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Missing Rules

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
It's possible I am misunderstanding you, but what I think you are saying is that you would prefer to have a player say, "My character saunters up to the guard, flexes a little and politely suggests it's time to take a coffee break," and YOU decide (assuming there is going to be a roll involved) whether that is a Charisma check and whether Bluff or Intimidate applies. Do I have that right?

EDIT: To add, perhaps I am conflating [MENTION=6779196]Charlaquin[/MENTION] and your points of view on this?
Isireth’s approach and mine are not terribly dissimilar from what I can tell, though there are some points but we differ on.

For me, yes, my preference is for the player to describe what their character is doing in the fiction and what they hope to achieve by it, and I decide if a roll is necessary, and if so what attribute and DC it should be. I am also more than happy to accept suggestions from the player regarding which proficiencies (whether skill, tool, or other) might be applicable. And, I don’t have any requirements as to the level of detail of the description. “My character saunters up to the guard, flexes a little and politely suggests it's time to take a coffee break” is a perfectly valid description, but no more or less valid than a simple “my character politely tries to convince the guard to leave.” As long as I can discern what the player hopes to accomplish and how the character goes about trying to accomplish it, the specifics of the description are wide open.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I agree, but (you knew there was a but coming, didn't you?) short of kicking my friend out of the game I don't see it happening.

That and for AL games, there's only so much you can do. If I didn't want to meet new people and get out of the house now and then I may not play AL because it does lack depth at times. Especially true because our game store is quite noisy. Which I guess is not all bad; it's noisy because they're busy.
Yup, I wouldn't kick a friend out over asking for checks. I guess I would just accept that that player is not going to catch on and start getting Advantage or Automatic Successes as much as other players do which certainly isn't the end of the world.

Other divergent play styles, including but not limited to tone of the game, power gaming, rule's lawyering, spotlight hogging etc, I could see saying "We really can't come to the same page on this, huh?"
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
Ok, so this sounds like you're attempting to strain your muscles beyond their normal limit (insert Plus Ultra joke here). That's a method, that's something I can work with. I imagine a scenario maybe something like this:

Player: I try to jump across the gap.
DM: It's 20 feet across, what's your strength?
Player: Damn, only 18.
DM: That's rough.
Player: Can I try to make the jump anyway?
DM: I'm hearing that your goal is to jump further than you normally can. What's your character doing to try to accomplish that goal?
Player: Err... I guess I strain myself beyond my limit?
DM: I assume you're already pushing as hard as you can. Any other plan?
Player: Well, this is a pretty stressful situation, what with the zombies chasing me. You know how people can like... lift cars and stuff, like to save a kid? Something about adrenaline?
DM: Ok, I'll buy that. That takes a toll on the body, though. I'd say you can make a DC 15 Strength check to jump the extra couple feet, but pass or fail you'll take a level of exhaustion.
Player: (Either accepts and rolls, or proposes a different action).
I don't know about anyone else, but this is the kinda thing "I've" been talking about all along.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
If we had all been sitting around drinking a beer, coffee, tea, or (insert fav), we would probably all be really close to the same sheet of paper in about 5 minutes. Or at least understand each other.

Forum posts and text communication over days?.....we are still missing each others intent.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
It's possible I am misunderstanding you, but what I think you are saying is that you would prefer to have a player say, "My character saunters up to the guard, flexes a little and politely suggests it's time to take a coffee break," and YOU decide (assuming there is going to be a roll involved) whether that is a Charisma check and whether Bluff or Intimidate applies. Do I have that right?
Essentially. The player describes what he or she wants to do and the DM decides if mechanics need to come into play to resolve the task, then the DM narrates the outcome. Though what I try to do is only ask for the ability check and let the player assign the proficiency appropriate to the approach. That way there is no chance of miscommunication. I only need to get the ability score that applies right.

EDIT: To add, perhaps I am conflating [MENTION=6779196]Charlaquin[/MENTION] and your points of view on this?
We seem to be pretty closely aligned in our approaches.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
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.
Quoted for truth.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
See, at my table, the players are trying to avoid rolling. So asking them what check they're trying to roll might get you a response like "I don't want to roll if I don't have to." They're aiming for automatic success. Trying to roll a d20 is not a very good strategy for achieving goals. Why put your hands in the fate of a random number generator if you can sometimes avoid it?
Because if they're only going for an auto-success, the characters aren't living up to their potential.

Sure, in cases where "good enough" is just as beneficial as "oustanding", it's better to autosucceed than to risk failure. But usually, more is better, and you can (potentially) get more by aiming higher than the level of accomplishment you can achieve with an auto-success.

For example, let's say a character has 15 minutes, spare lumber, and carpenter's tools, and wants to barricade a rickety door. The more formidable the obstacle the character wants the door to be, the harder it is to plan and construct within the available time. There may be some level of obstacle the DM would rule can be created with an autosuccess, but whatever that level is, the character could alternatively try to make the door into an even better obstacle by trying for a more ambitious design, at the cost of straying out of auto-success territory and into ability check territory. If the character is proficient and has a decent stat, it can make more sense to risk going for the better result than to coast and aim for the guaranteed bare minimum.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Because if they're only going for an auto-success, the characters aren't living up to their potential.

Sure, in cases where "good enough" is just as beneficial as "oustanding", it's better to autosucceed than to risk failure. But usually, more is better, and you can (potentially) get more by aiming higher than the level of accomplishment you can achieve with an auto-success.
Ultimately, that's the role of a player to a large degree - balancing risk and reward. D&D 5e doesn't really have much in the way of degrees of success or failure built in, though there are some options in the DMG (success at a cost, degrees of failure, critical success or failure). So I think, in general, this isn't much of a concern. But if such a situation arose, that's just part of the players making decisions: Is what we can gain worth the risk plus any resources we might spend to mitigate said risk and can we afford to pay the cost of failure? It just depends.
 
"I try to stab the orc (goal) with my sword (approach)." Are any of those code words?

"I try to clear the 10-foot pit (goal) by jumping over it (approach)."
And it's not clear to me why the resolution of that second declaration is simply to look up the rules for distance automatically jumped, rather than also the rules (under ability checks) for whether a jump can go beyond that automatic distance.

Page 59 says "Your Strength (Athletics) check covers difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming. Examples include . . . try[ing] to jump an unusually long distance".

Page 64 says "Your Strength determines how far you can jump. . . . When you make a long jump, you cover a number of feet up to your Strength score".

These two bits of rules text need to be reconciled. I don't think your approach to reconciliation is the only one, and it seems to reduce the significance of Athletics as a skill choice.

I would not accept something along the lines of "You know, I just try harder..." as a viable approach to the goal of jumping an unusually long distance. But some other circumstance may be viable such as taking advantage of a terrain feature or resource the character has.
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
Are you able to provide an example of (what you would regard as) such circumstances?

Eg what sort of resource? What sort of terrain feature that doesn't just automatically increase the maximum distance (as a height advantage might)?
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Are you able to provide an example of (what you would regard as) such circumstances?

Eg what sort of resource? What sort of terrain feature that doesn't just automatically increase the maximum distance (as a height advantage might)?
I would really rather not get bogged down in examples, especially since so many have already been provided upthread. Let's just say it's possible there are elements in the environment that might assist with such things, depending on the context. A simple resource a character might use is a jump spell or boots of striding and springing. Or the character might not have any of these things that might otherwise help someone jump an unusually long distance. That's a possibility, too. Sometimes that's how it goes.

Another thing that hasn't been discussed much (unless I'm just forgetting) is how Bob can get out of this spot without jumping. Because there may be ways to do that, too. Not every problem has just the one solution.
 
A simple resource a character might use is a jump spell or boots of striding and springing.
This seems to further reduce the significance of the Athletics skill. These are ways of increasing the automatic jump distance, not of making something uncertain and thus warranting a check.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
And it's not clear to me why the resolution of that second declaration is simply to look up the rules for distance automatically jumped, rather than also the rules (under ability checks) for whether a jump can go beyond that automatic distance.

Page 59 says "Your Strength (Athletics) check covers difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming. Examples include . . . try[ing] to jump an unusually long distance".

Page 64 says "Your Strength determines how far you can jump. . . . When you make a long jump, you cover a number of feet up to your Strength score".

These two bits of rules text need to be reconciled. I don't think your approach to reconciliation is the only one, and it seems to reduce the significance of Athletics as a skill choice.
These rules are both nested in the overall rules for how to play. There is no Athletics check without an accompanying goal (jump an unusually long distance) and approach (?) that the DM can judge and determine whether and which mechanics come into play. Where people appear to differ is on what approach is seen as viable.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
This seems to further reduce the significance of the Athletics skill. These are ways of increasing the automatic jump distance, not of making something uncertain and thus warranting a check.
There are plenty of times when the DM might say a Strength (Athletics) check needs to be made to resolve an action described by the player. It's easily the proficiency that comes up the most in the game in my experience, second only to Wisdom (Perception). I don't see how these spells or items meaningfully "reduce the significance of the Athletics skill." If you can cast a jump spell and avoid the risk associated with rolling a d20, that's a pretty good choice to make if someone's life's on the line and you can afford the spell slot. Not to mention, it's a rare player that will cast jump at all in my experience, leave alone enough to somehow "reduce the significance of the Athletics skill."
 
It’s not about specific phrasing, it’s about giving the DM enough information to make a judgment call about the results.

<snip>

“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,”
I don't really understand this call. Covering more ground than I normally can by jumping is not the ame as covering more ground than I can by jumping. In the player's action declaration, the word "normally" is doing work, but your adjudication seems to pay no regard to it.

I think the reasonableness of the player's action declaration would only be reinforced if s/he had read p 59 of the Basic rules, which talks about the sorts of actions that can be resolved by a STR check, and includes jumping an unusually long distance as one of them.

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.
I think this is consistent with the general trend in 5e to empower magical over "mundane" solutions to problems.

A player can declare "I cast such-and-such a spell" and that is something the character does, which also triggers certain mechanical consequences set out in the spell description. But when it comes to "mundane" solutions (ie ability/skill checks) the player can only describe an in-fiction behaviour and the determinations about mechanics all fall to the GM.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I think the reasonableness of the player's action declaration would only be reinforced if s/he had read p 59 of the Basic rules, which talks about the sorts of actions that can be resolved by a STR check, and includes jumping an unusually long distance as one of them.
But when it comes to "mundane" solutions (ie ability/skill checks)
Ability checks aren't solutions.
 

AlViking

Villager
I don't have any particular preference for how "in-character" a player is at the table, depending on your definition of that word. I just need a goal and an approach which can be communicated through active or descriptive roleplaying.
I think "I make a perception and listen in on the conversation" tells me plenty. Or "I investigate the symbols" or "I make an athletics check to jump the chasm" are all fine.

But I think this whole conversation has gone on for far too long. Nobody I actually play with has any of these problems.
 
These rules are both nested in the overall rules for how to play. There is no Athletics check without an accompanying goal (jump an unusually long distance) and approach (?) that the DM can judge and determine whether and which mechanics come into play. Where people appear to differ is on what approach is seen as viable.
I take the main difference to be about what is uncertain.

You (and [MENTION=6779196]Charlaquin[/MENTION]) seem to think that it is certain that, everything else being equal, a character can't jump further than what the rules on p 64 state. Hence a declaration (say by the player of a PC with 15 STR) "I jump across the 18' wide chasm" is, in your view, uncertain in its outcome.

But my view is that the presence of p 59 in the rulebook means that the outcome of that action declaration is not certain. It is not certain that the PC makes the jump (because it is further than the distance mentioned on p 64) but nor is it certain that the jump fails (becuse p 59 says that characters can try and jump unusual distances, and that STR is the ability score that is checked to determine the outcome of such attempts).

Being uncetain, the general procedures of play call for a check.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I don't really understand this call. Covering more ground than I normally can by jumping is not the ame as covering more ground than I can by jumping. In the player's action declaration, the word "normally" is doing work, but your adjudication seems to pay no regard to it.
The word “normally” may be doing work in the goal, but no such work is being done in the approach. Tell me what if is about your jump that makes it abnormal, and I’ll be open to the possibility that it could succeed in the goal of allowing to get farther than you can by jumping normally.

I think the reasonableness of the player's action declaration would only be reinforced if s/he had read p 59 of the Basic rules, which talks about the sorts of actions that can be resolved by a STR check, and includes jumping an unusually long distance as one of them.
Again though, jumping an unusually long distance is a goal that can be achieved with a successful Athletics check, but to make an Athletics check, you need an approach with a reasonable chance of succeeding at that goal. Jumping normally does not, in my assessment, have a reasonable chance of succeeding at jumping an abnormally long distance. You may rule otherwise at your table, and that’s fine.

I think this is consistent with the general trend in 5e to empower magical over "mundane" solutions to problems.

A player can declare "I cast such-and-such a spell" and that is something the character does, which also triggers certain mechanical consequences set out in the spell description. But when it comes to "mundane" solutions (ie ability/skill checks) the player can only describe an in-fiction behaviour and the determinations about mechanics all fall to the GM.
If your argument is that 5e would benefit from more canned actions that aren’t spells, I don’t disagree, but this thread was about whether or not specific DCs should be listed for jump distances.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I take the main difference to be about what is uncertain.

You (and @Charlaquin) seem to think that it is certain that, everything else being equal, a character can't jump further than what the rules on p 64 state. Hence a declaration (say by the player of a PC with 15 STR) "I jump across the 18' wide chasm" is, in your view, uncertain in its outcome.
No, that's a certain outcome. The PC fails to clear that distance.

But my view is that the presence of p 59 in the rulebook means that the outcome of that action declaration is not certain. It is not certain that the PC makes the jump (because it is further than the distance mentioned on p 64) but nor is it certain that the jump fails (becuse p 59 says that characters can try and jump unusual distances, and that STR is the ability score that is checked to determine the outcome of such attempts).

Being uncetain, the general procedures of play call for a check.
The referenced action declaration is incomplete. It lacks an approach to the goal. So while the rules say it is possible to jump an unusually long distance, it doesn't say how exactly. That it may be resolved with a Strength (Athletics) check gives us some idea of what that might entail, but there is not enough detail to say what the character is actually doing. The player needs to establish this by describing his or her action fully so the DM can judge whether an ability check is appropriate (because the outcome is uncertain and there's a meaningful consequence of failure) and what DC to set. I'd even make clear the stakes here as DM so the player is aware of what's on the line, but there's no overt suggestion to do that in the D&D 5e rules so far as I know.
 
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