log in or register to remove this ad

 

Missing Rules

I am not sure what you mean with the inclusion of "in some circumstances." It is pretty plain in the Strength entry in the PHB that one of the things you can do with Athletics is "jump an unusually long distance." That is a statement of the rules. What I am wondering is why there are no benchmarks for that action.
Because the game designers wanted the DM to have more control over these types of situations. A codified set of DCs might work very well for your game, but not for mine. A low fantasy game might only allow a few feet extra, with fairly difficult DCs (something like DC: 10/15/20 for +1/2/3 feet for a long jump), because it's a grittier type game. A high fantasy game may allow up to double your jump distance with fairly low DCs, because it's more about epic situations.

If you truly have an issue with it, then make your own chart. Figure out how much extra you want to allow, and how hard. This will keep you consistent, and solve your problem for the future.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Then jumping is not the solution for anyone other than the barbarian. They'll have to do something else. I see this plenty in my games. Take THAT Dex-based characters!
I don't buy adventure paths, so I don't know the situation in question. Could the party get the platforms swinging to gain not only some height, but close the distance a bit to allow the weaker PCs to make the jump?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I disagree. Or, at least, if a character is in a position to make a running long jump already but it going to come up short, the game rules are pretty explicit in saying all they need to do is succeed at a Strength (Athletics) check. Requiring anything more detailed than "I go for it" is a thing you are putting on the PC, not the rules.
You aren't understanding [MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION]. The game is clear on how the DM adjudicates actions. First, he determines if the outcome is certain or uncertain. If the outcome is certain, you never get a roll, but instead simply succeed or fail. It's only if the outcome is uncertain that a roll happens and a PC would get an athletics check to go further at a DC the DM sets.

For example, if the PCs can get the platforms rocking and the DM think that the platform would go 3 feet higher and 5 feet closer, allowing for an extra 8 feet of distance, he might rule that even a 10 strength PC will automatically be able to reach the next platform. Outcome not uncertain and no athletics used, even though the PC went farther than usual.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'd just like to add that the athletics check to go further doesn't even have to be for the jump itself. In my above example of getting the platform rocking, that could be the athletics check right there, and then the jump just auto succeeds if they get the platform moving. Further, since I assume the platform is large, you can make it a skill challenge that gets the whole group involved with the athletics checks. Then, because I assume the platform isn't necessarily safe, you might say that if a PC fails the athletics check by 5 or more, they will have to make a Dex save or athletics check at a DC set by you or fall off of the edge and add a cost of failure to the challenge.

I don't always add failure costs, but they are often appropriate. With this particular check, if you don't add failure costs, then the PCs are just going to ask for athletics checks to every last jump distance that is out of range. Also, personally I wouldn't even allow them to just ask for an athletics roll to go further than normal. I'd require something like the above effort to justify the roll in the first place. If they can't come up with an action that would warrant a roll or auto success, then the outcome is not in doubt and they fail.
 


Reynard

Legend
So I am going to back-pedal a little bit. Or, rather, revise my perspective in the face of new evidence.

I just sat down and reread the Running The Game chapter, particularly the "Difficulty Class" section. Most everyone in this thread that is not me is right: in 5e it is explicitly the job of the DM to set DCs based on his or her own judgement and experience. Moreover, having time to peruse the PHB section on Ability scores confirms that *no* skills provide a set of benchmark DCs.

It's funny because it has been a while (6 months) since I ran 5e, and even longer since I really read the books (I run on FG usually). Moreover, I just spent a few weeks (since it was released, anyway) reading and evaluating the Pathfinder 2E Playtest -- which sort of brought the idea of having tons of benchmark DCs back to the forefront of my mind. Before this break in running 5E I had been doing so pretty much since it came out. I guess I just kind of "forgot" that the 5E style was much closer to what we used to do in BECMI (which is a positive).

There you have it: an opinion on the internet changed. Thank you all for the good discussion.
 

jgsugden

Legend
What is the difficulty you would assign a 15' standing long jump? How did you arrive at that DC?
Standing long jump is generally 1/2 your strength score. So, a 20 strength PC could normally do a 10 foot jump without rolling anything. If the PC wanted to jump 50%(!) farther than that, it would be a pretty amazing feat. If they want to clear the entire 15 feet with their feet, I'd likely call that a near impossible check - meaning a DC 30 athletics check would be required. Near impossible tasks are DC30 per the PHB. If, however, they were jumping a 15 foot pit and could catch the ledge with their arms, I'd say that was a medium task with a 15 DC.

Note that a 15 foot standing long jump is about 3 feet beyond the world record... Meaning 3 feet further than what I would see as the equivalent of a 20 strength real person with athletics expertise... good thing this is a fantasy world.
 
Last edited:


Reynard

Legend
So here's a general question for all the "you don't need benchmarks" folks in this thread: for those thing for which the rules do provide set DCs -- I am looking at things like the tool proficiency stuff in Xanathar's -- how do you square that? Is there a reason it is okay for that stuff to have defined DCs as opposed to DM gut checks?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
So here's a general question for all the "you don't need benchmarks" folks in this thread: for those thing for which the rules do provide set DCs -- I am looking at things like the tool proficiency stuff in Xanathar's -- how do you square that? Is there a reason it is okay for that stuff to have defined DCs as opposed to DM gut checks?
I would say that you have to think of published DCs as tied to a particular approach to a goal that has an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence of failure. So when I see something like "When you land in difficult terrain, you must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to land on your feet. Otherwise, you land prone." Then the implied goal and approach is, broadly, "try to keep from falling on tricky footing by attempting to move nimbly." The difficult terrain makes the result uncertain and the meaningful consequence of failure is that you land prone.

If the player suggests some other approach to the goal than what is implied by the published DCs, then the DM must adjudicate normally.
 

Reynard

Legend
I would say that you have to think of published DCs as tied to a particular approach to a goal that has an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence of failure. So when I see something like "When you land in difficult terrain, you must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to land on your feet. Otherwise, you land prone." Then the implied goal and approach is, broadly, "try to keep from falling on tricky footing by attempting to move nimbly." The difficult terrain makes the result uncertain and the meaningful consequence of failure is that you land prone.

If the player suggests some other approach to the goal than what is implied by the published DCs, then the DM must adjudicate normally.
I like the perspective from jumping into difficult terrain, but you sidestepped the larger question: why are rules system defined crafting etc set DCs generally considered more appropriate than random jumping DCs?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I like the perspective from jumping into difficult terrain, but you sidestepped the larger question: why are rules system defined crafting etc set DCs generally considered more appropriate than random jumping DCs?
I don't hold that position and have no particular opinion on that. I'm just stating what I interpret the rules as a whole as saying.
 

Reynard

Legend
I don't hold that position and have no particular opinion on that. I'm just stating what I interpret the rules as a whole as saying.
I'm not sure how you can have no opinion on it. Assuming downtime happens in your campaign, you have to deal with its mechanics at some point. What I am asking, I guess, is how the different pillars of the game interact with the idea of arbitrary DM rulings when certain pillars have specific rulings tied to them.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I'm not sure how you can have no opinion on it.
I can afford to because I remember that every single DC, either one that the book sets or that I set, comes only after a statement of goal and approach by the player that is determined to have an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence of failure. Published DCs are tied to an implied goal and approach. If the player's stated goal and approach are substantially similar to the implied goal and approach, then the published DC applies, if there is nothing else about the situation that modifies the difficulty in the judgment of the DM.

So I have absolutely no reason to think that a published DC or my own DC is more or less appropriate than the other.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Not knowing the scene, jumping between platforms could be automatic if you have a high enough strength. Or if some PCs can't make it there may need to be some teamwork.

Or it's just a poorly written mod. All I can say is how I've run it. I can also say that writing mods is not simple, so assuming that they're blinded by their own brilliance doesn't help much.
Agree - since jump is a task specifically tied to the base strength score its not a simple flat DC that applies to everyone. if the scene shows the distance between the platforms, a lot can be derived from that compared to the typical strength jump minimums.

But i do not know what module or theory room we are talking about so... just musing on preferences.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So here's a general question for all the "you don't need benchmarks" folks in this thread: for those thing for which the rules do provide set DCs -- I am looking at things like the tool proficiency stuff in Xanathar's -- how do you square that? Is there a reason it is okay for that stuff to have defined DCs as opposed to DM gut checks?
I don't view those DCs as anything more than helpful suggestions. So for the jumping DCs, the game is saying, "You the DM need to decide if, when and what to set the DC at." For rules where DCs are given, the game is saying to me, "You the DM need to decide if, when and what to set the DC at, but here's a suggestion that might help you." Sometimes I take that suggestion, and sometimes I don't.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
So here's a general question for all the "you don't need benchmarks" folks in this thread: for those thing for which the rules do provide set DCs -- I am looking at things like the tool proficiency stuff in Xanathar's -- how do you square that? Is there a reason it is okay for that stuff to have defined DCs as opposed to DM gut checks?
From a Gm perspective, i make it clear as to how Dcs are set and that applies. The book standard ones may or may not apply - if they match the campaign standard.

From a designer POV, where i would draw the line between "provide DCs or leave it to DC assignment process" depends on two things:
1 - How often in actual in-game use will circumstances apply that make this task veriable in difficulty and needing judgement? if the answer is "often/usually needs to consider circumstances" - jumping, climbing, etc - that would not be where i would set fixed DCs **unless** i included info on assumptions. If it were very often most of the time going to be done in a controlled environment over time - crafting for instance - not often an on the fly type thing - then i would be leaning towards set DCs.
2 - Will this be a totally foreign notion to the players/GMs or do they have at least some basis for judgement? if its alien to them - roll to extract demonic ichor - then give them a sample DC in specific circumstance as a baseline. Its just one example or two so they can have a starting point tho, not an attempt to provide any large comprehensive list of DCs. two or three illustrative DCs can serve as a baseline. --- if it is a task which the players/GMs have a basic idea about - most people have jumped or seen jumping and there is a minimum safe jump defined as well - then no need for strongly SET DC pre-fabs.

but thats me.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
So here's a general question for all the "you don't need benchmarks" folks in this thread: for those thing for which the rules do provide set DCs -- I am looking at things like the tool proficiency stuff in Xanathar's -- how do you square that? Is there a reason it is okay for that stuff to have defined DCs as opposed to DM gut checks?
Well, they're optional modules in a supplement. I think, first and foremost, that is important to keep in mind.

1) Tools

I don't like the suggested DCs. The big reason is that most of the time a check should not be called for. This is 3e style play which bogs the game down and has characters failing at simple things. It's easy enough to ignore that and use the suggested uses for inspiration.

2) Downtime

I do like the DCs for downtime. That's because the activity is just the DC. It happens off screen, player rolls a die, and the game then continues.

The ability check system is designed to adjudicate what happens in tense and dramatic situations. If it isn't interesting then best to just rule the PCs succeed and move on with the game.

Downtime is not a dramatic situation, but it's also important not to have automatic successes. So a roll is called for which represents the average effort over a week. I think that's fine. Also, mundane things like crafting are automatic. It's also a time when the books will be open and sheets will be updated, possibly even with levels being gained.
 

Reynard

Legend
. Downtime is not a dramatic situation, but it's also important not to have automatic successes.
Interesting. I feel the opposite way. If there is no dramatic tension then there is really no reason to not just assume success, IMO. If the characters take a week off from the dungeon to recover and engage in downtime activities, making them roll for those activities seems counter productive.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Interesting. I feel the opposite way. If there is no dramatic tension then there is really no reason to not just assume success, IMO. If the characters take a week off from the dungeon to recover and engage in downtime activities, making them roll for those activities seems counter productive.
The rule for determining if there is an ability check is that the DM judges if the action has an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence of failure. One might say that when it comes to a downtime activity there are no guarantees of automatic success (though the DM might rule otherwise from time to time) so the outcome is uncertain. And the meaningful consequence of failure is, depending on the activity, loss of gold or time, complications, gaining a rival, etc.

Under that rule, it's quite reasonable to have ability checks for resolving downtime activities. Now, in D&D 4e, the rules say "all DCs assume acting in situations that are far from mundane; the DM should call for checks only in dramatic situations." And I personally like that statement. But that's a different game!
 

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top