# the new dice, the brain, and storytelling

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### #1 Kravel

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 03:11 PM

I read a book at work discussing how the left side of the brain handles math and the right side handles creativity. In most roleplaying games, for example, when a die is rolled the left side will see the number produced and compare it to what it already known about both dice and numbers. Ironically, most of us will link dice to board games first, because most of played board games before RPGs, and then switch over to applying the result to RPGs.

If the symbols for the new Warhammer dice become intuitive, however, your left side will kick off. The symbols don't compute to anything known. The right side of the brain will kick in, helping the left side determine what the symbols mean. This use of the right side will actually facilitate more storytelling (assuming the symbols are easy enough to consistently interpret) because the right side of the brain will be involved in every action rolled.

I'm not a scientist or a mathematician, but I can see how this could really help storytelling. By contrast, I'm playing D&D 4E and everything is highly analytical: lots of adding and sorting added to which is the flat D20 roll used all the time. It really distracts me from concentrating on and telling the story.

Warhammer 1E and 2E wouldn't detract from storytelling; the results aren't nearly as complex as in D&D 4E. But Warhammer 3E might actually truly enhance the story, at least according to the science I've read (and hopefully somewhat understood), because the right side of the brain handles both interpreting symbols and telling stories.

### #2 Herr Arnulfe

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 04:27 PM

It's an interesting theory, but there are still plenty of numbers even though the dice themselves aren't numeric. For example, you count up the number of dice to roll based on stats, Stance etc., and you add, subtract and compare symbol totals in relation to other symbol totals.

### #3 The Legendary Jack Slayer

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 07:51 PM

Kravel said:

. Ironically, most of us will link dice to board games first, because most of played board games before RPGs, and then switch over to applying the result to RPGs.

The first time I can remember using numerical dice was to help me learn to read Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. The first time I can remember using symbolic dice was to play children's boardgames. So oddly enough I would associate numerical dice with roleplaying and symbolic dice with kiddies boardgames.

### #4 Herr Arnulfe

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 03:25 AM

Although I think it's doubtful that people will be able to play v3 without using their left hemispheres, upon further reflection, I do think the right hemisphere will be challenged in new ways.

First, the players' right brains will establish semiotic associations for the various die symbols. Some people will assign meaning to the symbols based on their past experiences (e.g. Legendary Jack Slayer), and others will create new associations for them.

The right brain will also be engaged to interpret die-roll outcomes because of the way that Binary success/failure in v3 operates alongside (but on a separate axis from) Degrees of success/failure. For example, you can achieve a binary success with 2 degrees of failure, or vise versa (Banes aren't exactly the same thing as Degrees of Failure, but they're close enough). So the right brain will be challenged to interpret cause-and-effect in a way that RPGs haven't traditionally demanded.

### #5 Necrozius

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:30 AM

The Legendary Jack Slayer said:

...symbolic dice with kiddies boardgames.

Hmpfh... Hero Quest's skull and shield dice turned me from a kid into a MAN.

Admit it: killing a Chaos Warrior with SKULLS is far more bad ass than killing it with 4, 5 or 6s...

### #6 Foolishboy

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 07:47 AM

Necrozius said:

Hero Quest's skull and shield dice turned me from a kid into a MAN.

You look very girly for a MAN (In BOLD and CAPS)

### #7 Necrozius

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 08:53 AM

Foolishboy said:

You look very girly for a MAN (In BOLD and CAPS)

Is it not manly to rather see lots of images of hot chicks instead of dudes?

Hmm?

HMMMMM?!??

### #8 Foolishboy

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 09:12 AM

Necrozius said:

Is it not manly to rather see lots of images of hot chicks instead of dudes?

Where are these hot chicks?

### #9 Foolishboy

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 11:05 AM

Now that this Thread is suitably derailed my work is done.

### #10 Nova Nagilum

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 08:27 PM

"I thought you were a woman Airk!"

(I mean Necrozius)

Oh! And totally right on about Hero Quest! I have such good memories of HeroQuest, that after D&D officially killed itself I started looking into WFRP. It only was just a couple years ago that I even first discovered that that old boardgame was based upon Warhammer, which led me to WFRP, and then to Dark Heresy, and then here.

I like your quote too by the way.

### #11 Necrozius

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 01:36 AM

Thanks Nova.

Just to set the record straight, though, I am a dude, through and through. I just like pretty girl avatars.

...

...

Oh yeah! Why aren't there more hot chicks in WFRP!?!?!

### #12 PzVIE

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 01:45 AM

Necrozius said:

Oh yeah! Why aren't there more hot chicks in WFRP!?!?!

If WFRP will ever be published by a French company, I'm sure we'll see hot amazon chicks in chain mail bikinis

But with an American company... I doubt it

### #13 Loswaith

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 11:22 PM

Kravel said:

I read a book at work discussing how the left side of the brain handles math and the right side handles creativity. In most roleplaying games, for example, when a die is rolled the left side will see the number produced and compare it to what it already known about both dice and numbers. Ironically, most of us will link dice to board games first, because most of played board games before RPGs, and then switch over to applying the result to RPGs.

If the symbols for the new Warhammer dice become intuitive, however, your left side will kick off. The symbols don't compute to anything known. The right side of the brain will kick in, helping the left side determine what the symbols mean. This use of the right side will actually facilitate more storytelling (assuming the symbols are easy enough to consistently interpret) because the right side of the brain will be involved in every action rolled.

I'm not a scientist or a mathematician, but I can see how this could really help storytelling. By contrast, I'm playing D&D 4E and everything is highly analytical: lots of adding and sorting added to which is the flat D20 roll used all the time. It really distracts me from concentrating on and telling the story.

Warhammer 1E and 2E wouldn't detract from storytelling; the results aren't nearly as complex as in D&D 4E. But Warhammer 3E might actually truly enhance the story, at least according to the science I've read (and hopefully somewhat understood), because the right side of the brain handles both interpreting symbols and telling stories.

Well arithmetic and symbol recognition are realy more a bi-lateral function (exact arithmetic being more left and aproximation being more right), so it will tend to play with both sides of the brain for different functions.

I dont realy think it will matter so much, though the more logical people can likely fade the rolls better than the creative people (as it comes more naturally), though the creative will likely give a better described enviroments and expressed imagry than the logical ones.

### #14 Necrozius

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 01:24 AM

So I was playing with Sunatet's awesome dice simulator (found here in this thread: www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp ) and I came up with a really weird dice result:

EVERYTHING CANCELLED OUT EVERYTHING! Got two hammers, which were cancelled out by challenges, and three Boons which were cancelled out by three Banes.

What the hell happened THERE? The character just suddenly had a weird, harmless seizure for a turn?

### #15 Armrek

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 05:50 AM

PzVIE said:

Necrozius said:

Oh yeah! Why aren't there more hot chicks in WFRP!?!?!

If WFRP will ever be published by a French company, I'm sure we'll see hot amazon chicks in chain mail bikinis

But with an American company... I doubt it

Good logic here - I like it ;-)

### #16 KjetilKverndokken

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 12:49 AM

What I think about the new dice is that it lets the players themselves also interpret the results and can describe the scenes accourdingly. As the seminar said you can get a good result, but still something bad happens or not everything is done as wished.

Its a good mechanic for creating a fiction together that lessens the story-guides need to arbitrate everything.

### #17 Poe

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 03:37 AM

KjetilKverndokken said:

What I think about the new dice is that it lets the players themselves also interpret the results and can describe the scenes accourdingly. As the seminar said you can get a good result, but still something bad happens or not everything is done as wished.

Its a good mechanic for creating a fiction together that lessens the story-guides need to arbitrate everything.

Indeed. I'm very much looking forward to seeing my players kind of "self GMing" their rolls and describe how they imagined what happened instead of just always relying on me to do it for them.

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