# IF you're allowing a PC to roll, WHEN does autosuccess matter?

#### MarkB

##### Legend
But as soon as you assign a TN of 20 to the Sage-background, Proficient-in-Religion cleric, the wording of the rules that say that a roll is warranted when the TN is no less than 5 and no greater than 30 would be allow the player of the Brute Barbarian to say "hey, a roll is warranted, oh, I made a 20". I think this sentence is badly written if they intended to say that a roll is warranted when the DM determines it considering the character who attempt it AND the TN is between 5 and 30. But this is an aside to the problem (which wasn't "who can roll" but "how is getting an auto-success on 20 something that change things").

Let's assume that the character is indeed proficient in Religion. IF you made that character roll, it means you estimate that he can succeed (because we all agree that DMs don't let player roll their dice for the sound of it, but only if they have a chance of succeeding, if only not to have to deal with the player saying "why one earth did you make me roll, I got a 20 and yet I fail?!?"). Then, in the 5e ruleset, you assign a DC. Why are you asking for a roll if you have determined that the DC would be unreachable for this character? And if the DC is reachable, it means that the character would have succeeded anyway on a 20 since it's the best possible score. Honestly, when I know I'll set a DC that can't be reached, for example 25 to lift a cart and the character has 15 STR and is level 1 (so max roll 24), in 5e, I just tell the player "no need to roll, it's impossible". This is the only case where the auto-succeed on 20 would change something: when the DM as said "sure, it's possible, you CAN roll for it" while having set a TN that is out of reach for the character...

Basically, I only see this rule changing anything in the odd case where the DM says "it's possible" and yet assign a TN outside of the character's ability to succeed anyway.
The rules in the playtest packet are that the DM gets to decide when a roll is warranted, and that a roll is never warranted when the DC is lower than 5 or higher than 30.

It does not follow that a roll is always warranted if the DC is between those numbers. That's where the "DM gets to decide" part comes in.

#### Reynard

##### Legend
Well, yes. But the rules as written encourage gating by proficiency, that is, saying "no" to rolls for some characters and "yes" to others. The DC is not the only tool in the toolbox....and this isn't a change
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you but what reference are you using in the rules that explicitly advocates for "trained only" in 5e?

#### Parmandur

##### Book-Friend
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you but what reference are you using in the rules that explicitly advocates for "trained only" in 5e?
The DMG could make it more clear RAW, but it was directly quoted from the DMG uptrend. The RAI is extremely clear from reading the published Adventures and watching Perkins and Crawford run games. I will grant that the 2024 DMG can make this more clear, but on the other hand it's something used in every home and streaming game that I am familiar with, so the 2014 rules got it across clearly enough.

#### Reynard

##### Legend
I am all for "Looking for notes in a library? Everyone, the TN is 30. The note could be handwritten anywhere on the books. Bob, your background as a Sage has made you familiar with exotic classification systems, for you the TN is only 20. Jack, your character doesn't know how to read draconic, err, you can't roll (the TN would be over 30 for you, which is equal to being impossible)." But deducing this is the way it will work through the reading of two sentence is a lot to assume, including the one that is in question here, that a roll is warranted when the TN is over 5 and under 30.
See, to me this is what things like advantage/disadvantage or other modifiers are for. I view DCs as objective measures of difficulty that are the same for anyone trying to do the thing.

#### Parmandur

##### Book-Friend
See, to me this is what things like advantage/disadvantage or other modifiers are for. I view DCs as objective measures of difficulty that are the same for anyone trying to do the thing.
That's a bit of a 3E import, not really 5E RAW.

#### Reynard

##### Legend
That's a bit of a 3E import, not really 5E RAW.
I would challenge you to say that 5E anywhere, ever even hints at setting different DCs for the same action between 2 different characters.

#### Reynard

##### Legend
The DMG could make it more clear RAW, but it was directly quoted from the DMG uptrend. The RAI is extremely clear from reading the published Adventures and watching Perkins and Crawford run games. I will grant that the 2024 DMG can make this more clear, but on the other hand it's something used in every home and streaming game that I am familiar with, so the 2014 rules got it across clearly enough.
So it doesn't say it, it's just the way people play.

#### Parmandur

##### Book-Friend
So it doesn't say it, it's just the way people play.
No, it is RAW, the relevant section is quoted by another poster from the DMG uptrend, and bolded for good measure. Go and read it.

I would challenge you to say that 5E anywhere, ever even hints at setting different DCs for the same action between 2 different characters.
Again, the specific section stating that not ever character can try every action is quoted uptrend. Hust because a task is DC 20 doesn't mean that every PC can roll against it in a d20 test. "Are you Proficient in X?" is a normal question before allowing an attempt in many cases.

#### Parmandur

##### Book-Friend
''Ability Checks
An ability check tests a character's or monster's innate talent and training in an effort to overcome a challenge. The DM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results.''

''How to Play

1. The DM describes the environment. The DM tells the players where their adventurers are and what's around them, presenting the basic scope of options that present themselves (how many doors lead out of a room, what's on a table, who's in the tavern, and so on).

2. The players describe what they want to do. Sometimes one player speaks for the whole party, saying, "We'll take the east door," for example. Other times, different adventurers do different things: one adventurer might search a treasure chest while a second examines an esoteric symbol engraved on a wall and a third keeps watch for monsters. The players don't need to take turns, but the DM listens to every player and decides how to resolve those actions.

Sometimes, resolving a task is easy. If an adventurer wants to walk across a room and open a door, the DM might just say that the door opens and describe what lies beyond. But the door might be locked, the floor might hide a deadly trap, or some other circumstance might make it challenging for an adventurer to complete a task. In those cases, the DM decides what happens, often relying on the roll of a die to determine the results of an action.

3. The DM narrates the results of the adventurers' actions. Describing the results often leads to another decision point, which brings the flow of the game right back to step 1.''

There's no social contract wrecking happening here. The DM decide if the character's action in-fiction requires a roll or not.

A situation being impossible is not ''uncertain'', thus does not require a roll.

Not calling for a roll is as much of a DM's decision than calling for one.
@Reynard here it is, admittedly it could be more clear: that's where "what do the Adventure Modules do?" and "how do the designers run games?" are extremely relevant, because...they consistently use Proficiency gating at DM discretion. In addition, and probably more important to indicate how the game is understood by the broader culture of players, that's how Matt Mercer runs Critical Role. "Do you have X Proficiency?" is not a hard question in practice to deterif a roll is doable.

#### Maxperson

##### Morkus from Orkus
So, basically, the only way for it to work is by accepting that a given task has a different TN for every character? I am all for it, but I didn't feel it was the expected way to do it in 5e (even with the disappearance of DCs sample for skills, in many adventure the DC is linked to the task without consideration for who is doing it, based on the assumption that a roll would be done with adventage if a character is especially suited to that (RotFM for example, does that a lot).
Not different target numbers.

DM: "If you have arcana give me a roll" = impossible for those without arcana.
DM: "Everyone who has +5 or better at Arcana give me a roll." = impossible for those with +4 or less.
DM: "The DC is 25. Everyone who has +3 or better at Arcana give me a roll." = the possibility for those with +3 or +4 to succeed anyway with a natural 20. Anyone with less than +3 = impossible to succeed and no roll.

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