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

Starfox

Hero
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.

I have no problem with this and don't think it gainsays what I said above. I am all for trying to find the easy way to do things and setting high difficulties for stupendous tasks. What I do have a problem with are things like requiring DC 15 Stealth checks against a +5 bonus to scout an enemy position, with failure of 5 or more equaling at the very least a very humiliating defeat and need of rescue from the rest of the party. 55% success, 20% fail, 25% fumble. Repeat this five times, and the chance of at least one fumble becomes 76%. Very soon, that rogue will either die or give up scouting - rendering the character defunct either way.

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

Well, I don't agree here. If a player could pull of his suave craziness, I'd be willing to forgive a lot just for the sheer spunky entertainment value of it. :)
 

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
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.

Here is what 5e has to say about this:

When a player wants to take an action, it’s often appropriate to just let the action succeed. A character doesn’t normally need to make a Dexterity check to walk across an empty room, or a Charisma check to order a mug of ale in a tavern. Only call for a roll if you think it’s worth taking the time for the rules to come into the flow of the game. Ask yourself two questions to aid your decision. Is the action being taken so easy, so free of stress or conflict, or so appropriate to the situation that there should be no chance of failure? “So easy” should take into account the ability score associated with the intended action. It’s easy for someone with a Strength score of 18 to flip over a table, though not easy for someone with a Strength score of 9. Is the action being taken so inappropriate or impossible that it would never work? Hitting the moon with an arrow is, for instance, impossible in almost any circumstance. If the answer to both of these questions is no, some kind of roll is appropriate.

and

The dice are neutral arbiters. They come into play when success and failure are far from clear.

and

If a character attempts an action that has a significant chance of failure, have the player make an ability check.

Now contrast that with "reasonably trained characters succeeding most of the time". It sure seems to me those are the very situations where you're not supposed to be calling for a check at all. If you're supposed to succeed most of the time, you just succeed. Don't bog the game down with all those ability check rolls that will succeed, because it's not "worth taking the time for the rules to come into the flow of the game".

They then give a fixed DC for different tasks, and the DC never changes regardless of the character level.

Then in the section on judging on the fly, they say...

A number [on the die] below 10 is never going to make it unless the task is trivially simple.

There is a section on how to reward inventive play, but constantly cranking down the DC to a level where the PCs usually succeed, regardless of the task being attempted and the inventiveness of the player, is very clearly not part of the design philosophy of 5e right now. Right now, 5e guidelines say if you think your players will likely succeed, you shouldn't be calling for a roll in the first place. You only call for a roll when there is a "significant chance of failure" or when "success and failure are far from clear".
 
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Sage Genesis

First Post
I'd just like to point out that am181d advocated that PCs should succeed "most of the time". Nothing more. Having a 51% chance of success is successful "most of the time". There's some people who claim there is no challenge if PCs succeed "most of the time" (because a 49% failure rating is no challenge at all I guess), but those people might want to check their strawman at the door.

And even if "most of the time" refers to less generous odd than 51-49, is there really anybody who could honestly say that a 40% chance of failure doesn't hold any challenge? Or 30%? Seriously people, a little less hyperbole would do us all a lot of good.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I'd just like to point out that am181d advocated that PCs should succeed "most of the time". Nothing more. Having a 51% chance of success is successful "most of the time". There's some people who claim there is no challenge if PCs succeed "most of the time" (because a 49% failure rating is no challenge at all I guess), but those people might want to check their strawman at the door.

And even if "most of the time" refers to less generous odd than 51-49, is there really anybody who could honestly say that a 40% chance of failure doesn't hold any challenge? Or 30%? Seriously people, a little less hyperbole would do us all a lot of good.

It's not hyperbole. Here, I will walk you through it.

First, he made it quite clear he did not mean "51%" by "most". He spelled out two (or three) types of checks, 1) "you'll have reasonably trained characters succeeding most of the time", which is where "most" comes in. I'll drill down on common parlance for what "most" means, but that's the context for his claim. Then he said, "and untrained characters succeeding about half the time", which is your "50%" type checks, which he clearly is differentiating from "most" type checks. And then he said, "Hopefully the untrained characters will get some help to allow them to boost their rolls," implying that even those rolling with 50% odds will hopefully get better odds than that and fall into the "most" category as well.

"Most" is not "bare majority" in common usage either. It means, "greatest in amount or degree" and "to the greatest extent". If someone says "He had most of the box of cookies", he does not mean, "he ate just over half the cookies".

I think it's pretty clear from the context there is an expectation that they will very likely succeed, and the chance of failure, while present, is not what you'd describe as a "significant" chance of failure.

And that's the very type of situation the guidelines suggest should not involve a check. If the chance of failure is not "significant", the game would probably work out better if you didn't interrupt the flow by calling for a check.

I don't think this is a minor point. When to call for a check, and when not to, has a lot to do with moving things along at a pace that engages the players. It's one of those things where the rules get in the way of the game, if you call for checks even when there isn't a significant chance of failure.

I think it's a sign that [MENTION=3576]am181d[/MENTION] could cut back the number of checks he's calling for in his games, and just let players succeed automatically for ability checks they're likely to succeed at anyway. That way, his games speed up, the player's are not taken out of the game by the rules, and when he calls for a roll it becomes far more meaningful because they know there is a significant chance they won't succeed.
 
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I think skills need to be totally overhauled - simpler and less accounting.

How much simpler can you really get? It's pretty damn simple at this point. That's the biggest complaint in fact, that it's too simple.
 

Esper the Bard

First Post
I'm basically with you. With the proficiency bonus staying so low, it doesn't have much effect on the actual rolls.

I'd rather they didn't give us a bunch of numbers to track that aren't even large enough to mean anything.

I agree that we don't need tons of fiddly +1s and +2s going around like in 3.5/4e; the clean, efficient approach is refreshing. Still, if the proficiency bonus in trained skills went from like +4 to +10, the characters would actually feel trained.
 

Sage Genesis

First Post
It's not hyperbole. Here, I will walk you through it.

First, he made it quite clear he did not mean "51%" by "most". He spelled out two (or three) types of checks, 1) "you'll have reasonably trained characters succeeding most of the time", which is where "most" comes in. I'll drill down on common parlance for what "most" means, but that's the context for his claim. Then he said, "and untrained characters succeeding about half the time", which is your "50%" type checks, which he clearly is differentiating from "most" type checks. And then he said, "Hopefully the untrained characters will get some help to allow them to boost their rolls," implying that even those rolling with 50% odds will hopefully get better odds than that and fall into the "most" category as well.

"Most" is not "bare majority" in common usage either. It means, "greatest in amount or degree" and "to the greatest extent". If someone says "He had most of the box of cookies", he does not mean, "he ate just over half the cookies".

I think it's pretty clear from the context there is an expectation that they will very likely succeed, and the chance of failure, while present, is not what you'd describe as a "significant" chance of failure.

And that's the very type of situation the guidelines suggest should not involve a check. If the chance of failure is not "significant", the game would probably work out better if you didn't interrupt the flow by calling for a check.

I don't think this is a minor point. When to call for a check, and when not to, has a lot to do with moving things along at a pace that engages the players. It's one of those things where the rules get in the way of the game, if you call for checks even when there isn't a significant chance of failure.

I think it's a sign that @am181d could cut back the number of checks he's calling for in his games, and just let players succeed automatically for ability checks they're likely to succeed at anyway. That way, his games speed up, the player's are not taken out of the game by the rules, and when he calls for a roll it becomes far more meaningful because they know there is a significant chance they won't succeed.

Yes, it is hyperbole. Everything you just said I already took into account in my previous post. If you'd read my second paragraph a little closer you'd see that. A character who succeeds 60% of the time still faces a significant chance of failure. A character who succeeds 70% of the time still has a significant chance of failure. Ditto for 80%. And yet, these are people who succeed most of the time.

These numbers also fit in with how the system would respond to am181d's proposal because a typical trained person has only a 1 to 6 point advantage over others. If an untrained person is likely to succeed half of the time (ie succeeds on an 11) then trained people succeed about 55% to 80% of the time (ie succeed on anywhere from 5 to 10, depending on their level). If you think the chance of failure for these odds is so insignificant you shouldn't bother rolling anymore I'd be very interested in hearing your justification.
 

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