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

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Hang on a tick. I asked you a direct question.

What action can I, as the paladin player in the game, declare in order to succeed? You keep insisting that the players MUST declare actions. I honestly don't know what actions I can declare here. I really, really don't. So, I'm asking you directly, as the prime advocate for this style of play, what action can I declare in this situation?

I don't need brush offs or sidebars about unrelated stuff like how it doesn't bother one DM that I use OOC knowledge in game.

I am DIRECTLY asking, "What action can I take to allow my paladin to learn/know that Intellect Devourers can be hedged out by Protection from Evil/Good"?

If I say, "I ask the wizard if Protection from Evil/Good will hedge out these creatures", that's good enough for an autosuccess in your game? How did you know that the wizard knew that?
This is so weird. You've created a problem for yourself, for no apparent reason, and now you need the DM to help you out of it?

If you want to learn that information, maybe go to a library or a sage if the party wizard doesn't know the answer?
 

Hussar

Legend
Yeah, not so much, man. There's like four of you and I've got most of you blocked. I had you blocked till the forum reformatting. I say how I play. I say why, providing rules that support my position. That's it.
Considering there's only about eight of us in this conversation, umm, what does that say?

Yeah, I'm not those guys or gals and, if we were talking about some other game, I might be saying how I play some other way, providing rules that support another position. It's not like I run or play every RPG the same way.

And now that you've self-diagnosed the source of your objection, perhaps you can work on that for the benefit of all future discourse.
Or, conversely, you could actually answer direct questions and demonstrate how you aren't the same as the other DM's who claimed the exact same things you claim? Maybe actually directly address criticisms instead of simply blocking those who are asking questions and then talking to the vacuum chamber?

Let's get to the heart of the criticisms shall we?

1. Magic Words. You have stated, repeatedly that if the player narrates an action in a particular way, that the DM will grant automatic success for that action. And, you have repeatedly stated that this is a good thing. How is this not, by definition, magic words? How do you avoid the player simply gaming the DM and ignoring the character? These narrations are based on the DM using bonds,flaws and whatnot as well as telegraphing to the player to guide the player to making action narrations that will bypass the skill system.

I would define that as "magic words". If the player can come up with just the right phrase, the DM will ignore the game and grant success. Not only that, but, this behavior is actually encouraged.

Criticism: This allows the player to ignore their character sheet, forces the DM into the front and center of the game since the player must "read the DM" in order to make action declarations, rather than engaging with the fiction.

2. Separation of Character and Player Knowledge. By and large, most gamers see the need to at least attempt to separate character and player knowledge. We usually call it getting into character. However, this style forces the player to directly act on player knowledge - how the player interprets the DM's at the table actions - rather than interpreting the game through the lens of their character.

Criticism: How does this style avoid the bleed over between in character and out of character knowledge?

3. The DM has to juggle so much at the table. There is the adventure the DM is trying to run, plus the four or five players who are all interacting to various degrees, plus various other distractions. In order for this playstyle to work, the DM must communicate virtually all the information to the players as fast as possible in order for the players to actually be able to take actions that have a chance of working.

Criticism: How do you get that information into the players hands quickly enough? How do you avoid forgetting details and how do you deal with mistakes?

4. Since the players must never declare direct skill or ability checks, there will be times when the player has no idea how to frame an action in order to succeed. See the Paladin vs Intellect Devourer example.

Criticism: What happens when the player is stuck? How do you keep the game moving when the players don't know how to frame their actions?

5. ((My personal criticism)) Time. All this back and forth between players and DM's is time consuming. The DM must convey all the pertinent information before the player can make an informed action declaration. The DM must then wait for the player to frame his action declaration without referencing game mechanics. The DM must then determine if the declaration qualifies as an autosuccess or a roll is needed and then calls for a roll if necessary. Player rolls and then DM narrates. This is far more time consuming than if the player simply leverages a game mechanic. ((Again, see the Paladin vs Intellect Devourer example - it's now, as I'm writing this, been four or five posts on the subject, rather than a single check initiated by the player)) I play 3 hour sessions. I don't have time for every player action to take this much time, nor am I interested in having player actions consume this much time.

Crtiticism: This play style drags out the game and kills momentum. How do you keep pacing high?
 

Hussar

Legend
This is so weird. You've created a problem for yourself, for no apparent reason, and now you need the DM to help you out of it?

If you want to learn that information, maybe go to a library or a sage if the party wizard doesn't know the answer?
And you wonder why you get so much push back. This is a simple, direct question that you've avoided three times now. Is it really that hard to answer the question?

How is this a problem I've created for myself? 1. It's zero problem at my table. I had a ten second side bar wit the DM and it was resolved. 2. You have no problem with the players using OOC knowledge at your table? That would explain a lot.

I don't need anything to help me out. I solved the problem in about ten seconds at my table. What would it take at yours?
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
And you wonder why you get so much push back. This is a simple, direct question that you've avoided three times now. Is it really that hard to answer the question?

How is this a problem I've created for myself? 1. It's zero problem at my table. I had a ten second side bar wit the DM and it was resolved. 2. You have no problem with the players using OOC knowledge at your table? That would explain a lot.

I don't need anything to help me out. I solved the problem in about ten seconds at my table. What would it take at yours?
I personally like Iserith playstyle for active skills. Things like athletics or stealth. I really dislike his playstyle for mental and more passive skills, things like knowledge checks or insight checks.

For me some skills don’t require an approach but only a goal. Insight is one of those. Goal, see if the creature appears to be lying. Which would honestly be something that has the same freaking non-apparent approach nearly every time. Perhaps special circumstances or creatures need a more defined method.

Or knowledge. The goal and and approach is always the same. I think to know more about this creature... that doesn’t actually need spelled out that way every time.

These kinds of skills don’t fit Iseriths playstyle well as they can be short handed such that everyone already knows the approach and goal.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Considering there's only about eight of us in this conversation, umm, what does that say?
That's some fuzzy math.

Or, conversely, you could actually answer direct questions and demonstrate how you aren't the same as the other DM's who claimed the exact same things you claim? Maybe actually directly address criticisms instead of simply blocking those who are asking questions and then talking to the vacuum chamber?
I don't block people who disagree with me or play differently of which there are many. I block the ones who I and others perceive as acting in bad faith. If someone's capable of having a civil discourse, doesn't create then attack strawmen, or engage in hostile ridicule, I'm happy to talk to them whether they agree with me or not.

1. Magic Words. You have stated, repeatedly that if the player narrates an action in a particular way, that the DM will grant automatic success for that action. And, you have repeatedly stated that this is a good thing. How is this not, by definition, magic words? How do you avoid the player simply gaming the DM and ignoring the character? These narrations are based on the DM using bonds,flaws and whatnot as well as telegraphing to the player to guide the player to making action narrations that will bypass the skill system.

I would define that as "magic words". If the player can come up with just the right phrase, the DM will ignore the game and grant success. Not only that, but, this behavior is actually encouraged.

Criticism: This allows the player to ignore their character sheet, forces the DM into the front and center of the game since the player must "read the DM" in order to make action declarations, rather than engaging with the fiction.
There's a secret trap door in a dungeon chamber, covered by a tattered rug. The characters are searching for secret doors. A player says the character checks under the rug as part of her description. The DM narrates that doing so reveals a secret trap door.

Are those "magic words?" Or are they a player describing what she wants to do and the DM narrating the results of the adventurer's action, as per the rules?

2. Separation of Character and Player Knowledge. By and large, most gamers see the need to at least attempt to separate character and player knowledge. We usually call it getting into character. However, this style forces the player to directly act on player knowledge - how the player interprets the DM's at the table actions - rather than interpreting the game through the lens of their character.

Criticism: How does this style avoid the bleed over between in character and out of character knowledge?
This approach makes no judgment as to separating "player knowledge" and "character knowledge." The player is free to act how he or she chooses for any reason the player chooses to establish. Nobody's forcing anyone to do anything.

Per the DMG's section on "metagame thinking," I do remind players in my Table Rules that acting on unverified assumptions can be dangerous to the character and the game experience and it's a good idea to bear that in mind when deciding what to do. But still, that's on the player.

3. The DM has to juggle so much at the table. There is the adventure the DM is trying to run, plus the four or five players who are all interacting to various degrees, plus various other distractions. In order for this playstyle to work, the DM must communicate virtually all the information to the players as fast as possible in order for the players to actually be able to take actions that have a chance of working.

Criticism: How do you get that information into the players hands quickly enough? How do you avoid forgetting details and how do you deal with mistakes?
The basic answer is to follow the basic conversation of the game: The DM describes the environment. The players describe what they want to do. The DM narrates the results of the adventurers' actions. And here's the important part - repeat. A lot of DMs forget that part and it makes their role harder. Keep that play loop churning. Be as succinct and clear as possible.

I don't actually find there's much to juggle at the table. It's a three-part loop and the adjudication process has two criteria. It is sometimes difficult to juggle some of the hugely complex set pieces I present regularly, but that's mostly because I drink.

4. Since the players must never declare direct skill or ability checks, there will be times when the player has no idea how to frame an action in order to succeed. See the Paladin vs Intellect Devourer example.

Criticism: What happens when the player is stuck? How do you keep the game moving when the players don't know how to frame their actions?
This isn't something I see. They just do stuff and I narrate the result, sometimes calling for a check. Your paladin example simply isn't something that happens.

Even so, pretty much every common action in the game, plus some uncommon ones, is laid out in the ability check section. Players could go read Chapter 7 of the PHB to brush up.

5. ((My personal criticism)) Time. All this back and forth between players and DM's is time consuming. The DM must convey all the pertinent information before the player can make an informed action declaration. The DM must then wait for the player to frame his action declaration without referencing game mechanics. The DM must then determine if the declaration qualifies as an autosuccess or a roll is needed and then calls for a roll if necessary. Player rolls and then DM narrates. This is far more time consuming than if the player simply leverages a game mechanic. ((Again, see the Paladin vs Intellect Devourer example - it's now, as I'm writing this, been four or five posts on the subject, rather than a single check initiated by the player)) I play 3 hour sessions. I don't have time for every player action to take this much time, nor am I interested in having player actions consume this much time.

Crtiticism: This play style drags out the game and kills momentum. How do you keep pacing high?
I've addressed this in previous threads. It actually makes game play faster, particularly if the players are all moving in the same direction. Some specifics:
  • Reasonably succinct descriptions from players and DM and focus on the play loop and the "middle path" approach which encourages people to pay attention to the DM and each other.
  • A shared agreement to be ready to act when the spotlight falls on you rather than hem and haw, stall, and ask questions while you think about what to do.
  • An emphasis on accepting the ideas of others and adding to them rather than negating or blocking them which creates debates and stymies forward momentum.
  • Fast resolution of any mechanics that come into play (often electronically).
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
And you wonder why you get so much push back. This is a simple, direct question that you've avoided three times now. Is it really that hard to answer the question?

How is this a problem I've created for myself? 1. It's zero problem at my table. I had a ten second side bar wit the DM and it was resolved. 2. You have no problem with the players using OOC knowledge at your table? That would explain a lot.

I don't need anything to help me out. I solved the problem in about ten seconds at my table. What would it take at yours?
The solution is not to create that problem in the first place. That was your fault.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I personally like Iserith playstyle for active skills. Things like athletics or stealth. I really dislike his playstyle for mental and more passive skills, things like knowledge checks or insight checks.

For me some skills don’t require an approach but only a goal. Insight is one of those. Goal, see if the creature appears to be lying. Which would honestly be something that has the same freaking non-apparent approach nearly every time. Perhaps special circumstances or creatures need a more defined method.

Or knowledge. The goal and and approach is always the same. I think to know more about this creature... that doesn’t actually need spelled out that way every time.

These kinds of skills don’t fit Iseriths playstyle well as they can be short handed such that everyone already knows the approach and goal.
They work fine. See Chapter 7, specifically Intelligence and Wisdom, which describes the sorts of actions might come with those ability checks.

Then remember that if you roll the dice, there's going to be a meaningful consequence for failure. So if you want to succeed more than you fail, rolling is something to avoid, not to ask to do.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
They work fine. See Chapter 7, specifically Intelligence and Wisdom, which describes the sorts of actions might come with those ability checks.

Then remember that if you roll the dice, there's going to be a meaningful consequence for failure. So if you want to succeed more than you fail, rolling is something to avoid, not to ask to do.
Not knowing what you want to know is a meaningful cinsequence of failure.

Besides I didn’t say anything about rolling. My whole post was about your insistence about goal and approach in obvious situations when you could simply reference using your insight to detect a lie or nature to know about intellect devours. Auto success is still a possibility.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Not knowing what you want to know is a meaningful chance of failure.

Besides I didn’t say anything about rolling. My whole post was about your insistence about goal and approach in obvious situations when you could simply reference using your insight to detect a lie or nature to know about intellect devours. Auto success is still a possibility.
Yeah, so what it sounds like you're really talking about here is recalling lore not "knowing stuff." And I really can't say if you can recall a thing unless you establish that you're drawing upon some sort of experience with said thing. So it's more than just "Nature to know about intellect devourers?" I can't adjudicate that. There's no approach I can judge.

Similar deal for detecting an NPC's truthfulness. What's the approach? Examine body language? Pick up on changes in mannerisms? Detect a tell based on speech habits? Line up what they're saying against related facts that you've already verified? Recall if something they're saying is historically accurate?

There are a lot of approaches here, especially when the context of the fictional situation is considered.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Yeah, so what it sounds like you're really talking about here is recalling lore not "knowing stuff." And I really can't say if you can recall a thing unless you establish that you're drawing upon some sort of experience with said thing. So it's more than just "Nature to know about intellect devourers?" I can't adjudicate that. There's no approach I can judge.

Similar deal for detecting an NPC's truthfulness. What's the approach? Examine body language? Pick up on changes in mannerisms? Detect a tell based on speech habits? Line up what they're saying against related facts that you've already verified? Recall if something they're saying is historically accurate?

There are a lot of approaches here, especially when the context of the fictional situation is considered.
Okay I want to detect if the npc is lying by smelling his breath, looking for dust on his coat, checking the color of his pants looking for changes in speech, looking for changes in eye movements, looking for perspiration, looking at his hair style, drawing on all my background experiences with liars (I’ll list them one at a time just to be sure), oh and take not of his shoe hand and nose size and his breathing and his height and whether he has dry skin or bloodshot eyes and his eye color and the exact alignment of the sun moon and stars ....

I think I could go on all night. You want 2 hours of this?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Okay I want to detect if the npc is lying by smelling his breath, looking for dust on his coat, checking the color of his pants looking for changes in speech, looking for changes in eye movements, looking for perspiration, looking at his hair style, drawing on all my background experiences with liars (I’ll list them one at a time just to be sure), oh and take not of his shoe hand and nose size and his breathing and his height and whether he has dry skin or bloodshot eyes and his eye color and the exact alignment of the sun moon and stars ....

I think I could go on all night. You want 2 hours of this?
So what you're saying is that you CAN come up with an approach to trying to detect a lie, one that might even make sense in context, and perhaps even win you automatic success without an ability check and any corresponding meaningful consequence for failure.

The rules work! I rest my case. :)
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
So what you're saying is that you CAN come up with an approach to trying to detect a lie, one that might even make sense in context, and perhaps even win you automatic success without an ability check and any corresponding meaningful consequence for failure.

The rules work! I rest my case. :)
The point is that it’s the same dang approach every single time. Why go into a two hour spill on some random approach trying to cover any possible assortment of possible lying indicators.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
The point is that it’s the same dang approach every single time
Same goal, different approaches. There are often many ways to accomplish a task.

Some approaches may make achieving the goal impossible - automatic failure, no roll. Some may make it trivially easy - automatic success, no roll. Some might cause it to have an uncertain outcome and, if there's a meaningful consequence for failure, we're rolling for it.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Same goal, different approaches. There are often many ways to accomplish a task.

Some approaches may make achieving the goal impossible - automatic failure, no roll. Some may make it trivially easy - automatic success, no roll. Some might cause it to have an uncertain outcome and, if there's a meaningful consequence for failure, we're rolling for it.
If your goina be pedantic about the approach then expect pedantic stated approaches.

I could go on for 2 hours mentioning every single detail that might help me catch someone lying. Is that what you want?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
If your goina be pedantic about the approach then expect pedantic stated approaches.

I could go on for 2 hours mentioning every single detail that might help me catch someone lying. Is that what you want?
Pedantry is an excessive concern with minor details, right? It's not a minor detail to tell the DM how you want to do something. If the DM doesn't have that information, he or she has to assume what your character is doing or establish that for you. That is not the DM's role in this game. That is the player's role. I do have a concern that each participant in the game do their part, but I don't think that's excessive. Really, it's just a normal expectation in my view when playing games with people. Each person has their role to play for everything to go to plan.

Further, if you look upthread, you will see my preference in this regard: "Reasonably succinct descriptions from players and DM..." Please feel free to check it out if you haven't already.

We good?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Surprising no one, I disagree with this.

Your effectiveness as a DM depends SO much on the players. If you are playing with players whose play styles are a mismatch, your effectiveness will be greatly reduced, for example. And the reverse is very much true as well.

So, no, your effectiveness as a DM or a player, ESPECIALLY as a player, will depend a lot on the DM. Mismatching play styles, interpretations, personalities, and a variety of other factors will impact your effectiveness in a host of different ways.
No it doesn't. My effectiveness as a DM is unchanged by good players, bad players or indifferent players. If the game grinds to a halt or gets clunky due to things bad players do, that's a reflection their effectiveness as players, not mine as DM. The game was presented as effectively as I could make it and they screwed it up. Similarly, if I'm a bad DM and great players are making the game more fun and enjoyable, that is not a reflection on my skill and effectiveness, which remains unchanged. It's a reflection on their great effectiveness.
 

Hussar

Legend
/snip
. It is sometimes difficult to juggle some of the hugely complex set pieces I present regularly, but that's mostly because I drink.
/snip
Heh, ok, that made me laugh.

So what you're saying is that you CAN come up with an approach to trying to detect a lie, one that might even make sense in context, and perhaps even win you automatic success without an ability check and any corresponding meaningful consequence for failure.

The rules work! I rest my case. :)
And, bingo, as soon as we talk specifics, we're right back into Magic Word territory. I'm not allowed to simply leverage a skill, but, rather, I need to come up with some sort of justification to you, the DM in order to actually use the skills on my character sheet. The game certainly doesn't require my justification and, for at least @FrogReaver (and myself) I certainly don't need a justification. The only requirement to justify my use of a skill is you.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So, how can my paladin determine that Protection from Good/Evil is the way to hedge out Intellect Devourers.
Since you've determined that he doesn't know, and it wouldn't be an issue if anyone else in the party knew, I'm going to assume nobody does. In that case, go ask someone. Other people do know. Go up to a sage or a library and do research. Look for ways to get rid of intellect devourers. It's pretty easy.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Pedantry is an excessive concern with minor details, right? It's not a minor detail to tell the DM how you want to do something. If the DM doesn't have that information, he or she has to assume what your character is doing or establish that for you. That is not the DM's role in this game. That is the player's role. I do have a concern that each participant in the game do their part, but I don't think that's excessive. Really, it's just a normal expectation in my view when playing games with people. Each person has their role to play for everything to go to plan.

Further, if you look upthread, you will see my preference in this regard: "Reasonably succinct descriptions from players and DM..." Please feel free to check it out if you haven't already.

We good?
2 hours is reasonably succuient description in this case. There is literally an infinite number of clues that could give away a lie. I need to name most of them to ensure I don’t miss anything.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
And, bingo, as soon as we talk specifics, we're right back into Magic Word territory. I'm not allowed to simply leverage a skill, but, rather, I need to come up with some sort of justification to you, the DM in order to actually use the skills on my character sheet. The game certainly doesn't require my justification and, for at least @FrogReaver (and myself) I certainly don't need a justification. The only requirement to justify my use of a skill is you.
First of all, check out my new forum title.

Second, "I use Insight..." doesn't tell me what your character is doing, even if I know what your goal is. Without that, I don't know if an ability check is needed. See my post to Frogreaver on this matter.

If you really want to "actually use the skills on [your] character sheet," all you have to do is come up with an an approach to the goal that is likely to have an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence for failure. That doesn't sound like very smart play to me as I've laid out in the very first post in this thread, but that's in your control.
 

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