Handy Haversack: Pathfinder Playtest Secret Rolls Chart
After spending a week trying to create a fun Naga Aspirant, I decided this week would be better spent releasing a new category of post: The Handy Haversack of Game Accessories!
In Pathfinder Playtest there is a new mechanic called “Secret Rolls”. With the advent of critical failures on skill checks, certain skills should now be rolled by the GM so the PCs aren’t sure whether or not they completely fumbled. This is especially true of the new Knowledge skills, which can give PCs false information if they roll a critical failure. But with everyone able to attempt these skills, investigative scenarios can quickly become bogged down as the GM sits behind the screen rolling dice for himself. But after running Raiders on Shrieking Peak multiple times at Gencon, I came up with a trick to help speed it up (without just letting the PCs roll themselves and ruin the chance for a false information critical miss). I just wrote down all the player’s modifiers in the book next to the skill, and prerolled sets of rolls for everyone so they were just given the information without having to wait for me to roll a ton of dice behind the screen. Now this worked better at Gencon where 95% of my players were using entirely Pregenerated characters…but with some quick graphic design work, it wasn’t difficult to make up an easy to follow table GMs can use to help speed up their games.
How it Works:
The first cluster of skills are the ones most commonly used in secret by a GM. But there’s no reason the other skills can’t occasionally be done in secret, so I left them in (with some room to scribble in the names of player’s Lore skills).
If you have early access to each player’s skill (or are using pregens), you can just go ahead and write down the modifiers on the right. Then roll each skill that is called out it in a scenario as a secret roll, and write down the results to the left. I recommend using red pen when you roll a critical miss.
If you are meeting your players for the first time, just roll the skills in advance and fold the paper over, passing it out to each player so they can fill out their skill modifiers. In that case, make sure you cover the bottom of the page so no one is templed to peek. Feel free to only have them fill out the first nine checks, even crossing out the ones you doubt will show up during the adventure.
Each time a player elects to use a skill that requires a secret roll, use the results on the left and mark them out with each use. That’s it.
If you are running a homebrew game and somehow can see every skill on the list used 14 times and would rather not sit down and roll 294 die rolls…I gotcha covered. This zip file contains 4 different charts you can try out for your home game. Just add the modifier from the selected PC doing the skill check, and you’ll have your results.