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5E Are there actions not covered under a skill?

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
. The time savings is not on players asking to make checks but in players agreeing on a plan quickly and resolving their individual turns in combat fast which requires different techniques separate from this discussion.
As an aside, this would be something I would love to hear more from you on. I’ve found myself adopting a lot of techniques you espouse, some independently and some on your recommendation and generally find them to have excellent results, but this sort of play efficiency is something I’m still working on improving. And in general, I think “techniques for speeding up play” could be a valuable discussion topic for all.
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
A couple things: I use LOTS of die rolls in my game because they are informative. I don't generally use binary resolution, and I rely heavily on improvisation and interpretation. As such, it is more efficient for players to lead with their mechanical intent and then follow with whatever degree of fiction making they prefer (some players don't like to talk in character, for example, and I think it is unfair to punish them for it).
I don't ask players to "talk in character." Descriptive or active roleplaying is supported in the rules and welcome at my table. I just need a goal and an approach. That's it. No flowery words or cringey accents required.

If you use "LOTS of die rolls," then you may be straying a great deal from the expectations of the game which advocates - by virtue of indicating potential drawbacks to approaches where the DM relies on rolls for almost everything and where the DM uses dice rarely - that the DM strikes a balance between calling for automatic success or failure and calling for checks.

second,efficiency during combat play is a different issue entirely and has almost no bearing on this discussion. I agree that it is important, and it is super frustrating when players take FOREVER on their turns, but it doesn't really apply here.
If your argument is that this method you advocate is more efficient than the one that Charlaquin and I use (which I don't buy for even a second), I guarantee you that any efficiency you may see here is offset greatly by time sinks in other parts of the game. So, to me, you're not gaining anything by this method and probably giving up things in some areas.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I don't think this is true. It says that the player tells the DM what their character is doing. Those aren't the same thing.
I think you might have to elaborate, because it looks to me like you just said that the player describing what their character says or does isn’t the same thing as the player telling DM what their character is doing... That looks like two slightly different wordings of the same idea to me.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
While I don't listen to a lot of podcast games (other than Critical Role lately while I bike) I see DMs and players alike speaking in terms of skill checks all the time.
Yep, I do too. Worth noting though, that the Critical Role cast played Pathfinder together before switching to 5e, and Matt Mercer almost certainly DMed 3e for a long time prior to that. It is very common, in my experience, for people to come to 5e via 3e or 4e, or to learn it from people who did so, especially with Critical Role being the gateway that it is for so many newcomers. Longtime players tend to bring their gameplay styles and habits over from previous editions and new players tend to learn the same styles and habits from them. There’s nothing wrong with that - if it works for you and your group, awesome! But that most folks play 5e in a very similar way to how most folks played 3e isn’t a strong case for 5e not being designed with a different style of play in mind.

It's simply "cleaner". If, as a DM, I know that intimidation will be a lower DC than a persuasion against that cowardly goblin then I need to know what the player intends.
But see, the whole idea of “knowing that intimidation will be a lower DC than persuasion against a cowardly goblin” is rooted in 3e style play procedures. Once again, if you like the results those procedures produce, more power to you! But that’s not even how I think about skills and DCs, so when someone tries to argue that the difference is merely semantic, I can’t agree with that assessment at all.

As far as treating a D20 as radioactive when it comes to this stuff I also disagree. The character build and proficiency bonuses should matter just as much or more as the player's ability to read the DM.
In my experience, this concern is unfounded. Build and proficiency bonus are still important and valuable the way I run things, and the “reading the DM” critique is overblown. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the good ole player asking to make a skill check method, but I’d appreciate not having my method misrepresented in this way.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
But see, the whole idea of “knowing that intimidation will be a lower DC than persuasion against a cowardly goblin” is rooted in 3e style play procedures. Once again, if you like the results those procedures produce, more power to you! But that’s not even how I think about skills and DCs, so when someone tries to argue that the difference is merely semantic, I can’t agree with that assessment at all.
Isn't the idea there might be different DCs for different approaches explicitly mentioned in the rules? What @Oofta is suggesting here doesn't seem at all out of line with 5E. This might be a time where (at my tables) someone with proficiency in Intimidation wouldn't have to roll, while someone else might--which is a 5E not 3.x thing--as would someone trying to use Persuasion.
 

Reynard

Legend
But see, the whole idea of “knowing that intimidation will be a lower DC than persuasion against a cowardly goblin” is rooted in 3e style play procedures. Once again, if you like the results those procedures produce, more power to you! But that’s not even how I think about skills and DCs, so when someone tries to argue that the difference is merely semantic, I can’t agree with that assessment at all.
I don't think you are anyone else in this thread has adequately shown that the play procedures between 3E and 5E (just by way of example) are significantly different. I don't have a 3.x DMG near at hand, but I do not think the description of those procedures is notably different than the ones in 5E.
1. DM describes the situation and asks "what do you do?"
2. Player answers.
3. repeat steps 1 and 2 until a die roll is called for by the DM.
4. Player rolls and reports the results to the DM.
5. DM describes the outcome.
6. goto 1
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Isn't the idea there might be different DCs for different approaches explicitly mentioned in the rules? What @Oofta is suggesting here doesn't seem at all out of line with 5E. This might be a time where (at my tables) someone with proficiency in Intimidation wouldn't have to roll, while someone else might--which is a 5E not 3.x thing--as would someone trying to use Persuasion.
That’s not what I was identifying as the difference between our ways of thinking. “Knowing that intimidation will be a lower DC than persuasion” first of all presupposes the necessity of a check to execute an action, and second of all implies that it is the proficiency employed, rather than the goal and the action taken to try and achieve it, that determines the DC.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
That’s not what I was identifying as the difference between our ways of thinking. “Knowing that intimidation will be a lower DC than persuasion” first of all presupposes the necessity of a check to execute an action, and second of all implies that it is the proficiency employed, rather than the goal and the action taken to try and achieve it, that determines the DC.
I was thinking more broadly--along the lines of "goblins are more susceptible to Intimidation than Persuasion," and I tend to treat the social manipulation skills (Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion) as all being about getting someone to behave how you want, with the difference being whether you're using lies, threats of force, or good faith. So, you end up roughly where I said above: You're going to have better luck intimidating a goblin than trying to reason with it; this can mean different DCs if a check is needed, or it can mean someone with the proficiency doesn't need to check (but someone with does), or it can mean no one needs to check (you just killed his boss and his squad and he figures his life expectancy is measured in femtoseconds, so anyone can intimidate him). It's different in the rules, and in what you do at the table, but it doesn't feel like a radically different thought process to me than deciding (in 3.x) on a DC and giving a Circumstance Bonus (or maybe lowering the DC--both are mentioned in the rules) to Intimidate. YMMV.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I don't think you are anyone else in this thread has adequately shown that the play procedures between 3E and 5E (just by way of example) are significantly different. I don't have a 3.x DMG near at hand, but I do not think the description of those procedures is notably different than the ones in 5E.
1. DM describes the situation and asks "what do you do?"
2. Player answers.
3. repeat steps 1 and 2 until a die roll is called for by the DM.
4. Player rolls and reports the results to the DM.
5. DM describes the outcome.
6. goto 1
Again, the difference I perceive is in the specifics of who is saying what in steps 2 and 5, and in how the DM determines whether or not to call for a roll in step 3. In what I view as the 3e and 4e style, generally the player simply states what they want to accomplish and maybe a proficiency they want to employ in step 2 (e.g. “I use persuasion to try and get the guard to let me past”). In step 3, the DM might call for a roll if the player asked to make one in step 2, or if they feel the character might conceivably fail to achieve the stated goal. in step 5 the DM determines the specifics of what the character did to achieve whatever degree of success or failure the result of the roll indicates, in addition to how the guard responds.

In what I perceive as the 5e style, the player states both what they want to accomplish and how the character goes about trying to accomplish it in step 2 (e.g. “I explain to the guard the importance of our mission to try to convince him to let me through). In step 3, the DM assesses whether the stated action could reasonably succeed at achieving the stated goal, fail to do so, and what the consequences of failure might be, calling for a roll if success, failure, and consequences are all reasonable possibilities. In step 5, the DM determines based on the result of the roll whether the stated goal was successfully achieved or the consequences of failure were suffered, and describes those results.

The difference may seem subtle, but there are many consequences of these different methods that may not be obvious to one who has not tried both. For example, in the former method, rolls are often called for that have no consequences, or trivial consequences, for failure. In the latter method, many more actions succeed or fail without a roll being called for. The methods demand different levels of engagement with the fiction from the players and from the DM. There are many ways these techniques affect the play experience, despite seeming at a glance to be more or less the same.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
The difference may seem subtle, but there are many consequences of these different methods that may not be obvious to one who has not tried both. For example, in the former method, rolls are often called for that have no consequences, or trivial consequences, for failure. In the latter method, many more actions succeed or fail without a roll being called for. The methods demand different levels of engagement with the fiction from the players and from the DM. There are many ways these techniques affect the play experience, despite seeming at a glance to be more or less the same.
Absolutely. Small differences at the fundamental level can make for large differences in the outcome of play. Veteran players and DMs usually don't bother to read the sections on "How to Play" in the PHB or the entirety of the DMG, for example, so it just gets missed. I made that mistake when converting from D&D 3.5e to D&D 4e. I couldn't figure out why my 4e game wasn't as good as it could be. Then I read the books with an eye toward what was different between the editions, modified my approach, and everything snapped right into place. I did the same for D&D 5e and the approach I talk about here and in other threads is derived from the PHB and DMG rather than from some other game. Play in my D&D 4e game and few of the things I say here about D&D 5e will apply. (Though I won't run 4e anymore since they discontinued the online tools.)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I was thinking more broadly--along the lines of "goblins are more susceptible to Intimidation than Persuasion," and I tend to treat the social manipulation skills (Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion) as all being about getting someone to behave how you want, with the difference being whether you're using lies, threats of force, or good faith.
But you’re framing all of this in terms of which proficiency is being applied, rather than what the character is doing to try and achieve their goals. I might know that goblins are cowardly and therefore easily cowed by threats of violence, and that knowledge will certainly inform my decision-making when a player says they threaten to hurt a goblin if he doesn’t tell them who hired him or whatever. But I still need the context of what the character wants to get the goblin to do and how they try to make him do it to make that decision. Deciding in advance that “using intimidation” will result in a lower DC check than “using persuasion” involves way too many assumptions for my liking.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
But you’re framing all of his in terms of which proficiency is being applied, rather than what the character is doing to try and achieve their goals. I might know that goblins are cowardly and therefore easily vowed by threats of violence, and that knowledge will certainly inform my decision-making when a player says they threaten to hurt a goblin if he doesn’t tell them who hired him or whatever. But I still need the context of what the character wants to get the goblin to do and how to make that decision. Deciding in advance that “using intimidation” will result in a lower DC check than “using persuasion” involves way too many assumptions for my liking.
I'm thinking in terms of approach. If the player takes one approach--threats of violence--the DC is lower than if he tries reasoned discussion. It just happens those lead to different proficiencies--and anyone can roll, without Proficiency. In principle, the DC would still be lower for someone using straight CHA, based on approach.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'm thinking in terms of approach. If the player takes one approach--threats of violence--the DC is lower than if he tries reasoned discussion. It just happens those lead to different proficiencies. In principle, the DC would still be lower for someone using straight CHA, based on approach.
But you’re comparing very broad approaches that still functionally amount to shorthands for the different proficiencies. Sure, hypothetically it might be easier to get a goblin to tell you who hired him by saying you’ll beat him up if he doesn’t than trying to get him to tell you the same information by asking politely. But you might have an easier time by threatening to kill him than threatening to beat him up. Or you might have an easier time bribing him than asking nicely. Or you might have an easier time offering him protection from his boss than any of the above. I don’t much care for setting hypothetical DCs because they involve too many assumptions, and I like assigning hypothetical DCs to proficiencies even less, because it significantly reduces the potential for nuance between different approaches to which the same proficiency might be applicable.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
I don’t much care for setting hypothetical DCs because they involve too many assumptions, and I like assigning hypothetical DCs to proficiencies even less, because it significantly reduces the potential for nuance between different approaches to which the same proficiency might be applicable.
I don't set DCs like this ahead of time, because as you say, there are too many variables. The only DCs I normally set ahead of time are things like research/knowledge-based stuff, arguably Stealth-type stuff (because I have a Passive Perception to be beat), and maybe the odd environmental roll (Perception, Investigation, Thieves' Tolls, etc.). I've given up on trying to predict what approach the PCs will take, ever. I might know their proximate goal/s, but I don't worry much about how they're going to achieve them--that's up to the players.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yep, I do too. Worth noting though, that the Critical Role cast played Pathfinder together before switching to 5e, and Matt Mercer almost certainly DMed 3e for a long time prior to that. It is very common, in my experience, for people to come to 5e via 3e or 4e, or to learn it from people who did so, especially with Critical Role being the gateway that it is for so many newcomers. Longtime players tend to bring their gameplay styles and habits over from previous editions and new players tend to learn the same styles and habits from them. There’s nothing wrong with that - if it works for you and your group, awesome! But that most folks play 5e in a very similar way to how most folks played 3e isn’t a strong case for 5e not being designed with a different style of play in mind.
Given that there is no one right way, I would say that Matt asks for more rolls than I do. But I have never seen a podcast that takes it to the level you and iserith seem to. If there is what you would consider an example of your style I'd be curious.

But see, the whole idea of “knowing that intimidation will be a lower DC than persuasion against a cowardly goblin” is rooted in 3e style play procedures. Once again, if you like the results those procedures produce, more power to you! But that’s not even how I think about skills and DCs, so when someone tries to argue that the difference is merely semantic, I can’t agree with that assessment at all.
To me it's why the intimidation would be better than persuasion that matters. So let's take the goblin example. This is a creature that's used to being on the bottom of the totem pole. Their entire life they've been bullied and pushed around so they've come to expect being bullied. But persuasion? That's kind of foreign to the goblin and would make him suspicious.

There are plenty of examples where it would work the other way. Intimidating a bureaucrat would just make them dig in their heels while persuasion could convince them to let things slide just this once.

In my experience, this concern is unfounded. Build and proficiency bonus are still important and valuable the way I run things, and the “reading the DM” critique is overblown. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the good ole player asking to make a skill check method, but I’d appreciate not having my method misrepresented in this way.
When it comes to making rolls I'll try to make it clear if the players are dealing with a cowardly goblin who doesn't want trouble and when they're dealing with the bureaucrat, but I'm not a professional actor and as far as I know my player is on the autism spectrum while their PC has a 20 wisdom and training in insight. On the other hand it could be someone who knows me inside and out but their PC has an 8 wisdom.

I don't want to play "how well do I know the way the DM thinks" on either side of the screen. But again ... I don't know what your games are actually like. Mine are kind-of-sort-of like Critical Role with probably 1/2 the skill related dice rolls (or maybe less depending). Oh, and of course, as was established on another thread after checking my driver's license I am not Matt Mercer. :)

It would be interesting to have a thread where we just presented without judgement the same scenarios and how they would play out in our games. However in the past that has been seen as a "trap" for some reason. That may have been iserith ... but he has me on ignore.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Given that there is no one right way, I would say that Matt asks for more rolls than I do. But I have never seen a podcast that takes it to the level you and iserith seem to. If there is what you would consider an example of your style I'd be curious.



To me it's why the intimidation would be better than persuasion that matters. So let's take the goblin example. This is a creature that's used to being on the bottom of the totem pole. Their entire life they've been bullied and pushed around so they've come to expect being bullied. But persuasion? That's kind of foreign to the goblin and would make him suspicious.

There are plenty of examples where it would work the other way. Intimidating a bureaucrat would just make them dig in their heels while persuasion could convince them to let things slide just this once.



When it comes to making rolls I'll try to make it clear if the players are dealing with a cowardly goblin who doesn't want trouble and when they're dealing with the bureaucrat, but I'm not a professional actor and as far as I know my player is on the autism spectrum while their PC has a 20 wisdom and training in insight. On the other hand it could be someone who knows me inside and out but their PC has an 8 wisdom.

I don't want to play "how well do I know the way the DM thinks" on either side of the screen. But again ... I don't know what your games are actually like. Mine are kind-of-sort-of like Critical Role with probably 1/2 the skill related dice rolls (or maybe less depending). Oh, and of course, as was established on another thread after checking my driver's license I am not Matt Mercer. :)

It would be interesting to have a thread where we just presented without judgement the same scenarios and how they would play out in our games. However in the past that has been seen as a "trap" for some reason. That may have been iserith ... but he has me on ignore.
The offensive thing here is the continued characterization of @Charlaquin's play (and mine) as 'how well do I know the way the DM thinks." It's not that at all. I don't have a solution that the players are hoping to guess. If they have a reasonable approach, that's all that matters -- I'm going to adapt.

For instance, I'm not going to bother considering if goblins are more susceptible to intimidation than persuasion (or that persuasion will have a negative reaction) because that's actually moving into "how well do I know the way the DM thinks." Instead, I'm going to present the situation and then go with what's presented by the player in their approach -- if they have a reasonable attempt to persuade, then that's what gets a roll. If they have a reasonable attempt to intimidate, that's what gets a roll. Or just works. At no point do I have a prepared solution I'm going to make my players guess. Goblins are more or less susceptible to intimidate because I don't care -- I only care what my players have told me they do and I adjudicate that, with as little pre-judgement as possible.
 

Reynard

Legend
Again, the difference I perceive is in the specifics of who is saying what in steps 2 and 5, and in how the DM determines whether or not to call for a roll in step 3. In what I view as the 3e and 4e style, generally the player simply states what they want to accomplish and maybe a proficiency they want to employ in step 2 (e.g. “I use persuasion to try and get the guard to let me past”). In step 3, the DM might call for a roll if the player asked to make one in step 2, or if they feel the character might conceivably fail to achieve the stated goal. in step 5 the DM determines the specifics of what the character did to achieve whatever degree of success or failure the result of the roll indicates, in addition to how the guard responds.

In what I perceive as the 5e style, the player states both what they want to accomplish and how the character goes about trying to accomplish it in step 2 (e.g. “I explain to the guard the importance of our mission to try to convince him to let me through). In step 3, the DM assesses whether the stated action could reasonably succeed at achieving the stated goal, fail to do so, and what the consequences of failure might be, calling for a roll if success, failure, and consequences are all reasonable possibilities. In step 5, the DM determines based on the result of the roll whether the stated goal was successfully achieved or the consequences of failure were suffered, and describes those results.

The difference may seem subtle, but there are many consequences of these different methods that may not be obvious to one who has not tried both. For example, in the former method, rolls are often called for that have no consequences, or trivial consequences, for failure. In the latter method, many more actions succeed or fail without a roll being called for. The methods demand different levels of engagement with the fiction from the players and from the DM. There are many ways these techniques affect the play experience, despite seeming at a glance to be more or less the same.
Those aren't subtle differences. They are non existent differences. I don't think what you are describing has anything to do with 3E vs 5E, but rather is a function of different DMing styles. The procedure is exactly the same, which you display here yourself. Now, the mechanics are different in many cases. 3.x games employed concrete DCs for specific actions in many cases, for example, and 5E asks the DM to do a lot more on the fly setting of DCs and determining the applicability of attributes and skills. But procedural -- the process by which things happen in the game -- there is no discernible difference.

I will nott hat we are at that point in the conversation where I think we understand one another's perspectives, we just happen to disagree. I am happy to continue to discuss it. I just don't want to come off as being overly insistent by repeating myself. And, of course, it is totally okay that we view it differently. As far as I can tell, we and our players are both enjoying the games we are playing, so there's no right or wrong in this case.

Unlike arguments about baths.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
......

Under my method, which I believe to be the one espoused by the 5e rules as written...., the player must describe in terms of the fiction what the character says or does. This is essential for the DM to be able to adequately determine if what the character says or does has a possibility of success, failure, and consequences, and determine an appropriate ability and difficulty for the check if it has all of the above (as well as what proficiencies might apply.)
Ok I may be reading wrong but it sounds like you are demanding a paragraph from your players. Back to the guard post which of the following is the must?
DM. "You see a bored looking guard at their post." (I have already set the DC at 13.
Chaos John, " I walk over. Batting my eyes and start flirting with them. I like their icy blue eyes. And my oh my what big muscles they have. And their breath is minty fresh.:
Quiet John " I flirt with the guard to get by."
Rolling John " I go 13 on a persuasion DM".
I have all three types of the players above, and if they all hit 13. they are all bypassing the guard with no combat. Occasionally Rolling John ticks me off especially if the encounter was going to be an auto pass.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The offensive thing here is the continued characterization of @Charlaquin's play (and mine) as 'how well do I know the way the DM thinks." It's not that at all. I don't have a solution that the players are hoping to guess. If they have a reasonable approach, that's all that matters -- I'm going to adapt.

For instance, I'm not going to bother considering if goblins are more susceptible to intimidation than persuasion (or that persuasion will have a negative reaction) because that's actually moving into "how well do I know the way the DM thinks." Instead, I'm going to present the situation and then go with what's presented by the player in their approach -- if they have a reasonable attempt to persuade, then that's what gets a roll. If they have a reasonable attempt to intimidate, that's what gets a roll. Or just works. At no point do I have a prepared solution I'm going to make my players guess. Goblins are more or less susceptible to intimidate because I don't care -- I only care what my players have told me they do and I adjudicate that, with as little pre-judgement as possible.
I can point to CR and say "it's kind of like that with 1/2 the skill rolls" to give you an idea what my games are like. Can you give me concrete real world examples? Because this has nothing to do with the DM having a preplanned "solution" or approach.

In my games the player can say "I try persuasion on the NPC". If that's not clear I'll ask for details. It could be "I compliment them on their stunning sense of style and presence" so I'll know they're trying persuasion. I may or may not ask for a roll.

I'm okay with whatever my players are comfortable with. I prefer the latter but will also go along with the former.

When it comes to reading the DM someone who knows me well can probably guess better whether they're dealing with a cowardly goblin or a stick-in-the-mud bureaucrat so if I think there's doubt I may ask my players for an insight check. That and just because the player can think of the right words to convince the bureaucrat to give them the document they seek doesn't mean that the PC is going to communicate it as effectively, or vice versa. Approach does matter of course and can result in advantage/disadvantage on the roll or automatic success/failure.

I don't see why it's controversial to believe that my wife is more likely to know how to phrase things in a manner that is going to convince me than someone who met me an hour ago as a new player to the table or even to the game. As a person I am biased, it's part of being human. There are times I would rather rely on a neutral icosahedron combined with the numbers on a character sheet as arbiter.
 

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