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Missing Rules

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
We have probably exhausted the potential for worthwhile debate on the topic, especially given our very different readings of that paragraph in the DMG. But thank you! It was a fun discussion.

Indeed. I'll leave you with this which gives an example of what the DMG is talking about in that section (page 239, for anyone who wants to see what [MENTION=467]Reynard[/MENTION] was referencing). So here, from Basic Rules, page 2:

Dungeon Master (DM): OK, one at a time. Phillip, you’re looking at the gargoyles?
Phillip: Yeah. Is there any hint they might be creatures and not decorations?
DM: Make an Intelligence check. <---
Phillip: Does my Investigation skill apply? <---
DM: Sure!
Phillip (rolling a d20): Ugh. Seven.
DM: They look like decorations to you. And Amy, Riva is checking out the drawbridge?

In other words, "Often, players ask whether they can apply a skill proficiency to an ability check."
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
DMG page 237: "When a player wants to do something, it's often appropriate to let the attempt succeed without a roll or a reference to the character's ability scores... Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence of failure."

The section goes on from there about determining uncertainty.

That's pretty wide open, though. "Meaningful" can be anything from failing to accomplish the goal to falling off of the swinging platform to your death. Thanks for showing me where that is, though.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Isn't it also ignoring the rule which says: You try to jump an unusually long distance or pull off a stunt midjump?

I don't remember if they say it in this edition, but I assume specific overrides general.

Specific beats general, but that only ever comes into play when there's a conflict. You can't go through walls AND passwall allows you to go through walls is an example of specific beating general. The situation under discussion has no such conflict. "You can try to jump an unusually long distance" does not conflict with how to go about setting up actions and ruling on them, so the only general rule for it to beat is the one governing jump distance.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
That’s not how it works. There is no penalty for failing to jump a distance, you just don’t jump as far. What is underneath you doesn’t matter for the purposes of the jump check, your check determines the distance you jumped for that effort.

Think about it, as a DM you say “it’s 20’ to jump across a chasm, the DC is 20, start making checks as you each jump across.” Someone gets a 19, so they jumped 19’ and are 1’ away from the other side in the air, they didn’t “fail” to jump, they just jumped less. I would give them a Str and Dex check to grab the other side assuming they had 1’ of reach. I would grant advantage if they said something like “I am holding both of my daggers in my hands pointed down to dig them into the ledge if I am a little short.” Or using a the pick side of an ax the grab the ledge like Steppenwolf did in Justice League.

That is how it works. If it's 20 feet to jump the chasm, it doesn't matter if you went 19 feet, because you FAILED to jump 20. Because of that failure, you now have the penalty of trying make the dex check to see if you can grab the ledge and not fall potentially to your death.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
You are making a value judgement here, not expressing anything that is actually in the rules of the game.

If you play 5e that way then, yes, the skill rules will seem bad. That isn't a problem with 5e. It's just a matter of taste. It's important to understand that as otherwise the skill rules won't make sense. It's not a value judgement, play however you want. It's just that certain styles of play aren't well supported by the game.

"The DM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure."

"When a player wants to do something, it's often appropriate to let the attempt succeed without a roll or a reference to the character's ability scores...Only call for a roll when there is a meaningful consequence for failure."

That's the rule. You are free to dislike it or play contrary. It's just that you will likely have issues as seen in this thread. I've seen many threads like this. Most of them involve the poster complaining about how much more sense the 3e skill rules make. It's not wrong to prefer another game. Just don't be upset when the game you are playing is not that other game.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
But there is nothing in the rules that says that the character making the Strength (Athletics) check to jump an unusually long distance (a thing explicitly allowed by the rules) needs to come up with some convoluted explanation for how they are going to do so.

There is. It's at the beginning on page 6. The players have to describe what they want the PCs to do. Then the DM narrates the result.

Grackon wants to make an athletics check to jump farther is not a description of what the PC is doing to jump farther. There's nothing there other than a description of a normal jump. Now, letting you know that the Grackon is rolling a log to the edge of the chasm to provide a higher push off point for his jump IS a description of what the PC is doing to be able to jump farther than normal. The formal should result in the DM stating that Grackon automatically fails to jump farther, not having described anything that would allow him to be able to jump farther. The latter is such a description and would probably be entitled at least to a roll, if not an auto success.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
In neither of the above are the words "in some circumstances" found. So, according tot he rules, Strength checks and the Athletics skill cover jumping, including jumping unusually long distances. According to the rules on Ability checks, the DM sets the DC. (The DM also decides which Abilities and/or Skills apply, but in this case it seems clear that Strength and Athletics are applicable.)

It's right there where I bolded. In order to be unusual, it must be only done in some circumstances or it could not be considered to be unusual. If it can be done all the time, then it's usual.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
How do you mean "contrary to the rules for resolving a jump that are written in the player's handbook"? Do you mean because of the chance of jumping a shorter distance than your strength allows? Because remember the rules regarding Ability Checks require a chance of failure, otherwise no roll should be called for.

I mean, the rules player’s handbook don’t say you make a DC10 Athletics check, jumping half your maximum jump distance on a failure, and your maximum plus an extra foot for every 5 over the DC on a success. That’s a perfectly reasonable method of resolving a jump is perfectly fine, but to say it’s “how the game works” is just not true. How the game works is that can jump up to a certain distance, determined by your Strength score, full stop. In some circumstances you may be able to make an ability check (possibly applying a relevant proficiency) to clear a distance greater than you can jump, as per the game’s normal action resolution system.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
That's pretty wide open, though. "Meaningful" can be anything from failing to accomplish the goal to falling off of the swinging platform to your death. Thanks for showing me where that is, though.
Simply failing to accomplish a goal, per se, is not a meaningful consequence, because it leaves you in exactly the situation you would be in had you not made the attempt in the first place. If you can’t distinguish between failing and never having tried, then the consequences for failing were not meaningful. If something has changed for the worse as a result of the attempt, or a limited resource has been expended, that’s a meaningful consequence.

Another way to phrase “if there is no meaningful consequence for failure, you don’t need to roll” is, “if there’s no reason you can’t keep trying until you succeed, you succeed.”
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Simply failing to accomplish a goal, per se, is not a meaningful consequence, because it leaves you in exactly the situation you would be in had you not made the attempt in the first place.

Which could be up &$^$'s creek, which is meaningful in that 1. you are still there, and 2. one possible way to get out of it has been closed off to you, which has meaning. It won't always be meaningful, but simple failure can be meaningful.

If you can’t distinguish between failing and never having tried, then the consequences for failing were not meaningful.

To you. To others being in the same crappy situation is a meaningful consequence of failure,.

If something has changed for the worse as a result of the attempt, or a limited resource has been expended, that’s a meaningful consequence.

Sure, but as I correctly point out above, it's not the only meaningful consequence.

is, “if there’s no reason you can’t keep trying until you succeed, you succeed.”

Which does not preclude ending up in the same crappy situation after a simple failure. The PCs situation has not changed as the ogres are still hurling spears at them, and they've just failed to climb out of the way. However, there's great meaning in that situation, despite nothing changing.
 

Reynard

Legend
There is. It's at the beginning on page 6. The players have to describe what they want the PCs to do. Then the DM narrates the result.

Grackon wants to make an athletics check to jump farther is not a description of what the PC is doing to jump farther. There's nothing there other than a description of a normal jump. Now, letting you know that the Grackon is rolling a log to the edge of the chasm to provide a higher push off point for his jump IS a description of what the PC is doing to be able to jump farther than normal. The formal should result in the DM stating that Grackon automatically fails to jump farther, not having described anything that would allow him to be able to jump farther. The latter is such a description and would probably be entitled at least to a roll, if not an auto success.
All true. I agree. The core conceit of the game is the DM presents a situation, the player expresses intent, the DM adjudicates the outcome, with or without the input of dice. Anything past that isn't about right or wrong, just preference.

I prefer to have fairly well defined benchmarks as a way to inform my adjudication, primarily because I want the players to be able to make informed decisions both at the moment and at removed but relevant decision points (such as when choosing skill proficiencies).

But I totally get that other people like to play differently. I just don't like it when people assert one-true-wayism when that is clearly not the intent of 5e.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Which could be up &$^$'s creek, which is meaningful in that 1. you are still there, and 2. one possible way to get out of it has been closed off to you, which has meaning. It won't always be meaningful, but simple failure can be meaningful.
“Still up &$^$’s creek” is not meaningful compared to “up &$^$’s creek” though. Granted, being up &$^$’s creak is meaningful, but simply failing to get out of it has no meaning compared to not attempting to leave it. Now, if the failure causes one possible way out of &$^$’s creek to be cut off, that is meaningful. The situation has changed for the worse by way of removing a possible way to change it for the better. But failing to achieve a goal does not preclude the possibility of future success of that goal per se. That’s a result of other complicating factors. Not getting to the other side of the ravine is not a meaningful consequence of failing a jump. Falling into the ravine is.

To you. To others being in the same crappy situation is a meaningful consequence of failure,.
Explain to me how the situation not changing as a result of an attempt can be meaningful compared to the situation not changing as a result of not making the attempt. What meaning is there in the fact that the attempt is what got you nowhere as opposed to not attempting getting you nowhere?

Sure, but as I correctly point out above, it's not the only meaningful consequence.
You have not effectively demonstrated that point, you’ve only stated it without any supporting argument.

Which does not preclude ending up in the same crappy situation after a simple failure. The PCs situation has not changed as the ogres are still hurling spears at them, and they've just failed to climb out of the way. However, there's great meaning in that situation, despite nothing changing.
But by placing ogres hurling spears at the character who is attempting to make a climb, you’ve attatched a resource cost to failure. Specifically, time and hit points. Failing chances the circumstances for the worse by putting you in the same situation, only with one more round worth of spear attacks directed at you (read: a worse situation).
 

AlViking

First Post
I look at the base rules of jump your strength as a baseline. Want to jump further than that, say "I'm trying to jump an unusually long distance" and roll a check. The DC is going to vary depending on circumstances.

There doesn't have to be any special springboard, diving board, catapult, nothing. While those things might give you advantage or lower the DC all that's required is saying that your character jumps further than normal. That to me is the cleanest interpretation of the rules, but feel free to run your game differently.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
“Still up &$^$’s creek” is not meaningful compared to “up &$^$’s creek” though. Granted, being up &$^$’s creak is meaningful, but simply failing to get out of it has no meaning compared to not attempting to leave it. Now, if the failure causes one possible way out of &$^$’s creek to be cut off, that is meaningful. The situation has changed for the worse by way of removing a possible way to change it for the better. But failing to achieve a goal does not preclude the possibility of future success of that goal per se. That’s a result of other complicating factors. Not getting to the other side of the ravine is not a meaningful consequence of failing a jump. Falling into the ravine is.

No change is required for there to be meaning to failure. That's an expectation set by you that the game and others do not set. If I am up &$^$’s creek and I need to climb to get out, success is meaningful in that I have escaped the problem. Failure is meaningful in that I have not escaped and I am still in the same position that I was. Both have meaning, even though there is no change.

The bar is not set at, "Only call for a roll if there is some new meaningful consequence of failure." The bar is only set at "Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence of failure." That's it. Meaning, and a lack of change does not remove meaning from the situation.

Explain to me how the situation not changing as a result of an attempt can be meaningful compared to the situation not changing as a result of not making the attempt. What meaning is there in the fact that the attempt is what got you nowhere as opposed to not attempting getting you nowhere?

See above. If the situation you were in had meaning, that meaning remains as a consequence of failure. There is no requirement of change.

But by placing ogres hurling spears at the character who is attempting to make a climb, you’ve attatched a resource cost to failure. Specifically, time and hit points. Failing chances the circumstances for the worse by putting you in the same situation, only with one more round worth of spear attacks directed at you (read: a worse situation).

You said, "If you can’t distinguish between failing and never having tried, then the consequences for failing were not meaningful." That was the criteria you set. If that group had not bothered to make the climb, those ogres would have thrown the same spears for the same damage as they did for the failed attempt. Failure and never having been tried are identical, so you cannot distinguish between the two. So if you see meaning in my above example, then you are acknowledging that your argument is incorrect and there need be no change in the situation for meaning to happen.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
All true. I agree. The core conceit of the game is the DM presents a situation, the player expresses intent, the DM adjudicates the outcome, with or without the input of dice. Anything past that isn't about right or wrong, just preference.

I prefer to have fairly well defined benchmarks as a way to inform my adjudication, primarily because I want the players to be able to make informed decisions both at the moment and at removed but relevant decision points (such as when choosing skill proficiencies).

As Iserith pointed out, simply saying that you want to use athletics to jump farther fails to give the DM anything to adjudicate. There is nothing he can use to set the DC or grant automatic success on. You can rule automatic failure, since with nothing else given, there's nothing to distinguish it from a normal jump, though.

But I totally get that other people like to play differently. I just don't like it when people assert one-true-wayism when that is clearly not the intent of 5e.

Nobody has asserted any one-true-wayism. [MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION] has pointed out the rules as written to you and said that this is the way the game does things. In the context of an online rules discussion, the rules as written are what people are going to respond with, and it's the appropriate way to respond. He has not said to you that the rules as written are the only way to run things. If you want to run things differently, that's great. I suspect he has made changes to the game. I suspect you make changes to the game. I certainly do. In fact, I can't recall anyone running D&D exactly as written in any edition that I've played in.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
As Iserith pointed out, simply saying that you want to use athletics to jump farther fails to give the DM anything to adjudicate. There is nothing he can use to set the DC or grant automatic success on. You can rule automatic failure, since with nothing else given, there's nothing to distinguish it from a normal jump, though.



Nobody has asserted any one-true-wayism. [MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION] has pointed out the rules as written to you and said that this is the way the game does things. In the context of an online rules discussion, the rules as written are what people are going to respond with, and it's the appropriate way to respond. He has not said to you that the rules as written are the only way to run things. If you want to run things differently, that's great. I suspect he has made changes to the game. I suspect you make changes to the game. I certainly do. In fact, I can't recall anyone running D&D exactly as written in any edition that I've played in.

But the rules also say you can ask for an athletics check to jump an unusually long distance.

You may not think that means anything, I rule it as a PC stating "I know that gap is further than I could usually jump, but I'm going to try anyway". If you want to run things differently, that's great. But barring clarification from sage advice (and honestly I don't even pay too much attention to that) I believe I am running the game according to the rules and you are not the final authority at my table.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
No change is required for there to be meaning to failure. That's an expectation set by you that the game and others do not set. If I am up &$^$’s creek and I need to climb to get out, success is meaningful in that I have escaped the problem. Failure is meaningful in that I have not escaped and I am still in the same position that I was. Both have meaning, even though there is no change.
Tell me then, what meaning you think the failure had.

The bar is not set at, "Only call for a roll if there is some new meaningful consequence of failure." The bar is only set at "Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence of failure." That's it. Meaning, and a lack of change does not remove meaning from the situation.

See above. If the situation you were in had meaning, that meaning remains as a consequence of failure. There is no requirement of change.
Lack of change does not remove meaning from the situation, but lack of change PER SE does not add meaning.

You said, "If you can’t distinguish between failing and never having tried, then the consequences for failing were not meaningful." That was the criteria you set. If that group had not bothered to make the climb, those ogres would have thrown the same spears for the same damage as they did for the failed attempt. Failure and never having been tried are identical, so you cannot distinguish between the two. So if you see meaning in my above example, then you are acknowledging that your argument is incorrect and there need be no change in the situation for meaning to happen.
I’m saying that failing to achieve your goal PER SE is not a meaningful consequence of failure. You do know that per se means “by itself”, right? In this example, failure does have a meaningful consequence - specifically, you get Spears thrown at you. Failing to get wherever you’re trying to climb BY ITSELF is not a meaningful consequence. You need ogres throwing spears to give that failure meaning.
 

Reynard

Legend
As Iserith pointed out, simply saying that you want to use athletics to jump farther fails to give the DM anything to adjudicate. There is nothing he can use to set the DC or grant automatic success on. You can rule automatic failure, since with nothing else given, there's nothing to distinguish it from a normal jump, though.

This is exactly the one-true-wayism I am talking about. You are making an assertion that is patently untrue -- demonstrably even, given we have quoted the rules and guidelines. The choice to say a character cannot make an Athletics check to extend jump without convoluted explanations distance is a valid one, but it isn't a thing that is required.

For example, Fighter Bob is being chased by hungry zombies. He takes a wrong turn and ends up facing a chasm 18 foot wide chasm. Unfortunately he only has a 15 strength, but he is proficient in Athletics. He backs away from the edge, takes a beep breath and runs and jumps with all his might.

In iserith's game, Bob is dead.

In my game I tell Bob's player to make a DC 25 Athletics check. Bob's player decides to spend that inspiration she's been holding on to...

Both ways are right, but mine is more right for me.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
But the rules also say you can ask for an athletics check to jump an unusually long distance.
Where?

You may not think that means anything, I rule it as a PC stating "I know that gap is further than I could usually jump, but I'm going to try anyway".
Fair enough. Then at my table, they would fail. It’s farther than they could normally jump, so trying anyway does not have a reasonable chance of success, and therefore fails without a roll. Personally, I would prefer to tell the player as much, and give them the opportunity to back out, just as I prefer to tell players DCs before they commit to an action, but to each their own.

If you want to run things differently, that's great. But barring clarification from sage advice (and honestly I don't even pay too much attention to that) I believe I am running the game according to the rules and you are not the final authority at my table.
You are. You’re using your own best judgment to determine if a player’s described action has a reasonable chance of success, reasonable chance of failure, cost or consequence of failure, and setting a DC accordingly. You just came to a different conclusion about the chances of succeeding in the goal “jump further than I can” by the methods “try harder” than I would.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
But the rules also say you can ask for an athletics check to jump an unusually long distance.

Unusually being the key there. If you are just going to say yes to every time they ask to jump farther, it's no longer unusual. Also, that rule does not exist in a vacuum. It exists within the context of Page 6. To declare an action you describe what your PC is doing and then the DM adjudicates it. "I use athletics to jump farther" is not a description of what your PC is doing. It's a statement of intent, sure, but a description it is not. So you are breaking the rule on Page 6 if you accept that. That's fine, but it's effectively a house rule to do so.
 

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