Monday, March 24, 2008

Rolling Dice (cont.)

In my previous post, I expounded upon the difficulties of dice. Seeking a solution, I acquired a variety of plastic containers to test the hack.

The cases that seemed to suit my needs best were made by a company called Craft Mates. They were less opaque than others, and the added benefit of a locking mechanism for the compartments means that I can shake the entire container vigorously without letting loose a hail of dice.

Interestingly, my favorite flavor of the Craft Mates I purchased contains 7 separate alcoves, each large enough for 3d6. Can you say "Instant NPC?" Using a standard Attribute Order (STR, DEX, INT, WIS, CON, CHR), I can generate the crucial stats for a generic NPC with a quickness hereto only rivaled by the tiny BASIC program I wrote in Middle School.

For most utilities though, the seven compartment can be filled as follows: d100, d20, d12, d10, d8, d6, d4. Even the unrully rolliness of the standard pyramidal d4 seems to be somewhat better when the dice are provided with a limited range of motion. I'm sure there have been studies to determine the amount of "shakes" required in order to maximize randomness (just as I recall reading somewhere that shuffling the standard deck of cards seven times seems optimal), but three quick (and thunderous!) shakes seem to produce a pretty broad spectrum.

Naturally, the players have yet to adopt this practice. There's a fair degree of superstition that goes into most of their die rolls and it seems that convenience can't overcome their predilection for the skin-to-skin contact of rolling dice the old-fashioned way.

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