Page 589 - Twenty Percent Skill

2nd May 2015, 6:00 AM in Fall Weather Friends
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Twenty Percent Skill
Average Rating: 4.67 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 2nd May 2015, 6:00 AM edit delete
Improvising mundane but necessary non-combat events can be tricky as a DM. There's the natural desire to put in challenge and chances for failure, chances for the players to prove themselves... but it's also dangerously easy for the little details to become a pace-halting tangent all their own.

Oh my gosh, Fallout is Dragons is back! Maybe. I might have forgotten how long it takes to edit one of these things and it's not done yet. If not, it'll be here tomorrow for sure.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



emmerlaus 2nd May 2015, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
Story time about a GM asking to roll dices when its not necessary? :p

I have nothing on this one. Except I did it once when I was starting as GM but the story is not even interesting lol
Folly Industries 2nd May 2015, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
We once had a drunken night for a day's game. At no point were we ever sober enough for us not to roll to do actions.

It was the day our giant gained the name Mr. M.C. Hammersworth.

Our Knome also found out how far he can be punted by hammer for using names in poor taste
Mykin 2nd May 2015, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
Having gone back to a D20 Star wars system on Tuesday, I decided to try again at the whole "diplomancer" idea I kinda had going with my last character. Since I wasn't having fun last time around, my GM managed to convince me to roll a Jedi character in the middle of the "Rise of the Empire" time setting. With this in mind, I put as many points into Gather Information as possible, reasoning that it would help me keep myself from walking into a trap by hopefully finding out about it before hand, as well as be useful to the group by finding jobs.

The kicker is that I'll ask a specific question about what I want to find out about and he'll make me roll the check. Well one time I actually asked if it mattered what I rolled, since I had a pretty high bonus to the check, and he let slip that he was just randomly picking stuff from the book or coming up with something off the top of his head and giving it to me. Thus it didn't matter what I rolled as I'd be getting the same information regardless.

Granted, his star wars games tend to be more sandbox than most and I'm fine with him buying himself some time. It's just finding that out took the wind out of my sails a tad bit. Then again, he has told me several times he doesn't like doing skill checks, so I probably should have seen this coming a mile away.
modulusshift 3rd May 2015, 6:25 AM edit delete reply
To diplomancer:
That sucks. It really doesn't take that much to come up with something and vary it by how high you roll. Else why even have skills? It sounds like your DM would be happier in a FATE-like system than d20.
Mykin 3rd May 2015, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
Ironic considering that he absolutely abhors the system...or was that the Anima system? Either way, he plays the system everyone in the group wants to play and no one seems interested in playing anything that isn't D20 based. My DM and I might be happier with something else, but that's an opinion no one else shares apparently.
Specter 2nd May 2015, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
Asking me to roll attack and damage against my opponents.

Now, that may seem strange, but the little thing I didn't know about this pre-generated pathfinder societies map I was playing (which was for levels 1-7) was that I couldn't harm anything. As dumb as it sounds, I and my animal companion couldn't actually hurt anything because of everything's damage reduction, which was apparently all 6 or something.

Seeing as I wanted to play a support character, I didn't even have any spells that could harm anything and Entangle was useless, cause there wasn't any vegetation.

... sadly enough, my druid might have been beaten to unconsciousness and what not, but without a doubt, my raptor took the most damage of all, and it won't be easy to heal him, now that he knows just how weak he is. I hope he lives long enough so I can fix his pride.
Disloyal Subject 3rd May 2015, 5:45 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
I get not bothering to roll damage, but -IF- you're bothering to attack at all, then you might as well roll it and pray for a crit.
Digo 3rd May 2015, 6:02 PM edit delete reply
Ugh, I hate some of those pre-gen modules that a GM plays completely straight.
Specter 4th May 2015, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
@Disloyal, From the way Pathfinder Societies works (apparently) not even a crit would harm them (yay).

@Digo, He "forgot" to tell us about a half dozen things that we should have known to fight some of the enemies (including the boss), the term 'playing straight' is not in his vocabulary.
The Old One 2nd May 2015, 10:44 AM edit delete reply
My group was exploring a castle that had flooded during a recent war. We had the obligatory bunch of critters to pummel but the real challenge came from the doors, which had become swollen and stuck. Can't pick a stuck door, so we had to break them down. Our rolls to do so were terrible, and in one case we crit failed and managed to bounce the axe back into the barbarian that was trying to hack through. Eventually our gm just let us continue without all the door nonsense, but my party to this day still hates doors more than any monster
Pseudonym Sam 2nd May 2015, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
I once ran a Pulp 1930s adventure archaeology campaign where the party sought out an artifact in the Amazon. After a long boat ride, they landed in Brazil.

The party goes to a bar, and the medic asks the bartender for directions. Just asking for directions shouldn't require any roll, but I asked him to roll streetwise.

He crit-failed. So I ruled that the medic was still feeling quite seasick from the voyage, and vomited on the bartender.

The bartender punched the medic in the face.

Another party member drew his gun and SHOT the bartender.

NPC bar patrons grab improvised weapons and knives to avenge the barman.

In the ensuing fight, everyone in the bar except for the party died.

Don't roll for asking directions, folks!
daftdeafdave 3rd May 2015, 4:20 AM edit delete reply
I prefer to do the unnecessary rolling of dice on the other side of the screen myself. Whenever I fell the need to create an atmosphere of paranoia; *roll* "carry on." It's also a great way of ending player bickering.
FanOfMostEverything 3rd May 2015, 6:59 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, riling up player paranoia always makes for a good time. The best part is when only one or two people notice, and the players shush one another.
Grant 3rd May 2015, 5:12 PM edit delete reply
Well I've known them to require rolls just to up paranoia. In fact, some games and premade quests instruct you to do it.
Digo 3rd May 2015, 6:03 PM edit delete reply
I definitely like to roll just for making my players feel on edge. >:D
Digo 3rd May 2015, 6:00 PM edit delete reply
I had a GM ask me to make a charisma/Speech check to order a drink at the bar. I failed it and the bar tender refused to serve me. Even though I had money and haven't started any problems.
DM's Choice 4th May 2015, 1:03 AM edit delete reply
I had a GM make me roll to run straight - although I even didn't care -.-
I was escaping from some pursuers, and my only criterium of direction was "away from them". I didn't care about the whereto, but he made me roll anyway.
Well, actually he did this, because he didn't exactly know where to go with this himself...
Joural 4th May 2015, 9:55 AM edit delete reply
At one point an enemy threw an entire bag of wisdom draining poison powder at me and the party rogue. I was a monk/fighter hybrid, but I didn't manage to make my saves until like 6 wisdom, so we were pretty fucked up. The DM ruled that we were suffering from hallucinations, and I ended up making like ten will saves to "attempt to disbelieve" the hallucinations. It worked for a while, but then the corridor was a mile long and things went downhill from there.

Later we woke up in a hole that turned out to be in the middle of a Murlock cave.

I still have no idea how we got there, but I sure as hell climbed out(after all, in PF halflings get +2 climb)
ANW 2nd May 2015, 7:42 AM edit delete reply
Poll cancelled due to sickness.
you know that guy 2nd May 2015, 9:41 AM edit delete reply
Understood; we won't make you pay the poll tax this time.
Keirgo 2nd May 2015, 7:42 AM Roll for Gravity. edit delete reply
From a game a friend was in.

They were chasing a villain through the streets and one of the PCs was pursuing from the rooftops. Eventually they jumped off and the GM kept making them roll to cover distance.

Y'know, while falling.

That thing that tends to happen at a constant rate.
Evilbob 2nd May 2015, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
Wellll... if you want to be technical you don't cover distance at a constant rate while falling... it's closer to the change in the rate at which distance is covered that's constant.

Besides... maybe they were bouncing off umbrellas and rooftops in classical cartoon style that tested their agility/speed?
TDR 2nd May 2015, 7:52 AM edit delete reply
Every so often , particularly with new players our DM will add a few things to a bunch of Skill checks. I think the last time he just pointed to the players one at a time and asked them to roll some skill that's never used.

I got demolitions.
GreyDuck 2nd May 2015, 7:56 AM edit delete reply
Hmm. Gaming the players just a bit here? "Nope. You're right, TOTALLY no need for a DUNGEONEERING skill check here, NUH UH."
Mykin 2nd May 2015, 8:04 AM edit delete reply
I've had a DM do that to me before, except with a perception check. He also let slip that my sorceror, the guy with the +14 to perception, wouldn't be able to see it with a roll of 20. This, of course, made everyone outright paranoid.

The sad thing was, it really did turn out to be nothing. Stupid enchanted mouse with high stealth...
Toric 2nd May 2015, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, I felt the sarcastic teasing assurance through the screen.
kiapet 2nd May 2015, 8:21 AM edit delete reply
Well, once my party was walking along a sewer river and the rogue went to kick a rat. The DM made her roll to hit, and she rolled a natural 1. The DM declared that she missed the rat, overbalanced, and fell into the water. Cue a five-minute-long fiasco trying to pull her out (our dice were not with us that day)
j-eagle12212012 2nd May 2015, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
*Spoiler Free*
(I guess this has become my thing on Saturday)

Appleoosa's most wanted

3 things I liked about this episode

1. Another episode that has callbacks and continuity to previous episodes

2. Braeburn enough said

3. Sweetie useing magic

Another good episode and a total 360 from last weeks episode
Some solid world building

Winged Cat 2nd May 2015, 4:27 PM edit delete reply
3. Nice to see she's using it at all, but it felt a bit superfluous. (Why bother stealth grabbing given what the next part of the plan was?)
Blueblade 2nd May 2015, 5:00 PM edit delete reply
Backup that's why. And also I think they came up with the idea realized they didn't need to but they didn't want to abandon it.
j-eagle12212012 3rd May 2015, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
Plus she was also useing magic at the end of the episode when the cmc where cleaning up
you know that guy 2nd May 2015, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
Speaking of rolling ...
Remember The Name has incredible syncopation. Fort Minor manages to stick to the beat like classic rap while throwing in backphrasing and solid riffs like modern hip-hop except without sounding lazy.
Blueblade 2nd May 2015, 10:38 AM edit delete reply
Gosh darn it Twilight! You're making the DM act suspicious! This is most likely gonna come bite you in the but later on!
Raxon 2nd May 2015, 11:50 AM edit delete reply
Unnecessary rolls? You mean like when my half orc paladin was getting married, and the DM made me roll diplomacy to apply for a marriage license? And made the the threshold for success a 15?

It was literally a 50/50 chance. I failed, and I got myself arrested for accidentally implying that I was pimping for my fiance.
Blueblade 2nd May 2015, 4:58 PM edit delete reply
Raxon 2nd May 2015, 6:13 PM edit delete reply
Apparently, I stammered, and misspoke, and the words pin up came out when I meant prenup, and somehow I started rambling about how the john was always acting up...

It was a masterful execution of horrible misunderstandings. Wifey did the paperwork after she learned what happened. My paladin never heard the end of it.
Digo 3rd May 2015, 6:05 PM edit delete reply
Glad it at least ended on an amusing note.
Evilbob 2nd May 2015, 3:11 PM edit delete reply

I would argue that unnecessary rolling is the cause for half the terrible disasters that befall our party... Like that one time an unececessary roll over lost marbles led to a misunderstanding resulted in wanton violence, unintentional spontaneous pony combustion, fleeing from authorities, and eventual incarceration and permanent incapacitation.
Mykin 2nd May 2015, 3:24 PM edit delete reply
Ok, I think your going to have to explain that one to me.
daftdeafdave 3rd May 2015, 4:24 AM edit delete reply
Arcbound Writer 2nd May 2015, 3:35 PM edit delete reply
Hello. Long-time viewer, first-time poster.
So my group was spelunking in an abandoned supply depot. There weren't supposed to be a lot of creatures, but plenty of little traps everywhere, so I often had the PCs roll a lot, just to mess with them. Big mistake. The rogue became so paranoid, that he refused to touch anything, including doorknobs, and the game slowed to a crawl as they strove to find new ways, both more subtle and more direct, of progressing through every single untested room.
Raxon 2nd May 2015, 6:16 PM edit delete reply
Welcome to the club! Here, have a free Stitch!
Zatch P 2nd May 2015, 5:40 PM edit delete reply
Oh god, unnecessary rolls. I've got one for this.

It was a good year ago, and we were playing 4th Edition. There were only 3 players that day, counting me and not counting the DM. We were trapped in a cave in, and needed to cross a pit. It was maybe 40, 50 feet long, and about as deep. We were level 2, by the way.

I had a climbers kit because I thought it might come in handy. I had the idea to hammer the Pitons into the wall next to the pit, to make it safer to cross the tiny inch wide ledge that was there. This was a mistake.

We had to roll to hammer in each individual piton, the roll determining how well it worked and a bad one breaking them. Then we rolled each time to not fall from hammering. Then we had to make a check to move forward to hammer in the next one. Overall, a good hour was wasted getting past, and all but three of the pitons I had were gone. I just wanted the +2 to getting across from my climbers kit, not that.

Of course, immediately after that were some random stalactites coming out of another pit acting as platforms, and we needed to jump across. These also required individual checks. This pit was 150 feet deep, and instantly lethal to everyone at the level 2 we were at. I rolled a 1 my first jump, and used a teleport power to get to safety, as I had mentioned was my plan if I fell. I was informed I should be grateful he allowed it. I was frustrated at this.

It took literally over a hundred rolls to make it past all that, And several hours. That was the whole session. Rolling to get past 2 pits that had a length of not more than 100 feet between them. Only reason nobody died was because I had that climbers kit. Two checks to get past each pit would have been much better.
Raxon 2nd May 2015, 6:17 PM edit delete reply
No spell failure check?
Zatch P 3rd May 2015, 10:00 AM edit delete reply
It was a racial ability that let me teleport, since I was playing a Shardmind. Also was playing a psionic class, and I don't know if they have spell failure chance at all. Spell failure isn't much of a thing in 4e anyway, I think. I've never seen it used at least.

It was the only spell like thing used, so it would've only come up the once.
terrycloth 3rd May 2015, 10:57 AM edit delete reply
He was being nice because you didn't fall for a whole round. There's a reason featherfall is cast as a reaction...

Although 150 feet is almost a three second fall, so you should have time to cast a standard action if you fell because of a move action.
Xelmon 3rd May 2015, 2:17 AM edit delete reply
Oh... Oh man... No, that's bad DMing.

We had a dozen or so rolls ourselves too passing through the area, however once one of the guys asked for clarification.

"Oh, the wholes have mooore or less a 6' path between them. If you walk carefully, you'll definitely not falling into a hole."

And this is/was a first campaign DM.
Digo 3rd May 2015, 5:59 PM edit delete reply
Fluttershy and Rarity in a dungeon? Sounds more like a fungeon. :3
Serialkillerwhale 3rd May 2015, 11:41 PM edit delete reply
You are in the dungeons. Roll to see if you go insane.
Wyrmshield 4th May 2015, 10:40 AM edit delete reply
Playing New World of Darkness.
"Roll to break the car window. Roll to find the lock on the other side of the door. Roll to see if you cut yourself on the broken glass."
AnonymousUserTheOnly 4th May 2015, 9:02 PM edit delete reply
DM: *rolls for perception check.
*check fails, and party gets ambushed.

Paladin: HOLD ON! what about our mounts? don't they have a roll too?

DM: fine. *rolls for mounts perception check.
*the check fails again.