Saturday, May 19, 2007

And Now, Some Irrational Indulgence in Dice Superstition

The forces of karma sit up and pay careful attention when you’re rolling dice. The muted clack of hard plastic on felt is like a siren call to their subtle, mysterious manipulations. Arrogance, impatience, or maternal epithets are all bound to screw you in the end. Here are five things about dice and rolling that I’ve learned from innumerable games of 40k over the years. I’ve numbered them two to six because, honestly, who likes ones? Your opponent, that’s who.

2. Get your own dice - There’s no excuse for showing up without your own set. If you forgot them at home, don’t bother asking to borrow, just leave. Sit in your closet for the rest of the day and think about what you’ve done. You’re a jackass. Don’t use your opponent’s bones, even if convenient or expedient. If just one enemy die gets mixed up with a bunch of yours, the bad mojo will spread like wildfire in your hand and contaminate the whole set. The next thing you know, you just lost half your terminators to lasgun fire.

3. Match your curtains and drapes - Color coordinated dice might seem ridiculous, but nothing says devoted generalship like a set of dice that match your force’s color scheme. Besides the aesthetic benefits, you’re much less likely to mix up the dice pools, thereby preventing “creeping dice loss” (I imagine they go the same place as lost socks?), as well as warding off nasty enemy dice cooties. Seriously, that shit is real.

4. Slow your roll - A calm, collected throw is always best. Negative energy from arrogance or frustration might not affect the roll result itself; sometimes flying dice have a way of seeking out the most susceptible model on the board and demolishing it entirely. The slightest cocky swagger in your pitching arm could send that perfectly painted mini (perched precariously on yonder wrecked watchtower) toppling down to an early grave in your bitz box.

5. Two is better than one - Five-sixths might seem like a huuuuuge fraction, but it isn’t. That single centered dot has ears, and it’s listening to your words very carefully. Speak its name, and watch it rise to the top to answer your call. I’m taking a risk myself by printing this, but don’t ever say you need “anything but a one.” What you want is a “two or better.”

6. I’m killing you with mind bullets - I’ve never seen any proof that human beings can use telekinesis, but maybe (just maybe) we just don’t know how to look for it. Visualize the results you need and chant away, preferably to yourself. More than once a plaintive wish has pushed a wavering die over in the right direction.

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