How do you handle a skill check if needed.

How do you as GM handle as skill check if it is needed.

  • They just declare they rolling a skill check

    Votes: 8 30.8%
  • They must give a reason why they are rolling a skill check

    Votes: 14 53.8%
  • They must use the "magic words" for me to allow a skill check

    Votes: 3 11.5%
  • If they use the "Magic words", I give a bonus

    Votes: 1 3.8%
  • No skill checks allowed at all.

    Votes: 4 15.4%

  • Total voters
    26

jasper

Rotten DM
Ok, how to you gm handle skill checks.
"Magic words" is a catch all for what ever reason, flavor, or line of bs given to you by the player.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Ignoring the poll. I simply require that the players engage with the fiction. What is their character doing and what are they hoping the action will accomplish? Based on that I may ask for an ability check if the outcome is uncertain and there's meaningful consequence to failure.

Simple enough.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Typically a player describes what their character is doing. I may call for an ability check or not. If I do I'll inform the player of the ability check, and the DC, and which proficiencies can apply. I may assign advantage, disadvantage or neither. If the player had a certain proficiency in mind that I did not mention specifically, they can tell me and I will tell them if it applies to the roll or not. If a player in their description can tie what they are doing to to their background, or something that happened previously in the game, they might get advantage kind of like a specific Inspiration die they can use on this roll.

Sometime they ask for a check. Sometimes I ask for clarification on what their character is doing to better understand and set the DC, assign advantage, apply skill proficiency etc. Sometimes I don't.

I don't know how that maps on to the options in the poll which I found confusing.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
Agreed with the others - 5e rules are very clear that the players describe their actions and the DM adjudicates the results, calling for an appropriate ability check only when the requested action has a meaningful chance of failure.

Saying "I look around" instead of "I roll Perception" isn't difficult and I encourage my players to do so, but I don't shut them down if they step out of character like that.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Agreed with the others - 5e rules are very clear that the players describe their actions and the DM adjudicates the results, calling for an appropriate ability check only when the requested action has a meaningful chance of failure.

Saying "I look around" instead of "I roll Perception" isn't difficult and I encourage my players to do so, but I don't shut them down if they step out of character like that.
Since everyone thinks that ... why not reply to the survey?

As far as "isn't more difficult" it's also not any more difficult to understand to understand that some players don't want to use magic phrases.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
My usual line on this topic, which is taken from the rules:

The DM calls for an ability check when the player describes what he or she wants the character to do as something that has an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence for failure. If the task isn't trivially easy or impossible, some kind of roll is appropriate. What a DM considers trivially easy, impossible, or uncertain will vary from DM to DM and fictional situation to fictional situation.

The player does not get to decide if there is an ability check and may not ask for one (nor, arguably, should a player want to roll a fickle d20 anyway), though the player may ask if a skill proficiency applies to an ability check the DM has already called for. Some DMs like me just call for the ability check and then the player adds the appropriate skill proficiency as the group operates on the assumption that the player is playing in good faith and will apply the proficiency that matches the description of what he or she wanted to do.

The use of "magic words" in the poll also means I will not answer the poll. That is loaded language that has a bad history of use in discussions on these forums in my view. I'm happy to discuss this topic, but that sort of thing is not helpful as I see it.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
Since everyone thinks that ... why not reply to the survey?
In short, because there isn't an option that fits with how I run the game, but if you want specifics:
  • Because "magic words" is a loaded term.
  • Because I don't give a bonus if players use "magic words."
  • Because I don't require "magic words" to make a skill check.
  • Because there are no skill checks in 5e, only ability checks with or without proficiency applied.
As far as "isn't more difficult" it's also not any more difficult to understand to understand that some players don't want to use magic phrases.
Isn't that what I said? I don't require "magic words," but I encourage my players to state their actions in terms of the fiction because it is not only more interesting to listen to, but it also makes adjudicating actions easier if there is a question about whether a check is even required and, if so, which one might be called for.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Sometimes I call for a check, sometimes the players call for a check. If the player calls for a check and it's not clear I ask for clarification.
Yeah, pretty much this.
It's some combo of 1&2.

Though when players search I require more description than just "I search, I rolled #". As sometimes it actually matters what/how they do it.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
In short, because there isn't an option that fits with how I run the game, but if you want specifics:
  • Because "magic words" is a loaded term.
  • Because I don't give a bonus if players use "magic words."
  • Because I don't require "magic words" to make a skill check.
  • Because there are no skill checks in 5e, only ability checks with or without proficiency applied.

Isn't that what I said? I don't require "magic words," but I encourage my players to state their actions in terms of the fiction because it is not only more interesting to listen to, but it also makes adjudicating actions easier if there is a question about whether a check is even required and, if so, which one might be called for.
Then what would be the appropriate question that doesn't require a paragraph and other biases? Why is "skill check" verboten? I didn't write the poll, I don't find "magic words" offensive but if you do what would be the proper phrase?

Whether or not you believe there is no cake ... err skill check.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Yall can start another poll with out the "loaded" words. Skill check is an valid term. Looking at my pc sheet I have 'Acrobatics, animal handling, arcana, athletics, deception, history, insight, intimidation, investigation, medicine, nature, perception, performance, persuasion, religion, sleight of hand, stealth, Survival, and tool for thieves tools. Page 77 to page 78 breaks the skills down by what ability score modifies the check.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
When a skill check is called for by the player or the GM rolls are made vs DCs with the usual trio of success, fail, some success with setback. If necessary, clarifications may be asked for or made.

In my games, players are always the active do the player is rolling vs a DC.

In my games, the d20 roll itself is worked into the narrative in ways to show situations and confidence (or lack) in outcomes.

I would have to say that its likely I use more "some success with setback" than "fails" for ability checks that dont reach the DC. Its likely close to even but may be more setbacks.

I do tend to use the DMG option for auto-success at DC 10 or lower if you are proficient and dont have disadvantage.

And finally, if a task takes more than an instant, I usually resolve it not as a single check but as a race-to-three (successes or failures) with consequences and options. This is either a house rules or a stretch but it works well in practice.

If it matters, my DC are set mostly using the DMG advice.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Then what would be the appropriate question that doesn't require a paragraph and other biases? Why is "skill check" verboten? I didn't write the poll, I don't find "magic words" offensive but if you do what would be the proper phrase?

Whether or not you believe there is no cake ... err skill check.
Perhaps "key words" is less offensive.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
Then what would be the appropriate question that doesn't require a paragraph and other biases? Why is "skill check" verboten? I didn't write the poll, I don't find "magic words" offensive but if you do what would be the proper phrase?

Whether or not you believe there is no cake ... err skill check.
I don't find it particularly offensive, but where is the option "Players must state what they are trying to accomplish and how they are trying to accomplish it (either in character or in game terms, doesn't matter), after which they may suggest a specific skill (ability) check / proficiency might apply "?

Unless I'm misunderstanding the listed options, I don't see it up there.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
I went with option #2.

To clarify however a DM in 5E I operate on the basis that I'm asking for an ability check based on what the player describes their character doing. "Brom jumps over the pit" is going to be a Strength check, possibly with Athletics or Acrobatics proficiency applied.

"Ludwig chats up the barman hoping to get some info about the Baron" a Charisma check with Persuasion proficiency.

"Nodwock carries a barrel up the stairs" is trivial, unless its particularly large barrel, so no check is required.

"Frudu Buggims hides behind... uh nothing!" is impossible so no check is made, or required.
 

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