This is a basic question, but I never remember the correct way. In World of Darkness (both 1e and 2e), you can alter the pool dice with modifiers, from -5 to +5, which are applied after the pool dice formed with attribute + skill.

What to do if player change her mind on the roll after knowing the modifier?

I'm only interested on dealing with negative modifiers, and I have 3 cases possible:

  • The player knows ahead of time the negative modifier. For example, if she's going to fire a gun on a storm, she knows she will have a negative modifier because of low visibility. In this case, I suspect is OK to let the player to change her mind, or even ask beforehand about the modifier.
  • The player forgot about a modifier. Let's suppose the player got a condition a while ago that penalizes with -2 dice actions taken at full moon. But the player forgot about that and tried to roll an action on a full moon, thus I had to tell her to subtract 2 dice on the pool. Should she be able to change her mind? Story-wise, I guess it would make a good scene to apply the penalty, as it would be like the character forgot about her condition.
  • The modifier isn't on player's knowledge. For example, the argument action is Intelligence + Expression - victim's Resolve. If she knows that I'm telling her to subtract 3 dice, she will know the resolve of the victim. Should I let her change her mind after knowing this? My opinion is that this makes a good opportunity to teach players not to go and try actions on everybody, without proper inspection.

Is there something in the books that tells how to deal with these situations?


1 Answer 1


There is no RAW answer.

Looking in the 2nd Ed core, 68-73, it describes forming and rolling dicepools, but it never specifies when players can back out - eg, "just before the dice hit the table", wherein they know how many dice they will roll before they are committed - or "as soon as it's said."

Three things to bear in mind:

  • Characters don't "think in dots."

For example, "I'm a pretty good shot, but this storm makes it hard to see. Still, there's not going to be a better shot..." is a much more realistic character thought than "I've got a dicepool of 7, counting my specialty, and this is only a 3 dot storm. This should work out."

Ergo, this could make a good basis for withholding the math of the pool until they're "committed to the action."

  • Players can be rewarded for failure (2nd Ed)

Don't forget, one of the easy ways to get a Beat is to accept a Dramatic Failure in place of a failure. As such, since this is a case where the player directly intervenes with the character's dice roll (substituting a rolled 1 on 1 die vs no successes on more than 1 die) it would be logical to have full player disclosure.

In our example, if I've got that 7 dicepool vs a 3 penalty storm, I'm not sure I want my character to dramatically fail - it might erode her group's trust in her ability to be the gunslinger. However, if the storm was a 5 dot storm, or she wasn't so adept with a gun, turning a failure on two dice into a dramatic failure might leave less room to criticize her shooting skills.

  • Heroic effort

Players, when faced with a dire task, can elect to have their characters spend Willpower to increase the dicepool by 2-3 dice (depending on context.) Anecdotally, players tend to employ this tactic on either very weak dicepools or very strong dicepools.

Numerical example: Manny the Mortal wants to do something; his dicepool is 3. The task is out of his league, and invokes a 4 dice penalty. "But wait," Paul the Player says, "Manny really wants this, and I don't want a 1 in 10 chance of success. So, here's a Willpower token." Now, rather than a 3 - 4 => 1 dicepool, Manny has effectively a 6 - 4 => 2 dicepool. His odds are now much better.

Do what works for your troupe. But if this means they never want to do anything with a risk of failure, it might be worth explaining how boring of a game that can become.

One other note on "forgotten" conditions: don't forget that Condition Card decks are available for purchase. And it's true that some obvious conditions (Leg Wrack, Burned, etc) should be hard to forget - but others (Swooned, Surveiled, etc) may be easily forgettable - or not even known by the characters. Whether the players should know of them, again, depends on the troupe.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Greate answer, as always :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Veehmot
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 16:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate your appreciation. You have demonstrated a good pattern of taking a specific situation that occurs to you, and converting it into a well-formed question that can hopefully help out other knowledge seekers. \$\endgroup\$
    – C Geist
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 10:40

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