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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The DC is always DM makes it up so good luck on that. However, that's not how proficiency works, officially. Proficiency was never a gate for anything. All it means is you get to add your proficiency bonus to the die roll. It was never permission to make the roll. It is a common house rule DMs make up. They might not even realize it's a house rule.

    The problem is the stereotype. Some DMs cannot accept a barbarian can make a Knowledge Arcana check. I would agree that's not unreasonable, but instead of flat out telling the barbarian player no roll for you it's easier to gate behind proficiency since it's very unlikely a barbarian player would take that proficiency. If he does then sure he deserves the roll. Once proficiency as permission floodgate is open there's no closing it, and it becomes used for anything.
    I have seen "oh, you're proficient? Don't bother rolling; you would just know...." used more often than "you're not proficient? You can't even roll." Even then, it's usually just proficiency as a gate for auto success or auto failure. If proficiency matters as its own bonus, then I've always seen 5e DMs allow the roll untrained.

  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I have seen "oh, you're proficient? Don't bother rolling; you would just know...." used more often than "you're not proficient? You can't even roll." Even then, it's usually just proficiency as a gate for auto success or auto failure. If proficiency matters as its own bonus, then I've always seen 5e DMs allow the roll untrained.
    There's a degree of overlap here with backgrounds and classes. If someone has the nature skill, that might be because they have the outlander background, or because they're a ranger. Thus when it comes to information you would expect them to know certain things, and the nature skill represents this.

    (EDIT:all this really highlights is that the skill system is kind of a mess no matter how you look at it.)
    Last edited by strangebloke; 2021-09-23 at 02:07 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    So just to be clear, if you judge the information to be hard to recall, you force a check. If multiple people roll and someone gets a bad result, you force them to RP as though they know incorrect information, even if other people suceeded? Lovely.

    I would pretty strongly argue that if you want to prevent 'everyone rolls' situations like this its better to just say ahead of time that someone has disadvantage trying to roll for a knowledge skill they don't have proficiency in. If you force them to RP with bad information it feels really mean, like you're pulling the rug out from under them.

    And sure, for extremely hard knowledge checks, hyper-advantage isn't enough. But my more general point here is that there's few instances where knowledge rolls present an interesting challenge. Trolls almost never should be such a scenario.
    For the record I'm not beholden to any one way of handling the whole super advantage. I was just giving an example of another way of handling it that makes knowledge checks non-trivial and actually meaningful since it open the possibility for some fun RP interactions.

    So for example your 5 players try to make the knowledge check 3 fail and 2 succeeds the DC 10 check for trolls. One of the failures was a nat 1 with no bonus so this player's info is they are 100% sure it's lightning that stops regeneration, one failure was a 9 so they're pretty sure it's an elemental damage type but can't remember which one exactly, the last failure was a 5, they aren't too sure but you don't see Trolls much during the winter so it's probably cold. One of the successes at 12 knows it's fire and acid, the success with a 18 knows the exact text.

    That type of result is quite likely to lead to some fun RP. Even long after the fight if characters argue about a course of action someone might bring up that one time they fought trolls and the other was so sure and so wrong just like they are so sure of their current idea/plan.

    I mean it's strange to complain about how they are "non-interesting" challenges and then crap on ways that can make them more interesting.

    As for whether you need to do it for trolls it all depends on the campaign world and the characters themselves. If you made a Fire Genasi who grew up in the Elemental Plane of Fire and has only recently arrived to the Material Plane why would you know anything about trolls? And if you did you'd probably only know about some weird variant troll from the plane of fire. But again I doubt this stuff actually ever comes up for trolls, it's far more likely to come up with monsters that are much more rare or the rules in the edition have a catch or a loophole.

  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The DC is always DM makes it up so good luck on that. However, that's not how proficiency works, officially. Proficiency was never a gate for anything. All it means is you get to add your proficiency bonus to the die roll. It was never permission to make the roll. It is a common house rule DMs make up. They might not even realize it's a house rule.

    The problem is the stereotype. Some DMs cannot accept a barbarian can make a Knowledge Arcana check. I would agree that's not unreasonable, but instead of flat out telling the barbarian player no roll for you it's easier to gate behind proficiency since it's very unlikely a barbarian player would take that proficiency. If he does then sure he deserves the roll. Once proficiency as permission floodgate is open there's no closing it, and it becomes used for anything.
    I don't have my books on me right now, but I'm sure that it isn't a house rule. I think they even gave an example where you needed proficiency to even attempt to use blacksmith tools.

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Sorinth View Post
    I don't have my books on me right now, but I'm sure that it isn't a house rule. I think they even gave an example where you needed proficiency to even attempt to use blacksmith tools.
    You found the exception. Proficiency is required to use any type of tool. It's not needed to do an ability check, which is what the skills are.
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Proficiency was never a gate for anything.
    Interstingly, the RAW does have a ďproficiency gateĒ in it.

    From the Basic Rules:

    ďFor example, trying to open a lock requires proficiency with thievesí tools, so a character who lacks that proficiency canít help another character in that task.Ē

    So, if you donít have proficiency in Thieves Tools, you canít try to open a lock. Nor could you Help another character use them.

    Note: Iím not sure thereís another place that states you canít attempt to use a skill or tool without proficiency; and this example is the only place I found with an absolute associated with using the Help Action.

    But it is there in the RAW.

    Edit: the Lock entry also mentions requiring Thieves Tools proficiency to try opening a lock, but the actual Thieves Tool entry just mentions being able to add your proficiency bonus when using them.

    Curious if anyone found a general rule about needing proficiency to use a tool (or skill for that matter).
    Last edited by RSP; 2021-09-23 at 05:57 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    Curious if anyone found a general rule about needing proficiency to use a tool (or skill for that matter).
    As far as I'm aware, no such general rule exists. And here's an argument as to why that should be expected and/or such a general rule would be not hidden--

    Everywhere proficiency bonus is used, it's always a bonus. Including Ability Checks. Anyone can use a weapon; only proficiency people add +MOD to the attack roll. Anyone can grapple (using STR); only people proficient in Athletics add their proficiency bonus to the check. Anyone can make a saving throw; only proficient people can add their proficiency bonus. Etc. And tool-based checks are subsets of Ability Checks, which themselves follow the pattern (you can add any relevant proficiency if you have it; otherwise you can't add it).

    So to say that for ability checks using tools and those only, you have to have proficiency to even attempt it would be to break with this pattern in a strong sort of way. And such a breakage would recommend a very clear statement to that effect. WotC does not (at least intentionally) hide their elephants in mouseholes. And the PHB is very clear that proficiency with a set of tools means that you can add your proficiency bonus to checks made using them. It does not say that proficiency is required to use them at all.

    The only specific rule I know of (outside of adventures, which I don't read) is the one you quoted about using Thieves Tools on PHB locks. And note--that's not a general property of locks (writ large). It's a property of those specific locks, the ones that cost 10 gp and weigh 1 lb and have a DC of 15.
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  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    The only specific rule I know of (outside of adventures, which I don't read) is the one you quoted about using Thieves Tools on PHB locks. And note--that's not a general property of locks (writ large). It's a property of those specific locks, the ones that cost 10 gp and weigh 1 lb and have a DC of 15.
    Clarification: what I quoted is actually from the helping on a skill check rules. I mentioned the lock entry as well, but didnít quote it.

    Iím pretty sure these are there from an earlier draft of the rules where they probably had an idea about a general rule on needing proficiency to use tools or skill checks, and no one thought to update those two specific paragraphs when said rule got axed.

    However, thatís just a guess, and, as it stands, it is RAW (if that matters).

  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Everywhere proficiency bonus is used, it's always a bonus. Including Ability Checks. Anyone can use a weapon; only proficiency people add +MOD to the attack roll. Anyone can grapple (using STR); only people proficient in Athletics add their proficiency bonus to the check. Anyone can make a saving throw; only proficient people can add their proficiency bonus. Etc. And tool-based checks are subsets of Ability Checks, which themselves follow the pattern (you can add any relevant proficiency if you have it; otherwise you can't add it).
    Which is important because ability scores include both natural ability and training. Proficiency include both focus and training.

    In other words, both are a combination of natural ability/focus and training. One applies to all uses of the score, and the other to a subset things within the ability score. (Barring the variant rule.)

  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Which is important because ability scores include both natural ability and training. Proficiency include both focus and training.

    In other words, both are a combination of natural ability/focus and training. One applies to all uses of the score, and the other to a subset things within the ability score. (Barring the variant rule.)
    I think it's worth clarifying the use of the word "training".

    Bob the Bodybuilder has done Strength Training, that's why he has +4 Strength. Joe the Plumber has taken courses to train him how to be a Plumber. These courses do not necessarily reflect in his ability scores. They may have increased any number of his scores, but are more likely to be reflected in tool proficiencies and skills.

    There are two types of "training" at play here. One of them makes Joe a Plumber. The other makes Bob stronger. They are different and it is important to clarify their difference. Ability scores alone do not necessarily include Joe's training, but they will always include Bob's training.

    ----
    IMO, I'm a fan of Proficiency gating. But I run it as: people with proficiency get to go first, they were trained in this, people without get to roll second if the folks with proficiency failed. Mostly as a form of investment protection to keep the irritating randomness of 5E and the d20 from devaluing investing in skills when the -2 Int Barb can still get a lucky 20. Luck is not a substitute for skill investment.
    Last edited by False God; 2021-09-23 at 08:56 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The DC is always DM makes it up so good luck on that. However, that's not how proficiency works, officially. Proficiency was never a gate for anything. All it means is you get to add your proficiency bonus to the die roll. It was never permission to make the roll. It is a common house rule DMs make up. They might not even realize it's a house rule.
    With the notable exception of thieves tools, but Thank You. Took me most of a year to convince my brother of that point.
    Wait, do you have that skill?
    Drove me freaking nuts.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    You found the exception. Proficiency is required to use any type of tool. It's not needed to do an ability check, which is what the skills are.
    +1

    Beyond that, I think that in Xanathar's they gate magic item creation behind the Arcana skill proficiency. I'll check later. No such gate in the DMG IIRC.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-09-23 at 09:12 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    With the notable exception of thieves tools, but Thank You. Took me most of a year to convince my brother of that point.
    Wait, do you have that skill?
    Drove me freaking nuts.
    +1

    Beyond that, I think that in Xanathar's they gate magic item creation behind the Arcana skill proficiency. I'll check later. No such gate in the DMG IIRC.
    Or a set of appropriate artisans tools. Only scroll crafting is arcana only.
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  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    I think it's worth clarifying the use of the word "training".

    Bob the Bodybuilder has done Strength Training, that's why he has +4 Strength. Joe the Plumber has taken courses to train him how to be a Plumber. These courses do not necessarily reflect in his ability scores. They may have increased any number of his scores, but are more likely to be reflected in tool proficiencies and skills.

    There are two types of "training" at play here. One of them makes Joe a Plumber. The other makes Bob stronger. They are different and it is important to clarify their difference. Ability scores alone do not necessarily include Joe's training, but they will always include Bob's training.
    You're not comparing like to like.

    A character that has good training in all Lores and deduction and mnemonics might have a high Int score. Another who has training in all lores and deduction might have a lower int score and 5 proficiencies in the five int proficiencies. An Int 18 EK can have just as much training in Arcana as a Int 10 level 9 char with Arcana proficiency, as well as other lore fields and deduction on top of it.

    A character with good training in Str is just as good at Athletics as the character who trained in the more narrow proficiency in Athletics, but also better at raw feats of strength. One who has trained in Dex has trained in stealth, acrobatics, even sleight of hand, as well as dodging and evasion.

    There are two kinds training here. One is broad and covers multiple fields including all of the ones in a proficiency (inherent in ability scores), and one is narrow (inherent in proficiencies).

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    IMO, I'm a fan of Proficiency gating. But I run it as: people with proficiency get to go first, they were trained in this, people without get to roll second if the folks with proficiency failed.
    I'd refuse to play at your table, purely based on this rule. Why should my Int 18 EK with a +4 bonus have to roll after an Int 10 Druid with +2-+3 bonus just because they took Arcana? Not only am I better trained in it, I'm better trained in all Lores. Including Nature, if they took that.

  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    I'd refuse to play at your table, purely based on this rule. Why should my Int 18 EK with a +4 bonus have to roll after an Int 10 Druid with +2-+3 bonus just because they took Arcana? Not only am I better trained in it, I'm better trained in all Lores. Including Nature, if they took that.
    I never gate on proficiency. I don't even usually look at it--I've got enough on my plate to keep track of the details of the characters' sheets. And even then, being skilled at "Nature" and knowing about this one particular creature that just spawned on Tuesday and no one's ever seen it before aren't necessarily the same thing, although being skilled at Nature (or Survival, mostly) will help you figure stuff out by observing it/hearing about it/seeing its traces.

    Instead, I gate auto-success based on several factors (more or less in check-list order):
    1) has it come up recently in a major way? Something the characters learned a day ago, a big plot twist is unlikely to have been forgotten.
    2) which character (if any) are from an area where this information/skill is common (ie every-day) knowledge? If any, that character gets the automatic success.
    3) do any of the characters have a background which, when combined with their place in the world (ie where they're from and the details of that background) would suggest that they know/can do <thing> easily?
    4) Is this something that someone of class <X> or race <Y> should just know? This one's pretty rare, as there isn't tons of overlap at the class level and most of the racial stuff comes in via #2 or #3.
    5a) Is it something that no one has any reasonable chance of knowing (ie the plans of the BBEG who they've never met)? Auto failure.
    5b) Ok, no one gets an automatic success. Set a DC and have the person who asked (or the person closest to the action) roll. If there could be 2 people, have each of them roll and use the better modifier (effectively 2-person advantage/help action).

    Sometimes if there are gradiations of knowledge/success, I may set a DC and have them roll for 1-4; in that case, beating the DC means you get more information or a bigger success.

    For knowledge-type rolls, it's rare that I actually get to step 5, and it's most often degrees of success.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-09-23 at 11:20 PM.
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  15. - Top - End - #195
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Demonslayer666 View Post
    Yes, the DM must give information, what information are you looking to be given specifically when you ask "What information is the DM providing that your hypothetical "cheater" is translating into accurate listings of resistances?"
    If we imagine a table (in the play group sense of the word) there is initially nothing to which any of the players can attach unsanctioned information.

    Now, we could suppose one of them illicitly perused the DMs notes (a different and worse violation than there's been any indication we're discussing), read the published campaign for advantage (disrespectful and wrong) or used the published material in some previous gaming (generally cool, but viewed as needing to be disclosed), but for the most part the thread hasn't seemed to focus on these sorts of situations where players have access to all the information required to do the thing that you've guaranteed angers you and everyone you play with.

    So, we're largely discussing where a DM describes something that the a Player then connects to some information they have, and badness ensues. I was discussing that.

    I also accidentally edited out the part where I explicitly asked you to share the highlights of your session zero presentation. My bad.

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    It may or may not exist in a DM's game.
    I believe you have demonstrated facility with the distinction I was making.
    Last edited by Reach Weapon; 2021-09-24 at 10:54 AM.
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  16. - Top - End - #196
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    You're not comparing like to like.
    Yes, because I was pointing out you were conflating two different types of training in a single use of the word "training".

    A character that has good training in all Lores and deduction and mnemonics might have a high Int score. Another who has training in all lores and deduction might have a lower int score and 5 proficiencies in the five int proficiencies. An Int 18 EK can have just as much training in Arcana as a Int 10 level 9 char with Arcana proficiency, as well as other lore fields and deduction on top of it.

    A character with good training in Str is just as good at Athletics as the character who trained in the more narrow proficiency in Athletics, but also better at raw feats of strength. One who has trained in Dex has trained in stealth, acrobatics, even sleight of hand, as well as dodging and evasion.

    There are two kinds training here. One is broad and covers multiple fields including all of the ones in a proficiency (inherent in ability scores), and one is narrow (inherent in proficiencies).
    I'm sorry but you're still mixing up "training" in the sense of "I've trained my mind to be quick." and "training" in the sense of "I have studied this subject." These are not the same, and I'm not going to continue this discussion with you while you're mixing the two together.

    I'd refuse to play at your table, purely based on this rule. Why should my Int 18 EK with a +4 bonus have to roll after an Int 10 Druid with +2-+3 bonus just because they took Arcana? Not only am I better trained in it, I'm better trained in all Lores. Including Nature, if they took that.
    Because by my reading, no, you are not. You might be smarter. Quicker of thought. But you are not "better trained". I treat 5E "proficiency" more like 4E "trained". It IMHO literally represents training in a specific subject. Not just being smart.
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  17. - Top - End - #197
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    Default Re: The tension between player knowledge and character knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    I'm sorry but you're still mixing up "training" in the sense of "I've trained my mind to be quick." and "training" in the sense of "I have studied this subject." These are not the same, and I'm not going to continue this discussion with you while you're mixing the two together.
    No, I'm not. I'm saying ability scores are implicitly per the rules either of those. It doesn't restrict the kind of training ability scores represent like that. But also recommend you take the discussion to the new thread for this tangent, since I'm dropping it here.

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