MY DICE ARE LUCKY TONIGHT
The Purple Dice
Normally, utter acts of stupidity are what these tales are about, not bad luck. We all have bad dice days. However, when dice are continually burning you, and you insist that they are going to do you good in the end, THAT is stupidity of the highest order, and one of the most assured formulas for tales to tell years later.
Dan came to the game with a new tube of purple dice, ecstatic about how much luck they were going to bring him. To prove the point, he popped open the tube and virgin-rolled the 20-sider . . . onto a 1. He was warned to toss those dice out the window right away, to melt them down or feed them to the local sewer monster, but when the game began, out they came!
Exploring a ruined palace, they soon came to the kitchen, where 5 scrawny goblins were busy ransacking the place. Hmmm, lets see, 6 party members, versus 5 goblins. Shouldnt be a problem. Ahhhh, little did they know than Dan had found the One Dice To Doom Them All. Dans fighter proceeds to roll 1 after 1, and in a game with Critical Miss tables that hit fellow party members, it wasnt long before the entire was decimated, and not a single goblin had yet gone down.
Final tally: Eight consecutive 1s on the D20, a record set in 1992 and not surpassed to this day (2007). There were 0 goblin deaths and 6 party members totally and horribly thwarted and their spirits and bodies crushedyes, Dan hit himself for a final, fatal blow.
But the Purple Dice were only getting started! They had a legacy to make, damnit! Dan REFUSED to believe that they were cursed. He scratched out the 1, but the gnarly surface continued to sit up and spit in his eye in every game. Finally, the dice DID go out the window, and we all thought we were spared. Perhaps like Elrond felt when Isildur was finally slain in the Great River . . .
Over a year later, I come into my game room, and theres the Purple D20, sitting on the corner of the table, face-up, or should I say, 1 up? Yes, it one-upped us all. As if evidence of a curse were lacking, it defied the very laws of physics to return to us. Later analysis revealed that after going straight out the window (with a great deal of velocity), it must have changed trajectory in mid-air (perhaps an evil zephyr spirit did its mischievous work), and landed in the back seat of my moms car, a hard left turn as it was parked on the side of the house. Why was the window down when the car was parked, in January? God only knows. Fast forward to the present, she was cleaning the car, found the dice, rightly assumed it belonged to the game group, and set it on the table, with the 1 up, of course. A one in twenty chance? Hardly . . .
Years later, Dan had succumbed to a different curse, the church says gaming is evil kind of spell, and he was gone, but his legacy endured. Knowing I was powerless to get rid of the damned dice, it went into the communal bin. A new player, coincidentally named Dan, decided that, out of the hundreds of dice available, THAT was the D20 for him! I could feel the terror building . . .
Soon, the party was riding slowly through a ravine. Fifty feet above, they spot a cave. Dan climbs up, enters, and comes face-to-face with a wombat (half man, half bat). His Fear Check results in a 1, so he flees. His subsequent Intuition Check to remember that hes fifty feet up also gets a 1. He argues that he could make a Dexterity Check to grab the ledge. Why bother, we all asked? Hed just roll another 1. Well, he rolled, and guess what gnarly surface turned up? Perhaps he was going for the record of consecutive 1s, but since he only had himself to kill, he didnt have any further call for D20 rolls (the Ability Scores of new characters are rolled on different dice).
Ahhh, you think the curse is done? You think the stupidity of players tempting the power of Purple is finished? Hardly. Finally, the dice was given by yours truly to a lady gamer I had a crush on, because she wanted it. Yet, it was kind of a sad loss, for the legacy went away with it . . . or did it? I yearned to find a new Purple Dice, but, strangely, no stores, no catalogs had them. Nobody! Bringing in a sample of one of the other dice from the original tube-set, I was told flat out by the game store proprietor that those dice must have been a manufacturing error, because no such color had ever been made before. But the search went on. Finally, with Dan with me, on our way to an SCA event, we stopped at a new game store in a strange town. The store, two stories, was painted, inside-and-out, entirely in purple. And inside, in the used dice bin . . . there it was . . .
Since then, I have been traumatized. All things purple spell doom for heroes. If a movie logo is purple, the heroes will get their asses handed to them. If a Knight wears purple, expect him to be the first to lose a joust. Trust me. Test it for yourself. Just beware, for the curse may be looking for a new Gollum . . .
Start With 1 Gold? No Problem!
Pirate games can be tough. The temptation to overdo historical accuracy is great for both GMs and game designers alike. Almost always this results in new player characters staring with minimal amounts of gold and equipment. But this didnt deter Darron. Indeed, he was darin fate to try his luck. Starting with but 1 piece of eight, he set it on the dock, and hid in the shadows nearby, waiting for his pigeon to come along so he could leap out and mug him. After all, no one would expect a cutthroat on the docks in a pirate town. When the time came, and a drunk fell over in his attempt to pick up the coin, Darron leapt at him, but the drunk was far too low (unconscious on the dock), so Darron sailed right over him and over the edge of the dock into the water, hit his head on a barrel, and drowned.
Identify Your Magical Items
Gronn was from the village in the north. "Fear me!" hed often say. A bald blacksmith sporting a Fu-Manchu mustache, he was a rock solid fighter . . . not a magician. So, when the party found a pouch of enchanted gems, each one packin a randomly determined spell, it might have behooved the blacksmith to let the mage take a look at them and determine what their spells were BEFORE throwing them at their foes in battle. But Gronns answer to this suggestion was a rather loud "FEAR ME!!!" in the mages face, his Scottish whiskey-breath so bad it made the old mans own mustache and beard go limp. Like, soggy-limp. But not as soggy as Gronns leggings a short time later, when a towering gorgon peeked its hideous head around the caverns corner, and our blacksmith chucked all five gems at it, three of which happened to roll a growth spell, another one a spell for enhanced damage and the last one for enhanced speed. Maybe Gronn was too confident and didnt really need gemstones or spells. His fellow party members sure didntthey set new records for speed on their own, as well as new spells of sudden growthin the back of their pants!
Beware Of Room #1
Brad went through 3 characters in half a game session. Somewhat aggravated by the friendly chiding of the other players, he resolved with as-only-gamers-can religious conviction spoken in pro-wrestler volume that he would NOT DIE ANYMORE!!! Whatever Hank said, his Gigglespeech was loosely translated by Brad into "I bet you die before we even enter the dungeon." Given that this was a classic dungeon, with all background, introductions, motives and storylines summarized in a few convenient paragraphs, and thus the party starting right at the entrance to the dungeon, Brads fate was sealed. You see, he was so anxious to beat the bet made against him that he stormed in first, neglecting to search for traps, got a poison dart for his trouble, and died on the doorstep. Of course, to salvage pride, Brad argued that he had a 50% chance of falling forward or backward, and as luck would have it, he fell forward (with the help of a push from a sympathetic party member), tumbled down 30 of stairs, and at least died IN the first room, so he DID, technically, manage to at least enter the dungeon. It wasnt until a sarcastic player totaled the darts damage for fun that Brad realized, had he not fallen forward, he would still have a little health left, and be alive, but the stairs took the rest.