D&D General On Social Mechanics of Various Sorts

Li Shenron

How do you use social mechanics in your D&D games? If the scale of "how much do you rely on social mechanics" is from 0 (never roll; just role-play) to 10 (role-play doesn't impact the DC; just roll), where do your preferences sit on that scale? Does it change from campaign to campaign, adventure to adventure, or even between players?

I use a minimum of mechanics, just the basic ability checks, nothing more complicated.

I do tune how often I ask for rolls depending on the players. I start from the principle that the DM asks for rolls only when they want a random outcome instead of making a decision. However, I love randomness, and I usually play semi-sandbox games where the story can freely deviate from my own expectations, so my instinct is to call for dice rolls fairly often. But if I see that players like role-playing or detailing what they say to NPCs, I rewards their good ideas by not asking them to roll. I also take into account their proficiencies because it's fair to reward their investments in character building. Ideally, I would like to give the same average number of dice-rolls (and of auto-successes) during a campaign to each proficiency of each character, whether it is Persuasion or something else.

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Magic Wordsmith
I'm the same way - there's too much going on in my head to decide where in a 20-30-point scale how hard every last thing is that requires a roll.
The DMG says that the game runs fine if the DM only ever uses a DC 10, 15, or 20. This may sound like it argues for static DCs as the house rule mentioned upthread; however, by having static DCs, the DM effectively undercuts the importance of the player's decisions. An approach to a given goal might be more or less efficacious than another approach (though some DMs are hesitant to make this judgment), which is reflected in a lower or higher DC, respectively. Advantage or disadvantage could mitigate this issue, but isn't perfect on its own since the effective increase or decrease it gives depends on factors related to the DC vs. the character's ability check bonus (iirc). The DMG warns this might diminish roleplaying since the die rolls can matter more than decisions and characterizations.

Northern Phoenix

I'm a bit biased here, but i prefer to have as few "social mechanics" as possible unless those mechanics do not interfere with people who are good at this sort of thing in real life. Squaring that sort of circle is hard! Luckily, DnD 5e makes it easy enough by letting me just either use dice, or just have someone auto succeed if they're really good.

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