# A substitute system for Dice (In places where dice are not allowed)

#### pogre

Not sure where to put this thread - so mods feel free to move it.

When I was a kid we played D&D in class secretly or when traveling by car long distances and it was just not convenient to use dice.

What I did was write down several numbers in a range, say 1-20 for a d20.

The next number I wrote on the page ahead time was the 1 for the die. The player then would state their number guess.

Example: my next written down number is 18 for d20. Player says 19 - they rolled a 2. Had the player said 17 they would have rolled a 20.

Not much use for such a system today with cell phone apps, etc. The article on D&D in prison made me think of it.

We pulled all kinds of shenanigans back in the day to get our game in!

#### Dannyalcatraz

##### Moderator
Staff member
The boxed set for Basic had chits. Throw the appropriate numbers in a bag, shake, then draw as needed.

#### Richards

An old phone book works well as a random number generator. Only use the last four digits (area codes and the first three numbers aren't random enough - there'll be lots of repeats of the same numbers using those). Start at the top of a page, with the first available number; if it's outside the range needed (say, for example, it's a "9" and you're rolling a 1d6), just move on to the next number in turn until you get a number within the required range. Cross off unused numbers and circle the valid numbers as they're used so you know where you left off.

As new "rolls" are required, someone calls off a number from 1-4 (or whatever) and the person with the phone book drops down that many lines to get to the next random number. (This prevents the person using the phone book from being able to look ahead and see whether a good number is coming up for the next roll.)

For percentile dice, use the above method to get to a number and then use the number immediately after it to get the second digit. As with actual percentile dice, "00" = 100.

For a 1d20 roll, use the above method to get to a number and then use the number immediately after it to determine whether or not you add +10 to that number: if the second digit is odd, you don't (and use the unmodified first digit as your final result); if the second digit is even, add 10 to the first digit to get your end result.

For a 1d12 roll, use the same system as for the 1d20 roll, but your first digit has to fall between 1-6 and the number immediately afterwards determines whether you add +6 to the total or not.

Johnathan

#### uzirath

##### Villager
I have a set of printed spreadsheets with grids on them filled with numbers for various types of dice. You can just use the numbers in order, crossing them off as you use them. Even as GM, though, I find it a bit boring to know that my next roll will be a crit or something like that. Instead, we often print a few copies (each printout is a unique set of numbers). Then a player or the GM can call on someone else. Sometimes we've even labeled the rows and columns (usually with letters). Then you call out a pair, "AB," and the other person tells you your roll from the corresponding cell and crosses it out. If someone calls the same one twice, you just move to the next cell. We've used this system on road trips or in situations where dice are too loud.

#### aramis erak

##### Explorer
Not sure where to put this thread - so mods feel free to move it.

When I was a kid we played D&D in class secretly or when traveling by car long distances and it was just not convenient to use dice.

What I did was write down several numbers in a range, say 1-20 for a d20.

The next number I wrote on the page ahead time was the 1 for the die. The player then would state their number guess.

Example: my next written down number is 18 for d20. Player says 19 - they rolled a 2. Had the player said 17 they would have rolled a 20.

Not much use for such a system today with cell phone apps, etc. The article on D&D in prison made me think of it.

We pulled all kinds of shenanigans back in the day to get our game in!
I used the centiseconds on a digital stopwatch as a d10.

#### R_Chance

##### Explorer
The boxed set for Basic had chits. Throw the appropriate numbers in a bag, shake, then draw as needed.
We used chits. Numbers on spare board wargame counters. Place the number range of chits in a container (1-20 etc.), label the container (20, 12, etc.) and draw chits as needed, placing the chit back in the container after it had been read. It worked well enough. Just don't leave any numbers out

At different times we used bags, cans, etc. As long as you can't see inside. Just shake and draw a chit.

*edit*
1. One advantage of this is you can randomize any (reasonable range of) numbers, not just the standard dice ranges.
2. As a DM I always rolled (and still do) a large number of every range ahead of time, wrote the numbers down and used them as needed. I know there are tons of random number generators today, but I still like rolling dice. Most of my "behind the screen die rolling" is really about tension and atmosphere

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#### DMMike

##### Game Masticator
When I was a kid we played D&D in class secretly or when traveling by car long distances and it was just not convenient to use dice.

What I did was write down several numbers in a range, say 1-20 for a d20.
But writing on paper was convenient? In a moving, possibly cramped, car? Go back in time and try this:

GM picks a number, 1 through X.

Player announces a number, 1 through X.

If the sum is X or below, that's the result.

If the sum is greater than X, subtract X for the result.

#### aramis erak

##### Explorer
But writing on paper was convenient? In a moving, possibly cramped, car?
You do it as prep beforehand.

Several wargames of the 70's had them in the play-by-mail rules... and while it works most reliably when the turns were sent to a 3rd party...
A typical d6 table would be 6x6 or 12x12... and have a randomized distribution of either 6 or 24 each of the set [1,2,3,4,5,6] across them. The rows and collumns were usually lettered, so ABCDEF or ABCDEFGHIJKL or ABCDEFGHJKLM. Start location is picked by active player's row, defender's collumn, and each contributes a skip number of 0-2; the sum of the 1 plus the two elements is how many spaces to the right, wrapping to the next row. because of the combination of two unknowns for start and skip, the table is valid provided there's a bar to repeating the prior index.

Now, one current game does this as a default standard: Feng Shui 2. The publisher even has a whole sheet generator of pseudorandom rolls.
So, GM generates the sheet of rolls, and asks the player for a start location, and crosses numbers off as used, when attacking with minions.

Doing it as prep means just needing to tick the used ones. Been a staple process for decades.

#### HippyCraig

##### Villager
If your talking about using this today there are tons of dice apps for your phone. Why over complicate it. Unless you talking about a prison that would be the only reason you couldn’t use dice or a phone

#### Bynw

##### The Oyarsa of IRC
a deck of cards is useful where dice are not.