How NOT to Perform Skill Checks

Me: I listen at the door.

GM: Make a Perception check.

Me: Okay. 19, does that work?

GM: Yes. You can clearly make out voices on the other side.

Me: Can I make out what they’re talking about?

GM: Roll a Perception check.

Me: Uh… 8?

GM: You aren’t sure.

Me: I want to crack the door open.

GM: Stealth check.

Me: 17.

GM: You do it.

Me: Can I hear them now?

GM: Perception check.

ad nauseam.

One of the great things about Luke Crane’s Burning Wheel (just recently out of print, alas) is the concept of “Let it Ride.” In other words, in any given scene you make a single check for a given ability and—barring any substantial change in circumstance or purpose—use that same result for the entire scene. This saves time, and saves players the trouble of GMs who just keep calling for skill checks until you (inevitably) fail.

This should exist for all RPGs.