D&D 5E Using social skills on other PCs

clearstream

(He, Him)
I did read it, in fact read many parts of it several times, trying to get my head around what you are saying.

And then I wrote a bunch of paragraphs of response.

But...I'm exhausted. With this thread.
I know what you mean! If you have time to share your paragraphs I'd gladly read them. I have come away with what - for me - are a few useful concepts.
  1. On rules and resolution, DM decides
  2. On player-character motivation, player decides
  3. 5th edition procedures are malleable by design
  4. Player choice | > character motivation > character actions
  5. To everything there can be limits and exceptions
1. DM is supported in judging anything uncertain, even things that are ordinarily certain such as how a character acts. Game circumstances are infinitely diverse. There's no universal definition of what counts as challenging or consequential enough.

2. Game results can't impinge on player-character motivation, but they can inform what might be roleplayed should the player choose. A result that informs roleplay can include consequences that don't impinge.

3. The 5th edition basic pattern supports natural conversation among players and DM. Challenges and consequences might be explained up front, or a player might outline an approach that suggests to their DM additional or reduced challenges. Based on what is explained, players might modify their approach without ever having enacted it. The flow is malleable as well as recursive.

4. Mechanics frequently control actions. They rarely control motivations. DM narrates the results of mechanics, informing player choices without controlling them. In practice, the definition of roleplay largely protects the middle part: player-character motivations.

5. Set limits and S>G exceptions can (and often do) override roleplay. Exceptions can exist anywhere, altering any aspect of how the game normally works.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
"I am not grappled by that opposed Strength (Athletics) check, good GM, because you can only call for an ability check when an action is uncertain, but how my character acts or what they do is not uncertain since I choose that for my character on my own and a grapple check would subsequently impose on my character's ability to act or do."
If you can’t see the difference between an action impeding a character’s ability to do something and an action forcing them to do something by their own volition, I don’t know what to tell you,
 

If you can’t see the difference between an action impeding a character’s ability to do something and an action forcing them to do something by their own volition, I don’t know what to tell you,

Yeah. That's why I'm backing away (slowly, without making eye contact) from this discussion. If that difference can't be acknowledged then there's really no hope for any progress.
 

Aldarc

Legend
If you can’t see the difference between an action impeding a character’s ability to do something and an action forcing them to do something by their own volition, I don’t know what to tell you,
Yeah. That's why I'm backing away (slowly, without making eye contact) from this discussion. If that difference can't be acknowledged then there's really no hope for any progress.
I don't know what you can tell me. A key issue is that I see a lot of the social interaction (ability checks and such) more as the former than the latter. For example, I believe that a PC being intimidated doesn't tell us how they think, act, or do, but it does place restrictions on the fiction, which is part and parcel of how TTRPGs are played.
 

I don't know what you can tell me. A key issue is that I see a lot of the social interaction (ability checks and such) more as the former than the latter. For example, I believe that a PC being intimidated doesn't tell us how they think, act, or do, but it does place restrictions on the fiction, which is part and parcel of how TTRPGs are played.

Yes, restrictions on the fiction are part (and parcel!) of how TTRPGs are played.

But the give-and-take of roleplaying, without mechanics being applied, is also part (and parcel) of how TTRPGs are played.

How do you decide when to shift modalities? Or, more specifically, why does an NPC trying to intimidate a PC denote a shift from roleplaying to mechanical resolution? Would you also switch to mechanical resolution, with similarly binding consequences, if an NPC wanted the PC to fall in love with them? Who gets to set the DC for that?
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I don't know what you can tell me. A key issue is that I see a lot of the social interaction (ability checks and such) more as the former than the latter. For example, I believe that a PC being intimidated doesn't tell us how they think, act, or do, but it does place restrictions on the fiction, which is part and parcel of how TTRPGs are played.
Thank you for introducing this idea. I feel it is extremely important. It's easy to lose sight of our shared purpose: building a narrative. @Charlaquin has queried the value of ability checks that go on only to inform the emergent narrative (in this case how players narrate their responses). As you rightly point out, that's what we're here for!

I want to quote something I wrote in another thread, inspired by your post here:

Suppose a player is envisioning that their choices at character creation and advancement matter. So they expect if they are proficient and expert with Persuasion that this will matter. They have a high rules knowledge and anticipate that given they skillfully do the things laid out, they will most likely benefit from their proficiency and expertise in the form of more likely succeeding than failing in persuading the King, given it is as to some matter that I have confirmed they might be swayed on. They expect their chances to be better than the chances of the fighter, who has put nothing into abilities and skills that bear on social interaction.

Let's clone them so we have B' and F' who are NPCs. Reciprocally then, the player expects B' to be more likely to persuade the party fighter of something, than F'. This is not the case if the rules are simply disregarded. DMs neutrality does considerable work here, as DM decides on rules and resolutions impartially. They have no stake in B' and F'. Player however has a stake in B.

Certainty is binary: it isn't impinged on by greater or lesser ability. This is something helped by DM calling for a check even if that check is only informative. Because it can inform about how compelling B' is able to be, compared with F'. I believe that a compelling purpose for having game mechanics in our RP is to inform our narrative.
We want NPC bard (B') to be different from NPC fighter (F'). A roll reifies that difference stochastically even if the target is protected by 185 and retains control over their further choices.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
How do you decide when to shift modalities? Or, more specifically, why does an NPC trying to intimidate a PC denote a shift from roleplaying to mechanical resolution?
When and how do you shift modalities between roleplaying and mechanical resolution when doing anything in this game? Why does a PC trying to intimidate an NPC denote a shift from roleplaying to mechanical resolution?

I would imagine that it’s when there is uncertainty* in the fiction as well as stakes/consequences for failure and/or success.

* To be clear, I am putting a pin here in the discussion. I am not certainly not using the meaning of "uncertainty" that you and a few others have latched onto in this thread, which believes that Page 185 kills uncertainty dead on arrival. Instead, I am using it here more in the conventional meaning of "uncertainty" in how it is generally understood as a part of tabletop game resolution processes.

Would you also switch to mechanical resolution, with similarly binding consequences, if an NPC wanted the PC to fall in love with them? Who gets to set the DC for that?
I wouldn't use mechanical resolution if a PC wanted an NPC to fall in love with them. Love is something that won’t and can’t be resolved by a d20 die roll. I think that love lies outside of ability checks to test or determine.

Even in games that have more robust social interaction mechanics that more clearly affect PCs, love is rarely, if ever, on the table in a singular die roll. In Pendragon, for example, a knight’s trait of Chastity/Lust can be tested. So a knight can be overcome with Lust that risks their Chastity; however, this is not love. In Monsterhearts, a character can become “turned on” by a PC or NPC but this too is not love.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
@Charlaquin has queried the value of ability checks that go on only to inform the emergent narrative (in this case how players narrate their responses). As you rightly point out, that's what we're here for!
I didn’t question the value, I said I don’t see support for it in the rules.

Sometimes I think people read a lot more into that statement than is really there. As I observed in the roleplaying thread, I’m astounded how sensitive people get over simply having the rules cited.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I didn’t question the value, I said I don’t see support for it in the rules.
Taking the text as a whole (rules and guidelines together), it's supported and valuable then.

Sometimes I think people read a lot more into that statement than is really there. As I observed in the roleplaying thread, I’m astounded how sensitive people get over simply having the rules cited.
As someone observed, it's framed in trollish terms. That's mainly why.


[EDITED To better capture my intended meaning.]
 


HammerMan

Legend
If you can’t see the difference between an action impeding a character’s ability to do something and an action forcing them to do something by their own volition, I don’t know what to tell you,
how is it diffrent? other then there is no way to safely LARP the physical action...
 


HammerMan

Legend
I wouldn't use mechanical resolution if a PC wanted an NPC to fall in love with them. Love is something that won’t and can’t be resolved by a d20 die roll. I think that love lies outside of ability checks to test or determine.
yes and no... I mean I showed up to my first date with my now fiancé doing my best (admittedly not that good) to impress her to get her to have a second date. On that second date I tried real hard to connect with her because I know that she was (and still is) WAY out of my league. I put in the work I showed up, I cared, I listened, I did everything I could to get her to connect with me... I must of rolled a nat 20 to get a 19 with my cha mod, cause 3 years later she said yes...
Even in games that have more robust social interaction mechanics that more clearly affect PCs, love is rarely, if able, on the table in a singular die roll. In Pendragon, for example, a knight’s trait of Chastity/Lust can be tested. So a knight can be overcome with Lust that risks their Chastity; however, this is not love. In Monsterhearts, a character can become “turned on” by a PC or NPC but this too is not love.
yeah I don't think a single roll works for love at all... but over years many can (and in my case I must have had some hott rolls)
 

I wouldn't use mechanical resolution if a PC wanted an NPC to fall in love with them. Love is something that won’t and can’t be resolved by a d20 die roll. I think that love lies outside of ability checks to test or determine.

Why?

Of all the ways to influence or manipulate somebody, which ways can be resolved with mechanics, and which can't? Why is "intimidate" in a different category than "seduce"?

Are there other types of influence that you think are off limits?
 

Aldarc

Legend
Why?

Of all the ways to influence or manipulate somebody, which ways can be resolved with mechanics, and which can't? Why is "intimidate" in a different category than "seduce"?

Are there other types of influence that you think are off limits?
You are moving the goal posts - whether you realize it or not - by pivoting from "love" to "seduce."
 

You are moving the goal posts - whether you realize it or not - by pivoting from "love" to "seduce."
Oh, sorry, that was unintentional.

Ok, love then. Why is it an exception? Are there others? Is “seduce” not an exception?

I’m genuinely curious because I believe love, seduce, persuade, intimidate, enrage, amuse, deceive, etc. should all be handled the same way.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Oh, sorry, that was unintentional.

Ok, love then. Why is it an exception? Are there others? Is “seduce” not an exception?

I’m genuinely curious because I believe love, seduce, persuade, intimidate, enrage, amuse, deceive, etc. should all be handled the same way.
It does seem fair to me, to consider how extreme the emotional ask is. Just as DMG 244 has a simple 3-step scale for the size of the ask.

I might easily influence someone to make room for me to sit down in the bus. It might be harder for me to win their undying devotion.
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
And who gets to decide that?

Once again, I assume the person at the table best equipped to make that call is the character’s player.
If an NPC is attempting to woo a PC, then the PC should get to make the call. I might still call for a check at various points to indicate how compelling the wooing was. Stochastically informing the emerging narrative.

[EDIT I just had a horrible picture of me as DM having to act out the wooing. It's beyond the Pale: no player can ask that of me!]
 

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