Use Magic Missile to determine whether a statue is an Object or a Creature?(!)

ad_hoc

Adventurer
As for initiative...

It is an opposed check to determine who gets to do the thing first. Players don't 'call for initiative'. They just state what they're doing and the DM determines what happens.

At my table whenever a scene is set each player is asked what they are doing. They don't respond with metagame terms like 'call intiative' or 'use insight'. They respond with literally what the character is doing.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
As for initiative...

It is an opposed check to determine who gets to do the thing first. Players don't 'call for initiative'. They just state what they're doing and the DM determines what happens.

At my table whenever a scene is set each player is asked what they are doing. They don't respond with metagame terms like 'call intiative' or 'use insight'. They respond with literally what the character is doing.
Meh. If they think they're entering combat I see no reason to shatter that illusion immediately. Let them attack the dread gazebo. I can't remember a time I've ever done it but if someone said "I attack" even if there is no enemy combatant I'd consider it.

Every once in a blue moon I'll also use initiative just to help resolve chaotic situations. For example if the party is escaping a collapsing building and everybody is doing things more-or-less simultaneously I might go to initiative. Or not. Just depends on what works best for the scene.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
Meh. If they think they're entering combat I see no reason to shatter that illusion immediately.
There seems to be a disconnect here.

Striking a statue is a thing a character is doing so that is completely fine.

'Calling for initiative' is not.

If someone said "I strike the statue" then I would say, 'ok' and go around the rest of the table to see what people are doing.

Initiative may be called at this point, and it may not. It is also possible that the statue doesn't animate until a later time so there continues to be no initiative as it isn't a creature.

Players don't know.
 
I only call for initiative if players are aware of an enemy and want to attack it. Or an enemy is aware of the players and wants to attack them.

Seems rather silly to me to let players roll initiative out of combat just to see who to ask what he is doing first. I just let my players act freely and only if I notice one is not saying anything ask "What are you doing in the meantime?".
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
There seems to be a disconnect here.

Striking a statue is a thing a character is doing so that is completely fine.

'Calling for initiative' is not.

If someone said "I strike the statue" then I would say, 'ok' and go around the rest of the table to see what people are doing.

Initiative may be called at this point, and it may not. It is also possible that the statue doesn't animate until a later time so there continues to be no initiative as it isn't a creature.

Players don't know.
Well, this is a hypothetical situation that has never happened in my game. But my point is that if the players are entering what they perceive as combat, I would treat it as combat.

While I strongly encourage people to speak and declare actions from the perspective of their PCs, I don't really care if players call out game rules at the table. I don't see why it would matter.

But I don't want to have this argument yet again. I just don't have a strict "thou cannot acknowledge we are playing a game" rule at my table.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I only call for initiative if players are aware of an enemy and want to attack it. Or an enemy is aware of the players and wants to attack them.

Seems rather silly to me to let players roll initiative out of combat just to see who to ask what he is doing first. I just let my players act freely and only if I notice one is not saying anything ask "What are you doing in the meantime?".
The situations where I've called for initiative outside of combat are extremely rare but may happen if events are happening nearly simultaneously. Think complex trap, building collapsing around the PCs, etc. Even then I'm more flexible than combat initiative, but I do want to limit possible actions.

For example if the PCs are caught in a burning building and after facing a few obstacles some of them start suffering from smoke inhalation (failed con save). At a certain point one of the PCs has the option to try to help their buddy or an NPC, but they're going to be moving more slowly. To mimic that they can't dash this round ... they've used their action to help support someone else. Or if someone is holding up a beam, or someone is casting cone of cold to put out fire blocking the groups path while the rest of the group gets ready to dash through, etc.

In certain instances using initiative can make the scene more dramatic for me. Don't want to ever do that? Don't.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
Well, this is a hypothetical situation that has never happened in my game. But my point is that if the players are entering what they perceive as combat, I would treat it as combat.

While I strongly encourage people to speak and declare actions from the perspective of their PCs, I don't really care if players call out game rules at the table. I don't see why it would matter.

But I don't want to have this argument yet again. I just don't have a strict "thou cannot acknowledge we are playing a game" rule at my table.
I never said that. Please don't condescend.

I am saying that the players are not the DM and should not act like they are.

Of course we're playing a game. The rules of that game is that the players declare what their characters are doing. Roll for initiative is not a thing.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I never said that. Please don't condescend.

I am saying that the players are not the DM and should not act like they are.

Of course we're playing a game. The rules of that game is that the players declare what their characters are doing. Roll for initiative is not a thing.
I didn't think I was being condescending. But if a player thinks combat is imminent and a player asks "Roll for initiative?" I'm okay with it.

There are some people who seem to be very adamant that players can't speak in terms of game rules at the table such as stating that they are making a skill check*. I'm just stating that I don't care and meant no offense.

*Or should that be ability check applying the proper skill proficiency? Doesn't really roll of the tongue and honestly I've never really understood why that matters either.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I didn't think I was being condescending. But if a player thinks combat is imminent and a player asks "Roll for initiative?" I'm okay with it.

There are some people who seem to be very adamant that players can't speak in terms of game rules at the table such as stating that they are making a skill check*. I'm just stating that I don't care and meant no offense.

*Or should that be ability check applying the proper skill proficiency? Doesn't really roll of the tongue and honestly I've never really understood why that matters either.
I'm with you on this.

I would suspect that in many cases, adherence to the having things done in proper order, terminology, and sequencing of things gets a lot more blah blah must be on forum posts by a certain few thsn its gets ever into a thing at the tsble.

I know if I had a GM spend a second of game time correcting me to not say skill check because that means I might be thinking we are in another edition or give a "dont act like you are the GM" because I asked about initiative I would fail to contain my laughter *at* thrm.

But, to me, the underlying cause is "rolling for initiative".

RFI is done at a subjective moment and governs the order of actions rigidly. Given the subjective nature, and that in 5e the event that triggers initiative "may not have happened yet" or even be known, given the establishment of robots in disguise.... err... columns that can appear as statues until... etc etc (especially if already within the session) it's a very understandable thing.

Asking the player to not "start combat" by rolling initiative until the bad guy does something that tells you its initiative time in those circumstances is gonna be a trip wire for some.

In the last room, there was a statue that animated sndvtudhed and attacked you - you rolled initiative.

In the room before, there were goblins who rushed and attacked you. You rolled initiative.

In this room, there is a goblin at a desk and a statue on the other side.

If the players want to attack the statue but it's a statue no roll initiative? Dont be a GM?

If the goblin doesnt want to fight-, or is an illusion, and the players act aggressively, do you really not call for initiative and tip them off?

Sometimes sure you may waive it for expediency, but a gameplay choice of the GM to have and setup "ambiguous combat beginnings **and** strictly only use init for those **and ** get prickly at the proper procefure of things and who says what - recipe for irksome outcomes.

It may not be but in the statues rooms etc a GM getting irked at a player wanting to call init feels like it's in the zip code of "you cant go before my surprise springs" if not on the same street.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
When it comes to statements like "the players don't call for initiative" I always have to wonder what the response would be. Because now and then I'll have a player ask to roll for initiative. Usually it's the barbarian and they intend to attack.

So if the player asks to roll, what are the possible responses?

I know what I would say:
  • "Okay, everybody roll " because they know the PC is initiating combat whether or not the NPCs are.
  • Ask for clarification because there is no reason to call for initiative. No NPCs, no monsters, no visible threat, nothing.

But what would the alternative be? I'm assuming it's not going to be:
  • DM stares blankly at the player ignoring them
  • DM says "You aren't the boss of me. Or the DM."
 

Satyrn

Villager
I don't see the problem with this as it's not really something that will come up often or be abusive unless the DM is spamming gargoyles, mimics, or whatnot.
And that's easy for the DM to fix, too. Just add in friendly gargoyles, mimics, or whatnots that can help the players . . . if they don't get attacked.
 

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