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

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
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
Yeah, if that’s preferable to you, awesome.
 

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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Can you articulate why you think this rigidity is superior?

I don’t think of it as rigidity but clarity. If the player can describe both goal and approach in a way that the DM understands their intent, it reduces the likelihood of misunderstanding. Of, “Oh, I thought you meant X.” “No I meant Y.”

At the same time, when the DM calls for a roll they should give both the DC and the consequence for failure. The player should then have the chance to retcon. That’s the negotiation.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I don’t think of it as rigidity but clarity. If the player can describe both goal and approach in a way that the DM understands their intent, it reduces the likelihood of misunderstanding. Of, “Oh, I thought you meant X.” “No I meant Y.”
But, ultimately, the latter does the same thing too - it's just less parsimonious.
 

Reynard

Legend
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 think requiring this up front has a negative effect on the creativity in play and the basic conversation of action resolution. It asks too much at once instead of allowing it to emerge. I am not particularly aghast at the prospect of players trying to "get over" by applying their proficiencies to tasks. I don't think that is something I should be spending too much mental bandwidth on trying to block. If their request is ridiculous, it is simple enough to say "No" whenever they present their absurdity.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
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.
Ah yes, I know that section. I would say the quote above has been taken out of the context of the preceding paragraphs which basically mirror what is in the PHB regarding the same. The player's description precedes the call for the check and now there's some question as to whether a skill or tool applies. The player makes the case and the DM can decide if it does.

The question then becomes: Do I want players to amend their descriptions so they can get a bonus after I call for a check? Or would it be better to have them do that up front so we don't have to hash anything out? The former is a big advantage to the player who can start vague, wait for the DM to rule, then try to justify a bonus. The latter is on par with any other action declaration in the game.
 

Reynard

Legend
The question then becomes: Do I want players to amend their descriptions so they can get a bonus after I call for a check? Or would it be better to have them do that up front so we don't have to hash anything out? The former is a big advantage to the player who can start vague, wait for the DM to rule, then try to justify a bonus. The latter is on par with any other action declaration in the game.
Broadly speaking, this attitude comes up a lot in context of both players and GMs, and I honestly don't think we should be trying to employ rules as cudgels against the potential of bad play on either side of the screen. just don't play with those people. if someone at your table is going to try and use History in bad faith for every Strength check because they have expertise in it, boot them. Let the decent, creative players have the opportunity to make the game better and more fun.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I think requiring this up front has a negative effect on the creativity in play and the basic conversation of action resolution. It asks too much at once instead of allowing it to emerge. I am not particularly aghast at the prospect of players trying to "get over" by applying their proficiencies to tasks. I don't think that is something I should be spending too much mental bandwidth on trying to block. If their request is ridiculous, it is simple enough to say "No" whenever they present their absurdity.
🤷‍♀️ This to me comes across as fundamentally the same as the typical arguments against asking for an approach instead of just a goal. We’ve just found the line where you prefer the detail to be added after the call for a roll instead of before.
 

Reynard

Legend
🤷‍♀️ This to me comes across as fundamentally the same as the typical arguments against asking for an approach instead of just a goal. We’ve just found the line where you prefer the detail to be added after the call for a roll instead of before.
I mean, I guess, but since we know that the call for the ability check isn't the end of the conversation, it seems silly to force it to be. Why are we drawing a hard line at "Make a strength check"?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Broadly speaking, this attitude comes up a lot in context of both players and GMs, and I honestly don't think we should be trying to employ rules as cudgels against the potential of bad play on either side of the screen. just don't play with those people. if someone at your table is going to try and use History in bad faith for every Strength check because they have expertise in it, boot them. Let the decent, creative players have the opportunity to make the game better and more fun.
It's not really a matter of playing in good faith or not in my view. If there's a rules-legal advantage to be had, I would fully expect players to take it and welcome them to do so. It is clearly better to wait to justify the skill or tool proficiency after the call for the roll. The DM is tasked with mediating between the rules and the players. If the rule is as you say it is, then there's nothing for me to mediate in this situation. The players are free to seek advantage by this means. I don't view the rules in the same way, so in my game, they can't do that.
 

Reynard

Legend
It's not really a matter of playing in good faith or not in my view. If there's a rules-legal advantage to be had, I would fully expect players to take it and welcome them to do so. It is clearly better to wait to justify the skill or tool proficiency after the call for the roll. The DM is tasked with mediating between the rules and the players. If the rule is as you say it is, then there's nothing for me to mediate in this situation. The players are free to seek advantage by this means. I don't view the rules in the same way, so in my game, they can't do that.
They are free to seek it, and you are free to say "No." I honestly don't see the problem.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
There's also the text, under the Skills section:


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.
"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."

That doesn't say anything different than what I said in the post you quoted. If the DM does not provide a proficiency to an ability check, the player can suggest one.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
"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."

That doesn't say anything different than what I said in the post you quoted. If the DM does not provide a proficiency to an ability check, the player can suggest one.
I'm saying there's no reason to think a proficiency has to be unspecified for a player to suggest an alternate one.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm saying there's no reason to think a proficiency has to be unspecified for a player to suggest an alternate one.
The context of the Proficiency section on that page is a reason to think that. I can see where you might think otherwise, though. It doesn't say it straight out, which leaves room for confusion and/or alternate interpretations. Par for the course in 5e!
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
They are free to seek it, and you are free to say "No." I honestly don't see the problem.
You mentioned earlier to @Maxperson :
Try saying "Yes" once. I bet it improves your game.
In my games, the answer is "Yes," all the time, because the player has already justified their use of the skill or tool proficiency bonus when they initially described what they wanted to do. We're both on the same page at the point at which I call for the check. There's no need of hashing it out further after the fact.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I mean, I guess, but since we know that the call for the ability check isn't the end of the conversation,
That point seems to be in contention, but is also ultimately a matter of how we each interpret the rules, which I don’t think is particularly productive to get into.
it seems silly to force it to be. Why are we drawing a hard line at "Make a strength check"?
For the same reason we draw that line when it comes to specifying the approach. Fundamentally we’re looking at two different play processes here:

1. The player provides all of the relevant details of their action, then the DM applies their best judgment and understanding of the rules to decide how that action ought to be resolved, then the player or DM performs whatever that resolution process is, then the DM narrates the results,

or 2. The player provides some of the relevant details of their action, then the DM applies their best judgment and understanding of the rules to decide how that action ought to be resolved, then the player provides more details, the DM revises their assessment of how it ought to be resolved, repeat as necessary until a final resolution method is settled upon, then the player or DM performs whatever that resolution process is, then the DM narrates the results.

Personally, I prefer the former because it is far cleaner and flows better. It front-loads determining all of the details of the action so we can move seamlessly from description to resolution and back to description. The latter allows the player to revise their description partway through the process, which may certainly be seen as beneficial, but in doing so it requires the DM to also revise their assessment of how to resolve the action partway through the process. The result is that each action is now a negotiation.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
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).”

That's a pretty good way of explaining it to players who might be reluctant. They should come on board quickly, as it is a concise way of clearly expressing their goals and methods to get their intended result. I can't think of any reason NOT to like it.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
But, ultimately, the latter does the same thing too - it's just less parsimonious.

I'm confused. Are people arguing that it's preferable to have a back and forth clearing up misunderstandings, than it is to learn to communicate in a way that achieves understanding the first time?
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I'm confused. Are people arguing that it's preferable to have a back and forth clearing up misunderstandings, than it is to learn to communicate in a way that achieves understanding the first time?
I'm arguing that in the context of a role playing game, the difference is pretty much so insignificant that it's not worth fussing over. I'm not billing my players for my time.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
The question then becomes: Do I want players to amend their descriptions so they can get a bonus after I call for a check? Or would it be better to have them do that up front so we don't have to hash anything out? The former is a big advantage to the player who can start vague, wait for the DM to rule, then try to justify a bonus.

That kind of reminds me of how I speak German. I slur all my verb/adjective endings so that they all sound the same, and fluent listeners hear what they think they should hear. I had a German professor in college who called me out on it, while begrudgingly acknowledging that I was quite good at it.

Keep it vague; claim specificity later.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
That's a pretty good way of explaining it to players who might be reluctant. They should come on board quickly, as it is a concise way of clearly expressing their goals and methods to get their intended result. I can't think of any reason NOT to like it.
Thanks! You know, in a way you can think of that format as a way to “ask to make a check” using in-character framing. The goal tells the DM what you want to make a check to do. The approach tells the DM what ability you want to make the check with. The tools/knowledge tells the DM what proficiency bonus you want to apply to the check. And it’s all done through a reasonably specific description of your in-character activity.
 
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