Taking 10


Rules Questions


During our weekly game session tonight, the party ended up in a 15' deep pit with a DC of 10 for climbing a rough hewn wall to get out. Two of the characters have climb penalties because of their heavy armour but the sorceror has no penalty and I have a +6 in the skill. The guys with penalties rolled successfully to get out. The sorc and I both wanted to take 10 but the notion that there was no risk involved for us if we did troubled the DM very much. After reading the text of the ability, he came to the conclusion that he should just increase the DC's of skill check by 10 so we'd feel compelled to roll (making it extremely difficult or impossible for the other characters to succeed even with a roll as a consequence).

I couldn't get the DM to understand that sacrificing the possibility of an exceptional roll balances the lack of risk when the task is very easy or mundane despite this being precisely the intention as described in the text IMHO. One of the complications is the similar terminology with taking 20; he wants to attach some sort of time frame (1 minute) to taking 10 and wants us to only use take 10 in situations where there is no risk of failure AKA situations where you take 20 so why would you only take 10 instead?? Please help me make this make sense to my DM.

Finding a new DM is not an option. We are married, have been playing together for 20 years now and have a close-knit, well established regular group. Our game is very democratic and he is an excellent DM so, if worst comes to worst, the players can overrule him if we all gang up on him but I'd much rather help him understand the rule and agree to it than have him wrestled into accepting it.


He's wrong and you're right. I'm not sure what else to say.


There is definitely not supposed to be a time penalty for taking 10; it's just that it's supposed to be done in cases where there's low stress or risk. It is absolutely the intent that characters are able to automatically succeed on easy checks when not threatened, without taking extra time. Taking 10 is indeed pretty powerful; one of the best feats ever was a feat that let wizards take 10 on caster level checks. (3.5 feat, I think from complete arcane. VERY powerful if you can arrange to have at least +1 CL compared to the things you want to dispel...) But that power is designed in. It's supposed to be there so that characters can, in non-stressful situations, just automatically do the things that are comfortably within their reach.

The distinction is:

* Take 20: ~20x as long, there must be no consequences for failure.
* Take 10: Normal time taken, you can take 10 except when specifically noted otherwise.

So there's a couple of specific skills (I think Use Magic Device is one) that ban it, and you pretty much can't do it in combat without feats or rogue talents or something. Or "high stress" situations like "you will fall to your doom if you screw this up". But climbing out of a pit? Yeah, that should totally be fine.


There are plenty of forums on here which deal with taking 10, including taking a 10 on crafting magic items. It's perfectly legitimate to do that. It doesn't take additional time. If you were in an acid pit, that would change the situation. But upping the DC because you think it's unfair that people could automatically succeed isn't fair. And climbing is really meant to be easy if it's not rushed.


IMO, taking a 10 should be very possible for you in this situation, your character is very capable of doing this task. Taking a 10 is saying that you KNOW how to do it, you have the equipment/experience/ability to do it very quickly (d20 roll). But, given the situation you are going to take your time (1 on a 20 = your sleeves slipped down and you lost your grip), taking a 10 = I rolled up my sleeves, checked my shoelaces and inspected for loose stones before I started (with a practiced glance), all free actions, which a player can do in one round.
At worst I would say 2x the time (for prep and perception time), most GM's should say yes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Also, discussed here.


If your GM wanted to make it that you couldn't just take 10 to climb out, all he needs to do is add water slowly filling in to drown you all or a group of archers firing down on you -- immediate danger/distraction.

However, without something like that, you can make the test because you know what you're doing and nothing's distracting you, letting you do an "average" job -- which is more than enough in your rough-hewn pit.


Your GM does not want you to be able to tie your shoes without a chance of failure. Essentially your GM wants to take agency away from you and give it to the dice.


I generally explain the concept of taking 10 using driving as an example:

Every day, you drive to work and back, most of the time without even thinking about it. You're taking 10 on your drive check, and you auto succeed, even when the DC is higher because of bad weather.

Now, one morning some idiot cuts you off. You're distracted and under stress, so you have to actually roll the drive check. If you pass, you avoid the accident, cuss a little bit, and go right back to taking 10.

There are things that you'd supposed to auto-succeed at, things that you do every day, things you train at, things you practice at. That's what putting ranks in skill checks represent: training and practice.

Because imagine what your morning commute would look like if everyone had to roll their drive checks, and 3-5 out of every 20 cars failed.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

In THIS post I assembled like half a dozen links to a designer trying to get it through people's heads that T10 really is supposed to be a commonly-used auto-succeed mechanic that's only disallowed when crazy s$*#'s happening around you. Not even having certain death waiting for you if you fail is enough to keep you from taking 10.

Hope that helps.


Gwen Smith wrote:

I generally explain the concept of taking 10 using driving as an example:

...

Because imagine what your morning commute would look like if everyone had to roll their drive checks, and 3-5 out of every 20 cars failed.

I've lived in NYC, I don't have to imagine.


thorin001 wrote:
Gwen Smith wrote:

I generally explain the concept of taking 10 using driving as an example:

...

Because imagine what your morning commute would look like if everyone had to roll their drive checks, and 3-5 out of every 20 cars failed.

I've lived in NYC, I don't have to imagine.

NYC ALWAYS counts as threatening.

Silver Crusade

Jiggy wrote:

In THIS post I assembled like half a dozen links to a designer trying to get it through people's heads that T10 really is supposed to be a commonly-used auto-succeed mechanic that's only disallowed when crazy s%&+'s happening around you. Not even having certain death waiting for you if you fail is enough to keep you from taking 10.

Hope that helps.

Jiggy, that was -such- a great post. Thanks for it.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Taking 10 All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.