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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Selion View Post
    Recently i had a low level wizard who meet a enemy teleporting away.
    I said to the other party members that we should avoid direct confrontation with such a powerful being, because he used powerful magic.
    This is an out of game knowledge, which i had as a player, in this case I think it's fine thinking that even a novice in wizardry could have heard of such powerful spells.
    A different thing would have happened if I had said "if he has access to teleport he probably can scry on us, so better buy some potions of nondetection".
    But what if I did? It would have been bad roleplaying on my part and it would have break the immersion, but nothing worse than any other bad roleplaying behavior. There's no need to punish it or to prevent it IMHO, it's the same of a paladin telling jokes about a innocent who has just been killed, it doesn't usually require the master intervention, and I would be upset if the DM said "your character has not said these words because they are not respecting the character alignment".
    The character is mine and I say whatever I want, if it's good or bad roleplaying it's another issue.
    None of that is actually bad decisions on the PCs part. most of it's inference or assumptions. There's no way of knowing that the NPC teleporting is powerful magic, an innate magical ability or even from a magic item. it's not player knowledge for the character to assume somebody can teleport is somebody that probably be a bigger threat than face value. That's just common sense.

    Divination is a whole school of magic that is well known and nondetection is on the wizards spell so unless wizards are only aware of spells that they can currently cast for some reason that's not even beginning to touch bad RP behavior.
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  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by stoutstien View Post
    None of that is actually bad decisions on the PCs part. most of it's inference or assumptions. There's no way of knowing that the NPC teleporting is powerful magic, an innate magical ability or even from a magic item. it's not player knowledge for the character to assume somebody can teleport is somebody that probably be a bigger threat than face value. That's just common sense.

    Divination is a whole school of magic that is well known and nondetection is on the wizards spell so unless wizards are only aware of spells that they can currently cast for some reason that's not even beginning to touch bad RP behavior.
    Good point; sure, the very same information could be conveyed in a more RP fashion, something like "there was this spell my old master used to cast every day, Nondetection he called it. Once I asked him why he did it, he'd answer, with a wild look in his eyes 'you never know who's watching, my lad'. I used to think he was a bit paranoid, but I see now maybe he had a point".

    If you can say this, there's no reason to forbid saying "we should cast nondetection to avoid scrying from this powerful wizard"

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I don't quite follow, maybe because I never played 3E and very little 4E. In AD&D2 terms this is like a nonweapon proficiency in, say, Mathematics. Two trained mathematicians may overlap a lot, but if they are close in skill each of them is still likely to know at least SOME things the other does not, and the roll of the die is to represent that variation in exactly which treatises have been read and remembered and which conversations have occurred with other scholars. The one with a higher score will know slightly more on average and be right more often, but not always.

    In 5E terms I do like feeding my players info, especially about monsters, both via sages and via character background knowledge, e.g. I roll everyone's Arcana and based on the results hand everyone an index card summarizing what they've heard is true about vampires in this world. I secretly love it when the most ignorant guy (lowest bonuses) gets the best result and the most accurate info but nobody believes him because he's always wrong. ("Of course you don't need wooden weapons to harm them, Creed! We have magic weapons and those are better!")
    That's exactly what I'm talking about. Knowledge checks are used to determine what you know and don't know. 5e ability checks in general, and Intelligence (Lore) checks in particular, are not designed to support that style of check.

    Details per my post #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Knowledge checks aren't even really part of 5e.

    Lore checks are, recalling information. In other words, based on how 5e ability checks are for things that require one roll vs automatically succeed if the PC takes ten times as long, and that PCs automatically fail things they cannot do:
    Lore checks are for things your PC already knew, and is trying to recall in the heat of the moment.

    Knowledge checks are just people carrying over the idea from previous editions. They are "randomly determine the state of my character" checks, where your character is a Schroeder's character prior to the check, both knowing and not knowing information.
    In particular, 5e allows you take 10 times as long to succeed as long as time is not a factor and you can succeed. That means Int checks are about things you already know, and just can't recall right now. Otherwise everyone would be able to recall everything instead of making a check, just by taking time.

  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I don't quite follow, maybe because I never played 3E and very little 4E. In AD&D2 terms this is like a nonweapon proficiency in, say, Mathematics. Two trained mathematicians may overlap a lot, but if they are close in skill each of them is still likely to know at least SOME things the other does not, and the roll of the die is to represent that variation in exactly which treatises have been read and remembered and which conversations have occurred with other scholars. The one with a higher score will know slightly more on average and be right more often, but not always.

    In 5E terms I do like feeding my players info, especially about monsters, both via sages and via character background knowledge, e.g. I roll everyone's Arcana and based on the results hand everyone an index card summarizing what they've heard is true about vampires in this world. I secretly love it when the most ignorant guy (lowest bonuses) gets the best result and the most accurate info but nobody believes him because he's always wrong. ("Of course you don't need wooden weapons to harm them, Creed! We have magic weapons and those are better!")
    I think what Tanarii is getting at is in 3/.5 knowledge checks had a clause that you could not retry them unless you gained an additional rank in the skill. Essentially, if you rolled a 1, that was your knowledge for that topic at least in the short term. It made it possible that more generally knowledgeable characters could still be beaten on specific topics sometimes, coupled with approximately 80 bazillion knowledge(subskills) it could make for a very diverse team of scholars.
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  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    That's exactly what I'm talking about. Knowledge checks are used to determine what you know and don't know. 5e ability checks in general, and Intelligence (Lore) checks in particular, are not designed to support that style of check.

    Details per my post #35
    In particular, 5e allows you take 10 times as long to succeed as long as time is not a factor and you can succeed. That means Int checks are about things you already know, and just can't recall right now. Otherwise everyone would be able to recall everything instead of making a check, just by taking time.
    This is only true if failure has no consequences. It does not apply to these kinds of one-time checks to determine what you know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Witty Username View Post
    I think what Tanarii is getting at is in 3/.5 knowledge checks had a clause that you could not retry them unless you gained an additional rank in the skill. Essentially, if you rolled a 1, that was your knowledge for that topic at least in the short term. It made it possible that more generally knowledgeable characters could still be beaten on specific topics sometimes, coupled with approximately 80 bazillion knowledge(subskills) it could make for a very diverse team of scholars.
    Huh. I skipped 3E and 3.5 so I really couldn't say.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2021-03-10 at 11:47 PM.
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    This is only true if failure has no consequences. It does not apply to these kinds of one-time checks to determine what you know.
    Yes, that's the usual circular justification that's made.

  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yes, that's the usual circular justification that's made.
    Wait, how is that circular? The only time you should be making checks is if
    1. You can succeed. This means that any attempt to remember something the DM knows you don't know fails automatically. So your "they can remember anything and everything" objection fails. They can only remember things they've learned. What things those are are up to the DM and player to decide.
    2. Failure is likely and interesting. This stops you from having to roll for things that the character would definitely know AND things for which you can try again without issue.

    So the only time you make INT checks is for things where time matters and where failure has interesting consequences.

    That's RAW as RAW can be. And has worked just fine for me for years now.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-03-11 at 12:33 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yes, that's the usual circular justification that's made.
    Frankly I think you're the one making a circular argument. You're arguing (contrary to RAW) that skill checks apply only to things that can be retried indefinitely until success, therefore resolving uncertainty about past knowledge gathering cannot be done via skill checks. But in order to make that argument you must first assume your own conclusion, that knowing information isn't a skill check, because if it were that would disprove your ideas about all skill checks being infinitely repeatable until success.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Details per my post #35
    In particular, 5e allows you take 10 times as long to succeed as long as time is not a factor and you can succeed. That means Int checks are about things you already know, and just can't recall right now. Otherwise everyone would be able to recall everything instead of making a check, just by taking time.
    That's a misreading of the rules--you only get to autosucceed at some activities (the ones the DM rules make sense to retry repeatedly). Emphasis mine:

    DMG 237: "Sometimes a character fails an ability check and wants to try again. In some cases, a character is free to do so; the only real cost is the time it takes. With enough attempts and enough time, a character should eventually succeed at the task. To speed things up, assume that a character spending ten times the normal amount of time needed to a complete a task automatically succeeds at that task. However, no amount of repeating the check allows a character to turn an impossible task into a successful one."

    Also please remember that you don't "make a check" unless the DM directs you to do so to resolve some uncertainty. You can't just decide to "make a check" to "recall everything." That's not how it works.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2021-03-11 at 02:14 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    It is circular because you've predefined Knowledge checks are something where you can only try once to know or not know. Therefore you can't keep trying until you succeed, the rule that you can't keep trying until you succeed doesn't apply.

    Instead of asking: is there a reasonable way an Int (Lore) check something you can possibly succeed? If yes, can you then keep trying until you can possibly succeed? The answer to which is very much yes. Everyone does it every day IRL.

    Randomly determining the state of a character goes against what "can you possibly succeed" and "can keep trying until you succeed given time and no chance of failure" represent. Redefining "can possibly succeed" to make your decision to use them, following the first rule, but not the second.

    If you don't know the information, you can't make a check in the first place. You never get to the rule about ten times as long, because you don't get to make a check. If you do, you get to make the first check to see if you recall it, and can take ten times as long when there is no pressure.

  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    I wonder if it would be better to roll the knowledge check against the player - i.e. determine the prevalence of the information in the world.

    Some obscure esoteric knowlege has a DC of d20+17. Player tries to see if they know andthe die is cast. Another person can have a go but the DC remains the same.


    I have used this for strength checks before - the "how stuck is this door?" roll.



    I guess you could use DC=constant+d12 and ability=prof+stat+d12... this would give a similar variance on the first person to attempt a task as a single D20 would but would ensure that any other follow on attempts would not be independant of the first roll. i.e. probability of success given that you failed before is not equal to the probability of success with not other information.

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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Frankly I think you're the one making a circular argument. You're arguing (contrary to RAW) that skill checks apply only to things that can be retried indefinitely until success, therefore resolving uncertainty about past knowledge gathering cannot be done via skill checks. But in order to make that argument you must first assume your own conclusion, that knowing information isn't a skill check, because if it were that would disprove your ideas about all skill checks being infinitely repeatable until success.
    Hey! It's the correct meaning of begging the question! Assuming the conclusion as the basis for the argument to get that conclusion.
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  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    It is circular because you've predefined Knowledge checks are something where you can only try once to know or not know. Therefore you can't keep trying until you succeed, the rule that you can't keep trying until you succeed doesn't apply.

    Instead of asking: is there a reasonable way an Int (Lore) check something you can possibly succeed? If yes, can you then keep trying until you can possibly succeed? The answer to which is very much yes. Everyone does it every day IRL.

    Randomly determining the state of a character goes against what "can you possibly succeed" and "can keep trying until you succeed given time and no chance of failure" represent. Redefining "can possibly succeed" to make your decision to use them, following the first rule, but not the second.

    If you don't know the information, you can't make a check in the first place. You never get to the rule about ten times as long, because you don't get to make a check. If you do, you get to make the first check to see if you recall it, and can take ten times as long when there is no pressure.
    Generally, RAW is that you can't keep trying for any check. Your first attempt is your best shot. The "take 10x as long" is an exception for cases where time is the only pressure. Why? Because checks presume that

    1) the action is possible. If you can't know, you fail and can't retry until you've learned. And the DM is the arbiter here.
    2) the action is failable with reasonable probability. If there isn't pressure, or it's something the character should just know (their own name, etc), they just succeed. They don't make one check, they make zero.
    3) failing the action has interesting consequences. This means that you don't make checks unless there's pressure. And if you are making checks, failing should move the narrative along just as much as succeeding. Just possibly in a different direction. "Retry until you succeed" in most cases means you shouldn't have had them make a check in the first place. And no, in most cases time is not a pressure by itself.

    The three together mean that in most cases where you're actually rolling something, the circumstances are such that you've already peeled off all the auto-success and auto-failure cases, as well as all the ones where it makes sense to retry. Sure, later, while relaxing in a tavern, they might be able to remember something about those runes. But right now? When it actually matters? Nope. They get their one shot and then something happens which changes the scenario.

    Also remember that Intelligence checks also include more than just pure memory. They include reasoning things out from what you do remember. So yes, you can use an Intelligence (Arcana) check to figure out a magical puzzle that your character has never learned the answer to. By piecing together stuff you have learned. And since that set of things known is way larger (in this particular arena, although for others the reverse is true) for the character than for the player, you can't simply just say that if the player knows it the character knows it and vice versa. Because the player doesn't know all the intricate details of magical organizations--that's abstracted away by the game system behind proficiency and (generally) a lot of handwaving during exposition. A perfectly valid result of an Intelligence (X) check is "you remember that <thing the player has never heard but the character would have learned earlier>." To say otherwise is to say that a strong character can't lift something the player couldn't, unless we're putting in absolutely artificial, not-mentioned-in-the-text barriers between the different abilities.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-03-11 at 10:30 AM.
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  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    If you don't know the information, you can't make a check in the first place. You never get to the rule about ten times as long, because you don't get to make a check. If you do, you get to make the first check to see if you recall it, and can take ten times as long when there is no pressure.
    Doesn't that require the DM to constantly rule on what a character knows or doesn't? Potentially making characters anything from ignorant to omniscient without input from the players? None of the DMs I've seen in the past decade have ever bothered to read even three sentences of backstory, and several habitually made assumptions based on their own preferences (a fighter who picked up a single level of bard during play got a "when your character went to bard school as a kid" because the DM didn't remember that the level was gotten two sessions ago and only glanced at charavter sheets).

    I'm sure you run it differently, but I've mostly had DMs that would use the ability to determine your character's knowledge as a railroading tool or wouldn't remember what they did two sessions ago and change your character's knowledge based on the plot of the week. I've found "state of character knowledge" to be less offensive to players than dictating their character to them.
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Doesn't that require the DM to constantly rule on what a character knows or doesn't? Potentially making characters anything from ignorant to omniscient without input from the players? None of the DMs I've seen in the past decade have ever bothered to read even three sentences of backstory, and several habitually made assumptions based on their own preferences (a fighter who picked up a single level of bard during play got a "when your character went to bard school as a kid" because the DM didn't remember that the level was gotten two sessions ago and only glanced at charavter sheets).

    I'm sure you run it differently, but I've mostly had DMs that would use the ability to determine your character's knowledge as a railroading tool or wouldn't remember what they did two sessions ago and change your character's knowledge based on the plot of the week. I've found "state of character knowledge" to be less offensive to players than dictating their character to them.
    I generally only use it as a loose check for things the character couldn't know for setting reasons or for things that, based on backstory/previous history/culture the character would absolutely know without needing a check.

    So generally I use it as an injection point for information/exposition the player doesn't know but the character would.
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  15. - Top - End - #195
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    It is circular because you've predefined Knowledge checks are something where you can only try once to know or not know.
    You misunderstand, I've defined them as something you (the PC) don't "try" at all, at least in the present tense. It's a resolution of uncertainty about past learning and experiences, not something you're doing in the present. E.g. Bardic Inspiration and Guidance in the present don't apply.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2021-03-11 at 06:06 PM.
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    I will not be reading this whole dumb argument, but I will chime in with support for the rules I prefer.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    You misunderstand, I've defined them as something you (the PC) don't "try" at all, at least in the present tense. It's a resolution of uncertainty about past learning and experiences, not something you're doing in the present. E.g. Bardic Inspiration and Guidance in the present don't apply.
    Then that's not an ability check and your argument really is circular.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Generally, RAW is that you can't keep trying for any check. Your first attempt is your best shot. The "take 10x as long" is an exception for cases where time is the only pressure. Why? Because checks presume that

    1) the action is possible. If you can't know, you fail and can't retry until you've learned. And the DM is the arbiter here.
    2) the action is failable with reasonable probability. If there isn't pressure, or it's something the character should just know (their own name, etc), they just succeed. They don't make one check, they make zero.
    3) failing the action has interesting consequences. This means that you don't make checks unless there's pressure. And if you are making checks, failing should move the narrative along just as much as succeeding. Just possibly in a different direction. "Retry until you succeed" in most cases means you shouldn't have had them make a check in the first place. And no, in most cases time is not a pressure by itself.

    The three together mean that in most cases where you're actually rolling something, the circumstances are such that you've already peeled off all the auto-success and auto-failure cases, as well as all the ones where it makes sense to retry. Sure, later, while relaxing in a tavern, they might be able to remember something about those runes. But right now? When it actually matters? Nope. They get their one shot and then something happens which changes the scenario.

    Also remember that Intelligence checks also include more than just pure memory. They include reasoning things out from what you do remember. So yes, you can use an Intelligence (Arcana) check to figure out a magical puzzle that your character has never learned the answer to. By piecing together stuff you have learned. And since that set of things known is way larger (in this particular arena, although for others the reverse is true) for the character than for the player, you can't simply just say that if the player knows it the character knows it and vice versa. Because the player doesn't know all the intricate details of magical organizations--that's abstracted away by the game system behind proficiency and (generally) a lot of handwaving during exposition. A perfectly valid result of an Intelligence (X) check is "you remember that <thing the player has never heard but the character would have learned earlier>." To say otherwise is to say that a strong character can't lift something the player couldn't, unless we're putting in absolutely artificial, not-mentioned-in-the-text barriers between the different abilities.
    That third one isn't a rule. It can't be a rule, or else the establishing rules for ability checks wouldn't include, "Otherwise, it's a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the GM." Players often can't know whether or not time is a pressure, but it should always count. Players are going to act different if the GM only ever counts time when there is something to count towards. By making that third rule, you actually peel off all the "success but the cost can vary" cases. The new meaning of failure becomes "The task is impossble," which doesn't make sense. The roll was only made in the first place because the task was deemed possible. There are things where making the attempt changes the situation and there are things where it doesn't. Both exist. Both are valid.

    And no one usually suggests limiting the character to what the player knows or can do. They suggest not excluding what the player knows from what the character knows. Character knowledge > Player knowledge instead of Character knowledge =/= Player knowledge. With the exception of obvious situations, like not immediately knowing about events that they weren't present for, or knowledge that comes from reading ahead in the adventure book.

  17. - Top - End - #197
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zalabim View Post
    That third one isn't a rule. It can't be a rule, or else the establishing rules for ability checks wouldn't include, "Otherwise, it's a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the GM." Players often can't know whether or not time is a pressure, but it should always count. Players are going to act different if the GM only ever counts time when there is something to count towards. By making that third rule, you actually peel off all the "success but the cost can vary" cases. The new meaning of failure becomes "The task is impossble," which doesn't make sense. The roll was only made in the first place because the task was deemed possible. There are things where making the attempt changes the situation and there are things where it doesn't. Both exist. Both are valid.

    And no one usually suggests limiting the character to what the player knows or can do. They suggest not excluding what the player knows from what the character knows. Character knowledge > Player knowledge instead of Character knowledge =/= Player knowledge. With the exception of obvious situations, like not immediately knowing about events that they weren't present for, or knowledge that comes from reading ahead in the adventure book.
    There's no contradiction. The interesting consequences for failure can come from the situation, rather than the task itself. Sometimes, making no progress is an interesting consequence in and of itself. What isn't interesting and should be avoided is "nothing changes, try again". Because that's a waste of everyone's time.

    Let's take a particular task in a few different scenarios. The task is always the same: solve a riddle about magic (Intelligence (Arcana) DC 20). As is the question: Should the DM call for a check.

    1. The character making the check has a -1 total modifier to Intelligence (Arcana) and has no assistance such as bless, guidance, etc.
    2. The character has a piece of paper with the riddle and the answer written on it.
    3. The character (with a positive modifier) is sitting at home, under no pressure what soever, with all the time in the world.
    4. The character (with a positive modifier) is in a dungeon, in a room that is filling with poisonous gas. Every round spent in there incurs damage. Answering the riddle opens the door and allows escape.
    5. The character (with a positive modifier) is in a game show. Each failed attempt deducts from their point total based on how badly they do, and they are rewarded at the end based on their points.
    6. The character (with a positive modifier) is facing a sphinx. Either way, the sphinx will let them go onward. But on a success, the sphinx will assist them in some way.

    Spoiler: My answers
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    1. No. Success is not possible. Rolling is a waste of time.
    2. No. Failure is not plausible. Rolling is a waste of time.
    3. No. Failure is not interesting. They can retry at will, with nothing changing after each attempt. They automatically succeed.
    4. Yes. Success is possible, failure is possible, and failure has consequences. Not because the task itself imposes consequences, but because the situation in which the task is embedded has consequences.
    5. Yes. Success is possible, failure is possible, and failure has variable consequences.
    6. Yes. Success is possible, failure is possible, and failure has consequences by not getting the reward for success.


    And note, the act of deciding whether to call for a check or not is entirely and intentionally meta. It's done by the DM based on game and rules considerations, not anything the characters could know generally. Mechanics are for resolving player uncertainty, not character uncertainty. The game, its rules, and everything else is definitionally meta. It's a game UI layer, not anything really present in either the player's universe or the game's (fictional) universe.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-03-12 at 10:50 AM.
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  18. - Top - End - #198
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zalabim View Post
    Then that's not an ability check...
    Frankly I'm not interested in arguing about whether asking players to roll a die and add their Int and Arcana bonuses is really an ability check or not (any more than I'm interested in arguing about whether rolling d20+Dex initiative in an ability check). I think you're wrong of course and I doubt you can support your opinion with rules quotes, but I'm not interested in arguing with you about it because what you name call it on the Internet doesn't change anything about what rules you use for it at the table (e.g. Jack of All Trades bonus clearly is allowed).

    Bottom line, rolling dice that are influenced by what's written on the character sheet is a 100% normal way to determine how much info you're going to give the player, and has been since TSR days (nonweapon proficiencies). Don't like it? Then don't use it. But it's one way to give out info and I like it.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2021-03-12 at 02:32 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #199
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Bottom line, rolling dice that are influenced by what's written on the character sheet is a 100% normal way to determine how much info you're going to give the player, and has been since TSR days (nonweapon proficiencies). Don't like it? Then don't use it. But it's one way to give out info and I like it.
    My brother still prefers that approach: degree of success informed by the die roll. Then again, he still has crit fails on ability checks and asks for additional rolls which I do not care for. But the game's fun so I don't get all in his business about it.
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Frankly I'm not interested in arguing about whether asking players to roll a die and add their Int and Arcana bonuses is really an ability check or not (any more than I'm interested in arguing about whether rolling d20+Dex initiative in an ability check). I think you're wrong of course and I doubt you can support your opinion with rules quotes, but I'm not interested in arguing with you about it because what you name call it on the Internet doesn't change anything about what rules you use for it at the table (e.g. Jack of All Trades bonus clearly is allowed).

    Bottom line, rolling dice that are influenced by what's written on the character sheet is a 100% normal way to determine how much info you're going to give the player, and has been since TSR days (nonweapon proficiencies). Don't like it? Then don't use it. But it's one way to give out info and I like it.
    "An ability check tests a characterís or monsterís innate talent and training in an effort to overcome a challenge. The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results." I'm not in a position to say whether it's better to say, "it's just like an ability check, but some modifiers (temporary, active, present bonuses) don't apply. It does/doesn't take your action." or, "It's not an ability check, but add your bonus to Int(arcana) checks to the d20 roll. It does/doesn't take your action." I'm just in a position to remind everyone that ability checks are generally used to resolve things that characters do. When it comes to knowledge about monsters, it isn't limited to what the character already knows about monsters. They could also be learning or guessing things about the monster based on what they can see right now. I otherwise have no objections to the concept of rolling to randomly see what the character already knows, whether you apply all the other rules for ability checks to that or not. I just happened to glance over one night and see "Here's my homebrew system. It's RAW." Which is just. No.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    There's no contradiction. The interesting consequences for failure can come from the situation, rather than the task itself. Sometimes, making no progress is an interesting consequence in and of itself. What isn't interesting and should be avoided is "nothing changes, try again". Because that's a waste of everyone's time.
    "Nothing changes, but you can try again," comes up most often in combat where the time spent trying, and the time spent trying again, is worth tracking round to round. Most often, the same check done out of combat is to determine if you get it right away (success), or you get it only if you spend sufficient time on it, but you don't have to keep rolling (success but extra time can be a setback determined by the DM.) As the DM, you offer the option every time so that players don't automatically know when the time spent does or does not matter.

    Cutting the rest to save space, but 3 isn't interesting on success either. What happens when they succeed? How do they know? The existence of circumstances where the narrative goes in one direction or the other does not preclude the existence of circumstances where it doesn't. What if it's a puzzle box instead of a riddle. Are you going to take the puzzle away from them if they fail once? Are you not going to allow the possibility that sometimes it just clicks and sometimes it doesn't (allowing variance from party to party, for example?) Sure, you know it doesn't really matter if the wizard opens it in one minute or ten, but they don't and it takes barely any effort to resolve which result they get.

  21. - Top - End - #201
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zalabim View Post
    "An ability check tests a characterís or monsterís innate talent and training in an effort to overcome a challenge. The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results." I'm not in a position to say whether it's better to say, "it's just like an ability check, but some modifiers (temporary, active, present bonuses) don't apply. It does/doesn't take your action." or, "It's not an ability check, but add your bonus to Int(arcana) checks to the d20 roll. It does/doesn't take your action." I'm just in a position to remind everyone that ability checks are generally used to resolve things that characters do.
    That definition is flawed. Perception doesn't fit that model except when using the Search action or equivalent, nor does initiative, nor do passive checks, but casting Hold Person does. According to your quote that makes Hold Person require an ability check, but of course it does not.

    Anyway, I insist that these things do benefit from things that benefit ability checks, such as Enhance Ability, but I'm not going to argue with you whether to call it an ability check or Almost Identical To An Ability Check. Either make a substantive point or don't, but I don't care about semantics. Do we have an actual substantive disagreement over what modifiers and rules apply to an Intelligence (Arcana) check? What's your actual point?
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2021-03-12 at 09:54 PM.
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    Default Re: What does and doesn't constitute metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zalabim View Post
    1) "Nothing changes, but you can try again," comes up most often in combat where the time spent trying, and the time spent trying again, is worth tracking round to round. Most often, the same check done out of combat is to determine if you get it right away (success), or you get it only if you spend sufficient time on it, but you don't have to keep rolling (success but extra time can be a setback determined by the DM.) As the DM, you offer the option every time so that players don't automatically know when the time spent does or does not matter.

    2) Cutting the rest to save space, but 3 isn't interesting on success either. What happens when they succeed? How do they know? The existence of circumstances where the narrative goes in one direction or the other does not preclude the existence of circumstances where it doesn't. What if it's a puzzle box instead of a riddle. Are you going to take the puzzle away from them if they fail once? Are you not going to allow the possibility that sometimes it just clicks and sometimes it doesn't (allowing variance from party to party, for example?) Sure, you know it doesn't really matter if the wizard opens it in one minute or ten, but they don't and it takes barely any effort to resolve which result they get.
    Let me adjust that third rule a little bit. In general, disfavor rolling when there are no interesting consequences for failure. Time is sometimes an interesting consequence--use your judgement.

    1) something important happened there. You spent an action and the other guy gets to go again before you do. That's an important and interesting consequence.

    Time sometimes matters to the characters. But in those cases where it really doesn't, it still does to the players. Wasting people's table time is, in my opinion, a cardinal sin of the game. And forcing a roll every time is a huge waste of table time in little increments. More pointless rolls = fewer meaningful ones per session.

    To quote the DMG:

    Remember that dice don't run your game--you do. Dice are like rules. They're tools to help keep the action moving. At any time, you can decide that a player's action is automatically successful....
    That's the prime directive. Does it keep the action moving and the players happy? Do it. Otherwise, don't. This takes precedence over every other rule (especially the second clause).

    2) true. That's why you shouldn't do a check there either. Although "you get what you wanted" is usually intrinsically interesting enough to not worry about that rule.

    Circumstances matter. Circumstances decide when you call for a check and when you don't. There is no "always call for a check" rule. It were a puzzle box and success were possible, one of three things would happen

    1) <failure on first attempt, under pressure> "You've given it your best shot under these circumstances. You can try again once the circumstances have changed to give you some room to think."
    2) <failure on first attempt, time is only direct pressure> "Your first attempt to crack the puzzle box failed. Do you want to spend 10x as long to succeed?"
    3) <no pressure, optional roll> "It takes you a while <influenced by the dice roll, although that isn't a real check>, but you crack the puzzle."
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