D&D 5E 5e consequence-resolution

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Hence "really", to indicate one has to parse and contemplate the upshot of the rules. What do they amount to?
I mean, when the text explicitly says ability checks are for resolving success, and even the later section you point to explicitly says, "You determine the consequences of...ability checks,[...] When an ability check equals or exceeds the DC, the check succeeds." It's pretty clear that ability checks themselves are about success or failure. DM judgment in response to a check, on the other hand, may involve questions of consequences.

Notice the "may," or "can," as used in the text. Emphasis added: "When a character fails a roll by only 1 or 2, you can allow the character to succeed at the cost of complication..." "You can also use this technique when a characters succeeds on a roll by hitting the DC exactly..." "However, you can choose to take such an exceptional roll [nat 20 or nat 1] into account when adjudicating the outcome." Note also the (repeated) use of referring to the check itself as "succeeding" or "failing." It still seems pretty clear, even in the DMG 242 text, that checks are about success vs failure of a given task. It is only what happens after the check--that is, the description and adjudication of what "you succeeded at the task" means--which can involve DM intervention as to consequences, though it need not have to.

The rules themselves are (somewhat surprisingly for 5e) quite clear about what they're for. This is an area where the "DM-curation," to use your term, crops up after the rules are triggered and resolved, not in the process of triggering the rules.

I don't believe ordering implies optionality. The text can't be legibly piled on top of itself: some must come later.

That said, I can see that if you decide ordering implies optionality you are likely to draw different conclusions.
I mean, yeah? It's literally the very last portion of the Using Ability Scores section. If it were meant to be the heart and soul of...y'know, using ability scores, you'd think it would get somewhat higher billing!

Even if it weren't, the text makes it pretty clear how optional this is. It repeatedly uses "you can choose..." or similar phrases ("consider adding...", "when you introduce..." meaning you aren't always introducing such things, referring to them as "flourishes and approaches" rather than as the core function, etc.) Flourishes are optional: "a decoration or embellishment," "showiness in the doing of something," etc. "Approaches" likewise implies that these are some possible directions, but far from the only ones; one could, in fact, decide that it's unnecessary "to make things a little less black-and-white," that black-and-white resolution is perfectly adequate.
 

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clearstream

(He, Him)
I mean, when the text explicitly says ability checks are for resolving success, and even the later section you point to explicitly says, "You determine the consequences of...ability checks,[...] When an ability check equals or exceeds the DC, the check succeeds." It's pretty clear that ability checks themselves are about success or failure. DM judgment in response to a check, on the other hand, may involve questions of consequences.
Consider the order of operations.

I mean, yeah? It's literally the very last portion of the Using Ability Scores section. If it were meant to be the heart and soul of...y'know, using ability scores, you'd think it would get somewhat higher billing!

Even if it weren't, the text makes it pretty clear how optional this is. It repeatedly uses "you can choose..." or similar phrases ("consider adding...", "when you introduce..." meaning you aren't always introducing such things, referring to them as "flourishes and approaches" rather than as the core function, etc.) Flourishes are optional: "a decoration or embellishment," "showiness in the doing of something," etc. "Approaches" likewise implies that these are some possible directions, but far from the only ones; one could, in fact, decide that it's unnecessary "to make things a little less black-and-white," that black-and-white resolution is perfectly adequate.
Do you see any real objection to counting them rules? Taking the wording sincerely (as we should, with rules.)

EDIT Folk sometimes read more in than what I write. I'm mindful of the wording, and nowhere say that the choice defined in that wording is to be overlooked.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Consider the order of operations.
As far as I can tell, I have. One processes the ability check. That check indicates that the task either succeeded or failed. That is its function. As the text says, it is quite black-and-white.

Once the ability check is rolled, the DM may then take the result, whether qualitatively, quantitatively, or both, and intrude to complicate matters beyond those black-and-white boundaries. This necessarily follows after the ability check has done its job.

Do you see any real objection to counting them rules? Taking the wording sincerely (as we should, with rules.)
Yes. They are, at absolute most, being extremely charitable to your interpretation, a description of "best practices." Even that requires interpolating "you're supposed to do this, but we can't force you to do it" into the text when it isn't there. A reading purely on the text alone, with no insertion of implied "you're supposed to do this" notions, would simply see this as a description of a thing some DMs might do while running games, not even reaching the level of guidance. More like your phone providing word suggestions as you type; you might find them useful, but you might just as easily completely ignore them and never really notice. I don't consider that anywhere near "rules."

But I also personally find 5e to be much too closer to mother-may-I for my tastes, so perhaps my criticisms should be taken with a grain of salt.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
As far as I can tell, I have. One processes the ability check. That check indicates that the task either succeeded or failed. That is its function. As the text says, it is quite black-and-white.

Once the ability check is rolled, the DM may then take the result, whether qualitatively, quantitatively, or both, and intrude to complicate matters beyond those black-and-white boundaries. This necessarily follows after the ability check has done its job.
EDIT Posted before finished! It parses out like this.
  • Certain? Don't roll.
  • Impossible? Don't roll.
  • Uncertain (solely)? Don't roll, multiply time by 10.
  • Uncertain and meaningful consequences? Only now ought we roll.
What's clutch is the meaningful consequences; without them, don't roll.

When must we know the meaningful consequences? Going in, because we use them to judge if we will roll.

Yes. They are, at absolute most, being extremely charitable to your interpretation, a description of "best practices." Even that requires interpolating "you're supposed to do this, but we can't force you to do it" into the text when it isn't there. A reading purely on the text alone, with no insertion of implied "you're supposed to do this" notions, would simply see this as a description of a thing some DMs might do while running games, not even reaching the level of guidance. More like your phone providing word suggestions as you type; you might find them useful, but you might just as easily completely ignore them and never really notice. I don't consider that anywhere near "rules."

But I also personally find 5e to be much too closer to mother-may-I for my tastes, so perhaps my criticisms should be taken with a grain of salt.
😄
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
EDIT Posted before finished! It parses out like this.
  • Certain? Don't roll.
  • Impossible? Don't roll.
  • Uncertain (solely)? Don't roll, multiply time by 10.
  • Uncertain and meaningful consequences? Only now ought we roll.
What's clutch is the meaningful consequences; without them, don't roll.
Those are the order of operations to determine whether you should trigger the Ability Check rules at all. The trigger for the rule is, "Is this situation uncertain with meaningful consequences for both success and failure?" Once that trigger applies, you engage the Ability Check rules. Once the Ability Check rules have been triggered and resolved (with either success, roll≥DC, or failure, roll<DC), the DM might then choose to intrude.

Certainty isn't about "consequences" as you have framed it; it is about success--specifically, success is guaranteed. Impossibility is likewise success and not consequence, it is that failure is guaranteed. Personally, "Uncertain (solely)" isn't even its own category, it's just the first category, certain, with more steps. "Impossible" is also a form of certainty, just certain failure.

Note, though, that "meaningful consequences" has two words you've elided out (or four in my preferred phrasing): "meaningful consequences of failure." (My personal preference is "meaningful consequences of success and failure," because uninteresting success results are almost as bad as uninteresting failure results.) But in order for consequences to be "of" something, the "of" thing must occur first. That's what consequences are, they're a result from some preceding cause. In this case, the clear cause is "success" or "failure."

When must we know the meaningful consequences? Going in, because we use them to judge if we will roll.
Do we though? Or do we just need to know that the consequences need to be meaningful, regardless of what they specifically are?

Do you need to know what failure will specifically do when the player attempts to crack the safe, or do you just need to know that failure should do something more interesting than "you fail and nothing happens"? I would absolutely argue the latter. "Fail forward" does not demand that you know exactly what all possible results will be before the player has even attempted the roll. It just means you need to keep in mind that, whatever failures you describe, they should be interesting.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Those are the order of operations to determine whether you should trigger the Ability Check rules at all. The trigger for the rule is, "Is this situation uncertain with meaningful consequences for both success and failure?" Once that trigger applies, you engage the Ability Check rules. Once the Ability Check rules have been triggered and resolved (with either success, roll≥DC, or failure, roll<DC), the DM might then choose to intrude.

Certainty isn't about "consequences" as you have framed it; it is about success--specifically, success is guaranteed. Impossibility is likewise success and not consequence, it is that failure is guaranteed. Personally, "Uncertain (solely)" isn't even its own category, it's just the first category, certain, with more steps. "Impossible" is also a form of certainty, just certain failure.

Note, though, that "meaningful consequences" has two words you've elided out (or four in my preferred phrasing): "meaningful consequences of failure." (My personal preference is "meaningful consequences of success and failure," because uninteresting success results are almost as bad as uninteresting failure results.) But in order for consequences to be "of" something, the "of" thing must occur first. That's what consequences are, they're a result from some preceding cause. In this case, the clear cause is "success" or "failure."
To clarify, the meaningful consequences of success are those that brought the player to do as they described. That's not reified within the game system.

Do we though? Or do we just need to know that the consequences need to be meaningful, regardless of what they specifically are?

Do you need to know what failure will specifically do when the player attempts to crack the safe, or do you just need to know that failure should do something more interesting than "you fail and nothing happens"? I would absolutely argue the latter. "Fail forward" does not demand that you know exactly what all possible results will be before the player has even attempted the roll. It just means you need to keep in mind that, whatever failures you describe, they should be interesting.
That's an interesting take. It makes the rule structure inexplicable - we mean narrate a meaningful consequence, but we said only roll if there is a meaningful consequence. The if implies that there might not be, so for me your take doesn't parse out successfully. Still, if that is your take I can understand your conclusion.

I feel it is evident that it's not what I'm proposing, but from your perspective is my interpretation ambiguous in that regard?

As a minor aside, I don't see it as "fail-forward" due to the inclusion of set-backs among the possible consequences. One can quibble labels of course. To me, consequence-resolution gets best at what I am proposing.
 

I'd say that in some situations 'you fail and nothing happens' is a meaningful consequence, if there is not option to just keep trying until you succeed. It means that path/method is blocked, and you need to try something else. And I don't think this is necessarily even narratively dull. It is pretty common in fiction for the hero to try to overcome a problem but fail, and they need to come up with an another angle to approach the matter.
 
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Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
Saying after 10 minutes you eventually open the door or safe is usually not the way i do it.

I normally always ask for Dexetrity (Thieves' Tools) check to open a locked door or safe. It must be an old habbit, but if there is something that should be an obstacle to overcome, i don't give it away for free automatically, regardless of what's inside or past it. This goes all the way back to when i played AD&D with thieves needing to roll % to open lock.
 




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