Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: 5e's Ambiguous DCs for Skill Checks

  1. #1

    Default 5e's Ambiguous DCs for Skill Checks

    The Player's Handbook Book provides a very vague base for DCs being used in the game. I'd like your opinions on how you've used variable DCs in your campaigns. I will of course start with how I utilize DCs and have applied them in my campaigns.

     
    [TR]
    [TD]Very Easy
    [/TD]
    [TD] 5
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Easy
    [/TD]
    [TD]10
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Medium
    [/TD]
    [TD]15
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Hard
    [/TD]
    [TD]20
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Very Hard
    [/TD]
    [TD]25
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Nearly Impossible
    [/TD]
    [TD]30
    [/TD]
    [/TR]

    Lets set up an instance of DC in use.

    Spell casters for instance have a Spell Save DC that opponents use to for saving throws. The formula is 8 + Proficiency Bonus + Spell Casting Ability Modifier. The highest it reaches at 1st level is 8 + 2 + 5 (Mod of a Stat at 20 through high ability roll and racial bonus) for a total of 15. According to the chart Enemies should find the best casters of 1st level to have a spell save DC of medium difficulty. Compare this to the average 1st level character assuming a casting stat of 15 which is + 3. That's just under medium difficulty.

    When characters level up they'll increase their proficiency bonus over time and perhaps their casting modifier as well. The highest that reaches is +6 prof bonus and +5 through standard ability score increase. So the highest the spell save DC can get naturally is 8 + 6 + 5 for a total of 19. That's just underneath Hard difficulty for enemies to worry about. Any creature that doesn't have saving throws or a decent modifier in the relevant stat will indeed have a difficult time fighting off a 20th level spell caster.

    In a reverse situation where the PCs must fight an enemy who uses powers or spells with high Save DC, you're not only accounting for one PC. Instead you must worry about the entire party from the bard to the wizard. Also with enemies of high DCs you have to worry about their own ability to plan ahead and target key members of the party. The important part about what I'm saying is that you can plan ahead. You've got numbers to work with based on the difficulty of enemies and the strength of the party. Best of all there is material to work with so that you don't have to create the DCs yourself.

    But for non-combat you are given that table above for a vague idea of where to place difficulty for things like skill and ability checks that are obscure: performance for instance has no given system in the rule books just a presence in the campaign that is for the DM to decide if useful in the campaign.

    So what's the best way to decide the DC for skills that have no system?



    This is a discussion topic. So tell me what you've been doing. You're still free to give me your thoughts on what I'm doing of course.
    <-)-=----------------=-(->

  2. #2

    Default

    I simply decide from feeling whether what the player wants to accomplish is very easy, easy, medium, hard, very hard or impossible and then just use the corresponding DC.

    Sometimes I don't even have a fixed DC, but there will be different levels of information. Like 10+ = general information. 15+ = an additional hint. 20+ = secret insider information.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    9,726

    Default

    I'm a lot like Rya.Reisender. I don't really like charts I have to reference. I like simplicity and flexibility. If something comes up that isn't covered by the rules (and sometimes if it is but would be too complicated to follow the rules strictly), I just wing it - either with a number set in my head or based on how the player rolls. Especially in the medium of PbP, anything that adds additional complexity and requires rules-referencing (because your players WILL need reminded and/or do something "the wrong way"), anything that delays the game, kills the game.
    If you're interested in joining in this year's already-in-progress Dungeon Delver competition, send me a PM!



Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •