D&D 5E Using social skills on other PCs

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The rules just say "someone", so it's clearly any character in the game world. About the effects, see below.
If it were everyone, it would say everyone. All the NPCs are different someones. The word someone is not enough to carve out an exception for PCs. Not when literally everything in every social skill and the social interaction sections in both the PHB and DMG involve use against NPCs.
Exactly, which means that there is no prescribed effect for success or failure whether on NPC or PC (and used by NPCs or PCs, although the PH speaks to players, clearly NPCs have social skills too), which means that it does not have prescriptive valus on anyone, whether PC or NPC. It's just that the DM interpret what it does on an NPC (which he controls) just as a player interprets what it does on a PC (which he controls).
Sure. The DM gets to decide auto success/failure or in doubt for his NPCs just the same as the player does for his PC.
I will add to this that the effect might, in every case, be partial depending on the circumstances, for example the kobold intimidated in sitting quietly might do it, or not, but he might also do it and plot something else as soon as the intimidator is away, etc.
Yeah. Circumstances change everything. The NPC pet store clerk will likely give in to whatever the PCs demand with no roll. The hulking mercenary all by himself might be intimidated enough to back away, sword on hand, letting the part know that he won't stop them, but if they drop to take his stuff or do anything that the fight is on. That same mercenary with 8 of his buddies might be an auto failure on the part of the PCs to intimidate. Why would the be intimidated by some punks that they outnumber? And of course, as you point out, the intimidation doesn't mean that the plotting stops.
 

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Generally, yes, though there is also support in the rules for multiple success/failure thresholds. An example of this would be drow poison, which causes the poisoned condition on a failed save, and also causes the unconscious condition if the save is failed by 5 or more.

Yes, although that's a saving throw and has a number of such examples. Without engaging one of the optional bits of rules, ability checks have no such threshold. They are entirely binary. Personally, I think this is a good choice for the way 5e has chosen to engage in action resolution. Since it focuses on atomic task resolution (as in it usually looks at small, discrete task resolution rather than broader resolutions) the pass/fail mechanic works well to create the fiction.

Most of the time. Once in a while, you do see some additional thresholds set, like this one from Castle Ravenloft in Curse of Strahd (not that the published adventures are good examples of everything... but that's a different thread, methinks):

A character must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to traverse the roof. The check succeeds automatically if the character crawls. If the check fails by 5 or more, the character slides off the edge of the roof ans falls 40 feet to the castle parapet
 

cmad1977

Hero
I have been told I need to 'set the stage' and 'act out' to intimadate my PCs...

why my soft spoken pacifist (like for real in real life it is weird) 5'4ish friend Becky is trying to have an NPC intimadate a former recon Marine (like chris) means every character he ever plays is just immune to all non magic fear becuse NOTHING becky says will ever initmadate chris...

I'm not here for that.

This is not at all what has been suggested.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
The DM is the only person who can. Except there is no uncertainty when the player decides, as in the case of the character's thoughts or actions in the face of a monster attempting to deceive, intimidate, or persuade them. It's certain it's whatever the player says it is.
We have two rules that are in direct contradiction with one another. I am thinking of these two -

PHB 174 A DM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure.

and

PHB185 In this case, it's you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.

To my reading, D&D doesn't treat these statements as equal: it tips the scales to the DM. The section on PHB 185 - Roleplaying - is describing how players can go about doing that (how they can roleplay.) There's a fair argument that it is not concretely supplying a rule, even though it has been taken that way on these forums in the past. (I guess I have to step back from my earlier feeling of agreement with @Charlaquin on that score.)

[EDIT Or maybe there is another location where words similar to PHB185 exist and are more concretely cast as a rule?]
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Show me where it says that specifically. I can see lots of it working on NPCs and DMs calling for checks from players. I don't see a single instance where it specifically overrides the general rule for players deciding.
It is in the PHB, in the section on Ability Checks, using each ability, in the text under Charisma.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
We have two rules that are in direct contradiction with one another. I am thinking of these two -

PHB 174 A DM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure.

and

PHB185 In this case, it's you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.

To my reading, D&D doesn't treat these statements as equal: it tips the scales to the DM. The section on PHB 185 - Roleplaying - is describing how players can go about doing that (how they can roleplay.) There's a fair argument that it is not concretely supplying a rule, even though it has been taken that way on these forums in the past. (I guess I have to step back from my earlier feeling of agreement with @Charlaquin on that score.)

[EDIT Or maybe there is another location where words similar to PHB185 exist and are more concretely cast as a rule?]
There's no contradiction here. The DM can't determine the chance of failure. It stops right there.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
We have two rules that are in direct contradiction with one another. I am thinking of these two -

PHB 174 A DM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure.

and

PHB185 In this case, it's you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.
There is no contradiction there. The first one is subordinate to the second. the DM calls for a roll when there ability check has a chance for failure. The Player determines how his PC acts, so if he determines no chance for failure, the rule on page 174 never comes into play.
 


We have two rules that are in direct contradiction with one another. I am thinking of these two -

PHB 174 A DM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure.

and

PHB185 In this case, it's you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.

To my reading, D&D doesn't treat these statements as equal: it tips the scales to the DM. The section on PHB 185 - Roleplaying - is describing how players can go about doing that (how they can roleplay.) There's a fair argument that it is not concretely supplying a rule, even though it has been taken that way on these forums in the past. (I guess I have to step back from my earlier feeling of agreement with @Charlaquin on that score.)

Right, the player decides how the character thinks, acts, or talks. If an ability check is called for in a scene, the DM then adjudicates the outcome (which, notably, does not include then taking control of how the character thinks, acts, or talks). The DM can then start the play loop over where they describe the change to the environment and the player determines how their character thinks, acts, or talks in response to this change.

In fact, when I do get to play a character rather than DM, there is nothing that feels to me like nails on a chalkboard (we all remember chalkboards, right?:)) than the DM describing my characters reaction to something. Damage, forced movement, conditions, all that is fine. But once they start narrating my PC's internal reaction - how my PC is thinking, speaking, or acting in response to some stimuli - I've become a passive participant watching the DM's story unfold. IMO, of course.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
The task isn't uncertain. The task is "Intimidate the PC into doing X." Which neither the DM nor the mechanics can decide.

That's just because you formulate things that way, but I can create lots of checks which are pretty important (and I noticed that you have not responded to my Deception example). Moreover, this is one reason for which the intent is not required by the rules, just the description of the actions.
  • Appear intimidating to the PC.
  • Deceive the PC into believing something.
  • Appear convincing to the PC.
Of course, the player can decide what he is doing, but he will do so based on the information available, just as he would do for something purely "physical" in the game world, for example he will believe that he can climb a wall.

And there is no difference with an NPC, the player can succeed at deception check and still fail to deceive the NPC, because the NPC knows something the player does not for example.
 

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