Ask a Pro: Question One

Friday, May 22, 2009

After I started my internship at Paizo, one of the things I found really intriguing was seeing how the pros did things—little things, really, like how they pronounce tarrasque, for example. Then it occurred to me that most people who roleplay often never experience anything outside of their own group of players, so I figured maybe some of you might be as interested as I am in knowing how the pros GM, so I whipped up some questions for the folks here at Paizo.

1. When you call for your players to roll Perception checks, do you pull those who succeed aside, or do you simply look at them and say, "You see/hear...?"

Lisa Stevens: I just do it in front of everybody. I trust my players, they're all pros. But sometimes I might do it just to see how someone will react or to see how someone might attempt to convey the same message to the rest of the group. It becomes really interesting when two players' characters are a bit antagonistic with each other; it's fun if one player makes the roll, but the other doesn't. I like to give that player the info just to see if he'll share the info, and if he doesn't, how the other player might react.

F. Wesley Schneider: Depends on the situation. If it's something more epic, I've found that it is much more exciting and suspenseful when a player reveals the information than the Game Master.

James Jacobs: I just say it in front of everyone.

Erik Mona: That really depends on the dramatic tension. If it isn't very important, or it will just slow the game down, then no. But if a player has a different agenda than the rest of the group, then certainly.

Jason Bulmahn: Depends. If it's a situation where the results aren't immediately obvious I might, but if it's a situation where a monster is about to jump out and attack and everyone will know in just a few seconds anyway, then I just say it.

Sean K Reynolds: Tell everyone and trust people not to metagame.

Joshua J. Frost: I just say it in front of everybody.

James Sutter: In front of everybody; I trust my players and depend on player honesty.

Chris Self: Everyone. I trust my players to keep player knowledge and character knowledge separate. Besides, with things like Perception checks, everyone will know it within moments anyway.

This first question is something I've often wondered how other groups handled. For me, I've often just said, "All right, you two see...," but after a while, I started to think, "Man... this is almost a waste of time having them roll at all, since at least one person always succeeds! It's good to know I'm not the only one who plays this way.

Hank Woon
Editorial Intern

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