One of the things that bogs down role play situations in a game session is the need to make Skill Checks, and these slow-downs can often kill the mood.
Here is my attempt at a solution…
When we’re headed into a situation that might be intense or hilarious or somewhere else on the scale of awesome, I’ll have a Player (or all the Players if need be) generate a certain number of d20 rolls, then arrange them however they choose, then give the results to me. Since I’ll know what the PCs’ Ability Mods, Skill Mods, and Saving Throws are, I can then reference the result of any necessary check as we move through an encounter.
Here’s why I like this method…
1. It speeds up the session because I can know and digest the results of any given Check as the situation is playing out, thus we don’t have to go through the “Stop. Gimme a roll. Dice roll. Player forgetting how to perform simple addition due to nerves. Player then not knowing the outcome of the roll.”
2. It let’s the Player have a sense of control over their Character’s fate. Note that I let the Player set the order of the rolls, meaning that they can give me all the good rolls up front and all the crappy rolls at the end, or vice versa, or any variation you can think of. It’s really a shake up of some karma action because the Player has no idea what situations will call for dice rolls in what order, so there is no real “winning strategy” for selecting the order, and I love that.
3. It allows us to generate a narrative in semi-real time as I take the Players through the results of their choices with no bumps along the way.
This method is designed to work best in social situations, but will also work in dungeon/searching situations as the Characters can explore an area, and I can give information based on rolls that have already been generated.