Friday, June 1, 2012

Why do we still use Dice again?

Seeking to understand the process of random generation, and how to speed up your personal gaming.....

While discussing the concept of Black Box GMing I was reminded of a game I ran for some kiddos when we didn't have any dice to roll.  I kludged together a basic system of wounds, and generated a large column of sweet pregenerated rolls through a basic randomized Excel sheet.

I learned through the game (and subsequent games in the same vein) that most Roleplayers waste a LOT of time rolling dice.  If a group of children (none of whom had reached double digits) can play a fantasy roleplaying game with dozens of encounters, great interactions, and skills with full sheets monitored by the DM and clear a five-hour session with more actual 'play' than an eight hour session...

We do not need dice.

I love dice.  The noble d20, the slender d4, the drunk-uncle d12... The menagerie of random generation available to us roleplayers is astounding.  They are an elegant weapon... but are they from a more civilized age?  The random generation aspect of roleplaying is necessary in so many of our games... But why oh why must we still use the old ways?

I can generate almost 1000 d20 rolls in the blink of an eye, to fit on a single sheet of paper.  Think about your average session... How many times do you have to resolve a cocked die, a 'fallen soldier' off your table, or just plain old bumping dice?  Johnathan Tweet reference a lot of sacred cows... But what about the most sacred and cowish of all?

Especially when seasoned with the blood of your enemies...

The game can move at a nice brisk pace... And as all dice are inherently random there is truly no difference between rolling bones and clicking a mouse.

Oh, except for the speed of it.  

We play video games, we love using our computers for every aspect of generating adventures that used to be handled through handwritten notes or the arduous process of typing a couple of sheets. I love the feel of dice... But I will personally trade every one of my several pounds of dice for the ability to play twice as much with the friends I get to see so rarely.

What do you think?  Would you be willing to completely generate your entire game through a faster source of random generation?

As Always,

Good Gaming.