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I was reading the player's book and in many parts of the book it says

The test is determined by the difficulty of the class

I read it several times and can't understand if the difficulty class is defined by the character's background, or if the DM defines this test and its value.

This was taken from an excerpt from the book

You know Druidic, the secret language of druids. You can speak the language and use it to leave hidden messages. You and others who know this language automatically spot such a message. Others spot the message's presence with a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check but can't decipher it without magic.

The question is, what is this difficulty class and how is it determined?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Where did you get your player’s book? The quotes you provide do not match the official wording, and the confusion might be because of that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 22:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry @ThomasMarkov I'll look for a more accurate translation here, because I used a translator. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 22:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov now I using this reference here \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 22:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, I see. Here is the English basic rules document, or you can find a more user friendly version here at DND Beyond. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 22:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh Thx @ThomasMarkov despite that it helps me a lot, I'll take some time to translate to my country's language, but I'll keep these links as a reference. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 22:20

2 Answers 2

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The DM decides

Player's Handbook p.174, "Ability Checks":

For every ability check, the DM decides which of the six abilities is relevant to the task at hand and the difficulty of the task, represented by it a Difficulty Class. The more difficult a task, the higher its DC. The Typical Difficulty Classes table shows the most common DCs.

In some instances, the rules may give a specific DC for a specific task. In this case, the difficulty for spotting the presence of a Druidic message is fixed at DC 15. If you have the "Druidic" class ability, you automatically pass this check.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In this case the feature decides, the DC for spotting hidden Druidic messages is 15. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 22:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov In this specific case, yes, but the general rule is that the DM decides. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @QuadraticWizard If by no means the GM says "roll a stunt check" and he decides the value is 10 can he do it? despite not being very logical? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 22:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WEBLastWolf Yes. The DM can call for a check and decide what the DC is. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 22:20
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This is explained on page 175 of the Player's Handbook.

The book does not say

The test is determined by the difficulty of the class

It says

For every ability check, the DM decides which of the six abilities is relevant to the task at hand and the difficulty of the task, represented by a Difficulty Class. The more difficult a task, the higher its DC. The Typical Difficulty Classes table shows the most common DCs.

Typical Difficulty Classes

Task Difficulty DC
Very easy 5
Easy 10
Medium 15
Hard 20

In some cases, the rules inform the DM what Ability they should use and what DC they should use. For example, for your druidic message, it would be a Wisdom (Perception) Check of Difficulty Class 15. (If they need to make a check because they do not speak Druidic).

This is an example of the principle that specific rules override general rules. In general the DM decides the DC based on the guidance in the table of typical DCs. Here there is a specific rule that instructs him what DC to use instead.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, you have that backwards. As you noted, in the dmg the title of the table is "Typical DCs"; as in, this is the general rule of thumb. Anything else that says a specific value, is, specific. DM's use the table for general, but can make specific. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 0:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MivaScott Correct, that is what I meant. I expanded to hopefully make it more explicit. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 5:20

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