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Missing Rules

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I've explained it at length, over and over again: An approach is required to determine if the character can actually jump an unusually long distance. "An Athletics check" is not an approach. It is a mechanic to resolve a declared approach to a goal that has an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence of failure. I am in no way against a character trying to jump an unusually long distance. The question is "How?"

The gray area, as I pointed out to [MENTION=6801558]robus[/MENTION], is that the efficacy of the player's answer to "How?" is going to be judged differently by different DMs. He's okay with "I try harder..." (or words to that effect). I am not. Neither of us are wrong.
And to bring this discussion back to the original question, this is exactly why having a formula for determining distance jumped based on the results of an Athletics check doesn’t work with 5e’s resolution system.
 

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5ekyu

Adventurer
I can only speak for myself, but to my mind it expresses a certain kind of playstyle that isn't inherently more "5e" than any other. A player never needs to state more than their intended goal, IMO. I don't ask what sort of lunge or strike they are making at the orc and I don't ask how precisely they are jumping. I ask what they a doing and what their goal is if clarity is needed. If a player does that through in character expression, that's okay but I will still ask what their mechanical, game based approach is. If all they give me is that mechanical approach, that's fine.
We agree here dead on.

"I attempt to jump as far as i can" is a goal. Period.

I attempt to jump onto the ledge/platform" is a goal. Period.

" run up to the edge and jump" is an approach.

Where the disconnect comes in is that **even though** the rules describe the automatic everytime you can get this far jump distances (without taking any action or risk of failure besides a difficult landing) and also tell you the use of athletics skill in jumping further... it seems like some want to view the automatic/free as maximums outside of some special cases.

In my games, these two rules mean "i jump as far as i can" means an athletics check everytime with the minimum result being the ones defined in the chapter 8 section and the athletics check being used to decide how much farther if any they go.

That means if a character jump "as far as i can" 20 times they will land at various spots over time, not just the exact same spot each time.

That means a character tries to jump a reasonable bit farther than their default auto- min allows 20 times they wont fail every time but sometimes succeed, sometime fail and (per definition of failure in PHB) sometimes make it with setback.

None of those require pogo sticks in my games either as i dont single out the jump-athletics example in the "Each ability" section for pogo sticklering.

But thats me.
 

Reynard

Legend
That DM does NOT misunderstand his or her role at the table in your example. The DM is narrating the result of the adventurer's action which is the purview of the DM and Step 3 of the basic conversation of the game. However much you may disagree with the ruling, it is appropriate to the role.

As for players asking to make ability checks, please let me know if you find any example of that in the Basic Rules or DMG. To my knowledge, the only thing that is called out is asking to apply a proficiency to an ability check the DM already called for. Players asking to make ability checks is a common approach to playing in my experience, but I find no support for it in the D&D 5e rules. Contrast that with D&D 4e, for example, which explicitly says: "A player often initiates a skill check by asking the DM if he or she can make one. Almost always, the DM says yes." This approach seems very much to me like a holdover from other editions of the game that people are bringing with them into D&D 5e. And to be clear, I still play D&D 4e. In that game, go nuts with asking to make skill checks! But not in my D&D 5e game.
I suppose we are at an impass (again) because absolutely do not see this hard and fast commandment in the 5e DMG that Players Shall Not Ask To Make An Ability Or Skill Check. Nor do I see 5e as any different in kind than any previous edition of D&D.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I suppose we are at an impass (again) because absolutely do not see this hard and fast commandment in the 5e DMG that Players Shall Not Ask To Make An Ability Or Skill Check.
If you're okay with assuming what characters are doing, you do you. I don't see that as the DM's role based on my reading of the rules. And it's the player's role to describe what they want to do. There is nothing suggesting a player asks to make ability checks. (Plus it's not even a very good strategy for success.)

Nor do I see 5e as any different in kind than any previous edition of D&D.
Then I guess it's no mystery why you went looking for DCs for jumping! :)

Me, I treat each edition of D&D as separate and distinct. I try to leave my assumptions at the door and amend my approach as a player and DM to best fit the version I'm playing. To do otherwise seems strange to me. They're different games, not software upgrades of the same game.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
But 5e does not prescribe this anywhere in the rule book. It says the DM presents a situation, the player describes their actions and the DM adjudicates the next step, repeat until resolution. "Describe" here does not come with any rules attached to it. It is in a portion of the book written in natural language. It means what the word means in common conversation. "I want to jump across the chasm using Athletics," is in fact describing what the player wants to do.
It says the players describe what their characters do. Making an Athletics check is not something the character does, that’s something the player does to resolve uncertainty in the outcome of something the character does. In this scenario, the DM does not have enough information to determine the outcome, because the player has not described what their character is doing that might require an Athletics check to resolve.

If the DM responds with, "Sorry, you can't. It is 16 feet and you only have a 15 strength. You fall to your death." that DM fundamentally misunderstands his role at the table.
I agree. The DM should respond with a clarifying question about what the character is doing. Now, if the player says “jumping,” it falls to the DM to determine the results of this action. They may decide the outcome is uncertain and ask for an Athletics check to resolve that uncertainty, or they may determine that the outcome is certain and narrate the results. Either would be perfectly in line with the task resolution rules outlined in the PHB.
 

AlViking

First Post
The issue with "I want to make an X check to Y" is that X doesn't describe an approach. At best it implies one then kicks it to the DM to imagine what the character is actually doing. The DM cannot establish what the character is doing as that is not the DM's role - the player is the only one who can say how the character acts or what it says or thinks. The DM can only describe the environment and (after determining whether mechanics come into play) narrate the results of the adventurers' actions.
I don't require players to speak using a narrowly prescribed phraseology. If someone says "I want to do an investigation check" I know what they're doing is looking closely and trying to get a better understanding. If they say "I make an athletics check to jump further than I normally can" I'll give them some feedback on difficulty and then either allow it or tell them it's not possible. I may provide an alternative approach.

There's give and take. The player is proposing a way of overcoming an obstacle, I let them know if it would work. I don't care if it's "I use athletics to bypass" or "I jump over it".

I don't understand why you're so stuck on a couple of sentences in the DMG. People have different ways of expressing what they want their character to do.

I think the distinction is pointless. You do you though.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I suppose we are at an impass (again) because absolutely do not see this hard and fast commandment in the 5e DMG that Players Shall Not Ask To Make An Ability Or Skill Check. Nor do I see 5e as any different in kind than any previous edition of D&D.
I agree as well. In my games, with players i have been playing with since 80 and new ones, sometimes we speak game mechanics sometimes we dont snd making them say the pre-determined 1000 times before words for "what can my character tell from..." (Skill check) doesnt add fun or ease or speed up anything... It gives no value to treat there words as if its computer code and my responses as programmed events.

Might take different approach if this was a tourney environment or some chaotic show up anybody table at flgs.

But, i think one key to me in my resolution is that "who asks" doesnt affect the outcome.

If a player describes or asks for skill check, if it would have failed automatically - it does. If it would have succeeded automatically - it does. If it would have been a check vs DC it will.

I strive to keep my resolutions consistent **within the world** so that exceptional cases can be recognized as exceptional. So, its incumbent on me to keep that process consistent and dependent on character traits and situational elements and not make "syntax" issues like "which player said what and how" affect the in-game odds or outcomes.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I don't require players to speak using a narrowly prescribed phraseology. If someone says "I want to do an investigation check" I know what they're doing is looking closely and trying to get a better understanding. If they say "I make an athletics check to jump further than I normally can" I'll give them some feedback on difficulty and then either allow it or tell them it's not possible. I may provide an alternative approach.
It’s not about specific phrasing, it’s about giving the DM enough information to make a judgment call about the results. Just telling me “I want to do an investigation check” doesn’t tell me what you are trying to learn or how you are going about trying to learn it, which makes it impossible not only to determine if you need to make a check in the first place, but also what the difficulty of a check might be of one is necessary. “I make an Athletics check to jump further than I normally can” actually does give me enough information. Your goal is to cover more ground than you can normally jump, and your method is by jumping. From that description of what your character is doing, it is my job as DM to determine what the results are, and skill checks are a tool to help me make that determination in the case of an uncertain outcome. Personally, I would say that your approach, “jump” does not have a reasonable chance of success at achieving your goal, “cover more ground than I can by jumping,” so I would tell you an Athletics check is not necessary. You would fail. But I would also say that and give you the opportunity to try something else, rather than skipping straight to narrating the failure, just as I would provide you with an opportunity to change your mind after I told you the DC if I felt a check was necessary. Other DMs might rule differently, and that’s perfectly fine.

There's give and take. The player is proposing a way of overcoming an obstacle, I let them know if it would work. I don't care if it's "I use athletics to bypass" or "I jump over it".
I think the fundamental difference in our approaches is not about give and take or lack thereof, but about the role of skills. To you, Skills are a player tool for interfacing with the game world. To me, Skills are a DM tool for determining the outcomes of actions that are not otherwise clear.
 
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Reynard

Legend
I think the fundamental difference in our approaches is not about give and take or lack thereof, but about the role of skills. To you, Skills are a player tool for interfacing with the game world. To me, Skills are a DM tool for determining the outcomes of actions that are not otherwise clear.
Ah. There's the heart of it. Okay, I get where you are coming from. I don't run my game that way and if a player would not like to be in a game ran that way, but I do understand your perspective now.

Good gaming to you!
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Ah. There's the heart of it. Okay, I get where you are coming from. I don't run my game that way and if a player would not like to be in a game ran that way, but I do understand your perspective now.

Good gaming to you!
Awesome! I knew we’d reach an understanding eventually. Good gaming to you as well!
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I don't require players to speak using a narrowly prescribed phraseology.
Do you imagine that I do? "Don't ask to make an ability check because that's not your role and not even a very good strategy" leaves open an entire world of possibilities to describe one's approach to a goal. How is that narrow by any reasonable definition? How are those "code words," to use another word you brought up earlier?

If someone says "I want to do an investigation check" I know what they're doing is looking closely and trying to get a better understanding.
You assume what they are doing. And you may be right. But perhaps not always. And if you're establishing what the character is doing, you're stepping outside of the DM's role in the game. (Whether or not you care if you do is a separate matter.)

I don't understand why you're so stuck on a couple of sentences in the DMG. People have different ways of expressing what they want their character to do.
I'm not "stuck" on anything. I've read the rules for D&D 5e. I play by the rules as I understand them. If I'm playing D&D 4e, I play by those rules which includes player asking to make ability checks. And this is more than "a couple of sentences in the DMG." It's in the Basic Rules and the DMG in multiple sections specifically and then other rules are based on those underlying assumptions.
 

AlViking

First Post
It’s not about specific phrasing, it’s about giving the DM enough information to make a judgment call about the results. Just telling me “I want to do an investigation check” doesn’t tell me what you are trying to learn or how you are going about trying to learn it, which makes it impossible not only to determine if you need to make a check in the first place, but also what the difficulty of a check might be of one is necessary. “I make an Athletics check to jump further than I normally can” actually does give me enough information. Your goal is to cover more ground than you can normally jump, and your method is by jumping. From that description of what your character is doing, it is my job as DM to determine what the results are, and skill checks are a tool to help me make that determine in the case of an uncertain outcome. Personally, I would say that your approach, “jump” does not have a reasonable chance of success at achieving your goal, “cover more ground than I can by jumping,” so I would tell you no roll is necessary. You would fail. But I would also say that and give you the opportunity to try something else, rather than skipping straight to narrating the failure, just as I would provide you with an opportunity to change your mind after I told you the DC if I felt a check was necessary.


I think the fundamental difference in our approaches is not about give and take or lack thereof, but about the role of skills. To you, Skills are a player tool for interfacing with the game world. To me, Skills are a DM tool for determining the outcomes of actions that are not otherwise clear.
The vast majority of times saying "I make an investigation check" is crystal clear. The one time in a hundred it's not, I'll just ask them for clarification.

You aren't boss of me and don't get to decide what skill checks mean for me. ;)

In many cases D&D is about PCs overcoming obstacles and resolving issues. Whether that obstacle is a goblin or a chasm doesn't really matter. If the PC wants to overcome the obstacle of determining what the symbols on the door mean by looking at them, making an investigation check may be one way of overcoming the obstacle. If it's not something I'd allow I'll let them know.

Speaking in skills is just a shortcut in many cases. Instead of saying "I press my ear against the door and try to eavesdrop on the conversation" they say "I make a perception check to listen in". Six of one, half dozen of the other.

But this is all just a repeat. You do you, I'll do me, we agree to disagree.
 

AlViking

First Post
Do you imagine that I do? "Don't ask to make an ability check because that's not your role and not even a very good strategy" leaves open an entire world of possibilities to describe one's approach to a goal. How is that narrow by any reasonable definition? How are those "code words," to use another word you brought up earlier?



You assume what they are doing. And you may be right. But perhaps not always. And if you're establishing what the character is doing, you're stepping outside of the DM's role in the game. (Whether or not you care if you do is a separate matter.)



I'm not "stuck" on anything. I've read the rules for D&D 5e. I play by the rules as I understand them. If I'm playing D&D 4e, I play by those rules which includes player asking to make ability checks. And this is more than "a couple of sentences in the DMG." It's in the Basic Rules and the DMG in multiple sections specifically and then other rules are based on those underlying assumptions.
I'm also running the game as best I can based on my understanding of the rules of this edition as well. I mean no offense, we just run the game differently or at least express how we run the game differently.

We disagree, and no matter how vociferously you state your point of view I doubt either one of us is going to change their minds. I can't think of anything else to add.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I'm also running the game as best I can based on my understanding of the rules of this edition as well. I mean no offense, we just run the game differently or at least express how we run the game differently.

We disagree, and no matter how vociferously you state your point of view I doubt either one of us is going to change their minds. I can't think of anything else to add.
It's never my goal to convince people who disagree with me to change their mind. It's hard to fathom an approach that would be successful on the internet and I don't have the benefit your players have to just say "I make a Persuasion check" and have that be good enough.

I engage to make my own arguments sharper or clearer and also for the benefit of people who are reading the discussion. But try to convince you to change your mind? Nah. :)
 

AlViking

First Post
It's never my goal to convince people who disagree with me to change their mind. It's hard to fathom an approach that would be successful on the internet and I don't have the benefit your players have to just say "I make a Persuasion check" and have that be good enough.

I engage to make my own arguments sharper or clearer and also for the benefit of people who are reading the discussion. But try to convince you to change your mind? Nah. :)
It would be extremely rare that I would allow someone to say "I make a persuasion check".

Most times if they say that I'd launch into an RP session and/or ask them what they are saying depending on the player and the scene.

But every once in a while? Yeah, "I persuade the bouncer to let us in to the party" may work. Some people that are not very good with words like to play charismatic characters so I adjust my play style to maximize the fun for all.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
It would be extremely rare that I would allow someone to say "I make a persuasion check".

Most times if they say that I'd launch into an RP session and/or ask them what they are saying depending on the player and the scene.

But every once in a while? Yeah, "I persuade the bouncer to let us in to the party" may work. Some people that are not very good with words like to play charismatic characters so I adjust my play style to maximize the fun for all.
"I try to persuade the bouncer to let us in the party (goal) by making a cordial request (approach)."

That's good enough for me.
 

AlViking

First Post
"I try to persuade the bouncer to let us in the party (goal) by making a cordial request (approach)."

That's good enough for me.
We're close. I just allow my players to use fewer words: "I use persuasion to convince the bouncer to let us in."

Won't work all the time of course. But depending on the player even a fumbling "We explain to the king what we found" with a couple of people chiming in would also work.

I'd rather do this kind of stuff in character and I often encourage it with inspiration, but I don't require it.
 


iserith

Magic Wordsmith
We're close. I just allow my players to use fewer words: "I use persuasion to convince the bouncer to let us in."

Won't work all the time of course. But depending on the player even a fumbling "We explain to the king what we found" with a couple of people chiming in would also work.

I'd rather do this kind of stuff in character and I often encourage it with inspiration, but I don't require it.
I have no particular preference as to descriptive or active roleplaying. The rules suggest both work and any given game is a mix of the two and that has been my experience. I just need to be able to discern a goal and approach without assuming or establishing what the character is doing so I can perform my role as DM.

I don't award Inspiration. The players in my games claim it. It works exceedingly well.
 

Reynard

Legend
We're close. I just allow my players to use fewer words: "I use persuasion to convince the bouncer to let us in."

Won't work all the time of course. But depending on the player even a fumbling "We explain to the king what we found" with a couple of people chiming in would also work.

I'd rather do this kind of stuff in character and I often encourage it with inspiration, but I don't require it.
I'm with AIViking here, with the addition that if a player has a clear idea of what mechanics they want to use to accomplish their goal I prefer them to just tell me. I don't dissuade the in character interaction but I still want to know what they, as player, are trying to do with the system. It's much easier to adjudicate that way. I don't like playing guessing games. It results in miscommunication and potentially hard feelings of things go badly because I thought the player was trying to Bluff when he was actually trying to Intimidate or whatever. So if the player comes out with, " I intimidate the guard," versus "I puff up and make myself look tougher than I am" I can call for the right rolls and tactics. It isn't my job to tell the player how to use their character.
 

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