Thursday, February 21, 2019

How to Roll Dice With a Disability

Inclusion at the table is a big deal these days, and rightly so!

My son, and one of the dev team for The Hero's Tale RPG, Jacob, has Cerebral Palsy.  It basically means that his brain doesn't talk to his muscles very well. That effects those that have the condition in many different ways. Some have tense muscle tone, others are very lax. Some are cognitive and verbal, others are not. Some can learn to walk and function, others can't, and many are in-between.

Jacob has very high, tense muscle tone. It's virtually impossible for him to use his legs, and he's stuck in a wheelchair full time. He struggles to use his arms and fingers with any real control. He is, however, fully cognitive and verbal.

So, he has been playing RPGs with us ever since we first created The Hero's Tale, even before we called it "The Hero's Tale". And rolling dice has always been a struggle for him. Here's why.

Picking up one of the small d20s means he has to isolate his thumb and forefinger, reach out (a difficult move with high muscle tone), direct his fingers to open and pick up the die, raise it, and then drop it and hope it doesn't roll away, or fall down under his wheelchair.

We've experimented with larger dice, and those are much easier for him to wrap his palm around and pick up, but the large d20s have numbers aligned and arranged for MTG scorekeeping (called "countdown" or "spindown") rather than a random arrangement. It works, but it's not as random.

Now, we have found the solution! We put a small d20 in a larger plastic box. This one is a display box for an autographed baseball.

He can pick up the box easily, shake it, and set it down to see what number he rolled. Easy grip, easy roll, and it doesn't fall on the floor!

A bonus benefit for everyone: How many times has an over-eager player tossed a die and had it roll off the table, or, worse, tumble onto the battlefield, scattering walls and miniatures as it goes? There's no save vs the die itself!

But if everyone at the table uses this method, there are no scattered dice, no hunting under the chairs! Just shake the box and read the die!


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