3.2.3 WHEN TO ROLL AND WHEN NOT TO
Too much die rolling can slow down a game or break the continuity of a scene, while too little can leave the players feeling they have no control over the events in the story. Finding a happy medium is the challenge of all Storytellers. Below are five guidelines to help Storytellers decide when and when not to roll.
- If an action is simple or mundane, a roll should not be required. Children of Clay, for instance should never have to make a roll to see if they can start their car (though children of fire, for whom interacting with technology is a feat in itself, might have to)
- When a given action is totally irrelevant to the course of the story, rolling should be avoided. Most of these situations revolve around character development and should be resolved through role-playing. Stopping the flow
of the game to resolve these trivial actions only slows things down.
- Communication between players and other characters should never be decided by a roll, even if the player is attempting to coerce or pump the subject for information. This is a perfect opportunity for role-playing that should not be squandered on mere random chance. Hopefully this practice will cut down on annoyances such as having a player say, "My character asks him about the dead body."
- Actions whose outcome is so integral to the plot that they can not be left to chance, should absolutely never be rolled. If a certain result is necessary to continue the plot line,
than having players roll is setting them up for disappointment. Nothing is worse for a player than rolling double 10s (what should be an automatic success) and finding out they still missed the person they were shooting at.
- Storytellers should avoid making players roll for actions they have already accomplished during a scene or even a session. There are, of course, many exceptions to this guideline, but under normal circumstances, a child of fire who already made a technology roll to operate a computer, should not be forced to continually make this roll during the coarse of the scene. Such rolling is redundant and once again slows down game play.