By: Allison Kate
Superstitions can be found in many different fandoms. Take sports, for example. My uncle has a “lucky jersey” that he has to wear whenever the bears are playing. My fiance will don a rally cap when the Cardinals are playing. All with the belief that if they don’t do this one traditional act, their team will not be victorious. Outside of sports, we know not to step on the cracks of the sidewalks or walk under a ladder. Hotels and tall buildings will not include the 13th floor and often skip that number out of the fear of superstition. The dice community is no different.
My last session of playing my favorite campaign didn’t go swimmingly for me. My Kenku Wizard and his friend had hijacked a train to help a member of a “super secret club” succeed with her initiation task. I love my Wizard. He’s my favorite of all the characters I play and I especially love the dice I have picked for him. My dice box is full of deep purples and all the sparkling, glittery dice I own.
Surely, since they are my favorite dice for my favorite character one would believe that they would roll well for me. One would be very incorrect in thinking that. The whole weekend we played (at least 20 hours of playing over the course of 3 days) these dice rolled over a 10 maybe 3 times. This of course meant they needed to be punished.
When they don’t roll well for us, we take it as a personal attack. I took to the community to find out some of your dice superstitions and here’s what I found! A good number of us use a dice jail for those dice that betray us. Amy K. Perkins said she will put those naughty dice in a dice jail while putting those that did exceptionally well on dice thrones (photos below)! Emily Opal Price and I share a similar line of thinking and by giving the dice three chances before they are sent to dice jail. While I will use the same sets of dice specific to each of my characters, Emily will not play with the same sets two sessions in a row, allowing them to get their beauty sleep.
Cora Popat crocheted a dice jail from silver-colored thread that was soaked in a sage infusion and the jail is full, it will get smudged with sage to cleanse them. Aaron Farrell shared that any misbehaving dice ended up on a broken ceiling fan and those dice will be forced to look down on all the fun but never be able to participate again. This made me laugh as it reminded me of my “wall of shame”- I used to tape the dice that weren’t cooperating for me to the wall next to the desk I play at.
As silly as it sounds, I know of a lot of ways other players treat their dice when they get an unfavorable roll. There is a dice store in Chicago, Illinois that will put your exiled dice into a glass feature built into the store’s wall- never to return again. I have seen photos of people putting their dice in the oven or smashing them with a hammer, tossing them into a fish tank, or donating to a store for the “extra dice” pile. Others have different pre-game rituals for their dice. Many, like Carissa Marie and Victoria Pfauser (DMC members) will make sure that they put their dice in a certain order or are charged with the highest number facing up. Jennifer Bisson simply asks the dice nicely to roll favorably. Phil Halliwell used to attune to the dice and fiddle with them throughout the week before game sessions. Tessa Gunnell will switch hands to see if that will encourage the dice to roll better and Don Waters shared a story about a friend that used to always roll an extra die any time they rolled because dice “don’t like to roll alone”.
It was really fun to read through everyone’s responses and their different pre-game rituals and it is pretty clear that most of us have our own traditions and superstitions. The things we believe will work for us and our dice. Though we all know that, statistically, a well balanced die should never favor a particular number just to spite us, there is something personal about a natural 1 while trying to roll for a death save or, you know, jumping out of a tree onto the back of a moving horse in order to save yourself from impending doom (… don’t ask).