Rolling BEFORE deciding on the action



Howdy Shielders!

As the title suggests, I did have an idea about rolling the dice or even perhaps selecting your result before deciding if your character is going to climb that wall or attack the Goblin.

The advantages of this is that the player might decide to run or do something that does not require a roll to avoid trouble. Or, he might attempt something, and, with a good system, perhaps try to gain advantages or more bonus? Maybe you can Help another character with a small number, adding it to their own result?

There might be other advantages to this, I’m happy to listen to feedback. :slightly_smiling_face:

The downsides of this are obvious, however:

  • The player who loses a turn because he has a small number might feel like wasting time. Depends, again, how the system works.
  • The players will definitely optimize their actions. Which isn’t always a bad thing, depending on the scenario and focus. If it’s all about RP, then the players will play out the story accordingly.
  • While a slight lack of agency is to be expected, the action economy is going to take a dive for sure… :laughing:

What are your thoughts?


I think this takes away the risk/reward of dice rolling. Even the most expert at something can make a mistake or something bad happen at the wrong time. (Paratroopers who have had 1,000 successful jumps can still sprain an ankle on the 1,001 jump.)

IMHO, if you roll the dice before, you might as well dispose of the dice altogether. Like you would do when you transition into days “time”. No roll required if you have near unlimited time. I think it is incumbent on the player to provide sufficient description to mitigate the uncertainty of the dice.


Good point. The dice is the tool of tension. rolling before would remove that to a degree unless the player is a role player first…

Then again, this is a fantasy. I’ve rarely seen Conan miss a swing of his sword!

What about choosing from a selection of “results”, then? That selection would be limited, so the character would be bound to fail at some point.


in Star Wars The Edge of Empire RPG, the custom dice create a narrative with successes, advantages, triumphs, misses disadvantages ans despairs. The player rolls a dice pool and then can narrate what happens based on the results. I think you could have players roll before applying that philosophy. However, you would want them to at least describe the intent, then roll, then narrate the result.

TN 12
Player: “I am going to try leaping from this roof top to that one…”
Rolls 13.
Player: “I take a running leap, but I miss judged the distance and my hips hit the edge of the roof. I still mange to to get up but I have made a bunch of noise.”

This way, you the player can use the level of success to adjust the narrative. Let’s say the player rolled an 11. Role play might look like this:

" I stumble as I am about to leap causing me to be well below the roof line, I am clinging by my finger tips and I am going to need help… ."

Or roll of a 2, “I trip as I approach the edge of this roof, start sliding towards the edge and I am about to slide off the roof…”

This might get you to where you want to be but it would really need a true Role player to pull it off.


With regards to the Conan comment, remember that a Miss doesn’t necessarily mean you actually miss the target. It means you didn’t force them to use HP to avoid an injury!


Not seeing as bad for most rolls that don’t require resources.

Rolls for saves stand…so the 1001st paratrooper landing still stand as before.

Only if the actions would use a resource, do I see a major issue. HP, ammo, roll for possible screwups. So a roll of 1 is still a failure of some type beyond just a loss of action.

Then it’s all the same, with the advantage or greater players agency.