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

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
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.

Huh. I find that...puzzling. Just as I would like the DM to be clear with room descriptions, I would like players to be clear with action declarations.

But ok. To each his (or her) own.
 

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FitzTheRuke

Legend
I'm honestly seeing both sides of this conversation. It seems to me that while I would never tell a player "No, you didn't mention it beforehand so you can't add a proficiency after the fact" having them generally expect to announce actions as @Charlaquin describes: "I attack the orc with my longsword" --> "I try to move the statue with my specialty knowledge" keeps things nice and clear.

To flip it around, I would never tell a player who says "I attack the orc" that they have to do it unarmed because they didn't tell me ahead of time that they were using their longsword.

I'm not bothered by a quick "with what?" - "with x!" but I can see how it would be better announced ahead of time! (Or in other words, I get where @iserith is coming from.)
 

jgsugden

Legend
It comes up more often for me because of my approach to ability checks.

I ask myself what ability should govern, and then if there is any reason they should be treated as proficient or expert. This could be a skill or tool proficiency, or it could just be part of their history/backstory.

This results in a lot more 'non-standard' situations.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
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?

That's kind of what it sounds like, but I think the argument is more in favour of expecting and allowing for player foibles. It's not that they can't do better, it's that some of them NEVER WILL. Some of us still want to (or HAVE to) play with players like that.

In some cases, it even seems like expecting too much of players can be a form of gatekeeping. (I'm not saying that's the case here, but I know that I probably go too far the other way in an attempt to be inclusive).

As in most things, a balanced approach is probably best.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I'm honestly seeing both sides of this conversation. It seems to me that while I would never tell a player "No, you didn't mention it beforehand so you can't add a proficiency after the fact" having them generally expect to announce actions as @Charlaquin describes: "I attack the orc with my longsword" --> "I try to move the statue with my specialty knowledge" keeps things nice and clear.

To flip it around, I would never tell a player who says "I attack the orc" that they have to do it unarmed because they didn't tell me ahead of time that they were using their longsword.

I'm not bothered by a quick "with what?" - "with x!" but I can see how it would be better announced ahead of time! (Or in other words, I get where @iserith is coming from.)
I concur. I’m not inflexible; if a player forgets to add a pertinent detail, I’m never going to be the DM who says “too late! You already said it, so it already happened!” But, I do think providing all the relevant details up front should be encouraged as the ideal.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I'm honestly seeing both sides of this conversation. It seems to me that while I would never tell a player "No, you didn't mention it beforehand so you can't add a proficiency after the fact" having them generally expect to announce actions as @Charlaquin describes: "I attack the orc with my longsword" --> "I try to move the statue with my specialty knowledge" keeps things nice and clear.

To flip it around, I would never tell a player who says "I attack the orc" that they have to do it unarmed because they didn't tell me ahead of time that they were using their longsword.

I'm not bothered by a quick "with what?" - "with x!" but I can see how it would be better announced ahead of time! (Or in other words, I get where @iserith is coming from.)
This also reminds me of a post that I re-read the other day after someone linked the thread. In that now years-old post, I say: "Another upside to grounding everything in terms of what is happening in the game world... is that players walk away from the play experience with the feeling that they had done a ton of stuff that session. Because they did! They didn't stop the forward progress of the game after the DM described the environment to have an exchange of Q&A. They continued to act through their characters, describing what they wanted to do, while the DM narrated the results." So in addition to things just flowing more smoothly when players take a moment to be reasonably specific, this has a nice effect on player engagement and satisfaction.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
This also reminds me of a post that I re-read the other day after someone linked the thread. In that now years-old post, I say: "Another upside to grounding everything in terms of what is happening in the game world... is that players walk away from the play experience with the feeling that they had done a ton of stuff that session. Because they did! They didn't stop the forward progress of the game after the DM described the environment to have an exchange of Q&A. They continued to act through their characters, describing what they wanted to do, while the DM narrated the results." So in addition to things just flowing more smoothly when players take a moment to be reasonably specific, this has a nice effect on player engagement and satisfaction.

I can see it "calming the chaos" a bit.

Playing with newbies, casuals, and (let's face it) drunks, I am used to games being pure chaos. Balancing Chaos is part of what I do when I DM. I'm okay with that, but I'd be happy for a little less of it.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Huh. I find that...puzzling. Just as I would like the DM to be clear with room descriptions, I would like players to be clear with action declarations.

But ok. To each his (or her) own.
I'm also not going to sweat it if a player asks me questions about my description of the room if they don't think things are crystal clear. We all bring different perspectives, vocabularies, and thought processes to these interactions. And if questions need to be asked because we weren't all perfectly in sync on every nuance the first time, that's OK.
 

That's kind of what it sounds like, but I think the argument is more in favour of expecting and allowing for player foibles. It's not that they can't do better, it's that some of them NEVER WILL. Some of us still want to (or HAVE to) play with players like that.
Yes, this, from experience. I have a player that played a good 5-7 sessions as a warlock before he stopped asking me how many slots he could use every session.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Yes, this, from experience. I have a player that played a good 5-7 sessions as a warlock before he stopped asking me how many slots he could use every session.
I have a player who's played a Monk for nearly a year who still can't keep straight which of his abilities requires him to spend ki and which ones don't. (And yes, it tells him right there on his character sheet - I made sure!)

Some of us just play with players that make us do some of the playing for them. Now, I'm sure some people here would advocate "kicking them out", but this player (and many like him) can be honestly fun to play with and enthusiastic about the game!

There really IS "all kinds".
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I'm also not going to sweat it if a player asks me questions about my description of the room if they don't think things are crystal clear. We all bring different perspectives, vocabularies, and thought processes to these interactions. And if questions need to be asked because we weren't all perfectly in sync on every nuance the first time, that's OK.
I am also ok with players asking clarifying questions if my description is unclear to them, but I still strive to be clear enough that it won’t be necessary too often. I also think most questions players ask during play aren’t really clarifying the description, they’re attempting to gain additional information, without committing to an action. I encourage players to ask questions if they don’t understand something I’ve said, but if they want to find out about something I didn’t say, to describe an action their character takes to try and find it out.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I have a player who's played a Monk for nearly a year who still can't keep straight which of his abilities requires him to spend ki and which ones don't. (And yes, it tells him right there on his character sheet - I made sure!)

Some of us just play with players that make us do some of the playing for them. Now, I'm sure some people here would advocate "kicking them out", but this player (and many like him) can be honestly fun to play with and enthusiastic about the game!

There really IS "all kinds".
Yeah, most of the people I play with regularly are neurodivergent in some way, and a few of them are also old enough that memorizing large amounts of new information and retaining it from week to week isn’t as easy for them as it once was. I try to be patient, as long as they’re making an effort.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I'm also not going to sweat it if a player asks me questions about my description of the room if they don't think things are crystal clear. We all bring different perspectives, vocabularies, and thought processes to these interactions. And if questions need to be asked because we weren't all perfectly in sync on every nuance the first time, that's OK.

Yeah, like @Charlaquin said, I’m not going to tell a player, “Ha! You said X! No backing out now!” But I’d like to evolve toward clarity and specificity. I’m kind of surprised this is a debate; it makes me think you are envisioning something much different than I am describing.

If a player says, “I attack the orc” I’m willing to ask “with what?”

The 30th time?
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Yeah, like @Charlaquin said, I’m not going to tell a player, “Ha! You said X! No backing out now!” But I’d like to evolve toward clarity and specificity. I’m kind of surprised this is a debate; it makes me think you are envisioning something much different than I am describing.

If a player says, “I attack the orc” I’m willing to ask “with what?”

The 30th time?

I think that's it though: There's no limit. 30th time is same as the first.

Some of us, like I assume @Reynard (though I don't speak for him), are so used to that sort of thing, that we long ago stopped worrying about it. In fact, in some cases, we (rightly or wrongly) see having low-to-zero expectations of our players (when it comes to this aspect) as a virtue. You don't have any problem playing with players who play that way, because you expect it. Therefore, you are being inclusive.

In thinking about this here I have arrived at a more neutral outlook on it (you take the bad with the good, and there's no reason you can't try to move toward "better", even if it's slow and you accept far less than 100% as victory!)
 


Reynard

Legend
I think it is important to note that these situations are, by their very nature, uncommon and thus the extra negotiation that @iserith and @Charlaquin seem to be concerned about will be likewise uncommon. Generally speaking i agree with them about the process, I just don't don't have any problem with allowing the player to apply some creative problem solving prior to the dice being rolled. And I think the rules support and expect that kind of thing.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
This is one of the flaws of online gaming sites like Roll20 and Foundry. They set skills a specific way, and while you can alter it and can make it a different kind of check, all the tools are set up to make the check the "standard" way and it's not that simple to make it differently.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
STR(History): opening a book that has been sitting on a frozen shelf - polar / tundra outside - for a few generations. You have to be careful of the brittle pages but you also have to break the hardened glue in the binding.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
It always was. The only difference is where in the process does the GM say "Strength check."
I disagree. If the player describes all the necessary details, the DM says what to roll based on that description, and the player rolls it, there was no negotiation. It’s just narration -> resolution -> narration.
I think it is important to note that these situations are, by their very nature, uncommon and thus the extra negotiation that @iserith and @Charlaquin seem to be concerned about will be likewise uncommon.
Again, I disagree. In my experience it’s pretty common.
 

Reynard

Legend
I disagree. If the player describes all the necessary details, the DM says what to roll based on that description, and the player rolls it, there was no negotiation. It’s just narration -> resolution -> narration.
Except in 5e there is an explicitly allowed, possible additional step: the player making the case for a proficiency after the ability check has been called for. It isn't an optional rule and while whether the proficiency applies is up to the GM, the asking is NOT up to the GM.
 

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