We are all familiar with standard ways we chuck dice. Players rolling their initiative, attacks, damage, saves, and skill rolls. GM do the same for monsters and NPCs.
Some GM's tell players the target number for attacks and how many hit points monsters have, many don't. But the players usually always know their characters own health and bonuses.
I've seen a few discussions lately advocating hidden hit points, descriptive combat, and alternative initiative systems. I thought it might be fun to go over a few of these ideas, and see how I would, or have used these options in a games using the Basic fantasy system.
Clockwise D10, initiative.
This is one I use, especially for larger groups. Rather than each player rolling a d20 once for the entire combat and acting in order of high roll to lowest roll, a d10 is rolled by every player, adding their Dex bonus at the beginning of every round. But rather than acting in descending order, only the highest roll is important. The highest roll acts first, then play moves clockwise around the party. One major advantage is it's fast, another is that players act in a different order every round not having to wait for everyone to take a turn before getting to take their own turn again.
by action, Initiative.
This option can be used with the standard d20 roll or the D10 clockwise option above. Players announce their action before rolling, then roll initiative with modifiers based on their action they chose.
+3 ranged attack or spell without moving.
+2 melee attack without moving.
+0 melee, ranged, or spell and moving.
GM rolls all the dice, rolling technique.
I've only seen this option used, GMs use a control sheet with every players AC, hit points, and vital information. Players roll no dice, instead the GM rolls all the dice for the players. Players describe their actions and the GM describes the effects of dice rolls as story elements. Generally with this option players still track their own hit points, but numbers only follow after a narrative description. I feel like this option could be fun with the right group, but I know most players enjoy rolling dice.
Hidden hit points, rolling technique.
This option can be used with standard rolling style, or optional add on to GM rolls all the dice. The big difference here is players don't track their hit points, instead the GM tracks damage no matter who rolls the damage. The focus is entirely on narrative, all the players have to judge their mortality is the description the GM gives.
Players roll all the dice, rolling technique.
This option take more time in prep, but makes things easier for the GM during play. The GM can focus on narrative and storytelling. For this option players no longer have an armor class, instead they have a defense roll. Defense roll is figured by taking AC from armor -10, plus Dex modifier. AC 15 with a Dex mod of +1 becomes a Defense roll of +6. Monsters get an Attack stat, 11+ their normal attack bonuses. To defend against an attack a characters Defense roll is made against a creatures Attack stat. Monsters can either do average damage, or roll a list of damage rolls and use in order as needed. Which should be noted ahead of time.
For saving throws I often make 3-4 rolls ahead of time and write them in my notes next to a monsters stats, then later in game I use them in order. For a mob of goblins or other groups I might roll up 4-6 and if I need more I just start back at the time and run through them again. Monster initiative can be rolled as a pre set number based on 10 plus their normal bonuses.