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Steve

The Unluck Is Strong In This One

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I was running my Champions campaign last night.

 

The PCs had travelled to Malva to rescue superhumans taken for the gladiatorial games.

 

During the course of the night, they ended up on board one of the Malvan Worldships, a miles-long warship, and got into a fight with the AI soldiers on board.

 

Dread, the PC in question, has a hand-to-hand AOE (One Hex-Accurate) and attacked a couple of the AI soldiers. The final attack roll was an 18.

 

Then the PC's next roll, an Acrobatics roll as I recall, was an 18 as well.

 

I don't think I've ever seen back-to-back 18s in a gaming session before, and I've been playing for over 35 years.

 

The unluck was strong with this player last night.

 

 

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My archer had a 4d6 RKA (3 charges) 

 

During 5th edition, you figured out stun multiplier by d6-1

 

I almost ALWAYS rolled  all one's except on the stun...it was normally a 2

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Actually the second 18 was an EGO roll to push teleport. That 18 burned out teleport and reduced Dread to her run speed. The Acrobatics roll to dive into the ship was a failure, a 16, just not an 18. Still 18, 18, and 16 was a bad combo. Now if I had been rolling for D&D stats I'd be off to a good start.

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2 hours ago, Durzan Malakim said:

Actually the second 18 was an EGO roll to push teleport. That 18 burned out teleport and reduced Dread to her run speed. The Acrobatics roll to dive into the ship was a failure, a 16, just not an 18. Still 18, 18, and 16 was a bad combo. Now if I had been rolling for D&D stats I'd be off to a good start.

 

Ah, I thought I wasn't remembering it right, but I wasn't sure. Yes, those three rolls would have made a fine start to a D&D character, but were horrible for Hero System rolls.

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On ‎7‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 1:00 PM, Steve said:

I was running my Champions campaign last night.

 

The PCs had travelled to Malva to rescue superhumans taken for the gladiatorial games.

 

During the course of the night, they ended up on board one of the Malvan Worldships, a miles-long warship, and got into a fight with the AI soldiers on board.

 

Dread, the PC in question, has a hand-to-hand AOE (One Hex-Accurate) and attacked a couple of the AI soldiers. The final attack roll was an 18.

 

Then the PC's next roll, an Acrobatics roll as I recall, was an 18 as well.

 

I don't think I've ever seen back-to-back 18s in a gaming session before, and I've been playing for over 35 years.

 

The unluck was strong with this player last night.

 

 

 

In my Secret Worlds game, our last big session was about five hours of a running gun battle, from the basement of an office tower to about the seventh floor (invading a PMC corporate HQ). The PCs are all above average, Jason Bourne levels, vs. trained, well armed, but much more normal troops. The dice went incredibly bad for them all night long, including one PC who had a 3 rolled against him on the very first burst from a bad guy of the game, and had to spend half of his luck chits just to take a heavy wound, rather than be greased, then rolled an 18 himself near the end of the fight, so that he failed to take out a shooter, and died subsequently (all out of chits on his end by that point.) At least two other "3s" were rolled against the PCs that evening, at least these were bad guy perception rolls and such, so didn't directly kill a character... but that was four rolls of 3 or 18 in one session, where we usually go multiple sessions without either coming up.  Also, at least 5 times, a roll massively in favor of the PCs went against them. Once, a character had the drop on a bad guy with a shotgun. Granted he was untrained with guns (master hand to hand, not so much with guns) and nearly missed, then only hit the Hand (6) on hit location... then rolled 2 1's for damage.  He essentially blew the guys fingers off and pissed him off so bad that he began just hosing the area with bullets for the next several rounds. Another guy needed a 15- to hit one shot, rolled a 16 and the return fire was really ugly. At least twice the bad guys needed a 7 or less to hit... and rolled 5s with automatic weapons, hitting twice!

 

It was so ugly. The players were both really into it and amazed only one of them died, but also dispirited. They weren't blaming me, but every roll was like, "OH COME ON!" as the "bad beats" (in poker terms) just kept coming.


It was in the nature of the game for things to be this bloody, and honestly they actually secured their objective (place a hack and rescue a captured comrade) but the fight was a loss by all gaming standards, and they lost one. I felt bad, but as the guy who lost his character said, "It's just math. You can't be mad at math."*

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* He was really mad at math, actually. 

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Decades back, I played in a Top Secret game where the 3-man team I was on was trying to locate a nuke that had been stolen from the military and was being auctioned off to some scary terrorist types.  I had weaseled my way into being security for one of the bidders so we could keep an eye on the auction, while my teammates were searching the structure (a heavily revamped Sealand, with a casino/hotel added on) for the nuke itself.  They found it just as bidding ended, with my ersatz employer being the one who had the winning bid.  So the winning bidder and his security detail (including me) were heading down to pick up the nuke while my actual partners were trying to figure out how to sneak it out.

 

As soon as the elevator opened on the sub-level where the nuke was, we could see the Sealand security guards my partners had already taken out, so I was sent forward with two other bodyguards to see what was up.  Since I had warned my partners we were coming, they were waiting with assault rifles ready.  As soon as I rounded the corner, I hit the ground and (to keep my cover just in case) fired a shot over my partners' heads with my pistol.  Meanwhile, my partners opened fire on the rest of the security detail.

 

The first one rolled a crit fail that jammed his rifle.  The second also rolled a crit fail that jammed his rifle.  Luckily, they had partial cover and the bodyguards' first shots missed.

 

Thinking that the bidder's security detail was about to turn my partners to hamburger, I swore, rolled onto my back, and aimed at one of the security detail.  And rolled a slightly less horrible fail that caused a misfire.

 

Luckily, one of my partners tossed his rifle aside, drew his pistol, and helped take out the two bodyguards.  But I was certain the dice were trying to kill us.

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Bolo's tale reminded me of an incident with an unlucky player in a Spacemaster campaign I ran about twenty-five years ago.

 

The group was a bunch of mercenaries working for House Devon who came across another bunch of mercenaries working for House Colos. During the ensuing firefight, one of the players grabbed a blaster rifle off a dead Colosian (because it was quicker than reloading his own weapon, as I recall). His first shot was a fumble, and the Spacemaster fumble chart result was that it was a dead power pack. He then grabs a second rifle and promptly rolls another fumble with the same dead power pack result coming up again.

 

The player's next words were totally in character, "Cheapjack Colosian s**t" as he tossed the defective weapon aside and finally got a working weapon to keep shooting with. After that, I wrote it into the campaign that Colosian-made weaponry had a reputation among soldiers as being poorly-made junk that couldn't hold a power pack charge.

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6 hours ago, Steve said:

The group was a bunch of mercenaries working for House Devon who came across another bunch of mercenaries working for House Colos. During the ensuing firefight, one of the players grabbed a blaster rifle off a dead Colosian (because it was quicker than reloading his own weapon, as I recall). His first shot was a fumble, and the Spacemaster fumble chart result was that it was a dead power pack. He then grabs a second rifle and promptly rolls another fumble with the same dead power pack result coming up again.

 

The player's next words were totally in character, "Cheapjack Colosian s**t" as he tossed the defective weapon aside and finally got a working weapon to keep shooting with. After that, I wrote it into the campaign that Colosian-made weaponry had a reputation among soldiers as being poorly-made junk that couldn't hold a power pack charge.

 

This is an example of a great GM response to an in-game event.  Sometimes, you have to listen to the dice, for they are trying to tell you something...  :winkgrin:

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On 7/1/2018 at 12:00 PM, Steve said:

I was running my Champions campaign last night.

 

The PCs had travelled to Malva to rescue superhumans taken for the gladiatorial games.

 

During the course of the night, they ended up on board one of the Malvan Worldships, a miles-long warship, and got into a fight with the AI soldiers on board.

 

Dread, the PC in question, has a hand-to-hand AOE (One Hex-Accurate) and attacked a couple of the AI soldiers. The final attack roll was an 18.

 

Then the PC's next roll, an Acrobatics roll as I recall, was an 18 as well.

 

I don't think I've ever seen back-to-back 18s in a gaming session before, and I've been playing for over 35 years.

 

The unluck was strong with this player last night.

 

 

 

Fortunately, it wasn't me but my brother rolled three 18s in a roll, one after another. Never seen that happen before, never seen it since.

(Scenario: A tank is about to run over a superstrong hero. The hero's going to try to grab the tank and do something to it (forgot). 18. He begs to try again. Sooo, the GM allows it. Another 18. He wants to try a third time - a sigh from the GM but allowed.  Third 18...

GM: The tank runs over you! Take your damage!)

 

Of course, I've also had the pleasure of seeing a friend roll two Perfect 3s one after another.

 

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Reminds me of my first ever D&D game in 1979.  I roll up a fighter with good stats.  We explore a tower.  I see webs in the ceiling, get out my sword ready to attack any giant spiders that came out.  I missed by a mile, get bit, need to roll a saving throw vs. Poison at +2, critically fumble, was allowed to roll again (being my first time playing), critically fumble again and die on the spot with 1 hp of damage and a failed poison check.  Total game time, 5 minutes.

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A friend from back in my school gaming days had legendarily bad luck with the dice, so much so that the rest of us were superstitiously reluctant to let him touch ours. Our MERP gamemaster kept a stack of his characters who had died due to fumbles and missed saves for use as NPCs. Some died in extremely hilarious ways, as when rolling a critical for a fumble his luck reversed itself and natural 100s weren't uncommon. I actually saw him roll the result that had a mounted character with a lance pole vault himself into the Great Beyond.

 

He compensated by being the best role-player I've had the privilege of gaming with, and once defused what would have been a nasty firefight by making an in-character statement that completely deflated the opposition's motivation.

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On 7/12/2018 at 9:04 AM, Tech said:

 

Fortunately, it wasn't me but my brother rolled three 18s in a roll, one after another. Never seen that happen before, never seen it since.

 

Of course, I've also had the pleasure of seeing a friend roll two Perfect 3s one after another.

 

 

Wow. Those are both 10 million-to-one odds.

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On ‎7‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 4:29 PM, Rebar said:

 

Wow. Those are both 10 million-to-one odds.

 

I could be mistaken, but I figure the first to be about one in a hundred thousand

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary thinks I'm probably wrong but won't quantify HOW probably wrong

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1 hour ago, Lucius said:

 

I could be mistaken, but I figure the first to be about one in a hundred thousand

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary thinks I'm probably wrong but won't quantify HOW probably wrong

3 18s should just be 1 in 216 cubed, by my reckoning. That's a hair over 10 million.

 

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6 hours ago, Rebar said:

3 18s should just be 1 in 216 cubed, by my reckoning. That's a hair over 10 million.

 

 

Your figures look right to me, which would mean a 100% chance I was wrong.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

I should have listened to the palindromedary

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1 hour ago, dmjalund said:

but 2 rolls of 3 is only 216 squared- which is 1 in 46656

Right. But the claim was 3 in a row.

 

I know what you're saying. Once an 18 is rolled, the chance of rolling two more is 46,656. I agree.

But that first 18 will only come up once in 216 rolls.

 

 

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In a D&D campaign I once ran quite some years back (2nd Edition, as I recall).

 

Elf PC is a two-weapon fighter specialist (likely inspired by a certain Drow pretty boy from the Forgotten Realms who shall remain nameless).

 

Elf PC leaps into combat, boldly brandishing his two longswords... and promptly rolls two 1s in a row. Since D&D didn't have fun fumble charts like Rolemaster/Spacemaster, I just said he lost his grip on his weapons.

 

The joke at the table that night was that the Elf PC should consider getting some rope to secure his weapons to his wrists, so he wouldn't drop them again.

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My PC was trying to break something critical (to the survival of the world, IIRC), and managed an excellent EGO roll to push her STR up to 25.

 

Yahtzee.  Five ones hit the table.

 

I honestly cannot remember how the session went after that, Stunned.  

 

Chris.

 

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People assume that dice are random number generators.  Any roleplayer knows better than that.

 

A friend of mine's teenage son was set some maths homework to roll a d6 a hundred times and plot the results as a bar chart, hopefully demonstrating a fairly even distribution.  He didn't roll a single 6.

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2 hours ago, Rhodri said:

People assume that dice are random number generators.  Any roleplayer knows better than that.

 

A friend of mine's teenage son was set some maths homework to roll a d6 a hundred times and plot the results as a bar chart, hopefully demonstrating a fairly even distribution.  He didn't roll a single 6.

That die was loaded.

 

The chances of not rolling a 6 in 100 rolls - with a fair die - are 5/6 ^ 100, which is about 1 in 83 million.

 

While it is quite possible that this just happened to be the time your friend "won a lottery", it is well known that dice are not accurate (someone did a study, with several dozen dice, each rolled thousands of times). That is - by many orders of magnitude - the most likely explanation.*

 

 

And a cautionary tale: Choose your dice wisely. They are not fair by default.

 

*not that you were suggesting otherwise. Your point stands: dice are not random.

 

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