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.

  1. 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)

  2. 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.

  3. 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."

  4. 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 10’s (what should be an automatic success) and finding out they still missed the person they were shooting at.

  5. 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.


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