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In the DnD Next Bestiary, it describes Berserker as having a Rage power that (among other things) gives the character +2 to Strength checks and saving throws.

Does this mean that the Berserker gets a +2 to attack and damage as well? Is an attack a check, or since saving throws are mentioned, that means it does NOT apply to attacks?

For reference, in the main rules section it states that an attack roll is similar to a check.

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IANAL, but the Online Playtest Agreement (wizards.com/dnd/files/DNDNextPlaytestingAgreement.pdf) prohibits "publishing" anything from the playtest materials. I suspect this means you can't excerpt the rules on SE. –  cr0m May 28 '12 at 19:51
@crom I'm not sure what the difference between discussing the content, and restating what the rules say is, but ok, edited. –  GMNoob May 28 '12 at 20:16
I'm not either, but the language specifies that you can discuss your "thoughts", so I read that as "don't publish actual mechanics, just what you think about them". I really don't know for sure though. –  cr0m May 28 '12 at 22:55
Update, via Meta: from WotC: "You can talk about your current and previous playtest experiences and even talk about the rules and mechanics as long as you don’t directly quote text." That may mean you need to remove the part of your question where you excerpt the Rage power. But as also noted on meta, SE isn't in the business of enforcement. –  cr0m May 29 '12 at 20:06
@cr0m et al: Since the relevant part of the quoted text was such a small percentage it's easy enough to remove the quoted text without hurting the question at all, and I've done so. –  SevenSidedDie May 30 '12 at 4:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

No an attack is not a check.

The similarity between a check and an attack is in the way that rolls are handled, bonuses are added to the rolls and advantages/disadvantages are given. I believe the developers linked them together in order to not have to explain the same thing twice.

Throughout the document, the developers specifically mention checks AND attacks. When they talk about advantage/disadvantage, they point out that you can get this on a check, an attack roll or a saving throw.

Under each of the attributes, Checks, Attacks and Saving throws are all outlined in their own manner. This trend continues through the document. It would be redundant to do this if checks and attacks were the same.

Attacks also are the only rolls that have to follow the natural 1 and natural 20 rules. All other rolls seem to treat them as whatever value.

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No, an attack is not a check. It's saying "similar to" in that intro paragraph just for total noobs to stress that you add a d20 and add an ability modifier to it. Nowhere else when it talks about attack rolls (especially in the Combat section) does it indicate that they count as a check.

And damage is certainly not a check. You are wanting to read this as"+2 to Strength" but that's not what it's doing.

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Actually, in the first couple pages of the DM guidelines it refers to attacks as a check (or specialized form of check). Now whether the intention of strength bonus in Rage was only for 'regular' checks, I have no idea. As a DM I would actually apply a +2 to hit since strength does apply to this mechanic. –  Robert Kleinsasser May 28 '12 at 22:44
@RobertKleinsasser Can you post your comment as a new answer? –  GMNoob May 29 '12 at 5:04

There are two references to attacks as checks in the DM Guidelines document. I can't quote them here at the moment due to NDA, but I can give approximate locations:

  • Page 1, second column, in the Checks section. This reference states that an attack is a specialized form of a check.
  • Page 2, first column, in the Attacks section. This reference states that an attack is a check, where the DC is the AC.

Reading both references seems to give me the vibe that they intended it to be the same 'core mechanic', but with attack as a specialized (and common) form of it.

Whether the intention of the strength bonus in Rage was only for 'regular' checks, I am unsure of this. However, as a DM I would take the liberty to apply the +2 to hit (not damage) since strength does take a factor in how well you can hit with melee weapons.

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I don't think "in essence" means "are checks" in that context. Obviously playtesters need to give feedback to WotC that it's unclear if attacks are checks or just "essentially like but not actually" checks. –  SevenSidedDie May 29 '12 at 18:23

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