[RPG] How to play D&D when we don’t have dice to play with


Now I came all the way from Indonesia, and I can tell you that D&D is not a thing. Hence, it will be tough for me (and for my wallet) to find shops that sell d4, d12, d20 and so on. Let these dice alone. You rarely see people selling "just" the common d6 alone. I do not have a lot of money so buying a game and taking the d6 from it, for example, is not feasible.

So, how do you play D&D, when you have no dice to play with? I know, for d6, I can use 6 sided pencil and roll it, but I never saw a 20 sided pencil.

I'm particularly looking for a method that is hard to be manipulated (cheat-proof) and is reasonably fast.

Assume you have no access to technology. That includes everything that uses electricity. Iphone, laptop, so on.

Best Answer

Playing Cards

You need a source of randomness, and a deck of playing cards can do it. If you need to roll a d20, shuffle the following 20 cards and draw one:

  • Ace of Hearts (1)
  • 2-10 of Hearts (2-10)
  • Ace of Spades (11)
  • 2-10 of Spades (12-20)

Essentially the hearts are the face value, and the spades are face value +10. The nice thing about this method is that the odds are identical to rolling an actual d20. If you want to save yourself having to remember what the value of the spades are, you can write their modified value on them.

You can do this with basically any die that D&D uses. For percentile, split the hearts and spades into two decks and pull one of each (just like using two d10s to roll percentile).

For 2d6, to preserve the same result distribution you need to use six cards and draw twice (putting the card you drew back in before drawing again). That will get annoying if you have to do a 10d6 fireball, but it will work identically to 10d6 dice.

Speeding up Xd6

Obviously, shuffling and drawing 10 times to do a 10d6 spell effect will be slow. There's a couple of options to speed that up:

  1. Prepare multiple d6 decks. If you have 10 of them (either using blank paper, index cards, or multiple playing card decks to create them), you can draw all ten (one from each d6 deck). Then when the next player is deciding what to do on their turn, you can shuffle them.
  2. Prepare ten d6 decks as above, except this time combine them all into one big deck. Draw 10 cards. Note: the result distribution of doing this is not identical to rolling 10d6. It won't be terribly far off, and you might find the speed to be worth it because it will be very fast. The only caveat with this is that you don't want to run out of cards (as that will greatly skew the results), so you will want a large deck (at least 60 cards) if you're going to draw 10+ cards.
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