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 Post subject: Secret Doors and Surprise
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot
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Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:05 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Northern WV
I'm just curious how folks handle these two items in their games.

1. Secret doors: Do you use the d20 system with a DC to beat to find them? Do you give Thieves a bonus to finding them?

2. Surprise: For many years I have not used a random roll for this, relying instead on my judgement of how much noise each party was making and how observant they were being. Waaaaay back in the 70's I'd just roll a d6 with the part surprised on a 1 and the monsters surprised on a 6.

Thanks in advance for your ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: Secret Doors and Surprise
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:41 pm 
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Cold-Blooded Diabolist

Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:36 am
Posts: 525
Secret Doors: I am very strict about there not being a roll at all, unless finding the secret door would be entirely based on Luck - such as when the characters stop to rest or talk in a room that happens to have a secret door and someone's character is described as leaning against a wall. Then I would roll a d20 and see if it was less than or equal to their Luck score, and if so have them "luck out" and lean right on the secret door.

Other than those lucky situations, secrets are found because the characters are described as looking in the right place or searching in such a way that would find the door - a pass or fail, if you will, based on chosen actions.

Surprise: I use pure judgement when running my own adventures, but the old 1 (or more) in 10 chance is a good standby for when the players take the game in a direction I hadn't anticipated and I need something on the fly.


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 Post subject: Re: Secret Doors and Surprise
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:15 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:45 am
Posts: 39
Location: New Hampshire
I do secret doors the same way.

I'm actually thinking of handling surprise that way too. If a player specifically mentions his character doing something that would negate the surprise, then he's not surprised. Otherwise, "Surprise!"

Generally I expect the players to have a lot more opportunities to be on the giving end of surprise rounds anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Secret Doors and Surprise
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:06 am 
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Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
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Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 659
Location: Montreal
Secret doors: if players specifically mention they search for one in a specific area where there is one, such as under the carpet or behind the cabinet, they find it, no roll. If they quicly sweep through a room or a corridor without any specific indication as to their search, not thinking of finding anything but thinking there might be the odd chance of a secret door there, then I roll a search die with a DC. Elves and thieves get d20 (trained), others are likely to get d10 unless their background somehow allows them to be trained. Intelligence is the key attribute for me on searching. DC depends on the secret door. DC 20 would be a very well crafted door on a masonry stone wall, e.g. of dwarven craftmanship. DC 10 would be the removable wooden panel in a peasant's hut.

Surprise: I just about never roll for surprise. In fact, I can't remember having rolled for surprise. If PCs and monsters fall on each other without expecting it, they are both surprised, and we roll for init as usual. If both are wary and fall on each other and expecting it, neither are surprised, and we roll init as usual. If one group is stealthy and wishes to creep up on the other, then I will have a single group stealth roll (the one among move silently and hide in shadows that seems most appropriate if the thief is the determining character) opposed by a single group perception roll by the other party. If it succeeds, there is suprise; otherwise, not. If the entire party is moving "stealthily" with armored characters, the group stealth roll will incur a significant penalty. I wing it depending on the conditions (silence, night time, grass or stone underfoot, etc...)

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Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.


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 Post subject: Re: Secret Doors and Surprise
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:02 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:29 am
Posts: 58
Location: Nirvana
Secret Doors


+1

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THE ONE AND THE PRIME....NEVER FORGOTTEN


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 Post subject: Re: Secret Doors and Surprise
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:31 am 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Posts: 1084
Most of the time the circumstances dictate whether the characters will find a secret door or be surprised. I try to seed adventures with clues that will tip the characters off. When that fails, having them try to roll under their Luck score on d20, d24, d30 or even d100 works well.

It depends on how crucial an element is. I keep the must-haves obvious (to a point) and the nice-to-haves optional.


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