Feigned Die Rolls

From gdp3
Jump to: navigation, search

Die rolls by game masters that do not influence game states.

One of the tools game masters have to lead gameplay sessions is rolling dice, this to introduce elements to randomness to the game and as a way to have an impartial resolution of actions and events. However, this randomness may destroy plans they have on how the gameplay is intended to progress, either on a story level or by making players' characters have pointless deaths. To avoid this, game masters can make use of Feigned Die Rolls for hidden die rolls to give players the impression of using dice but choosing the outcomes they prefer.

See Fine[1] (pages 117-118) for more details on how game masters use information control to structure gameplay.


Feigned Die Rolls are in practice only used in Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Basic Roleplaying, Call of Cthulhu, Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, and Paranoia.

Using the pattern

Feigned Die Rolls is a technique Game Masters can make use of while leading games, typically Tabletop Roleplaying Games, and using Dice. As such, games have difficulty in enforcing the pattern although their designs can make it easier for Game Masters to perform Feigned Die Rolls by making it more normal for players to have Imperfect Information about the die rolls they make. This can be done through having explicit rules for hidden rolls or providing game master screens which can make all rolls secret unless Game Masters make an effort to make open rolls.

As Fine[1] points out, Game Masters do not have to make Feigned Die Rolls themselves. They can do this by proxy through asking players to roll Dice but not explain why they should do this nor explaining what effects their results have.

Interface Aspects

Being a pattern about tricking players how the effects of gameplay actions are resolved, Feigned Die Rolls can be considered an Interface Pattern.

Narrative Aspects

Besides being an Interface Pattern, Feigned Die Rolls can also be considered a Narration Pattern since it can be used to save Predetermined Story Structures from breaking.


Feigned Die Rolls is a form of Sanctioned Cheating and since Feigned Die Rolls hide the result of rolling die, it introduces Uncertainty of Information in games. Feigned Die Rolls give Game Masters powerful possibilities of using the roll of Dice to influence players' gameplay experiences through using Fudged Results. Most often coupled to rolls against Abilities, Skills, or Powers, the Game Masters can quite easily make players feel Anticipation, Exaggerated Perception of Influence, Luck, or Tension depending on what results they claim the Feigned Die Rolls gave. This also allows them to develop Narration Structures according to what they or the players want instead of what the Dice dictate.


Can Instantiate

Anticipation, Exaggerated Perception of Influence, Fudged Results, Luck, Sanctioned Cheating, Tension, Uncertainty of Information

Can Modulate

Dice, Game Masters, Narration Structures Powers, Predetermined Story Structures, Skills

with Game Masters


Can Be Instantiated By

Imperfect Information

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fine, C.A. (1983) Shared Fantasy. University of Chicago Press.