GM's: Do you do the secret rolls?


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Silver Crusade

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For Stealth and Perception, I have my players tell me their bonus, and any relevant modifiers if they have any, at the start of the game or after leveling.

For any other secret rolls that they initiate (Intimidating/Lying to/talking with an NPC, recalling knowledge) we talked it out for them to prompt: "I'll attempt to remember things about monster/NPC/quest... using Lore/Nature/society... at +8."

That way I have just 2 numbers per PC to handle, and it's those I can make checks on without prompting them. And the player is the one giving me the correct bonus for what they are attempting in the other situations.

So far, it worked out, and my players are okay with that solution. (I sometimes have to remember them though. Learning pains.)


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My players frequently remind me to roll certain rolls in secret when I forget, so I get the sense they’re enjoying it.


Generally speaking, I think PF2 reduced the number of conditional bonuses (because they reduced the number of bonuses in general).

I think it should be pretty easy for players to write down their skill modifiers, including any conditional bonuses that they might have and give it to their GM before the game, and update it when the character levels up or acquires gear that changes the values.

Heck you could even start a google spreadsheet so that everyone can modify their character's values and the GM can access it online (most games in my experience tend to have at least the GM using a laptop with pdfs of adventures, but this may just be my group).


Captain Morgan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

When the PCs attempted to identify a coat of arms with Recall Knowledge (Society) to determine if it was the one they came for, the only person to succeed happened to be the party druid, who also happened to be the only person in the party who wasn't trained in Society.

Being a largely chaotic lot, I ended up explaining it away as none of them having paid any attention to their benefactor when he showed them an illustration of the coat of arms--except for the druid who who was incensed at the dead tree being thrust into his face. XD

Not a great start for winning them over to a secret roll system. Watcha gonna do?

I'd point out to your players that this has nothing to do with secret checks and everything to do with the variance of the d20. They could have all made their own rolls and gotten exactly the same results, and still had to justify why the druid got it in fiction.

Logically, yes. But when the players can see the dice rolls, it changes the mood.

If the GM rolls secretly then says, "The wizard has no idea what the magical runes are, but the fighter explains that they relate to a spell called Magic Missile," the players are likely to start from a viewpoint of, "That makes no sense! The wizard is an expert in arcana and the fighter is an idiot!"

If they see the fighter roll a 20 and the wizard roll a 2, then they're likely to be more accepting of whatever explanation we come up with.

Silver Crusade

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Matthew Downie wrote:
... If the GM rolls secretly then says, "The wizard has no idea what the magical runes are, but the fighter explains that they relate to a spell called Magic Missile," ...

"... the wizard didn't recognize them as the runes have been placed upside down."

---------------------------

The good thing is, that proficiency gating is a thing in PF2e.

Some things the fighter can't figure out, even if he rolls a 20. Identify magic is a [Trained] skill action, so unless the fighter is trained in Arcana or Occult, he can't identify Magic Missile.

As a houserule, you could even gate that more, for example spell level 2 and above might need Expert proficiency, spell level 4+ might need Master, Spell level 6 or 7 could need Legendary proficiency in the corresponding skill.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

When the PCs attempted to identify a coat of arms with Recall Knowledge (Society) to determine if it was the one they came for, the only person to succeed happened to be the party druid, who also happened to be the only person in the party who wasn't trained in Society.

Being a largely chaotic lot, I ended up explaining it away as none of them having paid any attention to their benefactor when he showed them an illustration of the coat of arms--except for the druid who who was incensed at the dead tree being thrust into his face. XD

Not a great start for winning them over to a secret roll system. Watcha gonna do?

I'd point out to your players that this has nothing to do with secret checks and everything to do with the variance of the d20. They could have all made their own rolls and gotten exactly the same results, and still had to justify why the druid got it in fiction.

Logically, yes. But when the players can see the dice rolls, it changes the mood.

If the GM rolls secretly then says, "The wizard has no idea what the magical runes are, but the fighter explains that they relate to a spell called Magic Missile," the players are likely to start from a viewpoint of, "That makes no sense! The wizard is an expert in arcana and the fighter is an idiot!"

If they see the fighter roll a 20 and the wizard roll a 2, then they're likely to be more accepting of whatever explanation we come up with.

right and usually after the fighter clarifies, i generally would say that the wizard goes "oh wait, they totally are" usually giving an explanation on how he got confused.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If I had gated that Society check behind trained proficiency, then they all would have failed the check, and likely would have failed the entire mission along with it.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

When the PCs attempted to identify a coat of arms with Recall Knowledge (Society) to determine if it was the one they came for, the only person to succeed happened to be the party druid, who also happened to be the only person in the party who wasn't trained in Society.

Being a largely chaotic lot, I ended up explaining it away as none of them having paid any attention to their benefactor when he showed them an illustration of the coat of arms--except for the druid who who was incensed at the dead tree being thrust into his face. XD

Not a great start for winning them over to a secret roll system. Watcha gonna do?

I'd point out to your players that this has nothing to do with secret checks and everything to do with the variance of the d20. They could have all made their own rolls and gotten exactly the same results, and still had to justify why the druid got it in fiction.

Logically, yes. But when the players can see the dice rolls, it changes the mood.

If the GM rolls secretly then says, "The wizard has no idea what the magical runes are, but the fighter explains that they relate to a spell called Magic Missile," the players are likely to start from a viewpoint of, "That makes no sense! The wizard is an expert in arcana and the fighter is an idiot!"

If they see the fighter roll a 20 and the wizard roll a 2, then they're likely to be more accepting of whatever explanation we come up with.

At which point the GM can just tell them what was rolled if they are still salty. Or, hell, just fudge it and say the appropriate character realized it. For these kind of group checks it rarely actually matters who knows the information, just that someone knows it. If you roll behind the screen you have more leeway to bend it to whatever is the most satisfying outcome.


For my upcoming campaign (first of the edition), I plan on having the players roll a set of d20 rolls at the beginning of the session that I use for their "secret" rolls. I will keep each player's set of rolls with their character reference card I keep behind the screen, and then tick them off each time that character is impacted by a secret roll. I'll carry over unused rolls session to session and add more as needed.

Yeah, the player could probably make a separate list of the rolls so they have an idea of what's coming, but my group isn't cut-throat enough to bother with that.

In that fashion, they can't blame me for the roll; they did it. And, if necessary, I can show them the result I used on the card...but my group isn't competitive enough to stress about that stuff very often.

Sovereign Court

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How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I’ve done it both ways and run other systems with all DCs in the open. I intended to do that in PF2, but after running a one-shot before converting over, I decided to embrace secret rolls. The way things played out in the one-shot, it seemed like knowing the DCs revealed more information than it does in other systems, or my players were having an off-day and just not keeping what they knew (or assumed) separate from what their PCs knew.

The way I handle secret rolls is to ask the modifier before rolling. It doesn’t happen that much, so it hasn’t been burdensome yet (but that will probably change once they’re hexcrawling in earnest, and I need the navigator to Sense Direction). I provide false information on a critical failure for Recall Knowledge, but I’m not too concerned about that’s having a harmful effect on the game because I use the three clue rule.

Grand Lodge

I do stealth and knowledge rolls as secret, I embraced them since in first Ed I was annoyed when people would roll stealth and roll low then be like “I don’t try to sneak”

Grand Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:
If I had gated that Society check behind trained proficiency, then they all would have failed the check, and likely would have failed the entire mission along with it.

No resolution is going to work all the time for all circumstances. The options listed in this thread are not exclusive.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:
How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

idk i feel like it does a lot to assuage people's superstitious fears.

like really, people just want to roll the dice themselves sometimes, pick the dice themselves, kiss the dice before it's rolled, etc.

Niv Cel'on wrote:
I do stealth and knowledge rolls as secret, I embraced them since in first Ed I was annoyed when people would roll stealth and roll low then be like “I don’t try to sneak”

honestly, this is why i don't have them roll until someone opposes it.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

PF1 was loaded with options that only worked when the player was rolling the dice and knew what he rolled, so players would be justifiably annoyed if the GM made secret rolls for them when the rules didn't specifically call for doing so.

Having secret rolls specifically enumerated in PF2 helps tremendously in this area, as both players and GMs have the same expectations as to who makes the rolls when.


I really dislike the concept of secret rolls. I'm liking PF2 far more than I expected, but this is one of the few areas I profundly dislike, and near all those dislikes are connected to the same; the loss of player control/agency that put even more pressure on the DM. When I GM (half the time, currently more on PF2)I do near all roll open. I'm of the opinion that the DM is just one more player on the table, the narrative should be as even as possible.


Ascalaphus wrote:
How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

It's two-fold.

First, it lets the player feel like it's their own role, assuming they care about such things.

Second, it provides evidence of the roll used for the check in case a player ever feels like you fudged the die roll one way or the other.


Ravingdork wrote:
If I had gated that Society check behind trained proficiency, then they all would have failed the check, and likely would have failed the entire mission along with it.

Which is why you never have an adventure/campaign/night's entertainment come down to a single die roll.


Alaryth wrote:
I really dislike the concept of secret rolls. I'm liking PF2 far more than I expected, but this is one of the few areas I profundly dislike, and near all those dislikes are connected to the same; the loss of player control/agency that put even more pressure on the DM. When I GM (half the time, currently more on PF2)I do near all roll open. I'm of the opinion that the DM is just one more player on the table, the narrative should be as even as possible.

How is the DM rolling some checks a loss of player control/agency?


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Ten10 wrote:
Alaryth wrote:
I really dislike the concept of secret rolls. I'm liking PF2 far more than I expected, but this is one of the few areas I profundly dislike, and near all those dislikes are connected to the same; the loss of player control/agency that put even more pressure on the DM. When I GM (half the time, currently more on PF2)I do near all roll open. I'm of the opinion that the DM is just one more player on the table, the narrative should be as even as possible.

How is the DM rolling some checks a loss of player control/agency?

The phrase gets used in a lot of weird ways, these days.


Player losing the right to roll on some important actions done by the character...
Player having to ask permission to get a good number of character options...
DM having more control on the rules to negate player intended actions...
How do you call that then?
I can get why is done, and why some people like that, but negating that players lose power on the table seems strange. I just happen to not like that.


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Given a few scenarios:

1. Player makes a knowledge check and rolls a die.
2. Player makes a knowledge check and clicks a button to generate a random number
3. Player makes a knowledge check and clicks a button to generate a random number that only the GM can see
4. Player declares they are making a knowledge check and the GM rolls a die

The player has exactly the same amount of agency in all 4 cases. They chose the action they were going to take, and a random number generator, modified by their mechanical character choices, determined how successful they were.

I can certainly understand that some people don't like the secret rolls, and if the group enjoys the game more without secret rolls, then that's the way that group should play. Framing that as a matter of Player Agency makes no sense, though.


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HammerJack wrote:
Ten10 wrote:
Alaryth wrote:
I really dislike the concept of secret rolls. I'm liking PF2 far more than I expected, but this is one of the few areas I profundly dislike, and near all those dislikes are connected to the same; the loss of player control/agency that put even more pressure on the DM. When I GM (half the time, currently more on PF2)I do near all roll open. I'm of the opinion that the DM is just one more player on the table, the narrative should be as even as possible.

How is the DM rolling some checks a loss of player control/agency?

The phrase gets used in a lot of weird ways, these days.

And in this case it's flatly wrong.

Agency is about the player being able to choose how their character acts and having those options be meaningful.

The GM rolling instead of the player doesn't reduce player agency. It reduces metagaming and increases suspense.

Sovereign Court

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Saldiven wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

It's two-fold.

First, it lets the player feel like it's their own role, assuming they care about such things.

Second, it provides evidence of the roll used for the check in case a player ever feels like you fudged the die roll one way or the other.

Has that ever occurred? Has anyone who's as a GM asked people "roll 10d20 and write down the results for me to use on secret checks" ever been made to give an accounting on how those rolls were then used? Because how would you even do that? How could you as a player say "you didn't correctly use my good roll on check #8" and the GM not just go "yeah I used #9 because your good roll for #8 was used on a save that you passed so nothing happened".

Do you really audit your GMs that way? If you've got that little trust, who are you playing with?

To me it seems like a lot of effort to set up a system that could and would never be enforced so it seems like just a lot of pointless ritual.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Alaryth wrote:

Player losing the right to roll on some important actions done by the character...

Player having to ask permission to get a good number of character options...
DM having more control on the rules to negate player intended actions...
How do you call that then?
I can get why is done, and why some people like that, but negating that players lose power on the table seems strange. I just happen to not like that.

the GM when being an arse can just raise the DC.

assuming a game where people are actually having fun, secret rolls can make for some funny and tense hijinx.


Claxon wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
Ten10 wrote:
Alaryth wrote:
I really dislike the concept of secret rolls. I'm liking PF2 far more than I expected, but this is one of the few areas I profundly dislike, and near all those dislikes are connected to the same; the loss of player control/agency that put even more pressure on the DM. When I GM (half the time, currently more on PF2)I do near all roll open. I'm of the opinion that the DM is just one more player on the table, the narrative should be as even as possible.

How is the DM rolling some checks a loss of player control/agency?

The phrase gets used in a lot of weird ways, these days.

And in this case it's flatly wrong.

Agency is about the player being able to choose how their character acts and having those options be meaningful.

The GM rolling instead of the player doesn't reduce player agency. It reduces metagaming and increases suspense.

You're not be taking away their character's agency, but you are taking away their actual real-life human agency, the freedom to do something they want to do: roll a dice while playing a game.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
You're not be taking away their character's agency, but you are taking away their actual real-life human agency, the freedom to do something they want to do: roll a dice while playing a game.

Only if the GM rolls for the player, which clearly not all GMs do, as evidenced in comments above.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Claxon wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
Ten10 wrote:
Alaryth wrote:
I really dislike the concept of secret rolls. I'm liking PF2 far more than I expected, but this is one of the few areas I profundly dislike, and near all those dislikes are connected to the same; the loss of player control/agency that put even more pressure on the DM. When I GM (half the time, currently more on PF2)I do near all roll open. I'm of the opinion that the DM is just one more player on the table, the narrative should be as even as possible.

How is the DM rolling some checks a loss of player control/agency?

The phrase gets used in a lot of weird ways, these days.

And in this case it's flatly wrong.

Agency is about the player being able to choose how their character acts and having those options be meaningful.

The GM rolling instead of the player doesn't reduce player agency. It reduces metagaming and increases suspense.

You're not be taking away their character's agency, but you are taking away their actual real-life human agency, the freedom to do something they want to do: roll a dice while playing a game.

The players get to roll plenty of dice, just not the secret checks.

I mean sure, you could get the player to randomly roll 20s at the time or in advance and then just tell them nothing, but even that can influence paranoid players and cause metagaming in others.

I really only see this as a decrying of players being defensive about rolls and wanting to make them because they're superstitious.

If I had a player who was truly upset about it I guess I could accommodate them by allowing them to roll in advance, but I would still randomize the order in which the rolls were used afterwards.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

It's two-fold.

First, it lets the player feel like it's their own role, assuming they care about such things.

Second, it provides evidence of the roll used for the check in case a player ever feels like you fudged the die roll one way or the other.

Has that ever occurred? Has anyone who's as a GM asked people "roll 10d20 and write down the results for me to use on secret checks" ever been made to give an accounting on how those rolls were then used? Because how would you even do that? How could you as a player say "you didn't correctly use my good roll on check #8" and the GM not just go "yeah I used #9 because your good roll for #8 was used on a save that you passed so nothing happened".

Do you really audit your GMs that way? If you've got that little trust, who are you playing with?

To me it seems like a lot of effort to set up a system that could and would never be enforced so it seems like just a lot of pointless ritual.

This seems like a perfectly normal and plausible scenario to me.

I know I've done similar things before.

"Why did you just up and say the werewolf escaped? I had a real chance of recapturing him! Though he fled into the woods, that wouldn't have slowed me due to woodland stride."

"There were other factors in play that your character was unaware of. With your current abilities, it was impossible for you to keep up."

Sure feels like a loss of player agency. I couldn't even attempt something because of GM say so.


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If who physically rolls the die is a major concern for your group, there are also variant approaches like "roll into this dice tower that's facing me so the result is still secret" or "roll your d20, but I'm going to drop a cup over it before it stops moving."


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
In that case, you can slightly adjust the framework and assume, Gumshoe/Trail of Cthulhu style, that basic clues/information are obtained automatically, while rolling (representing researching, interviews or trying to remember what prof. Hoogle said during the lecture) is for more advanced knowledge - with the associated risk of fumbling it if you read a bogus book or misremembered the lecture.

I second this! My issue with secret rolls hasn't necessarily been the rolls themselves being secret (though I prefer to have all dice rolled out in the open), but the majority of situations in which secret rolls are made seem to be investigation-oriented. And investigation in pretty much all TTRPGs runs the risk of grinding the game to a halt because the PCs didn't happen to find the right thing or make the right deduction, an issue GUMSHOE elegantly resolved.

To answer the prompt of this thread though, I utilize secret rolls in PFS, but I roll everything in the open in my home games. This is because of my aforementioned preference for rolling in the open (not just to address the "saltiness" factor but to stop myself from fudging rolls) and because I trust the players in my home games not to act on things they don't know.

HammerJack wrote:
If who physically rolls the die is a major concern for your group, there are also variant approaches like "roll into this dice tower that's facing me so the result is still secret" or "roll your d20, but I'm going to drop a cup over it before it stops moving."

I'm super into this! Makes it feel like you're playing a slot machine or something.


Matthew Downie wrote:
You're not be taking away their character's agency, but you are taking away their actual real-life human agency, the freedom to do something they want to do: roll a dice while playing a game.

That's not the definition of "player agency."

Agency is defined thus:

The player has control over their own character's decisions.
Those decisions have consequences within the game world.
The player has enough information to anticipate what those consequences might be before making them.

"Phsyically picking up and rolling some plastic bits" does not fall into any of those definitions. If it was, may I introduce you to a wonderful game called Candy Land where you can pick up and roll all the plastic bits you want! Have fun!

https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/71265/what-is-player-agency-and-wha t-is-it-good-for


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The second part of the question is wrong-headed, for the record.

Yes, as a GM I continue to use secret rolls and have been doing so since 1e DnD. They have always been a part of this RPG we play. This new edition is no different for me.


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HammerJack wrote:

Given a few scenarios:

1. Player makes a knowledge check and rolls a die.
2. Player makes a knowledge check and clicks a button to generate a random number
3. Player makes a knowledge check and clicks a button to generate a random number that only the GM can see
4. Player declares they are making a knowledge check and the GM rolls a die

The player has exactly the same amount of agency in all 4 cases. They chose the action they were going to take, and a random number generator, modified by their mechanical character choices, determined how successful they were.

I can certainly understand that some people don't like the secret rolls, and if the group enjoys the game more without secret rolls, then that's the way that group should play. Framing that as a matter of Player Agency makes no sense, though.

If I have no reroll ability, only dice superstitions would stop me from accepting option 4 (as our GM is notorious for his bad dice rolling luck).

If I do have a reroll ability, then obviously options 1 and 2 are more useful than options 3 and 4 because for the first two options I have better information for deciding whether to do the reroll.


Well so far in PF2 we have very few re-roll abilities, and it does mean reroll abilities wouldn't be as useful on secret rolls. However many of the reroll abilities have trigger that happen on failed or critically failed actions. Actions that you would be aware of failing typically.

Some of them wouldn't involve secret checks, like the Barbarian's Perfect Clarity for attacks.

Let's examine however a different example. Halfling Luck ability triggers when you fail a skill check or saving throw, this one would be a problem because failing a will save could likely be a secret check. And if you don't know you failed, you couldn't use the ability.

For abilities that fall into the second camp rather than the first there probably should be an official way of resolving that contention, though I don't know what it would be.


Claxon wrote:
Let's examine however a different example. Halfling Luck ability triggers when you fail a skill check or saving throw, this one would be a problem because failing a will save could likely be a secret check. And if you don't know you failed, you couldn't use the ability.

That's nothing new. If you're unware that you are the target of a spell and fail a save (say, some form of divination) it doesn't matter who rolls. If the player does, they could say "I'd like to halfling luck and reroll" and the GM might respond with, "you're not aware of anything untoward, so you can't choose to do that."

Quote:
For abilities that fall into the second camp rather than the first there probably should be an official way of resolving that contention, though I don't know what it would be.

Declaring the desire to utilize your luck before hand. It gets spent, the GM rolls two dice, and computes based on the better roll.

Sovereign Court

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Ravingdork wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

It's two-fold.

First, it lets the player feel like it's their own role, assuming they care about such things.

Second, it provides evidence of the roll used for the check in case a player ever feels like you fudged the die roll one way or the other.

Has that ever occurred? Has anyone who's as a GM asked people "roll 10d20 and write down the results for me to use on secret checks" ever been made to give an accounting on how those rolls were then used? Because how would you even do that? How could you as a player say "you didn't correctly use my good roll on check #8" and the GM not just go "yeah I used #9 because your good roll for #8 was used on a save that you passed so nothing happened".

Do you really audit your GMs that way? If you've got that little trust, who are you playing with?

To me it seems like a lot of effort to set up a system that could and would never be enforced so it seems like just a lot of pointless ritual.

This seems like a perfectly normal and plausible scenario to me.

I know I've done similar things before.

"Why did you just up and say the werewolf escaped? I had a real chance of recapturing him! Though he fled into the woods, that wouldn't have slowed me due to woodland stride."

"There were other factors in play that your character was unaware of. With your current abilities, it was impossible for you to keep up."

Sure feels like a loss of player agency. I couldn't even attempt something because of GM say so.

Well, that wasn't handled with maximum elegance by the GM. It sounds a bit to me like "as a GM I made up my mind it would go like this, but now the player pulls out an ability that might foil that".

Could be several possibilities here:
- The GM forgot about the player's ability. This is a good moment to say "hey you really surprised me with that, let me have five minutes to think about that". After that you can come back and say "okay, so you do have a chance, let's see if you succeed", or perhaps "well, yeah, you might succeed, but I really hadn't counted on that and I think the story would be more fun if you don't. So I'm going to just rule that you fail, but you do get a hero point as consolation for me blatantly blocking you here".

- The GM knows why the player's attempt wouldn't work. The more elegant thing here could be to perhaps do an abbreviated version of the scene, where the player still doesn't manage to catch the werewolf, but does gain some clue about why, which gives the players more insight into the adventure plot.

Basically, saying "offscreen you try and try but fail" is a bit too little effort. Saying "offscreen you try and try but fail, because of X" is better, especially if knowing about X is useful. You can still abbreviate a long scene that will just end in failure, which can help limit frustration.

---

On the other hand, if you're actually demanding to audit the GM's written records of all rolls made in secret, then there's been some catastrophic breakdown in trust around the table. In a healthy group the players should be able to trust that the GM has the players' fun as a main objective.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Draco18s wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
You're not be taking away their character's agency, but you are taking away their actual real-life human agency, the freedom to do something they want to do: roll a dice while playing a game.

That's not the definition of "player agency."

Agency is defined thus:

The player has control over their own character's decisions.
Those decisions have consequences within the game world.
The player has enough information to anticipate what those consequences might be before making them.

"Phsyically picking up and rolling some plastic bits" does not fall into any of those definitions. If it was, may I introduce you to a wonderful game called Candy Land where you can pick up and roll all the plastic bits you want! Have fun!

https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/71265/what-is-player-agency-and-wha t-is-it-good-for

superstition makes people believe that them not rolling the dice actually effects how likely they are to succeed. to them removing their ability to roll, directly affects their ability to change the outcome.

it is what it is. i still do secret rolls though.

Draco18s wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Let's examine however a different example. Halfling Luck ability triggers when you fail a skill check or saving throw, this one would be a problem because failing a will save could likely be a secret check. And if you don't know you failed, you couldn't use the ability.
That's nothing new. If you're unware that you are the target of a spell and fail a save (say, some form of divination) it doesn't matter who rolls. If the player does, they could say "I'd like to halfling luck and reroll" and the GM might respond with, "you're not aware of anything untoward, so you can't choose to do that."

this assumes that halfling luck is something the character is actually aware of. You can ask them before hand if you fail a save or skill check in secret would you like me to use your halfling luck ability?


I always do it myself as DM.
Also part of the Normal checks players are not supposed to know the results.

Usually i roll xx dices per character, per session, and use them whenever I need. So I even don't have to roll and save time.

Remember that even if a player act like he doesn’t know something, doesn’t necessarily mean that he would have moved the same way if he really didn't have known something.


Bandw2 wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
You're not be taking away their character's agency, but you are taking away their actual real-life human agency, the freedom to do something they want to do: roll a dice while playing a game.

That's not the definition of "player agency."

Agency is defined thus:

The player has control over their own character's decisions.
Those decisions have consequences within the game world.
The player has enough information to anticipate what those consequences might be before making them.

"Phsyically picking up and rolling some plastic bits" does not fall into any of those definitions. If it was, may I introduce you to a wonderful game called Candy Land where you can pick up and roll all the plastic bits you want! Have fun!

https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/71265/what-is-player-agency-and-wha t-is-it-good-for

superstition makes people believe that them not rolling the dice actually effects how likely they are to succeed. to them removing their ability to roll, directly affects their ability to change the outcome.

it is what it is. i still do secret rolls though.

Draco18s wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Let's examine however a different example. Halfling Luck ability triggers when you fail a skill check or saving throw, this one would be a problem because failing a will save could likely be a secret check. And if you don't know you failed, you couldn't use the ability.
That's nothing new. If you're unware that you are the target of a spell and fail a save (say, some form of divination) it doesn't matter who rolls. If the player does, they could say "I'd like to halfling luck and reroll" and the GM might respond with, "you're not aware of anything untoward, so you can't choose to do that."
this assumes that halfling luck is something the character is actually aware of. You can ask them before...

Limited use abilities are all player, not character activated. That means that the player needs to know the context in order to determine if it is worth it.


Umm, y'all, you can't use fortune/misfortune effects on secret rolls (unless they're used automatically), so that's not really relevant. It might matter for other reactions though...

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