GM’s Making Die Rolls for Players

Sometimes it may be a better idea for the GM to roll some dice for the players – like those time when your ninja is trying to move silently, or your Street Samurai is trying to hear if anything is behind the door, or maybe your wizard is trying to spot the book that has been hidden in the ancient library. Or how about that time the PC tried to smooth talk their way past a guard?

Do we as GMs roll these checks? Should we? Maybe only sometimes?  Let’s discuss.


Survey to gauge interest in playing online with Brett, Sean and other BS’ers. We’ll be looking at the results. More to come.

Random Encounter

Saul comments, referencing a few previous episodes

Hey there Sean and Brett,

So I live in San Jose and am under “Shelter In Place” orders. Woo hoo more computer games and online rpgs, but I am a grocery clerk so I get to go to work. First of all everybody out there be safe.

I haven’t written to you guys in a while so I have a few short comments on a few previous episodes. Books, articles about RPGing that I have read? I really only bought one and that was Never Unprepared, which I thought was really good. It had some great ideas of cutting down your prep and focusing your time on what is really needed. Other than that I come from the Brett side of GMing from the “Seat of My Pants” I used to prep like crazy. but now I just come up with cool problems and have the PCs figure out a solution. Kickstarters, well I don’t think I do very many but my wife, Jolene, always laments my Kickstarters. I like physical books, I like RPGs that I find interesting, I like something that I don’t already have in my, according to my wife, vast RPG collection. I have Kickstarted, Avalon by your bud Brett, Paladin, Aquelarre, Conan, a RPG Zine, John Carter of Mars.. I have been extremely lucky that I gotten every thing I pledged for. Pretty cool. The Practice episode, well I probably have over 10,000 hours of RPG playing but I have been playing since 1978 and haven’t really ever stopped. I don’t think you need 10,000 hours to be a good RPG player or GM. What you need is to get rid of all the adult inhibitions, learn from you GM mistakes, and play with various GMs and see if people have a fun time.. See what and how the GM facilitates that fun time. Audio, I have always wanted to do audio but only every once in a while have I done something online but nothing more than background music. One of my friends, ran a con game where he had a person just help with the audio. A dedicated audio dude!! IT was amazing but most of us don’t have that audio dude in our back pocket. Innovations in the RPG industry.. Wow.. this one blew my mind Sean, I think we, gamers, have not been all that imaginative in this area of gaming. I am happy just to get a PDF with bookmarks. I think the best one I have ever had was Nova Praxis. But I still get PDFs that don’t even do simple bookmarks. I really like you ideas and somebody, sadly not me, should work on some of you ideas.. I thought they were quite brilliant! Anyway, B and S, stay safe, stay healthy and see you on the other side of the Covid-19 crisis.


Bruce comments on innovation in rpg delivery

This one is a really interesting subject.

Now, I’m not a developer of any kind and have only a layman’s understanding of most of this tech but I can see all kinds of challenges and only a relatively small audience for a new (online?) publishing format for RPGs. I’d love to see it happen though!

Let’s just imagine you can get that perfect solution together that allows publishers to combine text, images, video, hyperlinks, maps, layered maps compatible with a wide range of virtual table top systems, tokens for the same, sound effects and music. How would you market it? Do you keep it for your own RPG product? (assuming you’re a publisher) That would be narrow mined and likely to lead to a more fragmented market place. Would you license it out to other publishers for a fee? Maybe, but bear in mind that many RPG ‘publishers’ are tiny, DIY operators. Would you make it freely available in the hopes of this becoming the new format and effectively replacing PDF or other ebooks? Awesome! but you then have to swallow a pretty hefty development cost!

It’s a great idea, but I suspect the cost developing the perfect solution may mean we’re stuck with PDFs for a while yet!

Incidentally Purple Sorcerer’s DCC modules are really great in PDF.

Most come with an appendix that contains stuff intended for printing: paper minis, maps (often with and without battlegrids) and handouts but it’s also relatively easy to grab images and use them to make tokens and maps for online play.


Die Roll

  • Con of Champions, May 23-25, 2020. Proceeds goes towards keeping Tabletop Events alive and kicking. Thanks to Jon and Jared on the forums for pointing this out.
  •  The Halls of Arden Vul (DriveThruRPG). Megadungeon published by Expeditious Retreat. Friend of Chris Shorb’s. 

2,162 Encounter Descriptions

14 NPC Factions

10 Massive Levels

15 Extensive Sub-levels

7 Dangerous Exterior locations

149 New Monsters

332 New Magic Items

69 New Technological Items

44 New Spells

189 New Books through which PCs can gain a deep understanding of the dungeon

A full NPC appendix with 10 competing parties at 3 levels of power

Over 140 original pieces of art, including 28 full-page illustrations!

  • Role Gate, online in character, out of character chat tool.
  • Mapkeeper – is a map tool Tim Deschene used for our ASSH online game. iOS only.
  • Cyclops Con – an online convention by Goodman-Games. April 17-19

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About the Author
The 'S' of Gaming and BS podcast. Besides producing and hosting the show, Sean enjoys long walks on the beach, running rpg's, and killing player...characters.