Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) started off as a tabletop game where the roll of a die would decide whether you are victorious or defeated. Now we can play online, websites like Roll20 make life easier for groups which live in different countries or have no access to D&D die. Something that we can also do in online D&D is hide dice rolls from players, and I’d like to talk about that for a bit.
Hiding the players’ own rolls adds suspense to the game, they don’t immediately know whether they hit or miss, bluff their way past a guard, break a lock or not. On the other hand there’s something about rolling your dice, and seeing what you roll, that adds to the tension of seeing your amazing, horrible or ‘meh’ rolls.
During Roleplay (RP) encounters hiding a dice rolls becomes even more useful, personally I think it really shines during critical fails. Let’s assume the party has captured a couple goblins and are interrogating them for information, the rogue checks to see whether they are lying or not and rolls a one. However, only the rogue is aware he rolled a one and the rest of the party is oblivious. The goblins are actually lying but you tell the rogue that he is 100% sure they are trustworthy, and as long as they RP this the rest of the party will have to follow along.
I think this is great because the party doesn’t see the critical fail, they don’t need to RP being oblivious but secretly knowing that something may go wrong, an ambush or surprise attack perhaps. Instead they have to trust that the rogue rolled something decent and will genuinely act upon that information.
If anything, I think hiding dice rolls is best for roleplay encounters but during combat it’s simply more involving and suspenseful when you can see the awesome/horrible/average rolls you’re making.