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Old 10-20-2018, 08:56 AM   #1
ecz's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2018
Default rolling in open sight. yes no why when

the other thread about rules consistencies made me think about the many different policies for the GM about dice rolling for NPCs and general events.

When the GM must check something secret, he obviusly rolls secretly.

But what about combat and NPC attacks?

sometime the GM should roll secretly to keep PCs in doubt about the DX level or the damage delivered by the enemy's weapon just saying "missed" or "hit" eventually reporting the final damage.

In other cases I find much more exciting rolling in face of the players. The Player sees in real time if the great axe of the bald bad guy opens the chest of the Hero in half or not.

I adopt a mixed approach.
When the fight is at its climax I usually shift to open rolls. At that point usually player have already a full discovery about DX levels and weapons type. In other cases I do not show dice.

One thing I love is let the players decide their own fate as much as possible:

When at a certain point an event could or could not happen, for example the heaing potions could be all broken after the fall of the backpack from the tree, or the only healer in the village could be traveling for two weeks, I let the players roll the dice telling in advance what result they have to pray for. Often I only say : "roll a die, good things with 1-2, bad with 6, please do not roll 6!" Details are explained after the roll.

so they constanly have the feeling that things happen or does not happen like in the real life, without any pre-designed plot.

and you ?
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Last edited by ecz; 10-20-2018 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:37 AM   #2
Andrew Hackard
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Default Re: rolling in open sight. yes no why when

Moved to RPG in General because this isn't really a TFT-specific question.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:22 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: rolling in open sight. yes no why when

I generally make rolls in the open and expect the people I play with to be able to compartmentalize player from character knowledge, accept occasional fudging, and go easy on the metagaming.

I don't worry too much if they slip a little either - it's not like fictional heroes never do unlikely stuff that turns out to be right, correctly deduce things from evidence that doesn't really support their conclusions, or somehow manage to read other characters minds - and anyway the point is to have a fun game session, not a simulator exercise. With good players they'll sometimes do stuff they know is wrong, and there characters should to, just because it will be more fun.
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:14 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: rolling in open sight. yes no why when

TFT does have several places where it states and/or suggests when rolls should be hidden or even rolled by whoever the opponent is. For example, when disbelieving illusions.

SJ understood the need for this especially when playing TFT as a two-player game as opponents with no referee, and he also made several suggestions in ITL where it makes sense not to share rolls with the players or even say what the GM is rolling for. For example, when rolling to see if the PC's notice something that, if they fail, they should not even know there was something to notice but their PCs failed to notice it.

I understand that many players like to roll dice and see dice rolls, and sometimes it's interesting and appropriate enough as a way for players to learn what's going on by observing the rolls and results, but my players and I fairly quickly appreciated that there is a different kind of value in not seeing the rolls, and having the GM instead give clues when appropriate. For example, the difference between getting hit with a weapon, seeing the roll, and being able to tell if it does more damage than normal because you saw the roll and get told how much damage you took: ("GM rolled a 5 but I took 8 damage - it must do +3 damage and be magical!"), versus being hinted or told (or not) by the GM that the weapon seemed to strike much harder than expected, but still needing to cast Analyze Magic to know exactly how powerful it is.

Not all players prefer the same things - some enjoy the experience of having to figure things out in character.
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Old 10-21-2018, 07:38 AM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: rolling in open sight. yes no why when

Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
I generally make rolls in the open and expect the people I play with to be able to compartmentalize player from character knowledge, accept occasional fudging, and go easy on the metagaming.
That's really my approach, too, though I don't care for fudging. I don't make a point of always have the dice be visible to the players (conversely, I don't insist on seeing all their rolls, either), but I don't make any effort to hide my rolls.

What I do that's secretive is occasionally ask a player to come to another room with me for private discussion. I often have them bring dice and character sheet. I suppose that's "not rolling in plain sight" in a sense.
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Old 10-21-2018, 09:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: rolling in open sight. yes no why when

I roll in the open with beginner groups to model the system. Once everyone is comfortable, I end up rolling mostly behind the GM screen. I don't have a particular philosophical reason for this; it's just the way I learned to play back in the day.

I do tend to roll dice a lot, sometimes just to guide my thinking, sometimes as a nervous tic, sometimes to roll for secret perception rolls, wandering monsters, etc. Although I don't have an official fudging policy, I treat all hidden rolls as suggestions rather than iron-clad rolls. Typically, combat rolls and things like that are more fixed but if I don't like an entry on the wandering monster table, I don't hesitate to pick something else or roll again.
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Old 10-24-2018, 12:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: rolling in open sight. yes no why when

If it's something the PCs will notice, no matter the result on the roll, I roll in the open; I find having my players catching my typos and brainos is very useful. Attacks and defenses are the simplest examples; enemies trying to climb or jump or whatever, you can see what happened.

I may not tell them WHAT I'm rolling, sometimes. For instance if I'm pulling random rumours or treasures or names off a table, I won't be showing tables, or why I've ended up rolling 6 times in a row. But since it's something the PCs are aware of (or are becoming aware of due to some action: "I look in the treasure chest. What do I find?" [1], "What ho, good woman. Prithy, what is thy name?") I roll it in the open. If I want to reroll a result I don't like or fudge it or whatever, it doesn't matter that I rolled in the open because it's a table lookup and the dice are ultimately arbitrarily assigned to the table items.

I sometimes roll openly for things like wandering monsters, and sometimes I don't. As the whim takes me and depending on if I want to communicate "stuff happening" to the players on a meta level. We play online, and sometimes instead of visibly rolling dice I just send the message "GM rolls some dice." They don't know why, don't know the result, don't even know how many dice...

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Old 10-26-2018, 07:57 AM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default Re: rolling in open sight. yes no why when

I do almost all of my rolls in the open when I GM. It adds suspense and if I feel the need to fudge I try to plan an out for the PC beforehand. Morale is very useful as are reinforcements. If the fight turns out to be too easy, add reinforcements and the existing enemies fight to the bitter end. If the fight seems to go the other way, skip the reinforcements or delay them and the current enemies turn out to have bad moral. Or the players get extra perception rolls to see/find a way of turning the tables or make a fair escape. Always plan with a way out.

If a player fumbles a jump across the chasm, let the other players try to catch him, let him try to catch hold of something on the way down or maybe a luck roll to see if he lands in a heap of dung or a tree crown at the bottom etc.

I also use what we call a F-U die. Where 1 is always bad and 6 is always comparatively good for the players. This die will represent everything from the mood of a shopkeeper (like a reaction roll) or even the existence of a relevant shop when the players need one. Or an answer to questions like what is the weather like, do the door swing out or inwards, are the horses still saddled, did the guards warn the shopkeeper or did they run directly to the palace, etc. This makes a lot of small arbitrary situations seem random and simulation like, and indirectly hides the railroading of an actual plotline. You roll for the small stuff and decide on the big stuff that you already planned for.

And lastly, when I run 5E both as a player and a DM we use reversed rolls. The DM roll very few dice. Instead, he gives out attacks and even saves to the players. They roll to avoid an attack with their AC (-10) as a bonus. They roll to overcome the enemies saves instead of the monster trying to roll a save. This gives the players agency and saves a lot of time when there are many attacks from mooks that needs to be rolled. I even let them roll the damage on themselves. This also means that players can roll simultaneously.

As an example: The PCs are attacked by 20 kobolds. The GM sais, you get 3 attacks of 14, you get 4 attacks of 13 and an archer attack of 16, you get... The melee kobolds do d6-1 and the archers 1d6+1. While the PC roll to avoid all these attacks, the GM figures out what the kobold leader and the kobold shaman will do. Then you get back the damage each player took and the attacks from the boss and shaman will be handled.

I hope to be able to do something similar in TFT when I start the next campaign. At least it would solve the problem with the lack of parry. Now their defense roll will be like a dodge or parry. And if they have any adjDX modifiers from talents those can be added to the avoidance roll by each player. Can it be done? Will it save as much time in TFT as it does in 5E D&D? Any suggestions about how to do it?
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Old 10-26-2018, 08:42 AM   #9
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default Re: rolling in open sight. yes no why when

I don't deliberately hide my rolls, but since we usually play with people spread around the room, the dice are a bit small and far away to be read. This does allow me to call for witnesses to especially dramatic criticals and fumbles.

I once delegated dice rolling to a disruptive player in a convention game as a psychological tactic. Her character had been trying to solve all issues with violence, in a low-level D&D horror scenario that really wasn't about that. They eventually arrived at a large, slightly fortified and crumbling manor house, and the character immediately went mad on the bell-pull, swinging from it, trying to pull it off the house, smashing at the door

"A large stone drops off the battlements on you. 2d10 damage, you roll it." I turned away to talk to the other players. The delinquent player got the idea, that I really didn't care if she got her character killed, if she was going to behave like that, and calmed down immediately.
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