Life, like a good Dungeons and Dragons game, is basically controlled by rolling the dice of random encounters. Even if there is a great over-arching plan for this reality in the brain of the Great Dungeon Master in the Sky, it is constantly altered by the roll of celestial dice and ultimate random chance.
Thusly, I managed a D & D encounter in the middle of the night last night.
I generally have a sleeping skill of only +1. That means, that if sleeping is a simple skill, I can add my +1 to the roll and only have to get a 6 or higher on a twenty-sided dice. At 3:10 a.m. I rolled a 3. I had to get up and wander bleary-eyed to the bathroom, a -2 for terrain effects to successfully to make it to the bathroom and pee through a prostate that is swollen to the size of a grapefruit, most often a difficult task, requiring a 15 on a twenty-sided dice. I got lucky. I rolled a 19. Then, on the way back to bed, the dog rolled a natural 20 on her get-the-master’s-attention roll and let me know she had to go to the bathroom too.
I have to tell you at this point, that since I am trying to be more of a nudist, I seriously considered taking her out naked (by which I mean me, not her). Dressing up in the middle of the night can be daunting. And no one was going to see in the dark of the park at 3:15 a.m. But I thought it probably wasn’t a good idea to go adventuring without armor in the darkness, so I at least put on shoes and a magic +4 bathrobe.
So, we went out to let the dog poop in the park, a thing she can do profusely on a roll of 3 or higher. We got it accomplished with little fuss. Oh, there was some complaining and growling, but the dog manage to ignore me when I did it. Then we had to find our way safely back to the house, and bed…. but we had a random encounter roll that didn’t go in our favor. I am always on the lookout in the dark for aliens or black-eyed children or even the onset of the zombie apocalypse. But what I got was the monster from under the bridge.
One of the denizens of the city suburbs that most enjoys the nightlife in the city and thrives even though it isn’t human is the horrorific creature known as a raccoon. She’s a sow that I have seen a number of times before at night. She lives under the bridge in the park and often has three or four cubs trailing behind her in the spring. And she has nothing but contempt for humans with dogs. She immediately launched into her fear-based hiss attack. And coming from a possibly seven-foot tall monster sitting atop the pool fence and hissing in the night, it seized the initiative with a very effective attack. She rolled an 18. The attack succeeded.
I tried the ever-popular pee-your-pants defense, but failed, rolling a 2. The reservoir was previously emptied, and I wasn’t wearing pants. The dog bolted for the kitchen door and dragged me with her. Her magic bark attack wasn’t even tried. We were in the house before my heart skipped its third beat.
Surviving the encounter in this way is probably good for the heart. It beat really hard for a bit and got thoroughly exercised. But I went back to bed and reflected on the fact that random encounters like that are entirely dependent on the roll of the dice.