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D&D 5E Help Me Reverse-Engineer 5e DCs

JonWake

First Post
So here's where I am. I'm on a big 'simple is better' kick with my game group, and I'm trying to figure out how Wizards is handling their attribute check DCs. Rumor has it that they're letting certain stat levels auto-succeed on tasks. I like this, and want to incorporate it into my game. The thing is, I can't quite suss out how it interacts with check DCs and your stat mod.

1. If the auto-succeed threshold is the same as the DC, then you have a 60% success drop if you go from say Stat 15 vs. DC 15 to Stat 15 vs. DC 16.

2. Maybe a DC has two number? An auto succeed and a test threshold? Maybe at the 'take 10' level? So with a stat of 15(+2), the DC would read 15 (DC 13)? Seems clumsy to me.

Any ideas?
 

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Ranganathan

First Post
It is clumsy. The only way to make this work without such a workaround is to change the ability bonuses to ability score - 10. I don't think anyone's leaked anything specific on ability scores or DCs from XP so there's no way of knowing. But, as you mentioned the math is off, for the math to work they have to change the bonuses, or provide scaling bonuses based on score.

12 +1 is really a "take 11" when you use the score directly.
but...
18 +4 is really a "take 14" when you use the score directly.
 
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Fanaelialae

Legend
It may not be as clunky as it seems at first glance. If the DCs are listed as

DC 18/14
(18 to auto succeed, 14 if rolled)

it wouldn't be the most streamlined mechanic in history, but I certainly wouldn't call it clunky. I don't think it'll be exactly that though, because they could have addressed that more simply with a Take 10 rule. Folks have referred to this as a Take Attribute rule, so it must be something different.


Perhaps it is simply a single DC, implying a curve with regard to how stats scale.

So DC 18 would auto succeed with Str 18, but require a check of 18 if Str is 17 or lower. In this way, someone with Str 18 is significantly stronger than someone with Str 16 (because Str 18 succeeds 100% where Str 16 only succeeds 30%). The gap between Str 12 and 10 would be much smaller (because while Str 12 succeeds 100% on DC 12, Str 10 succeeds 45%). Hence, the curve in power.


In all truth though, I don't think there's enough information for us to do more than guess at this stage. Everyone who does know is under an NDA, and therefore can't say. The rest of us don't even know if we're barking up the right tree. They could have made the attribute/ modifier relationship anything, for all we know.
 

JonWake

First Post
Nnnn, I'm not sure about that. It borks up all the math for the rest of the game to make one small section work. Attack scaling, damage scaling-- it doesn't work. 1/2 of stat-10 works pretty well for most things.

Unless they drop the bonus entirely for skills. The bonus just gives you an attack and damage bonus (for STR), but the skill check is just a roll -under for your stat.

No, that doesn't work, either. Blast! This is hard when you have no real information to go on.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Rumor has it that they're letting certain stat levels auto-succeed on tasks.

That rumor was debunked. Unfortunately, I can't find the thread here, but the guy who posted that playtest on his blog came here and admitted that he just did that himself - not as part of the official rules - to keep the game moving.
 

Ranganathan

First Post
Perhaps it is simply a single DC, implying a curve with regard to how stats scale.

So DC 18 would auto succeed with Str 18, but require a check of 18 if Str is 17 or lower. In this way, someone with Str 18 is significantly stronger than someone with Str 16 (because Str 18 succeeds 100% where Str 16 only succeeds 30%). The gap between Str 12 and 10 would be much smaller (because while Str 12 succeeds 100% on DC 12, Str 10 succeeds 45%). Hence, the curve in power.


In all truth though, I don't think there's enough information for us to do more than guess at this stage. Everyone who does know is under an NDA, and therefore can't say. The rest of us don't even know if we're barking up the right tree. They could have made the attribute/ modifier relationship anything, for all we know.

That wouldn't be too bad, but then the trouble is when told that a tiny 5% increase in chance of success on a roll is also a drastic improvement for "Take 10" (2 ability score points), or whatever they're calling it in 5th.

As a side note, the video of the skills and abilities seminar clearly has one of the devs saying that the ability bonus for 17 is +3 and an 18 is +4. So it's not likely they're changing the bonuses, despite the mathematical need to in order for things to work and make sense.
 


DogBackward

First Post
The impression I got was different. You seem to think it'll be "If your stat is equal to the DC, you succeed. Otherwise, make a check." In reality, it seems to be more like "If your stat is equal to the DC, you succeed. Otherwise, you fail."

There are certain types of tasks where, if you can't succeed the first time, you're almost certainly not going to succeed on any successive try. A stuck door, for example, has no real element of randomness. Either you're strong enough to move it, or you're not. You don't roll to force open a door: you either have a high enough Strength, or you find another way around the door. You could break the door in via HP damage, and perhaps the DC to break it is lowered while it's at half health. You could pick the lock. You could go elsewhere. But you're not going to be stronger on round two than you were on round one, so there's no need to add a 1-20 randomizer to the process.

For tasks that do have an element of randomness, you use a rolled check.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
That rumor was debunked. Unfortunately, I can't find the thread here, but the guy who posted that playtest on his blog came here and admitted that he just did that himself - not as part of the official rules - to keep the game moving.

Actually, it's from the skills seminar.

Greg: You've talked about the importance of ability scores in D&D in the recent past. What kind of things are you planning for ability scores for the next iteration of D&D?

Monte: We wanted to distill down the essence of D&D. We wanted to make sure that the ability scores and their modifiers had a big influence. Looking at all the editions of the game, you can easily see that ability scores are really important. Often times, people will use ability scores to help them define their character, or they'll have an idea for a character and then look at the scores first to make them fit that idea.

A couple of days ago I talked a little bit about how we want the core mechanic of the game to be the interaction between the DM and the player. And one of the great tools for that is the ability score. So what we want is to empower DMs and players so that if you want to attempt to do something "I want to open the door" then the DM doesn' thave to even have you roll, he can just look, see you have a 17 strength and says "Yeah, you burst through that door". We want to get past some of the mundane rolls and not tie up a lot of table time with that and move on to the more interesting stuff and the table narrative.

Bruce: An example I saw yesterday was a rogue going into a room and looking for traps. You can describe what you're doing and roleplay what you're doing. If he says I look in the jar and I know there's a gem in the jar, I'm not going to have him roll. However, if something is more hidden, like a secret compartment on the shelf I would look at their intelligence and see if he can just automatically find it or if he's looking in the exact right place. However, if he's doing that check in the middle of some other stressor like fighting, then I'd have him roll.

Rob: Earlier this week I had some players fighting some kobolds in the room. One of the guys wanted to jump over a pit, he had a 15 strength so I let him just do it - it wasn't that big of a jump and it sped up combat. It's very liberating to be able to do that kind of thing and just keep the flow going.
 

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