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Episode 1707: Singularity

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It's important to have dice for every occasion. Some gamers think one standard set of polyhedral dice - d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, and maybe an extra d10 for rolling percentiles - is enough. Ha ha ha ha!

Firstly, you definitely need a handful of d6s for rolling damage from fireballs, or falling damage, or explosions. And extra d20s for rolling multiple hits in a round, be it from multi-weapon attack feats, rapid-fire firearms, or a horde of skeletons (if you're the GM). And extra d4s to sprinkle on the floor as caltrops in case your friend steals the last slice of pizza.

Then there are special purpose dice with other numbers of sides. Why roll a d6 and divide by 2 when you can roll a d3? Need a random day of the week? A handy d7 will do the job. In fact, having dice of all numbers of sides from 2 to 30 is useful. You can implement a house rule that penalties or bonuses to a standard roll aren't applied as post-roll deductions or additions, but rather as adjustments to the number of sides on the die. So a -1 penalty means roll a d19, and a +4 bonus means roll a d24. Some game systems even have this as a written rule of the game.

Thanks to some recent Kickstarters, I have a full set of dice with every number of sides from 2 to 20, as well as every even number from 20 to 30. Some of the odd-numbered ones are weird shapes, and I don't trust that they are completely unbiased, but they're good enough for gaming use. I don't have a Gömböc, though...

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

I'm trying to figure out how it is possible to say that the monk is absolutely invulnerable.

Not in game. I can understand a bad DM saying that you have a 100% chance of success.

Seriously though, if you look at the failure rates in games, and compare it to the failure rates in real life, you get some real absurdities. Even something as routine as landing a plane would result in massive numbers of failures, even if you only fail on a 1 and get a reroll.

Trivial things need to be trivial. I love the fact that D&D added the "take 10" rule. And I love how Milo can make fun of the take 20 rule.

But frankly, the best that a player can hope for in something like this is to say that if you roll a one, you get a re-roll. Maybe that reroll starts at 15 or better for success; maybe it improves as you put more levels in it.

But 100% chance of walking through active fire without being hit? While blind? I can't wait to see how this has to fail spectacularly somehow next comic.

Meanwhile, the Gömböc is a really strange shape. Or rather, whole families of shapes. There's not just one shape with this behavior. Turns out, if you have infinitely accurate cutting/shaping techniques, you can make an "almost sphere" with this behavior. But then, if you have that much accuracy, you can probably duplicate your spheres.

But a Gömböc die? I'm not sure if I should ask, "where can I get one?", or "but doesn't the slightest imperfection/chip/damage from rolling on the table cause it to lose this property?".

— Keybounce

Transcript

Bodhi: Cassian! We can't reach the high-flow fuel switch!
[SFX]: Pow!
Chirrut: Don't worry, Cassian, it's no problem at all. Everything is going perfectly.
Cassian: What do you mean?
Chirrut: I just levelled up twice from killing that tank.
Chirrut: I've taken Monastic Vigilance, so a natural 1 no longer causes a critical failure. I'm invincible!
K-2SO: Nobody's invincible. Especially if the dice are against you.
Chirrut: The dice are always with me. Watch me walk through the crossfire to the pump like it's a Sunday morning stroll.
GM: You succeed.
Chirrut: No roll?
GM: No, you just succeed.
Chirrut: But... that feels like cheating! I need to roll a die!
GM: Okay, fine. Roll a 1 or better.
Chirrut: Just a sec, I have a special die just for this.
Cassian: What's that?
Chirrut: It's a Gömböc. It has only one stable equilibrium point.
Cassian: There's only a 1 on it.
Chirrut: That's all that's needed! Watch.
{Chirrut walks out into the open, towards the fuel pump, as blaster shots fly around him}
[SFX]: Pow!
Chirrut: <roll> I roll 1 with the die. The die is with me!


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Published: Thursday, 20 September, 2018; 03:11:16 PDT.
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