Player Advice: Roll-Playing

On Roll4, we’ve covered a load of topics relating to Game Master advice, but not today. Instead, we’re focusing on Players, and an incredibly fun technique that you can use at your table! Personally, I like to call it Roll-playing and the gist is this. React as if your character would depending on the result of the roll. When you roll for an action, and you do incredibly poor, or incredibly well, then describe how you fail in character

The biggest problem that I think faces skill checks outside of combat, is that it can take away from the narrative flow. It breaks the immersion, and it can become a hard-stop where the discussion just ends. Instead the outcome of a roll should encourage role-playing!

Many Game Masters will let their players describe how they critically hit, or succeed well over the difficulty, but oftentimes this is overlooked on failed rolls, when that can be some of the most fun moments to role-play. Perhaps have a small bit of narrative can be used by the GM or the player, but doing something amazing, or completely failing should invoke some kind of reaction from the other characters.

Preface the action

One way to invoke this is by prefacing your actions in character. Are you about to pull off some serious acrobatic skills? Then maybe throw out a line like: “Hey guys, watch this”. No matter the outcome, the other players will have something to say off of this. Get a Nat 20, then watch everyone “ooh and aah”. Get the dreaded Nat 1? Watch as your party laughs, and quotes you for the rest of the night! 

Now, if you get an average roll, but still succeed, you can take over how this looks. You can decide that it was an impressive feat of ability, with the exception of that one time that you almost fell. Play it off that way!

Failing a Roll

When you fail a roll, this is the best place to step in and describe why you failed, or make an excuse! This way, even if the game stalls, you are launching right back in to the Narrative. Let’s say the party Fighter was tasked with breaking down a door, and just barely fails, then he only fails to break down the door.

Actually, let’s Roll-play this! Instead, your fighter decides not to break down the door. Here’s your moment, you’re rushing in, shoulder lowered, when out of the corner of your eye, you see something you didn’t notice before. This door is engraved, completely hand carved! You can’t destroy something with this quality of craftsmanship! It would be too much of a shame!

Picture with another example.
This is how you turn a Failure into a story

How have you let your rolls impact your role-play? Let us know by commenting below!