Players Make Monster ‘To-Hit’ Rolls?

This is an idea I came across on the Labyrinth Lord forum:

Maybe players could make the ‘to-hit’ rolls for monsters who are attacking their characters.

(Note that this is just something I’m pondering at this time, not something I’ve tried or plan to try or am advocating.)

I already make virtually all of my GM rolls in the open, even when players have no idea what the roll is for. Only a few rolls where players/characters are unsure of success, such as searching for traps or listening for noise, are made behind the screen. First, this keeps the GM honest. No fudging, either for or against the PCs. Secondly, I think this open rolling gives some additional information to the players. They don’t know that the monster hit them, they know that the monster hit them with a ‘9’. Though this is meta-game information, it can help players feel out things that characters would have a good chance of knowing by being there. So I don’t have to say “he hits you easily” to send a message that their opponent is tough; they see that they were hit pretty easily and can act accordingly.

In addition to most rolls being in the open, I’ve already pushed some of non-player rolls off onto the players. For instance, when an NPC cleric casts a cure light wounds on a PC, I have the PC make the roll. No more getting mad at the GM or the NPC if they only get one hit point restored. Plus, it gives the player something more to do and little more sense of control over things.

So, given that players already see monsters’ ‘to-hit’ rolls and they already make some rolls that aren’t strictly within the PC’s territory, would there be any harm in having players make the ‘to-hit’ rolls for whoever is attacking their PC?

The thread on the LL forum words it as the player making a “defense” roll and suggests a specific method of doing the math, but it seems to me that it could be handled in any number of ways.

I’m not sure that doing this would really speed anything up or make the GM’s job any easier, but I wonder if this might not make playing more fun for the players.

Has anyone tried this before?

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11 Responses to Players Make Monster ‘To-Hit’ Rolls?

  1. ze bulette says:

    I thought that was interesting too, and certainly no harm in it. When I DM, I also generally roll in the open and have the players roll their spell effects etc. too. But for me, as a player, I like the mild adversarial nature of having the DM roll attacks – makes me feel like I’m not just fighting myself in a sense.

  2. Timeshadows says:

    I have run that way before, and it speeds things up, but I felt as though I, as GM, was losing out on part of the integration with the world I was running.
    –It added a very mechanical feel, like the players were involved in a video game, and I was merely the one to shove monsters out onto the stage for them to fight.

    My players now do roll their Defence, but I attempt to equal or exceed it with my NPC rolls.
    –That keeps the players feeling involved in their fate, and preserves my part of the process.

    • Kilgore says:

      So how does the “defence” roll work?

      • Timeshadows says:

        Simply, although it is an Ascending AC system:

        * (“Dex” modifier + Armour-type Bonus + 1d20) becomes the number I must equal or exceed on my Attack Roll.

        * The Armour bonus typically ranges from +1 (Light Armours: Leather, etc.) to +3 (Heavy: Cold-cast Plate).

        * Shields add a +1 to +3 but only to the Flank on which they are held, unless the character forgoes an Attack, and Defends-only in which case their entire front-arc gains the bonus.
        –Rear, or other ‘unawares’-attacks usually only receive (1/2 bonuses and only 1d10) as the number to beat, based on Referee understanding of the situation.

        Armour and Shields also provide damage-reduction in my system, but this can easily be ignored in more conservative D&Dish games.


  3. Greg says:

    I’ve tried this before and the players HATED it! They’d rather not have to ‘blame themselves’ when they take a hit. YMMV

  4. David Macauley says:

    I find it both necessary and desirable to fudge rolls now and then, so it’s not a system I’d ever use.

  5. JB says:

    I’m with Timeshadows on this one. Part of the “challenge” of D&D (or LL) is fighting opponents and the DM represents those opponents. Having the players roll against themselves makes the game akin to several solo games with the DM simply narrating.

    I readily take on all the bile my players wish to spew at me; heap your curses upon my head for I AM the Labyrinth Lord!


    ; )

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