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TOPIC: Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN

Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN 13 Feb 2018 00:47 #263486

How Inmates Play Tabletop RPGs in Prisons Where Dice Are Contraband
For those with friends and family on the outside, the easiest way to get started is to ask a someone to send a dice template. A D6 template might get flagged in the mailroom, but a D20 template isn't likely to be something the CO's will recognize.

Joe, a former Massachusetts inmate went for the template approach: "We had origami dice patterns mailed in along with the trial 5th rules. Not having glue we had to improvise with the things we could get on canteen. Stickers on shampoo bottles are surprisingly useful. Maps were done on cardboard boxes we would get from inmate workers. On searches they would wreck our dice for gambling, so the templates were important."




"I never ran or played in a game where the PCs had to escape from jail or prison," Micah says. "Too on the nose. Come to think of it, we tended to avoid the trope of being in a dungeon filled with monsters as we were already in a dungeon filled with monsters."
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Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN 13 Feb 2018 06:08 #263489

My friends and I used to play in the back of class in high school (not exactly prison, but insert your own joke) using the random number generator on a calculator. Returns a number between 0 and 1, out to about 8 decimal places. We’d have a lookup chart for each die type to translate the number into an integer.

And people say RPGs are for nerds.
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Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN 13 Feb 2018 08:50 #263498

This is a really good article from waypoint. IIRC, there's a video version of it too.
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Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN 13 Feb 2018 09:28 #263500

My close friend and roommate at the time spent a month in jail after getting his second public intoxication charge in less than a year. Around that same time, numerous Deadheads were also in that jail, due to drug busts at a recent Grateful Dead concert in the area. We brought my friend some D&D stuff, and he ran some adventures for the Deadheads. Dice were a problem, so I think they drew numbered scraps of paper for randomizing.

Diceless role-playing is also a thing. The original diceless rpg was based on Zelazny's Amber series. The first book featured a lengthy period of incarceration for the main character, which is either perfect or maybe too on the nose for modern inmates to play.
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Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN 13 Feb 2018 09:57 #263503

This article pops up every few months on reddit. Here's the video Gary mentioned.

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Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN 13 Feb 2018 10:19 #263506

I get banning dice, but in the linked article one prison banned making chess sets ? Are prisoners shanking each other over a chess loss ? Betting on chess matches ?
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Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN 13 Feb 2018 10:26 #263507

Not having glue we had to improvise with the things we could get on canteen. Stickers on shampoo bottles are surprisingly useful.

One of our employees was in prison and last week he told me that their prison-issue toothpaste was awful, but it made wonderful glue. They'd use it for making papier mache birdhouses.
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Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN 13 Feb 2018 10:54 #263508

Msample wrote:
I get banning dice, but in the linked article one prison banned making chess sets ? Are prisoners shanking each other over a chess loss ? Betting on chess matches ?

A lot of NYC parks have permanent chessboard top tables and the competition is fierce to say the very least. Shootings over matches aren't at all infrequent.
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Playing RPGs when Dice are FORBIDDEN 13 Feb 2018 11:05 #263509

I work as a prison librarian and have a fair collection of RPG books, I even have some board games (shogi, Duke, Love letter, Escape the Aliens from Outer Space, chess, and scrabble, you'll note no dice). RPG books circulate, board games do not. I will make photocopies for .25 so character sheets and other references are less of a problem. I even give sheets away free on national board game day, cause I am cool like that.

That was a good article- I have not seen spinners before- that was some creative work, but I have seen homemade dice. Here in MN there is a loophole that a lot of the (at least the Wiccan and Asatru) gamers use, each inmate can have 10 religious items and they claim polyhedral dice are divination cubes and one of their religious items. I think there are still issues with D6s and they might be pulled, but the others can come occasionally slip in.
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