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%

jgsugden

Legend
... I don't think much of [Matt Mercer's] DMing skills.
And I think that by itself tells the folks out there a lot about the merits of your style.

Regardless, out statements above say everything that needs to be said about our positions and approaches.
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
And I think that by itself tells the folks out there a lot about the merits of your style.
My opinion of Matt Mercer's DMing skills really has nothing to do with my own approach or its merits. My approach isn't informed by anything Matt Mercer does or doesn't do. It's informed by a desire for clear communication, smooth execution, good pacing, and collaboration within clearly defined roles.
 



Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
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.
Ah okay, so plausible here is being used to mean likely to succeed or similar. Is that about right?

I have a somewhat different process whereby, if the player's declaration is deemed by table consensus to be permissible, meaning the action is supported by established fiction and doesn't defy genre expectations, then it either succeeds or is resolved with a check.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Which it can’t do if opening it is within your ability and no external factor prevents you from doing so.
Sorry, far too binary for my liking.

Even if something is within your ability today, it might not be tomorrow and might be again the next day.

People (and thus, characters which are imaginary people) aren't robots, and don't always perform to the same standard every time out. Look at any athletics or sport of any kind for an example of what I mean: you might run a given race in 25.1 seconds today, 26.3 seconds tomorrow, and 25.4 the day after; meaning if the "DC" of that race (say, a qualifying standard) is 25.5 you're gonna miss it one day out of three even though your personal best over that distance is 24.4 seconds.

This is the basis for the single-binding-roll model - it represents the best you're gonna do in this particular situation, and also means you can fail even if theoretically you (on a good day) have the ability to succeed.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
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.
Yes, I'm a bit unhappy with how they describe it.

For the most part I run it with Perception (Wisdom) for detecting creatures, or noticing things passively with the senses (the "don't be surprised" skill) and Investigation (Intelligence) being the one for actively searching things, like the walls or furniture, looking for static clues, traps, secret doors, etc.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Sorry, far too binary for my liking.

Even if something is within your ability today, it might not be tomorrow and might be again the next day.

People (and thus, characters which are imaginary people) aren't robots, and don't always perform to the same standard every time out. Look at any athletics or sport of any kind for an example of what I mean: you might run a given race in 25.1 seconds today, 26.3 seconds tomorrow, and 25.4 the day after; meaning if the "DC" of that race (say, a qualifying standard) is 25.5 you're gonna miss it one day out of three even though your personal best over that distance is 24.4 seconds.

This is the basis for the single-binding-roll model - it represents the best you're gonna do in this particular situation, and also means you can fail even if theoretically you (on a good day) have the ability to succeed.
I’ve been pretty clear about my feelings on the single-binding-roll model in the past. My point here is, if you’re using that model, then failure always has a consequence.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Ah okay, so plausible here is being used to mean likely to succeed or similar. Is that about right?

I have a somewhat different process whereby, if the player's declaration is deemed by table consensus to be permissible, meaning the action is supported by established fiction and doesn't defy genre expectations, then it either succeeds or is resolved with a check.
If the table consensus determines the plausibility / likelihood of success in a specific narrative scenario, that is great. I prefer when D&D is a collaborative process.

The thing is, if everyone at the table is adjudicating the outcome, then everyone knows what is going on, meaning there are no narrative surprises, no mysteries to solve.

To keep a sense of the unknown, we take turns DMing.

Maybe the unknown matters more for games that have more social encounters. The DM knows which NPCs have desperate needs or unusual motives, to determine the likelihood of cooperation or other responses. The rest of the table wouldnt be aware of these specific considerations.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
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:
I'm aware of what's in the DMG.

I was asking about what you do, since you said you "require an appropriate check" which seemed to be in contrast to your summary of @Charlaquin's gameplay in which “In some cases you determine their actions will have no chance of failure”. The implication seemed to have been that you never determine actions to have no chance of failure and always test them with an “appropriate” check. I had assumed that by appropriate you had meant something like “using an ability and/or proficiency that corresponds to the fiction in some way”, but perhaps the concept of appropriateness being used also extends to checks only being suitable when nontrivial actions are declared, in which case my example would be a poor one. Notice, however, that in @Charlaquin’s method, a distinction between trivial and nontrivial actions is not needed. The DM simply decides whether the declared action could fail and if that failure would have meaningful consequences. Actions that might be deemed trivial probably wouldn’t meet those criteria, so no check would be called for.

To go back to @Charlaquin's example, an action was attempted "to try to disarm this trap by wedging something (I no longer remember what, maybe it was a dagger or something) through the seam to hold the lever in place while they opened the door, which I determined would succeed without need of a roll." Presumably, this was a nontrivial action insofar as disarming the alarm system was important for the party's plan to open the door without setting off the bell and as the prospect of inserting an object through the door-gap with sufficient force and positioning as to immobilize the lever doesn't sound (to me) like something that could be relied on to succeed on the first try. Multiple attempts may have had to have been made, and yet, the mechanism having already been noticed, and the possible existence of other factors such as an absence of time pressure (so no negative repercussions for repeated attempts), the DM decided to describe the success of this (nontrivial) action.

Now, you as DM might have called for a check in this situation, having a particular DC in mind for the disarming of the door alarm, but my question is do the players in your games ever have their characters attempt a nontrivial, non-mundane action in the fiction for which you don't feel a check is an appropriate way to resolve?
 

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