You just cannot begin to imagine the satisfaction –
The tension that builds in the tightly wound knuckles
On the buckling white hand that, shaking, sends rolling
The twenty-sided dice whose feisty, fickle faces
Have sent tears to your eyes, dug graves in your mind,
Snatched away victory from you and your friends, far too many times.
The dice is too light, too heavy, too real to call out the fate
Of fictional lives in fictional lands, for a tribe you’ve just met,
Inside of a game you’ve bled imaginary ichor for and really stained
Your shirts with sweat; and yet all of that still rests on the face
Of that icosahedron. Up the die flies. The table holds its breath.
With a shudder you wonder if it might topple
From the gameboard to the depths below the fridge,
Displaying your twenty in the dusty hells of what you know
To be re-rolls. The thought is banished as it bounces
Closer and closer to THERE: THAT is the worst place,
You scream while others shriek: “NOT ON THE MAT!”
But alas. The DM grins as he sees your tumble,
Apologizes, humble, as he brings out the die
That he calls Death, stained in a mirthless hue of orange,
And as he rolls that dice it’s to execute,
To tear your character to shreds,
He does it. Rolls fifteen, over your two.
“Make a saving throw.” The glow of the lamp.
You’re set to lay this character to bed.
He’s about to mind control you, and the others’ll have to feign surprise
As they’re stabbed in the heads, knives sliding across their necks,
Pretending that they never knew why they fell;
But they’d know, it was all because you rolled on the mat.
So you throw your dice high into the air.
Eyes are caught in helpless stares.
Twenty, you whisper. Twenty, you beg.
You close your eyes. Twe- “TWENTY!”
You suddenly hear the cheers and snap
Out of your reverie as slaps cascade
Up and down your back and the DM can’t believe it
He’s tested your luck, in his hubris described his spell
As a touch, and two nights ago you’d homebrewed
The rule that touch attack spells are open to counterattacks:
Eyes shoot open: Is the enemy fatigued?
Perhaps, a spell mishap?
The made-up second passes, fifteen minutes in real life,
Seconds pass by slowly in dice-based game fights.
You attack and the DM, smiling like a troll,
Charming as a rogue, says: “Roll.”
You tear off the mat to the floor,
Send figurines flying to the bathroom, chairsides, the door.
Your die, green and grey,
Smiles as if to say she knows how to roll.
You toss the dice up – fate wills it to fall,
Clatters once, the number face up. You call: “*^£¥%¿♧;!”
It’d be too easy to say that this ends in twenty.
Another villain beat, and heroes made aplenty.
But far from making this a story, a song that’s just mine,
I wrote these lines to say:
That you yourself should play.
Play! It’s easy to get started,
Here’s a dice, that’s the way:
Now roll a save to resist persuade.
You ain’t gonna get a nat twenty.