4E Heavy Concrete Data on 4e's Skill Challenge System (long, lots of tables) - Page 10
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  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayspire
    I'm beginning to understand why Wulf is getting frustrated with this thread.
    Because it's full of innumerates who keep insisting that the rules are just fine as long as you don't actually use them.

  2. #92
    Now that I have read the OP in detail I really appreciate it and would like to read WotC's response.

    That being said, I think getting angry and making blanket statements is a bad idea and may even be against the civility rules here.

    Also I have a quick question as I do not have my books in front of me. Is Complexity 5 the default skill challenge? How many successes/failures are required (I assume something like 5/2)?

    Thanks!

  3. #93
    This (and other) threads are interesting. I am not interested in challenging any math so will take it at face value. It certainly seems as if the RAW may have some issues.

    However, I would like to come up with a consensus about a couple of assumptions:

    1) How often (percentage) should a party succeed at a Skill Challenge?

    I tend to agree that Skill challenges should have a non-trivial percentage of failure since failure does not (always) equal death. I think the percentage of success should be around 50 - 70 % as a base perhaps tending with situational bonuses to over 90% and situational penalties to decrease it to as low as 30%. There should be a mechanic in place for the DM to manage the success/failure on the fly.

    2) What should increasing/decreasing the complexity accomplish (other than requiring more rolls)? Should it increase/decrease the percentage of completion? Is it only for "fun" and to make the challenge last longer?

    I have no opinion and would like to form one.


    Essentially, what I am saying it that if we can agree with want we want out of the system we can better evaluate how to use that system (either the old one with or without modification or some replacement).

    Edit - Looks like I posted to the wrong place as these assumptions and others were tackled by Stalker0 in his proposed system revision. Good work.
    Last edited by gonesailing; Wednesday, 11th June, 2008 at 01:55 PM.

  4. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by Dayspire
    I'm beginning to understand why Wulf is getting frustrated with this thread. It's obvious that many people (not just you Entropi) do not read it in its entirety before posting. This tends to infuriate those of us who are paying close attention, looking for answers in the murky world of math.

    As to your point Entropi - what this whole thing about is the chart on page 42 that the DMG states is used for Skill Challenges. They are not 'variables'. The chart doesn't say "N+5" where N=a character's skill score. They are not variables. Because of that, you CAN model probability.

    Are you suggesting that the DM ignore this chart, and set arbitrary numbers? There's something to be said for that, the DM is the referee, right? But think of it this way. The chart is a guideline, meant to give a DM an idea of what the DC's should be. These numbers are off. That can't be questioned (sorry if you disagree there, but the math is very very sound). Now what we have to come up with is what those numbers should actually be.
    My answer to you, Entropi, is a variation on this theme. Ultimately this is where you and I will probably diverge, as will most reasonable people.

    Yes, a DM is free to ignore or "massage" the DCs found in the table on pg. 42. The DM is the one who determines DCs for a skill challenge and the difficulty of all challenges, skill or otherwise, that the party will face. From that perspective, all of this thunder over the flawed math can be puzzling. Why not just exercise the DM's prerogative that she's invested with by the Gods of Gaming?

    Some of us in the thread aren't quite as sanguine about just deferring to DM fiat. After all, we don't expect similar approach when a DM is adjudicating combat. We simply aren't as comfortable with that level of fudging. Your response is like suggesting the following to us:

    "Alright, I want you start every battle with only a rough idea of each monster's Defenses. Sure, write down some numbers for AC, Fort, Ref, and Will, but then get ready to fudge those numbers every round, depending on how the battle is going."

    Our response would be:

    "Wait, why did you even bother to list a monster's Defenses, if we're just supposed to key it off decisions made by the players during character creation? Why didn't you just tell us that? Why did you go through the effort of filling a Monster Manual with Defense values for monsters?"

    The same goes for skill challenges. If we wanted to fudge things, we certainly didn't need WotC to tell us that. We could do that without pages in the DMG devoted to running skill challenges by a supposedly coherent, mechanical system. The greater problem is arguably with the newbie DMs that WotC covets. These guys don't have the instinct to fudge the rules. Listen to the WotC podcasts with Penny Arcade webcomic guys. In the second episode, a completely new player to D&D asks:

    "How do we know that the DM isn't just cheating behind his screen when he rolls?"

    That's the problem with having a flawed skill challenge system. Newbies expect that the DM will play by the rules, not fudge things for the sake of fun. A progressive attitude towards DM fudging is not necessarily the norm. If a newbie DM faces newbie players who are skeptics regarding his honesty, he's not going to fudge anything or he'll roll in the open. If the skill challenge system's DC guidelines are messed up, it might reflect badly on the system. This, in turn, might lead people to stop using skill challenges, one of the 4e innovations that WotC was particularly proud of.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Turner
    (snip)
    Well said, sir.

  6. #96
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    I've read through all of this - I'm sure I've missed a lot, and I'm no math wizard so I will take the tables at face value.

    One thing I've only seen mentioned once is the "DM's Friend." The Skill Challenge examples show that in certain circumstances the DM may give a +2 to a Skill check based on roleplaying, or bringing up a particularly relevant point.

    Several examples allow for easy checks - sometimes just for only one success, others appear to not be limited, other times it doesn't count towards successes, but allows a +2 to be given to another PC's Skill check.

    Aid Another is only mentioned in the context of Group Skill checks - like climbing a cliff or (presumably) sneaking into a location, where all of the PC's are using one and only one Skill to pass the Challenge. My reading (and its only an initial reading) is that Aid Another wouldn't be appropriate to use in any other kind of Skill Challenge. I could easily be swayed by an official ruling; if anything I guess I feel that it shouldn't, though I don't have a strong feeling one way or the other.

    How does the addition of +2's from DM Caveat affect the numbers for a "normally" skilled PC (without using Aid Another)? How about if we assume that some of the successes can be met using an easy challenge? How many easy successes would be needed to bring the system into a "non-broken" status?

    I'm not sure that an adequate addressing of the workability of the system can be made without taking those two things in to account.

  7. #97
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    Stalker, this is a great thread. You always have something interesting to say, and this is no exception. In fact, this probably takes the cake. Thanks for doing all this.

    I have a question, and please forgive me if it's been addressed already. What happens if, at each difficulty level, we increase the number of failed rolls required to fail by one or two? It seems to me that a good way to affect overall success rate is not by decreasing individual DCs, but decreasing the chance of overall failure.

  8. #98
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    I think the simplest way to make the results, at least, more intuitive, is to make sure that the number of failures permitted is equal to the number of successes required.

  9. #99
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    This maybe a case where the actual use defies the mathematical analyst, since so much of the challenge is left to the DM during play or prep (skill level DCs, adjudicating unusual skill usage, choice of skill successes/failures, good plans).


    How have WotC staff games gone? Have they not noticed that they either autowin or autofail on the skill challenges?

    Are we reading it wrong? If so then we need a DDI article with additional help for running skill challenges.

    I feel this system may not have had the rigorous testing that combat had, I know that it is an optional tool for the DM to use and combat is for everyone to see in the PHB. Still I really like the idea for skill challenges I hope there is some clarification.
    Last edited by vagabundo; Wednesday, 11th June, 2008 at 03:02 PM. Reason: bad bad stuff

  10. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by gonesailing
    This (and other) threads are interesting. I am not interested in challenging any math so will take it at face value. It certainly seems as if the RAW may have some issues.

    However, I would like to come up with a consensus about a couple of assumptions:

    1) How often (percentage) should a party succeed at a Skill Challenge?

    I tend to agree that Skill challenges should have a non-trivial percentage of failure since failure does not (always) equal death. I think the percentage of success should be around 50 - 70 % as a base perhaps tending with situational bonuses to over 90% and situational penalties to decrease it to as low as 30%. There should be a mechanic in place for the DM to manage the success/failure on the fly.
    That is why there are different difficulties of skill challenges, to weight the player's coin flip on whether they win or lose. The problem is, the DCs are busted and the system doesn't work even if the DCs are adjusted.

    Even if the system worked it's still just a couple die rolls, what the players do matter little. There is no fun in a skill challenge.

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