D&D 5E "Make a Strength (History) roll."

Reynard

Legend
One of the tools available to GMs and players in 5E is non-standard combinations of ability scores and proficiencies. It doesn't come up very often in my experience, but sometimes odd pairings make for interesting moments in play -- or, rather, interesting moments in play call for the odd pairings. I remember having PCs make Charisma (Athletics) checks to entertain a crowd in the arena, and have sometimes let them make things like Intelligence (Stealth) to try and surmise how an assassin or thief infiltrated a crime scene.

Relatedly, I sometimes let players make checks with proficiency based on their backgrounds or their class (and choosing an appropriate ability score). The 5E proficiency list is narrow and specific and sometimes it is easier to lean on "secondary skills" from the AD&D days.

What are your thoughts on non-standard proficiency and ability scores?
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I usually call for just the ability check and the players in my games add whatever proficiency they think applies to their roll, based on the description they already offered. (They cannot, however, continue to add description to get a proficiency to apply simply because I asked for a roll.)

Now if only I could get the regular character sheet on Roll20 to query instead of default to the standard ability (Proficiency).
 



CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
What are your thoughts on non-standard proficiency and ability scores?
For me and my table, it really depends on the narrative. If the player can describe what their character is doing, and how they are using their physical might to assist with the research or recollection of a historical event, I might ask for them to make a Strength (History) check. (I have no idea how that would be possible or what that would even look like, but I'm open to the possibility.)

Across all of the editions I've played, I think 5E does the best job with "skill checks" and proficiencies. I like its flexibility and structure best.
 



Asisreo

Patron Badass
I usually call for just the ability check and the players in my games add whatever proficiency they think applies to their roll, based on the description they already offered. (They cannot, however, continue to add description to get a proficiency to apply simply because I asked for a roll.)

Now if only I could get the regular character sheet on Roll20 to query instead of default to the standard ability (Proficiency).
Yeah, at this point with newer players, I think I'll not use the default character sheet and find a new one online so players won't be so confined to persuasion = charisma because the more wackier use of skills not only add to their success rate mechanically but also their roleplaying.

A new player knowing they can use their strength to intimidate might feel like they can roleplay their brutish character without stepping on the "roll your worst stat" landmine
 



A new player knowing they can use their strength to intimidate might feel like they can roleplay their brutish character without stepping on the "roll your worst stat" landmine
Definitely helps those half-orc characters that get a free Intimidate proficiency but no bonus to Cha.

Like others, I’ve been meaning to use this but don’t want to add it halfway through a campaign.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
One of the tools available to GMs and players in 5E is non-standard combinations of ability scores and proficiencies. It doesn't come up very often in my experience, but sometimes odd pairings make for interesting moments in play -- or, rather, interesting moments in play call for the odd pairings. I remember having PCs make Charisma (Athletics) checks to entertain a crowd in the arena, and have sometimes let them make things like Intelligence (Stealth) to try and surmise how an assassin or thief infiltrated a crime scene.

Relatedly, I sometimes let players make checks with proficiency based on their backgrounds or their class (and choosing an appropriate ability score). The 5E proficiency list is narrow and specific and sometimes it is easier to lean on "secondary skills" from the AD&D days.

What are your thoughts on non-standard proficiency and ability scores?
I also use the alternative stat for skills rule, and have also given narrow bonus proficiency for specific checks based on background or even gameplay experiences. I wish more DMs did this.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm fine with using skill proficiencies with a variety of stats. But a player would have to have a really interesting argument to justify strength (history).
I think for very narrow scopes it's possible, like a wrestler(strength based profession and skill) knowing about past great wrestlers of history. For the wizard, it would be a history(int) check, because he wouldn't have any reason outside of that to know about great wrestlers of the past. And the fighter(wrestler) would likely not bother to learn much else about history and be non-proficient. The profession would be the reason for that tidbit of knowledge.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
One of the tools available to GMs and players in 5E is non-standard combinations of ability scores and proficiencies.
...

What are your thoughts on non-standard proficiency and ability scores?

I always liked the idea since the 5e playtest. The most common way I used the idea, is asking Constitution checks for very prolonged efforts, potentially on any kind of task.

he regular character sheet on Roll20 to query

I have removed the skills section when I created my own modified character sheets (you can find them here on ENWorld if you want to take a look) and that was pretty much soon after the PHB came out. The original reason was, that I do not believe necessary to precalculate skill bonuses in an edition where they are all basically the same proficiency bonus + a small ability bonus, and if you want to use flexible combinations, it is even detrimental.

For me and my table, it really depends on the narrative. If the player can describe what their character is doing, and how they are using their physical might to assist with the research or recollection of a historical event, I might ask for them to make a Strength (History) check. (I have no idea how that would be possible or what that would even look like, but I'm open to the possibility.)

If you think of it backwards, you might get an idea...

Instead of thinking "how does Strength help my History" think "how does History help my Strength".

The task might be for example to break open a castle sturdy door by strength. Your history knowledge might tell you how doors were constructed in a particular historical period, suggesting you how to shove it open with less effort.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
A dwarf trying to open a stuck door in a dwarven dungeon might pull this justification. Heck, they may even push their luck asking for advantage because of stonecunning!
"Hmm...I think I've seen this kind of door before. Ah yes, this ruin must have been built by the Hardenvein Clan! I remember they used to build their doors with a special center-pivot hinge that...if you apply the right amount of force right...there...yep, the whole thing will pop right off."

Yep, I could see that. If my player narrated that at the table, I would totally call for them to make a Strength (History) roll.
 
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