Saturday, December 22, 2012

"This Is What Happens To Lousy-Rolling Dice."

Today is the last quiet day here in the Fallout Shelter before I spend several days back-to-back-to-back enjoying the Christmas holidays. So, while I picked up around the house, I came across issue 48 of Knights of the Dinner Table magazine. I had nearly forgotten that I had a submission for "Tales From The Table" printed in it about 12 years ago! As I re-read the column, I recalled that I hadn't yet shared this story here at The Savage AfterWorld. It's not A Christmas Carol, but it's a good gaming tale, so get a mug of hot cocoa, pull up a chair next to the fireplace, and let Uncle Sniderman tell you the absolutely true story of...

"A Die's Demise"

It was the mid-'80s when I was knee-deep in my D&D days. I had this one clear plastic 20-sider that was honest-to-God cursed. The thing never rolled higher than a 12, and it would start rolling 1s during combat. I would garner groans from the party every time I brought this beast out because they knew the fumbles were about to begin. However, because the clear glass-like orb looked so cool, I kept it in my dice pouch. I just assumed that it HAD to start rolling good at some point.

During one overnight session at our DM’s house, I waded into combat wielding the clear die. The clear dice didn’t let me down. It rolled three straight 1s. My character dodged left and right, trying to avoid being hit by the sword-wielding orcs. I took a blow to the shouIder, and the DM announced that I had to roll a saving throw vs. poison. Anything lower than a 10 would be successful. FINALLY, the clear dice was gonna do some good! I rolled it. It was the first natural 20 that dice had ever produced. I failed my throw and my character kacked. Screaming with rage, I scooped up the dice, walked over to the refrigerator (we were gaming at the kitchen table) and I hurled the dice into the freezer. I'm not sure what my rationale was other than to “teach it a lesson” I guess. We went on with the game and I forgot all about the cursed clear dice.

Flash-forward one week. We joined up at my DM's house for our weekly session. The DM turned to me and asked if I remembered my little dice-in-the-freezer tirade from last week. Apologizing for my outburst, I asked if he had come across the dice. Chuckling, my DM said that when I tossed the dice into the freezer, it had coincidentally landed in a recently-filled ice cube tray where it froze within a cube of ice. A clear dice within an ice cube was nearly invisible. At dinner that night, as my DM explained, they had iced tea with their meal. Throughout dinner, his mother remarked how unusual it was that one of her ice cubes had melted into a nearly-spherical shape. Yup, it was the 20-sider. Still, no one noticed the “ice cube's" true origin. After dinner, the dishes were placed in the sink and the garbage disposal activated. “The loudest God-awful noise you ever heard came from the disposal," my DM said as my eyes widened in horror. “Here’s your damn dice.” My DM tossed me my ground-up, chipped, and pitted 20-sider.

After that, any die that I was about to roll was held up to the destroyed 20-sider. "You see this?" I would ask the dice in my hands. “This is what happens to lousy-rolling dice.” Strangely enough, my rolls improved from that time on.



  1. One quick addition that didn't make it into the DM had taken the pitted, chipped die, drilled a hole through it, and put it on a necklace chain so I could wear it as a "lucky omen" at all future games. I wore that necklace to every D&D game for 10 years. Sadly, I lost it long ago otherwise it'd still be a prominent part of my gaming collection.

  2. Let that tale serve as a cautionary lesson to all other ornery dice throughout the land!