5E Players: Why Do You Want to Roll a d20?

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
But, this quote from @Ovinomancer


Sums up my point pretty well. The notion that if you attempt anything not specifically called out by a skill must not only carry the risk of failure but also must carry an additional penalty far in excess of whatever benefit you might get is why I am so opposed to this style of DMing. It's just not what I want in a game.
It’s also very much not a hallmark of this style of DMing. It’s a personal call of Ovinomancer’s, one I and many others wouldn’t make. Would you allow a PC to completely negate the damage from a 100 foot fall with any result on an Acrobatics check (or whatever it was)? Cause I sure wouldn’t. An important part of the style is evaluating if an approach can succeed at achieving the goal, and if you ask me, tucking and rolling can’t succeed at allowing you to walk away from a 100 foot fall unharmed. Maybe in Ovinomancer’s book it would, this style is very dependent on DM discretion (to its credit, in my opinion,) which means these kinds of things are going to vary from table to table. Just because you don’t like one DM’s call on a specific action doesn’t mean the whole style is useless.

Failure is it's own penalty. Failing a skill check does not mean that you must also add on additional punitive punishments.
Imagine I make a check to pick a lock and I fail. What consequence have I suffered from
this failure on its own?

It's not about getting "free stuff on high rolls". Because, I'd point out, @Ovinomancer's own example gifts free stuff on a high roll.
A strong indication that Ovinomancer isn’t concerned about giving “free stuff on high rolls.” Did he ever actually use this phrase?

It's about recognizing that there is underlying math here and it's a game. It needs to be balanced or it just becomes a trap option.

I don't play to drop trap options on my players.
Nor do I. Nor, I suspect, does Ovinomancer. You disagree with his assessment of the underlying math and what is or isn’t balanced. Fair enough, I guess, game balance is a tricky beast and people evaluate it in different ways. None of this is an indication that either of your preferred action resolution techniques are fundamentally flawed.
 

Hussar

Legend
It’s also very much not a hallmark of this style of DMing. It’s a personal call of Ovinomancer’s, one I and many others wouldn’t make. Would you allow a PC to completely negate the damage from a 100 foot fall with any result on an Acrobatics check (or whatever it was)? Cause I sure wouldn’t. An important part of the style is evaluating if an approach can succeed at achieving the goal, and if you ask me, tucking and rolling can’t succeed at allowing you to walk away from a 100 foot fall unharmed. Maybe in Ovinomancer’s book it would, this style is very dependent on DM discretion (to its credit, in my opinion,) which means these kinds of things are going to vary from table to table. Just because you don’t like one DM’s call on a specific action doesn’t mean the whole style is useless.
On a 100 foot fall? Yeah, it's probably going to be DC 25. However, the difference would be, you don't take any MORE damage from a failed check. An untrained character could never make the DC. A trained character who had spent a fair bit of character resources has a pretty slim chance of making the check. I just don't understand why I have to add in more damage to make it worth the check. Why am I punishing a player for making a check?

If you are going to up the stakes, you HAVE to up the reward. I posted a few times that no one would ever take this bet as it stands. And, Ovinomancer admitted that the DC and the stakes have nothing to do with the check per se, but, rather an attempt to nudge players into conforming to a certain style of play.

Imagine I make a check to pick a lock and I fail. What consequence have I suffered from
this failure on its own?
You've spent time, for one. But, other than that? Nothing. And, if you have unlimited time, I wouldn't even bother with the roll.

One of the worst things they left behind in 3e was the "Take 20" rule. That was a great rule. And something I pretty much add back into the game.
A strong indication that Ovinomancer isn’t concerned about giving “free stuff on high rolls.” Did he ever actually use this phrase?
Yup, he did. I quoted the line. I'll quote it again.

The dice aren't to be looked at as a friend that can gift free stuff on high rolls,
Nor do I. Nor, I suspect, does Ovinomancer. You disagree with his assessment of the underlying math and what is or isn’t balanced. Fair enough, I guess, game balance is a tricky beast and people evaluate it in different ways. None of this is an indication that either of your preferred action resolution techniques are fundamentally flawed.
He flat out stated that this was a trap option because he doesn't want players overshadowing class abilities with skill checks. I don't know how that can be any more clear. He specifically stated that this was a trap option and that the DC 15 option for partial damage was the more reasonable option.

Here is the pertinent quote:

I also generally dislike ability checks that replicate class features from other classes. So, yes, imitating a slow fall will get a low probability of success from me, with a high risk. The implication here is that you shouldn't do this. If you care to note, the DC for reducing damage by half dropped to a 15 and the risk was the loss of a turn of actions (but still being able to move), which steps down greatly from the DC25 double damage. I incentivize appropriately to my tastes, and it's not a lack of understanding on my part of odds. In fact, it's quite the opposite -- I very much intended that result.
I'm sorry, but, how much clearer can we be here? This is SPECIFICALLY called out as a trap option BY the person doing it. I'm frankly at a loss as to why we're talking at cross purposes here.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
It’s also very much not a hallmark of this style of DMing. It’s a personal call of Ovinomancer’s, one I and many others wouldn’t make. Would you allow a PC to completely negate the damage from a 100 foot fall with any result on an Acrobatics check (or whatever it was)? Cause I sure wouldn’t. An important part of the style is evaluating if an approach can succeed at achieving the goal, and if you ask me, tucking and rolling can’t succeed at allowing you to walk away from a 100 foot fall unharmed. Maybe in Ovinomancer’s book it would, this style is very dependent on DM discretion (to its credit, in my opinion,) which means these kinds of things are going to vary from table to table. Just because you don’t like one DM’s call on a specific action doesn’t mean the whole style is useless.


Imagine I make a check to pick a lock and I fail. What consequence have I suffered from
this failure on its own?


A strong indication that Ovinomancer isn’t concerned about giving “free stuff on high rolls.” Did he ever actually use this phrase?


Nor do I. Nor, I suspect, does Ovinomancer. You disagree with his assessment of the underlying math and what is or isn’t balanced. Fair enough, I guess, game balance is a tricky beast and people evaluate it in different ways. None of this is an indication that either of your preferred action resolution techniques are fundamentally flawed.
As Hussar cannot seem to stop prosecuting this, here's the deal: I picked that scenario as a response to a statement that goal isn't needed in some cases with the poster I was responding to having given the example approach of rolling Dex when falling. I picked a few scenarios to show it can matter, with one intending to show a hard/challenging goal and how that would work. So I picked avoiding damage entirely as a borderline auto-fail and used my engineering degree and multi-decadal career with math and my deep knowledge of how 5e math works to intentionally pick a DC that was a very risky try. It was intended to be a discouraging DC. Wherher I'd actually do this in game would depend on the totality of the circumstances, but likely I would not.

So, let it go, already. It was a hasty example to.display a concept. This is exactly why examples often make for bad discussion as the trees become the topic of close atudy.
 

Hussar

Legend
See, I would let this go except for a couple of things.

1. It's awfully convenient that once the example has been shown to be a bad one, it's "a hasty example" and shouldn't be taken seriously.

2. Virtually EVERY example that is given falls into Number 1 above.

I've yet to see an actual good example of how goal:method approches are supposed to work. Other than maybe @Baywilie's above. Other than that, I've got a shopping list of examples that are problematic at best. But, as soon as we actually start talking about the examples, I get accused of arguing in bad faith and not understanding the point and various other bits and pieces.

You want me to actually engage here, then give me a solid example.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
See, I would let this go except for a couple of things.

1. It's awfully convenient that once the example has been shown to be a bad one, it's "a hasty example" and shouldn't be taken seriously.

2. Virtually EVERY example that is given falls into Number 1 above.

I've yet to see an actual good example of how goal:method approches are supposed to work. Other than maybe @Baywilie's above. Other than that, I've got a shopping list of examples that are problematic at best. But, as soon as we actually start talking about the examples, I get accused of arguing in bad faith and not understanding the point and various other bits and pieces.

You want me to actually engage here, then give me a solid example.
Personally I like to give examples. But I do find that trying to nail down people is nearly impossible. Give an example of how "I grapple the orc" is acceptable? Suddenly it becomes 8 orcs ... and the DM is suddenly incapable of uttering the words "Which one?" Carefully exploring and using passive perception to spot traps becomes "Taking all the time in the world to examine every trap".

If an initial example was hasty, spend a minute or five and come up with a real example.

But I get the same thing at work sometimes (I'm a software developer). I like to draw things out on a whiteboard, test things out, work through pros and cons, discuss alternatives. Other people come along and it's like "Well, Bob's blog says to do it this way and his blog is really well written so he must be right. No further thought or examples are needed."

I don't have a problem with people using different approaches. GAO may work for them, but like you I dislike the fact that it's the players resolving problems, not the PCs. I use it sometimes in my games, but 100%? Nope. If someone invested a lot of resources into being really good at spotting traps, I'm going to reward that.

To use a geeky software design term, I want to discuss use cases. Pick common sample scenarios, what are the different actors going to do and what's the result? What are the options and their pros and cons? Discuss specifics, not generalities, and stay on one story at a time. Discussing using a skill to disarm traps? Don't bring in that one time when you had a "gotcha" DM that had your PC walking off the edge of a cliff because you didn't specifically state that you stopped at the edge.

Oh well. If wishes were horses and all that.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
See, I would let this go except for a couple of things.

1. It's awfully convenient that once the example has been shown to be a bad one, it's "a hasty example" and shouldn't be taken seriously.

2. Virtually EVERY example that is given falls into Number 1 above.

I've yet to see an actual good example of how goal:method approches are supposed to work. Other than maybe @Baywilie's above. Other than that, I've got a shopping list of examples that are problematic at best. But, as soon as we actually start talking about the examples, I get accused of arguing in bad faith and not understanding the point and various other bits and pieces.

You want me to actually engage here, then give me a solid example.
Look, man, I’m sorry you take such umbrage with Ovinomancer’s example. But less than perfect calls on the DC of a task neither typify goal and approach, nor are they exclusive to it. You can argue about whether or not it was a good call until you’re both blue in the face, it doesn’t actually say anything about goal and approach action resolution.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Look, man, I’m sorry you take such umbrage with Ovinomancer’s example. But less than perfect calls on the DC of a task neither typify goal and approach, nor are they exclusive to it. You can argue about whether or not it was a good call until you’re both blue in the face, it doesn’t actually say anything about goal and approach action resolution.
Yep, they can't avoid a close study of the bark and just circle around, "Clearly the forest is fatally flawed because this one person doesn't agree with me about lichen placement on the bark of this tree right here."
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Oh, certainly. I'm not really sure how that's counter to what I'm saying though. By telegraphing traps, you avoid patroling monsters as well since you don't need to take any time finding the trap - there's a big sign that says, "TRAP HERE!" ((or, maybe a little sign. I dunno. There's a sign of some sort anyway))
It takes some time to find and disarm a trap, so patrols can still find you.

And note, and this is why these conversations are difficult, we've shifted from "passive perception" which takes no time at all, to "searching thoroughly". "Carefully observing" now means "searching thoroughly"? "I look around the room" now takes several minutes of in game time?
If all you are doing is standing in the middle of the room looking around, it takes very little time. You will also find very few traps that way. Traps are typically hidden in and under things, so if you aren't taking time to search, you aren't going to see the trap in the desk.

Sums up my point pretty well. The notion that if you attempt anything not specifically called out by a skill must not only carry the risk of failure but also must carry an additional penalty far in excess of whatever benefit you might get is why I am so opposed to this style of DMing. It's just not what I want in a game.
Your point is to Strawman his argument? He never said the bolded part at all. Big extra benefit = big risk does not equal anything not specifically spelled out equals big penalty.

Failure is it's own penalty.
No it's not. If you fail to climb the cliff wall, failure is not the only penalty. The big crunch at the bottom is also a penalty. If you fail to disarm the trap, failure is not the only penalty. The trap going off in your face is also a penalty. If you try to persuade the king to do something by calling him an obscene name, failure is not the only penalty. Jail and/or the loss of your head is also a penalty.

Failing a skill check does not mean that you must also add on additional punitive punishments.
Yes it does. At least in 5e. If there is no other penalty other than failing the roll, then there is no meaningful failure and there should be no roll at all. That's the rules.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You've spent time, for one. But, other than that? Nothing. And, if you have unlimited time, I wouldn't even bother with the roll.

One of the worst things they left behind in 3e was the "Take 20" rule. That was a great rule. And something I pretty much add back into the game.
Er, they didn't leave it behind. It just got rephrased. In 5e if it's possible to succeed and there's no meaningful consequence for failure, then you don't roll and just succeed. That's the take 20 rule stated a little differently.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yes it does. At least in 5e. If there is no other penalty other than failing the roll, then there is no meaningful failure and there should be no roll at all. That's the rules.
Ah, the "rules say" that's supposed to end all arguments.

If someone fails
  • An insight check. Do you tell them what their character believes or just that they can't tell if the NPC is being deceptive?
  • A perception check. That they see something that's not there or just that they don't see anything?
  • A stealth check. Do they accidentally set off an alarm, or are they just seen as if they hadn't tried?

I'm sure I could go on. The point is that if you don't just let players get by any obstacle with a narrative, there doesn't have to be any extra special penalty for failure. It just doesn't work. That can be significant in and of itself.
 
Last edited:

5ekyu

Adventurer
It takes some time to find and disarm a trap, so patrols can still find you.



If all you are doing is standing in the middle of the room looking around, it takes very little time. You will also find very few traps that way. Traps are typically hidden in and under things, so if you aren't taking time to search, you aren't going to see the trap in the desk.



Your point is to Strawman his argument? He never said the bolded part at all. Big extra benefit = big risk does not equal anything not specifically spelled out equals big penalty.



No it's not. If you fail to climb the cliff wall, failure is not the only penalty. The big crunch at the bottom is also a penalty. If you fail to disarm the trap, failure is not the only penalty. The trap going off in your face is also a penalty. If you try to persuade the king to do something by calling him an obscene name, failure is not the only penalty. Jail and/or the loss of your head is also a penalty.



Yes it does. At least in 5e. If there is no other penalty other than failing the roll, then there is no meaningful failure and there should be no roll at all. That's the rules.
"Yes it does. At least in 5e.If there is no other penalty other than failing the roll, then there is no meaningful failure and there should be no roll at all.That's the rules."

Actually, that's not "the rules" just an interpretation of them.

Back in the PHB, its even more specific for ability checks - defining two general options for failing to meet the DC

No Progress
Some progress with setback.

Of course the setback can be a penalty but that option also requires some progress, and the other option is simply "no progress" with no penalty mentioned.

So, one of the core definitions of ability check resolution would be succeed and fail with failure being just "no progress" if the GM felt the some progress with setback was not appropriate.

That's not at all supporting a reading of "If there is no other penalty other than failing the roll, then there is no meaningful failure and there should be no roll at all."

In the DMG on ability checks it give advice for a lot of different things but it starts with a paragraph about how its "often appropriate" to just let a task ducceed without either check or even reference to ability scores. It then gives two examples of what they mean by that- walking across the room and ordering an ale. That paragraph ends with the line "only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure"

Now by even casual reading, all of that paragraph is tied together. It's all tied in with those examples of the kinds of things it is referencing. The bog simple things nobody is gonna ask for a check for - not a universal rule that applies to all actions.

Second, meaningful consequence does not mean penalty. Certainly a penalty csn be a meaningful consequence but it's only a small subset.

Third, the next paragraph and bullet list provides a broader rule or guideline for when to call for a roll.

It covers two points - basically can it fail and can it succeed. If it can fail and can succeed then it recommends making some kind of a roll.

For retries, it goes into a little more detail hinging on whether the GM judges retry as possible or plausible to succeed and the issue of resources like time.

But, these rules do not require a penalty on failure in order to make a toll or as a consequence of making a roll.


So, it's not "the rules" that every failed check must carry a penalty or even a meaningful consequence in 5e. That is simply an interpretation based on what seems to be a selective reading of the rules and ignoring or refusing to take into account the examples.
 
Last edited:

Bawylie

A very OK person
"Yes it does. At least in 5e.If there is no other penalty other than failing the roll, then there is no meaningful failure and there should be no roll at all.That's the rules."

Actually, that's not "the rules" just an interpretation of them.

Back in the PHB, its even more specific for ability checks - defining two general options for failing to meet the DC

No Progress
Some progress with setback.

Of course the setback can be a penalty but that option also requires some progress, and the other option is simply "no progress" with no penalty mentioned.

So, one of the core definitions of ability check resolution would be succeed and fail with failure being just "no progress" if the GM felt the some progress with setback was not appropriate.

That's not at all supporting a reading of "If there is no other penalty other than failing the roll, then there is no meaningful failure and there should be no roll at all."

In the DMG on ability checks it give advice for a lot of different things but it starts with a paragraph about how its "often appropriate" to just let a task ducceed without either check or even reference to ability scores. It then gives two examples of what they mean by that- walking across the room and ordering an ale. That paragraph ends with the line "only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure"

Now by even casual reading, all of that paragraph is tied together. It's all tied in with those examples of the kinds of things it is referencing. The bog simple things nobody is gonna ask for a check for - not a universal rule that applies to all actions.

Second, meaningful consequence does not mean penalty. Certainly a penalty csn be a meaningful consequence but it's only a small subset.

Third, the next paragraph and bullet list provides a broader rule or guideline for when to call for a roll.

It covers two points - basically can it fail and can it succeed. If it can fail and can succeed then it recommends making some kind of a roll.

For retries, it goes into a little more detail hinging on whether the GM judges retry as possible or plausible to succeed and the issue of resources like time.

But, these rules do not require a penalty on failure in order to make a toll or as a consequence of making a roll.


So, it's not "the rules" that every failed check must carry a penalty or even a meaningful consequence in 5e. That is simply an interpretation based on what seems to be a selective reading of the rules and ignoring or refusing to take into account the examples.
Yeah.

I mean, looking at the source text is always the starting point when you’re trying to apply this sort of stuff to your game. It should be the end point though. You also have to look at what you’ve been doing, what others have been doing, and the common practices you see here and elsewhere. And THEN you have to ask yourself “what makes the most sense here?” The goal, for me anyway, is to develop a series of ‘Best Practices’ that I can refine and iterate on, but that are aimed at consistent play.

One poster up-thread said something like “success and failure will be determined by stats.” (Apologies if I misstated that). What I got from that is the idea that the numbers matter MORE than any decision a player can make. IOW, if the numbers are good enough, it doesn’t matter that the idea is bad. “I rolled a 20 on animal handling and this is my new pet T-Rex.”

Ok, cool. But not for me. I believe that playing the game involves making decisions about the scenario presented and that the decisions can be good enough (or bad enough) to succeed (or fail) on their own merits. So the dice have a say on the outcome, in my game, only when I myself am not certain of the outcome. And I try to apply a reasonable person standard. That means remote chances of success get lumped in with failure and remote chances of failure get lumped in with success. Yes, sometimes I trip over my own shoelaces, but that doesn’t warrant a roll as I walk across a room. (Please take this example in good faith - I know nobody rolls for walking across a room, I’m merely using an unrealistic example to illustrate a principle at work).

Anyway. “The rules say” is the start of wisdom, talking with you guys is another major component, and checking that against my own game-play, and my own brain is the last big component.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Yeah.

I mean, looking at the source text is always the starting point when you’re trying to apply this sort of stuff to your game. It should be the end point though. You also have to look at what you’ve been doing, what others have been doing, and the common practices you see here and elsewhere. And THEN you have to ask yourself “what makes the most sense here?” The goal, for me anyway, is to develop a series of ‘Best Practices’ that I can refine and iterate on, but that are aimed at consistent play.

One poster up-thread said something like “success and failure will be determined by stats.” (Apologies if I misstated that). What I got from that is the idea that the numbers matter MORE than any decision a player can make. IOW, if the numbers are good enough, it doesn’t matter that the idea is bad. “I rolled a 20 on animal handling and this is my new pet T-Rex.”

Ok, cool. But not for me. I believe that playing the game involves making decisions about the scenario presented and that the decisions can be good enough (or bad enough) to succeed (or fail) on their own merits. So the dice have a say on the outcome, in my game, only when I myself am not certain of the outcome. And I try to apply a reasonable person standard. That means remote chances of success get lumped in with failure and remote chances of failure get lumped in with success. Yes, sometimes I trip over my own shoelaces, but that doesn’t warrant a roll as I walk across a room. (Please take this example in good faith - I know nobody rolls for walking across a room, I’m merely using an unrealistic example to illustrate a principle at work).

Anyway. “The rules say” is the start of wisdom, talking with you guys is another major component, and checking that against my own game-play, and my own brain is the last big component.
Yup, although, I would not generally consider "success and failure is determined by stats" to necessarily mean anything too extreme. I mean, the rules state that having a plan that makes success less likely is a reason for disadvantage- so if they rolled good enough and had enough bonuses and success was possible, then yeah, they could still succeed.

It happens all the time in combat and we dont bat an eye. We might cheer.

In my game, stats platpy a role in every task the character does thst us more than "something any character could do" and almost always the tasks that matter and deserve screen time are not "something any character could do"
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
--snip--

One poster up-thread said something like “success and failure will be determined by stats.” (Apologies if I misstated that). What I got from that is the idea that the numbers matter MORE than any decision a player can make. IOW, if the numbers are good enough, it doesn’t matter that the idea is bad. “I rolled a 20 on animal handling and this is my new pet T-Rex.”

--snip--
Sounds like me your quoting but your taking it out of context and I didn't say a players characters choices shouldn't matter. While I agree with most of your post, your falling into a trap of throwing out all reason by quoting the core of my argument but disregarding the details that prevent this type of thing. So the below is not a striate disagreement with you but a clarification of my "stats first" style of play.

What I said is that any action a player chooses to make will be tested versus there characters stats however, I do allow that the GM determines the out come of "success" and that the player must state the action before calling for a role. Player seeing the T-rex, I would like to attempt to befriend it. GM: ...ok... roll... Player: I rolled a natural 20 with expertise and wisdom of 22 for a total of 38... GM: ok, with your knowledge of animals you release that as you attempt to use a ration out of your bag to befriend the T-rex its acting as if its hungry and willing to except your offering... but its looking at YOU not your rations. It will happily except you as a friendly meal. But you are also aware due to your keen awareness of how to handle this animal ,its moving slowly to "sneak up on you" if you run... it will catch you but you see tree you can ease slowly to, and when it attempts to bite at you, you could use the tree for cover against this attack and while its trying to grab you with its large mouth it will loose sight of you for your next turn, so you could possibly sneak to another tree and star moving stealthly away... if it does not spot you again on its turn.

A success on an animal handling check represent you knowing how to handle animal and respond to how it will react. It does not grant you the ability to mind control animals. In that way there are times when animal handling is a form of persuasion that works on animals and other times when its a form of incite that works on animals. The high roll above was a success and the result of the success was to know better how to handle the animal. That highlight the player was free to control there character, the characters skills were taken into account, but the player does not become the GM able to bend the world to the whim of the dice.

I used your example. If you used a different example of a player attempting to control the world through calling rolls (which they must declare the action of BEFORE they roll or it doesn't count and its just testing dice), the GM should allow the PC Acton using stats but the result of success or failure is still the GMs to control. The same with any attempt to jump the grand canyon or flap your arms high enough to fly. There is a spell for flight and jump, but success in an attempt without a spell might just mean they looked really good doing it and didn't hurt themselves, while failure would result in them looking really stupid, pulling a missile, and falling down. Its the balance of the GM letting players control there character as their character and not based on the player, but reminding players the GM controls the world. Which is why I let the player call for any role, but I as GM narrate the result. This means they don't get to say "this is my new pet T-Rex" only the GM decides how there actions effect the world, success or failure. Stats first just means that if they describe a persuasion attempt in the worst possible way, they still get the attempt and if they just call for a role, they still get the attempt and both with be using PC stats without a negative.
 
Last edited:

Bawylie

A very OK person
Sounds like me your quoting but your taking it out of context and I didn't say a players characters choices shouldn't matter. While I agree with most of your post, your falling into a trap of throwing out all reason by quoting the core of my argument but disregarding the details that prevent this type of thing.

What I said is that any action a player chooses to make will be tested versus there characters stats however, I do allow that the GM determines the out come of "success" and that the player must state the action before calling for a role. Player seeing the T-rex, I would like to attempt to befriend it. GM: ...ok... roll... Player: I rolled a natural 20 with expertise and wisdom of 22 for a total of 38... GM: ok, with your knowledge of animals you release that as you attempt to use a ration out of your bag to befriend the T-rex its acting as if its hungry and willing to except your offering... but its looking at YOU not your rations. It will happily except you as a friendly meal. But you are also aware due to your keen awareness of how to handle this animal ,its moving slowly to "sneak up on you" if you run... it will catch you but you see tree you can ease slowly to, and when it attempts to bite at you, you could use the tree for cover against this attack and while its trying to grab you with its large mouth it will loose sight of you for your next turn, so you could possibly sneak to another tree and star moving stealthly away... if it does not spot you again on its turn.

A success on an animal handling check represent you knowing how to handle animal and respond to how it will react. It does not grant you the ability to mind control animals. In that way there are times when animal handling is a form of persuasion that works on animals and other times when its a form of incite that works on animals. The high roll above was a success and the result of the success was to know better how to handle the animal. That highlight the player was free to control there character, the characters skills were taken into account, but the player does not become the GM able to bend the world to the whim of the dice.

I used your example. If you used a different example of a player attempting to control the world through calling rolls (which they must declare the action of BEFORE they roll or it doesn't count and its just testing dice), the GM should allow the PC Acton using stats but the result of success or failure is still the GMs to control. The same with any attempt to jump the grand canyon or flap your arms high enough to fly. There is a spell for flight and jump, but success in an attempt without a spell might just mean they looked really good doing it and didn't hurt themselves, while failure would result in them looking really stupid, pulling a missile, and falling down. Its the balance of the GM letting players control there character as their character and not based on the player, but reminding players the GM controls the world. Which is why I let the player call for any role, but I as GM narrate the result. This means they don't get to say "this is my new pet T-Rex" only the GM decides how there actions effect the world, success or failure.
Gotcha.

I was using the T-Rex as an exaggeration of the position that the stats matter more than the decisions. I didn’t mean to imply that you played in an absurdist way. But I did intend to use the T-Rex exaggeration to draw a distinction between that idea and my own position that decisions matter more than stats (which still matter).

Apologies for unfairly attributing to you a position you had not taken. I assure you I didn’t mean it as a criticism of you or your game.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Sounds like me your quoting but your taking it out of context and I didn't say a players characters choices shouldn't matter. While I agree with most of your post, your falling into a trap of throwing out all reason by quoting the core of my argument but disregarding the details that prevent this type of thing. So the below is not a striate disagreement with you but a clarification of my "stats first" style of play.

What I said is that any action a player chooses to make will be tested versus there characters stats however, I do allow that the GM determines the out come of "success" and that the player must state the action before calling for a role. Player seeing the T-rex, I would like to attempt to befriend it. GM: ...ok... roll... Player: I rolled a natural 20 with expertise and wisdom of 22 for a total of 38... GM: ok, with your knowledge of animals you release that as you attempt to use a ration out of your bag to befriend the T-rex its acting as if its hungry and willing to except your offering... but its looking at YOU not your rations. It will happily except you as a friendly meal. But you are also aware due to your keen awareness of how to handle this animal ,its moving slowly to "sneak up on you" if you run... it will catch you but you see tree you can ease slowly to, and when it attempts to bite at you, you could use the tree for cover against this attack and while its trying to grab you with its large mouth it will loose sight of you for your next turn, so you could possibly sneak to another tree and star moving stealthly away... if it does not spot you again on its turn.

A success on an animal handling check represent you knowing how to handle animal and respond to how it will react. It does not grant you the ability to mind control animals. In that way there are times when animal handling is a form of persuasion that works on animals and other times when its a form of incite that works on animals. The high roll above was a success and the result of the success was to know better how to handle the animal. That highlight the player was free to control there character, the characters skills were taken into account, but the player does not become the GM able to bend the world to the whim of the dice.

I used your example. If you used a different example of a player attempting to control the world through calling rolls (which they must declare the action of BEFORE they roll or it doesn't count and its just testing dice), the GM should allow the PC Acton using stats but the result of success or failure is still the GMs to control. The same with any attempt to jump the grand canyon or flap your arms high enough to fly. There is a spell for flight and jump, but success in an attempt without a spell might just mean they looked really good doing it and didn't hurt themselves, while failure would result in them looking really stupid, pulling a missile, and falling down. Its the balance of the GM letting players control there character as their character and not based on the player, but reminding players the GM controls the world. Which is why I let the player call for any role, but I as GM narrate the result. This means they don't get to say "this is my new pet T-Rex" only the GM decides how there actions effect the world, success or failure. Stats first just means that if they describe a persuasion attempt in the worst possible way, they still get the attempt and if they just call for a role, they still get the attempt and both with be using PC stats without a negative.

But ... but I rolled a 20! The odds of that are like ... 1 in 20! An' I had a pet name (Rexie!) picked out and everything. Ah, what could have been ...
29niecw.png
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Ah, the "rules say" that's supposed to end all arguments.
If you follow the rules, it really should. At least when they are clear like this one.

If someone fails
  • An insight check. Do you tell them what their character believes or just that they can't tell if the NPC is being deceptive?
We have a house rule that there are critical failures(fumbles) on skill checks, so if they roll a 1 the PC would pick up on something misleading. The players are aware of that, though. Otherwise they just can't tell.

A perception check. That they see something that's not there or just that they don't see anything?
See above.

A stealth check. Do they accidentally set off an alarm, or are they just seen as if they hadn't tried?
Either, both, or neither. It's all circumstantial. If they are seen by a guard with a bell, they set off an alarm. If they are seen by a creature, they are just seen as if they hadn't tried. If they fail and the creature wouldn't have seen them anyway, it still doesn't see them. Excepting a roll of 1 of course, in which case something happens like the PC steps on a dry stick.

I'm sure I could go on. The point is that if you don't just let players get by any obstacle with a narrative, there doesn't have to be any extra special penalty for failure. It just doesn't work. That can be significant in and of itself.
It CAN be significant, but failure usually isn't all by itself. Let's go back to the above examples.

The insight check: Even if they can't tell, the failure in and of itself isn't significant. The player is trying to figure out something and now is not going to have an answer. That can lead to some serious consequences, depending on what is happening socially. Those consequences are in addition to the failed roll.

The perception check: Not seeing something can be disastrous. Missing that pit with the dinosaur inside can be tricky. Missing the assassin hiding in the corner can get you killed. There is something that is in the area that is important to see or there wouldn't have been a roll. That means that there will pretty much always be some penalty other than failure involved with failed perception rolls, even if it's just the loss of treasure that would have benefited the party.

The extra stealth penalties are fairly obvious, so I won't bother to come up with examples.

And yes, you could go on, and I could also continue to point out the other penalties that exist in addition to the failed roll itself.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
"Yes it does. At least in 5e.If there is no other penalty other than failing the roll, then there is no meaningful failure and there should be no roll at all.That's the rules."

Actually, that's not "the rules" just an interpretation of them.

Back in the PHB, its even more specific for ability checks - defining two general options for failing to meet the DC

No Progress
Some progress with setback.

Of course the setback can be a penalty but that option also requires some progress, and the other option is simply "no progress" with no penalty mentioned.

So, one of the core definitions of ability check resolution would be succeed and fail with failure being just "no progress" if the GM felt the some progress with setback was not appropriate.

That's not at all supporting a reading of "If there is no other penalty other than failing the roll, then there is no meaningful failure and there should be no roll at all."
So it sounds like you don't understand us. No progress can in fact be a meaningful failure if it's meaningful. If you are trying to climb out of reach of a hydra and get no progress, that has some very, very significant meaning. If you are trying to climb to the top of a 6 foot wall to sit on top and enjoy a sunset, failure has no meaning, because you can try again and again until you succeed at reaching up, grabbing the top and pulling yourself up, and a failure is just a few second lost out of the many minutes you have to pull yourself up. There should be a roll for the former, but not the latter.

The same goes for no progress with a setback. That automatically includes meaningful failure, since a setback is always a penalty and setbacks only matter if something important is going on. In the above sunset example, a setback wouldn't have any meaning.

So yes, the rules are, and I will quote them so you can see that it's not just an interpretation, "Only call for a roll if there's a meaningful consequence for failure." DMG page 237. That an unambiguous, absolute statement.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If you follow the rules, it really should. At least when they are clear like this one.
Do I need to paste the rules again? Point out how they don't say what you think they say? Paste in the words from page 174 of the PHB where it states that a failed check "means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback"? Meh. Why bother.

But if you're saying that not gaining information or simply not succeeding at what you attempted to do can be it's own penalty then I agree.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
Gotcha.

I was using the T-Rex as an exaggeration of the position that the stats matter more than the decisions. I didn’t mean to imply that you played in an absurdist way. But I did intend to use the T-Rex exaggeration to draw a distinction between that idea and my own position that decisions matter more than stats (which still matter).

Apologies for unfairly attributing to you a position you had not taken. I assure you I didn’t mean it as a criticism of you or your game.
No your good and I got that. I replied in part because that absurd counter is often taken very seriously based on choosing to pick only the core statement of my style. I do understand you were highlighting a point and that most GMs regardless of play style will hold players to a level of reason. I just want to highlight that a player trying to do bad things and break the game is a separate issue and prevented at the sources. In many ways that's why the rules exist, to prevent "power roleplay" where characters explain that they are unstoppable gods of whim. No style is free of that but narrative first actually invites more of that and back tracking. GM /sigh "... no you can't do that. Just because you descried how you cut off his arm doesn't mean I he has no arm and he has dropped his artifact weapon so the rogue can steal it." ...That's essentially the child #1 "I shot you your dead", child #2 "nu uh, I am immune to your bullets you can't kill me" role play that I don't find useful at the table.
 

Advertisement

Top