If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
But, how is that improved by insisting on the player providing extra narration? How is "I do x, y and z" improving anything? There's nothing wrong with a simple poison needle trap. Gives the rogue a reason to be there, he gets to bypass the trap and we move on. No worries. If he failed, there would be negative consequences.
I have to ask: are you understanding the point that the rogue isn't just running through a list of random things to try? That on this trap the player would have picked up hints/signals as to what to look for? Because you keep portraying the playstyle incorrectly, and I can't tell whether you genuinely don't understand, or if you are intentionally trying to cast it in a negative light.

Or maybe I was wrong, and in the scenario I described you would prefer that the party stay in the tavern and make one Investigation check, rather than having to go to various locations, look for clues, and maybe roll Investigation once they get there. You know, the "do x, y, and z..." part that you dislike.

In any event, the point isn't to "provide extra narration" it's to give the player something to do, something to think about and solve, rather than simply remembering to make a skill check.

Given a choice between:

"Wait a second...what was the poem again, the one we found in the journal? I've got it! Pull out the drawers and look on the bottoms!"

and...

"I roll Investigation...19!...what did I find?"

I'll take the first option every time. If the only choice, perhaps because the DM didn't prepare something cool, is the 2nd option...why even bother with the check? I say just let them find it.

I played the old way for years: "I search for secret doors." "Roll." "17". "Nope, you didn't find anything." Over and over and over again. And, you're right, it's the boring part.
 

Hussar

Legend
I have to ask: are you understanding the point that the rogue isn't just running through a list of random things to try? That on this trap the player would have picked up hints/signals as to what to look for? Because you keep portraying the playstyle incorrectly, and I can't tell whether you genuinely don't understand, or if you are intentionally trying to cast it in a negative light.
Umm, I can't talk about what isn't there. The example was a locked door. The player checks it for traps before opening it. This is pretty basic dungeon crawly stuff. There were no other bits of information provided. I cannot portray it in another light until you folks start actually ponying up real examples.

Or maybe I was wrong, and in the scenario I described you would prefer that the party stay in the tavern and make one Investigation check, rather than having to go to various locations, look for clues, and maybe roll Investigation once they get there. You know, the "do x, y, and z..." part that you dislike.
Depends on the scenario really. I've certainly used both approaches. If there's nothing really needed at these various locations and the papers are simply something they need to get move forward with the more interesting plan, then, sure, a couple of dice rolls and we're done. Again, without more specific information, I cannot venture an opinion. However, I will say that unlike you, I really have zero problem with either way.

In any event, the point isn't to "provide extra narration" it's to give the player something to do, something to think about and solve, rather than simply remembering to make a skill check.

Given a choice between:

"Wait a second...what was the poem again, the one we found in the journal? I've got it! Pull out the drawers and look on the bottoms!"

and...

"I roll Investigation...19!...what did I find?"

I'll take the first option every time. If the only choice, perhaps because the DM didn't prepare something cool, is the 2nd option...why even bother with the check? I say just let them find it.

I played the old way for years: "I search for secret doors." "Roll." "17". "Nope, you didn't find anything." Over and over and over again. And, you're right, it's the boring part.
Yeah, again, without further information, I'm not really able to venture a strong opinion here, but, like I said earlier, most of the time, these "what was the poem again" type puzzles bore me to tears. I loathe puzzles and riddles. And I'm using the word loathe here very intentionally. I hate them with a passion. If the DM requires me to remember esoteric bits of information in order to do things so I can finally use the skills my character has, I'm walking. I honestly have zero interest in this game. Give me the Investigate 19 game every time.

I'm playing a game because I like playing the game. To me, you're just doing end runs around the game in order to make things more "interesting". No thanks. If I wanted to play that game, I'd play that game. The game I'm playing has skills in it that let me do stuff. So, no, I don't need the DM to "allow" me to make skill checks, and, any player at my table that is waiting on me to ask for them, is going to be waiting a really, really long time.

Be proactive or find another table. You are not just a player. You are every bit as responsible for the actions at the table as the DM. You are every bit as responsible for creating this shared story and I invest you with equal authority to me as the DM when it comes to your actions.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I've had DMs that wanted me to describe how I searched a door for traps. How the frick would I know? I'm not a rogue. I'm not trained in finding traps. Besides if I describe how I carefully sprinkle talcum powder or use a small mirror on a stick to check that spot I can't quite see is it's boring. Not only to me, but to everyone else at the table.

Sometimes traps are more than just traps. It's a puzzle you have to figure out (although I pretty much hate puzzles/riddles in most games as well). Sometimes searching the office should be more than just searching the office. For me, most of the time it's just either "you only have a moment to search" in which case they probably wouldn't find the note taped under the drawer unless they rolled extremely high or "the guards are nowhere in sight, do you want to take your time?" In that case I may not even require a search check, or have them make one just to see how long it takes. Sometimes I'll ask something along the lines of whether they're being careful to not leave a trace that they searched the room.

I would no more ask a player to describe how they are searching the room than I would ask them how they are cooking dinner. Unless of course they (and the group) enjoy that kind of thing.

As far as "training them to stop thinking", I simply disagree. I'm simply not forcing them to play "my way". Sometimes interacting with the environment can be enjoyable, but most of the time it just feels like filler that does nothing to advance the story. Frequently filler that only engages one person. It has nothing to do with being a lazy DM, but the reality is that my time, and the group's play time, is limited. I'd rather spend my time figuring out that the captain of the guard is really the baron's cousin and they've been conspiring together to steal from the merchants who have become more powerful while framing a political dissident and how to drop bread crumbs for the group to follow if they want.

When the player does an insight check it prompts me to think of a way to reward that initiative by uncovering something up with some subtle clue. Maybe the guard is a bit nervous and glances in the direction the captain just came from. Maybe I would have thought to do that without the request for the skill check, maybe not.

For me, I just think describing your actions by asking to do a skill check is a perfectly fine shortcut the majority of the time. When it's not, I'll prompt for details.

As far as what's fun, different people have different preferences. When I judged for public games, my tables were always one of the first to fill up. My games are very heavy RP and I've had people put up with me as a DM for years on end. My style is just different than yours.
"As far as "training them to stop thinking", I simply disagree. "

Yeah, to me, "thinking" and specifically "player thinking" should kick into high gear **after** they find the clue. It should not be the focus of how we resolve the character's effort to find the clue.

But this is a style thing for sure. I am not a GM who does a lot of puzzle rooms where most of the solving is player-side thinkery that bypasses the PC capabilities. Exact opposite in fact. If I throw a "puzzle" it's going to be one that directly ties in PC traits and reinforces the PC capabilities and requires or relies on the player figuring out how to apply/leverage those traits - not the player personal knowledge of a task.

A good example is the movie I, Robot, where at key moments the unique traits of the robot are necessary to get thru certain "puzzles, most notably the characters extra tough alloys (immunity) to get thru a defense shield to unlock the weapon to kill the bad guy later.

The player needs to know the traits of the character, think thru when and where they can help in relation to the challenges but I do not make the actual how to of that is a puzzle in itself or really a player-side thing.

But that's me.

But turning
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
That is an important question for GMs to ask, to avoid the following situation.

Player: I search the door for traps.
GM: As you touch it, contact poison seeps into your skin, make—
Player: Hang on, I never said I touched the door! That's not fair!
No, it's not.

It's not needed to avoid that situation it's not even a particularly good one due to its consequences.

It teaches the player "its what I say not what the character knows or is good at that drives the trap skill."

That tends to show used in play then lead to two tiers of skills. Ones driven by character traits and ones driven by player traits. Most classic example is social tasks where in some games the GM mostly treats it by what the player says, not character checks.

That tends to show in play thst a checklist of things to declare unless pressures prevent it is the safest most successful route. A "door procedure" gets put in place which makes sure to put "poke ar fir with dagger" and " use glass to listen" before " listen at four to avoid those ear bug things.

But let's look at your door and traps.

First, long long long before the first trapped door, the notion of how ability checks and attacks are resolved **and that failure can have setbacks" should have been made clear. Should have been shown and well established that this can lead to bad stuff.

So, character is competent at traps and player says they check.

GM assumes the competent trap seeker is not an idiot. Assumes that will include knowledge of some trap types. Assumes "checking for traps" includes things like "is their contact poison" not "well, yuck yuck, let's just grab it yup"

So the check is made, and if its successful, the poison was spotted and narrated as "you see some strange goo as you use your probe on the surface of the mechanism. Its definitely not just dust and grime. Possibly iocaine." Then you may describe a few options that the character would commonly know of for the player to consider.

What if it fails, well, since failure can be some success with setback and you have a skilled character, I go with "you begin searching but unfortunately, there was a poisonous residue early on that you checked for and missed did not get all of. I need you to make a blah blah save, at advantage because you did avoid a direct full on dose of it due to your skills and caution in checking, before we move on to the rest." Here, the players sees the benefits of having declared check for traps (chosen to apply that character trait) even with a failure in the advantaged save but still suffers a setback and the door has not been cleared.

Meanwhile a character who just went on thru the door not looking for traps gets a full dose and trap.

In between of course is the amateur untrained trap guy who can get any of these and more, depending on how much the GM decides the proficiency is or is not required. While many traps could reasonably require "thieves proficiency" to defeat or spot, I would not necessarily rule so for contact poison on a handle myself.

So, see, "how is your experienced character doing his job" was not knowledge the **player** needed to know for us to resolve it. The player side only required them to decide "this is a spot where applying my traps skill might help out and makes sense." Then it's the game mechanics and traits that resolves it.

Much like combat. Thry need to decide who to attack and what with, the when and where to apply their axe skill, but not how their character is getting around that armored hide and shield.

But that me, what works for us, not for everyone but to me the more you require player-side-know-howzstate-how for resolution of actions using character abilities the more problems you bring in - more than you solve.
 

Imaculata

Adventurer
To me, it's not how I enjoy the game. For one, you see interpretations like @Elfcrusher and @Imaculata, where they look at the rules and interpret things a very different way than I would (like when the skill specifically calls out being able to discern lies but the DM says, nope, that's not what it says, I'm going to get frustrated), which lead to, IMO, artificially inflating difficulty in the name of "challenging" the players.
It states "When searching out a lie" not "to discern a lie". To me this indicates that a straight up lie detector is not the author's intent, but it can help you find clues to discover a lie (such as noticing subtle nervous ticks in a person's overall demeanor). Granted, the text leaves it some what open to interpretation, and I can see why some people may rule in favor of a lie detector. But our interpretation (Elfcrusher and myself) seems more in line with how other similar skills work in the game.

And what is narratively more interesting? To me, having to put the clues together is more fun than rolling a die and instantly knowing if someone's lying. Then again, fun is subjective.
 

Sadras

Explorer
[MENTION=6919838]5ekyu[/MENTION] raises some good points in his post - as well as that comparison to combat.

Having said that, there are quite a few players that still enjoy an old tomb of horrors-like styled method of roleplaying where the players' words matter greatly.

Some of us (presumably many) prefer the grey area in between. And some of us can expertly run separate styled games all of which would be discussed at session 0.

I'm easy enough (starved) to enjoy both styles.
 
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Hussar

Legend
It states "When searching out a lie" not "to discern a lie". To me this indicates that a straight up lie detector is not the author's intent, but it can help you find clues to discover a lie (such as noticing subtle nervous ticks in a person's overall demeanor). Granted, the text leaves it some what open to interpretation, and I can see why some people may rule in favor of a lie detector. But our interpretation (Elfcrusher and myself) seems more in line with how other similar skills work in the game.

And what is narratively more interesting? To me, having to put the clues together is more fun than rolling a die and instantly knowing if someone's lying. Then again, fun is subjective.
Well, I can't really see how you can "determine the true intentions of a creature" while being unaware that it's lying to you, but, hey, like I said, this sort of thing is not how I DM. The players are already at massive disadvantages in nearly every situation. This is a means to get information into the player's hands. FANTASTIC. Anything that gets more information into their hands and allows them to make decisions based on that information is a good thing, IMO.

Then again, I virtually never have anything that won't talk under interrogation. You tell something that you'll let it go if it talks and, at my table, it'll sing like a bird. The players know that and make a point of taking prisoners to talk to. Because they know that a successful check will always give them some sort of success and I refuse, flat out refuse, to interpret rules in such a way to add disadvantages.

I mean, I have no idea why you would say that it "seems more in line with how other similar skills work". How so? Perception is pretty straight forward. You make the check, you notice something, if there is something to be noticed. It's not, "well, you notice a few clues that might point to something, but, might not". It's, if you succeed in perception, "you detect the presence of something" (PHB 178). A straight up Charisma check allows me to "Find the best person to talk to for news" (PHB 179) There's nothing there to suggest that I have to describe how I do that. I just do.

But, yes, I totally agree fun is subjective. Totally get that. What you're doing seems to really work for you folks. And that's groovy.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If you think what some of us are saying is as simplistic as this, you're not understanding it. I'm certainly not asking somebody to know how to search for traps in the general sense, but I might ask them to use previous hints and clues to know what to do in a specific case.



That's how I feel about "skill" rolls that require no thinking or narration. Take the following:

Player: "I'll check the chest for traps with Investigation...I rolled an 18"
DM: "You find a poison needle trap."
Player: "I'll try to disarm it using my Thieves' Tools...I rolled a 21!"
DM: "You disarm it."

What was the point of ANY of that? Literally the only skill on display here is the player's ability to remember rules. As Hussar says, this should be rushed through because it's totally boring. Let's get to the fight!
The point is that it made sense to the story for there to be a trap but it's not a critical part of the story. I'm also rewarding the rogue for investing in skills. It's fast and simple so we can focus on the interesting parts of the story. If the player (and the group) have fun going into detail, we have fun with it. If they just want to roll dice we just roll dice.

Sometimes a trapped door is just a trapped door, sometimes a lock is just a lock. You come across a chest in some random location. Unless there's label on it saying "I'm trapped, please remove hinges first" I have no idea what you do. Since you never give real world details other than vague "hints and clues", we can only guess.

As far as "what's the point", what's the point of:
Player: "I attack the orc and get an 18"
DM: "You hit"
Player: "I do 8 points of damage"

Not every round of combat is that simple, not every trap is special. I sprinkle in combat details on a regular basis especially for particularly cinematic moments, but just as often the interaction is as simple as that above.

I save detailed interactions to parts of the game that are engaging and fun. Cop shows don't focus on (except in passing) the officer doing paperwork. I don't focus on finding/removing traps, opening traps or climbing walls. I don't expect players to remember "hints" I've dropped about every door in the entire world. How would that even work?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
That is an important question for GMs to ask, to avoid the following situation.

Player: I search the door for traps.
GM: As you touch it, contact poison seeps into your skin, make—
Player: Hang on, I never said I touched the door! That's not fair!
I think [MENTION=6919838]5ekyu[/MENTION] responded with better details, but the simple answer is "don't be a dick DM". If you are, I'll walk.

After all I could also have
Player: "I look closely at the trap, leaning in to examine it. I'm being careful not to touch it while rubbing my arm stub where we had to cut off my hand to stop the poison from last door."
DM: "Ha! A needle springs forth and stabs you in the eye! Not only do you take 20 points of damage from the poison but you're permanently blinded in that eye!"
Player: "Gah! Not my good eye!"

I can play "gotcha" with whatever style of play you want. ;)
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
It states "When searching out a lie" not "to discern a lie". To me this indicates that a straight up lie detector is not the author's intent, but it can help you find clues to discover a lie (such as noticing subtle nervous ticks in a person's overall demeanor). Granted, the text leaves it some what open to interpretation, and I can see why some people may rule in favor of a lie detector. But our interpretation (Elfcrusher and myself) seems more in line with how other similar skills work in the game.

And what is narratively more interesting? To me, having to put the clues together is more fun than rolling a die and instantly knowing if someone's lying. Then again, fun is subjective.
To me there is no way the very broad presentation of ability checks survives this degree of "did it exactly say you can do that? If not, nope" either as a representation of intent or playability.

Are your survival checks and wisdom checks completely limited by not only the list provided but a strict parsing of that text? Dexterity checks? Intelligence checks? Social checks?

Is what your takeaway for how 5e says about the scope to use ability checks "only strictly what is explicitly described here even down to how`?

"Your Wisdom insight check determines whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature..."

Pause - the check determines... and the uncertainty is determining the true intentions-

"such as when searching out a lie..."

Example in question is searching out a lie.

At a very basic reading, you determine that this person is trying to deceive you, his intentions in this moment is to lie to you.

But let's look later on...

The DM might ask you to make a wisdom survival check to follow tracks, hunt wild game, guide your group through, frozen wastelands, identify signs that owlbears live nearby."

In each of those, would you on a success give the **player** some clues that the player then must use their own personal knowledge to solve?

Does a successful guide thru frozen wastes check mean the player gets orienteering info to use in himself figuring it out? Dies the player need to then make their own personal "not freeze to death" decisiins given clues? Or does success mean the **character's skill** and the successful check mean the character makes the right use of the ingo?

For "signs of owlbears" do you provide some feathers and some pictures of footprints and rely on the player actually knowing what an owlbears track looks like for the player to figure it out? Or does the character see signs, read the signs and the **character** know owlbear?

More importantly, if a player is in an area without owlbears but with trolls, fo you decide that because strictly the skill references owlbears not trolls and so using that skill as a "troll detector" is not allowed?

That's just staying within wisdom and insight/survival.

The list of cases would grow with pretty much every ability snd skill if we chose to sometimes parse strictly and sometimes not, sometimes decide its *character succeed* and other times its *character waits for player to succeed*.

Me, player decides when, where, for what they apply the charscter trait, but the checks determine the character success and the results.

I have found over the years that creating two tiers of skills/traits/powers - in-player resolution and in-character resolution as core mechanic of system - leads to worse results that player application and character resolution across the board does.

So, I dont do that.
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
[MENTION=6919838]5ekyu[/MENTION] raises some good points in his post - as well as that comparison to combat.

Having said that, there are quite a few players that still enjoy an old tomb of horrors-like styled method of roleplaying where the players' words matter greatly.

Some of us (presumably many) prefer the grey area in between. And some of us can expertly run separate styled games all of which would be discussed at session 0.

I'm easy enough (starved) to enjoy both styles.
The DMG (and I) recommend the "middle path." (Or at least, the DMG suggests it has no downsides compared to other approaches. See DMG, pp. 236-237) In the "middle path," the DM balances the use of dice against deciding on success. By doing so, the players are incentivized to pay attention to the game world while also relying on their character mechanics, when necessary. Chiefly that's by choosing to engage in tasks for which the character has the best chance of success if the player has to roll. If my character is good at finding traps, I'm going to be the guy who is really paying attention to the DM's description of the environment for clues that there is a trap, then putting my character in the best position to find them in hopes that I don't have to roll. But if I do have to roll, at least I've built my character to be pretty good at it and perhaps I have advantage or a lower DC due to my fictional positioning.

The other methods are relying on die rolls for almost everything or to use the dice as rarely as possible. In the former approach, the DMG says there's a risk that roleplaying diminishes because the players think their dice rolls, rather than their choices, determine success. In such a game, if my character is good at finding traps and the DM isn't into telegraphing, I'm going to just spam rolls at anything that might have a trap and hope I get lucky. In an approach that uses the dice as rarely as possible, the DMG says that, while this approach rewards creativity, no DM is completely neutral, favoring some players or approaches or directions for the game. Also, the game can slow down if the DM is hung up on the players describing the "One True Solution" to the challenge to the exclusion of all others. If I'm in a game like this, I'm going to be bored because I'm actually pretty bad at puzzles and coming up with the one solution that works to overcome the challenge is going to take me a long time (if I ever succeed at all).

Here's the thing though: I (and others, no doubt) practice the "middle path." But those who are debating me (or us, as the case may be) are asserting that we're trying to ignore the dice (as the DMG puts it). You can see it in the assertions they make ("gaming the DM," "magic words," etc.) and the examples they use. Which is not true, from the DM's perspective. While the players should be trying to avoid rolling as much as possible (since the d20 is so unreliable), the DM is balancing out the dice and calls for automatic success over time, chiefly because there are factors in the environment that cannot be controlled by the PCs and that introduce uncertainty as to the outcome of a task and a meaningful consequence of failure - which is when we call for a roll.

All that to say, what you're seeing in this thread are strawman arguments and statements of preference against approaches that myself and others do not employ. So one wonders what they're arguing about at all.
 

Sadras

Explorer
Here's the thing though: I (and others, no doubt) practice the "middle path." But those who are debating me (or us, as the case may be) are asserting that we're trying to ignore the dice (as the DMG puts it). You can see it in the assertions they make ("gaming the DM," "magic words," etc.) and the examples they use. Which is not true, from the DM's perspective. While the players should be trying to avoid rolling as much as possible (since the d20 is so unreliable), the DM is balancing out the dice and calls for automatic success over time, chiefly because there are factors in the environment that cannot be controlled by the PCs and that introduce uncertainty as to the outcome of a task and a meaningful consequence of failure - which is when we call for a roll.

All that to say, what you're seeing in this thread are strawman arguments and statements of preference against approaches that myself and others do not employ. So one wonders what they're arguing about at all.
Agree.

Many argue from a point of "this happened to me", "bad DMs" and the like, but I usually take this with a pinch of salt for many of these stories are rooted in history and relate to when we were young and didn't know any better. Ofcourse exceptions exist (and I'm not here to discuss those)! Many of us here are 35+, we have outgrown (hopefully) the tyrannical DMing-shtick a long time ago. Online forums such as this and others, as well as podcasts and live youtube-games have helped train/mold a generation of players that previously didn't have this opportunity to share experiences and learn new techniques.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
You guys are still talking about this? It's still 15.
Ah, you’re new around here :) This is a seasonable phenomenon, each year, in the Spring (for us in the north) the birds start to sing, the flowers start to bud and Enworld has the traditional player approach vs PC ability debate. It eventually peters out, and we’re almost there. But in summer we switch to the “high-level play is broken battle royale” :D
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
The point is that it made sense to the story for there to be a trap but it's not a critical part of the story. I'm also rewarding the rogue for investing in skills. It's fast and simple so we can focus on the interesting parts of the story. If the player (and the group) have fun going into detail, we have fun with it. If they just want to roll dice we just roll dice.
Fair enough. Maybe our only point of difference is that I'll just tell the rogue he finds a trap (because he's good at it) but you'll make him roll. I probably wouldn't actually put the trap there in that case, but whatever.

Sometimes a trapped door is just a trapped door, sometimes a lock is just a lock. You come across a chest in some random location. Unless there's label on it saying "I'm trapped, please remove hinges first" I have no idea what you do. Since you never give real world details other than vague "hints and clues", we can only guess.
Yeah, I don't think you're understanding how this thing about hints and signaling works. The above is not it, anyway. No worries.

As far as "what's the point", what's the point of:
Player: "I attack the orc and get an 18"
DM: "You hit"
Player: "I do 8 points of damage"
And look how many people complain endlessly that the fighter is too boring because he doesn't have enough special abilities. I suspect that some of those people are the same people that think the game is played by looking at their character sheet and choosing abilities/actions/skills, not describing what they want to do. But whatever.

I save detailed interactions to parts of the game that are engaging and fun.
Me, too! And if they're not engaging and fun I try not to waste time on them. Like you said, table time is precious.
(Honestly it can be hard to re-train some players to understand they can stop searching for secret doors and detecting traps on every 5' square in the game.)

I don't expect players to remember "hints" I've dropped about every door in the entire world. How would that even work?
If you're genuinely asking:
1) You don't drop hints about "every door in the entire world": most of them are totally uninteresting.
2) The hints are interesting and significant so they either stick in their minds, or can be recalled when needed.
3) There's something about the special door that tells them they should stop and think.
4) Normal humans put 2+2 together.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Agree.

Many argue from a point of "this happened to me", "bad DMs" and the like, but I usually take this with a pinch of salt for many of these stories are rooted in history and relate to when we were young and didn't know any better. Ofcourse exceptions exist (and I'm not here to discuss those)! Many of us here are 35+, we have outgrown (hopefully) the tyrannical DMing-shtick a long time ago. Online forums such as this and others, as well as podcasts and live youtube-games have helped train/mold a generation of players that previously didn't have this opportunity to share experiences and learn new techniques.
certainly i would agree that we have generatioal differences at play in some cases but i would like to point out.

As far as i can see, everyone here is proposing methods of play and describing methods of play which all, everyone, represent The Middle Path as presented in the DMG. if i missed someone, then i am sorry but it seems to me that myself, oofta, hussaar and everyone else here is on board with the parts defined in The Middle Path a d describe using them.

Balancing the use of dice against deciding whether or not a task succeeds - check.
Encouraging players to strike a balance between relying on bonuses and immersive efforts - check.
GM can decide auto-success - yup (auto-fail too but that wasntl called out in the rule)
Good/bad plan - advantage or disad or otherwise influence outcome - check.


I have not seen anybody here posting any resolutions used in play that do not fit this model at all.

So, to me, this is not about "Are we using Middle path or not" but where we are deciding to place that "balance" between the two methods in actual play.

For my games it tends to work like this...

Balancing the use of dice against deciding whether or not a task succeeds - check.
Outside of the obviously succeeding and failing cases like tie-your-shoes and jump to the moon, i use the auto-success rules in the DMG which let proficient character without disadvantage succeed automatically at easy or below. i also use the PHB defined "failure" to allow partial success with setback frequently to enable a middle ground between pass-fail. I will use passive checks to represent the long-term efforts and actually have a house rule for extended checks where skill should matter. In short, it is frewquent that the die roll is used as much for narrative determination as it is for just simple success-fail. "Your jump across the extra distance did not go as well as you had wished and you fell short, catching yourself on a ledge some 50' down on the cliff face on the other side. So, you did not fall into the pit and you are across but you took a little damage and now have to climb up a ways to get to the ledge."


Encouraging players to strike a balance between relying on bonuses and immersive efforts - check.

Yup. Absolutely. Immersive and attentive tends to give you a lot more to work with, more ties to others you can call on, tons of opportuinties. When times for uncertainties come up, these will often lead to advantage or disadvantage. Did you interact with the shopkeeper, treat them well, or not, etc? these will matter when it comes time to talking them and others who know them into taking chances at your behest.

GM can decide auto-success - yup (auto-fail too but that wasnt called out in the rule)

Covered in the first bullet but yep. matter of fact, as i listed above i use the DMG rule for it to help show the benefit of proficiency as more than just a bonus.

Good/bad plan - advantage or disad or otherwise influence outcome - check.

of course. the list for advantage and disadvantage broad cases in the DMG is a good solid start and it focuses on "actions" and "plan" and "circumstances" - creating a pretty strong balance between those elements and the mechanics.

Sometimes, it almost feels like some folks want to claim "the middle path" as "their way" and even somehow include the rules that follow under using Ability Score (major header) as a subset of TMP.

But, from what i can see, almost everybody here is choosing a TMP option, just with sometimes widely varying ideas of where that balance point mentioned multiple times can be.

To me, my way of thinking, the more i show my players that its me going to decide pass-fail for cases that matter and not their character stats c- both driven by their choices, especially if it is only for some stats for some characters more than for others, the less enjoyment we get in a game where very detailed specifics are chosen and "purchased" etc. if i am going to play a game where the "balance point" puts it at the point where " if we use the character traits, its worse for you" on any strategic sense, that game is gonna be a lot smaller and a lot less detailed and much more narrative based and such - like say ScreenTime or others.
 

Sadras

Explorer
certainly i would agree that we have generatioal differences at play in some cases but i would like to point out.

As far as i can see, everyone here is proposing methods of play and describing methods of play which all, everyone, represent The Middle Path as presented in the DMG. if i missed someone, then i am sorry but it seems to me that myself, oofta, hussaar and everyone else here is on board with the parts defined in The Middle Path a d describe using them.

Balancing the use of dice against deciding whether or not a task succeeds - check.
Encouraging players to strike a balance between relying on bonuses and immersive efforts - check.
GM can decide auto-success - yup (auto-fail too but that wasntl called out in the rule)
Good/bad plan - advantage or disad or otherwise influence outcome - check.


I have not seen anybody here posting any resolutions used in play that do not fit this model at all.

So, to me, this is not about "Are we using Middle path or not" but where we are deciding to place that "balance" between the two methods in actual play.
You won't find any argument from me...but extreme examples have been used by either side at some point in this thread, despite this middle path utopia we are all in agreement of B-)
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
You won't find any argument from me...but extreme examples have been used by either side at some point in this thread, despite this middle path utopia we are all in agreement of B-)
Yet another reason I don't like examples in forum threads.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
You won't find any argument from me...but extreme examples have been used by either side at some point in this thread, despite this middle path utopia we are all in agreement of B-)
Well, folks have been divided over "balance", often rather strongly, and what it is since before the word existed, so thats not surprising at all.

Exactly. For my money the idea of trying to put labels on either side in a debate - be it "roleplayers" or rollplayers", "metagamer vs immersive", "We choose the middle path" vs "the other paths" etc etc etc usually serves to do little than to divide and dismiss.

What matters much more than the label we drape ourselves in or plaster onto others is what happens in play and how the folks involve enjoy it or not. Actual results and outcomes so far outweigh the labels and theory that to me its almost at best pointless and usually counter-productive to grab for the label gun at every opportunity or option.

EDIT TO ADD: But on a related note, thats where the DMG presentation of the three paths IMo fails to be very useful at all. It provides two rather extreme examples and one rather broad undefined one with none of them having any rules suggestions or guidance within them.

i think it would have been better to define three different paths, all equally playable - a heavy medium and light option for "checks" with some actual guidance for which of the options and a package of options to include in them.

maybe check light uses the auto-success variants, the success at cost and uses the ability score/background proficiencies instead of the normal with optional rules for take-10 on the fly etc. That gives players and Gm a lot of pre-fab understood ways to see "dont need no roll here" and sets a higher bar for when a check is called for and even swaps the power of the success at setback to the player to a large degree.

meanwhile check heavy forbids passive checks and throwqs out the auto-success rules etc.

and middle path uses a mixture of them.

They then encourage you to pick and choose not just between the packages presented but the various parts to get to the campaign style you want between "checks" and "no checks".

That would have been useful. It would have required little more than tagging many of the "role of the dice" options with a HML tag for which ones of the three styles they felt it was appropriate for.

that would be what i call a guide's job, not just a list of options but more.

but thats likely me.
 
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