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View Full Version : Consistently Poor Rolls / General Bad Luck



mikeejimbo
2008-01-20, 01:13 PM
My group tends to think that I have underpowered characters, but I don't think that it's true. I think that I've planned out competent characters in the past that just have consistently bad luck. I know that 'luck' shouldn't really be consistently bad, but I swear it seems that way. Over my next few sessions, I'm going to record all my rolls just to see.

Anyone else seem to have experience with 'just bad luck'?

Raistlin1040
2008-01-20, 01:17 PM
I get good rolls in combat, but out of combat, most of my roles aren't very good.

DeathQuaker
2008-01-20, 01:19 PM
I've noticed I tend to do spectacularly well or horrendously bad.... I'm surprised if I ever hit "average" or just at the DC I need to hit.

One thing I've noticed for the d20 system is the Action Points system works somewhat well to mitigate times when fate wants to defy our desire to have a heroic moment.

Ulrichomega
2008-01-20, 01:33 PM
I once cast the spell True Strike (+20 attack) and the on the attach roll rolled a 1. Yeah, I have terrible luck. The only time I roll anything higher than a ten is about once per session. The only time I have ever done consistently well was once where I had to save vs alcohol 4 times. 4 nat twenties, down the drain.

valadil
2008-01-20, 01:38 PM
I once recorded all my die rolls to see how bad lady luck was treating me. More than half my d20 rolls resulted in a 2. It was pretty sad. I too have had the problem of other players assuming my character is gimped when it's really just dice hate.

This is going to sound dumb, but I roll dice differently now and I seem to have better luck. I cup them in two hands before throwing and that seems to work better for me.

CASTLEMIKE
2008-01-20, 02:14 PM
See if your DM will let you use "Action Points" in his game which will help address that particularly at low levels.

VanBuren
2008-01-20, 02:19 PM
If it really does become a problem all the time and even action points don't work. See if he'll let your re-roll every now and then.

RTGoodman
2008-01-20, 02:22 PM
Several of my characters have had that. For instance, Krell, my Half-Orc Monk, could roll Nat 20s on Use Rope checks to attach a grappling hook to a rope all day long. But I'm not sure he ever made a successful save (except maybe one against a ghoul's paralysis), and he rarely contributed in combat due to an inordinate amount of Nat 1s.

Of course, those 1s usually came at times where his life was on the line - for instance, a save against a coup de grace (resulting in his first death), and a Reflex save (or something like that) to grab a ledge before falling 120 feet (to his second death, one session after the first).


EDIT: Just had a thought - you could see about taking the various Luck feats (most are in Complete Scoundrel, I think, but there are probably others) that let you do rerolls for various abilities.

EvilRoeSlade
2008-01-20, 02:25 PM
Fortunately the solution to this is simple. Take whichever die has given you the most trouble, and microwave it until it's nothing more than a puddle of plastic.

AND MAKE ALL YOUR OTHER DICE WATCH

Jack_Simth
2008-01-20, 02:42 PM
The die is not the random number generator. The die follows physics exactly. In any given set of circumstances, in theory, there's a particular way to apply force such that it will land on any given number.

Your hand is the random number generator, as you don't have that fine of control on the force you apply.

Easy answer for "bad luck":
Get a die cup to roll from. It makes your hand's control worse, and makes it harder for you to see how the die currently lies for when you're rolling it. The net result is that the die will be "more random" which is what you want when it's consistently rolling bad.

Hard answer for "bad luck":
Training. Get a lot of very small treats (these are treats for you, you know what you like, right?) and start rolling dice. Every third "ideal" result, have a treat. Do this for a few thousand die rolls a day. After a week, track your overall score.

VanBuren
2008-01-20, 02:45 PM
I just got this amazing picture in my head of someone giving a d20 a treat for a 20 and then rubbing its nose in a written result for a 1.

Chronos
2008-01-20, 02:49 PM
Fortunately the solution to this is simple. Take whichever die has given you the most trouble, and microwave it until it's nothing more than a puddle of plastic.

AND MAKE ALL YOUR OTHER DICE WATCHPerhaps, but that's still not enough in the most extreme cases. In the worst-case scenario, the only solution is to switch rulesets to D&D version 1.11, in which low rolls are always good and high rolls are always bad. The offending die will self-destruct in a paradox of accumulated luck.

Jack_Simth
2008-01-20, 02:55 PM
I just got this amazing picture in my head of someone giving a d20 a treat for a 20 and then rubbing its nose in a written result for a 1.
No, no, no - you give the treat to the guy rolling the die, not to the die. Likewise, if you add the "stick" method to the training, it's the guy rolling the die that gets a rubber-band to the wrist for a 1, not the die itself.

... but yeah, funny image.

VanBuren
2008-01-20, 02:59 PM
No, no, no - you give the treat to the guy rolling the die, not to the die. Likewise, if you add the "stick" method to the training, it's the guy rolling the die that gets a rubber-band to the wrist for a 1, not the die itself.

... but yeah, funny image.

Yeah, I got that. It's just that the picture of training the dice as a pet was slightly more humorous to me than the image of training the player as a pet.

FinalJustice
2008-01-20, 03:01 PM
Well, you can always steal borrow the DM's dice for some sessions. If you don't get better results, at least you curse your foes with your bad luck. :smallbiggrin:

SadisticFishing
2008-01-20, 03:28 PM
Fortunately the solution to this is simple. Take whichever die has given you the most trouble, and microwave it until it's nothing more than a puddle of plastic.

AND MAKE ALL YOUR OTHER DICE WATCH

I have to agree with this. Bad luck doesn't justify giving you bonuses, though it is frustrating (my first half orc cleric, then human monk, rolled over 6 maybe one in ten rolls...), it's also funny.

So melt your dice :smallamused:

Lemur
2008-01-20, 03:44 PM
I hate to be the one to make the "be a wizard" comment but really, you can avoid a lot of rolling with the right arcane spells. If your bad luck extends to monsters making their saving throws all the time, then you really do have bad luck. Or your DM hates you. Of course, if that happens, you'll just have to switch to using spells that don't allow saving throws either, or just cast a lot of buff spells.

Dullyanna
2008-01-20, 07:24 PM
Perhaps, but that's still not enough in the most extreme cases. In the worst-case scenario, the only solution is to switch rulesets to D&D version 1.11, in which low rolls are always good and high rolls are always bad. The offending die will self-destruct in a paradox of accumulated luck.

I heard about a guy who tried something to that effect once, due to an inordinate amount of natural ones. The end result? He started rolling twenties...

xmolder
2008-01-20, 07:30 PM
I tend to have bad luck during character generation, so I've been forced to do a fair bit of min-maxing just to keep up, but once I'm playing, I can hold my own with most skill and combat checks.

Also, something I've noticed, is that the dice I use really do matter. Not because aesthetics relate to luck or whatever, but I tend to be more reserved when rolling with simple monochrome dice, whereas I'll be more likely to "flourish" when I roll the silk/marble pattern ones. Which results in, as the science-y guy was saying, results in (seemingly) more random results.

kemmotar
2008-01-20, 10:06 PM
You think that's bad luck? I infect my dice with bad luck...
My first ever roll, with my first character, in my first attack (also the first roll of the campaign) resulted in a critical fumble...I even hit an invisible ally once due to another critical fumble...and mind you...it was with a bow...

The solution i did fiind was change dice frequently...like every other roll...I also made the mistake of buying and using dice...The only solution i found was putting them behind the DM screen before the game...

We didn't get hit once until the DM realized i had given him my dice...There's nothing random about rolling!!It's karma i tell you!!Else how would you explain a 10-1 ratio of natural one and natural 20...

I say microwaving the d20 is not enough...you must at least tie to a miniature rocket after microwaving, taunting, making a voodoo doll of the d20 and torturing it into the small hours of the night and then firing it into a garbage dump...That should teach them...If not buy and repeat on an innocent d20...Once the other dice see your cruelty they will resign under the evil PC overlord....:smallfurious:

Yes i hate my dice...

Parvum
2008-01-20, 10:23 PM
Fortunately the solution to this is simple. Take whichever die has given you the most trouble, and microwave it until it's nothing more than a puddle of plastic.

AND MAKE ALL YOUR OTHER DICE WATCH

Melt it in such a manner that 20 is on one side and 19 is on the other. Keep using the die.

That must be in a signature....

Look away!

Miles Invictus
2008-01-21, 12:01 AM
We didn't get hit once until the DM realized i had given him my dice...There's nothing random about rolling!!It's karma i tell you!!Else how would you explain a 10-1 ratio of natural one and natural 20...

Poorly made dice.

JaxGaret
2008-01-21, 12:16 AM
The die is not the random number generator. The die follows physics exactly. In any given set of circumstances, in theory, there's a particular way to apply force such that it will land on any given number.

Your hand is the random number generator, as you don't have that fine of control on the force you apply.

Easy answer for "bad luck":
Get a die cup to roll from. It makes your hand's control worse, and makes it harder for you to see how the die currently lies for when you're rolling it. The net result is that the die will be "more random" which is what you want when it's consistently rolling bad.

Hard answer for "bad luck":
Training. Get a lot of very small treats (these are treats for you, you know what you like, right?) and start rolling dice. Every third "ideal" result, have a treat. Do this for a few thousand die rolls a day. After a week, track your overall score.

Very good post, Jack. Kudos.

As a certified Dice Jesus, and a believer in probability, I am sure that one can train oneself to roll better. It's all in the wrist...

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-01-21, 12:18 AM
My luck hates characters, not me. I just lost one that couldn't roll well to save his life. I got one-shotted by my DM rolling max damage, then failed 4 rolls that could have saved my life. But that guy never got a good roll. It's homebrew, stats are 3d6, he had 8 that were less than 10 out of 9 total stats. The poor guy was one of my favorite characters, too, the dice just hated him. And I'm not even sure if I should punish them, since they gave me great stats when I rolled up his replacement later that night. (3 greater than 16, none lower than 10) But yes, dice can hate you, and if they do, you're screwed. I have one dice I am considering microwaving, because not only does it roll bad, it curses all other dice when I roll it. :smallfurious:

And as a humorous factor, I got a 3.0 in stat331. I still believe in evil dice.

Reinboom
2008-01-21, 12:25 AM
Very good post, Jack. Kudos.

As a certified Dice Jesus, and a believer in probability, I am sure that one can train oneself to roll better. It's all in the wrist...

As a person who has trained for craps shooting, and watching how not random even roulette is, I can say, this is true.
:smalltongue:

JaxGaret
2008-01-21, 12:32 AM
As a person who has trained for craps shooting, and watching how not random even roulette is, I can say, this is true.
:smalltongue:

:smalltongue: right back!

I can't tell if you are really agreeing with me or being snarky, but I'm going to assume the former. Thanks for the second :smallsmile:

MMad
2008-01-21, 01:19 AM
Am I the only one who doesn't believe in luck, good or bad? :)

I do believe it's possible to acquire a rolling style that consistently gives non-random results, though. Which is why I usually use a cup, or just shake the dice excessively. Very hard to cheat that way, consciously or subconsciously.

Mark Hall
2008-01-21, 01:36 AM
A guy in our Systems Failure game insists that the reason he rolls so poorly is because he used up getting his wife (another of our players) to marry him.

It's a good line, so I don't point out some logical inconsistencies with the argument. :smallwink:

kamikasei
2008-01-21, 06:39 AM
Am I the only one who doesn't believe in luck, good or bad? :)

Nope.

Well, of course there is such a thing as luck, when you look at a person's performance and say that they've had good or bad luck based on whether they were on a good or bad streak. It's not predictive though. Unless the dice are flawed, you have a 5% of rolling any given number, every time you roll.

JaxGaret
2008-01-21, 07:30 AM
Unless the dice are flawed, you have a 5% of rolling any given number, every time you roll.

Just a technicality: all dice are 'flawed', in that they are not perfectly balanced geometric objects. There is going to be some deformity, no matter how minor, and the deformity may alter over time.

Thusly, one has close to a 5% chance of rolling any given number on a d20 die roll. Of course, if you are using a computer-generated dice roller, I agree with your previous assessment wholeheartedly.

Also, as I stated before, as a certified Dice Jesus, I disagree with your premise that dice rolling is not predictive. One can improve one's own dice rolling accuracy.

kamikasei
2008-01-21, 07:46 AM
Also, as I stated before, as a certified Dice Jesus, I disagree with your premise that dice rolling is not predictive. One can improve one's own dice rolling accuracy.

Which has nothing to do with luck.

edit: I should clarify that I wasn't just talking about dice. I deny that there is such a thing as luck, where you can look at a random process which generates both beneficial and harmful outcomes, and say that you are going to get more of one or the other than chance would predict because you are "lucky". You can only look back at past results and say, "I got lucky". Luck has no reason to hold. If you do have "luck" with your dice it's because your dice are flawed or because you are, consciously or otherwise, biasing the throw by mundane means.

Chronos
2008-01-21, 01:54 PM
In other words, Lady Luck is a fickle she-dog.

I do have some experience with defective dice, though. My first d20 is strongly biased against 20. I say this not from annecdotal experience, but from statistical analysis of hundreds of throws, recorded for the exact purpose of checking the probability of 20. In all the times I've rolled it, including those statistical tests, it's come up 20 a grand total of five times.

Annoyingly, one of those five times was on a 2nd-edition nonweapon proficiency check, where high numbers are bad. The DM ruled that I blew a splinter out of my flute and hit the inkeeper I was trying to impress with a Perform check in the cheek.

CASTLEMIKE
2008-01-21, 06:50 PM
My group tends to think that I have underpowered characters, but I don't think that it's true. I think that I've planned out competent characters in the past that just have consistently bad luck. I know that 'luck' shouldn't really be consistently bad, but I swear it seems that way. Over my next few sessions, I'm going to record all my rolls just to see.



One option is on critical rolls have one of your "Lucky" friends roll for you.

Jack_Simth
2008-01-21, 07:10 PM
Of course, if you are using a computer-generated dice roller, I agree with your previous assessment wholeheartedly.
Actually, most computer-algorithms for random numbers are also flawed, in that they're not actually random; they're merely chaotic. Sure, you can grab the nanoseconds off the system clock and use the lowest bits... but that'll be based at least partially on when the button was pressed ... and that'll generally not be in a useful range - you'll be plugging it into a function of some kind that will either compress or expand it ... and whichever you do, there's a chance that you'll weight one number slightly over another. It's actually very difficulty to get a truly random number... but computers are close enough for Vegas, so you're probably fine.

Swordguy
2008-01-21, 08:25 PM
Bad luck? Sure.

Back when I was playing Shadowrun in high school, my GM wanted me to tone down a character I was running - my reason for having him so high-powered was because my dice rolls sucked. He asked for proof. Being the utter geek I am, I gave it to him.

5000 d6 rolls. Rolled in lots of 10d6, into a box for extra randomization. Every 1000 rolls, I switched dice to try and avoid the "bad dice" rationale. My average result should have been between about a 3.2 and 3.8. The actual result? 2.4. What was worse was the actual breakdown of the rolls. I should have had about 833 rolls of "6". I had less than 500.

As for sheer, 1-time, spectacular EPIC FAIL, I refer once again to Shadowrun. I submitted this to Karen's CLUE on dumpshock.com back in...2000 I think. She went so far as to confirm it with my playgroup.



Finally, as a warning from the dice gods...
[Remember, in Shadowrun, all ones on the dice means disaster of some sort...the dice are d6's]

"My group of six runners was in the process of breaking camp to continue on our journey through some flatland. From over the horizon came the silhouette of two GMC Banshees [nasty, heavily-armed rotorcraft]. Not prepared for a firefight, the team scrambled to break out the ordinance, the rigger sprints for the Bison [his armored van], etc.
The troll mage, who has had an unfortunate experience with Banshees in the past, panics and tosses a fireball at the closest one, throwing in all the dice he can get his hands on. The result? He rolls 28 dice for the fireball.

The group was hushed as he shook the huge handful of dice and cast them onto the table.

They came up all ones.

So, as the Banshees bear down onto the camp, the troll mage erupted into a mushroom cloud of organic debris.


I live secure in the knowledge I will never in my life see that much fail in a single dice roll again. The odds against it are astounding.

DrizztFan24
2008-01-21, 09:57 PM
Same thing here...

We just finished u an adventure through church catacombs after some high elvel clerics. We had a sword of a blackguard/fallen pally that needed to be returned for an atonement spell to be cast. My rogue 2/Monk 8 was the party trap finder/anti-arcanist. (we had no arcane spellcaster besaide our Elan bard). Last 30 feet of the hallway. Last 15 of which have high level magic traps in them. I needed to roll 18's and 19's to find and disarm, respectfully. First one up, no problem...second one...no trap. UNTIL I step on it and must save or be utterly destroyed....
Thank heavens for the reflex save... Finaly trap...we used dispel magic. Cause I can roll 16+ on a one time check for a skill that wouldn't really matter later anyways. But in combat i can't roll high enough to hit the ground with my foot while walking.

After all the nasty traps there are 5 clerics behidn the door (all level 13+) with finger of death, doom, fire storm, other manners of clerical ouchness that were ready to fry us. Roll a 19 on my Diplo :P And a 1 on my HD for the level up...