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Tales From the Other Side of the Screen #1: Blow my Dice, because my Dice Blow

Written by MythicParty - Published on February 19, 2013

"Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net"‘Tales From the Other Side of the Screen’ is a weekly response to Darkwarren’s DM Dispatches column, providing a Player perspective to our DM’s view.

I have a Love/Hate relationship with dice.  On the one hand there have been a few rare occasions where my cool hand on those plastic polyhedrals have saved not just my arse, but the collective arse of my party- everyone has such a story right?  Here’s mine.  In one particularly brutal session of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (aka WFRP), there was a home-made Chaos Beast (basically a Giant Lamprey Mouth) rising out of a dark pit that we had all just climbed down into.  So while most of the party was frantically trying to climb the hell out, I had my Beggar turned Ratcatcher shoot my ‘lucky’ crossbow bolt down into the darkness.  The GM smirked as I rolled (percentile) my Ballistic Skill- an 11%.  A hit, & not only a hit, but a hit to the head.  So then came the d6 damage roll.  A glorious 6.  Which meant I had a chance for (Angelic choir singing) Additional Damage, provided I made a second successful Ballistic Skill roll.  Which I did.  Granting me a second d6 damage roll.  And again, I rolled yet another 6, putting me back onto the merry-go-round.   By this time the GM’s smirk had been replaced by a look of concern, then outright worry, as this process repeats itself an additional FIVE TIMES.  Cue him saying something about a “Horrible growl of pain that recedes into the blackness.  For now.”

Ironically, looking back at the book a decade later I’m not even sure if Additional Damage possibility applies to anything other than Weapon Skill rolls.  Poor ‘ol Lamprey Mouth.  Dead from that tragic flaw- Rule Uncertainty.

Well that was the one time that the Dice Gods truly smiled kindly upon me.  Yet most of the time, I’m either missing the check completely or maybe barely scraping the bar.  So I’m NOT a fan of rolling for stats.  Point Buy for me please.  And when Darkwarren started his Runelords campaign under the guideline that not only were we rolling but that we were rolling ‘in public’ out on the table in front of everyone, I was less than thrilled.  In fact I tried my best to bow out, but the rest of the guys egged me on- I apparently missed the option of being able to use the Elite Array as a placeholder.  Reluctantly I broke out the best of my 30mm jumbo dice & tried to call up Lady Luck.  Surprisingly she answered a few times: 17, 14, 8, 16, 8, 17

With those properly placed + Halfling racial modifiers in effect, the final tally for Lem the Magnificent Monk was:

 STR 14     INT 8     WIS 8     DEX 19     CON 14     CHA 19

Not too shabby at all, albeit reminiscent of Belkar.  Although despite the decent array I still would have felt more comfortable making our characters using a Point Buy while in private.  Rolling in front of everyone felt like some sort of public spectacle.  Even though my tablemates are on my team, there was a certain amount of schadenfreude whenever Snake Eyes popped up & a certain obvious jealousy whenever those wonderful Boxcars rolled in.  Character creation seems like some sort of a personal thing done personally between a DM & a player.  That’s how my beggar turned ratcatcher turned SuperStar Crossbow Guy was born.  And if that process is good enough for him, it’d have been good enough for Lem the Magnificent.

At least, that’s how I see it from this side of the screen.

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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GD Star Rating
Tales From the Other Side of the Screen #1: Blow my Dice, because my Dice Blow, 4.7 out of 5 based on 3 ratings » Leave a comment



5 Responses to “Tales From the Other Side of the Screen #1: Blow my Dice, because my Dice Blow”
  1. Mica says:

    Well done! One of my favorite aspects of our
    glorious hobby of RPG is the telling and re-
    telling of past battles. When gamers get
    together tales are always shared. It’s one of
    our cultural memes. Thanks for sharing. I’m
    looking forward to future tales from the other side
    of the screen.

  2. Caddoko says:

    Gotta say I disagree with you on this one: the fact that your character can wind up with glaring flaws makes the game all that more realistic and challenging – I wouldn’t want to build my character using the point-buy system because it feels too easy to me; we aren’t dealt a magnificent hand by default in life so why should our characters?

  3. MythicParty says:

    “DISAGREEMENT?! What manner of Heresy is this?!!” (cough) I think in my reminiscing of my 1 Star Moment from my gaming Glory Days I lost focus of what my issue was- mainly that character creation for some of us is a private process. The Player being the Mother & the DM serving as the Doctor. No cameras in the Delivery Room please.

  4. FullovStars says:

    I agree that bad dice rolling can really put a downer on the game for some unluckly folks. In one campaign a player was rolling so badly for his bard that I had to offer him 1 to 20 which he could choose instead of a his dice rolling and once all 20 numbers were used up he would get 1-20 again. It kept the bard alive, kept his interest in the game and we had fun – which is why I game in the first place.
    In answer to Caddoko, a weak character can be ‘character’ building for some people and can be roleplayed well within the story, but in the end they usually dont pull their weight in the group or end up dead as dead or left in the tavern.

  5. Kitsap Charles says:

    @FullovStars, I have to agree with your answer to @Caddoko. Especially in combat-intensive games like D&D 4E, a PC with stats worse than point-buy is a drain on the party (if not dead after the first fight). When the dice are hot (like the OP’s), that’s gravy — but Lady Luck is a fickle fiend who’ll leave you rolling natural 1’s when you most need to crit.

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