This is a true story.

In 1984 or 1985, my brother and I were in the basement of my grandmother’s house playing AD&D. I was DMing my him through the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (where his character and the rest of the party soon met their end) when my grandma came down the steps.

Now, this was a bit of an awkward situation. My grandma (bless her soul) was solidly opposed to gambling in all forms and I seem to recall that playing cards and dice were not allowed in her house. (But I also remember playing all sorts of board games with her, and it seems odd that they all would have been played without dice. I do remember a lot of games with spinners, though.) Whatever the situation was, I remember being a bit uncomfortable at being “caught” playing this game of ill-repute in her home.

She asked a bit about it and we tried to give a simple explanation, probably no different than anyone else has done when discussing the game with non-players. She was intrigued by the odd-shaped dice, and picked up all of them in her hand to look more closely. Our dice at this time consisted of our red Dragon Dice, possibly a few additional d10s from other games, and a bunch of d6s collected from everywhere we could find them. A fairly typical dice collection for the early-mid 80s.

I will never forget what happened next.

My grandma, who possibly had never rolled dice before in her life, rolled the whole handful out onto the table. I vividly remember the odd way she rolled them. It was clear that she wasn’t a seasoned dice roller, and her release was more of a “drop” than a real “roll.” The release was at an unusual angle, and her fingers all sprung open like when when you pantomime a “poof!” for someone. The dice all hit the table, clattered and bounced, then settled. My brother was explaining something to her (I don’t remember what) but I had glanced at the table and couldn’t look away.

She had maxed EVERY SINGLE DIE.

My brother witnessed it.

I wish we had written down exactly how many dice and what types she had rolled. Even figuring for only a basic set (and at the time a second d10 was not usually standard, you just used the d20 as your other ten-sider) and two more d6s for rolling up abilities and such, the odds come out to 1 in 16,588,800. (That’s one d4, three d6, one d8, one d10, one d12, and one d20.)

I’m positive that there were more dice than that, at least a few more d6s and, like I said, maybe few other dice we had found along the way. Even the addition of just one more d6 makes the odds one in nearly a hundred million. There was a stretch in there somewhere when our d12 was missing in action, and it’s possible that this event occurred during that period. Between this possibility and my surety that more d6s were involved, I’ll just call it even.

Whatever the dice, whatever the odds, my grandma rolled RPG dice exactly one time in her long life. And she rolled a winner. My grandma was like that.

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6 Comments to “My Grandma: One in 16,588,800”

  1. […] Recalling the good old days these dice have seen has reminded me of an amazing (and basically unbelievable, though I stand by it) story: My Grandma: One in 16,588,800 […]

  2. bulette says:

    i want to believe

  3. bat says:

    My grandmother was like the Inquisition after she saw one of those televangelists in the 80’s railing against D&D. I was a master of hiding my books in other books. She STILL thinks that this is an evil hobby, but agrees that it did keep me away from drugs and alcohol and trouble when I was younger. Yeah, evil hobbies often do that…

  4. Al says:

    My grandma bought me my 1st 1E PHB. Years later, she would say, “when I bought it I thought that’s not a very big book for $10. But you did seem to use it a lot…” 😉

  5. I don’t know why, but that very last paragraph choked me up a bit. I can read the love you had for your grandmother. Very cool post.