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Using the GM's Screen


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


So recently a friend and I got into a discussion about how I could improve our current game; and he had one major suggestion. Roll the dice out in the open.

Now I do have the Pathfinder GM screen, which I use, but what I really want to know is what are your thoughts on the subject?

Cheliax

Rolling dice in the open is IMO a bad thing, simply for the fact that is takes the mystery, and some of the legitimacy away from being a GM. The dice aren't the only thing a GM is going to keep behind the screen, for instance I have 2 notebooks, handouts, and a laptop I keep behind mine and if my screen were gone they would have an open view of all of my paperwork.


I don't see how rolling the dice out in the open would ''improve'' your current game. Is it because your players don't trust you?

I mostly roll behind the GM screen but I never fudge the dice results. I roll behind the GM screen because I don't want my players to calculate the attack bonus, CMB and saving throw bonus of the monsters by deduction.

Shadow Lodge

Player's don't get to know your creature's perception, to hit, saves, etc. The screen protects this information.

Rolling dice in the open isn't awful, but it adds nothing. It doesn't help them. A GM does not need to lie about a roll. A GM can lie about the modifier. If they don't trust you to roll honestly... well I'm not sure how they can trust you to run a game.

Hell sometimes I just roll a few d20s to keep them guessing.

Don't lose the screen. Its loss helps no one


Maverick898 wrote:

So recently a friend and I got into a discussion about how I could improve our current game; and he had one major suggestion. Roll the dice out in the open.

Now I do have the Pathfinder GM screen, which I use, but what I really want to know is what are your thoughts on the subject?

In my mind the suggestions sets of alarm bells.

The GM's role is to help the player's have fun. Sometimes this requires fudging dice. Not often, but sometimes.

Two Examples:

For example, a combat starts badly. The PCs were ambushed and the enemies rolled really well during the surprise round. If their disarm and fireball really happened as rolled, the PCs would be crippled and not only lose but have no fun. Ideally the GM can think of a way to turn a loss into something other than a TPK and go with the flow. But the GM has a tired brain, and it seems these foes just don't take prisoners and the PCs can't flee. So the GM fudges those surprise-round die rolls: the greater disarm attempt fails (so the fighter in difficult terrain can still have fun) and the fireball does mediocre damage instead of enough to kill the PC wizard and druid's pet.

As another example, a combat significant to the plot is going too easily. The players are going to win without breaking a sweat, and it just won't feel like the milestone it should be. So the GM adds a few enemies: some reinforcements have arrived from the next room, or the enemy was saving his wand of summon-something (with 1 charge left), etc. But within the plot no lower-level foes are appropriate reinforcements. So the GM has three plot-appropriate baddies appear, but gimps their offense potential by deciding they will never confirm criticals and by placing a maximum on their damage rolls. The combat ends with the players feeling like they really did something big, and the GM doesn't have to worry than one of his "extra" foes will ruin the fun by rolling very luckily.

To me, asking a GM to show his die rolls seems evidence of a lack of trust between player and GM. Doesn't the player trust that you are trying everything your preparation and improvisation can do to make being a player fun? If not, why not?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I mostly roll my dice in the open - attack rolls, creature saves when everyone's excited to see if they make it or fail, etc. I roll perception checks and things like that behind the screen. I rarely ever roll for PCs but if I *really* don't want them to know how they fared I'll have them roll in a box or something and not let them see the results.

Yeah, there's some calculation of to-hit bonuses and such, but not so much that it hurts the game. My players get excited when I'm rolling poorly and worried when I'm rolling hot.

We don't use hero/action points and level equally...so I hand out "reroll cards" as bonuses for good roleplaying or clever thinking. They can spend these to call for a reroll of any one dice throw (anything from a save to damage) for *anybody* at the table, including me. So, they can make me reroll a devastating crit or reroll their own sucky damage roll or failed save (or help out another player). They could also spend one to the detriment of another player but that's never happened and I don't expect it to any time soon.
M


Nothing to do with trust for me but:

I prefer the DM to roll attackrolls and such in the open so that when I get crit'd to death there is no question or issue. Everyone knows it.

I believe some rolls should be "Dm screen" side only. (perception checks sometimes, and some things the DM needs to roll for that the PC's may not even know are going on, etc..)

Personally I don't want a DM to pull punches or to "murder" PC's. I want the dice to save or kill PC's and monsters both. If the roll comes up that the dude knocked to 10 HP gets crit'd with the scythe wielding beastie then.. such is life :)

so.. Don't lose the screen.. some dice should be hidden and other things you have out shoud also be hidden (like what page of the bestiary you are on, or have printed out or whatever)

-S


LOL!!!

I can't IMAGINE DM's not using screens!! The idea has never even been MENTIONED at our games. Our DM's usually have 2-3 of them combined...

How can the DM fudge the roll (in either direction) to keep the game alive??

Where does he keep his notes for the adventure??

Where are his hordes of game books and monster printouts hidden??

Where are the big Scary horrible miniatures that he can pull out and freak us out when we open the wrong door??

I'm not sure why any DM would want to surrender that kind of mystery....

Ohhhh and I THINK those screens have like... information on them too or something... SOME people may find that useful ;)

I can only remember a couple of times the DM let us see the rolls, and that was in a great momentous AWESOME moments... usually like a monsters save against game ending spells... or Divine Intervention...

we had a 3% chance for Divine intervention to help us out in what was FAST becoming a TPK adventure... He grinned... leaned over the screen and showed us the dice.. everyone leaned in as the dice bounced and... 0 3.

AWESOME night we're STILL talking about...

something like that should be saved for SPECIAL occassions, not EVERY roll...


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Maverick898 wrote:

So recently a friend and I got into a discussion about how I could improve our current game; and he had one major suggestion. Roll the dice out in the open.

Now I do have the Pathfinder GM screen, which I use, but what I really want to know is what are your thoughts on the subject?

Hmmmm. It is an odd request. It would seem to say to me that the player doesn't trust your rolls, but that may just be me. I would do as they ask, but use your screen to hide your books, monster stats, hit point, etc. If they want to make sure your dice are on the level then let them. If it means you can't lie about a long stream of critical then that's their problem. Offer to return to rolling your dice behind the screen after the first player dies.

Anyway, from one GM to another, happy gaming!

Shadow Lodge

Maverick898 wrote:

So recently a friend and I got into a discussion about how I could improve our current game; and he had one major suggestion. Roll the dice out in the open.

Now I do have the Pathfinder GM screen, which I use, but what I really want to know is what are your thoughts on the subject?

My answer is two parts, because I believe a screen's use should depend on the people you're playing with. Most of this has to do with my involvement in Pathfinder Society as a DM.

I will not use a screen with a table primarily composed of new players. The main reason I do this is to allow them to get a double-helping of seeing mechanics in action. With new players, i tend to be very open about die rolls and explaining how the monster just stomped their face off. It also allows me to show them how the DM does his job, and every once in a while you get one that would like to (eventually) DM, which is really great. The exception to the 'no-screen' thing is that I still screen off my notes and such (Since those are NEVER for the players) and roll in public.

Contrary to that, experienced players get completely blocked off. I actually use two screens (a 4th ed and a Pathfinder screen, becuase I REALLY like the 4th's art) to make sure I have complete privacy of everything. This allows me to do a few things. If a party is doing FAR too well (as is common with the usual group of power-gamers I have) it lets me fake rolls.

Lemme tell you. The ability to fake a roll is CRITICAL to your success as a DM. If a combat is going too easily, an unexpected critical threat from a weak monster can jar the party enough to keep them guessing, or let you save a character (I detest killing players in PFS) from an untimely end.

I also like faking rolls to get the party's attention if their attention is wandering from a too difficult or too easy combat, or make sure their resources are depleting at an expected rate (my rule of thumb is that by the final act/encounter, roughly 1/2 of the party's resources should be gone) by artificially extending or shortening combat with fudged numbers.

Cheating, for a DM, is an art. You can't do it too much, or we have the OP's problem, but you can't let your players get too used to whats' going on either.


I'm just adding to consensus here - what the players should be trusting the DM to do is run a fun game for all concerned, not worry about the exact rolls of certain dice.

Cheers
Mark


Maverick898 wrote:

So recently a friend and I got into a discussion about how I could improve our current game; and he had one major suggestion. Roll the dice out in the open.

Now I do have the Pathfinder GM screen, which I use, but what I really want to know is what are your thoughts on the subject?

That would depend on why he thinks it is a good idea for you to do so.

If you are asking about other people's games then it varies from group to group.

Andoran

Maverick898 wrote:

So recently a friend and I got into a discussion about how I could improve our current game; and he had one major suggestion. Roll the dice out in the open.

Now I do have the Pathfinder GM screen, which I use, but what I really want to know is what are your thoughts on the subject?

I haven't used a screen since about 1987 except for a couple of times that involved a lot of on the spot world building. I don't necessarily role in the middle of the table, and some rolls are made out of eye shot. I don't like having the barrier between the players, the playing mat, and me.

I have had players with wandering eyes. I do keep some stuff out of easy eye range or turn pages over.

In my local community of organized play, I think there is only one GM I can think of off the top of my head who uses screens.

Do what works for you.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
wells101 wrote:
I will not use a screen with a table primarily composed of new players. The main reason I do this is to allow them to get a double-helping of seeing mechanics in action. With new players, i tend to be very open about die rolls and explaining how the monster just stomped their face off. It also allows me to show them how the DM does his job, and every once in a while you get one that would like to (eventually) DM, which is really great. The exception to the 'no-screen' thing is that I still screen off my notes and such (Since those are NEVER for the players) and roll in public.

I'd go with that.

It's good for new players to get up to speed with the mechanics, and understand why some things happen. As such, it's a good idea if you can, to run the player through a short one-shot adventure, with low-CR foes, which showcases different parts of the rules (some skill use, a few attack rolls, a save vs non-lethal effect), possibly with a pre-gen PC who doesn't matter if they die.
Then, they can start on a proper footing with their actual, well-loved individualised PC in an ongoing game, with less chance of being taken out by a basic error or misjudgment.

wells101 wrote:
Contrary to that, experienced players get completely blocked off.

Me too, but not for the purposes of fudging. I simply know that if the players see the roll, they'll derail the session discussing how the NPC got a bonus of that value.

Even if I tell them 'None of your business.', they'll talk among themselves, over the top of the active player.

It never ceases to amaze me that players, whose PCs currently throw out bonuses in the high teens/early twenties, can express confusion, disbelief, and dismay that an enemy could possibly have a bonus to anything in double figures...


Well that was the plan, I was just going to roll attack, and saves out in the open; and I don't believe that the i'm not trusted as a GM; he had mentioned to me a few weeks ago about rolling everything in the open for a game that he was thinking of starting. I figure I'll give it a shot and let the dice stand where the roll; but keep some of the private rolls behind the screen.


I roll in the open during fights, as soon as the player are beginning to have an idea about how tough/weak the opponents are...

perception, stealth, sense motive are rolled behind the screen.

works good for us


Sometimes you need to fudge rolls to keep the game fun, I don't have a problem with that.

Hiding books is also important. I know I can usually guess what a monster is by general appearance and where in the book the page is open to.

"The book's open close to the end, it's probably a wraith, not a shadow"

I try to keep player knowledge separate form character knowledge, but I can't help what I see. A screen would help with that problem.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

It really comes down to this.

Do You Trust Your GM? Do You Trust Her to be fair, to challenge appropriately?, To run a campaign in a style that you are comfortable with?

This whole thread topic is really nothing more than this question in another guise.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I usually roll openly (or at least make no great effort to hide my rolls). There are rare exceptions, normally when dealing with surprise attacks and the like.

The players knowing some of the monster's stats isn't a big deal to me--in fact, I usually tell them AC, SR, and DR up front because I'm running VERY a high level game (characters just hit 19). If they had to roll each of their billion attack rolls to follow it by, "Do I hit? Do I hit? Do I hit? Do I hit?" and "this is the damage and this is the damage and this is the damage and this is the damage..." combat would take a thousand years. Let them know some of the basics (they do NOT necessarily know feats, special abilities, etc. etc.). because it just lets them do the calculation for you. (I am an evil GM, making the players do all that work. ;) )

I have excellent players who usually do not conflate player knowledge with character knowledge (usually when they do... well, I've told the story about how something random I've made up gets confused for something I've never heard of in 2nd Edition... they know metagaming is ultimately to their detriment). No one has told me that they didn't have fun because they knew the monster's AC was 32 (and I do solicit feedback regularly).

Anyway, back to topic, I don't feel like my die rolls are any great secret, and even if my players think they can calculate a bonus or something, they don't always know how all bonuses are stacked (and I've got a lot of outsiders and such with SLAs and other abilities that provide various bonuses, circumstance modifiers, etc.). Generally I feel like my players trust me to do my job and I trust them to give me the right information when they roll their dice, and we all get along splendidly. The only thing that irks me is occasionally a player asking me what exactly something some creature's ability is... but it's normally OOC curiosity, not an intent to use the information unfairly.

I have a GM screen but I usually don't prop it up because it gets in the way of my seeing the battlemat.

Osirion

I don't like it when the GM rolls behind the screen. Particularly because when I've done that as a GM (I normally roll openly), it is usually to fudge to save the PC's life. I've seen the GM obviously fudge to control the storyline better. I don't trust rolling behind the screen.

I use a GM screen to hide my notes and roll dice beside it.


Maverick898 wrote:

So recently a friend and I got into a discussion about how I could improve our current game; and he had one major suggestion. Roll the dice out in the open.

Now I do have the Pathfinder GM screen, which I use, but what I really want to know is what are your thoughts on the subject?

I think you are confusing two issues. You can roll all your dice out in the open but still use the screen to keep everything else out of player view (like maps, stats, notes, etc). The two things are mutually exclusive.

I would suggest going one better: let the PLAYERS roll ALL the dice. Even for the monsters. This is what I do and the players love it. They love getting 1's for the monsters, I swear they have some kind of power that allows them to do this at will. If you need to fudge a battle you still have plenty of opportunity to do that with hit points or damage bonuses, all the stuff behind the screen. Letting the players roll all the dice is a great way to play, I'm surprised it's not more popular considering how much players love rolling dice. For me as a DM I see it as a chore. I've already got enough to do without having to find and roll a dice 20 times in a combat.


For Pathfinder if you don't use hero points it is probably a bad idea. For other systems where players/NPCs can spend resources, like hero points, to force a reroll, open rolling of dice is acceptable.

Too many times I have killed players just because I was on a hot streak, or have the BBEG die without inflicting a single hp of damage because of bad rolls, when I rolled openly. So I hide my rolls whenever we do a game that doesn't allow PCs/NPCs to spend resources for rerolls.


There was a game mechanic in 3.x (I think) called Defense Roll. Instead of the DM rolling the "to hit" d20 for the opponents, the players would do that and subtract that number from their AC. That was the Defense Roll and it was compared to the opponents "to hit" (bab + modifiers), and I used it for a couple of sessions.

However, sometimes the Dice gods are fickle, and after *two* TPKs in a row, my guys told me to roll the dice behind the screen. They trust me to not outright cheat, and if they do something stupid they will pay the penalty (TPK if it happens), but to have a TPK just because of the fickleness of dice is no fun for anyone, including the DM.

-- david
Papa.DRB

cibet44 wrote:
I would suggest going one better: let the PLAYERS roll ALL the dice. Even for the monsters. This is what I do and the players love it. They love getting 1's for the monsters, I swear they have some kind of power that allows them to do this at will. If you need to fudge a battle you still have plenty of opportunity to do that with hit points or damage bonuses, all the stuff behind the screen. Letting the players roll all the dice is a great way to play, I'm surprised it's not more popular considering how much players love rolling dice. For me as a DM I see it as a chore. I've already got enough to do without having to find and roll a dice 20 times in a combat.


Papa-DRB wrote:

There was a game mechanic in 3.x (I think) called Defense Roll. Instead of the DM rolling the "to hit" d20 for the opponents, the players would do that and subtract that number from their AC. That was the Defense Roll and it was compared to the opponents "to hit" (bab + modifiers), and I used it for a couple of sessions.

However, sometimes the Dice gods are fickle, and after *two* TPKs in a row, my guys told me to roll the dice behind the screen. They trust me to not outright cheat, and if they do something stupid they will pay the penalty (TPK if it happens), but to have a TPK just because of the fickleness of dice is no fun for anyone, including the DM.

-- david
Papa.DRB

In 3.5 I have found that TPKs are born before initiative (or any dice) is even rolled. In earlier versions of the game it was easy for a party to get blindsided by something and end up dead, but in 3X+ it's all about planning and tactics, as long as the design rules are being followed that is.


One of the more interesting things about coming to the boards is seeing how people across town/state/country/world play the game.

Not bad/wrong/evil just.. different.

Myself- if the dice roll my death then I'm dead. It doesn't matter if I'm level 20 and a level 2 baddie got in a lucky crit when i was already low or if its the BBEG and it was the totally perfect climactic-death of the year award winner. If you don't fear death (because you know you won't die unless its "special") then to me- it loses alot of the fun.

Its interesting to see others have the exact polar opposite view point because that is more fun for -them-.

:)

-S

Cheliax

The only thing I've noticed in GMing without a screen is that players are somewhat encouraged to metagame, deducing the enemy's combat modifiers and guessing skills and whatnots from the rolls and the game results.

Not really my style.

Other than that, as others have already said, the screen is useful for notes, minis, counters, and even more stuff.


I like to roll in the open.

It absolves me of guilt. Feeling bad about killing players has troubled me throughout my time as a GM, but I find actually allowing PC death to occur occasionally improves the game for everyone.

So rather than have the players think I'm out to get them, I tend to share information. I understand this doesn't work for everyone though. For some reason my group is exceptionally disciplined when it comes to metagaming, so there is no real downside. I know for a fact that isn't a universal feature of all gaming groups.


Selgard wrote:

One of the more interesting things about coming to the boards is seeing how people across town/state/country/world play the game.

Not bad/wrong/evil just.. different.

Myself- if the dice roll my death then I'm dead. It doesn't matter if I'm level 20 and a level 2 baddie got in a lucky crit when i was already low or if its the BBEG and it was the totally perfect climactic-death of the year award winner. If you don't fear death (because you know you won't die unless its "special") then to me- it loses alot of the fun.

Its interesting to see others have the exact polar opposite view point because that is more fun for -them-.

:)

-S

/agree

Even within my own group we have it both ways. Some games you are the Epic Heros of Legend(tm) destined to save the world. Some random orc is not going to off one of us with a random crit; the gods have plans for us. Other games you are rugged adventures, counting coppers and hoping the rations don't run out before you get to the next town; every fight is dangerous, and death takes the unwary. Both are fun in their own right, the question is what kind of game/story are you telling?

Every table is different, no way is wrong as long as you are having fun.

Grand Lodge

I had the pleasure in playing in Sean K Reynold's Angel Apocalypse game at Paizocon, and he did all his dice rolling in the open. I liked it. Since then I've been doing the same. It makes me feel like more of a player, and, as Evil Lincoln says, I feel less bad when the rolls go against the players.


When I throw multiple attacks I roll them out with the damage at once in front of the players but a few things I hide behind the screen


The request to roll in the open could come from one of a few different angles:

-- That could just be what he is used to. While many of us geezers recoil at the idea as going against the history and spirit of the game, it seems like more and more tables are doing it that way.

-- He may not trust the GM not to "cheat" in ways detrimental to the party. This is a bad one, and if that's the case, needs to be addressed head on. If there is no trust between players and GM, the game is likely doomed.

-- He may not want the DM to "cheat" in order to prevent character death or failure. Some players want to feel they've "earned" their "victory" and can't stand to think the GM is secretly helping them or going easy on them. It ruins their enjoyment of the game.

-- He may want to metagame by using your rolls to quickly get a good idea of what his opponents' stats are, which will help him plot his strategy. This is more annoying and juvenile than bad, and is easy to overcome.

In any event, before deciding what you want to do, you should ask him why he wants you to roll in the open. Then respond accordingly. Also, make sure to get the opinions of others at the table. This guy may or may not be speaking for others. I know some players who would recoil in horror at the idea of GM dice being rolled in the open. Don't let pushy players dictate the way your group will play against the wishes of quieter folks less likely to speak up on their own.

As for me, I'm old school. There's lots of stuff happening behind the screen that the players don't need to and shouldn't see. I roll behind the screen almost exclusively. I make an occasional exception in highly dramatic moments in which success or failure, life or death will be determined by one roll. Works for us. But we've been playing together for more than a decade and a half, so there's a lot of trust that has been built up, no matter which of our 3 GMs is running things.


Brian Bachman wrote:
-- He may not want the DM to "cheat" in order to prevent character death or failure. Some players want to feel they've "earned" their "victory" and can't stand to think the GM is secretly helping them or going easy on them. It ruins their enjoyment of the game.

For me, this is it.

I have ZERO fun if I know we are all playing in "Safe mode".

Why do we bother planning if we can't loose anyway?

Why did I bother to get that last +1 to AC/DC/Saves/Etc?

I put a LOT of work into making sure that I plan as well as I can for my characters, if I can't loose then why the hell did I bother?


Thefurmonger wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:
-- He may not want the DM to "cheat" in order to prevent character death or failure. Some players want to feel they've "earned" their "victory" and can't stand to think the GM is secretly helping them or going easy on them. It ruins their enjoyment of the game.

For me, this is it.

I have ZERO fun if I know we are all playing in "Safe mode".

Why do we bother planning if we can't loose anyway?

Why did I bother to get that last +1 to AC/DC/Saves/Etc?

I put a LOT of work into making sure that I plan as well as I can for my characters, if I can't loose then why the hell did I bother?

And I can definitely respect that and think it can be a lot of fun if you have a whole group that likes to play it that way.

Of course, there are lots of players who don't want it that way. There are many who are in it more for the adventure and the story, and see it less as a competitive game. Although even most of them wouldn't like it if the GM was so ham-handed that his fudging was completely obvious, they generally don't want to know if he is and are happy in their ignorance.

Neither way is inherently better than the other. It's just a matter of preferences and playstyle.


Thefurmonger wrote:


For me, this is it.

I have ZERO fun if I know we are all playing in "Safe mode".

Why do we bother planning if we can't loose anyway?

Why did I bother to get that last +1 to AC/DC/Saves/Etc?

I put a LOT of work into making sure that I plan as well as I can for my characters, if I can't loose then why the hell did I bother?

Well said. I want my players to feel the same. All those fiddly bonuses and penalties need to mean something. Without seeing the rolls the DM (or just having the player roll it) makes it is hard for the player to know that. Otherwise, like Thefurmonger says, why bother. Believe me we track ever little thing we can because once that die hits the table we can't do anything.

Our rules are:
1. State your modifier before you roll any die. If the DM or other players have something to add or take away now is the time.
2. Roll the die. At this point no adjustments can be made to the modifier. Just apply it to the roll and discern the result. If you forgot something along the way, oh well. No hunting for +1 when you miss by 1!

Osirion

I DM without a screen. There are several reasons:

It literally removes a barrier between me and the players. I trust them not to look at my notes or maps or whatnot. That's never an issue. I feel it's easier for me to connect with the players and engenders a cooperative, rather than an adversarial, style of play.

It keeps me honest - rolling in the open means I am less inclined to fudge rolls. I can still fudge hit points and skill checks and modifiers and the like, but that's slightly harder to do and so it means I do it only when absolutely necessary. Back when I used a screen, I realized that I was fudging rolls all the time, and that didn't sit right - I felt like I was railroading the PCs, which ultimately feels a little like you're playing by yourself. So I ditched the screen, and the table feels much more dynamic and interactive as a result.

Also, having the rolls out in the open telegraphs to the players that they are not being mollycoddled, which helps reinforce the idea that any PC could die at any moment. This makes things feel more dangerous. :)

Generally, nobody is looking too closely at my rolls, anyway - I can still fudge the occasional throw if I absolutely have to. The only time close attention is being paid is when it's a crucial roll - somebody might get their PC seriously hurt or killed.


Funny, I actually do roll in secret nowadays, but only because I play over VOIP a lot. And yet strangely, I never fudge rolls anymore. Maybe it is because I rolled in the open for so long beforehand.

If I'm going to fudge something, best to do so outside the heat of combat. Once initiative is taken, things need to be fair, otherwise I would feel terrible for killing PCs.


I roll behind a screen, mostly because is something goes wrong I want to be able to navigate it. A good example of this was my part of 5 4th level PC's ran into a random encounter of 1d4 minotaurs. I rolled a 4, so with 4 creatures I set up the encounter. It goes well until the main fighter in the party falls to a critical hit. Afterwards during the combat, my dice was hating the party and I pulled several 20's I rolled to help the encounter and not end the game.

There where advantages that the party could have taken in this encounter, such as fighting in doorways to limit the area of fighting. Though they choose not to and made the encounter more dangerous. But, I did not want to punish them with ending a game from a random roll.

Andoran

I roll most things - and all important things, which is to say, anything involving a PC - in front of the screen. With the exception of a PCs stealth vs. a Creature's perception.

Monster saves, particularly, really need to be rolled where the player who's causing the Save can see. They really tend to feel cheated if the monsters succeed "too often".


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

I tend to roll important moment-of-truth rolls out in the open. Nobody cares what the initiative rolls were. Nobody cares what the first five attack rolls were. What they care about is the "I've got two hit points left, the bad guy is nearly vanquished, but he's got one more attack to go" moments. What they care about is the "we are all screwed if the bad guy makes his save".

When a player flushes the rack and blows all his little once-per-day abilities and magical items to make the most impressive attack ever, I want them to see the dice answer.

When the bad guy threatens a critical hit at a truly inopportune moment, I want them to see the dice answer.

It's about drama.


cibet44 wrote:


I would suggest going one better: let the PLAYERS roll ALL the dice. Even for the monsters.

I think this is a good idea for a large table so that everyone keeps paying attention.


Anguish wrote:


I tend to roll important moment-of-truth rolls out in the open... What they care about is the "we are all screwed if the bad guy makes his save".

When a player flushes the rack and blows all his little once-per-day abilities and magical items to make the most impressive attack ever, I want them to see the dice answer.

When the bad guy threatens a critical hit at a truly inopportune moment, I want them to see the dice answer.

It's about drama.

Yeah, I agree with this in every conceivable way. I roll behind the screen all the time except for these types of moments where everything hinges on the singular d20 roll or the damage roll. When those types of rolls come up, I roll the dice in front of the screen and state clearly before hand, what is needed.

("he needs a 16 or better here to survive" or "if this guy rolls a 19 or 20, that'll confirm the crit and by the way, if you didn't gather from my description of the weapon, when I say it looks impossibly sharp, that means it's vorpal.")


Selgard wrote:

Nothing to do with trust for me but:

I prefer the DM to roll attackrolls and such in the open so that when I get crit'd to death there is no question or issue.

Isn't that the very definition of a trust issue? Either you trust him when he says you got crit'ed to death or you don't. Requiring to see the roll is saying 'I do not trust you so I must witness the roll myself'.


Gilfalas wrote:
Selgard wrote:

Nothing to do with trust for me but:

I prefer the DM to roll attackrolls and such in the open so that when I get crit'd to death there is no question or issue.

Isn't that the very definition of a trust issue? Either you trust him when he says you got crit'ed to death or you don't. Requiring to see the roll is saying 'I do not trust you so I must witness the roll myself'.

Yeah I tought exactly the same thing while I was reading his post. It's kind of paradoxical. :\

Sczarni

Honestly, I roll out in the open, save for things my players shouldn't be aware of. (Stealth and Bluff checks, etc.) Not out of any deep belief one way or the other, it was just how my GMs did it as I came up in the game, so I followed suit.

If you as a GM choose to roll behind a screen, power to you. The Pathfinder screen is a great utility with all those tables on the inside. I see nothing wrong with making the game fun and challenging. Still, if you feel as though a fight's going to rapidly one way or another, you can definitely shift the game with things other than dice rolls.

So, I suggest doing what you're comfortable with. If you prefer a screen, by all means, stick with it. Not seeing rolls does not hurt my enjoyment of the game as a player. If nothing else, you can ask the player why they would like you to roll out in the open.

Osirion

I should amend my post -

In my first game GMing, the party was TPK'd with the BBEG of the module.

I have since been more delicate with low level characters, eventually getting more hard-core as they gain in strength.

However, I don't like to SEE DM-fiat used. It makes me feel as if whatever victory was gained wasn't deserved.

Therefore, I suggest using the screen for dice during times when the PCs are particularly weak. Roll partially inside, partially outside, and gradually roll more openly until the characters can afford a reincarnate/raise dead - and have that as a option.


Deidre Tiriel wrote:

I should amend my post -

In my first game GMing, the party was TPK'd with the BBEG of the module.

I have since been more delicate with low level characters, eventually getting more hard-core as they gain in strength.

However, I don't like to SEE DM-fiat used. It makes me feel as if whatever victory was gained wasn't deserved.

Therefore, I suggest using the screen for dice during times when the PCs are particularly weak. Roll partially inside, partially outside, and gradually roll more openly until the characters can afford a reincarnate/raise dead - and have that as a option.

Agreed, DM-fiat is ok as long as you never know it was used. :)

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