The bare minimum is still an awful lot. What was rolled to hit, hp damage, damage type, what saves they need to make, the effects of failing those saves.
Let's not confuse everything. What was rolled to hit is not necessary (I know the AC ballpark, see it more precisely if I need to), the damage type is just part of the description, so it's just the damage.
As for asking a save, of course I need to describe the effect and tell the kind of save and the result, just as above. But it's certainly not detailed.
Other than that the only thing I can think of is the name of the ability. So, you give out quite a bit of technical information, but expect the players to ask almost no technical questions... because you are worried about the flow of the scene? Combat flow is very choppy in general,so I don't see the concern.
It's not choppy at all if you do it simply with nice description, although it's also due to our "no talking during someone else's turn" rules.
Okay, descriptions are great, but do you know how often those descriptions are instead confusing? And if the player just asks for more and more descriptions, isn't it just faster to tell them in the mechanical terms? I mean, at some point your objection is more about how they ask the question than the fact that they are asking.
Our players don't find them confusing, what can I say ? The fire giant slams his flaming hammer at you, you take 19 damage plus 10 fire. It's already a not so simple case, how confusing is that ?
Why not? It's happened to us quite often.
What can I say, maybe we pay more attention to combat, maybe we are better at memorising things, who knows ? And we have run all levels, so it's not a question of complexity.
"Should be clear" does not mean "is clear". You are putting a lot of this on the assumption that the DMs description provides everything the player actually needs to know, and that the player understands that. And if it isn't clear, then questions are going to be asked.
And then, after a few years playing together (and some of us have been playing together for 35+ years, and the whole of 5e) maybe it's always clear. And maybe, because no-one interrupts and nitpicks, it also easier to provide simple and clear descriptions. The end result, it works really well for us.
And just have a look at Critical Role, it's simple and descriptive, almost nothing technical and everyone is having fun. I can't do the voices as well as Matt, but I can run a combat just as smoothly.
Well, my group for one. Yeah, If I made a mistake on the technical level that affects actual change in the game, like reducing hp, that is more than important enough to clarify. That difference could end up changing the story, and I want my game to be run fairly. That includes letting them catch mistakes and making sure that everything is running smoothly
Technically fairly is not our objective in the game. Our objective is fun and story.
Again, my point wasn't that the player should be accusatory, just that it was very noticeable that you immediately specified that the player must be polite for the DM to even consider giving an answer. Especially given that the OP and myself and most others have taken no position that anyone is accusing anyone of anything. You are adding this fact in, and I find that puzzling. Of course people should be polite to each other, that should go without saying, but you are starting to draw the battle lines. Implying a player who isn't polite is trying to make the DM feel guilty. It could also be possible that they are exhausted after a 12 hour shift, had a bad day getting chewed out by middle-managers, and are working on a short temper because of it. I'm not going to demand people are polite to me and ascribe motives to them if they aren't. I don't see how that makes the game better either.
And if all these things are true about the DM, why needle him about technicalities when he is just trying to help you tell a good story ?
So yes, it never happens at our games that players are not polite to the DM, but if anyone were to be impolite to me, I would just show him the door.
1) If it slows down the game to say "it's basically hunter's mark, we can talk more later" then your game moves way faster than mine.
Does the player have any right to know it's a hunter's mark ? In general no, it's just an accurate shot. So why waste time ? Moreover, it really depends on the roll, so some attacks with hunter's mark are going to be puny anyway,
Combats can stretch for an hour or more, and not every second is spent in the weeds.
Not ours. In 5e, except when it's a huge battle combat is usually well under one hour, sometimes just a few minutes using Theater of the Mind, and it's certainly not in the weeds. It's the excitement, and the fear, and the triumph that matters.
Sometimes it is me as the DM doing math to subtract hp, and I've got time to answer questions while I do that. Or while I'm moving figures on the board.
Good for you and if your players like it. Just pointing out that it's not the only way to play, you can play really well using completely different ways of thinking.
2) Who says it is of no interest to other players? Maybe it does interest them. We can't know that.
Even if it might interest them, their characters have even less reason to know the information. Why provide it to them ? And at our tables, people are not interested in anything delaying someone else's turn, they'd rather that it swings back to them. Even if you delay 10 seconds on each player, it's still a full minute wasted for every player until their turn comes again.
3) How does it foster any competitive ambiance to seek understanding clarity? Me and my friends use this technical language all the time. We aren't competitive in the game, nor do our stories suffer. Maybe it would be like that at your table, but as a general rule, I don't think we can say this is true.
Trying to leverage technical information that the character does not know about to play tactically better is trying to get an edge on the system, so it's by default competitive.
I don't need the rules to tell me that breaking the rules when I don't intend to is a mistake. It is sort of like grammar, if you are breaking the rules on purpose that is very different than breaking them unintentionally. I'm not saying never change the rules, what I am saying is that if you didn't change the rules and the players ask what is going on, that might be a sign you made a mistake and did something you didn't intend to do.
And again, if someone is telling a great story and is making grammar mistakes telling it to me, I will not stop his story to point out the mistakes. Not only is that extremely rude, but it's also silly as it's much better to enjoy the story.
Also, stories with no challenges can be quite boring. Not all of them, but DnD isn't set up well to tell slice of life stories, so challenge is an expected part of the experience.
D&D is perfectly set up to tell slice of life stories, you know. Not everything has to be on the knife's edge. Just read books of watch movies of the genre, this is what we are trying to emulate while playing.
Why is cheating even in the discussion? Nobody was really discussing cheating, until you came in and started talking about it.
Do we absolutely have to speak only about the subject of the thread ? I came in and mentioned trust. Obviously, when there is lack of trust, someone thinks about the reasons for it. But fine, if you don't want to discuss cheating, let's leave it out of the equation, it does not matter that much.
And what counts as a minor mistake? 10% of the player's hp is fairly significant to my eyes, not something minor.
You are the one putting arbitrary values here, but what I count as minor is anything that does not break suspension of disbelief in the player, and that threshold is completely dependend on the player.
You are wrong. You are correct in that the DM should not be playing to beat the players, but they absolutely can cheat. And if you need to "decide" that the "rules" are that your boss monster has resistance to all attacks, immunity to that condition, and regenerated half their spell like abilities... you cheated.
Once more, no. Please explain what, in the rules, prevent the DM to decide that monster does just this ? Not only is there absolutely nothing in the rules about this, but on the contrary the rulebooks themselves tell you exactly what I told you, the DM does what he wants, decides which if official rulings are in play or not, and can do whatever he wants.
There are ways to set up a power-up or a desperate last play, but those are different than straight up cheating.
Once more, nothing forces the DM to decide anything in advance, whether it's deciding the rules, the abilities of a monster, what triggers things, etc.
Obviously, if a DM abuses this, and presents an inconsistent world that is not fun, the players will leave quickly. But, compared to what you stated above, I've had quite a number of cases where monsters were completely invulnerable because the players had ignored many clues about their invulnerability, and actually had to flee because there was no victory to be had that day.
And when they learnt about it, they did exactly like all heroes do in the books/movies of the genre, said "what idiots we have been" and set up to correct their mistakes.
And when I create a custom monster that does not play by the rules, I don't apologise or explain things in advance, I just let my players discover it and react, just like what happens in books/movies.
Remember, the rules are just approximations of the way the world behaves in standard cases. But in some cases, the world is stronger than the rules, and the story matters more than rules. Just because the DM does not play by these approximations does not mean that he is cheating. He can't cheat, he literally makes the rules.