D&D 5E What rule(s) is 5e missing?


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JEB

Legend
Alignment mechanics in previous editions seemed to boil down to:
1. If your alignment tag doesn't match with the alignment tag of x item, take damage (or suffer effect).
2. If your alignment tag doesn't match, you can't use this class/item/thing.
3. If you change your alignment tag you lose a level.

It's not like any edition had deep mechanics.
1E and earlier also had alignment languages, FWIW.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
I just want to point out that this is a game where a 20 Charisma final tier character with a +6 proficiency mod has a 40% chance to fail that roll. Most characters have a lot worse chances.
A 40% chance to fail, aka a 60% chance to succeed. I don't think people really understand numbers sometimes. You might be a baseball fan, so here's a quick bit of trivia. The all-time best hitter in MLB is Ty Cobb. His batting average was .366. Translating that to non-sports nerd means he hit 36.6% of the balls that came across the plate when he was at bat. The best hitter in major-league baseball's history...hit less than 40% of the time. And to you, succeeding 60% of the time is too low. Okay. But that makes no sense.
A simple "hey let's work together unless we have good reasons not to" shouldn't be an extremely hard check, and I can certainly imagine players, after trying it a few times and not rolling 15 or better on the die to realize it's just not worth the effort.
Well, players have a bizarre habit of trying to get NPCs to do everything for them (trap-sweeping hirelings) and treating social skills like literal mind control (sure the king will give you his kingdom since your rolled a nat 20).
I understand this, but I was just saying what a DC 20 check means- if that's the desired end goal, saying "well you need a 20" still makes it a Hail Mary.
If it's a straight roll with zero bonuses, then it's a 5% chance of success. As it's your example, a CHA +5 and 20th level with proficiency in the relevant skill for a total of +11 on that roll, you're talking about a 60% chance of success...which is almost double MLB's all-time best hitter's average chance to hit a ball.
That you might not need a 20 is nice and all, of course, but it's not relevant when you actually do.
Sometimes things are not likely. Sometimes the PCs cannot do something. Sometimes they try and fail. It's part of the game. The PCs don't have to succeed on every roll, win every fight, and succeed all the time. It's okay. It's just a game.
The fact that you can Help does change things a little...
Well, advantage averages out to be a +5 to your roll, so +25% chance of success. That's huge. The opposite of "a little".
-As an aside, I have seen DM's who are very resistant, however, to allowing players to pad their odds in social interactions- just last week I had a fun conversation with people who felt that Guidance, for example, should never be allowed to affect a negotiation (and a few who seem to feel that allowing Help out of combat is somehow abusive).
No one's going to stand around as you cast a spell on your friend prior to negotiations without objecting or refusing to continue. It's silly to think they'd be fine with it. "Hey, do you mind if I magically boost my friend here so he's more likely to convince you to do what we want?" No one would agree to that.

Why do players think that they have to never fail? Why is the expected baseline perfection and anything short of that seen as unacceptable failure? It's so odd. I can't think of a single interesting story where the protagonist never fails at anything. Why is that the prevailing fantasy of modern D&D players?
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
-As an aside, I have seen DM's who are very resistant, however, to allowing players to pad their odds in social interactions- just last week I had a fun conversation with people who felt that Guidance, for example, should never be allowed to affect a negotiation (and a few who seem to feel that allowing Help out of combat is somehow abusive).

Well, if I was in a negotiation and the spellcaster suddenly started very obviously casting a spell, I'd probably be a lot more suspicious. Or hostile, if I didn't know for sure that he wasn't about to drop a Flame Strike.
 

Argyle King

Legend
I believe Mythras has something like that (at least M-Space does, which is based off the same engine). It works well-enough, but needs more fleshing out (It just uses social skills against 'hit points' coming from social and willpower stats. There needs to be actual different moves). Still, a good way of having more than just 'success, and by how much' as a resolution mechanic.


This is a fundamental thing. Overall skills and generalized task resolution is the sticky wicket of so many RPGs. Even games with more rigorous skill lists and modifiers (say, GURPS) often have trouble when they get to 'so how should we have my profession: psychologist skill actually play out?' Skill challenges was a solution. Plenty of argument as to how good it was. Something like this would go a long way to making the skill system in 5e seem less vestigial.

Sidenote: GURPS (at least the edition I'm most familiar with) does address how this might/should work.

Funny enough, the margin of success rules from GURPS 4E influenced how I ran D&D 4E skill challenges. D&D 4E also influenced how I did some things while running GURPS.

I liked a lot of D&D 4E's ideas, but a good chunk of how those ideas were implemented bugged me.
 


Oofta

Legend
A 40% chance to fail, aka a 60% chance to succeed. I don't think people really understand numbers sometimes. You might be a baseball fan, so here's a quick bit of trivia. The all-time best hitter in MLB is Ty Cobb. His batting average was .366. Translating that to non-sports nerd means he hit 36.6% of the balls that came across the plate when he was at bat. The best hitter in major-league baseball's history...hit less than 40% of the time. And to you, succeeding 60% of the time is too low. Okay. But that makes no sense.

Well, players have a bizarre habit of trying to get NPCs to do everything for them (trap-sweeping hirelings) and treating social skills like literal mind control (sure the king will give you his kingdom since your rolled a nat 20).

If it's a straight roll with zero bonuses, then it's a 5% chance of success. As it's your example, a CHA +5 and 20th level with proficiency in the relevant skill for a total of +11 on that roll, you're talking about a 60% chance of success...which is almost double MLB's all-time best hitter's average chance to hit a ball.

Sometimes things are not likely. Sometimes the PCs cannot do something. Sometimes they try and fail. It's part of the game. The PCs don't have to succeed on every roll, win every fight, and succeed all the time. It's okay. It's just a game.

Well, advantage averages out to be a +5 to your roll, so +25% chance of success. That's huge. The opposite of "a little".

No one's going to stand around as you cast a spell on your friend prior to negotiations without objecting or refusing to continue. It's silly to think they'd be fine with it. "Hey, do you mind if I magically boost my friend here so he's more likely to convince you to do what we want?" No one would agree to that.

Why do players think that they have to never fail? Why is the expected baseline perfection and anything short of that seen as unacceptable failure? It's so odd. I can't think of a single interesting story where the protagonist never fails at anything. Why is that the prevailing fantasy of modern D&D players?

Just a quick addendum: if the plot relies on the intimidation being successful, it's not a problem with the rules on intimidation.

Oh, and as with all DCs the number given is just a starting point that can be adjusted based on DM's discretion. If nothing else, do you have a way to change someone's attitude toward you? If not, why would it be easy to convince someone who is actively hostile to give you info?
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Why do players think that they have to never fail? Why is the expected baseline perfection and anything short of that seen as unacceptable failure? It's so odd. I can't think of a single interesting story where the protagonist never fails at anything. Why is that the prevailing fantasy of modern D&D players?
I could respond with "why do DM's think the players have to have a high chance of failure? Why is the expected baseline a 60% chance to succeed instead of 75%? It's so odd, I can't think of a single interesting story where the protagonist fails at everything. Why is that the prevailing fantasy of modern D&D dungeonmasters?

But that's not exactly the problem. The problem is a task that is difficult for a optimized high level character should not be a task that is reasonable, or an expected option for a character of any level. At any level of the game, characters should be allowed to have reasonable chances of success at reasonable things.

If my party has no Charisma-based characters, and our best diplomat has a Persuade check of +3 which should be viable for play since the rules never enforce someone being better than this (and in fact, people tell me all the time you don't need to optimize for 5e), and you go "wait, wouldn't it be better if we work together instead of fight each other needlessly?" your DC shouldn't be 20.

The social interaction rules give you opportunities to lower the DC or possibly gain advantage- but that's out of a player's control. They have to convince the DM for this to be a viable or reasonable course of action.

So let's say our hypothetical +3 Persuade guy drops the DC to 15. And you get that help action. You still need to roll a 12 or better, and what is that at this point, a 37.5% chance of success? Not even a coin flip.

Is it any wonder why there's so many murderhobos out there who decide "man, it's just easier to beat monsters up than to talk to them"?
 

Reynard

Legend
I could respond with "why do DM's think the players have to have a high chance of failure? Why is the expected baseline a 60% chance to succeed instead of 75%? It's so odd, I can't think of a single interesting story where the protagonist fails at everything. Why is that the prevailing fantasy of modern D&D dungeonmasters?

But that's not exactly the problem. The problem is a task that is difficult for a optimized high level character should not be a task that is reasonable, or an expected option for a character of any level. At any level of the game, characters should be allowed to have reasonable chances of success at reasonable things.

If my party has no Charisma-based characters, and our best diplomat has a Persuade check of +3 which should be viable for play since the rules never enforce someone being better than this (and in fact, people tell me all the time you don't need to optimize for 5e), and you go "wait, wouldn't it be better if we work together instead of fight each other needlessly?" your DC shouldn't be 20.

The social interaction rules give you opportunities to lower the DC or possibly gain advantage- but that's out of a player's control. They have to convince the DM for this to be a viable or reasonable course of action.

So let's say our hypothetical +3 Persuade guy drops the DC to 15. And you get that help action. You still need to roll a 12 or better, and what is that at this point, a 37.5% chance of success? Not even a coin flip.

Is it any wonder why there's so many murderhobos out there who decide "man, it's just easier to beat monsters up than to talk to them"?
The social pillar is woefully undersupported, mechanically speaking. yet people think they need to resort to dice as often as with the combat pillar. That's the problem.
Dice are only used if there is uncertainty in the outcome. If two rival adventuring groups meet in the dungeon and a player tries to de-escalate, there is nothing in the rules that demands that character make a Charisma (Persuasion) check to convince the NPCs. That's a GM call, and if the GM demands the roll that means (ostensibly) the GM doesn't know or can't decide how the NPCs will react. Presumably, the GM has also rolled on the reaction chart to find out the NPCs' starting attitudes, etc. The DMG makes it quite clear that the GM can lean way too heavily on the dice and tries to advise GMs to avoid that practice. yet we still end up with arguments as above that hinge on making rolls for no reason.

Not that the other side of the coin is just as true: you don't need a Persuasion roll to get the gnolls to stop trying to eviscerate you in the name of their demon master because the outcome isn't uncertain: they won't, and if you waste an action trying to convince them otherwise all you did was help them murder you.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Which is precisely my point. If an option has a particular threshold for failure, people aren't going to keep trying it- definition of insanity and all that.

Because "check to get hostile creatures to cooperate as long as they aren't taking a risk or sacrificing anything by doing so", doesn't sound to me like it should require a ridiculously high DC.

I would expect a DC 20 to be "check to get hostile creatures to cooperate". This smacks of a bias to make sure players fight monsters as opposed to talk to them. Which just tells players they need to be Diplomancers with Expertise in Persuasion if they don't want to risk wasting their time.

Since, in most respects, your chance at succeeding at a skill check is often the same as your chance to hit, it comes down to, what level would you expect players to face an AC of 20?

You probably shouldn't see DC's of 20 any sooner than that.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
1E and earlier also had alignment languages, FWIW.

Chris Currie said:
Alignment mechanics in previous editions seemed to boil down to:
1. If your alignment tag doesn't match with the alignment tag of x item, take damage (or suffer effect).
2. If your alignment tag doesn't match, you can't use this class/item/thing.
3. If you change your alignment tag you lose a level.

It's not like any edition had deep mechanics.

Let's not forget:
  • Indiscriminately murder or debilitate anyone without your alignment tag (includes 'good' people just sandblasting neutral commoners out of existence and striking the rest blind)
  • Changing your character's alignment against their will then expecting them to continue roleplaying the altered husk of what you created.
  • Allowing Paladins to dictate the party composition and RP choices.
 

Reynard

Legend
You probably shouldn't see DC's of 20 any sooner than that.
DCs aren't supposed to be level based in 5E. they are supposed to represent objective difficulty to perform a task. Nothing screws the PCs quite like always upping the DCs to match their level so there is always a 50% or whatever chance of success.

In any case, there shouldn't be a single difficulty for getting hostile creatures/NPCs to stop fighting. Every time that comes up, it is going to be a unique set of circumstances. Sometimes it is going to be automatic (it was a misunderstanding!), sometimes it might be hard (DC 15 but you get advantage because you're a dwarf) and sometimes it is going to be impossible (the Death Knight is not persuaded, sorry).
 

The social pillar is woefully undersupported, mechanically speaking. yet people think they need to resort to dice as often as with the combat pillar. That's the problem.
Dice are only used if there is uncertainty in the outcome.
that is what is missing. Rules (even optional) that support exploration and Social interactions as much as combat... heck half as much as combat
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
The fact that DC's aren't in any way tethered to level is logical- it shouldn't be harder to climb a tree at level 20 than at level 1, but it does create some very odd problems when setting DC's. Most of the time, DC's seem to be set higher than I'd like them to be for characters with lower chances of success.

But then, when characters do get abilities like Expertise, they can make checks pretty much all the time, to the point where it sometimes feels like we shouldn't bother asking them to roll at all. "Oh yeah, right, Observant and Expertise in Perception, yeah, you see it."

5e, IMO, needs rules for "degrees of success". The social interaction rules take a stab at it, but I think it could be done better for all aspects of the system.

Like, "this is failure", "this is failing forward", "this is success". "This is critical success for you lucky SOB's and optimizers".

Some might want to add some kind of "super failure" but I'd be against that since it would only punish players who can't afford to be competent at every task.
 


SteveC

Adventurer
I just want to point out that this is a game where a 20 Charisma final tier character with a +6 proficiency mod has a 40% chance to fail that roll. Most characters have a lot worse chances.

A simple "hey let's work together unless we have good reasons not to" shouldn't be an extremely hard check, and I can certainly imagine players, after trying it a few times and not rolling 15 or better on the die to realize it's just not worth the effort.
I'll agree with that and say that the whole DC system really needs to have an overhaul, or at least discuss some of the assumptions. I find that most checks are too difficult and seem to assume something like Guidance or Aid is happening. A flat 20 seems poorly thought out when there are so many other options. It would also be nice to see that under the Intimidate skill itself.

The GM in this case is just getting his feet under him, so this derailed the combat for a few minutes until he made a ruling (I and one of the other players were hoping he would do just that). He ended up doing Intimidate vs Will save as an opposed check. When that initially failed, the Paladin did a smite that obliterated one of the bandits, and tried again. The GM did another roll with Advantage, which was perfectly cool with all of us.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
The fact that DC's aren't in any way tethered to level is logical- it shouldn't be harder to climb a tree at level 20 than at level 1, but it does create some very odd problems when setting DC's. Most of the time, DC's seem to be set higher than I'd like them to be for characters with lower chances of success.

But then, when characters do get abilities like Expertise, they can make checks pretty much all the time, to the point where it sometimes feels like we shouldn't bother asking them to roll at all. "Oh yeah, right, Observant and Expertise in Perception, yeah, you see it."
I think it's also worth noting that the game actively advises against rolling when it's not absolutely necessary due to the amount of uncertainty or stakes. If a PC has a hard time climbing a tree but isn't under significant pressure (like being shot at by a goblin with a bow), then it isn't particularly important to roll - they may have a little trouble, get stuck for a moment, have to back track down a limb or so to approach from another direction. But as long as there's no significant pressure, it's OK to wave it off as done. No need to worry about that DC.
But that PC with expertise - he can scamper up that tree even when being shot at because he can make that roll.
5e, IMO, needs rules for "degrees of success". The social interaction rules take a stab at it, but I think it could be done better for all aspects of the system.

Like, "this is failure", "this is failing forward", "this is success". "This is critical success for you lucky SOB's and optimizers".
The DMG does address some of those issues, but I wouldn't mind seeing a broader and stronger treatment of the topic.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
The assumption of an effect like Guidance does seem to be present, but I've heard people claim that Guidance was a mistake (and apparently the developers have said so?), and there seems to be a lot of pushback towards players who want to use Guidance often.

Heck, when I suggested a player can throw out a Guidance every 10th turn for whatever die roll someone might need to make out of combat, I was told something to the effect that "that would be narratively ridiculous to me".

My analogy, a Sorcerer refreshing Dancing Lights ever 10th round for hands-free light sources, was also ill received, but I see that happen all the time at tables. /shrug

There does seem to be a lack of consensus about how difficult the game should be- I usually try to be a player advocate, because when I play the game, I look at what frustrates me and figure I can't be the only one.

Some people want D&D characters to be heroes, and others want them to be The Mystery Men (look it up if you haven't seen it!). And the developers don't seem to want to come out and say which is a more apt description, so the people who play and DM this game keep butting heads about it.
 


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