Secret Rolls

Running the Game

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Skill checks with the Secret trait have left a bad taste in my mouth. I recently ran a game with a rogue, and it was an awful experience for me and the player.

I generally hate having to roll a player's skill check in tabletop RPGs because:
1) It takes the fun of rolling the die away from the player.
2) It burdens adds more burden to GMing.
3) It breaks flow and adds more book keeping as I now have to ask the player for their bonus in the middle of play or ask for it ahead of time.

The game added a lot more secret rolls, too. Now sneaking and identifying magic are secret rolls. I don't see why it's all necessary, especially when it's annoying.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Then don't use them. They aren't mandatory - the rules couldn't be more explicit about that.

secret checks p293 last sentence wrote:

Conversely, the GM can let the players roll any or all of their checks even if they would usually be secret, trusting players not to make choices based on information their characters don’t have.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You aren't the first to take issue with the overemphasis on secret checks.


I'm not a fan either.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I did not see that they weren't mandatory, but I would be very concerned about PFS play.

My points still stand. It's a massive hassle and not fun for anyone. If metagaming is an issue, then there's better ways to handle it.

My group and I seemed to enjoy secret rolls. It's also optional, so I don't see why this is a big deal.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I find it easier, faster, less of a burden. Enjoy the lack of metagaming.

As a player, feel no loss. Enjoy invisible mechanics.

I really like secret rolls. I don't use all of them but I certainly use several in order to speed up the game or increase drama. Like if the players don't know they set off a trap that's really cool.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I have used secret checks in every edition I have played. Anything where the player shouldn't immediately know the outcome - stealth, perception, deception, etc.

I guess I just don't get all this indignation over secret checks. They have been a part of my gaming for a while and I am pretty sure this has been a part of the rules before (at least I assumed so!).

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
NatedogDM wrote:
My group and I seemed to enjoy secret rolls. It's also optional, so I don't see why this is a big deal.

For me, the big issue is PFS. In PFS they will NOT be optional. They'll either always be used or never be used.

If the combination of secret rolls and critical failures yielding false information is required in PFS then I'll almost certainly stop running it (and very likely stop playing it). It will be too much of a time waster when groups go chasing after the red herrings caused by fumbles (In PFS time is an important resource that has to be carefully managed). And it will cause too much trouble at the table as players argue as to who is right (I've seen both in playtests already).

Edit : Note, I have no real issues with secret rolls in general. I use them myself (quite sparingly, but I DO use them) even in PFS when I feel that the meta knowledge is something I'd rather not have the players deal with. I trust my players but I also think that they are human and therefore can NOT totally ignore meta knowledge no matter how much they try to.

Its the giving misinformation on a fumble that I believe will be disastrous in PFS.

pauljathome wrote:
NatedogDM wrote:

It's the giving misinformation on a fumble that I believe will be disastrous in PFS.

It is also hillarious.

Some of my best moments in any RPG is the GM trying (and failing) to bring the players back to what they think the adventure should be and ending up throwing their hands in the air and just going along with it.

Occasionally our GM has brought our obssession back to the main plot; but most of the time he just makes notes of where and what the main plot is up to. So the first we hear of "oh... the undead have awoken and destroyed the northern kingdom" is like everyone else - a breathless messenger runs into the shop we spent the last 4 sessions setting up.

... yes that actually happened after the first dungeon crawl me and my fellow PCs completely missed the major plot clue; thought we did a good job and spent the next few sessions happily building a small trading concern and dealing with bandits who were raiding our caravans.

So we were jarred back to the main plot; but now our characters had something to loose!

2 people marked this as a favorite.

We very rarely use secret rolls in my groups, becuase having the players sit around doing nothing while the DM is rolling checks for 5 people isn't fun for anyone. Rolling helps keep players involved. There's only certain times where it's really important that we will use a secret roll.

They should do a better job of calling out that it's optional.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's not really optional, though. The default is that the GM makes all of the secret checks. The rules allow the GM to optionally allow the players make those checks. It's more accurate to say that the secret checks are the default and that allowing the players to roll is optional.

I'm personally against all the secret checks, as well. There are a small handful of situations where I like them (the auto-spot roll of trapfinding, for instance), but not for the vast majority of what's currently secret. And I speak as both a GM and a player. As a GM, I have the option to change it... as a player, I don't have that option. It's up to the GM.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Game Master Rules / Running the Game / Secret Rolls All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Running the Game