Follow TV Tropes


Random Number God

Go To
"I am the way, the truth and the dice. Embrace the unforeseen and let God's everchanging light gently fuck you over or roflstomp you to victory."
"If a statistician hands you a die insisting that 'any given roll has the same odds of rolling a one or a twenty', it means he's handing you a depleted die in the hopes of taking advantage of you. Don't fall for it!"
Shamus Young, DM of the Rings

"We guarantee that each number is random individually, but we don't guarantee that more than one of them is random."

Also known as RNGesus, if you're feeling punny.

A statistician can tell you that properly generated random numbers will follow a discrete uniform distribution, giving you a roughly equal chance of rolling very good or very bad numbers. They may wax eloquent about how pseudo-random numbers are generated in computers, and how dice are wonderful randomizers. A good statistician will even disabuse you of the notion that a six sided die has an exactly 1/6 chance to land on any one side; most dice are not built to that kind of precision. (Casino craps table dice are. They're also more expensive.) But it's going to be close to even distribution, even with a cheap die.

A gamer, either of the tabletop or video variety, will tell you that this is all a load of dingoes' kidneys. The characters that gamers play live and die on good or bad rolls, and even if your dice are perfectly square and uniform, even if your game uses cryptographically strong random numbers, these numbers do not follow "distributions" or "probabilities." Instead, they usually produce whatever number you really didn't want. A tabletop gamer may say that the dice are "trying to kill" them if they encounter a long series of bad rolls (e.g. broke every weapon he was carrying). Unless, of course, you know the proper way to placate the Random Number God: then the dice will smile upon you. Usually.

The name of this trope comes from Angband's and NetHack's fanbases (coined in the Angband fanbase, spread by Nethack's), as a fanciful expansion of "RNG", for "Random Number Generator"; both games use Gameplay Randomization and are partially Luck-Based Missions, considering how many Instant Deaths there are, and the players of both games have been known to build altars to the "Random Number God" or curse his/her/its name. Or both.

Some games try to cut out the nonsense by supplying their own Luck Manipulation Mechanic. This never works—the Random Number God is not mocked, and it'll find a way to mess with you regardless. Some games take it a step further and introduce a Bad Luck Mitigation Mechanic to prevent the Random Number God from being too mean. In Real Life or certain other situations, a Two-Headed Coin can masquerade as a mere minion of the Random Number God up until The Reveal.

For literal deities of luck and fortune, see Lady Luck.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Saki proves that this trope applies to mahjong tiles as much as it does to dice. Nodoka refuses to believe in players being "loved by the tiles" and such, but other players' freakish abilities to defy all probability when playing (as someone mentioned on the page, "how much can we make a statistician somewhere cry?") pushes her into Flat-Earth Atheist territory.
  • In Quick Start!!, a 4koma about tabletop gaming group, a resident powergamer Karasuyama Sachi is on RNG's bad side, despite buying dice with equal distribution.
  • In Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Hayashi hears about a special lootbox event and declares that he wants all the rare items. His guildmates cringe and warn him that he's triggered the "Greed Sensor", which responds to greedy players by ensuring that they'll only get bad pulls. True to form, for a while Hayashi rolls nothing but common healing potions (though he does eventually get one of the rare items). Lily, on the other hand, gets every single rare item...because she's the type of player willing to buy lootboxes until she gets everything she wants.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, related to Hackmaster, a character was once beaten to a pulp for touching another gamer's dice. He was blinded by a cupful of soda and then was on the receiving end of a flying tackle. No one (except Sara) thought that this was uncalled for, as "that's one dice squirrel who'll think twice before touching another man's dice!"
    • The attacker in that scenario was the 5'3" pencil-necked Bob Herzog, and the man who touched his dice was the 6'11" ex-marine Nitro Ferguson, and every time the event is referenced (the fight itself was never shown) it is strongly implied that Nitro got hurt at least as bad as Bob did.
    • In the strip, they even outlined a "dice cleansing" ritual, used to banish bad luck from the character's dice.
    • Many dice superstitions are explored in this strip. Bob refers to his dice by name, keeps them segregated according to purpose and game genre. Dave refers frequently to having his section of the table "trained" the way he likes it for dice rolling. All of the Knights, even the sensible Sara, have dice rolling styles. But the most infamous incident had Brian and Bob "fame-rubbing" their dice on Gary Jackson's corpse (a "legendary RPG creator" pastiche of Gary Gygax and Steve Jackson) to charge them with good luck. This backfired because Gary, being dead, was obviously out of good luck (as Sara pointed out, someone who'd died in a plane crash couldn't have been very lucky to begin with). All the fame rubbed dice performed poorly in game play. Or possibly because that corpse wasn't Gary Jackson's.

    Fan Works 
  • Risk It All: The system that grants Ren his powers organizes abilities into "tiers" of general effectiveness, whatever powers Ren gets is largely up to chance. His rolls can range from skill and math-bathed games that grant him useful abilities like Soul-Crushing Strike to games of pure luck. Ren once ends up getting nothing but luck-based games multiple times in a row, leaving him with a number of abilities like Multilingual that are useless in a straight fight. But when it's feeling generous he can get a higher-tier ability like Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist.

  • Only Sense Online has the Running Gag of Sei getting repeatedly screwed over by the "greed sensor" (the same as Monster Hunter's desire sensor, mentioned under Video Games), as the random loot distribution system in the game is almost guaranteed to hand over whatever she wants to another party member or someone who comes shortly after her, often forcing her to grind excessively or make expensive trades. Meanwhile, Yun's sheer indifference to whatever drops eventually gives him a reputation as a lucky companion, especially since he's willing to trade fairly if he got what someone else wanted.
  • Defied in Goblin Slayer. The Tagline of the eponymous main character is "He does not let anyone roll the dice". Considering that the whole setting is based on tabletop gaming played between 'Truth' and 'Illusion', everything should be decided by chance... but GS is too meticulous to leave anything to chance. While In-Universe, he's not much more significant than a Non-Player Character, what he does have are deep insight, creativity and Crazy-Prepared antics, so much that he always comes in prepared with multiple contingencies that could turn the table in one fell swoop. At one point, the whole thing is illustrated by a figurine representing him kicking over a bad die roll, defying and changing the original result. It does bear mentioning that it's also in his best interests for him to never, ever leave things up to chance — as true to the trope, whenever he actually ends up in the dice's clutches, he tends to have shit luck.
  • The Bible says in Proverbs 16:33 that man casts lots, which were a form of chance equipment like dice (or perhaps literally drawn like straws), but the result comes from God, making Jehovah/Yahweh the literal Random Number God.
    • Priests from ancient Israel also used an Ummim and Thummim, which apparently were stones in a bag to be picked in random, for court trials and was controlled by God Himself.
    • The casting of lots after prayer continued in the early Christian church. Acts 1:26 says that's how Matthias was chosen to take Judas Iscariot's place as an apostle. (However, given that Matthias is never mentioned again and Paul is signed on after the fact, it's unclear whether or not this passage is descriptivenote  or prescriptivenote ).
  • Magic by the Numbers: In-universe example. Alchemical formulae only work when "the random factors align," so alchemists often try hundreds of times to make a single working formula. Alodar's cunning allowed him to weed out a lot of these random factors and produce his heat-resistance cream reliably.

  • This is such a big thing among pinball fans that they have adopted this term in recent years too as they have intermingled with fans of tabletop games and video games. It is no longer in the same sense as it used to be, however: Whereas older games were full of bumpers, slingshots, and other bouncy things to make the path of the ball unpredictable, more recent machines allow the player greater control of the ball and it is no longer nearly as much of an issue as it used to be. The main issue, now, are random awards, benefits given to a player upon fulfilling certain conditions chosen randomly (or pseudo-randomly) from a list. If you're playing, say, Family Guy, and you really could use an Extra Ball, expect the game to just give you 100 points instead (which is ludicrously small).
  • There is one that continues to persist to this day though: The "house ball," in which the ball, upon launching, falls into the drain without it having gone anywhere near the flippers—in other words, losing a ball with nothing the player could've done to influence it. Recent games where the ball must pass through bumpers after the launch, like Bram Stoker's Dracula or The Walking Dead, are particularly vulnerable to this.
  • In KISS (Stern), shooting the ball into Gene Simmons's head will hold the ball on a magnet on a spinning disk hidden inside his head, then spun and spat back out at the player. Because the ball is spinning, it will take a random and arced path back down. The ball has fallen between the flippers and straight into the drain so often that the game was issued a patch a month after it first came out that returns the ball back to the player with no penalty if the ball goes down there the next 3 seconds (default setting) after Gene lets go of the ball.
  • The central pulsing magnet in The Addams Family causes the ball to get flung in wild and random directions whenever it's active, which happens pretty often.note  However, if the player traps the ball for 15 seconds, the magnets deactivate, to save wear and tear on the coils when they aren't even affecting anything, allowing the player to take a free shot before they turn back on. Since almost all higher-level players are aware of this trick, the magnets are simply disabled in competitive play in an effort to keep the game moving.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the back of the Hackmaster 2nd Edition rulebook, there's actually a list of various dice rituals that are prescribed for the game, including rubbing the dice clockwise for higher rolls and counter clockwise for lower rolls.
  • A number of bizarre good luck superstitions have arisen in the Warhammer 40,000 community.
    • Such as never calling missile launchers by their proper name (it has the word "miss" in it), the idea that painted models are luckier than unpainted modelsnote , and the practice of occasionally muttering prayers to the Emperor. Never taken seriously, but often endearing.
    • Don't ever say "anything but an X." The more important the roll is, the higher the chance that you will get that X. Most players have lost more games by saying "anything but an X" than by bad strategy.note 
    • Also worth mentioning are the Chaos gods' chosen numbers. Chaos players used to get bonuses for fielding units of a certain size based on which god you were using. Slaanesh was 6, Nurgle 7, Khorne 8, Tzeentch 9, the idea being that the Chaos god makes the characters more lucky as long as they spend time in their chosen number. Modern versions of the game, for the sake of simplicity, have removed this rule.
    • The 40K rule book advises players who are rolling large numbers of dice to take out the dice that failed and continue rolling the successful onesnote . Players will tell you the exact opposite: NEVER reroll the successful ones immediately afterwards, because they have just used up a good roll.
      • A player will say, "I never seem to roll as well as I just did." A statistician will say, "Well, duh. Regression to the mean. You just had a lucky break, so the same entirely random process is very likely to produce a lower value simply because most possible values are lower." Both are correct. The player will usually retort, "Whatever," and produce another fifty dice. 40K players always have enough dice, just never enough dakka.
    • Ork players are advised to use green dice for standard rolls ("green iz best"), red dice for moving through terrain ("coz da red ones go fasta"), and blue dice for critical rolls ("da luckiest"). Buy in bulk.
      • A related more-general "rule" is to never roll red dice for armor saves, because they're for killing.
      • And, with Games Workshop occasionally doing promotional faction-specific dice, those are of course, far luckier if you're playing that specific faction.
    • It is also recommended, as the melta is one of the most powerful anti-armor weapons a troop can carry, that it never be referred to as such, as firing a melta weapon is an exercise in comedic inaccuracy. Simply referring to which model is firing should suffice. And never use Meltaguns against infantry. They might be great for blowing up tanks, but against infantry you're guaranteed to roll a 1.
    • Some Eldar players mutter prayers to Khaine, or to Cegorach if using Harlequins. Chaos players, meanwhile, invoke the Dark Gods, and Ork players just shout "WAAAAAGH" when shooting. Or charging. Or at random intervals.
    • The Rogue Trader spin-off RPG made off with the old idea of the Chaos gods' favored numbers by making 9s occasionally have special effects on rolls - especially those related to psychic powers. Yes, this means that Tzeentch, the god of Sorcery and Change, is implied to be the RNG that is out to get you.
  • In the Wuxia RPG Weapons Of The Gods, observed good or bad luck with the dice can be utilized as a game effect, discovering that the character is under a curse or blessing which can then be either increased to add actual bonuses or used to create a balancing effect of the opposite type.
    • The system itself also features the River mechanic, designed to mitigate the influence of the RNG. You can take dice results out of a role and store them for later use, so if you make an awesome roll on a trivial task, or roll two sets when you only need one, you can set some aside and break them out later when you screw up something important.
  • The Red Dragon Inn provides an in-depth (and tongue-in- cheek) tutorial on how to make the dice roll high numbers.
  • Referenced by name in Hoyle's Rules of Dragon Poker, where players are afforded infinite mulligans if they've angered the RNG.
  • Blood Bowl features a literal example of this in-universe, in the form of Nuffle, the game's patron god. This trope is also very much in effect for the players, since one of the keys to a successful game is rolling your dice as seldom as possible while forcing your opponent to roll dice as often as possible.
  • Random Encounter Dice includes disclaimers on their packaging such as "Random Encounter Dice are not responsible for your party falling into the same trap twice", "Random Encounter Dice are not responsible for that TPK by goblin ambush", and "Random Encounter Dice are not responsible for you rolling a natural 1 when throwing Alchemist's Fire".
  • The virtual tabletop site Roll20 makes a big deal about its "QuantumRoll" dice engine based on a hardware generator. They even have a tracker for roll distributions and digital signatures on every roll to prevent cheating.
  • In any given card game, you are always at the tender mercies of the Random Number God, especially since whatever you get in any particular draw can make or break you in any match. Examples:
    • Magic: The Gathering
      • There is the possibility of getting "mana-screwed" or "mana-flooded"...both of which involve the RNG refusing to give the player anything they need in their draws. In the case of the former, that means you're not getting enough lands in any of your draws while the latter means you're getting nothing but lands; either way, it is not a pleasant experience when it turns out that all the cards you needed, lands or otherwise, were shuffled to the bottom of your deck.
      • Opening hands and mulligans are just as open to RNG sadism here, as you have to decide whether you want to keep the hand you got, or to mulligan (shuffle your hand into the deck to draw a new set of seven cards, and then, if you're satisfied, you put a number of cards into the bottom of your deck for each time you did a mulligan). If you're lucky, the RNG may give you a small chance to make a comeback...if you're not, then you may wind up having to mulligan until you have an extremely small opening handnote , or no opening hand at all!

    Video Games 
  • Don't let its adorable aesthetics fool you, Animal Crossing's entire gameplay revolves around randomness. Who your village starts out with, what your native fruit will be, who moves in, who wants to move out, where and what things will spawn, what items will appear in shops... the list goes on and on. After all, real life isn't exactly pre-planned, now is it? Mr. Resetti actually explicitly points this out to you when chewing you out, on the assumption that you're resetting to Save Scum.
  • Billy vs. SNAKEMAN:
    • The RNG manifests as a monster that players in a village (read: clan) can fight. While all other monsters of that class have accurate Hit Points displays, the RNG has nonsensical numbers or words to represent remaining and total life. It also shows up during The Festival, where it runs a game where you roll ten dice; anything higher than a one gets you an obscenely valuable item. The item cannot be obtained there because you only ever roll ten ones. Getting it actually requires completing an entirely different quest.
    • Players who have become aware of higher-dimensional spaces may start to briefly encounter the RNG in other locations, and one of the more traumatic experiences during a quest is briefly seeing it in its true form.
  • Blade & Soul is infamous for having an evil RNG. Items required for progression randomly drop off of bosses, out of weapon chests, and from giant spinning Wheel of Fates. Of course you can buy keys from the cash shop that make the item you need come out of a weapon chest. Prepare to go over 100 spins and use over 30 keys trying to get what should logically be a 12.5% chance. Opening 30 without getting the item you need should be an under 2% chance, but it seems more like 25%.
  • Bloons Monkey City does hold a small amount of RNGesus with Monkey Knowledge Packs, although because the game is still fairly easily winnable without them, it isn't that huge of an issue. Despite that, expect that the tower you like to use the most will probably be one of the last to level up. Besides Monkey Knowledge Packs, it still revolves on a small bit of randomness at the start, such as the tiles you get at the start of the city and how far Special Missions will be.
  • With weapons and gear having multiple parts available for each item, players of the Borderlands series, Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, and Borderlands 3, have had a love/hate relationship with RNGesus.
    • One to note in particular was Admiral Bahroo and Professor Broman doing a Borderlands 2 speedrun. They were shopping in Sanctuary for a double-barrel or better Jacobs shotgun. The run was lost when it took 19 minutes of saving and quitting to get one. note 
    • This became a literal representation in the Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC for Borderlands 2 with the "die roll" chests. Just hitting the Use button lets you roll one die while paying Eridium lets you roll twice.
      • Rolling a 20 with one die gets you two purple rarity items.
      • Rolling two 20s would give you a Legendary item and a blue rarity item.
      • Rolling a 1 when rolling a single die gets you 1 Eridium and a live grenade.
      • Rolling two 1s gets you 4 Eridium and 3 live grenades!
  • The original Bubble Bobble is mostly controlled by a complex system of timers and counters, but does have one singular RNG element in the form of the insanely rare fireball bubble, which is a 1 in 4096 chance from each of the bubbles that appear of their own accord throughout the level.
  • City of Heroes plays with this a bit: it intentionally has a weighted RNG, as per Word of God. A slight bias is introduced with every sequential hit or miss, intended to keep players and mobs from getting a run of, say, 10 whiffs in a row, because that wouldn't be any fun. Of course, as any player can tell you, that won't stop your nuke from missing whenever you really need it to connect.
  • Cultist Simulator: This combination card game/interactive fiction/pseudo-roguelike has plenty of opportunities for RNG sadism. Creator Alexis Kennedy (of Fallen London fame) brushed off lots of anecdotal complaints about it after the game launched ... and then discovered the players were right about a certain class of opponents (Tenacious Hunters) being virtually unkillable. They were protected by a stacking resistance mechanic that didn't proc the way Kennedy expected; a fix appeared in the update log (along with an apology) a few weeks after launch.
  • Destiny 2 gives out weapons and armor based on this, especially towards its coveted Exotic engrams, with Guardians more often cursing than praising RNGesus for how quickly their collection of weapons and armor grows.
  • Given how Dicey Dungeons is all about dice, luck obviously plays a big role. However, the effect of bad luck can be mitigated by clever planning and picking your equipment wisely.
  • One of the main cons in Dragon Ball Xenoverse:
    • Everything that is not the storyline is virtually dictated by the RNG, from the skills you want, to the clothes you wear and even the mentor you want and it even extends to the missions themselves. All missions have bonus objectives that have you fight more or the same enemy twice after clearing the mission quick enough, but even activating the bonus parts is controlled by RNG. That's right, you can literally curbstomp everyone around you with having lost any of your teammates, and you still will not get the bonus objective, despite fulfilling it. Even worse is when you're trying to get certain items or skills to drop and they simply refuse to, no matter how hard you try.
    • The first game was eventually patched to increase RNG odds of both the bonus objective appearing and drop rates, though it was still obnoxious without a doubt. The second game fixed the bonus objective problem by having it always, without fail, occur so long as the conditions were fulfilled. But the RNG still remains to taunt and flaunt your much-desired drops infront of your face, especially if it just gives you the shoes or hands part of a costume you really want. And if a drop you're aiming for is in a Expert Mission, expect much agony as you either keep doing drawn-out boss fights just to get what you want, or keep restarting them because the boss teleported out of the arena and can't get back in, or killed your entire party unavoidably by spamming Gigantic Ki blasts.
  • Due to the nature of the makers (and fanbase) of DragonFable the RNG is nicknamed the Rude (or Reall) Nasty Gnome. He sits on a floating pile of all of the gear in the game and throws items at heroes who finish quests. Those heroes that 'amuse' him, get a better item thrown at them (albeit faster).
  • Dwarf Fortress procedural generation randomizes a lot of things from personalities to the very creatures, but the weights and things randomized usually don't push the game especially hard in one way or another. But there's other areas where the RNG cut especially loose, and that's where the pain start. It already shows in things like Werecreature types (Werelephants are not unheard of), but it manifests especially intensely when it comes to Titans, Forgotten Beasts and Demons: Everything about them is randomized, down to their special attacks. A merciful RNG will throw things like giant lizards made of blood that fall apart instantly when touched and "merely" breathe fire or poison/gas that just gives you a fever. One that merely dislikes you will throw giant creatures with dust (which lingers and keeps infecting) that spread deadly diseases that cause massive hemorrhages. If it hates you, get ready for giant flying animals made of rock, or Armok help you, limbless blobs made of metal (including steel) with dust that rots you alive even if you survive the initial nightmare. With these creatures, you can get anything, so all you can do is prepare for the worst.
  • Combat in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is notoriously based around random numbers. That is, each time the player attacks, the RNG is used to determine whether they hit or missed the opponent. The chance is changed depending on the player character's skills, but in the early game you can expect to miss almost every single time — even if you're standing an inch away from the opponent and strike well within their hit box.
  • Europa Universalis: Random events can spawn completely out of the blue, or could be weighted if certain conditions are met.
    • Many players would swear that the infamous "hunting accident" event triggers more if your heir is young and talented, while your monarch is old and unlikely to have new children. Or maybe it's the disappointment before reloading.
    • Sometimes though you get rid of terrible heirs only to get wonderful ones later.
  • Anyone who has ever played EverQuest and attempted to level tradeskills beyond a certain point knows that the RNG is a spiteful beast that hates you. There is a reason the premier crafting forum has the appropriately named Primal Scream Room...
  • Fallen London: It plays a huge part, since the entire game is based on stat checks, along with the occasional card that's entirely up to chance. Nothing like raising your scandal to huge, unmanageable levels because you failed an 80% success chance five times in a row. It got so bad the players actually get an apology card (and a pair of dice as a make-up gift) from the RNG during the Christmas events. It's that sort of game.
    "We've had our differences. But this is Christmas. Best wishes, the Fallen London Probably Random Number Algorithm."
  • Fire Emblem has plenty of RNG-related stats - during attacks, whether they'll land and\or be a critical hit; during level-ups, what will be improved. And often it screws the player and\or helps the enemy, to the point a Let's Play of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade was named "Let's plumb the depths of the RNG's spite in Fire Emblem: Sword of Seals!"
    I do not know what sorcery is at work here, but I'm sure as hell not complaining.
    It’s possible the RNG gods were pleased by your previous sacrifice.
    Or maybe all the levels in my LP are going to start sucking. I think that’s how the RNG works.
  • Fire Emblem has a major history in regards to its RNG regarding hit rates, to the frustration of many players through its history. In the first five games, the RNG is a simple one-RN - what you see is what you get. Then, starting with Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, it begins implementing 2 RN, where the game will roll two numbers and the average will factor whether the attack or miss based on hit rates, hence the term "True Hit" by fans. But in Fire Emblem Fates and Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the RNG is completely reworked which uses a formula when factoring hit rates at least 50 displayed hit, otherwise uses one RN for anything lower than 50. Fire Emblem: Three Houses went back to using a 2 RN system, but Fire Emblem Engage return to using the Fates RNG system again. Expect horror stories from many players when the odds are against them and lose a valuable unit out of a bad gamble.
  • On the flip side, any enemy unit with a non-zero chance to get a Critical Hit is usually treated like a Demonic Spider, with horror stories of 1% crits being quite easy to find.
  • One "small" mercy of the FE series is that random number generation is, upon repeated replay, easily understood: every time some randomized result is needed, it consults the same list of numbers and simply advances to the next item in the list. If you know when this query occurs, Save Scumming for the exact result desired is trivial and possible even in real time speedruns (for example, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword was speedrun at Games Done Quick 2017 in less than an hour and a half thanks to in depth knowledge of the RNG to guarantee critical hits and better than average level ups).
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: Not helping the usual human inability to understand how statistics work, a mistake in calculation renders probability of success inaccurate for events that have a less than ten percent of failure. This gives even veteran players a sense that not only is the RNG out to get them, the game is actively lying to them.
  • Final Fantasy X: On a related note, the patch notes for the 1.01 update of the HD remaster include the intriguing comment "Random number generation is now truly random." This was because in the original release of the PS4 version the RNG wasn't implemented properly causing fights to always play out the same, always be in the same places and drops to be predictable.
  • Final Fantasy XI, however, goes the other direction. as RNG is the abbreviation for Rangers, some have taken to calling it the Random Number Bastard. For good reasons.
  • Final Fantasy XIV players have adopted the RNGesus meme from Hearthstone. Those who repeatedly fail to win his favour occasionally turn to Lootcifer in hopes of better rolls.
  • Golden Sun and it's sequel are famous for having a random number god that is loving and nurturing should you pay tribute: the game uses a fairly simplistic mechanic to calculate random events like drops or critical hits, and is one that players have thoroughly manhandled and torn apart to the point it's easily possible to get 1/256 probability items one hundred percent of the time. For one of many examples, Ivan's strongest weapon, the Kikuichimonji which is normally an impossibly Rare Drop, will be found 100% of the time if you fight an Ice Gargoyle and a Fenrir in Venus Lighthouse and target the Fenrir with this pattern: Issac casts Clay Spire, Garret casts Flare Wall, Ivan casts Tornado, Mia casts Ice Horn, Issac defends, Garret uses the Torch Djinn, Ivan defends, Mia casts Wish. You can guarantee a fight against these two by getting to the main room of Venus Lighthouse (with the Psynergy Stone in the middle), and then saving and doing a hard reset to reset the RNG seed. Other than that the only real "setup" needed is that your on an appropriate level that the enemies die on your last turn and the character's speed have them act in the proper order (First Ivan, then Issac, then Mia, and finally Garret) — both of these will be the case by default by the time you arrive at this point in the game.
  • Gwent: The Witcher Card Game: Several card effects are determined by RNG, such as Tridam Infantry damaging a random enemy whenever it receives a boost. Create is a mostly random mechanic, giving the player a choice of three options within some parameter (e.g. Create a Special card and Play it). Shupe's Day Off plays a random effect out of a pool of abilities based on a choice of three versions of Shupe. Gascon randomly boosts himself by an amount between 0 and 11.
  • For a while a common superstition for THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage players was that surrounding Chihiro's desk with Aroma Diffusers would help with pulling rare cards in the gacha.
  • This concept is taken to extremes in Kingdom of Loathing, where the RNG is a conscious entity that has its own account and frequents the various chat rooms. Those who please the RNG in some way may find themselves "Blessed by the RNG", whereas those who annoy it (especially by begging for a blessing) may find themselves "Cursed by the RNG" (both of which are active character effects). Because KoL game mechanics rely heavily on random number generation, and because KoL effects are rarely explicitly defined, there is still a significant debate over whether or not the Blessing and/or Curse actually affect a player's RNG-based "luck" in the game, or if it's just a red herring.
    • A player may also be "Blessed by The RNG" by sending a gift package with an 8-ball, and a look in The RNG's display case may reveal other effective sacrifices.
    • One particular area that makes players rage to the RNG: the F'c'le. In order to earn Pirate Fledges and be able to access the Obligatory Pirate Cove without wearing fairly weak equipment (the Fledges themselves are actually pretty strong), you must defeat three specific enemy types in this area, pick up their random drops, and use them. Every KoL player can regale you with stories of spending hundreds of adventures praying for the right enemy to show up, or, alternatively, having all three enemies show up in turn and give up their items in a row. The RNG in the F'c'le is an extremely fickle godling, and no one can predict its mood on a given day.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link:
      • Red potions (restores all magic) would pop out of certain statues and breakable blocks when they were struck with the sword. Occasionally however, an Iron Knuckle or Eagle Knight would pop out of the statue/block instead.
      • Additionally, a number of red potions are hidden inside places in dungeons and in the world map. But any of them may or may not appear in any new game.
    • In Hyrule Warriors there are five variables to a weapon drop which are Weapon Rank, Weapon Stars, Weapon Slots, Number of Skills, and Type of Skills. Getting the very best weapon (Level 3 for the Wii U version and Level 4 / Level 4+ for Legends and Definitive Edition, five stars, eight slots) requires a tremendous investment of time and amazing luck. And since that's just for one type of weapon for one character (and there are a LOT of weapons), you'll be working for a very, very long time to get them all.
  • Players of Magic The Gathering Online revere Grog, Goblin Shuffler.
  • The multiplayer mode of Mass Effect 3 uses a random unlock distribution based on Collectable Card Game style "packs" that contain different characters, items, and boosters. Basically, they were Loot Boxes before the term became commonplace, with all the issues they entail. Naturally, players were quick to complain about how annoying the system was, especially given that different characters and weapons of the same rarity were very much not equal in usefulness. This is lampshaded by one of the random conversations you can overhear in the Citadel DLC, where an N7 Fury (a biotic that favours light weapons) is arguing with a requisitions officer that keeps trying to give her upgrades to a very heavy shotgun.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda uses the same random unlocking system as Mass Effect 3, above, but the in-game monetary reward for completing a mission was reduced, making unlocking rewards even more annoying.
  • Mega Man X5 has the Enigma Cannon and the shuttle, both of which need to be used to prevent a Colony Drop, which are largely affected by lucknote . You can influence their success by gathering items from mavericks, but even with all the items it largely boils down to a roughly 1 in 10 chance of the cannon working and a 7 in 10 chance of the shuttle working. Using Zero more than X will also make them more likely to succeed, as failure means he's permanently missable. It's a good idea to save Spike Rosered for last and not save when you defeat him, since the randomizer decides how successful the Enigma / shuttle will be during the "You got..." screen: he has the easiest stage of the second group of mavericks and if the shuttle fails you can easily rechallenge him.
  • Minecraft's random landscape and item generation can create both very favorable and very unfavorable situations, but, usually, you can work your way through it carefully to avoid danger. Even so, sometimes you can get screwed by something virtually impossible to predict; you could fall into a hidden ravine when a creeper explosion disrupted the sand and, seconds after hitting the ground, find yourself face-to-face with another creeper. (But at least you didn't die on impact, or suffocate when the sand fell on you.)
    • Random terrain becomes a more serious problem in the Nether, a Fire and Brimstone Hell dimension accessed through portals. When you first build a portal, you have no way of knowing exactly what you'll find on the other side—it could be a relatively safe area, or a precipice over a lava pit with flying fireball-spewing monsters nearby. Going either way through the portal takes several seconds and blurs your vision for several additional seconds; you may get knocked into lava and lose your entire inventory before you can even get your bearings.
    • Some good enchanted armor or weapons could increase your chances of survival, but the RNG taunts you a bit here, as well. The enchanting table's menu of spells is, like everything else, randomized—each type of item gets 3 options, each of which may give one or more enchantments, and it only tells you the first one. Enchanting anything re-randomizes the options given for everything else, and a given item can only get magicked up at a table once, although you can (at great expense) combine enchantments with an anvil. All forms of magical-item-crafting drain experience levels, so your ability to re-roll your table is limited. To top it all off, many of the best spells cannot ever come from the randomizer table, but must instead be found—randomly—out in the overworld, in spellbooks (the game, of course, never tells you this).
  • The Monster Hunter fandom has come to the conclusion that the series has a sadistic, psychic, "desire-based" RNG for determining how often a really rare item Randomly Drops, also known as the desire sensor. It will skew the odds out of your favor if you really want something, and the only way to end your curse is to not want it. You can't act like you don't want it, you have to actually not need it; the system is immune to reverse psychology. So if you spend hours farming the same giant monster for its armor plating, you may go through fifty corpses without seeing one, but you'll end up swimming in the stuff once you give up and move on to a different goal. The only other way to appease it may be petting the pig. The lead designer of the games has officially stated that the desire sensor does not exist, and confirmation bias is the true enemy. He, however, does admit to questioning the nature of the game at times when even he can't catch a break after 30 back-to-back hunts. The "desire sensor" has permeated the Monster Hunter fandom and become a general superstition across multiple genres with coveted Rare Random Drops, though it's cited most often among Gacha Games.
  • Octopath Traveler: Percentage-based success rates are present in determining Rogue abilities success as well as certain battle skills like Collect and Steal. Even when the numbers look favorable, it's up to Lady Luck if that 90% Steal nabs that Forbidden Blade or ruins your town reputation.
  • OneShot:
    • The face and personality of George, the head librarian, is determined randomly, as referenced by one of the books in the library. There are six different possibilities, one for each of the faces on George's die shaped head.
    • Any number code, like the remote control 'code' and the safe combination is randomized. They are even different on an additional playthrough.
  • Notably averted in Phantom Doctrine, a turn based strategy game set in the Cold War. Despite a similar interface to XCOM: Enemy Unknown there is no percentage chance to hit during combat. Instead damage is determined by weapon type, range, amount of cover, protective gear and other modifiers. Targets have the opportunity to dodge a shot completely or reduce damage if their "awareness" (essentially this game's version of mana) is high enough. Thus a player always knows how effective their attack will be, and strategy plays a far more important role than luck.
  • Likewise, there is Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes, which is prone to be very evil in RNG. The Super Block Meter is a main factor, as it can favor your opponent while slowly screwing you over to your unworthy death. Need to roll anything but a 1 to block lethal and win? Proc a one and deal with it. You need your opponent to roll anything but a 3 to win? Cue a 3 and get a superpower that will instantly kill you. There are also many RNG related cards such as Seedling, Cornucopia, and conjuring cards, and although they aren't as evil as the Super Block Meter, it may be game changing in your favor or do absolutely nothing. Packs are also a thing, and to add on insult the chances for a super-rare, legendary, or hero is not listed (although it was quickly found that you will get them below 30% of the time). Prepare to spend many multipacks (11 packs) and not get one legendary and get less than 3 super-rares despite being a 10% and 30% chance to get them, respectively.
  • In Pokémon, the Random Number Arceus has a habit of trolling you by, for example, giving you critical hits when your opponent is one hit away from fainting anyway. Or when you're trying to catch something and you know your next attack won't make it faint, but a critical hit will. It also heavily favors the computer when it comes to things like accuracy, paralysis, confusion, etc. Enjoy getting hit with Sand Attack once and whiffing your next 3 or 4 attacks, while they can be hit with Sand Attack 5 times and be paralyzed, but still manage to attack every turn and land them all. Of course, every so often it will decide to Throw the Dog a Bone and give you a ridiculously lucky turn or two. Just so you don't get too suspicious of it.
    • It's even worse when playing competitively. It is rare for RNG to allow either side's schemes to work ideally. Many matches are determined by the number of consecutive turns a paralyzed Pokemon won't move, and finishing off the opponent is often made less trivial by repeated missing from attacks with accuracy upwards of 80%.
    • Random Crits have become something of a meme in the Nuzlocke community (where fainted Pokémon die and can't be used), where it's common for inexperienced Nuzlockers to needlessly lose Pokémon to critical hits that could have totally been avoided. Such players who complain about crits on forums are usually spammed with the critical advice "always play around crits".
    • The RNG is also what determines a Pokémon's ability, nature, IVs, and by extent, shininess.Note  Because of how diverse the range is for all of these (excluding abilities, which are limited to two at most [apart from hidden abilities]), it is very difficult to get a perfect Pokémon for your party. For instance, it is very likely that the shiny Pokémon you just encountered has poor enough stats to serve as nothing more than a trophy, or that Pokémon you found with the ability you want is severely crippled by its IV-altering nature. Conversely, it is possible for a good ability to perfectly compensate for a bad nature, and a shiny Pokémon could be just enough to carry you a long way as a trainer. The fact that Generation VI now includes Super Training and Pokémon Amie, two surefire ways to efficiently EV train your party to Game-Breaker status helps alleviate some of the RNG's flaws. Gen VII introduces Hyper Training, which can increase a Level 100 Pokemon's stats to their possible maximumnote . This and the Ability Capsule (an item that can change the non-hidden ability of a Pokemon with 2 possible abilities) meant that the only thing one needs to worry about when it comes to making a competitive monster is its nature and possibly if it has its regular ability(s) or its hidden ability. Then Gen VIII introduced Mints, which let you change your Pokémon's nature.note , eliminating the former problem. The Crown Tundra DLC introduces an item known as an Ability Patch, which can change a Pokémon's ability to its hidden ability, but not vice versa, eliminating the later problem.
    • The slot machines have surprisingly intricate mechanics — in particular, the chance of winning in the slots depends on the machine's hidden state when you spin, and most of the time the game will stop you from winning anything. In order to either create or avoid a match the game will skip symbols after you press A. This is apparently Truth in Television — Japanese pachislot machines are legally allowed to skip up to four symbols before stopping.
  • In Red Rogue, a roguelike-platformer, "RNG" is the name of an actual deity within the game that the protagonist has a love/hate relationship with. Altars to RNG are scattered throughout the game, and grant a random effect (positive or negative) when activated.
  • The Monopoly-inspired Richman series has the player roll the dice to move across the board. Naturally, RNG is involved when rolling dices, as well as checking what card you will get at card spots and chance spots. A lot of players find that it's unusually common to walk into a mine or opponents' nukes when using regular dices, walk into the direction they don't want to go when passing through path splits, or get a chance card that will screw them up, while opponents often slip through the players' nukes or hit a dangerous good god just by throwing regular dices. You can prevent this to an extent by using various cards like remote dice or scapegoat (and depending on the game you play, some of these cards will not work against other cards or chances), but good luck if you run out of them.
  • RimWorld personifies this with the AI "Storytellers" you can choose and switch between at any time. They determine if and when things happen to your colony, from enemy raids and wild animal attacks, to disasters like solar flares and plague outbreaks, as well as good events like wanderers joining the colony or cargo containers landing nearby. Cassandra Classic is straightforward, sending ever-increasing challenges over time, while Phoebe Chillax gives you more downtime between crises. And then there's Randy Random, who doesn't give a damn about a logical sequence of events or whether you're capable of handling a threat. Randy's equally likely to hit you with a rain of toxic fallout as he is to rain down drop pods full of life-saving food or medicine, and might have multiple enemy factions raid your base at the same time while your colonists are crippled by a plague, only for those enemies to wipe each other out before reaching your defenses. As such, players are likely to praise or curse Randy as a fickle Random Number God, rewarding or destroying their colonies as his whims dictate.
  • In the Roguelike communities where the term originated, finding a very good item early in the game is a sure sign that the rest of it is going to be a hellish struggle against the wrath of the Random Number God. It's given you your one good thing, now it's going to do its damnedest to kill you.
    • The ultimate item in this is an Amulet of Life Saving, which effectively gives you an extra life (in Roguelikes, if you die, that's normally it — your (one) save game is erased). If you find one of these early, rest assured the game is going to maneuver you into a situation where even instant resurrection will not help you. After all, if something is tough enough to kill you once, it can probably do it a second time... Paradoxically, "lucky finds" like this that should improve your chances of survival will just make players incredibly paranoid and even more cautious.
    • Added as a character in TOME (and its parent game, ZAngband). Random Number Gods are weak, annoying, fast multiplying monsters that drop decent loot — and cause confusion.
    • In Rogue itself the rng has been known to get locked into repeating a number way more often then chance would suggest, causing low percentage events (usually of the unfortunate variety) to happen repeatedly.
    • Jehora Jeheyu in Desktop Dungeons is, quite literally, a Random Number God. In-universe, he's the God of Primordial Chaos. Every time you carry out one of his favored actions, there's an equal chance of him granting you piety and him nailing you with a status effect... unless you take his "Petition" boon, which is basically begging him to stop punishing you. One of his boons, which costs all your piety, can either do nothing at all or fully restore your HP and MP (with a higher chance of working the more piety you have).
  • In the The Sims community, the term "sado-random" (a slightly more accurate form of "pseudo-random") is popular, referring to how even when it doesn't glitch somehow, the game's RNG always manages to give you exactly what you don't want whenever you don't want it. Specific opportunities for unfortunate randomized outcomes vary throughout the series, but the cussedness of the RNG is invariable. For instance, the base odds of a Sim being abducted by aliens are incredibly low, so it'll only happen if they've snuck off to stargaze at the worst possible moment for them to get whisked away by little green men and probed to within an inch of their lives. Likewise, you've got pretty good odds of finding any given job in the newspaper, but if it's exactly the one you're looking for, it always somehow manages to take much, much longer. Fortunately, the cheat console gives you various ways of interfering with most randomized outcomes.
  • Stellaris:
    • Your starting position in the galaxy is random. If you're lucky, you could spawn near a nebula you can harvest for resources, with many bountiful systems on your doorstep ripe for colonization, some friendly enclaves to trade with, an no rival empires nearby. If you're unlucky, you could spawn in a corner of the galaxy where all the nearby habitable panets are the wrong climate type for your species, and your immediate neighbor is a Fanatical Purifier or Determined Exterminator empire whose first order of business is going to be annihilating you. If you're really unlucky, you could spawn out of range from the closest system until you research more advanced jump drive engines (pre-2.0), or in a hyperlane chokepoint blocked by a leviathan, a Marauder empire, or worse.
    • Instead of a conventional Tech Tree, your research options are drawn like cards from a deck of possibilities, so whatever hand you're dealt might be a game-changer, for better or for worse - you might get a head start on terraforming, or your scientists might consistently fail to come up with larger ship designs, leaving all your rivals to surpass you in the galactic arms race.
  • The fanbase of Space Engineers have their own take on this trope; namely a fictional god named "Klang" who enjoys making the in game physics engine suddenly malfunction for no logical reason.
  • Much of the mechanics in Summoners War: Sky Arena, but most notably the summoning mechanics, are handled by the RNGeesus. Players have formulated theories on how the system works, how to influence the RNG to grant them that elusive Olympus Mons, up to the weird rituals one could do to 'surely' get a natural 4* at least.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Throughout the series, items appearing at random times and from random places have caused a lot of resentment and frustration, such that nearly all tournaments, official or not, turn them off. Among high-level players, or at least players for whom Smash Bros. is Serious Business, they loathe the random nature of the items so much that most Smash Bros. Game Mods leave items completely untouched, even if the mods might cause them to crash (Brawl Minus is the only high-profile exception), under the assumption that everyone who will play with these mods will never play with items to begin with.
    • Additionally, a handful of characters have at least one move where random chance can play a large factor. The most notable examples are Luigi, whose "Green Missile" attack has a roughly 1/8 chance of travelling way further than usual and dealing massive knockback; Mr. Game & Watch, whose "Judge" attack yields one of nine random effects which range in usefulness from damaging yourself to One-Hit KO; and The Hero, whose "Command Selection" randomly picks four moves out of a pool of 21 and sorts them into an RPG-style menu, which the player may select one move from... in addition to having random Critical Hits on his smash attacks.
  • Early Tetris games are routinely accused of sensing what piece the player needs the most and denying them accordingly. Need an I-piece for that Tetris you just set up? Too bad! Supposedly Alexey Pajitnov himself has experienced this feeling, despite being the game's creator. Later games often tailor the RNG to be more fair to the player: Tetris: The Grand Master uses randomizers that bias against dealing repeats (they can still happen, just not as much), and the current Tetris Guideline mandates that the randomizer deal permutations of the 7 tetrominoes (i.e. after 7 pieces, all piece types will have been dealt once, after 14 pieces they've all been dealt twice, etc.).
  • Touken Ranbu is highly dependent on this, especially for the crafting of new swords. This means if the RNG is not on your side, you'll never get certain swords unless you commit lots of in-game resources and lots of hours to just make them.
  • Warframe:
    • The game holds RNGesus dear, though a far larger crowd (particularly Vauban players) attempt to invoke Lootcifer instead, claiming Digital Extremes (the devs) are in league with him. Back when Prime items dropped from the Void, there was also frequent talk that the game borrowed the desire sensor from the Monster Hunter series; if you were hunting for Forma blueprints, it felt like you were almost guaranteed to find only Prime parts, and vice versa.
    • "Making a Deal with L00tcifer" has also come to be a euphemism for simply buying the desired item from the ingame market or trading for it from another player, as the saying goes "His price can be steep but L00tcifer always delivers."
  • World of Tanks: There are random numbers involved both for aim scattering, armor penetration and damage, but the ranges and numbers themselves will depend on the tank. However, certain armaments are particularly at the mercy of the Random Number God, providing either spectacular or atrocious results depending on how your luck during the match. The most infamous examples are the KV-2's howitzer-esque "derpgun", which is known for huge damage when it even deigns to hit its target, and especially the ISU-152's "trollcannon" which the official wiki outright acknowledges as temperamental, capable of both Improbable Aiming Skills and A-Team Firing depending on how it's feeling that day.
  • In World of Warcraft, it's customary to use the /roll command a few times before rolling for a specific piece of equipment to please the Random Number God and to get the low numbers "out of the way". In addition, there are persistent (but frequently debunked) rumors that the game seeds the random number generator according to specific criteria, including, but not limited to, the raid leader, the first person entering the dungeon and/or the number of damage-over-time spells (more dots!) on the boss.
    • The developers are equally sadistic with this. Two of the Achievements involved having to get 100 on rolls to Need or Greed loot (once the system was redesigned to distribute loot drops automatically). It can take as long to get those to come up as specific, desperately wanted gear.
    • The Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft community has taken to naming their God RNGesus. With a significant number of cards having RNG-based effects, many streamers actually ''pray'' to RNGesus when they need a random effect to go the way they need. The community would then christened the Old God Yogg'Saron as the game's RNGesus, whose card in Whispers of the Old Gods would be the most infamous RNG-based effect in the game, where he casts a completely random spell for each spell the player cast in the game. What everyone thought would be a fun but unreliable card ended up deciding the outcome of professional tournaments matches from anywhere between of securing the player a win or completely throwing it. His legacy continues to live on and any time he's reintroduced to the game, they would make sure they come with something very heavily RNG-related to go with him. Praise Yogg!
  • One of the most popular examples is X-COM, to the point that a long recurrent joke in answer to incredibly unlucky situation says "that's X-Com, baby!".
    • For example, in the 2012 remake, how many people thought that their soldier would never miss that 95% chance to hit an enemy, only to be disappointed a second later? Well, that's X-Com, baby!
    • Just like when your heart is almost fainting because you win with your last soldier who, in a desperate attempt, managed to kill that sectopod by landing a 5% chance of critical in addition to a 5% mere chance to hit. That's X-Com, baby!
    • And in the original 1995 game you would never think that, once stepping out from the Skyranger, you are greeted by a reaction shot with a blaster launcher from an alien that randomly spawned where you landed, right? Well, that's X-Com, baby!
    • In addition to accuracy rolls, all weapons and explosives do a random amount of damage. A lucky soldier can survive multiple bursts from heavy weapons, whereas an unlucky one dies from an ally's missed shot. For a comprehensive, heartburn-inducing list, there is even a Murphy's Laws of X-COM.
    • In the remake XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Abduction, UFO and Terror site appearances are all controlled by separate number gods. While it is extremely rare, it is possible to have to face mission after mission immediately, with no chance to rest in between. For example, an abduction warning followed by a UFO followed by a Terror site followed by another abduction. This can happen regardless of the difficulty level.
    • The same remake downplays the trope at Normal difficulty, as chances are stealthly rigged in player's favor (that is if the user interface says that you have 50% chance to hit actually it's more than that), and other invisible modifiers are applied such as a one-turn bonus to aim if your soldier missed the last shot, or enemies getting lower accuracy if your squaddies are killed. This influences your perception of rolls and chances, as you unknowningly get used to be biased in your favor when you see percentages, even starting to assume things like in the Gambler's Fallacy because you get more favorable rolls than you should. When you jump to Classic difficulty, these modifiers are removed, so the numbers you see are true, and you will noticeably start to scream at rnjesus.
    • Then comes XCOM 2, and you can see things like your whole squad missing ridiculously easy overwatch shots when that gigantic berserker queen showed... only to kill it in one shot thanks to the 5% chance of an ''execution shot'' triggering indeed.
      • Epic comment in the YouTube link above: "Oh don't worry, not all of the rolls will be like this! The enemy will most definitely hit you with only a 25% chance to hit!"
      • Or you could have enemies drop right were there is the objective you have to pick up, one of them being a flamethrower carrier that could blow up, destroying your objective as well. (Un)luckily, your sniper only does 4 damage thanks to the random roulette... but then that flamethrower guy steps nearby your ranger, who has a passive ability with which he can deal massive melee damage to any enemy who comes too close, thus triggering a huge explosion.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Attempts to obtain rare blades are heavily subject to chance, especially since there are 5 different sets of probabilities you might have to deal with in a given save file, and the game doesn't tell you which one you have. The one upside is that if you use up enough cores without getting any rare blades, the game will give you a rare blade out of pity. It only does this three times, though; after that it's just you and the RNG.

  • This Dork Tower strip was the beginning of an arc about scheming dice that started behaving only when the cats got a hold of them.
  • Sometimes, the power of the dice can get a little out of control. Efforts at appeasing the dice may meet with failure.
  • There's a sort of Double Subversion to this concept, detailed in the annotations to this Darths & Droids strip, which involves "rejecting that superstitious nonsense" and instead using the laws of probability distribution:
    1. Take 1000 or so 20-sided dice.
    2. Roll each and every one of them once.
    3. About one-twentieth of these will have rolled 1s. Take these fifty-odd dice, and roll each of them again, once.
    4. Two or three of these dice will now have rolled 1 twice in a row. Statistically, the odds of rolling the same number three times on a 20-sided die is 1 in 8000, so now these dice have the 1s "rolled out of them"
    5. Place them in a special padded container so that they can't roll around, and you may now safely bring them out in emergencies for use for a die roll in which you really don't want a 1.
    • This is of course patent nonsense; no matter how many times in a row you get a 1, the odds of the next roll getting a one are always 1 in 20, even if it seems "overdue" for a different number. Or the die is weighted to give a lot of 1s.
    • Darths & Droids also goes as far as to Lampshade the trope with a link in the annontations of the strip mentioned above that links to this very page.
    • This strip demonstrates this strategy in action: The prerolled die yields a natural 1 but the Random Number God's true believers don't waver. They reason it will simply be even more lucky next time.
  • Full Frontal Nerdity carries this to a ludicrous extreme when Lewis attempts to dispose of a 'cursed' die that can seemingly only roll 1s. The die rises from the grave and the curse is so strong that every random number generation device in the world becomes incapable of generating any number other than 1.
  • Lampshaded in this Dilbert comic strip when he's touring a layer of hell known as Accounting.
  • In the Erfworld comic intermission, a Luckamancer discusses the mechanics behind luck-manipulation with a young Wanda :
    "Now here's an important thing, though," said Clay, pointing at the die. "Where did those 4s come from?"
    Wanda looked down at the little brown enchanted pyramid and shook her head. "From you. You cast upon the die."
    Clay grinned slyly. "So you're saying my juice had a physical effect on the way the die rolled."
    "Yes and no," said Clay, grinning more broadly now. "It's not a direct effect, you see? The 4 is a Number. It had to come from somewhere."
  • In Larry Leadhead, the God appears as capriciously as you might expect. Larry's dice rolls are renowned, for all the wrong reasons.

    Web Original 
  • Ribbon of /tg/ explained series explains.
  • In Tales of MU, Glory and Mack discuss the possibility of whether or not there's a god of magic, which leads to describing said god as using dice, complete with a spin on Albert Einstein's quote "God does not play dice with the universe."

    Web Videos 
  • A CollegeHumor sketch about Tetris called "The Tetris God" involves the eponymous character manually choosing which piece will be next.
    "Thou art a cruel and angry God!!"
  • Often invoked on TableTop. In the Elder Sign episode, Wil Wheaton claims that the dice are trying to kill him. They succeed.
  • Critical Role is a livestreamed D&D game, so absolutely nothing is staged (aside from recurring jokes about "the writers"). Cast member Laura Bailey can usually be spotted "pre-rolling" her dice to choose which seem the luckiest, and she and Ashley Johnson agree on the use of "dice jails". Chance should be king, and yet sometimes the dice seem to obey the Theory of Narrative Causality in that players are prone to getting Natural 20s or Natural 1s:
    • Percy rolling a crit to maintain concentration on his Hex against his arch-nemesis, Dr. Ripley
    • Grog killing Kevdak, his uncle, with a life-or-death critical hit;
    • Vex rolling two crits in a row when Vax is knocked unconscious by the Briarwoods.
    • The dice even believe in True Love's Kiss, apparently — when Vex kisses Percy during his resurrection ritual, she rolls a Natural 20 on her persuasion check to help convince his soul to return.
    • On the other hand, Wil Wheaton had a brief guest spot with a streak of absolutely miserable luck known as "the Wheaton dice curse", rolling five or less an absurd number of times.
    • Even their failures are oddly appropriate for the narrative! In Whitestone, the lingering undead atmosphere causes the entire party to need to make saves against "corruption" once a day. The only person who failed the saves was Percy, who is already acting more violent and being corrupted by the smoky entity from his dream. (It helps that Mercer is an excellent storyteller and readily makes the die rolls make sense).
    • Similarly, Kaylie had a perfect opportunity to attack Scanlan and rolls a 1, as if she can't bring herself to stab her own father.
  • In Power Rangers Hyperforce, it has become a running theme that the Rangers usually cannot perform even the most basic actions as their die rolls are terrible. They often need to rely on using multiple "Supers" (which grant +2 on the roll each) to succeed.
  • Door Monster in "D&D: Bad Dice", as Kyle not only rolls an entire box worth of 1's, he manages to do so with nine of them at once.
    Ian: When I said "blame the dice", I did not literally mean to ascribe agency to the polyhedron.
    Kyle: This is gonna be a thing.
    Ian: It does not have to be a thing. It is only a thing if you make it a thing.
  • Roahm Mythril, in some of his videos, describes the more malicious form of this trope, calling it the "Desire Sensor"—the game senses what you actually want, and then goes out of its way to not let you have it.
  • TFS at the Table: The players had so much bad luck that they ended up adopting "Natural One-ders" as their group's official name, and joked that NPC allies weren't truly a part of the team until they'd rolled a Natural 1 themselves. On the other hand, sometimes RNG was on their side: a boss battle against a vampiric fallen paladin ended up being an utter anti-climax after DM Chris Zito rolled three consecutive Natural 1s, resulting in the villain slipping on Grant's ball bearings and hitting the bottom of the ship so hard that he broke through it and quickly sank to a watery grave. Needless to say, Zito's Atomic F-Bomb afterwards was quite understandable.
  • When the Game Grumps sat down to play Wheel of Fortune on PS2, they clearly had deeply offended RNGesus because he was not happy with them. They spent the entire time landing on either Bankrupt or Lose A Turn, indeed an impressive feat as this game had only one of each on a board of 24 possible spaces — roughly only an 8% chance of landing on either of those two bad spaces. Dan gets four Lose A Turn spaces in a row, the odds of which would be an astonishing 1 in about 390,625 had the RNG clearly not been stacked heavily against them for whatever reasonnote .

    Real Life 
  • There are some calculations scientists perform that require truly random numbers, such that the slight predictability inherent in a computerized system is too large. For these cases a "True Random Number" generator can be purchased, which is effectively a small radio telescope tuned precisely to the frequency of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, as produced by the Big Bang.
    • Radioactive isotopes can also be used — set up a Geiger counter and a numeric counter, then stop the counter whenever the Geiger meter goes "beep". The time between successive radioactive decays is random, so your numbers are random.
    • Noisy diodes are also truly random, and as a benefit for computers, binary. Similarly, overdriving a transistor into overheating so you can read thermal noise from it.
    • generates random numbers using atmospheric noise.
    • For many microcontrollers, reading an input off an analog-capable pin that is "floating" (not connected to anything) will return a truly random result as the pin will (or won't!) respond to electronic noise, the actions of other pins on the chip or other things in the local environment. This random result can then be used as a seed for a pseudo-random number generator.
    • Actually getting a random number out of a truly random source is far from trivial in itself - you have to build a device that doesn't introduce any bias.
    • Technical note: The above random events may not have the distribution you need (many different exist) but converting them is fairly standard textbook math.
    • Another common random number generator implementation is to use the computer's internal clock and calendar (which is stored as an extremely long integer value in milliseconds from epoch internally anyway- the operating system applies calculations to pick out to the value to calculate the current time) by applying a math operation to the clock readout then dividing them by the desired value and reading the modulus. As the value is constantly going up, in theory this means that the pseudo number generation would be somewhat effective. In practice, this would only work if the system clock itself isn't also being tempered at the time of calculation, and of course the output would be sequential if executed too quickly.
  • As this 2015 video explains, cheap dice have dull edges because they were polished in a rock tumbler. The resulting imperfections change the die's center of gravity and make it easier to roll over some edges than others. So there is a scientific explanation to this phenomenon, and a way to prevent it.
    • It also makes reference to one of the classic ways con artists can rig games: "shaving" the edges on a die (usually a casino die, since they have sharp edges to begin with). You trim off a tiny bit on the edges of whatever's opposite the side you don't want to land on. So for example, if you don't want to roll a six, you'd shave the edges of the one face. The die expends less energy rolling over the shaved edges, which skews the probability way below 1/6. (Incidentally, if you find an actual casino die that's been shaved, you could be rewarded by the state gaming commission. They take fair odds seriously. Outside of a casino, though... just remember the page quote.)
    • Another common method of messing with die odds is to cook them. You take your plastic die, put it in the microwave with the side you want to show face up, then nuke it for a couple of seconds, no more than five. The nuking causes the plastic to melt downwards a bit (thus making the die more likely to stop on that edge, since it's heavier). Done right, it's almost undetectable at casual inspection.
  • Most computer software use a Pseudo random number generator Often, a programming language's library will provide it, but for early games and applications, bugs in the implementations of pseudo random number generators caused biases. C's built-in random library is actually notable for allowing programmers to use it incorrectly and introduce biases to the numbers generated by it. Problems with how the random number seed is picked can also cause the numbers to be predictable.
    • In the TAS community, it's common to reverse engineer a video game to find what algorithm is used to generate random numbers, and even more importantly, where the game gets the values it uses to seed the generator. Once all this is known, it often becomes possible for them to use their capacity for inhumanly precise controller input to bend the Random Number God to their will, forcing unbelievable strings of good luck.
    • Since random number generators are used by many security applications, their predictability can lead to serious security vulnerabilities. Which makes computing with serious security need another area of use for the aforementioned true random number generator devices.
    • It is difficult to keep correct uniform distribution when picking more complicated random events, even while the actual random number generator has a good distribution. For example, consider picking a random point inside a disk, as is needed in certain games (usually some variation of bullet spread). Programmers without prior knowledge, specially amateur ones coding for a game mod can implement this random point generator in a way that there is a bias towards the center of the circle or towards its limits.
    • One particularly notable random number generator, known nowdays as RANDU, was noted as being, in the words of Donald Knuth, "truly horrible". It has since become a textbook example of a bad PRNG, due to many, many undesirable properties. note  (On the plus side, if your system is newer than the second half of the Reagan administration, it's highly unlikely you will suffer under this particular misguided PRNG.)
      [On RANDU]: "One of us recalls producing a 'random' plot with only 11 planes, and being told by his computer center's programming consultant that he had misused the random number generator: "We guarantee that each number is random individually, but we don’t guarantee that more than one of them is random." Figure that out."
    • Many versions of Linux have a very good PRNG as a system resource with a seed that depends on many hard-to-access and fast-changing internals of the system, making it difficult to guess what the next value will be, even if you have many recent values and normal programmatic access to the system.
    • Seeding and reliable replication of random number strings isn't always a bad thing. Many games that utilize RNG in world creation have the ability to recreate the same world by inputting the same seed and parameters. (Dwarf Fortress is famous for this).
  • Apple rewrote the "Shuffle" program on their newer iPods so that no two songs from the same artist are close to each other, if possible. Turns out people want high entropy from a shuffle, not random entropy.
  • Quantum Tunneling can be at the bottom end of everything. Atoms, or at least parts of it, can be automatically displaced anywhere, anytime and at any size, and this happens constantly. This ensures that there is no absolute zero or one-hundred percent chance that an instance of an object is bound to happen. Some theorize that an Earth-Shattering Kaboom could happen in an instance Quantum Tunneling occurs.
    • You'd think rolling a ball from a shorter hill to another taller one is never going to happen. In that instance, the ball may actually get there with an impossibly small chance that an atom of it is displaced somewhere.
    • The same effects can also happen in a computer, where electrons in a circuit are randomly displaced no matter how heavily systematized the connections may be, thus glitching occurs.

Alternative Title(s): RN Gesus