Gaming My Way

05 Jul

Almost Dice Free Gaming

So I have an idea kicking around I’d like to try sometime. I know it’s not original. But I think it’s a little different then what most people normally do.

The idea is to run a game that is mostly dice free. Everyone will have stats that can guide what they do, and it’s always an option to resort back to the dice. At any time. Other than that, I may go to dice for climactic final battles in order to add tension to these epic moments. This would depend on both the group’s feelings about it towards the end as well as mine.

Now, here’s the rules for this. First, if dice aren’t involved, I won’t kill the PCs. It’s a collective storytelling session, not a power trip. An exception to this rule is if a PC wants a heroic death of some kind. Then we’ll work that out. My recurring villains would get the same benefit here. They can be defeated without dice, but not killed. Unless dramatically appropriate at the time.

However, sometimes disputes come up about what would be likely or unlikely to happen. If, at anytime, the group is unsatisfied with how a scenario is progressing, we can immediately break out the dice. This can give them a chance to take out the recurring villain at the very first meeting, or otherwise improve upon what is currently happening. It also brings the risk they might do worse. At this point, the dice become a way to resolve disputes between the players and the gm about what is possible for the players and the NPCs to accomplish. Other than that, the dice are left alone.

The basic idea is to reverse the idea that dice are the default method of resolving combat and social issues that come up. Usually, dice are used by the rules, and then there’s a blurb in the book that says ignore dice rolls when appropriate. Instead, this idea advocates ignoring dice rolls unless needed to resolve a dispute.

My hope with running a game like this would be to keep things moving along smoothly, since things tend to grind to a halt very quickly when dice rolls come into play at high power levels in a lot of game systems, especially during combat. I can see it being tricky to run enjoyable combat encounters in this fashion, and it would be difficult to balance the fun of combat with and without dice. It might be an interesting challenge though.

I can certainly see it’s possible that this kind of game could fall apart. I also know there are people who successfully run completely dice free games, but I’m not sure I like the idea. It’s fun to bring in some randomness once in awhile.

This would be something very different for me. I’ve played in one dice free game before, and it’s definitely a mix of good and bad. In general, I still prefer sticking with dice, but this is an experiment I’d like to try in reducing dice use while keeping them an option for times it may be beneficial to use them.


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