A Novel Dungeon and Letters as Random Number Generators in a Diceless RPG

I’m a nerd. Shocking, I know.

So last year I made a game, A Novel Dungeon (https://serialprizes.itch.io/novel-dungeon), that is a fully diceless solo table-top RPG you can play with just a book, pencil, paper, and the rules.

It still uses randomization, but instead of dice it relies on the frequency of letters used in English.

There are a few different resources and frequencies floating around but I ran with numbers from a 2004 cryptography writing by Cornell Math Explorers Club.

So using the frequency of each letter, I assigned numbers to approximate the same odds you’d have rolling dice. In some cases this means fewer instances of a number in the table, but the letter frequency balances it out for the most part.

Letter assignment to approximate a D4
Letter assignment to approximate a D6

Does it hold up? Let’s see… I’ll take a blog on itch.io and use the d6 table to assign numbers to the letters in the first couple lines.

Not an exact 16.67% but you wouldn’t necessarily get that rolling a die either. And the more letters we include, the closer we get to an even distribution. It’s not an exact replica of rolling dice, but it’s close and still varies enough to be suitably random.

There are limits of course – with only 26 letters and E’s frequency alone being more than 12% you’d have to force a reroll to approximate a d10 and d20 may be a bridge too far, but you could utilize this system for most games that use d8 and under.

I’ve broken out the No Dice No Problem chart for d2-d10 into a bookmark for ease of use and to show how it’d work.

Now to keep playing with it a little more.

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