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!