The past few years I’ve seen several people participate in #RPGaDay, an event in August where people write about a specific RPG-related topic for each day in August. It’s a great idea, but since I really don’t play many RPGs as much as I’d like to anymore I’ve just enjoyed reading everyone’s content without participating. Then I read Thomas Deeny’s, a fellow Pawn, latest post on the subject, and how last year he used #RPGaDay as an exercise in writing. I figure I may as well give it a shot.
Real dice, dice app, diceless, how do you prefer to “roll?”
Well that’s a loaded question, isn’ it?
Growing up in the 80’s I cut my teeth on RPGs with AD&D 2nd Edition when I was about 8 years old. This meant I was used to roleplaying with lots of polyhedral dice. In fact, I still have my original set of dice (pictured left) stored safely in a Wyrmwood Gaming Dice Vault. I’ve always found rolling handfuls of dice highly satisfying. That, and there’s just something wonderful about a large, leather dice bag filled with all sorts of dice of varying size, sides, colors, and patterns.
Dice bring back fond memories of gaming, and my childhood. A chipped dice that was thrown after a bad roll, a lucky d20 with the numbers almost worn away from years of use, sets of dice that are so hard to read, but were just too pretty not to purchase. I remember my dad driving me to various hobby shops to see what AD&D books they had in stock, and to checkout their hoard of dice for sale. It’s something I’ve passed down to my kids. Both my 11-year-old and 6-year-old sons have started their own dice collections. My 9-year-old daughter has now expressed interest in starting one her own. The 2-year-old is a bit young, but I’m sure he’ll inherit the dice bug, too.
AD&D 2nd Edition taught me dice love
So yeah, I love dice. Do I always need them? Nope.
Dice serve their purpose, but there are times when they’re just not needed. Take Storium for example. It’s uses a great system for roleplaying where dice are just not needed. Every year I see loads of tiny, small-press RPGs at conventions that barely have a rulebook, less use any dice. There was a great RPG a while back called Untold that only used cards, and had a great mechanic where your deck was your character and you took damage in the form of losing cards from your deck. I loved it.
If a system is fun it doesn’t matter if it uses dice or not. Yes, I love rolling dice. I love collecting dice. I love spilling dice from my bag and going through them with my kids, and surprising my kids with this or that cool dice I pick up at a convention. I also love streamlined or experimental systems where dice just aren’t needed. As long as I’m having fun, I’m cool.
As far as dice apps go? Blech. If you’re gonna roll, roll for real!