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Do you prefer rolling dice for a sure thing? For the impossible?

Do you prefer to roll for sure things?

  • I prefer to roll in all cases regardless if my character would auto-succeed or auto-fail.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I prefer to roll regardless unless it's blinding obvious, like throwing a mountain.

    Votes: 3 13.0%
  • I prefer to roll even when my character would auto-succeed, but not when they would auto-fail

    Votes: 1 4.3%
  • I prefer to roll even when my character will always fail, but not when they would auto-succeed.

    Votes: 1 4.3%
  • Other (explained below).

    Votes: 7 30.4%
  • I would never roll if the outcome isn't uncertain.

    Votes: 11 47.8%

  • Total voters
    23

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Say you are playing an RPG without a lot of swinginess in whatever randomization method it uses. I'll call it rolling but it could be anything.

Your character goes to perform a check, say picking a lock. You are a master at it, and there is no uncertainty you can perform the standard task. Do you prefer to roll, or the DM just narrate how you open it. (Note: we are assuming that the roll will not make a difference such as opening it faster.) Note that a roll is different information given to the players - one is that you can do it no matter what, the other is that the roll was good enough for you to do it but you don't know that you could always do it.

And what about the flip side - your character goes to perform a check, say trying to lift a boulder. They is legitimately no chance to succeed. Would you prefer to roll or just be told you can't do it? Again, being told you can't do it gives definitive information, while a roll gives information that roll was not enough but hides that the task is impossible for you attempting in the manner.

This is a question about your preferences and what brings you enjoyment, there's no right answer.
 

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payn

Legend
I usually prefer to skip rolling unless it has a chance or matters to the narrative. As a GM, I dont say things like ,"you cant lift the bolder its too heavy" instead I try and tell the player what it will take to move the bolder. I.E. help from other players, a spell, maybe a feat, something to make it possible but with effort.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
You seem to be missing a "only roll when the outcome is uncertain" option. The snark of "blindingly obvious" isn't quite the same. You also seem to be missing any "I prefer not to roll" options. You seem to have thoroughly begged the question.
 


GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Your character goes to perform a check, say picking a lock. You are a master at it, and there is no uncertainty you can perform the standard task. Do you prefer to roll, or the DM just narrate how you open it. . . Note that a roll is different information given to the players - one is that you can do it no matter what, the other is that the roll was good enough for you to do it but you don't know that you could always do it.
I'd call picking a lock an action, not a check.
I'd also like to able to assume that my character knows which activities are really easy for him.
And what about the flip side - your character goes to perform a check, say trying to lift a boulder. They is legitimately no chance to succeed. Would you prefer to roll or just be told you can't do it?
What's the point in rolling if the answer is guaranteed to be "no?"
While I'm at it, what's the point in this poll?
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
You seem to be missing a "only roll when the outcome is uncertain" option. The snark of "blindingly obvious" isn't quite the same. You also seem to be missing any "I prefer not to roll" options. You seem to have thoroughly begged the question.
Since we are explicitly never talking about the case where the outcome is uncertain, there can be no possible way to add it to the poll. I think you have missed the entire point - this is asking about rolling preferences when the outcome is certain.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
What's the point in rolling if the answer is guaranteed to be "no?"
While I'm at it, what's the point in this poll?
The question is about player preferences, eventually be to used for RPG design but I didn't want to start people off on tangents.

For a not-particularl-swingy randomization system, it's quite possible to have a character with heavy investment of a subject be able to auto-succeed where other characters would have uncertainty. It's also possible with the same low-swing system that someone just doesn't have any investment to do something complicated even at their best.

But, it's a commonly accepted trope that players like to roll dice. So would such a system turn players off?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I like the rolling. Why? Because nothing is for certain in this world, so why should it be so in fake ones?

What could be easier than telling someone your own name? And yet, I speak as someone who has forgotten his own name when under unexpected stress. (Amusingly, it was so shocking that I forgot my name that the person who asked me for it asked one of my friends…and HE forgot my name. The third member of our group identified all of us.)
 


I've got mixed feelings. On the one hand, I don't want to have to roll if it's an obviously impossible or easily accomplished task. On the other hand, if it'd be a spoiler by just knowing that I don't have to roll, I think I'd prefer to make the pointless roll.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Since we are explicitly never talking about the case where the outcome is uncertain, there can be no possible way to add it to the poll. I think you have missed the entire point - this is asking about rolling preferences when the outcome is certain.
Then I'd suggest you revise the OP. The thread title reads "Do you prefer rolling dice for a sure thing?" But you exclude "no" as a possible answer. So you're asking one question in the thread title and text of the poll, but apparently want answers to a different question.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I want to always roll. That little sliver of unknown is important to the tension of the moment. No roll means less tension, and I get bored quickly.
 
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I'm against rolling if there is no significance whatsoever, and calling for rolls when there should never have been any is the root cause of many a gaming woe. But rolling to determine degree of success or failure even when some level of success or failure is certain is something I do all the time. And sometimes for the right group playing the right game, rolling just to keep players guessing has its place.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Your character goes to perform a check, say picking a lock. You are a master at it, and there is no uncertainty you can perform the standard task. Do you prefer to roll, or the DM just narrate how you open it. (Note: we are assuming that the roll will not make a difference such as opening it faster.)

If there really is no doubt, and no difference, then the roll is useless time wasting.

However, systems with degrees of success, or success with complications, and such, may mean that a sure thing can still end up interesting, and require dice rolls.
 

MGibster

Legend
I prefer to roll when something meaningful is at stake and the outcome of a failure might be interesting. I've been trying to get into the habit of requiring fewer rolls from my players for trivial things. My go to example is breaking down the door to a house. If there's not a whole lot going on during the scene I'll just describe it thusly, "On your second kick you hear wood splinter and the door swings open." Nothing exciting happens if the player fails to get in so why make them roll?

But let's say our PC is being chased by a maniac and needs to get into the house quickly. I'll ask the player to make a roll to see if they succeed in getting in the house before the maniac reaching them. Failure can bring interesting results, perhaps the PC flees or perhaps he fights a desperate battle. Who knows?
 

One of the most pivotal moments in one of my games came when two NPCs were fighting - one on the same side as the party, one against them. The 'ally' was Shaaladel, an elf revolutionary pretty loathed by the PCs for being an a-hole, but he was at least helping. The 'enemy' was Marius, a human knight responsible for murdering the parents of Rhuarc, one of the PCs.

Well, Marius failed a save to a PC's hold person spell. Shaaladel was right over him, sword in hand. Rhuarc shouted for Shaaladel to coup Marius. Shaaladel didn't want to bother wasting his full turn to coup someone who was already down when there was more glory to be found by fighting other enemies, so he scoffed and just made a single swipe down at Marius, then kept moving.

Well, that swipe was a natural 1.

Marius lived, broke out of the hold person, and escaped under cover of his guards.

This turned the fate of basically the whole campaign setting, because the PCs refused to cooperate any further with Shaaladel, which meant his elvish revolutionaries sought out a new alliance with the next most powerful force, one led by an orc warlord named Coaltongue. And that is how the War of the Burning Sky adventure path's backstory came to be. Because an arrogant elf figured he couldn't miss a sure thing.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
What could be easier than telling someone your own name? And yet, I speak as someone who has forgotten his own name when under unexpected stress. (Amusingly, it was so shocking that I forgot my name that the person who asked me for it asked one of my friends…and HE forgot my name. The third member of our group identified all of us.)
So you've met Cate Blanchett?

. . . Rhuarc shouted for Shaaladel to coup Marius. . .

Well, that swipe was a natural 1.
Cool story, but I think Blue isn't talking about a system that uses auto-fail 1s. Also, coup means "blow," so I'm not sure Marius wanted to break out of Hold Person... 🤓

By the way, I use a rule that allows players to use half of the highest value on the die, and to skip rolling if desired. Because really, most rolls aren't worth it unless one side has only a slight edge against the other.
 


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