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

Only that the former conveys the information diagetically, which keeps the gameplay rooted in terms of the fiction. I don’t know about you, but I find it easier to imagine the fictional space as if it were a real place and make decisions about what my character would do within it when it’s consistently described in terms of what my character perceives, instead of addressed to me directly in “meta-game” terms.

This is a very interesting observation which leads me to this: There seems to be an odd correlation at times between those who decry "meta-gaming" as "cheating" yet being ok with invoking skills on a character sheet - a very "meta-gamey" concept indeed - to direct gameplay.
 

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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I'm not asking you to force feed me ideas. I'm pointing out what I saw as good examples and what I saw as problematic examples. I can assume anything I want about the level of detail you give. Maybe you tell them they find five partially assembled traps, but the racks could hold nine crossbows, so they know they are looking at a maximum of four traps. I don't know, you didn't specify, and just assuming you will perfectly execute an idea with zero flaws seems like a poor point to begin a discussion from.

See? With a little effort you, too, can do this.

Sorry, but after wracking up some impressive word count being caustic and condescending toward somebody trying to explain it to you, I'm not sure I buy this "No, really, I'm just looking for more information" angle.

Have fun.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
This is a very interesting observation which leads me to this: There seems to be an odd correlation at times between those who decry "meta-gaming" as "cheating" yet being ok with invoking skills on a character sheet - a very "meta-gamey" concept indeed - to direct gameplay.

I think one defense for that is that if you actually solve a puzzle it's your brain doing the work, not your character's. Rolling the dice is how you get yourself out of the equation.

At least, that's how I've understood it.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I’m not claiming everyone does it. However, anyone can do it. You are refusing to acknowledge it as an option because it being an option makes your argument weaker.

Fine, my argument is weaker because I made a single example that cannot cover every single possibility in the game. Next time I'll be more specific and account for every single possible build.

Bully you? Seriously? That’s what you think is going on here? My friend, I’m just rebutting your arguments.

No, you aren't. Because the argument is "I shouldn't assume more than necessary for the example" and "I shouldn't change the example after establishing it" and your "rebuttal" is, "you should include feats because it is possible to assume feats might apply". That isn't a rebuttal, because there is nothing in it to challenge either of the two arguments.

If you instead think that your rebuttal is to the example itself, I already acknowledged that adding feats would make it easier for the Fighter and the Bard. But the example didn't include feats and I wasn't going to change it to start adding in the possibility of every feat in the game needing to be accounted for (because it would need to be every feat, not just the perception feats, because what if they took Chef instead?)

I mean, we could.

Switching gears mid-conversation isn't something I'm good at.

It’s certainly worthless if you ignore all the things players might need to spend it on. Do your players ever have to pay lifestyle expenses? Do you track light sources, rations, ammunition, expensive spellcasting components? Can they buy magical items? This is one of those things, like choosing travel tasks, that a lot of DMs ignore because they don’t see the immediate utility of, and then complain that there’s no use for money, or that the game has no exploration mechanics. These things are part of an interconnected system, and I have found that when you actually utilize all parts of the system, they work together harmoniously to create fun, challenging gameplay that generates emergent stories.

If they can afford to, probably; it’s a pretty efficient strategy.

You are off-base with the argument. No, I don't use lifestyle expenses, or track basically any equipment. I don't have people buying magical items either. But none of that is the point, it is just a consequence of the choices we've made to begin with.

The point of money is to buy things. Even in the real-world, money itself is pretty worthless. No one wants a million dollars if the only thing you can do is set it on a table and watch it mold over the decades. Every post-apocalypse story starts off the same way, by acknowledging that money is worthless, it is just a medium of exchange. And, as such, very very few people make characters who have money as a goal. They may need money to achieve a goal, but money itself is never the goal.

And most of the people who sit at my tables, they rarely realize that I almost never give out coin or gems as treasure. Because they don't care about it, especially after they've gotten the mundane equipment they want. They have other goals, other concerns, and none of them involve money. They are here for a heroic story of their characters accomplishing their goals, they don't really care if the chest has 2,000 gold in it, because they don't care about the gold. It is useful, but it isn't worthwhile. And sure, I could force it to be necessary, I could force them to need to spend 10's of gold to simply exist in the gameworld and keep playing, make them desperate to have enough coin to buy the supplies they need... but everyone is very tired of the corporate rat race as it is, we don't want that in our game.

So, we get things through barter and trade, we find things that they need or want, and money just slowly slides from our consciousness until someone remembers we are playing DnD and supposed to care about money and asks for some, and I toss a few hundred extra gold or some treasure to hawk in the next section of the adventure. Or they find a task that requires them to have money, and that money becomes a good way to track progress on that task.

I mean, yeah, if the help they hire is faceless merc #3, that wouldn’t make for a very good story. Part of the DM’s job is to make NPC hirelings more than faceless mercs.

Sure, but I'm only human. Get enough NPCs floating around, and becomes really hard to put any level of care into all of them. And these aren't people anyone cared about before they put out the wanted ad, they literally just want eyes and combat ability, and the rest is window dressing.

I'd much rather have NPCs join the group organically than because the rules demanded it.

Unsurprisingly, when the search consists of saying “I search” and rolling a die to see if you found anything. That was also my experience, until I tried DMing a different way. And you know what I’ve found more and more often since then? When the search itself is engaging, people are excited by it too.

Maybe, but I've played in games where we end up searching like that, and it never once felt more interesting than doing chores. Not saying it isn't possible that you can make it interesting and exciting, but after a decade it is still the case that people are most engaged with figuring out what to do after they have the thing, than trying to tear apart the room to find it in the first place.

If the players can’t perceive the monsters through the secret door, how on earth are the monsters supposed to perceive the players through it?

By being in a well-designed secret room. Small sounds are far harder to hear through stone and wood, but a peephole is still incredibly useful for things like seeing what's in the other side of the wall.

If that’s where you think 90% of traps are going to be found, then it should be pretty easy for you to come up with a reasonably specific description of how you search for them.

I thought I had made myself pretty clear that I want to avoid making any assumptions at all about the players’ actions.

Yes, such as assuming I don't look at the ground when looking for traps. Because I didn't specify and thus I should have said. Which is only one step removed from having to say "I grab my weapon and armor when I leave the inn", so the DM doesn't declare a week down the road that I left my gear behind because they "didn't want to assume"

And I know that sounds hyperbolic, but in one of my first full campaigns ever? We were playing Darksun and were given a task by the Sorcerer-King to investigate something in the deep desert. We were part of his government, more or less, level 13 or so, and we immediately agreed and said we headed out. DM said that after about a week of travel our water and rations ran out, we asked why, because we clearly would have brought enough for the mission. He informed us that we said we "left immediately" which meant we had not purchased any supplies for the journey, only the stuff we'd had on us. We pointed out that would have been suicide and we would never have done that. He shrugged, but did relent and allowed my character to use the ritual for create food and water (this was 4e by the way) with just money and no supplies, to make sure we didn't die from dehydration as we hurried back to the city.

He then had the Sorcerer-King pissed at our incompetence because we had done what he had said and "left immediately" to our near deaths, because it turns out growing up on Athas and being high-level adventurers wasn't enough to assume that we would buy supplies to actually survive a trip into the desert. He probably thought not assuming was the proper thing to do, but to me? It just showed that we couldn't ever make any assumptions ourselves. Had to state everything in the clearest terms possible, or we'd go for a month long desert trek with 7 days worth of water.

Looking for traps was your goal. Giving it as your approach too is redundant. “I look for traps by looking for traps.” That doesn’t convey any information about how you are looking for traps. “I look for traps by slowly walking forward looking at the floor” does convey information about how you’re looking for traps.

All of that is infinitely more interesting to me than “I check for traps” clatter. Now, I get it. If you don’t have enough information to make meaningful decisions, you end up going through laundry lists of pointless SOPs just trying to eliminate any conceivable danger, and yes, that gets boring. That’s why a key part of doing this style well is giving good information, both directly in your description of the environment, and indirectly through good level design. If this style done poorly is a pixel-hunting point-and-click adventure game, then this style done well is Portal.

All the information it conveys is that my character isn't an idiot. Since I suspect traps, I don't go running forward, I move slowly. This is just... beyond basic. And I'm looking at the floor, because again, where else would I look? "I don't want to assume" isn't a real stance, because all you end up doing is assuming the character in question is too stupid to do something in a logical way.

Now maybe you are right that to do this well requires a degree of information that is just impossible to put into a forum post. However, if you can at least acknowlege that with little information we end up pixel-hunting and magic-wording, then you can understand that when we have little information to go on... that's what we assume the players have as well. You can say "well, I'd do it better in person" but that doesn't mean anything. Everyone says that. No one thinks their style isn't working as best it can. We picture ideals when we imagine ourselves doing something.

But it does matter to me, because comparing the goal to the approach is an essential part of my action resolution process. I figure out whether or not to call for a roll by imagining the action and asking myself if it could result in bringing about the goal, if it could fail to do so, and if there would be a meaningful consequence for it failing to do so. I need both pieces of information to do that process.

Because none of that is relevant to the question of if the approach can succeed in the goal. At least not usually. I mean, I suppose if the goal is like… to woo the Dwarven ambassador with a song or something, maybe then the song being from Dwarven culture might be relevant. That’s why I need to know both the goal and the approach.

Let us say that you compare the goal to the approach, and you come to the realization that is has no possible chance for success. We are in the moments before you ask the player anything, and I want to pause. Do you imagine the player purposefully chose an approach with no possible chance for success? Or do you imagine the player proposed their approach because they thought it gave them the best possible chance for success? Ignoring for a moment those players who chose to fail because it is funny or in character.

Obviously they think it will succeed. Now, I may ask for clarification because I need more information to narrate. Or I may be really curious how they think "that" could work. But the hardest thing? The hardest thing is realizing that I am working with "perfect information" and they aren't. Trying to picture what they are, with the lack of information I have, is very difficult. But when I can, then it suddenly becomes much clearer what they were thinking when they proposed that path of action.

With the goal, I usually have enough, because I know how difficult the goal should be to accomplish for someone who is working with all the information I have, and I assume the players are making the best decisions possible.

That’s what you think! Until I put a trap in the adventure that triggers when a hidden mechanism resonates with the right musical frequency! Muahahaha!!!!!!!

(I kid, of course. Trying to bring some levity to what has been an exhaustingly serous discussion.)

I cracked a smile


Only that the former conveys the information diagetically, which keeps the gameplay rooted in terms of the fiction. I don’t know about you, but I find it easier to imagine the fictional space as if it were a real place and make decisions about what my character would do within it when it’s consistently described in terms of what my character perceives, instead of addressed to me directly in “meta-game” terms.

But it doesn't have to be meta-game terms. I can describe the scorched skeletons, the diagonal lines of the burn marks on the stone, and finish with "the conclusion is inevitable. There is a trap that spits fire up ahead." None of that uses "meta-game" terms, that's all information that is rooted in the fiction they are being presented with. It just takes that last step.

The crossbow trap pieces would indeed just tell the players that there are crossbow traps somewhere in the dungeon. On its own, it doesn’t give the players enough information to make meaningful decisions about how to find and avoid those crossbow traps. Accordingly, it shouldn’t be the only telegraph. It can be one piece of the puzzle though. First introduce the fact that there are crossbow traps in the dungeon. Then, maybe include a sprung crossbow trap, so they can see where it’s set up and how it works. Maybe later have a very obvious and easy to avoid crossbow trap, so they can confirm that there is a consistent pattern to where and how they’re set up. Continue to use these traps in gradually subtler and/or more complex ways, so the players can apply what they learn about these traps in the early, relatively risk-free contexts to help them succeed in more difficult, dangerous contexts.

You've said this a few times, but why would anyone set up the same trap in the same manner, multiple times? That just seems like asking people to bypass it.
 
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Chaosmancer

Legend
See? With a little effort you, too, can do this.

Sorry, but after wracking up some impressive word count being caustic and condescending toward somebody trying to explain it to you, I'm not sure I buy this "No, really, I'm just looking for more information" angle.

Have fun.

I'm sure you are a saint who never gets annoyed or aggravated with anyone after a week plus of arguing the same points and hitting dead-end after dead-end.

But, sure, I'm the bad guy. Might as well get a tattoo and a theme song at this point.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I don’t know what you think I meant by “show some patience and empathy” that would turn into “using the GM as life support”…
The post was about the basically unlimited level of patience & empathy expected of the gm by the ttrpg community in general against the way 5e as a ruleset encourages "assume the gm is a monster" thinking. "Life support for an OC" is more the operative part of phrase I was going for. Great OC takes work & proactive involvement to get great stories that you can later share with people who weren't there, it might not work out as expected after all of that work either. If the player forces the work on the gm with "I wouldn't have done that" & "I would have done it differently" retcon/veto cards through the use of "I roll X" rather than "I do Y" it removes the work & risk while forcing the gm to serve as life support for the desired OC. That expectation flows down into empowerment of players wanting to abuse it by forcing their GM to be something else after it crosses a point but it's rare to see anyone willing to admit it or admit that it's a crossable line.
 
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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I'm sure you are a saint who never gets annoyed or aggravated with anyone after a week plus of arguing the same points and hitting dead-end after dead-end.

But, sure, I'm the bad guy. Might as well get a tattoo and a theme song at this point.

You don't have bad ideas, but sometimes they are eclipsed by the rhetoric and combativeness. Your posts made me come around on what I now agree is a flaw with the Sorcerer design (specifically that when subclass abilities are fueled by Ki they are effectively alternate abilities not additional abilities) but man it took me a long time to see past the derisive language and understand the argument.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Fine, my argument is weaker because I made a single example that cannot cover every single possibility in the game. Next time I'll be more specific and account for every single possible build.
No, you aren't. Because the argument is "I shouldn't assume more than necessary for the example" and "I shouldn't change the example after establishing it" and your "rebuttal" is, "you should include feats because it is possible to assume feats might apply". That isn't a rebuttal, because there is nothing in it to challenge either of the two arguments.
Your argument was that they almost certainly have 14 passive perceptions at most, so they only have a 40% chance of success. My rebuttal is that they could easily have greater than a 14 passive perception. The low chance of success is a product of their party composition and build choices, not something inherent to the scenario of trying to find a hidden goblin or the way I run such a scenario.
If you instead think that your rebuttal is to the example itself, I already acknowledged that adding feats would make it easier for the Fighter and the Bard. But the example didn't include feats and I wasn't going to change it to start adding in the possibility of every feat in the game needing to be accounted for (because it would need to be every feat, not just the perception feats, because what if they took Chef instead?)
If they took Chef they would probably have a 14 passive perception. My argument isn’t that they can’t or shouldn’t have a 14 passive perception, it’s that they could easily have had greater than 14, and your argument hinges on the 14.
You are off-base with the argument. No, I don't use lifestyle expenses, or track basically any equipment. I don't have people buying magical items either. But none of that is the point, it is just a consequence of the choices we've made to begin with.

The point of money is to buy things. Even in the real-world, money itself is pretty worthless. No one wants a million dollars if the only thing you can do is set it on a table and watch it mold over the decades. Every post-apocalypse story starts off the same way, by acknowledging that money is worthless, it is just a medium of exchange. And, as such, very very few people make characters who have money as a goal. They may need money to achieve a goal, but money itself is never the goal.

And most of the people who sit at my tables, they rarely realize that I almost never give out coin or gems as treasure. Because they don't care about it, especially after they've gotten the mundane equipment they want. They have other goals, other concerns, and none of them involve money. They are here for a heroic story of their characters accomplishing their goals, they don't really care if the chest has 2,000 gold in it, because they don't care about the gold. It is useful, but it isn't worthwhile. And sure, I could force it to be necessary, I could force them to need to spend 10's of gold to simply exist in the gameworld and keep playing, make them desperate to have enough coin to buy the supplies they need... but everyone is very tired of the corporate rat race as it is, we don't want that in our game.

So, we get things through barter and trade, we find things that they need or want, and money just slowly slides from our consciousness until someone remembers we are playing DnD and supposed to care about money and asks for some, and I toss a few hundred extra gold or some treasure to hawk in the next section of the adventure. Or they find a task that requires them to have money, and that money becomes a good way to track progress on that task.
I mean, that’s all fine, but you understand I run the game differently, and the resource management game is all part of a big interconnected system, yes? Money is part of that system, it’s one of the resources the players have to manage. Maybe that isn’t your cup of tea, but “the players will always choose to hire NPC help because gold is useless anyway” just isn’t true in my games.
Sure, but I'm only human. Get enough NPCs floating around, and becomes really hard to put any level of care into all of them. And these aren't people anyone cared about before they put out the wanted ad, they literally just want eyes and combat ability, and the rest is window dressing.
Sorry you struggle with that, I guess?
I'd much rather have NPCs join the group organically than because the rules demanded it.
I don’t think looking for people to help because the dungeon is a dangerous place and you want to insure you have all your bases covered is inorganic.
Maybe, but I've played in games where we end up searching like that, and it never once felt more interesting than doing chores. Not saying it isn't possible that you can make it interesting and exciting, but after a decade it is still the case that people are most engaged with figuring out what to do after they have the thing, than trying to tear apart the room to find it in the first place.
Ok. Well, it’s definitely more interesting than doing chores in my game.
By being in a well-designed secret room. Small sounds are far harder to hear through stone and wood, but a peephole is still incredibly useful for things like seeing what's in the other side of the wall.
I guess, if the purpose of the secret door is to set up ambushes, that might be plausible. I typically use them for short cuts, hiding spaces, and hidden treasure.
Yes, such as assuming I don't look at the ground when looking for traps.Because I didn't specify and thus I should have said. Which is only one step removed from having to say "I grab my weapon and armor when I leave the inn", so the DM doesn't declare a week down the road that I left my gear behind because they "didn't want to assume"
I didn’t assume you weren’t looking at the ground, what I did was not assume looking at the ground was your approach to looking for traps.
And I know that sounds hyperbolic, but in one of my first full campaigns ever? We were playing Darksun and were given a task by the Sorcerer-King to investigate something in the deep desert. We were part of his government, more or less, level 13 or so, and we immediately agreed and said we headed out. DM said that after about a week of travel our water and rations ran out, we asked why, because we clearly would have brought enough for the mission. He informed us that we said we "left immediately" which meant we had not purchased any supplies for the journey, only the stuff we'd had on us. We pointed out that would have been suicide and we would never have done that. He shrugged, but did relent and allowed my character to use the ritual for create food and water (this was 4e by the way) with just money and no supplies, to make sure we didn't die from dehydration as we hurried back to the city.

He then had the Sorcerer-King pissed at our incompetence because we had done what he had said and "left immediately" to our near deaths, because it turns out growing up on Athas and being high-level adventurers wasn't enough to assume that we would buy supplies to actually survive a trip into the desert. He probably thought not assuming was the proper thing to do, but to me? It just showed that we couldn't ever make any assumptions ourselves. Had to state everything in the clearest terms possible, or we'd go for a month long desert trek with 7 days worth of water.
That was a bad call on your DM’s part. Had it been me, I wouldn’t have assumed you purchased all the supplies you would need before heading out, but I also wouldn’t have just said “ok, 7 days in you run out of food and water.” I would have said something like “are you sure you want to head out before gathering any additional supplies?” because that would obviously be a crazy thing to do.
All the information it conveys is that my character isn't an idiot. Since I suspect traps, I don't go running forward, I move slowly. This is just... beyond basic. And I'm looking at the floor, because again, where else would I look? "I don't want to assume" isn't a real stance, because all you end up doing is assuming the character in question is too stupid to do something in a logical way.

Now maybe you are right that to do this well requires a degree of information that is just impossible to put into a forum post. However, if you can at least acknowlege that with little information we end up pixel-hunting and magic-wording, then you can understand that when we have little information to go on... that's what we assume the players have as well. You can say "well, I'd do it better in person" but that doesn't mean anything. Everyone says that. No one thinks their style isn't working as best it can. We picture ideals when we imagine ourselves doing something.
Let us say that you compare the goal to the approach, and you come to the realization that is has no possible chance for success. We are in the moments before you ask the player anything, and I want to pause. Do you imagine the player purposefully chose an approach with no possible chance for success? Or do you imagine the player proposed their approach because they thought it gave them the best possible chance for success? Ignoring for a moment those players who chose to fail because it is funny or in character.

Obviously they think it will succeed. Now, I may ask for clarification because I need more information to narrate. Or I may be really curious how they think "that" could work. But the hardest thing? The hardest thing is realizing that I am working with "perfect information" and they aren't. Trying to picture what they are, with the lack of information I have, is very difficult. But when I can, then it suddenly becomes much clearer what they were thinking when they proposed that path of action.

With the goal, I usually have enough, because I know how difficult the goal should be to accomplish for someone who is working with all the information I have, and I assume the players are making the best decisions possible.
Well here’s the disconnect, then. A goal is enough for you because you assume the characters have all the necessary information and make the best decisions they can about how to achieve that goal, given that information. That doesn’t work for me because for me making decisions in-character is what the game is all about. I don’t know about you, but to me “roleplaying” means imagining yourself as someone else and/or in a fictional scenario and making decisions as you imagine you or that other person would in that scenario. If I assume you have all the information and make the best decision you can, I have assumed all the roleplaying out of that scenario. As a player, I want to be the one to assess the information that has been conveyed to me via what my character can directly perceive, and try to make the decision I imagine they would make; I don’t want the DM to just assume I make the best decision or ask me to roll a die and then tell me what decision I made based on the result. I’m playing D&D because I want to make those decisions myself. Likewise, when I DM, I don’t want to take the power to make those decisions away from the players.
But it doesn't have to be meta-game terms. I can describe the scorched skeletons, the diagonal lines of the burn marks on the stone, and finish with "the conclusion is inevitable. There is a trap that spits fire up ahead." None of that uses "meta-game" terms, that's all information that is rooted in the fiction they are being presented with. It just takes that last step.
But I want to arrive that conclusion myself, not have you spoon feed it to me. I want to immerse myself in the character and try to see the world through their eyes instead of from a detached third-person perspective. Just tell me what my character perceives, I’ll draw my own conclusions from that information. That, to me, is what roleplaying is all about.
You've said this a few times, but why would anyone set up the same trap in the same manner, multiple times? That just seems like asking people to bypass it.
I literally am asking the PCs to bypass it. The traps are there to be overcome. It’s a game, a series of challenges for the players to try to overcome using some combination of skill, strategy, and luck. This and the above are the two components of what an RPG is: roleplaying and game. Immersing yourself in the character and facing challenges through the lens of that character’s perspective, making decisions as you imagine they would do in order to overcome those challenges.

Now, of course, we want the fictional world to have some sense of verisimilitude to it. Obviously whoever set the traps up in-universe didn’t want them to be found. But it’s easy enough to come up with explanations for why the traps are the way they are once we’ve set them up the way we want to create the desired gameplay experience. We can lean on the fact that presumably whoever set up the traps wanted to be able to bypass them themselves, so they would have included ways to do so. Cues that they, as the traps’ designers, would be able to recognize, and teach to anyone else that they wanted to allow past the traps. Then we just contrive scenarios to teach those cues to the players environmentally. In game design parlance, we add a tutorial for the traps.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
This is a very interesting observation which leads me to this: There seems to be an odd correlation at times between those who decry "meta-gaming" as "cheating" yet being ok with invoking skills on a character sheet - a very "meta-gamey" concept indeed - to direct gameplay.
I think it’s because both things are motivated by a desire to maintain a strict separation between player knowledge and character knowledge. Note that one of the most common critiques against requiring declarations of goal and approach over invoking skills is that doing so rewards player skill. You and I consider that a feature, but to someone who doesn’t want player knowledge affecting character behavior, it’s a bug. From that perspective, anything that rewards player skill is, in a sense, metagaming. People point to the case of a low-intelligence character solving a puzzle because the player is good at puzzles, or to the case of a low-charisma character persuading an NPC of something because the player is good at making persuasive arguments as examples of this. They see those cases as tantamount to cheating, because they utilize the player’s brain to allow the character to succeed in cases where they don’t think the character ought to be able to do so, or at least not without getting lucky.
 
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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I think it’s because both things are motivated by a desire to maintain a strict separation between player knowledge and character knowledge. Note that one of the most common critiques against requiring declarations of goal and approach over invoking skills is that doing so rewards player skill. You and I consider that a feature, but to someone who doesn’t want player knowledge affecting character behavior, it’s a bug. From that perspective, anything that rewards player skill is, in a sense, metagaming. People point to the case of a low-intelligence character solving a puzzle because the player is good at puzzles, or to the case of a low-charisma character persuading an NPC of something because the player is good at making persuasive arguments as examples of this. They see those cases as tantamount to cheating, because it’s utilizing the player’s brain to allow the character to succeed in cases where they don’t think the character ought to be able to do so, or at least not without getting lucky.

I often wish that D&D didn't have an Intelligence ability score.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yes, this is undeniably a thing we (by which I mean, we DMs who like to use this sort of action resolution process) have to contend with. A lot of players are going to be coming to the table with baggage related to being asked for specificity. It’s a bit of a leap of faith for them to try playing this way, and we need to be willing to show some patience and empathy to them in turn. It also helps if we run damn good games, cause at the end of the day that’s what’s going to sell someone on our GMing.

Its also one of those things you're more likely to have luck if the person has just absorbed it from the gestalt than if they've had it done personally; depending on the frequency and extent of the latter you may never be able to entirely get them beyond that.
 


Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I think to really avoid this, you need to find players who've had no contact with D&D culture at all, though, and among ones who'd be interested, that's going to just be harder and harder as time goes on.

I was being a little (just a little) facetious about only playing with kids who are brand new to the game.

There are obviously posters here who have lots of 'baggage' but have shifted to a new approach, and while I gripe about the players in my group who don't seem to want to try anything different, that doesn't describe everybody. So I don't think "no contact with D&D culture at all" is even remotely necessary.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
And yeah, it is more satisfying to to figure to figure things out yourself than just solve the thing via a roll. Then again, I don’t think poking all the different things in all the different ways to get the clues is the interesting part. When possible, I try to build things so that you can gain/discover clues/information via skills and then they can figure out what the clues mean/imply using their own brains.

And people have to really learn that some people just don't get much out of some things of this nature. I can get some fun under limited circumstances from figuring out what's going on, but its limited, and actual puzzle solving just bores me to tears. If a GM is really fixed on that sort of thing, we're probably a mismatch, but until that's obvious, I'm probably going to do a lot of things to try to just engage with it on a character level to get to the parts of the game I do like. And I can't imagine I'm alone.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
This is a very interesting observation which leads me to this: There seems to be an odd correlation at times between those who decry "meta-gaming" as "cheating" yet being ok with invoking skills on a character sheet - a very "meta-gamey" concept indeed - to direct gameplay.

I think that's missing the point; when not being a cover for other things, "metagaming" is an objection to the opposite of what you think; moving things up to the player level, since the "metagame" is knowledge the character won't have. Playing off the sheet is moving things down to the character; in its most degenerate form, it'd be the character running on autopilot. That's only "metagaming" if you consider anything having to do with the game elements at all metagaming.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
I was being a little (just a little) facetious about only playing with kids who are brand new to the game.

There are obviously posters here who have lots of 'baggage' but have shifted to a new approach, and while I gripe about the players in my group who don't seem to want to try anything different, that doesn't describe everybody. So I don't think "no contact with D&D culture at all" is even remotely necessary.

To clarify, my comment is to be read as being necessary if you want to be sure you're not hitting someone with baggage or outright scar tissue here. You can, of course, have people who can get around their expectations here; but you probably won't know until after considerable attempts in many cases.

(Of course you can end up running into people who's baggage with some of what you want is unrelated to gaming, too.)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I often wish that D&D didn't have an Intelligence ability score.
Yeah, if I had my druthers, Intelligence and Wisdom would be replaced with Perception and Willpower. Charisma is a tougher nut to crack, because it has the same “what if I’m not as charismatic as my character” problem, but I do think the game benefits from having a stat that applies in social situations.
 

Reynard

Legend
If this thread has taught me anything it is that more words does not equate to more communication. Oof.

Also, the more specific you feel you have to get to get your audience to understand what you are saying, the less likely that they are listening or engaging in good faith.

It's ironic because it's the forum equivalent of the "pixelbitching" some folks are decrying in this thread.

Maybe we can return to talking about the ACTUAL thread topic, which isn't really about Perception at all: players don't declare dice rolls, they declare actions, and GMs decide on what dice rolls, if any, are necessary. This is an interesting discussion, I think, because we can talk about traditional games versus story games versus player empowerment, with a healthy dose of prep vs "play to find out" thrown in.

This ever tightening spiral discussion about Perception is going nowhere very, very slowly.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
If this thread has taught me anything it is that more words does not equate to more communication. Oof.

Also, the more specific you feel you have to get to get your audience to understand what you are saying, the less likely that they are listening or engaging in good faith.

It's ironic because it's the forum equivalent of the "pixelbitching" some folks are decrying in this thread.

Maybe we can return to talking about the ACTUAL thread topic, which isn't really about Perception at all: players don't declare dice rolls, they declare actions, and GMs decide on what dice rolls, if any, are necessary. This is an interesting discussion, I think, because we can talk about traditional games versus story games versus player empowerment, with a healthy dose of prep vs "play to find out" thrown in.

This ever tightening spiral discussion about Perception is going nowhere very, very slowly.
In an effort to do that I can show an example from a game a couple years ago where my players had to deal with a trapped safe. Although technically it doesn't involve "perception" it dies nicely illustrate how a player needing to make action rather than just skill rolls changes play dramatically
I do [require action], the extra benefit of this kinda thing is thatmost of the group can get involved. I as a gm can describe the big bad's safe as radiating enough magic to make the wizards hair on the neck stand up & be palpably felt at a distance if he moves closer while my notes say "bug nasty safe, let players spend a few min figuring it out" only to result in the wizard/rogue/barbarian/druid interact with a bunch of knowledge checks that are ultimately part of the players dismantling the wards by....
  • Disabling a divination ward that checks to make sure the other wards are in tact & triggers the patyload if it notces them being mucked with
    • you aren't sure how well it's gonna work if at all & there's a ton o power in that safe... yea you aren't sure the spell but your syure it's enough to power a disintegration field.
  • corrupting the divination check to make the part looking for a specific arcane marked item to accept a different arcane marked item to be present when the safe is opened
    • Your pretty sure it will still go off maybe 50/50
  • The druid casts plant growth or something to ground the payload into the foundation of the basement where the safe is with help from the wizard & rogue to make sure that vine grows into the right spot
  • everyone runs far away... The barbarian rages, makes a save, & pulls open the door while holding the marked item as directed
    • Boom everyone hears a huge explosion & cloud of dust streaming out of the room
    • barbarian sits on pins and needles waiting to hear the outcome while everyone rushes in to help rescue him
    • barbarian is a little rattled & gets a description of the explosion with the vine taking the brunt of things but he took... roll dice not too bad damage & is okish
The party spent about 15-20 minutes there
edit: the solution was their own design. My yardstick as a gm was "is this plausible" and "would it prepare for that"
Because the players were required to decide upon & take actions this trap was able to play out in a pretty cool 15-20 minutes of gameplay involving the whole group really getting involved & working together. Had the group been able to just roll skills I think it would have been a forgettable check or annoying series of checks narrated to a railroaded party dragged through it.
 

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