Diceless roleplaying game
Does exactly what it says on the tin. Conflict resolution is done without rolling little plastic knucklebones. Some games claim to be diceless but use some other random mechanical device, like tarot cards or rock-paper-scissors, but they aren't fooling anyone.
Dicefull (dicemore?) methods of conflict resolution are well-known: choose a probability of success, and then generate a random number and see if it falls on the success side or fail side. If you have a contest between two actors, they both roll dice and either see who rolled higher (for 50/50 contests) or they roll multiple times to see who gets the success side of the probability range more often.
Diceless is more complicated, and depends more on the player's choices than luck. Here are some methods in use:
- Pre-set Ratings
- Everyone has a pre-set score in their attributes/skills. Every challenge has a pre-set difficulty (+/- circumstances), and every opponent has pre-set attributes/skills of their own. If you attempt a challenge that has a higher difficulty than what you have, you fail. It's really important in these games to set up circumstances to give you as much of an (un)fair advantage before you risk anything.
- Points Spend
- Players have one or more resource pools, and to achieve difficult things they must spend points from these pools. If a pool is exhausted, either the character is too fatigued to make any more attempts, or something bad happens (c.f.: hit points). Mundane exertions, or practiced maneuvers have a known cost of points, but extraordinary challenges may have an unknown cost, and how many points the player decides to risk determines success or failure.
- Bidding Auction
- Like points spend, but the cost of success is determined by how many points the other guy is willing to spend. This can be either open bidding, where each side announces how much they're willing to spend to choose the outcome of the contest, or closed bidding, where both sides secretly set aside an amount of points, which are revealed simultaneously and whoever bidded higher can decide how the contest is resolved.
- Normality (which is supremely fucked up)
- That fucking Arabian Nights one
- Amber Diceless RPG is the textbook example used in articles and reviews. It uses pre-set ratings, determined at the start of the game with an open bidding auction between players.
- Active Exploits uses the points spend method.
- M.S.G. uses bidding pools, and players can set up circumstances to win temporary points for bidding.
- Nobilis, which lets you do just about anything, but you have to deal with the consequences.
- The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, pure tall tale storytelling. With drinking.