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Randomizers and Role-Playing Games

by Hawke Robinson published Jun 20, 2015 05:05 PM, last modified Feb 05, 2023 12:22 PM
During WorldCon 73, I was DMing a few tables for the local Adventurer's League run by John Welker for the Sasquan Gaming division. One player pulled out his cell phone to roll dice, and I adamantly insisted he must roll physical dice...

But was I in the wrong?


Reasons why I insist on the physical dice:

Fairness to the rest of the group.


Computer-generate Pseudo-randomness not very random



But Dice Aren't very random either.

As he was quick to point out....



I think if everyone was using the same phone, same app, the same way, and I knew it wasn't a modded app, then it would be okay to use the computer-based roller. For example, if running a Google+ Hangout game, with Roll20, if everyone is using it, then they are on the same playing field. But if some are rolling dice, some using phones, and some Roll20, that could be problematic.

The easiest solution for in-person games is to mandate using actual dice, flaws and all. Lucky and cursed dice and all.

I could be really uptight, and not let players use their own dice, only the dice I provide. For example the MerpCon dice set from years ago, all from the same production batch. At least then everyone would likely have the same lucky/curse issues. But that seems to be going a bit far, so I just mandate using physical dice.