GM rolling skill checks.


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Not really. A good player should know how to keep IC and OOC separate. It's usually MORE compelling if you know something is valuable but you just can't identify it. It's an exquisite kind of torture to have to say IC "Yeah, it's junk, leave it" when you as a player know it's great.


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I roll every check where the end result is not physically obvious on its face. And I have a spreadsheet with everyone's skills and saves.

A shorter list would be what checks does the player make.

Especially at low levels, saves are important to keep hidden so you can roleplay the effects of disease/poison/stat-drains, instead of players instantly saying, "I failed my save, cast XXX on me," or fudging, "well, I would have checked to see if I have filth fever ANYWAYS, even though it does not take effect for a day."

RPing the effects gives a much tighter sense of mystery and urgency. They mentally retrace their steps and actions wondering what happened and exactly how to cure it.


Also you can merely say, you are unsure of the value. People's modifiers exist in ranges. The line is usually not between completely right and completely wrong, even if you roll a 1. It can be between assurance and inability to form an opinion. The surprise is unnecessary unless you are playing a binary game.


Sundakan wrote:
It's an exquisite kind of torture to have to say IC "Yeah, it's junk, leave it" when you as a player know it's great.

Kudos to you sir, to my shame I don't often meet players who would do that.

Once one of my players was bitten by a werewolf. I told him he could assume he now had lycanthrope or he could wait till the next full moon to find out. In that case I didn't roll his save for him. Like I said before, I think it is a fun part of the game to roll the dice and I generally don't like taking that away from my players. Instead, I told him to wait until the full moon to roll the save; but, in the end, he just assumed he had the affliction and paid to get it cured.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

So my thing is this, if I have players who aren't going to metagame exclusively to their own advantage? Then sure, let them roll everything, perception, disguise whatever. Because then I can TRUST them not to be dicks and use out of game knowledge to possibly get a leg up.

For example: Me calling for a Perception check automatically alerts the players that there is something to check for. Even if they all fail the roll, the players know there is something there and automatically have their characters start making adjustments to be aware of something in the room or that there is something in the room that can and needs to be found.

In the same sense that people call out railroady GM's as bad GM's?
I call these types of players Bad Players because they purposefully break immersion for a perceived advantage.

As a result, because I know everyone isnt perfect I use Passive Perception for certain things. I keep an index card with all of the PC's perception modifiers on it +10. Whenever they run into or pass something that normally would trigger a Perception check I consult the card. Those who have a number high enough to beat it get alerted. Those who don't? Don't.

If a player hears something in a description or realizes something because of the environment that their character is in and they call to make a Perception check? Then they roll. But if they walk into a room and the invisible assassin is standing still in the far corner of that room waiting to strike? There's no observable stimulus for them to react to. So their Passive perception comes into play.

If that Assassin strikes and remains invisible and the PC's call for Perception checks then, because they are aware of danger, there IS observable stimuli (that fist sized hole in the fighter's chest and armor...) then they get to roll.

I do sort of the same thing with disguise. Although Disguise is usually easier to adjudicate as they PC's usually have enough time to prepare and take 10 or 20. But in the cases where it's a rush job? In those instances there SHOULD be some uncertainty to the reliability of the disguise in question. In those cases I roll and add or subtract modifiers as warranted. When they employ a disguise there SHOULD be an element of suspense somewhere I think. But that's just me. I do try to run games as a balance between both role-playing AND a game.
When I have a trustworthy group who wont metagame too much? They definitely have more leeway than if I'm running a game for a bunch of relative strangers.


Die Rolling:
I think quite a few of us know a person who no matter what dice they use tend to roll higher than average and a few that tend to do the opposite as well. I understand the probability of it and the reasoning behind why it should not make a difference but the fact is quite often these gifted people have blown probability out of the water.
I am just glad that they were not all in the same group or at the same table and for me I tend to roll well as a Gm and poor as a player.
MDC


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I only do a few, and typically tied to things where the player not knowing if they passed or failed has potential to be more fun for our group.
I have the PCs AC and passive perception #s on my headsup display, but don't keep track of anything else, so its not a lot of extra data for me.

Appraisal is an example that easily goes meta when players roll. First player rolls a low number (5 or less). Either I tell them they have no idea the value, or that its a fake, or worth 1000's of GP. In all 3 cases, someone else in the party is probably going to roll, often only because everyone at the table knows the original info given by me is bogus. If player 2 rolls high, they also know that data is right. On the flip side, if I roll behind the screen, ask for the PC's modifier, and then tell them its a fake. Someone else can also check it, and perhaps you end up with arguments about what it is worth. Later when they try to trade it there are RP opportunities and some one-upmanship in the group.

Trap finding. I don't use RAW, only rogues can find most traps in my game, and I don't allow "take-20" which presumes you fail many times. So the party rogue has 2 choices, take-10 or have me roll. In either case, "not finding any traps" is never a sure thing. It has added to the suspense and enjoyment for us, and not a few chuckles out of character when the trap-free chest/door/etc blew up in everyone's face. It's an inexact science after all, of course I also have to keep a straight poker face or its pointless. Trap finding is one where a high-roll is more of a meta-game problem. Lots of doors/chests aren't trapped, so rolling low doesn't really tell you anything obvious. However, rolling high, you have a pretty good certainty that no-trap means no trap, or you found it and proceed with disarm attempt.

So really not that common, as I ponder it. The question I've posed to the group is to consider from their personal stand point, "if I (or another player) rolls a 1 (or a 20) on a check, is it going to trigger me to roll for my PC or affect what I do in game?" If you think the answer is yes, then it might be one of those skill check moments that the GM to roll for you. In that regard, there are not really a lot of times it will add to the enjoyment of the game.


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ShinHakkaider wrote:

So my thing is this, if I have players who aren't going to metagame exclusively to their own advantage? Then sure, let them roll everything, perception, disguise whatever. Because then I can TRUST them not to be dicks and use out of game knowledge to possibly get a leg up.

For example: Me calling for a Perception check automatically alerts the players that there is something to check for. Even if they all fail the roll, the players know there is something there and automatically have their characters start making adjustments to be aware of something in the room or that there is something in the room that can and needs to be found.

In the same sense that people call out railroady GM's as bad GM's?
I call these types of players Bad Players because they purposefully break immersion for a perceived advantage.

As a result, because I know everyone isnt perfect I use Passive Perception for certain things. I keep an index card with all of the PC's perception modifiers on it +10. Whenever they run into or pass something that normally would trigger a Perception check I consult the card. Those who have a number high enough to beat it get alerted. Those who don't? Don't.

If a player hears something in a description or realizes something because of the environment that their character is in and they call to make a Perception check? Then they roll. But if they walk into a room and the invisible assassin is standing still in the far corner of that room waiting to strike? There's no observable stimulus for them to react to. So their Passive perception comes into play.

If that Assassin strikes and remains invisible and the PC's call for Perception checks then, because they are aware of danger, there IS observable stimuli (that fist sized hole in the fighter's chest and armor...) then they get to roll.

I do sort of the same thing with disguise. Although Disguise is usually easier to adjudicate as they PC's usually have enough time to prepare and take 10 or 20. But in the cases where it's a rush job? In...

As you point out, even if you have players who'll try not to meta, some of this is just impossible to keep separate in vs out of character. Its a little bit of a catch-22 for the players IMO. If I'm trying not to meta, then am I punishing myself and possibly others by not asking for another roll or taking safety precautions? But if I do take precaution after knowing we all rolled horrible on perception, am I meta-gaming (almost border line cheating?).

By GM rolling certain checks it's arguably more fair for the players so they're not stuck on the fence trying to decide to play stupid on purpose or feel like they're cheating.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
GM 1990 wrote:
ShinHakkaider wrote:

So my thing is this, if I have players who aren't going to metagame exclusively to their own advantage? Then sure, let them roll everything, perception, disguise whatever. Because then I can TRUST them not to be dicks and use out of game knowledge to possibly get a leg up.

For example: Me calling for a Perception check automatically alerts the players that there is something to check for. Even if they all fail the roll, the players know there is something there and automatically have their characters start making adjustments to be aware of something in the room or that there is something in the room that can and needs to be found.

In the same sense that people call out railroady GM's as bad GM's?
I call these types of players Bad Players because they purposefully break immersion for a perceived advantage.

As a result, because I know everyone isnt perfect I use Passive Perception for certain things. I keep an index card with all of the PC's perception modifiers on it +10. Whenever they run into or pass something that normally would trigger a Perception check I consult the card. Those who have a number high enough to beat it get alerted. Those who don't? Don't.

If a player hears something in a description or realizes something because of the environment that their character is in and they call to make a Perception check? Then they roll. But if they walk into a room and the invisible assassin is standing still in the far corner of that room waiting to strike? There's no observable stimulus for them to react to. So their Passive perception comes into play.

If that Assassin strikes and remains invisible and the PC's call for Perception checks then, because they are aware of danger, there IS observable stimuli (that fist sized hole in the fighter's chest and armor...) then they get to roll.

I do sort of the same thing with disguise. Although Disguise is usually easier to adjudicate as they PC's usually have enough time to prepare and take 10 or 20. But in the

...

Here's what I find curious about gamers though, especially players.

It's a role playing game. The PC is not the player. They are in essence playing a part. Part of that IS not having your character react to information that they dont have. GM's (at least half decent ones) do this ALL THE TIME.

I dont buy it as being a catch 22. I see it as some players either needing to ALWAYS have all the advantages available to them all of the time or just bad playing. I'm not talking extremes here. I'm not saying anyone who metagames is a bad person. But the type of player who always needs to be on top of everything or plays the game strictly as an exercise in numbers or who role plays right up until the point it's inconvenient for their character is someone I'm incompatible with as a gamer.

I dont see it as punishing yourself for not using information and insight that the PC doesnt have. I see it as PART of playing a role-playing game. I've been playing and running games a long time and as a good player you kind of learn that's part of the deal. As a good GM, you learn not to take advantage of your players ESPECIALLY if they're being good sports.


ShinHakkaider wrote:


Here's what I find curious about gamers though, especially players.
It's a role playing game. The PC is not the player. They are in essence playing a part. Part of that IS not having your character react to information that they dont have. GM's (at least half decent ones) do this ALL THE TIME.

For sure, but you've got to assess your players. Some individuals are more capable of doing it, which has as much to do with player style and maturity as GM style. A lot of GMing (and life for that matter) is learning to know the group dynamics and individuals you're dealing with. I'm GMing for my 8, 10, 12 year olds and my wife rounds out the group. They've all only been gaming about 15 months, really enjoy the RPing, exploration, and skill challenges aspects, 2-4 hour sessions every other week and we've gone up to 4 sessions with no combat. But I know with my 8 year old, as much as he doesn't want to....he can't help himself acting on player knowledge - and he's probably the most invested of the 4 in his PCs backstory and RPing. So its not even exclusive to more RP inclined.

When I'm playing in my 12 year old's campaign, I'd rather have him roll for those few things that make sense. I can role-play the outcome either way, but still find it more fun when I can literally just take the director's que and "action" the part; without having to suspend my knowledge of what's really about to happen.


After reading some of these posts, I have come to the conclusion that there may be a small issue with the passive Take 10 in a boundless system like Pathfinder. It really can make it impossible for a character to see something hiding at times. I am thinking of adding a house rule to my games. If you take a feat that grants a bonus to skills, you Take 10 +5 per feat that grants the bonus, but only to your passive checks. So if you take Alertness, you are now Taking 15. If you also take Skill Focus, you are Taking 20 (but this isn't the same as Taking 20 times as long since it's only for passive checks).

I may instead base it on skill ranks and do something akin to Skill Unlocks. I would still want to make it so that the feat is necessary.

Skill Focus:
Perception
5 Ranks: Passive Check is 12 + Bonuses
10 Ranks: Passive Check is 15 + Bonuses
15 Ranks: Passive Check is 17 + Bonuses
20 Ranks: Passive Check is 20 + Bonuses

I don't know how balanced it would be for other checks, but I think it's something for me to think about and see how it works out.


The whole idea of the passive 10 is that you can take 10 at anytime and it basically represent putting in a middling level of attention without putting specific effort into it.

I've not had players complain about, and it's not as though the bonuses to their skill don't matter. Basically it's a measure of saying this is 1/2 the maximum roll you could make anyways, have it as a freebie.

To me it doesn't make sense to increase it as your skill increase, the result of the check will increase because you skill modifier has increased, no need to add another bonus to the roll.

That being said, I also wouldn't be upset at a GM for doing it either. It only makes things easier as a player.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As far as skills go, Disable Device is one that I almost always roll for my players. I also roll some Perception checks, such as when they're looking for traps. These rolls are one where there can be a significant cost for failure. Rolling for the players removes the temptation to metagame because now they don't know if their result was a 5 or a 15 and they can't glean any information from the raw numbers.

I'll also roll Sense Motive and Disguise when I feel it's warranted. Heck, I'll even roll a saving throw on occasion, such as when a monster has a secondary effect attached to its attack, like decease. I'll make the Fort save in secret, without even telling them it took place. Mif they failed, they'll find out after the incubation period. :D

-Skeld


Skeld wrote:

As far as skills go, Disable Device is one that I almost always roll for my players. I also roll some Perception checks, such as when they're looking for traps. These rolls are one where there can be a significant cost for failure. Rolling for the players removes the temptation to metagame because now they don't know if their result was a 5 or a 15 and they can't glean any information from the raw numbers.

I'll also roll Sense Motive and Disguise when I feel it's warranted. Heck, I'll even roll a saving throw on occasion, such as when a monster has a secondary effect attached to its attack, like decease. I'll make the Fort save in secret, without even telling them it took place. Mif they failed, they'll find out after the incubation period. :D

-Skeld

The Sense Motive I can see, you never know if you got a good read off of someone or not. But Fort saves? What does that really add to the game aside from some chuckles at your players' expense?


I think the key point with any of these cases where the GM will roll for players is to make sure your players know about it up-front.

As noted, there are a number of cases where it makes sense, but I think it is important to be clear about the fact that you'll roll some checks for them (or do the Take 10 Passive Perception, etc) when you start the campaign, rather than springing it on them the first time an appropriate situation occurs.


RDM42 wrote:
How exactly does not knowing what the number on a d20 is remove even the slightest bit of player agency? The are still choosing what to do, and the result is still decided the same way.

Actually, it does alter players' decisions. Knowing that they failed on a high roll will make them realize that they're in over their head and not try again. Some characters have the ability to re-roll checks before the result is revealed, which is impossible unless the DM tells you what was rolled before the outcome is revealed (which is totally pointless to do instead of letting them roll their own dice).

Now, that doesn't mean that you always should let players roll their own dice and know the result.


Have them tell you a number where 'if the die roll is below x I will use my reroll'. They still have control over the use of the reroll, but it only tells them what the first number was under not what the second number was.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
GM 1990 wrote:
ShinHakkaider wrote:


Here's what I find curious about gamers though, especially players.
It's a role playing game. The PC is not the player. They are in essence playing a part. Part of that IS not having your character react to information that they dont have. GM's (at least half decent ones) do this ALL THE TIME.

For sure, but you've got to assess your players. Some individuals are more capable of doing it, which has as much to do with player style and maturity as GM style. A lot of GMing (and life for that matter) is learning to know the group dynamics and individuals you're dealing with. I'm GMing for my 8, 10, 12 year olds and my wife rounds out the group. They've all only been gaming about 15 months, really enjoy the RPing, exploration, and skill challenges aspects, 2-4 hour sessions every other week and we've gone up to 4 sessions with no combat. But I know with my 8 year old, as much as he doesn't want to....he can't help himself acting on player knowledge - and he's probably the most invested of the 4 in his PCs backstory and RPing. So its not even exclusive to more RP inclined.

When I'm playing in my 12 year old's campaign, I'd rather have him roll for those few things that make sense. I can role-play the outcome either way, but still find it more fun when I can literally just take the director's que and "action" the part; without having to suspend my knowledge of what's really about to happen.

Absolutely correct about being able to assess your players. People I know and am familiar with are going to get some leeway and trust as opposed to when I'm gaming with strangers. I was speaking as someone who pretty much strictly games with 'mature' adults as opposed to kids though. I feel that with kids you DO have to make certain allowances to keep them involved / invested and I'm FINE with that. I've kinda actively been keeping my son (aged 14) AWAY from RPG's for reasons of my own (which I'm not going to divulge here) but it's absolutely GREAT that you involve your family in your hobby.


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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
I think we can generally make assessments of how well we examined something, disguised ourselves. I mean in the real world it depends on how perceptive we are; but defaulting to not knowing at all makes no sense.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

In Pathfinder, one of the ways this sentiment is represented is by not knowing how well you roll sometimes.

And certainly in the real world, there are times when I think I have done well in something that I am generally skilled at, but it turns out I missed something and produced a terrible result.


I think this all comes down to metagaming. Either way, the rolling issue is kinda moot. If your players can keep from metagaming, they can roll for themselves. If not, rolling for them will do little to stop their metagaming ways. They'll memorize the Bestiaries, buy the published adventure and read ahead, you name it. Metagaming goes way beyond knowing the result of the die rolls.

My players don't metagame, so I have them roll everything for themselves.

Liberty's Edge

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Regardless of whether your players metagame... the game is more fun when the players are wrapped up in the intrigue and uncertainty. Great, they can pretend that they trust their guide despite knowing they blew their Sense Motive check... but it is a much more 'real' and satisfying experience if they are actually surprised when he leads them into an ambush because they DIDN'T have out-of-character knowledge from the dice rolls.


Stop assuming binary outcomes. Unless someone with a very high sense motive score is not going to believe the exact opposite of the truth unless the bluff blows them out of the water. I player could have an awesome sense motive, roll a 20 and still get out bluffed; that's even more surprising.


Can I ask a serious question?

Does it even make much of a difference if the players suspect something is up, just because they got bad rolls?


Snowblind wrote:

Can I ask a serious question?

Does it even make much of a difference if the players suspect something is up, just because they got bad rolls?

I know my group, or I should say one or two of them are bad about this. Perception check while walking didn't show up anything? Time to step into formation.

Appraise Checks? Well, one person should know the "real" value, but now everyone knows. Yeah they could ask and see what is up, the other person will tell the truth, but you have to actually ask. If a PC things the item is worthless, they may not touch it.

Heard a roar? Well your fighter thinks it is just a giant's belly. He was hungry. Your wizard thinks it might be that giant weasel you are looking for. Bard thinks it is a mighty dragon and we should avoid it at all cost. Oh wait, they all know bard has the actual correct information and leave the dragon the %$*(#$ alone, despite the fact that the wizard, the one most likely to identify the sound was wrong.


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Stop assuming binary outcomes. Unless someone with a very high sense motive score is not going to believe the exact opposite of the truth unless the bluff blows them out of the water. I player could have an awesome sense motive, roll a 20 and still get out bluffed; that's even more surprising.

Okay, what do you mean by binary outcomes? Are we talking about where a roll is either a success or failure? Because if we are then they're a reasonable assumption as only knowledge rolls and attack rolls have non-binary outcomes without houserules.


HyperMissingno wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Stop assuming binary outcomes. Unless someone with a very high sense motive score is not going to believe the exact opposite of the truth unless the bluff blows them out of the water. I player could have an awesome sense motive, roll a 20 and still get out bluffed; that's even more surprising.
Okay, what do you mean by binary outcomes? Are we talking about where a roll is either a success or failure? Because if we are then they're a reasonable assumption as only knowledge rolls and attack rolls have non-binary outcomes without houserules.

Sense motive.

"Yeah, we chased the thieves out from their den. They ran off the track and into the dunes. I think I heard a sand worm chasing after them."

You believe him fully.

You sense an exaggeration on his tale, but can't tell what.

You believe that the thieves are gone and will no longer both you, but there were no sand worms involves.

You don't believe that he took care of the thieves. He may have bribed them to move on.

You sense he is lying but you are unsure of what. The thieves may still be a problem.

You realize that he is actually with the thieves, and made no deal with them. The thieves will return after he has gotten his reward and left town.

The only binary outcomes are attack rolls, you hit or you didn't. Even knowledge checks can have the same level misinformation.


Snowblind wrote:
Does it even make much of a difference if the players suspect something is up, just because they got bad rolls?

In my opinion, no, it doesn't make much of difference; because to me, metagaming doesn't make much of a difference. Yeah, it's annoying, but I don't care that much.


SorrySleeping wrote:
HyperMissingno wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Stop assuming binary outcomes. Unless someone with a very high sense motive score is not going to believe the exact opposite of the truth unless the bluff blows them out of the water. I player could have an awesome sense motive, roll a 20 and still get out bluffed; that's even more surprising.
Okay, what do you mean by binary outcomes? Are we talking about where a roll is either a success or failure? Because if we are then they're a reasonable assumption as only knowledge rolls and attack rolls have non-binary outcomes without houserules.

Sense motive.

"Yeah, we chased the thieves out from their den. They ran off the track and into the dunes. I think I heard a sand worm chasing after them."

You believe him fully.

You sense an exaggeration on his tale, but can't tell what.

You believe that the thieves are gone and will no longer both you, but there were no sand worms involves.

You don't believe that he took care of the thieves. He may have bribed them to move on.

You sense he is lying but you are unsure of what. The thieves may still be a problem.

You realize that he is actually with the thieves, and made no deal with them. The thieves will return after he has gotten his reward and left town.

The only binary outcomes are attack rolls, you hit or you didn't. Even knowledge checks can have the same level misinformation.

Except that's not listed in the rules. You can play that way, but it's a houserule.

Also attack rolls are not binary. You hit, miss, or have a chance to crit.


thorin001 wrote:
Lakesidefantasy wrote:

I think rolling the dice is a fun aspect of the game that I would rather not take away from the players.

With that said I plan to roll certain Knowledge checks for my players in the future. It annoys me that players gain important information about a creature gleaned from the type of knowledge check they are asked to roll.

How will rolling for them change that?

I'm sorry, are you really asking how rolling for the players will change the fact that rolling their own dice is part of the fun of the game?


RDM42 wrote:
Heretek wrote:

Do you really think it's fine for your DM to just suddenly roll your saves for you and then say, "you failed, you died"? It's just numbers right?

The sane response is of course not. You should have the freedom to roll those saves, to fail or succeed is in the die in your hands. Not the DM. You control your charcter, not the DM.

If you distrust your dm that much you really need to find a new one.

Here on the forums, we see LOTS of people advise GMs to cheat the die rolls all the time.


It does seem to be a disturbingly common answer to any "This tactic is trivializing some of my encounters" threads.


For saves rolled by the DM, how does a player take advantage of feats like Improved Iron Will?

If you can't see the roll, how will you be able to make a judgment call as to whether or not you want to use your re-roll attempt?


HyperMissingno wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Stop assuming binary outcomes. Unless someone with a very high sense motive score is not going to believe the exact opposite of the truth unless the bluff blows them out of the water. I player could have an awesome sense motive, roll a 20 and still get out bluffed; that's even more surprising.
Okay, what do you mean by binary outcomes? Are we talking about where a roll is either a success or failure? Because if we are then they're a reasonable assumption as only knowledge rolls and attack rolls have non-binary outcomes without houserules.

Who's to say those aren't the players that trigger the trap and/or are targeted by the enemies in the surprise round?


Sundakan wrote:
It does seem to be a disturbingly common answer to any "This tactic is trivializing some of my encounters" threads.

Keep in mind that there are global circumstances bonuses and penalties that are entirely within the purview of the GM. I see any adjustments, at any time, simply an extension of that.


Snowblind wrote:

Can I ask a serious question?

Does it even make much of a difference if the players suspect something is up, just because they got bad rolls?

I'm primarily a player, occassionally a GM, and it bothers me a lot in both cases.

If your character is aware that he's, for example, hard of hearing with fuzzy vision (i.e. poor perception), maybe he stays on guard all/most of the time when in a circumstance that one would believe to be dangerous.

But the guy with +15 perception who rolled a 1 who, after the GM says he noticed nothing, then proclaims to the party, "everyone be on alert, there's something wrong here."

Instant sense motive from my PC to see if his character is lying.

Grand Lodge

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thorin001 wrote:
Skeld wrote:

As far as skills go, Disable Device is one that I almost always roll for my players. I also roll some Perception checks, such as when they're looking for traps. These rolls are one where there can be a significant cost for failure. Rolling for the players removes the temptation to metagame because now they don't know if their result was a 5 or a 15 and they can't glean any information from the raw numbers.

I'll also roll Sense Motive and Disguise when I feel it's warranted. Heck, I'll even roll a saving throw on occasion, such as when a monster has a secondary effect attached to its attack, like decease. I'll make the Fort save in secret, without even telling them it took place. Mif they failed, they'll find out after the incubation period. :D

-Skeld

The Sense Motive I can see, you never know if you got a good read off of someone or not. But Fort saves?

Yes, Fort saves. A specific example would be the Fort save versus disease that rides on a Ghoul's bite attack. When a PC is bitten by a Ghoul, I'll roll the PC's Fort save without telling the player. This prevents situations like, "low roll, cleric can you give me a remove disease?" or "high roll, no way I got ghoul fever!" because the player has no knowledge of an attempt being made, much less being able to guess the outcome based on the unmodified roll. There's no opportunity for metagaming, and it can be a fun moment (for everyone, believe it or not) when a player realizes their character caught a disease from that encounter 2 days ago.

Quote:
What does that really add to the game aside from some chuckles at your players' expense?

This is an unfair characterization. I don't do it for the lulz. I do it because it promotes a little extra dramatic tension.

n00bxqb wrote:

For saves rolled by the DM, how does a player take advantage of feats like Improved Iron Will?

If you can't see the roll, how will you be able to make a judgment call as to whether or not you want to use your re-roll attempt?

I'll worry about if/when any of my players ever take one of those feats (really though, we're talking about a very small percentage of Fort saves, so let's keep the scale in mind). If a player did have a limited use feat or ability that provided a reroll on a failed save, I'd probably reroll a failed save and not count it against there uses of that ability/feat.

dysartes wrote:

I think the key point with any of these cases where the GM will roll for players is to make sure your players know about it up-front.

As noted, there are a number of cases where it makes sense, but I think it is important to be clear about the fact that you'll roll some checks for them (or do the Take 10 Passive Perception, etc) when you start the campaign, rather than springing it on them the first time an appropriate situation occurs.

I agree. The last 2 or 3 campaigns I've run, I've made sure to make this point before we started. My players know to expect this going into a campaign. They've never complained about it either. Then again, they're a pretty awesome group.

-Skeld


Buri Reborn wrote:
Keep in mind that there are global circumstances bonuses and penalties that are entirely within the purview of the GM. I see any adjustments, at any time, simply an extension of that.

If there are actually circumstances that would merit an adjustment of the outcome then absolutely. I also hope you inform the player of these circumstance modifiers before their action if their character could observe them. Everyone has their own equally valid opinion on how to play the game and if that works for your table then fine. At our home tables the DM adjusting dice rolls just because he feels like it is cheating. Half the fun of the game for us is seeing where fate (i.e. good and bad dice rolls) decides to take the story.

To the topic:
When I DM I roll in the open as much as I can. It really adds to the player interaction. Instead of reaching for their cell phones when I start the monsters turn the players now have their eyes glued to my attack or save rolls to see what's going to happen. There's a nice sense of tension when the attack roll is set in motion and the players hold their collective breath hoping it's not a 20, or when the cleric watches my save roll and starts praying to Desna for a 1.

NPC interactions (like sense motive) and disguise are some of the few roles I keep secret. I've been playing around with perception but haven't noticed a difference either way. My experience so far is that after a certain point someone in the group is going to have such a high perception modifier it doesn't matter.

Has anyone done Pre-rolling? That is where you have the players sit down and roll out like 10 perception checks (or however you think you'll need) in advance, randomize the order, and the go down the list yourself every time there's a perception check.

I was going to try that next and see what that did to group dynamic.


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n00bxqb wrote:
Snowblind wrote:

Can I ask a serious question?

Does it even make much of a difference if the players suspect something is up, just because they got bad rolls?

I'm primarily a player, occassionally a GM, and it bothers me a lot in both cases.

If your character is aware that he's, for example, hard of hearing with fuzzy vision (i.e. poor perception), maybe he stays on guard all/most of the time when in a circumstance that one would believe to be dangerous.

But the guy with +15 perception who rolled a 1 who, after the GM says he noticed nothing, then proclaims to the party, "everyone be on alert, there's something wrong here."

Instant sense motive from my PC to see if his character is lying.

That metagaming stuff isn't exactly difficult to train out of them.

Throw in some checks that concern trivial matters or aren't a matter of life and death.

After the PCs spend an hour searching through a totally harmless barn with a rat infestation, and threaten an orphan with death for pickpocketing a silver coin, they are likely to moderate their metagaming tenancies.


To be fair, any party that passes the knowledge checks for ghouls is going to cast diagnose disease or find a cleric as soon as they can after they get bit...unless they're idiots.


Skeld wrote:
dysartes wrote:

I think the key point with any of these cases where the GM will roll for players is to make sure your players know about it up-front.
As noted, there are a number of cases where it makes sense, but I think it is important to be clear about the fact that you'll roll some checks for them (or do the Take 10 Passive Perception, etc) when you start the campaign, rather than springing it on them the first time an appropriate situation occurs.

I agree. The last 2 or 3 campaigns I've run, I've made sure to make this point before we started. My players know to expect this going into a campaign. They've never complained about it either. Then again, they're a pretty awesome group.

-Skeld

Heartily third-ed. However you run the game doesn't matter as long as the players know what their agreeing to when they sit down at the table.


Sundakan wrote:

Ah yes, the entirely reasonable "I don't like you penalty", for the amount of "Whatever I need to do to make it/you fail this time".

The weapon of a true GM.

And Paizo themselves:

Cheating and Fudging, During the Game, Gamemastering, CRB p402 wrote:
Likewise, don’t feel bound to the predetermined plot of an encounter or the rules as written. Feel free to adjust the results or interpret things creatively[...]


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I don't really care what Paizo's opinion is on this matter. I don't like it when GM's cheat, either in my favor or against. I can see the argument when it's used to enhance the game, though I don't agree, but fudging just because you don't like something you allowed to happen in the first place is just petty.

But if you're going to quote, you should also quote the bits where it says you should "avoid it when you can", be "impartial and fair", and how the example and surrounding text is based on changing rules so the game doesn't come to an abrupt end (low level silver-less PCs vs werewolves being the example).

Context matters if you're going to try that.


Mind you, the entire book is prefaced with The Most Important Rule. Specifically:

Quote:
Most Game Masters have a number of "house rules" that they use in their games. The Game Master and players should always discuss any rules changes to make sure that everyone understands how the game will be played. Although the Game Master is the final arbiter of the rules, the Pathfinder RPG is a shared experience, and all of the players should contribute their thoughts when the rules are in doubt.

It's not really about "trying" anything. I think people get their undies in a wad about similar topics when there's clear advice on them in the books. Sure, opinions, etc. but these kinds of things being heated topics is somewhat entertaining for me. On one hand you have very clear, prescriptive text saying "this is part of the game; this is in the very soul of Pathfinder" and on the other hand you have some people feeling like self-righteous cocks to each other.

Apart from this, there SO MANY options for the GM to tweak things that even in a RAW, so RAW Asmodeus would shed a tear, kind of game, the GM quite usually still has explicit license to do whatever the hell they want. I'm sort of surprised players get to do anything by how some people talk on the boards about how they run games and I'm even surprised the game presents so many options and wonder if it's out of anything more than tradition rather than trying to actually give any player - martial or caster - a genuinely good time. I digress. That's my critic talking.

Maybe I don't digress. That GMs in general get such near real world deific reverence at the game table I simply find that odd. Maybe that's my view because my group is all experienced players so the GM is nothing special beyond the dude whose house we go to for games. Because of the purported "most important r-u-l-e," the GM is just the person who enforces the strictures EVERYONE has agreed to. A ruling comes down you don't like? F+%@ the GM, he better pay attention. A dialog should happen. This "respect the GM and take up the arse" type prostration is a bit much b%+#&&&+ for me to swallow. That's -my- opinion. Really, wherever the books reference the GM, that should be replaced with "the group."


RDM42 wrote:
Heretek wrote:

Do you really think it's fine for your DM to just suddenly roll your saves for you and then say, "you failed, you died"? It's just numbers right?

The sane response is of course not. You should have the freedom to roll those saves, to fail or succeed is in the die in your hands. Not the DM. You control your charcter, not the DM.

If you distrust your dm that much you really need to find a new one.

And if you mistrust your plays so much that you don't let them roll their own skills then you really need to find new ones


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I default to allowing my players to roll their own dice. I will make passive perception checks for them, but mainly because I play online and it's a lot easier to press one macro that rolls Perception for everybody than it is to pause the storytelling so I can make sure everyone rolls a d20.

That said, this is the default. Players that abuse knowing their precise rolls in order to metagame will be warned, and repeat violations may cost them that right.

For half of my regular players, they are very good at roleplaying botched rolls, and we have absolutely no issues. For the other half, I need to keep an eye on their behavior to make sure they don't do anything abnormal.

Though I understand that this doesn't always translate well into pen and paper land.


n00bxqb wrote:

For saves rolled by the DM, how does a player take advantage of feats like Improved Iron Will?

If you can't see the roll, how will you be able to make a judgment call as to whether or not you want to use your re-roll attempt?

On those rolls, really easy: before the roll say the number or below which will trigger a reroll. If there is a reroll, the most you would know from a meta gaming standpoint is that the first roll was at or below that number and you still won't know what the second roll was.

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