The idea of the diced vs. diceless arguments I have meandered into seem to rely on the concept of some utter “fairness” (avoiding the idea of whether or not “fair” is necessarily “fun”) in random results. The exchange generally seems to go along this route:
Dice advocates seem to believe, “A diceless game puts more ‘bias’ into the hands of one person, detracting from the overall fairness of the game. Dice remove the implications of that bias when the GM makes resolutions.”
Diceless advocates tend to believe, “Random resolution is just that: random. It takes the GM to make the real decisions…”
The usual medium role is, “The device du jour is the tool one applies to _aid_ in that decision making.”
The overarching concern I generally see is the question of character death. In a diceless game, the GM is solely responsible for whether or not a character dies. In a diced game, it can be the matter of an unlucky roll.
Neither of these situations are acceptable… for it is implied that death in diceless is a matter of GM whim, and death in diced games is a matter of random chance.
Doesn’t that sound like “murder” versus “accident” to you?
(Except when a GM has killed a character out of self defense… [grin])
I can’t speak for other GMs, but it is of utmost importance to me, as a diceless GM, to retain the trust of my players. With that consideration, my decisions take into account both the story being told (which is written a little in advance of the players, but not so much that it isn’t constantly changing) and the will of the players. If I decide that an action ends in death, it has to be acceptable (meaning believable and appropriate) to the players as a whole. It’s not random or willful, but it is a consequence that ties into that story being told.
Is that any different with dice? Not really… a lot of it’s just “behind the scenes.”
Are the GAMES any different with dice? Yes, and that’s a different story altogether.