I heard someone say this the other day: “I mean, I’m not a story gamer or anything, but I’ve been fiddling with the mechanics of my game to allow for some form of success with a failed dice roll.”
I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it. The first thing I asked myself was this: Why is story gamer treated like a bad word? I got the impression that the guy who said this felt bad or guilty about doing something that he thought would make his game better. I’m mainly thinking of skill checks and the like rather than combat here, but it seems like there is a belief that slavishly sticking to the result of a die roll even if that result has a negative impact on everyone’s fun is somehow noble or correct. That’s stupid. We’re playing a game, not taking a statistics final. Now, I’m not suggesting that you routinely ignore the results of dice rolls and just make stuff up (but hey, if you want to do that and everyone at the table enjoys playing that way then go for it; there’s no wrong way to have fun), and a lot of the time failed die rolls will add just as much or more excitement to a given situation. What I’m saying is don’t let the game suffer for arbitrary reasons. I think it’s ok for failures to lead to second chances sometimes, or to even be successes with added complications, and I’m saying you don’t have to be playing a game like Fate, where this type of thing is built into the rules, to do it. Trust your instincts. Do what makes sense for your group, and have fun doing it.