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25

Of course! There is no reason why you would not be allowed to roll in secret. If you suspect your players will metagame when they realize they rolled low and might have missed something, it is reasonable to roll in secret so they do not know if they succeeded or failed. However, even if you roll in secret, players may still get suspicious. You're rolling ...


18

In the case of your example, rolling a 1 or 20 doesn't mean any more than rolling a 2 or a 19 or a 3 or an 18. In 3.5 at least, there are no automatic successes or failures with skill checks. Regardless, in most rolls there is not an automatic success or failure. Sure, if they roll a 20 they're going to be confident that they have succeeded. But that's ...


12

I typically introduce a red herring to make the players think they're rolling for something else. Examples (from Shadowrun): An enemy cyber-ninja wants to sneak up on the party, and plant a tracker on one of the group's vehicles, to follow their whereabouts. I tell the group to roll Perception checks (audio-based). None of them beat the cyber-ninja's ...


11

As far as I know, there's no official way to do it. The Players Handbook simply says "Make an attack roll. Compare your attack roll to the target's defense... to determine whether you hit or miss." (Page 269.) That leaves a lot of scope to the players and GMs to decide how to make that comparison. I've seen GMs do it both of the ways you mention. I've seen ...


9

For "uncertain" rolls (ex: you search for hidden microphones in an espionage game, how can you be sure you found all that were hidden?) I use a double roll: 1 roll is made by the active player. Another is done, secretly, by the GM, using absolutely the same type of dice, bonuses etc. If both roll a success, the GM gives full result (e.g.: lists all the ...


9

One answer comes from Dogs in the Vineyard, where the GM is expected to make it very clear to the players that, for example, the person they're talking to is lying to them. This philosophy asks the players to help manage the story, and moves their knowledge into helping to construct the game world. One answer comes from various ways of obfuscating the die ...


8

Get over your problem with making the roll secretly. I know that's harsh, but here's my reasoning. You have two choices: either let the players in on information their characters do not have, or keep the players in the dark as their characters are. If the players are in the loop, you might as well let them roll the dice. If the players are in the dark, ...


7

Yes, but.... It's entirely appropriate to roll in secret for almost everything. You, as the GM, are responsible for being an arbitrator and as such you need to have that power. You don't roll a spot check and let players know if they got an awesome success or a miserable failure, because then they'd always ask to roll again. Secrets for the GM are also ...


6

To your final question: "Are there any official rules/guidelines to support [DM asking for defense?", in the basic game, no. I don't know about official tournaments, or sanctioned events, but for casual gameplay, they strongly encourage you to do whatever is best for your group/situation. I agree with you, that in many situations, just saying what the ...


5

It really depends on the game! In many modern-day RPGs, rolling for stuff in secret is unnecessary, and even downright impossible to do without abjectly breaking the rules. For example, in Burning Wheel, you can't engage the mechanics without engaging the other players, since we have to come to agreement about the intent and task behind a roll before we ...


5

In terms of game theory[1], it's fine, if you want to see if the character discovers something without alerting the player that there's something there to be discovered, but I prefer to avoid it for several reasons. First of all, if you as the GM put something hidden into the game, it should be meant to be discovered - maybe not right now, if you're talking ...


5

In case you really dislike hidden rolls, you may also try introducing (after having discussed this with your players, of course) an automatically take ten rule for such situations. This takes away a good deal of the variety and excitement resulting from extreme rolls, ruthlessly smoothing check results to their average, but also quickens and eases (social) ...


4

If you dislike hidden rolls just have each players roll a 100 times and list the results in order. Then make a hidden roll to mark where you start on the list and just cross off each result when used for a normally secret check. This way it is still the player who made the roll but preserves the secrecy of the result. It been my experience that the ...


4

Show them the numbers for faster combat When I have time to set it up, I create little tent cards for each monster showing its name and four defenses. A picture matching the mini or pog would be even better. This never seems to ruin anyone's "flow." It just saves them time asking me if they hit and speeds up combat. Faster (and less discussion about it) ...


4

This one is very good for settings like Cyberpunk where you may want to instill an atmosphere of paranoia. Occasionally, ask your players to make dummy perception rolls, without any real cause. If they roll really well, be prepared to give them an interesting but irrelevant detail. (You may even introduce future adventure hooks this way) This way, your ...


4

Trust your players. They separate player knowledge from character knowledge all the time. If they fail the check, tell them the character didn't get a sense the monster was lying or tell them something way off base, like the character gets the sense that this monster is the victim of a transforming curse and is trying to give vague hints about it. If ...


3

Don't know if you count these into one or more of your bullet points, but... Add another die roll to the die roll (Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes[DDI]). Replace the die roll with a fixed number (Climatic Crescendo[DDI], if you consider the critical hit a natural 20, which could be a bit over-reading it).


3

There is the same 5% chance to roll any given number on d20. Technically the rules say that "if 1, then..." or "if 20, then...". So think outside the box: turn it upside-down, i.e. 20 fails, 1 succeeds. If you need proof after-the-fact, turn any die to either high or low, and reveal it after the fact. Use the same trick when the check requires a percentage ...


2

First: yes of course you can roll for your players in secret, just make sure you won't cause your players to feel over-ruled. Allow them to roll their own dices when they want to. To hide the dice-roll there are two techniques that I use frequently: Roll a dice every now and then Just so whenever it fits, make a brief pause, roll a dice, continue the ...


2

You have many solutions for that. You may prepare some rolls in advance. Roll your dice as many time as you think you'll need (and a little more just in case), and note the results. When you need a secret roll, just pick the next on your list. This way, your players can not even know that you "rolled" a die. Keep track of your PC skills that you might use ...


1

Another option is to ask the player to roll their die, and tell you the result. And then, don't tell them why they rolled. As a DM, you should have a copy of their character sheets on hand, and you can know for yourself whether or not they succeeded whatever secret roll they just made. Good players will gladly ignore that nothing has changed because ...


1

Others have noted this before: In some systems it is easier to integrate hidden roles than in others. Also: Players tend to have different opinions on the matter and you have to find a compromise that works for the whole group. If you cannot find a consens right away, you might want to try different amounts or criteria for hidden rolls at different ...


1

I think with the nature of 4e, the best solution is for everyone to know the relevant stats. The game is tightly balanced based on these things, and expects you to act in a certain way according to how it's balanced. It's difficult to do if you don't know. Plus, everyone has access to the majority of enemy stats anyway, so it doesn't make sense to screw over ...



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