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Digital Dice and Electronic Magic

Tue Jul 18, 2006 - 7:36 PM EDT - By Xious Sonenberg

Digital Dice

Role Playing Games have changed dramatically over the years, originating in the mid 70s and enjoyed by people of all ages from grade school kids to sexagenarian ubergeeks. The major systems have always been the same, with Dungeons & Dragons prevailing over all others and second place contenders like RIFTS, GURPS, HackMaster and Shodowrun pacing just behind.

Aside from the stench of rotting pizza, cans of Mountain Dew and overwhelmingly obnoxious humor, the only thing that binds all of these pastimes together is, of course, gamers' dice.

Where would an RPer be without his trusty bag full of four, six, eight, ten, twelve, twenty, and � the often GM despised- � hundred-siders. I've seen Game Masters with enough dice on them at one time to open twelve casinos, and occasionally players that far exceed this amount.

With the advent of "random dice generator" programs and laptops, many gamers have switched to more economical and easily toted methods of rolling their dodecahedrons, and slaying dragons has never been more streamlined, or less noisy.

Wouldn't it be nice to leave all the bulk behind altogether? Well, now you can with the handy "Donate-ware" app for your Treo, Dice Roller.

Packed with features that let you set up custom dice rolls, Dice Roller is fast, easy to use, and highly customizable. With one click you can roll two six-sided dice, and add in your " 3" strength modifier for your next attack roll, or roll 1d20 8 for your Search check.

The program touts four tabs of six dice buttons that you can set for your most commonly used skills or abilities, each of which display the results neatly and cleanly at the very top of the screen. Custom preferences include the dice configuration and button label, and also settings to check vs. success (or AD&D THAC0), with electively activated sounds for both success and failure.

If you just want to set a one-time roll, click one of the three buttons directly under the display � they control the number of dice, die type, and modifier. Each one brings up a perfectly straightforward display with easily finger-able buttons to select the appropriate options.

You use the display bar to roll your configured dice, and it displays the results instantly, even with intense rolls of a dozen d100s, and Roller will help you keep track of any or all of these obscene throws in the "Roll history" tab.

Now running a game is easier than ever, and playing your Half-Elf Ranger/Bard is a snap! Dice Roller is a brilliant free app that deserves more attention, and with all it can do, it's remarkable that it isn't a commercial app.

Electronic Magic >>

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