D&D 5E How do you rule on NPC-to-PC social interactions?

Please check all that you agree with (you can agree with more than one)

  • An NPC can appear to a PC as someone they are not, with a CHA (Deception) check

    Votes: 35 63.6%
  • An NPC can appear to a PC as someone they are not, with a CHA (Performance) check

    Votes: 27 49.1%
  • An NPC can give a PC misinformation, with a CHA (Deception) check

    Votes: 36 65.5%
  • An NPC can avoid giving a PC any clue that information is false, with a CHA (Deception) check

    Votes: 37 67.3%
  • An NPC can pry information from a PC, with a CHA (Intimidation) check

    Votes: 6 10.9%
  • An NPC can know if a PC is sincere in a promise, with a WIS (Insight) check

    Votes: 38 69.1%
  • An NPC can leave a PC in no doubt of their ability to harm that PC, with a CHA (Intimidation) check

    Votes: 22 40.0%
  • An NPC can distract a PC so that something goes unnoticed, with a CHA (Deception) check

    Votes: 35 63.6%
  • An NPC can distract a PC so that something goes unnoticed, with a CHA (Performance) check

    Votes: 30 54.5%
  • An NPC can leave a PC in no doubt about their fine performance, with a CHA (Performance) check

    Votes: 34 61.8%
  • An NPC can leave a PC in no doubt about their fine art, with a CHA (Painter's supplies) check

    Votes: 31 56.4%
  • An NPC can leave a PC in no doubt about their fine art, with an INT (Painter's supplies) check

    Votes: 29 52.7%
  • None of the above could happen in my D&D games

    Votes: 7 12.7%
  • In the past, none of the above could happen in my D&D games, but that might change

    Votes: 1 1.8%
  • Other (I will explain in thread)

    Votes: 10 18.2%

Voadam

Legend
This still doesn't address my core concern from earlier then: how to you propose you avoid punishing players who are not naturally charismatic? Why should an autistic or socially anxious player be effectively barred from playing a charisma character when we don't require the fighter to actually learn to sword fight or force the wizard to perform calculus every time they want to prepare a spell? Why should a DM's entire group suffer in every roleplaying/investigation encounter simply because their DM isn't a professional voice actor or an author in breadth of vocabulary? Or why should that same DM effectively be barred from having any deceptive villains simply because their poker face doesn't match that of a trained master spy?

Or the opposite on the player side of things: why should the minmaxing player get the benefits of all their characters having an 18 charisma simply because the player themselves is a born liar/manipulator even if they've loudly declared at the table that "charisma is worthless and their dump stat"?

I'm not talking in hyperbole here. I want you to answer these questions because frankly your posts seem to indicate a frankly outrageous expectation for most players in terms of mental stats and it borders dangerously on ableism.
This seems to be purely a playstyle preference.

You can resolve swordfights in a roleplaying game by having the players fight with swords, it is what happens in some live action roleplaying games and swordfighting with player skill using foam weapons is part of the fun of that experience. LARP games can use mechanics such as the rock paper scissors to resolve combats to resolve things quickly, non-physically and focus the gameplay on other areas.

Social interactions can be roleplayed first person with improv acting.
Social interactions can be roleplayed out second person narratively.
Social interactions can be roleplayed out abstractly using mechanics.

D&D supports using any or a mix of these choices depending on preference or situation.

For some engaging the players directly for socially interacting or thinking through issues is the fun part of the game, for others it is using mechanics to be treated as something they are not.

Neither end of the spectrum is right or wrong, good or bad. They are just different experiences focusing on different aspects that can be fun for different people to varying degrees.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
I suggest that depends on whether you take 5th edition to be a simulation. For me, it is enough that Insight reads:

In the world of 5th edition, you can determine the true intentions of a creature from body language, speech habits and changes in mannerisms. Perhaps we really should imagine that every creature in the game-world has some measure of telepathy. A DM is encouraged to change anything - rules included - that doesn't deliver on how they picture their game-world.
Nah. I already have to cut out all the other superhero elements from 5E. I see no point in adding one more myself.
 

This seems to be purely a playstyle preference.

You can resolve swordfights in a roleplaying game by having the players fight with swords, it is what happens in some live action roleplaying games and swordfighting with player skill using foam weapons is part of the fun of that experience. LARP games can use mechanics such as the rock paper scissors to resolve combats to resolve things quickly, non-physically and focus the gameplay on other areas.

Social interactions can be roleplayed first person with improv acting.
Social interactions can be roleplayed out second person narratively.
Social interactions can be roleplayed out abstractly using mechanics.

D&D supports using any or a mix of these choices depending on preference or situation.

For some engaging the players directly for socially interacting or thinking through issues is the fun part of the game, for others it is using mechanics to be treated as something they are not.

Neither end of the spectrum is right or wrong, good or bad. They are just different experiences focusing on different aspects that can be fun for different people to varying degrees.
I'm well aware of the existence of larps and groups akin to Dagorhir and the like and I have been to several myself. What those groups also do is NOT tend to even have stats for characters because the assumption is that one physical and mental abilities are determined by the player. They are also largely ableist in nature (albeit some are more accommodating than others) and tend to be upfront with that at least with their players with their expectations, resulting in both a smaller niche group of players and players who are less mentally/physically able opting to play other less demanding games.

I'm also well aware of the long history of d&d having older players and editions with roleplaying a puzzles and whatnot being more tests of the players than characters. But just because a precedent exists does not make it good. I would argue that much of the old guard ways are bad play. Adversarial DM vs player mindsets are bad for the game. Hinging plot points on the puzzle solving skills of the players without reflecting their character's statblocks is bad design. Punishing players roleplaying for having mental illnesses is bad design and if the "rules" do this then the rules are dumb and need to be changed.

This isn't even just my stance on it, even Wizards of the Coast themselves have literally been spending all of 5th ed trying to make D&D as broadly appealing and as inclusive as possible. It's why we've seen inclusions of transgendered NPCs, why items like the combat wheelchair and a push for less evil forced evil races exist. It isn't just about token representation, WoTC is actively wanting the made the game as broadly appealing and inclusive as possible. Sure the cynical side is that it is mainly for a large profit, but that doesn't diminish the point that making the game more inclusive for neurodivergant is a good thing. And if by changing a single rule can make my table more inclusive why the hell wouldn't I do it?
 


Voadam

Legend
I'm well aware of the existence of larps and groups akin to Dagorhir and the like and I have been to several myself. What those groups also do is NOT tend to even have stats for characters because the assumption is that one physical and mental abilities are determined by the player.
This varies. I remember NERO had hp and damage from weapons that varied by character mechanics and levels which had impacts on fights along with player abilities.
I'm also well aware of the long history of d&d having older players and editions with roleplaying a puzzles and whatnot being more tests of the players than characters. But just because a precedent exists does not make it good.
Sure.
I would argue that much of the old guard ways are bad play.
And I would disagree. :)

Old guard ways covers a hugely varied array of modes of play.
Hinging plot points on the puzzle solving skills of the players without reflecting their character's statblocks is bad design.
I don't feel the "without reflecting statblocks" is the bad part there. Stopping plot points because somebody does not have a certain stat block or because they roll badly is bad design.

Puzzling things out, exploring, and investigating are great plot elements for adventures and campaigns. Whether you go with players puzzling things themselves or mechanics to get there is a playstyle choice that can vary. Generally it is better to not make pass/fail chokepoints but to have the game continue on with consequences depending on how things turn out.

Punishing players roleplaying for having mental illnesses is bad design and if the "rules" do this then the rules are dumb and need to be changed.
Punishing players roleplaying for having mental illnesses would be a weird way to characterize non-mechanical roleplay.

And if by changing a single rule can make my table more inclusive why the hell wouldn't I do it?
I encourage you to change the rules in the game you run to make the game more fun for you and the people you are playing with.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Social interactions can be roleplayed first person with improv acting.
Social interactions can be roleplayed out second person narratively.
Social interactions can be roleplayed out abstractly using mechanics.

D&D supports using any or a mix of these choices depending on preference or situation.

For some engaging the players directly for socially interacting or thinking through issues is the fun part of the game, for others it is using mechanics to be treated as something they are not.

Neither end of the spectrum is right or wrong, good or bad. They are just different experiences focusing on different aspects that can be fun for different people to varying degrees.
yeah there is a 100+ page thread about it... no one agrees
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
My take is that Intimidation and Persuasion must be seen in one light, given their parallel wording, and Performance and Deception in another, again down to their parallel wording.
I agree. With intimidation and persuasion, the DM might call for a check. To find out when he might or might not call for one, we have to look at other rules like the one on page 185 of the PHB. Since the player decides what his PC thinks, and intimidation and persuasion deal with what a character thinks, the player decides and situations involving NPCs using those skills on PCs are not ones where the DM might call for a check.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I guess I see the play loop as not being quite as formal a structure as some seem to.
It wasn't always formal, but it's how the game has been played since inception. From the get go the DM has described the environment, the players have responded with what they want to do, and the DM has adjudicated and narrated the results.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I agree. With intimidation and persuasion, the DM might call for a check. To find out when he might or might not call for one, we have to look at other rules like the one on page 185 of the PHB. Since the player decides what his PC thinks, and intimidation and persuasion deal with what a character thinks, the player decides and situations involving NPCs using those skills on PCs are not ones where the DM might call for a check.
I included that as one of the interpretations people sometimes make. I think it's wrong, as you know :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It wasn't always formal, but it's how the game has been played since inception. From the get go the DM has described the environment, the players have responded with what they want to do, and the DM has adjudicated and narrated the results.
It's a bit fuzzier than that, however, in that the DM narrating the results bleeds right into (or is) the DM describing the environment as changed by whatever the PCs just did or tried to do, which closes the loop.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It's a bit fuzzier than that, however, in that the DM narrating the results bleeds right into (or is) the DM describing the environment as changed by whatever the PCs just did or tried to do, which closes the loop.
It's a loop! So his narration bleeds into the next environmental description, which then proceeds to player declarations and then adjudication/narration again, and over and over....................because loop. ;)
 

MGibster

Legend
I ran an Acquisitions, Inc. campaign where a Beholder named Mr. Thrakozog disguised himself as a mild mannered human by wearing a trench coat, a fedora, and a fake mustache and hired the group to recover some artifacts for him. Most of the NPCs saw right through his disguise but played along because, well, when a Beholder wants to pretend to to be a human you just play along. The monk was the only PC who failed to see through the disguise and I would just describe Mr. Thrakazog as a rather rotund man who stared at others with a great amount of intensity. Granted, this was a rather silly campaign.
 

Voadam

Legend
I ran an Acquisitions, Inc. campaign where a Beholder named Mr. Thrakozog disguised himself as a mild mannered human by wearing a trench coat, a fedora, and a fake mustache and hired the group to recover some artifacts for him. Most of the NPCs saw right through his disguise but played along because, well, when a Beholder wants to pretend to to be a human you just play along. The monk was the only PC who failed to see through the disguise and I would just describe Mr. Thrakazog as a rather rotund man who stared at others with a great amount of intensity. Granted, this was a rather silly campaign.
Did he have a paladin nemesis in blue armor?

The Tick: "I've had enough chasing; it's your turn now, forest-smog!"
Thrakazog: "Thrakazog! Thrakazog! With a 'K'! Boy, are you ever rude."
The Tick: "No brains today; we're only serving humble-pie, Whatchamazog!"
Thrakazog: "Listen buddy, for the last time it's..."
The Tick: "Four ax in a bog?"
Thrakazog: "Thrakkorzog!"
The Tick: "Ah, laxitive-log!"
Thrakazog: "No no no!"
The Tick: "Lap lands a zog?"
Thrakazog: "No!"
The Tick: "Two laplanders and a dog?"
Thrakazog: "Thrak!"
The Tick: "Sapsuckafrog!"
Thrakazog: "No no no!"
The Tick: "...Susan?"
Thrakazog: "Oh, now you're doing it on purpose; how juvenile!"
 


Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
The designers are more definite on Deception and Performance. Go ahead and do this, they say. Frank assertion: this is what your check does.

On Intimidation and Persuation, they hedge. You might do this, they say. There's an implication that there are many circumstances where you will decide not to.

That view is buttressed by comments by the designers about these rules elsewhere, such as Sage Advice.
There is no "go ahead and do this" in the descriptions of Deception or Performance, just a statement of what such a check determines. Now if you were pointing to Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Investigation (sort of), or Animal Handling (also sort of but only in the case of attempting to control a mount through a risky maneuver) you might be on to something.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
There is no "go ahead and do this" in the descriptions of Deception or Performance, just a statement of what such a check determines. Now if you were pointing to Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Investigation (sort of), or Animal Handling (also sort of but only in the case of attempting to control a mount through a risky maneuver) you might be on to something.
Can I take it you would concede that the skill texts contain some different words. And that as to the first line, thinking of the words only Deception and Performance are similar, and Intimidation and Persuasion are similar?

To your reading any dissimilarity between those pairs is empty of meaning, but the wordings of some other skills do hint more of what I phrased as, go ahead and use them. Right?
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
Can I take it you would concede that the skill texts contain some different words. And that as to the first line, thinking of the words only Deception and Performance are similar, and Intimidation and Persuasion are similar?
Yes, I think I have agreed that this is true.

To your reading any dissimilarity between those pairs is empty of meaning, but the wordings of some other skills do hint more of what I phrased as, go ahead and use them. Right?
Yes, specifically Sleight of Hand and Stealth as I stated in my previous post.
 

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