Open-Ended Die Rolls

From gdp3
Revision as of 09:46, 10 January 2013 by Staffan Björk (Talk | contribs) (Examples)

Jump to: navigation, search

Die rolls where some results indicate making more die rolls to achieve the final result.

Dice are used in many games to create randomness. The range provided by the dice does however give a fixed interval of which results can be achieved before the roll is made. This can be avoided by letting certain results, e.g. a 6 on a 6-sided die, signify that additional dice should be rolled to create the random value. This makes the upper bound (since added dice are typically used to increase the result) of the die roll open-ended.


The D6 System by West End Games[1] has one wild die for damage rolls and checks against skills or attributes. When a 6 is rolled on the wild die, another wild die is rolled to generate the result, and this can potentially continue for ever.

The first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay used Open-Ended Die Rolls for damage but required an additional success with a character's weapon skill to unlock the open-endedness if a 6 was rolled. This made it more probably for skilled fighters to do exceptional damage than unskilled ones.

Using the pattern

A weaker form of Open-Ended Die Rolls can be created by putting constraints on how many times dices can be added; this provides an upper bound but still achieves the effect of having some results be rarer and more exceptional.

An alternative to Open-Ended Die Rolls is Critical Results.

Diegetic Aspects

Interface Aspects

Narrative Aspects



Can Instantiate

Exceptional Events, Luck

Can Modulate

Dice, Randomness

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Wikipedia entry for the D6 system.