D&D 5E Using social skills on other PCs

Scenario: the PCs have just opened a door.

Players: We look beyond the door.

DM: This dark 20x20 foot room seems to be empty other than dust and a few cobwebs. There do not appear to be any exits other than the door you have just opened and are looking through.

I cast fireball into the room. All that "seems" and "appears" crap tells me it's neither as it seems nor as it appears.

(Kudos to @Charlaquin for a doing the re-write.)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Aldarc

Legend
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.
I'm not sure if I can have a fruitful conversation with a grown man who can't properly distinguish between love and seduction.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I cast fireball into the room. All that "seems" and "appears" crap tells me it's neither as it seems nor as it appears.
If that's all it takes to part you from a valuable resource... ;)

In my experience the vast majority of DMs use "seems," "appears" and other similar wording. Most times the rooms are in empty. Occasionally they are not. Better to just investigate than go right into launching fireballs. :)
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
The dice roll seems unnecessary to me in this exchange. I mean, if you want to roll the dice to inspire your description, by all means. But to me it seems like an unnecessary break from the narrative action to execute a mechanical procedure with no meaningful consequence (and here I am using “meaningful consequence” to refer to the ensuing gameplay effects). If the result of the die roll doesn’t impose any mechanical effect, and it doesn’t restrict the player’s ability to roleplay however they want in response… What the heck is the point of it?
Informing the narrative is the crucial function of the game mechanics. They need do no more than that.

A corollary is that for a group accustomed to ignoring the results in some cases (in an aspect of the game, say) then those results can't inform their narrative so reasonably enough, they will not attach value to them. Were that group to choose instead to not ignore the results, value would be resumed.

It strikes me that in a way, RPGs might be analysed strictly as information systems. Real world psychological and social consequences ride on the game mechanics only in that those mechanics produce information: informing such consequences. That profoundly justifies groups doing what is right for them, as local meanings of play vary. It would be as you say valueless for a group to avail themselves of a mechanism that produces no meaning for them. For a group that said mechanism delivers meaning to, it will instead be valuable.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Of course it’s definite, because all I’m describing is what they can definitely perceive. Players can and will plant their own seeds of doubt without me interfering.
I look at it as describing what they think they are perceiving. This is what your eyes (and nose and ears) tell you. Do you trust them?

It takes some investigation to determine if their perceptions are correct or not.

Were I running a very low or no magic game set in the real world I'd be far more definite with these sort of descriptions, as illusions etc. don't enter into things.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
My sentiment exactly. If there's no mechanical enforcement, why doesn't the DM just narrate as they see fit?

I do have one quibble with the dialog, though:


I would not narrate that way, because it is telling the player what their character's experience is. I would just narrate what the NPC actually does.

I try really hard to keep the character's experience out of the narrative, and restrict myself to describing the environment.

Instead of "You see..." I try to say, "There is..."
Instead of "You feel the sun shine on your face" I try to say, "The warm sun shines down"
Instead of "He startles you with his sudden appearance" I say "He springs out of nowhere"

I still slip up a lot...it's hard to remember to do this. But I'm still practicing.
I hope you will see that is - sincerely - terrific. But terrific for you.

My players know and I can only assume love (seeing as our games go so very many sessions!) that I am as thespianatic as an Egyptian mummy. I don't have any aspirations in that direction. It's not my skill. My talent is opening up the world in whatever direction they want to explore.
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
I cast fireball into the room. All that "seems" and "appears" crap tells me it's neither as it seems nor as it appears.

(Kudos to @Charlaquin for a doing the re-write.)
I recall an argument not so many threads past, where it was argued that in connection with Insight a DM should only say what seems to be the case. Would that constitute an exception do you suppose?
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I look at it as describing what they think they are perceiving. This is what your eyes (and nose and ears) tell you. Do you trust them?

It takes some investigation to determine if their perceptions are correct or not.

Were I running a very low or no magic game set in the real world I'd be far more definite with these sort of descriptions, as illusions etc. don't enter into things.
It's a pedantic point though, right. I feel morally certain that if I sat at anyone here's table for a session with my stern editorial hat on, I would find numerous phrasings to quibble with, and those quibbles would not serve as a razor between groups having fun, and groups not having fun.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Informing the narrative is the crucial function of the game mechanics. They need do no more than that.
I disagree. In RPGs there’s a certain balance to be maintained between narration and mechanical execution, which I believe is best (and here I mean “best for me;” other people have different preferences, and that’s fine) served by reserving mechanical resolution for actions with mechanical consequence.
A corollary is that for a group accustomed to ignoring the results in some cases (in an aspect of the game, say) then those results can't inform their narrative so reasonably enough, they will not attach value to them. Were that group to choose instead to not ignore the results, value would be resumed.

It strikes me that in a way, RPGs might be analysed strictly as information systems. Real world psychological and social consequences ride on the game mechanics only in that those mechanics produce information: informing such consequences. That profoundly justifies groups doing what is right for them, as local meanings of play vary. It would be as you say valueless for a group to avail themselves of a mechanism that produces no meaning for them. For a group that said mechanism delivers meaning to, it will instead be valuable.
I actually quite like that definition.
 
Last edited:

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I look at it as describing what they think they are perceiving. This is what your eyes (and nose and ears) tell you. Do you trust them?
That’s the definition of perception though. What their eyes, nose, and ears tell them (or, technically, how their brains interpret what those organs are telling them) is what they perceive, even if what they perceive isn’t consistent with reality.
It takes some investigation to determine if their perceptions are correct or not.
Agreed, but I don’t think it’s necessary to use ambiguous language to plant that seed. Not to say that one shouldn’t use such language. Again, this is an aesthetic preference, not something the books suggest.
 
Last edited:


I'm not sure if I can have a fruitful conversation with a grown man who can't properly distinguish between love and seduction.

/sigh

I'm not sure I can have a fruitful conversation with somebody who makes ridiculously snarky comments like that.

Or who assumes I'm a man.

Or even fully grown.

But, getting back on topic, I'm putting both seduction and love into the category of:
- Do not have the same name as a skill on the character sheet
- Have a high probability of making people uncomfortable with the idea that the DM can dictate an NPCs success in influencing a PC

And are you saying that seduction falls on one side of the line (meaning that the DM can roll for an NPC's attempt to seduce, and the player is expected to abide by the result) and love falls on the other (meaning that the player has full authority over whether their character falls in love?

And, again, how do you define that line? Is it just a gut feeling on your part? What if your players have a different gut feeling?
 

Aldarc

Legend
But, getting back on topic, I'm putting both seduction and love into the category of:
- Do not have the same name as a skill on the character sheet
- Have a high probability of making people uncomfortable with the idea that the DM can dictate an NPCs success in influencing a PC

And are you saying that seduction falls on one side of the line (meaning that the DM can roll for an NPC's attempt to seduce, and the player is expected to abide by the result) and love falls on the other (meaning that the player has full authority over whether their character falls in love?

And, again, how do you define that line? Is it just a gut feeling on your part? What if your players have a different gut feeling?
You are welcome to re-read what I slready said about love as a check in TTRPGs. That should provide a good indication of why.
 
Last edited:



Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Why? Do you need to know where to start your slippery slope? Because I'm not interested in engaging yet another line-drawing fallacy on this forum.
Hell, I dunno - draw enough lines and you'll have a map. Fill that map with monsters and treasure and you'll have an adventure; and away we go! :)
 

Why? Do you need to know where to start your slippery slope? Because I'm not interested in engaging yet another line-drawing fallacy on this forum.
Because I want to know if there is a system to how you differentiate that players would understand. Or is it just your arbitrary choice?
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top