5E, Acrobatics, and Parkour - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris-77 View Post
    It might be easier to just write up some maneuvers and give them a DC and base stat, with some DEX and some STR.
    That pretty much my plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by cmad1977 View Post
    Edit: mostly I try to gate as few actions behind die rolls as I can.
    I also agree with this - it solved a lot of my players problems when I realized climbing mostly didn't require rolls unless its particularly dangerous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris-77 View Post
    Not that it necessarily matters in a 5E skills context, but weak people can't do parkour, just like clumsy people can't.
    This is true, but thieves need to be able to climb walls!

    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    "Parkour" could be imagined as an overarching challenge that is divided into specific obstacles, the declared tasks for which may or may not call for ability checks as per the normal rules for adjudicating actions. Strength (Athletics) checks covers "difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping..." (Basic Rules, p. 62). Dexterity (Acrobatics) covers attempts to "stay on your feet in a tricky situation..." (Basic Rules, p. 63). As always, only the DM calls for checks after the player declares an action that has an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence for failure.

    So, in a rooftop chase or tricky exploration of a section of a dungeon (for example), you present a "parkour exploration challenge." That challenge has a set number of obstacles (say, 3 to 5) that are individually presented to the players via the DM describing the environment and asking "What do you do?" Examples might include a sheer wall with few handholds, a narrow beam connecting two rooftops, a low fence or barrier with sharp protrusions, etc. The players will describe how they try to get past it at which point you can decide if an ability check is required according to the rules for adjudicating actions. When the "parkour exploration challenge" is complete, you can assess the overall success or failure of the PCs based on how they managed the individual obstacles and narrate accordingly.

    This sits within the existing rules set and does not require any house rules or the like.
    This is a really good way to look at it - I am definitely wanting to keep things within the existing rule set and not get too outlandish. I have a challenge of this sort coming up in the next couple of sessions that has kind of crystallized my need to create some more concrete guidelines.

  2. #12
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    I'm with other, don't weaken Str by making all your stuff Dex based. Keep separate Parkour 'tasks' related to their appropriate skill. (Many/majority will be Dex, but some are Str.)

    For instance;
    - running up two close walls, Strength (Athletics).
    - jumping off a stair case and landing in a small area and not falling, Dexterity (Acrobatics)
    - jump distances based on Str, landing as desired so you can keep running Dex.
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  3. #13
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    Here's some of my ideas. Taking the three key actions that I mentioned earlier: parkouring up a wall in a narrow alley, wall running, and running up a wall to catch a ledge.

    The core idea is that, like jumping, parkouring is keyed to 10+dexterity or acrobatics bonus.

    Parkouring up a wall in an alley or narrow corridor: Alley must be narrow enough to allow this: 5 feet max width (could be larger for larger enemies. The idea of a parkouring Fire Giant amuses me). Movement up the wall costs double, the PC must end movement on a flat surface or by grabbing onto something or they will fall. The PC can parkour up to 5 ft + acrobatics and then grab a ledge above that according to their height (1.5 times their height, same as for Jumping). So a six foot tall PC with a +6 in Acrobatics could parkour up 11 feet and be standing on top of a wall, or grab a ledge 20 feet up.

    Movement in subsequent rounds is handled by the climbing skill unless they can get a running start somehow.

    Running up a wall to catch a ledge would work the same way.

    Wall running: a PC can wall run up to 5 ft + acrobatics in distance, but height of the ceiling limits this: ceiling height must equal or exceed the distance run. So using the PC with a +6 acrobatics, they could wall run 11 feet; but only so long as the ceiling is also 11 feet high as you need to run UP as well as horizontally. PC must end their turn on solid ground or fall.

    Just as Jumping allows you to jump 10 ft + Athletics bonus in feet without a roll, these are all passive checks. They also all require running starts of at least ten feet (as does Jumping) and distances are halved if starting from a dead stop. This doesn't preclude the value of climbing - it only gets you a slight head start if the climb is more than 15-20 feet.

    Extra movement (monk speed, rogues with dash) doesn't give you a bonus to your check but the movement may allow you to go further depending on circumstances. A 9th level monk can run up walls much more effectively than even the most skilled rogue, which is appropriate. Tricky circumstances would require checks, etc.

    That's my rough first draft.

    EDIT: I'd allow someone with athletics to do all of the same basic manouvers - though they might appear different. Think of the opening parkour chase in Casino Royale. The bad guys parkours all over the place, Bond mostly powers through obstacles but to the same eventual effect.
    Last edited by Kid Charlemagne; Monday, 24th June, 2019 at 08:05 PM.

  4. #14
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    Unless it was a mapped out tactical challenge with grid and minis including elevation, I wouldn't go this complicated with it.
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  5. #15
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    I agree in general - but I do have a specific challenge in mind for an upcoming session that is motivating me to put this down on paper.

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    The Thief's 'second story work' is designed for this.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Charlemagne View Post
    This is true, but thieves need to be able to climb walls!
    Then playing a thief who is rather unathletic and weak in comparison with their weight such as the couch potato (typical Str 8 example) is definitely playing against type. Such a thief would likely climb walls using grapples, ropes and other methods that might take more time, but allow easier rolls, or remove the need for rolls to climb altogether.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Charlemagne View Post
    Parkouring up a wall in an alley or narrow corridor: Alley must be narrow enough to allow this: 5 feet max width (could be larger for larger enemies. The idea of a parkouring Fire Giant amuses me). Movement up the wall costs double, the PC must end movement on a flat surface or by grabbing onto something or they will fall. The PC can parkour up to 5 ft + acrobatics and then grab a ledge above that according to their height (1.5 times their height, same as for Jumping). So a six foot tall PC with a +6 in Acrobatics could parkour up 11 feet and be standing on top of a wall, or grab a ledge 20 feet up.

    Wall running: a PC can wall run up to 5 ft + acrobatics in distance, but height of the ceiling limits this: ceiling height must equal or exceed the distance run. So using the PC with a +6 acrobatics, they could wall run 11 feet; but only so long as the ceiling is also 11 feet high as you need to run UP as well as horizontally. PC must end their turn on solid ground or fall.
    Both of these strike me as iconic use of Strength in 5e. - Although both Athletics or Acrobatics proficiency could be applied. They're all about power and maintaining momentum rather than balance and grace.
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  8. #18
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    Players want to climb with parkour ... that is athletics.
    Players want to jump really far ... that is athletics.
    Players want to flip over something ... that is acrobatics
    Players want to slide down something ... that is acrobatics
    Players want to run across something narrow ... that is acrobatics
    players want to leap off a buildings and land with out dying ... that is acrobatics to avoid some of the damage and athletics for distance.

    What Acrobatics isnt is the ability to climb something by using dex or jump really far by using dex.

    See THIEF 2nd story work. That sounds like what people are looking for but they dont want to play the Thief.

    Parkour masters are those who are athletic and acrobatic.

    edit: I liked the ability to bypass difficult terrain as an ability check.
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrathamon View Post
    Players want to climb with parkour ... that is athletics.
    Players want to jump really far ... that is athletics.
    Players want to flip over something ... that is acrobatics
    Players want to slide down something ... that is acrobatics
    Players want to run across something narrow ... that is acrobatics
    players want to leap off a buildings and land with out dying ... that is acrobatics to avoid some of the damage and athletics for distance.

    What Acrobatics isnt is the ability to climb something by using dex or jump really far by using dex.

    See THIEF 2nd story work. That sounds like what people are looking for but they dont want to play the Thief.

    Parkour masters are those who are athletic and acrobatic.

    edit: I liked the ability to bypass difficult terrain as an ability check.
    Keep in mind that 5E presents checks as ability checks, not skill checks. So what you're actually supposed to be doing is saying "What ability works here? Strength or Dexterity?" then ask "Is a character Proficient in X and would it apply?"

    This allows you figure out what any character can do, and the those that are proficient are better at that thing. Works for any skill.
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