D&D General "I make a perception check."

Out of curiosity, do you feel like the way you separate player and character "skill" regarding task resolution impacts your sense of immersion?
yes. Very much it helps with immersion. again this style did start as a reaction to bad actors (DM and Players) who no longer game with us... if we didn't find the benefits (more immersion, more variance in characters, more fun descriptions, more player engagement) there would be no reason to continue it.

Do you even want a sense of immersion?
yes very much. it is most likely the #2 reason I promote this style is to help immersion. It doesn't matter that I know how to talk the baron into it... I am immersed in the character and if the character can.
What about role play
again very much so... in fact again I found we had more variable role play more fun moments once we did this for a couple of campaigns... once a player learns that they can't accidently auto fail a scene if they say the wrong things we have found people are MUCH more likely to try new things.
Even though in-character soliloquies won't impact social encounters, does your group engage in them anyway?
it depends... on our mood and the hour of the night but yes. Again I have found it increased. before this Joe would not play a bard or warlock or sorcerer because he felt he couldn't pull off a high cha, and if he tried he 100% would want someone else to be the face... after a couple of tries he found he LOVES playing the face. Same with Ross.

Ironically the reveres for Kurt who always was the theif (later rogue) weather through multi or not. why you ask, becuse he is real good at narrating finding hidden things, and in real life can read most dms on when traps or tricks are coming... but once the character skill mattered more he could branch out and not feel he was letting us down.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
It depends, but generally I don't give advantage and disadvantage very often.

For example, if I were to give advantage or disadvantage on perception, it wouldn't be because of how they described looking, it would be becuase of the environment. If they are in a heavy fog or a rainstorm, they are going to get disadvantage.

Also, I tend to forget that a crowbar gives advantage on strength checks.

But, before people accuse me of being unfair, my players use the help action and work together 95% of the time with all skill actions that I can't force them not to use the help action on (usually just perception, Stealth, insight and knowledge skills) so the vast majority of the time, they are rolling with advantage anyways.
I’m kinda with you on this. I mean, I do try to be fairly generous with advantage, but I award it based on circumstances, not descriptions.
 




Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
could... not do. if one has one then you may need to know what one they climb I already said that but nothing in the set up had that... no traps, no poison ivy, no 'if you fall X' so with little to no consequences I would not waste time with asking for clarification... please if you want to know how my games run don't add gotchas.

if there was a diffrence, if it changed anything but the image I would have gotten more info... however I also would not set up that type of situation without forshadowing it.

and again they might be... but in the example they were not so it didn't matter.
Ok, so in YOUR version of Celebrim's scenario, none of the four walls had any traps or hazards. It was all just colorful description/red herrings.

But do you get my point, finally, about how if any one of those four hazards DID exist, the player's choice about which wall to climb up IS meaningful, and I shouldn't take it away from them? And if I do, I either remove the danger or force them into it, which is exactly the kind of "gotcha" my adjudication style is designed to prevent?


so me asking "why that wall?" to be sure I understand is taking away their autonomy and bad
you asking "how do you climb the wall and what one" to be sure YOU understand is not?
Pretty much. Because I'm not putting words in their mouth/making choices for them. 🤷‍♂️ The way you've described your play means you're giving them free info about there not being a hazard, and choosing for them which wall they go up if they just hold up the die and say "Athletics?"

Although I will decline to call your invitation to call your way of running it bad. If that's fun and functional for your table, it's definitionally not bad. I just don't think it's optimal, and would definitely be less fun for me.

it seems odd that the people who would have to ask my players LOTs of questions think it is bad if I ask 1 or 2 per month (when in YOUR game im not sure we could get through a single room description without you asking for clarification from some people I play with)
If I had to ask your players a bunch of questions, it sounds like the only reason would be because your group has practiced a play style where they largely don't have to describe what their characters actually do, and they're used to you filling that in for them with description after they roll.


but that information is only out of game. I trust my players not to take that information in game.

Heck sometimes when we break for food or drink or rest rooms (although not really now online) we used to jokeingly have 'cut scenes' that the player could see but the characters could not 100% with NPCs... sometimes main villains.
Nothing wrong with cut scenes. I sometimes use them too, in the right game. I trust my players too. But if I tell them that the all the fancy walls they just skipped past had no hazards and were just red herrings, don't you think that will impact their decision making if and when they encounter another similar situation?

yes in the very specific situation I may need more info then they volunteer. At no point did I ever say that my way 100% never needed clarification I said no where near as often as your way.
Wut. On what basis do you think you can judge "no where near as often as my way"? If my players are accustomed to describing what their characters actually do, it would seem less likely that I need to constantly ask them, no?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
but the same could be said about cutting wood or playing basketball or (not really) fixxing a car (I can't do that one never could but I will use it as an example anyway)

my parents were car peeps my mom slightly less then my dad... but my Dad was a mechanic for 40ish years. He can describe how to take apart an engine (as long as it's pre computer integration) and put it back togather but he can't physically do it any more.
Yes, so a certain degree of abstraction is necessary for actions that require specialized expertise that the players (and DM, for that matter) lack. Lock picking is a good example: I don’t know how to pick locks, and I don’t expect most of my players do either; even if any did, I’m pretty sure modern locks work rather differently than medievalesque locks would. So, I don’t expect players to describe the exact motions of trying to pick a lock in detail. But I do need to know their goal and approach. And, yes, if there’s a locked door and the rogue’s player says “I try to pick it,” I do have enough content to understand that their goal is to get the door unlocked and their approach is to pick the lock with their thieves’ tools, and so would accept that action declaration. In contrast, a big dungeon room full of stuff? I do not have enough context to understand what “I search the room” means the player’s goal or approach are.
so again... you can tell me how you look for a trap, how you hide in the shadow, how you hide in the closet, how you hide under the tab;e/bed... it's still a skill check
I disagree. A check is used to resolve uncertainty, and if you try to hide under a table, it’s really not uncertain whether or not someone will be able to see you.
 

Reynard

Legend
yes. Very much it helps with immersion. again this style did start as a reaction to bad actors (DM and Players) who no longer game with us... if we didn't find the benefits (more immersion, more variance in characters, more fun descriptions, more player engagement) there would be no reason to continue it.


yes very much. it is most likely the #2 reason I promote this style is to help immersion. It doesn't matter that I know how to talk the baron into it... I am immersed in the character and if the character can.

again very much so... in fact again I found we had more variable role play more fun moments once we did this for a couple of campaigns... once a player learns that they can't accidently auto fail a scene if they say the wrong things we have found people are MUCH more likely to try new things.

it depends... on our mood and the hour of the night but yes. Again I have found it increased. before this Joe would not play a bard or warlock or sorcerer because he felt he couldn't pull off a high cha, and if he tried he 100% would want someone else to be the face... after a couple of tries he found he LOVES playing the face. Same with Ross.

Ironically the reveres for Kurt who always was the theif (later rogue) weather through multi or not. why you ask, becuse he is real good at narrating finding hidden things, and in real life can read most dms on when traps or tricks are coming... but once the character skill mattered more he could branch out and not feel he was letting us down.
Interesting. thank you for the response.
thats funny I always describe myself as narrative focused...
With your above responses, I can see that -- but I think because your narrative and immersion comes AFTER the roll, it might be a little strange for folks to see it that way.

Anyway, I appreciate you sticking with the discussion. I feel like I learned something about a style of play I don't think I have ever actually seen at the table.
 


I’m kinda with you on this. I mean, I do try to be fairly generous with advantage, but I award it based on circumstances, not descriptions.
i find myslef getting stingier and stingier with advantage as of late... mostly since my players have a knack for getting it... I might want to go back through a roll20 log but it would not surprise me if half to two thirds of all rolls get made with either advantage or disadvantage and way more of those advantage
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
i find myslef getting stingier and stingier with advantage as of late... mostly since my players have a knack for getting it... I might want to go back through a roll20 log but it would not surprise me if half to two thirds of all rolls get made with either advantage or disadvantage and way more of those advantage

This is why my group stopped using the optional flanking rule (even though we started with it). Advantage was already easy to get, using Flanking made it near trivial - and we found it too much.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
your entire view of the game makes so little sense to me. I disagree with your thoughts in this case on what is and is not imporntant to have and or tell

and lets say that me and jim are playing and he asks for a perception check but he imagines (although I don't know why he didn't say it) that he ran his finger along the wall. I on the other hand imagine he took a deep breath looked slowly... either way he rolls gets the DC for the hidden brick and I tell him "You find a brick slightly sticking out of the wall, you think it could be removed or pushed maybe a trigger to a door maybe something hidden"

now we both imagined it very differently but we got to the same result.

who cares?
I care. Quite a lot. Roleplaying games (to me) are about interacting with a shared imagined space together. We can’t really do that effectively if we are imagining completely different things. I mean of course it’s unavoidable that we will imagine some details a little bit differently, but that’s something to be avoided as much as possible in my opinion, because the further our mental pictures of the fiction deviate from each other, the greater the risk of miscommunication and misunderstanding, and the harder it becomes to create fun, memorable stories together about that shared fiction.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The original example was a pit under the rug in the center of the room.
The declared action was to move into the center of the room, to look for traps.
The declared result was triggering the trap, because they moved to the center of the room.
I find this to be a crappy way to resolve the situation.
That would necessitate a roll to find the trap. I think it would be a very bad DM call to deny the PC a roll, since the trap is in the middle of the room where he is looking for traps.
Now, here is where in your examples I get frustrated.

- That means that you need something other than, "I look for traps." -> Why? What part of them looking for traps is unclear?
Where? The doorway? The walls? The floor? If it's everywhere, you better not complain when I have you opening drawers in the dresser and pulling the mattresses off of beds. If you're going to give me your PC to play like that, you don't have a right to complain when I play him.
- If you told me, "I got and examine the back wall of the room for traps" you would trigger the trap unless your passive perception was good enough(and most aren't) to detect the trap as you walk by. -> This is crappy and I do not like this. This means that their intent (to detect traps) was meaningless, because they declared the wrong action and it completely negates their intent with them having no possible way to know that beforehand.
No. It means I follow the rules. Passive perception is for passing by a trap without actively searching that spot. To get an active roll, you need to be engaged in a more detailed search, which means giving details. Look at the RAW for finding secret doors on page 103 of the DMG.

"Detecting a Secret Door. Use the characters' passive Wisdom (Perception) scores to determine whether anyone in the party notices a secret door without actively searching for it. Characters can also find a secret door by actively searching the location where the door is hidden and succeeding on a Wisdom (Perception) check."

It's the same for traps. You have to actively search the location where the trap is, not some generic "I look for traps." without specifying a location.
 


Celebrim

Legend
okay so explain this...

if my player says he wants to use perception. I know out of game as the DM there is something hidden and it has a DC that he could make with a perception check, and I let him roll adding no additional actions or information then just tell him what he sees... what did I take on? what 'extra power'?

Since this was indirectly in response to me, I'm going to respond to it. The answer is nothing. Not a bit. But the circumstance you describe in your response isn't remotely the circumstance that I talked about you using railroading techniques in.

For the record though, concerning the things you are talking about I'm vastly more proactive than you seem to be. If I know as the DM there is something hidden in a scene, I don't wait for a player to say "I Perception" or whatever, I just roll for the players behind the DM screen to see if they see it, and if they do I describe that they can see the hidden thing. Likewise, if I describe a mural on the wall and I know as a DM that characters with religious knowledge might understand more of what is depicted in the mural, then I don't wait for a player to go, "I Religion it", I just call for Religion checks right away. The act of looking at a room or object in the room is enough to tell me the player wants to understand it. They don't need to say any magic phrase to do that.

Which is one of several reasons something like, "I Perception it" or "I Investigate it" isn't a valid proposition at my table. The response is always going to be, "You already did." If they want more information they have to describe doing something that could have given them information they didn't have already. "I perception the room" doesn't open the chest. "I investigate the room" probably does eventually, but will always be followed with something like, "Ok, but it's a biggish rom. What do you want to investigate first?" unless investigating the room carries no consequences and I think the pace of play has gotten slow and I need to move things along a bit in which case I'll risk a handwave solely because I know OOC the player has no agency in this situation to lose.
 


Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Which hazard did you pick? Keep that in mind. Ok, when the player tells you he climbs over a wall, how do you know whether or not he encounters the hazard you picked?

He has to tell you which wall.

and again (like a broken record) in the very rare case I do have to ask (of course that requires the following to all line up... I described a detailed obstacle, the player didn't feel like giving a major description, I had pre set a trap or something, and I am not willing to hand wave past the trap that the Player showed he wasn't intrested it)
And again (like a broken record) D&D is full of hazardous situations. And the examples of the wall and the room with the assassin or trap are just examples. Do you get, finally, that I need to know where the PCs are standing to fairly adjudicate traps, and determine who might be affected, among many other things which can happen in the game?

If I present you a room, and your character stands in the doorway looking for traps, or for treasure, or for a hidden enemy you think might be in this room, there is a reasonable chance that the PC won't be able to see them from the doorway. There is a nonzero chance that they will become obvious if he moves some place in the room where he gets a clear view of the sought thing. If you refuse to tell me where in the room your character moves, I am unable to adjudicate whether a) you find the thing you're looking for without even needing a roll, b) you get another opportunity for an ability check, or c) you trip a hazard of some kind.



You can literally see in the post you quoted that I acknowledge you might have allowed the save. That doesn't actually address my point in anyway, because you wouldn't allow the check to detect the trap.
I already determined what chances there were to see the hazard (we haven't established yet in the example if it's a pit trap under the rug or an assassin totally hidden by an alcove, out of LOS) from the door. It was not successful. What does the PC do next?

Because you are saying it is "an example of a situation where a character can automatically see a previously completely hidden foe if they move into the right position." Well, if there is a "right position" then there is a "wrong position" and what happens to the PC if they move into the wrong position? Would they not get stabbed by the assassin?
We don't know yet. I haven't written up the whole encounter area, or thought through what the assassin was prepared to do, like I would have in an actual game. It is a truism that if a creature is completely out of LOS of another creature, and the second creature moves into a position where the hidden creature is now completely revealed/in LOS of the moving creature, hey, presto, you can see him now! So I need the player to tell me where his character is moving. That way I can fairly rule on whether he now has clear LOS or doesn't.

This example seemed poor to me for a few reasons.

1) You don't need to roll athletics to climb a wall. To quote the PHB "Each foot of movement costs 1 extra foot (2 extra feet in difficult terrain) when you’re climbing, swimming, or crawling. You ignore this extra cost if you have a climbing speed and use it to climb, or a swimming speed and use it to swim. At the DM’s option, climbing a slippery vertical surface or one with few handholds requires a successful Strength (Athletics) check." So, only one of those walls could even be argued to need any check to climb. The wall with ivy is trivially climbable. The other was a brick wall, so again, trivially climbable, and only the last wall was smooth, which may require a check. Of course, that also depends on if the wall is higher than 15 ft, because at that point most parties have at least one character who can jump up and grab the top of the wall, pulling themselves up without a check and lowering a rope, which would not require a check to climb. You may even be able to reach higher if you have an ally boosting you. Which, again, would probably not require any check.

2) It was never clear to me if these were all walls facing the same direction, or different directions. If they are three walls facing three directions, then the player needs to declare which way they are going, but that has nothing to do with the walls. So it seemed to me that they had three different walls, all facing the same direction, and all leading to the same place. In which case, the only reason it matters which wall is if one of them is trapped. Which just leads to you playing Three-card monte with the players. If there are hazards on one of the walls and not the others, and I'm forcing the players to guess which wall is dangerous, for no discernible reason other than to hit the players who guess wrong with a trap.
This is again needlessly interpolating a hostile attitude.

@GMforPowergamers uses Athletics checks for climbing walls. He's made that clear. He's not exactly strict on the rules in the book.

The material point in the example was simply to illustrate that IF there is a hazard present in the scene, the DM needs some explanation from the characters about what elements of the scene their characters are interacting with, so we can tell whether the PCs have to deal with the hazard or just avoid it. And if there is NO hazard in the scene, skipping past players describing actions telegraphs to them that there was no hazard.

2) It was never clear to me if these were all walls facing the same direction, or different directions. If they are three walls facing three directions, then the player needs to declare which way they are going, but that has nothing to do with the walls. So it seemed to me that they had three different walls, all facing the same direction, and all leading to the same place. In which case, the only reason it matters which wall is if one of them is trapped. Which just leads to you playing Three-card monte with the players. If there are hazards on one of the walls and not the others, and I'm forcing the players to guess which wall is dangerous, for no discernible reason other than to hit the players who guess wrong with a trap.
It's not three card monte. I'm not cheating the players. Please stop that.

D&D has traps in it. D&D is a game in which the DM has secret information about those traps, and the players need to make smart decisions to avoid them. Or we can run them the naughty word way where they just pop up willy-nilly and inflict damage/force saves without PCs getting a chance to spot them or make smart decisions based on gathered information within the scenario to avoid them.

Maybe the whole palace garden grounds have that poisonous ivy in various spots. Maybe the PCs have opportunity to interrogate a gardener and find out about the ivy. Or to read the groundskeeper's notebook in his little office/maintenance building. Maybe the PCs can use that information to just avoid the ivy-covered walls, or maybe they stumble into them. 🤷‍♂️
 
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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
For the record though, concerning the things you are talking about I'm vastly more proactive than you seem to be. If I know as the DM there is something hidden in a scene, I don't wait for a player to say "I Perception" or whatever, I just roll for the players behind the DM screen to see if they see it, and if they do I describe that they can see the hidden thing. Likewise, if I describe a mural on the wall and I know as a DM that characters with religious knowledge might understand more of what is depicted in the mural, then I don't wait for a player to go, "I Religion it", I just call for Religion checks right away. The act of looking at a room or object in the room is enough to tell me the player wants to understand it. They don't need to say any magic phrase to do that.

Which is one of several reasons something like, "I Perception it" or "I Investigate it" isn't a valid proposition at my table. The response is always going to be, "You already did." If they want more information they have to describe doing something that could have given them information they didn't have already. "I perception the room" doesn't open the chest. "I investigate the room" probably does eventually, but will always be followed with something like, "Ok, but it's a biggish rom. What do you want to investigate first?" unless investigating the room carries no consequences and I think the pace of play has gotten slow and I need to move things along a bit in which case I'll risk a handwave solely because I know OOC the player has no agency in this situation to lose.
Same. I'll sometimes either roll for them behind the screen (if it's hidden info) or potentially just call out for Int (Religion) checks to recognize the symbol as soon as the PCs see it. They don't have to ask unless I forget for some reason.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I disagree. A check is used to resolve uncertainty, and if you try to hide under a table, it’s really not uncertain whether or not someone will be able to see you.

I'm confused by this.

How is it not uncertain? Sometimes the opposition might think to look under the table (let's say there is a long tablecloth so the PC is not immediately visible) sometimes they might not.

Seems like the perfect opportunity for an opposed roll (PCs stealth vs. opponents Perception or possibly, investigation).

I certainly wouldn't have the searching NPCs immediately look under the table just because "it's obvious."
 

Late to the party here, but ultimately I think there's a lot of rather petty "PLAYERS R DUMB" sentiment here, when in fact a problem this common doesn't happen without the system being part of the issue.

People want to roll perception because they know something is up. Yeah, we can then ask them to describe what they're doing - and I know I do, but the point is, D&D has got a bit reliant on "rolling perception", which I dunno, I think should be a rarely-seen thing rather than a common thing.

Investigate is similar. Too often DMs force investigation checks when describing what they're doing should be enough to auto-find the thing. Investigate is really an unnecessary skill in a lot of ways - if it does exist though, it should mean that you can say "I'm going to investigate this room", and then the DM assigns a time, rather than demanding further description. It's not like we're demanding to know the exact mechanics of jumps with Athletics, or exactly what the character is trying to recall with a Religion check.

Not using flanking also gives characters a choice -- do they make a kind of crappy attack of their own or do they use an action to help the big stabby guy?
The problem with that is, that in the vast majority of cases in 5E, "making a kind of crappy attack of their own" is vastly superior to using the Help action as an Action (as a Bonus Action it's a different story). That's from a factual/mathematical point-of-view.

Rather people mistakenly assume that using Help makes sense when it almost never does (in terms of giving Advantage to another). You'd almost always be better off using that Action to attack, or cast a spell, or even to Disengage.
 

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