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D&D 5E What rule(s) is 5e missing?

So an individual not particularly skilled at diplomacy and on their own has a difficult time succeeding on a hard challenge. I'm not understanding the disconnect.
except in a bounded accuracy system something as simple as "We don't' kill you, you don't kill us" shouldn't be that hard.
You still have failing forward in the toolbox to move past the situation.
that is one way to look at it... my way is you are teaching the players violence is always the best answer.

imagine a party was able to be that bad at combat and what it would mean
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
The disconnect is why it's a hard challenge in the first place. Or why hard challenges are DC 20 in a bound skill system. I mean, let's compare to 3e.

Now, this is the 3e PHB DC chart.

Difficulty (DC) Example (Skill Used)

Very easy (0)Notice something large in plain sight (Spot)

Easy (5)Climb a knotted rope (Climb)

Average (10) Hear an approaching guard (Listen)

Tough (15) Rig a wagon wheel to fall off (Disable Device)

Challenging (20) Swim in stormy water (Swim)

Formidable (25) Open an average lock (Open Lock)

Heroic (30) Leap across a 30-foot chasm (Jump)

Nearly impossible (40) Track a squad of orcs across hard ground after 24 hours of rainfall (Survival)

Now at first you might say, ok, so what, it's double the DC's of 5e (EDIT: well no, because I forgot DC 25).

But here's the thing.

A first level character with a 16 and 4 skill points invested in a skill has +7. Many races grant +2 skill bonuses. There are Feats (in a system with more plentiful feats) that grant +2 or +3 to skill checks. There are synergy bonuses for having 5 ranks in one skill adding +2 to another. You can get magic items that grant competence bonuses. Ability scores can easily go about 20. And at level 20, you can have +23 to a check from skill points alone.

Now if we compare Diplomacy in 3e to 5e, we find that yeah, getting a Hostile character to Friendly (a bit better than the proposed DC 20 check) is actually DC 35 in 3e; so probably not something a 1st level character should be doing.

Although, by level 10, a character could have a check have a check of +30, with a 80% chance of success and that's not even using Feats or Spells!

Compare and contrast the level 10 example above.
 

And if that is how you see social interaction in D&D, that's fine as long as you and your players agree.

I, however, don't like seeing very high DC's in a game with bounded accuracy applying to skill checks, for one, and for two, I like games where social interaction is possible without having to convince the DM that your arguments are exceptionally valid.

Because if players routinely encounter large chances of failure at attempting a thing, that teaches them not to do that thing.

I made the comment about Intimidation. People don't like to be intimidated. And will generally resent you for doing so. So not only are most NPC's going to be resistant to that line of social interaction, other versions of the game have gone so far as to say that after the encounter, they will be hostile towards you afterwards (which is simply counterproductive).

In fact, during a 4e adventure, I was once in a skill challenge to convince a powerful NPC not to screw over the party due to an incident we were enmired, through no fault of our own.

One of the options presented was Intimidation. A player roll a natural 20, but we didn't get a success or a bonus on other checks. When I asked about this, the adventure itself states the the NPC is immune to Intimidation.

As a result, I have learned to always use diplomacy and Persuasion. Every. Single. Time.

This is how players learn to play the game. If it can't be done, it won't be done. I've often listened to DM's wax lyrical about "why don't players try interesting things in combat? why is there no swinging on chandeliers or using the environment creatively?".

Because typically, you don't know what the impact of those kinds of tactics will be. You don't know what DC the DM will assign, or if the result is worth it.

You know what players do know? What their attack bonus is and what happens when they hit. And it doesn't take a genius to figure out what the AC of the target is.

And DM's don't get crazy ideas if the Cleric casts Bless to make it easier to hit high AC opponents- but using Guidance to affect checks all the time outside of combat, let alone during negotiations? They totally do, and there are threads on this forum that prove it.

You don't agree with my assessment of the game's difficulty, that's fine. But I want to point out how this worked in 2e, to give you an example.

If you have a Non-Weapon Proficiency in 2e, it has a check. It might be Intelligence -1. If your Int is 14, you succeed on any roll of 13 or less (ie, a 65% chance of success).

In 5e, a 1st level character would have a +5 bonus to an equivalent skill. To have a 65% chance of success, the DC would need to be 12.

Can you get a DC down to 12 using the social interaction rules? Well if the NPC is friendly, or if they are indifferent and you can present the DM a good argument. Even better if the DM rules someone else's argument/actions are worth a Help action.

Or maybe you have a Bardic Inspiration die, or the DM actually allows Guidance.

But that's a lot of if's and maybes to get a reasonable DC for a check.

Now, it's been said that there are times a check isn't required- that's great. But a scenario was presented:

You can do this if you roll a DC 20.

I objected that said DC 20 was a reasonable DC for player characters.

All this other "well maybe this or possibly that or no roll should be required" is irrelevant to my objection. The DC was set, I said what I thought about being asked to roll at that DC.

I'll reiterate, just so we're clear- if you're fine with the skill system the way it is, great.

I'm not, I gave reasons why. You can agree or disagree with my notions. I'm not really a maths guy, but I know there's a difference between having to roll a 15 at 1st level and a 9 at 20th.

And you shouldn't require outside factors or a rules kludge like Expertise to make those odds better. Either unbind skills or lower DC's. Or don't, but don't be surprised if the reaction is that some players stick to what they know will work.
We agree on most of your notions. What we don't agree with is if this particular encounter is something that is actually reasonable. However at this point we'd just be arguing about a hypothetical while both of us have similar positions, so no point in continuing much past here.
 

It probably shouldn't require a roll. The GM knows (or can decide) whether the NPCs are willing to take this deal.
okay but this branched off of a discussion that started with some one saying "Oh the rules are clear that is a DC 20 cha check" and people talking (including me) about how that is not a good rule.

Now do I often make my players roll against stupid high DCs for no reason...no, but it would be nice for the rules not to be written in a way that makes that sound normal
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
We agree on most of your notions. What we don't agree with is if this particular encounter is something that is actually reasonable. However at this point we'd just be arguing about a hypothetical while both of us have similar positions, so no point in continuing much past here.
Fair enough. Maybe I miss an era that never really existed, lol, when players felt like negotiating with enemies instead of just going "woohoo, roll initiative, time to kill some gobbos!".
 


James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
okay but this branched off of a discussion that started with some one saying "Oh the rules are clear that is a DC 20 cha check" and people talking (including me) about how that is not a good rule.

Now do I often make my players roll against stupid high DCs for no reason...no, but it would be nice for the rules not to be written in a way that makes that sound normal
WotC did a bad job of setting DC's for ability checks. I mean, that's just my opinion, but they used to have a better handle on these things.

Now granted, a lot of people say this is a feature, not a bug, since it lets them set DC's they feel is reasonable, but what I tend to see often is DM's don't think about the actual odds of success, they go "ah, I'm making you roll, it has to be at least DC 15!".

And I look at the AC's enemies have and go "if hitting enemies is bounded by the same rules as making skill checks, why am I being asked to roll higher DC's than the AC's of opponents?".
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
WotC did a bad job of setting DC's for ability checks. I mean, that's just my opinion, but they used to have a better handle on these things.

Now granted, a lot of people say this is a feature, not a bug, since it lets them set DC's they feel is reasonable, but what I tend to see often is DM's don't think about the actual odds of success, they go "ah, I'm making you roll, it has to be at least DC 15!".

And I look at the AC's enemies have and go "if hitting enemies is bounded by the same rules as making skill checks, why am I being asked to roll higher DC's than the AC's of opponents?".
I like a set list of objective DCs for common tasks. it helps me make judgements on difficulties on the fly without doing so based on how likely I want it to be for this particular PC to succeed at this thing. I am not a strict simulations but I do try and model the "physics" of the world independently of the PCs.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I feel like that is much more likely now than "back in the day."
It could be? My very first exposure to D&D had an example of a player trying to befriend an orc, and in my head it stuck with me as "oh, that is a thing you can be expected to do!".

Even though, lol, it rarely is. I always wondered what the Reaction Adjustment for my Charisma was for in AD&D, and one day I looked it up, and to my shock, there was this whole subsystem and table that DM's were supposed to roll on that none of my DM's seemed to use!

When I asked, they would say "oh I know how the NPC's would react to you".

That was the day I realized Charisma meant nothing. It was a sad day.

Then 3e was like "we got SKILLS!" and I said "ooh, shiny, maybe now we can play for reals!"...and no. LOL.

Then people started making Diplomancers, saying "yes!" and the DM's were like "ahhh, no, you're making a mockery of the game!".

So at this point, who knows what a reasonable diplomacy check even looks like...
 

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