I'm GMing a group of almost novice players, using my own (house-rules) game system. One has played some D&D, the two others only a previous initiation one-shot adventure of mine in my system. I'm preparing a second one-shot, and I'd like to introduce them to my system's character creation.
I'm stuck on how part of how to handle group rolls though.
When my players face some situations, they'll have to take in account their stats and skills. Failing to bust a door open because of a bad roll or low strength can result in a minor injury, failing to hack an electronic device can also have bad repercussions etc., and I expect that my players will act according to their strengths and weaknesses, each of them shining at what they can do best, providing fun for everyone. A problem arises when, as a group, they have to explore a room to find something in particular. I'll go with a hidden door example:
The players are locked in a big room and failed miserably to hack the main door switch. In order for them to progress, they'll have to find a hidden door somewhere. Since everyone can observe their surroundings, they all make a roll.
Of course, even with bad rolls they have to find the door (it's the only remaining way to escape this room), but since their skills should matter (in this case, perception/observation), I would like to:
- Make something bad happen if the rolls are poor (more likely to happen if everyone has decided to be poorly-sighted).
- Reward the character who notices the door (the one having the highest result regarding his roll + skill bonuses).
(Keep in mind that this is an example, and I'm not seeking a solution for this situation precisely).
In short: When all players roll for perception, how to reward the best roll and/or punish an overall bad result, while still making the party find the clue?
As for the "punishment" part, I'm fine with "rerolling until the clue is found" as long as each reroll has a consequence (like trying to bust a door open multiple times, wearing it down but also dislocating your shoulder in the process). What consequence there can be on simply checking your surroundings... this is the issue.
Possible solutions I thought of for the consequence:
Time constraint (e.g., "You found nothing? Too bad, autodestruction advances by 1 minute!")
Not acceptable since I don't want to pressure my players into going too fast. It's still an initiation, they should have all the time they need to explore, fiddle with my world and draw their conclusions.
Throw enemies at them
Not acceptable; my pool of enemies is limited and they can't just pop up anywhere.
Random injuries (e.g., "While searching that drawer, you cut yourself on a knife")
A bit better, but seems too... random to use often.
And as for the reward :
Nope, this is a one-shot, in a situation that should last from a few hours to a day max, players can't really improve themselves.
Extra loot (e.g., "You find the door, plus a nice flamethrower just next to it!")
Quite like random injuries, but reversed. They are searching for something in particular, it would seem strange to reward one with another nice optional item if one performs well right? Plus, I can't really say "You did not found this, too bad" in the opposite case...
If this is considered a multiple question, please focus on the consequence part. After all, players are not rewarded specifically when slaying a foe, so I could be ok with just "Alice found the door, nice!". Also, feel free to edit any spelling/grammar mistake, as english is not my first language.
A bit more on the setting...
My players will awake without memory from their cryosleep caskets in a Fallout-style vault with a close to current days technology. They want to get out, it's not that easy, and a rogue AI wants to put them back to sleep (first) then prefers to kill them (after sufficient mayhem has been caused in the vault). Adding giant rats, an outsider, Atlas style robots repurposed to kill, a fellow frozen madman etc.