D&D 5E 5e consequence-resolution

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Okay, so that's what I'm asking about. Having set target numbers. From the article you linked:

To do something roll+stat.
  • On a 10+ you do the thing, with no complications.
  • On a 7-9 you do the thing, but with complications.
  • On a 6- the GM will determine what happens.
The complications that come from a 7-9 are often in the form of some list that the player can select and then present to the GM.

So there are set Target Numbers. How do you think this would benefit a game? What might be the drawbacks?
I’m not Oofta but My immediate thought is all tasks using a particular stat have the same chance of success regardless of how easy or difficult they are in the fiction. That’s odd. I’d immediately think, how does this work if I try to persuade the king to give me his kingdom. Does that result fictionally make sense for a success?
 

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hawkeyefan

Legend
I’m not Oofta but My immediate thought is all tasks using a particular stat have the same chance of success regardless of how easy or difficult they are in the fiction. That’s odd. I’d immediately think, how does this work if I try to persuade the king to give me his kingdom. Does that result fictionally make sense for a success?

Sure, that's a good question, and a valid point. The PbtA games I'm familiar with may have additional mechanics to add to this (for example, Stonetop has Advantage/Disadvantage very similar to 5e). The GM also has the ability to say something is not possible, or that it may take more than one success to accomplish (again, this may vary a bit by game).

So, the example you gave of convincing a king to give you his kingdom isn't going to work, unless there's a compelling reason that it may. Same for simpler tasks; you generally aren't going to roll unless there is something at risk.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Sure, that's a good question, and a valid point. The PbtA games I'm familiar with may have additional mechanics to add to this (for example, Stonetop has Advantage/Disadvantage very similar to 5e). The GM also has the ability to say something is not possible, or that it may take more than one success to accomplish (again, this may vary a bit by game).

So, the example you gave of convincing a king to give you his kingdom isn't going to work, unless there's a compelling reason that it may. Same for simpler tasks; you generally aren't going to roll unless there is something at risk.
Indeed, in games like PbtA, the DM/gamemaster/storyteller has a lot of say as to whether an action can be attempted or not (or if it's worth a roll to attempt or not). And if it does, it may be a long process requiring several successes over a period of time (like the progress clocks in Blades in the Dark). Also, the DM decides the starting position which in turns determines the severity of the consequences. Convincing the king to hand over his kingdom might be a 12-step progress clock where a failure makes you a traitor scheduled to be executed in the next hour...

So even in games like blades in the dark or Aliens, dice rolls are still dependent on the arbitration of the gamemaster, not unlike a D&D DM deciding on the DC and the consequences of failure in case of a failed check.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
If we're looking at a game like Dungeon World (a PBtA hack), there really isn't a move for trying to convince the king to give you the keys to the kingdom. If there's no move, there's no roll. DM decides.
 

convincing a king to give you his kingdom
convince the king to give you the keys to the kingdom.

I always find this funny... if you were watching or reading about a grifter/con man you would not only be rooting for this, but by the end of the story it would seem silly for the king NOT to give it up... but it's never just a word or sentence or single action.

so why does everyone go there?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I always find this funny... if you were watching or reading about a grifter/con man you would not only be rooting for this, but by the end of the story it would seem silly for the king NOT to give it up... but it's never just a word or sentence or single action.

so why does everyone go there?
Because RPG forums are a hell of our own making wherein we discuss three silly examples for all eternity: (1) asking the king to give you the kingdom; (2) someone jumping or falling off a cliff for some reason; and (3) whether or not someone knows about fire hurting trolls.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I always find this funny... if you were watching or reading about a grifter/con man you would not only be rooting for this, but by the end of the story it would seem silly for the king NOT to give it up... but it's never just a word or sentence or single action.

so why does everyone go there?

I think typically it's because folks try to use absurd examples as if they really illuminate anything about play.

I think also, when one doesn't actually play a game, one cannot offer any actual examples from play. So usually, they're posting some imagined boogeyman of how play must fall apart rather than anything that resembles actual play.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Indeed, in games like PbtA, the DM/gamemaster/storyteller has a lot of say as to whether an action can be attempted or not (or if it's worth a roll to attempt or not). And if it does, it may be a long process requiring several successes over a period of time (like the progress clocks in Blades in the Dark). Also, the DM decides the starting position which in turns determines the severity of the consequences. Convincing the king to hand over his kingdom might be a 12-step progress clock where a failure makes you a traitor scheduled to be executed in the next hour...

So even in games like blades in the dark or Aliens, dice rolls are still dependent on the arbitration of the gamemaster, not unlike a D&D DM deciding on the DC and the consequences of failure in case of a failed check.
Not at all in the same way, and I disagree with your opening sentence pretty strongly. The GM is not a gate that actions need to pass to be implemented in these games. I've never once been told, nor have I told my players when running, that an action is not allowed. The closest that I've seen is when an action is declared that is wildly at odds with other's understanding of the fiction (not just the GM's) and then there's a discussion. Nothing at all in the game texts even suggest that the GM is the gate that actions need to pass -- this isn't mentioned as a duty of the GM. And in games that are very clear about what jobs people have at the table, you'd think such a thing would be mentioned if it was intended.

Also, everything is in the open and transparent for everyone. And open for challenge. Your example of negotiating the king to hand over the kingdom is badly flawed in many ways. 1) this shouldn't be happening at all, because it's violating the principles of play on the players side. The idea that you can get to the king and then have a discussion to get him to give you the kingdom is not what these games entertain as play to begin with. This isn't a problem the GM needs to address as a GM, but one that needs to stop the game and have a serious table discussion about what it is you're all doing. 2) if, for the sake of argument, it does happen, then the GM's choices about the challenge are still bound by the principles of play, and since everything is in the open, players can look and challenge on that basis. So if it is in play (arguendo) then the GM's choice here aren't 100% fiat 'suck it up players' because they can hold the GM's feet to the fire and call that table break as well on the GM as they can on the players. And, since everyone in these games should be engaged with playing to find out and fully onboard with the games agendas and principles, this isn't even a thing that's worrisome or challenging to the people.

Aliens, on the other hand, is rather traditional in it's authority structure. It's not at all the same kind of game as Blades in the Dark, but much more like D&D in it's authorities and structures. So, yeah, the Aliens GM should be making a lot of judgement calls about the fiction and presenting those as they bear on play in a way that wouldn't look at all odd at a D&D table. But Blades? Not even close to how D&D plays. And the GM is very much more constrained in their judgement, where it applies, and how it's used.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Not at all in the same way, and I disagree with your opening sentence pretty strongly. The GM is not a gate that actions need to pass to be implemented in these games. I've never once been told, nor have I told my players when running, that an action is not allowed. The closest that I've seen is when an action is declared that is wildly at odds with other's understanding of the fiction (not just the GM's) and then there's a discussion. Nothing at all in the game texts even suggest that the GM is the gate that actions need to pass -- this isn't mentioned as a duty of the GM. And in games that are very clear about what jobs people have at the table, you'd think such a thing would be mentioned if it was intended.

Yeah, this is a good summation. I think I mentioned how the GM can say something is impossible, but that was in response to the aforementioned absurd example. Typically, the GM doesn't have to do that, because most folks aren't going to attempt things that the fiction indicates are impossible.

If they do, then usually what happens is a discussion, as you say, and a resetting of understanding and/or expectations.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I’m not Oofta but My immediate thought is all tasks using a particular stat have the same chance of success regardless of how easy or difficult they are in the fiction. That’s odd. I’d immediately think, how does this work if I try to persuade the king to give me his kingdom. Does that result fictionally make sense for a success?
Modifiers still apply (and DCs are converted to modifiers, in my version.)

So the difficulty is arrived at by summing the modifiers, rather than as a number to beat.
 

Oofta

Legend
Okay, so that's what I'm asking about. Having set target numbers. From the article you linked:

To do something roll+stat.
  • On a 10+ you do the thing, with no complications.
  • On a 7-9 you do the thing, but with complications.
  • On a 6- the GM will determine what happens.
The complications that come from a 7-9 are often in the form of some list that the player can select and then present to the GM.

So there are set Target Numbers. How do you think this would benefit a game? What might be the drawbacks?

Well, first, I do basically that for some checks now. I think some things, like opening a lock when you need to do it quickly are too binary for this. In other cases if you have time the 7-9 would be something along the lines of "It takes a while [depending on the actual roll], but you manage to open it, leaving a few scratches on the lock. It's obvious it's been picked." versus clear success that you left no indication. A failure can be anything from "you just can't get it" to "your lock pick broke off and now it's jammed". If it's a check for information of some kind it can be a matter of how much you reveal or if you fail by enough you get incorrect information.

All of this is in the DMG under Resolution and Consequences in the Dungeon Master's Workshop section.

Follow-up question. Why is it so hard to just type up what you typed up? To me it's not rude to tell people "other games do it better but I can't be bothered to explain", it's also shutting down any conversation. Why is it that every time I happen to say I like something D&D does or, heaven forbid, mention the popularity of the champion fighter according to DndBeyond, I'm "shutting down the conversation" but literally telling someone "go look it up" is not?

EDIT: I assume in D&D it would be prof + ability bonus vs some DC targets. Roll + stat doesn't really make sense.
 

Oofta

Legend
Modifiers still apply (and DCs are converted to modifiers, in my version.)

So the difficulty is arrived at by summing the modifiers, rather than as a number to beat.

But you still add up modifiers and rolls, correct? Doesn't that ultimately mean you're targeting some set of numbers? In D&D if I have a history check for example, I could have any number of targets for my check. 5: you've heard something about this; 10: you remember some minor details and so on up to 25+: you could write a thesis on this.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Well, first, I do basically that for some checks now. I think some things, like opening a lock when you need to do it quickly are too binary for this. In other cases if you have time the 7-9 would be something along the lines of "It takes a while [depending on the actual roll], but you manage to open it, leaving a few scratches on the lock. It's obvious it's been picked." versus clear success that you left no indication. A failure can be anything from "you just can't get it" to "your lock pick broke off and now it's jammed". If it's a check for information of some kind it can be a matter of how much you reveal or if you fail by enough you get incorrect information.

All of this is in the DMG under Resolution and Consequences in the Dungeon Master's Workshop section.

Well, partial success or success with consequence is in the DMG as an optional rule, yes.

I don't know if static DCs are. Like a 16 is ALWAYS a success and a 13-15 is ALWAYS a partial success, and 12 or lower is ALWAYS a failure.

Having set DCs is a bit different than tiers of success. It greatly reduces the chance for GM force or fudging and it offers the players clear and specific chances of success. It's all very player facing. With default 5e D&D, that's not the case.

Follow-up question. Why is it so hard to just type up what you typed up? To me it's not rude to tell people "other games do it better but I can't be bothered to explain", it's also shutting down any conversation. Why is it that every time I happen to say I like something D&D does or, heaven forbid, mention the popularity of the champion fighter according to DndBeyond, I'm "shutting down the conversation" but literally telling someone "go look it up" is not?

I don't know, but I'm not really interested in the conversation about the conversation. People get frustrated in these discussions at times, it happens. When it does and I'm involved, I try to see how I may have contributed and I keep that in mind for future interactions. Beyond that, I can't worry too much about it.
 

Oofta

Legend
Well, partial success or success with consequence is in the DMG as an optional rule, yes.

I don't know if static DCs are. Like a 16 is ALWAYS a success and a 13-15 is ALWAYS a partial success, and 12 or lower is ALWAYS a failure.

Having set DCs is a bit different than tiers of success. It greatly reduces the chance for GM force or fudging and it offers the players clear and specific chances of success. It's all very player facing. With default 5e D&D, that's not the case.
My example was just that, an example. I'll normally roughly follow the guidelines found in the DMG. So in my world identifying a holy symbol of Idun (goddess of life and healing) would be automatic for a cleric of the pantheon and a 5 for everyone else. Identifying that there's a slight modification that indicates a secret sect not heard of in a century might be a 30. It's pretty situational based on what I think the PCs could reasonably know.

But I think degrees of success and how you determine target numbers for each degree of success are probably different issues.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
But you still add up modifiers and rolls, correct? Doesn't that ultimately mean you're targeting some set of numbers? In D&D if I have a history check for example, I could have any number of targets for my check. 5: you've heard something about this; 10: you remember some minor details and so on up to 25+: you could write a thesis on this.
It makes it easier to parse an index with more entries. The sliding index is inherently fiddly to parse.

But then the ease - the fixed entries - somehow makes you more thoughtful about the consequences themselves, and the range of nuance in that. It's clearer with the deal is... it guides you better, is what I'm finding.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
My example was just that, an example. I'll normally roughly follow the guidelines found in the DMG. So in my world identifying a holy symbol of Idun (goddess of life and healing) would be automatic for a cleric of the pantheon and a 5 for everyone else. Identifying that there's a slight modification that indicates a secret sect not heard of in a century might be a 30. It's pretty situational based on what I think the PCs could reasonably know.

But I think degrees of success and how you determine target numbers for each degree of success are probably different issues.

Yes, that's exactly what I meant; they are different issues.

Having set DCs that never vary wouldn't work for D&D because of the ever-escalating proficiency/skills/attributes.

But if it did work, as it does with PbtA games, what it does is removes any ambiguity from the process. I know that when I pick up the dice, if I roll a 10+ I get a full success. Nothing changes that.

With 5e as presented, the GM can share the DC or not, they can set it at whatever number pops into their head, they can ignore it and determine success or failure based on whim....and so on.
 

But if it did work, as it does with PbtA games, what it does is removes any ambiguity from the process. I know that when I pick up the dice, if I roll a 10+ I get a full success. Nothing changes that.

With 5e as presented, the GM can share the DC or not, they can set it at whatever number pops into their head, they can ignore it and determine success or failure based on whim....and so on.
Whilst I get the benefit you're saying the first has, I definitely prefer the latter by a huge margin. Everything being equally hard unless it is totally impossible is just way too jarring to me.

Though I definitely think that in 5e the GM should have disciplined and principled approach with setting the DCs and interpreting the results, and I'm sure that a lot of GMs don't. If the DCs feel completely arbitrary to the players, then I certainly understand why a flat difficulty might start to seem appealing.
 
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hawkeyefan

Legend
Whilst I get the benefit you're saying the first has, I definitely prefer the latter by a huge margin. Everything being equally hard unless it is totally impossible is just way too jarring to me.

Though I definitely think that in 5e the GM should have disciplined and principled approach with setting the DCs and interpreting the results, and I'm sure that a lot of GMs don't. If the DCs feel completely arbitrary to the players, then I certainly understand why a flat difficulty might start seem appealing.

Yeah, I get the idea of varying difficulty, but I don’t think it’s quite as big a deal as it may seem.

As mentioned earlier, players aren’t going to be rolling for things that are essentially impossible or for things that are easy. So anything that requires a roll is something that’s challenging by nature.

There sometimes may be rules (depending on the version of PbtA) that may make a given roll more or less difficult, but those are pretty situational, and not present in all versions of the system.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Because RPG forums are a hell of our own making wherein we discuss three silly examples for all eternity: (1) asking the king to give you the kingdom; (2) someone jumping or falling off a cliff for some reason; and (3) whether or not someone knows about fire hurting trolls.
You forgot Schrodinger's ogre.
 

Oofta

Legend
Yes, that's exactly what I meant; they are different issues.

Having set DCs that never vary wouldn't work for D&D because of the ever-escalating proficiency/skills/attributes.

But if it did work, as it does with PbtA games, what it does is removes any ambiguity from the process. I know that when I pick up the dice, if I roll a 10+ I get a full success. Nothing changes that.

With 5e as presented, the GM can share the DC or not, they can set it at whatever number pops into their head, they can ignore it and determine success or failure based on whim....and so on.
It's an interesting way of looking at it, I'm just not sure it's better. But maybe i don't understand. If a PC in D&D needs to climb a wall it can go anywhere from so easy that it's automatic to mountain goats are going to think you're crazy to think you can climb that and everywhere in between.

So would there be no difference in PbtA games? Is a character as likely to climb every wall no matter how difficult it would be in real life, or do you just not have checks for this kind of thing?

Edit: I should probably read a post or two before responding. But having a static target number wouldn't make sense to me much of the time. Having no difference between a rocky cliff face with decent handhold vs a shear wall that can be climbed if you're really good would be odd.
 
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