D&D 5E Ability Check origins at your table

How are Ability Checks handled at your 5e table?

  • The DM gives the players checks when they ask to make them for their PCs

    Votes: 20 26.7%
  • The DM asks the players to make checks when PCs attempt certain actions in the fiction

    Votes: 64 85.3%
  • The players, when they feel it makes sense, announce a skill and roll dice, unbidden by the DM

    Votes: 11 14.7%
  • Other (explain below)

    Votes: 7 9.3%

Oofta

Legend
okay, the first time I played a bard I was stuttering and tripping over my own words. IF I was told I couldn't default to character skill over my own speaking I don't think I would still be playing today.
When I run encounters with persuasion I let people know that what they say and have done previously matters, not how they say it.

If someone gives a grand speech it can be fun, but if they're more comfortable with bullet points that's OK too.
 

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Oofta

Legend
Are those people in this thread?

The "kick people out of the group if they don't follow the pattern" came from this thread. I'm not going to try to hunt down the others.

There's nothing wrong with different approaches, as they discuss in the Role of the Dice in the DMG it's a spectrum. I'm more on the side of "roll for everything" than "don't use dice outside of combat". But it does feel like sometimes people are proselytizing for the "goal and approach" as a cure-all whether they intend it or not.
 


Hussar

Legend
I am fairly the opposite. Things happening directly off of what I say I do is generally more immersive for me.

For me immersion is me as the character in the imagined scene, not immersion in the stats on the sheet and the mechanics of the game to see how the character does in the situation.

I get that.

What pulls it out of immersion for me though is that my narration may be contradicted by the die roll. “I want to parkour over the balcony and land below” becomes “you jump, trip and land on your face” because of the dice.

My cool scene narration gets immediately retconned.

That’s why I feel like I’m being pulled out of immersion. Because any narration I make or intend can be immediately retconned by the dice. After the third or fourth time, I’d rather see what the dice say and then narrate that.
 


Hussar

Legend
Look I’ll admit I’m being aggressive here. Probably too much so so I’ll try to dial it back.

But the whole “you aren’t really role playing if you use mechanics” schtick needs to die in a fire. It’s an argument as old as time. “Real” role players just play through it. You shouldn’t need to use mechanics if you just engage “player skill” and make the game more “immersive”.

The entire argument is grounded in the huge bolus of condescending goop. Gamers sneeringly looking down their noses at the proletariat who just don’t know what real role playing is.

So yeah. I get a bit shirty. Decades of this exact same rhetoric being presented as “oh well it’s just my preference” as if telling people they’re not really playing the game right uneless we engage in the one true way is perfectly reasonable.

See because here’s the difference. Myself and others are saying, well as long as what the player is attempting is clear, who cares how they phrase it? And then we’re being told, oh no you must not phrase it referencing mechanics because that’s bad. For very vague, undefined reasons.

IOW for some reason, “I look around the room carefully” is qualitatively better than, “I look around the room. Perception 18”. Oh wait, if I take it a step further and say, “I look carefully at the chest” I don’t even need to roll (presumably because I’ve somehow satisfied the dm in some poorly defined way) and I automatically succeed.

But because I said chest and not floor, I automatically fail to spot the illusion and fall in the trap.

And this is somehow more immersive and better role play than, I look around the room, perception 17.

:rant:
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
IOW for some reason, “I look around the room carefully” is qualitatively better than, “I look around the room. Perception 18”. Oh wait, if I take it a step further and say, “I look carefully at the chest” I don’t even need to roll (presumably because I’ve somehow satisfied the dm in some poorly defined way) and I automatically succeed.

But because I said chest and not floor, I automatically fail to spot the illusion and fall in the trap.

And this is somehow more immersive and better role play than, I look around the room, perception 17.
Well, here comes the pushback. You're already using some more immersive and clearer language here than alternatives. Consider "I look around the room, Perception 18" vs "I use my Perception. 18." The former IS better than the latter because, as a DM, I have to do less guessing what "I use Perception" means. It isn't exactly a deal-breaker for me to ask the player "OK, what do you mean by that?" and have that conversation - but it sure would be nice if a player showed the engagement to say "I'd like to scan the room for obvious problems first, then move in and start looking at the chest over on the right." For one thing, it shows they were actually listening when I described the room and it gives me a chance to stage out the things they can perceive in an order that works for the actions they described their PC doing.

The fact is - some ways of interacting with the game ARE more immersive than others and, if that's something you value, it isn't wrong to encourage it (though I wouldn't throw a player out over it unless they were disruptive about it - like I said, I'm not doctrinaire about it).
 

Voadam

Legend
I get that.

What pulls it out of immersion for me though is that my narration may be contradicted by the die roll. “I want to parkour over the balcony and land below” becomes “you jump, trip and land on your face” because of the dice.

My cool scene narration gets immediately retconned.

That’s why I feel like I’m being pulled out of immersion. Because any narration I make or intend can be immediately retconned by the dice. After the third or fourth time, I’d rather see what the dice say and then narrate that.
I don't quite get the difference.

Wouldn't you say the same thing either way, you start by announcing your intention/action attempt:
“I want to parkour over the balcony and land below”
The DM then either narrates a result or calls for a dice result and says "OK, DC 15 acrobatics check."

Above you seemed to be saying a narrated resolution based off your description with no check "Sure thing Crouching Tiger, sounds cool." would pull you right out of immersion rather than having the dice roll but here you seem to say it is the contradiction of the later dice roll result to your intended end state, which seems like the dice roll has pulled you out of your immersion because it went from intending to parkour coolly to failed to do so.
 

Hussar

Legend
Well, here comes the pushback. You're already using some more immersive and clearer language here than alternatives. Consider "I look around the room, Perception 18" vs "I use my Perception. 18." The former IS better than the latter because, as a DM, I have to do less guessing what "I use Perception" means. It isn't exactly a deal-breaker for me to ask the player "OK, what do you mean by that?" and have that conversation - but it sure would be nice if a player showed the engagement to say "I'd like to scan the room for obvious problems first, then move in and start looking at the chest over on the right." For one thing, it shows they were actually listening when I described the room and it gives me a chance to stage out the things they can perceive in an order that works for the actions they described their PC doing.

The fact is - some ways of interacting with the game ARE more immersive than others and, if that's something you value, it isn't wrong to encourage it (though I wouldn't throw a player out over it unless they were disruptive about it - like I said, I'm not doctrinaire about it).

But, remember, according to several posters here, we’re both wrong because in no circumstance can you as the player declare that roll before being asked by the dm.

In other words, we would have no problems at each others table but at other tables, we are both full on wrong.

That’s what I’m arguing against.
 

Hussar

Legend
I don't quite get the difference.

Wouldn't you say the same thing either way, you start by announcing your intention/action attempt:

The DM then either narrates a result or calls for a dice result and says "OK, DC 15 acrobatics check."

Above you seemed to be saying a narrated resolution based off your description with no check "Sure thing Crouching Tiger, sounds cool." would pull you right out of immersion rather than having the dice roll but here you seem to say it is the contradiction of the later dice roll result to your intended end state, which seems like the dice roll has pulled you out of your immersion because it went from intending to parkour coolly to failed to do so.

Remember. The point argued against is that the player must never declare a roll before being asked by the dm.

Me? I’d declare what I was intending, make the very obvious roll, maybe pause to check if it was a success or failure if it was in question and then narrate my own success or failure.

And before the roll, there would be almost no narration. As in acrobatics to jump down, roll, I leap over the balcony and fall flat on my face. Or … I stick the landing with a flourish.

In other words, I don’t really need or want the dm to narrate my actions.
 

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