Increasing Difficulty on a Skill Check with Threat: Timing

So this is a quick one. As a GM when I want to use threat to increase the difficulty of a skill test when exactly should that be done?

I know the explanation said it should be done “before the dice roll”

Does that mean it needs to be stated when the GM states the initial difficulty of the test and then it’s locked in and the player can respond accordingly to help their chances OR. can the GM spend threat in the part of the Check where the player is deciding to apply assets, traits, threat and momentum?

I assume we don’t want there to be a bidding war between the player and GM when the test is finalized before the roll so my assumption was that the GM had to increase the difficulty at the beginning before the player starts spending but I just wanted to confirm.

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When I spend Threat to increase difficulty I declare it at the start as part of the difficulty.
“So this roll is D2, but (tosses Threat on the table) it is now D4, bwahaha…”

I tend to very upfront with all my uses of Threat, if I’m spending it I want my players to know that this roll is important and I’m not just doing this in reaction to them stacking it with momentum or traits.


+1 for evil GM laugh


Depends on circumstance and group really.
But I like Thalia’s method.
Up front is good as the PC see it being spent so may think twice before adding more.

I’d add that I always say what the threat represents.
“The guy really doesn’t like you”
“The glow globe is broken so it’s darker”
“He seems to have a friend with a knife”
Then you toss in the token.
If the pcs have added to threat to get momentum, make a note and use a consequence of that as part of it.
“That guy you threatened last test, well, looks like he’s had a chat to your target and warned them about you.”

Same goes for momentum.