It depends on the chandelier, the maiden, and the level of a typical character who would do such a thing. If impressing this fair maiden by swinging on this chandelier should be hard for a 1st level character, its DC is 19. If it should be medium difficulty for a 5th level character (since she's the governor's daughter and a bit out of a f1st level character's league), the DC is 15.
level easy med hard
1 8 12 19
5 10 15 22
10 13 18 26
15 15 22 30
Numbers (and a very good description) from here. Thanks @Brian for the link!
Once the DC is chosen, anyone can attempt it, though. If the PCs are trying to be diplomatic, but are in over their heads (i.e. 3rd level characters vs 8th level diplomats), pick the DC as easy for an 8th level character (DC 12) just for them to keep up with the negotiations.
Someone who is trained and has a good attribute score (16) will succeed automatically on Easy tasks for their level. (i.e.
Easy DC = 1/2 level + trained(5) + bonus(3)) That same character will succeed on medium difficulty more than 2/3 of the time and succeed on hard difficulty around half of the time. (Note that medium and hard scales assumes that the relevant attributes are going up with the level increases at 4th, 8th, etc. since that's what the character is good at.)
For your example, let's describe the challenge for each of the 4 levels you reference:
- a young woman with 1 level of Fair Maiden
- the governor's daughter (a level 5 encounter)
- a 10th level socialite (and it must be a high class tavern!)
- the duchess (at level 15)
NOTE: I'm using the levels in the description to describe the level for which the interaction is normed. I am NOT saying that all NPCs that the characters interact with need to be of the their level!
To interpret the results:
- Easy: you didn't make a fool of yourself
- Med: you did well and she'd probably talk to you
- Hard: Wow. She's impressed!
So a Fighter, a Wizard, a Monk, and Vin Diesel walk into a bar.
The 1st level Fighter rolls a
2. She has an Acrobatics bonus of +8 (0+5+3), so she can't make a fool of herself in front of her peers. In front of the socialite or the Duchess, though, she'd be completely embarrassed and lose face.
The wizard rolls a
16 to jump to the chandelier. At 5th level he's got a +3 bonus (2+0+1) since he has a 13 dexterity. The governor's daughter would talk to him, but even with that great roll, he didn't wow her. The young woman would be wowed, and luckily he even wouldn't have made a fool of himself in front of the Duchess.
The 10th level Monk makes an Acrobatics check to swing across the room. She rolls an
11 and adds her bonus of 15(5+5+5) for a 26. Even though it's about average for her, she could be in the circus and the socialite invites her to all her fancy parties. Everybody is wowed, except for the Duchess who sees that kind of stuff all them time.
Vin Diesel enters and
he doesn't need to roll. The bartender just gives him a drink and everyone swoons. Since he's got a modifier of +29(10+5+6+racial and inherent bonuses!) it's an automatic success, even against the Duchess. He's that good. She'd definitely want to talk to him, but he'd just want to drink his drink in silence.