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D&D 5E 5th ed D&D general impressions from a new player and DM.

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
What's the issue? The DM either replies "It's not possible" or "There's no need to roll". I mean, I agree you just wasted 20 seconds but it doesn't seem like a big issue to me.
If they're asking for rolls, they're expecting to have a chance; especially if the DM says there isn't a chance, it's almost certain that there is (or will be) a disconnect.
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If they're asking for rolls, they're expecting to have a chance; especially if the DM says there isn't a chance, it's almost certain that there is (or will be) a disconnect.
So you tell them no roll was necessary or that there's no chance of success. Like I said, 20 seconds gone forever is not a big deal.

If someone asks for a check to do something impossible I'll clarify the scene or ask them what they're trying to accomplish. I just don't see why it's a big deal one way or another. Sometimes people try to do something only to realize it's impossible. So?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I mean, nobody has ever tried to pick up something only to realize it's heavier than expected and there's no way to pick it up? You've never gone to force something open only to have it open easily?

A check that reflects that automatic failure or success is the same thing.

Besides, if someone asks "Can I tell if the clerk is telling the truth?" I'll ask for an insight check because not asking for one is a clear indicator that the clerk is telling the truth.
 

Nebulous

Legend
I’ve learned to enjoy the odd fight or two when they get to kick ass. Even if it’s not as engaging for me as a DM. It makes the brutal fights more impactful without making the PCs scared to open a door without buffing up first.
Haha. Yes that's true. As much as I love terrifying them with a brutal encounter, they do like to mop the floor with bad guys more often.
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
So you tell them no roll was necessary or that there's no chance of success. Like I said, 20 seconds gone forever is not a big deal.

If someone asks for a check to do something impossible I'll clarify the scene or ask them what they're trying to accomplish. I just don't see why it's a big deal one way or another. Sometimes people try to do something only to realize it's impossible. So?
Its not that they're trying something impossible. By all means. But its when the DM already knew it was impossible but asked for a roll anyways just to see a nat20 and go "sorry, that was impossible anyways."

That's pretty frustrating.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Its not that they're trying something impossible. By all means. But its when the DM already knew it was impossible but asked for a roll anyways just to see a nat20 and go "sorry, that was impossible anyways."

That's pretty frustrating.
Which ... is not what I was responding to, or I misunderstood completely

Especially ability checks, which people still ask for rolls where there was no chance of failure or guaranteed failure.

I assumed "people" meant players. I've never once had and can't imagine why a DM would ask for a roll they knew was automatic or guaranteed. :unsure:
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
I assumed "people" meant players. I've never once had and can't imagine why a DM would ask for a roll they knew was automatic or guaranteed.
DMing 5E, I have on occasion had a player presume a roll was going to be called for, and roll, and then either A) announce the result or B) ask if they were supposed to roll, and then be disappointed that the good roll wasn't going to make a difference. I've never asked for a roll if a task was guaranteed success/failure.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
DMing 5E, I have on occasion had a player presume a roll was going to be called for, and roll, and then either A) announce the result or B) ask if they were supposed to roll, and then be disappointed that the good roll wasn't going to make a difference. I've never asked for a roll if a task was guaranteed success/failure.
Yeah, I think I've always done this in all editions. When a player rolls a 20 and it still fails I just shrug and say they were the ones who asked to roll. My preference is that they describe what their PC is doing and I'll ask for the roll. I just don't force my personal preference on the players.

If they roll and it's not clear what they're trying to do I'll just get clarification. Accommodating player's styles and "nudging" them into my preferred style of play works best for me.
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
Which ... is not what I was responding to, or I misunderstood completely



I assumed "people" meant players. I've never once had and can't imagine why a DM would ask for a roll they knew was automatic or guaranteed. :unsure:
I see. My mistake, I did mean DMs when I referred to players. Your remarks definitely make more sense now and I squarely agree.
 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I believe the writers of 5e wrote for an audience of existing D&D players rather than new players. There is precious little handholding in Phandelver (and the first encounter is quite tricky to run well). The DMG is arse-backwards and the PHB is utterly overwhelming
I hear you about the DMG. I honestly can’t imagine how it was decided that the FIRST thing a new DM would want to learn is cosmologies and how to create planar adventures.
 

TheSword

Legend
Not sure if it’s come up. I do ask for a perception check if players search irrespective of opportunity for success. Otherwise players know if you ask them to roll, there is something to find. There are probably other examples.

[Edit] I also ask for a stealth check if someone sneaks even if there is no one to hear them.
 

Not sure if it’s come up. I do ask for a perception check if players search irrespective of opportunity for success. Otherwise players know if you ask them to roll, there is something to find. There are probably other examples.

[Edit] I also ask for a stealth check if someone sneaks even if there is no one to hear them.
I'm not a fan of the phantom roll. The rules say to "Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure. (DMG p 237)". If the players say their PCs are searching an area, for example, and there is really nothing there, then it's either no roll (auto-succeed in competently searching the area) OR it's a roll where, on a failure, the PCs succeed with setback (they indeed search the area and find nothing out of the ordinary, but it has taken more time than expected and/or makes more noise than expected which triggers something else in the fiction).
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I'm not a fan of the phantom roll. The rules say to "Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure. (DMG p 237)". If the players say their PCs are searching an area, for example, and there is really nothing there, then it's either no roll (auto-succeed in competently searching the area) OR it's a roll where, on a failure, the PCs succeed with setback (they indeed search the area and find nothing out of the ordinary, but it has taken more time than expected and/or makes more noise than expected which triggers something else in the fiction).

But if there is no roll (and personally I tend to use investigation, but that's a different issue) then they absolutely know there was nothing to find. A lot of time that's okay but in a mystery based campaign? As a player I do not want to know that I can check that suspect (or at least that area) off the list with no question. YMMV.
 

TheSword

Legend
I'm not a fan of the phantom roll. The rules say to "Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure. (DMG p 237)". If the players say their PCs are searching an area, for example, and there is really nothing there, then it's either no roll (auto-succeed in competently searching the area) OR it's a roll where, on a failure, the PCs succeed with setback (they indeed search the area and find nothing out of the ordinary, but it has taken more time than expected and/or makes more noise than expected which triggers something else in the fiction).
So if your table uses option one your players know that if you ask for a roll.

In option 2 you are punishing people for searching and interrogating the fiction. Remember any given check has a decent chance to fail for a character.

I get that the system checks are generally not taken unless needed. I just think these are exceptions.
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
I'm not a fan of the phantom roll. The rules say to "Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure. (DMG p 237)". If the players say their PCs are searching an area, for example, and there is really nothing there, then it's either no roll (auto-succeed in competently searching the area) OR it's a roll where, on a failure, the PCs succeed with setback (they indeed search the area and find nothing out of the ordinary, but it has taken more time than expected and/or makes more noise than expected which triggers something else in the fiction).
One line of thought on this is that a roll that cannot succeed automatically fails. The meaningful consequence is uncertainty.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
So if your table uses option one your players know that if you ask for a roll.

In option 2 you are punishing people for searching and interrogating the fiction. Remember any given check has a decent chance to fail for a character.

I get that the system checks are generally not taken unless needed. I just think these are exceptions.
Is option 2 really "punishing"? If I understand correctly - they attempt to do something that has no chance to succeed. To me, the action of that attempt can be reflected in a die roll.

This is situational. If there's a shear wall and someone wants to climb I'll just be sure that I'm clear: this is a shear wall, you won't be able to climb it. Maybe they thought they could if their athletics score is high enough or maybe I just forgot they have slippers of spider climbing.

Oh, and the text usually quoted to justify the "no roll" theory seems to cherry pick:

Using Ability Scores​

When a player wants to do something, it’s often appropriate to let the attempt succeed without a roll or a reference to the character’s ability scores. For example, a character doesn’t normally need to make a Dexterity check to walk across an empty room or a Charisma check to order a mug of ale. Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure.​
When deciding whether to use a roll, ask yourself two questions:​
  • Is a task so easy and so free of conflict and stress that there should be no chance of failure?
  • Is a task so inappropriate or impossible — such as hitting the moon with an arrow — that it can’t work?

The stuff I bolded has been ignored by some people when making the case of don't ask for a roll. In the first case it's obvious there's no chance of failure because it's so simple, in the latter it's obvious there's no way it could possibly succeed.

That, to me, is different from making an attempt at something you may think is possible such as in this case searching a room. The DM knows there's no reason for the roll but in cases where the players don't know then the roll just reflects the effort taken.
 

TheSword

Legend
Is option 2 really "punishing"? If I understand correctly - they attempt to do something that has no chance to succeed. To me, the action of that attempt can be reflected in a die roll.

This is situational. If there's a shear wall and someone wants to climb I'll just be sure that I'm clear: this is a shear wall, you won't be able to climb it. Maybe they thought they could if their athletics score is high enough or maybe I just forgot they have slippers of spider climbing.

Oh, and the text usually quoted to justify the "no roll" theory seems to cherry pick:

Using Ability Scores​

When a player wants to do something, it’s often appropriate to let the attempt succeed without a roll or a reference to the character’s ability scores. For example, a character doesn’t normally need to make a Dexterity check to walk across an empty room or a Charisma check to order a mug of ale. Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure.​
When deciding whether to use a roll, ask yourself two questions:​
  • Is a task so easy and so free of conflict and stress that there should be no chance of failure?
  • Is a task so inappropriate or impossible — such as hitting the moon with an arrow — that it can’t work?

The stuff I bolded has been ignored by some people when making the case of don't ask for a roll. In the first case it's obvious there's no chance of failure because it's so simple, in the latter it's obvious there's no way it could possibly succeed.

That, to me, is different from making an attempt at something you may think is possible such as in this case searching a room. The DM knows there's no reason for the roll but in cases where the players don't know then the roll just reflects the effort taken.
I was referring to making noise or taking too long and potentially attracting a wandering monster as punishment to searching.

I want players to search, and yet I don’t want them to automatically know there is something there because I ask for a roll, even if they don’t find it.

The best solution is to probably just have them find something, no matter how trivial. Though I find that gets cumbersome with lots of searching.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I was referring to making noise or taking too long and potentially attracting a wandering monster as punishment to searching.

I want players to search, and yet I don’t want them to automatically know there is something there because I ask for a roll, even if they don’t find it.

The best solution is to probably just have them find something, no matter how trivial. Though I find that gets cumbersome with lots of searching.
I see said the blind man. :cool:

There are times when I do hand wave things like searching or use a passive check just to simplify things. Since my games tend to be plot driven not location driven if they are searching a room it's because the room is somehow related to the plot.
 

So if your table uses option one your players know that if you ask for a roll.

In option 2 you are punishing people for searching and interrogating the fiction. Remember any given check has a decent chance to fail for a character.

I get that the system checks are generally not taken unless needed. I just think these are exceptions.

If the proposed approach and goal by the player meet the criteria, I'm calling for a check. How is that punishing them? It just reflects something about what they are doing in that scene is uncertain and there is a meaningful consequence for failure.
 

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