Houserule: The "World" Takes 10

Stalker0

Adventurer
I had an idea on how to bring the randomness of the d20 "to heel" when it comes to most of my world, but still leave the variability in tact for my players.

The idea is simple:

"On all skill checks, npcs roll a d20. On a 20, they actually roll a skill check. Otherwise, they take 10".


So what this means is, the vast majority of the time, NPCs just do what they do. They can climb ladders without falling, they do their jobs without a 5% to hurt themselves, they don't create masterworks 5% of the time.

But eeeeevery so often, something special happens. Once in a while, they aren't so consistent. They have a really great moment, or a really bad one. So the ultimate masterwork happens 1 in 400 instead of 1 in 20.

Now I don't really need to make a rule for this, I could just have my npcs do that. But mainly what its for is interaction with PCs. Most interactions the NPC will simply get their 10+skill check. But every once in a while this roll shakes things up.


Thoughts?
 
Maybe NPCs just don't make checks unless they're interacting with the PCs, and doing something that is uncertain, and success/failure would be meaningful /to the PCs/. Like if the NPC healer is trying to help a PC, he makes a check just like a PC would. Was he making checks back in town last week? No. Checks are for drama.

Because, really, most NPCs barely /exist/ - they're just background exposition or window dressing to the story - and the few that do matter in an adventure may have fairly static roles to play that don't call for much random resolution.


Now, if NPCs essentially 'take 10' when working with/against PCs, that might get a little weird, because they'd put forth very consistent performances relative to the PCs.
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
So, in order to reduce randomness, you roll randomly to find out if you roll randomly again.

Why not just say "They take 10 unless the situation calls for them not to."?
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
If the mechanics dont prevent it, I shift all my games to OAR Players Alwats Roll. So, whether its enemies making saves or orc shooting at your PC, you make the roll and add your side agsinst the static DC of the enrmy.

What you describe, except for the 20 roll, is kinda similar.

If a climb is tougher than the NPC climb check default allows, that's an opportunity for player character to help or for someone to change the circumstances - let's build z ladder or search for a way around.

On occasion, there will be rolls around NPCs but it's more for the scenery changing. During a massive storm with hillside hiking and mudslides and broken ground, the NPC militia got separated by the shifting terrain and fell behind. The PCs had the option of hanging back to help them, keeping together but chose to push on because their PC xvout was already way ahead. Later, they found out the NPCs had been ordered to fall behind
 

mach1.9pants

Adventurer
For me, the NPCs do what I want/achieve what I want, unless interacting with the PCs. The rules for players and NPCs are different. They don't fall down ladders 5% of the time. It's all irrelevant to the PCs.

But if you run your campaigns more like a simulation, then yeah something like that needs to be changed. I prefer the 2d10 idea.
 

Horwath

Explorer
That is why I love 3d6 over d20.

25% of rolls are in 10-11 range instead of standard 10%,
48% of rolls are in 9-12 range instead of standard 20%,
68% of rolls are in 8-13 range instead of standard 30%,
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
It's unnecessary. The rolling is only required if there is risk or the outcome is in doubt, and the multiple rolls "take20" rule in the DMG eliminate the need for excessive NPC rolling.

If there seems to be a lot of rolling, the DM should be looking at why he or she is calling for so many rolls. Either he or she is calling for unnecessary rolls, or he or she is assigning too many high / risky DC's.

This seems to happen playing the 5e ability check / skill system like it's the 3e or 4e skill system regardless of bounded accuracy intent. It's not a randomness issue as much as a playstyle choice.
 

Jonathan Tweet

Explorer
Anything that reduces the randomness (such as outcomes of NPC tasks) is good for players because it puts more emphasis on what the character choose to do and less on how the dice roll.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I go with the simpler: if the results of success or failure aren't interesting, no check.

So no one makes a check to climb a normal ladder under unchallenging circumstances.'
 

Jonathan Tweet

Explorer
"On all skill checks, npcs roll a d20. On a 20, they actually roll a skill check. Otherwise, they take 10".

...

Thoughts?
The faster way to do the same roll is, "On all skill checks, NPCs roll two d20s. If the two dice have the same number, that's the d20 roll. If they have different numbers, the roll is 10".
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
The faster way to do the same roll is, "On all skill checks, NPCs roll two d20s. If the two dice have the same number, that's the d20 roll. If they have different numbers, the roll is 10".
Great idea!

Something else I've been considering for this for the PCs, give back to the old passive vs active perception scores.

Its the classic argument:


Passive Perception is quick and likely more realistic than the randomness of the d20. However, it means that the player with the highest perception is the only one that matters, the rest of the group need not have bothered.


So I could also use this idea in that scenario. I call for a passive perception, but everyone makes a roll. If they get the 5%, they use their roll. Otherwise, they take 10. So that means the majority of the time the elven ranger's perception is the real threshold....but every once in a while he falters and old bad eyes barbarian actually gets the nat 20.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I go with the simpler: if the results of success or failure aren't interesting, no check.

So no one makes a check to climb a normal ladder under unchallenging circumstances.'
This is sort of RAW, in the sense, DM always adjudicates outcome by means of narrative. Only if the narrative outcome is itself uncertain (and relevant), do dice even happen.
 

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