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Hi :) in the Phb pg 178 it describes difficulty classes as only being used in desperate or exciting circumstances however what If you are in a pointless situation could this require a difficulty class

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closed as not a real question by SevenSidedDie, Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jul 17 '12 at 20:04

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Are you talking about the DC (Difficulty class) for overcoming an obstacle or passing a skill check of some sort? – mudbunny Jul 17 '12 at 16:42
Luke, can you drop by chat before asking a question, please? We'll help you refine it. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jul 17 '12 at 17:00
Luke might help you. It's a recording of one of the weekly games I run, and will give you a feel for how the game runs. The battle-map didn't record, but you should get a feel for how things work. Please please ask questions about that game in chat. Or I'll ban you. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jul 17 '12 at 17:19
You may need to create an account on in order to successfully chat. It was what I needed to do before I could actually chat. – mudbunny Jul 17 '12 at 17:47
This isn't a question! Paraphrasing, this is what you wrote: "PHB p. 178 says DCs are only used in dramatic circumstances. Do you use DCs in non-dramatic circumstances?" – SevenSidedDie Jul 17 '12 at 19:43

Pointless rolls should always be avoided.

There are two broad reasons for this:

  1. Rolls take time.

    If the difficulty of the roll is so low that players are virtually guaranteed (and failure has very little consequence), rolling become a pure waste of time. Why bother going through the process of picking a skill, choosing a DC, having the players roll, look up appropriate modifiers, calculate their total, and determine if that surpasses the chosen difficulty if the outcome doesn't matter?

  2. The system is not optimized for low-difficulty tasks

    Most RPG systems, and D&D in particular, are optimized for tasks around your skill level. There isn't a lot of precision for tasks that are trivial. If the characters succeed on a roll of one on the D20 then their rate of failure is 0%; they effectively succeed automatically.

    On the other hand, if a roll of one on the D20 is a failure, their failure rate jumps all the way up to 5%. There isn't any middle ground between the two.

    Being the guy who failed the roll to climb up into the treehouse is lame, and really the difficulty of doing so was probably inflated... A trained adventurer should probably be able to climb into that treehouse more often that one in twenty times :)


All that being said, it is ultimately up to the DM to determine when the players must roll. The final decision between rolling and not rolling should be made based on the following questions:

Does this roll add anything to the game? Is failure meaningful and interesting?

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+1 for the bold line at the bottom. If failure doesn't mean anything or add to the game then there's no reason to make it a roll in the first place. Of course you can always tell them it will take x time without a roll and let them raise the risk themselves to attempt to get whatever it is done quicker, but of course that only does anything if there's a reason for time pressure. – Lunin Jul 17 '12 at 17:35

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