I could use some advice as a GM on how to handle rolls which get repeated by several players one after the other.
The PCs stand in front of a locked door and try to force it open. The tough guy: "Stand back, I'll handle this!" Gives it a try, fails his roll, the door stands. Up comes PC number 2. "Okay, I throw myself against the door". Rolls okay, but not sufficient; the door holds. Eventually, the Elf with back pain or the paraplegic Halfling succeeds with a lucky roll.
The PCs come upon a strange herb that they found somewhere. First player checks herbology, zip. Second player, "Maybe I know the kraut?", rolls, nothing. Third player...
This happens kind of frequently in our game. I'm not entirely sure it is a bad thing, but somehow it feels wrong. Firstly it greatly changes the balance of skill checks: 'sneaking' rolls, for example, must be succeeded by everyone in the group, 'herbology' only by one out of many. Secondly, I feel it lessens the satisfaction of actually solving problems unless the players explicitly want their characters to work together (and somewhat act it out, maybe). It boils down to "Okay, you try it first, then you, then you, and you with 0.1% chance of succeeding, why don't you give it a shot as well?"
The problem is lessened in some situations:
- Some skill checks can have bad effects if they go wrong (e.g. Surgery, First Aid).
- Others will take time/resources that not all PCs are willing to spend.
But in many cases there is no game mechanical or rational way why players should not do it.
- Do you think this is an issue, i.e., does this bother you as a GM?
- How do you handle these kinds of situations? (Ignore it? Forbid rerolls by other players? Add penalties to consecutive tries?)
I am totally okay with answers involving just talking to your players, or suggesting they try this or that. I don't necessarily need a game-mechanical way to address this issue.