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Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)
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Author:  Skyscraper [ Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

jozxyqk wrote:
I like to roll in the open. My only issue is that table space is relatively limited -- I have a screen up in order to keep my maps secret, so if I roll in the open I have to stand up and toss the dice in the middle of the table on the other side of the screen. This leads to the problem of gradually losing my dice in the heat of combat where a lot of die rolls are occurring, or stopping combat in order to precariously lean over the screen to gather errant dice. Any solutions out there? Am I just hopelessly lazy and/or untalented at keeping track of dice? It's so much easier to just roll them on the convenient table space right in front of me (which happens to be behind the screen).


What I do is use a side table where I set up my screen and maps, if I feel it's necessary, otherwise I use no screen at all. In any event, no screen on the gaming table between the players and I. I encourage you to at least try that, it's a different energy at the table. I've been doing that for a few years now (say, 10 :) ), and prefer it that way. Also, leave the notes on the side table and try to refer to them as little as possible; or if need be, just set them in a folder on the main table in front of you, to avoid turning away from the table all the time. The idea is that the DM often hides behind his screen. "Not me!", I hear some reply. Well, yes, if you use a screen, you hide behind it, sometimes. In that you're staring at stuff behind the screen, that the players don't see, and consequently you're socially separating yourself from them. Esoteric? Not really. Like I said, try it, and ask your players after a few sessions how they like it. You might feel like you're lacking something, that's because you just lost your plate mail armor. But now, the players see you for who you are and you can't hide it. And they'll love it, I promise!

Author:  tomjscott [ Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

Skyscraper wrote:
jozxyqk wrote:
I like to roll in the open. My only issue is that table space is relatively limited -- I have a screen up in order to keep my maps secret, so if I roll in the open I have to stand up and toss the dice in the middle of the table on the other side of the screen. This leads to the problem of gradually losing my dice in the heat of combat where a lot of die rolls are occurring, or stopping combat in order to precariously lean over the screen to gather errant dice. Any solutions out there? Am I just hopelessly lazy and/or untalented at keeping track of dice? It's so much easier to just roll them on the convenient table space right in front of me (which happens to be behind the screen).


What I do is use a side table where I set up my screen and maps, if I feel it's necessary, otherwise I use no screen at all. In any event, no screen on the gaming table between the players and I. I encourage you to at least try that, it's a different energy at the table. I've been doing that for a few years now (say, 10 :) ), and prefer it that way. Also, leave the notes on the side table and try to refer to them as little as possible; or if need be, just set them in a folder on the main table in front of you, to avoid turning away from the table all the time. The idea is that the DM often hides behind his screen. "Not me!", I hear some reply. Well, yes, if you use a screen, you hide behind it, sometimes. In that you're staring at stuff behind the screen, that the players don't see, and consequently you're socially separating yourself from them. Esoteric? Not really. Like I said, try it, and ask your players after a few sessions how they like it. You might feel like you're lacking something, that's because you just lost your plate mail armor. But now, the players see you for who you are and you can't hide it. And they'll love it, I promise!


For me, I have indeed tried the no screen, roll in the open approach. I didn't like it and I don't think my players cared one way or the other. As far as a separation from my players, I don't have a problem with that perception. Although I do a lot behind my screen, I also step away from the screen at times and role-play with individual players as well. It's not like I'm hiding.

Author:  jozxyqk [ Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

Skyscraper wrote:

What I do is use a side table where I set up my screen and maps, if I feel it's necessary, otherwise I use no screen at all. In any event, no screen on the gaming table between the players and I. I encourage you to at least try that, it's a different energy at the table. I've been doing that for a few years now (say, 10 :) ), and prefer it that way. Also, leave the notes on the side table and try to refer to them as little as possible; or if need be, just set them in a folder on the main table in front of you, to avoid turning away from the table all the time. The idea is that the DM often hides behind his screen. "Not me!", I hear some reply. Well, yes, if you use a screen, you hide behind it, sometimes. In that you're staring at stuff behind the screen, that the players don't see, and consequently you're socially separating yourself from them. Esoteric? Not really. Like I said, try it, and ask your players after a few sessions how they like it. You might feel like you're lacking something, that's because you just lost your plate mail armor. But now, the players see you for who you are and you can't hide it. And they'll love it, I promise!


Good idea. Now to track down a suitable side table...

Point taken re: avoiding "hiding" behind the screen etc. I'm an attorney when I'm not running dungeons, and I can attest to the disastrous effect stopping to fumble through notes or (horrors!) reading from them verbatim has on one's connection with an audience.

Author:  Skyscraper [ Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

jozxyqk wrote:

Good idea. Now to track down a suitable side table...


At home, I use either one of my phone table in the basement that I commandeer for the evening, or the kids' diminutive calf-high picnic table.

Edit: I've also sometimes set myself up next to a couch or chair and use that to lay my notes on, especially if I play at someone else's home and, gasp!, they don't have a hobbit-sized picnic table!!

Quote:
Point taken re: avoiding "hiding" behind the screen etc. I'm an attorney when I'm not running dungeons, and I can attest to the disastrous effect stopping to fumble through notes or (horrors!) reading from them verbatim has on one's connection with an audience.


Profession: dungeon master. With some skill points invested in: background training, attorney.

Author:  Skyscraper [ Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

tomjscott wrote:
For me, I have indeed tried the no screen, roll in the open approach. I didn't like it and I don't think my players cared one way or the other. As far as a separation from my players, I don't have a problem with that perception. Although I do a lot behind my screen, I also step away from the screen at times and role-play with individual players as well. It's not like I'm hiding.


I'll note on this particular topic that I've just finished 4 years of drama courses, taken as night courses. The last year was all improvisation. And, both in plays and in improv, positioning ourselves to be seen as much as possible, to hopefully avoid being hidden behind others or objects, even partly, is something we were tought. And by "being seen", the idea was from head to toe. I'm not saying this to say "I know better" or anything, I'm only sharing what I've learned.

Of course, this remains a very personal thing and I respect personal preferences, I have close friends that DM behind a screen and I have no profound probem with that.

Author:  GnomeBoy [ Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

Skyscraper wrote:
tomjscott wrote:
For me, I have indeed tried the no screen, roll in the open approach. I didn't like it and I don't think my players cared one way or the other. As far as a separation from my players, I don't have a problem with that perception. Although I do a lot behind my screen, I also step away from the screen at times and role-play with individual players as well. It's not like I'm hiding.


I'll note on this particular topic that I've just finished 4 years of drama courses, taken as night courses. The last year was all improvisation. And, both in plays and in improv, positioning ourselves to be seen as much as possible, to hopefully avoid being hidden behind others or objects, even partly, is something we were tought. And by "being seen", the idea was from head to toe. I'm not saying this to say "I know better" or anything, I'm only sharing what I've learned.

Of course, this remains a very personal thing and I respect personal preferences, I have close friends that DM behind a screen and I have no profound probem with that.


Well, I'm not saying I know better either -- but I think performing in a theater (or similar context) is something different that running an RPG. People used to gather in their living rooms to listen to drama and comedy on their radios because it was great entertainment. They couldn't see the performers at all, obviously. Roleplaying is very much in the mind, and seeing the GM is not crucial.

That said, my toes are very important to my GMing style, and anybody that can't see them is missing half the experience... :mrgreen:

Author:  Skyscraper [ Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

GnomeBoy wrote:

Well, I'm not saying I know better either -- but I think performing in a theater (or similar context) is something different that running an RPG. People used to gather in their living rooms to listen to drama and comedy on their radios because it was great entertainment. They couldn't see the performers at all, obviously. Roleplaying is very much in the mind, and seeing the GM is not crucial.


Good points, acting, radio, muppet shows, playing RPGs, murder and mystery nights, delivering a presentation to a client like jozxyqk suggested, they're all different experiences. I don't think we can conclude to any one single good way to do it for either one of those, let alone for all of them! My point, most probably not very clearly stated, was not that DMing is like acting, but more that when you are interacting with someone (be it in real life, while acting, while DMing or just about on any occasion), there will be some energy that passes between the participants (which is something that acting looks deeply into, thus my anecdote about it). By that I mean that we are influenced by what we receive and perceive from others. I think that avoiding physical barriers between DM and players helps optimize that energy.

I think that the DM screen is a tool that has the drawback of being in the way, but everyone accepts that to get the advantages out of it of allowing the DM to conceal information and yet have it handy. But I think that the DM screen is used by people as a solution mostly unconsciously because it's always been part of the RPG environment. A side table with a screen (for maps) or no screen altogether (for example with a folder with notes to consult as necessary) does the job quite well IMHO, without the drawback of putting up a cumbersome wall in the middle of your playing field.

Quote:
That said, my toes are very important to my GMing style, and anybody that can't see them is missing half the experience... :mrgreen:


Wiggle those NPCs!

Author:  GnomeBoy [ Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

*wiggles toes*

I should also maybe point out that when I use a screen, I have one that is only about 7 inches tall... :mrgreen:

Author:  Colin [ Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

GnomeBoy wrote:
*wiggles toes*

I should also maybe point out that when I use a screen, I have one that is only about 7 inches tall... :mrgreen:


Er, is that something you should be discussing in public? :wink: :lol:

Colin

Author:  Skyscraper [ Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

Colin wrote:
GnomeBoy wrote:
*wiggles toes*

I should also maybe point out that when I use a screen, I have one that is only about 7 inches tall... :mrgreen:


Er, is that something you should be discussing in public? :wink: :lol:

Colin


Haha :D

Author:  GnomeBoy [ Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

Colin wrote:
GnomeBoy wrote:
*wiggles toes*

I should also maybe point out that when I use a screen, I have one that is only about 7 inches tall... :mrgreen:


Er, is that something you should be discussing in public? :wink: :lol:

Colin

*Austin Powers voice* Do I make you want to roll dice, Baby...?

*smiles* Rawrr, phht, yea-hah *cat claws* *nods*

Author:  Colin [ Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

Careful, you'll be causing cases of "screen envy" else. ;)

Colin

Author:  jozxyqk [ Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

Skyscraper wrote:
Good points, acting, radio, muppet shows, playing RPGs, murder and mystery nights, delivering a presentation to a client like jozxyqk suggested, they're all different experiences. I don't think we can conclude to any one single good way to do it for either one of those, let alone for all of them! My point, most probably not very clearly stated, was not that DMing is like acting, but more that when you are interacting with someone (be it in real life, while acting, while DMing or just about on any occasion), there will be some energy that passes between the participants (which is something that acting looks deeply into, thus my anecdote about it). By that I mean that we are influenced by what we receive and perceive from others. I think that avoiding physical barriers between DM and players helps optimize that energy.

I think that the DM screen is a tool that has the drawback of being in the way, but everyone accepts that to get the advantages out of it of allowing the DM to conceal information and yet have it handy. But I think that the DM screen is used by people as a solution mostly unconsciously because it's always been part of the RPG environment. A side table with a screen (for maps) or no screen altogether (for example with a folder with notes to consult as necessary) does the job quite well IMHO, without the drawback of putting up a cumbersome wall in the middle of your playing field.
!


Though interesting to note that apparently Gygax DMed while fully concealed from his players (behind a filing cabinet!)...

http://blogofholding.com/?p=3806

Author:  tomjscott [ Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

jozxyqk wrote:
Though interesting to note that apparently Gygax DMed while fully concealed from his players (behind a filing cabinet!)...

http://blogofholding.com/?p=3806


Very interesting indeed. I don't think I'll be changing my own style anytime soon.

Author:  Skyscraper [ Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

I hope I'll be able to change my style every chance I get!

Author:  GnomeBoy [ Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

Skyscraper wrote:
I hope I'll be able to change my style every chance I get!


:twisted: :wink:

Author:  arcadayn [ Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

I love rolling in the open. It allows me another level of impartiality, and makes for an extremely exciting game. I sometimes feel that impartiality is highly underrated.

Author:  Icetower [ Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

I'll swear it. I don't need to hide my rolls.

Author:  jasmith [ Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

I don't roll concealed. The only exceptions are certain skill type checks, where the pc wouldn't be immediately aware of his success or failure (searches, thief stuff, etc.)

I don't fudge my dice, period! This instills in my players confidence in my impartiality and sheer terror at what that sometimes means. :twisted:

Author:  SavageRobby [ Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anybody daring to swear he doesn't roll concealed? ;)

I roll most rolls out in the open. I do roll some behind the screen, mostly things that should be hidden. I tried the roll-in-the-open-but-hidden-behind-other dice, but that didn't work for me. I kept forgetting which the real die was. And there isn't much practical difference between that method and just rolling behind the screen, obfuscation is obfuscation.

However, my favorite roll-in-the-open tactic (culled from Savage Worlds) is to have the players roll for as many things as possible. I'll often have them roll initiative, to hit, damage and saves for monsters and NPCs, and it ROCKS. It is _way_ more fun to have Player 1 roll a monster crit on Player 2 than it is for me to roll them, or to make - or miss - a crucial BBG saving throw.

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