D&D General The Resurrection of Mike Mearls Games.


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ichabod

Legned
Winning each round allows the characters to remain hidden. I need to work on the format, but at the start of the round you make a group Stealth check to cover how quiet you are being. The idea is to move away from a single check determining how the entire encounter turns out.
I've been trying to move away from multiple checks in order to keep the probabilities clear. Now, you're not quite doing the 5E group stealth check, but you are doing something very similar. And 5E group checks are basically rolling with advantage.

Take a group check with two people with the same bonus. They need one success, so mechanically it is the same as one of them rolling with advantage. A party of four lessens the impact some, but it is still there. If one character is rolling and they need an 11, they have a 50% chance of succeeding. If two characters are rolling a group check and each needs an 11, they have a 75% chance of succeeding. With four characters needing an 11 on the group check, it's about a 69% chance. With characters that have different bonuses it becomes much more difficult to calculate the probabilities, which leads to GM's setting tasks for the players without really understanding how easy or difficult those tasks are.

In my games I am moving towards just having the character with the worst bonus roll in these cases. If they can succeed, you can assume the better characters would succeed also. Furthermore, it's obvious what the probability is. If they need a 15, you know they have a 30% chance of success.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Pardon the cynicism, but don't you find that "like the most" translates to "have the best rating in" a suspicious amount of the time? :)
Exactly. And that quickly devolves into you only making checks with your best stat+skill, which quickly devolves into only letting the character with the best stat+skill roll for any given task. It's incredibly boring at the table.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
Exactly. And that quickly devolves into you only making checks with your best stat+skill, which quickly devolves into only letting the character with the best stat+skill roll for any given task. It's incredibly boring at the table.
It would be incredibly boring but also doesn't seem to match with reality, at least in the games I've run and played in. My fighter often got caught up rolling deception or diplomacy and then with a +0 bonus. Sometimes I even succeeded. We had a rogue who was much more geared to talking to NPCs but they weren't always the ones up front talking.
 

Exactly. And that quickly devolves into you only making checks with your best stat+skill, which quickly devolves into only letting the character with the best stat+skill roll for any given task. It's incredibly boring at the table.
Glad that Mearls version calls out skills for each challenge, which IMO I prefer.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
Glad that Mearls version calls out skills for each challenge, which IMO I prefer.
Yeah, it's good to have some idea of skills to use and just be adaptable to any skills the players might be creative enough to use. I think that's how it worked in 4e (been a while since i checked), a bunch of skills were suggested but others could be used if they made sense.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
It would be incredibly boring but also doesn't seem to match with reality, at least in the games I've run and played in. My fighter often got caught up rolling deception or diplomacy and then with a +0 bonus. Sometimes I even succeeded. We had a rogue who was much more geared to talking to NPCs but they weren't always the ones up front talking.
It's matches my experience with 5E perfectly. That's why I said it. In 10 years of playing and running the game, only the first few months did players "allow" someone without the best stat+skill combo to roll for things. After that, 100% of every 5E games I've been involved in have started from the premise of only the best is ever "allowed" to even attempt the check. No matter what I did as a referee, the players always objected to having someone other than the best stat+skill character roll for things. They'd twist themselves into knots to justify only that character rolling. It's tedious as hell. Glad your experience is different.
 

I think that's how it worked in 4e (been a while since i checked), a bunch of skills were suggested but others could be used if they made sense.
Most 4e skill challenges offered you several different approaches to solving them using different skills, often with varying DCs based on which skill you chose. You could often (for ex) brute force your way past an challenge using Athletics at a high DC, or use Arcana at a lower DC to manipulate some magical effect to do things more easily. Sometimes there were further conditions like only being able to test on a specific skill a limite dnumber of times, or needing to pass a skill check using one skill to allow different skills to be used as a follow-up. Didn't always work well, but at least it didn't tie everything to one skill.
 

I think the idea of Skill Challenges in Mearls' method has to be considered in respect to his new style of Ability Checks. Mearls new ability checks are essentially Ability Oracles. You roll a skill, similar to PbtA, you get a result that influences the narrative, spanning from setbacks to critical successes and including complications and successes.

These Ability Oracles make it so you aren't really concerned about the nitty gritty specifics of 5E rules, but you're more concerned with what the die roll is telling you about the fiction. Getting a success with a complication means you've almost finished scaling the cliff, but the smell of the waste bucket a pirate unwittingly dumped on you might make you wretch on your next turn. If either side ends up with more progress, the fiction moves to the next scene, using those progress tallies to build itself.

This means that, unlike standard success/binary Ability Checks, Ability Oracles end up becoming storytelling rules that I personally think fit the average 5E RPer's ideation of the game anyway. You get more information about the fiction from the roll, and you aren't worried about counting exact feet but instead dealing with the narrative universe you're playing in. I think this thus brings both the OSR and Story Games styles of play into 5E in an elegant way.

I left my comment (first comment) on more constructive critiques in Mearls patreon, but ultimately I think this angle of skill challenges, one put into a stat block format, will heavily revolutionize how I run my 5E games.
 


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