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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

3 Zen koans for RPGs

What is the sound of 1[d-1] rolling?

When I sleep, I dream of my character. When my character sleeps, does she dream of me?

A zen master is playing in a game of Dungeons & Dragons. At a critical moment, he is asked to roll a Reflex save to see if he can save the princess. "May I take negative ten?" he asks.

The party is dumbfounded, and the Dungeon Master is suspicious. "Why would you want to do that?" he asks. "Surely you want to succeed at this, because the princess will die otherwise."

"I ask this because I feel I have too great of a chance of success," explained the master. "If I roll this die, I will succeed, and knowing that has robbed this moment of its drama for me. Thus I would like to fail, for it is in recovery from failure that true heroism is born."

"Just roll the fucking die," snarled the DM, still expecting a trick. The zen master obliges and rolls a natural twenty.

After the game, one of his part members asked him, "Dude, what was up with that? Ya'll was trippin' an' shit. Why you wanna fuck with the party?"

The zen master replied: "I did not wish to fuck with the party; rather, I wanted to fuck with the die."

And the player was enlightened.


  1. Always nice to meet another who gives up offerings to the Gods and Goddesses of Gaming.
    I've been playing tabletop rpgs since I was 13 (I'm 35 now). Yes, you can probably smell the Cheetoes and Mountain Dew through your computer =)

  2. "When you realize the dice exist solely to create drama, whch you can do for yourself, then you will be ready for Wu Shu.

  3. Wow.
    I am enlighteneder-ish now.
    Thank you.

  4. I just love screwing with a die's psyche, they do it so well to us so turnabout is soooo much fun!


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