RPG a Day 2018 – Day Twenty-Two – Which non-dice system appeals to you?

Which non-dice system appeals to you?

Indie RPGS seem especially enamoured of alternatives to dice. There are tons of them out there and that’s no bad thing. It does make it difficult to just choose one, though.

I think Dread is one of my absolute favourite non-dice systems. The game itself explains the symbolism of the tower and how the tension of a horror story is replicated with the tension of pulling from the tower. It’s a game where a ‘pull’ (the closest its got to a die roll) can take ages, but unlike a slow player in Dungeons and Dragons taking forever to look through their options, calculate the optimal move and then simply doing an attack, it doesn’t feel that way at all. The game pauses, the world pauses and all eyes fall on the person pulling from the tower. It’s sublime.

I’m curious how this will apply to its kindred spirit, Star-Crossed, where you’re playing a couple of people who want to act on their emotions for each other, but can’t. The tower reflects the inhibitions of the characters, eventually crashing down but hopefully after you’ve both built up enough affection to make something lasting.

I’ve yet to play Time Cellist, but I’m interested in the idea of it using childhood games like mad libs, rock-paper-scissors and a cootie catcher to reflect being the kid sidekicks going aiding a time traveller in their adventures. I’m also curious about Archipelago and the related games, which use a few cards and interesting actions when you’re not running a scene, in order to provoke challenges and drama. The below image is from the free Archipelago-style game, Last Train out of Warsaw, by Jason Morningstar.

I’ll go into it in more detail soon, but hot off the press, I should also mention that there’s a Kickstarter going on for a comic I’ve contributed to. You can check it out here:

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