A diceless role-playing game is a role-playing game which is not based on random chance, i.e. it does not use random resolution for its resolution mechanics. Diceless games may use either deterministic resolution or judgemental resolution.
The style of game is known as diceless because most games use dice as their randomiser, and it was popularised by Amber Diceless Roleplaying, one of the earliest games of the form. Games like Castle Falkenstein that use other randomisers such as playing cards as substitutes for dice are not considered diceless.
The commentator Sean Patrick described the introduction of diceless RPGs in 1991:
- They went "diceless," creating a rules system where everything was worked out by the Game Master via numerical comparisons and other (non-random) techniques. Amber Diceless (Phage Press) created quite a stir, and the great diceless debate had begun in full force. A debate that, ultimately, the dice fans would apparently win, at least in the marketplace.
Proponents of this solution argue that in all game systems, decisions are ultimately made by the GM, and rolling dice merely slows gameplay. Opponents may perceive diceless systems as more arbitrary and lacking the feeling of real unpredictability; for example, the potential death of a character as a result of bad luck in a die roll.
Examples of diceless games[edit | edit source]
- Active Exploits, a diceless set of role-playing game rules by Precis Intermedia Gaming.
- Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game uses no randomization, although secret information does create uncertainty for players.
- Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine by Jenna Moran is a slice-of-life game as well as an adventure game.
- Dread uses a Jenga tower or similar to determine the success of actions.
- Everway uses diceless mechanics, but also has elements of chance, if the game master wishes to utilize them.
- Golden Sky Stories, a Japanese, heartwarming, non-violent role-playing game, uses resource pools, called Wonder and Feelings, rather than dice.
- Lords of Gossamer and Shadow uses no randomization, but has Good Stuff and Bad Stuff to influence circumstances of chance.
- Lords of Olympus is inspired by Amber Diceless in which players take roles of Greek pantheon characters.
- Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game uses a resource-management system inspired by collectible card games.
- Microscope and Kingdom use diceless mechanics to create a setting.
- Montsegur 1244 is a game about the fall of Montségur Castle, held by the Cathars. The plot is pre-scripted and leads to the question which of the characters burn for heresy, and does one of them escape into the night?
- Nobilis, another game by Jenna Moran.
- Sufficiently Advanced Second Edition, is a transhumanist sci-fi game that does not use randomization.
- Troika Moira uses secrecy to replicate chance for most actions and a double-bluff system for combat, similar to rock, paper, scissors.
- Undying, a vampire game that uses player resource management and bidding instead of randomness.
Some other games, such as Over the Edge, can also be played diceless.
References[edit | edit source]
- Sean Patrick Fannon (1999). The Fantasy Role-playing Gamer's Bible. Obsidian Studios. ISBN 9780967442907
- Loyd Blankenship (1993-08-01). "Pyramid Pick: Amber". Pyramid #2. Retrieved on 2014-01-27
- Cedric Chin. "Review of Golden Sky Stories". RPG.Net. Retrieved on 27 January 2014
- Shelby Babb. "REVIEW OF LORDS OF OLYMPUS". RPG.Net. Retrieved on 26 January 2014
- Craig Neumeier. "Review of Nobilis: The Essentials (Volume 1: Field Guide to the Powers) - RPGnet". review. RPG.net. Retrieved on 27 January 2014
[edit | edit source]
- Diceless role-playing game at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.