I have a vague memory of my father teaching me about dice probabilities from a "mini-game" within the Black box set, at the beginning of being in jail in the salt mines. The other prisoners, is willing to gamble with me, but we use different combinations of dice to see who will roll the higher number. From what I can remember it was from the Escape from Zanzer Tem's dungeon adventure.

I'm looking to find what exactly those combinations of dice were, and what the rules of the gambling game were.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The Black Basic Box is the 4th edition of Basic Set - callign it "original" is prone to confusion. (Prior were Holmes' blue Basic Set, Moldvay's red Basic Set, Mentzer's red Basic Set; "Original" usually refers to the white/woodgrain boxes from 1974-1979, which were not labeled "Basic" (and some printings were sold as "Classic D&D" in 1979-1980). \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 0:16

1 Answer 1


In the adventure of escape from Zanzer's dungeon, you meet an NPC named Axel, and get introduced to his "funny dice".

Basically, it consists of Axel trying to cheat you by asking you to roll higher when he has a larger die, or to roll lower, when he uses 2d6 and you use a 1d12.

The game worked as follows: The first to 100 points wins (in this case you win information about where you are, since you have no coins to pay for the information)

Axel gets a d6, and you get a d4. Whomever rolls the highest gets 5 points. This goes on until someone gets 25 points, or you tell Axel the dice are not fair.

Next, Axel gets a d8 and you get 2d4. Whomever rolls lowest gets 5 points. This goes on until someone has 50 points or you tell Axel it's not fair.

Next, Axel gets 1d12 and you get 2d6 Whomever rolls 12 first get 25 points. This goes on until someone rolls a 12, or you say it's not fair.

Next Axel gets 2d10 and you get 1d20. Whomever rolls a "ten" gets 5 points. This goes on until someone gets 100 points, or you tell axel it's not fair.

Then you are told that Axel was cheating by taking advantage of the odds. For example, when Axel got a d12 and you used 2d6, Axel was 3 times more likely than you to roll a 12. This is why you must always follow dice-rolling instructions carefully.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm sorry, I don't think it's appropriate to include an entire page from the game here for copyright reasons. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 0:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure that's how it was worded? Because 2d6 will beat 1d12 50% of the time, while 1d12 will only beat 2d6 41.67% of the time. I guess I should no longer be surprised at rpg designers not understanding statistics by now. anydice.com/program/3dd2 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 3:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NotAPumpkin It's the first person to roll an actual 12 value on the die, not who has a higher number. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMNoob
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 6:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ man, my reading comprehension this week \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 7:22

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