D&D 5E At Your 5E Table, How Is It Agreed upon That the PCs Do Stuff Other than Attack?

How Do You Agree the PCs Do Stuff in the Fiction Other than Attack?

  • Player describes action and intention, states ability and/or skill used, and rolls check to resolve

    Votes: 6 5.4%
  • Player describes action and intention, and DM decides whether an ability check is needed to resolve

    Votes: 100 90.1%
  • Player describes action only, states ability and/or skill used, and rolls a check to resolve

    Votes: 6 5.4%
  • Player describes action only, and the DM decides whether an ability check is needed to resolve

    Votes: 33 29.7%
  • Player describes intention only, states ability and/or skill used, and rolls a check to resolve

    Votes: 9 8.1%
  • Player describes intention only, and the DM decides whether an ability check is needed to resolve

    Votes: 36 32.4%
  • Player states ability and/or skill used, and rolls a check to resolve

    Votes: 8 7.2%
  • Player asks a question, and DM assumes an action and decides whether an ability check is needed

    Votes: 17 15.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 12 10.8%

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
Nice poll.
Thanks!

It looks like it is detailed enough to call attention to a specific nuance:

"Player describes action and intention, and DM decides whether an ability check is needed to resolve."

Which is how I DM as well.

Either action or intention are fine, but both help the narrative be clearer. I prefer both together, but one might imply the other clearly enough.

Then the DM decides how plausible the action and intention are. Yes/No/Roll.
I’m not sure what you mean here by plausible. Do you mean the DM decides whether it’s plausible that the PC could perform the stated action or have the stated intention, or that it’s plausible that the stated action could have a chance of achieving or does actually achieve the stated intention, or something else?
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Sometimes the opponent is passive. When I fail to pick the lock on a door, by this phrasing the lock succeeds in resisting my attempt.
A lock isn’t an entity. You also don’t roll contests against them (maybe you’re unfamiliar with the 5e terminology; a contest is where you and another creature both make checks and the higher result succeeds.)
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Stupid question: why Wisdom instead of Intelligence for searching, where Intelligence (i.e. reasoning and intellect) would seem to make more sense?
Quoting the PHB, “Intelligence measures mental acuity, accuracy of recall, and the ability to reason.” whereas “Wisdom reflects how attuned you are to the world around you and represents perceptiveness and intuition.”
 

Voadam

Legend
Stupid question: why Wisdom instead of Intelligence for searching, where Intelligence (i.e. reasoning and intellect) would seem to make more sense?
For the last couple of editions D&D has generally gone with Intelligence is knowledge while Wisdom is noticing relevant things.

3e split noticing things into three skills with Wisdom for spotting and listening to things while Intelligence was specifically actively searching, but with consolidation of the skill list in 4e and Pathfinder perception was a single skill and it fell into Wisdom.

5e added intelligence investigation which explicitly says it can be used for finding hidden things, but as I mentioned the lines for that versus other skills can be very blurry with specific call outs to use perception for things like finding traps.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
I don't know that this has anything to do with PbtA games or just convergent techniques. But I definitely want to stress character abilities and the fact that the characters have competencies we, as players, do not. There are occasions when people state something impossible and in those cases it can be either that my description of the scene wasn't communicated well or perhaps they're trying to do something I don't believe the PC can accomplish. If it's the former I clarify, if it's the latter I'll give them suggestions of options.
I cite it as PbtA because that's explicitly called out by that name in their rules. GMing a PbtA game is really different from D&D or similar traditional rpgs, and not everything carries over well.

I think of three schools of GMing: adversarial (i.e., the Viking Helmet), referee (an unbiased judge) and a fan where you're actively wanting the PCs to succeed (but not making that happen, we play to see what happens). Here's what the PbtA rules say about "being a fan":
Be a fan of the characters
Think of the players’ characters as protagonists in a story you might see on TV. Cheer for their victories and lament their defeats. You’re not here to push them in any particular direction, merely to participate in fiction that features them and their action.
Now that's obviously not a notion that originated with PbtA but it did popularize it.

I've just found that making sure that everyone is on the same page and assuming the characters are good at the things their players have designed their characters about eliminates 99% of problems of mistaken game assumptions.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Thanks!


I’m not sure what you mean here by plausible. Do you mean the DM decides whether it’s plausible that the PC could perform the stated action or have the stated intention, or that it’s plausible that the stated action could have a chance of achieving or does actually achieve the stated intention, or something else?
The DM who has in mind all of the factors in an encounter, decides whether the PCs action sounds "plausible" in the context, so that the action automatically succeeds, automatically fails, or else the DM asks for a d20 roll if it might go either way.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
I clarified with @Charlaquin a short version of what they do:
They require that the player clearly states what their character is trying to do. In some cases you determine their actions will have no chance of failure, in other cases they will ask for a check.

My short take on this:
I require an appropriate check. People can add description but it doesn't change the target DC, the abilities and training of the PC is what matters. For persuasion and intimidation I prefer speaking in person but need to at least know what they say which can modify the target DC. Otherwise I don't care how they declare their action.

As far as I'm concerned, unless Charlaquin has a correction that's pretty much all I have to add.
Since you "require an appropriate check" for the PCs to do stuff, do you consider the DC of certain trivial actions (e.g., like ordering a drink at the tavern) so low that you leave the check uncalled for, allowing the player's stated action to succeed without a roll?
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
A lock isn’t an entity. You also don’t roll contests against them (maybe you’re unfamiliar with the 5e terminology; a contest is where you and another creature both make checks and the higher result succeeds.)
That's just phrasing. One can just as easily interpret the pick-locks roll as a contest against a passive (i.e. doesn't get to roll anything) opponent or target. Or, differently again, as a contest against one's own abilities - am I good enough for this today. Same way one can interpret a to-hit roll as a contest against the target's defenses, as enumerated by its AC.

In all these cases you're simply trying to beat a target number, with the only difference being that sometimes that target number is set on the fly by what someone else (usually an opponent) rolls in the moment.
 

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