D&D 5E Using social skills on other PCs

Aldarc

Legend
Generally though, to my reading everyone is okay with there being game mechanics that do decide what a player character thinks, says, or does.
Here is where I would make a distinction from your point. I would argue that in-game fiction, game mechanics, game resolution processes that impose restrictions or limitations in the fiction on what a "player character thinks, says, or does," do not necessarily invalidate the ability of a player to choose or decide what their "player character thinks, says, or does."
 

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clearstream

(He, Him)
I’m not sure what you mean about leaving the circularity argument untouched. To me what appears circular is using the results of a successful ability check to justify calling for an ability check in the first place. You’re reversing the order of operations in order to arrive at uncertainty you’ve already assumed.
There's no need to settle that for the moment. As things stand, we're waiting on you to find a way to discount skills as game elements from being specific enough to form exceptions to general rules. You put forward something like -
  1. All skills are not actions, they’re a source of bonuses on a subset of ability checks.
  2. Ability checks are not actions, they’re a step in the action resolution process; a step which comes after determining uncertainty, if uncertainty is established.
  3. An action that is resolved by the general action resolution process can either succeed (if it has no chance of failure or no stakes), fail (if it has no chance of success), or be resolved with an ability check.
  4. An action taken with the goal of forcing a PC to think, feel, or do something succeeds if the player decides it does, or fails if the player decides it does.
  5. There is no opportunity for an ability check of any kind to be made, because based on the goal, the process for resolving it says it should succeed or fail.
  6. If a more specific process governs the resolution of the action, such as the spellcasting rules, then none of this is relevant to the resolution process of that action.
In 6, you are helping yourself to something that isn't justified by RAW. RAW doesn't say it needs to be a more specific process, and doesn't limit exceptions to processes. Nor to applying at any specific point in a process.

That said, many racial traits, class features, spells, magic items, monster abilities, and other game elements break the general rules in some way, creating an exception to how the rest of the game works.
Any specific game element can form an exception to how the game works. How the game works: exceptions aren't required to even sign up to an order of operations. To put it clearly,
  1. For the sake of argument, I concede that PHB 185 is a general rule that has the consequence that the things covered by it can't be ruled uncertain by a DM because they are up to player determination
  2. Specific beats general: skills as game elements are specific-enough to be exceptions, meaning that they can break the rules. One rule they break is PHB 185.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Here is where I would make a distinction from your point. I would argue that in-game fiction, game mechanics, game resolution processes that impose restrictions or limitations in the fiction on what a "player character thinks, says, or does," do not necessarily invalidate the ability of a player to choose or decide what their "player character thinks, says, or does."
If I follow you correctly, I have some reflections in that direction.

We've talked about a PC being unable to decide to do something that their character can't do, like fly if they lack any validated means to do so. By "validated" I mean that something about the game-world and rules says they can do it. Everyone is okay with that. The game isn't freeform, there are tonnes of things players can't decide that their characters do. Let's call those limits.
You as player determines how your character thinks, acts, and talks, within limits.

We've also seen what player characters know explained something like this. A player character who fails an insight check against an NPC's deception doesn't know that they are lying. The idea is that a DM can't tell the player what their character thinks, so cannot say that they think the NPC is telling the truth. This becomes difficult to unpack in the case of a disguise, where a player character must in some sense be thinking that apparent-Lord Frogmouth is actual-Lord Frogmouth. It's hard to see how they can simply lack possession of any facts to the contrary because they surely posses some collection of facts that says apparent-Frogmouth is not anyone else but actual-Frogmouth. I'd love someone to explain to me how identity can be asserted without appeal to anything the player character must think?

Still, it seems to me that there should be something we could insert here that supplements the general rule (just as perhaps limits supplies the general rule with the formal carve out.) Any thought what that could be?
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
And that's why you lost me there. Because we're not concerned only about intimidation and persuasion. Or we shouldn't be. Or, at least, I'm not. I'm concerned about any attempts at influence that don't rely on a clearly defined mechanic.
One way you might like to develop your line of argument here is as follows
  1. There are endless things that players can attempt, that will be governed by ability checks
  2. Can we really say that endless things - that have only the barest definition in RAW - are specific enough to beat the general of PHB 185?
  3. Supposing we say that they're not (specific enough) then aren't those things covered by skills just the same?
To which I might respond, skills are game elements, explicit in the RAW. As they are game elements, persuasion and intimidation are specific-enough to be covered by PHB 7 (specific beats general.) You might then say that they are not specific-enough for you. So far, no one has shown a way to give either view the higher ground from RAW.

In broad brushstrokes, everyone regularly permits game elements to override PHB 185. That's normal and required: the game couldn't function as game without that. In every game session you run, players won't be able to decide some things for their characters (e.g. limits) and in many of them some game element will override or make their decision for them (e.g spells, features.) Supposing PHB 185 to constitute a rule, and supposing that the rule plays out as some have it to exclude the possibility of uncertainty, any game element that is specific-enough can excuse itself from worrying about that. Whatever the order of operations, it can excuse itself from that order and apply itself in whatever way it needs to, to function. It can break rules and form an exception to how the rest of the game works. Perhaps there is a way to show from RAW how persuasion and intimidation fall short? I don't know what that way is at present.

And - to your point - I believe that highlights deficiencies in PHB 175 as a game rule. It's a big deal that it justifies more ink invested in it. What does that ink need to cover? Is there really never a time when something about an ability or how it is or can be used overrides it?
 

HammerMan

Legend
You may have uncertainty in how you describe the environment as it pertains to the orc's intimidation, but that's not the same as uncertainty as it relates to calling for an ability check to resolve a task with a success and failure condition and a DC.
says who? did you write the books? are you secretly a WotC employee, or just a mind reader?
In my games, I just say what the orc does and ask the player "What do you do?" I don't need a roll to determine flavor or color. I call for ability checks when it's time to resolve a task.
great... you are so great you can always describe a range of orcs from 3-22 and do so with a random distribution so to not overly or underly advantage or disadvantage a player... so glad you are such a machine... for the rest of us we have game mechanics.
The rules don't support this because an ability check must have uncertainty as to the result of a task, a success and failure condition, and a DC.
and I have shown all of those things, you just dismis them.
It fails the first test of whether there is an ability check because there is no uncertainty when it comes to how the player has the character respond.
wait you just changed it to respond... no skill gives a player or dm the ability to author a responce (heck few spells do) so you are just making things up now.
The player decides. It's a roll to determine flavor or color. You may as well flip a coin or roll on a d100 chart.
I guess you could house rule a mechanic for a coin flip or a d100 chart... I am sure back in the 90's someone made a d100 chart for any/everything. However instead I use the game mechanic for an ability score/ skill check since I am NOT HOUSE RULEING.
It's not an ability check in the way the rules state.
yes it is, I have read everything you have written and you have convinced no one....
I'd ask you to go find rules support for your approach, but that would be cruel because there is none.
I have supported mine with the rules for skills, the rules for npcs the rules for each social ability, you just don't like it.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I do not think D&D needs social mechanics with teeth to them (although I like them in other games with different structures of play), but I still dislike taking "the roleplaying rule" for more than what I think it is - a brief section meant to instruct players on how to roleplay. In general I dislike making more out of this and the description of the basic play loop as providing completely unconstrained authority to players and DMs. A healthy respect for fictional positioning is central to my understanding of roleplaying. I am pretty sure Wizards did not intend to endorse blatant disregard for the shared fiction in their core play loops.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
There's no need to settle that for the moment. As things stand, we're waiting on you to find a way to discount skills as game elements from being specific enough to form exceptions to general rules.
I did, back in the post you never responded to. Ability checks are part of the basic action resolution process, the most fundamental rule of the game after rule 0. All other rules are more specific.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Ok, now I'm on a roll. (GET IT!?!?!). I'm particularly curious how @clearstream, @HammerMan, and @Ovinomancer respond to the following, but of course I'm interested in all reactions.
hi
Upthread, @Charlaquin got a lot of pushback for saying that "there's no uncertainty" when an NPC tries to influence a PC. Let's unpack that.
yes, and completely ignores that we have a mechanic to tell if something fails/succeeds (before I and others house rule that the better you do on the check the better you do in narrative)
First, I think we're all agreeing that the underlying assumption is that the play loop is symmetric. That is, we resolve these action declarations ("Fred tries to intimidate Ginger") the same way, regardless whether it's PC -> NPC or NPC -> PC.
Okay
One reason for that that is that there is no separate set of rules, or a separate play loop, described for NPC -> PC. All we have to go on is the assumption that the same rules apply. It's all we got.
exactly, and when the game DOES have NPC/PC act different it calls it out.

I actually am not 100% down with the 'play loop' but have accepted it as part of this discussion in good faith.
Ok, so the first step in that play loop is to determine whether the described action is an automatic success or an automatic failure. If it's neither of those we move on to resolution using attributes and, perhaps, skills.

So who determines, in an NPC -> PC action declaration, whether it's an automatic success or an automatic failure?

There are three possibilities:
a) The player decides
b) The DM decides
c) We skip this step if it's NPC -> PC
by RAW I think the DM... by my Interpretation of what they meant combining interviews and other rules I think PC...but either way it's cool
In reverse order:

If we skip this step, then we are using a play loop that is not the same as the one described in the books. But our whole premise for getting here is that we use the same play loop for NPC -> PC that we use for PC -> NPC. There's just no way to read the published text and conclude that RAI or RAW is that only part of the play loop applies when it's NPC -> PC.
agreed...
So the answer can't be that we skip this step. Somebody needs to determine if it was an automatic success or automatic failure.
yup, again by defualt I would say 99% of the time there HAS to be a not automtic vs PCs...but I could imagine corner cases where it is.
If it's the DM, it means that the DM has authority to just declare that the PC is persuaded, or intimidated, or seduced, or whatever. And is there anybody actually advocating for DMs (in D&D 5e) to have that authority? If so, then we are definitely never going to resolve this dispute, so we can stop right there.
sort of grey area. I have NEVER done so but again I can imagine a corner case where I could have, it just would be so weird that I can't imagine it coming up. The other end though, the auto fail I know has come up...

REAL GAME EXAMPLE: a 9th level party of 5 PCs and an NPC controlled by a player (sidekick/apprentice) go to walk into clearing... 6 kobolds pop up from ambush and the lead one pulls a rusty old knife (the others all have short bows that look like they have seen better days) he puffs his chest trying to be intimadating but really you will have to fight the urge to laugh as he says in his squaky shaky voice "Stop 2 silver each or else you can't pass"

as you can see I had him "trying to be intmidating," and ruled it failed "You have to fight the urge to laugh"
But I think most of the participants in this thread will agree that's crazy. The DM can't...or shouldn't...just say, "The goblin flexes his muscles, and you find that intimidating and hand over all your gold." That's just simply beyond any reasonable description of DM authority.
okay agree. the DM can not (Again avoiding some monster special ability/spell) make the PCs hand over there gold, and shouldn't narrate them to be intimidated.
So the person deciding if it's an auto success (or failure) can't be the DM.
again, grey area... they can and I can't imagine anyone here argueing, even @iserith , that we describe auto fails all the time...

now I want a "How you doing?" half orc with a 8 cha to try to seduce a PC... maybe in a week or two when they get back to town.
That leaves only the player to decide. If it's true that the standard play loop applies to NPC -> PC action declarations, then it must also be true that the player is the one who determines whether it succeeds or fails automatically, before moving on to calling for a dice roll.
okay makes sense.
Once the player has made that determination, we (maybe) move on to a dice roll. So now the question of who decides which skill/attribute to use, what the DC is, and what the actual outcome is, including if the player must abide by the result, and how.
okay
But all of that is irrelevant because the player had the power to keep us from even getting to this step. If they want to let the dice decide for them, fine. My opinion is that the player should also set the DC, pick the skill, and interpret the result, but if somebody else thinks the DM should do it that's fine, too: as long as the player has the authority to declare the attempt an automatic failure (or success!), then in the cases where they don't take that opportunity I don't really care how the rest of it gets resolved.
maybe it is just I have spent so long in a set of groups, but we all pretty much agree on skill/stats anyway, so sure... I can get behind this as one of the ways of reading RAW.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I do not think D&D needs social mechanics with teeth to them (although I like them in other games with different structures of play), but I still dislike taking "the roleplaying rule" for more than what I think it is - a brief section meant to instruct players on how to roleplay. In general I dislike making more out of this and the description of the basic play loop as providing completely unconstrained authority to players and DMs. A healthy respect for fictional positioning is central to my understanding of roleplaying. I am pretty sure Wizards did not intend to endorse blatant disregard for the shared fiction in their core play loops.

They certainly did not. The problem, as is often the case, is people taking isolated sentences out of their context and trying to build a case for a strong implementation of the rules that supports only their view. Even the play loop section has a sentence that says: "But most of the time, play is fluid and flexible, adapting to the circumstances of the adventure."

And even before that, the rules also say: "Playing D&D is an exercise in collaborative creation. You and your friends create epic stories filled with tension and memorable drama."

Moreover, the reason for me posting infrequently on this thread is that people are arguing from absolute positions (you MUST roll the dice / there is no reason to EVER roll the dice) when the rules themselves have an actually extremely interesting section called "The Role of the Dice" that explains that some people roll all the time, some people almost never roll, both are fine and, in the end "Many DMs find that using a combination of the two approaches works best. By balancing the use of dice against deciding on success, you can encourage your players to strike a balance between relying on their bonuses and abilities and paying attention to the game and immersing themselves in its world."

Same with the railroading/sandboxing concepts, or (in)famous principle of player agency, and associated absolute principles, there is no such thing in the rules, just the fact that there should be general agreement around the table, and that session 0 is a good time and place to dsicuss these concepts and how they apply to the table, there is no right and wrong here, just use whatever is the best way for you to have fun at your table.

The RAW is actually extremely moderate and open, with many possibilities in there, out of the box, and without even needing to go into the options.

So yes, some people will have the NPCs rolls vs. the PCs, it's anathema to others, the only thing which is sure is that the rules do not forbid anything in that area.
 

HammerMan

Legend
It’s an interesting line of reasoning, and it does make the NPC -> PC procedure symmetrical to the PC -> NPC procedure, which might be aesthetically pleasing. But, I don’t think it’s what the rules as written actually suggest doing. There’s nowhere that I’m aware of where the rules say a (non-DM) player ought to determine if an action can succeed, fail, and has consequences. The player does, as I understand it, decide what their character thinks, feels, and does, and basically nothing else. So, while I think this is a great way to run it, and basically how I handle it when it’s PC -> PC, I don’t actually think it’s supported by the rules.
I think we all understand you don't agree. DO you understand that others read the exact same rules and came away with different opinions?
I think where our analysis differ is in how we understand the process by which the DM determines whether an action succeeds, fails, or requires a roll. In this construction, you seem to suggest that the DM can simply make that decision arbitrarily, and use the fact that the DM being able to arbitrarily decide that an action meant to force a PC to take a specific action would be obviously unfair. But, rather than this indicating the player ought to make the decision, I would argue that this indicates the decision is not meant to be arbitrary. The DM is meant to determine, not decide, whether the action succeeds, fails, or requires a roll to be resolved, and while making that determination necessarily requires the DM to use their own judgment, the rules provide guidance on how the DM ought to make the determination.
wow that is well stated, and i 100% agree. When I DM (and when other DMs i play under) come up with a DC, and auto success or fail, We are supposed to be applying the rules the situation, and the world... not just making stuff up.

That element of personal judgment is why I prefer to say a given ruling on an action resolution is supported or not supported rather than allowed or not allowed. Technically, the rules don’t say a DM can’t just say “the goblin intimidates you. He succeeds without needing to make a check and you hand over all your gold”, but doing so would be contrary to the guidance the rules offer on how to determine the outcome of an action, so the DM would not be well-supported in making that call.
agreed
To bring this back to the topic of actions meant to force a PC to make a specific decision, I think the “roleplaying rule” provides us with guidance on how the DM ought to determine success or failure in this situation - the player decides what their character thinks, feels, and does, so in the absence of more specific rules governing the resolution of a particular action, the DM is advised to let the player decide whether an action that would cause their character to think, feel, or do something succeeds, fails, or requires a roll. And note that something happening to a character (such as getting knocked prone) is not the same thing as that character doing something. Likewise, the character gaining knowledge (such as knowledge that they’re being lied to) is not the same as the character thinking something.
tthe problem with this logic, is it ignores the rules of both the PHB (Skill check section) and monster man (monsters have skills)
 

HammerMan

Legend
They certainly did not. The problem, as is often the case, is people taking isolated sentences out of their context and trying to build a case for a strong implementation of the rules that supports only their view. Even the play loop section has a sentence that says: "But most of the time, play is fluid and flexible, adapting to the circumstances of the adventure."

And even before that, the rules also say: "Playing D&D is an exercise in collaborative creation. You and your friends create epic stories filled with tension and memorable drama."
yup
Moreover, the reason for me posting infrequently on this thread is that people are arguing from absolute positions (you MUST roll the dice / there is no reason to EVER roll the dice) when the rules themselves have an actually extremely interesting section called "The Role of the Dice" that explains that some people roll all the time, some people almost never roll, both are fine and, in the end "Many DMs find that using a combination of the two approaches works best. By balancing the use of dice against deciding on success, you can encourage your players to strike a balance between relying on their bonuses and abilities and paying attention to the game and immersing themselves in its world."
okay, just to be clear I don't make PCs/NPCs/MOnsters roll for everything... we have even had hours of game play go by with little or no dice rolled. I am saying that the rules support you if you decide to use the dice, not "YOU MUST USE DICE"

but I do love an miss me some colorful clickity math rocks...
Same with the railroading/sandboxing concepts, or (in)famous principle of player agency, and associated absolute principles, there is no such thing in the rules, just the fact that there should be general agreement around the table, and that session 0 is a good time and place to dsicuss these concepts and how they apply to the table, there is no right and wrong here, just use whatever is the best way for you to have fun at your table.
that is why I post as much as I do to get people who are claiming "Only roleplaying no dice ever...just describe it"
The RAW is actually extremely moderate and open, with many possibilities in there, out of the box, and without even needing to go into the options.
THis... 100% this.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
tthe problem with this logic, is it ignores the rules of both the PHB (Skill check section) and monster man (monsters have skills)
It does not. Ability checks are how the rules say the DM ought to determine whether an action that can succeed or fail (and if using the “middle path,” has a cost or consequence for failure), succeeds or fails. If the action can’t succeed or can’t fail (which in the case of an action that would cause a PC to think, feel, or do something, ought to be decided by the player) it ought not to be resolved with an ability check. Skills are how the rules say the DM (potentially with the help of the player, as per the DMG) ought to determine if a creature can add its proficiency bonus to an ability check.
 

HammerMan

Legend
It does not. Ability checks are how the rules say the DM ought to determine whether an action that can succeed or fail (and if using the “middle path,” has a cost or consequence for failure), succeeds or fails. If the action can’t succeed or can’t fail (which in the case of an action that would cause a PC to think, feel, or do something, ought to be decided by the player) it ought not to be resolved with an ability check. Skills are how the rules say the DM ought to determine if a creature can add its proficiency bonus to an ability check.
can an orc fail to intimidate?
can a barmaid fail to seduce?
can a king fail to persuade?
can a grifter fail to bluff?

I think we all agree the answer is yes.

Can any of these above succeed as well?

I think we all agree the answer is yes.

So if they CAN fail, and they CAN succeed, and we need to know at the table if the npc or the pc is able to (intimidate well, seduce well. persuade well, bluff well) do we have a game mechanic for if they fail or succeed based 100% on in game ability and not out of game discription? this is where we argue... I say we DO have a mechanic... cha (maybe +skill)
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I did, back in the post you never responded to. Ability checks are part of the basic action resolution process, the most fundamental rule of the game after rule 0. All other rules are more specific.
I believe I understand what you are going for, but you'll need to start by showing how the skills are not game elements.
 

HammerMan

Legend
BTW
I keep defaulting to Intimidating because in my experience that and lieing are the 2 things that CHA covers that can come out of nowhere on a DM the most, and Intimidating is still 2-1 for lies. Not that seducing, diplomacy, persuading never come up, but they are corner cases of a corner case when it comes to PC vs PC and NPC vs PC.

The most likely situation is The DM has prepped for a social encounter, and doesn't need to default to anything. However I have found that not often but often enough Players will throw the DM a curve ball. The most famous is talking to/befriending the kobolds in the Sunless Citidel, but it has come up before and since. The DM plans a fight/physical encounter, and the player off hand says something about "why are they..." and this leads to a series of dominos the DM didn't expect... when the encounter creature is mostly a guard, intimidating is the most likely for it to be "Not a named NPC I thought about until now, and I need to see how intimidating they are" and as such providing that uncertainty as said above...

Now have I had PCs ask to for an audience with the Ghoul Queen and her betroved the Goblin King... yes, and yes before they said that it was flavor text and I had to on the fly figure out more motive then 'goblins ghouls working together and part of what they stole was wedding cake ingredients" (Just for the record that ended up with the PC Priest doing the ceremony and the PCs helping the ghouls and goblins create a defense agreement with the town... and in turn then having a weird town setup we came back to multi times until finally the 'nobles' of the towns adopted into the 'kingdom' of the ghouls/goblins and eventually annexed the next town over and an underdark city as well...)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
can an orc fail to intimidate?
can a barmaid fail to seduce?
can a king fail to persuade?
can a grifter fail to bluff?

I think we all agree the answer is yes.

Can any of these above succeed as well?

I think we all agree the answer is yes.
It depends on the specifics of the action. What is happening in the environment? What is the creature’s goal? What is the creature doing to try and achieve its goal? If the orc’ goal is to make the grass grow by shouting at it, it doesn’t matter how intimidating it is, it can’t succeed. If the barmaid’s goal is to score a night with a hot customer and her approach is by giving him a sultry look and slipping him her room key, but he isn’t sexually attracted to women, it doesn’t matter how seductive she is, she can’t succeed. And if the king’s goal is to get the PC adventurers to accept a quest and his approach is by offering them a reward, and the players decide their characters don’t want to do the quest, it doesn’t matter how persuasive the king is, he can’t succeed.
So if they CAN fail, and they CAN succeed, and we need to know at the table if the npc or the pc is able to (intimidate well, seduce well. persuade well, bluff well) do we have a game mechanic for if they fail or succeed based 100% on in game ability and not out of game discription? this is where we argue... I say we DO have a mechanic... cha (maybe +skill)
Yes, if they can fail and can succeed, I agree that an ability check (potentially with proficiency bonus added for a relevant skill) is the way the rules support determining which of those outcomes occur. But you can’t just gloss over that if. Not all approaches can succeed and fail at all goals.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Technically, the rules don’t say a DM can’t just say “the goblin intimidates you. He succeeds without needing to make a check and you hand over all your gold”, but doing so would be contrary to the guidance the rules offer on how to determine the outcome of an action, so the DM would not be well-supported in making that call.

Just pointing out that, actually, he is well supported: "With this approach, the DM decides whether an action or a plan succeeds or fails based on how well the players make their case, how thorough or creative they are, or other factors."

Note in particular the use of the words "decides" and not "determines", although that is used in the previous sentence "determine success or failure as they like in other situations.". I know, it's only one of the two extreme approaches outlined in "the Role of Dice", but it shows that there is actually support for the DM just deciding whatever he wants without rolling the dice or actually even without mechanics. Once more, the rules are very open.

By the way, the "Ignoring the dice" is very much the way we play at our tables. This is not to say that we ignore the mechanics, but there is a lot of auto-success/failure based on descriptions of actions, and that for both the PCs and the NPCs (and their respective stats).

As for the "hand over all your gold", it's another matter entirely, it's not about the resolution mechanic, it's about what players find acceptable in terms of game situations. And yes, although it was a long time ago, some of us have been raised on dungeons where this happened now and then to characters and their magic items because of simple pipes or pools in rooms... :)

Rolling with it and ignoring the dice are called out as having drawbacks, while balancing between the two is not.

This is bit of a biased reading, both approaches do not have only drawbacks, they have advantages first and foremost, especially ignoring the dice, since the advantage is "This approach rewards creativity by encouraging players to look to the situation you’ve described for an answer, rather than looking to their character sheet or their character’s special abilities." which I consider a very good thing, compared to a disadvantage of " A DM might come to favor certain players or approaches, or even work against good ideas if they send the game in a direction he or she doesn’t like. This approach can also slow the game if the DM focuses on one “correct” action that the characters must describe to overcome an obstacle." because that is circumstantial and good DMs can usually avoid that trap (it's not something that we've had a problem with, actually).

To bring this back to the topic of actions meant to force a PC to make a specific decision, I think the “roleplaying rule” provides us with guidance on how the DM ought to determine success or failure in this situation - the player decides what their character thinks, feels, and does, so in the absence of more specific rules governing the resolution of a particular action, the DM is advised to let the player decide whether an action that would cause their character to think, feel, or do something succeeds, fails, or requires a roll.

While I agree in general, I would also like to insist on the fact that sometimes it's normal for players to be forced into doing something, because it's magical, although - usually for scenario reasons, it might not be obvious at that point. Encounters with Aboleth of Elder Brains or dominating vampires can certainly go that way, and players slamming the door for "losing their player agency" are absolutely welcome not to come back at our tables ever. I think lots of players (at least on these forums) have become way too oversensitive about what is, in the end, only a game. So, when in doubt, in a magical world, you might just want to assume that it was magic rather than a misguided use of an ability score. You trust your DM, right ?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I believe I understand what you are going for, but you'll need to start by showing how the skills are not game elements.
Why? I don’t believe skills are not game elements. They are. Their function is to allow the DM to determine if a creature should add its proficiency bonus to an ability check being made to resolve an action it’s taking. Possibly with the help of the creature’s player, if the creature is a PC.
 


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