Saturday, January 30, 2010

Giving some control over ones destiny - now with darts!

I was playing through some old school goodness (testing my entry into the "Design a dungeon room contest"), and a player made a momentary err in judgement, their beloved character forced to have their fate depend on a single saving throw with slim chances of success.

Two things occurred to me.

1.) Although tense and exciting to watch the die roll, in this case the player (having had a tough week) felt out of control, no action or force of will could improve their chances (lets not get into the nitpicky and correct details about the choices leading to this moment).

2.) My games room is a GAMES room, and I like to try new mechanics..even I know they have no chance of practical and recurring use.

What did I come up with on the spur of the moment?

Throw the dart, get your randomized result from 1-20.

As I have this option available to me (having a dart board in the games room), I think I may utilize it in fun games on a "save or die" roll.

Why is this good?

Its fun to throw darts, and it gives a vastly increased sense of ownership of the role.

Why is this bad?

Assuming you don't have a player who is REALLY good at darts who gets constant 20's, there is also potential wrangling about wierd dart related situations..and if a 1 is rolled the player may have 2 additional darts in his hand already. Oh, that and you need a dart board set up.

How did this turn out?

The player took a solid 3 minutes aiming before the rest of forced his hand by shouting repeated warnings of the approaching glacier that is headed right for him. With a moment of silence he threw...


4 minutes later the character died as a side effect of being swarmed by monsters, but it was a blast at least this once.


  1. Yes that is great. I have considered this option for rpgs also. The drawback being that there are two pretty good dart players in my group.

  2. Nice! My g/f is in a weekly dart team. This might be the first step to converting her to being a true Gamer ;)

  3. Truly inspired! Esp. if your players offer to buy you drinks while practicing darts at the local pub.

    Re Save or Die. I was firmly against until I read (I think on Grognardia) this explanation. Saving throws were in deed "saves" from hopeless situations. Something only advertisers and "heroes" got. Not "save or die" rather "you're dead, but, do you want to roll to see if fates/gods/dumb luck helps you escape certain doom?"

    If played that way, save or die effects must not be arbitaryly applied. Should only occur after a player has already made a (poor) choice. Walking down corridor without checking for traps, attacking arch-mage without magical defense.