back to article No not THAT kind of Office Wizard! Roll a diplomacy check to win the election: Vote tie resolved by a D20

When two candidates running for director of Byron-Bethany Irrigation District in California found themselves locked in a bizarre tie earlier this month, the authority sought to resolve the stalemate in a swift and decisive manner – by reaching for a D20. In a strange twist of fate, incumbent Larry Enos Jr and challenger Milan …

  1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Trollface

    Statistically speaking

    So brush up on your CHR, DEX and INT*. Syspaladin or open-sorcerer, Lawful Good or Chaotic Evil, you too could solve those office disputes with a simple cast of a 20-sided die. ®

    * Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence... Sigh. Sadly, we didn't have to look this up. Other fantasy games can be played with a D20. Not sold separately. Ahem. [Reg dork-desk]

    Umm, isn't CHR charisma, not strength? Probably more appropriate in the circumstances I guess though, at least unless things get less than diplomatic.

    The D20 has always been a useful solution for such things, either by rolling as this time or if all else fails as a projectile weapon...

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Statistically speaking

      It is charisma, yes.

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Statistically speaking

      Bit of spin and you can get some real swerve on it.

    3. EvilDrSmith

      Re: Statistically speaking

      Bah! Beaten to it....

      As I was about to say, "Tsk! All true Dorks know that CHR is charisma..."

    4. Joe W

      Re: Statistically speaking

      Should be STR for strength, though that might not be D&D (any edition I know[*], at least)

      *a fellow game remarked when 3.5 was released that the only new version he would buy would have to be on holodeck - after all, he started with the original boxed set...

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Statistically speaking

        @Joe W strange you should mention that...

        When Microsoft brought out their HoloLens my first thought was how good it would be to do a truly interactive Holo table for D&D. Add in some wifi enabled dice so it automatically calculated the results and with graphics for all the spells etc it would look pretty good. Doubt it will ever happen, but it would be pretty cool if it did. Surprised no one's already done it for smart phones to be honest, seems pretty obvious for some sort of VR app.

        1. joeW

          Re: Statistically speaking

          AR could certainly liven up games of Warhammer.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Statistically speaking

          " Doubt it will ever happen, [...]"

          It is bound to happen - as there is nothing that is beyond the limits of improved technology.***

          Whether it will be a commercial success before version 3.0 is another matter.

          ***Playing Breakout or Space Invaders on my Apple II there were hopes of better graphics systems. What is now commonplace is beyond my thoughts at that time.

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Statistically speaking

        It came in a box?

        You were looky! I remember playing it in the late 70s and all you could buy were a few AD&D (TM) books, plus the aforesaid D20, D6 etc

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: It came in a box?

          Erm... yes. AD&D did come as a series of manuals, but prior to that was plain old D&D; Basic, Intermediate and Advanced sets, which all came in boxes. Red, Blue and Black if I recall correctly. There was more profit to be made by being able to release individual hardback books at £10 a pop (more for the DMG). Probably. Wouldn't put it past TSR, TBH.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: It came in a box?

            At one point in the '80s D&D evolved into five boxed sets, Basic (Red), Expert (Blue), Companion (Green), Master (Black) and Immortals (Gold). I bought the first four - I don't remember the fifth one to be ever translated in my language, and there was no Amazon back then...

            Still, the advanced box sets contained little more than two small books, one for the players, one for the master.

          2. RealBigAl

            Re: It came in a box?

            It somewhat pains me that I know this trivia but AD&D was released at the same time (slightly before IIRC) as the Basic/Expert/Companion set.

            AD&D rounded up all the original A5 booklets and expansions (of which there were many) into a couple of hefty books. The B/E/C set was the first attempt at gouging the D&D customer base by re-releasing a set of rules they'd already released twice....

            1. LDS Silver badge

              Re: It came in a box?

              The original D&D rules were re-released over time with some changes, and it's true AD&D appeared in parallel, later AFAIK they were merged. The boxed sets were probably easier to sell in toy stores than just a couple of tiny books, when it become more known. As far as I can see, the typographical quality of the books improved over time.

              They also releases some extension boxes with fold-up maps, little stand ups, etc.(I still have "The Dragon's Den" - in a localized version made by a licensee), probably to appeal those more used to board games, and at a lower price than buying miniatures - but I don't know how successful they were.

              The original D&D is simpler to learn and play than AD&D, I like RPGs but was never a deep fan, for casual playing IMHO D&D was back then a simpler choice. I stopped to follow its evolution in the late 1990s. when a group I was playing with disbanded.

              1. sisk Silver badge

                Re: It came in a box?

                The original D&D is simpler to learn and play than AD&D, I like RPGs but was never a deep fan, for casual playing IMHO D&D was back then a simpler choice. I stopped to follow its evolution in the late 1990s. when a group I was playing with disbanded.

                Oh come on. Who didn't love calculating THAC0? Other than everyone I mean?

          3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: It came in a box?

            ...but prior to that was plain old D&D; Basic, Intermediate and Advanced sets, which all came in boxes. Red, Blue and Black if I recall correctly.

            And before that there was a single box set with some truly terrible cover art and no dice, just chits to cut out from near the back of the book instead of dice. There were editions before that, too, but I'm speaking from personal experience and too lazy on a Monday to bother using Google.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: It came in a box?

              So brush up on your CHR, DEX and INT*. . Sadly, we didn't have to look this up.

              I would have had to.

              My guess was assembly code

            2. IT veteran

              Re: It came in a box?

              The chits were there because TSR couldn't source a reliable supplier of polyhedral dice in 1979. Other printings of the same set had dice.

        2. Mooseman Bronze badge

          Re: Statistically speaking

          " I remember playing it in the late 70s and all you could buy were a few AD&D (TM) books"

          Books? Luxury. We had to scrabble about looking in imported magazines.

      3. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Statistically speaking

        a fellow game remarked when 3.5 was released that the only new version he would buy would have to be on holodeck

        I completely agree with that. AD&D 2nd Edition (where I started with the hobby) was the current edition for 20 years under TSR. And then we had 4 new editions (counting 3.5 as seperate) in 15 years. And the books have gotten more expensive - even after adjusting for inflation - every time. Me, I'm done spending hundreds of dollars on books every few years just because $currentTrademarkOwner decided to make a buck.

        Sadly the group I'm playing with these days is mostly twenty-somethings who never had the pleasure of using a single PHB until it fell apart. The old group all either moved away or married spouses who don't approve of the hobby (no, I don't know why not) after college so there are only a couple of us left.

        1. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: Statistically speaking

          "I completely agree with that. AD&D 2nd Edition (where I started with the hobby) was the current edition for 20 years under TSR. And then we had 4 new editions (counting 3.5 as seperate) in 15 years."

          2nd edition was the current edition for less than 11 years (1989 - 2000). The first version of OD&D was current for between 3 and 5 years depending on exactly how you count it, and the game was effectively rewritten at least three times in 20 years, so complaining about new editions not lasting doesn't make a lot of sense. Even 2nd Ed AD&D was heavily revised halfway through its time, so the only edition that actually stands out as lasting a long time is 1st Ed AD&D which lasted for 12 years with no changes.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Statistically speaking

            Aye, that's the one. AD&D. The original. No bloody 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th edition.

            And THAC0 was, IMHO, a superb way of condensing combat statistics into a single value. Although we did always utilise the THAC-grid on the side of our character sheets instead - we didn't really see the need to hide the monster's armour class, although I know some DMs liked to hide the attack form modifiers from the players so we didn't immediately cotton on to e.g. fire-based attacks having a better chance of getting a hit in against some creatures.

        2. Mooseman Bronze badge

          Re: Statistically speaking

          " spouses who don't approve of the hobby "

          My spouse is an avid player, except when she has to wade through half a dozen books to look something up. Too much material has been released which adds very little to the game (3e)

    5. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Statistically speaking

      "So brush up on your CHR, DEX and INT"

      I've really tried to keep up with my Chutzpah, Moxie and Mechanical Aptitude - and I can proudly say my Connections is 18 (Linkedin). Does my paranoia show?

  2. sandman

    I love D20s - nice and smooth if you stand on one in bare feet. D4s however, make Lego bricks feel like feathers!

    1. OssianScotland
      Mushroom

      "I love D20s - nice and smooth if you stand on one in bare feet. D4s however, make Lego bricks feel like feathers!"

      It isn't standing on them, its kneeling on one by mistake (where's the "Eyes watering at the thought" icon?)

      1. Mooseman Bronze badge

        D20s? Try a D4

    2. Anonymous Coward
    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      We loved them. They had just enough heft that when tossed against a player's head it would get his/her attention. Usually needed at around 3 in the morning during a long module.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too Bad there wasn't en "epic fail"

    You not only lose the election, but now you work in the mail room!

    1. Jedit
      Boffin

      Re: Too Bad there wasn't en "epic fail"

      They're politicians. Charisma is their dump stat.

  4. LenG

    Check the die

    Three 16's in 6 rolls??

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Check the die

      Obviously it was the office dork's personal 'special' D20

    2. Bill Gray

      Re: Check the die

      I get the probability of having three identical numbers on six rolls as (5*4)*19^3/20^5 = 4.3%. Not all that surprising.

      In any case, they did use the same die, so any weighting would have affected them identically.

      Proper analysis of die bias would be interesting here... best method I can think of would be to float it to see which side comes up, but failing that, what occurs to me is to compute a unit vector for each of the twenty sides pointing out from the center to that face; then throw the die a bazillion times (long or short-scale bazillion, your choice) and add the vectors to see if they cancel. If it's biased, you should get a vector pointing toward the face that it's biased for.

      Maybe I've just had cheap D20s and D12s, but I've not seen one that looks like a "casino" die (transparent so that inner weights are harder to hide, and any spots/numbers filled in with material of density similar to the rest of the die.) I'm sure somebody makes more verifiably unbiased D&D dice, though.

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Check the die

        then throw the die a bazillion times

        Sadly by that point you have a tiny, smooth sphere and no markings left.

        1. Swarthy Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Check the die

          That's okay, provided you can remember where the spots used to be.

        2. Mooseman Bronze badge

          Re: Check the die

          We had dice like that in the early 80s - cheap plastic meant they became essentially spherical after a while. Rolling them became a general search for the things under the table.

  5. MonkeyBob
    Joke

    Natural 20

    What are the odds on that? It's got to be more than a million to one.

    1. Mr Humbug

      The odds of scoring 20 on 1D20 are 19:1. The probability is 0.05. the odds an probability of any other number are the same.

    2. Kane Silver badge

      Re: Natural 20

      "What are the odds on that? It's got to be more than a million to one."

      Pah! Everyone knows they crop up nine times out of ten!

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      Pterry Icon, El Reg?

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Natural 20

        I once played a cleric in a party tasked with attacking a vampire's tower. Vampires on every floor.

        Cue a series of natural 20s on Turn Undead on every single floor, except the final one. Still destroyed the vampire underlings but the Lord Vampire looked seriously singed and very pissed off at the roll of 19...

        From memory there were 5 floors and Sun Clerics got a bonus to Turn Undead (E3.5 prestige classes)

      2. Mooseman Bronze badge

        Re: Natural 20

        "Pah! Everyone knows they crop up nine times out of ten!"

        Ah. No. See, it only happens if the odds are EXACTLY a million to one.

        I second the call for a Pterry icon though.

  6. TRT Silver badge

    Director of ...

    Byron-Bethany Irrigation District in California.

    Three hits... You win.

    Now, roll for dam-age.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Director of ...

      Water should we make of dam awful puns lake that? Dew know?

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Director of ...

        It could be worse. At least in California it won't freeze over and be dam dice.

  7. ukgnome Silver badge

    I thought rolling the ol' D20 resulted in satanic worship.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Before you laugh too loud

      The publishers claim to have sold over 900 million copies.

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Before you laugh too loud

        The publishers claim to have sold over 900 million copies.

        They probably have. You'd have been hard pressed to find a D&D player in the late 80s or early 90s who hadn't laid hands on a copy of Dark Dungeons, either because they thought it was funny or because concerned - and gullible - parents forced them to read it. Me, I was in the latter camp.

  8. MJB7 Bronze badge

    *EVERY* fuul kno that CHR is not a characteristic. STR is strength, and charisma is CHA.

    Also: The 20 role is not that strange, but 5 out of six were in the range 16-20 (which is about 1 in 170 odds) - and even higher if you note that the lowest score was a 13. There's something dodgy about that die (but given both candidates were using it, that doesn't matter).

    1. Michael B.

      The die had obviously been properly luck optimised for an upcoming game, and that 20? Well we all know that you make natural 20 rolls when it is most important, and the DM is not looking.

    2. A. Coatsworth
      Coat

      I learned that CHR is "Charisma" in Fallout.

      It is a videogame, you see? so unlike the dorks who play D&D, I'm a cool kid...

      ... or so says my mum.

  9. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

    By Comparison

    Rather simple and fast California tie breaker.

    Florida by comparison, would have taken at least two weeks to tally the dice rolls.

  10. jonathan keith

    Need to determine your alignment?

    Here's a handy chart.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Need to determine your alignment?

      Neutral evil apparently.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Need to determine your alignment?

        Wrong order: tying the bag should be chaotic evil!

        1. sisk Silver badge

          Re: Need to determine your alignment?

          Wrong order: tying the bag should be chaotic evil!

          Nah. Lawful evil does far, far more damage than chaotic evil. It takes organization skills to do real damage.

    2. FozzyBear Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Need to determine your alignment?

      Chaotic Neutral.

      It's Accuracy is uncanny

    3. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Need to determine your alignment?

      Chaotic neutral. The alignment of total insanity.....yep, they nailed me.

  11. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Not just fantasy

    As an old school wargamer (New Kingdom Egyptians, 1812 Russians and Naval Warfare Pacific 1939-45) 20 sided die are common as well as average dice and 10sided as well under some rules.

    Fantasy did not have the strange die all to themselves.

    I made average die by drilling an exta two holes either side of the 1 and filling in the 1 and partial filling and redriling of the 6. Testing showed it worked well. Nobody ever complained about it.

    My Russians kicked bottom, infantry who had a morale bonus under artillery fire and cossacks who could move and charge very fast and therefore long distance. Yet if charged by regular cavalry they could effectively evade. If flank marched they were an artillery battery (from behind) killers.

    1. Mooseman Bronze badge

      Re: Not just fantasy

      Ah, proper wargaming. I remember playing games like Napoleon in Italy which took about a week to set up and could only be played if someone has a spare room we could leave it ready to play in for the next month.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019