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

I think it important to notes that it is a Strength (History) check -- that is, it is first and foremost a Strength check, and in this example the PC gets to apply their proficiency bonus because their proficiency in History proved useful. That is a different paradigm that the 3.x skill era, where the skill was the primary thing and ability scores were modifiers to those.

I'd also say that this distinction is the most important part of 5e skills.

The DM calls for a strength check. The players decide if there is an appropriate skill or proficiency or both to help.

This is also a reason, why I'd like passive perception to be its own thing, not dependant on wisdom or perception.
Because it runs contrary to this principle and makes perception way too powerful.
 

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Reynard

Legend
Right, there is no rule about "continuing the conversation" after the call for a roll has been made, but there is a rule that description by the player precedes the call for a roll and a rule that the player can ask if a proficiency applies to the ability check the DM already called for. It says nothing about being able to add more description to be allowed to do so. The rules don't refer to the game as a conversation at all to my knowledge. That's a concept that comes from another game. A useful concept to be sure, but not "RAW."

I would say that if the player has been reasonably specific enough on their action declaration that there should be no need to interrogate the player on why they're using a particular proficiency on the roll. The DM hears the assertion, thinks back to what the player already described, and agrees or disagrees. (I side with agreeing by default on the assumption of good faith play by the player and to speed things along.) The ideal state in my game is DM Description - Player Description - Call For Ability Check - Player Adds Relevant Skill and Rolls - DM Narrates Result. Only if something has gone wrong will there need to be anything in between the player adding the relevant skill and the DM narrating the result.
You are asserting a rigidity that doesn't exist in the rules. Here is the relevant section from the SRD:
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An ability check tests a character’s or monster’s innate talent and training in an effort to overcome a challenge. The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results. For every ability check, the GM decides which of the six abilities is relevant to the task at hand and the difficulty of the task, represented by a Difficulty Class. The more difficult a task, the higher its DC. The Typical Difficulty Classes table shows the most common DCs. To make an ability check, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability modifier. As with other d20 rolls, apply bonuses and penalties, and compare the total to the DC. If the total equals or exceeds the DC, the ability check is a success—the creature overcomes the challenge at hand. Otherwise, it’s a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the GM.
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I am not near my books now, but there is more detail in the DMG and I am almost certain they use the word "conversation" or something very close to it. In either case, nothing in the wording or spirit of the rules prohibits continued clarification after the ability check has been called for.
 




Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
Skills with Different Abilities is rarely used in my campaigns so it's really not the norm most of time we use default ones.. But i almost always let them be when a player come up with a clever way and a justification of some sort behind it, when i'm not myself having a check using an unusual ability and skill combo i specifically call for. Which is still quite rare to be honest.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You are asserting a rigidity that doesn't exist in the rules. Here is the relevant section from the SRD:
----------
An ability check tests a character’s or monster’s innate talent and training in an effort to overcome a challenge. The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results. For every ability check, the GM decides which of the six abilities is relevant to the task at hand and the difficulty of the task, represented by a Difficulty Class. The more difficult a task, the higher its DC. The Typical Difficulty Classes table shows the most common DCs. To make an ability check, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability modifier. As with other d20 rolls, apply bonuses and penalties, and compare the total to the DC. If the total equals or exceeds the DC, the ability check is a success—the creature overcomes the challenge at hand. Otherwise, it’s a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the GM.
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I am not near my books now, but there is more detail in the DMG and I am almost certain they use the word "conversation" or something very close to it. In either case, nothing in the wording or spirit of the rules prohibits continued clarification after the ability check has been called for.
This is what it says.

"Proficiency

When you ask a player to make an ability check, consider whether a skill or tool proficiency might apply to it. The player might also ask you if a particular proficiency applies.
One way to think about this question is to consider whether a character could become better at a particular task through training and practice. If the answer is no, it's fine to say that no proficiency applies. But if the answer is yes, assign an appropriate skill or tool proficiency to reflect that training and practice."

In context with the entire section, though, that bolded sentence would apply if the DM didn't state a proficiency and was just asking for a base ability check.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
You are asserting a rigidity that doesn't exist in the rules. Here is the relevant section from the SRD:
----------
An ability check tests a character’s or monster’s innate talent and training in an effort to overcome a challenge. The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results. For every ability check, the GM decides which of the six abilities is relevant to the task at hand and the difficulty of the task, represented by a Difficulty Class. The more difficult a task, the higher its DC. The Typical Difficulty Classes table shows the most common DCs. To make an ability check, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability modifier. As with other d20 rolls, apply bonuses and penalties, and compare the total to the DC. If the total equals or exceeds the DC, the ability check is a success—the creature overcomes the challenge at hand. Otherwise, it’s a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the GM.
----------
I am not near my books now, but there is more detail in the DMG and I am almost certain they use the word "conversation" or something very close to it. In either case, nothing in the wording or spirit of the rules prohibits continued clarification after the ability check has been called for.
Again, my position is not that "continued clarification" is prohibited by the rules, and I'm not obligated to defend a position I don't take. My position is that the player's description of their action precedes the call for the roll which would mean that your example, while probably a common way to play, is not in keeping with what the rules lay out in the process of play. I add that this can lead to outcomes like the players effectively retconning their declared action to try to get a bonus to the roll the DM already called for. I called, for example, for a Strength check to move the statue because the outcome is uncertain and there's a meaningful consequence for failure. Now knowing this, the player is angling to add History proficiency to mitigate failure. This should have already been established in their action declaration before the call to make the check.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
"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.
86FCBD5B-8B6F-448A-AEA4-59A95FBA753A.jpeg
 

Reynard

Legend
Again, my position is not that "continued clarification" is prohibited by the rules, and I'm not obligated to defend a position I don't take. My position is that the player's description of their action precedes the call for the roll which would mean that your example, while probably a common way to play, is not in keeping with what the rules lay out in the process of play. I add that this can lead to outcomes like the players effectively retconning their declared action to try to get a bonus to the roll the DM already called for. I called, for example, for a Strength check to move the statue because the outcome is uncertain and there's a meaningful consequence for failure. Now knowing this, the player is angling to add History proficiency to mitigate failure. This should have already been established in their action declaration before the call to make the check.
The player did declare an action. He said he was going to move the statue. The GM asked for an ability check. The player asked if a proficiency applied. That is the exact order of operations as is described in the rules. In this case, the player asked for about a non-standard proficiency for a Strength check (also explicitly allowed by the rules) and the GM asked for a clarification of how it would apply. That's how the game works -- that is the explicit order of operations. You are breaking the part of the process that allows the player to ask about using a proficiency.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
The player did declare an action. He said he was going to move the statue. The GM asked for an ability check. The player asked if a proficiency applied. That is the exact order of operations as is described in the rules. In this case, the player asked for about a non-standard proficiency for a Strength check (also explicitly allowed by the rules) and the GM asked for a clarification of how it would apply. That's how the game works -- that is the explicit order of operations. You are breaking the part of the process that allows the player to ask about using a proficiency.
History can only apply if it fits the description the player offered initially, which it does not. Your example is one in which the player is trying to get a bonus after the fact by effectively amending the description of their action. Is that an outcome you want to see more of in your games?
 

Reynard

Legend
History can only apply if it fits the description the player offered initially, which it does not. Your example is one in which the player is trying to get a bonus after the fact by effectively amending the description of their action. Is that an outcome you want to see more of in your games?
We have already established that I am fine with it and you aren't -- which is totally okay, it's your game. I am quibbling with your interpretation that it is against the rules, which it isn't.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
This is what it says.

"Proficiency

When you ask a player to make an ability check, consider whether a skill or tool proficiency might apply to it. The player might also ask you if a particular proficiency applies.
One way to think about this question is to consider whether a character could become better at a particular task through training and practice. If the answer is no, it's fine to say that no proficiency applies. But if the answer is yes, assign an appropriate skill or tool proficiency to reflect that training and practice."

In context with the entire section, though, that bolded sentence would apply if the DM didn't state a proficiency and was just asking for a base ability check.
There's also the text, under the Skills section:
DMG page 239 said:
Often, players ask whether they can apply a skill proficiency to an ability check. If a player can provide a good justification for why a character's training and aptitude in a skill should apply to a check, go ahead and allow it, rewarding the player's creative thinking.

The implication here really is there's a conversation going on between the DM and player. And a further implication is that the DM has said that a particular ability check is warranted - no specification if a particular skill has already been identified as being relevant - and frankly, I think that's not necessary to know. It wouldn't have to be an unskilled ability check for a player to come back with a suggestion of how their skill proficiencies might apply.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
We have already established that I am fine with it and you aren't -- which is totally okay, it's your game. I am quibbling with your interpretation that it is against the rules, which it isn't.
We'll have to disagree on that point then. I see nothing in the rules that suggests the example is the process of play.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
@iserith and @Reynard

I think rather than focusing on what is or isn’t RAW, it may be more useful to consider the gameplay outcomes of each approach. If one or the other has outcomes one finds preferable, then I think one ought to rule that way, whether it’s RAW or not, and so the argument about what the RAW says is mostly a distraction.

Personally, I’m inclined to favor iserith’s ruling because I use the goal and approach the player describes in my assessment of whether or not to call for a check in the first place. If the player had said in the first place that they’re relying on their knowledge of the construction techniques in this, their ancestral home, to know how best to move the statue, it’s possible I might not have even called for a check. By adding that detail after the fact, they have changed the parameters of the action, and therefore I would have to re-assess whether or not a check is required.

I think, perhaps, it might be best to say that what I need the player to describe is not just goal and approach, but goal, approach, and any tools or specialized knowledge they are using to assist them. I mean, the tools and specialized knowledge should be covered as part of the approach, but I think this discussion makes it clear that isn’t obvious to everyone.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
@billd91 made a more concise argument than I in the post above this one I am quoting.
I'm not able to view that post.

@iserith and @Reynard

I think rather than focusing on what is or isn’t RAW, it may be more useful to consider the gameplay outcomes of each approach. If one or the other has outcomes one finds preferable, then I think one ought to rule that way, whether it’s RAW or not, and so the argument about what the RAW says is mostly a distraction.

Personally, I’m inclined to favor iserith’s ruling because I use the goal and approach the player describes in my assessment of whether or not to call for a check in the first place. If the player had said in the first place that they’re relying on their knowledge of the construction techniques in this, their ancestral home, to know how best to move the statue, it’s possible I might not have even called for a check. By adding that detail after the fact, they have changed the parameters of the action, and therefore I would have to re-assess whether or not a check is required.

I think, perhaps, it might be best to say that what I need the player to describe is not just goal and approach, but goal, approach, and any tools or specialized knowledge they are using to assist them. I mean, the tools and specialized knowledge should be covered as part of the approach, but I think this discussion makes it clear that isn’t obvious to everyone.
I agree. The discussion on what is or isn't RAW is a separate matter from the game experience the group prefers.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Consider a declaration of an attack: “I try to kill the goblin (goal) by attacking it (approach) with my sword (tool).”

For the statue we have: “I try to move the statue (goal) by lifting it (approach) using the technique I’ve learned from my ancestors (knowledge).”
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I'm not able to view that post.
He quoted DMG 239:
“Often, players ask whether they can apply a skill proficiency to an ability check. If a player can provide a good justification for why a character's training and aptitude in a skill should apply to a check, go ahead and allow it, rewarding the player's creative thinking.

This could certainly be read as support for providing that justification after the check has been called for. Again, I don’t think it much matters if it’s RAW or not, but I can see how one could read it that way.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Personally, I’m inclined to favor iserith’s ruling because I use the goal and approach the player describes in my assessment of whether or not to call for a check in the first place. If the player had said in the first place that they’re relying on their knowledge of the construction techniques in this, their ancestral home, to know how best to move the statue, it’s possible I might not have even called for a check. By adding that detail after the fact, they have changed the parameters of the action, and therefore I would have to re-assess whether or not a check is required.
If reassessing the adjudication of the task is the cost of the player developing their approach as part of the conversation with the DM rather than declaring it all prior, that's a very low and easy to bear one. And it's why I'm perfectly fine with a player continuing to develope their approach as we're working through the action and its adjudication
 

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