What’s In A Pound-o-Dice?

The Chessex Pound-o-Dice seems to be quite common in the States, judging from posts on the RPG Bloggers network. In Europe, it’s a significantly rarer creature, with few retailers stocking them. Some games shops don’t even stock brand name dice such as Chessex, and there is little chance of seeing brands such as Gamescience over here unless you order them from America.

That said, eBay makes the world a smaller place and I have a Pound-o-Dice just three days after ordering it, thanks to a UK based importer. At £17 for 90 odd dice, it’s pretty good value for money as well.

So, what did I get in my Pound-o-Dice?

  • 14 d4s
  • 11 d6s with numerals
  • 26 d6s with spots
  • 7 mini d6s
  • 6 d8s
  • 4 d12s
  • 30 d10s
  • 5 d%
  • 11 d20s

Since the two games I’m playing just now use d6s and d10s, this is particularly useful since I can retire dice which cause me grief much more easily. A few dice are clearly damaged, in particular, the d4s with have strange paint streaks on them and one of the d20s, which has broken points, with the rest of the dice in perfect condition.

I’d certainly consider buying another Pound-o-Dice, but given I now have in the region of 175 dice, I’m not sure I’ll need to buy any more any time soon.

It’s How I Roll

DiceI roll badly.

I don’t mean that I end up sending my dice all over the floor every few minutes (although I’ve been known to do that to my dicepool after a few beers). I just roll consistently poorly.

My incompetent assassin and ‘Combine-Harvester Repairman’ Tech-Priest in Dark Heresy became running jokes. They averaged just one successful check per session until I eventually got my Tech-Priest up to 70% chance of success in Tech-Use (in Dark Heresy, that’s a god-like success rate).

In Castles and Crusades, I’ve been similarly blighted. My Ranger at least managed to hit targets, but often for just one or two damage. He was a bit of a sod anyway – I think failing rolls kind of suited him. On the other hand, the day that I played a friend’s Illusionist, it was a case of success after success – in one area, he melee’d the combat area clear after a Fighter, a Knight, a Rogue, my Ranger and a Priest had all failed to hit the enemy. Unfortunately, he immediately went on to accidentally blind the Rogue when we went up against the Necromancer in the next chamber, but the Rogue deserved it.

Most recently, I utterly confounded my GM while playing an indie Superhero game. According to the rules, my success rate should have been about 75%. It was actually about 30%.

I’m not a big believer in luck, dice superstition or any other form of supernatural. I just roll badly. Who knows why…

You Gotta Roll With It…

You must never question the wisdom of the Die. His ways are inscrutable. He leads you by the hand into an abyss and, lo, it is a fertile plain. You stagger beneath the burden he places upon you and, behold, you soar.

– From ‘The Book of the Die’, Quoted in The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart

If you are reading this, spend your time playing RPG games and have never read The Dice Man, then I strongly advise you buy or borrow a copy of it.

It deals with that which every gamer seems to treasure above all other RPG paraphernalia and what exactly you can do with them. Although, while gamers generally live or die by the roll of a dice in-game, Rhinehart’s book is a fictional account of a man who decides to live his entire life by the roll of 2d6.

Of course, when we play, we don’t decide all actions though dice rolls – that would lead to a boring game, unless it was done purely for laughs with suitably ridiculous options. The idea has potential, but if all decisions in a game came down to random chance, then you might as well just remove the human element all together and program a random number generator with a plot.

That’s not to say that a player in a mischievous mood couldn’t absolutely infuriate the GM by role-playing a character who uses dice to make decisions.

Has anyone tried this? Or any other form of diced based decision making in or out of games?