|January 11, 2011||Posted by John Arcadian|
“I roll to see if I know anything about ancient ankthyrian architecture and where they might have hidden a secret door. Crap, didn’t get it. Let me just try that again…”
or how about?
“Ok, I know I’ve rolled 8 times to try to force the door, but the 9th time is the charm!”
or what about this golden oldie?
“Ok, we want to avoid a fight. I’ll try to talk them down since I am the only one who knows their language. Crap. If they don’t immediately attack, can I try it again?”
Rolling the dice in most games denotes an attempt at an action by our characters, if the dice come up in our favor then the action is successful, if they don’t we are usually screwed. But is the failure scenario always such that the action can’t be attempted again? Since some actions can be attempted again we, as players, sometimes feel like other actions can be attempted again and will try for it. Sometimes this is true, sometimes it isn’t, but it is often fairly subjective as to when a reroll is appropriate.
So that is the hot button for today. When do you allow players to reroll actions? Does it depend on the type of action? Physical, remembering something, diplomacy? Does it depend on the fail scenario? What about when the players are in a jam and really need to get a win scenario? Will you let a reroll occur then, even if you haven’t before? Do you consider the reroll a separate action? What if enough time has passed between rolls for something like remembering info or figuring out a puzzle, will you allow a reroll then?
To me, this is one of those issues right up there with fudging the dice as a GM. I’ve got players who will try to push the bounds and reroll anything. Other players will consider themselves doomed and walk themselves to the guillotine, even when I would have given them a chance to work their way out of the situation. Like so many questions and issues, I find this very subjective. So how does it play at your table? What issues do you have with it or what situations will you absolutely disallow it in? When do you consider it acceptable to reroll a failure?
About John Arcadian
John Arcadian is the head of Silvervine Games, a freelance writer and art director, a website developer, a builder of sonic screwdrivers, and a purveyor of kilted mayhem. When he isn't out causing trouble in his kilt... Well, no, that is pretty much what he does when he isn't running RPGs or or trying to take over the world.