Regarding What diceless tabletop RPG techniques are there?

I don't think it's a game-rec question at all - it's more of an exploration of what the different techniques are for diceless resolution. As such I think the current reason to close is invalid.

However, it is a list question without a "best" answer. Normally that's a no-no. It may however be a candidate for Community Wiki, per How should we use Community Wiki, Part II?

Stepping back from the site picky rules, I think that a question about the set of diceless resolution types with some analysis is a) a finite list and b) a very helpful list.

I therefore propose it be reopened and CWed. I'll do so unless a "No" answer is massively popular below.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ +1, I for one, agree with our new mxyzplk leader... </simpson> \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Mar 10 '12 at 15:35

Well, this is a complicated one.

First of all, I'm having difficulty looking past the current set of answers. They are almost all worthless... "Hey, X is a system that doesn't use dice! Here's the theme of the system!" The only one that even begins to talk about the mechanics is your GUMSHOE answer, and even that one doesn't go into a great deal of depth on the mechanics.

What would this question look like in a traditional format?

  • What makes a good diceless mechanic; what pitfalls do I need to avoid when using a diceless mechanic?

  • <description of game design situation>, what would be a good diceless mechanic to use?

  • <sys-rec>: I'd like to play a game without dice, which one should I try?

So what about community wiki?

If we're listing systems that have diceless resolution mechanics, then no. It should be closed, or brought into line with the system-rec tag.

If we're trying to get a list of actual, diceless, resolution mechanics, as a designers resource, I can get behind that. But all of the current answers need to be removed, or dramatically expanded on. Even the GUMSHOE answer could use some expansion on how the mechanic works, and what the benefits of it are.

The questions with Community Wiki are "what are we saying with it" and "where do we draw the line." Is this something that the community wants to groom and maintain? Does it add value in that form? What is the threshold for list questions, if this one gets through? What separates this one from all the rest?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am happy to kill a lot/all of the existing answers and try to get it answered right \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 12 '12 at 19:49
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Is that really something we want to do? Fundamentally change a year-old question ("diceless systems"->"diceless resolution methods"), and blow away half-a-dozen up-voted answers (including an accepted one)? That seems much more destructive than simply closing this question, and encouraging interested parties to ask the new "diceless resolution methods" question. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 12 '12 at 20:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon It may be better to use a historical lock ... \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Mar 12 '12 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @C.Ross - we're still in beta. I'm not sure historical locks are the way to go. Better to get questions which adhere to the SE format IMHO. \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Mar 12 '12 at 20:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ So our new policy is "improve the question, unless there's bad answers, in which case screw 'em?" I must have missed another memo. Fine, I'm done arguing about it, close whatever you want. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 13 '12 at 4:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk No. Improvement is great when we can swing it. But when an improvement invalidates all of the existing answers, it crosses the line into being a new question entirely. See, for example, the comment on Are there any adventures for younger children?. If this is a question you feel strongly about, the best thing to do is to ask it yourself, not to thread-jack another user. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 13 '12 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon - I do feel that the existing answers are valuable as they stand, they certainly alerted me to techniques that I hadn't considered. My real concern is that once a question is closed, deletion is an ever more likely possibility and I don't want to see the existing answers disappear or the effort put into those answers get lost. Also, if the question were re-opened, then people could provide new and better answers, the best we can do at the moment is amend existing answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth Mar 15 '12 at 16:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Incidentally, I disagree with all of the current answers need to be removed. Every existing answer includes both system and the technique used by that system, which is why I updated the question as I did - to make the question fit better with the answers already given. This in itself is useful, thought I would agree that it would be better if the answers could be expanded on. After this length of time I suspect that is unlikely though. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth Mar 15 '12 at 16:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkBooth Regarding "all the current answers need to be removed" -- Mxyzplk has modified your question to focus on the resolution techniques, rather than the system. That said, even though they are valid answers to the question posed, the quality level of the answers is still low in general. Raw lists are bad, even if their core topic is interesting. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 15 '12 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkBooth The problem with your question is that it has no core problem to be solved. It doesn't require expertise, experience, or analysis to answer. What good does knowing that Dread uses a Jenga tower do me, if I don't know why it uses it (or even how)? That mechanic can't just be slotted into a hack-and-slash D&D clone... It requires a specific mood and setting to be appropriate. Mxyzplk's edit gets closer to that important information (and moves the question from a boring list to at least an interesting one), but fundamentally changes the question and invalidates the existing answers. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 15 '12 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 15 '12 at 16:56
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkBooth One last thing in this wall 'o' comments: "If it was left open, it might get better answers" -- Almost a year after posting, I think it's time we bit the bullet and realized this isn't going to happen. Questions of the form "What are all of the _____ that _____?" almost always draw answers of this type. Because they're easy. Anyone can do it. And in order to effectively provide more detail we need to know why you want to know; and what problem are you trying to solve? (or guess at it). \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 15 '12 at 17:08

I believe this question should be made into a CW because it is of general interest, and while it may not have a right answer, it is not subjective or argumentative. Either something is a diceless mechanic or it isn't. The answer to this question would be useful to anyone attempting to incorporate such a mechanic into their system.

It seems that the question is being rejected on technical grounds, when the real question that should be being asked is "does the inclusion of this question improve the quality of rpg.stackexchange as a resource"? I would answer this question in the affirmative.

Also, if you do want "official" StackExchange content that suggests this might be appropriate, can I suggest http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/01/stack-overflow-where-we-hate-fun/ ? There are several community answers to this question, it has 5 upvotes, and it would be of benefit to other users of the site, so the "two out of three" ain't bad test cited here suggests this question is appropriate content for the site (popular question, useful to others), even if you assume it's outside of the official scope (which I'd argue is a highly debatable point).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice! Great blog quote. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 11 '12 at 15:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Interesting, I would argue that the Diceless question is not a "fun" one, so it it debatable whether that blog post is relevant. That aside, the mods have previously tentatively agreed to be careful around popular questions. However, the criteria we discussed is 1000 views which this question is quite short of. For me, the upvotes (7 as of this writing) and favorites (0) as noted in the blog post do not tip the balance. \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Mar 11 '12 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Christi I would also note that there is no longer a "Subjective and Argumentative" close reason. The close reason is now "Not Constructive", and I think that does fit the question. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Mar 11 '12 at 21:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @C.Ross I disagree. If a question is useful or likely to help others, then surely it is also constructive. \$\endgroup\$ – Christi Mar 11 '12 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ What can I learn from the answers to this question? At the moment it appears to just be a raw list of systems that happen to not use dice... \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 12 '12 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon - No, the answers also tell you what techniques are used by those systems, from effort points to pulling coloured stones or even Jenga tower, in addition to mentioning other systems which use techniques mentioned in the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth Mar 15 '12 at 16:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkBooth But what do I learn from that? None of them get into the "how" or the "why" of any of the systems that I would require to 1) evaluate if any of them fit my playing needs; or 2) incorporate a non-dice mechanic into a new RPG I was designing. Such a list does very little good, other than reinforcing that "yes, you can use any contest to resolve conflict" or to (potentially) allow someone to create an RPG with a resolution method using some object that's never been used before (how about Monopoly?)... Which is pure gimmick. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 15 '12 at 16:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkBooth Note that I do think this is a very interesting topic! But I want to see meaty Q&A that fits Good Subjective, Bad Subjective (blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective), rather than an empty list. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 15 '12 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon "But what do I learn from that?" My counter argument is - "As FATE player what do I learn from questions about D&D rules?" Some things to learn from the question: stuff to incorporate into other systems, broadening your knowledge about games and different rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Maurycy May 8 '13 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MaurycyZarzycki This is an ancient topic, but my full answer above is probably more useful than further discussion here. Short version: I'm all for exploring solutions to design problems, but if all we're doing is compiling a list resources like RPGGeek.com do that much better. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon May 9 '13 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon I've noticed the ancientness of the topic right after posting, disregard my comment. \$\endgroup\$ – Maurycy May 9 '13 at 15:42


It is not a good candidate for Community Wiki.

Our guidance comes from the StackExchange blog. Some snippets:

Community Wiki is not a “Quick Fix”

Community wiki isn’t only abused for “fun” or “getting-to-know-you” stuff, though. Many sites propose using community wiki to allow content that is on-topic and useful, but can be considered borderline or questionable in other ways. Someone notes that a certain class of question has problems, and proposes using community wiki as a quick fix.

If a question is valuable enough that you believe it belongs on the site, chances are you don’t need it to be community wiki!

Many things which “need” to be community wiki simply don’t. Sometimes it’s just a matter of understanding the root of a question

If we haven’t said this enough already, questions rarely, if ever, need community wiki. (bold is in the original)

This site already has a lot of Community Wiki questions. I think the bar should be set pretty high before adding any more. If you believe in the value of the question, edit it to meet the current standards.

From the question:

What I would be interested in is what other diceless resolution techniques exist, ideally with examples of tabletop diceless systems people have tried (including home brew systems) and how they found them to play.

This is not a practical, answerable question based on actual problem that was faced. It is a request for discussion and review. That is not on topic for rpg.stackexchange.com

Continue down the FAQ a bit and see examples of subjective questions that should be avoided. This question trips the first three.

  • every answer is equally valid
  • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers:
  • there is no actual problem to be solved:
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree fully with this answer. The answer here is not CW. It's to ask a better question. The topic is fine, the question as posed is not (and I fear editing it into order may break the answers). If we can form a better question then lets do so. I'd be happy if the current question could be saved, but I'm not going to cry if it cannot. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Mar 10 '12 at 5:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Again, random SW blog guidance is not law for us. I think the question as stands, as an individual not as a legal case study, is good and valid. There's a limited number of diceless resolution mechanics. You could ask "How do card based diceless mechanics turn out in play?" but it begs the initial question of finding out that card-based is an option. On topic, closed in scope, useful. We need to be able to look past the (fuzzy, often-changing) "rules" to the real usefulness of a question. It answers a problem, which is "I'm interested in using a diceless mechanic but don't know my options." \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 10 '12 at 15:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk - I don't understand why you dismiss a post entitled "The Future of Community Wiki" as "random SW blog guidance". Its seems anything but random and is directly on point. The blog is linked in our footer, perhaps the StackExchange FAQ which points directly to the blog is more authoritative for you? You're also ignoring the second half of my answer which points out that the question is directly contrary to our own FAQ. Or is that more random guidance? \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Mar 10 '12 at 16:41
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree that it's not a practical, answerable question, as I explain to my satisfaction in my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 10 '12 at 22:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ So as long as one of the answers contained all the diceless resolution methods (there's only about 5 or so I can think of), then it's OK? He doesn't ask for "one per answer." Many questions ask for a small set of answers... I think you're just digging in your heels to do it without really considering the question. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 10 '12 at 22:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyplk Re: Your last comment: There seems to be a disconnect between what you're talking about ("diceless resolution methods") and what's actually there (the much less interesting "systems with diceless resolution methods"). That said, if we were talking about something that was a list short enough that it could reasonably be expected to be included in a single answer, that would make me look on it much more favorably. Although I'd still ask "what problem are you trying to solve?" \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 12 '12 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then you haven't read the question since it's been edited. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 16 '12 at 0:20

Yes, I believe that "CW should be rare" isn't the same thing as "there should be no CW" and with this particular question, rewording to have a "best answer" is nonsensical and would basically compromise the usefulness of the question, which is a design exploration of how various diceless resolution methods behave in play.

The question in this question is perhaps unstated, but it is "I want to use a diceless randomization system for my roleplaying, what are the major options out there?" I have edited the question to say that explicitly. It is certainly possible for a "best answer" to that - not every question on this site must have one and only one component to the answer.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ With that formulation, shouldn't it be edited into a system-rec and meet current system-rec guidelines? Which in turn raises questions about the current answers... \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 12 '12 at 13:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .