NATION

PASSWORD

[Info] Roll Them Bones: A Guide to Dice RPs

For all of your non-Nationstates related roleplaying needs!
User avatar
Olthar
Khan of Spam
 
Posts: 58859
Founded: Jun 23, 2010
Corporate Police State

[Info] Roll Them Bones: A Guide to Dice RPs

Postby Olthar » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:08 pm

Introduction


Dice RPs have been a part of P2tM since the first one, A Tale of Luck and Chance, was posted in June of 2012. Since then, there have been several others hosted by a variety of people. In this time, there have been numerous different methods for running a Dice RP, creating a chaotic landscape. This thread intends to organize and explain how to create and run a successful Dice RP.


What is a Dice RP?


A Dice RP is unlike a normal RP in that it is more of a game than a shared story. The players perform actions, and the GM decides the results of those actions based on the roll of a die. It is structured into rounds, and players get one action per round that they can use to attempt just about anything. A Dice RP is also unlike a tabletop RPG, however, in that there are less and fewer complications and fewer rules. A Dice RP is more improvised by all involved. The rules should still be followed, though, because without some kind of structure, it's not even a game anymore. This thread will detail what the rules are, how to apply them, and when to apply them.


Table of Contents

Rules & Mechanics
Crafting the Story
GM Advice
FAQ
Last edited by Olthar on Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
Roll Them Bones: A Guide to Dice RPs
I'm so edgy I once accidentally gave myself a paper cut.
Add 37 to my post count for my previous nation.

Copy and paste this into your signature if you're a unique and special individual who won't conform to another person's demands.

User avatar
Olthar
Khan of Spam
 
Posts: 58859
Founded: Jun 23, 2010
Corporate Police State

Rules & Mechanics

Postby Olthar » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:08 pm

Rules & Mechanics


So, how, exactly, does a Dice RP work? The players will each make one post detailing one action they are performing. It is best if you have the players state clearly at the end of their post what that action is. For example:

Olthar was distraught over her previous failure with the can opener and resolved to try something else. She hoped that maybe crushing the can would work. Yes, it was a bit drastic, but she needed that creamed corn to save her life.

Action: Smash the can of corn with a hammer

This makes things clear for you, the GM, to see what exactly the player is trying to do. That way, you know exactly how to resolve it without needing to decrypt what the fluff text is trying to say.

Once all the players have made their action posts, you make one post resolving all of those actions in the order in which they were posted. You do this by rolling a die and applying any relevant modifiers to get the final total. Then, you describe, in plaintext, what happens in second person present tense. Finally, you post any gameplay ramifications. Sometimes, an action will spawn a secondary roll, such as a defensive roll or an NPC action. In that instance, place it after the description and be for the game effects. For example:

Olthar: 2 - 1 = 1
You lift the hammer above your head and focus your energy into it. Unfortunately, as you swing downward with all your force, you lose your grip on the handle and send the hammer flying straight into the face of the train conductor. The hammer smacks him hard and royally pisses him off. He pulls out a laser rifle and opens fire.
Reflex Save: 3 -1 = 2
You try dodging out of the way of the laser, but with the sloth still clinging to your leg, you move too slowly to get out of the way. The blast hits you in the chest and causes quite a bit of damage.
Lose Hammer!
Moderately wounded!

After your post, the players make new posts with new actions, ad infinitum. To keep the gameplay side effects things clear and precise, write out stat blocks at the end of each of your resolution posts. List out items owned and any die modifiers affecting the player. For example:

Olthar:
+1 Running, -1 Attack, -1 Attractiveness
Worn: Clown Costume (+1 Comedy, +1 Intimidation)
Hand 1: Empty
Hand 2: Box of Pop Tarts (+1 Diabetes)
Curses: Curse of the Sloth (-1 Reflexes)
Injuries: Moderate


Dice Mechanics


Now, for the meat of the issue. How does the whole dice thing work? You roll what us in the gaming community call a "d6," or a six-sided die. Normal people would probably just call it a dice. There are, of course, six possible results on a d6, and their effects are as follows.

One: Epic Failure
The player fails so hard that something bad happens. If the result is less than a one due to penalties, then something really bad happens. Try to make the bad thing logically proceed from the action. If a player tries to unlock a door and rolls a one, make the lockpick break or have a trap go off. Don't conjure an enemy out of nowhere to attack or have the player spontaneously burst into flame.

Two: Standard Failure
Whatever the player was trying to do fails. If the player wanted to pick up a sword, they don't pick up the sword. These tend to be boring, but do your best to make them entertaining to read. Maybe make a joke out of it and have the player forget how to pick things up.

Three: Partial Success
Whatever the player was doing sort of succeeds in a half-assed way. If they try to say the magic words to deactivate the curse of an evil book, maybe they forget the last one and only mostly say the words.

Four: Success
The player succeeds in doing exactly what they wanted to do. If they wanted to charm the librarian into liking them, the librarian likes them. These can also sometimes be boring, so try to make them fun.

Five: Great Success
The player goes above and beyond and accomplishes more than anticipated. They become so good at picking locks that they gain a permanent +1 bonus on it. The sword they picked up turns out to be a powerful artifact. They decurse the book so well that they can now use it without negative effect. The librarian falls in love with them. That sort of thing.

Six: Godly Success
Whatever the player did broke the laws of physics in unimaginable ways. Their action succeeds even beyond that of a five, but there is some unintended side effect. The player casts a fire ball at a goblin and creates an explosion so large that it hits everything in the room, including the player. Let your imagination run wild on what to do here, but, like with the ones, try to keep it bound by some logical progression. Don't have the negative effect of a godly fireball be the player's parents getting a divorce. If a player rolls a seven or higher due to bonuses, the results are even more extreme.

Die Modifiers


Now, there wouldn't be much sense of progress or consequence if every action was a straight d6 roll without exception. Thus, die modifiers exist. They're there to reward good rolls and punish bad rolls. However, there are some guidelines for modifiers.

Don't hand them out like candy
The range of possible results on a d6 are incredibly small and even a single +/-1 creates a 17% swing in probability. With a +1, epic failure is no longer possible, and godly success is now twice as likely. If you are too liberal in handing out the plusses, the dice system becomes a joke and falls apart. So, when players roll fives and sixes, try to find ways to reward them without giving permanent bonuses.

Make the bonuses highly specialized
Never give a player a straight +1 on everything. You will regret it. Instead, make the bonuses only apply to specific things, like a +1 on reflexes or a +1 on disabling traps. However, if you give a player a specific bonus, make sure that there is at some point an opportunity to use it. If the player picks up a police baton that has a +1 Attack vs minorities, then make sure you include some minorities somewhere. Otherwise, it's not actually a reward, and you're cheating the player.

Only give out modifiers for extreme rolls
Rolls of two, three, and four should never grant bonuses or penalties of any kind with the soul exception of armor. This way, you can keep modifiers limited. The reason armor is excepted is because it never applies to a player's roll. An armor bonus applies as a penalty on an enemy's attack. Therefore, the players stay alive longer without having any ill effect on the odds of their actions.

Difficult tasks are more difficult
Certain actions are inherently more difficult than others. Climbing a wall with adequate hand and foot holds would be a normal roll. However climbing a perfectly smooth wall would apply a difficulty penalty. Keep this in mind when players are trying to summon literal god powers.

NPCs


An RP isn't going to only have the players. NPCS are inevitably going to show up. So, how do you work with them? First off, they all roll dice, too, just like the players. Their actions take place after the players, and they act just like they would be expected to. Enemies attack. Passive persons do their thing. However, they can ignore certain rolls. If the players enter a night club with thirty people, don't roll for each one to dance and chat. Only roll for NPCs when they do something significant that affects the players.

Throughout the game, the players may acquire allies, NPCs who travel with and aid the players. Treat them less like NPCs and more like GM controlled PCs. They perform actions like players and roll for everything like players. Their turns take place at the very end, after the normal NPCs go.
Last edited by Olthar on Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:59 am, edited 6 times in total.
Roll Them Bones: A Guide to Dice RPs
I'm so edgy I once accidentally gave myself a paper cut.
Add 37 to my post count for my previous nation.

Copy and paste this into your signature if you're a unique and special individual who won't conform to another person's demands.

User avatar
Olthar
Khan of Spam
 
Posts: 58859
Founded: Jun 23, 2010
Corporate Police State

Crafting the Story

Postby Olthar » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:09 pm

Crafting the Story


"Behind the screen," a Dice RP functions much the same as a tabletop RPG. The way to make and run a story doesn't differ. Thus, there isn't a lot of advice to give in this section. Basically, just give the players things to do. Do why does this need its own post? So that I can explain the way to start a Dice RP and detail the "default" set up.

The OOC


Most RPs have detailed OOC threads with a bunch of world building information and a long application for the players to fill out. Now, you can still do that in a Dice RP, but it's not necessary. By default, a Dice RP is a light, easygoing RP with more improvisation than planning. The OOC really needs nothing more than the statement that you're starting a Dice RP, and the app can be as simple as having the character's name. The actual set up will be in the first post of the IC thread.

Note: If you decide to give players starting equipment/skills, it gets rolled for in the first post. Nothing is free.

The Default Setting


A Dice RP usually starts the same way: the players all wake up to find themselves naked in a strange room. The room is completely bare and almost clinical in its design with only four things of note. First, there is a door that the players cannot under any circumstance open. Next, there is a rack containing every weapon from real life and fiction. Third, there is a closet containing every armor from real life and fiction. Finally, there is a TV screen that shows a series of specific images. It shows a square with a number of stick figures equaling the number of players. Then, it shows a photograph of the door in the room. Next, it shows a Clipart image of a slice of pie. Finally, it shows the number 5. The TV then holds on that number which decreases at the end of every round. When the countdown reaches 0, the door opens.

This serves two purposes. First, it allows players enough time to equip themselves with whatever they want and to acquaint themselves with the mechanics of the Dice RP in a safe environment. Second, it immediately creates tension and questions due to the bizarre and uncertain situation in which they find themselves.

From there, you can do whatever you want in this kitchen sink of a world. Come up with your own answers for what put the players in that room and why. Maybe juxtapose the silly setting with a serious story. Or maybe just embrace the comedy and forget the room. Or something else, entirely. It is entirely up to you.
Last edited by Olthar on Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
Roll Them Bones: A Guide to Dice RPs
I'm so edgy I once accidentally gave myself a paper cut.
Add 37 to my post count for my previous nation.

Copy and paste this into your signature if you're a unique and special individual who won't conform to another person's demands.

User avatar
Olthar
Khan of Spam
 
Posts: 58859
Founded: Jun 23, 2010
Corporate Police State

GM Advice

Postby Olthar » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:09 pm

GM Advice


There are several things that I could post here, but the big one I want to emphasize is this: You are not the enemy. This may be a game with rules, but you are the referee, not the opponent. Your job is twofold: make sure the rules are being followed and, more importantly, make sure the players are having fun. That second part is huge and leads me to the main point of this section: Don't be afraid to fudge the dice.

Yes, I've said that following the rules is important, which is why you shouldn't do this often. However, you shouldn't never do it, either. If a player has a series of bad rolls, maybe reroll that third one into something higher. If the game has been going on for ten rounds, and one player still doesn't have anything of significance in their stat blocks, maybe throw them a bone. This may not be a very serious game, but no one likes losing. Everyone wants to feel like they're accomplishing something, even if it's small, so give it to them. They'll be happy. You'll be happy. And your game will be better for it.
Last edited by Olthar on Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Roll Them Bones: A Guide to Dice RPs
I'm so edgy I once accidentally gave myself a paper cut.
Add 37 to my post count for my previous nation.

Copy and paste this into your signature if you're a unique and special individual who won't conform to another person's demands.

User avatar
Olthar
Khan of Spam
 
Posts: 58859
Founded: Jun 23, 2010
Corporate Police State

FAQ

Postby Olthar » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:09 pm

FAQ


Rules & Mechanics

Is X an action?
Yes. Everything a player does is an action. The only thing that's free is walking around within the same room. If a player is sitting on the couch, they can get up, walk to the TV, and change the channel with one action. But opening a door, entering a new area, picking something up, etc. Those are all individual actions.

What happens if a player dies?
Well, that's entirely up to you to decide. In my Dice RPs, I give the players two options: come back as a ghost or create a new character. If they choose the ghost option, they lose all equipment and all modifiers for physical actions. However, they gain immunity to physical damage, the ability to fly and move through objects, and the ability to possess living things.
Last edited by Olthar on Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
Roll Them Bones: A Guide to Dice RPs
I'm so edgy I once accidentally gave myself a paper cut.
Add 37 to my post count for my previous nation.

Copy and paste this into your signature if you're a unique and special individual who won't conform to another person's demands.

User avatar
Olthar
Khan of Spam
 
Posts: 58859
Founded: Jun 23, 2010
Corporate Police State

Postby Olthar » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:16 am

Alrighty. I'm finished. If you think I missed anything, if something needs clarification, or if you have any other questions, please say something. Otherwise, have fun! :)
Roll Them Bones: A Guide to Dice RPs
I'm so edgy I once accidentally gave myself a paper cut.
Add 37 to my post count for my previous nation.

Copy and paste this into your signature if you're a unique and special individual who won't conform to another person's demands.

User avatar
DAFT Universe
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1547
Founded: Apr 20, 2016
Ex-Nation

Postby DAFT Universe » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:26 am

Oooh. Yay!


Advertisement

Remove ads

Return to Portal to the Multiverse

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 5pb, Britanania, Democratic Peoples republic of Kelvinsi, Harbertia, Krugmar, Leonnia, Majestic-12 [Bot], Prolieum, South Raznakova, Sudbrazil, The Palmetto, Triassica

Advertisement

Remove ads