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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

cmad1977

Explorer
Player says
‘I try a thing’
If that thing requires a skill check I say
‘To do that thing will require a (insert skill)check’
The player then rolls a die
‘13! Plus my skill... that’s 18!’
To which I reply
‘You have done the thing!’
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
@iserith .. I'm basically looking for a fictional justification for recalling a specific thing…Are you trying to recall strengths and weaknesses? Something about troll culture? What this particular troll's history is in the region, or perhaps its goals? What trolls generally eat? This is the player stating a goal…..
DING DING. Yes here is an example of the “Magic Words” Or 20 questions. This great for role players, and people who remember your campaign setting. But for my dice throwers/roll players this does not work. This does not work for some of my autistic players. And sure as hell does not work with my new players and very casual players.
This is not an example of "magic words." It is an example of simple, yes SIMPLE communication. If someone is incapable of even basic communication, they shouldn't be playing an RPG.

What do trolls generally eat?
Do I remember what trolls generally eat?
I think back to my tutoring on trolls and look for what trolls eat?
What are a few things trolls like to munch on?
What are a few favorite troll snacks?
I look at the cooking area to see what I can discover about troll diet.
I feed him the party wizard and see if he will eat that.
Many more ways to find out what trolls like to eat.

We are not looking for these mythical "magic words" you keep going on about. We're simply saying that some rudimentary communication about what you are trying to accomplish is required. So come up with one of the dozens and dozens of ways to communicate it. It's really easy and not at all magical.
 

Hussar

Legend
Umm, why on earth would I be asking what a troll eats?

And, why is "I got a 17 on my check, what do I recall about trolls" completely unacceptable and apparently not simple communication?
 

jasper

Rotten DM
You just gave me 8 questions the player had to ask about the dietary requirements of a troll.
Now as DM looking for a fictional justification recalling a specific thing. I need 8 questions for the strengths and weakness of a troll. I need 8 questions about troll culture. I also need 8 questions to determine the type of troll. Aka Forgotten Realms troll, ice troll, Grayhawk troll etc. etc.
SIMPLE Communication. "DM Can I roll a knowledge check to know more about trolls". That is a SIMPLE and clear question.
And I guess I am a myth because I came across over a hand full of DM's who made me play 20 questions, or change my wording until I near the specific wording they wanted.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You just gave me 8 questions the player had to ask about the dietary requirements of a troll.
Now as DM looking for a fictional justification recalling a specific thing. I need 8 questions for the strengths and weakness of a troll. I need 8 questions about troll culture. I also need 8 questions to determine the type of troll. Aka Forgotten Realms troll, ice troll, Grayhawk troll etc. etc.
SIMPLE Communication. "DM Can I roll a knowledge check to know more about trolls". That is a SIMPLE and clear question.
And I guess I am a myth because I came across over a hand full of DM's who made me play 20 questions, or change my wording until I near the specific wording they wanted.
Uh, no. I gave you 8 different ways you could say it and there are dozens more ways. You know very well that I wasn't saying that you needed to say all 8. Stop the sophistry and just admit that you're wrong on this. There are no need for "magic words." Just basic communication skills that you shouldn't be are incapable of playing the game if you don't have..
 

Hussar

Legend
Umm, @Maxperson, you realize that you have focused on a detail (what do trolls eat) that no one actually wanted to ask? This was an example of the DM forcing the player to be more specific about what the player wanted to know, rather than simply asking for general knowledge about trolls.

To put it another way, we NEVER want to ask "what do trolls eat". We want to ask, "What do I know about trolls?" Is that an acceptable question at your table?
 

jasper

Rotten DM
No my basic communication is 1."@Maxperson can I roll an knowledge check about trolls". It can be shorten to 2. "Knowledge check?" or length to 3." I want to roll knowledge check for general troll info." Which one is acceptable to you?
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Umm, why on earth would I be asking what a troll eats?

And, why is "I got a 17 on my check, what do I recall about trolls" completely unacceptable and apparently not simple communication?
While I would never require the player to ho all Wheel of Jeopardy or ask specifically "what a troll eats" specifically, I can see reasons they might ask.

In lore, and in my gsames, sometimes the best way to get by is to "feed the troll" and so if you know they like horse flesh, carrying along a pony or two extra let's you cut them loose to draw off the troll for an easy lunch and evade them. Some with hippogriffs and griffons - or so it is believed.

But, really, in my games, that would be more like "common belief" and "common sense solutions" most folks involved in such areas would know. It's actually wouldn't be a knowledge check as much as it's a willpower save to resist snacking the annoying hawkers warning you of trolls as you leave town as they try to sell you their broke down nags for inflated prices.

But again, if the party is discussing "distract the troll" and someone asks "what do I know about trolls" that question at that moment gives mtpe a lot of context to answer- leading with things that would apply there to that topic - hates fire, loves horses, fond of x terrain, etc.
 

Hussar

Legend
@5eky, yeah, that's pretty much how I would handle it. I'd say that "What do I know about trolls" is a perfectly acceptable thing to ask the DM. Frankly, I'd take it a step further. "Int Check 17, what do I know about trolls?" would be fine at my table. And I would trust the DM to give information that would be relevant to the context of whatever it is we are doing on a successful check.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
@5eky, yeah, that's pretty much how I would handle it. I'd say that "What do I know about trolls" is a perfectly acceptable thing to ask the DM. Frankly, I'd take it a step further. "Int Check 17, what do I know about trolls?" would be fine at my table. And I would trust the DM to give information that would be relevant to the context of whatever it is we are doing on a successful check.
Yeah my gang doesnt need to wait gor me to tell them to roll either.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Umm, @Maxperson, you realize that you have focused on a detail (what do trolls eat) that no one actually wanted to ask? This was an example of the DM forcing the player to be more specific about what the player wanted to know, rather than simply asking for general knowledge about trolls.

To put it another way, we NEVER want to ask "what do trolls eat". We want to ask, "What do I know about trolls?" Is that an acceptable question at your table?
Umm, the detail doesn't matter. The idea behind it does.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
@5eky, yeah, that's pretty much how I would handle it. I'd say that "What do I know about trolls" is a perfectly acceptable thing to ask the DM. Frankly, I'd take it a step further. "Int Check 17, what do I know about trolls?" would be fine at my table. And I would trust the DM to give information that would be relevant to the context of whatever it is we are doing on a successful check.
It may be acceptable, but it's not nearly the best way to ask. If you asked me, "What do I know about trolls?", I'd give you a roll, but since I give monster details on a sliding DC scale, 15 = 1 detail, 20 = 2, etc., you're going to end up with details I give you and might not get the one you are looking for. Better to ask more specifically.
 

Hussar

Legend
It may be acceptable, but it's not nearly the best way to ask. If you asked me, "What do I know about trolls?", I'd give you a roll, but since I give monster details on a sliding DC scale, 15 = 1 detail, 20 = 2, etc., you're going to end up with details I give you and might not get the one you are looking for. Better to ask more specifically.
There's two problems here.

1. Are those the actual DC's you'd use in a 5e game? Because, if they are, they are very high. A DC 20 check is on the bleeding edge of what an expert could answer with any sort of regularity. IOW, a DC 20 should basically result in the DM handing the player the Monster Manual, or something very close to it.

2. Do you normally not actually take context into account? Telling me a bunch of trivia that has nothing to do with what we're doing right now isn't helping anyone.

Are there actually DM's this oblivious or is this just some sort of Message Board myth? I mean, good grief, we see a troll and the player asks, "What do I know about trolls" and you're going to give them useless information on a successful check? Really? On a failed check, sure, "You don't really know anything, sorry" is perfectly fine. But, on a success?
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
It may be acceptable, but it's not nearly the best way to ask. If you asked me, "What do I know about trolls?", I'd give you a roll, but since I give monster details on a sliding DC scale, 15 = 1 detail, 20 = 2, etc., you're going to end up with details I give you and might not get the one you are looking for. Better to ask more specifically.
My 5e DC are set by fairly standard levels that are consistent and known to the players- the context of the scene helps me figure out where to start.

I mean it's not like they are sitting at lunch or in mid-fight with ghouls and I get some odd or inexplicable question about trolls with no in-game lead up.

Of course, I tend to end with some form of "anything else?" and they know if they want to zoom in for more detail.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
There's two problems here.

1. Are those the actual DC's you'd use in a 5e game? Because, if they are, they are very high. A DC 20 check is on the bleeding edge of what an expert could answer with any sort of regularity. IOW, a DC 20 should basically result in the DM handing the player the Monster Manual, or something very close to it.

2. Do you normally not actually take context into account? Telling me a bunch of trivia that has nothing to do with what we're doing right now isn't helping anyone.

Are there actually DM's this oblivious or is this just some sort of Message Board myth? I mean, good grief, we see a troll and the player asks, "What do I know about trolls" and you're going to give them useless information on a successful check? Really? On a failed check, sure, "You don't really know anything, sorry" is perfectly fine. But, on a success?
Sorry but here we disagree.

In 5e a failed ability check can be some progress with setback and I make great use of that for knowledge checks. So, any failure would not result in me giving them "know nothing" about anything as common as z troll, but most likely several bits, some true, some not. For someone proficient, the wrong bit and some of the right bits would be noted as "unconfirmed but thought to be true..."

Also, frankly, on most any knowledge check, I do throw a stray odd bit that is rather disconnected to the scene in - as a humor bit to keep a lighter zip going. If I am good, it will tie-in with some humor theme running through the session. Like, say, " oddly, some have observed troll do not like chickens - sometimes killing entire farmstead but leaving the chickens. Some believe chickens might help ward off troll attacks, citing that story." if a "tastes like chicken" joke string had been trending that evening.
 

the_redbeard

Explorer
I don't run D&D or play D&D to manipulate rules. I run RPGs and play RPGs to engage with a fictional world. That's the fun for me. It's why I play D&D with people instead of just playing a computer game. Computer games are great for testing character build choices and their impact on random number generators. Humans are better at responding with imagination.

To me the ideal RPG experience would be one in which the players don't need to engage with the rules at all. They would only engage with the fictional world through their imagined characters.

As a DM, I'm looking for how the PC engages with the fictional world I've built and described. Even though I run games fairly low on the heroic scale, PCs still are really capable adventurers. I don't want the game to be hung up on rule minutia. So often a PC's choice of action (I look at X, I move the lever, I tell the orcs that I will X if they don't Y) can be adjudicated WITHOUT a die roll. So why slow the game down with referencing the rules? The rules are only needed by me as a DM when I don't know for certain that the PC's action will succeed.

So when a PC wants to immediately go to a skill check, they're slowing the game down, ruining both their and my chance at fun, and providing themselves with a chance for failure when they could have had none.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
There's two problems here.

1. Are those the actual DC's you'd use in a 5e game? Because, if they are, they are very high. A DC 20 check is on the bleeding edge of what an expert could answer with any sort of regularity. IOW, a DC 20 should basically result in the DM handing the player the Monster Manual, or something very close to it.
15 is only a medium check man. It's right in the book. 20 is hard. PCs aren't walking monster encyclopedias. I'm not giving them the book for merely a hard check. If they want to know everything, they need to have expertise and roll well. Otherwise, they're only going to know a bit about what they fight, and I'll determine what they find out randomly if they haven't given me any guidance on what they are trying to accomplish.

2. Do you normally not actually take context into account? Telling me a bunch of trivia that has nothing to do with what we're doing right now isn't helping anyone.
True, which is why I don't do that. I'd be giving you details about the monster right in front of you that you asked about. It's not my fault if all your PC can remember or knows about it doesn't help you kill it.

Just because the detail doesn't immediately help you, doesn't mean that the information is out of context or has nothing to do with what you are doing.

Are there actually DM's this oblivious or is this just some sort of Message Board myth?
Not that I've found. You just blow things out of proportion or misstate things like you just did.

I mean, good grief, we see a troll and the player asks, "What do I know about trolls" and you're going to give them useless information on a successful check?
It is 100% in line with and in context with what you asked. You asked, "What do I know about trolls?" and I answered you with what your PC knows. You are not entitled to only information that helps you kill a troll. With that question, the context is only, "What do I know?", not "Do I know what weaknesses a troll might have?"

Really? On a failed check, sure, "You don't really know anything, sorry" is perfectly fine. But, on a success?
I didn't say you didn't know anything on the success. You did know something. It just didn't turn out to be helpful to your situation. You are not entitled to only information that will help you kill something.
 

Hussar

Legend
15 is only a medium check man. It's right in the book. 20 is hard. PCs aren't walking monster encyclopedias. I'm not giving them the book for merely a hard check. If they want to know everything, they need to have expertise and roll well. Otherwise, they're only going to know a bit about what they fight, and I'll determine what they find out randomly if they haven't given me any guidance on what they are trying to accomplish.
A hard check is exactly that. Something only a skilled person with considerable experience would likely be able to do with any degree of competence, and even then, will likely fail more often than not. An expert in a subject might have a +11 on their check. This is information that even experts in the subject don't know a lot of the time.

So, yeah, a DC 20 knowledge check should probably net you the monster manual entry.

I didn't say you didn't know anything on the success. You did know something. It just didn't turn out to be helpful to your situation. You are not entitled to only information that will help you kill something.
Oh, yeah, that's inspiring confidence in my DM all the way. "Sure, you succeeded. Here's a bunch of true but useless information. Just hit it with your sword next time or cast a spell if you actually want to know anything useful".

No thanks.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
A hard check is exactly that. Something only a skilled person with considerable experience would likely be able to do with any degree of competence, and even then, will likely fail more often than not. An expert in a subject might have a +11 on their check. This is information that even experts in the subject don't know a lot of the time.
As it should be. Even an expert isn't going to know everything about every monster off the top of his head. Not even close. Even a professor would need books and research to come up with that kind of information.

So, yeah, a DC 20 knowledge check should probably net you the monster manual entry.
So yeah, no.

Oh, yeah, that's inspiring confidence in my DM all the way. "Sure, you succeeded. Here's a bunch of true but useless information. Just hit it with your sword next time or cast a spell if you actually want to know anything useful".
Dude, I've seen you post for years. Nothing will ever give you confidence in your DM.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Dude, I've seen you post for years. Nothing will ever give you confidence in your DM.

The thread was warned to keep things respectful. Maxperson, here, apparently couldn't do that.

The new boards have a nice threadban feature - he won't be back in this conversation.

Anyone else who can't resist the temptation, I advise you to walk away now.
 

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