5E Reliable Talent. What the what?
+ Log in or register to post
Page 1 of 26 1234567891011 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 252
  1. #1

    Reliable Talent. What the what?

    My players are just on the verge of 12th level, and while I've had plenty of experience DMing earlier editions at high levels, this will be our first foray into the upper levels of 5E. As one might expect, there are a few rules that are taking us by surprise as we see them in actual play for the first time, and none more so than our rogue's Reliable Talent.

    Delving into the internet, there have been plenty of threads on plenty of boards parsing this ability, but I wanted to get some fresh perspective on it if there's any to be had.

    Now, to be fair, we've only played two sessions with Reliable Talent in effect, and in only one of those did it rear it's ugly head, but those instances were enough to make me want to take a serious look at it.

    For nearly every skill check I threw at our rogue he simply auto-succeeded. His Perception, Sleight of Hand, Acrobatics and Stealth are already through the roof anyway, which is fine, but now, if the DC is 20 or below he may as well not even roll. And that seems insane to me.

    I can't think of many (or any, off the top of my head) things that the PC's might attempt in the game that they can simply succeed at without limit or use of some kind of resource. And it's only going to get worse as he levels up. As it currently stands, I can see no reason why he couldn't tell me he's going to go out on the town on a thieving spree and my whole job would be to just hand him a list of loot as long as he isn't breaking into the local thieves guild or the kings castle.

    This seems wholly at odds with cooperative story telling. With no chance of failing there is no drama. I could even see it in the players eyes when, during our last session, he listened at a door for noise and barely looked at his dice when he rolled it. Everybody at the table knew he couldn't fail, and quite frankly, it was kind of a bummer.

    I've read plenty of posts online giving some pretty reasonable validations for Reliable Talent, but none of them really address the problem of the lack of drama inherent in an auto-succeed ability.

    And yes, sure, I could raise DC's through the roof, but that seems cheap. As they take on tougher and tougher challenges, DC's will rise, but they need to make sense. I'm not going to counter his thieving spree with every house having DC 25-30 security measures.

    I hate to nerf. The player built his character and got this far, and he should reap the rewards. And the devs built the ability for reasons that I have to believe make some sense. And I have to believe it's been play tested, and I am loath to tinker with house ruling stuff without very good reason. But this is making my brain itch.

    So what I'm asking for here is how other DM's have dealt with this and how it's affected your games. Is it as broken as it appears? Have your players abused it? If so, what did you do about it?

    If I do move forward with a nerf, I have a couple of ideas.

    1. Implement the natural 1 rule for skills. It doesn't seem out of line that a skill attempt, like an attack, could fail on a 1. Even masters of their crafts sometimes err. In fact, I don't really understand why skill checks are exempt from the natural 1/20 rule in the first place. Furthermore, our rogue has the Luck feat, so his odds of failing a skill check would be pretty darn low. But at least there would be SOME chance of failer that would make his roll mean something.

    2. Change the rule to give him advantage on skills checks with prof bonus skills. Again, this gives him a significant boost to those skills (some of which he also has expertise in) so his success rate would be very high, but again, there would be some small chance of blowing it.
    XP Coroc, 77IM gave XP for this post

  2. #2
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    990
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Horwath


    Friend+
    Well, it wouldn't be reliable talent if it weren't reliable.

    It only adresses the low skill dc's. His chance to roll high roll is the same. It just boosts roll of 10 or lower from 55% to 100%.

    Rogue is a skill master. This feature represents that.

    Higher dc's are as difficult as before this feature.

    Advantage should not be given away permanently. It is situational benefit.

    Sent from my SM-J320F using EN World mobile app
    XP Li Shenron, Shiroiken, Galendril, Prakriti, steenan gave XP for this post

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Horwath View Post
    Well, it wouldn't be reliable talent if it weren't reliable.

    It only adresses the low skill dc's. His chance to roll high roll is the same. It just boosts roll of 10 or lower from 55% to 100%.

    Rogue is a skill master. This feature represents that.

    Higher dc's are as difficult as before this feature.

    Advantage should not be given away permanently. It is situational benefit.

    Sent from my SM-J320F using EN World mobile app
    Low skill DC's?

    Let's assume he's got a 20 Dex, so that's +5. He's 11th level, so that's a proficiency bonus of +4. Then he takes expertise in, say, Sleight of Hand, which doubles that prof bonus to +8 for a total of +13. So now he's disarming any trap and picking any lock with a DC 23 or lower automatically. Yeah, it's supposed to be, "reliable" but good grief! And I don't even really mind him having such high chances to beat those DC's; I mean, like you said, he's supposed to be a skill monkey. But to have absolutely no chance of failure seems really weird.

    And on the whole I'd much rather deal with permanent advantage to a feature than to have it be automatically successful 100% of the time (on 23 or lower DC's). That is just so... anticlimactic. If there's zero element of danger, what's the point?

    I'm not so worried about it in a dungeon delving situation since difficulties will ramp up as they get into higher levels. But the potential for abuse on a more mundane scale is almost too good to pass up.
    XP Coroc, 77IM gave XP for this post

  4. #4
    Member
    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Old Bridge, NJ
    Posts
    2,095
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    I Defended The Walls!Dragon Age RPGD&D

    Block Fanaelialae


    Friend+
    FWIW, we play with auto-fail on a 1, auto-success on a 20 and it has worked fine for us (even when I was playing a high level rogue). As long as you use the common sense rule of never rolling for a task that cannot fail or is impossible to succeed at, it works fine (at least for my table).

    That said, I see no issues with the rogue having no chance to fail at robbing a small town of all it's silver (or whatever). He's not going to get that much, compared to his level, and I would make certain that there are in game consequences. Not necessarily for him directly (since no one is likely to know he's the culprit) but it is going to cause significant disruption to the town. At the very least, the town is likely to become extremely unwelcoming to strangers, and if he returns in a few months he may find the previously happy inhabitants are now barely scraping by.

    In a city, it's different. Sure, there are a lot of people and places he can rob indiscriminately, but I would focus each time on one area or person that he discovers that is unusually well guarded. These are the high DC challenges where he can fail even using reliable talent. If he succeeds, reward him with whatever strange secrets or wealth these places may have been guarding. Of course, even if he succeeds, those with the resources to protect their wealth so seriously may use divination magic to discover his identity and hunt him down. Again, consequences.
    XP Satyrn, Greenstone.Walker, KahlessNestor, ljblakey, 77IM gave XP for this post
    Laugh cthulhu42 laughed with this post

  5. #5
    Just curious but did you also balk when the 3rd level mages got open lock that auto succeeded or fly spells which made climb really easy or the cantrip that stabilizes automatically or invisibility or tue sight or any number of the other class abikities and spells which made some formerly roll based challenges auto- pass?

    Sent from my VS995 using EN World mobile app
    XP MechaPilot, Gladius Legis, Ashkelon, guachi, steenan and 1 others gave XP for this post

  6. #6
    Member
    Lama (Lvl 13)



    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    1,509
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Sadras


    Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by cthulhu42 View Post
    My players are just on the verge of 12th level... (snip)... I can see no reason why he couldn't tell me he's going to go out on the town on a thieving spree and my whole job would be to just hand him a list of loot as long as he isn't breaking into the local thieves guild or the kings castle...
    Your concerns are valid, but commenting from my own perspective...

    At Level 12 characters should already be Guildmasters or Spymasters for the King, almost retired.
    Sometimes the fault lies with us DMs whereby the adventurers we set are too 'lower level' for the characters...

    If characters are still adventuring at 12TH they should be planar-hopping, or being caught up in the Githyanki or Blood War, dealing with the political intrigue and backstabbing of Sigil, negotiating with Archons, hunting evil dragons...

    But if you still insist on keeping the adventures grounded, perhaps introduce things such as animals (elite guard dogs with advantage on perception) or magical traps (alarm spell...etc)...you could also really change it up.
    i.e. At the same time he is stealing the King's scepter (unknowingly one of the pieces of the Rod of 7 Parts), a portal opens up whereby an alien super-thief or team enter the treasure room and steal it moments before him, and as a bonus, they decided to sound the alarm as they disappear back through their portal as it closes

    Now we have an adventure on our hands...
    Last edited by Sadras; Thursday, 30th November, 2017 at 02:01 PM.
    XP redrick, BookBarbarian, Gadget, Zipster, ljblakey and 4 others gave XP for this post
    Laugh cthulhu42, Coroc, Parmandur laughed with this post

  7. #7
    Member
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Brooklyn NY
    Posts
    1,447
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block TallIan


    Friend+
    I'm somewhat inclined to agree with you. Having an always on ability that pretty much guarantees success could lead to trouble and leads to boring situations where suspense and drama aren't present.

    If you plan to nerf this ability option 2 doesn't allow him to gain advantage from other sources, so make it different from advantage so that he can still get advantage. Maybe re-roll anything lower than 9, allowing him to have and advantage as well. This will be nearly as good and if he sets up advantage beforehand get four rolls to choose from.

    As for the mundane abuse problem, you might just have to be a little creative. Just because he successfully burgles every house in town doesn't mean he gets away with it. The night watchman still makes a perception check to spot him, people still know they've been robbed and demand an investigation. Unless your party wants to be a bunch of brigands, they'll police the rogue for you if he keeps landing the group in trouble.
    XP Wednesday Boy, ljblakey, 24Fanatic365, 77IM gave XP for this post
    Laugh cthulhu42 laughed with this post

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by 5ekyu View Post
    Just curious but did you also balk when the 3rd level mages got open lock that auto succeeded or fly spells which made climb really easy or the cantrip that stabilizes automatically or invisibility or tue sight or any number of the other class abikities and spells which made some formerly roll based challenges auto- pass?

    Sent from my VS995 using EN World mobile app
    Everything you mention, except the cantrip, requires a spell slot. Reliable Talent requires no expenditure of resources.

    Sent from my SGH-M919 using EN World mobile app
    XP ljblakey gave XP for this post

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Fanaelialae View Post
    FWIW, we play with auto-fail on a 1, auto-success on a 20 and it has worked fine for us (even when I was playing a high level rogue). As long as you use the common sense rule of never rolling for a task that cannot fail or is impossible to succeed at, it works fine (at least for my table).

    That said, I see no issues with the rogue having no chance to fail at robbing a small town of all it's silver (or whatever). He's not going to get that much, compared to his level, and I would make certain that there are in game consequences. Not necessarily for him directly (since no one is likely to know he's the culprit) but it is going to cause significant disruption to the town. At the very least, the town is likely to become extremely unwelcoming to strangers, and if he returns in a few months he may find the previously happy inhabitants are now barely scraping by.

    In a city, it's different. Sure, there are a lot of people and places he can rob indiscriminately, but I would focus each time on one area or person that he discovers that is unusually well guarded. These are the high DC challenges where he can fail even using reliable talent. If he succeeds, reward him with whatever strange secrets or wealth these places may have been guarding. Of course, even if he succeeds, those with the resources to protect their wealth so seriously may use divination magic to discover his identity and hunt him down. Again, consequences.
    Thanks, this is good advice. If I choose to nerf I'll probably go with a fail on a nat 1, and since he's got Luck it'll probably still never bite him.

    And I'm still a ways away from nerfing. In addition to advice from here I'm thinking I'll give it a few sessions to see it in play a bit more.

    Sent from my SGH-M919 using EN World mobile app

  10. #10
    Member
    Lama (Lvl 13)



    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    1,509
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Sadras


    Friend+
    Guys, the first section of HotDQ got flack for being too difficult for a newbie party. The reverse is also true. If you are running adventures where your 12th level character needs to break into houses and is being challenged by a mundane watchman you are bound to run into frustration as a DM.

    I'm not gonna say you are doing it wrong, because the PC police here will jump down my throat, but at that level you HAVE GOT to raise the ante in your adventures.
    Last edited by Sadras; Thursday, 30th November, 2017 at 03:51 PM.
    XP CapnZapp, DM Dave1, The Last Rogue gave XP for this post

+ Log in or register to post
Page 1 of 26 1234567891011 ... LastLast

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Similar Threads

  1. When -5/+10 starts becoming Very Reliable?
    By Zardnaar in forum D&D 5th Edition News, Rules, Homebrews, and House Rules
    Replies: 93
    Last Post: Wednesday, 16th March, 2016, 03:37 PM
  2. Reliable An Immediate Interrupts
    By Xyrlove Woodsoul in forum Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: Tuesday, 27th April, 2010, 09:31 PM
  3. FAQ: a reliable source?
    By Aaron in forum Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: Thursday, 7th June, 2007, 11:24 PM
  4. Looking for reliable player (D&D)
    By Thordain in forum Talking the Talk
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Friday, 6th June, 2003, 02:32 AM
  5. FL need more reliable players.
    By okuth0r in forum Gamers Seeking Gamers
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Monday, 7th April, 2003, 03:05 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •