D&D 5E Skills - Does anyone actually like the way they're headed?

am181d

Adventurer
I think setting lower DCs really helps. The PCs should succeed most of the time anyway, so as long as the DCs aren't super high, you'll have reasonably trained characters succeeding most of the time and untrained characters succeeding about half the time. (Hopefully the untrained characters will get some help to allow them to boost their rolls.)
 

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Derren

Hero
I think setting lower DCs really helps. The PCs should succeed most of the time anyway, so as long as the DCs aren't super high, you'll have reasonably trained characters succeeding most of the time and untrained characters succeeding about half the time. (Hopefully the untrained characters will get some help to allow them to boost their rolls.)

What a boring game. Why play/roll at all when there is no challenge?
 

jrowland

First Post
What a boring game. Why play/roll at all when there is no challenge?

There is no challenge to rolling dice. The in-game challenge is irrelevant to player fun. The challenge, the fun, the un-boring must be what the players think, act, do. What is fun is coming up with a plan (Climb the cliffs of insanity) and executing that plan (rolling the dice) such that the outcome has relevance to the player: success typically, although infrequent failure can lead to the challenge of finding another way. Failing, then failing the alternative, then failing again is boring as well.

Honestly, I rarely say a check "fails" anymore. Its more like success = executed as the player envisioned or fail = something else happens that pushes the story forward. Case in point: player wanted his character to lift a small barrel of lamp oil and smash it on the ground. He failed his STR check. Rather than say "you can't lift it" instead I said, "You lift the barrel but the liquid inside shifts, throwing it off balance. It falls at your feet breaking open and covering you with oil as well". He got what he wanted: oil on the ground, but now he was covered too, changing his plans to light a torch...
 
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Derren

Hero
What is fun is coming up with a plan (Climb the cliffs of insanity) and executing that plan (rolling the dice) such that the outcome has relevance to the player: success typically, although infrequent failure can lead to the challenge of finding another way. Failing, then failing the alternative, then failing again is boring as well.

And a big part of coming up with a plan is to find a way to use do things you are good it to minimize the chance of failure. But when you are unlikely to fail, why bother (And considering that 5E does not even have skills but relies on ability checks makes this even less of a concern. Another of my problems with 5E)? The fail forward approach is even worse as failure in your main objective is practically impossible. There is no need to come up with a clever plan when you succeed with a basic one. And if you failed it only complicates your plan after that, but not the current one.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I think setting lower DCs really helps. The PCs should succeed most of the time anyway, so as long as the DCs aren't super high, you'll have reasonably trained characters succeeding most of the time and untrained characters succeeding about half the time. (Hopefully the untrained characters will get some help to allow them to boost their rolls.)

Uh, what's the point of calling for a roll then? The point is to move things along while challenging people - setting bogus DCs that are super easy both slows things down (by calling for a roll at all) and doesn't present a challenge.
 

Klaus

First Post
Uh, what's the point of calling for a roll then? The point is to move things along while challenging people - setting bogus DCs that are super easy both slows things down (by calling for a roll at all) and doesn't present a challenge.

Why would they have to be bogus?
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Why would they have to be bogus?

Artificially setting it lower so that "PCs should succeed most of the time anyway", regardless of the difficulty of the challenge? So evading guards on alert is roughly the same DC as evading guards who are not paying attention? Jumping over a flaming pit past a swinging axe is roughly the same challenge as jumping over an ordinary pit? That's "bogus". The DC should match the challenge, and not be automatically set to whatever "Likely PC success" would be.
 

Starfox

Hero
Well, I see over-hard DCs as much worse, discouraging the players from doing anything daring or fanciful, let they fail. Reduces the game to a game of chess with only pawns - move a safe distance, make a safe attack, never overextend.

This goes for all sorts of random difficulties. If you want the players to role-play or be heroic, you cannot constantly punish them with failure for doing so. Most actions should succeed, one way or another.

Then again, if it is a tactical board game you want, that's ok to. But don't expect heroic derring-do or much character identification - who will identify with a pawn that is most likely dead within 3 sessions anyway?
 

Derren

Hero
Then again, if it is a tactical board game you want, that's ok to. But don't expect heroic derring-do or much character identification - who will identify with a pawn that is most likely dead within 3 sessions anyway?

I fail to see how the inability to goof around and the requirement to actually think about what you are doing prevents role playing.
People can and do RP in more dangerous games just fine and even there not succeeding pretty much automatically doesn't mean a 3 session character lifespan.
In fact, people can now identify more with their character as he has strengths and weaknesses which actually matter.

Behaving like Jack Sparrow should not be the basis for a D&D game.
 
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Klaus

First Post
Artificially setting it lower so that "PCs should succeed most of the time anyway", regardless of the difficulty of the challenge? So evading guards on alert is roughly the same DC as evading guards who are not paying attention? Jumping over a flaming pit past a swinging axe is roughly the same challenge as jumping over an ordinary pit? That's "bogus". The DC should match the challenge, and not be automatically set to whatever "Likely PC success" would be.

Well, we already assume a success rate in attacks between 50%-75%, and skills are mostly in the same ballpark.

The DM Guidelines speak of setting a task DC based on the difficulty as compared to the abilities of the character. Flipping a large table over is a hard task for a weak wizard who hasn't done much physical activity, but it should be routine for the hulking barbarian who's used to brawling in taverns every other day. The DM is within his rights to set the DC at 15 for the wizard (who'd be hard pressed to succeed with his +0 modifier) and at 10 for the barbarian (who will likely flip the table over with his +5 modifier). Still, the DCs allow the wizard some chance at succeeding, and still gives a chance of failure to the barbarian.
 

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