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

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Hence my advice, “don’t worry about it.” We DMs have a way of working ourselves and each other into a frenzy over things that don’t actually matter nearly as much as we think they do when the dice actually hit the table. I used to think of metagaming as the cardinal sin of RPGs, the root of all roleplaying evil. In my defense, this was pretty much treated as common knowledge in the 3.5 and 4e eras that I was brought up in, and I never thought to question it. But then a funny thing happened during the 5e playtest. A lot of high-profile DMs started making the bold public assertion that metagaming wasn’t a big deal. I was skeptical at first, but eventually I decided to try letting go of my anxieties about metagaming. And not only did the game survive, it improved.
Right. DMs are famous for creating their own problems, then working hard to come up with solutions to the problems they've created. The game gets all wobbly and complicated and they often turn to the social contract to fix those problems (e.g. "no metagaming" or "play your ability scores").

A better solution, in my view, is to not create those problems in the first place.
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
Hence my advice, “don’t worry about it.” We DMs have a way of working ourselves and each other into a frenzy over things that don’t actually matter nearly as much as we think they do when the dice actually hit the table. I used to think of metagaming as the cardinal sin of RPGs, the root of all roleplaying evil. In my defense, this was pretty much treated as common knowledge in the 3.5 and 4e eras that I was brought up in, and I never thought to question it. But then a funny thing happened during the 5e playtest. A lot of high-profile DMs started making the bold public assertion that metagaming wasn’t a big deal. I was skeptical at first, but eventually I decided to try letting go of my anxieties about metagaming. And not only did the game survive, it improved.
What’s a high profile DM?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
What’s a high profile DM?
Ya know. A DM who posts stuff about D&D on the internet, and people actually read/listen to. And since the 5e playtest was happening, at the time, that meant like... all the WotC forum regulars. My taste in RPGs was very much still developing, and I had only just started to dip my toe into DMing. You and Iserith were certainly both influential on my developing DMing style. I recall Mellored being someone I enjoyed reading. And there were a fair number of D&D blogs at the time, most of which I don’t remember, but the Angry GM was among those I was reading at the time.

Nowadays with the advent of streaming games and D&D advice YouTube, you’ve got folks like Matt Mercer, Chris Perkins, Griffin McElroy, Jim Davis, the Nerdarchy folks, etc.
 
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Bawylie

A very OK person
Ya know. A DM who posts stuff about D&D on the internet, and people actually read/listen to. And since the 5e playtest was happening, at the time, that meant like... all the WotC forum regulars. My taste in RPGs was very much still developing, and I had only just started to dip my toe into DMing. You and Iserith were certainly both influential on my developing DMing style. I recall Mellored being someone I enjoyed reading. And there were a fair number of D&D blogs at the time, most of which I don’t remember, but the Angry GM was among those I was reading at the time.

Nowadays with the advent of streaming games and D&D advice YouTube, you’ve got folks like Matt Mercer, Chris Perkins, Griffin McElroy, Jim Davis, the Nerdarchy folks, etc.
Alright. I only recognize a few of those names and I don’t watch the streams. But I suppose the streaming draws the most eyes.
 

pemerton

Legend
once the fighter is on the spot I don't like a pre-ordained "you must use a social skill now." Let the fighter propose something. "Let me fight your champion!" "I'll pull out that gem-encrusted goblet and offer it to the king as a gift of my esteem." Whatever.
Sure. I thought I gave some examples of my own along these lines.

But in the approach I take (which, if I was running 5e, I would bring to bear - because in this particular respect I don't see 5e as that different from 4e), these would still require a check. But the DC required to persuade a Troll King to allow a fight between fighter and champion might well be lower than the DC to persuade a Troll King to let the PC go.

Certainly the players deciding to seek out the troll king (somewhat) changes the dynamic, as opposed to, for example, them being captured and then dragged in front of the troll king.
To me, this raises the question of how much should failure snowball? This is very system dependent, but my overall take is that if the players are unsuccessful and so their PCs are captured by the Troll King, then they can expect to have to make some suboptimal moves. A bit like when a fight goes bad and the wizard has to start declaring melee attacks.

At some point in this rambling conversation it was brought up that players who would worry about failing a roll and making a situation worse would simply choose not to roll. They would remain neutral as a counter to the consequences of failure.

So, it was proposed, that there should not only be consequences for failure, but consequences for doing nothing. So, exactly what I said. Consequence for failing and consequence for doing nothing.
That was me, not [MENTION=6779196]Charlaquin[/MENTION].

As per a post I made not too long ago days-wise but maybe 100+ posts upthread, there are different approaches possible and this thread is bringing out some of those differences. Just to mention some of the posters I've interacted with:

The approach I'm describing (which I use in 4e and which I think could be ported to 5e) has some similiarities to [MENTION=6919838]5ekyu[/MENTION]'s, but is not identical (as can be seen in the discussion of the Audience With the Troll King scenario). [MENTION=16814]Ovinomancer[/MENTION] also does some things similar to me - eg in some recent posts mentions the idea of keeping up the pressure on the players via their PCs - but not identically I don't think.

I also have some similiarites to [MENTION=6801328]Elfcrusher[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6779196]Charlaquin[/MENTION] - eg regarding the fictional specification of the declared action as very important - but some differences - eg I call for more checks than they do (see my quote upthread from Luke Crane for the reasons why).

I have had far too many players who are so scared of failing and making things worse for the party that instead they opt to do nothing.

So, when I see people saying that by adding more consequences for failing a roll than simply defaulting to the status quo, and that makes their players more eager to act, that goes against everything I have seen with new players. The more consequences there are, the more likely they are to withdraw.

<snip>

Failing forward is great, I love that style. But that was not the style I was addressing. This style seems more like "checks shouldn't be rolled unless failure hurts" and that is why I said the fighter puts there foot in their mouth. Under that style, as I understand it, it cannot be that the fighter simply fails to persuade the Troll King. It must be that the fighter makes the situation worse by failing to persuade the Troll King. Losing him as an ally, turning him into an enemy, accidentally getting embroiled in an honor duel, something to make the situation worse than it was before the fighter took the check.
I don't know for sure what you mean by "fail forward" - it's a term that has become somewhat bowdlerised. When I use it I mean it in the sense that Jonathan Tweet uses it (in both 13th Age and the foreword to the 20th Anniversary edition of Over the Edge - I think the wording is identical, or close to, in both sources). Here's the 13th Age quote (p 42):

A simple but powerful improvement you can make to your game is to redefine failure as “things go wrong” instead of “the PC isn’t good enough.” Ron Edwards, Luke Crane, and other indie RPG designers have championed this idea, and they’re exactly right. You can call it “fail forward” or “no whiffing.” . . .

A more constructive way to interpret failure is as a near-success or event that happens to carry unwanted consequences or side effects. The character probably still fails to achieve the desired goal, but that’s because something happens on the way to the goal rather than because nothing happens.​

And I posted a quote from Luke Crane's BW rulebook on failure and consequences upthread. So what I am talking about is exactly "fail forward". And losing the Troll King as an ally, or getting embroiled in an honour duel, would be paradigm examples.

If you've got players turtling because of the fear of failure then to me that's a sign that you're not using fail forward at all. (Or else it's a sign that they don't want to play the game - I don't know how common this is, but I have had strange experiences in club games where there are players there who clearly don't want to be playing.)

For the character, of course having to fight an honour duel is a bad thing. But for the player, that's exactly what playing the game looks like, isn't it? And fighting the honour duel with the Troll King's champion is more interesting than fighting Random Monster #101. In more general terms, unless the player is planning to finish playing the game, having things get worse in the fiction doesn't stop the game being exciting and engaging.

I HATE when the result of the die roll determines what the character does or says. It’s MY character, I should be the one to decide what they do or say, not the dice. If at any point the result of the roll overrides my agency as a player, the dice are overstepping their role, in my opinion. Now, I’m well aware that others feel differently, and that’s fine. Some people find, the idea that the 8-Charisma barbarian could give a stirring speech without having to roll really high just as atrocious as I find the idea that “your character didn’t really say that, you didn’t roll well enough.” And there’s really no reconciling such diametrically opposed playstyles.
I think I draw the boundary here a bit differently from you - for instance, I regard "You reach for the handhold but miss, and slide down a few feet before catching yourself on a ledge" as a permissible narration of a failed check made to resolve a climb. And upthread I gave some other examples, like narrating a missed attack as losing one's footing in muddy ground or narrating being hit as being successfully feinted by the opponent. In the example of wiping the poison of a doorknob, I would regard You must be more tired than you think you are - you missed a spot as acceptable.

But I also think that this brings us back to the narration of failure. There are many ways to narrate a failed check made to influence a NPC by way of a rousing speech that don't require narrating that the character didn't speak well.

that's what I saw a lot of people doing in D&D 3.Xe and D&D 4e, particularly the latter. Mechanics first, fiction second. The mechanics were always "right," and you had to figure out how to make that make sense in context. "I diplomacy check that guy... oops, natty 1. I guess I insulted his mother."
And for what it's worth, I think this approach has no more support from the 4e DMG than from the 5e rules. In fact it directly contradicts what is said in the 4e DMG discussion of how to frame and adjudicate checks in a skill challenge, which - to borrow a phrase from a different game - emphasises that such checks begin and end with the fiction.

the game got way better when I stopped trying to maintain a hardline division between player knowledge and character knowledge and police what characters “would do” or “wouldn’t do.”
Deciding what the character would or wouldn't do is something I leave up to the player. It also depends a bit on system: to give an example, I've been playing quite a bit of Classic Traveller recently, and I think there is an expectation in that system that a player's play of his/her PC will, to some extent, represent the INT stat of the character.

To elaborate: in our 4e game the fact that most of the PCs had relatively low INT compared to the rest of their stats only really came into play when knowledge-type checks were called for. But in our Traveller game players look to the INT of a PC to get a sense of what that character ought to be doing - in particular, there have been a couple of ex-military PCs with low INT but high Education who have been played as "everything they know they learned from the manuals"-types.

Why the difference? 4e has a very structured system that "directs" the player into tactically and mechanically sound choices for his/her PC (the character's "powers", the character's strong skills, etc). And nothing about it suggests that the rules are a "model" of the PC: they're clearly a set of parameters for underpinning and then adjudicating action declrations. We learn who a PC is from the outcomes of those action declarations in the fiction. The fighter will present, in the fiction, as a physically rather than intellectually oriented character simply in virtue of what the player is led to do with the character in virtue of those established parameters. There's no need, in addition, to "roleplay" the character's stats.

Traveller, on the other hand, is quite different. The PC build process is clearly a model of the PC's life so far. The numbers on the PC sheet are a model of the character: they're not a set of "moves" or parameters for declaring actions. No one had to direct or even suggest that the low-INT chacracter's aren't that bright: the players could see this as implicit in the way the system presents the PC as a tool for play. Similarly it wasn't at all controversial that when we were wondering which character might be the right one to wriggle through the slit-window of a gun emplacement, it was the one with high DEX but low STR and END. Whereas in 4e we wouldn't ask about stats: any player could try to have his/her PC do it, making an Acrobatics check to see how it went.

I used to think of metagaming as the cardinal sin of RPGs, the root of all roleplaying evil. In my defense, this was pretty much treated as common knowledge in the 3.5 and 4e eras that I was brought up in
This caught me by surprise. Or maybe I've missed something about who's criticisng what? Anyway, what surprised me was that I saw lots of criticism directed at 4e on the basis that it encourages and sometimes depends upon "metagaming". From my point of view, I saw this aspect of 4e reflecting D&D catching up with changes in game design that had been taking place since the second half of the 90s.
 

Hussar

Legend
I bet if you set your forum settings to show more posts per page, it will increase my rules-mentions to 6 in one page which will make me look even more like a monster.



From my perspective, it looks more like I point to rules to show why I do what I do, not to show why you're "wrong." Because I don't think you're wrong. You just play differently.
Heh. Ok, fair enough. I over reacted. But, you have to understand what this looks like from my side of the screen.
"We play this way..."

"Well, I play this way because that's what the rules of the game says"

"Yes, we get that but, we don't like that way, so we don't play that way."

"Well, that's what the rules say and I am following the rules of the game.

"But, we don't really care what the rules of the game says, our way works for us."

"I'm only following the rules of the game. If you would just follow the rules of the game, it would work so much better for you."

On and on and on. While I realize you are just stating why you play the way you do, and that's fair, repeating it so often does look very much like an appeal to authority. On my good days, I just ignore it. On my bad days, well, it just flies up my left nostril. :p

Yeah, insulting the king doesn’t go over well no matter what your charisma is.

Let’s take 2 adventurers. One with Cha 20 and Persuasion and one with Cha 10. Both wish to convince the king to lend them a vanguard for use in a dance competition in the slums. The king feels this is a terrible use of trained soldiers. Both adventurers decide they will attempt to persuade the king to lend the vanguard by convincing him it will show a friendlier side of the guard to the people. The king sort of cares about his soldiers’ rep but not much.

As DM, I judge this to be a difficult task. The goal is clear - get the king to lend the vanguard. The approach is clear - try to convince him of the reputation benefits. The DC is clear - 20 for a hard task.

The adventurer with 20 Cha and Persuasion needs to hit a 12. The adventurer with 10 Cha needs to hit a 20.

It’s way more likely our silver-tongued ally will succeed than our more blunt ally. But the DC is a 20 regardless. What’s more, it doesn’t matter how good of an explanation either Player gives. No matter how many eloquent words the player of the blunt character uses, the DC is still 20 for this particular approach to this particular goal. And no matter how much of a mumble-mouth our player of the Cha 20 character is, they’ll still have a +8 to the roll.

Pretty neat, eh? The scenario challenges the players. The difficulty of the task challenges the characters.
See, to me, this is a perfect example of why I don't play this way. If, as [MENTION=6776133]Bawylie[/MENTION] says, " it doesn’t matter how good of an explanation either Player gives", then why am I giving any explanation at all? If the DC is static, then what's the point? I can be as silver tongued or as tongue tied or just say, "I persuade the King, Persuasion X" and the end result is identical. Me, I would much, much rather that the player narrates the results than the lead up to the roll. The lead up may be contradicted by the roll. The results won't be.

Now, OTOH, if, as say, [MENTION=6801328]Elfcrusher[/MENTION] says, we are playing to the player and not the character, then what I say absolutely matters. If I can say it right, I won't even have to make a check, or, depending on how well I do it, my DC will be reduced (which effectively grants me bonuses on my die roll). Again, and I think I stated this way, way back in the early pages of this thread, it makes me, the DM, too visible as now I'm judging performances, which I don't want to do.

So, I'd rather be like [MENTION=6674266]Ba[/MENTION]ywilie where it doesn't matter what explanation the player gives and then take it a step further and skip the explanation (which doesn't matter) and go right to the result, which does matter.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Sure. I thought I gave some examples of my own along these lines.

But in the approach I take (which, if I was running 5e, I would bring to bear - because in this particular respect I don't see 5e as that different from 4e), these would still require a check. But the DC required to persuade a Troll King to allow a fight between fighter and champion might well be lower than the DC to persuade a Troll King to let the PC go.

To me, this raises the question of how much should failure snowball? This is very system dependent, but my overall take is that if the players are unsuccessful and so their PCs are captured by the Troll King, then they can expect to have to make some suboptimal moves. A bit like when a fight goes bad and the wizard has to start declaring melee attacks.

That was me, not [MENTION=6779196]Charlaquin[/MENTION].

As per a post I made not too long ago days-wise but maybe 100+ posts upthread, there are different approaches possible and this thread is bringing out some of those differences. Just to mention some of the posters I've interacted with:

The approach I'm describing (which I use in 4e and which I think could be ported to 5e) has some similiarities to [MENTION=6919838]5ekyu[/MENTION]'s, but is not identical (as can be seen in the discussion of the Audience With the Troll King scenario). [MENTION=16814]Ovinomancer[/MENTION] also does some things similar to me - eg in some recent posts mentions the idea of keeping up the pressure on the players via their PCs - but not identically I don't think.

I also have some similiarites to [MENTION=6801328]Elfcrusher[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6779196]Charlaquin[/MENTION] - eg regarding the fictional specification of the declared action as very important - but some differences - eg I call for more checks than they do (see my quote upthread from Luke Crane for the reasons why).

I don't know for sure what you mean by "fail forward" - it's a term that has become somewhat bowdlerised. When I use it I mean it in the sense that Jonathan Tweet uses it (in both 13th Age and the foreword to the 20th Anniversary edition of Over the Edge - I think the wording is identical, or close to, in both sources). Here's the 13th Age quote (p 42):

A simple but powerful improvement you can make to your game is to redefine failure as “things go wrong” instead of “the PC isn’t good enough.” Ron Edwards, Luke Crane, and other indie RPG designers have championed this idea, and they’re exactly right. You can call it “fail forward” or “no whiffing.” . . .

A more constructive way to interpret failure is as a near-success or event that happens to carry unwanted consequences or side effects. The character probably still fails to achieve the desired goal, but that’s because something happens on the way to the goal rather than because nothing happens.​

And I posted a quote from Luke Crane's BW rulebook on failure and consequences upthread. So what I am talking about is exactly "fail forward". And losing the Troll King as an ally, or getting embroiled in an honour duel, would be paradigm examples.

If you've got players turtling because of the fear of failure then to me that's a sign that you're not using fail forward at all. (Or else it's a sign that they don't want to play the game - I don't know how common this is, but I have had strange experiences in club games where there are players there who clearly don't want to be playing.)

For the character, of course having to fight an honour duel is a bad thing. But for the player, that's exactly what playing the game looks like, isn't it? And fighting the honour duel with the Troll King's champion is more interesting than fighting Random Monster #101. In more general terms, unless the player is planning to finish playing the game, having things get worse in the fiction doesn't stop the game being exciting and engaging.

I think I draw the boundary here a bit differently from you - for instance, I regard "You reach for the handhold but miss, and slide down a few feet before catching yourself on a ledge" as a permissible narration of a failed check made to resolve a climb. And upthread I gave some other examples, like narrating a missed attack as losing one's footing in muddy ground or narrating being hit as being successfully feinted by the opponent. In the example of wiping the poison of a doorknob, I would regard You must be more tired than you think you are - you missed a spot as acceptable.

But I also think that this brings us back to the narration of failure. There are many ways to narrate a failed check made to influence a NPC by way of a rousing speech that don't require narrating that the character didn't speak well.

And for what it's worth, I think this approach has no more support from the 4e DMG than from the 5e rules. In fact it directly contradicts what is said in the 4e DMG discussion of how to frame and adjudicate checks in a skill challenge, which - to borrow a phrase from a different game - emphasises that such checks begin and end with the fiction.

Deciding what the character would or wouldn't do is something I leave up to the player. It also depends a bit on system: to give an example, I've been playing quite a bit of Classic Traveller recently, and I think there is an expectation in that system that a player's play of his/her PC will, to some extent, represent the INT stat of the character.

To elaborate: in our 4e game the fact that most of the PCs had relatively low INT compared to the rest of their stats only really came into play when knowledge-type checks were called for. But in our Traveller game players look to the INT of a PC to get a sense of what that character ought to be doing - in particular, there have been a couple of ex-military PCs with low INT but high Education who have been played as "everything they know they learned from the manuals"-types.

Why the difference? 4e has a very structured system that "directs" the player into tactically and mechanically sound choices for his/her PC (the character's "powers", the character's strong skills, etc). And nothing about it suggests that the rules are a "model" of the PC: they're clearly a set of parameters for underpinning and then adjudicating action declrations. We learn who a PC is from the outcomes of those action declarations in the fiction. The fighter will present, in the fiction, as a physically rather than intellectually oriented character simply in virtue of what the player is led to do with the character in virtue of those established parameters. There's no need, in addition, to "roleplay" the character's stats.

Traveller, on the other hand, is quite different. The PC build process is clearly a model of the PC's life so far. The numbers on the PC sheet are a model of the character: they're not a set of "moves" or parameters for declaring actions. No one had to direct or even suggest that the low-INT chacracter's aren't that bright: the players could see this as implicit in the way the system presents the PC as a tool for play. Similarly it wasn't at all controversial that when we were wondering which character might be the right one to wriggle through the slit-window of a gun emplacement, it was the one with high DEX but low STR and END. Whereas in 4e we wouldn't ask about stats: any player could try to have his/her PC do it, making an Acrobatics check to see how it went.

This caught me by surprise. Or maybe I've missed something about who's criticisng what? Anyway, what surprised me was that I saw lots of criticism directed at 4e on the basis that it encourages and sometimes depends upon "metagaming". From my point of view, I saw this aspect of 4e reflecting D&D catching up with changes in game design that had been taking place since the second half of the 90s.
"If you've got players turtling because of the fear of failure then to me that's a sign that you're not using fail forward at all. "

Indeed. One of the warm fuzzy moments I get as a GM is when one of my players says something like "well, this may not work but hrll, I know it will be fun" because they have seen that in my games various levels of fail forward and progress with setback etc etc show that they dont need to be afraid of daring and bold - just stupid and even then really grossly stupid.

There was a thread recently- might have been this one but do many blur together - where someone said something like "a player willing to risk the five is z sign the gm is not enforcing consequences for failure" and I felt (likely commented) that consequences dont have to be punishments to the point that they deter or scare off actions. They can be serious, problematic and yet entertaining and meaningful, well worth the risk.

Heck, my best treatment of "pc death" in rpgs involved a whole lot of changes, scenes, transformative events etc but all resulted in the PC back alive. Lots of fun for everyone.

As I often state, in RPGs it seems to me that the "risk" (and "stakes" tho I hate driving near thst term anymore) should be at its core "control" (in whole or in part) not "fun".

In my experience, when that is true, fear of failure goes way way down because "not going is often the lowest form of "surrender control" and you know that it's not uncommon for try and fail to give you partial control when "some and setback" hits (not just randomly.)
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Heh. Ok, fair enough. I over reacted. But, you have to understand what this looks like from my side of the screen.
"We play this way..."

"Well, I play this way because that's what the rules of the game says"

"Yes, we get that but, we don't like that way, so we don't play that way."

"Well, that's what the rules say and I am following the rules of the game.

"But, we don't really care what the rules of the game says, our way works for us."

"I'm only following the rules of the game. If you would just follow the rules of the game, it would work so much better for you."

On and on and on. While I realize you are just stating why you play the way you do, and that's fair, repeating it so often does look very much like an appeal to authority. On my good days, I just ignore it. On my bad days, well, it just flies up my left nostril.



See, to me, this is a perfect example of why I don't play this way. If, as [MENTION=6776133]Bawylie[/MENTION] says, " it doesn’t matter how good of an explanation either Player gives", then why am I giving any explanation at all? If the DC is static, then what's the point? I can be as silver tongued or as tongue tied or just say, "I persuade the King, Persuasion X" and the end result is identical. Me, I would much, much rather that the player narrates the results than the lead up to the roll. The lead up may be contradicted by the roll. The results won't be.

Now, OTOH, if, as say, [MENTION=6801328]Elfcrusher[/MENTION] says, we are playing to the player and not the character, then what I say absolutely matters. If I can say it right, I won't even have to make a check, or, depending on how well I do it, my DC will be reduced (which effectively grants me bonuses on my die roll). Again, and I think I stated this way, way back in the early pages of this thread, it makes me, the DM, too visible as now I'm judging performances, which I don't want to do.

So, I'd rather be like [MENTION=6674266]Ba[/MENTION]ywilie where it doesn't matter what explanation the player gives and then take it a step further and skip the explanation (which doesn't matter) and go right to the result, which does matter.
I will add to this the part which was (I think left out for brevity).

The elements of what was said may result in advantage or disadvantage. The DC remains static, but if the player decides to include factors not related to themselves that make it more (or less) likely to work, then hey, blame, they get advantage, odds of success shift but that who "stats I as player chose" still plays a role.

So, is there a bit of lore they found that helps make the case?
Is there a tie-in with their past history that can be leveraged?
Do they already have the troll king's daughter in their corner hrlping?
Do they say "hey, dont decide yet. you got that fighting pit, why not you toss in one of your finest and let me get a workout while you chew it over?"

Etc etc etc.

That kind of thing to me is the sweet spot (imo) of the middle ground. Where for challenges that matter, player choices can influence greatly the chances of success (advantage, disadvantage, tactics, strategy, resources) but it still comes back to how well does the character do as resolved by a "check vs stats" (may or may not involve roll - by mostly pre-defined consistent auto-up/down criteria.)

Essentially, in terms of challenges that matter, the number of auto-win choices that dont refer back to character stats is practically nil.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
We
So what is the genius part of this character?

It was a thread from a couple of years ago. I described a warlock who was brilliant, but at key moments (specifically, when called upon to make Int checks or saving throws) she often hid her genius from her companions.

Some people howled and screamed and called this cheating; others thought it was totally fine. Revealed a big divide.

Bringing this back on topic, it seems like a bunch of people only have one conception of what 8 Cha means. Maybe it’s a charming, eloquent character with a hot temper. Whenever she rolls low it means she can’t help herself and lashes out at the person she is talking to.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
We​

It was a thread from a couple of years ago. I described a warlock who was brilliant, but at key moments (specifically, when called upon to make Int checks or saving throws) she often hid her genius from her companions.

Some people howled and screamed and called this cheating; others thought it was totally fine. Revealed a big divide.

Bringing this back on topic, it seems like a bunch of people only have one conception of what 8 Cha means. Maybe it’s a charming, eloquent character with a hot temper. Whenever she rolls low it means she can’t help herself and lashes out at the person she is talking to.
Whereas I think someone with an 8 charisma may think they're charming but really come off as a slime ball.

download (1).jpg

But that's just how I would picture it. :)
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
And my motto remains:

Play the character you brought to the table, not yourself.
I agree here - and will expand on that thought.

Why create a character with flaws and a low ability score or two if you are not going to roleplay those at the table? There's a good deal of fun to be had there - don't miss out on it because you are trying to "win"! Frankly, it will backfire when, for example, the low CHA barbarian describes an approach and goal to a social interaction that the DM deems worthy of a roll. Well... actually there's some fun to be had there, too, since the player may be playing a barb who is somewhat delusional about their social skills. Anyway... that brings me to a related point...

It's not up to the DM to say "your character wouldn't do that". It's not up to the DM to police how the player plays their character at all. The DM has enough to do describing the environment and adjudicate actions according to the rules (of the table). The players are in charge of how their PCs think and act.

I have zero interest in challenging the player. Nor, as a player am I interested in the DM challenging me rather than my character.
IMO, it's a game that should be challenging - and entertaining - to the players (and DM). The PCs are the players' avatars in the campaign world that they use to overcome said challenges. As a DM, I am challenging the players, not keeping track of ability scores (other than Passive Perception/Investigation/Insight) and builds and such in en effort to "challenge the character" - there's too much on my plate as is. The players can tell me when one (or more) of their traits/ideals/bonds/flaws or skill proficiencies is pertinent to my adjudication before the dice are rolled - and I then might grant advantage or even inspiration accordingly.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yeah, insulting the king doesn’t go over well no matter what your charisma is.

Let’s take 2 adventurers. One with Cha 20 and Persuasion and one with Cha 10. Both wish to convince the king to lend them a vanguard for use in a dance competition in the slums. The king feels this is a terrible use of trained soldiers. Both adventurers decide they will attempt to persuade the king to lend the vanguard by convincing him it will show a friendlier side of the guard to the people. The king sort of cares about his soldiers’ rep but not much.

As DM, I judge this to be a difficult task. The goal is clear - get the king to lend the vanguard. The approach is clear - try to convince him of the reputation benefits. The DC is clear - 20 for a hard task.

The adventurer with 20 Cha and Persuasion needs to hit a 12. The adventurer with 10 Cha needs to hit a 20.

It’s way more likely our silver-tongued ally will succeed than our more blunt ally. But the DC is a 20 regardless. What’s more, it doesn’t matter how good of an explanation either Player gives. No matter how many eloquent words the player of the blunt character uses, the DC is still 20 for this particular approach to this particular goal. And no matter how much of a mumble-mouth our player of the Cha 20 character is, they’ll still have a +8 to the roll.

Pretty neat, eh? The scenario challenges the players. The difficulty of the task challenges the characters.
Couple of things.

One is that I run campaigns with a lot of RP, a lot of back-and-forth. So trying to persuade or convince people happens on a pretty regular basis. I don't want to stop someone from contributing because they run a low charisma character, but if I rely on a straight roll in a lot of times that is the result. This is something I've experienced from both sides of the DM's screen. I'm just not sure there's a good answer. Or at least not for me.

Second (and I think [MENTION=6919838]5ekyu[/MENTION] brought this up) what a person says does matter. If they make a cogent argument, bring up salient points I'll give them advantage or lower the DC. I may also give the player some insight, history or straight intelligence checks to remember things that might be important.

I also don't usually have a predetermined DC in mind. I run a sandbox campaign most of the time, I know who's who and what's going on but the PCs largely drive the story. I may have never foreseen that they'd try diplomacy with the rat king, but they're free to do so. So I'm making up the DC on the fly and I'm simply acknowledging that what the player says will probably affect the DC.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I used to struggle with questions like this a lot. Eventually, I found that the best answer (for me - obviously others will have different experiences) was “don’t worry about it.” Just adjudicate the players’ actions and don’t sweat what the characters “would do” or “wouldn’t do.” Let the players decide that for themselves, and focus on adjudicating those actions as best you can. The game won’t fall apart because the 8-Cha fighter is a smooth talker or the 20-Int Wizard isn’t a genius. And to boot, most players will enjoy the game more. At least that’s been my experience.
I will sometimes give players running high intelligence PCs hints now and then. It really depends on how the player reacts, and I don't do it all the time. It is their character after all.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Whereas I think someone with an 8 charisma may think they're charming but really come off as a slime ball.

View attachment 105979

But that's just how I would picture it. :)
That's a good characterization, too. Somebody like that is NOT tongue-tied and shy, and it should be no surprise that they come up with strategies that involve fast-talking and charm, just like the high charisma individual. But at key moments (read: when the dice get rolled) they fail.

Look, I don't think anybody would have a problem with an 8 Str fighter who was roleplayed as the gallant knight, threatening to smite ne'er-do-wells, and in generally acting like a mighty warrior, because they know that when it really mattered...again, when the dice hit the table...his 8 Str is going to shine through.

Why do so many people have a problem with 8 Cha or 8 Int characters being roleplayed other than stereotypically?

(Now Warlords really are the only contentious issue this thread hasn't touched on.)
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Now, OTOH, if, as say, [MENTION=6801328]Elfcrusher[/MENTION] says, we are playing to the player and not the character, then what I say absolutely matters. If I can say it right, I won't even have to make a check, or, depending on how well I do it, my DC will be reduced (which effectively grants me bonuses on my die roll). Again, and I think I stated this way, way back in the early pages of this thread, it makes me, the DM, too visible as now I'm judging performances, which I don't want to do.
So even though I keep repeatedly saying that the performance doesn't matter, and that it's the content of the idea (the "approach") that counts, not how well it was delivered, you simply don't believe me?

FWIW, you can't challenge the character. The character doesn't exist. You can only challenge the player. Part of resolving the challenge can use the numbers on the character sheet, but that still does not challenge the character.

Now, the player can do their best to pretend to be the character when addressing the challenge, and that's great, but I don't want to get into a game of arbitrating what is good and bad, or valid and invalid, roleplaying.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
So even though I keep repeatedly saying that the performance doesn't matter, and that it's the content of the idea (the "approach") that counts, not how well it was delivered, you simply don't believe me?

FWIW, you can't challenge the character. The character doesn't exist. You can only challenge the player. Part of resolving the challenge can use the numbers on the character sheet, but that still does not challenge the character.

Now, the player can do their best to pretend to be the character when addressing the challenge, and that's great, but I don't want to get into a game of arbitrating what is good and bad, or valid and invalid, roleplaying.
Performance is a loaded word with way too much to be meaningful here.

It can mean "its acting" but it can also mean most any measure of success.

You seem to want to protest it on the "its acting" level, but I know for me and I anpm pretty sure for Hussar its being used in the more quantitative aspect. That's the little dance that seems to have been going on when these issues get discussed.

Many pages back you highlighted an actual play session that you brought up to spotlight the benefits of goal and approach and went thru this long example of escape room like (to me) play where not one PC "stats" even got worth being mentioned. It was all player vs scene as you described it and really carried with it (to me, maybe not others) a sense of it having been played out much the same with totally different PCs. The PCs were irrelevant to the scene.

Pretty sure that is what Hussar was referencing above, not performancing as Shakespearean dialog.

But it's an easy swerve to always try and defend as if that's the claim.

Did the player say it right, as in, include enough ticks to hit "gm declares auto success" score and avoid a reference to character stats at all?

Now, it does seem some want to claim proudly yep, that's how approach works - keep it from getting to referencing stats cuz stats only matter if you dont get high enough on auto-success score. Seems others take it a bit back down, where stats apply even at that auto score stage, but then they may post this big highlight scene to show the differences and never once bring a PC stat in.

To me, and perhaps Hussar as well, when "Jim the player" can get "Jorune the character" an auto-success on a challenge that matters without reference to Jorune's definition within the game world, it makes Jorune irrelevant and all those choices that went into defining Jorune pointless and that is not what we might see as the middle ground.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
repeating it so often does look very much like an appeal to authority.
As you've mentioned me committing this logical fallacy a couple of times, I should mention I don't think it actually applies here. If I make a claim of what is in the rule books, I'm not appealing to an authority. I'm just making a factual claim. If I said that I'm obviously right because I am Iserith, a High Profile DM, then you'd be right. But I haven't, and I'm not comfortable throwing my weight around in this regard, even with all that High Profile DM money coming in.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Performance is a loaded word with way too much to be meaningful here.

It can mean "its acting" but it can also mean most any measure of success.

You seem to want to protest it on the "its acting" level, but I know for me and I anpm pretty sure for Hussar its being used in the more quantitative aspect. That's the little dance that seems to have been going on when these issues get discussed.

Many pages back you highlighted an actual play session that you brought up to spotlight the benefits of goal and approach and went thru this long example of escape room like (to me) play where not one PC "stats" even got worth being mentioned. It was all player vs scene as you described it and really carried with it (to me, maybe not others) a sense of it having been played out much the same with totally different PCs. The PCs were irrelevant to the scene.Pretty sure that is what Hussar was referencing above, not performancing as Shakespearean dialog.

But it's an easy swerve to always try and defend as if that's the claim.

Did the player say it right, as in, include enough ticks to hit "gm declares auto success" score and avoid a reference to character stats at all?

Now, it does seem some want to claim proudly yep, that's how approach works - keep it from getting to referencing stats cuz stats only matter if you dont get high enough on auto-success score. Seems others take it a bit back down, where stats apply even at that auto score stage, but then they may post this big highlight scene to show the differences and never once bring a PC stat in.
You apparently missed my response the first time you leveled this accusation. This thread has grown so long that it's easier to re-type it than go searching for it, but here's the gist:

- I was focusing on the problem solving, not on character differentiation, so didn't try to address that. But since you bring it up:
- The wizard (who took on the task of figuring out the house, while the other characters focused on other stuff) used both Investigation and Arcana in finding the clues I mentioned.
- In the interactions with the "Lady" I mentioned, leading up to the dramatic rescue, other characters used both Wisdom and Charisma based skills, as well as some class and subclass abilities.
- Although the players followed one particular path of breadcrumbs (that I expected, knowing how they were playing their characters) there were some other possible solutions that I had left clues for, and if they had come up with something totally unexpected I would have adapted to that as well.

To me, and perhaps Hussar as well, when "Jim the player" can get "Jorune the character" an auto-success on a challenge that matters without reference to Jorune's definition within the game world, it makes Jorune irrelevant and all those choices that went into defining Jorune pointless and that is not what we might see as the middle ground.
You seem to have this picture in your head of us/me only ever resolving things by players using their own mental faculties.

Then again, I have a picture in my head of your players only ever resolving things by rolling dice, without ever doing any thinking for themselves.

Probably both images are wrong.

But I will say that I care about "Jorune the character" far more in terms of the personality and quirks that the player has created, than I do about the numbers written on a character sheet. And maybe that's the biggest difference between the way the two factions see the game.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
See, to me, this is a perfect example of why I don't play this way. If, as [MENTION=6776133]Bawylie[/MENTION] says, " it doesn’t matter how good of an explanation either Player gives", then why am I giving any explanation at all? If the DC is static, then what's the point? I can be as silver tongued or as tongue tied or just say, "I persuade the King, Persuasion X" and the end result is identical. Me, I would much, much rather that the player narrates the results than the lead up to the roll. The lead up may be contradicted by the roll. The results won't be.
I think there is a misunderstanding here. What [MENTION=6776133]Bawylie[/MENTION] is saying is that no matter how it is presented by the players, as long as the goal and approach is the same, the DC is the same. So let's say you have the Cha-10 character's player give a first-person in-depth reasoning for why the king would benefit from lending the vanguard to the dance competition. Tears are in the eyes of everyone else at the table after this thespian finishes his or her speech. In an alternate reality where the same situation is playing out at the table, a Cha-20 character's player just says "Hex Arcana tries to convince the king to lend the vanguard to the dance competition because it will show a friendlier side of the guard to the people and improve their reputation."

The resulting uncertainty is the same as is the difficulty since the Cha-10 character's player has said the same thing with more (and perhaps more stirring) words. The DM is judging the goal and approach, not the word count or acting ability of the player. So it does matter what you say. It does not matter how you say it, provided you have at least said what you want to do and how you want to do it. (Although it might matter in another way, such as if you might earn Inspiration by using flowery speech or perhaps by being blunt and to the point.)

"I persuade the king, Persuasion X" is insufficient here because the DM cannot judge the goal and approach and decide if there is uncertainty, a meaningful consequence of failure, or set a DC. Further, the "lead up" would never be contradicted by the roll in the method described above since the roll determines the outcome - the king does or does not approve the request (or approves it at a cost or with a setback for the PCs).
 

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