Simply put, are there official examples, such as a table, of DC 30 Ability Checks that use skills, for each skill?

I would like to see what the upper boundaries of a character's potential is for a skill, but I'm having difficulty finding any references to it.

That is, I understand what Athletics does, but I'm not sure what the maximum potential for an Athletics Check (about 30) would do.

Preferably, I would like to avoid the scaling examples in the book, such as how a Dexterity (Stealth) can be contested against a Wisdom (Perception) to be Hidden. These can be applied at any level, and aren't unique to a DC 30.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I understand the question. This seems like it's going to end up as a collection of examples because it's only limited by imagination and having acted on it :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 23:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch My apologies. I'll explain better in the question, but I'm looking for official examples, like in Xanathar's or a Adventurer's League supplement. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 23:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ So you'd like answers to comb through all available source material to find saving throws that involve high DCs but aren't simply high because of a scaled DC? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 It'd be a safe assumption that a table with this information exists. Similarly, we have tables on the expected amount of treasure for characters based on their level, which is much more subjective and liable to change. Treasure may change based on a campaign or a DM's preference, but a character's ability to reach a DC rarely will. So, to answer your question, yes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 0:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @medix2 It's a bounded list, totally in our scope. Valid concern, though! \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 0:05

1 Answer 1


There isn't an official table

All we get is the typical difficulty class table that lists DC 30 as "Nearly Impossible".

There are very few examples that require high DCs. For DC 30:

  • Dimensional Shackles requires a DC 30 Strength(Athletics) check for the bound creature to break out.
  • Immovable Rod allows a DC 30 Strength check to move it 10 feet.

For DC 25 there is:

For DC 20:

  • Chains and manacles can be broken with DC 20 Strength checks
  • The Locking Pit trap can be pryed open on a DC 20 Strength check
  • Rolling Sphere can be slowed down with a DC 20 Strength check
  • Poison Needle and Sphere of Annihilation traps use DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) to detect

With Strength we have a reasonable idea. A DC 20 (Hard) allows you to slow a 40 ton boulder with around 2 tons of force. A DC 30 (nearly Impossible) allows you to push/pull with 4 tons of force.

Clearly even "Hard" tasks are far beyond all but the most exceptional of normal humans.

There are a number of skills that scale, for example jump distance or carrying weight per Strength score:

  • 10 STR: Carry 150 lbs, jump 10 feet, high jump 3 feet
  • 20 STR: Carry 300 lbs, jump 20 feet, high jump 8 feet
  • 30 STR: Carry 450 lbs, jump 30 feet, high jump 12 feet

There are some high DC saves too:

  • A Kraken must make a DC 25 Constitution save to avoid throwing up after taking 50 damage from a swallowed creature
  • Some Ancient Dragons have a legendary wing attack that requires a DC 25 Dexterity save to avoid
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    \$\begingroup\$ I know that collaboration is discouraged on this site, but if you have any other examples feel free to comment them and I will add them to the lists and adjust the answer. It is not going to be very productive to maintain multiple duplicate near-complete lists. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 0:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanielZastoupil Well, comparing DC 20/30 Strength checks to the weight lifting world records ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Olympic_records_in_weightlifting ) you should get a general idea of even a Hard task being far far beyond what even the most incredible humans can do. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 0:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 For the record I did double check, and I couldn't see any others. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 0:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Empyrean and Solar (from the MM) also have DC 25 things. Their Bite and Trembling Strike respectively. Additionally the Warforged Colossus and Sul Khatesh (from Eberron: Rising From The Last War) have DC 26 things. And the Niv-Mizzet's Spell Save DC is 26 (From Curse of Strahd). Both it and Rakdos also have DC 25 abilities. (I'll probably write up one big comment with whatever else I find and drop that in at some point, if you'd like) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 1:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 This post is now a community wiki so just dump as many as you'd like :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 2:39

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