I don't see how any of what you say here bears upon my comment that this is a difference between 4e and 5e D&D, but not one that is relevant in the context of how DCs are set and how "freeform" that is.I think it's relevant and creates a difference in play and how adjudication of DC's is approached.pemerton said:This is a difference between 4e and 5e D&D, but I don't think it's a relevant one in the context of how DCs are set and how "freeform" that is. In 5e there's a chart. In 4e every time the PCs level up you replace the old chart with a new chart. At the actual moment of adjudication both require choosing a DC from a chart expressed in the language of difficulties.
In 5e I am setting an actual objective difficulty for the hardest tasks in the game world... they will be that difficulty for a 1st level character and they will be that difficulty for a 20th level character and some of the higher ones are attainable by low level characters with the right attributes, skill bonuses and possibly magic.
In 4e I am setting a relative difficulty to the players power so I am not in fact setting an objective Very Hard DC, I am setting a DC for what I believe is hard relative to a X level character. What is moderately hard for a 1st level character is childs play for a 20th level character and what is moderately hard for a 20th level character is impossible for a 1st level character.
IMO this not only creates a difference in how play takes place in the world... Players in 5e know that unless a DM calls out a task as impossible or nearly impossible... even at low levels they have a chance to accomplish tasks that would be Very Difficult even for 20th level characters. It also means the DM when adjudicating a task has to think in terms of the game world as a whole.
In 4e a player knows there are tasks that while easy for a 30th level character are beyond any attempt they could make (thought honestly most DM's aren't going to ever even consider them since the DC's they would use are relative). Also a DM in 4e is adjudicating not what is easy/moderate/hard in terms of the gameworld but in terms of a level X character in the gameworld.
How is it more freeform to decide that something is Very Hard objectively rather than Hard for a 25th level PC?
How is it more freeform for a player to know that a DC20 is something that can be achieved at 1st level?