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100

There is no automatic success for ability checks Rolling a natural 20 only guarantees success when attempting an attack in 5e. For skill checks, a natural 20 essentially means the pinnacle of what you are capable of doing naturally. So if the DC of a lock is 25, and your modifier on the roll is only +3, the lock is impossible for you to open without some ...


42

Yes. The books never explicitly say that the GM should or must tell the players the difficulty, but that's because it takes it for granted. (It really should say, because – as you point out – keeping players in the dark is just so normal for so many GMs.) There is circumstantial evidence in the text that the GM is supposed to set difficulties "in the open",...


36

If I may indulge in a frame challenge. A group of wandering murderers who, without provocation, attack an intelligent sentient being deserve what they get. This is especially so since, earlier in the module: There are any number of ways that the party could interact with the dragon to their mutual benefit, albeit not without risk. From the Monster Manual p....


27

You don't have to use everything that you prepare It's been my experience that it is much easier to leave something out than it is to make something up on the spot, so my advice is to, for lack of a better word, "over-prepare" in this particular scenario. That is, build your encounter as if you're planning a TPK, keep that material on hand, and then leave ...


26

The PC needs modifiers to raise that 20 to 25 or higher If you are trying to, for example, lockpick a very high-difficulty lock that requires a DC 25 and you get natural 20, do you lockpick it as it is "Natural Success" or do you have to have a +5 or higher modifier with thieve's tools as well? The core rules put Proficiency into play, as well as ...


25

Give them a better idea of the threat level If you are playing a sandbox style game, it is up to the players to determine what level of known risks they wish to face. Thus, you probably do not want to telegraph too strongly that you think they are ready; that decision is up to them. Dice have vagaries and players play with differing levels of tactical skill ...


17

There's no specific rule or best way. Roll for Shoes is malleable, and you'll work out what works for you. I have a couple of preferred approaches I've used, which work very well for setting up the number of dice to use for the difficulty of the task. The first approach is complex, the second is less so, and they can be used together. There is not anything ...


15

As many as you think is reasonable. The rules for Roll for Shoes don't specify how many dice the GM should roll, so it's left up to their discretion. Obviously, you can come up with any kind of more or less elaborate schemes for determining an appropriate number, but at least in the games I've run, the following simple scheme has worked quite well: For ...


14

The specific example given by the designers is that the Ogre works out to CR1 by the numbers, but was adjusted up to CR2 because the damage it can do in one attack is more than adequate to insta-kill a level 1 character. Your Werewolf can do 13 (average) to 20 (max) damage without even critting, enough to be lethal. Certainly this accounts for some upward ...


14

Slightly-high CR can be deadly, even on full-resources. When putting together an encounter or adventure, especially at lower levels, exercise caution when using monsters whose challenge rating is higher than the party's average level. Such a creature might deal enough damage with a single action to take out adventurers of a lower level.... In ...


14

Reverse Engineering From Creating Combat Encounters (DMG pp.81-84). Encounter 1: 6 monsters totalling 600XP. This means an Encounter Multiplier of 2 so each monster is \$600/2/6=50\$XP, so CR1/4. Encounter 2: 2 CR 2 monsters (450XP). Encounter multiplier 1.5 so \$450\times 2\times 1.5 = 1350\$ - looks correct. Encounter 3: 7 monsters of CR3, CR1 & CR?...


14

Resource management and you What this ultimately comes down is what type of game you and your table want to play. A big part of D&D is resource management and the encounter system is a major contributor to the expenditure of those resources. How you want to manage and challenge your party is very much going to be up to you. But that doesn't mean that ...


13

Yes - because difficulty in FATE as a system-wide† general principle is announced prior to rolling in order to build tension and speed resolution. Further, per the way Aspects work, you are not expected to decide on invoking them until you know if they'd make a difference. The advice on the top of Y.S. p. 311 about difficulty and fate points makes it ...


11

The limits of the action economy (1 movement, 1 action, 1 bonus action and 1 reaction per creature per round) mean that a single creature is always at a disadvantage in terms of the number of things that it can do with respect to a group of creatures (like a PC party). The mechanical purpose of legendary actions (lair or otherwise) is allow the creature to ...


11

Reading through the comment thread under the basic info, I ran into an approach suggested by a user and then tried by the guy who made the system. If you start reading from here, you'll see a lot of good stuff from them. The basic idea is that the world grows along with the player. The GM starts by writing down a Do Anything 1 for each of his important NPCs ...


9

Don't worry about balancing this with numbers. Balance it with story. Remember that aspects created through the Create Advantage action usually only last one scene, so my character can't prep at the beginning of the session to stack free invokes for the whole session: instead I'm using precious scene time, and that's the balancing factor. Placing aspects ...


9

This is from page 84 of the corebook: The GM doesn’t have to tell the player what the target number is, but he can give her a hint, especially if her character would reasonably know if the action was easy, average, difficult, or impossible. This is from the Numenera GM Screen: It’s okay to tell players—particularly starting players—the difficulty ...


9

Spoilers of published materials ahead. Justification. That said, there are ways out of this dilemma. Humble brag about winning


9

Exceed their adventuring day capacity To achieve the effect your describing, starving you players of resources are likely going be your best bet. First level characters can handle 300 Adjusted XP (per character; DMG p. 84) in a single adventuring day. This also assumes a two short rests, and so denying them those will wear them out faster. Once players are ...


7

The DMG has these guidelines In page 278: Overall Damage Output. ... When calculating a monster's damage output, also account for special off-turn damage-dealing features, such as auras, reactions, legendary actions, or lair actions. In this case, only damaging Legendary Actions and Lair Actions really add to the Overall Damage Output. Actions that ...


7

I believe concealed difficulties are a crucial part of the concept. Choosing different difficulties for different approaches would be pointless if the characters automatically knew which approach gives them the best chance of success. It would be of great value in pointing them to the right solution. I believe the motivation behind the hiding of the ...


7

First, the numbers A group of 8 3rd-level adventurers have a budgeted XP threshold of 600, 1200, 1800, and 3200 for an Easy, Medium, Hard, and Deadly encounter. A Young Green Dragon has an EXP value of 3900, which is Deadly. But! remember, you have to account for having more than the recommended player count of 4-6. The DMG goes off to say: Party Size ...


7

It prevents metagaming. Barring magical means, there is no way to have perfect knowledge of a situation such that its difficulty can be abstracted into a number in the context of reality; those abstractions are merely a system that we (the players) use to decide what happens in the game. Some groups choose to keep DCs hidden in order to force the players to ...


6

As per the "Setting Difficulties" section of the SRD, if you can't think of an appropriate difficulty for a task, default to Average or Fair. Unopposed efforts to create advantages in a conflict should never be harder than Average (+1) or Fair (+2), and neither should attempts to put an aspect on an object or location.


6

You take the roll and add the modifier as you normally would. There is no auto success or failure. PHB: 174 To make an ability check, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability modifier. As with other d20 rolls, apply bonuses and penalties, and compare the total to the DC. If the total equals or exceeds the DC, the ability check is a success ...


5

Perhaps a compromise solution would be to convince the GM to allow a Declaration to be Invoked to get an Assessment of the difficulty level, if it is going to be non-obvious. Like Dresden leaning into a Ward to feel how strong it is, rather than just slinging some long range Thaumaturgy at it and hoping it gets through.


5

The basic math is this: A difficulty of [the rating of the skill being rolled] will succeed almost 40% of the time (and succeed or tie about 60% of the time). Increasing the difficulty rapidly increases the chances of failure: a difficulty 2 higher than the skill being rolled means the chances of tie-or-better is less than 20%, forcing the player to spend at ...


5

Roll for Shoes doesn't have a concept of "DC" or "passive opposition" unless you invent one. The rules only supply the active variety of opposition: rolling dice! When a player wants to attempt something and the GM wants to oppose, the GM also rolls. If the player beats the GM's roll, what they want to happen happens. How many dice does the GM roll when ...


5

Original Answer: Lots of Guesswork I don't think any currently-published materials address the effect of magic items on encounter difficulty, but the rules assume a certain volume of magic items-per-level, and the difficulty calculations and monster challenge ratings probably take that into account. However, if your PCs are exceeding the daily recommended ...


5

Deadly encounter The DMG describes a deadly encounter as: Deadly. A deadly encounter could be lethal for one or more player characters. Survival often requires good tactics and quick thinking, and the party risks defeat. Paraphrasing, if everything goes right the party still risks defeat and one or more of them could die. So, in short, a party can ...


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