When dice go bad, there’s only one thing to do with them.
Naturally, there’s a story behind why I buried this set of dice. It starts with the fact that I’m not superstitious about dice. No, seriously.
I’ve had precisely three sets of dice that rolled oddly. The first was a set of percentile dice back in high school that rolled low. Really low. I bought them for Call of Cthulhu at ConnCon, a little convention in Connecticut, and they turned out to be perfect.
In CoC, the lower the roll, the better. Not only did these babies roll low, they consistently rolled 01-05, which is a critical success in CoC. After the con, I mixed them in with my other dice — biiiig mistake. I’ve never been able to figure out which 2d10 they were again.
I also own two d20s that roll high more often than not, although not so often that I consider them “broken.” They came out of a Bowl O’ Dice pull at GenCon a few years ago, and their consistency is such that when I GM, I often switch away from them after a few rolls.
This happens most often in D&D, where I don’t fudge any rolls at all. In combat, these dice can be lethal.
And then there’s the set that’s now buried in my backyard. For the last two months straight, I’ve used them as a player in my group’s ongoing Trinity campaign. My character is a hacker, and he rolls 10d10 for hacking checks. In Trinity, a 7 on a d10 counts as a success.
Rolling 10d10, I consistently got one or two successes, night after night, game after game, for two months straight. It wasn’t just hacking rolls, of course — those were just the most dramatically shitty rolls, since they were made with such a huge pool.
These dice, in other words, aren’t just bad. They’re projectile-vomiting, masturbating-with-a-crucifix, possessed-by-the-Devil bad.
My gaming group suggested I bury them, so that they could never blight our sessions again. So I did. Thanks, guys!
Sleep, little dice. Sleep. It’s all better now.
Have you ever had dice like this, either as a player or as a GM? As a GM, what do you do about them?
Update: Alan from RPG Shop emailed me with a very generous offer: a free set of 10d10 from his site, because “Life is too short for bad dice.” I went for the black/white Nebula set, more or less the polar opposite of the dice I buried. Thanks, Alan!
Update Part Deux: Alan’s package arrived today, and it rocked. Unasked and unannounced, it included not only the Nebula dice, but another set of 10d10, an RPGNow! d6, a flaming d20 T-shirt and a handwritten note that read “May you crit to excess!” Totally, totally awesome — thank you again, Alan!
I couldn’t resist making my first roll of the new set on the spot. Here it is, with successes in the bottom row. This bodes well.