Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Diceless Roleplaying Games

These descriptions were part of or inspired by a discussion on


I don't think Epiphany's ranged combat is equivalent to Rock-Paper- Scissors, though. In R/P/S each side chooses randomly between three choices and there is no intrinsic reason to choose one or the other. In Epiphany's ranged combat each side totals up their advantages and all the attacker's advantages are used for offense and all the defendor's advantages are used for defense. This is non-random and it depends on what applicable abilities are available to each side. I don't think these two are that similar.

I don't think Epiphany's resolution mechanism is analogous to Rock-Paper-Scissors, nor do I think that result is random. In R/P/S you pick one of the three choices, your opponent picks one of the choices, there is no reason to pick one of the choices over the others, and the result is random. In Epiphany, each side counts up the number of Advantages they have that apply to the situation and decides how many to apply to Offense and how many to apply to Defense. (The number of Advantages one side has is the total of the Attributes and Abilities that they have that apply in this situation, minus any Disadvantages.) That's not random at all, and has the tactical issue of allocating Advantages to Offense and Defense, which makes it even more like unlike R/P/S.

(I think Epiphany's resolution is often compared to R/P/S because they both indicate the what each side is doing by holding out fingers, but the choices behind and effects of those choices are very different, so this apparent similarity of finger- pointing is actually misleading.)


Nobilis is a bit more crunchy than most diceless games. All Characters have four Attributes--Aspect, Domain, Realm, and Spirit-- which are rated from zero to five and describe the character's level of ability in four broad areas of effect. Each attribute also has a number of associated Miracle Points. Characters can also have other abilities, called Gifts, which have a more focused or limited area of effect. All actions are rated in difficulty from zero to nine. Actions in a particular area of effect that have a difficulty less than that of the attribute that governs that area are automatically successful. Actions that have a difficulty greater than the appropriate attribute require spending miracle points to succeed. There are tables that indicate the level of power each level of difficulty provides, and there are lists of example actions and their difficulty levels.

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