Monday, September 6, 2010

Dice: The Apocalypse

I tried to discuss dice with my wife the other day. She thinks I'm crazy and doesn't believe that I don't believe all the crazy dice-relate superstitions that I was talking about to her. Gamers have a very special and bizarre relationship with their dice. Some of us hate them, some collect them, others don't even own a set and rely on GMs to provide everything they need to game. Some people say that certain colors are luckier than others for certain rolls, others believe in punishing particularly unlucky die in the hopes that it will inspire the others to roll better, and some people believe that players should never use GM dice and vice versa. It is a complex issue that can really show who is the nutjob at the table when discussions pop up about it.

There are also nutjobs that spend forty bucks on bronze dice and other nuttier chuckleheads that spend sixty on a single set of undersized obsidian dice.

I'm not a particularly superstitious person, I walk under ladders and step on cracks and don't pay any attention to my spatial relationship with black cats. That's how I roll and shit. That said, there are some things I believe. I believe that GM dice that the GM uses constantly, should not be used by player's, and vice versa. It is just plain unlucky.

The analogy I made to my wife was that, she doesn't buy and sharpen her shears and practice her technique, then use her hair cutting shears to cut up carpet or a slab of chicken breast. It is an improper and impractical use for a specialized tool. Admittedly, dice don't accrue wear and tear, other than minor chips and cracks and the occasional trip up and through someone's nasal or oral passages that leaves dried slime on them. So I guess I am superstitious.

I like to roll dice, it's fun and it makes me feel like a true P&P RPG player. I use dice rollers on my laptop most of the time because I am almost always the GM and rolling out each initiative or each set of attack and damage rolls for five or more enemies can be time consuming. Plus, digital dice rollers are pretty neutral. You don't touch them or feel them or watch the way light reflects off of their surfaces or passes through them, they have no personality.

Dice do have personality. It's why we buy them. We see something in them that speaks to us. I bought my black with red numbers dice years and years ago, and I bought them because they spoke to something in me. Possibly the immature part of me that thought black and red combined was awesome and edgy. Now I'm not in high school and find them infuriatingly difficult to read. That probably makes me a grognard or something. All I need now is my crazy beard.

Anyway, I bought new dice. I intend on using them as a player and never as a GM so they remain conditioned as player dice and don't get confused. I even bought a separate dice bag to keep the player and GM juju from rubbing off of one die and onto another. My new player dice are very stark and old school. Two sets are yellow with black numbering and the other is black with white numbering. Very stark color contrasts and very easy to read. I don't need fancy pants runic glow in the dark sparkly dice. I think the very simplistic design of these dice is kind of me getting back to basics, going back to the table so to speak. So much of our gaming is done via technology these days that it feels kind of nice to have a simple set of dice ready to roll and do your bidding.

Dice are neat!

1 comment:

  1. Red on black is indeed hard to read. I am wondering if I should buy any more than the 2 sets I have (white on red, and white on blue; I am preferring the white on blue).