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I was wondering if it could be okay in certain situations to ask for, or suggest, a test when I feel it makes sense to do so but the DM didn't ask me to roll a dice?

To be more precise, I'll illustrate with my current character in a Warhammer game without any homebrew rules, base edition. I play as a young student who never had to face danger. The first encounter happens and some thieves are trying to kill him. The DM left me the choice of my next action, but in my opinion, in terms of roleplaying, I should have rolled a dice to see if my character completely freaked out or not.

Would it have been ok to ask for a roll in this situation? (even though it is normally not a good thing to do)

I’m looking more for "best practices" than game-specific rules, as I don't really enjoy to apply the rules by the book if it interferes with the fun of the game. I'm more of a DM than a player, so I’ve only encountered this kind of situation a couple of times, but I never dared to ask to roll since I hate it when people do it in my games.

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    \$\begingroup\$ We probably need to know the specific game and edition you are playing in order to answer this sort of question, because whether it is okay to ask for such a roll depends on the rules of the game you are playing. Can you please let us know in the comments or by tagging your question with the game and system used (for example dnd-5e or pathfinder)? \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Apr 4 at 14:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ This either depends on the rules of the game you’re playing, or the game you’re playing doesn’t have rules that care about this and it’s a matter of “best practices”. Either way, answering usefully depends on knowing what game you’re playing. Could you edit your question to indicate which one — or even, to indicate which ones, if you’ve experienced this in more than one game system — so we can make sure answers are on point for the question? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 4 at 14:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've added a bit more detail in the question, I hope it's going to be sufficient. @SevenSidedDie It indeed appears to me as a "best practices" problem as I don't really enjoy to apply the rules by the book if it interferes with the fun of the game. I'm more of a DM than a player, so i've only encountered this kind of situation a couple of times, but I never dared to ask to roll since I hate it when people do it in my games. \$\endgroup\$ – bedeau Apr 4 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 4 at 19:17
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Roleplaying vs. Rollplaying

In your particular example, it sounds like you're looking to determine a course of action when choice isn't bound by the rules, but rather the character's personality. Rolling dice to determine a course of action isn't roleplaying, it's rollplaying.

What's the difference? If one is getting into the role of their character, they should take the input the character has received and decide how the character would react. If you must, take one step back from the actor level and look at the author level. What would be more interesting for the story? What part of the character's personality do you want to explore? Decide what you want the character to do, then maybe roll some dice to see if they can.

Just throwing some dice to decide is not playing the role, it's well... random. I've never encountered a playing group where that kind of randomness in behavior enhanced the experience for anybody, even the people making the roll. If the behavior is governed entirely by the dice, there's no success or failure in the dice.

Many games have mechanics for "fear" or "morale."

If the player decides the character is afraid, those might be appropriate to leverage. Even then, they should still come from a player choice. The player can use the result of a roll like that to form future behavior and future decisions. The character passed the check last time, didn't run, and got stabbed for it? That's character development. The character failed, ran, and got stabbed anyway? Character development. The character passed, didn't run, and ended up kicking some serious butt? Development. The character failed, ran, got away scott-free, and decides running is always the best option? Development

Summary

Rolling dice to determine random behavior, to avoid making a choice about your character, is weak roleplaying.

Asking to using the system to determine if a character can successfully will themselves to do what the player wants is perfectly fine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer! You are right when you say that randomizing a character's behaviour is weak roleplaying, it didn't appear to me as such then but it definitely does now. \$\endgroup\$ – bedeau Apr 5 at 9:19

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