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Players make the rolls and Defensive Reactions

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Something I really liked when I read of it in 3e and I have used it
in 4e is a concept "Players make all the rolls", in it if you as a player were attacked the dm described wind up and the player described the method they used to defense. I would grant in 4e a standard +2 bonus for if the player seemed to pick a very appropriate method. But by and large the game wasnt designed with this mind. So its kind of flavorful but faint in value.

I found this article while looking for discussions about the reaction in 5e, which very much made me think of the above and seems to have some very interesting extensions for resolution of actions in a broader scale.

https://theangrygm.com/tweaking-the-core-of-dd-5e/

Its not quite players make all the rolls but contains elements of it.

Oh yeah and it also discusses "Approach, Outcome, Cost, and Consequence "
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Yup, I’m a big fan of Angry’s tweaks. I don’t do “players always roll,” but I do try to make sure only to call for rolls when a player describes their character actively doing something, which has a possibility of success, possibility of failure, and cost or consequence for failure. To bring saving throws in line with this paradigm, when an NPC or feature of the environment would normally force a PC to make a saving throw, I use Angry’s Reaction Rule - I describe what the character can perceive about the triggering incident, such as the evil wizard’s verbal and somatic components, the dragon taking a deep breath, or the pressure plate clicking under their feet, and ask the player(s) what they do.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Something I really liked when I read of it in 3e and I have used it
in 4e is a concept "Players make all the rolls", in it if you as a player were attacked the dm described wind up and the player described the method they used to defense. I would grant in 4e a standard +2 bonus for if the player seemed to pick a very appropriate method. But by and large the game wasnt designed with this mind. So its kind of flavorful but faint in value.
Is this unusual, for players to describe how their characters defend themselves?

If anything, I suppose it's a consequence of automatic defenses. And hit points. ::Nods knowingly at Zweihaender::

But yeah, thumbs up on both counts (player rolls and reactions).
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Meh. If it works for you, great. I find his articles have interesting bits here and there but I get tired of his style, mannerisms and one-true-way rhetoric.


[RANT]
For example if someone thinks an NPC is lying, I don't give a flying fig if they ask "can I make an insight check". If the player doesn't indicate that their PC is suspicious how the frack am I supposed to know to call for a check? I'm not a mind reader. Maybe Bob the Barbarian doesn't trust the merchant while Rosy the Ranger believes him because it's her flaw to be over-trusting. So Bob's player asks for an insight check. I've never had anyone explain why that is so wrong other than it's not the "proper" way to play or what they do as an alternative.
[/RANT]


I just don't think the other stuff he talks about adds that much to the game. The rules of 5E stay out of my way enough to tell an fun story and have engaging encounters. I don't necessarily have a problem with tumbling out of the way of a trap, but the whole point of saving throws to me is that you are not making a conscious decision. A saving throw represents muscle memory/an instinctive reaction that you don't even think about. It's jerking your hand back because you just touched that pan you didn't realize was hot.


So sometimes telling the player they hear that click (how do we know they heard the click?) and how they react is fine. I do that now and then. But generalizing that beyond a few specific scenarios? Meh.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I've never liked saving throws in D&D 5e and would much prefer it work like Defy Danger in Dungeon World, where the player gets a say as to how he or she responds to the triggering event and that description informs how the DM adjudicates. This would bring it more in line with how actions are resolved with ability checks.

Alternatively I'd accept a D&D 5e version of D&D 4e's "everything's an attack roll" when it comes to getting rid of saving throws, though that's just moving things from one column to another and doesn't offer much in the way of a choice for dealing with the threat since the attacker is just rolling against a pre-determined static defense.

I'm giving either of these some serious thought for my next campaign, provided it's not too cumbersome to implement.
 

Jer

Explorer
"Players make all the rolls"
My 4e campaign moved to this about midway through its run and it was great as far as I'm concerned. 4e in general was great about giving my players hooks to describe what they were doing instead of just "I guess I swing my sword at it", and when we moved to players making all the rolls it just carried over even more.

I've been tempted to alter my 13th Age game to do this same, but 13A has so many little things that are impacted by the d20 roll that it's not as easy to do (i.e. monster powers that have different effects on odd or even rolls, damage resistance keyed off the raw number on d20, etc.) So I haven't.

I haven't even thought about doing the same for 5e tbh - mostly because my only 5e campaigns are explicitly about teaching new players the rules to Dungeons and Dragons, so I try to go as by the book as possible for their sakes.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Something I really liked when I read of it in 3e and I have used it
in 4e is a concept "Players make all the rolls"
The idea occurred to me on a first look at 4e, when I noticed the defenses replacing saving throws, and that, yeah a save was prettymuch always just the defender rolling to resolve an attack. "Hey, instead of attacker always rolling, how 'bout /player/ always rolling?" It puts the drama in their hands, but, obviously, removes 'fudging' from behind the DM screen. (So, really, fine for 4e, potentially a bad idea in 5e - heck /DM always rolls/, might be a good idea in 5e.)
 

Jer

Explorer
It puts the drama in their hands, but, obviously, removes 'fudging' from behind the DM screen. (So, really, fine for 4e, potentially a bad idea in 5e - heck /DM always rolls/, might be a good idea in 5e.)
Yeah - that's the other reason I haven't thought a lot about it for 5e - at least until 6th level or so I think the pcs are too fragile and the encounters too swingy to trust that I could make it work. Even after that, I'm not positive it would work. 4e and 13A are the only editions I've been comfortable with letting the dice fall where they may - if the PCs go down in those editions it's because they screwed up or had bad luck, not that the encounter they were facing was accidentally harder than I intended it to be. (If I'm planting clues that the encounter is too hard for them it's on them if they ignore it and go in swinging. If the encounter design rules are busted and I have to use trial and error to feel out how difficult a challenge really is, I need more control to fudge a busted encounter into something closer to the challenge I meant to give them.)
 

coolAlias

Explorer
While I like the idea in general, I think that even though it may enhance the player's fun to have them roll all the dice, it would certainly detract from mine.

I have a lot of fun rolling dice for NPCs and monsters - makes me feel like I'm playing, too, rather than just refereeing. :D
 

dave2008

Adventurer
While I like the idea in general, I think that even though it may enhance the player's fun to have them roll all the dice, it would certainly detract from mine.

I have a lot of fun rolling dice for NPCs and monsters - makes me feel like I'm playing, too, rather than just refereeing. :D
Yep, I was going to say the same thing. I've done it a bit and it, IME, makes thing move a little quicker, but I (the DM) missed the rolling.
 

JeffB

Adventurer
Indeed I enjoy players roll all the dice, whether Dungeon World, BlackHack* or using the old 3.5 UA version converted to whatever version of D&D- It's easy enough to make 4E or 13A defenses into modifiers and have players roll. Haven't done it in 5th, but I don't see why not.

I thought I would hate it, but I enjoy seeing the players roll for "defending" more than I do rolling for "attacks".

*Not crazy about roll under systems, but BH has some neat mechanics. I like it's simple initiative: make your DEX roll or you go after your opponents do
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I've never had anyone explain why that is so wrong other than it's not the "proper" way to play or what they do as an alternative.
Yes you have, repeatedly and at length. You just haven’t agreed with the things other people find wrong with it. And that’s absolutely fine, if your way works for you, more power to you.

As for what I do as an alternative, I roll a Charisma (Deception) check for the merchant if they’re lying, and describe some kind of tell if it doesn’t beat everyone’s passive Wisdom (Insight).
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Yeah - that's the other reason I haven't thought a lot about it for 5e - at least until 6th level or so I think the pcs are too fragile and the encounters too swingy to trust that I could make it work. Even after that, I'm not positive it would work. 4e and 13A are the only editions I've been comfortable with letting the dice fall where they may - if the PCs go down in those editions it's because they screwed up or had bad luck, not that the encounter they were facing was accidentally harder than I intended it to be. (If I'm planting clues that the encounter is too hard for them it's on them if they ignore it and go in swinging. If the encounter design rules are busted and I have to use trial and error to feel out how difficult a challenge really is, I need more control to fudge a busted encounter into something closer to the challenge I meant to give them.)
Well, obviously if you are uncomfortable with it, dont think it will work, not something yo les inyo.

I can say for me, with a couple 5e campaigns now and some shorter runs eith it - PAR has worked fine. I haven't touched a fie (except when player ) in ages in multiple systems and 5e and encounters plsy just fine.

Thrn agsin, I always felt if the encounter isn't going to survive the dice, thats on the encounter not the dice or rules.

Three Rs - robust, reactive and resilient. The keys to envounters.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
I am trying to find ways to make it more worthwhile... or easier to give it some zing.
Not sure what you mean by easier.

Its "roll your armor" or "roll d20 and add your AC"

Its "roll your DC" or "roll d20 and add your spell DC"

To me the value is in the "in your hsnds" up front nature of the play with PC "actions" or "active" at all times.

As for zing, to me that's in the scene, not the dice.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
As for zing, to me that's in the scene, not the dice.
For me its about options that make a difference ... when we go to attack or cast a spell huge numbers of options have been presented which make the action both vivid (aka zing) and involve a choice with some impact (this makes it feel actually in your hands more than dice do) . Rune Quest had basic parry and dodge as options, the second could be seen as immediately effective vs multiple attacks but sacrificing position.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yes you have, repeatedly and at length. You just haven’t agreed with the things other people find wrong with it. And that’s absolutely fine, if your way works for you, more power to you.

As for what I do as an alternative, I roll a Charisma (Deception) check for the merchant if they’re lying, and describe some kind of tell if it doesn’t beat everyone’s passive Wisdom (Insight).
What you call rules I call one interpretation. As far as the OP, I'm not a big fan of Angry ... I assume you are.

I think D&D is a game meant to be interpreted and spun to fit the group so I disagree with anyone that makes a blanket "playing it the way I do is the only correct way to play".

As far as who rolls the die, I prefer the mix of 5E. Maybe it's just the traditionalist in me, but for the most part I don't think it really matters all that much in the grand scheme of things. I prefer a game where DM and player switch off between rolling for results and it doesn't matter much which particular actions are resolved by whom as long as it goes back and forth. Personally I like rolling saves for my monsters because I do it faster since I have a system where I roll multiple dice at once.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
What you call rules I call one interpretation. As far as the OP, I'm not a big fan of Angry ... I assume you are.
When did I call anything rules?

I wouldn’t call myself a “fan” of Angry. I think he’s a jerk, and I find many of his expressed views pretty repugnant, but I have found much of his DMing advice to be very useful.

I think D&D is a game meant to be interpreted and spun to fit the group so I disagree with anyone that makes a blanket "playing it the way I do is the only correct way to play".
I agree. Has anyone made such a statement?

As far as who rolls the die, I prefer the mix of 5E. Maybe it's just the traditionalist in me, but for the most part I don't think it really matters all that much in the grand scheme of things. I prefer a game where DM and player switch off between rolling for results and it doesn't matter much which particular actions are resolved by whom as long as it goes back and forth. Personally I like rolling saves for my monsters because I do it faster since I have a system where I roll multiple dice at once.
I also prefer a mix. As I mentioned in my earlier post in the thread, my preference is that the active party always rolls, whether that be GM or PC - with the caveat that in some cases there’s a lot of room for interpretation on who is the active party.* But that’s just my own preference. Players always roll and GM always roll are equally valid ways to run the game if that’s what one prefers.

*To me the NPC telling the lie is the active party, to you the PC trying to catch the NPC in a lie might be the active party. To me the wizard just drops a fireball on an area and the creatures in the area have to actively try to get out of the way, to some the wizard might need to actively try to aim the spell and the creatures in the area might use a passive defense. I think all of these are valid interpretations, which is part of why D&D needs a human being running the show, making those judgment calls.
 

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