By Chock Schmidt
Superstition is not based out of nothingness in RPG’s. Any player worth their can of Mountain Dew will tell you that dice can be lucky or unlucky, and that determines how much your character sucks, or how heroic they may be.
After playing a game or two with a set of dice, we learn how crappy dice can be or how lucky they can be for us with critical hits, critical failures, failed saves, and missed attacks.
Sure, we can all look at probability in order to say each number has a chance, but the reality of the situation is not all dice are created equal. I have probably twenty sets of dice, and I use one set consistently. This is because of a lot of trial and error as well as character death at critical times during the campaign.
Most players get their dice from Chessex, but there are other dice companies out there. Chessex mass produces plastic dice and sells them in sets, individually, and even in grab bag style “Pound of dice.” Some people like sets and others don’t care. With any large scale production, however, there is the drawback of tolerance. Dice have to be perfectly weighted in order to have truly equal odds of landing on each number.
I performed an experiment on 5 of my D20’s one night using a glass with salt water. After adding enough salt to make the dice buoyant, I put the dice in and found that ⅘ of them were weighted slightly off center, causing the disparity in dice rolls that I’ve seen in gameplay.
Some people actually take advantage of this concept and stick their dice in an oven, which heats up the core and effectively loads them to the side they want. Tisk, tisk, cheaters.
Artisan Dice is another company I found that goes on the opposite side of the spectrum from Chessex.
These guys make their dice by hand out of really cool materials. Mammoth tusks, gator jawbones, rare woods, they have some really cool designs. Who wouldn’t want an ivory D20 made from an extinct animal?
With handcrafting and awesome materials, they go for a pretty penny, so only ask for these when you have reached that epic level of nerd that everyone envies. I have yet to actually play with a set of these, but I do look forward to eventually purchasing some.
With handcrafting, balance is key to production, but without any testing of my own, I can’t base my opinion on any more than assumption.
Are you one of those people who roll their dice when they are bored? Someone at the table has probably accused you of wasting your dice’s mojo on nothing rolls. The idea behind this is that every dice has a finite number of good rolls in them, and rolling unnecessarily is just wasteful.
Some people believe in it, some don’t. It all depends on your experience, but just in case, stop rolling for no reason anyways!
Game up, Scotty!
© 2016, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.