Taking 10: Immediate dangers and distractions


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Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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So, here's the thing about Take 10:

It's a mechanic that's supposed to be optional in place of rolling a d20. Therefore, there are clearly supposed to be circumstances in which choosing to T10 will have a real advantage over rolling (otherwise, you would never choose to do so).

So it is intended that, at least in some circumstances, taking 10 is supposed to be better than rolling.

A great many people can't stand that idea.

In discussing Take 10, one might even consider first asking the other person to list some circumstances in which T10 would be flat-out better than rolling. If they can list some examples, you're probably fine, even if their rulings are technically a little off. If they seem a little confused and can't think of anything, they might be redeemable with a little discussion. If they balk at the concept that there should ever be a time when T10 is the better option, then they can't be reasoned with and you probably shouldn't even try.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I am against DMs telling a player how his PC feels.

Unless forced by a spell, or other mind-effecting effect, this should never happen.

Personally, in such a case, I would walk. If the DM wants to run my PC, I don't need to be there.


Rikkan wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Consequences of failure do not affect one's ability to Take 10.

Take 10, is not Take 20.

That is not true. See this example in the FAQ:
Quote:

Contact Other Plane: Can you Take 10 on the Intelligence check for this spell?

Having your Int and Cha blasted down to 8 by an extraplanar entity is a significant and distracting threat, therefore you can't Take 10 on that check.

So of your failures have nasty consequences you can't take 10.

There's an excruciatingly long discussion on this topic starting here. I'm not going to repeat it but the gist of it is that this FAQ on Contact Other Planes does not appear to set a precedent for other circumstances of taking 10, and even if it did, the equivalent danger required for "too distracting to not take 10" is rare.

Our lives would have been a lot easier had the developers just said "You can't take 10 on this spell because the DCs are low." Or if they had just added the errata text to the spell without any explanation.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Saying that Take 10 is only an option, if nothing bad would happen if you rolled low, than the entire mechanic is pointless.

You might as well Take 20, or roll a d20, without purpose, as any roll is sufficient.

You would not even need to look at the dice.

At which point you're back to my situation of needing my characters to be able to succeed on a "take 1" before I can confidently assume that they can safely accomplish trivial tasks.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yeah, that FAQ clearly means you can't take 10 due to enemy action, as opposed to the risk of failure itself. I still hate how much confusion the wording seems to cause though.


Again disagree. There is no enemy, not really. No combat, no attacks, no enemy stat block, no creature, just a penalty for failing an ability check that is fluffed as coming from some powerful outsider.

The updated spell just disallows a take ten. No nonsense about a distracting threat.


_Ozy_ wrote:

Again disagree. There is no enemy, not really. No combat, no attacks, no enemy stat block, no creature, just a penalty for failing an ability check that is fluffed as coming from some powerful outsider.

The updated spell just disallows a take ten. No nonsense about a distracting threat.

But the very FAQ answer that's causing the trouble talks about the outsider. The spell doesn't. It's been changed to just ban Take 10, with no explanation given.

So if you ignore the FAQ, there's no confusion. If you look at the FAQ, there's a reasonable explanation right in the FAQ, so again, there's no confusion. It's only when you look at the part of the FAQ and ignore the rest that the confusion comes in.


There is nothing in the general rules about take ten and 'enemy action', only combat.

If I'm trying to use diplomacy on an enemy, outside of combat, I can take ten even if failure means I will be executed.

That FAQ is bullocks, even read in its entirety.


There has been a lot of talk of 3rd party threats preventing the ability to take 10. However, in practice, this often breaks down and creates strange situations.

What exactly constitutes a legitimate 3rd party threat which prevents taking 10?
An Outer Planar being is but a gruff guard isn't?
A rat looking at you angrily is, but a huge pit of lava isn't?

----------------------

I'd like to propose a bit of a different concept:

The ability to take your time and progress at your task slowly and at your own pace (even over the span of 6 seconds) allows you to take 10.

Examples:
1) When you're climbing a wall, if you find a bad handhold you can pause, look around, and find an alternative. Thus, you can take 10.
2) When you're crafting something, if a part of it doesn't look like it's coming together properly, you can take a bit of extra time to fix the problem. Thus, you can take 10.
3) When you're walking down a hallway, you're traveling at your own pace. You might go a bit quicker in boring sections and you might slow down a bit when there's more to see. Over the span of a few seconds, your gaze will probably find its way to anything of interest. Thus, you can take 10.
4) If you're juggling and one ball gets tossed a bit too high, you can adjust yourself over the next few seconds to get back into your normal routine. Thus, you can take 10.

5) You're climbing a wall, but someone is shooting at you. You don't have time to linger - you need to get up that wall. Even over a short time interval, you need to move from spot to spot quickly in order to prevent yourself from becoming a stationary target. Thus, you can't take 10.
6) You're contacting a creature on an outer plane. The spell gives you a specific time window to present yourself. You're on the clock and displeasing the creature will have immediate consequences. No taking 10.
7) Some hidden goblins just jumped out from the brush and are attacking. You have a split second to preemptively spot their ambush and react. So no taking 10 on your perception check.
8) You're juggling, but at the same time balancing your way across a narrow beam. If you toss a ball slightly wrong you can't easily move yourself to adjust yourself for it. At the same time, if you slip a bit on the beam, you can't easily recover without potentially interrupting your juggling. Thus, these two tasks are mutually interfering with your ability to set your own pace on either task, preventing the taking of 10 on either.

Finally, combat requires you to monitor and react to the other combatants. If an enemy acts you need to immediately respond or at least follow them with your eyes. Thus, you have again lost some agency in the timing of your actions. This is what prevents you from taking 10 in combat.


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There are additional modifiers the GM can add for unfavorable situations to increase the DC. I see no need to artificially mess around with the take ten mechanics.

You're juggling on a balance beam? Increase the DC for both by two.

How many times do you see circus performers fail doing exactly that?


_Ozy_ wrote:

There are additional modifiers the GM can add for unfavorable situations to increase the DC. I see no need to artificially mess around with the take ten mechanics.

You're juggling on a balance beam? Increase the DC for both by two.

How many times do you see circus performers fail doing exactly that?

It's more of a rationale/explanation for why taking 10 works the way it does, and to resolve the "taking 10 on perception for surprise", than a desire to change the actual mechanics. By looking at tasks as ongoing activities with discrete sub-tasks, it may be easier to discriminate when taking 10 is or isn't feasible.

Juggling on a balance bean was just the first thing that came to mind. The point is, if you're doing two different tasks which both acquire attention and precision at the same time, you really shouldn't be able to take 10.


Except you absolutely should, both for the example you gave and the several examples I gave. Furthermore, that's how the rules work.

Again, how many times do you see circus performers fail juggling while on stilts, or a tripwire? The DC may be higher, but I assure you, it's a routine take ten activity for them.

If you are disallowing take ten for large numbers of activities outside of combat, you ARE changing the mechanics.


Byakko wrote:

There has been a lot of talk of 3rd party threats preventing the ability to take 10. However, in practice, this often breaks down and creates strange situations.

What exactly constitutes a legitimate 3rd party threat which prevents taking 10?
An Outer Planar being is but a gruff guard isn't?
A rat looking at you angrily is, but a huge pit of lava isn't?

----------------------

I'd like to propose a bit of a different concept:

The ability to take your time and progress at your task slowly and at your own pace (even over the span of 6 seconds) allows you to take 10.

Crafting items and spellcraft when used for crafting magical items do not support this.


_Ozy_ wrote:

Except you absolutely should, both for the example you gave and the several examples I gave. Furthermore, that's how the rules work.

Again, how many times do you see circus performers fail juggling while on stilts, or a tripwire? The DC may be higher, but I assure you, it's a routine take ten activity for them.

If you are disallowing take ten for large numbers of activities outside of combat, you ARE changing the mechanics.

Again, you are focusing too much on the specific example. The rules state that you can't take 10 if you are distracted. If you are simultaneously performing two difficult tasks requiring focus, it's reasonable that they are mutually distracting. This is not changing the rules.

wraithstrike: would you mind elaborating? My thoughts were meant as an aide to help decide when taking 10 is reasonable. I'm sure there will be many cases where the rules are fully specified and don't require a judgment call.


No, you are inventing that rule for distraction. Nowhere does it say performing two activities at the same time is distracting, and I know from my own experience as well as the several examples in this thread that people can routinely do two things at once without significant chances of failure.

The rules define what is distracting: combat

You can call your interpretation 'reasonable' if you like, but it's house rules, and it also removes player agency. That's a bad thing to do.


I think the question will always require nuance; to handle the situations on the front page (repeated here):

Quote:

Do the following prevent taking 10 while not in combat?

Swimming

climbing

Perception (to locate a trap)

Perception (reactive check to locate hiding enemy)

Disable device (disarm a trap)

Swimming:
First Background: Did the character grow up in/around water (basically does he have at least 1 point in it?), if no then he's probably at least a little phobic (people drown afterall -- even inland around very small amounts of water, so they probably will feel like they're in immediate danger (even if they aren't) and be suitably distracted. When they are trained/have backstory/positive swimming experience (and it's a nice day, etc etc; ideal conditions) then it's perfectly reasonable to take 10. Same person and it's the middle of a storm, or the water has a swift current/undertow, or there's a whirlpool and now we're back to immediate danger == distracted. Now with sufficient experience (read ranks (*NOT bonus*) or in game experience from rp situations) relating to the skill it might be reasonable to let them take 10. Sir Swimsalot the level 20 Lifeguard is probably calm in a lot of situations where anyone else would be panicked

Climb is basically the same as swim; just with rockfalls, pitholes, unstable grips, and earthquakes replacing aquatic hazards.

Perception (vs trap):
So again I'd make it trained vs untrained. The level 1 fighter who didn't take a point in this is probably thinking back to all the times a veteran spoke of snakes falling from the cieling, or the floor falling out from under him and is distracted/paranoid about everything so he'll potentially spend a lot of time focusing on things he shouldn't be instead of the obvious tripwire right in front of him. Someone trained in the skill probably has more specific knowledge of traps; where they are placed/what they do/what the people they're investigating are capable of/cost, so it's reasonable that they could take 10. Now if there's something really exotic about your trap I'd give it a circumstance bonus to the perception DC to find it if the rogue/part is taking 10. Similarly a character devoted to trapping/with a lot of in game experience should be treated as having some sort of advantage over typical traps (i.e. can take 10 vs more things w/o positive circumstance modifiers to the DCs (or with positive modifiers to their check))

Disable Device (disarm a trap):
Untrained (haha) no. Obviously the trap poses a danger, so generally even trained at low levels no. Now say the level 1 party is exploring a large thieves den, and everything is trapped (with the same type of trap) say either a beartrap or arrow trap since those are fairly standard. After the first few it's probably realistic to force the check, but if there are a lot the rogue in question probably is familiar enough with the process not to screw up. If the rogue/other in question has a craft skill/ability to make the trap I'd definitely say take 10 allowed. This would speed up play a bit -- alternatively use fewer traps. Also level 20 rogue vs an arrow/bear trap I would say is an auto success -- I guess this conflicts with having advanced rogue talents and skill unlocks, but I guess I just don't see the need to tax trappers with abilities/feats when they already have to invest gold, skill points, and situationally crafting time in it.

I'm biased though, I like flavor.


Again, you're removing agency from the player and telling them how to run their character's personality.

Not a good idea, and completely unnecessary. Seriously, what problem are you guys trying to fix? Are heroes not failing mundane tasks enough for you guys? Is the story you want to tell really based on making multiple successful climb checks so that the plot can actually proceed? Is that a fun game?


Trekkie90909 wrote:

I think the question will always require nuance; to handle the situations on the front page (repeated here):

Quote:

Do the following prevent taking 10 while not in combat?

Swimming

climbing

Perception (to locate a trap)

Perception (reactive check to locate hiding enemy)

Disable device (disarm a trap)

** spoiler omitted **

Climb is basically the same as swim; just with rockfalls, pitholes, unstable grips, and earthquakes replacing aquatic hazards.

** spoiler omitted **...

The rules have nothing to do with trained or untrained, or what level the character is. You can either take 10 on a skill in a given situation or you can't. The rules don't change if I have more ranks in the skill than you do.

If you want the "flavor" of your lower level characters failing more skill checks, just raise the DC so that taking 10 doesn't succeed. And it's highly unlikely that characters with no ranks in a given skill will ever succeed on a take 10 anyway, even if you don't artificially raise the DCs to prevent it. That mechanism is already built in to the take 10 rules.


_Ozy_ wrote:

No, you are inventing that rule for distraction. Nowhere does it say performing two activities at the same time is distracting, and I know from my own experience as well as the several examples in this thread that people can routinely do two things at once without significant chances of failure.

The rules define what is distracting: combat

You can call your interpretation 'reasonable' if you like, but it's house rules, and it also removes player agency. That's a bad thing to do.

The rules always require reasonable interpretation. Doing so is not a house rule, it is expected. While the rules do call out a few things specifically as distracting, if you're arguing nothing else can also be distracting, you're taking far too of a legalistic approach, imho. Your logic is the same type that also leads to dead characters still being able to take actions, and the GM who says "no" being labeled as using house rules.

This is not about removing player agency. It's about maintaining a believable world. When there's flexibility in interpreting the rules, I tend to go with what is reasonable. Having a player simultaneously take 10 on recalling ancient history, searching for traps, juggling, navigating around natural hazards, and discussing and arguing lucidly with a companion all at the same time in the same 6 seconds just isn't reasonable, imho. (again, don't nit-pick this example)


@Gwen

First a disclaimer: Everything in my previous post is 100% opinion.

To clarify:

Fact:

There is NO rule anywhere saying what qualifies as a distraction or a danger. That is why this thread was started. So an argument going "well I can take 10 RAW" currently reads as "that's your opinion," because the issue is currently adjudicated solely by the GM's discretion.

Further clarifying (regarding DCs, take 10, and the subject of my previous post):

Opinion:

Flavor is not haha my CR 9001 river is impossible for the party to successfully cross with a take 10 (or anything else for that matter).

Flavor is interpreting what experience means for the party, and applying that to in game situations so the players have fun. That's the point of gaming after all. A basic river is a real challenge for a level 1 party; it's part of the mystic of adventuring, a barrier they must cross to attain rewards. If they have interact with it to beat it then it will be a fun, engaging experience - if someone fails badly enough it might require the party to help them, or find alternate ways across. This builds comradery amongst players and their characters - cementing a good adventuring party. Same party at level 5 will have encountered so many rivers that the challenge will be boring. They should get and succeed on a take 10 - reread the text regarding taking 10 and tell me that's not the intention of the rule.

Artificially inflating difficulty by increasing the DCs does nothing to enhance game experience, and causes fatigue because success is almost impossible even with active rolls.

The situation requires nuance, it should be left to GM discretion; guidelines might be given (such as the examples in my earlier post), but ultimately there should not be set rules for this or the game gets bland.


I'm not saying nothing, in fact in my example (I think it was this thread) the character was reasonably performing four simultaneous skill checks using take ten, and requiring a roll for an unrelated perception.

My primary objection is to the idea people were proposing that ANY activity automatically makes any other skill check a distracted check.

That's bullocks, not reasonable, and not supported by the rules.

Your particular example just fails from action economy, not take ten skill checks. I'll repeat my example.

Take ten diplomacy to sweet talk bartender, take ten knowledge local to recall wedding ring worn on right hand, take ten perception to notice ring on right hand, take ten appraise to value the ring. Roll to perceive the angry husband approaching with a table leg. Perfectly reasonable.


Byakko wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:

Except you absolutely should, both for the example you gave and the several examples I gave. Furthermore, that's how the rules work.

Again, how many times do you see circus performers fail juggling while on stilts, or a tripwire? The DC may be higher, but I assure you, it's a routine take ten activity for them.

If you are disallowing take ten for large numbers of activities outside of combat, you ARE changing the mechanics.

Again, you are focusing too much on the specific example. The rules state that you can't take 10 if you are distracted. If you are simultaneously performing two difficult tasks requiring focus, it's reasonable that they are mutually distracting. This is not changing the rules.

wraithstrike: would you mind elaborating? My thoughts were meant as an aide to help decide when taking 10 is reasonable. I'm sure there will be many cases where the rules are fully specified and don't require a judgment call.

I misunderstood you but as for what is reasonable, that

Is something I don't care to hear about since it varies too much based on how someone interprets the intention of this rule. I understand judgement calls will likely still be needed even after this FAQ but something more concrete is the goal.

PS: That was not in an angry tone.


For those worried that more concrete rules will limit your GM power there is always rule 0. Most of us have house rules anyway. This would just be another one.


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_Ozy_ wrote:

I'm not saying nothing, in fact in my example (I think it was this thread) the character was reasonably performing four simultaneous skill checks using take ten, and requiring a roll for an unrelated perception.

My primary objection is to the idea people were proposing that ANY activity automatically makes any other skill check a distracted check.

That's bullocks, not reasonable, and not supported by the rules.

Your particular example just fails from action economy, not take ten skill checks. I'll repeat my example.

Take ten diplomacy to sweet talk bartender, take ten knowledge local to recall wedding ring worn on right hand, take ten perception to notice ring on right hand, take ten appraise to value the ring. Roll to perceive the angry husband approaching with a table leg. Perfectly reasonable.

I believe we both agree that haggling over a ring (whose value you are trying to determine) to be distracting enough to disallow taking 10 on a perception check to notice someone approaching?

Your example is a non-combat situation so you really aren't that rushed, time-wise. In reality, you'd probably first spend a minute staking out your mark, devising a strategy, and deciding how much you're willing to offer, before finally engaging in your diplomacy. These would thus be sequential actions on which you could take 10. If for some reason, you only had 6 seconds to do ALL of what you listed, you most likely wouldn't have time to do so without distraction from all the rushed multitasking, imho. You could very easily make a mistake in one of the subtasks which you would easily have been able to do properly had you had a bit more time to focus.

wraithstrike: No problem; I always find your comments to be reasonable and insightful. :)


@wraithstrike:

My thought here is that this shouldn't be a rules question. We have a separate book for Players and GMs for a reason. I agree there should be guidelines so that new GMs/Players have a resource to reference - that is why we have a GM guide/unchained (and likely future follow ups to unchained). It has no place in the CRB or any other rulebook though; a rule should not require everyone to create houserules to circumvent it in every campaign. Ideally houserules should be something you do on a campaign by campaign basis to provide additional flavor and add depth to a campaign. When they are not the system has critically failed.

I agree this is a topic which I'd like to see the design or dev team work on to some extent, possibly as a tie-in to the new skill unlock system in unchained or possibly just a rule of thumb regarding the CRs of natural hazards vs APL. It should be a resource aimed at GMs though, not a player exploit.


Come to think of it I might just try houseruling the new skill unlock system as you can take 5/10/15/20 regardless of distraction/danger at the appropriate ranks. With the notable exceptions of stealth and crafting (maybe a couple others?) the system doesn't do anything you couldn't do better with items/spell-casting anyways.


Trekkie90909 wrote:

@wraithstrike:

My thought here is that this shouldn't be a rules question. We have a separate book for Players and GMs for a reason. I agree there should be guidelines so that new GMs/Players have a resource to reference - that is why we have a GM guide/unchained (and likely future follow ups to unchained). It has no place in the CRB or any other rulebook though; a rule should not require everyone to create houserules to circumvent it in every campaign. Ideally houserules should be something you do on a campaign by campaign basis to provide additional flavor and add depth to a campaign. When they are not the system has critically failed.

I agree this is a topic which I'd like to see the design or dev team work on to some extent, possibly as a tie-in to the new skill unlock system in unchained or possibly just a rule of thumb regarding the CRs of natural hazards vs APL. It should be a resource aimed at GMs though, not a player exploit.

3.5 had a different book for players and GM's. Pathfinder doesn't, and without a rule the players don't know what to expect, and to many people think their playstyle is the default standard. It is written as a rule already, so unless we are saying get rid of the rule we should know what the devs intended. I would be happy with a guideline saying "we envisioned _____, however the GM is free to alter that". That way everyone knows the intent, but the GM's won't feel so bound to the rules. What I don't want is guidelines that are suggestions. and in no way let us know the purpose of a written rule. I can do that on my own. Players exploits only happen when GM's allow them to happen and if a player is the type to exploit one rule he is likely already exploiting others. I don't think giving a direct answer to this is going to cause a player to cheat, which is basically how I look at exploits.


wraithstrike wrote:
Byakko wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:

Except you absolutely should, both for the example you gave and the several examples I gave. Furthermore, that's how the rules work.

Again, how many times do you see circus performers fail juggling while on stilts, or a tripwire? The DC may be higher, but I assure you, it's a routine take ten activity for them.

If you are disallowing take ten for large numbers of activities outside of combat, you ARE changing the mechanics.

Again, you are focusing too much on the specific example. The rules state that you can't take 10 if you are distracted. If you are simultaneously performing two difficult tasks requiring focus, it's reasonable that they are mutually distracting. This is not changing the rules.

wraithstrike: would you mind elaborating? My thoughts were meant as an aide to help decide when taking 10 is reasonable. I'm sure there will be many cases where the rules are fully specified and don't require a judgment call.

I misunderstood you but as for what is reasonable, that

Is something I don't care to hear about since it varies too much based on how someone interprets the intention of this rule. I understand judgement calls will likely still be needed even after this FAQ but something more concrete is the goal.

PS: That was not in an angry tone.

This terrible formatting is due to my phone now letting me use a spacebar to separate "that" from "is". So I used the enter button. On the phone it looked good but now I see it does not look good.


The GM's guide for Pathfinder. Take 10 is an option for when there's no point to calling a check. It speeds up play. What you are suggesting is codifying it at as a rule, when you do so people will look for exploits. Exploits require houserules and numerous errata to fill the gaps. All of this slows down gameplay and adds huge amounts of extraneous data to shift through for what comes down to the GM letting you take 10 when it makes sense plot-wise do so. Guidelines, or suggestions if you prefer to call them that should be placed in the GM's guide, or another similar resource so that GMs new to the system can pick it up faster.

Regarding removing take 10: If your experience is that it slows down play more than it speeds it up then absolutely the rule should be removed. On this topic; the point of dice in the first place is that they make a good arbitrary means for conflict resolution - take 10 removes the conflict, which is good if you're shopping for mundane gear and bad if you're trying to get the nice red dragon to not eat you. That's basically all the explanation the topic needs. Really you can remove the issue entirely by just not calling for a check when there's no point.

Also a guideline is a suggestion, not sure exactly what you're getting at above, but given that we can agree to that much this seems like the sort of thing a blog post with some play excerpts (perhaps also explaining how a GM can incorporate player ideas into sessions) could answer this more effectively than a FAQ.


"Some" people look for exploits like I said. Those people dont change how they play. Also if a rule is made then its intended workings need to be known. All I am doing is saying "how is this supposed to work". It is no more of a problem than most other rules unless you have players trying to game the system, but that is a player problem not a rules problem. If they did not want a hard rule they can just make guidelines such as "we suggest not allowing characters to take 10 if they are threatened or distracted". Making an unclear rule is never beneficial. It promotes gotcha moments from GM's.

However it is a rule and your exploit idea is ancedotal evidence. I don't think most of us play with munchkins and those are the type who would exploit things if the GM allows it.

What I was saying above was that if they issue a guideline it should clearly state how they intended for it to work not just only be a suggestion.

As an example "as a guideline you can allow the player to take 10 even if the penalty leads to failure" is not as strong as "When we wrote the rule our idea was to allow PC's to take 10 even if it meant they had to experience penalties such as taking damage. However feel free to do as you wish for your own games". The 2nd quote would be acceptable to me. The first one would not.

I don't know why you linked the gamemastery guide.


_Ozy_ wrote:

No, you are inventing that rule for distraction. Nowhere does it say performing two activities at the same time is distracting, and I know from my own experience as well as the several examples in this thread that people can routinely do two things at once without significant chances of failure.

The rules define what is distracting: combat

You can call your interpretation 'reasonable' if you like, but it's house rules, and it also removes player agency. That's a bad thing to do.

The rules do not define what is distracting. They give combat as an example. If the rules just said "You can Take 10 except in combat", we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Quote:
When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.


thejeff wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:

No, you are inventing that rule for distraction. Nowhere does it say performing two activities at the same time is distracting, and I know from my own experience as well as the several examples in this thread that people can routinely do two things at once without significant chances of failure.

The rules define what is distracting: combat

You can call your interpretation 'reasonable' if you like, but it's house rules, and it also removes player agency. That's a bad thing to do.

The rules do not define what is distracting. They give combat as an example. If the rules just said "You can Take 10 except in combat", we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Quote:
When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.

The reason that wording is in there is to give a DM the power to say 'no you can't take 10' when they would like to, and that seems perfectly fine.

If a DM has a reason to deny someone taking 10, there's the part of the sentence they can point to when a player asks why.

Reading SKR's posts on the subject of taking 10, it sounds like the only thing that's going to stop you from doing so is if someone is actively shooting you in the face or trying to lop off your limbs.

People are getting wayyyyy too hung up on the FAQ regarding the one specific spell and the spell text has been officially updated to expressly prohibit taking ten. The FAQ about contact other plane should be completely disregarded now that a more recent and still official source has superseded the FAQ.

If anyone hasn't done so I would highly recommend going back and reading SKR's posts on the concept and intent of taking 10. DEXRAY posted jiggy's links to each post.

Penalties due to failing will never stop you from taking 10. The FAQ about contact other plane was superseded by the updated ruling.


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I'll try this in this thread. For those opposed to T10 either based off of the failure is distracting clause or the unknown imminent threat belief please list some skill uses that could actually come up in game where Take 10 rules could in fact be used if you were the GM.


Also to go further how bad of a consequence of failure denotes one significant enough to remove T10?

I mean in the case of falling how many average HP does it take to be distracting? Any? 10%? 50%? What if I have feather fall available does that change my ability?


Perception before combat:

wraithstrike wrote:
Perception (reactive check to locate hiding enemy)

A reactive check is in response to something. The only reasonable situation this can refer to is combat starting. As such, you are already in combat.

That said, you can, before the combat round starts, use a non-reactive check to see if you spot a hiding enemy. For example, go into a room carefully, looking at all the dark corners to see if there is someone hiding. Maybe there is, maybe not. This is a straightforward opposed check vs. an enemy's stealth. You take an action to look, and get a result.

The combat rules have two things happen at the start of combat: 1) roll initiative, and 2) determine who sees who. The latter is the reactive check above. However, before combat, you have two (or more) enemies encounter each other at some distance. As long as both fail to perceive the other, neither is in combat and they close. As soon as one sees the other, you have a surprise round (unless both see each other at the same time). Until then, each can take actions to look for others, and since they are not in combat, they can take-10.

Failure problems:

PRD

Taking 10: wrote:
When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.

Fear of failure cannot prevent Taking 10.

Using a skill does not impose distractions against using another skill, unless specifically called out. Perception while Climbing is fine. You as GM want to adjust the DC by a circumstance penalty, fine. Makes it harder, but does not prevent it. If you are sufficiently at ease to Take 10 in the first place, I fail to see how you are distracted. Consider how many people talk on cell phones while driving. Sure, it is not smart, yet people do it everyday. Most of the time they even get away with it without consequence. Ever see someone driving, eating, talking on the cell phone, and checking a notebook? I have. I agree they were on the edge of failing, but as long as the situation was steady, they succeeded. This would be the circumstance penalty adding up making it harder, but not a preventing of trying.

Problem FAQ:

_Ozy_ wrote:

Again disagree. There is no enemy, not really. No combat, no attacks, no enemy stat block, no creature, just a penalty for failing an ability check that is fluffed as coming from some powerful outsider.

The updated spell just disallows a take ten. No nonsense about a distracting threat.

Actually, there is opposition:

Contact Other Plane sais:
"The powers reply in a language you understand, but they resent such contact..."
"Avoid Int/Cha Decrease: You must succeed on an Intelligence check against this DC to avoid a decrease in Intelligence and Charisma."
The PRD evel later adds "You cannot take 10 on this check." [It is not in my older printed copy.]

You are imposing your will upon a Power. This is a form of combat. The check is to survive unscathed.

The FAQ is referring to the check vs. resentment combat, not the penalty of failure.

/cevah


A reactive check is a response to stimuli, that stimuli being anything in the environment such as someone hiding in the grass. It absolutely is not restricted to a reaction to surprise.

Unless it's your claim that you don't get passive perception to see someone standing right in front of you.

I mean seriously, man, really?

As far as the FAQ, is initiative rolled for contact another plane? No? Then it isn't combat.


_Ozy_ wrote:
A reactive check is a response to stimuli, that stimuli being anything in the environment such as someone hiding in the grass. It absolutely is not restricted to a reaction to surprise.

Nor is that what I said.

I said "The only reasonable situation this can refer to is combat starting." Where this = "reactive check to locate hiding enemy".

_Ozy_ wrote:
As far as the FAQ, is initiative rolled for contact another plane? No? Then it isn't combat.

An opposed check against something resisting is essentially combat. A single action-reaction with formal rules [the spell] that define how it happens. Just like a thief picking someone's pocket, there is an opposed check. You are picking a bit of information from their consciousness, and if they notice, zap. Is it a case of initiative? No. Neither is a one-hit-kill by surprise.

/cevah


Cevah someone can be your enemy and hiding well before combat starts. Are you going to say that if I can spot someone hiding 200 feet away, and they can't see me I am in combat? If I am tell the GM I am taking 10 does not my take check just pretend the enemy does not exist?


Wraithstrike that's another good point. How far away from me does an enemy stalking me have to be for me to take 10?

Scarab Sages

I would assume you can take 10 right up until the point the enemy is about to attack you, no matter how far away they are.


So I could take 10 on perception to notice a tiger 10ft away from me. But if said tiger is initiating combat I can't? Combat hasn't started yet and I still don't know that the tiger is there so what prevents me from T10?

Scarab Sages

I see it like this... When it gets to the point of initiative, that means the tiger is pouncing on you. You are making a perception roll to see if you notice it in time to have a chance to react. You are rolling initiative to see if you do react before the pounce. So, yes, there's immediate danger and you are being threatened. But as a GM, I would also have asked everyone what their perception bonuses are ahead of time. If your take 10 is high enough to notice the tiger, I would likely have just told you it was there when you entered the room, because I'm not trying to play gotcha with the players. I'm not going to penalize a high perception character because the player forgot to say they were looking around when they entered the room. So if a tiger is sitting right next to you and still hidden, you'd probably want to roll anyway, because chances are your take 10 wasn't high enough to see it in the first place. Exceptions to that might be an invisible creature that's at +40 to stealth until it moves, when it's only at +20. Your take 10 might be enough with the lower bonus, but not with the higher one. But in that case, once again, by the time you make the check to notice it, you're already in immediate danger and being threatened.


Do remember that at 10 ft and farther I have a penalty. So at 100 ft from the tiger I have a -10 that could be enough for it to keep hidden but when I move up to lets say 40ft the tiger could be charging me but now my total T10 check is 6 higher.

Scarab Sages

Yes, that's correct. Lots of factors affect the DC or the roll. If you get close enough to see the tiger before it decides to charge, then you see the tiger. If you don't get close enough until the tiger is already trying to charge, then you'd have to roll to see it in time.


What I don't get is how the tigers decisions affects my abiity to casually observe my surroundings? Why does an outside agent making a decison suddenly cause me to possible go on high alert?

Scarab Sages

Because it's not about you being in high alert. Its about rolling dice in situations where rolling dice should determine the outcome and not in situations where it shouldn't. Take 10 is about skipping the mundane die rolls. Climbing a wall is something that it's not worth rolling for if someone has a high enough skill, because doing so is boring and can slow down game play. Casually scanning a room is something that it's not worth rolling for unless there's something there worth spotting. Finding out if you see the tiger that is about to bite your head off so that you can subsequently react before he does is something that should be left to a die roll and not be automatic. Looking for an in character justification for an out of character mechanic designed to speed up game play and avoid boring drawn out situations is a futile effort. And, in fact, arguing about it just creates the kind of situation the rule is trying to avoid.

Maybe another way to think about it is what triggers the perception check? If someone takes an action to scan the room, and the tiger is just sitting in the corner watching, the character's action is triggering the perception check. They can take 10. If a tiger instead decides to pounce before it's been spotted, the rules of determining surprise are what triggers the perception check. If you are determining surprise, you are already starting combat, and you're already being threatened. You can't take 10.


So why can't you do a passive perception check to see the tiger the moment before it decides to pounce before it thinks it's been spotted? When you're still the same distance away, so basically before combat has started.


Apparently it isn't, but it SHOULD BE fairly simple.

The outcome of the task you're attempting should not be included in the determination of whether you're in danger. If it is, then it is impossible to take 10 on climbing or swimming for example, due to the "danger" of falling or drowning.

Determination of "immediate danger" MUST be limited to only things that might be a danger to you from other sources than whatever skill check you're rolling.

That's the first part. So GMs should not deny a player a Take-10 on an acrobatics check because he could fall and get hurt if he fails. But if that player has enemy orcs shooting arrows at him, then he's in immediate danger from the arrows and cannot Take-10 on that acrobatics check.

The second part is whether a character is in "immediate danger" from something he does not know about.

This should be easy too.

Regardless of whether you come down in the camp of "Take-10 is a conscious decision by the character" or not, it's very obvious that when there is no hidden/undetected danger, the character can certainly take-10 on just about anything. If the circumstances are such that, to the CHARACTER, it appears exactly the same BUT there actually IS an undetected danger, the character will still behave like he normally would - this is obviously true, right? If he normally would Take-10 on a routine skill check, then he still will Take-10 on that skill check.

That answer is independent of whether you think the character or the player is making a decision to Take-10. If it is possible for either one of them to Take-10 on a skill in a situation with no danger, then the same allowance applies when there is an undetected danger because that character is behaving normally with no knowledge of the undetected danger.

This isn't really that hard. Or so I thought...


Talonhawke wrote:
Wraithstrike that's another good point. How far away from me does an enemy stalking me have to be for me to take 10?

I would say if he does not even know you are around he is not even stalking you. He is not even a threat especially since you made the perception roll before either of you knew the other one was around. You might not even have to fight them depending on the situation. Is it still combat if you never meet them?←←←←rhetorical question


I agree with pretty much everything Ferious Thune wrote. Thanks for those well written examples.

I'd like to mention that part of the reason we have take 10 is because the whole system of rolling 1d20+mod for most tasks is flawed.

In reality, the results of skills are far closer to a Normal Distribution (a Bell Curve). By using a single die plus a static modifier, we have a flat linear distribution instead. Your chance of doing the worst you possibly could do is the same as doing exactly average - this is not very realistic. In combat situations and times where the pressure is high, this large degree of randomness makes a little more sense. For (slower) mundane tasks, things average out a bit and low/high spikes are much less prominent.

Thus, I'd like to reiterate my previous thoughts: the degree of immediacy should be taken into consideration when determining whether take 10 is allowed. Of course, the written rules should be followed first, but in borderline and questionable cases it can be helpful to take this factor into consideration.

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