• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D General Skilled Play, or Role Play: How Do You Approach Playing D&D?

Zsong

Explorer
I like and use puzzles and riddles in games. And I never let an ability check solve them. But I don’t let them bottle neck the adventure (unless the players just refuse to move on). For example solving the puzzle or riddle give something like a shorter time at through the dungeon or reveals a hidden room or chamber where there is something that may help the adventure later on. If they don’t get it then keep going the long time way. The solving of a riddle or puzzle may lead to another adventure in the sandbox. That’s my use for them. The thing I always include is to not let them bottleneck them adventure.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

More like "Roll to see if your character is smart enough to say that"
In our 5e games, the player decides what the PC says and the DM only calls for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence of failure. The DM doesn't call for a roll to determine what the PC can or can't try/say/think. If the situation is such that a roll is appropriate and it is an ability where the PC is below average, well, that PC is going to be less likely to succeed. Not a smart play if there are serious consequences on the line. The mechanics and flow of gameplay therefore discourage the unintelligent barbarian from trying to sound smart in contentious situations (although, that certainly can sometimes be fun, too) and instead encourage the barbarian to play to their... er... strength. A DM needn't invoke "your PC wouldn't say that" either verbally or through a forced die roll - the choice of what a PC says is ultimately up to the player.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I like and use puzzles and riddles in games. And I never let an ability check solve them. But I don’t let them bottle neck the adventure (unless the players just refuse to move on). For example solving the puzzle or riddle give something like a shorter time at through the dungeon or reveals a hidden room or chamber where there is something that may help the adventure later on. If they don’t get it then keep going the long time way. The solving of a riddle or puzzle may lead to another adventure in the sandbox. That’s my use for them. The thing I always include is to not let them bottleneck them adventure.
I do similar, the extra benefit of this kinda thing is thatmost of the group can get involved. I as a gm can describe the big bad's safe as radiating enough magic to make the wizards hair on the neck stand up & be palpably felt at a distance if he moves closer while my notes say "bug nasty safe, let players spend a few min figuring it out" only to result in the wizard/rogue/barbarian/druid interact with a bunch of knowledge checks that are ultimately part of the players dismantling the wards by....
  • Disabling a divination ward that checks to make sure the other wards are in tact & triggers the patyload if it notces them being mucked with
    • you aren't sure how well it's gonna work if at all & there's a ton o power in that safe... yea you aren't sure the spell but your syure it's enough to power a disintegration field.
  • corrupting the divination check to make the part looking for a specific arcane marked item to accept a different arcane marked item to be present when the safe is opened
    • Your pretty sure it will still go off maybe 50/50
  • The druid casts plant growth or something to ground the payload into the foundaton of the basement where the safe is with help from the wizard & rogue to make sure that vine grows into the right spot
  • everyone runs far away... The barbarian rages, makes a save, & pulls open the door while holding the marked item as directed
    • Boom everyone hears a huge explosion & cloud of dust streaming out of the room
    • barbarian sits on pins and needles waiting to hear the outcome while everyone rushes in to help rescue him
    • barbarian is a little rattled & gets a description of the explosion with the vine taking the brunt of things but he took... roll dice not too bad damage & is okish
The party spent about 15-20 minutes there
edit: the solution was their own design. My yardstick as a gm was "is this plausible" and "would it prepare for that"
 
Last edited:

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
In our 5e games, the player decides what the PC says and the DM only calls for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence of failure. The DM doesn't call for a roll to determine what the PC can or can't try/say/think. If the situation is such that a roll is appropriate and it is an ability where the PC is below average, well, that PC is going to be less likely to succeed. Not a smart play if there are serious consequences on the line. The mechanics and flow of gameplay therefore discourage the unintelligent barbarian from trying to sound smart in contentious situations (although, that certainly can sometimes be fun, too) and instead encourage the barbarian to play to their... er... strength. A DM needn't invoke "your PC wouldn't say that" either verbally or through a forced die roll - the choice of what a PC says is ultimately up to the player.

Well I do. But only in times that are very important and have drastic effects on pass on fail.

I'm sorry. Ragnar the dumb abrasive barbarian cannot think of a brilliant excuse to keep the party from being arrested without rolling his bad INT.
 

Zsong

Explorer
I do similar, the extra benefit of this kinda thing is thatmost of the group can get involved. I as a gm can describe the big bad's safe as radiating enough magic to make the wizards hair on the neck stand up & be palpably felt at a distance if he moves closer while my notes say "bug nasty safe, let players spend a few min figuring it out" only to result in the wizard/rogue/barbarian/druid interact with a bunch of knowledge checks that are ultimately part of the players dismantling the wards by....
  • Disabling a divination ward that checks to make sure the other wards are in tact & triggers the patyload if it notces them being mucked with
    • you aren't sure how well it's gonna work if at all & there's a ton o power in that safe... yea you aren't sure the spell but your syure it's enough to power a disintegration field.
  • corrupting the divination check to make the part looking for a specific arcane marked item to accept a different arcane marked item to be present when the safe is opened
    • Your pretty sure it will still go off maybe 50/50
  • The druid casts plant growth or something to ground the payload into the foundaton of the basement where the safe is with help from the wizard & rogue to make sure that vine grows into the right spot
  • everyone runs far away... The barbarian rages, makes a save, & pulls open the door while holding the marked item as directed
    • Boom everyone hears a huge explosion & cloud of dust streaming out of the room
    • barbarian sits on pins and needles waiting to hear the outcome while everyone rushes in to help rescue him
    • barbarian is a little rattled & gets a description of the explosion with the vine taking the brunt of things but he took... roll dice not too bad damage & is okish
The party spent about 15-20 minutes there
I want to play at your table lol
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I want to play at your table lol
fate style aspects are a lot of use for that sort of thing when gm'ing. You can run the world like that too but dfrpg might be a better place to look because the city creation is fluffed in a way more useful to running the world as a GM.
 

Zsong

Explorer
fate style aspects are a lot of use for that sort of thing when gm'ing. You can run the world like that too but dfrpg might be a better place to look because the city creation is fluffed in a way more useful to running the world as a GM.
I have read it. Own several. Can’t DM it. And can’t find anyone where I live that plays it.
 

Remember that a roll is only called for when there is a possibility of success.

If the DM decides "There is absolutely zero chance that Thrud the Meaty Wurrier and his 6 Int and 4 Cha can trick Brainiavelli the Vizier into revealing his plan. " then the player can converse and roleplay all they want; no die roll is made, the attempt just fails.

Don't allow the die roll unless you are willing to accept the possibility of success. If you believe the situation and the stats make success impossible, then there is no roll, period. But the fact that you do or do not allow the die roll, is no reason to deprive the player of the fun of roleplaying.

Players can try whatever they want. That doesn't mean there should always be a chance of success.

Now, whether you should tell the players there is no chance of success in advance is a separate debate. And (close the loop) one that very much ties into the two different approaches/motivations spelled out at the start of this thread.
 

Oofta

Legend
Remember that a roll is only called for when there is a possibility of success.

If the DM decides "There is absolutely zero chance that Thrud the Meaty Wurrier and his 6 Int and 4 Cha can trick Brainiavelli the Vizier into revealing his plan. " then the player can converse and roleplay all they want; no die roll is made, the attempt just fails.

Don't allow the die roll unless you are willing to accept the possibility of success. If you believe the situation and the stats make success impossible, then there is no roll, period. But the fact that you do or do not allow the die roll, is no reason to deprive the player of the fun of roleplaying.

Players can try whatever they want. That doesn't mean there should always be a chance of success.

Now, whether you should tell the players there is no chance of success in advance is a separate debate. And (close the loop) one that very much ties into the two different approaches/motivations spelled out at the start of this thread.

The problem is that if you don't ask (or allow for, depending on how you run it) a roll, you effectively are telling someone that it's impossible. If someone suspects a shopkeeper is lying and there's no insight check, players will then know that the shopkeeper is telling the truth.

It doesn't come up often, and I would never allow/ask for a roll for something that is obviously impossible. No matter how good your athletics score is, you can't jump over the moon. Unless you're a female minotaur because the cow ... well nah. Not even then.
 

"If someone suspects a shopkeeper is lying and there's no insight check, players will then know that the shopkeeper is telling the truth."

Or that it is impossible to determine they are lying by non-magical means.

(Addendum: when rolls will be asked for and what the absence of rolls means, is an important topic to cover in session zero. Whichever way you are going to play it.)
 
Last edited:

Remove ads

Top