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Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to phrase this.

I'm going to run an online game of Riddle of Steel. Part of its combat mechanic is that at the beginning of a round, each player picks either a red dice or a white dice and holds it secretly. Then at a certain point they reveal which color is in their hand.

I'm trying to figure out how I can emulate this online. There are tons of dice rollers of course, but I need basically something that lets people play a 2-option Paper/Rock/Scissors online.

Does this question even make any sense?

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Just FYI, the initiative dice are only used at the beginning of a combat or after the fighters break and re-engage, not for every round of exchanges. –  SevenSidedDie Feb 21 '13 at 23:25

3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

This shouldn't be too hard to cobble together. Here's an attempt:

  1. You as the GM privately make the die choice for all of your NPCs. Do not reveal the outcomes.
  2. Each player then privately messages you their choice. I'd recommend numbering your combat rounds and having that be part of the message for clarity.
  3. Everyone's now made their choices without being aware of their opponent's choice, and they are locked into those choices. The only person who can cheat a choice is the person running the game, which isn't much of a problem.

All that requires is a private messaging capability in whatever you're using to communicate, which seems like it'd be a very common feature.

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While effective, there has to be a more streamlined approach. Still, +1 for the effective answer –  Ben-Jamin Feb 21 '13 at 23:58

It's a little out there for this site, but if you're at all familiar with Perl programming, I've written a dicebot that can do similar things (assuming you're using IRC): https://github.com/yamikuronue/LogiosBot

In addition to having a dice-rolling module ready to go from the repo, take a look at the Apples module. It's got a similar feature in that every person has to pick a card in PM to the bot, who by definition is not a player and does not cheat, and then the bot displays the choices to the room only when all players have played. A module could easily be created to do just that function of the game, skipping the whole "Dealing cards" aspect and allowing every player to select red or white. Then, even the GM doesn't know what was selected until everyone's done.

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It has a tv tropes module? There goes my afternoon. –  Cthos Feb 25 '13 at 16:17

If your online tool is real-time and you know lag isn't a problem, you can use a clause in the game itself to resolve the problem. A player who fails to reveal their die on command after having the chance to choose it automatically loses initiative (p. 74). In chat, you can do like so:

Seneschal: A fight! Okay, moving to combat rounds. Ready?

Player 1: Yes!

Player 2: Ready.

Okay, enter your initiative die and send when I say "throw".

Seneschal waits a few seconds

GM: Throw!

P2: Red

P1: Red

Ooh, interesting. Okay, so…

In a low-latency chat, players 1 and 2 should post almost simultaneously if they're playing honestly and paying attention. A player who hesitates, either because they took too long to choose, didn't pay attention, or they waited until they saw the other fighter's choice, automatically loses initiative and may only choose defensive maneuvers for the first exchange, as per the Surprise and Hesitation rules (p. 75). Of course this is up to the Seneschal's judgement, but that's true even sitting around a physical table.

One way this could be defeated is if your communication tool allows text macros, since a player could set up a macro for each response and try to be as quick as possible after the other player sent their choice, but on platforms that don't have such macros, or with players you trust, this won't be an issue. Besides, it would be a detectable pattern: every time they'd go second, and every time they'd send the best matching response.

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Quite a good idea, but there are a couple of problems: 1. Chat macros wouldn't necessarily be required; all you'd need is the ability to paste. You could have one choice typed in and the other copied into your buffer, ready to paste over it. 2. The pattern would only be noticeable if their cheating was obvious. If the majority of the time they played honestly, but if they occasionally cheated on a particularly vital roll, their win rate would remain around average. –  Sepia May 22 at 15:14
    
@Sepia It still wouldn't be near-simultaneous. Human reaction times are such that waiting for the network to deliver the other's message, reading it, and then sending it, plus the time for the network to deliver it, would easily result in a late response, which is often fatal in TRoS. It's a poor gamble. –  SevenSidedDie May 22 at 16:49

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