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D&D General Styles of Roleplaying and Characters

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Hussar

Legend
Because there aren't any. 5e has not one single mechanic to tell my character what he thinks or feels that isn't magical in some way.
Insight - tells you that you believe what you are being told.

Numerous non-magical fear effects.

Any knowledge skill tells you EXACTLY what your character thinks.

Sanity (to be fair, that one's an optional module, but, it does exist in the 5e mechanics).

Piety (same)

Flaws tell you EXACTLY how your character feels about certain things. Granted, you are free to ignore this, but, it does exist.

I'm sure there are more.
 


Hussar

Legend
And then we could also add a mechanic to determine "your character does this thing because of this Doing roll". At which point we're playing an RNG game where the dice determine everything. Might be fun for some but I'm pretty sure at that point we're not engaged in a TTRPG anymore. See, some people - including the 5e designers apparently - draw the line at the player controlling how the character thinks, acts, and talks (with some exceptions for enchantment and supernatural effects). Having a "Feelings" roll is antithetical to that basic premise.
Ahh, slippery slope, how I've missed you.

See, this would hold a LOT more water if there weren't a shopping list of games that DO have mental mechanics that are considered to be RPG's. Unless you consider games like FATE to be not RPG's, And, again, can we please, please stop with this "it only happens with magic" thing in D&D? That's just not true. There are several mental mechanics in the game RIGHT now.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
So, just to be clear, you have no problems with the mechanics telling you what your character knows.
Knowing something is completely different from an emotional response.

But you'll never accept that, so I'll just ignore your responses from now on.
 

Hussar

Legend
Oh, and in case anyone thinks that there are no mental mechanics in D&D, I assume that you remove the Leadership feat from play right? After all, there's a non-magical mind control effect right there that carries mechanical implications.

And, I assume that you also ban Battlemasters as well right? After all, that character might take the Rally maneuver and that's a mental effect right there.

But... I thought that 5e didn't have any mental mechanics. I was told over and over and over again that they don't exist in 5e. I guess my book just has a different printing.
 

Hussar

Legend
Knowing something is completely different from an emotional response.

But you'll never accept that, so I'll just ignore your responses from now on.
How so?

They are both entirely internal processes for the character. They are both entirely mental processes. So, how are they "completely different"? If the mechanics can tell you that your character does not know something (or conversely, know something), they why can't the mechanics tell you that you are impressed by a fellow character's oratory?

Oh, wait, they can. 5e Leadership feat. 5e Battlemaster Rally. Oh, yeah, Mastermind Rogue can make you a better you any time he wants. I'm sure if I started going through some of the other classes, I'd find more.

So, again, how are two mental processes "completely different"?
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
How so?

They are both entirely internal processes for the character. They are both entirely mental processes. So, how are they "completely different"? If the mechanics can tell you that your character does not know something (or conversely, know something), they why can't the mechanics tell you that you are impressed by a fellow character's oratory?

Oh, wait, they can. 5e Leadership feat. 5e Battlemaster Rally. Oh, yeah, Mastermind Rogue can make you a better you any time he wants. I'm sure if I started going through some of the other classes, I'd find more.

So, again, how are two mental processes "completely different"?

Whether a PC knows something, came across it in their studies, happened to read the correct book or listened to the bard back home is uncertain unless it's been previously established that they know something or it's common knowledge. Knowing that a 4 legged beast of burden is a "horse" is not telling people what they think. Just that they've encountered horses before.

As far as "leadership" it's not in my book. Rally is IMHO a supernatural ability and a holdover from 4E mechanics. It only grants temp HP, doesn't affect what my PC thinks.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Insight - tells you that you believe what you are being told.
No it doesn't. It just tells you that you either aren't sure or confirms if the person is lying It does not tell me what I believe. A failure only indicates that you don't know for sure if the person is being truthful or not. I can still have my PC come to the conclusion that the PC is lying on my own based on game circumstances, but he might be wrong.
Numerous non-magical fear effects.
Which are still "magic" like dragon fear, which while being "magic," is not magic. The game makes a distinction between supernatural/magical effects that are not overtly magical, and those that are overtly magical. I don't care for the distinction myself, but it exists and confuses the hell out of things. :)
Any knowledge skill tells you EXACTLY what your character thinks.
No. It just tells me if I know something or not. I does not tell me what my PC thinks about it. Knowledge =/= thinking. I know what a duck is. I think they're smelly, but beautify birds. There's a difference.
Flaws tell you EXACTLY how your character feels about certain things. Granted, you are free to ignore this, but, it does exist.
The bolded part contradicts your first sentence completely. Flaws give the player an aid when DECIDING how the PC feels and nothing more.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Oh, and in case anyone thinks that there are no mental mechanics in D&D, I assume that you remove the Leadership feat from play right? After all, there's a non-magical mind control effect right there that carries mechanical implications.
Feats are an optional rule, like piety and sanity. They are not a part of the game unless the DM makes them a part of it.
And, I assume that you also ban Battlemasters as well right? After all, that character might take the Rally maneuver and that's a mental effect right there.
I can choose not to have my resolve bolstered if I want to. It only affects friendly creatures and I can opt not to be friendly for it. If it could affect anyone regardless, then you'd have a point.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
As far as "leadership" it's not in my book. Rally is IMHO a supernatural ability and a holdover from 4E mechanics. It only grants temp HP, doesn't affect what my PC thinks.
It's not in the PHB, Tasha's or Xanathar's, which means it's probably in some setting book somewhere. That makes it not a part of D&D at large. You can't count on people having the setting books.
 


Ahh, slippery slope, how I've missed you.

See, this would hold a LOT more water if there weren't a shopping list of games that DO have mental mechanics that are considered to be RPG's. Unless you consider games like FATE to be not RPG's,
But we are talking about D&D, right?

And, again, can we please, please stop with this "it only happens with magic" thing in D&D? That's just not true. There are several mental mechanics in the game RIGHT now.
So far, you haven't provided any evidence to back your claim of "several mental mechanics in the game RIGHT now." Inspiring Leader and Rally provide temp HP to allies, they do not prescribe how any PC feels, thinks, or acts as a result. What else you got?


EDIT (after reading your response to @Maxperson above):

Insight - most certainly does NOT tell a player that their PC believes something. It is used to uncover out the motivations and intentions of NPCs. If a PC fails a Wisdom (Insight) check, the outcome is that the NPC's motivations and/or intentions are inscrutable. It is not some authorization for the DM to tell the player what their character thinks in 5e.

"Any knowledge skill tells you EXACTLY what your character thinks." Um - how so? A high INT means my character thinks they know everything about History? I don't think there is support in the 5e rules for your stance on this.

Flaws are literally chosen by the player as a roleplaying aid. The player is in control of how the PC behaves accordingly.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
It's not in the PHB, Tasha's or Xanathar's, which means it's probably in some setting book somewhere. That makes it not a part of D&D at large. You can't count on people having the setting books.
I looked for it on DndBeyond, I should see it even if I can't view the details.

EDIT: @Swarmkeeper pointed to Inspiring Leader, which as they state grants temp HP which is unrelated to what a person thinks.
 

So how do you guys handle the DM deciding if your character knows or doesn’t know something?
The players can direct this. In other words, they take action in the game world to test their assumptions about what their character knows. The DM then can adjudicate accordingly. If it is obvious one way or the other, the DM can simply respond with a Yes or No. If there is some uncertainty about the knowledge and there is a meaningful consequence for failure, the DM could call for an ability check.
 

Appropriate skill check unless I think it's common knowledge or something the PC would know based on their history.

How do you handle it as a player though? Most of your responses in this discussion have been about how you view rules from the player perspective, so that’s what I was asking.

Do you feel it’s up to you to determine what your PC knows? Or the DM? Or some combo? What if you have different ideas on what would be common knowledge or knowledge available to a PC?

I move on based on whether I know the information or not.

Can you elaborate? I’m not following this; are you speaking as a DM or player? It also seems to be about what you know; what about the character?

When do you deploy dice?
 

Aldarc

Legend
But we are talking about D&D, right?
We are talking about RPGs, of which D&D is one among many.

So far, you haven't provided any evidence to back your claim of "several mental mechanics in the game RIGHT now." Inspiring Leader and Rally provide temp HP to allies, they do not prescribe how any PC feels, thinks, or acts as a result. What else you got?
It depends on who you ask. Some people dislike the Battlemaster and Inspiring Leader because the abilities imply that the inspires them (without their consent). It's much like some of the hang-ups people have with the Warlord from 4e. There are plenty of past threads where this issue has been discussed and rehashed.
 

The players can direct this. In other words, they take action in the game world to test their assumptions about what their character knows. The DM then can adjudicate accordingly. If it is obvious one way or the other, the DM can simply respond with a Yes or No. If there is some uncertainty about the knowledge and there is a meaningful consequence for failure, the DM could call for an ability check.

What would be obvious? Could a DM and player differ about what’s obvious? If they do, does it go to a dice roll?
 

Amrûnril

Explorer
Insight - tells you that you believe what you are being told.

Numerous non-magical fear effects.

Any knowledge skill tells you EXACTLY what your character thinks.

Sanity (to be fair, that one's an optional module, but, it does exist in the 5e mechanics).

Piety (same)

Flaws tell you EXACTLY how your character feels about certain things. Granted, you are free to ignore this, but, it does exist.

I'm sure there are more.
Knowledge and insight checks give a character information that they can interpret in whatever way the player chooses. If an NPC appears to be truthful, a PC might believe they're telling the truth or might believe they're simply a good liar. If a character remembers reading something about a creature, they might either trust that source or try to verify it through personal observation.

Piety (as described in the DMG) doen't determine a character's religious beliefs and actions. It describes how a divine patron might respond to those beliefs and actions.

Flaws (along with ideals and bonds) describe a character's feelings, but since they're determined by the player and subject to change at the player's discretion, that's not the mechanic telling the player anything.


Fear effects, certain spells, and the optional sanity/madness rules, in contrast, are mechanics that determine a character's emotional response and resulting behavior, in specific contexts and to a limited degree. If more mechanics of this nature would improve the game (at least for some players), the best way to show this would be to give examples of where and how such additional mechanics would be helpful.
 

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