New DM With New Players...Question About Monster HP, Dice Rolls and Shops...

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Hi everyone,
I am new to DnD(well unless we count me playing 1st edition in the early 80's as a teenager).  I am a DM for a 4th Ed campaign for other new players(my wife and two sons). 

Anyways...

Major Question(s) #1
I am wondering if I should reveal the following to players(if these things are for all to see):
-Initiative Order(I have been sharing)
-Skill Checks target #'s(I have not been sharing)
-Monster HP's(and remaining HP's)(I have been sharing)
-Monster Attack Rolls(I have been sharing)

Should more of these things be happening "behind the screen"? 

Major Question #2
When my adventurers visit a shop, should I make magical items available from time to time or should these only be found as treasure?


I have the 4td Ed. DM Guide, MM and PH(1) as well as all Essentials books should you need to point be to a section or page.
Thanks in advance for any assistance,
~Gareson

Major Question(s) #1
I am wondering if I should reveal the following to players(if these things are for all to see):
-Initiative Order(I have been sharing)
-Skill Checks target #'s(I have not been sharing)
-Monster HP's(and remaining HP's)(I have been sharing)
-Monster Attack Rolls(I have been sharing)



Yes to all. If the players don't want to know, however, don't share it.

Major Question #2

When my adventurers visit a shop, should I make magical items available from time to time or should these only be found as treasure?


That's up to you and your players' preferences. It doesn't have to be Ye Ole Magick Shoppe either. You can easily make it a matter of tapping a network of thieves or a blessing from the church or a mysterious benefactor or, well, possibilities are endless.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I would generally agree with iserith with the exceptionof HP - I think this is generally something which is too much infromation on the table - if the players can track damage that's gone in to the extet that they know when something was bloodied, then that's up to them.  However, telling them it's bloodied, and indeed, giving an idea how much (tottering or on its last legs if it's within one attack of going down, barely scratched if you've done 10 points of damage to a level 30 solo, etc) is perfectly fine.  Everything else should be transparent.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
#1 Initiative order becomes apparent very quickly: your wife goes, one son goes, oh it's the monster's turn, your other son goes.  Sharing is automatic.  The rest is personal preference.  I tend to not share skill check targets right away.  What I do is after everyone has rolled, I state, "anyone who got a DC X or better...".  I "share" monster HP in more descriptive terms (i.e. I say something to the effect of "you scratched him," "you dug deep into its hide," or "you can tell the monster is very injured," etc). As to monster attack rolls just like initiative it should be rather quickly apparent - when you deal damage to your players' characters the monster obviously hit them.

As to these things happening behind the screen again it is personal preference.  There are DMs who roll skill checks for their players' characters when the results are intended to be secret.  But, in many opinions, that takes away from some of the fun of the game for the players - rolling of dice.  It boils down to how concerned you are over meta-gaming.

#2  Again this is a personal preference thing.  Some really care about all the shops in all the world and what they have available.  Some players, DMs included, enjoy going through the process of the "merchant encounter."  I, and my players, do not enjoy this so I have established house rules that allow my players to buy anything so long as they are in a town or city.  Up to a specific value the items are readily available (in my case I have set that to 8000gp).  Beyond that limit, the items can still be acquired but it takes time to do so (for every 1000gp above the 8000 limit it takes one day to get).  Regardless of what they want, they pay source book gold piece value.  So if an item is valued at 5000gp, they can get it for 5000gp.  Any items they wish to sell they get a flat 60% source book value return.  So if an item is valued 5000gp they get 3000gp.

The mindset behind this pricing scheme is the law of averages - over time the group will get some good deals, some bad deals, and many acceptable deals.  Rather than playing out every transaction, the "average result" is always taken.

 

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Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Thanks to everyone for your tips and feedback(it was very useful)...and I certainly welcome more!
I generally agree with what DaBeerds said - I share initiative (I write it down on paper everyone can see, and we call around the table from highest to lowest as I write it down), I don't share HP except through description (eg: The players would know the orc is confident and barely scratched, but wouldn't know 128/135 HP), and I share skill DCs after the fact (but not armour levels). Succeeding particularly well on a DC (eg: Getting 19 for 13 DC) gives them something above-and-beyond.

For shops, I tend to hand wave it. They can buy mundane items freely (except for rare circumstances otherwise), and common magic items are available. Uncommon & rare are not, but they can chase leads / do favours / random treasure or the like to get them.
I would generally agree with iserith with the exceptionof HP - I think this is generally something which is too much infromation on the table - if the players can track damage that's gone in to the extet that they know when something was bloodied, then that's up to them.  However, telling them it's bloodied, and indeed, giving an idea how much (tottering or on its last legs if it's within one attack of going down, barely scratched if you've done 10 points of damage to a level 30 solo, etc).  Everything else should be transparent.



I agree in that the information doesn't have to be in front of them, and if they ask I tell them how much damage it has taken, if they ask how injured it is, I give them a general idea. I suppose I could out right tell them how much health it has, but they seem satisfied with the answers I give and my willingness to give them. And like DaBeerds says, you can be more descriptive to keep things from just being a numbers game.
For the DMs that don't offer monster HP information, do you explicitly state when the monster becomes bloodied? How do you handle PC powers that trigger or depend on the bloodied condition?
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Major Question #2
When my adventurers visit a shop, should I make magical items available from time to time or should these only be found as treasure?

~Gareson




Some magic items might only be availible through a faction or guild. Some materials might only be availible in the same way. There might be a city law about selling, taxing up, or regulating the kind of Magic items for sale, causing each "city" to have a different selection. Each "region" might have a different selection as well.

I like having NPC's, or factions or in game scenarios "give" the players magic items and wealth, while "treasure" depends on what the enemies being fought would reasonably keep around. In a crypt, the "treasure" might be 20 large urns, and each one might hold a few ancient coins, and a couple gems.

Mix it up!  Try to find out what items your players are interested in getting, then build those items into the game. If the player sees an elder sage enter town holding "that staff you said you wanted", it sounds reasonable that NPC would approach the player. When people who are "One Percenters" choose to "put out the word, Im looking for..." they have an easy time because everyone tells everyone they know, and eventually, an offer might be made.

Within; Without.

Skill DCs and attack rolls should be stated because there are character abilities that can be used to modify the results (The "Shield" spell vs an AC/Reflex attack is a common example), and the design intent (and the way the developers played it) is that the player should know whether those would make a difference, not be forced to blindly guess and potentially end up wasting it.
Major Question(s) #1
I am wondering if I should reveal the following to players(if these things are for all to see):
-Initiative Order(I have been sharing)
-Skill Checks target #'s(I have not been sharing)
-Monster HP's(and remaining HP's)(I have been sharing)
-Monster Attack Rolls(I have been sharing)

All of those should be shared, or at least available. Couch them in fiction, of course, but also provide the mechanics.

Major Question #2
When my adventurers visit a shop, should I make magical items available from time to time or should these only be found as treasure?

The items should be available, but they don't need to be available in a shop. The players should be able to acquire what they want, i.e. anything of their level or lower that they can afford, but the method of acquisition can be described as anything. The rogue's gold is spent on bribes and payoffs, and the rest is left at a dead-drop. Later she finds the items she needs at another dead-drop. The cleric tithes a portion of his treasure, and a relic from the local vaults finds a way into her hands. The fighter throws a party for a patron and the patron hooks the fighter up with a family heirloom that's been kicking around. The mage pays for access to archives, labs, and storerooms and pieces together an item. Etc. Get creative. Shops are fine but they're dull and raise awkward questions.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

For the DMs that don't offer monster HP information, do you explicitly state when the monster becomes bloodied? How do you handle PC powers that trigger or depend on the bloodied condition?


Depending on the severity of the battle / creature I'd either say "it's bloodied," some variety of "you draw first blood." I also put a red (plastic milk bottle) ring around bloodied monsters and PC so anyone can see at a glance what is healthy and what is not.

Skill DCs and attack rolls should be stated because there are character abilities that can be used to modify the results (The "Shield" spell vs an AC/Reflex attack is a common example), and the design intent (and the way the developers played it) is that the player should know whether those would make a difference, not be forced to blindly guess and potentially end up wasting it.

I've got a human with heroic effort, so occasionally she'll ask "would a +4 be enough?" and I answer truthfully. In all honesty though after 4 or so attacks they know that the AC they're going against from trial and error (18 missed, 20 hit, 17 missed, 22 hit ... so much be 19-20)

The items should be available, but they don't need to be available in a shop. The players should be able to acquire what they want, i.e. anything of their level or lower that they can afford, but the method of acquisition can be described as anything. The rogue's gold is spent on bribes and payoffs, and the rest is left at a dead-drop. Later she finds the items she needs at another dead-drop. The cleric tithes a portion of his treasure, and a relic from the local vaults finds a way into her hands. The fighter throws a party for a patron and the patron hooks the fighter up with a family heirloom that's been kicking around. The mage pays for access to archives, labs, and storerooms and pieces together an item. Etc. Get creative. Shops are fine but they're dull and raise awkward questions.

Cool suggestion I'll be using more often.
What's the upside for not sharing hit points? A bunch of other game constructs and mechanics are flying around the table during a combat scene, but hit points don't make the cut (no pun intended)? In my view, as long as you begin and end with the fiction, you can't go wrong. "A mighty blow from the paladin and the beast staggers back. It has 76 hit points remaining. It appears this may be a knock-down-drag-out fight, Sir Valiant!"

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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What's the upside for not sharing hit points? A bunch of other game constructs and mechanics are flying around the table during a combat scene, but hit points don't make the cut (no pun intended)? In my view, as long as you begin and end with the fiction, you can't go wrong. "A mighty blow from the paladin and the beast staggers back. It has 76 hit points remaining. It appears this may be a knock-down-drag-out fight, Sir Valiant!"



Good point, I may start doing that more

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Honestly?  It's just my practice.  I think it's a bit too much information to be sharing widely - if people really wanted to know and/or track it, I'd tell them how much damage a thing had taken, but we spend WAAAY more than enough time talking numbers at my table already - taking a few numbers out of the mix that aren't important to the players in their absolute values (with the exception of half and 0) (unless you're an assassin), just keeps things a bit more focussed on the fiction.  Plus the 'it's how we've always done it' factor.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I suppose I should mention that most games I run are online and so you can see a little hit point bar above the monster.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I haven't played online, but it would be neat to have monster HP.

Can you hide the bar if you don't want the HP public?

I remember the old Breath of Fire games, where the first copy of the monster you face has ? for HP, then after a few battles, it tells you the HP.

Within; Without.

Yes, you can hide it. I prefer it to be visible. Players make faster decisions that way.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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And what program do you use? Do you have to use a mic, or do you have other options? I hated using a mic for online games whatsoever.

I looked at several virtual tabletop options, and didn't feel any of them met my needs. My needs are:

1. 3d movement. I want to move an icon up-down just like left-right to simulate water, sky and space battles.

2. The ability to plop in my own map. Even better if I could control fog of war and zoom in/out, or warp from "world map" into a "grid" battlemap.

3. The ability to use only my own content, and not sign away any of my rights (or prospective rights) for using the program.

Within; Without.

And what program do you use? Do you have to use a mic, or do you have other options? I hated using a mic for online games whatsoever.



Roll20.net. Mics and webcams.

1. 3d movement. I want to move an icon up-down just like left-right to simulate water, sky and space battles.



Doesn't have that, but it's just a matter of remembering or putting text next to the token as to how far up they are from the ground (or other point of reference).

2. The ability to plop in my own map. Even better if I could control fog of war and zoom in/out, or warp from "world map" into a "grid" battlemap.



Yes, you use your own maps. Draw them with the art tools or upload your own images. There's also fog of war and you can zoom in and out. You can change between maps easily.

3. The ability to use only my own content, and not sign away any of my rights (or prospective rights) for using the program.



I don't know what this means, but I guess read the ToS if you're concerned about such things.

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Intitiative is presented openly (not the numbers just the order) on top of the DM screen,
HP - bloodied only with the exception of some uber fights where the PCs get a recharge at 2/3 BBEG hp and 1/3 BBEG hp
AC/NADs - no until later when they could have figured it out anyway
Skill DC# - no unless its a group 'anyone above X' type roll

 www.4eDM.org - A 4th Edition D&D Resource Site 

AC/NADs - no until later when they could have figured it out anyway

Can't the characters tell just by looking how armored something is? How quick? How tough? Even those who use mental attacks probably have a way to gauge defenses against those before using them.

Skill DC# - no unless its a group 'anyone above X' type roll

Can't characters judge how hard a task will be to accomplish?

So, is the reason for hiding them so that the DM has final say on success or failure?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

AC/NADs - no until later when they could have figured it out anyway

Can't the characters tell just by looking how armored something is? How quick? How tough? Even those who use mental attacks probably have a way to gauge defenses against those before using them.

Skill DC# - no unless its a group 'anyone above X' type roll

Can't characters judge how hard a task will be to accomplish?

So, is the reason for hiding them so that the DM has final say on success or failure?




It depends - for a lock there might not be a way of determining how hard it is to open, then again it might be.

As for AC and NADs - there's more to AC than armor. 
It's also why I said not until later - so after about 2 rounds in I give hints like 'it's slow but tough (low ref, high fort/ac) and about 1 or 2 rounds after that t will be 'you need to make 18 to hit its armor but only 15 to hit its reflex'. 


 www.4eDM.org - A 4th Edition D&D Resource Site 

It depends - for a lock there might not be a way of determining how hard it is to open, then again it might be.

As for AC and NADs - there's more to AC than armor. 
It's also why I said not until later - so after about 2 rounds in I give hints like 'it's slow but tough (low ref, high fort/ac) and about 1 or 2 rounds after that t will be 'you need to make 18 to hit its armor but only 15 to hit its reflex'. 



Is the hinting an attempt at preserving "immersion?"

I'm transparent about these things because it facilitates faster decision-making on the part of the players. I value a fast pace in the game in general and combat scenes specifically.

What is the upside to your approach? 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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It depends - for a lock there might not be a way of determining how hard it is to open, then again it might be.

Why not assume that, for the trained thief, there is?

As for AC and NADs - there's more to AC than armor.

There's also how a monster carries itself, which should also be visible, especially to the trained warrior whose job it is to hit AC. The characters who hit the other defenses would have was of judging those, too.

It's also why I said not until later - so after about 2 rounds in I give hints like 'it's slow but tough (low ref, high fort/ac)

They should be able to tell almost immediate that it's "slow but tough." Why not tell them off the bat?

 and about 1 or 2 rounds after that t will be 'you need to make 18 to hit its armor but only 15 to hit its reflex'.

What's the advantage to hiding that information?

I don't bog my players down with information, but it's to our advantage that they not spend time having to report every die result to me so I give them a range like "a 30 will hit anything anyone has, and a 22 will miss anything anyone has." This speeds things up immensely.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.


Is the hinting an attempt at preserving "immersion?"



It adds story and allows the battle to develop. Have you a PhD in Xenobiology with a speciality in Beholders? Because none of the characters to and they've never fought one before. Common creatures sure - but the more exotic (sometimes solo) creatures take time to analyse in the heat of battle. 

I'm transparent about these things because it facilitates faster decision-making on the part of the players. I value a fast pace in the game in general and combat scenes specifically.

What is the upside to your approach? 



My game is reasonably fast paced, I do the whole 'anything above X will hit anything (defence)

 
Why not assume that, for the trained thief, there is?

It depends on the situation and the tone of the encounter, that's why not. Most of the time the players will just try to do something rather than analyse their success chances. Only if they fail might they try to analyse it. Because if I tell them 'its a tough looking lock' or 'its a lock with dc34' they are going to try anyway if their lockpicking is at least +14 so it's usually irrelevant.

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"Yes, beholders destroyed my village when I was a kid. I know a thing or two about them, having watched them vaporize the people I loved."

Out of curiosity, what happens if the PCs fail the check to pick the lock?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Is the hinting an attempt at preserving "immersion?"



It adds story and allows the battle to develop. Have you a PhD in Xenobiology with a speciality in Beholders? Because none of the characters to and they've never fought one before. Common creatures sure - but the more exotic (sometimes solo) creatures take time to analyse in the heat of battle.



Potentially a character might.  That is what Knowledge skill checks are for.

 

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Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Out of curiosity, what happens if the PCs fail the Knowledge check?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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"Yes, beholders destroyed my village when I was a kid. I know a thing or two about them, having watched them vaporize the people I loved."

Out of curiosity, what happens if the PCs fail the check to pick the lock?



You know, I ran into this exact same problem the first game I DMed, except it was not a lock, it was a sarcophogus, so a Str check to open it.  The first player to try failed, so he said ok, I try again.  I was not ok with this.  I quickly realized, if they fail these types of checks, what is the point?  Does that mean they have to wait 24 hours to come back and try again?  Someone else in the party has to try?  I mean, it's not a lock that you can damage beyond repair and risk not ever being able to open it, it's just a damn lid.  That is when I stopped doing skill checks for mundane things, use "take 10" and make it invisible to the players, this is beyond your ability, or they succeed, without a roll.  As I have seen Iserith say quite a few times in the week or so I started posting here, if there is not both and interesting success -and- and interesting failure, why even have a roll, just let it happen and move on with your game.
You know, I ran into this exact same problem the first game I DMed, except it was not a lock, it was a sarcophogus, so a Str check to open it.  The first player to try failed, so he said ok, I try again.  I was not ok with this.  I quickly realized, if they fail these types of checks, what is the point?  Does that mean they have to wait 24 hours to come back and try again?  Someone else in the party has to try?  I mean, it's not a lock that you can damage beyond repair and risk not ever being able to open it, it's just a damn lid.  That is when I stopped doing skill checks for mundane things, use "take 10" and make it invisible to the players, this is beyond your ability, or they succeed, without a roll.  As I have seen Iserith say quite a few times in the week or so I started posting here, if there is not both and interesting success -and- and interesting failure, why even have a roll, just let it happen and move on with your game.



Cool. Skills make a lot more sense when you think of them in that light, in my opinion. You avoid all those weird interactions that are tropes at this point in D&D.

Now, pick that lock such that the cursed mummy inside does not rise? Or pick that lock to the exit door before the room fills with sand? Or pick the lock in a way that nobody will ever notice it was picked (and if they do, will come after you)? Those are all great opportunities for a skill check.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Out of curiosity, what happens if the PCs fail the Knowledge check?



First of all, I always show a picture of the monster in question.  Some player invariably knows what it is.

Second, it is very hard not to get a DC10 in a group of seven players (where I allow all skills to be tried untrained).  So basic data is virtually a given.  That being said, if the entire party fails miserably, I typically give the players very vague data.  In the case of the beholder:

"rumor has it these creatures attack without provocation"
"they can destroy anything they get a good look at"
"each 'eye' does something different"

 

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Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Very hard not to get a DC10 in a group of seven players (where I allow all skills to be tried untrained).



Why roll?

That being said, then I typically give the players very vague data.  In the case of the beholder:

"rumor has it these creatures attack without provocation"
"they can destroy anything they get a good look at"
"each 'eye' does something different"



Perhaps I'm answering my above, but I guess you'd give "lots" of information for a high roll and "vague" information on a low roll? That's how I see most people doing it.

I really don't like Knowledge checks... 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Hi everyone,
I am new to DnD(well unless we count me playing 1st edition in the early 80's as a teenager).  I am a DM for a 4th Ed campaign for other new players(my wife and two sons). 

Anyways...

Major Question(s) #1
I am wondering if I should reveal the following to players(if these things are for all to see):
-Initiative Order(I have been sharing)
-Skill Checks target #'s(I have not been sharing)
-Monster HP's(and remaining HP's)(I have been sharing)
-Monster Attack Rolls(I have been sharing)

Should more of these things be happening "behind the screen"? 

Major Question #2
When my adventurers visit a shop, should I make magical items available from time to time or should these only be found as treasure?


I have the 4td Ed. DM Guide, MM and PH(1) as well as all Essentials books should you need to point be to a section or page.
Thanks in advance for any assistance,
~Gareson




I don't have time to read the whole thread, sorry if this is redundant:

Definately reveal init order, whiteboards, notecards, or even some software is can be used to track this. (i used dnd4ecm).

Skill Checks, i only reveal if it is easy, medium, or hard but don't reveal actual numbers.

No need to reveal monster hp's as a number, but definately tell the pc's when he gets bloodied. Use description after that.

I reveal monster attack and damage rolls; i play without a screen and roll right in the open. I say something like "he's +9 on this attack roll" before i drop the dice, then if he hits, i'll say "2d8+6 damage" as i roll the 2d8. There is never any uncertainty as to wether i actually rolled a nat 20, and i also have 5 people checking my math constantly.
Having said that, not every group plays this way, and not every group enjoys this. Talk to your players.


As for loot, according the to Essentials and RC update, players should be able to buy any common magic item they want and can afford in any decently sized town. Uncommon and Rares are for issue by the dm only. This method gives players access to the basic magic items they need, but keeps the stronger stuff at dm's discretion.
Again, you don't have to play this way, but it's wotc's official guideline.
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
I really don't like Knowledge checks... 



I know and as soon as I posted, I expected a response from you and/or Centauri Laughing

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Out of curiosity, what happens if the PCs fail the Knowledge check?



A knowledge check against a high dc tells you the creatures origins, keywords, resistances, vulnerabilities, the names of it's powers, and what effects they cause.

There is a pretty huge dichotomy in player/pc knowledge (and the combat tactics that will inevitably follow) depending on whether if you know this information or not. This is certainly a case with an interesting case of success/failure; like i said it could change the entire course of combat.


In a game with complete transparency (where the dm tells the players/pc's all of this anyway), i agree there's really no need to roll.
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis

Is the hinting an attempt at preserving "immersion?"

It adds story and allows the battle to develop. Have you a PhD in Xenobiology with a speciality in Beholders? Because none of the characters to and they've never fought one before. Common creatures sure - but the more exotic (sometimes solo) creatures take time to analyse in the heat of battle.

I'm not talking about analysis, I'm talking about how hard the expert archer thinks it might be to plant an arrow in a target.

There's also the fact that characters are making more attacks than are actually being rolled for. These would help them judge the difficulty almost immediately.

My game is reasonably fast paced, I do the whole 'anything above X will hit anything (defence)

Cool.

 
Why not assume that, for the trained thief, there is?

It depends on the situation and the tone of the encounter, that's why not. Most of the time the players will just try to do something rather than analyse their success chances.

Stating the DC isn't so they can "analyse their success choices." It's so they know whether they succeeded or not.

Only if they fail might they try to analyse it. Because if I tell them 'its a tough looking lock' or 'its a lock with dc34' they are going to try anyway if their lockpicking is at least +14 so it's usually irrelevant.

Agreed. I find that stating the DC augments the fiction I present. "Tough looking lock" or some other description might mean different things to different people. "DC34" means something specific, and it helps them get on the same page with the fictional description.

But if your game's working, I'm not suggesting you change anything. I'm just interested in understanding why people do this.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

There is a pretty huge dichotomy in player/pc knowledge (and the combat tactics that will inevitably follow) depending on whether if you know this information or not. This is certainly a case with an interesting case of success/failure; like i said it could change the entire course of combat.



Maybe. I could probably buy this take if I had to. It's still not quite "there" for my tastes.

In a game with complete transparency (where the dm tells the players/pc's all of this anyway), i agree there's really no need to roll.



Yes. My approach is to say, "You know [stuff]. How?" The justification that follows adds to the character and emergent fiction.

As for Knowledge checks themselves, we use them as "acting upon knowledge you have" rather than "knowing or not knowing."

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith



I really don't like Knowledge checks...



I haven't played much 4th edition (or any proper edition for that matter) so I'm curious-what do you use the skills that are most often used for knowledge checks for, such as History and Religion? I can't think of anything off the top of my head for History and Religion other than knowledge checks, which don't really offer interesting failure. I'm interested to see how your players employ these skills.


EDIT: Ah, you hinted at it as you ninja'd me-could you elaborate?

"Encouraging your players to be cautious and risk-averse prevents unexpected epic events and-well-progress at a decent pace in general."-Detoxifier

"HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA NOT REGENERATING DUE TO FIRE" -iserith 

"If snapping a dragon's neck with your bare hands is playind D&D wrong, then I don't want to play D&D right." -Lord_Ventnor

Yes. My approach is to say, "You know [stuff]. How?" The justification that follows adds to the character and emergent fiction.

As for Knowledge checks themselves, we use them as "acting upon knowledge you have" rather than "knowing or not knowing."



What if a player answers your, "how?" with "I don't know" or "I cannot think of any reason why my character would know anything about monster X."?

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
I haven't played much 4th edition (or any proper edition for that matter) so I'm curious-what do you use the skills that are most often used for knowledge checks for, such as History and Religion? I can't think of anything off the top of my head for History and Religion other than knowledge checks, which don't really offer interesting failure. I'm interested to see how your players employ these skills.

EDIT: Ah, you hinted at it as you ninja'd me-could you elaborate?



Sure.

"I use my knowledge of Arcana to manipulate the runes on the obelisk to reverse the polarity and send this bastard back to Hell!" 

"This maze is only endless to those who aren't well-read. Look at these marks on the wall. Based on my knowledge of History, I think they'll lead us directly to the Well of Worlds!"

"My faith shields me from fear. I draw upon years of reading the scripture (Religion) to offset the creeping despair of this cursed place."

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

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