What does it mean to be intelligent in 5e?


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With bounded accuracy keeping everything close, what do the intelligence scores really mean anymore?

It use to be that 4 was really dumb, 10 was about average, and 18 was genius level. But now it's just a difference of a few points of modifiers. And since the DCs are much closer together, it's feasible for an Int 2 to solve some medium difficultly arcane checks - DC 15 means they have a 5% chance of figuring it out.

So what do they mean in the edition?


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it means that someone with a 14-15 INT is naturally just as knowledgeable as an average person trained in its field of study. At 18-19, you intuitively grasp concepts normally reserved to those with considerable experience (i.e. 9th level and up) or with experts (i.e. characters with a skill expertise).

With abilities caped at 20, I feel that it is easier to gauge what the ability scores mean. It used to mean that 12 was above average, 15 was "smart" and 18 was "genius", but in a world where adventurers reached INT scores of 25+, it didn't mean anything anymore.

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Laurefindel wrote:

it means that someone with a 14-15 INT is naturally just as knowledgeable as an average person trained in its field of study. At 18-19, you intuitively grasp concepts normally reserved to those with considerable experience (i.e. 9th level and up) or with experts (i.e. characters with a skill expertise).

With abilities caped at 20, I feel that it is easier to gauge what the ability scores mean. It used to mean that 12 was above average, 15 was "smart" and 18 was "genius", but in a world where adventurers reached INT scores of 25+, it didn't mean anything anymore.

This. I like the idea of putting attributes under the hood. Its what I attempt to do now with PF. You only pull them out when you have a mechanical reason to do so. 5E makes that much easier to do and it fits the game world better. Rulings over rules allows a GM to be much more flexible as well as the players.


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Laurefindel wrote:

it means that someone with a 14-15 INT is naturally just as knowledgeable as an average person trained in its field of study. At 18-19, you intuitively grasp concepts normally reserved to those with considerable experience (i.e. 9th level and up) or with experts (i.e. characters with a skill expertise).

With abilities caped at 20, I feel that it is easier to gauge what the ability scores mean. It used to mean that 12 was above average, 15 was "smart" and 18 was "genius", but in a world where adventurers reached INT scores of 25+, it didn't mean anything anymore.

Exactly. Scores mean MORE because of the lack of ridiculous amounts of inflation.

In Pathfinder, while a 1st level character with a 20 INT is a genius, a 20th level wizard with an 20 INT is a drooling moron.


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However, it does mean that in 5E the difference between a drooling moron and a genius is not as signficant as it is in reality. The same is true of a very good runner compared with a very bad one. Same with the scale of swimming or pretty much anything else.

Bounded accuracy squishes the bell curve quite a bit, given the stat modifiers range from -4 to +5 and the 'chance' element ranges from 1-20.


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I haven't checked it too closely, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation is that the guy with -4 will equal or exceed the guy with +5 16.5% of the time (presuming all other modifiers are the same for each).

That's not really indicative of "moron vs genius".


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Steve Geddes wrote:

However, it does mean that in 5E the difference between a drooling moron and a genius is not as signficant as it is in reality. The same is true of a very good runner compared with a very bad one. Same with the scale of swimming or pretty much anything else.

Bounded accuracy squishes the bell curve quite a bit, given the stat modifiers range from -4 to +5 and the 'chance' element ranges from 1-20.

True.

It means that the mentally handicapped with an IQ of less than 80 should either invent the lightbulb, the theory of relativity, alternating current, the theory of gravity, or quantum physics...

(16.5% means one out of those should be done by the guy with less than 80...maybe someone with a 3 INT even!)

As you don't have to be a genius in 5e to beat out the genius in fabulous feats anymore!

On the otherhand, those legends about Hercules, Sampson, Sinbad, Chaucer, FDR, and Einstein...

They won't happen in 5e because they are about individuals with stats that are impossible to achieve as that type of differences aren't happening in 5e.

Of course, it means that Anyone can have the ability to achieve great things...and the more people you have, the better chances of success!

Personally (and people already know that here) I find it more ludicrous and unrealistic than any of the systems they said they replaced (inclusive of 4e) in regards to how stats are reflected in real life...(and if you know PF and 3.X, you KNOW that these representations can be rather ridiculous already in how unrealistic they represent real life).

But for those who feel life handicaps you to a certain amount, or that balance between everything is very important, or that the math and numbers can run away and get away from you to quickly...

5e can be great.

I don't get the 5e love personally, but then, I pretty much love AD&D and D&D (the REAL D&D, meaning Original, B/X or BECMI) and would rather play them any day over 5e anyways. Heck, love Pathfinder even...though I view it as a totally different game than D&D (any version except for 3.X of course, and even then, PF is different enough these days to be it's OWN thing).

I know many say they are old time players and loved old D&D/AD&D...but if that were so, why play 5e instead of the actual AD&D or D&D of the past (and they are easily, and even more cheaply available these days then 5e)? It's because those who loved AD&D and D&D will play AD&D and D&D instead...and those who didn't...play anything but (IMO).

Okay...that degraded into a rant really fast for me.

Then again, what do you expect from a Canine?


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Quote:
I know many say they are old time players and loved old D&D/AD&D...but if that were so, why play 5e instead of the actual AD&D or D&D of the past (and they are easily, and even more cheaply available these days then 5e)? It's because those who loved AD&D and D&D will play AD&D and D&D instead...and those who didn't...play anything but (IMO).

For me, it's because our group is democratic in the choice of system. I prefer an OD&D/AD&D hodge-podge, but the other guys prefer the very customisable characters you get in more modern systems.

5E is a good compromise system for us - they get to do the character building they enjoy, but I'm not punished for trying quirky things.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:

On the otherhand, those legends about Hercules, Sampson, Sinbad, Chaucer, FDR, and Einstein...

They won't happen in 5e because they are about individuals with stats that are impossible to achieve as that type of differences aren't happening in 5e.

They will still happen, they're just modelled differently (via feats, background bonuses and most significantly via class abilities).

The difference isn't as great as in other systems (or as in reality, as I opined above) but it certainly exists. It just doesn't show up in the pure stat vs stat analysis I attempted above.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I haven't checked it too closely, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation is that the guy with -4 will equal or exceed the guy with +5 16.5% of the time (presuming all other modifiers are the same for each).

That's not really indicative of "moron vs genius".

For what DC? Once you get in to negative modifiers, without some sort of asistence (proficiency, magic, etc) it's impossible to do a Hard difficulty task without GM adjudication.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
I don't get the 5e love personally, but then, I pretty much love AD&D and D&D (the REAL D&D, meaning Original, B/X or BECMI) and would rather play them any day over 5e anyways. Heck, love Pathfinder even...though I view it...

tangent:
I loved 2e AD&D, despite its small issues. I resisted the switch to 3rd ed for a long time, but I came to appreciate the enhanced customization options it brought. Of course by the time I switched, 3rd ed was already starting to become discouragingly bloated. Then came Pathfinder and the promise of a fresh start, it too became discouragingly huge IMHO.

For me 5e brought a nice balance of old and new, the houserule-friendliness of AD&D with the customization of 3rd ed. It's a nice modern game and a tribute to all its previous iterations. I have a nostalgic love for 2e AD&ad, but 5e is my favorite.

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GreyWolfLord wrote:
It means that the mentally handicapped with an IQ of less than 80...

Where are you getting this correlation? Does a 5E publication actually reference the relationship between INT and IQ? Or are you inserting that yourself and then using your broken mash-up as an indictment of 5E itself?

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bookrat wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I haven't checked it too closely, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation is that the guy with -4 will equal or exceed the guy with +5 16.5% of the time (presuming all other modifiers are the same for each).

That's not really indicative of "moron vs genius".

For what DC? Once you get in to negative modifiers, without some sort of asistence (proficiency, magic, etc) it's impossible to do a Hard difficulty task without GM adjudication.

This. Rulings over rules means you can play fast and loose with skill checks. Some things a proficient player should just be able to do no check required. Some things a non-proficent low attribute score player should simply not be able to do, denied a check.

I get that some folks wont jive with that. Some need the game rules to be able to represent any scenario like a simulation. A rulings over rules player will just give a Hercules PC a belt of giant strength allowing them to be over the Str cap. Or alternatively they will allow that character to exceed the cap because of story reasons. They work around the system when they need to. This doesnt work for some folks who need solid written mechanical representation. In that case, folks might want to stick with a 3.5/PF type game. YMMV


I don't think it does, Jiggy. One of the things I enjoy about 5e is that you can't achieve the nearly impossible (DC 30) with only inborn talent (Int 20) or only training (Proficiency bonus +6) but must rely on both.


Like Pan said above, I like to give more meaning to proficiency than a +2 to + 6 bonus. Sometimes, especially in the case of obscure knowledge, only the proficient character is allowed a check.

Sometimes, success from a proficient character can mean something slightly different than a success from a non-proficient character.

I also like to give players "raises" for each +5 by which the result beats the DC, granting additional bonuses. Attack rolls preceded by a raised acrobatic roll may be granted advantage, or a raised deception check may open an opportunity for a sleight of hand, etc.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:

I don't get the 5e love personally, but then, I pretty much love AD&D and D&D (the REAL D&D, meaning Original, B/X or BECMI) and would rather play them any day over 5e anyways. Heck, love Pathfinder even...though I view it as a totally different game than D&D (any version except for 3.X of course, and even then, PF is different enough these days to be it's OWN thing).

I know many say they are old time players and loved old D&D/AD&D...but if that were so, why play 5e instead of the actual AD&D or D&D of the past (and they are easily, and even more cheaply available these days then 5e)? It's because those who loved AD&D and D&D will play AD&D and D&D instead...and those who didn't...play anything but (IMO).

I can think of several reasons off the top of my head:

1) Some people prefer to play a "living" game. That doesn't always make much sense to me, given the wealth of material available for the pre-d20 editions of the game (which can also be shared between those editions pretty easily, as they are all largely compatible). Still, some people insist upon it. And while fairly faithful retro-clones of pretty much every edition prior to 3.0 do exist, there's really only a couple of them that receive a substantial amount of support (Swords & Wizardry and Lamentations of the Flame Princess); and even those two receive the bulk of their support from the company that publishes them.

2) Some people prefer to play the newest thing. With D&D, that means 5th edition.

3) Finding a group that will play B/X D&D can be harder than finding a group that will play 5th edition. Some people care less about what rule set they play under than who they are playing with, or the actual adventure / setting content.

4) Variety. I think playing any one game exclusively can tend to cause you to burn out on it. While 5th edition is very different mechanically from the pre-d20 editions, it does (at least in my opinion) share a much closer feeling with them than it does with 3.x/PFRPG/4th edition. So you get variety, but you still stay closer to the feeling of the edition that you prefer.

5) It's entirely possible to prefer pre-d20 editions to 3.x/PFRPG/4th edition, and yet also prefer 5th edition to the pre-d20 editions.


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bookrat wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I haven't checked it too closely, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation is that the guy with -4 will equal or exceed the guy with +5 16.5% of the time (presuming all other modifiers are the same for each).

That's not really indicative of "moron vs genius".

For what DC? Once you get in to negative modifiers, without some sort of asistence (proficiency, magic, etc) it's impossible to do a Hard difficulty task without GM adjudication.

The DC is irrelevant - I calculated the chance the -4 stat guy would do as well or better than the +5 guy (presuming they have equal training, tools and other situational modifiers). It doesn't matter whether that's ultimately a success or a fail at any specific task.

I wasn't criticising it, just making a comment - I think it's a poor model of reality, but that doesn't bother me. I like bounded accuracy.

I just think it's worth noting that one's intuitions about 'how the world works' may be misleading in this regard, since in 5E world, the bell curve is over quite a narrow range compared to our world.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I haven't checked it too closely, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation is that the guy with -4 will equal or exceed the guy with +5 16.5% of the time (presuming all other modifiers are the same for each).

That's not really indicative of "moron vs genius".

For what DC? Once you get in to negative modifiers, without some sort of asistence (proficiency, magic, etc) it's impossible to do a Hard difficulty task without GM adjudication.

The DC is irrelevant - I calculated the chance the -4 stat guy would do as well or better than the +5 guy (presuming they have equal training, tools and other situational modifiers). It doesn't matter whether that's ultimately a success or a fail at any specific task.

I wasn't criticising it, just making a comment - I think it's a poor model of reality, but that doesn't bother me. I like bounded accuracy.

I just think it's worth noting that one's intuitions about 'how the world works' may be misleading in this regard, since in 5E world, the bell curve is over quite a narrow range compared to our world.

To start with, I wasn't thinking that you were criticizing it; and I wasn't attacking you. I apologize if I came across that way. I was just trying to explore your thoughts.

Let me take an expanded attempt at the exploration: With everything else equal, a -4 guy has a maximum roll of 16, whereas the +5 guy has a maximum roll of 25. Sure, there are times when the -4 guy will outperform the +5 guy, but there are things the +5 guy can do that the -4 guy simply cannot (anything with a difficulty greater than "moderate"), and the -4 guy even has a solid chance of failing even easy tasks (DC 5, any roll of 8 or less, so a flat 40% chance to fail an easy task), whereas the +5 guy can never fail an easy task without taking some sort of penalty or hindrance somewhere.

I think what you did was just look at how many times you would have a difference if 9 or more on 2d20 (in order) and determined the percent chance of getting that. Which works great for contests, but doesn't explain much else. (I'm going to see if I can replicate your math... Yup, 16.5%)

Let's look at it from the point of view of strength in a grapple contest (with no other modifiers). The -4 guy is going to beat the +5 guy in a grapple contest 16.5% of the time, meaning approximately 3 times in 20 the weaker guy will win on a grapple check. But even with that, there are things the +5 can attempt which are just flat out beyond the ability of the-4 guy, and there are things that the -4 guy will fail the nearly half of the time where the +5 guy will never fail.

So while I agree with you that it isn't a perfect model, I don't think it's all that bad of one. Sure, there are definitely issues, but there always will be when you try to constrain the whole world into 20 numbers. :)


Norman Osborne wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:

I don't get the 5e love personally, but then, I pretty much love AD&D and D&D (the REAL D&D, meaning Original, B/X or BECMI) and would rather play them any day over 5e anyways. Heck, love Pathfinder even...though I view it as a totally different game than D&D (any version except for 3.X of course, and even then, PF is different enough these days to be it's OWN thing).

I know many say they are old time players and loved old D&D/AD&D...but if that were so, why play 5e instead of the actual AD&D or D&D of the past (and they are easily, and even more cheaply available these days then 5e)? It's because those who loved AD&D and D&D will play AD&D and D&D instead...and those who didn't...play anything but (IMO).

I can think of several reasons off the top of my head:

1) Some people prefer to play a "living" game. That doesn't always make much sense to me, given the wealth of material available for the pre-d20 editions of the game (which can also be shared between those editions pretty easily, as they are all largely compatible). Still, some people insist upon it. And while fairly faithful retro-clones of pretty much every edition prior to 3.0 do exist, there's really only a couple of them that receive a substantial amount of support (Swords & Wizardry and Lamentations of the Flame Princess); and even those two receive the bulk of their support from the company that publishes them.

2) Some people prefer to play the newest thing. With D&D, that means 5th edition.

3) Finding a group that will play B/X D&D can be harder than finding a group that will play 5th edition. Some people care less about what rule set they play under than who they are playing with, or the actual adventure / setting content.

4) Variety. I think playing any one game exclusively can tend to cause you to burn out on it. While 5th edition is very different mechanically from the pre-d20 editions, it does (at least in my opinion) share a much closer feeling with them than it does with 3.x/PFRPG/4th...

One of the reasons people might prefer a 'living' game is the ease of collecting the rulebooks. If something is out of print, buying stuff for it can be (but isn't always) tricky and/or expensive. Some stuff might be available cheap, but it might also cost 10x the original cover price and not even be in overly good condition.


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bookrat wrote:

Let me take an expanded attempt at the exploration: With everything else equal, a -4 guy has a maximum roll of 16, whereas the +5 guy has a maximum roll of 25. Sure, there are times when the -4 guy will outperform the +5 guy, but there are things the +5 guy can do that the -4 guy simply cannot (anything with a difficulty greater than "moderate"), and the -4 guy even has a solid chance of failing even easy tasks (DC 5, any roll of 8 or less, so a flat 40% chance to fail an easy task), whereas the +5 guy can never fail an easy task without taking some sort of penalty or hindrance somewhere.

I think what you did was just look at how many times you would have a difference if 9 or more on 2d20 (in order) and determined the percent chance of getting that. Which works great for contests, but doesn't explain much else. (I'm going to see if I can replicate your math... Yup, 16.5%)

Let's look at it from the point of view of strength in a grapple contest (with no other modifiers). The -4 guy is going to beat the +5 guy in a grapple contest 16.5% of the time, meaning approximately 3 times in 20 the weaker guy will win on a grapple check. But even with that, there are things the +5 can attempt which are just flat out beyond the ability of the-4 guy, and there are things that the -4 guy will fail the nearly half of the time where the +5 guy will never fail.

So while I agree with you that it isn't a perfect model, I don't think it's all that bad of one. Sure, there are definitely issues, but there always will be when you try to constrain the whole world into 20 numbers. :)

I don't really know how to respond. Yeah the +5 guy can do stuff the -4 guy can't. I was examining solely the times when both have a chance at success. (I didn't do it your way, but I'm glad a different method showed the same figure). I neglected advantage - my gut feel is that the +5 guy has a more significant edge over the -4 guy where advantage is involved.

However, my sole point was that the fact that 16.5% of the time, the worst in the world would beat the best in the world in a head-to-head contest is not what anyone would guess based on real-world intuitions ported over into the game.

I've certainly seen people argue interpretations and rulings based on "realism" and using their intuitions. If you're going to rely on that kind of thinking in setting numbers you should remember that the world you're modelling is one in which being the world's most naturally gifted still means you'll lose in a head-to-head with the world's least talented 1 time in 6. (All else being equal).


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Steve, I think that's a fair assessment. Sorry if I came across as aggressive or attacking you; that was not my intent at all. My intent was to explore your ideas further. And I don't disagree with you at all.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Yeah the +5 guy can do stuff the -4 guy can't. I was examining solely the times when both have a chance at success. (I didn't do it your way, but I'm glad a different method showed the same figure). I neglected advantage - my gut feel is that the +5 guy has a more significant edge over the -4 guy where advantage is involved.

However, my sole point was that the fact that 16.5% of the time, the worst in the world would beat the best in the world in a head-to-head contest is not what anyone would guess based on real-world intuitions ported over into the game.

I've certainly seen people argue interpretations and rulings based on "realism" and using their intuitions. If you're going to rely on that kind of thinking in setting numbers you should remember that the world you're modelling is one in which being the world's most naturally gifted still means you'll lose in a head-to-head with the world's least talented 1 time in 6. (All else being equal).

When it comes to something like combat, I don't consider that a bug. It's a feature that allows players to not want to give up and go to the store when forced into a 'best vs worst' situation in combat. A small chance will be enough to keep them trying. Being told that there is no die roll they can make that allows success will be interpreted by some as a train whistle.

With skills it's a different story, as the best at a skill is not only proficient, but possibly backed up by a class feature to double that bonus. -4 vs +9-17 is a very different story than -4 vs +5.


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Grey Lensman wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Yeah the +5 guy can do stuff the -4 guy can't. I was examining solely the times when both have a chance at success. (I didn't do it your way, but I'm glad a different method showed the same figure). I neglected advantage - my gut feel is that the +5 guy has a more significant edge over the -4 guy where advantage is involved.

However, my sole point was that the fact that 16.5% of the time, the worst in the world would beat the best in the world in a head-to-head contest is not what anyone would guess based on real-world intuitions ported over into the game.

I've certainly seen people argue interpretations and rulings based on "realism" and using their intuitions. If you're going to rely on that kind of thinking in setting numbers you should remember that the world you're modelling is one in which being the world's most naturally gifted still means you'll lose in a head-to-head with the world's least talented 1 time in 6. (All else being equal).

When it comes to something like combat, I don't consider that a bug. It's a feature that allows players to not want to give up and go to the store when forced into a 'best vs worst' situation in combat. A small chance will be enough to keep them trying. Being told that there is no die roll they can make that allows success will be interpreted by some as a train whistle.

With skills it's a different story, as the best at a skill is not only proficient, but possibly backed up by a class feature to double that bonus. -4 vs +9-17 is a very different story than -4 vs +5.

I prefer bounded accuracy too - definitely a feature not a bug, in my view.

However, note that I was talking purely about the "natural talent" element. In the numbers I was quoting both have proficiency or both don't. Both have the class feature or both don't. Both have masterwork tools or both don't.

I was merely pointing out that the bell curve is very squished, given that the 'chance element' is 1 to 20 and the 'natural talent' element is -4 to +5. That's not how things are when we consider using what we might term skills in the real world - especially in head-to-head contests (I can't just get lucky and outrun a natural athlete 1 in 6 times if we have identical training, equipment and experience the way I would in 5E. In fact, I'd beat him more often than that, since I'm nowhere near the -4 level).

In 5E, the chance element is hugely significant compared to the natural ability element. Much more so than in the real world, in my opinion.


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bookrat wrote:
Steve, I think that's a fair assessment. Sorry if I came across as aggressive or attacking you; that was not my intent at all. My intent was to explore your ideas further. And I don't disagree with you at all.

Nah, you weren't aggressive at all. I'm just being overly explicit about approving of bounded accuracy. I'm also keen to be clear that I like the fact the game is unrealistic. In my experience, comments like mine tend to be interpreted as "I don't like it".

Maybe other people's groups aren't like mine, but often when it comes time to assign a difficulty, players will start to discuss real world scenarios and try and use intuition to judge how hard something should be. I think it's worth being aware that 5E is a long way from reality in this specific regard - by design, since they wanted low level creatures to remain threats to high level characters amongst other things. That led to a necessary limit on how broad the scale from terrible to awesome can be - which in turn places a cap on how much natural variance there is.

If you're trying to model some competition between an untrained natural athlete and an equally untrained unhealthy lump the skills rules are likely to frustrate any "realism" measure. Best to just declare the fit guy the winner, imo.


Grey Lensman wrote:


1) Some people prefer to play a "living" game. That doesn't always make much sense to me, given the wealth of material available for the pre-d20 editions of the game (which can also be shared between those editions pretty easily, as they are all largely compatible). Still, some people insist upon it. And while fairly faithful retro-clones of pretty much every edition prior to 3.0 do exist, there's really only a couple of them that receive a substantial amount of support (Swords & Wizardry and Lamentations of the Flame Princess); and even those two receive the bulk of their support from the company that publishes them.

Currently for $24 they can get the entire core set of AD&D

Players Handbook

Monster Manual

DMG

For $10 they can get the Rules Cyclopedia, basically an entire D&D game system from BECM, equivalent to anything out there now.

The only system which offers a comparable value that's been or is big is Pathfinder's PDF...and that doesn't include the bestiary like the RC does.

D&D Rules Cyclopedia

What does one consider support? That new material is coming out? There's a wealth of material out there for the older editions, even if it isn't new and shiny. Literally, the only reason to go with a new version if you prefer the older versions is because you want new and shiny vs. something that isn't currently the hype in a small niche group of people.

For owning the material, if you go the PDF route, the Rules Cyclopedia really rules!


Grey Lensman wrote:


When it comes to something like combat, I don't consider that a bug. It's a feature that allows players to not want to give up and go to the store when forced into a 'best vs worst' situation in combat. A small chance will be enough to keep them trying. Being told that there is no die roll they can make that allows success will be interpreted by some as a train whistle.

With skills it's a different story, as the best at a skill is not only proficient, but possibly backed up by a class feature to double that bonus. -4 vs +9-17 is a very different story than -4 vs +5.

I'm obviously not one for bounded accuracy, I see it as a false limitation (I think there can be actual real limitations without what I call false limitations for games, but 5e seems to be all about the false limitations rather than the real ones).

Then again, I don't think 5e was actually made to appease the AD&D and D&D enthusiasts, and was more a way to try to appeal to those...

1. Who were 3e and 3.5 players who weren't all that enthused about Pathfinder and could be convinced to go to something else

2. or (and in this instance along with 4e players) those who liked the ideas of D&D like 3.5, but wanted something simpler to understand (which 5e currently is),

3. OR who liked the new and shiny and typically go buy the newest and latest releases (which probably more includes my groups players and those like them...though I have now convinced them to play more Dragon Age/Fantasy Age these past few weeks instead).

To me, there is VERY little of AD&D or OD&D in 5e. The only things people really mention is simplicity (which AD&D really isn't) and flexibility (which would really be something many other RPGs such as Fantasy Age, Dragon Warriors, Fabled Lands, Castles and Crusades...etc...also have).

#1 seems to be inclusive of many from these boards, and those who played Pathfinder but only because it was what they had around, not because they particularly enjoyed or liked it.

#2 seems to be many who have claimed to like D&D and AD&D, but in reality wanted something that was simple, but had other things similar to modern games like 3.5 and 4e with the various options (and whose influence can definitely be seen in 5e).

#3 seems to probably cover the largest number, but perhaps the hardest to retain. They get swayed by whatever is the newest and shiniest on the street. WotC seems to be doing well in timing their releases to get this crowd to continue buying, but I think it's can be difficult. For example, though I have players who are playing DA/FA right now, I know that they are getting the newest book (Castle Strahd I think it's called) of 5e still.

As someone who is still playing the D&D of the 20th century (as opposed to the 21st) many times, and also one who is totally onboard with PF (at least currently), I'm probably not the core audience for 5e.

In that light, 5e wasn't made or marketed towards me which is probably why I am not sold on it's mechanics where those who it IS designed for and marketed for are very enthusiastic about it.

Nothing wrong with that (except when they decide to play 5e instead of PF and can't understand why I don't want to DM 5e) as we all have different tastes and opinions.

But for me, Bounded accuracy in the way they put it (a more varied type, for example Fighters without it limiting them on their attack bonuses, but on skill proficiencies, or Rogues unlimited on skills but on combat...MIGHT actually work for me) really isn't something I enjoy (at least past level 10. I admit, at least levels 1-5 I don't have a ton of problems with it to tell the truth from actual gaming experience, its the higher levels that just don't work for me).

We all are different and have different tastes though. What I dislike, many people love.

[Edit: Actually I think they marketed very heavily towards those like me originally...but when we found it was about as compatible with AD&D as the original 3e or 3.5 rules...I think it felt more of a betrayal than anything else...which didn't help the waters much for me].


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Man, I heart bookrat and Steve. You guys are perfect examples of everything right on these boards. Thanks for being great posters!


GreyWolfLord wrote:
Grey Lensman wrote:


1) Some people prefer to play a "living" game. That doesn't always make much sense to me, given the wealth of material available for the pre-d20 editions of the game (which can also be shared between those editions pretty easily, as they are all largely compatible). Still, some people insist upon it. And while fairly faithful retro-clones of pretty much every edition prior to 3.0 do exist, there's really only a couple of them that receive a substantial amount of support (Swords & Wizardry and Lamentations of the Flame Princess); and even those two receive the bulk of their support from the company that publishes them.

Currently for $24 they can get the entire core set of AD&D

Players Handbook

Monster Manual

DMG

For $10 they can get the Rules Cyclopedia, basically an entire D&D game system from BECM, equivalent to anything out there now.

The only system which offers a comparable value that's been or is big is Pathfinder's PDF...and that doesn't include the bestiary like the RC does.

D&D Rules Cyclopedia

What does one consider support? That new material is coming out? There's a wealth of material out there for the older editions, even if it isn't new and shiny. Literally, the only reason to go with a new version if you prefer the older versions is because you want new and shiny vs. something that isn't currently the hype in a small niche group of people.

For owning the material, if you go the PDF route, the Rules Cyclopedia really rules!

That also depends on the game system and when you buy it - when news came about that Star Wars SAGA was going out of print, I purchased what I could - and thankfully I had every relevant book that was already out of print (they were selling for $400 used at one point). I only had to buy the stuff that had just recently come out or was in the pipeline already after the announcement was made.


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Also those of us who only use printed products. It's more difficult to find printed copies of books a few years down the track - especially if you're a completionist. Much easier to keep up to date with a 'live' system.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
#3 seems to probably cover the largest number, but perhaps the hardest to retain. They get swayed by whatever is the newest and shiniest on the street. WotC seems to be doing well in timing their releases to get this crowd to continue buying, but I think it's can be difficult.

Based on the most recent ICv2 report, it seems that WotC's continuing success with 5E is not about continually selling to the same people but rather about keeping the number of books low and keeping on bringing in new people.

The way they "clump" their releases so they're all about the storyline, rather than drifting into splatbooks is part of this strategy, it seems to me.


Steve Geddes wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Steve, I think that's a fair assessment. Sorry if I came across as aggressive or attacking you; that was not my intent at all. My intent was to explore your ideas further. And I don't disagree with you at all.

Nah, you weren't aggressive at all. I'm just being overly explicit about approving of bounded accuracy. I'm also keen to be clear that I like the fact the game is unrealistic. In my experience, comments like mine tend to be interpreted as "I don't like it".

Maybe other people's groups aren't like mine, but often when it comes time to assign a difficulty, players will start to discuss real world scenarios and try and use intuition to judge how hard something should be. I think it's worth being aware that 5E is a long way from reality in this specific regard - by design, since they wanted low level creatures to remain threats to high level characters amongst other things. That led to a necessary limit on how broad the scale from terrible to awesome can be - which in turn places a cap on how much natural variance there is.

If you're trying to model some competition between an untrained natural athlete and an equally untrained unhealthy lump the skills rules are likely to frustrate any "realism" measure. Best to just declare the fit guy the winner, imo.

When using the same set of assumptions, I tend to come to a different conclusion. I believe that bounded accuracy is more closely represents real life than the PF model. While there are some distinct differences between low and high performers, real life is still constrained to some set. Compare that to PF, where the limit is practically boundless.

Sure, bounded accuracy may be too tight compared to reality, but I'm still of the opinion that it's a more accurate representation than not.

Basically, for me, I determine the DC based off what a champion fighter or a frenzy barbarian could do, which is essentially what a normal/athletic person could do in reality. Where an Easy DC is what's easy in real life, moderate, hard, difficult, etc.. are all based on what I could do back when I was in peak physical shape.

I look at the most difficult DC - DC 30 or 35 - and think, "what would be the most challenging thing someone well trained and naturally talented could do for this." And that becomes the high point for the DC. Everything else is adjusted accordingly down to an Easy task that the average person could accomplish most of the time.

It may not be quite realistic, but in my opinion it's more realistic than the boundless system of previous d20 editions.


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Yeah, I wasn't comparing it to PF - I don't think that's a very realistic system either.


I think I noted that PF itself is rather unrealistic, 5e is just MORE unrelialistic.

A 5e model would have you think 10.8 seconds is the fastest man can run the 100 meter (rolling a perfect 20 for someone maxed out with perfect stats in 5e).

1891 world records.

Usain Bolt would never have been able to beat that with a 9.58 seconds...because there is no room to improve over that.

4.5 minutes would be the fastest one could run the mile from the 1800s, instead of the 3 minutes and 43 seconds today.

We'd have thought 66 meters was the furthest a javelin could be thrown as that was the max in 1912.

Instead of the 104 meters held by Uwe Hohn.

Who knows what the limits of mankind is...placing artificial limits...just because...seems just like that...artificial.

If instead, it was more like Fantasy age, where progression gets harder and harder and rarer and rarer to certain degrees...I probably wouldn't have as many problems with it in some ways.

it's not that we can't beat the records or the impossible, just that it progressively gets harder to do so.
.
.
.
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Perhaps that's the difference between some of those who play 5e and those who don't like the dynamics of the limitations. Those like me see that humankind has infinite room for expansion, improvement, and have yet to find the limitations of their abilities.

Where as some of those who prefer the 5e system see that their world is limited to a point where mankind can not improve any further. Instead it is capped at a maximum, and no one can ever be better than that.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
I think I noted that PF itself is rather unrealistic, 5e is just MORE unrelialistic.

How would you even evaluate that? What sort of metric measures "realism"?

However, even if you could somehow measure "realisticness", I think you'd just be weighing up which system was an abominable representation of reality and which was merely atrocious - if realism is an important feature of RPGs to someone, I think they're both poor choices.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:

A 5e model would have you think 10.8 seconds is the fastest man can run the 100 meter (rolling a perfect 20 for someone maxed out with perfect stats in 5e).

1891 world records.

Usain Bolt would never have been able to beat that with a 9.58 seconds...because there is no room to improve over that.

4.5 minutes would be the fastest one could run the mile from the 1800s, instead of the 3 minutes and 43 seconds today.

We'd have thought 66 meters was the furthest a javelin could be thrown as that was the max in 1912.

Instead of the 104 meters held by Uwe Hohn.

Who knows what the limits of mankind is...placing artificial limits...just because...seems just like that...artificial.

I appreciate you're not really putting a lot of effort into using the system since you don't like it (so why should you?) However, 5E really doesn't imply that world records would never be beaten unless you also remain wedded to the simulationist mindset useful when playing games like PF.

Personally, in a game focussed on footraces, I'd rule that rolling a 20 with maximum stat and double proficiency translates to "beat the world record" rather than some definitive time. So "Beat the world record" would have a DC of 37.

There's nowhere in the rules that ties IQ 80 to Int 3, nor anywhere that ties DC37 to running 100m in 10.8 seconds - you've imported a mindset which isn't useful for running 5E games and are then deriving unhelpful results. (Same for thinking there'd be no Einstein in 5E-land. He'd just rely on class features, feats and backgrounds rather than statistics alone).

The difference in running a 5E game compared to a PF game is much more nuanced than just "like PF with smaller numbers".


Steve Geddes wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:

A 5e model would have you think 10.8 seconds is the fastest man can run the 100 meter (rolling a perfect 20 for someone maxed out with perfect stats in 5e).

1891 world records.

Usain Bolt would never have been able to beat that with a 9.58 seconds...because there is no room to improve over that.

4.5 minutes would be the fastest one could run the mile from the 1800s, instead of the 3 minutes and 43 seconds today.

We'd have thought 66 meters was the furthest a javelin could be thrown as that was the max in 1912.

Instead of the 104 meters held by Uwe Hohn.

Who knows what the limits of mankind is...placing artificial limits...just because...seems just like that...artificial.

I appreciate you're not really putting a lot of effort into using the system since you don't like it (so why should you?) However, 5E really doesn't imply that world records would never be beaten unless you also remain wedded to the simulationist mindset useful when playing games like PF.

Personally, in a game focussed on footraces, I'd rule that rolling a 20 with maximum stat and double proficiency translates to "beat the world record" rather than some definitive time. So "Beat the world record" would have a DC of 37.

There's nowhere in the rules that ties IQ 80 to Int 3, nor anywhere that ties DC37 to running 100m in 10.8 seconds - you've imported a mindset which isn't useful for running 5E games and are then deriving unhelpful results. (Same for thinking there'd be no Einstein in 5E-land. He'd just rely on class features, feats and backgrounds rather than statistics alone).

The difference in running a 5E game compared to a PF game is much more nuanced than just "like PF with smaller numbers".

That's still more unrealistic than PF. So, with enough practice anyone has a 5% chance of beating a world record?

with PF, it's also unrealistic (just get enough XP and stat boosts), but at least each time someone scores high, you'd have to score higher (at least in some ways to deal with skill checks since it's basically competing against the last person who broke the world record).

The DC simply increases a little more each time.

Of course, in reality, it doesn't work that way either...but I find something that doesn't limit you (and the way you account it, means that breaking world records would be uncommonly EASY rather than how difficult it really is...anyone who had the level of ability and training as anyone else could beat the world record...we should be down to .1 seconds for the 100 meters?).

In that light, Usain Bolt should have beaten the world record every 20 races statistically, or every 20 official recordings of his races thus far.

That's far more unrealistic in my opinion.

In PF, I'd say, the guy needs to roll that DC 37 we'll say. He achieves that with a max roll of 38. Now the next person will need to roll a DC of 38 to beat the world record.

if they rolled their max to get there, than they'll need more practice and or stat development in order to get better.

Thing is...they CAN get better.

OR, someone else can be BETTER then they are. There is NO MAX limit. Hard...definitely...but not impossible.

I'm not one that believes in strict limits...and 5e has strict and defined limits.

I believe we can do anything, though it might seem impossible to get there, with enough talent, hard work and dedication, anything is possible.


GreyWolfLord wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:

A 5e model would have you think 10.8 seconds is the fastest man can run the 100 meter (rolling a perfect 20 for someone maxed out with perfect stats in 5e).

1891 world records.

Usain Bolt would never have been able to beat that with a 9.58 seconds...because there is no room to improve over that.

4.5 minutes would be the fastest one could run the mile from the 1800s, instead of the 3 minutes and 43 seconds today.

We'd have thought 66 meters was the furthest a javelin could be thrown as that was the max in 1912.

Instead of the 104 meters held by Uwe Hohn.

Who knows what the limits of mankind is...placing artificial limits...just because...seems just like that...artificial.

I appreciate you're not really putting a lot of effort into using the system since you don't like it (so why should you?) However, 5E really doesn't imply that world records would never be beaten unless you also remain wedded to the simulationist mindset useful when playing games like PF.

Personally, in a game focussed on footraces, I'd rule that rolling a 20 with maximum stat and double proficiency translates to "beat the world record" rather than some definitive time. So "Beat the world record" would have a DC of 37.

There's nowhere in the rules that ties IQ 80 to Int 3, nor anywhere that ties DC37 to running 100m in 10.8 seconds - you've imported a mindset which isn't useful for running 5E games and are then deriving unhelpful results. (Same for thinking there'd be no Einstein in 5E-land. He'd just rely on class features, feats and backgrounds rather than statistics alone).

The difference in running a 5E game compared to a PF game is much more nuanced than just "like PF with smaller numbers".

That's still more unrealistic than PF. So, with enough practice anyone has a 5% chance of beating a world record?

with PF, it's also unrealistic (just get enough XP and stat boosts), but at least each time someone scores high, you'd have to score higher (at...

When you look at the extreme cases every system is going to fall apart.

In 3E a person carrying 40 lbs of stuff that floats will, by the rules, be almost certain to drown if they fall into water - buoyancy had zero impact on swimming checks. Wood is the same as lead, at least by the rules.

In 2E, weapons speeds meant that it was almost a near certainty that a person with 2 knives would be able to move and make 2-3 attacks against an opponent with any two handed weapon who was already aware of them.

Those things both bother me more than world records for some reason.


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The goal of the Roleplaying games like Pathfinder and 5th edition is not to set a standard for having characters beat real-world records, the games are designed to achieve successful dungeon crawls and defeating various opponents in combat, as well as to provide a method of which to grant characters abilities such as delving into the wilderness, alchemy, the study of arcane etc. If the goal was to create a game system in which these concepts were not pivotal but rather how far one can throw an object or how fast one can run, an entirely different rules set would be designed to achieve those goals.

To expect a game system in which such physical achievements are not pivotal to the purpose of the game is very unrealistic in itself. One designs the game system to achieve satisfactory results for what the game is intended to be about.

I can't take a rocket to the moon in either game as well, or design an automobile....does this mean the game is somehow inferior....NO, it means I'm expecting it to do something it wasn't designed to do in the first place because it was not the goal of the designer nor were these concepts pivotal to adventuring, researching lost lore, and combating mythical creatures.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:

A 5e model would have you think 10.8 seconds is the fastest man can run the 100 meter (rolling a perfect 20 for someone maxed out with perfect stats in 5e).

1891 world records.

Usain Bolt would never have been able to beat that with a 9.58 seconds...because there is no room to improve over that.

4.5 minutes would be the fastest one could run the mile from the 1800s, instead of the 3 minutes and 43 seconds today.

We'd have thought 66 meters was the furthest a javelin could be thrown as that was the max in 1912.

Instead of the 104 meters held by Uwe Hohn.

Who knows what the limits of mankind is...placing artificial limits...just because...seems just like that...artificial.

I appreciate you're not really putting a lot of effort into using the system since you don't like it (so why should you?) However, 5E really doesn't imply that world records would never be beaten unless you also remain wedded to the simulationist mindset useful when playing games like PF.

Personally, in a game focussed on footraces, I'd rule that rolling a 20 with maximum stat and double proficiency translates to "beat the world record" rather than some definitive time. So "Beat the world record" would have a DC of 37.

There's nowhere in the rules that ties IQ 80 to Int 3, nor anywhere that ties DC37 to running 100m in 10.8 seconds - you've imported a mindset which isn't useful for running 5E games and are then deriving unhelpful results. (Same for thinking there'd be no Einstein in 5E-land. He'd just rely on class features, feats and backgrounds rather than statistics alone).

The difference in running a 5E game compared to a PF game is much more nuanced than just "like PF with smaller numbers".

So, with enough practice anyone has a 5% chance of beating a world record?

No. If your stat isn't 20 (ie human peak fitness) you can't do it. If you don't have a class feature granting you expertise (ie superb training focussed specifically on this ability) you can't do it.

Note that I'm not arguing that it's realistic - I'm arguing that if you feel the need to evaluate 'realisticness' of a system you have to evaluate not just the numbers but also the way the system is used.

If you use 5E numbers in PF mindset you will derive absurdity (and you frequently do). However, that's not actually a relevant critique of the system - it's a critique of playing 5E using PF assumptions. Pretty much nobody thinks that's a good idea.


Don't forget that the smallest possible chance in ANY d20 based system is 5%. That means if something is possible AT ALL, then there is at least a 5% chance of success. No matter what game you are playing.

5E, through use of 'rulings over rules' can at least say that 'breaking the world record is insanely hard', and require that roll of a natural 20 to be made with disadvantage instead of ruling that it's either impossible or the chance is 5% or more.

Sovereign Court

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The moment you start focusing on how the game can't simulate a certain activity (e.g. a foot race) you start forgetting that the game is meant to simulate combat and not athletic pursuit.

If you really wanted to put in some manner of mechanic that simulates a race and how fast someone goes in a short sprint as opposed to figuring out the general distance traveled by a given person in the midst of combat, then that would be a matter for a side system, as 5e was designed to accomodate. Maybe you extrapolate the athletics skill, all physical ability scores, and time spent training to achieve peak physical acuity. Maybe it's a series of D20 rolls that get increasingly harder as the distance is traversed.

And maybe that could even be a fun way to simulate a "travel this distance within the time given and catch the mcguffin before it falls into the lava" that would exist outside of the combat timing structure.

That 5th edition doesn't innately simulate a leg race mechanic seems to me as more of an opportunity than a rigid flaw.


Steve Geddes wrote:
However, my sole point was that the fact that 16.5% of the time, the worst in the world would beat the best in the world in a head-to-head contest is not what anyone would guess based on real-world intuitions ported over into the game.

Only on a single iteration direct contest. If you're considering Intelligence, that's not the chance of inventing relativity, it's the chance of being the first to answer a Jeopardy question.

And what's meant by "worst in the world" is the worst that is still good enough to be a successful professional adventurer.


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It's not just simple trivia questions. It's anything modelled with a single attribute check (often quite complex tasks). Relativity-inventing is clearly more than that, but that wasn't my example.

By best in the world I meant stat of 20. By worst in the world I meant stat of 3.


Steve Geddes wrote:

It's not just simple trivia questions. It's anything modelled with a single attribute check (often quite complex tasks). Relativity-inventing is clearly more than that, but that wasn't my example.

By best in the world I meant stat of 20. By worst in the world I meant stat of 3.

Specifically, only for a single check that isn't repeated. If they're rolling multiple times, the chance of the weaker character beating the stronger one drops pretty fast.

Also, when there's no penalty for failure, per the rules, you can just take ten times as long and automatically succeed (assuming that it's possible for you to succeed at all, that is).

And yes, 3 to 20 is the ability score range for plausible adventuring characters. The rules don't cover characters with physical or mental handicaps sufficient to rule out being a successful adventurer.


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Yes.


JoeJ wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It's not just simple trivia questions. It's anything modelled with a single attribute check (often quite complex tasks). Relativity-inventing is clearly more than that, but that wasn't my example.

By best in the world I meant stat of 20. By worst in the world I meant stat of 3.

Specifically, only for a single check that isn't repeated. If they're rolling multiple times, the chance of the weaker character beating the stronger one drops pretty fast.

Also, when there's no penalty for failure, per the rules, you can just take ten times as long and automatically succeed (assuming that it's possible for you to succeed at all, that is).

And yes, 3 to 20 is the ability score range for plausible adventuring characters. The rules don't cover characters with physical or mental handicaps sufficient to rule out being a successful adventurer.

Best in the world is likely to have class features that add things beyond just the flat die number. If you have a stat of 20, and I only have an 18, but back it up with expertise and advantage, I'm probably much better despite having less raw talent.


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Yeah - the analysis above (the 16.5%) is purely the 'natural talent' component. It explicitly assumes that whatever one guy has, so does the other. (They've both proficient or not, both of the same level, both the same class, etcetera). It was more directed towards intelligence the stat, rather than a skill based on intelligence (so expertise wasn't really relevant).

That quote was of one sentence out of a string of posts. As I said earlier - there'll still be mammoth gaps between the expert and the novice. It's just that stat differences make significantly less difference than you'd expect if you try to port over "real world intuition" (which was actually the point).

Liberty's Edge

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Likely been covered, late to the discussion...

But I like the contained stats of 5e (and previously 1/2e). Gives me context that I can relate to. The unbounded and HUGE numbers of 3e/PF made stats seem alomst meanginless. I have a 50 foot long dragon that is at a disadvantage in "pluses" against a human in an arm wrestling competition? Never sat well with me. It seems like a new things but 1/2e were bounded but it never had a name. Actually human women were bounded even further to 17 STR... Let's not get into that discussion.

My views of course are coloured by the main period I played D&D.

I really like 5e, and wish that (for me) this came out as 3e WAY back in the early 2000's. I would have had far more time to play!

S.


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Another consideration to the "best vs worst" angle is that it is in the rules for a DM (DMG p 239) to award automatic success. When you figure that into the equation I suspect the 16% chance drops right away.

Also PHB p 174 suggests a roll only when the outcome is uncertain. This is not explained in detail, but there is certainly room to interpret that a 20 strength character has a "certain" outcome in an arm wrestle against a 3 strength character.

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JoeJ wrote:
Also, when there's no penalty for failure, per the rules, you can just take ten times as long and automatically succeed (assuming that it's possible for you to succeed at all, that is).

Wait, what?

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