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Missing Rules

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm with [MENTION=467]Reynard[/MENTION] - taking a deep breath and giving it all you've got is an approach to jumping across a chasm. Because it takes time to take a deep breath, the GM might reasonably advance any "clocks" that are ticking in the situation.
But not one that's going to get you any farther across the chasm. Sure, the clocks tick on, but a ticking clock doesn't make you jump farther.
 
Do you not assume the PC is already giving it their all? If you do, how do you envision taking a deep breath helping them jump further?
PCs (in my view) aren't always giving it their all. If they were, they'd be unleashing their most empowered spells, action surging, etc every time they do something.

The way I look at this particular case is as follows:

What is the point of the rule, under STR checks, that says a STR (Athletics) check may be made to jump further than usual? Is it to impose a strict rationing of longer jumps, or to suggest a pathway to the enabling of longer jumps? I would assume the latter, because (in my experience) longer jumps are almost never going to break the game, and enabling them - especially for players who spend PC build resources to have mighty-thewed characters - makes for fun play.

What is the point of the rule/guideline, under "how to play", of saying that the player describes actions and then the GM determines the mode of adjudication, which may incude calling for a check? And related to that, how does a GM determine if something is uncertain? It seems to me that the point of that is to make the fiction preeminent. And a player who describes his PC as taking a deep breath and then giving it his/her all is engaging with the fiction and creating a shared experience at the table.

As far as determining whether something is uncertain, I don't know what the 5e designers had in mind and don't have much sense of how the typical 5e GM does this. But to me, saying that the outcome of the attempt to jump further than normal is not uncertain because the rules for jumping without need of a check say you can't do it seems like an overly narrow call. It seems to me that the jump rules make it certain that you can jump X feet, thus leaving it uncertain whether you can jump further than that - and the check is used to determine whether the further jump is possible (subject to some caveat that certain attempts at superhuman distances might just fail - presumably at most 5e tables an attempt to jump 50 feet without magical assistance is going to be declared an auto-failure by the GM).

And to combine some of the above thoughts: to require a description of what is being done to jump further than normal to be a description of different mechanical means - like springboards or ramps - seems needlessly complex and at odds with the general spirit of the jumping rules, because if I do use a ramp to get a height advantage then why don't I get an automatic increase in the distance I can jump (or to put it another way, why does being trained in Athletics make it easier for me to take advantage of a height difference when jumping?). And to me it also seems to encourage the fiction to focus on external elements of the characters, like what sort of equipment they can find and exploit, rather than internal elements, like how committed they are and what they are willing to risk to achieve their goals.

Frankly, I think if a player declares an action along the following lines - "I know it's a long distance, and I'm not guaranteed to make it, but I've got no choice but to give it a go!" - then I think that the commitment has been demonstrated, the risk taken (because if the dice fail, presumably the PC is falling to some degree of hurt at the bottom of the chasm) and the check called for. Why is it uncertain? Because we don't know whether, in this circumstance under this pressure this character can clear such a distance. Why is it not certain that s/he will fall in? Because we know s/he will clear some not-much-shorter distance every time, and so there is a chance that s/he will do better than her everyday efforts at this moment of crisis.

If the player took on extra costs, like torn muscles or stopping to take a deep breath, I'd probably give a bonus (in 4e that would be +2; I'm not sure of the best way to translate that into 5e, but advantage may not be out of the question).
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
I treat the normal jumping distances as minimums that can be achieved without any particular effort or focus. At my table, a character doesn't need to give maximum effort for these distances--it's just routine.

A character who wants to maximize their jumping distance (presumably because the routine distances are insufficient) has to put in unusual effort and focus to do so. They have to pay attention to (e.g.) timing, exact foot placement, muscle use, and mid-air body position if they want to squeeze out every last inch. Based on the example in the ability check section of the PHB, I call for a strength (athletics) check to resolve the attempt. Additionally, if we are in combat, I require the character to spend an Action (or bonus action with certain class features) to model the unusual effort and focus.

To put it another way: I use the normal action resolution rules to resolve all jumps of any distance, and use the distances listed in the PHB as the cutoff for automatic success.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
PCs (in my view) aren't always giving it their all. If they were, they'd be unleashing their most empowered spells, action surging, etc every time they do something.

The way I look at this particular case is as follows:

What is the point of the rule, under STR checks, that says a STR (Athletics) check may be made to jump further than usual? Is it to impose a strict rationing of longer jumps, or to suggest a pathway to the enabling of longer jumps? I would assume the latter, because (in my experience) longer jumps are almost never going to break the game, and enabling them - especially for players who spend PC build resources to have mighty-thewed characters - makes for fun play.

What is the point of the rule/guideline, under "how to play", of saying that the player describes actions and then the GM determines the mode of adjudication, which may incude calling for a check? And related to that, how does a GM determine if something is uncertain? It seems to me that the point of that is to make the fiction preeminent. And a player who describes his PC as taking a deep breath and then giving it his/her all is engaging with the fiction and creating a shared experience at the table.

As far as determining whether something is uncertain, I don't know what the 5e designers had in mind and don't have much sense of how the typical 5e GM does this. But to me, saying that the outcome of the attempt to jump further than normal is not uncertain because the rules for jumping without need of a check say you can't do it seems like an overly narrow call. It seems to me that the jump rules make it certain that you can jump X feet, thus leaving it uncertain whether you can jump further than that - and the check is used to determine whether the further jump is possible (subject to some caveat that certain attempts at superhuman distances might just fail - presumably at most 5e tables an attempt to jump 50 feet without magical assistance is going to be declared an auto-failure by the GM).

And to combine some of the above thoughts: to require a description of what is being done to jump further than normal to be a description of different mechanical means - like springboards or ramps - seems needlessly complex and at odds with the general spirit of the jumping rules, because if I do use a ramp to get a height advantage then why don't I get an automatic increase in the distance I can jump (or to put it another way, why does being trained in Athletics make it easier for me to take advantage of a height difference when jumping?). And to me it also seems to encourage the fiction to focus on external elements of the characters, like what sort of equipment they can find and exploit, rather than internal elements, like how committed they are and what they are willing to risk to achieve their goals.

Frankly, I think if a player declares an action along the following lines - "I know it's a long distance, and I'm not guaranteed to make it, but I've got no choice but to give it a go!" - then I think that the commitment has been demonstrated, the risk taken (because if the dice fail, presumably the PC is falling to some degree of hurt at the bottom of the chasm) and the check called for. Why is it uncertain? Because we don't know whether, in this circumstance under this pressure this character can clear such a distance. Why is it not certain that s/he will fall in? Because we know s/he will clear some not-much-shorter distance every time, and so there is a chance that s/he will do better than her everyday efforts at this moment of crisis.

If the player took on extra costs, like torn muscles or stopping to take a deep breath, I'd probably give a bonus (in 4e that would be +2; I'm not sure of the best way to translate that into 5e, but advantage may not be out of the question).
I took the combination of them putting the jump farther in the same section where they put most of the other skill checks to be obvious - this is just another use of a skill check, nothing special, nothing requiring extra hoops etc etc. Its showing you *how being skilled at athletics* can be used to help you get more than normal. Two 5th level fighters with Str 15 can both attempt to jump 18' but the one who is prof in athletics gets +3 to that check which is significant.

So, I went be requiring pogo sticks to be added in to try this any more than I require extra props for tracking checks or insight checks.

This combined with the base jump rules tells me the jump distances are not some max cap that you need props to be but that the jump distances provide are the guaranteed safe minimums - the auto-success limits.

As for taking extra time, absolutely... one of the core elements of 5e is the idea that advantage is gained when two people work together for many things. A GM who sees this as "extra resources" is still in the same spirit. Maybe part of the extra time is picking the best route, angle and timing or doing some run ups to spot slick spots. Ever see golfers taking time looking at a putt from different angles?

Folks can pile tons of import on one line or two in the intros and go down whatever path to GM dogma they want, but in the end to me it's best when the player decides the what but the character is the how as that keeps the task-level success/fail at character level and the goal-focused success/fail at the player level. You the player dont have to be good enough at ABCs to know what to tell me as GM about specifically how your very skilled at ABC goes about doing ABC.

So, you want to jump 18'instead of 15' - here's the DC (circumstances) and if there are things that help you might get advantage. After that, on a failed roll I might use "you fall short" or I might use made it but (progress with setback - PHB) or even success at cost (DMG). It's never a bad thing for a GM to remember that a failure on the skill check per RAW in PHB does not mean "failure at the task" period.

Consider... the 15' jump is not only guaranteed but is a part of movement, doesn't take an action, doesn't leave you prone, doesn't leave you clinging to the side of a cliff needing climb checks etc.

So, "fail and dont make the extra 3 feet" (or requiring pogo stick of intro text dodging) seems a very rigid and limited scope that may be dead spot on the gameplay preferences for some but not all but certainly not required by RAW.
 
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I'm perfectly fine with how it is.

The rules are giving a clear rule on how far a PC can jump without problems. So the only thing I need to do is check the PCs Strength value and the distance between the platforms. Oh and think of the territory they land on is difficult terrain (because that actually requires an DC 10 Acrobatics check by the rules!).
That's simple and I have it all memorized easily, so no need to look up rules when players want to do a jump.

My group is in a dire situation and would need to jump further than what their strength score allows? Sure no problem, I ask them to roll Athletics and see if they can manage the jump. The DCs are also clearly defined by the rules: 5 - Very Easy, 10 - Easy, 15 - Medium, 20 - Hard, 25 - Very Hard, 30 - Impossible. I didn't need to look that up, because I have that memorized as it applies for all skill checks.
So I'd simple guess the difficulty, for example think "Hmm, it's not so much farther than they can jump normally, so easy, so DC 10." and then ask my players to do an Athletics roll.

So the way the rules are written allow me to just DM the session without even having to look up rules.

In contrast, if the exact DC calculation was specified in the rules like for example "10 + extra feet/2 + 5 if difficult terrain", then that would be a rule on a very specific situation that maybe occurs once per year, no chance I've got that memorized when it occurs.
 

AlViking

Villager
My response at the table would be something like:

"Awesome! Now tell me how you set about achieving that goal. As DM, I don't want to make assumptions about what the character is actually doing. That's on you, the player, to establish. Depending on what you tell me, I may say you automatically succeed, automatically fail, or you make an ability check."

At no point at my table is a player trying to make an ability check, that's for sure!
Why not? In my game it just means they might fall short, might be able to just barely grab on to the other side, might barely make it and fall prone. Big difference between "I know I can make this jump" and "I think I can make this jump" or "I hope I can make this jump".

How many times do you see a show where the hero leaps across the alley only to barely make it and be holding on by their fingertips? Or they get across but face plant? If you only allow a guaranteed successful jump you never see that. I like mimicking TV tropes.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Ok. Let's give the situation's meaning a value, M. Let's give the failure's meaning a value, X.
Failure's meaning is also M, though. And not an additional M, but the same M. You keep persisting with this unsubstantiated notion that failure has to have added meaning. It doesn't. You saying so isn't going to change the rule. The formula is M=M. So long as M is not 0, failure has meaning.

I have not at any point misrepresented your argument, so I don't see where you think I'm distorting the truth.
You flat up attribute to me the argument that all failure has meaning, and that's not anything I said from my first post on this subject to my latest. That's a gross distortion of my argument.
 
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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
It's enough for me to adjudicate too: No ability check. The rules for jumping normally apply. Bob doesn't make it. :)

It's not about offering up "a bit more." It's about offering up a viable approach to a goal. Thinking about jumping, then taking a deep breath before doing it, just sounds like regular ol' jumping to me.

[MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION] answers this much better than I. The jumping limits establish what can be done with certainty, no check needed. Going beyond that must be possible but not without risk. The character saying they’re going to try and push themselves beyond their usual limits has to be enough for a DC to be set and checked?!
 

jasper

Rotten DM
You did not quote the part where I said 5 feet farther than your strength would allow. That is the context of my question. What difficulty does an additional 5 feet of jumping distance represent in play?
DC 40. Hope your fall is a short one.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Why not? In my game it just means they might fall short, might be able to just barely grab on to the other side, might barely make it and fall prone. Big difference between "I know I can make this jump" and "I think I can make this jump" or "I hope I can make this jump".

How many times do you see a show where the hero leaps across the alley only to barely make it and be holding on by their fingertips? Or they get across but face plant? If you only allow a guaranteed successful jump you never see that. I like mimicking TV tropes.
Asking to make an ability check is asking for a chance to fail, and the d20 is famously fickle. The smarter play in my view is to describe what you want to do while making an effort to remove uncertainty as to the outcome and/or the meaningful consequence of failure. If you fall short of automatic success and the DM asks you to roll, hopefully you have the right proficiencies and ability scores or have some resources you can spend to see you through.

There is also nothing in D&D 5e rules that leads me to believe the player can or should ask to make ability checks. That is more appropriate for previous editions of the game. (When I play D&D 4e, I tell the players to ask to make checks all they want!) As well, I have all the TV tropes in my game, too. This doesn't require players asking to make ability checks.
 
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.There is also nothing in D&D 5e rules that leads me to believe the player can or should ask to make ability checks.
There's a whole paragraph on it in the same section that talks about DMs determining whether an ability check should happen and if so what skill proficiency might imply.

I have played literally every edition of D&D and 5e ia not some FATE like paradigm shift. In basic playstyle ig not mechanics, they all play essentially the same way once PCs enter the dungeon.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
As far as determining whether something is uncertain, I don't know what the 5e designers had in mind and don't have much sense of how the typical 5e GM does this. But to me, saying that the outcome of the attempt to jump further than normal is not uncertain because the rules for jumping without need of a check say you can't do it seems like an overly narrow call. It seems to me that the jump rules make it certain that you can jump X feet, thus leaving it uncertain whether you can jump further than that - and the check is used to determine whether the further jump is possible (subject to some caveat that certain attempts at superhuman distances might just fail - presumably at most 5e tables an attempt to jump 50 feet without magical assistance is going to be declared an auto-failure by the GM).

And to combine some of the above thoughts: to require a description of what is being done to jump further than normal to be a description of different mechanical means - like springboards or ramps - seems needlessly complex and at odds with the general spirit of the jumping rules, because if I do use a ramp to get a height advantage then why don't I get an automatic increase in the distance I can jump (or to put it another way, why does being trained in Athletics make it easier for me to take advantage of a height difference when jumping?). And to me it also seems to encourage the fiction to focus on external elements of the characters, like what sort of equipment they can find and exploit, rather than internal elements, like how committed they are and what they are willing to risk to achieve their goals.
An ability check must necessarily be tied to a fictional action since the function of an ability check is to resolve uncertainty as to the outcome of the task. A player can always try to have the character jump further, but he or she is obligated to offer the reason why that's even possible. Your ramp example may well indeed allow for an automatic increase in the distance the character can jump, no roll. That is up to the DM who is charged with determining if the proposed approach to the goal is so easy and free of conflict and stress that there is no chance of failure or if the task is so inappropriate or impossible that it can't work. If the answer to both of these questions is "no," then a check is appropriate. People will differ on whether the proposal of "take a deep breath and give it the ol' college try" is sufficient to boost the character's normal jumping distance.

Are you playing D&D 5e yet? In past discussions, you had not. I recall you mostly played D&D 4e (which is quite different from D&D 5e in many ways) or Burning Wheel.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
There's a whole paragraph on it in the same section that talks about DMs determining whether an ability check should happen and if so what skill proficiency might imply.

I have played literally every edition of D&D and 5e ia not some FATE like paradigm shift. In basic playstyle ig not mechanics, they all play essentially the same way once PCs enter the dungeon.
If you're referring to the section you quoted previously on DMG page 239, that is very clearly referring to the player asking if a proficiency applies to an ability check the DM already called for. That is mirrored in the Basic Rules on page 58 and 59. I even provided you with an example of play from the Basic Rules (page 2) that underscored what that section meant. The DM called for an Intelligence check and the player asked if he could apply Investigation. This is very different than asking to make an ability check, which is entirely the DM's role in this game.

I know these sections very well. It's the basis for a specific approach I use at the table: I try to only ask for ability checks and the players apply the proficiency they feel is appropriate based on their understanding of the action they are attempting. "Often, players ask whether they can apply a skill proficiency to an ability check." (DMG, page 239.) Since I like to minimize the amount of questions at the table (questions aren't actions), my answer is a default "Yes," on the assumption of good faith, and the players don't need to ask.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
No. This is not true. I don't know where you are getting this, except possibly a very strange interpretation of the description of play.
The description of a fictional action necessarily includes a goal (what you hope to achieve) and an approach (how you try to achieve it) e.g. "I try to clear the 10'-wide pit by jumping over it." This allows the DM determine if the task is possible or impossible and, if possible, whether there's a need for an ability check which may or may not include a skill proficiency.
 
An ability check must necessarily be tied to a fictional action since the function of an ability check is to resolve uncertainty as to the outcome of the task. A player can always try to have the character jump further, but he or she is obligated to offer the reason why that's even possible.
Sure, but the reason might simply be "I know I can't clear this comfortably - it's further than the gap I jump across every morning when I'm training! - but if I give it my all I might just make it!"

The idea that, by default, the distances a hero can try and jump either fall into the will automatically make it category and the can't possibly make it category isn't that appealing to me, and on my reading of the 5e rules is not mandated by them.

People will differ on whether the proposal of "take a deep breath and give it the ol' college try" is sufficient to boost the character's normal jumping distance.
Is it sufficient or not? That seems like something uncertain - and hence that might aptly be determined by a check.

Are you playing D&D 5e yet? In past discussions, you had not. I recall you mostly played D&D 4e (which is quite different from D&D 5e in many ways) or Burning Wheel.
I'm not playing 5e, but this thread came up on a forum front page and the question of how actions should be resolved in various systems is something I find interesting.

The last two sessions I've GMed have been Prince Valiant. (You can read about them here and here if you like!) The basic approach to resolution is not different from that which you advocate for 5e - player declares what his/her PC does, and GM stipulates check required (if any) and difficulty. (Unlike 4e there are not resources whose deployment is senstiive to the making of checks; and unlike BW there is no system of advancement contingent on making checks with a particular ability; so calling for checks isn't really a player-side thing.)

I'm running it much as I've been running Classic Traveller (another system I've been running a bit over the past year or so): say "yes" when nothing much is at stake and the fiction doesn't make success terribly improbable; otherwise set an "objective" difficulty (which contrasts with 4e or Cortex+ Heroic - the latter another system I've been running quite a bit recently) and see how the check plays out, with BW-style "fail forward" narration of failures.

Asking to make an ability check is asking for a chance to fail, and the d20 is famously fickle. The smarter play in my view is to describe what you want to do while making an effort to remove uncertainty as to the outcome and/or the meaningful consequence of failure.
I find this very reminiscent of classic D&D or OSR-style play. I feel that it tends to push play in the direction I mentioned upthread - very operationally focused, with a principal consideration being external factors that will allow the character to succeed.

I prefer using "say 'yes'" as a device to manage dramatic pacing rather than as a response to tactical planning, and to use "fail forward" to manage the outcomes of failure. It's also the case that it's a long time since I've run a system with a "notoriously fickle" d20 (4e has the illusion of being such a system, but there are so many player-side resources for generating post hoc boosts, retries, etc that it really isn't) - BW and Prince Valiant are dice pools, Classic Traveller is mostly 2d6, and Cortex+ Heroic is very complicated dice pools with a lot of player-side manipulation as well.

Because of the way 5e strongly demarcates "mundane" checks and "magical" spells and class abilities, I suspect it may be hard to play in the style I prefer, which is one reason why I don't play it. But on this particular issue of a character jumping further than s/he easily can, I think drifting it in that direction in the way that I've described (following [MENTION=467]Reynard[/MENTION]'s description) is not that hard at all. (And in lieu of any sophisticated "fail forward" in the event of failure, if the PC is 14th level as Reynard suggested then the hp mechanics will probably carry that load.)
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
The description of a fictional action necessarily includes a goal (what you hope to achieve) and an approach (how you try to achieve it) e.g. "I try to clear the 10'-wide pit by jumping over it." This allows the DM determine if the task is possible or impossible and, if possible, whether there's a need for an ability check which may or may not include a skill proficiency.
I'm really not understanding this hard line you're drawing. The jumping rules determine what a character can do without possibility of failure. I.e. they automatically succeed, no check required. There then has to be a certain amount of reasonable distance beyond that the character can attempt with some risk of failure. And a further distance at which the character is guaranteed to fail.

The character stating that they realize they're attempting to jump beyond what they can do without fail (but not an unreasonable distance) puts them into this grey area surely?

I don't get why you're being so black and white about it?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Failure's meaning is also M, though. And not an additional M, but the same M. You keep persisting with this unsubstantiated notion that failure has to have added meaning. It doesn't. You saying so isn't going to change the rule. The formula is M=M. So long as M is not 0, failure has meaning.
The failure’s value is a variable we are trying to find. If the failure’s value is equal to the situation’s value, then M+X should equal 2M. But it doesn’t. M+X=M, therefore X must equal 0. If the meaning is not altered by the failure, the failure is not where the meaning came from.

You flat up attribute to me the argument that all failure has meaning, and that's not anything I said from my first post on this subject to my latest. That's a gross distortion of my argument.
No, I do not. I attribute to you the argument that failure to achieve a goal can have meaning by itself, not it always does. It would take only one example of a failure to achieve a goal having meaning by itself to prove that failure can be meaningful by itself. And still you have not given one.
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Sure, but the reason might simply be "I know I can't clear this comfortably - it's further than the gap I jump across every morning when I'm training! - but if I give it my all I might just make it!"

The idea that, by default, the distances a hero can try and jump either fall into the will automatically make it category and the can't possibly make it category isn't that appealing to me, and on my reading of the 5e rules is not mandated by them.
Is it sufficient or not? That seems like something uncertain - and hence that might aptly be determined by a check.
To be clear, my position is only on what the jumping rules specifically say in the context of how to play the game (again, according to the rules), especially as it relates to the need for the player to describe a goal and approach for the DM to judge and not just ask to make an ability check.

While I would likely not rule that a character can just "try harder" (or words to that effect) to jump than normal without some kind of circumstance giving him or her a boost, it is not for me to say whether another DM is wrong for accepting "I try harder" as a viable approach to the goal of jumping an unusually long distance. And it would be equally incorrect for anyone to say that I'm wrong for not accepting that approach as anything other than a normal jump. This is also my position with regard to judging something as having a meaningful consequence of failure as evidenced by my exchange upthread with @Maxperson and @Charlaquin.
 

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