|Would you like to play a game? - Dobby|
- Social Skills - When negotiating or making a plea or what have you, a player is often required to actually present an argument, and potentially, even role-play said argument. Some GMs give a bonus to skill or even waive a check completely if a player delivers a convincing enough argument.
- Puzzles/Riddles - Players are encountered by a farmer with a fox, a chicken, a bag of corn, and a tiny boat that can only hold one thing, they need to figure out how to help the farmer cross a river without the chicken eating the grain or the fox eating the chicken. Instead of rolling Administration for a character to have the management skills to know the solution to the well known riddle, the players are expected to puzzle it out themselves.
It's OK That It Doesn't Test The Character
It's OK That It is HardFailing is cool, and not being able to fail is a problem. Having a game that can't continue through a failure is actually probably a different problem altogether that doesn't have anything to do with the resolution mechanic in question. Imagine a lock that fails to be picked, brute forced, etc, every single ability that could bypass a lock fails. Even if we resolved all these attempts with dice, we could still reach a situation where we can't get through the locked door.
What I'm saying is that "Because the party might get stuck," is a non-argument, because the party could get stuck anywhere. If the consequence for failure isn't interesting, then the outcome right or wrong shouldn't matter, and the game should continue the most interesting possible way.
That being said, sometimes the party ramming themselves into a seemingly insurmountable dead-end is a-ok, because this is a role-playing game, and being in a difficult situation is the fodder of stuff that allows players to play their role. The determinator can keep ramming his head against the problem, while the lady with incurious can decide it's just not worth her time, and try to convince the party it's worth moving on, while the guy with pyromania and enough explosives can say, "maybe we ought to just blow the sphinx away instead of worrying about a beast that keeps losing and gaining legs." And now we have an opportunity for lateral thinking and brute forcing and coming up with solutions that no one ever thought of.
What if the quick gadgeteer says, "I'll just build a second raft to hold me and the chicken and the fox so you can take the flour by yourself?" Provided she seems trustworthy, and she can put together a raft in moments with her superpower, why would the farmer care that she solved the problem with a non-canon answer?
Giving the Guy with 0 points in Diplomacy a pass is unfairMaybe that's true, it's not fair that anyone can be good at something without being good at something, or someone can always have guaranteed bonuses at something, so my simple solution to that problem: Always give role playing bonuses for everything. If someone says "I use broadsword-16 swing with a -5 penalty for attacking the neck" you let them do that, but if they say something cool like, I dunno, "Shana pours every ounce of her will into bleeding right arm determined to turn the tide, she takes a wild sloppy swing at the neck of whatever that thing standing in front of her is called." Maybe Shana's player deserves a +1 for role playing that well too.
I think I agree that an instant win wouldn't be fun for me, but it is all part of the social contract, and maybe some groups think that it's more fun that way, and they agree to play that way, so awesome for them to find a GM and players that think that way.