I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on the “Intelligence Check” article, which is nice! I will address two of the questions that came up below:
Q: What do you do if everyone fails their rolls?
As a Genteel Magistrate (GM), I strongly advise that you avoid any circumstances where a game can roll to a screeching halt due to this situation. However, sometimes it’s just unavoidable.
Thus I do the following in my home game. First, I will encourage a player to use a Victory point. This guarantees a successful roll, and unless your PCs are all neutral or chaotic they should have at least one amongst them all. Assuming they don’t have any VPs, and if there are any NPCs around with suitable skills, give them Intelligence checks to find the clue to give to the player characters. A GM must be very stingy in doing this however. Players really hate to feel like their PCs are just hangers on to a brilliant NPC who does all the intellectual heavy lifting. Still, if it’s the only way to push the game forward then do so.
Q: How often do you allow a roll in a given game session?
Generally (in my home game) I allow one check per game session. If the PCs stop the game on a crisis point and roll a failed Intelligence check and then the next session opens on that crisis point; there’s no re-roll for that given situation. Otherwise, I’ve found once per session to be a good compromise between the old AD&D Thief skill rule (failed roll has to wait until they level up again to try again) and just waiting while the players roll again and again and again until they succeed.
Please keep the questions coming, and feel free to comment on the above suggestions. Like ‘em? Hate ‘em? Let us know!