I need some guidance about how to best use Stealth checks for a campaign.
When it comes to Stealth, say of a Rogue*, would it be better to allow players to roll for their own Stealth skill check, or, for the DM to roll for them?
The hook is whether allowing players to roll for Stealth takes away the potential drama and infuluences their decisions.
SCENARIO: The party comes into what looks like an abandoned castle atop a hill. They enter the great hall and notice that on the floor there is fresh blood. The wind whistles through the broken rooftop. The party had heard back at the local tavern, the "Ditches & Riches", that rumours have it that there is an undead creature lurking in the hills and the ruins of the old castle. The party decides to investigate. The Rogue decides to go ahead and use their Stealth to find out what they might be dealing with. They make a plan: an ambush! They agree on an ambush point; the Rogue will find the undead and report back; they will then purposely make some noise to attract the undead and set the speedy Monk as bait to lure the undead into the ambush point.
The Rogue sets off to look for the undead creature...
- First Option: The Rogue rolls for Stealth and after bonuses had a confident score of 28.
- Second Option: The Rogue rolls badly and ends up with a miserly score of 12.
- Third Option: The DM rolls for the Rogue and does not tell the player.
The implications here are different and it affects game-play. If the Rogue rolls a very high score for Stealth they will be confident about exploring the chambers around the main hall looking for this undead, maybe going a bit further afield from where the party are hiding even. If the Rogue's roll is dire, then they are likely to overly cautious just peak as they know that if the undead is powerful, their passive perception will likely reveal the Rogue's position and possibly could end up in death. If the DM rolls and does not declare the result, the Rogue will investigate regardless, but be aware that there is a chance of being discovered, so it could create a sense of intrigue and actual peril in the players.
DM strategy: My question is specifically about whether allowing players to roll their own Stealth checks takes away some of the potential fun in the game? How can you add a sense of intrigue and peril into the campaign when players are investigating an unknown area when they already know what their Stealth check was?
Please put on your DM hats on for this question.
(*) I used a Rogue in my question because Rogues tend to be the PCs that most often use/require Stealth checks, but this could apply to any class using Stealth.