There has been a lot of discussion on this thread that veered far from the original poll.Please don’t tell me what I’m likely to do. If you think I’ve been overly critical or misinterpreted (or misrepresented) something you said, feel free to point out the particular instance or instances.
I could be wrong, but this seems to posit a set of games in which players are rewarded with success for describing things well: doing things like using precise language, correct grammar, and descriptive adjectives and adverbs, and including sensory information in their descriptions. Such games might exist, but I don’t believe I’ve ever played in one, and I think whether or not a game rewards a high level of descriptive language skill is mostly orthogonal to the topic of this thread and poll except insofar as players and DMs describing things allows them to utilize such skill.
Some people have stated that the player must describe what they are doing along with what they are trying to achieve. That description may be required to qualify for a check or may mean that they automatically succeed. An example given was for a trap door. The player had to describe how they searched the door for traps adequately before they got a roll to find the trap. Once the trap was discovered another player (not the rogue) described how they disabled the trap. No check was required.
I make no claim as to grammatical correctness or anything else, but some people are adamant that you cannot use game terms to describe actions. Some people have stated repeatedly that PCs must declare "goal and approach" and if the player does not they're kicked out of the game.
I've never actually seen it in real life or any streams I've watched either.
The poll doesn’t touch upon whether quality of description plays any part in the adjudication of what is described. The poll is only concerned with the actual matter being described, not how it’s described beyond what information about the character’s action the description contains. For a player with a low level of descriptive language skill, a clear expectation to describe both the character’s action and intention may in fact be helpful in providing a template of sorts which the player can use to ensure they are giving a complete description, focusing on the two important elements, without needing to add unnecessary details. I realize, given what you’ve written below, that what I’m calling “descriptive language skill” is probably not what you mean here, but I wanted to address this because I believe statements like this are one of the reasons discussions of this topic tend to go around in circles with people talking past each other.
This, on the other hand, sounds like a preference about what is being described rather than how it’s described. If I understand, your preference is for players to describe only their character’s intentions (e.g. to find traps) and not what the character does to realize their desired outcome. This would be consistent with the fifth and sixth options on the poll. This has the effect of minimizing what’s commonly called “player skill” because it doesn’t allow the player to describe their character doing things that would affect whether or not they achieve their goal.
When I DM, checking for a trap is as simple as declaring you want to find a trap and rolling a die. Same with disabling any trap found, although you can always potentially bypass it completely by finding a different route. I encourage or add descriptive flavor if it makes the game more interesting but never require it.
I don't care how the action is declared or what language is used. If I describe a chest that the players are interested in a simple "Check for traps?" is all they need. If they're at a locked door an experienced player can roll a D20 and state "18 to unlock?" They've adequately told me what their PC is doing. Sometimes it's just faster, sometimes it's just what a player is comfortable with.
Got it, and, for the record, I didn’t think you were making a statement about “one true way” to play the game. The issue I had with your statement was that it seemed to imply that other posters had an impaired ability to discern reality. I think if I’m understanding you correctly, there’s functionally no difference between a player making a “descriptive action declaration” and announcing an intention to roll an ability check at your table because of the way you choose to adjudicate outcomes.
I never require goal or intent because I don't judge success or failure based on those factors. If a chicken is crossing a road, I don't really care why. As a DM all I care about whether or not there's a truck coming that will require a check to see if the chicken can avoid becoming roadkill. The why will be revealed as part of the ongoing play if it's important.
This is all covered in the DMG under "The role of the dice", different people have different approaches. Some people roll for everything, some people never touch dice outside of combat. Which I think is kind of cool, even if never touching the dice outside of combat is not my preference because I want out-of-combat activities to be a consideration when building a character.