Unsatisfied with the D&D 5e skill system - Page 19
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  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    Well, the good news is that climbing in D&D 5e is a factor of speed and ability checks are only necessary if there's something about the climb that makes it uncertain, such as a slippery vertical surface or few handholds.
    Don't those things factor into the DC, not into whether or not a roll is necessary? We already decided this is a moderate climb, not a beginner one. We already decided the penalty for failure is something nasty, simply because you're climbing the side of a mountain. But now we need another, different evaluation of the climb difficulty to determine whether it's possible to fail or not... and if we decide it's not difficult, then it's fine for the worst climber in the world to attempt the moderate climb with fatal consequences, because he never actually needs to roll...

  2. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saeviomagy View Post
    Right... and in this case, our max-level, max-strength, trained in climbing figher (edit - argh, barbarian succeeds automatically!) can feel confident that he can attempt a moderate climb and not risk death! Effectively reducing DCs by 5 feels better than where DCs are currently, because it brings results into the 'cannot possibly fail' region more often.
    "Cannot possibly fail" is also known as DM Narrates Success, and it's not slaved to bonuses or DCs - in fact, it precedes the determination of the DC by the DM.

    There's no need to tweak rules to get there more often, just narrate success more often. As DM, you are /Empowered/ to do so!
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  3. #183
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    Yeah, if you look at something as a GM and you think "there's no way he should muff this" then there's no rolling necessary. You only need to roll and adjudicate if there's a possibility of and consequence for failure.

  4. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saeviomagy View Post
    Don't those things factor into the DC, not into whether or not a roll is necessary? We already decided this is a moderate climb, not a beginner one. We already decided the penalty for failure is something nasty, simply because you're climbing the side of a mountain. But now we need another, different evaluation of the climb difficulty to determine whether it's possible to fail or not... and if we decide it's not difficult, then it's fine for the worst climber in the world to attempt the moderate climb with fatal consequences, because he never actually needs to roll...
    That's the basic adjudication process though. First the DM decides if a roll is necessary at all. Climbing is called out specifically as being just movement except in certain circumstances.

    A DC can only be set once the task is established by the player in a reasonably specific way such that the DM can decide if there's an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence for failure. Climbing in particular just costs 2 feet of movement for every 1 foot of progress, no check necessary, unless there's something complicating things e.g. slippery vertical surface, few handholds, the need to avoid specific hazards, or trying to avoid being knocked off by something.

    The DM has two basic options for narrating failure - no progress toward the objective or progress combined with a setback. Plus there are some other options in the DMG - success at a cost (fail by 1 or 2 is success with complication or hindrance), degrees of failure like something bad happening only if you fail by 5 or more, and critical failure (some extra bad result on a 1).

  5. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    There's no need to tweak rules to get there more often, just narrate success more often. As DM, you are /Empowered/ to do so!
    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    That's the basic adjudication process though. First the DM decides if a roll is necessary at all. Climbing is called out specifically as being just movement except in certain circumstances.
    Since we're already talking about using the skill system, lets assume that there is some doubt about success here. After all, it's pretty trivial to describe obstacles and then describe characters overcoming them with ease. Doesn't sound much fun though...
    A DC can only be set once the task is established by the player in a reasonably specific way such that the DM can decide if there's an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence for failure. Climbing in particular just costs 2 feet of movement for every 1 foot of progress, no check necessary, unless there's something complicating things e.g. slippery vertical surface, few handholds, the need to avoid specific hazards, or trying to avoid being knocked off by something.
    First up, this is rubbish. It's not how any published adventure works, nor does it make a lot of sense: you don't assign a different DC to each character who wants to climb a wall based on how you, the DM, feel about their chances. And if you have to... that's a problem. At that point I may as well scrap the entire skill system because it's making my job more difficult, not easier.
    The DM has two basic options for narrating failure - no progress toward the objective or progress combined with a setback. Plus there are some other options in the DMG - success at a cost (fail by 1 or 2 is success with complication or hindrance), degrees of failure like something bad happening only if you fail by 5 or more, and critical failure (some extra bad result on a 1).
    I already addressed the concept of a world of adventure (or even mundanity) where performing a dangerous climb has zero chance of injury to those woefully incompetent in the field of rock climbing. It's a ridiculous concept. There's a reason why even experts don't go rock climbing alone with no safety gear.

    I covered the degree of failure thing too - it's equivalent to lowering DCs across the board. It's better, but you still don't see a lot of difference between the worst of the worst and people-with-high-modifiers-but-no-class-abilities-that-guarantee-success (I'm happy excluding those who do have auto-success class abilities, because they're not really using the skill system any more).
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  6. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saeviomagy View Post
    First up, this is rubbish. It's not how any published adventure works, nor does it make a lot of sense: you don't assign a different DC to each character who wants to climb a wall based on how you, the DM, feel about their chances.
    Sure you do, if one character climbs the wall in a way that is meaningfully different than someone else, then the DC can vary. If the approach to climbing is largely the same, then it is reasonable to assign the same DC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saeviomagy View Post
    And if you have to... that's a problem. At that point I may as well scrap the entire skill system because it's making my job more difficult, not easier.
    It's the role of the DM as described by the game to judge these matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saeviomagy View Post
    I already addressed the concept of a world of adventure (or even mundanity) where performing a dangerous climb has zero chance of injury to those woefully incompetent in the field of rock climbing. It's a ridiculous concept. There's a reason why even experts don't go rock climbing alone with no safety gear.

    I covered the degree of failure thing too - it's equivalent to lowering DCs across the board. It's better, but you still don't see a lot of difference between the worst of the worst and people-with-high-modifiers-but-no-class-abilities-that-guarantee-success (I'm happy excluding those who do have auto-success class abilities, because they're not really using the skill system any more).
    It's a good thing the game isn't even a simulation of a world of sword and sorcery let alone the real world. What we have our mechanics to resolve uncertainty as to the outcome of a task in moments where the consequence for failure is meaningful. That requires some judgment on the part of the DM as to whether and when to call for ability checks and to select one of several failure options to narrate the result of the adventurers' actions (if they fail).

  7. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saeviomagy View Post
    Since we're already talking about using the skill system, lets assume that there is some doubt about success here...
    "Automatic success" is when there isn't, though, and that's determined before DCs are set. If the DM calls for a check, but sets a DC the character can't fail, the /DM has failed/ and DMs should avoid the appearance of fallibility as much as possible, it undermines the level of trust needed from the players.

    First up, this is rubbish. It's not how any published adventure works
    A published adventure is a tool to help the DM along, setting DCs for him is an exception to the usual mode of play, but the DM needn't abide by it, it's there to aid, not constrain.
    nor does it make a lot of sense: you don't assign a different DC to each character who wants to climb a wall based on how you, the DM, feel about their chances. And if you have to... that's a problem. At that point I may as well scrap the entire skill system because it's making my job more difficult, not easier.
    Why wouldn't you? A climb might be harder for character than another, irrespective of attribute or training for other reasons - hand-holds might be spaced for a human, but too far apart for a halfling, for instance - or conversely may bear the weight of a halfling easily, but not a human. Training can imply long familiarity, which might make a task trivial (no check), while without training it's still a challenge (roll vs DC).

    I covered the degree of failure thing too - it's equivalent to lowering DCs across the board.
    It's also just part of narrating failure, and doesn't need numbers attached. The DM can narrate a failure as falling further behind someone you're climbing after, or literally falling off the cliffs of insanity...
    a nice one will even make it clear which is at stake...
    It's better, but you still don't see a lot of difference between the worst of the worst and people-with-high-modifiers-but-no-class-abilities-that-guarantee-success
    That's BA, it's an intentional design feature. The DM can inject a greater difference by narrating success for the high-bonus characters more often, or narrating failure for the worst of the worst more often, or both. He can also narrate success/failure for them differently. When the incompetent fails, he fails hard and comically from his own ineptitude, when the expert fails, it's a fluke and he recovers quickly.

    You're expecting too much from the "system" (there isn't really even a 'skill system' in the sense there was in 3.x or RQII or the like, there's the basic d20 mechanic, and proficiency), and not enough from the DM.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Tuesday, 28th May, 2019 at 10:37 PM.
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  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    "Automatic success" is when there isn't, though, and that's determined before DCs are set. If the DM calls for a check, but sets a DC the character can't fail, the /DM has failed/ and DMs should avoid the appearance of fallibility as much as possible, it undermines the level of trust needed from the players.
    So now the skill system requires me to know every skill number on every player's sheet or I'll be labelled a failure?
    Why wouldn't you? A climb might be harder for character than another, irrespective of attribute or training for other reasons - hand-holds might be spaced for a human, but too far apart for a halfling, for instance - or conversely may bear the weight of a halfling easily, but not a human. Training can imply long familiarity, which might make a task trivial (no check), while without training it's still a challenge (roll vs DC).
    Then why are we even bothering with numbers? This is about dissatisfaction with the skill system, and this is pretty representative of a skill system that just doesn't work - you have to make up the numbers for each player on a case by case basis, and the only influence the actual system has is now I ALSO have to be wary that my arbitrary numbers don't fall into the automatic success or failure cases of each character.
    It's also just part of narrating failure, and doesn't need numbers attached. The DM can narrate a failure as falling further behind someone you're climbing after, or literally falling off the cliffs of insanity...
    a nice one will even make it clear which is at stake...
    Yes, I'm perfectly well aware of how a DM can decide the price of failure. Again - I can just do that. The skill system doesn't help me in the slightest.
    That's BA, it's an intentional design feature. The DM can inject a greater difference by narrating success for the high-bonus characters more often, or narrating failure for the worst of the worst more often, or both. He can also narrate success/failure for them differently. When the incompetent fails, he fails hard and comically from his own ineptitude, when the expert fails, it's a fluke and he recovers quickly.
    Design features can be wrong, so stating that doesn't make any ground for your argument. Whether or not someone intended the skill system to be a step worse than just making things up based on how you feel about a character doesn't change whether or not that was the result.
    You're expecting too much from the "system" (there isn't really even a 'skill system' in the sense there was in 3.x or RQII or the like, there's the basic d20 mechanic, and proficiency), and not enough from the DM.
    Because what's expected from the DM is "everything that you would have to do if there was literally no skill system at all, but now you also have to know character's stats to avoid getting the numbers wrong, and the players have probably read the skill system and formed expectations from it, so expect an entirely new set of arguments based on how bad those numbers are".

    That's why people are dissatisfied. They're not doing the wrong thing - the skill system as presented in 5e is literally worse than nothing.
    Last edited by Saeviomagy; Thursday, 30th May, 2019 at 12:50 AM.
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  9. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saeviomagy View Post
    So now the skill system requires me to know every skill number on every player's sheet or I'll be labelled a failure?
    Well, you could have that info behind the screen. Or ask them when they declare an action. Besides, at a given level, there should be some 'safe' DCs.


    Then why are we even bothering with numbers? This is about dissatisfaction with the skill system, and this is pretty representative of a skill system that just doesn't work - you have to make up the numbers for each player on a case by case basis, and the only influence the actual system has is now I ALSO have to be wary that my arbitrary numbers don't fall into the automatic success or failure cases of each character.
    Your numbers shouldn't be arbitrary, of course, otherwise you wouldn't be considering each character when setting a DC. And, it's only if you don't settle on success or failure as being the better narrative result that you go to the trouble of check. As @Morrus; has pointed out, once players are used to it, they'll angle to get narrated success rather than checks, as much as possible.
    So it really just gets easier.

    Because what's expected from the DM is "everything
    Yep. Empowerment.

    No pay bump, either. Oh, no wait, what are you being paid now? Nothing? We'll DOUBLE it!



    OK, sorry, that got too flippant, even for me.
    Seriously, though, part of the solution is that what you're considering the skill system is not the whole skill system, the DM judging success/failure is also part of it, can be the larger part. So the actual numbers and proficiency write-ups can be, by far, the smallest part of resolving player actions, most of it can be just you & your players, having fun. As long as they trust your judgement.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Thursday, 30th May, 2019 at 01:58 AM.

  10. #190
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    That is a lot of salt. Don't get me wrong, I like a little salt on my rhetoric, I feel like it really brings out the full range of flavours in a post. Not just the dissatisfaction, but the rage and angst too. When you add the long multi quote it smooths out the rough edges on the palate and really pulls the whole post together. When you add too much salt though, especially when mixed with store bought sarcasm, it can really bring the whole thing down.

    I've played worse than nothing. 5E ain't it.

    Tony beat me to the post. The above was not @Tony Vargas
    Last edited by Fenris-77; Thursday, 30th May, 2019 at 01:58 AM.
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