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D&D 5E How Do You Handle Group Skill Challenges?

Stalker0

Legend
Seems like recalling lore is typically something that is not appropriate for a group check in the first place.
I would argue its quite appropriate if you also use group checks for other things. How often in real life do people go,

"oh its on the tip of my tongue, the guy's name was tim, tom..."
"Jim?"
"Yes! Jim, yeah he was the web developer I worked with...etc"

Most lore checks involve something more than just a name. They often involve a name in a place with a date etc. Different people in the group might have slightly different pieces of that puzzle that adds up to the answer, or at least knows enough to suggest possibilities that trigger someone's memory.
 

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Jmarso

Adventurer
I think the skill system in and of itself just doesn't work in some cases. What I happen to see is, one player tries to intimidate an NPC, then after the first check fails every other player wants to try. If I weren't too lazy Id develop an initiative system of some sorts for skills but many times they're so spontaneous its hard to adjudicate.
I think the answer here may be an ounce of pre-emption. As soon as one player says "I want to try..." something like intimidating a prisoner, the DM should pause and address the group: "If anyone else wants to help with this, say so now. Otherwise, you pass on this particular option." Then those that choose to participate, along with the originating character, make a group check of some sort.
 

I think the answer here may be an ounce of pre-emption. As soon as one player says "I want to try..." something like intimidating a prisoner, the DM should pause and address the group: "If anyone else wants to help with this, say so now. Otherwise, you pass on this particular option." Then those that choose to participate, along with the originating character, make a group check of some sort.
Ive done this at times, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.
 

I think the answer here may be an ounce of pre-emption. As soon as one player says "I want to try..." something like intimidating a prisoner, the DM should pause and address the group: "If anyone else wants to help with this, say so now. Otherwise, you pass on this particular option." Then those that choose to participate, along with the originating character, make a group check of some sort.
Having non-combat turns helps here - before you resolve the intimidation check, you ask what everyone else is doing while that's happening.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I'm curious how you (or your DM) handle group skill challenges. You know, situations in the game where success or failure depends on the entire group contributing. Things like:
  • Everyone trying to sneak past a sleeping monster (Stealth).
  • The group trying to hunt and forage for nearby food and fresh water (Survival).
  • The party spending an afternoon at the market, listening for rumors (Investigation).
  • Everyone hanging out at the docks, on the lookout for a wanted criminal (Perception).
  • And so on and so forth. Basically, any situation where the entire group is using combined effort to overcome a singular challenge.
How does your table handle that?

Do you have everyone in the group make the same Skill check, and then average the results? take the highest/lowest?
Do you only ask characters who are proficient with that skill to make the roll?
Do you ask one player to make the check with Advantage (which assumes someone else in the party is using the Help action)?
Do you combine all of the results, against a higher DC?
Do you do something else entirely?
I play them as the PHB says i.e. if at least half of the PC succeed then the group succeeds.

I think they are a GREAT idea, far better than the older edition method of making the group as good as their worst member, but IMHO they only work well when a challenge is unavoidable, such as sneaking, or overcoming a trap/hazard or difficult terrain (including climbing or balancing or similar). Basically when you have a failure-based challenge (win or suffer a consequence).

Group checks don't work well in success-based challenges instead, such as foraging or gathering information, because the option of having only the best PC in the group try the challenge is more convenient. If you want to grant cumulative benefits (more people foraging = more food) you actually end up not really doing a group check but adding up the results of individual checks.
 

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