GMs, do you roll some skill checks secretly for your players, and if so, which?


Advice

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I think , atleast for my group , that we have done the player rolls perception always for so long because our players feel like if some one else is rolling a check for them then they are playing thier character for them. The DM might as well roll all checks for the character ( attack rolls , saves and what not. )


The players make the rolls for their skills in our games. I don't have the desire to book keep that much when I am dm'ing.
It does unfortunately lead to meta-gaming.
But I would rather deal with that then, heaven forbid, forget to add in some circumstance bonus they might have. The wailing and gnashing of teeth that would ensue is not worth it.
The whole... "why did we just trigger that trap? how come I didn't see the bugbear in the bush? ...don't I get a roll to see it ahead of time, well did you add in this,, and this and this...this .. this...
Aaargh... just make the roll your damn self already!


Jiggy wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I just hate the game delays of "A door? Oh. I search for traps on the door. Oh, and on the doorjam too. Come to think of it, I search the square in front of the door too. And while I'm at it, I search for secret doors or compartments..."

...You make them search each item individually? Well there's your problem! ;) If someone makes a perception check, they get all available information that their check result would get.

As for the part about assuming that the characters would search, I can see your point there. On the other hand, I'd hate to invalide Trap Spotter, and I have mixed feeling about "enforcing" smart adventuring.

It doesn't invalidate Trap Spotter any more than having the players explicitly state "I'm looking for traps along this hallway" and "I'm looking for traps at the door" and "I'm looking for traps in the room" and "I'm looking for traps at the door out" and "I'm looking for traps in the next hallway", etc, etc does.

Trap Spotter isn't a substitute for remembering to mention that you're checking for traps, it lets you notice traps when you burst into the room with the monster and don't want to waste an action or when you're being chased down the hall.

Would you accept a "While we're in an adventuring environment, dungeon, cave, ruin, etc, assume we are checking for traps unless specified otherwise. If it's not clear, ask."?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, when you put it like that, that seems reasonable. As long as they're spending their move actions and I don't feel like I'm playing their characters for them.


Jiggy wrote:
Yeah, when you put it like that, that seems reasonable.

Yeah, that's why I treat that as the default. No need to force the players to say it every time they go in a cave. At least not for me.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Tagion wrote:
I think , atleast for my group , that we have done the player rolls perception always for so long because our players feel like if some one else is rolling a check for them then they are playing thier character for them. The DM might as well roll all checks for the character ( attack rolls , saves and what not. )

And this is *exactly* why we have the characters roll a bunch of dice at the beginning of the session, for the GM to pick from randomly.

It's not really any different than having the GM roll the check secretly when it comes up, but it gives the players more of a feeling of agency. Because they know they were the ones who physically rolled the dice. So it stopped all the arguments.

<shrug> Whatever works.


I usually let them roll everything, though I'm considering rolling Perception FOR them in case they try to go all meta-game on me.

Shadow Lodge

I keep an abbreviated character sheet for each of my players in Excel. I mostly keep track of their initiative modifiers, perception, sense motive and armor class.

My players try not to meta-game, being that they're noobs, but they can't help it sometimes, accordingly, I make secret rolls for them.

Liberty's Edge

This may seem odd, but my current DM has us pre-roll about 15 initiatives and write them on a notecard with our character name and initiative modifier. After each fight, he crosses off the value at the top of the uncrossed column and reorders them while we patch up.

I really like the way that fights start now, and I also love not knowing who's going next in the initiative until we observe the flow of battle. Previously, we knew what everyone rolled and were able to make decisions about whether or not we could delay without sacrificing actions with respect to team monster. Now we have to really do some risk/reward assessment. Could the cleric have rolled really poorly and the fighter really well, so the fighter should not wait for the prayer? If everyone knows everyone else's initiative, then you know that the fighter rolled a 17 and the cleric a 16, so it's really a safe bet that the monsters will not act between the two. I love not knowing that.

On tempo:

Old: "You open the door and see a bunch of orcs. Roll initiative." (everybody stops. Everybody rolls. We figure out initiative order, turns out an orc wins initiative) "One orc attacks!"

New: (orc won initiative) "You open the door and an orc leaps out of the darkness, (rolls attack) opening a gash on your torso with his axe! 7 points of damage! Axebeard! Your turn!"

The game doesn't grind to a halt now as everyone rolls initiative and the fight starts. The DM has plenty of time to reorder the initiative cards for the next fight at the end of the one we just finished, because that's generally when the party is healing up and checking spell/item reserves. We both finish our tasks at about the same time, and then the DM doles out experience and treasure rewards.

He also has us pre-roll a bunch of d20s and just uses those for clandestine perception/sense motive, I think. Really the only saving throws that could possibly be secrets are fort saves on disease and will saves on subtle enchantment spells.

Liberty's Edge

I have a question:

How do you all handle knowledge checks? In our party, there are like four characters with relevant monster knowledge. (Wizard/loremaster and lore oracle being two of them).

I play the wizard, and I've almost come to loathe the time when everyone stops and we roll knowledge checks, so I generally don't roll them until I see a monster that I feel might modify our tactics if we knew its capabilities.

Basically, to sum up my attitude as a player, I only roll a knowledge check when I would order a lab test: If I think the result would change my course of action. I don't roll knowledge checks on bears, because I don't think knowing that a bear has claws and a bite would change what I do and would only result in the game slowing down.

So here are the parts of the question:

How much information do you give the player for a successful check? Is beating the DC by 5 enough to get you DR, resistances, and SR, or just one of those? Or maybe even an idea of the monster's saving throws as well? (So do you give one bit of information or everything in a category?)

Also, how do you determine WHICH information the character remembered? Do you let the player choose which information he wants? When I take new points in skill checks, I generally specify "My character prefers to learn about the defensive characteristics of monsters, so that's what he'll spend his time researching as he levels up and gains new ranks in this knowledge skill," because generally the wizard is going to want to know which monsters will resist which types of spells. Do you guys just let the players call out what their character knows? Like, if there's an outsider and they earn one piece of information, do you let them say "defensive characteristics!" and give it to them? Or do you have them narrow it down more, like "damage reduction!" or do you just randomly determine, or do you just think of something neat or important about the creature you think is useful and that's what they remember?

Or something else?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If you are playing an Inquisitor, knowing a monster's capabilities is built into the class, it's what you do. Same thing with the mindchemist.

Liberty's Edge

Okay, that's... somewhat related to my question, I guess.

What I was actually trying to ask, though, was how DMs adjudicated what information and how much information a character got for different degrees of success on knowledge checks. Not so much a short list of classes that got bonuses to knowledge checks.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Unless you are houseruling, a successful knowledge check tells you all capabilities and weaknesses. If you fail, you do not know any.
This may help: Knowledge

Silver Crusade

With the perception check thing, our group's GMs always seem fond of traps, it as become a habit when in a strange place, "check for traps".

It sometimes gets redicilous, to the point where even if there are no traps detected, the doors are opened carefully, using the door itself as a shield against anything that's on the other side.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Unless you are houseruling, a successful knowledge check tells you all capabilities and weaknesses. If you fail, you do not know any.

This may help: Knowledge

Are you sure?

Knowledge wrote:

You can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities.

<Snip-DCs>
A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information.

So the question remains: Which order do the bits of useful info come in?


I don't remember what creatures anymore, but some on d20pfsrd have a sidebar with bits of info gained and the DCs to gain them... they are fan creations i think, and don't necessarily have to be what info is gleaned from a check, but might help you determine what is and isnt enough info for beating a DC... If i can find which, if any, of the creatures have that info I will link to the page in an edit.

EDIT:

Aboleth

Chuul

Drider

Deinonychus

Elasmosaurus

Megaraptor

That should give you some ideas anyways.


Sometimes I'll roll a die behind my screen and chuckle to myself. It doesn't do anything but sometimes I just like to see my friends sweat :)

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