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

For you, if a party is traveling along, what are the differences in perception checks they get to find an ambush (or whatnot) if they're traveling full speed and looking around as they go vs. traveling half speed so they can take more time being observant?

in my game I will normally take a look and see if anyone's passive bonus beats the DC to see them... if they do I tell everyone what the area looks like then tell the PCs with the high passive only "But you see more" and explain... this will give them a chance to get a surprise round on those laying in ambush.
if no ones passive is high enough I will ask everyone for an active... anyone who makes the DC is not surprised those that did not make the DC are surprised roll initiative.

IF the PCs are setting the ambush I have them roll stealth (or other relevant skill/ability) DC equal to the creatures they are ambushing passive perception... I then skip the active check entirely unless there is a big reason to have it and give or don't give the suprise... it is a little unfair to monster/npc but that is what I do
 

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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
but that is what is so confusing.

if you know that 'diplomancy' means something in context, and can under stand what they mean, I don't get making them rephrase it
Specifically as it relates to the diplomacy example we discussed above, with questions of approach and types of arguments and so on:

At a minimum, I expect players in a game of mine to pay enough attention to what is happening in play to at least be able to tell me how they want to convince the king to make peace (or whatever). There is undoubtedly some context that leads up to that moment, a bunch of interactions with NPCs and adventures happening and so on that gets the PCs in the throne room making a request of the king. So, I absolutely will not accept "I make a diplacy check ::clatter::" as sufficient. I won't decalre "You fail" right then, but I sure will ask for clarity and find out what sort of arguments you (the party; again, i don't care if the player needs help on this) want to make to achieve the goal.

The exact same thing is true when looking for traps, just on a much smaller scale. I expect that you paid attention to my initial description of the location (don't worry, I will repeat myself if you need me to, and you can ask clarifying questions all day long) so that you can give me the context to do my job as GM.

I understand that you don't play that way, and all I can say to that is that it is very likely that neither of us would be very happy playing together.
 

Specifically as it relates to the diplomacy example we discussed above, with questions of approach and types of arguments and so on:

At a minimum, I expect players in a game of mine to pay enough attention to what is happening in play to at least be able to tell me how they want to convince the king to make peace (or whatever). There is undoubtedly some context that leads up to that moment, a bunch of interactions with NPCs and adventures happening and so on that gets the PCs in the throne room making a request of the king. So, I absolutely will not accept "I make a diplacy check ::clatter::" as sufficient. I won't decalre "You fail" right then, but I sure will ask for clarity and find out what sort of arguments you (the party; again, i don't care if the player needs help on this) want to make to achieve the goal.
now this one is better thenthe look around one... haave you never played with someone (let alone just met someone) thaat had no clue how to be diplomatic? like even when they TRY to say something nice it comes off wrong?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
but it does... You want me to add a detail of where I may have heard it
Where you may have heard it is a detail, yes, but what I care about is the information it conveys, not the quantity of detail it adds to your action description. You could write me a novel about how hard your character thinks about the sigil, there is no amount of detail that will be “enough” if it doesn’t contain the information of where you may have heard the thing.
the funny part is that then makes me the player have to know what it is... like it's an arcane rune from the city of tyr... but I grew up in tyr my first few years before I went to sigil to learn advanced (aka beyond cantrip) magics then I apprenticed for 3 years under a genasi... so knowing that BUT NOT KNOWING IT IS FROM TYR, I say "I remember back to being in sigil and learning advance magic" but that isn't really as helpful as "I think back to my early years in tyr"
no seeing the symbol and just thinking if I saw it before or could figure it out I SHOULD be able to remember if I ran into it in tyr weather I verbalize that or not.
It’s possible you could have seen the sigil while studying magic in sigil; it’s also possible you could not have seen it. Knowing that, I have the information I need to determine that it is appropriate to call for an Intelligence check here (to which you could certainly add your arcana proficiency). It also gives me something to work with so that if you fail, I can tell you something you do remember from that experience in Sigil, that’s related to but doesn’t directly satisfy your query: progress combined with a setback.
except all of that can be relayed with "Can I arcana that?"
No, it can’t. “Can I arcana that?” Only tells me that you want to know something about it. It doesn’t tell me what you want to know, or where you may have heard it, which are the two pieces of information I need for my action resolution process.
what additional relevant information are you getting?
What you want to know, and where you may have learned it.
i am at a loss that you think your way is more concise...
Seriously? In what world is “I try to remember if I saw this in my arcane studies” not more concise than “I think wistfully back to the days when I was but a wee lass and my dear, loving grandfather would take me upon his knee and tell me such wonderful stories of his adventures in his own youth as a traveling scholar; oh if only I could recall, did he ever mention seeing something of this sort?”
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
now this one is better thenthe look around one... haave you never played with someone (let alone just met someone) thaat had no clue how to be diplomatic? like even when they TRY to say something nice it comes off wrong?
You don’t have to actually be diplomatic, you just have to describe the approach your character is taking. Are they being flattering? Dire? Using high-pressure tactics and fast-talk? Just a general description of how the character is going about trying to persuade the guy is plenty sufficient.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
now this one is better thenthe look around one... haave you never played with someone (let alone just met someone) thaat had no clue how to be diplomatic? like even when they TRY to say something nice it comes off wrong?
I'm not basing the difficulty off how charming the player is. I don't care how charming or not the player is. I need to know what the argument being made to the king is in order to adjudicate the outcome. This isn't a CRPG with 3 choices, 2 of which don't matter. It is an RPG. I expect that players in an RPG are going to act through their characters. Not with funny voices or in character speeches or any of that -- I don't even do that for NPCs half the time. But it is not an RPG if the king is just a diplomacy check without any context or input from the player.

I am honestly having trouble imagining what this even looks like with a blind diplomacy check being the deciding factor. Did the party meet an NPC with a glowing exclamation point over their head that said, "Go to the king and convince him to reduce the turnip taxes!" and then the party went to the throne room and rolls to see if they beat a 15 to reduce the turnip taxes?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
yes seriously...
I don’t think you’re understanding what I said. I gave two examples of action descriptions: one that expressed what the player wanted to know and where their character may have heard it in as few words as possible. The other also expressed what the player wanted to know and where their character may have heard it, but was deliberately wordy, with tons of superfluous adjectives and meandering prose. Are you seriously saying that you think the second example was more concise than the first?
I don't care how you do things at your table but don't claim you want the most concise when you keep asking for more information even when you don't care WHAT that information is.
What??? I never claimed that what I want is more concise than what you or anyone else wants. I gave two examples of action descriptions, both of which contained the information I require from an action declaration, and I said that I find one of them preferable to the other because it was more concise. And I did so specifically to demonstrate that what I care about is WHAT the information is, not how much detail is used in expressing that information.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
yes seriously... I don't care how you do things at your table but don't claim you want the most concise when you keep asking for more information even when you don't care WHAT that information is.
Since it's shifted from something that take some physical action like searching a room or something to some kind of knowledge check that takes some kind of link to your character's history the reasons for why it's required change a bit. Those reasons have to do with if your character is the quantum ogre when convenient but a verifiable fact when having a quantum ogre PC would be inconvenient. You've gone from a quantum activity needing to be collapsed into an action to a quantum history needing to be collapsed into one with established facts. I'll use @Charlaquin 's example reasons to know something & what I think is your "can I arcana that?"
  • “I try to remember if I saw this in my arcane studies
    • Great!.. your character engaged in arcane studies. Possibly at a school, under a tutor, or self directed. Facts about your character have been established deepened or reinforced. Those facts can be used to influence the DC of this check now create hooks later or any number of other things.
  • “I think wistfully back to the days when I was but a wee lass and my dear, loving grandfather would take me upon his knee and tell me such wonderful stories of his adventures in his own youth as a traveling scholar; oh if only I could recall, did he ever mention seeing something of this sort?”
    • same as above but more & different facts are established about your background & history
  • "can I arcana that"
    • nothing is established. As GM I don't want to write your PC's backstory whole cloth & have no tools that can be used to force you into sticking to it rather than discarding it any time it becomes inconvenient for it to not be something else.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Since it's shifted from something that take some physical action like searching a room or something to some kind of knowledge check that takes some kind of link to your character's history the reasons for why it's required change a bit. Those reasons have to do with if your character is the quantum ogre when convenient but a verifiable fact when having a quantum ogre PC would be inconvenient. You've gone from a quantum activity needing to be collapsed into an action to a quantum history needing to be collapsed into one with established facts. I'll use @Charlaquin 's example reasons to know something & what I think is your "can I arcana that?"
  • “I try to remember if I saw this in my arcane studies
    • Great!.. your character engaged in arcane studies. Possibly at a school, under a tutor, or self directed. Facts about your character have been established deepened or reinforced. Those facts can be used to influence the DC of this check now create hooks later or any number of other things.
  • “I think wistfully back to the days when I was but a wee lass and my dear, loving grandfather would take me upon his knee and tell me such wonderful stories of his adventures in his own youth as a traveling scholar; oh if only I could recall, did he ever mention seeing something of this sort?”
    • same as above but more & different facts are established about your background & history
  • "can I arcana that"
    • nothing is established. As GM I don't want to write your PC's backstory whole cloth & have no tools that can be used to force you into sticking to it rather than discarding it any time it becomes inconvenient for it to not be something else.
As it relates to Arcana, History, Religion and similar skills:
I don't usually require much in the way of players explaining what they are doing. Rather I focus on what they actually want to know. Sometimes it is simple: there is weird symbol scrawled on a door and they say, "Can I use Arcana to figure it out?" Sure. Have at it. (Whether Arcana is the right skill or not is a different issue; it might be an old blaze and it requires a survival check.) I almost always have them roll "in the tower" (I use fantasy grounds, so I mean they can't see the result). If I haven't prepared a specific set of DCs and results -- which I probably haven't -- I use the result to judge how much about the thing they get. In the blaze example, a low result might have me say, "You have never encountered this arcane symbol before," while a higher result might prompt me to say, "You don't know what it is, but that is definitely not an arcane symbol."

I still don't like it when the player declarers "I Arcana it! ::clatter::" but it isn't as big a deal because with the knowledge skills there isn't much positioning that can come up in play.
 

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