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Old 05-18-2015, 01:20 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Default Hidden Rolls & Luck

Simple enough question, how do you handle if and when Luck is employed when the roll is hidden from the player? I'm mostly interested in what other GMs do, although I'm not entirely sure what the standard rules are for such things either.

I normally get my players to roll a lot of "hidden" dice that will directly affect them there and then (and the outcome of which is known about regardless of its success or failure), although I make them roll before knowing why they're rolling. I realised last session though that sometimes the stat I'm asking for a roll against is quite informative, and does affect when/if a player chooses to use Luck or not.

This has made me reconsider this approach*, but also made me realise that the way in which I dole out information (especially in regards to leaving opportunity to request Luck uses without giving the game away as to the outcome should they not) is important, but I'm not too sure what way would be best.

So, how to you do it?
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:50 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Hidden Rolls & Luck

Hidden rolls typically have a delay before their result comes into effect. How I would handle it, I'd make the roll and note the success/failure and degree thereof. Just when it's about to come into effect, I'd let the character(s) with Luck know that Something Bad is about to happen, and give them the option of using their Luck to potentially mitigate it. I wouldn't have this Luck be retroactive (although you certainly could), but rather have it interfere with whatever Bad Thing is about to happen.

If they have one of the "must declare use of Luck before knowing result" Limitations, I'd tell them Something Bad has the potential of happening, based on a previous roll, and let them try to mitigate it (even if the previous roll indicated nothing bad).
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Old 05-18-2015, 02:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hidden Rolls & Luck

I just do what the book tells me.

Originally Posted by Luck, Basic Set page 66
If the GM is rolling in secret (e.g., to see if you notice something), you may tell him you are using your Luck ahead of time, and he must roll three times and give you the best result.
If it's for the kind of hidden roll where they don't have any clue that something's going on at all, it's the kind of roll where I frankly don't feel like they should be able to use normal Luck - Luck doesn't give you permission to reach over the GMs screen and reroll anything that might ever accidentally interact with your character, and I prefer to draw the line rather short of that extreme.

Some of the super-enhanced Wishing etc Lucks are more aggressive, but they're active powers - the player isn't targeting "dice", the character is targeting another character. If the character isn't aware of the action, they can't mess with the result. If the character is aware of the action but don't fully know the circumstances, they can jinx it but they may be making a mistake - you'll need omniscience to avoid mistakes due to lack of intel :)
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Old 05-18-2015, 03:27 PM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2014
Default Re: Hidden Rolls & Luck

I usually get a set of seeded rolls at the start of the session, that are applied to whatever I need them to as the situation arrives. ir they players roll the dice but without applying any stat/skill.

It can get a bit confusing though and you need to be able to access the character sheet somehow.

eg at the start of a session player rolls 11, 16, 8, 3. When having an opportunity to spot the ambushing baddies I will take the 11 and apply it to spot, when walking over the dodgy floor I will use the 16 vs dex, etc.

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Old 05-18-2015, 04:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hidden Rolls & Luck

As GM, I would decide when they "need" to be lucky and secretly use it for them. If they ask to use their luck within the next ten minutes, then tell them that it was used up. If they happen to discover what it was that they were lucky about, then you could actually tell them how lucky they are then. Otherwise, keep it secret.

For instance:
1: PC steps out of a doorway and gets one perception roll to spot a sniper. You decide that he would definitely use his luck if he knew about it, so you roll PER three times. There is one success, so you tell the player, "Just as you open the door, you spot a glint of light off a scope! What a lucky break!"

2: PC steps on an undiscovered land mine. You decide he would use his luck if he knew, so you roll DX three times, one of which is a success, so nothing happens; the character unknowingly puts his weight down juuuust right to avoid setting it off. Five minutes later, the player gets into combat and he asks to use Luck to help dodge... you say, "Sorry, your Luck is still waiting to recharge." If you want to tell him how long he has to wait, that's your prerogative.

This is in keeping with the idea of Luck as a "metagame" trait, representing the fact that some people sit on the far end of the bell curve. If you want to play the guy who does better than the odds say he should simply because that's what happened, buy Luck.
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hidden Rolls & Luck

When I've done secret rolls that have failed I have asked the player if they'd like to use their luck. No explanation of why. No explanation of possible consequences.

I only ask if it is a situation where if I were the player I would consider using Luck if I knew what was happening. So, I wouldn't ask if the roll were a PER check were to spot a deer when the party could use the extra food, or to spot the optional Mcguffin. I would ask about a Dodge roll to spot the ambuscade or the book that contains a clue to the primary mission.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hidden Rolls & Luck

Usually, what you want for success with hidden rolls is Serendipity, not Luck, as the GM decides when it applies; if someone has Serendipity in many cases you should just give them automatic success (to be honest, most fictional characters portrayed as 'lucky' actually have Serendipity; the Luck advantage doesn't fit all that many concepts).
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: Hidden Rolls & Luck

Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
(to be honest, most fictional characters portrayed as 'lucky' actually have Serendipity; the Luck advantage doesn't fit all that many concepts).
I agree that luck in GURPS is really not what "lucky" characters in fiction tend to be. It is more "never or very rarely fail" or "competent when concentrating really hard" ability and serendipity is more the traditional "lucky" fictional character.

In out games luck is mostly used as retry on failing a defense roll(maybe half), critically failing some other important roll in combat/other dangerous situation(maybe 1/6th) or as a "generic bonus" when you try something hard(maybe 1/3).
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hidden Rolls & Luck

Luck is the driving force of characters.

It's what make heroes be.

To me it feels kinda GM butthurtness leaving players that much in the dark for their Luck use.

For my players I normally give some info on what they might be missing out or didn't fair well on the roll so they can decide if they want their Luck roll or not.

I guess to me this comes very sparingly, since they tend to use their Luck on combat or active rolls, so...
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Hidden Rolls & Luck

What Bruno said. In particular, I feel that two things must be followed (speaking as a GM)...

1. The player should always have the chance to use Luck. They bought Luck for a reason, and it's a cop-out for the GM to deny the use of Luck on a secret roll -- because that's usually when your "luck" would matter most. The exception to this is if the Luck has Active, of course.

2. The GM never decides to use Luck, only the player. It's the PC's advantage, which means it's 100% under the player's control.
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