D&D General Alternate thought - rule of cool is bad for gaming

Oofta

Legend
Those are all DM extras. 5e inherently only has jump goes distance. What is on the other side could affect the DC, but it would be in addition to the DC for X extra feet which has no process. Is it enough for arms to grab on? DM extra that has no bearing on jump distance. Height? DM extra that has no bearing on jump distance in 5e as halflings with 10 strength go as far as goliaths with 10 strength.

Clearly success is making it across without falling from the athletics jump check. ;)

These are also DM extras for the most part. How stable is the light fixture? Has no bearing on the DC of the acrobatics attempt. The PC either succeeds or doesn't, and THEN the fixture either falls or doesn't independent of the acrobatics result. How easy it is to grab onto is built into the DC of the pass fail attempt. The other circumstances involved with rigging on a ship are going to affect the DC number of the pass fail attempt.

I disagree. What can the PC grab onto? Can they grab on get a decent grip? How well do they judge, as they're swinging the momentum and movement?

The DM deciding DC numbers has no variability in the same manner as jump distance. Sure you are assigning a number that can be variable. Do you assign a 7 or a 9 for example, but once DC is determined walking along the ledge or rope is pass fail. Unlike jumping farther.

You answer all of them with simple numbers. Most are simple DC numbers. The exception is the stability of the fixture, which will probably involve a roll unless it's so unstable that it auto-falls without a roll of some sort, but it's not going to be a skill check as it's simple weight and force vs. stability of the fixture to determine if it pulls out of the ceiling.


In any case I use skill checks based on how difficult I envision a task all the time. I don't remember the last time I used it for jumping. The same system covers a lot of bases so it will never be perfect, nothing is.
 

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Oofta

Legend
I think that with 5e, WotC just was moving away from 4e D&D-style design and was aiming for a simpler version of 3e/PF1, which was its largest competitor at the time, though one still reminiscent of 3e/PF1. Going simpler overall would create a lower barrier for entry for new and returning players. That's all it really had to achieve for success.

They've said they also looked for inspiration in AD&D. Not so much from a detailed rules perspective, but from how it approached the game. AD&D leaned heavily into rulings over rules.

Of course you could go back to OD&D where you had rulings because nobody knew what Gygax was on when he wrote the rules, but that's a different issue. ;)
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
i agree with all of this but want to add on one possibility you left out since IME it tends to result in a lot of fun when players act on it or remember & try to check it in future games
Knowledge: Success = you know something. Failure = you know something you read or maybe saw in a play... [It's totally wrong & may or may nor make things worse]. AFAIK a couple of my players honestly believe top their very core that doppelgangers must be stabbed the heart with a bamboo spear... 👿 specifically one that was blessed in a river under a full moon :devilish: as a result of one PC roiling awful & a second trying to sanity check it with an even worse roll in LMNOP multiple years & campaigns ago.
Worth noting that this system requires hidden rolls.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Worth noting that this system requires hidden rolls.
It was out in the open. Hidden rolls help, but even without them it just needs to be accurate enough to seem useful often enough that players squint at each other figuring "yea... I buy what bob's PC is selling enough to act on it". Who is to say that the doppelganger wouldn't revive in a month if not jabbed as described by the memory of Bob's PC when clearly it worked & the cost of doing so before leaving to chase down the doppelganger was fairly minimal. Sure there will be times where it bites them somehow, but knowledge checks are usually either "I the gm need them to know this" and "it doesn't really matter to me if they know the right thing or not"

The check initially came up with an offhanded "We are thinking a doppelganger is involved & I can't remember... do those need cold iron or something?"
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
I think that with 5e, WotC just was moving away from 4e D&D-style design and was aiming for a simpler version of 3e/PF1, which was its largest competitor at the time, though one still reminiscent of 3e/PF1. Going simpler overall would create a lower barrier for entry for new and returning players. That's all it really had to achieve for success.

A simpler game, however, does not automatically translate into "rulings not rules" being the order of the day. There are all kinds of ways a game can be simpler that don't toss most of the decision making into their lap.

As I've noted, you can have a much simpler game by having less exception based design, just as a basic example. D&D has never been that game.
 


There aren't other outliers. Every other skill is inherently pass fail. Acrobatics: success = you flip over the table landing in the chain in a sitting position. Failure = you don't succeed and then more narration. Knowledge: Success = you know something. Failure = you don't know it. Deception: Success = deception. Failure = no deception. Even the other athletics abilities like swimming and climbing are pass fail based on the DC resolution process. Jumping farther, though, is not pass fail. Success =/= "jumps unusually far" as that does not tell you anything you need to know. You need to know how much farther a success is.
I would only disagree with the point that there aren’t other outliers. The DMG discusses success at a cost in its section concerning DMing.

Which kind of reinforces @pemerton ’s point: when you makes a skill roll, and you roll poorly, you might fail, or you might critically fail, or you might succeed at a cost, and fail/succeed at a cost may be independent of whether you just miss the DC or you miss substantially.
 


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