How do I deal with a player who always rolls great?


Advice

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No matter what set of dice we give this guy, he's rolling on the high side. I watch him. It's gotten so bad that even he wants it to stop, because he knows he's stealing the spot light during combat.

He's tried an online dice roller, which he claims seems to be more fair (and I believe he's honest, for the most part. I can never tell.) and asks to use it instead. (can't provide link, don't ask, I don't have it.)

But I need to cover my bases! What if the dice roller app thing likes him too?

What I need is advice on downplaying his impact when he's getting rolls +5 higher than everyone else, every time. Anyone have any tips on how to do this effectively, without kneecapping him?


Speaking as one of those guys, online dice rollers work. I use them when I GM. However, you select the die roller.


You could also reverse the rolls. For example if he rolls a 20 count it as a 1. A 7 on a d8 would be a 2.


Either every set of dice you give him are jacked/cooked, he has a secret way of rolling dice to get the result he wants, you guys have some massive confirmation bias and are ignoring his poor rolls, or this dude has magic powers.

In any case, I smell BS.


Have his result be (X+1)-dX

So, for a 20 sided die it would be 21 - roll = result.

His high rolls instantly become low rolls!

Edit: Ninja'd by mysterious stranger.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Take this person to a Casino ASAP.

Honestly, I don't see a problem, luck averages out.

Sczarni

Ten'shun the Tengu wrote:

No matter what set of dice we give this guy, he's rolling on the high side. I watch him. It's gotten so bad that even he wants it to stop, because he knows he's stealing the spot light during combat.

He's tried an online dice roller, which he claims seems to be more fair (and I believe he's honest, for the most part. I can never tell.) and asks to use it instead. (can't provide link, don't ask, I don't have it.)

But I need to cover my bases! What if the dice roller app thing likes him too?

What I need is advice on downplaying his impact when he's getting rolls +5 higher than everyone else, every time. Anyone have any tips on how to do this effectively, without kneecapping him?

This sounds silly, but seat him in a different spot than where he normally sits. I bet the luck will change.

I have a friend that used to play, and whomever sat to his Right, suddenly rolled very poorly - and he rolled high often. He even rolled 4 20s in a row once. We gave him the nickname of "Luck Vampire". We even went to the extent of testing it out in different areas of the house, and sure enough as soon as someone was to his right he started rolling with a high average; with the other poor soul rolling low average. As soon as they left, he just rolled average.

It also definitely has to do with how you roll the dice and how it's held beforehand.

After we moved him to a spot where no one was to his right anymore, his rolls were average.


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Scientific Answer: This probably isn't really happening, but if you come to suspect that the player might be rolling the dice in some special way so as to influence the outcome I guess you could try a dice rolling tower.

Superstitious Answer: Have people touch the lucky player's dice and then call out low numbers as he rolls.

Spiteful Answer: Have all the monsters focus on killing the amazing PC who never misses before he can attack them.


Have him roll his dice yatzee-style (jangle them in a cup, and tip the cup or slam it down upside down. This will take any hand/finger-based finesse out of the equation.

Or, you could always have one of the other PS's roll his dice for him, as long as he's OK with that.

Liberty's Edge

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Call out 'impossible' if you will but this is a frustration I have too. They've rolled in a box, with a cup, on a book, on the table, in a drawer we pulled out, with someone else's dice, and using several different 'rolling' styles: regardless, they still, on average, roll amazingly well. Three nat 20s in a row or better has happened on more than one occasion. Sadly no helpful advice for this one, if you have any luck let me know


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kaineblade83 wrote:
Call out 'impossible' if you will but this is a frustration I have too. They've rolled in a box, with a cup, on a book, on the table, in a drawer we pulled out, with someone else's dice, and using several different 'rolling' styles: regardless, they still, on average, roll amazingly well. Three nat 20s in a row or better has happened on more than one occasion. Sadly no helpful advice for this one, if you have any luck let me know

Tee hee

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Are you sure this is a problem? It seems like the player isnt manipulating anything, random is random.


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Ashram wrote:

Either every set of dice you give him are jacked/cooked, he has a secret way of rolling dice to get the result he wants, you guys have some massive confirmation bias and are ignoring his poor rolls, or this dude has magic powers.

In any case, I smell BS.

Not true. There's a magic pro who rolls on screen with thousands of people watching who according to professional stats has won 55% of his rolls/coin flips in professional play. A small number of people are just flatly lucky. Just like a small number are flatly unlucky. I know two people who no matter what dice you give them they roll sub 10 over 60% of the time, we know because we kept track of all roles for all 8 sessions in a month.

It's not always confirmation bias, magic, or whatever. Stats state that a small number of people will deviate 1 SD from the norm and a tiny amount 2 SD's. He just happens to be rare.


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There's pretty much nothing you can do. Whats more, I don't think you should.

If you should choose to ignore that advice (which is fine, btw) either roll the dice yourself, but do so visibly, at least that way you can rest in the certainty that nothing weird is going on; Or ask him to create a character that doesn't have to do a lot of dicerolling so his so-called luck isn't as obvious.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If it isn't just confirmation bias (try actually recording all of the rolls over the course of a couple sessions to see if there's actually anything there), try a dice cup. I know of a couple ways of tossing dice from my hands that make it more likely for a certain area of the die to end up on top, but putting the dice in a cup, shaking it up, then turning it upside-down and plopping it on the table removes all of those tricks one can be doing when hand rolling (either intentionally or inadvertently).


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Unless you think he is cheating, there is nothing you should do as a GM.

I would start by actually logging all of his d20 rolls (these types of issues tend to focus on d20 rolls, not damage or other rolls that use other dice). The most likely answer is that he has had a few timely crits or high rolls that built a confirmation bias among the table.

If a log over multiple sessions (I would suggest at least 50 rolls before drawing conclusions, and would probably hold off for 100 myself) demonstrates and extreme tendency towards high rolls, then you can look into other options.

Since the digital dice roller seems to have corrected the issue, I sounds like it was something in his rolling technique that (possibly unconsciously) impacted his rolls. If he has a preference for the feel and sound of physical dice (I know I do), a dice tower or rolling cup will probably correct the situation.

Scarab Sages

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Chain them to a bed and donate them to mathematicians to dissect.

Or give them a high five for having an awesome run of rolls. That'd work to.
If you really think it's a problem then Pugwampis and the Misfortune hex or other ways to force rerolls


Roll instead of him and have him roll instead few of the enemies in the fight.


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most of these answers are just terrible and if used will hurt the game or the group or the player specifically

if there is no way you see that the player is cheating then it will simply average out


Lamontius wrote:

most of these answers are just terrible and if used will hurt the game or the group or the player specifically

if there is no way you see that the player is cheating then it will simply average out

Or it won't average out. When you have a chance process like rolling dice, there will be variation. That's supposed to be part of the game.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Have him play builds that don't involve him rolling much. Illusionist Wizard comes to mind.


Maybe the tables slanted slightly.


If you want a more controlled and thus scientific method of rolling, buy enough sets of dice for everyone at the table, say 5 sets. Make sure the dice are as balanced as possible via a float test if desired.

Buy a dice tower and put all of them in the middle of the table.

Make everyone roll by dropping dice into the tower.

Then record all D20 rolls for everyone for at least 1,000 rolls per person. If you have 5 sets then have each person roll 200 rolls per set. Simply assign and rotate.

Please report back with these numbers.

If you have significantly above average for one person and below for another then I will be surprised.

Most "Good/Bad Rolls" are based on:

1.) Confirmation Bias

2.) Unbalanced Dice

3.) Die rolling Habits

4.) A string of numbers in a desired/undesired zone. (See 1)

Hope this helps.


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Check him for horizontal spin, if he keeps his dice lying top side up (like I and many other gamers do). He might be picking up with finger tips and it only spins around a vertical axis and 'locking' the top side in the up position. With practice you can gain very good control with a d20 (harder) and lower dice (easier). Physically bigger dice make this technique easier to learn.

Remember: it might not be intentional. I had a DM who did this with his oversized d20 without realizing it, he figured the die was weighted - but it wasn't for anybody else :) it was his way of throwing the die.


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There is a method that I don't really recommend as it kind of takes a bit of fun away, but it'll work. Take a deck of cards, remove all the face cards but keep the aces. Now you should have 40 cards. when he draws a red card treat it as it's number (so an ace would be a 1) and when he draws a black card treat it as it's number +10. When the deck is done, just shuffle it and use it again. Guaranteed average d20 rolls. Roll the other dice normally, they don't really matter that much in the grand scheme of things.


@DonDuckie: Reading your post just now was a Morpheus (What If I Told You...) moment for me.

That's insane.

I have to look into this "horizontal spin" business now lol. What is happening?!

Scarab Sages

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Let me offer an alternative suggestion to everyone else:

Let it go.

Let's say you think he's cheating his rolls somehow. So what? I know it sounds like I'm not taking the game seriously, or that it maybe violates the purity of the game, but I do take my players' enjoyment quite seriously and I do care about the game. At it's heart, this is ultimately a game of make believe, and if someone at my table wants to pretend he's Poe Dameron rolling nothing but natural 20's, then where's the harm? I know this will rub a lot of people the wrong way, but in my experience there is a lot more to the game than rolling D20's and there's plenty of ways to spread the spotlight around and make sure that everybody gets to feel like a "big da#n hero."

Ultimately, if he's cheating, then he's only cheating himself out of a fun part of the game. If he just has great dice mojo, then that's just his thing and why bother trying to change it? Pathfinder is not an MMO, it's a group of friends having fun around a table. If he plays well with others, is considerate at the table, and contributes to the overall level of fun, then that's good enough for me.


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No one has special luck when it comes to rolling dice. If you see a person roll different dice and he keeps getting rolls it's because of the randomness of the universe. It astounds me that people believe that people have luck or misfortune when it comes to inherently random things. It's a nonsense way of understanding the world; leave the poor player alone.


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Undone wrote:
Ashram wrote:

Either every set of dice you give him are jacked/cooked, he has a secret way of rolling dice to get the result he wants, you guys have some massive confirmation bias and are ignoring his poor rolls, or this dude has magic powers.

In any case, I smell BS.

Not true. There's a magic pro who rolls on screen with thousands of people watching who according to professional stats has won 55% of his rolls/coin flips in professional play. A small number of people are just flatly lucky. Just like a small number are flatly unlucky. I know two people who no matter what dice you give them they roll sub 10 over 60% of the time, we know because we kept track of all roles for all 8 sessions in a month.

It's not always confirmation bias, magic, or whatever. Stats state that a small number of people will deviate 1 SD from the norm and a tiny amount 2 SD's. He just happens to be rare.

Basing your argument on someone who has extensively trained in sleight-of-hand being able to use a sleight-of-hand trick to manipulate the odds of a coin flip doesn't really hold much water to me.

8 sessions is a rather small sample size. Assuming you make 12 rolls each session, that's only about 100 rolls. There's a reasonable chance that could come out with 60% of the rolls coming out with below the average roll - about 3% - so it's not anything I'd find super convincing.

Dark Archive

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Finagle's Law in action...do not try to fight it. It would only bring regret...


Have you tried multiple dice? A Nat 20 is harder to get on 2d10 than on 1d20, and much harder on 5d4.


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To those who are saying not to do anything, I would remind you that the OP said that everyone at the table, including the "offending" player is getting annoyed by the situation.

Aside from having the player make characters that roll less, you could look into getting a set of special scientifically balanced dice. It may not help things, but it should help quiet the naysayers.


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Give him a pair of sunglasses and #deal with it?
No, but honestly, it will even out in the end.


Originally, wasn't the DM in first edition (and maybe subsequent editions, not sure) supposed to roll *all* the dice anyway? You could start that practice back up and roll for anyone who wants you to.


If he tends to keep his dice with a certain value face up, then you could try putting a stop to that. This would make sure that he is not rolling his dice in some special way, rather he means to or not.


Mathematically the concept of always rolling well should be impossible!


A lot of dice are unbalanced and with a good/quick hand you can augment your good roll's. Try giving him a "bad" dice and make sure he roll on a flat surface or on a soft surface (mouse pad).


Clear dice are usually more well balanced than solid colored dice, btw, due to the manufacturing process.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Make him the GM.

-Skeld


Some times Dice just love you...
I had a game years ago where due to good scouting and forethought, the party turned an encounter completely around that should have been a challenge, sure enough, the boss, my re-occurring villain was boxed in with a player blocking the only exit, my only chance was a crit for them to knock down the player's character and escape and I called the roll "Double 6, Now!" rolled, and the dice came up double 6. Every one hated that pair of dice, even when the rolls were for some thing good for the party.

But seriously, how best to deal with rolls is replace it with Role Play, put more on their descriptive on how they want to solve some thing, give them options to avoid combat, say climbing a cliff side rather then charging through a guarded pass, still same xp award for defeating the encounter.


Dice rolling can be annoying.

I consistently roll low for almost all d20 attack and saving throw rolls. I frequently roll high for unimportant things, like skill checks, or when the actual result is not critical.

As a consequence, I avoid playing martial characters and instead play wizards or other spellcasters. I still fail saving throws a lot, but otherwise my dice rolling is mitigated.

Yes, confirmation bias is a thing; and my overall average is actually fairly normal, but I still can't hit things in combat :)

The problem player for the OP should also try playing a wizard/spellcaster for the oppposite reason as I do, as suggested above my several other people.


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Nohwear wrote:

To those who are saying not to do anything, I would remind you that the OP said that everyone at the table, including the "offending" player is getting annoyed by the situation.

Aside from having the player make characters that roll less, you could look into getting a set of special scientifically balanced dice. It may not help things, but it should help quiet the naysayers.

Here's a rule I have at my table: if you have a problem with something that has no basis in logic or rationality I will not ruin someone else's fun for it. I am not going to ruin someone else's fun because you think she has magical dice rolling abilities.


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Make him play a core vanilla monk.


Grab a dice tower you all use, maybe? I know a few folks have mentioned it, but they are shiny...

Also, possibly look into a diceless gaming system for your next campaign. See if he's as lucky at Dread. And then laugh at his suffering.


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Harleequin wrote:
Mathematically the concept of always rolling well should be impossible!

Mathematically it is not impossible. It is just very unlikely.


It seems weird if you discount synchronicity. Our scientific base is built on a few essential foundations and one of those foundations is conventional Cause/Effect relationships. In order for the dice to consistently give the results you're seeing, by our standard thinking, lends strongly to the notion that some unknown cause (subtle hand manipulation, unbalanced dice, etc.) is generating the observed effect (disproportionately good rolls). But if you take into consideration non-physical interactions through synchronicity, it opens up the possibility that he is rolling good not by a direct interaction with the dice but by non-physical means. In other words, the dice respond directly to his mental state, rather than through the proxy of "the real world". In esoteric studies, this is sometimes referred to as "affirmation"; creating a mental image of eventual success phrased in the present tense (affirming the result) causes the desired result to manifest itself.


He can come play at my table, he would make up for all of my players' lousy rolls. They are up to level 4 and the only crits have been made by me, against them.

It would be a little more book keeping, but you could just increase the DC for his rolls only.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kazaan wrote:
It seems weird if you discount synchronicity. Our scientific base is built on a few essential foundations and one of those foundations is conventional Cause/Effect relationships. In order for the dice to consistently give the results you're seeing, by our standard thinking, lends strongly to the notion that some unknown cause (subtle hand manipulation, unbalanced dice, etc.) is generating the observed effect (disproportionately good rolls). But if you take into consideration non-physical interactions through synchronicity, it opens up the possibility that he is rolling good not by a direct interaction with the dice but by non-physical means. In other words, the dice respond directly to his mental state, rather than through the proxy of "the real world". In esoteric studies, this is sometimes referred to as "affirmation"; creating a mental image of eventual success phrased in the present tense (affirming the result) causes the desired result to manifest itself.

I have saying, "Never attribute to synchronicity that which is actually confirmation bias."

It's surprising applicable to this thread.

-Skeld


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Undone almost has it but not quite.

Undone wrote:
It's not always confirmation bias, magic, or whatever. Stats state that a small number of people will deviate 1 SD from the norm and a tiny amount 2 SD's. He just happens to be rare.

While this is true, the mistake is to assume that past results are an indicator of future random luck. It's perfectly believeable for a player to have a strong set of very lucky rolls --- but assuming no other factors e.g. dice weighting are involved this player is no more likely to continue this streak than anybody else.

The correct response is to do nothing or, at most, swap his dice.


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Blakmane wrote:

Undone almost has it but not quite.

Undone wrote:
It's not always confirmation bias, magic, or whatever. Stats state that a small number of people will deviate 1 SD from the norm and a tiny amount 2 SD's. He just happens to be rare.

While this is true, the mistake is to assume that past results are an indicator of future random luck. It's perfectly believeable for a player to have a strong set of very lucky rolls --- but assuming no other factors e.g. dice weighting are involved this player is no more likely to continue this streak than anybody else.

The correct response is to do nothing or, at most, swap his dice.

A reasonable solution but the person I was referring to has maintained his percentage of going first wins of 55% for over 4000 professional matches of magic. It's not how he rolls dice, it's not how he flips coins, there are just a small number of really lucky people read up on Timothy Dexter. The stuff he did was outright crazy and made less than zero sense since half the time the thing he exploited hadn't happened at the time he made a terrible choice. (He sent coal to a coal mining region for god sake, they had a strike less than a week before it arrived!)

I'm not saying he is that lucky what I'm saying is that if swapping dice, using a roller, or whatever doesn't work just let it go and accept you have a prodigy.

EDIT: to add to the answers given earlier.

Go to a casino.

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