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RPGaDay 2016 – Day 1

Ubiquity Dice

Do you prefer to use real dice, a dice application or program, or use a diceless system?

Short Answer: Dice.

Long Answer: Dice – mostly. It’s hard to beat the tactile feel of grabbing a bunch of dice, shaking them in your hand(s), then scattering them on the surface in front of you while hoping for the desired result. I’m not a gambler, but I suspect that is part of the initial appeal of certain games. That moment of not knowing if you’ve succeeded or failed, followed by the elation of success or despair of failure. Humans have been rolling dice for millennia. They wouldn’t have stuck around that long if there wasn’t something appealing about them.

That said, dice aren’t perfect. Some games require a large number of dice be rolled at one time (the Dragon Ball Z RPG was a prime example), while others like the HERO system make the roller to work out two different results from a single dice roll. In these situations, specially designed dice rolling apps are invaluable. Web-based dice rolling programs are invaluable when taking part in play-by-post games on a forum or message board. Being able to link to a third-party site helps make all rolls honest.

Apps and programs are also a good backup system for when you can’t find your actual dice. Just make sure you don’t get one that drains your smartphone’s battery too quickly – or remember to bring your charging cable with you. It’s also a lot harder to roll your dice app off the table, unless you are particularly clumsy or exuberant.

As for diceless, I’ve had limited experience with them. They work for some games, but not for everything. I’d like to try a diceless system, but I suspect I would miss the clatter of dice pretty quickly.

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