Why We Love to Roll Dice
Stephen has written a great article about rolling dice with purpose. Looking at it from a DM standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. But as a player, rolling dice is not only fun, but gives us purpose and makes the game even more fun.
Using our Abilities
As everyone knows, 5e give us all of these really cool abilities to use outside of combat. As players, we want to use all of them, all the time. If you are a barbarian, you want to use your strength to lift, smash things and generally hit things as much as possible. It’s what you do as a barbarian. So of course when you have the opportunity to do such a thing, you’re going to ask the DM if you can make a strength check.
Since the game is based around role playing, we as players are going to want to “perform” as much as possible. Bards are not the only ones that want to act out their scenes. When we interact with an NPC, we usually want to act out what we are saying or doing. It doesn’t just involve using our character’s funny voice or crazy hand gestures. It matters what ability we use to get that point across. High charisma? We may want to use persuasion or intimidation given what the circumstances are and what we are proficient in. We want the best possible chance of getting a high roll when we throw those dice.
It’s not that we want to tell the DM how to run his game, it’s that we want to use certain abilities to our advantage. Of course the DM knows that, but we are always going to try anyways. As players, we often times have very strong opinions on what our character can and cannot do. Even though the DM may not agree with us or have us use a different ability than the one we wanted, we’re still going to think we are correct. It’s how we, as players, handle ourselves when the DM tells us to make an acrobatics check instead of a strength check that can determine how good of a player we are. Playing how you want has its limitations.
Like it or not, dice often determine our fate. We want to roll them as much as we can, feeling that the more dice we roll, the more power we have over our own destiny. (I’m not going to get into probabilities and odds, mostly because I suck at math) We are always looking for ways to be able to roll another die, whether it be through having advantage on initiative rolls, saving throws, or that ever important extra damage die.
When it comes to damage, the more dice we roll, the more powerful we feel. Roleplaying is fun and all, but delivering that death stroke on the BBEG is the best. And we need as many damage dice as possible to do that. Having a +1 sword is all nice and good, but give me the chance to roll that extra d6 radiant damage and I’m a much happier person. For a player, it’s a simple thought process:
More Dice = More Damage -> More Damage = More Power
As players we have control over our character, but very little else in the game. The Supreme Arbiter (as Stephen likes to be called) has all the control over the rest of the world we are playing in. We feel like he can strike us down at any moment and there is very little we can do about it. (unless you have counterspell) It’s human nature to want to take some of that control back. Rolling dice gives us that power, and the more dice we roll, the more control we feel like we have. Can we control what the dice will roll? Of course not. But it is the sense of control that is important. Players feel that sense of control through the rolling of the dice. We feel that there isn’t some Supreme Arbiter in the sky, or at the head of the table, that control our fate and the fate of the world we are in. We do, and we do it through rolling the dice.
In conclusion, while I agree with everything Stephen said in his post, I hope that DMs understand how important rolling dice is to the player. We love to be able to roll damage, make an arcana check and that ever important saving throw…ok, maybe not so much the last one. Finally, it’s true… we absolutely love the sound they make when they hit the table.