5E How do you handle this? - DM edition

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
A couple of quick question how various DMs handle a few mechanical situations. If there is a definitive rule that I've just missed, please point it out in the book. But I think these are more open to interpretation.

1. Based on the description of what a player is doing, both a tool proficiency and a skill proficiency are integral in what they describe they are doing, and both applicable. Do you pick one, have them clarify whihc is primary, add both/grant advantage to one, do something else? Especially when the bonuses are not the same like only one proficient, or cases like expertise/magic tools/etc.

2. One character examines something, gets a poor roll, calls over another who wants to roll, and then they call over more if the rolls continue to be bad. Since they are being done one at a time it's not the case of one character helping another. So effectively everyone gets a separate roll which is almost like penta-advantage for a 5 person party.

3. A character makes truthful statements in ways that are deceiving. Like "you can have all the gold I'm carrying if you let them go" when they have little on them. They see it as persuasion because the character is truthful they will gladly give you all they have, but since the player intent is to get off cheap, it's like they are attempting to deceive to imply they have more.

Feel free to add your own "how do you handle it" questions as well.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
  1. I use the Xanathar's rules on tool/skill interactions. Usually, it's advantage.
  2. I shrug at this one. It depends on if there is a reason not to let them. Usually, I'll allow it.
  3. Deception check. They are being deceptive because the character also knows they don't have much money and the implication of that statement is to deceive someone into something.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I hope this isn't too forward, but I'd like to summon @iserith because while we run different styles, he's shown that's he's put a lot of thought and practice into these type of issues.
Sure, happy to take a look!

1. Based on the description of what a player is doing, both a tool proficiency and a skill proficiency are integral in what they describe they are doing, and both applicable. Do you pick one, have them clarify whihc is primary, add both/grant advantage to one, do something else? Especially when the bonuses are not the same like only one proficient, or cases like expertise/magic tools/etc.
How I call for ability checks sidesteps this issue and lets the player decide which skill proficiency applies to the ability check I call for. I just call for one of the six ability checks, then they add whatever bonus they think applies based on their description. We work under the assumption that they are doing so in good faith and we've never been shown to be wrong.

2. One character examines something, gets a poor roll, calls over another who wants to roll, and then they call over more if the rolls continue to be bad. Since they are being done one at a time it's not the case of one character helping another. So effectively everyone gets a separate roll which is almost like penta-advantage for a 5 person party.
In order for there to be a check, there would have to be a meaningful consequence for failure. Reasonable people can disagree on what constitutes "meaningful" and only the context of playing the game will really tell. But in this example, the players don't seem to think there is a consequence for failing this action (since it's no bigs to just pile on), so maybe there shouldn't have been a roll to begin with - they just succeed or fail outright. If there is a consequence and they're willing to keep incurring it, then fair enough, that's on them.

3. A character makes truthful statements in ways that are deceiving. Like "you can have all the gold I'm carrying if you let them go" when they have little on them. They see it as persuasion because the character is truthful they will gladly give you all they have, but since the player intent is to get off cheap, it's like they are attempting to deceive to imply they have more.
Same answer as #1 above.
 

Galandris

Adventurer
2. One character examines something, gets a poor roll, calls over another who wants to roll, and then they call over more if the rolls continue to be bad. Since they are being done one at a time it's not the case of one character helping another. So effectively everyone gets a separate roll which is almost like penta-advantage for a 5 person party.
If the PCs have all the time they want, they are bound to succeed. There is no longer a "take 20" explicit rules in 5e, but the DMG makes it clear that if there is no penalty for failure, retrying is perfectly OK, the only difference being the time for the task to be completed. So basically, there is no problem : if they want to thoroughly search an area and devote a lot of time to it, they'll find everything there is to find. But can they spend an hour looking into every room? That's the consequence for failing : not finding the answer before <something happen>.
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
I mostly agree with Salthorae.

1. See XGE 78. Pick the higher value, give advantage if both apply. Tool proficiencies do not get a lot of use, this helps.
2. It only feels silly if it's something like an Arcana or Religion check, etc. that a player has built their character around, in which case I try to keep it in the relevant player's wheelhouse by requiring proficiency to attempt it (assuming anyone has proficiency). For most of the other checks, why not? Everyone can try to lift a rock sequentially, or look at a thing sequentially.
3. Personally I'd allow it. Telling a misleading truth is a clever approach and one that is used (for good or ill) to profound effect in actual courts of law.
 

cmad1977

Adventurer
1: Maybe just call it an auto success. If the player chose those things to be really good at a specific thing I see no reason to gate successes behind anything lower than a 15.

2: I try to only ask for a roll when something’s on the line. I also usually answer ‘no’ to the ‘can I roll too?’ Question.

3:I think I’d use deception by default but I wouldn’t be against anything the player thought appropriate. The difference between the two scores is unlikely to be that great.
 
1. Highly situationally dependent.

2. I've posted about the topic of pile-on checks quite a bit, most recently over here: design theory about stakes, actual play example, and some follow-up explanation.

3. Deception. Skills are not magical lie-detectors like zone of truth. The PC's linguistic cunning would be invaluable to fool a zone of truth, but the intent in telling is to mislead. However, I'm not convinced your example would even necessitate a check. In the case of a NPC/monster of average Intelligence (10), I'd have them immediately followup with "Yeah? And how much gold are we talking here? Exactly?" Whereas a low Intelligence NPC/monster (7 or less) I'd probably just have them agree to the deal – no roll necessary – if it suited the NPC/monster's personality.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
A couple of quick question how various DMs handle a few mechanical situations. If there is a definitive rule that I've just missed, please point it out in the book. But I think these are more open to interpretation.

1. Based on the description of what a player is doing, both a tool proficiency and a skill proficiency are integral in what they describe they are doing, and both applicable. Do you pick one, have them clarify whihc is primary, add both/grant advantage to one, do something else? Especially when the bonuses are not the same like only one proficient, or cases like expertise/magic tools/etc.

2. One character examines something, gets a poor roll, calls over another who wants to roll, and then they call over more if the rolls continue to be bad. Since they are being done one at a time it's not the case of one character helping another. So effectively everyone gets a separate roll which is almost like penta-advantage for a 5 person party.

3. A character makes truthful statements in ways that are deceiving. Like "you can have all the gold I'm carrying if you let them go" when they have little on them. They see it as persuasion because the character is truthful they will gladly give you all they have, but since the player intent is to get off cheap, it's like they are attempting to deceive to imply they have more.

Feel free to add your own "how do you handle it" questions as well.
1 I let them use the highest bonus unless there is a compelling reason not to.

2 A failure on an ability check can produce some result of progress eith setback. I frequently have the setback include complications that make latter checks more difficult or impossible. So perhaps the investigation finds dome of the clue/reward but destroys the rest in the process. Some progress eith setback tends to rein in the pile-on rolls.

3 Its the intent not the facts that insight will pick up on. So, if they are using truth in misleading ways, they need a deception check to appear honest. However, to convince someone to do something that requires a persuasion check. So, we are dealing with deception to conceal the intent and then persuasion to persuade the target. They are likely against different DCs. ..
 

Hussar

Legend
/snip
In order for there to be a check, there would have to be a meaningful consequence for failure. Reasonable people can disagree on what constitutes "meaningful" and only the context of playing the game will really tell. But in this example, the players don't seem to think there is a consequence for failing this action (since it's no bigs to just pile on), so maybe there shouldn't have been a roll to begin with - they just succeed or fail outright. If there is a consequence and they're willing to keep incurring it, then fair enough, that's on them.
/snip
Just because I so rarely get to do this, I agree 100% with Iserith here. We might disagree on some points, but, here is one where I am in complete agreement. There's no consequences, just get on with it. I recently was playing in a game where the DM insisted we keep rolling and it just made me completely check out of the scene immediately. I knew there were no consequences to what I was doing and we had all the time in the world to do it and I knew that my character was actually capable of doing it. Don't bother rolling.
 
1. XGE

2. It depends.

Sometimes I will let everyone try. For example, detecting an ambush by rolling perception.

Other times I tell them up front that the check cannot be retried. They need to choose one person to lead with advantage, and the rest can be considered to be assisting. I usually use this approach for obscure but non-critical knowledge checks. I'll generally allow a second person to try unaided if the first person wasn't helped (usually because I forgot to announce that this check was one and done) since it's more or less identical to rolling with advantage.

Finally, sometimes I use group checks, where everyone can roll but at least half need to succeed. This would typically be for something like the party stealthing across a courtyard.

3. I'd have the player roll Deception. Tricking someone with a truthful yet misleading statement is nonetheless deceptive.

That said, I don't love the D&D social skills in general. I feel that there must be a better implementation than Persuasion, Deception, and Intimidation. Those are really just different approaches to achieving similar outcomes. Persuasion is persuasion. Deception is persuasion by lying. Intimidation is persuasion using violence. That said, I can't say I've come up with anything better, and this is fairly tangential to the topic in any case.
 
1. Based on the description of what a player is doing, both a tool proficiency and a skill proficiency are integral in what they describe they are doing, and both applicable. Do you pick one, have them clarify whihc is primary, add both/grant advantage to one, do something else? Especially when the bonuses are not the same like only one proficient, or cases like expertise/magic tools/etc.
I'd suggest using the XGtE expanded tool use section. The simple concept is that they gain advantage on the skill check, but you can also grant an additional small bonus effect due to their specialization if appropriate.

2. One character examines something, gets a poor roll, calls over another who wants to roll, and then they call over more if the rolls continue to be bad. Since they are being done one at a time it's not the case of one character helping another. So effectively everyone gets a separate roll which is almost like penta-advantage for a 5 person party.
This is primarily a player issue IMO. My group generally accepts a failed roll as their character believing they were successful (unless there's an obvious effect, such as with athletics).

In this particular case, I would suggest allowing the 2nd character coming over to work together, allowing a single roll by either character without advantage (as it counts as the advantage roll for working together). Anyone else coming over to help results in the exact same result since the check has already been made. Of course, I'm a HUGE stickler against rechecks, where a roll represents your characters best effort as a particular task (bad rolls mean you're just not able to figure it out).

3. A character makes truthful statements in ways that are deceiving. Like "you can have all the gold I'm carrying if you let them go" when they have little on them. They see it as persuasion because the character is truthful they will gladly give you all they have, but since the player intent is to get off cheap, it's like they are attempting to deceive to imply they have more.
I'll be honest, I HATE the deception skill. There is very little logical reason why someone would be better at lying that at telling the truth, and everyone who sucks at lying usually also sucks at being persuasive. These really should have been a single skill IMO, and it creates crap like this.

In general, I usually ask the player for their intent (if it isn't obvious) at the point where a roll is required. If the intent matches the RP, I'll allow them to use the skill related to intent. If it doesn't, which happens a lot with deception, then I force them to use the skill relative to the RP. This is true for persuasion, deception, and intimidation.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
1. Based on the description of what a player is doing, both a tool proficiency and a skill proficiency are integral in what they describe they are doing, and both applicable. Do you pick one, have them clarify whihc is primary, add both/grant advantage to one, do something else? Especially when the bonuses are not the same like only one proficient, or cases like expertise/magic tools/etc.
I just call for an ability check. It’s up to the player if they think one of their skill or tool proficiencies apply (and it doesn’t matter what ability that proficiency is “normally” associated with).

2. One character examines something, gets a poor roll, calls over another who wants to roll, and then they call over more if the rolls continue to be bad. Since they are being done one at a time it's not the case of one character helping another. So effectively everyone gets a separate roll which is almost like penta-advantage for a 5 person party.
I would not have called for a roll if there wasn’t a cost for trying and/or consequence for failing. As long as the player is willing to pay the cost or risk the consequence, they can try as many times as they want. Doesn’t even have to be different characters, though if the party wants to distribute the risk by having each character try in turn, they are more than welcome to.

3. A character makes truthful statements in ways that are deceiving. Like "you can have all the gold I'm carrying if you let them go" when they have little on them. They see it as persuasion because the character is truthful they will gladly give you all they have, but since the player intent is to get off cheap, it's like they are attempting to deceive to imply they have more.
Again, up to the player what Proficiency they think is applicable, if any.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
1. Eh, I'm not that keen on piling on the advantage just because you have a skill and a tool proficiency. As far as I'm concerned, either works to give the PC access to apply their proficiency bonus. I see them more as a broadener rather than an intensifier.

2. Sounds an awful lot like they're really collaborating and that's a help. Have the PC with the highest modifier who wants in on it roll with advantage.

3. I'd go with deception and oppose it with an Insight check by the NPC. Nobody who says that the other person can have all the gold on them - without showing any or being specific - ever has a lot of gold on them. It's a con and should be treated as one.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
A couple of quick question how various DMs handle a few mechanical situations. If there is a definitive rule that I've just missed, please point it out in the book. But I think these are more open to interpretation.

1. Based on the description of what a player is doing, both a tool proficiency and a skill proficiency are integral in what they describe they are doing, and both applicable. Do you pick one, have them clarify whihc is primary, add both/grant advantage to one, do something else? Especially when the bonuses are not the same like only one proficient, or cases like expertise/magic tools/etc.

2. One character examines something, gets a poor roll, calls over another who wants to roll, and then they call over more if the rolls continue to be bad. Since they are being done one at a time it's not the case of one character helping another. So effectively everyone gets a separate roll which is almost like penta-advantage for a 5 person party.

3. A character makes truthful statements in ways that are deceiving. Like "you can have all the gold I'm carrying if you let them go" when they have little on them. They see it as persuasion because the character is truthful they will gladly give you all they have, but since the player intent is to get off cheap, it's like they are attempting to deceive to imply they have more.

Feel free to add your own "how do you handle it" questions as well.
1. I tell the player to use the higher of them, I mean what special situation can that be? Is it like player attempts to brew a poison and he can either use his nature skill or alchemists kit skill, something like that?

2. Depends. If it requires expertise of some sort e.g. disarming a trap then if the rogue does not make it another character cannot roll at all. Same for an arcana check to read something, if the wizard fails, the fighter is not empowered to try an unskilled attempt. A lift a gate roll, hm if another agrees to help the group s strong man after the strongman botchjed a roll then another check with advantage is in order. If the weakling wants to try it alone instead he is not allowed.

3. No question back how much gold that is? Then a deal is a deal but may leave grudgy feelings.
If you want to be a mean DM, the opposite side lets them go as agreed, but not without cutting their ears off first :p
 
In case 3 I'd require both deception and persuasion rolls. Deception to conceal that the deal offered isn't as good as it appears, and persuasion to convince the NPC to accept the deal. Half truths and misleading statements are also deceptions, not just lies.

Depending on the NPC, the persuasion roll might not be necessary if he's inclined to accept any reasonable deal that's offered.
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
A couple of quick question how various DMs handle a few mechanical situations. If there is a definitive rule that I've just missed, please point it out in the book. But I think these are more open to interpretation.

1. Based on the description of what a player is doing, both a tool proficiency and a skill proficiency are integral in what they describe they are doing, and both applicable. Do you pick one, have them clarify whihc is primary, add both/grant advantage to one, do something else? Especially when the bonuses are not the same like only one proficient, or cases like expertise/magic tools/etc.

2. One character examines something, gets a poor roll, calls over another who wants to roll, and then they call over more if the rolls continue to be bad. Since they are being done one at a time it's not the case of one character helping another. So effectively everyone gets a separate roll which is almost like penta-advantage for a 5 person party.

3. A character makes truthful statements in ways that are deceiving. Like "you can have all the gold I'm carrying if you let them go" when they have little on them. They see it as persuasion because the character is truthful they will gladly give you all they have, but since the player intent is to get off cheap, it's like they are attempting to deceive to imply they have more.

Feel free to add your own "how do you handle it" questions as well.
1. Make the player justify the case for the higher bonus.

2. When a PC gets a bad roll, I tell they they are 'highly confident' that there are no traps, etc. A highly confident PC will not ask for it to be checked. PCs do not know they've made a bad roll, and woe to the player who tries to metagame this sort of BS.

3. Evil, not stupid. NPCs/monsters have IQs and Wisdoms.
 
When people start to dogpile a skill check, I also turn it into a group check. My cut-off is pretty much once we get past two PCs making a check. Some failed checks, though, might making successive checks harder or impossible. The lock might completely jam, or the wooden ladder will break. It depends on what's at stake and how bad the failure is.

2. group check
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
There is very little logical reason why someone would be better at lying that at telling the truth, and everyone who sucks at lying usually also sucks at being persuasive.
Interesting position.

To me, it's not about skill at lying vs. truth. It's telling a convincing lie or targetted omission of the truth to get what you want vs. using the right arguments/rhetoric/appeals to the heart to convince someone to get your way.

I've known quite a few people who suck at lying but are very persuasive, so that part falls flat to me.

To me, the skill check is Deception here because the player and character know that they are using a true statement in a deceptive manner. Can they sell the deception? Did the character control their body language, their eyes, their poker face, etc.
 

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