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6

Opposed skill checks When players are rolling diplomacy against an NPC, they are trying to bluff/deceive an NPC, or are trying to use insight to not be bluffed or deceived themselves and you choose to handle it through dice (vs. roleplay) you should roll for the NPC in secret. NPC actions occurring off-screen NPC actions may occur outside the current ...


5

Give them the old Twist McGee Have it be a really obvious chessboard pattern, magically dress them as their pieces, etc. But allow various rules and illegal moves, and have the enemy pieces know and use them, leaving the PCs always 'one step behind'. Additionally, force them to move by having their square light up and one round later get hit by fire, and ...


5

Add something to it. One idea: The room provides no hint of being a chessboard (i.e. no dark and light squares). Players fall though the floor when making an illegal move (there is a path allowing the fallen characters to quickly return to their comrades). Players can use some kind of skill check (e.g. Discern realities in Dungeon world; for D&D like ...


4

Sure, you could cheat as a DM. However, in an ideal case, you're not playing against the players. :) You need to understand and practice that to gain their trust. And to gain trust (and lots of practice) in your own story-spinning abilities. You're playing a game together, a game that has rules than bind you as well... unless the story calls for you to ...


4

Sometimes Rolls Should Be Secret The point of rolling behind the screen is that you don't want the players to know what you rolled. This is most used in opposed checks and skill checks. Do they really need to know how well the NPC is rolling Bluff, or if they were seen while hiding by an enemy Spot? No. It's more fun if the players don't have perfect ...


4

I went through this same thing. I learned that through role-playing, you can establish the grounds of an appropriate mind read spell. Let's say you and I are both casters and have just met in a pathfinder world. We meet at a bar and I cast a charm person spell on you and it fails. As a fellow caster, you have probably identified that I have tried to charm ...


3

In a society built around privacy of thought, easy and consequence-free mind reading is too powerful. We need to make it either harder or have consequences, either by changing how mind reading works or how society does. Some ways of doing that: Mind Reading is Hard There's many ways to do this. Maybe it's hard to drill past surface thoughts, maybe it's ...


3

There are already good answers that covers most of the cases when rolling can be useful. I will address it from a slightly different angle, that is, this specific question: If nobody can see the roll then I could claim that i rolled any number I require, right? You roll behind the screen because you don't want players to see too soon the outcome of the ...


2

One of my favorite things about the 7th Sea GM book is... Rule 1: There are no rules Rule 2: Cheat anyway As the DM/GM/ST nothing you do truly constitutes cheating but it takes away fairness in games where the outcomes are determined by dice or entropic factors. Ultimately, I find that regardless of the system, DM transparency is truly up to the DM in ...


2

You could use other games with different movement rules: Stratego, Chinese Checkers, Three Player Chess, Risk, Of Mice and Mystics, Chutes and Ladders, Aperture Labs Portal, RoboRally (where players have to preprogram their moves a certain number of turns in advance, regardless of subsequent events), etc.


2

There was a chess variant called Battle Chess where the pieces moved as usual on a chessboard but upon entering a square with an opponent's piece did not automatically capture. Instead there was one round of battle with each piece having different combat attributes, and generally unable to defeat each other in one round. During the next 'chess' move ...


2

The chessboard could just simply be a theme. Show the players a game in progress with a map. Pick a color and the pieces of that color need rescuing. The party can be the "king" only able to move one room at a time, but they are the only piece that can move for their side. When the other side moves to take a piece, a (one-sided) battle takes place where ...


2

Although nominally specific to one game system, GURPS Psychic Campaigns is actually written as a toolbox of specific GM techniques that are directly useful in any game system, for anyone grappling with how to manage and run a campaign despite the unique challenges of psychic abilities. It's extremely well thought- and laid-out, giving you several variations ...


2

The core of the problem is that when this happens, the player has two choices: a) make their character act particularly ignorant about this thing b) connive some way for their character to figure it out Neither of which is fun. Another option, is to use your GM powers, and modify a small aspect about the monster. "Yes, you remember trolls are generally ...


2

Plots Are Hard with a Mind-reader PC The GM can give mind-reading several different limitations, but the most common ones include... Limit Mind-reading to Surface Thoughts Low-level Dungeons and Dragons spells do this. When the mind-reader uses his power, he only learns the subject's surface thoughts--that is, whatever the subject is thinking about right ...


1

How to embrace the mind-reading Investigation is boring and slow! It's often just a lot of nothing in disguise. The fun secrets are the secrets you actually know. Because then you get to go and do cool stuff with those secrets. Thus, mind-reading offers you a fast track to cool decisions and dramatic conflict. Don't be afraid to lay the bad guys' plans ...


1

I know you are looking for system-agnostic, but how you deal with it depends very much on the system and setting. Limitations on Mind Reading A person who can read anyone's mind easily, deeply, without detection, and with no way of stopping it simply breaks a whole lot of stories (most things with mysteries and most things involving any sort of bluff). In ...


1

There are a few options that can help with this that I've seen used. Mind-reading is illegal, or inadmissible in court In a society where mind-reading is possible, it is likely illegal to do without cause. Even where it is legal, it's possible that evidence gained from mind-reading is not acceptable during legal disputes, like how polygraph tests are not ...


1

Another possible twist, loosely based on Jack Lesnie's idea: Make the chess theme really obvious: giant chessboard on the floor, rows of black and white chess piece statues on either side of the room, leaving the players a four-square corridor to pass through. However, the chessboard is completely irrelevant; the only trap is that, at a moment of your ...


1

I am going to share my ideas on gaming, from various systems over many years. While it does not directly address the OP's question per se. I think it might be helpful. Meta gaming is a reality of the process, how you handle it should be part of your gaming philosophy and you players should have a basic understanding of your philosophy. Here are some of the ...


1

I don't like the "You don't remember anything" way. I use this method with my players (the game is Pathfinder, but I think this advice is quite general): I don't let know them the DC of the roll If they have success, I say them clearly useful informations ("trolls are weak to fire") If they fail, I say them some silly lore or wrong informations ("trolls ...



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