An Element of Chance

People who have never done any roleplaying-style gaming are frequently concerned about the use of dice. Is this gambling? This looks like satanic gambling. Are we sure this isn’t gambling?

Because gambling is the biggest threat we can imagine, let me assure you that it is not gambling. Dice are used to introduce an element of chance for the things that players try to do, how the things they say are perceived by other people in the story, and how likely it is that one or all of them does something gleefully ridiculous. The more you play, and the better you get, the better your odds of doing what it is that you are attempting successfully. All kinds of dice are used, not just those classic six-sided die but also four, eight, ten, and twelve, and twenty-sided versions as well. This means that serious gamers end up with dozens, if not hundreds, of dice. This means that if there is a gamer in your life, you can always have easy gift ideas on hand. If not dice, perhaps another Crown Royale bag to store them in.

Game masters don’t actually use dice. Oh, the best ones put on a good show of using them, rolling randomly for seemingly everything. But the goal is to craft a great adventure for the players. And randomness is more likely to hurt that process than it will help it along. It is more important to be flexible, to shift with your player’s actions and mold the story accordingly.

Luckily, stories like “An Orc for All Seasons” don’t rely on player’s input. Not to say that dice weren’t involved, because everything is more fun with random rolls, but this tale is planned out a little better than a standard game. But only a little.