D&D General Do you have any table rules regarding die rolls?

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I was thinking about the common table rules over the years in games I've run or played in and how they apply to dice rolling.

For example, in my games cocked dice are always rerolled regardless of what is "mostly" showing. On the other hand, if a die rolls off the table on to the floor, it is up to the player to apply a consistent approach to the results. Some people take whatever comes up no matter where it lies when it stops rolling. Others only accept rolls on the table, so even if a nat '20' pops up as the die bumps into a dust bunny under the table, it still needs to be re-rolled. As long they are consistent, the player can adopt whichever approach they want. Other players have instituted their own personal "If it is not on my rolling tray (or whatever) it does not count" rules.

We have had other standing customs around dice, like not touching anyone else's dice without permission. Leaving a die where it rolled on the table until others see the result as well (don't really enforce that because I trust all my players). And other things that I try to remind my players of, esp. as their characters rise in level, which is, "Don't assume you failed just because you rolled low if you don't know the target number." Some players get frustrated, see a '4' come up on the d20 and snatch it up angrily assuming they missed without doing the math and I don't want them to screw themselves out of a success that way. Better to tell us what you rolled and see if you succeeded or not.

Something I am thinking about instituting is a cup for players to roll their "secret rolls" in that they are not allowed to see the results of yet (rather than me as DM rolling for them behind the screen) which I can then look at, see the result, and then pop the die out and pass it back.

Oh, and before a bunch of people come to this thread to say they don't use dice anymore because they play remotely, good for you, that's not what this thread is about (though if there is some custom around electronic rolling I'd be interested to hear it).
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Everyone rolls in the open, even the referee. Unless the act of rolling would provide info the players/characters wouldn't have and unless the outcome of the roll would provide info the players/characters wouldn't have. So searching for secret doors is rolled by the referee behind the screen. Things like that.

No touching or picking up dice to read them. Have had so many people pull this nonsense. If you touch the dice, the roll doesn't count. Keep re-rolling until you can keep your hands off the dice until after it's read. Dice must be plainly visible to the table, and rolled on the table, or the roll doesn't count.

Players shouldn't assume the referee will ask for a roll. Players don't declare a roll and throw dice. The player describes or narrates the action they want to take, then the referee decides if it's an auto success, a roll, or an auto failure.

Players shouldn't assume the outcome of a roll. Players don't decide what the DC of a roll is, so don't know if a low roll is a failure any more than they know a high roll is a success. Make the roll, add the modifiers, and report the numerical result. The referee will then tell you what the narrative result is.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
No customs, we just trust everyone to be fair, and the DM rolls behind the screen mostly for convenience.

At some point in time (before it came out with a mistake in 3e UA), we did "players roll all the dices" and it ended up being less fun, so we dropped it.

The only thing that we do is use "blind rolls" where the player rolls but only the DM knows the result, it gives excellent result in terms of avoiding even unconscious metagaming (most VTTs support this and it works in face-to-face too).
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
  1. Players don't roll until DM asks them to roll.
  2. Players roll where others can see (if they want to).
  3. Die roller uses best judgement on cocked dice (may ask others for confirmation). May reroll without penalty if no result obvious.
  4. Dice off the table are rerolled. Dice off of table twice is auto-fail (even for DM).
  5. Dice out of box/ tray (if you are using one) are rerolled. Dice out of box/ tray twice is auto-fail (even for DM).
  6. Only one die is rolled at a time (no rolling d20 for attack and initiative, for example), except multi-dice rolls (like Fireball).
  7. Dice must be read before they are gathered.
  8. Don't borrow others' dice without asking first.
  9. Players roll "secret dice" behind the DM screen so the DM sees the result.
  10. DMs can roll behind screen or in front of players, as they want.
I think that's it.
 


Egon Spengler

"We eat gods for breakfast!"
I concur with those who re-roll any cocked or off-the-table dice. I also prefer that my players not shotgun their dice across the table with projectile force (some players just can't seem to help that); lightly drop their dice onto the table in front of them so that only they can see the results; or use heavy metal dice at all if they're playing on my nice wooden table (regardless of the presence of mats and dice-trays).

Everyone rolls in the open, even the referee. Unless the act of rolling would provide info the players/characters wouldn't have and unless the outcome of the roll would provide info the players/characters wouldn't have. So searching for secret doors is rolled by the referee behind the screen. Things like that.

No touching or picking up dice to read them. Have had so many people pull this nonsense. If you touch the dice, the roll doesn't count. Keep re-rolling until you can keep your hands off the dice until after it's read. Dice must be plainly visible to the table, and rolled on the table, or the roll doesn't count.

Players shouldn't assume the referee will ask for a roll. Players don't declare a roll and throw dice. The player describes or narrates the action they want to take, then the referee decides if it's an auto success, a roll, or an auto failure.

Players shouldn't assume the outcome of a roll. Players don't decide what the DC of a roll is, so don't know if a low roll is a failure any more than they know a high roll is a success. Make the roll, add the modifiers, and report the numerical result. The referee will then tell you what the narrative result is.

I follow similar practices, except that I'm also inclined to announce any success–failure parameters to the table before rolling. There are almost no instances I can think of where it's beneficial to keep things like Armor Classes or hit point totals a secret from the players, so the moment a player commits to attacking a monster, I'll say something like, "Roll to hit Armor Class 7," and if they hit, I'll go ahead and give the monster's hp before the player rolls damage. I like to keep everything fair and above-board as much as possible, only rolling things like search and listen rolls behind the screen.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Only one die is rolled at a time (no rolling d20 for attack and initiative, for example), except multi-dice rolls (like Fireball).

I feel like this might slow things down. Back when we were playing a heavily modified 3E we'd roll two different colored d20s for each attack roll (one for attack and the other to confirm potential crits) and rolled the damage die and a knockdown die (a optional rule we grandfathered) all at once to save time!

These days, even with 5E I roll my d20 and the damage die at the same time, so if it is a hit I already know how much damage I do.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I feel like this might slow things down.
It doesn't really slow things down IME, at least not enough I would notice it, since most of the time the players wait for me to confirm the hit (unless they obviously know its a hit...). I had a player who did this (rolling d20 and damage dice) and it just annoyed me, so I asked him to stop. He's since left the group and no one else ever got the habit from him.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I had a player who did this (rolling d20 and damage dice) and it just annoyed me, so I asked him to stop. He's since left the group

Wait, I had a group I left for not letting me roll both dice at once. . .

Dick Wolf GIF by Wolf Entertainment


:ROFLMAO:

(just jokes)
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Things have gotten a bit looser with us playing on Roll20 for the last couple of years but we typically rule that any die that falls off the table needs to be rerolled. That's about it. I don't get fussy about rolling in the open, though we generally do so and don't usually scrutinize each other's rolls.

Other than that, I take a deliberately trusting attitude when DMing on the virtual tabletop. I let players roll their own dice or use the ones on Roll20 as they see fit. I roll my own with my wee little dice tower and dice trays on the TV table set up next to my desk.

I may use a few other conventions to make things easier. I try to roll damage dice with the attack to speed my results a little and I use varying colors to generate multiple results - usually reading lighter to darker to establish an order (got that one from casualty reduction rolls from ASL). I've got sparkly dice I try to keep on hand to use for advantage/disadvantage so they're easy to spot and add/remove as necessary. I also do have an initiative macro I use to roll most initiative checks because it's usually quicker for me to do it - but now that a couple of PCs are regularly rolling initiative with advantage, that's starting to go by the wayside.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Off the table is an automatic reroll. For crazy dice-flingers (had a couple who thought their dice were shurikens or flails), it's an automatic failure.

If the dice is cocked where the result is in question, the dice is rerolled.

No dropping straight down on the table. It must roll.

Don't roll before the DM says so, I won't count rolling ahead (had players that would roll numerous times ahead of a called roll to magically announce they made it), though that's a problem I haven't had in around 15-20 years.

For a while, digital electronic dice rollers were banned at the table. As a programmer, I was familiar with the issues with them with their random seeds and number rounding. 3D electronic dice (like on Beyond and Roll20) are allowed, though I find I generally roll poorly with them, or they have wierd runs of similar rolls (we recently had an instance with six 20's in a row from various players, followed by a string of 3-4 1's for me. It was bizarre).
 


HammerMan

Legend
yeah they have varried alot over the years, but in 2019 we moved to online gaming and are useing roll20 so we just roll in chat useing roll20
 


Honestly, my rules for rolling dice electronically are pretty much "you have to use one." Whether it's Avrae, D&D Beyond, or Roll20. And rolls in the wrong Discord channel (I have multiple channels on my server for different groups), don't count.

One of the joys of a campaign I was a player in (even though it fell apart) was watching the one guy that I am 99% sure was a pathological cheater when we were rolling dice in person (and had stopped gaming with for that very reason) fume as he had to take what the dice actually rolled. He kept whinging about wanting to roll real dice because he "rolled better" with them. No one was buying that.

Oh, and before a bunch of people come to this thread to say they don't use dice anymore because they play remotely, good for you, that's not what this thread is about (though if there is some custom around electronic rolling I'd be interested to hear it).

My rules for in-person gaming were generally fairly trusting. We're all adults, and if you want to cheat at playing pretend, that's on you; I'm not going to actively police people's dice rolls. Now, if I catch you doing it, that's another thing.

Also for my at-home game, ROLL ON THE NICE DICE TRAY I BOUGHT, NOT THE BRAND NEW TABLE!
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
For example, in my games cocked dice are always rerolled regardless of what is "mostly" showing.
I feel like cocked dice is only an actual thing that happens when you’re rolling on uneven surfaces like carpet. The die wants to land flat, that’s what designed to do. If dunno, I’m just always leery of re-rolls due to “cocked” dice when we’re playing on a wood table and everyone has these fancy dice trays.
On the other hand, if a die rolls off the table on to the floor, it is up to the player to apply a consistent approach to the results. Some people take whatever comes up no matter where it lies when it stops rolling. Others only accept rolls on the table, so even if a nat '20' pops up as the die bumps into a dust bunny under the table, it still needs to be re-rolled. As long they are consistent, the player can adopt whichever approach they want. Other players have instituted their own personal "If it is not on my rolling tray (or whatever) it does not count" rules.
Yeah, I say if the die can’t be easily read - which includes when it rolls off the table, re-roll it. If that means players occasionally re-roll a bad roll, claiming it was “cocked,” I’m not too worried about it.
Something I am thinking about instituting is a cup for players to roll their "secret rolls" in that they are not allowed to see the results of yet (rather than me as DM rolling for them behind the screen) which I can then look at, see the result, and then pop the die out and pass it back.
That’s a neat idea. I prefer to avoid secret rolls when possible, but that’s a cool way to have players still get to make the roll when the result does need to be secret.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I feel like cocked dice is only an actual thing that happens when you’re rolling on uneven surfaces like carpet. The die wants to land flat, that’s what designed to do. If dunno, I’m just always leery of re-rolls due to “cocked” dice when we’re playing on a wood table and everyone has these fancy dice trays.
Cocked dice, in my experience, are WAY more common in dice trays than the open table, particularly when there are multiple dice. They really can jam each other up against the sides. This is more common with d20s than probably any other die because of the relative smallness of the sides. I very rarely had issues, personally, in my GMing space at the table before I started using a dice tray. It's still not common, but it is considerably more frequent.

They also come up in situations with crowded gaming tables. Books, sodas, notebooks, etc. Again, not hugely common, but I see enough of it in those circumstances that I have no reason to question it when the problem comes up.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
All player-side rolls must be observed (or observable) by someone else, be it the DM or one or more other players.

Dice that go off the table are re-rolled, or a different one is rolled if the first one can't be quickly found (this happens more often than you might expect!).

If a die is just mildly cocked we take what the result would clearly have been were it flat. If it's really cocked it's re-rolled.

The first roll is the roll that counts (this comes up more often in roll20 where system lag makes you think the first roll didn't take, you roll again, and then they both appear in sequence a moment later).
If you roll a die off the table, you have to go to the kitchen and make everyone a round of drinks.
If we enforced that we'd all be completely smashed within the first hour of play!

And it's self-sustaining as well - the more drinks you have the more likely your dice are going over the side, which means more drinks...he-ey, I'm starting to like this idea! :)
 

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