Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dice-Rolling Software

Back in the early 80's there were ads in Dragon magazine for an LED-lit stick that would generate random numbers, called the "Dragonbone" (link, although I wish the picture were in the original white, as opposed to that tasteless red color). This definitely caught my imagination, although I never had or saw one, and clearly the functionality was extremely limited. For example: it only did one roll at a time, so it wouldn't automatically roll 3d6 for abilities, or simulate the fistful of dice you need for mass saving throws from spells such as confusion, fireball, sleep (pre-Sup-I), etc.

So I was thinking the other day that obviously this functionality would be beyond trivial on a modern smartphone. Coincidentally, a few days later I had Allier G. contact me to point out his dice-rolling app (link; free and pay versions, Android only, no iPhone).

Does anyone use software-based dice rolling at the table? And if so, what's your favorite application for it? Or: do the benefits of tactility, visibility, security, and naturalness always favor actual dice-in-the-hand?


22 comments:

  1. I have found that free dice apps are great for starting players, so they don't have to try buy their own when starting out.
    They are also handy as backups when players forget their dice.
    I find that eventually everyone reverts to real dice, I think you hit on it that there is a tactile experience.
    Given the new "Freemium" approach to D&D I am surprised WOTC does not have an official app out yet. (maybe they do?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are all excellent points. I like the idea as a backup and for first-time players.

      Delete
  2. I prefer to be screwed over by Fate herself, than by Skynet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I use Wobiware Dice Roller on my phone, but mostly as a utility when I'm out writing at the bar or similar. It does make a nice dice-on-tabletop noise , at least.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I prefer to roll physical dice when I have them at hand, but did write this dice rolling web app, which works well on most smart phones:

    http://devilghost.com/roll/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, I like that! Open web standard wins for me. Very elegant, I'm going to bookmark that, thanks!

      Delete
  5. When I run games I like to have common die rolls and tables on a custom HTML document. Usually that means links down the left column of the page with common die pools, links for ten d6s or d20s at a time (for hit points, attacks and saves of large groups), a reaction roll, some chance-in-6 rolls, and tables for encounters (by level and terrain), spells (by level or as scrolls), and treasure (by level or type). When clicked, the links fire off some javascript that prepends the result to a rolling log in the right column (usually I put them in a big text box in case I want to add notes).

    ReplyDelete
  6. iPhone app "Pip". Shake phone to roll, "realistic" physics model, multiple screens for holding / retaining different dice combinations (surprisingly useful!), has all the dice I've *really* needed (including Fudge / Fate dice!). Best couple bucks I've spent on gaming.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I use Mach Dice on the iPhone; looks like it’s similar to Pip. I bought it quite a while ago and play around with it because it’s pretty, but I rarely use it at the table.

    I also made a simple web page to show off the different kinds of dice to beginning players.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a nice site. Also, thanks for the link to Jeff's how-to-ink-Gamescience-dice blog... I hadn't seen that before.

      Delete
  8. While not a mobile app Invisible Castle (http://invisiblecastle.com/) is great for rolling dice and tracking the results.

    I like it because I can share the hyperlinks to my results with the DM or other players and can refer back to the rolls themselves later on.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hamate, Delta.

    Check it out, I think you might love it.

    dicelog.com

    I use it online for all my G+ games.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I use physical dice when I have them, and Dicenomicon on the iPhone when I don't. I find the custom dice definitions simple and useful for my homebrews that frequently use higher of two dice.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A lot of nice looking sites here. I don't use dice apps for RPGs, but for PBEM wargaming I use the PBE Games dice roller at http://www.pbegames.com/ -- it will email results to multiple addresses and signs rolls for verification. The site has a bunch of other tools for RPG support, though I don't use them...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I prefer real dice, but I occasionally use Quick Dice Roller app on android. The only time I use it is in a play by post game if I'm playing while out of the house. If I'm home, I have my dice on the coffee table.

    ReplyDelete