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July 11, 2008 / jadettman

Dice = Risk

According to Houses of the Blooded, every time that you pick up dice to accomplish something in a roleplaying game you are taking a risk.

The idea of dice in RPGs is to provide for the randomness of life, to simulate risk. When your character wants to disarm a trap it’s possible he won’t succeed. When your character gets into a fight it’s possible he will die.

In the indie/story-games community, I’ve seen it said that dice provide the unexpected, and unpleasant, outcomes that your friends are too nice to inflict on your character.

Both of these are valid and true (unless you roll dice for silly things, like tying your shoes).

It’s much easier as a GM to point to the dice than take responsibility when a character is killed or something equally brutal happens.



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  1. Britt / Jul 11 2008 1:53 pm

    Ah, but does the risk of brutal outcomes lead to a better roleplaying experience?

    I can think of plenty of brutal, but non-lethal things that GMs have done to my character and fellow PCs, because the brutal outcome was actually a pulled punch, and the situation really dictated TPK or individual player death—or because the GM was just an S.O.B. 🙂

    My feelings on this subject are of course well-known, but I’d prefer to have a GM giving the resolution—be it a success, a harsh defeat, or a pulled punch—that is better for the plot.

    This is, of course, how HotB works anyway… A failed roll does not mean “failure,” it means “the Narrator decides.” If you kill, maim, fold, spindle or mutilate somebody’s character without a damn good reason, you’re still an S.O.B. 🙂

    (You’re still pissed off because you can’t really actually kill off a PC on the Pattern, aren’t you. 😉 )

  2. J.A. Dettman / Jul 11 2008 3:26 pm

    Well, come on, I could totally kill a character on the Pattern. The real issue is that I don’t want to listen to a player whine about it. 😀

    Also, kinda boring.

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