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I know the Edge of the empire core rulebook states in the GM chapter that the GM should show his rolls for NPCs to the PCs because they have direct influence to the dice pool (or something like that), but I personally don't like showing my skill checks to my players. Should I start showing the PCs my rolls or stick to concealing them? 

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I always show mine, and I try whenever possible to turn it into a player roll. So rather than have a bartender make a Deception check against the PC's Discipline (or Vigilance, which I imported from Genesys) I ask the PC to make a Vigilance check against the bartender's Deception.

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17 minutes ago, Alphabonnie101/TheHeroking said:

I know the Edge of the empire core rulebook states in the GM chapter that the GM should show his rolls for NPCs to the PCs because they have direct influence to the dice pool (or something like that), but I personally don't like showing my skill checks to my players. Should I start showing the PCs my rolls or stick to concealing them? 

I find this system works best when rolls are made out in the open so that everyone can contribute to the narrative, but of course YMMV.

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14 minutes ago, panpolyqueergeek said:

I find this system works best when rolls are made out in the open so that everyone can contribute to the narrative, but of course YMMV.

I can't get my players to do it for all their rolls, but I love when they break down good and bad based on where the dice that rolled the result came from.  For example, if you receive threats from black dice imposed by rain, you slip on the wet ground.  If the threat came from red dice from an opposed check, their opponent shoves them, causing them to slip.  The effect is the same, but the narrative cause changes based on what dice rolled what.

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1 minute ago, Edgookin said:

I can't get my players to do it for all their rolls, but I love when they break down good and bad based on where the dice that rolled the result came from.  For example, if you receive threats from black dice imposed by rain, you slip on the wet ground.  If the threat came from red dice from an opposed check, their opponent shoves them, causing them to slip.  The effect is the same, but the narrative cause changes based on what dice rolled what.

I really appreciate players who can do that :)

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I'll second (third? fourth?) open rolling. Mainly because you cant ever really accidentally TPK a party like DnD. So there is no need to "fudge" results.

  • Roll a despair or enough advantage to crit, but you know they are all near death? Just have it NOT do a crit. Simple.
  • Did enough damage to knock them all out? They aren't dead, they are captured. They can escape later.

 

It's also been mentioned elsewhere but if you ever have a Plot point that requires a roll to absolutely succeed or fail, you need to re-write it. Either make it a narrative moment with no rolls, or make a roll but with a fail forward approach where a failed roll still gets the task accomplished, it just has negative consequences. 

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1 hour ago, ThreeAM said:

Did enough damage to knock them all out? They aren't dead, they are captured. They can escape later.

For added excitement, let one of them die while the rest get captured. Don't overuse it, but contrary to the views of some, an unexpected death can stimulate the players in ways that gentle handling never can.

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3 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

For added excitement, let one of them die while the rest get captured. Don't overuse it, but contrary to the views of some, an unexpected death can stimulate the players in ways that gentle handling never can.

 

2 hours ago, 2P51 said:

Death has to have a seat at the table. No risk. No reward.

I agree that there needs to be some risk of Death. I only meant that even with dice showing you still have leeway as the GM.

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As for the original question, it took quite a bit for me to start showing my rolls, but it makes the game more suspenseful I think, to keep things in the open.  And with FFG especially, having my players interpret the negative dice for their adversaries has made the game infinitely more enjoyable.  As a GM for over 30 years, I've rarely had a sense of mystery for any game I've run.  All of the minutiae has been accounted for by me, with this system and the the players input on the narrative with open dice rolling, I really have no idea how a scene will turn out (roughly I do, but the details are always more than I expected) and it tends to pull me into the story more as a result.

 

6 minutes ago, ThreeAM said:

 

I agree that there needs to be some risk of Death. I only meant that even with dice showing you still have leeway as the GM.

Agreed, though we have only had 2 near deaths in almost 3 years.  Both of which saved at the last second..literally.  There is still much fear of death even though they are 2000+ in xp. One was bleeding out (well, as 'bleeding out' as a droid could get) and was saved on the turn he would have died and the other ended up with a cybernetic leg and 2 weeks in bacta.  A scene which the outlaw tech character who saved both of them ended up taking medic as a spec, lol.

 

 

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On a practical level there are also a lot of talents floating around that can modify die pools and it's a lot easier (and less error-prone) to deal with that if the die pools are out in the open.

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11 hours ago, Edgookin said:

I can't get my players to do it for all their rolls, but I love when they break down good and bad based on where the dice that rolled the result came from.  For example, if you receive threats from black dice imposed by rain, you slip on the wet ground.  If the threat came from red dice from an opposed check, their opponent shoves them, causing them to slip.  The effect is the same, but the narrative cause changes based on what dice rolled what.

I'm so stealing this idea, it's genius! :)

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14 hours ago, Alphabonnie101/TheHeroking said:

I know the Edge of the empire core rulebook states in the GM chapter that the GM should show his rolls for NPCs to the PCs because they have direct influence to the dice pool (or something like that), but I personally don't like showing my skill checks to my players. Should I start showing the PCs my rolls or stick to concealing them? 

The important question there is why don't you like showing your rolls? What's the reason?

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26 minutes ago, Talkie Toaster said:

The important question there is why don't you like showing your rolls? What's the reason?

Being Devil's Advocate here--

  • If an adversary is Force sensitive (and using Force dice in a check), but the players/characters don't know yet.
  • I've been known to just randomly roll dice for...nothing. Not trying to make an actual check, so the dice results don't matter. Roll, nod, "Hmmm," move on. It's the game equivalent of hearing a noise in the distance that could be nothing...or could be trouble.

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2 hours ago, Talkie Toaster said:

The important question there is why don't you like showing your rolls? What's the reason?

Not OP, but I've only ever seen two reasons for this. 

The first is that they want to keep their NPC stats secret. I'm not sure how valid that is - it makes sense in D&D where you can get a perfect probability for any roll, but on the triple-axis FFG system it matters a lot less. 

2 hours ago, Nytwyng said:
  • If an adversary is Force sensitive (and using Force dice in a check), but the players/characters don't know yet.
  • I've been known to just randomly roll dice for...nothing. Not trying to make an actual check, so the dice results don't matter. Roll, nod, "Hmmm," move on. It's the game equivalent of hearing a noise in the distance that could be nothing...or could be trouble.

The second solves the first - just roll force die with everything. 

The second reason is because the GM fudges rolls. They may not admit this, but that's the reason. Terrible GMs fudge to railroad the plot, bad GMs fudge to 'beat' their players, and some (no judgement here, personally I think it's a mediocre practice, but there can be exceptions) GMs fudge to prevent death. 

Edited by Genuine

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I generally roll visibly these days but I'll freely admit to rolling secretly and fudging rolls from time to time in the past . Mainly it happened when I overestimated my players capabilities and the adversaries I  created  outclassed them when in fact they were only supposed to be a moderate challenge. It was my error in creating the bad guys and I fudged to keep the story alive rather than have a tpk. I try not to punish players for my faults in gming.

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5 hours ago, Talkie Toaster said:

The important question there is why don't you like showing your rolls? What's the reason?

I don't hide rolls in Start Wars, but I do D&D. For example:

Hiding NPC's Perception and Insight rolls so the PC's don't know if they've been found out (until it's too late).

And following what Nytwyng said: to build tension. Pretending to roll dice to make a decision or pending to consult a random encounter table could contribute to a player's paranoia that something bad or unexpected could occur at any moment. Maybe I'm making Perception rolls for NPC's they haven't discovered yet, or maybe I'm just buying time to think.

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1 hour ago, panpolyqueergeek said:

I don't hide rolls in Start Wars, but I do D&D. For example:

Hiding NPC's Perception and Insight rolls so the PC's don't know if they've been found out (until it's too late).

And following what Nytwyng said: to build tension. Pretending to roll dice to make a decision or pending to consult a random encounter table could contribute to a player's paranoia that something bad or unexpected could occur at any moment. Maybe I'm making Perception rolls for NPC's they haven't discovered yet, or maybe I'm just buying time to think.

This is me now.

 

I'll roll dice casually to the side during narrative play. Sometimes it means something, sometimes it doesn't. But for combat or structured play the rolls are  in the open so as the players can utilize the results as much as I can.

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In this system generally people want to try and gadgue an NPC's stats through rolls; I solve that by not rolling until the PC's have committed something to the table worth rolling for, or rather I only roll for something once the PC's have committed to a particular course of action; that action could be big or small (making a significant lie, gambling, fishing for intel) but generally the PC's recognise that by rolling they are also offering something to lose. Once the players have commited to a line of action, it's generally bad style to see the dice pool the NPC has and go "well actually I want to try that instead." No, once the dice are on the table they have already preformed the action and narrated what they intend to do and the dice don't come on the table a moment sooner; the dice are just there to provide narration to the outcome of a particular course of action after all.

That being said, I don't think it's particularly harsh. After all a person usually only gets the idea of the other, beyond first impressions by talking to them. No different to any real interaction, I'm not particularly concerned about PC's getting a feel for an NPC, but in turn they need to put the effort in to get that understanding. "****, Lando just made off with a load of cash, his reputation really doesn't do him justice!" rather then "Oh look at his cunning, don't gamble with him." and so fourth.  That way you have the best of both worlds, the players are getting information from the NPC's characteristics while also interacting in a way that would be natural. Likewise, allowing the PC's to play to their strengths against an NPC's weakness makes them feel rewarding, especially if they have been clever with their skill set. For example, my PC was able to conceal the fact that he was a force user to the galaxy at large for 3 years by keeping his most potent secerts hidden, his skill a lightsabre and his idenity; no one in the criminal underworld truly knew what the Charmelion was prior to an event that wiped out a large chunk of the Hutt ring. That was probably the most satisfying reward I have had in any campaign.

Likewise, a force user might or might not use the force depending on his objectives. Does the goal not mean a lot to him? Then he won't use influence on a social check as the stakes just aren't high enough for potentially drawing some unwanted attention. Just as said, once the dice come out, the transaction has already taken place in effect. Boost dice narrations are fine, but I would rule out whole actions (He's using influence, so I'm going to activate suppress during the encounter!)

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OKay my opinion.

As the GM, its ultimately up to you as to where, when, or why you roll the dice.

My group is transitioning locations, but we used to play at a FLGS and were playing at a table space with about 6 ft x 9 ft.  I was on one of the long sides and the players were all ultimately on the other long side.  From a practical experience the Players had NO idea what my dice results were and (to be honest) I was completely incapable of reading their dice results.  Many times I would grab a dice pool, make a roll and say something like "Huh.  That's interesting," by way of a complete explanation . . .

Okay bad example and out of context.  As a GM, I have the problem that I tend to play my cards WAY to close to the vest.  The PC's are often in a dynamic environment and there are ancillary and related activities going on around them and I'll use dice rolls to try to figure out how the conflict boils down.

Let me lay out a better example.  One of the PC's has a bounty on her head.  Local bounty hunters have heard that she's in port and dispatch a sniper take her down.

So I'll start with a "Okay group, I need everyone to make a Perception roll vs . . . 1 red, 3 purple, and 3 black (flip one destiny token) actually make that 2 red 2 purple & three black."

The Player running the Arkanian will invariably ask if the black are for darkness and since I define darkness when it's involved the stock answer is a cryptic "No."

The Players get me their results and in this type of situation the results are interpreted as thus;

"Ugh!  7 failures and 2 threat"= Okay It's a lovely day at the starport.  No adverse affects (yet).

"Hmm.  My dice totally washed out.  Why does that keep happening to me?  What are the odds?"  Still no affect.

"I got a dispair!"  Huh. You're PC is forces sensitive?  You have a bad feeling about this . . . 

"I got a success and 6 threat".  Okay, for this check, I'm ignoring the threat.  This PC's notices a suspicious figure lurking along one of the rooftops, and the suspicious figure is concealing themselves with a camo net.

On the odd chance that a PC gets a triumph, they would also notice the sniper rifle being pointed in their general direction.

My point here is that I'm using the dice to drive the narrative of the story.  I'm seeking counsel and guidance from the "bones."  In this example I started with the general concept, the PC's are going to get into a fight with a sniper.  How that fight or conflict starts is left to some chance.  In this poor example the Players really don't have enough information to contribute to the narrative, so they can't help shape the the narrative too much.  And then there's the (all too often occurence) where the PC's all fail their Perception check and the NPC blows THEIR roll.  :blink: no encounter . . . (Yes this really happens to me and I really do keep this result in my game.  Just because the sniper misses them in the Starport, doesn't mean that they won't try again later at the Cantina).

 

And here's a different example with a different result.  Sometimes I use the dice rolls for pure theater.

In a recent encounter the PC's stumbled across Ahsoka Tano.  While the PLAYERS were familiar with the character the Characters were less so.  (I used a Knowledge Core Worlds checks to determine familiarity with the NPC and most of the characters failed).  One of the PC's failed but had a ton of advantage results so I ruled that this character had heard of Ahsoka and was familiar enough with her to recognize Tano from the holovids.

Her appearance WAS highly suspicious in an environment dominated by hostile battle droids and the group had already encountered and fought a Proxy droid.

One of the PC's used their force power sense (IRRC) to see if Ahsoka was a real person or a droid. 

For narrative theater, I had Ahsoka make a contested force sense roll to block his attempt.  The reality was that the PC's were facing another Proxy droid, and the roll was completely unnecessary.  The PC's were completely incapable of sensing "life" from the droid.  However, the droid (and the GM, that jerk!) employed a ruse de guerre and the Players bought it.

Narratively, when the PC did his Jedi hand wave, and asked his probing question the Proxy droid mimicked the motion and replied, "You're going to have to become much stronger in the force in order to get inside my head, Padawan."

 

I guess if I have a point, it is this.  The dice are a tool that you use as a GM to help you tell a dynamic story.  They are employed in different ways based on the situation.  Keep yourself open to different options and employ as needed.  While most of the time I'm rolling in the open, there are that handful of examples where I roll completely in secret.

Another bad habit that I have is that  I'll just grab a handful of dice and just roll them to keep the Players on their toes.  Is there a sniper lurking?  I someone following the group?  Is the GM just trying to induce some paranoia?

Edited by Mark Caliber
Math are hard. Grammar not count wright.

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I think it depends on the roll itself.

Most should be in the open, but some stuff needs to be done secretly so the players don’t have outside information.

like if you file a fraudulent shipping manifest with the ISB, you won’t know how well your deception was when you make it.

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