5E Intelligence and Wisdom Checks (Skills) as GM Tool for Plot Rationing or Expository Dump

Do you use Intelligence/Wisdom Checks (Skills) as a means to ration plot or as an expository dump


  • Total voters
    46
  • Poll closed .

Sadras

Adventurer
Those 52 % of you in the "sometimes or more" category:

Are you guys all running Adventure Paths or at least some sort of metaplot-driven-game?
Yes I'm currently running a sandbox with the STK and ToD backdrop. The characters are free to pursue the metaplot should they so wish (they currently are) or veer completely off course and ditch it entirely. One character has a reason to travel to Sigil and another has the goal of hunting and stopping an individual from resurrecting a dead god.

Are any of you using 'Success at a Cost' (DMG 242) and could you see the following action resolution handling occur in your game?
I find I might use either scenario and yes I do use Success at a Cost.
In scenario (a) if the location of the Dawnmoat was predetermined then the character would have to try discover it another away (if possible).
 
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Coroc

Adventurer
@Manbearcat

How else would you resolve situations in which you cannot determine for sure if something is player wits / knowledge / logical deduction or the characters' ?

Physical stats STR DEX CON of a character are far more decoupled from the player. Even charisma in the sense of comeliness is.

Int and Wis are things were a player easily can surpass a character, it is imho very difficult for a player to play a character who is superior to his IRL mental capabilities, but otoh I find myself frequently putting my logical capabilities as my characters own, without to much thinking whether he would be smart enough .(Unless I play someone edgy stupid e.g. a character so dull that he cannot even communicate normally)
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
@Coroc

I think you're asking something fundamentally different than what I'm asking in the lead post.

Are you wanting to know the broad question of "what are the possible ways that player wit/knowledge/deduction skills might be used in play"or "how else can a GM plot ration/information dump if not through int/knowledge skills?"
 

Coroc

Adventurer
@Coroc

I think you're asking something fundamentally different than what I'm asking in the lead post.

Are you wanting to know the broad question of "what are the possible ways that player wit/knowledge/deduction skills might be used in play"or "how else can a GM plot ration/information dump if not through int/knowledge skills?"
I get what you wanted to say, and what you did ask in the OP, and sorry for me generalizing this a bit, since it is not limited to plot and other information. I think it is a good way to check e.g. Int or sleight of hand, for figuring out how a mechanical device works, even if the player with his IRL knowledge absolutely would figure it out by e.g. its picture or description (Or not :p).
I also would use that if e.g. from clues e.g. cutscenes for dramatics with no character being present and other info available through whatever means a player can figure out some plot, but you as the DM do not believe for sure that his character would gain the same conclusion.
See it as a tool which can go two ways, it also can be used to get the party back on the track without them feeling railroaded, it is just a dice challenge they can decide for their character the same way they would resolve a combat so it makes them feel good.

Within another system I do play with a group which contains one player who already played the adventure module before with the same DM. The DM clearly states if he thinks although the player "knows" some detail that his character would not, for whatever reason and therefore also would not act upon such information. Works well, and if in doubt the DM lets the player make a dice check.
 

tetrasodium

Explorer
Those 52 % of you in the "sometimes or more" category:
Are you guys all running Adventure Paths or at least some sort of metaplot-driven-game?

  • My game is set in eberron & there are things going on with various groups being involved in various things. I don't really run APs but will occasionally use heavily modified premade filler if I'm lazy or crunched for time. no on AP. I think probably no on the other depending on what you consider a "metaplot driven game"?


Everyone:
Are any of you using 'Success at a Cost' (DMG 242) and could you see the following action resolution handling occur in your game?
  • I ran Fate games for a couple years & that was an important part of the system with tools for the GM to push back & such... but that was always a concept that players had a difficult time simply grasping rather than treating it like the flaws table in old versions of d&d where you went out of your way to make sure the cost was irrelevant. With that said. I've toyed with it at times in d&d, but all things considered the system just lacks too much of the needed structure for something like this to have teeth
Situation: The PCs pass through a Fey Crossroads into the Feywild and must find their way from their unknown point in an enchanted frozen forest of perpetual night to the Dawnmote (lets say its a Winter Fey guarded oasis in this place that doubles as a means to travel to the Summer Fey's domain).

To your South and West, a stand of trees rise to extraordinary heights before the darkness cuts off what lies atop them. The trees sway rhythmically with unseen wind (or something else). To your North and East, a precarious field of ice stretches out before you in all directions, eerily cracking and groaning. There is no breeze. There is nothing.

Let us say the Survival Proficient Fighter figures that maybe the heat of the Dawnmote is creating a pressure gradient which generates the unseen wind upon the stand of trees.

Wisdom (Survival) check of 18 vs DC 20.

GM (success but an obstacle that changes the nature of the situation): "It almost must be so. In the moments you think on this and get your bearings, the groaning ice fractures, sending cracking tendrils this way and that. Its coming apart beneath your feet...and by torchlight, you can see something...moving...beneath the ice...

What do you do?!


Questions:

a) Would this be a case where (i) the Fighter's action declaration and result was allowed to stipulate the location of the Dawnmote in the setting...or (ii) would this be a case where you would simply say "no" because you or your AP or your hexcrawl has a preordained "Dawnmote" location?

b) Is this an obstacle that you would allow to emerge from the Success With Cost/Complication? What do you feel about the "to be determined thing" beneath the ice? The roll generated that bit of fiction along with the icefield hazard. Yes? Too much? What other complications would you envision being appropriate?


  • Either I'm very much not understanding the example or I just fail to see the relevance of the attempted fate declaration. Near as I can tell.
    -to the left (sw) are tall trees moving for no apparent reason
    • To the right(NW) is a field of ice
    • Player wants to use survival to declare that some mcguffin is causing the trees to sway?
    • Player fails & the ice is now underfoot rather than to the right? A monster is also attacking because?....
  • dawnmote doesn't seem to give any results on google & I thought I at least had a basic ubderstanding of the other FR bits noted.
  • I feel like this example is so confusing that there is probably some setting specific lore tied to a few of those words that I am unaware of & just googling the wrong bits to make it click
  • Someone else mentioned it that d&d lacks any mechanics for a player to declare a plot/story detail but also the dc20 might as well be dc triangle as there are too many unknowns. Because of all that I tried to give some examples pulled from things other than d&d
    • Alice is trying to avoid that green ray the beholder fired on her, rather than the 17 (or whatever) she needed, she only got a 16. Gm decides she did ok, but in the process caused one of the pillars supporting the glass ceiling to collapse, now glass is falling on the party (who cares, Alice succeeded on not getting disintegrated). GMs do this kinda stuff all the time but it's called things like fudging rolls & such
    • Bob has a plan to deal with the beholder but needs an elevated position (who cares why). Bob asks if there is a tapestry or chandelier he can swing across in order to get to the mezzanine. This is cool, the DC is zero because bob is being dramatic.
  • In a system like fate you can have succeed at cost meaningful, but that's really only because all of the tools a PC has at their disposal can be constrained by the "cost". In d&d it's more like failing upward & pretty much all of the examples in that dmg section are of the "if this fails, I need to get the info to them somehow anyways", "Who cares", or "why were you even asking for a roll?" variety

    - "
  • "A character manages to get her sword past a hobgoblin's defenses and turn a near miss into a hit, but the hobgoblin twists its shield and disarms her. " A little contrived, but ok maybe. This is the sort of thing that can be cool & cut both ways. The problem is that it's normally just "Fudging dice rolls".
  • "A character narrowly escapes the full brunt of a fireball but ends up prone." Who cares? They just took half damage (or no damage) from a fireball & even if they are prone but surrounded by baddies the baddies took damage too & ranged attacks are at disadvantage.
  • "A character fails to intimidate a kobold prisoner, but the kobold reveals its secrets anyway while shrieking at the top of its lungs, alerting other nearby monsters.". um... this is a kobold "prisoner" not "a kobold who just wandered into the store room where the players were resting" This is the sort of thing that would happen no matter what.
  • "A character manages to finish an arduous climb to the top of a cliff despite slipping, only to realize that the rope on which his companions dangle below him is close to breaking. " This is actually a good one & the sort of thing you might see often, but really all it means is that the urgency to stop dangling is on. The rope did its job & now you have a challenge or something I think d&d has something (possibly in a ua?) that is similar, the success at cost would be one of the dangling party members dropping their pack/weapon/etc & sticking to the cliff rather than splattering on the ground below.
 
Maybe you're one of those GMs and you'd like to post your thoughts on (a) why the output of Int/Wis Abillit/Skill action resolution is handled this way, (b) how it affects/propels play, and (c) how it intersects with the type of PC build decision-point thinking cited above?
I like the approach used by Robin Laws in the GUMSHOE role-playing game, where he gives a breakdown of core clues vs. secondary clues (paraphrasing). I've found the critical question is: "Which information is essential for the players to move forward with the main story they're focused on?" I do not "gate" that essential information behind any check. I just give it to the players when they investigate/reach the appropriate scene.

However, when it comes to non-essential information – monster lore, place lore, faction lore, magic lore, etc. – that's where ability checks (often Intelligence) to recall information come in.

The only exception I can think of to using this approach is if a DM is running a pure sandbox, where there is no "main story" and that, when the players cannot pursue one direction (e.g. due to lack of information), they are expected to flip direction on a dime and pursue another hook. I've never run a pure sandbox, and usually there's a main story the players focus on, so this approach works well for me.

I dislike the lack of stakes in how Intelligence checks are presented. If there are no consequence for a failed check – so there's nothing discouraging pile-on checks or repeating checks – then why roll at all?

Instead, what I do with failed lore checks is use them to either (a) feed misinformation to the players as if it were truth, which requires players who are game to play along, or (b) introduce a complication connecting the PC to the question they're asking (e.g. a failed Intelligence (History) check about a mercenary order might mean that the PC had a run-in with those mercenaries in the past, so there's bad blood; usually I'll introduce this along with a bit of token information but nothing revealing).
 
I dislike the lack of stakes in how Intelligence checks are presented. If there are no consequence for a failed check – so there's nothing discouraging pile-on checks or repeating checks – then why roll at all?
Pile-on checks are one of my pet peeves. One thing I like about strictly enforcing the play look or going all G&A, is that it means make checks only when I call for them.
Another solution that I implemented after encountering the Group Check (BTW, one of those "why didn't I think of that? - no, wait, why didn't Gygax think of that in '73" type mechanics), was that piling on resulted in a group check, as everyone weighed in with their own opinions, rumors, speculations & preconceived notions (rather like an forum discussion really), debated for a bit and came to a consensus - more than half failures and that consensus was wrong.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
"They're mostly for uncovering plot info and, well...the DM has to get that to you somehow."

No, I don't. If the players didn't discover it in play and don't have the skills to already know about it, it sucks to be them.

Will I use checks as information sources? Yes. Will I use the mere fact a skill is trained as an information source? Yes, for more widely known stuff. Will I let the players not discover something that would have been adventure-changing had it been known? Yep. That's a meaningful consequence of character design / table play.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Maybe you're one of those GMs and you'd like to post your thoughts on (a) why the output of Int/Wis Abillit/Skill action resolution is handled this way, (b) how it affects/propels play, and (c) how it intersects with the type of PC build decision-point thinking cited above?
I've learned that you need to give every clue three times.

So I don't make having the correct knowledge skills a gatekeepter for getting the knowledge, I make it one of many paths, expecting my players to be abel to find multiple of them so it sticks.

"Hey, we heard that before. Maybe it's important."

Those checks also give out a lot of useful and actionable information, not just exposition.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
As the person quoted in the OP I want to say that I feel a lot of this thread is missing (what I at least) considered the main point.

I wasn't interested in the game grinding to a halt because a PC fails a skill. I'm just going to assume that most GMs who run into this issue are going to resolve it somehow - if only because a halted game obviously has to start again. In any case, as several posters have pointed out, this isn't necessarily a issue in sandbox games (Although if the GM wants to give exposition about their setting they've prepared it would still be silly to withold it because everyone rolled low).

The point I was making is that, given that, these skills aren't really all that important.

I mean yes, they can help reinforce the role-play of the learned character who knows a lot of stuff - but this is really more colour. (And is actually better done by the player having some source of knowledge they can feed through their character. If you're playing in the Forgotten Realms and want to show your knowledge of history it's better if the player knows stuff about Netheril. It's a bit weird if the player is rolling so the GM can exposit and then the character can pass that along. - Yes the GM may insist that if the PC wants to spout knowledge about Netheril than they have to take the skill but that's the tail wagging the dog - it's because the skill exists in the first place).

Similarly, in a Sandbox game a player who has the skill may be able to get info that wouldn't otherwise be available and allows them options, but like the plot driven game it's a bit of a game of chicken - the GM is giving options anyway - if the GM doesn't give the PCs meaningful choices than again the game halts. Lore works better in a sandbox game if players are acting on knowledge they uncover over the course of the game anyway. (Or at least if the knowledge the PCs have is shared by the players).

But to get back to expertise - the most important thing it does is reduce your chance of failure. The penalty for failure on knowledge skills is...?

The penalty for failure on stealth or disguise or deception could be much more severe. These proficiencies also open up whole new active avenues of approach. The master of disguise has far more opportunities to make a proactive impact on the game (to a degree - 5E's skill system does a poor job of rewarding proactive skill use - and Expertise is merely the poorly improvised band-aid put on top to partially fix this).

Also: I wouldn't try and run D&D like Gumshoe. Gumshoe already exists and is better at being Gumshoe.
"But to get back to expertise - the most important thing it does is reduce your chance of failure. The penalty for failure on knowledge skills is...?"

Remember, in 5e, a failure can be some progress with setback. So, it's possible for a failure to give you say three info nits, one good that will add new opportunities, one bad which leads you astray and a third which actually makes things worse by exposing you to the enemy in a worse way. That is not altogether different than a failed stealth check.

Also, maybe the recalled bits of info "reveal" that groups are searching for a macguffin of blue rose and that the dark lord is vulnerable to macguffin of of blue rose because they were used in his creation...

But while the first part is true the second part is misinfo and really the dark lord wants it to increase his power by making a bride.

So, by hjnying down the macguffin, bringingbit to the dark lord, they help him instead of leaving him hunting.

Like stealth and the other skills, failure can be a setback not just a null.
 
Pile-on checks are one of my pet peeves. One thing I like about strictly enforcing the play look or going all G&A, is that it means make checks only when I call for them.
Another solution that I implemented after encountering the Group Check (BTW, one of those "why didn't I think of that? - no, wait, why didn't Gygax think of that in '73" type mechanics), was that piling on resulted in a group check, as everyone weighed in with their own opinions, rumors, speculations & preconceived notions (rather like an forum discussion really), debated for a bit and came to a consensus - more than half failures and that consensus was wrong.
In theory, I totally get both of those solutions – strictly enforcing "you can make checks only when DM says" & using group checks for lore rolls. It makes sense, especially with how aggravating pile-on checks can be for a DM.

However, in actual play, I have only rarely seen those work when it comes to lore rolls, specifically. At least in my games.

Here's how those two approaches have played out at my table. Of course, YMMV!

The first plays out with a player asking "what do I know about ___?" or "can I make an Intelligence check to recall what I know" or rolling and saying "I rolled a 19 for History if it's relevant" as a shorthand way for an experienced player to anticipate the DM's call for a check and speed the game along. My experience of actual play is that – sure, I as DM technically have the final say over when a check is called for – but it's much more collaborative than that. If there's a definite narrative reason why making a check would not be possible, sure I'll unequivocally say "no", but more often it makes sense to say "yes, and..."

The second plays out with a player wanting to know something and the DM (me) calling for a check – then either me forgetting to ask if anyone else wants to join in on a group check OR the scenario precluding the possibility of a group check (e.g. one PC acting independently or separated from party) OR it not make sense for any other PCs to participate in a group check because that one PC is the specialist – and then after the check, the players conversing and another player wanting to make a check after the initial check.

I think the root of the problem lies in interpreting a lore roll as "the character focuses and tries to recall what they know." It's a very easy to grasp interpretation, but it limits the stakes to "you misremember ____." Which can work every now or then, but it can get old doing it on every failed lore check. It's also not something that every player is comfortable role-playing.

Whereas interpreting a lore check more like a flashback scene offers a lot more in the way of potential stakes, because then the DM can introduce complications into the past of the PC or the monster/NPC/place/faction in question.
 

pemerton

Legend
I'm just trying to understand how other people who voted "never" run their games. Given that there is no right or wrong...

Do you ever call (or allow) intelligence or wisdom knowledge checks in your game? Because it seems like your answer is no.
Some examples - none from 5e, but some at least would be adaptable to 5e.

* 4e D&D - the PCs were trying to persuade some Maruts that the time of the Dusk War had not yet come. This was being resolved as a skill challenge. After it had been going on for a bit, the player of the invoker/wizard knew that one successful check was required for overall success. He declares that his PC has intuited what final argument would sway the Maruts, and then rolled an Insight check. It succeeded. I invited the player to tell us what that argument was, which he did. And the Maruts were thereby swayed.

* Marvel Heroic RP - the PCs are lost in a dungeon (mechanically, this was a type of debuff - a Lost in the Dungeon complication). They come to a room which has strange runes in it (mechanically, this was a scene distinction - Strange Runes - comparable to an aspect in Fate). One of the players (the same as in the previous example) declares that his PC is reading the runes, thinking that they might contain some clue as to where the PCs are in the dungeon. He built the appropriate dice pool, made his check, and succeeded - the runes in fact did contain information about where the PCs were in the dungeon (and the Lost in the Dungeon complication was removed).

* Burning Wheel - two PCs are trying to sneak into a mage's tower via the catacombs. The player of one makes a check agains Catacombs-wise and failes - they're lost! That's the narration - the consequence is that their rival, whom they'd earlier drugged so they could get to the tower before she did, wakes up and is now on the move to the tower. (They see her when they come back up into the streets of the city.) So now it's a simple race, and the PCs lose. So the rival gets to the tower first and decapitates another NPC. One of the PCs wanted the NPC for his own purposes (being under a geas to bring the NPC back to a dark naga for blood sacrifice) and so now looks around for some sort of vessel to catch the spilling blood - and succeeds ona Perception check, and so spots a jug on a table and is able to use it to catch the blood of the NPC.

All these actual play examples are a bit like @Manbearcat's hypothetical above, in that they involve a degree of uncertainty in respect of the content of the fiction (on everyone's part, not just the players) which then gets filled out via the process of the knowledge-type check - either in a way that is good or is bad for the PCs, depending on success or failure of the check.
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
@tetrasodium

I don’t have time for a full reply.

Just a couple clarifications:

1) I was envisioning the PCs emerging from the Fey Portal actually upon that sheet of ice (a massive frozen sea perhaps), it’s expanse spreading out one way with the forest flanking them.

2) I’m not sure where FR or setting stuff is coming from here. I just made up Dawnmote off the cuff (basically a Summer Court themed oasis in the frozen domain).

I think you’re a bit bogged down in the details. Just stuck with:

- on frozen expanse flanked by forest.

- trying to suds our travel direction via environmental inputs/deduction.

- success but with cost or consequence result of action resolution (per 5e DMG) so new obstacle emerges.
 

tetrasodium

Explorer
@tetrasodium

I don’t have time for a full reply.

Just a couple clarifications:

1) I was envisioning the PCs emerging from the Fey Portal actually upon that sheet of ice (a massive frozen sea perhaps), it’s expanse spreading out one way with the forest flanking them.

2) I’m not sure where FR or setting stuff is coming from here. I just made up Dawnmote off the cuff (basically a Summer Court themed oasis in the frozen domain).

I think you’re a bit bogged down in the details. Just stuck with:

- on frozen expanse flanked by forest.

- trying to suds our travel direction via environmental inputs/deduction.

- success but with cost or consequence result of action resolution (per 5e DMG) so new obstacle emerges.
Thank for clearing that up, it makes things easier to comment on knowing it's not too confusing. I think the example is a bad application of using a skill. Partly because getting to the dawnmote seems to be the main goal& too nebulous, but also because it's boring "Lets go this way" might as well be a coinflip & doesn't need or really benefit from a knowledge check without wayy too much information to make the example useful. So lets turn it around & add some spicy action :D

Situation:
  • The players found the dawnmote(mcguffin), but the nazi* fey who were the former owners are not happy about it being stolen last session.
  • Last session ended with the party successfully escaping from the fortress where the dawnmote was with Alice** using her survival skill to lead the group on a mad dash into the dark forest of unsettling trees... Three days have since passed in the blink of an eye for reasons of making this interesting :D.
  • During those three days, the party is informed that the bad guys have been hunting them & the well armed large patrols seem to be closing in. Clearly this is not a situation that can be handled by simply rolling stealth or something because there are an insane number of Nazi fey at the fortress's defense & the queen thinks nothing about throwing away the lives of a few hundred if it means recapturing the dawnmote. This so far is literally all the party knows.
  • Alice has an idea to use survival to find an herb or plant they can use to make a scent masking paste or similar that will throw off the displacer beast*** trackers being used by the fey thinking that this will help loosen the knots in that net closing in on them.... So she brings up the idea, the gm asks why on a few things & agrees the twist is cool so after a successful nature/survival/whatever check, the gm declares that Alice is able to find a small clearing in the dark forest of creepy trees with a good amount of orcish catnip... and a pack of Horrid Wolves.
  • that the party deals with the horrid wolves & grinds up the orcish catnip using Bob's herbalist tools
  • Having been smeared in Orcish catnip.the Nazi-fey tracking units are having more difficulty closing in, but things are still going poorly because there are still two hours left in the session even after dealing with the Horrid Wolves.Chuck has been wondering why he got woodworkers tool proficiency in a d&d game, but is getting into things & likes this new gm style hes seeing because now he's getting ideas... Having watched Klaus the other night, he remembers a scene where the characters make a speedy sled. Chuck brings up using his woodworking tools to make a sled, the forest is too thick to sled through, but maybe that ice field will work if Bob wildshape's into a reindeer or something to pull it+.
  • So the Party starts cutting down one of those unsettling trees & finds out that it's some irrelevant monster or infested by them. After killing the monster, Chuck fails miserably at making the sled by rolling a 2.
  • No Chuck doesn't just fail, that's boring. & like everyone else in the party... Chuck is capable person leading a dramatic life. The sled is built, Bob is harnessed up, everyone hops on & they start moving as fast as bob can dash, things seem good... Unfortunately they find bob's mistake when they get to the ice field because the rails sound like this screaming across the ice & now there are hundreds of nazi-fey streaming out of the forest making it clear that stopping to fix it would be quite a horrible idea.
  • Lets say the session ends there. Next week picks up & there are some mounted shifters gaining on the party's screaming sled... Unfortunately, these are the shifters that Dave got in a bar fight with a couple weeks back & they are still upset because he killed one of their magebred direwolves++ causing the chase scene things are unfolding into.
  • The exciting combat between the party on a poorly made sled & the shifter totallynotjustamotorcyclegang is irrelevant, but lots of exciting & cool stuff happens. Eddie comes up with a plan to work with Frank the artificer in order to hack+++ the casting of his prepared expeditious retreat spell from self to Bob the reindeer. The GM agrees this is cool but that it's not going to be an all the time thing & it might not always be possible to do that kinda thing because magic in d&d is just too powerful to be making pretzels out of all the time. The pair work together & between Eddie's charisma(arcana) explaining the bits of the spell & Frank's Intelligence(artificer's toolkit) things were no quite good enough Bob the reindeer winds up with a backpack that's got jets & istead of Eddie's spellslot fully powering the spell, so is Dave's very body, He's going to wind up with 3 or 4 points of exhaustion when they get away to safety but that's a problem for next session & the players should tune in next week to see how it gets resolved ;D


* Nazi's are a great generic bad guy for examples, their motivation is always irrelevant & they are always bad :D
** Alice Bob Cindy Dave, Eddie, Frank are great names because they are the alphabet & can later just be A B C D etc :D
*** Why displacer beasts instead of hounds or something? Alice has an ability to see through illusions & thinks they are cool. For purposes of example, the GM never mentioned displacer beasts & they were not present in the fortress :D
+ Reciprocity is absolutely critical for these kinds of plans to be interesting. it should always lower the DCs or give better results because now you have two or more players being awesome from one action rather than just one player fixing the problem again. IME running open fate games, that one player is almost always the one who really gets how to think outside the box instead of just using a skill creatively. Without reciprocity pushed in by either that player or the gm you wind up with the sidekick cheerleader squad bored. Unfortunately, the difficult part is getting enough of the group to realize the awesome powers they have with proactive ideas collaborated with the gm & table to keep the game from becoming boring.
++ In many games,, Dave might say "Uhh.. I don't remember that... when did that happen?" but Dave & the GM know that this is fitting with Dave's character & more importantly we now have a chase scene!
+++ Success at cost is great and all, but it really doesn't work with standard heroic fantasy as the d&d mechanics are structured. It's important to have the ability to make rules exceptions & come up with interesting unplanned applications of skills & abilities that might color outside the lines or you wind up with skill challenges like this. Unfortunately that sort of thing is so far outside the realm of what d&d or traditional top down ttrpgs lay out that a lot of players have extreme difficulty even considering it & by extension their PCs wind up being puppets who do whatever people tell them to & their character goes from being a capable individual leading a dramatic life to being a bland boring solution drawn from hammerspace as a olution& immediately rreturned there because unlike dave the reindeer who was doing awesome stuff while the party was dealing with the direwolf rider gang, these players are a distraacting wet blanket covering a bazooka with zero ability to cause any dramatic action like the direwolf gang Dave's hot headed nature created.
 
I think the root of the problem lies in interpreting a lore roll as "the character focuses and tries to recall what they know." It's a very easy to grasp interpretation, but it limits the stakes to "you misremember ____." Which can work every now or then, but it can get old doing it on every failed lore check. It's also not something that every player is comfortable role-playing.
There's a range of checks where the player knowing the result of the die roll undermines the possible consequence of the check, if, as you point out, the player isn't comfortable compartmentalizing player vs character knowledge (which is problematic in quite a number of other ways, as well).

Whereas interpreting a lore check more like a flashback scene offers a lot more in the way of potential stakes, because then the DM can introduce complications into the past of the PC or the monster/NPC/place/faction in question.
Not sure how that helps?
 
Whereas interpreting a lore check more like a flashback scene offers a lot more in the way of potential stakes, because then the DM can introduce complications into the past of the PC or the monster/NPC/place/faction in question.
Not sure how that helps?
I've noticed it helps keep my players engaged, encourages incorporating their backstories, and most importantly reduces the knee-jerk reaction to ask for a pile-on lore check. Here's an actual play example from my game:

Lizardfolk Rogue/Warlock Player: (party is encountering a yellow musk creeper for the first time, having just rolled initiative when it surprised them) "What do I know about yellow musk creepers based on my herbalism and Survival proficiencies, and maybe lizardfolk lore?"

DM: (giving some baseline information based on PC background, then calling for a check) "You know it's a dangerous plant monster that disguises itself as tropical bromeliads. Make an Intelligence check with proficiency?" (player rolls a 9) "You know it creates other plant monsters using corpses of poisoned victims." (this is misinformation that twists the truth – it actually creates undead and poison isn't part of the equation, in fact a yellow musk creeper doesn't use poison & can be affected by poison just like a human can)

Wizard Player: "Hmm. What does my character know about yellow musk creepers? Can I make a Nature check?" (asking for a pile-on check)

DM: (instead of saying No outright, I present stakes) "Sure you can, but your Nature check will represent hands-on study of a yellow musk creeper which you dissected during your arcane studies. If you roll low, that means during your studies you accidentally cut open its musk sac and have suffered a low-grade infection and chronic cough since then, meaning you'll be more susceptible to its attacks and musk than normal. Would you like to roll?" (I was thinking disadvantage vs. musk WIS save and vulnerability to psychic damage delivered by the yellow musk creeper)

Wizard Player: "Uhhh, no. It's not worth the risk. I listen to my lizardman friend."
 

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