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RPG Dice and Cheating

Brand new roleplayers should be warned about a certain kind of gamer. You’ll figure this out yourself eventually, but there’s no reason you should learn through the school of hard knocks. A certain highly competitive type of roleplayer tends to fudge their die rolls.

I’m not talking about the gamemaster who is rolling particularly hot and who fudge on the die roll to keep something horrible from happening to the group. That’s white hat dice tactics. I’m talking about the player who out-and-out cheats on their dice rolls. Here’s a few of the tactics to look out for.

Dice Tactics

The d100 is a big source of cheating in tabletop roleplaying. Since most people don’t have an actual 100-sided die (they exist), most people use either two d10s or two d20s (using the last digit in double-digit numbers) to simulate the d100 experience. In either case, one die represents the single digit or single numbers (0-9) and the other represents the double digit numbers (counting by ten: 10, 20, 30…).

But if you have two dice in a roll, which one is the 1-digit number and which one is the factor of 10 can become mixed up. That’s especially true if both dice are the same color or nearly the same color. My friend would roll two blue dice. While they weren’t the same color, they were nearly the same color, close enough that the others at the table weren’t likely in the middle of simulated melee combat to pay much attention. This created the opportunity to cheat.

Imagine that rolling a low number on a d100 was important in this game. So if his character was 70% at a particular skill, any normal roleplayer has a 70-percentile chance of succeeding. But his odds were higher. He might roll a “0” and an “8”. This might be “08” or “80”. He would simply choose the lower of the two numbers: a simple “8”. If he rolled a “4” and a “9”, then he might have rolled a “49” or a “94”. The “49” was preferable, so that’s the number he would call out.

Cheating Role Players

A group may not catch on to this tactic at first. They might not catch on to it for a while. But eventually, they’ll notice. When we did, this gamer became notorious among our group of roleplayers. When you realize someone has such little character that they’ll cheat at a make-believe game where everyone is supposed to cooperate, you really tend to develop a low opinion of that cheater.

Rational adults would have avoided or shunned this person. Since we were kids who were happy to have the extra player in the group, we continued to game with this person. The eventual solution was found when we started playing Amber Diceless Roleplaying, a type of game where the random elements are controlled by the gamemaster’s own discretion. But that’s another story.


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