This small post is about how to handle those situations that always arise when you are the busiest when DMing. This is for rolls that are not related to Ability Checks which in many ways is related to Proficiency Checks.

Situations of any type can be addressed in simple terms of difficulty which is a province of the individual DM’s. Now when a situation arises that should/would/could (or not) happen the DM has a handy dandy way to adjudicate it without resorting to blatantly saying NO without letting the dice have their say with the situation. There have been many times when as a DM or PC that such rolls are needed, and with all due respect to other DM’s….should be required, so that the PC has a fair shake in the unknown situations of gaming. This is not an ability Check!!

Here is an easy 2 dice roll idea for resolving any idea or situation that isn’t coved in the rules. As DM you rate the difficulty in the action, roll the appropriately on the table of information below. You then roll a 1d100 and if you roll under the % indicated by the first roll…..The action succeeds…..If the roll is over then the action fails, and as DM it shouldn’t be allowed again for a period of time indicated by the action in questions difficulty.

Very Easy 10-60% (Roll 1d6)
Easy 10-40% (Roll 1d4)
Moderate 10-30% (Roll 1d6/2)
Hard 1-20% (Rolls 1d20)
Very Hard 1-10% (Rolls 1d10)
Impossible 1%

Now the idea is that situations that are novel to a situation are taken care of by this random roll system. The PC calls out to their deity (and hasn’t done so yet in the PC carreer) then they have a 1% chance, and may not receive the roll for another month after this attempt. This is a means to handle a hard situation, (and of course doesn’t relate to how the deity feels about such a summons being heard). Now if the PC is a cleric they get a bonus which you can also rate on the chart above…..or maybe adjudicate on your own as it relates to your game.

Other situations may include things such as….when faced with a thief in town is there any law enforcement nearby….roll randomly for how long it takes to locate them. Another is how likely a component is to be available in a town/region. A DM will have to alter the dice slightly for each situation….crushed diamonds will be harder to find in the wilderness than in a major metropolitan city.

A DM should feel free to alter these rolls by 1d20% or so (roll for it or adjudicate it) and then I might add the possibility of location by the Ability score that most represents the item in question. It isn’t a direct chance based on the ability, but having a greater, lets say INT in this case, ability score will have a bonus based on 1 pt for each point of the appropriate score above 14…..a 18 INT would grant a +4% bonus to that roll. Remember the frequency of the roll should be related to the difficulty of the action/question.

Other questions that are related to ability scores are related to combat. Now in this situation an Acrobat Thief is bouncing off some less than stable materials on a roof in an attempt to evade missile fire. Now even if the DEX rolls (or class ability score rolls) are all made, as a DM I make rolls for materials and surfaces that are outside normal ability scores and material saving throws. It just goes to show the flexibility of such a situation.

More situations are cave ins, collapses, locating goods and services, finding people/places that have a less than precise location. The list of thing the system can do is really too exhaustive to list everything.

With all this said, some may felt that they already have a good useable way of handling such problems…..and to these DM’s I say fine…it is your game. This post is addressed to those newer DM’s and I am trying to help them be more even handed without giving away the farm or seeming too heavy handed in their DMing.

Remember to have yours and your PC’s dice rolls all rolled up before hand, because in this situation the entire process can be handled by ticking off a few dice rolls of a piece of paper and this keeps the action/story flowing.

You never need to say no outright…….just say, “Let me roll for that!”

Just ideas from years of gaming.

Please feel free to add posts to any variations on this system that you feel would be useful in the process.

I can always user other gamers good ideas!!!


Lo there do I see my father,
Lo there do I see my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers,
Lo there do I see do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning,
Lo they do call to me,
They bid me take my place among them,
In the Halls of Vahalla
Where the brave,
May live,

Randomize it adds spice to a predictable games plot line (especially if they have read it before).

Have everyone roll their dice before the adventure and tick them off one by one, it helps speed up the game and allows the DM more time to think on his feet.