Player-Facing Rolls

There’s been some discussion on the web relating to using “player-facing rolls” (e.g., Gamer: The Blogging: Player-Facing Rolls.). In D&D, this is where you flip the mechanic over and have the players roll defense vs a static offense statistic (offensive rolls are made normally). Here’s a link that explains it more from the SRD. The DM essentially never needs to touch the dice (unless they’ve got some hidden roll they want to make).

I’ve considered them before and while I’ve never used them, the idea intrigues me. However, I’ve noted that there is a strong polarization around the idea. People either love the idea or hate the idea. Some of the “Love” may be the shininess or appreciation of its cleverness and some of the “Hate” may be related to “don’t mess with how I’ve always played my game!”. This thread on the Troll Lord Castles & Crusandes forum speaks to how old-school type games seem to perceive the idea (I know “Old-school” is a loaded term that may mean a lot of different things, but I think my point remains the same regardless of whether you view C&C as strictly Old-School or not).

I’ve been thinking of using it for my Atlantis/C&C/HAGIS mash-up, but am leaning against it. Not that I don’t like it, I do. I just want to remove any perceived bumps in the road. With the limits on all our time, all the logistics in setting up a game, and all the changes I’m making to rules that will require some explanation….I just don’t want another thing to explain. Perhaps another time I’ll use it….or swap it in later. We’ll have to see. I’d love to hear what others think about it….especially those who’ve used it.


2 thoughts on “Player-Facing Rolls

  1. I’ve thought about this approach, but I don’t think I’d want to use it in my games. This is in part because hey, it’s kind of fun for the DM to get to roll some dice too, and in part because if I’m making hidden rolls for my monsters’ attacks, the players don’t know how close they were to getting hit or, conversely, how close they were to getting missed by the attack. If the player rolls an 18 defense against the attack and they’re hit and a 16 and they’re missed, they know what they need to roll and how close it was. If I roll the attack, only I know how easily I hit the player or how nearly I missed them and I can be a little more dramatic about it.

    Plus, while I haven’t had to fudge rolls yet and I generally prefer not to do so, if the players are making all of the rolls a fudge becomes pretty much impossible. I don’t want to completely eliminate the fudge possibility in case I need it.

  2. Yeah, that seems to be the general gist of the gripes with the idea. While I see the point, I’m of half a mind to let players know the result and reason for *All Rolls*.

    This requires that the players firmly keep their player knowledge and character knowledge separate. The decision to do it that way would need to explicitly state that the game is about developing an interesting story with *that* being the only player goal (as opposed to character success). Kind of like people watching a movie knowing more (often much more) than the characters do about what’s going on in any scene. Just a thought I’ve been bouncing around for a bit.


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