Real Dice, Dice App, or Diceless

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Real Dice, Dice App, or Diceless

August 1, 2016 214 Events Gaming Observations 0

the-dee-sanction-diceRPGaDay Day #1 asks: Real Dice, Dice App, Diceless – how do you prefer to “roll”?

Well, as one-half of a business that creates hand-crafted game rolls / dice bags, it seems like I would have to opt for dice right?

Yes, to a certain extent, though I’m open to other possibilities.

I have, for example, dabbled with a diceless approach by using cards – like the excellent Deck of Fate, Ian Millington’s superlative Dice Cards and even just a straight pack of cards when playing games of Frankenstein Atomic Frontier. I have a pack of Dan Dare cards at home that I have plans for in running a diceless pulpy sci-fi game and I also have yet to dig fully into the big-box card-driven sci-fi game Faith.

I don’t really get along well with pure story games. I get it. I appreciate the challenge. I just don’t feel comfortable with that level of freeform.

Of dice apps, I have tried a few – but nothing really competes with the visceral sensation of picking up a many-sided solid and throwing it across the table. I can handle dice apps and can see their place in a restricted environment or where you just don’t have any dice to hand. I use my Rory’s Story Cubes a lot when I’m improvising material – and I get the app out a lot┬ábecause I don’t always carry my collection with me. With the app, I can carry a standard polyhedral set and pull the story cubes out as and when I need them.

Where dice roll, I like games such as the Cypher System and Symbaroum that place them firmly in the hands of the players. I can handle that, listening to the dice falling across the table while I keep my thoughts free to consider the story and what happens next. I like that.

For many games, I make my own dice – and I quite enjoy the experience. From the dice I’m throwing for the John Carter playtest at the moment to those I created for my game The Dee Sanction, I’ve made good use of the blank dice I picked up from Blank Dice. With a sheet of printable self-adhesive paper, you can print out a range of dice face and create whatever you need.

The Dee Sanction used two standard six-sided dice, but one of them had an icon next to the number – indicating equipment, the State, the Law or something similar. When the character failed a roll, they could use the icon to help narrate the cause. The rope snapped, ingrained training regimes made them hesitate, or a law-abiding citizen cried foul – the icons just offered a hook to hang the story from, which the dice determined basic success or failure.

I think that boils down to my preference being to use┬ádice, but I’m willing to experiment and tinker. I’m just not ready to throw them away completely or leave my fate in the hands of SkyNet.

RPGaDay 2016


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