls over with before the game.

3. Show Some Love
Haven’t seen much of this in recent years, but in the 80s and 90s almost everyone I knew felt the need to show a little affection to their dice. Codling them, rubbing them, blowing on them, and even kissing them. (I still occasionally kiss my dice, but I do it for show to make it seem like I’m out to get my players)

4. The Monster Die
This is a ritual of my own when I am DMing. One year my group bought me an absolutely huge d20 as a present. Its so big its not really practical, but I like to break it out when the group is fighting an equally absurdly big monster. Rolling that die makes me feel big and intimidating.

5. The Kiss of Death
Years ago on two consecutive Valentine’s Days my wife bought me red dice sets. The second one in particular has a real reputation in my group, (fostered largely by my wife) and at times I play to that reputation, announcing that I’m bringing out the red dice as a way to indicate this encounter will be deadly.

6. Try Not, Do or Do Not
There was a player I used to game with that was absolutely obsessed with the verbiage of the statement of actions. In particular he was convinced that saying “I try to hit the monster.” was a sure fire way to not hit the monster. This came into play a lot as using the word was just part of his vernacular. At one point his obsession had largely spilled over to the rest of the group and everyone had become terrified of the word try.

So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?

7. The Dice Prison
A guy I still play with used to use the small rectangular prism that one of his sets of dice came in as a prison to punish bad dice. Miss an important roll and it was off to the prison for the die. I remember one session in particular where he’d crammed every d20 he owned awkwardly into it.

8. The Emergency Dice
One girl I play with has a very special set of dice that she only breaks out in emergencies. I never know for sure what qualifies as an emergency, but its some combination of a critical situation and a lot of recent bad rolls on all her other dice.

Have an opinion about this article? I love comments. Please feel welcome to leave your thoughts.

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November 5, 2010 - Posted by | RPGs | , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. I’ve known people to execute an extremely “bad” die with a hammer. Usually iin sight of the other dice, to motivate them. (Actually knew a guy who did that with his colonial miniatures. Paraded the battalion on the garage floor and smashed one miscreant with a sledge hammer.)

    Also, when playing certain games (HoTTs, DBA & DBM) saying “Anything but a one!” was a guarantee to roll, well… you know.

    Comment by Gratuitous Saxon Violence | November 5, 2010 | Reply

  2. I have been known to yank a die out of action for “poor play” not unlike a coach might do. then it has to sit and watch its replacement play.

    Comment by middleagedm | November 5, 2010 | Reply

  3. I love hearing about all of the crazy dice rituals out there. Gamers are gamers and these bizarre habits transcend any one group. Just look at the similar article we ran almost 2 years ago on Dungeon’s Master and you’ll see that we touch on many of the same ones you do. Learning about other people’s crazy dice superstitions is one of the things I enjoy most about meeting new gamers.

    Comment by Ameron | November 10, 2010 | Reply

  4. Oppos, looks like I messed up the link in my comment above. For anyone interested, here’s the link to our dice article on Dungeon’s Master.

    Comment by Ameron | November 10, 2010 | Reply

  5. A buddy of mine got me into D&D aboit 4 years ago, and even bought me my first set of dice with a matching dice bag. Whenever I would head out to a game, I tie the the bag to my belt loop and carry it like a coin purse (they way my character would).

    At the table, I pull each one out (d4, d6, d8, d10, d%, d12, and d20) and place it on the the highest value.

    Then, I do the warm-up, play, cool down, and reverse the proccess

    Comment by Michael N | December 19, 2010 | Reply


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