I'm Not Crazy - Superstitious Gaming

August 28, 2015

RPG gamers are a superstitious lot. We “charge” or “power up” our dice by leaving them on a particular number for extended periods, we store consumables indefinitely because “if I use it now, I’ll definitely need it later”, and we usually check for traps and treasures in every room we enter (gaming or not). We deathly fear that moment the storyteller or errant roll of the dice will rip from us everything we hold dear. We cannot bear to think that the countless hours spent developing, upgrading, and dreaming about our character will end in utter heartache; so we take careful, precise measures to ensure luck is on our side. Ok, maybe it’s a little OCD. What I’m about to present to you may seem the ramblings of a madman, but it is a rather deep dive into my thought patterns when gathering with good friends to game.

I’ll speak for myself here, but would love to hear the wacky processes and inner thoughts of other gamers out there. Gaming is about sharing, is it not? OK. Here we go…

  • I for one like to sit in the same seat when we game. Now, that could be an issue if we change locations - but I generally know the lay of the land and make my gaming space as consistent is possible. Having everyone else is the same seats is a bonus.

  • My core rulebook goes down first, my neatly filled out character sheet rests atop it. Perfectly lined up edges are a must. On some occasions, the book and sheet are replaced by a laptop or tablet. It is 2015 after all, but I do prefer having a hard copy book at the ready. Sometimes I bookmark sections that I have to reference often (skills, abilities, spells, etc… especially if I’m storytelling).

  • Then I have a #2 pencil sharpened to a fine point and equipped with a good eraser (not one that leaves smudges) and a pilot G-2 .07 pen. Blue or black ink will do - I’m not a weirdo who needs a particular color of ink. I bring extra pencils since I’m usually the only prepared member of the group - and I wasn’t even a boy scout!

  • I’ve been branded with the nickname “timestamp”. They mean it as a term of endearment, I’m sure (I think). I keep a spiral notebook handy so I can jot down notes as the story progresses. It’s often a while in between sessions these days and I am a forgetful person. Someone has to keep track… It is also a handy tool when the storyteller goes on and on and I need something to doodle in.

  • Most importantly; my dice. With Of Dreams and Magic, only two d10 are required. This is both a bane and boon as I have a fairly extensive collection of d10, but it makes number crunching less crunchy and speeds up gameflow to allow the story to unfold neatly and with improved pacing. That being said, I always “charge” my dice on 0 (or 10 for the uninitiated). My “over” die (translucent green) stays on the left. My under die (translucent red) on the right… the edges touch. The dice must remain straight. I know most probably think this is weird, but I have a friend that used to “charge” his d20 (a black and red, practically magical die, named diablo) in a glass of water until it was time to roll. Sometimes I’ll use other colored dice, but I always “charge” them the same way. If the system we’re playing requires more dice, I line them up numerically.

  • Rolling - on or off the book? if they fall off, is that a re-roll? Honestly, I usually just go with whatever is the most convenient for the success, survival, or over achievement for my character at the time… don’t tell my storyteller. Not sure if he’s caught on over the last 20 years. I also either make a fist, knuckles up, and toss the dice with some backspin. Otherwise I turn my hand over and finger roll the dice like I’m going up for a layup in basketball… it’s situational and usually not premeditated.

Weird, huh? If you’ve read this far, you’re most likely laughing and preparing to one up my psychosis in the comments section. As I said before, please do. It would help me sleep at night knowing there are others out there just like me. If you’re thinking “this guy is a nut, I don’t do anything out of the ordinary”, I call B.S. Analyze yourself, you’ll find the unique gamer habits. I guarantee you.

In all honesty, bringing your own personality to a game session (as long as it can be enjoyed by the others at the table) is what makes tabletop RPGs so damned fun. Charge those dice… gotta beat them storytellers!


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