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5E low level monster skill checks

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
It could also be argued, at least in the case of Stealth, that surprise is a very powerful effect and that even monsters one imagines are good at lurking can't pull off surprise with certainty or near certainty all the time. Even so, a monster with training in Stealth is likely to be able to surprise some of the PCs but not all and that's still pretty useful.
My thoughts exactly. This is not necessarily about having a radar to identify a threat in the distance, but for determining surprise when the balloon goes up. Does your "spidey-sense" tingle or not? And a perceptive PC can certainly pick up clues related to the looming threat. But they're not going to say "30ft over there are two dire wolves lurking waiting to ambush us, so let's nuke 'em and move on. Yawn..."
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
My thoughts exactly. This is not necessarily about having a radar to identify a threat in the distance, but for determining surprise when the balloon goes up. Does your "spidey-sense" tingle or not? And a perceptive PC can certainly pick up clues related to the looming threat. But they're not going to say "30ft over there are two dire wolves lurking waiting to ambush us, so let's nuke 'em and move on. Yawn..."
Right, and it's not like many DMs are going to choose to have monsters "waste" a turn to take the Hide action in combat when they tend to live no more than 3 turns on average. So this objection must chiefly be about surprise which is powerful enough that arguably working only sometimes on some PCs hits the mark.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Right, and it's not like many DMs are going to choose to have monsters "waste" a turn to take the Hide action in combat when they tend to live no more than 3 turns on average. So this objection must chiefly be about surprise which is powerful enough that arguably working only sometimes on some PCs hits the mark.
It all comes back to the first rule of DMing. Is there uncertainty about the result of an action? If the monster is a super-stealthy creature that always gets the drop on its victims (such as a Shadow), then that's what happens. No uncertainty there. The only thing to resolve, when it launches its attack, is whether any of the PCs can react fast enough (high enough perception to not be surprised) to try to combat the creature in the first round.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I'm really not trying to be annoying. I just don't see how things can go the way you want
Just imagine rubbing out that pathetic +3 modifier and write in +12 or whatever. It really is that simple.

If it makes you feel better, they could also add a throw-away line addressing this in the NPC generation guidelines.

In other words, it's so simple there is no excuse WotC flubbed it so badly.

Yes it's easy to do yourself, but the point is: we shouldn't have to do it ourselves. It is entirely reasonable to expect this low bar on quality on published material you buy for money.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Yes, and parties are invariably led by a high-Wisdom Perception-trained character, since players are not stupid.

So the DC monsters need to beat is 16 or 17. At first level.

Good luck finding a monster described as "super sneaky" that does not stand an overwhelming chance of failing miserably at doing the one thing it's there for: executing an ambush of the PCs...

About the stealthiest MM monster I could find at CR 2 or lower was the Shadow and its +6 modifier. That still means it fails more than half the time against a zero xp character. And its a frikkin' shadow. And even that assumes the party isn't bringing a lantern.

Tl;dr: the skill scores of MM monsters (mainly their Athletics and Stealth, but also Perception) is downright pathetic.
"So the DC monsters need to beat is 16 or 17. At first level."

Huh?

Point buy and str array gives you a 17 cap on abilities at 1st level. For +3.
Proficiency is +2.

That is passive percrption of 15 assuming that's the lead guy at first level.

So, a wolf being sneaky needs to roll 15 - not 16-17 - since contests like this have ties go to the prior status- the wolf was unseen before the check, so tie does not reveal the wolf.

With stealth +4 that's z toll of 11 needed do 50/50.


Flip the situation, PCs sneak up on wolf. Wolf gets advantage due to keen senses and so has passive per of 18.


That's gonna require that first level sneaker with +5 net bonus yo roll 13+. So, a little tougher.

Now, the outlier might be s variant human taking like observant at first or one of the dex+1 to get to 18 dex. But nowxwexare into very specific outliers, not routine play.


By tier-2 and lateer tier-1 with magic, this changes of course.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Just imagine rubbing out that pathetic +3 modifier and write in +12 or whatever. It really is that simple.

If it makes you feel better, they could also add a throw-away line addressing this in the NPC generation guidelines.

In other words, it's so simple there is no excuse WotC flubbed it so badly.

Yes it's easy to do yourself, but the point is: we shouldn't have to do it ourselves. It is entirely reasonable to expect this low bar on quality on published material you buy for money.
It's also reasonable to at some point recognize your own belief about what the gsme should have been or what you have idolized "bounded accuracy" to mean is clearly not at all what the designers said, meant, intended or designed.

They did not build the game you wsnt, in some parts, but thsts not the same as them "flubbing" because it's not the way you woulda should a could a done it.

Like in the other thread where you bang your vision of "bounded accuracy" vs the design, your thinking and imaging it should a been another wwy doesnt mean it's a design fail or flub, just a game with stuff you dont like.

It seems not just obvious by design and intent but explicitly stated that certain threats will sunset and become non-threats as PCs advance.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
I believe that surprise is difficult to achieve in 5e by design.

If the monsters surprise even half of the PCs that could increase the encounter difficulty by one whole category.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
Just imagine rubbing out that pathetic +3 modifier and write in +12 or whatever. It really is that simple.

Where is the +12 coming from? 17th level PC's with 20 ability scores have +11 and don't have 20 in all stats and proficiency in all checks. It takes expertise or equivalent to get +12; or feat selection or advantage on a passive check.

Seems like we're looking at extremes instead of norms here.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Nah, the skill scores of MM critters are obviously too weak, and only someone like you can't admit it.

The only question is why you can't bring yourself to see the obvious.
The alternate question would be why can't you bring yourself to see the obvious that the vast number of people who respond you simply disagree with your opinion?

It's one thing to say "I don't like what they did" and another to repetitively and continuously put down not only the developers but everyone else who disagrees with you. There is no such thing as a perfect game, I for one appreciate that 5E gave us enough slack to tweak the game to suit our needs. It seems like you just want to use that slack to hang the developers and everyone else that doesn't have your hangup.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Where is the +12 coming from? 17th level PC's with 20 ability scores have +11 and don't have 20 in all stats and proficiency in all checks. It takes expertise or equivalent to get +12; or feat selection or advantage on a passive check.

Seems like we're looking at extremes instead of norms here.
I did have a player who ran a bard that had a ludicrously high perception check. IIRC it was 20 plus between items, feats, expertise and a high wisdom. But he was definitely the exception to the rule.

But even he wouldn't be able to detect a sneak attack if he could not clearly see or hear an enemy before they attacked.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
I did have a player who ran a bard that had a ludicrously high perception check. IIRC it was 20 plus between items, feats, expertise and a high wisdom. But he was definitely the exception to the rule.

But even he wouldn't be able to detect a sneak attack if he could not clearly see or hear an enemy before they attacked.
A person can take 20 WIS, expertise, proficiency, and add a feat for +5 passive checks, sure, but that's hardly the typical.

Typical is a decent ability score and / or proficiency bonus. Standard checks are from -1 (for stat dumpers or some monsters) to around +9 for high ability and moderate proficiency. +12 isn't even reachable for most proficiencies for most players. +6-9 is actually pretty high most of the time.

Overshooting a DC isn't any better than overkilling an enemy or overhealing an ally. I stopped aiming for high bonuses in skills a long time ago because it just wasn't necessary, lol. The idea behind bounded accuracy was that everyone would be relevant in making ability checks and not having really high bonuses in the monsters reflects that.

The only point of higher numbers for monsters is to validate the higher numbers for players and eliminate the goal of any character being capable of trying any check. ;-)
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
A person can take 20 WIS, expertise, proficiency, and add a feat for +5 passive checks, sure, but that's hardly the typical.

Typical is a decent ability score and / or proficiency bonus. Standard checks are from -1 (for stat dumpers or some monsters) to around +9 for high ability and moderate proficiency. +12 isn't even reachable for most proficiencies for most players. +6-9 is actually pretty high most of the time.

Overshooting a DC isn't any better than overkilling an enemy or overhealing an ally. I stopped aiming for high bonuses in skills a long time ago because it just wasn't necessary, lol. The idea behind bounded accuracy was that everyone would be relevant in making ability checks and not having really high bonuses in the monsters reflects that.

The only point of higher numbers for monsters is to validate the higher numbers for players and eliminate the goal of any character being capable of trying any check. ;-)
I guess my point was that if you really, really put a lot of effort into being the most perceptive PC ever you can do it. It could be annoying at times, but he had fun with it so it was fine.

In other words, he was the exception that proved the rule. I also suspect that some people that complain about these issues use permissive rolling (i.e. roll until you have at least one 18), high magic campaigns with all items available and so on. You can break the numbers if you want; it just takes some effort.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
A person can take 20 WIS, expertise, proficiency, and add a feat for +5 passive checks, sure, but that's hardly the typical.
I guess my point was that if you really, really put a lot of effort into being the most perceptive PC ever you can do it. It could be annoying at times, but he had fun with it so it was fine.
In my experience, at least one player per group will go all in on Perception, often taking the Observant feat especially if their DM is the type to gate a large amount of content and rewards behind Perception checks.

I personally don't like playing in games where I have to roll to notice everything - for me the fun is in engaging with the content, not in finding it.
 

Krachek

Explorer
A person can take 20 WIS, expertise, proficiency, and add a feat for +5 passive checks, sure, but that's hardly the typical.

Typical is a decent ability score and / or proficiency bonus. Standard checks are from -1 (for stat dumpers or some monsters) to around +9 for high ability and moderate proficiency. +12 isn't even reachable for most proficiencies for most players. +6-9 is actually pretty high most of the time.

Overshooting a DC isn't any better than overkilling an enemy or overhealing an ally. I stopped aiming for high bonuses in skills a long time ago because it just wasn't necessary, lol. The idea behind bounded accuracy was that everyone would be relevant in making ability checks and not having really high bonuses in the monsters reflects that.

The only point of higher numbers for monsters is to validate the higher numbers for players and eliminate the goal of any character being capable of trying any check. ;-)
You describe exactly what was happening in fourth edition.
Dc were so high that only the skill specialist was taking its chance. Others don’t even try.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
You describe exactly what was happening in fourth edition.
Dc were so high that only the skill specialist was taking its chance. Others don’t even try.
It wasn't just 4e. 3e did that too, especially after the epic skill checks came out. It's the hamster wheel of chasing numbers.

Chasing numbers in 5e to get the biggest bonuses does very little other than having bigger numbers to look at. Giving bigger bonuses to monsters just to make those bigger bonuses player might take just takes a step towards the "why bother" scenario.

With some exceptions, OC, but in general it's not a big deal. I find I juggle my proficiencies away from my ability score bonuses to get generally good at more checks instead of stacking them for a few big ones and several low ones.
 

Krachek

Explorer
Critters (and any other monster) skill bonus are not realistic.
Dev have not consult a biologist to evaluate the perception and the stealth capacity of a wolf versus a commoner to build the skill system.
Skill bonus are game stat put there to help describe and make believe an heroic story. To do so they favor grossly the PC.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
Critters (and any other monster) skill bonus are not realistic.
Dev have not consult a biologist to evaluate the perception and the stealth capacity of a wolf versus a commoner to build the skill system.
Skill bonus are game stat put there to help describe and make believe an heroic story. To do so they favor grossly the PC.
I think that gets into realism vs tropism. I can point to fictional characters who can sneak up on wolves. There are some players who want higher levels of realism and there are some players who want their PC's to go full wuxia or epic mythology

At some point the level of fantasy tropism needs to be applied and would be dialed up or down from there either by optional rules or DM's.

I agree the skill system isn't realistic. I think it's functional for a fantasy setting. Like you say, they favor PC's as heroic characters.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
An amazing feature for an RPG ruleset would be a slider that lets you move along the spectrum of Realistic to Fantastic and beyond, automatically adjusting stat blocks etc. to suit each group's tastes.

I bet something like that could be done, though obviously it would be much easier digitally than in a printed medium.
 

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