Rules: Skill Checks
Your character should possess a PC Dicebag item. You can use this to make skill checks – they will be broadcast by default to the player who did the roll and to the DM. I will call for skill checks, set the DC and interpret the results as appropriate.
The dice bags are a bit buggy – if yours isn’t working, let me know and I’ll roll for you. I have a DM tool that can force die rolls on anyone, and if that fails too, NWN has built-in dice rolling from the console.
I will be using Burning Wheel’s “Let It Ride” policy, which means that in a given situation, you get to make one check for something, and the results will stand for as long as they are relevant. In other words, you don’t get to roll over and over and over again until you succeed – and neither will I force you to roll over and over again until you fail. (“Okay, you’ve crossed halfway over the slippery bridge. Roll again. Okay, you’ve crossed three fourths of the way over the slippery bridge. Roll again. Okay, you’ve crossed seven-eights of the way over the slippery bridge…”) This is sort of an alternative to the take 20 rules – in situations where you can just take 20, we won’t worry about dice and skills at all.
On a similar note, I want to try and keep die rolls interesting by making sure that failure has a consequence that keeps things moving. “You fail the climb roll? Okay, you don’t climb to the top. Now what?” is lame and boring and kills the game flow and I’d rather not have it happen anymore. So I will strive to set things up so that failure has a consequence that changes the situation the players are in. NWN makes this hard sometimes, so I can’t promise it will always happen, but I’ll do my best to avoid those situations. (Maybe in some cases I’ll have “gateway rolls” where your character can’t succeed unless your skill is high enough, in which case you’ll automatically succeed. Lock picking, for example, works like this. Climb checks could be another good candidate. The point is to close off certain areas until your character has leveled enough or has the proper gear. In these situations, it will never be essential to pass through the “gateway” at that point in time.)
Certain actions, such as picking locks in particular, will be handled by the game engine. Picking locks automatically takes 20 – there’s a built-in GUI element with a sort of lock-picking loading bar, and when it fills up, your skill in Open Locks + 20 is compared to the door’s DC. This is fine, go ahead and use it.
Searching for things involves going into detect mode. Since it rolls once every round or something like that, I’ll probably either ask for spot checks or use triggers to check automatically when you enter an area.
Stealth mode is a bit more complicated. My preference is to ask for hide/move silently rolls instead of relying on Steal mode’s built-in mechanics, but hostile monsters will attack as soon as they see you. So if you’re trying to sneak past hostile monsters, (they glow red when you mouse over them,) use stealth mode. I also take the use of stealth mode as a way of showing that your character is attempting to remain hidden, so even if we ignore the mechanical effects, you can still use it to indicate to me what you’re trying to do – but note that when I ask for rolls, I will take into account your immediate surroundings and apply bonuses and penalties. So just because you’re in stealth mode doesn’t mean that you can stand in the middle of the street on a bright day and not be seen. If you move next to walls or crates or trees or whatever, I’ll assume you mean to hide behind them or under them or whatever is reasonable. Of course, you can always explicitly call out a hiding place: “
*pries open the barrel and jumps inside, then pulls the lid down over his head*”