Yeah, I do agree with this. I'd rather they went one way or the other, to be honest, as @Ovinomancer rightly points out. If we're going that route, then bugger trying to have mechanics. Just do the old AD&D approach and us a D20 Roll High method if something is in doubt. Or, my favorite, the D-Wayne system where you ask someone named Wayne if the attempt succeeds.I take the second route because I want to know how they try to persuade the guard. If they use information in the game to use an approach that is very likely to succeed…well, that’s more likely to succeed. Ideally I don’t need the skill system at all: the players have been paying attention and say something very persuasive. At that point I don’t see what it adds to the game to give it an 80% chance and leave it to the dice. It just works.
Or, if you're going to have a system, have one that actually functions without needing constant oversight and placing the DM front and center of every single check. There are all sorts of skill systems out there with all sorts of different methodology. I just find the 5e skill system to be really lacking. Most of the time, IME, it's rolling for the sake of rolling.
@Ovinomancer said:5e is not a "if you do it you do it" game. I've had some of the worst experiences in a "hot table" game where the GM leapt at utterances and gleefully engaged consequences. I was often that GM.
Oh yeah. Totally agree here. Been there, done that. Been that too.
Heck, in today's session, I was running Candlekeep Mysteries - the "zikram's zepherian tome" adventure, and there's a bunch of skill checks in there for no real reason. Here's a perfect example:
"Treasure: The chest is 5 feet long, 3 feet high and 3 feet wide. It weighs 250 pounds and the padlock holding it shut is frozen solid. Any character using theives' tools can spend 1 minute trying to remove the padlock, doing so with a successful DC 15 Dexterity check. Attempting this check without first melting the ice in and around the padlock imposes disadvantage on the roll. The ches contains ((Treasure - redacted for spoilers))."
WHY IS THAT A CHECK? There is no time issue here. None. There's absolutely no reason for any of this. It should be, "The chest is locked with a padlock. The padlock is frozen. It takes a character about 1 minute with thieve's tools to open the lock" There is zero reason why this has a DC. It doesn't need it. It doesn't add anything. It's completely, and utterly, pointless. And this is hardly the only example. Virtually every single skill check in the entire adventure is like this. Totally pointless. Needless dice fapping. Grrr.