Here is a collection of “Dice Advice” for your edification and amusement. Do with it what you will. No guarantees. Some of these ideas seemed to make sense to me for a while. But then some other completely contradictory instruction comes along and it too makes sense, in its own superstitious way. The whole thing is rather confusing. Read on and you'll see what I mean.
What to wear:
Never thought about the best things to wear while gaming? Well don't worry, you don't have to get dressed up to have good luck. In fact, according to the traditional stories surrounding the game of Craps, “Dirt brings luck. Wear dirty clothes and you'll be lucky.” (Hey, that explains that odd odour wafting out of my local game store the other day. There must have been a lot of REALLY lucky gamers in there!)
Where to sit:
Well, sitting on a handkerchief while gaming is supposed to be lucky. (Best not to combine this one with the “Dirt brings luck” concept… ewww.)
Sitting astride your chair is lucky too. (Tipping your chair back is not lucky however, especially when we were teenagers and anyone's mother caught us doing it. Ouch.)
“Never leave a d20 sitting with the #1 facing up. It will get used to sitting that way, and roll 1's more often.” The “scientific” excuse for this belief says that there is a “molecular drift” or “dice creep” due to gravity, causing the die to become bottom heavy. This would make more sense if dice were semi-liquid, but last time I checked all my dice were solid. Check yours now, just to be sure.
On the other hand, “If you leave a d20 sitting with the 20 facing up, it will get tired of being that way, and seldom roll any 20's.” Hmmm. Besides, how can I tell which way all those dice jumbled up in my dicebag are sitting all week between games? Oh, such anxiety! I think I need a transparent dicebag!
Where to throw the dice:
Well, on the table is good… but not just any table. Highly polished tables are bad luck… something to do with mirrors reversing things, giving you the opposite of what you want I guess.
But having the dice roll off the table onto the floor is bad luck too. When playing Craps the next roll after that is sure to be a 7 (the least desirable number). Plus you might lose the die, a) in the cat's dish, b) down the heating vent, c) amongst the collection of cheesies, chip crumbs and dust-bunnies under the gaming table. Any bad luck associated with the dice falling off the table can be remedied by having the “Dealer”, or the in our case the GM, pick up the errant die and give it back to you. Of course, some GM's don't like to come out from behind the screen for anything… so if you keep asking them to chase down your dice you just might find you luck gets a LOT worse all of a sudden “Why do all the monsters seem to be going after me tonight?! Oh, would you pick up my d6, again?”
What (not) to say:
Never say “You need anything but a 1”, because that jinxes the roll. This goes along with the idea that while playing Craps no-one is to mention the number 7. By mentioning undesirable numbers, you are summoning them. So, logically (if I may use that word in this context) calling out “Come on 20!” would be summoning a 20. Someone told me he always says “Hit! You bloody bastard!” while rolling to hit. (Apparently swigging beer before exclaiming this, is part of the charm.)
The Hackmaster Player's Handbook has a great section in the back of the book on dice rituals et cetera. In it they outline a method of blessing a die by rubbing it on the signature of a famous gamer… complete with diagrams! Be sure to check it out.
Rubbing your dice on someone's head is a way of blessing the dice. Apparently red-headed people are not good luck though. (I don't understand this at all. Some of my best friends are redheads!)
Cleansing dice of bad luck is another method of blessing your dice. This can be done by burying them in salt, or washing them in cold water or mineral water. (Holy water might work extra well, but maybe not for evil characters.) Just don't use alcohol to remove bad luck from your dice… it may remove the ink from the numbers too! Of course, cleansing dice when they have been performing well, would be counterproductive. You'll only be washing away the good luck (and all that “lucky dirt”!).
A “friend of a friend” used to put his dice in his mouth and spit them onto the table, for good luck. No-one ever borrowed his dice. Another person, used to keep her dice down her bra. “Boobs bring luck!” she maintains.
“Bad dice! Go sit in a corner and think about what you've done.” Uncooperative dice can be coaxed, cleansed, blessed or… punished for their bad deeds. Some folks will leave the offending dice at home when they go out to play: “House Arrest”. Some gamers will bring the dice to the game, but not let them out of the dice bag. The bad dice have to sit there listening to their other dice friends having fun and rolling merrily, while they sit in the dark. Other bad dice get out of the bag, but have to sit on the sidelines and WATCH the other dice frolicking around. (That's really too cruel, I think. It reminds me of high school gym class, when I so often waited for the turn that never came. Sniffle. Sob. I'll be okay in a minute.)
The worst things I've ever heard of people doing to poor unsuspecting dice are, a) putting them in the toilet (not flushing though), b) ejecting them into the atmosphere with a slingshot, and c) taking a blow torch to them. (This latter, as a dice lover, I regard as outright murder. “Someone call the cops, an innocent die is dying!” The dice, in this case, actually were innocent, and not “bad dice” at all. They were sacrificed to the gods of luck in order to bring good fortune to a newly created character.)
I'm not talking about Chi Squared tests here. That's for another article.
I'm talking about testing the loyalty, balance and general luckiness of dice through such highly rigorous methods as “dice stacking”. During a lull in the game, stack up your dice on top of one another. If any fall off the stack they are obviously not very loyal to you, making you look foolish like that… so don't use them any more that night.
If any fall off the stack and land on really good numbers, well, that's different. Maybe they are going out of their way to prove how lucky they are, and you should give them another chance. Kindness counts, I figure. (I'm not the murderous type, as you know.) Call me soft, if you like, but I like my dice, and if I'm nice to them maybe theyll give me that natural 20 when I really need it!!
Thanks to Maddman, Rogan, Voz, Ashtal, Kyle, SolomonGrundy, Jangling Jack, Dr A, Bregh, LurkMonkey, Bagpuss, Keith, Rob, Jason, Kim, Cor, and Lawrence for input for this article.