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Monday, October 3, 2016

May the Dice Gods Smile Upon You

Last night I fought an Otyugh.  No, obviously not a real one, but at the climax of our Fantasy Grounds Sunday night Castles & Crusades romp we unleashed stinky, grabbing hell upon ourselves.  My PC, the ranger Everian, looked on in horror as his friend Will the Cleric was devoured by the gaping, toothy maw of the stinking beast, all the while slicing and dicing until he and his other companions managed to put an end to the beast and it's master...but not before the creature reached out with tentacles, latched on to Will, and drew him into its mouth where our friend and the parties only magic-wielder met an untimely end.

The whole time this happened, I kept spinning my virtual dice (specifically the d20) as each player rolled to attack, to save, to beat the monster.  I do it all the time...spinning my dice.  I don't know why, but when another player rolls, I do too, as if somehow my die will draw in the evil forces and allow the player to roll only the good numbers he needs.  It's crazy...I know, but I do it nonetheless.  It just makes me feel better, and it's a level of fidgeting I'm comfortable with.  I do it at the IRL table too, though quietly.

Many of us fetishize our gaming materials.  I think that dice are the primary recipient of these magical powers.  We have our 'lucky rollers' and our 'sure to end up low' dice.  We pull them out of our dice bags when something bad is happening, and we need to save the moment.  For others, it's their dice bag, storing up the positive energy of a thousand days and nights of gaming.  Still, for others it may be a copy of a book, a type of pen or pencil they use for their character sheet or even a favorite shirt they wear when playing...the list is a long one.

If you've read other of my posts here or on G+, you may have seen me post pics of new dice or bags to keep them in.  I tend to put all my magical powers into the dice AND their vessel, again I'm not sure why I do it, I just do.  In the pictures below you can see my dice and their bag...

Of course, this is a new bag, and mostly new dice.  The more powerful tools long ago were sold off, and now that I've rediscovered gaming at the table, I've had to begin again, pouring my positive dice energies into this new batch, and its bag.  Back in the day, I had a different bunch of dice, and they found their home in a very special bag, the dice bag that all of us 'serious D&D nerds' carried.  I speak of the Crown Royal Bag!

Now, I don't think that any of us bought the booze just for the bag.  I don't know how the hell we acquired them...we just did.  Maybe an uncle, or from under dads bar.  Who knows.  All I know is that if you had your dice in anything but one of these bags, you were certainly not hard core. Your bag might be unique, cool even, but everyone who was anyone (which is just sad really, when you give it any thought at all) had a Crown Royal bag.  It was like the bag was pre-made for dice, and as such, it contained a certain magical essence.  The bag is soft, and large enough for tons of dice.  It makes a certain sound when it plops onto the table, and it feels a certain way when you root around inside for that set of percentile dice you need at that certain moment where it counts.

What is the origin of this odd pairing?  No one knows, but I'm not the only one.  Look here at a forum post as folks reminisce over their's not the only one either, but you can see that many feel the same way.

When I walked outside a few days ago to go to work imagine my surprise, my delight, my feeling of otherworldly intervention when I found not one, but three such bags on the ground.  I bent and lifted them, two green and one classic purplish/blue.  I looked around, making sure that it wasn't a trap.  Perhaps someone was out hunting Gaming Grogs, and these were the bait!  But no, it was early.  The streets of Philly were quiet, empty.  I bent down to inspect them closer.  They were wet, damp from a night of light rain, but their color and texture were not diminished.  I carefully, reverently, lifted the fallen (maybe discarded?) relics from the black-top.  Limp and sad in my hands I placed them in the car, laying each flat on the floor in its own space so that none were touching any other.  When I returned home that evening I washed them again, gently and with soap, then dried them by the window...and yes, after they were dry I even sprayed them with some Fabreeze to remove any lingering aroma of misuse, disuse, or dampness.

Now, don't get me wrong.  That dice bag from Mike Althauser with the OSR maps printed on both sides makes me so very happy, and the dice that reside there will stay there, their magic and the bags energies now bound to one another in some sort of cosmic marriage that cannot be undone.  These new bags I've found will need new dice.  They have their own energy, lost and now found, that only fresh dice will be able to absorb.

Do you have gaming trappings that you treat this way?  What are the things in your gear you revere?

I have a friend, a gamer at my table who plays in my Sunday Labyrinth Lord game, who opens his Crown Royal bag and lines up his favorite dice at the start of each game and then lovingly turns each until the highest possible number appear on the top facing skyward.  These are his most powerful dice, and this is the ritual that ensures success in the days game.  Does it work?  No...not really, but that's MY opinion.  Maybe his overall experience leads him to believe it does, and I really enjoy watching him practice his small act of dice-obeisance.  It reminds me that he has some reverence for the game, that it's an important part of his life, as it is mine.

I'll just find some new dice for my new bags, and then I'll spin them...spin them to win.


  1. My first mom-in-law's favorite alcoholic beverage is Crown Royal. That's how I received my first bag. Prior to that, I am pretty sure kept my dice in baggies as I only had a set or two during my first gaming stint (1980-1990). I did buy a dice bag when I resumed gaming in 2000, but that has since been supplanted by the purple bag we all know so well.

  2. Wish I had been there bro... my working life is working against my C&C time.

    1. We'll see/hear you soon! in the meantime we will keep using your character as a meat shield...

  3. Great post! Still have my classic purple one that I pinched from my dad's liquor cabinet over 40 years ago! I'm thinking that I need to buy some of the apple to get a green bag! Again great post!

    1. While I love the classic bag, the green one calls out to my love for all things Lovecraftian!

  4. You can get custom embroidered ones from CR: They look really nice. One of my players had this one made for me as a Christmas present (