Superstitious Gamers and the Strange Things They Do to Guarantee Success

Over my gaming lifetime, more than 25 years, I noticed that many gamers held some strange beliefs about luck. Some only used a specific d20 for combat rolls, even though they owned a dozen.  Still others “retire” dice after a few bad rolls.

Come on universe, daddy needs a 20 on his death save!
Come on universe, daddy needs a 20 on his death save!

Another common tool is a token, rabbit’s foot or other widget that they believe twists fate in their favor.  I would like to hear about all the strange superstitions that I am sure my readership experienced first hand. No real reason for my request other than curiosity and in the interests of sharing  a humorous anecdote or two.

Trask, The Last Tyromancer

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trask

Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.

10 thoughts on “Superstitious Gamers and the Strange Things They Do to Guarantee Success

  • March 12, 2009 at 10:58 pm
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    More an extension of Pascal’s Wager than superstition, I think(or, being an atheist, I hope) but I talk to my dice. Like, I have little imaginary conversations with them(not always about gaming, either.) Come to think of it, that might be a symptom of my schizophrenia.

  • March 12, 2009 at 11:38 pm
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    A big one I saw through the years was that \dragons are always right\ and so in dungeons the parties will always choose left turns first over right turns. That, and the sacred \D20\ are big in my games. Once, one guy was upset when he lost his purple D20. I am like it is just a die, and he is like no it is not; that was my lucky D20. I am like well, OK, I have a spare purple die, and then he gets upset with me. It is just a dice! LOL.

  • March 13, 2009 at 12:37 am
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    I don’t know if this is called superstition but we have this huge d20 dice that rolls low for players and rolls high for the DM. We call it the ‘god dice’.

  • March 13, 2009 at 12:49 am
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    @Ambrose: I think you can still be superstitious AND an athiest…

    Anyways, I know guy who will microwave his dice if they are \bad\ (rolling low), and I have also see them smashed with a hammer.

    A common occurance with my current group is many of them believe they must only roll on a book, so they will catch the die and re-roll it if looks like it will teeter off the edge.

  • March 13, 2009 at 1:05 am
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    This story won me a free set of dice when ChattyDM was giving away a set to the best dice superstition tale:

    Back in the 80s, one of our group had his lucky d20. He didn’t use it normally, only brought it out for those special rolls where he would endlessly extol its virtues. Until one day, it failed a save or die for him and he lost a character. As we continued to play, he calmly rummaged about his den and found a mortar and pestle, a hammer, and a cloth. He smashed the d20, ground it up in the mortar and dumped the powder in his Mt Dew and drank his lucky d20 in front of all his other d20s which he lined up in a ritualistic semi-circle to “watch” what happens to dice gone bad.

  • March 13, 2009 at 11:11 am
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    Don’t forget the lucky underwear. 23 Cons and these babies have never been washed!

    You guys smell something?

  • March 13, 2009 at 5:34 pm
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    Nothing too exciting – we switch out dice if they’re behaving poorly. I know some of the guys like having matched sets.

    I was running an encounter against the players with my new bright pink d20 (we got a pound of dice and no one else took it) and the baddies were critting every other round. One of my players finally reached over the DM screen and grabbed the die. He didn’t give it back to me until the end of the encounter.

  • March 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm
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    My group and I will fire bad dice and toss ’em back if they roll badly. I once fired one by flinging it across the room.

  • March 27, 2009 at 5:13 pm
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    My players, on a good “season”, never changes their places at the table…

    Curious: when some of them change places, someone dies… (thanks God that is a character and not a player!)

  • April 12, 2009 at 10:27 pm
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    I banished dice in college- make it sit on the far end of the room, and if it doesn’t learn, throw it into the forest. I’d also leave it sitting on books to pick up good mojo- autographed ones worked well, the nerdier the author, the better.

    I wonder if Mad Brew and I know the same gamer- I also knew a guy who microwaved dice and smashed one with a hammer…

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