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%

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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
One can be all three at once, and IMO it probably works best when one is. You've gotta be adversarial in order to make the challenges dangerous enough to matter, you've gotta be neutral when it comes to rulings and resolutions, and you've gotta cheer for them when they do something worth cheering for.
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.
I assume the characters are as good at what they're good at as people in real life are good at what they're good at, which is generally good enough but still capable of fairly regularly making mistakes or encountering bad luck.

I never assume the characters are perfect when in the field.
 

log in or register to remove this ad



SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
I assume the characters are as good at what they're good at as people in real life are good at what they're good at, which is generally good enough but still capable of fairly regularly making mistakes or encountering bad luck.

I never assume the characters are perfect when in the field.
I do think we're pretty much in agreement here. I don't assume that they can just do everything, I tend to think they know about the subjects they are skilled with, and translate the player "I do a thing" into "I do a thing that makes sense in the situation but maybe SteveC hasn't communicated properly."

If I have a genuine "I don't know what you're attempting here..." I just ask. Almost all the time it's just because the player and I saw the situation in a different way.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I do think we're pretty much in agreement here. I don't assume that they can just do everything, I tend to think they know about the subjects they are skilled with, and translate the player "I do a thing" into "I do a thing that makes sense in the situation but maybe SteveC hasn't communicated properly."
OK.

I'm talking more about not being as generous with auto-success as some here seem to be; and that includes knowledge, especially memory. I mean, in theory I know a bit about Excel (just a bit, barely enough to be dangerous :) ) but in practice I still have to look up how to do pretty simple stuff if I haven't done it for a few weeks or months.

And so for example when the characters are three weeks into an adventure and are trying to remember specifics from the info dump they got before leaving town, success ain't gonna be automatic unless someone took detailed notes at the time (reflected by a player doing so at the table).

Same for physical abilities. Sure, by the look of it you might be able to climb that wall nine times out of ten but you're still gonna roll to see if today is that tenth time, and if you blow it then you're not getting up there. The characters aren't automatons, and what might be easy one day could be difficult or even beyond them the next; just like real life.
If I have a genuine "I don't know what you're attempting here..." I just ask. Almost all the time it's just because the player and I saw the situation in a different way.
Yes, that's different. Also if-when it becomes clear the player is parsing my description differently than what I or the module have in mind, I'll clarify as best I can.
 

Pedantic

Legend
I prefer the game lay out clearly the limits of what a given player can achieve (ideally through a very clear take 10/take 20 system, which is a pretty solid way to model any task that you could do better with a few attempts or more time expenditure), instead of a more generalized "succeed if there's no penalty for failure" situation. Risk management can be interesting, but rolling dice isn't inherently.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
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.
Except that the lock doesn’t have a goal it’s trying to achieve, and will achieve if you fail to beat it in the contest.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Almost 90% agreement? on an ENWorld poll? about D&D?!?!?
Turns out, the extreme negative reaction to the idea of “describe what you want to do and how, and I’ll tell you if I need you to make a check” around here is coming from a very small, very vocal minority. I wonder how many other of the standard hot-button issues around here are the same way. Not that I think anyone should set up a poll about evil orcs or whatever.
 

Oofta

Legend
If they are actively focusing on listening to the conversation and not specifically parsing out an element of the scents given off by the pie around them that sounds like 5e RAW suggests a possible check roll for the active perception and possible passive check for adjudicating the smell.

So to be clear, not an easy smell to identify, which would be DC 10 or a very easy DC 5 per the DMG page 238 chart, but moderately hard to identify DC 15. So a decent chance many D&D PCs would not identify it. If the almond smell from the pie right next to them was easy to smell, a character with a 10 wisdom and untrained in perception would notice passively.

Even with a roll the PC with a passive perception of 14 and so a +4 wisdom perception bonus will not smell the moderately difficult to detect almond smell from the warm pie right next to them 50% of the time.

I am copacetic with passive perception and intuition being quick at the table resolution and a decent baseline for things the PC is not actively doing while if they make a specific action to focus on an event they can be better than that baseline with PCs rolling dice to determine the action they have actively engaged with.

However since noticing the pie smell is automatic, the DM mentions the warm pie and it is up to the player to think of trying to determine whether there is an almond smell from the pie they now know about with a melange of minor flavor smells that did not draw their attention by itself. If they are thinking about cyanide and not easy to smell scent of almonds they might think to focus on the smell of the pie to see if there is a faint odor of almonds. Otherwise, they did not notice the moderately difficult to smell almond scent and the game goes on.

I see no indication that what you're stating is RAW. In addition it would piss me off as a player if I was told that I had a chance to uncover the use of cyanide in pies if only I had specifically stated that I wanted to also base my perception on smell. I think having to state something like that is overly restrictive. 🤷‍♂️

Of course, if it works for you and your group, have at it. Just stating my preference.
 

Oofta

Legend
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?

That's covered in the DMG. You don't ask for a check for ordering a drink or to walk across the floor. Of course you don't normally ask for a check for mundane tasks. Unless it's my Halloween episode in which case I'm using a wide variety of things to make my players paranoid. :devilish:
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top