Consequences of Failure

. Personally, if a player who didn’t have the extra attack ability described making a second attack on their turn...
Y'know, a D&D melee attack has always represented multiple swings. If a 1st level fighter declares he will move up to a pair of enemies and "hit them both" it would be fair to randomly determine which one he hits if he rolls well enough.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Y'know, a D&D melee attack has always represented multiple swings. If a 1st level fighter declares he will move up to a pair of enemies and "hit them both" it would be fair to randomly determine which one he hits if he rolls well enough.
It’d be within the DM’s purview, certainly. It’s not a call I would make.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Here's a basic example of the sort of situation I have in mind: the scene is a meeting with the PC's contact about their current quest progress. You've described the scene in that context and telegraphed anything you thought was relevant. The scene goes as you expect. At the end of the scene, before the contact leaves, a player makes the following action declaration: "I want to know if the contact knows anything about [issue related to one of the PCs' other quests], but I doubt they'd tell me if they did. So I'll bring up the topic in conversation and watch their body language to see if they startle or otherwise look uncomfortable when I mention it."

The DM can't have telegraphed yet anything related to this new issue, because it wasn't part of the scene until the character brought it up. So the approach "watch their body language to see if they startle or look uncomfortable" can't be tied to something unique about the situation provided by the DM's description.

You said such a generic action declaration at your table is impermissible, so if this sort of player-initiated action is possible at your table, how would it work? Or is there some other aspect of play at your table that makes the example inapplicable?
Again, you seem to have a flawed idea of what my game looks like. Your second paragraph is very odd to me, and doesn't look like my game at all. I don't prepare specific telegraphs to guide players in my game. I, instead, make sure I show the things that indicate things, like a lying NPC having clear tells, or an odd gouge in the floor in front of that door perhaps indicating a trap. If the players don't engage this NPC or door, I don't provide a telegraph.

So, when the player engages the NPC on a topic where I know the NPC is lying or hiding something, that's where a telegraph might appear based on what's currently happening in the fiction. It's not a scripted thing where I can be suddenly caught off-guard without a prepared telegraph -- that doesn't sound like anything in my game at all. The gouge in the floor above would be because I know there's a scythe trap in the ceiling above the door, and so such a gouge makes sense. The telegraph follows the fiction, especially in social encounters.

So, to address your point, I'm not sure how this would come up in my game. If there's an NPC that the PCs think is hiding important information from them, I'll know if this is true or not. And, I'll have a sketch of the NPC at least -- mannerisms, traits, flaws, maybe a bond -- enough to extemporize any encounter with the NPC. So, to start with, if this NPC has important knowledge, I don't see how that wouldn't be expected to be addressed. If they didn't, the above is super easy -- they'd appear confused at the sudden turn and say they don't know anything. No roll would be asked for, as this is what happens.

IF they did know, well, I'm not going to be caught by surprise on this. This kind of trick is, in my opinion, excellent play and not a generic action. They PC has lulled the NPC with non-dangerous discussion and has sprung a surprise question to elicit a response. I'd need to know what the danger level of the information was, and why this NPC would try to hide it to fully adjudicate the response, but I'd likely call for a CHA check to set up the bait-and-switch ploy. A success would realize the PC's goal -- they'd confirm this NPC knows something. A failure would result in not confirming the information and would likely alter the interaction to be more hostile to the PCs (down a step on the attitude chart, maybe). Specifics depend on the situation.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I think an attack roll representing multiple swings makes sense in the context of 1 minute rounds. Within the context of 6 second rounds where you might make 3 or more such swings not so much.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
So why can't the player of a 1st level fighter declare these actions?
I can guess the thrust of this question, but it fails when you consider that 5e (and D&D in general) is a much more constrained game than others where such a declaration has merit. In other words, asking this question as a 1st level fight in 5e is demanding nonsense.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
So the telegraph language still kind of trips me up. Like when you telegraph in fiction you say what is going to happen before it happens. In boxing telegraphing your punches refers to stuff like always rolling your shoulder before you throw a hook. What you guys are describing strikes me more as a hint or a clue. Not trying to criticize the language, just that telegraphing implies something more obvious to me. I know what you mean I just usually have to take a second.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
So the telegraph language still kind of trips me up. Like when you telegraph in fiction you say what is going to happen before it happens. In boxing telegraphing your punches refers to stuff like always rolling your shoulder before you throw a hook. What you guys are describing strikes me more as a hint or a clue. Not trying to criticize the language, just that telegraphing implies something more obvious to me.
The boxing analogy is apt. You give a tell for danger. If the players miss it, it was still there -- you've done your job.

You're right about telegraphing in fiction writing -- different thing, not what's going on. Telegraphing may be bad terminology, but it's been used for awhile now in this kinds of threads. Foreshadowing is maybe okay, but I don't think it's that, either. It's a bit more than a hint or clue, although it often involves those.

Mainly, it's that thing where once a bad thing happens you look back and say, "doh, shoulda seen that coming."
 

pemerton

Legend
@Campbell, I take it that when you think of "telegraphing" in a RPG context you're thinking of something that would count as a "soft move" in PbtA play?

That sort of "telegraphing" has (I think) 3 important properties:

(1) In the fiction, it establishes a causal chain/process that hasn't yet come to fruition, but - if it does - will yield consequences the PCs don't want;

(2) At the table, it provides foreshadowing or anticipation for the players as to where the GM might take things next;

(3) For the GM, it makes it fair rather than arbtirary to establish some new rather adverse fictional state, as given (1) that is a legitimate extrapolation of the fiction and given (2) the players knew it was coming.​

A recent example in my own play: In session N, the PCs notice a NPC dropping a handkerchief from the keep where she is besieged, and then hear the hooves of a rider. Probably a call for reinforcements! The PCs don't intercept the rider or send a counter-message, and so in session N+1 the reinforcements turn up.

That sort of telegraphing is a legitimate consequence of failure. It is also a legitimate mode of scene-framing, at least in contexts where it's understood at the table that one role of the GM is to narrate fiction that will place the PCs under pressure.

It doesn't have any real connection, though, to "goal and approach" resolution as that is being discussed in this thread - at least not as far as I can tell.
 

pemerton

Legend
I can guess the thrust of this question
I'm sure you can!

Player of 1st level fighter: I jump to the top of the mountain. Typically that will fail "automatically" - ie without a check - for reasons to do with the fiction, that is, in the fiction such a task is not feasible for this character.

Player of 1st level fighter: I make an extra attack against the orc. Typically that will fail "automatically" - ie without a check - for reasons to with the rules and mechanics around action economy, class abilities, etc.

To me, that difference is indicative of very different context of and frameworks for adjudication.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
@pemerton

That's pretty much it. It almost exactly like the type of intentional telegraphing a kickboxing coach will do in a sparring session. It's saying I'm going to punch you - get ready. This can get more subtle as a student becomes more advanced. The idea is still that the student should have a good idea of what's coming so they can react to it. I view what I call telegraphing and what Apocalypse World calls a soft move in the same way. They should see it coming and know if I am pulling punches.

That last bit is the most important bit. I want to set up a social environment where I cannot meaningfully pull punches. I want if I am being easy on them for a player to be like "Hey. I can take it. Don't go easy on me"
 

pemerton

Legend
The idea is still that the student should have a good idea of what's coming so they can react to it. I view what I call telegraphing and what Apocalypse World calls a soft move in the same way. They should see it coming and know if I am pulling punches.
Thinking about this in a D&D-esque context.

So if the "telegraph" is the presence of bodies, or scorch marks, or whatever, then the "follow through" should be getting caught in the trap. The reaction might be trying to detect and disarm the trap, or Dimension Dooring to the other end of the corridor, or similar. It would make sense for there to be some cost to this (so that it's not just a puzzle-solving guessing game), either a resource cost (more common in D&D) or a "story"-type cost (less common in D&D).

In the social context, the "telegraph" might be warnings of a traitor in the ranks. The follow through would be the act of treachery. The reaction might therefore be (eg) purging the ranks, or perhaps trying to identify the traitor. Insight skill looks like it could be helpful for that second sort of reaction.
 

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