Larian Studios
Posted By: 1varangian Strength checks - 24/02/22 01:33 PM
A feat of strength should be something that you either can or can't do.

Scenario: breaking down the door of the burning inn. Since it's a d20 ability check, the result is really swingy. Gale can succeed with 9 Strength while Lae'zel can often fail with 17. And this is the widest possible gap between a weak and strong character. Doesn't make a lot of sense. (haven't tried on patch 7 yet if they changed it)

Scenario 2: ripping Shadowheart's pod open is a DC 10 Strength check. Gale could do that with a negative strength modifier with 50% success rate. But for some reason it's a [Barbarian] option. Can't a Fighter with equal strength attempt it or is it only for Barbarians? Why?

Clearly a feat of brute strength shouldn't be about class, but Strength instead. There should be a Strength threshold before the Strength check is given to a character. Then the d20 roll could make sense as a stressful situation (burning building) or just random factors of having a bad grip or losing balance. I.e. Gale should have no business even attempting to force the doors open.

Shadowheart's pod should require 17 Strength to be able to roll a check, not being a Barbarian. Burning inn door, same thing. Then it makes sense why the flaming fist group can't force it open. Because none of them is that strong.

A weaker door could require 13 or 15 Strength to attempt to break. But someone with 9 Strength has no business getting a lucky roll and performing feats of great strength. It's not about luck.
Posted By: Zellin Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 02:31 PM
It's not about luck, but it's defently about knowing how to use your strength, finding the right spot to push sometimes does more than being stronger. Are you sure you'll always find the right spot and someone weaker never will?
So, I can agree that some strength checks should be avaible not only to Barbarians. And I can't agree that there should be no dice-rolls.
Posted By: Temohjyn Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 02:52 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Scenario: breaking down the door of the burning inn.

That scene always bothered me anyway, it's way too Macguffin-waiting-for-the-brave-adventurers. As a DM of tabletop games, if a group of burly and well trained soldiers were trying to bash down a door to a burning building to save someone, I would just let them!!! Collective strength, hacking weapons, and an urgent will would most certainly get that door open. Not to mention it seriously surprised me that nobody on that team had either Thunderwave or Create Water, there seems to be a fair amount of magic in the world as Larian sees it. That's just one of the many ways a video game will never be able to fully and completely replicate the tabletop experience, because it doesn't have the luxury of the improvisational imagination of a human being at the helm.

You are absolutely right, though, about some of the weird restrictions and reality breaking inconsistencies where STR checks are concerned in BG3. If STR is a factor, high STR should be required before certain checks could even be made, and class should have zero to do with who can make the check. Sure a raging Barbarian gets advantage on STR checks, so they have a better chance, but anyone with a STR score at or above a requisite number should be able to attempt feats of strength. Hopefully that's just one more thing that EA is supposed to help get right.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 02:56 PM
Here's the scenario. Lae'zel rushes up to the door. She throws herself against it expecting the wooden door will give. But it's thick oak. It won't budge no matter how much she throws herself up against it. She tries three times to smash it down by sheer weight and strength, but to no avail.

Gale walks up and kicks it right where the latch is, applying a certain amount of strength to a key pressure point on the frame. Snap. The door flies open. The door isn't shattered or damaged at all. It was the frame that gave way under his precise kick.

Now, Lae'zel could have done that very same kick, and she would have gained a +3 to her roll to succeed, giving her a much bigger advantage than Gale's -1. DC 10, Gale needs 11 to succeed. Lae'zel only needs a 6 or higher. There is a much greater chance that Lae'zel will succeed and smash the door down by slamming into it just right, but Gale still has a chance of success.

The last thing you want is for the opposite to happen. You are stuck in a room and because Gale doesn't have enough strength, he's stuck in the burning room. He has NO chance of success just because he doesn't have enough strength. Let Gale at least have a chance to escape, even if it isn't as good a chance as Lae'zel with her +4.

That said, yes, I think you'll find a lot of people will agree that Barbarians shouldn't be the only ones able to tear the pod open and such. That shouldn't be based on Class. Shoot! That should also be a roll. Just because you have Strength 17 doesn't mean you should automatically tear the pod open. That, again, should be based on a roll. Do you find the right place to apply pressure to break the lock mechanism and force the pod open?... or do you just waste your time yanking on all the wrong places? It could even be an Athletics roll so that those who are more skilled with Physical Prowess have a better chance of success than those who don't.

That said, some feats of strength are solely based on Strength already, which is appropriate. You shouldn't need to roll every time you lift someone or something. It should be a straight Strength Score calculation.

One thing I do wish they'd do is have people make Jump rolls. A 10 foot jump, for example, shouldn't just be made automatically. You should have to roll to see if you make it or if you make it but fall prone because it was a hefty jump - relatively speaking because some have greater jumping distances than others.

So, Lae'zel with better jump might not need to make the roll, but someone like my halfling mage should probably have to make a roll. Risk a hefty jump, pay the price that you might make it but fall on your face because you risked it.
Posted By: Wormerine Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 03:17 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Here's the scenario. Lae'zel rushes up to the door. She throws herself against it expecting the wooden door will give. But it's thick oak. It won't budge no matter how much she throws herself up against it. She tries three times to smash it down by sheer weight and strength, but to no avail.

Gale walks up and kicks it right where the latch is, applying a certain amount of strength to a key pressure point on the frame. Snap. The door flies open. The door isn't shattered or damaged at all. It was the frame that gave way under his precise kick.
It sounds to me like Gale should make intelligence check to lower DC required for strength check, rather them him just doing a strength check.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 03:49 PM
Perhaps any minimum strength threshold should include one's Athletics proficiency, representing knowing how best to apply whatever strength you have.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 03:56 PM
Originally Posted by Zellin
It's not about luck, but it's defently about knowing how to use your strength, finding the right spot to push sometimes does more than being stronger. Are you sure you'll always find the right spot and someone weaker never will?
So, I can agree that some strength checks should be avaible not only to Barbarians. And I can't agree that there should be no dice-rolls.
I didn't suggest removing the dice roll though.

I'm suggesting not allowing weak characters to perform feats that require raw muscle. BG3 gives them other ways to solve the problem anyway.
Posted By: Zellin Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 04:14 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
I didn't suggest removing the dice roll though.

I'm suggesting not allowing weak characters to perform feats that require raw muscle. BG3 gives them other ways to solve the problem anyway.
So practically you're suggesting to treat them as if they are weak as babies, but they are adults and have some muscles even if their strength 8.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 04:26 PM
Originally Posted by Zellin
Originally Posted by 1varangian
I didn't suggest removing the dice roll though.

I'm suggesting not allowing weak characters to perform feats that require raw muscle. BG3 gives them other ways to solve the problem anyway.
So practically you're suggesting to treat them as if they are weak as babies, but they are adults and have some muscles even if their strength 8.
Hyperbole much? We are talking about performing feats that require high strength and babies have nothing to do with it.

Obviously 8 strength shouldn't be able to do everything 17 strength can do by getting lucky.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 04:41 PM
5e already has rules for limiting what a character can do depending on strength score - Carrying Capacity and Push/Drag/Lift. It's reasonable that these rules are extended to certain strength checks. Otherwise, at its most extreme, a Cat (Str mod of -4) can succeed on a DC 15 Strength Check.

Also, Larian already implemented strength restrictions for throw - you need X strength to throw a character of Y weight, so this could simply be extended to some checks.

I would also argue that strength checks should be repeatable by the same character, assuming time allows. E.g., you can keep trying to knock down the Inn doors, but each failure progresses the fire more. And perhaps the strength check DC is reduced by 2 each time to represent progress made in weakening the door, and the soldiers automatically break it down if you fail 3 times. But at that point you can only save one of the two people in the inn; the other one burns.
Posted By: RagnarokCzD Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 04:50 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Obviously 8 strength shouldn't be able to do everything 17 strength can do by getting lucky.
Im affraid it should ...

Gale chance of sucess is low, aswell as Laezel chance to fail is low ...
But both is (and should be) entirely possible.
Posted By: Zellin Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 04:57 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Hyperbole much? We are talking about performing feats that require high strength and babies have nothing to do with it.

Obviously 8 strength shouldn't be able to do everything 17 strength can do by getting lucky.
How hard you think it should be to break that inn's door, considering that we are not doing it alone and it's already damaged?
And I have no idea about the pod. It's some alien craft, maybe it's strong, maybe it's weak.
Posted By: Umbra Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 05:18 PM
An 8 strength charater isn't a weakling anyway.

They are someone who can walk all day wearing a pack, with enough supplies for two short rests at least plus maybe light-armour and weapons and spellbooks and potions (in glass bottles!) and loot. They can run, jump, and battle through fights.

Even wizards must be pretty buff from carrying spellbooks and a metal-shod wooden staff all day! And that's without material componants (I'd walk faster, but this guano is bat-shit-heavy!).
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 07:09 PM
You have to be VERY careful in D&D, and really any RPG, when it comes to restricting someone entirely from being able to do something. Otherwise, you could wind up in a situation where you get stuck.

Again, you don't want a situation where Gale could get stuck in a burning building with no way of escape. Or maybe that's a bad example. Say, you implement a "He can't do it because he's too weak" approach. But then, later in the game, Gale is the only one alive, and the only way to save your whole party is if Gale is able to do something that is now restricted because he's got 8 Strength. Now you've backed yourself into a corner.

Always best to implement modifiers than restrictions.

So, for example, I might apply a situational modifier to a halfling trying to make a 10 foot jump versus a half orc trying to make the same jump. The halfling might have an Athletics of +6, and the half orc +3, but I'd make the DC 5 for the half orc and 15 for the halfling.

Why? Because the halfling is like 3 foot 5 and the half orc is like 6 foot five. The half orc can practically stretch out the entire distance and almost touch the other side without even jumping. So, for him with his longer legs, the jump isn't as much of a strain. The halfling, however, is physically shorter and has a much further distance to jump comparatively.

So, similarly, with the smashing doors down example, it would make more sense to use Athletics, as someone said, to provide people with more "door breaking knowledge" with an added bonus over those who know nothing about it. Then you'd see a significant chance different between Lae'zel smashing down a door versus Gale. Lae'zel might get a +5 while Gale would get like a -1. Then set the DC to 12 or 13 and see who opens that door faster - Gale who needs to roll a 13 or 14? or Lae'zel who needs to roll like a 7 or 8?

That's typically how a DM would handle something like this. Very rarely do you want to completely restrict.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 07:52 PM
Lifting heavy rocks already has a hard strength requirement in BG3. So everyone who are saying "8 strength isn't weak" or "everything needs to be possible for everyone", do you think these should also be a d20 roll?

If you don't think 8 strength is weak (average commoner who doesn't train has 10-11), do you also think 8 wisdom isn't foolish and 8 dex isn't clumsy? You can have no negative effects from negative modifiers? What's the point of having a weak character if they can still perform feats of brute strength successfully with merely 20% less chance than the strongest character?

I'm firmly of the opinion that a d20 strength check doesn't make a big enough difference between puny and strong characters.
Posted By: Zellin Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 09:20 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Lifting heavy rocks already has a hard strength requirement in BG3. So everyone who are saying "8 strength isn't weak" or "everything needs to be possible for everyone", do you think these should also be a d20 roll?
Lifting heavy rocks perfectly fells under lift and carry rules, while your examples from opening post do not (and I already wrote why above).
Originally Posted by 1varangian
If you don't think 8 strength is weak (average commoner who doesn't train has 10-11), do you also think 8 wisdom isn't foolish and 8 dex isn't clumsy? You can have no negative effects from negative modifiers? What's the point of having a weak character if they can still perform feats of brute strength successfully with merely 20% less chance than the strongest character?
https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Ability%20Scores#content those 8 and 8 are just slightly lower than average for a person from Forgotten realms.
And now let's pay attention to math here:
Quote
Carrying Capacity. Your carrying Capacity is your Strength score multiplied by 15. This is the weight (in pounds) that you can carry, which is high enough that most Characters don’t usually have to worry about it.
8 strength character can carry ~50 kilograms. And here:
Quote
Push, Drag, or Lift. You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying Capacity (or 30 times your Strength score). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying Capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet.
8 strength character can push, drag or lift ~100 kilograms.

That doesn't sound as an average Earth human to me. Welcome to the world of High Fantasy, forget about normal humans.
Posted By: avahZ Darkwood Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 09:56 PM
220lbs? Wow yeah that ain’t no earthly human…. I can do it, but it’s not easy… I am not a little guy lol.
Posted By: Gray Ghost Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 10:17 PM
I don't know if I support the changes OP is suggesting, but I'll concede that it does feel kind of strange that certain feats of strength take luck into account the way they do. I feel like that's more a product of the gaming nature of things rather than a flaw of BG3 itself. Like yeah, I do feel like either you're strong enough to rip the doors off a pod or you aren't. The example of Gale looking for where to apply his strength specifically feels like something closer to a crafting role, using his expertise rather than raw strength.
Posted By: RutgerF Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 10:30 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
You have to be VERY careful in D&D, and really any RPG, when it comes to restricting someone entirely from being able to do something. Otherwise, you could wind up in a situation where you get stuck.
Yep. Here's what I would do:

  • Set the DC for door pushing to 20 for STR 10, and reduce that DC by 2 for each point in strength above 10. So a character with STR 20 will have DC 0, which sounds pretty plausible to me.
  • Additionally, any party member can make an Investigation or Perception check to lower the push DC in half. This second DC can be a fixed number, because you use the best candidate from the entire party.

First of all, this creates an opportunity for teamwork (something I'm yet to see in this game), and encourages players to have a diverse party composition that covers a broad range of skills. Second, it leaves a very little chance that your party won't be able to get through (4 Sorcerers will have a problem here, but magic users can have their own failsafe options).
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 10:58 PM
I think all this boils down to a misunderstanding of what a roll means in a roleplaying game.

Roll is strictly about whether you succeed in something or not.

So, as a DM, when I set a DC for anything, I first ask myself, "Is there a possibility that this person may not succeed in this activity?" If they will succeed no matter what, no roll is required.

So, in some situations, no roll is required. You either have the strength to lift a rock or not.

However, if I ram myself into a door, will it bust open every time? Is there a chance it WON'T bust open?

It doesn't matter how strong you are, if there's a chance it won't bust open, you need to roll. If there is no chance, and it will bust open no matter what, no roll is required.

Here's the scenario. Door is jammed tight. Dorn the barbarian dwarf slams into it, but he doesn't get a good head start. He even stumbles a bit before slamming into the door. Dang! It doesn't budge. Doesn't matter that he's super strong. He stumbled a bit and didn't get a good crack at it.

Gale comes up and solidly kicks the door at just the right spot where there's some rotting wood on the door frame. Slam! The door flies open. He didn't have a good chance to kick it open, but he got lucky and kicked it at just the right spot so that the rotten wood gave way.

THAT is why dice rolls are so important. They are the unknown factors that you can't see or don't know about. You might be super strong, but maybe there's part of the door that's super strong, and it just so happens that's the part you're throwing yourself into. Maybe the floor's a bit slippery from soot or someone spilled something or waxed that spot too much. There can be any number of unknown factors that are why your super strong giant of a half orc might not succeed in smashing through a flimsy door but the pasty wizard did.
Posted By: RutgerF Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 11:27 PM
GM4Him,

I was talking specifically about that quote, i.e. how to make sure the player isn't locked out of the content.
Unless you were answering to someone else?
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 24/02/22 11:39 PM
Originally Posted by RutgerF
GM4Him,

I was talking specifically about that quote, i.e. how to make sure the player isn't locked out of the content.
Unless you were answering to someone else?

I was responding to everyone in general trying to explain what dice rolls actually represent. I just want people to understand that they represent a chance of failure. If there is a chance of failure, a dice roll should be made to take into account all the potential variables that the players and the DM cannot account for.

Here's another example. You might be able to lift a rock in the game because of your strength being 17. But if you are going to do something with that rock like try to throw it at a statue to break its head off, there is a chance you might fail to hit the head. Therefore, you need to roll to see if you hit. You don't need to roll to determine whether you can lift it or not because either you can lift it or you can't.

That said, I as a DM might make a player roll to see if they could lift a rock that they normally could lift if some circumstance made it so that there is the possibility they might not succeed. If Dawn, who is a barbarian, can normally lift a boulder over her head, but it is raining and the rock is slippery, I would probably have her role to see if she can still lift The Rock because now there's a chance The Rock will slip.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 12:44 AM
5e rules is plain dumb, dead lifting something is going to be harder than straight pushing or pulling something. It says a average person is str 10 btw so -8 will be lacking in that department.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 03:15 AM
Originally Posted by fallenj
5e rules is plain dumb, dead lifting something is going to be harder than straight pushing or pulling something. It says a average person is str 10 btw so -8 will be lacking in that department.

Well, I did admit, 5e is crazy in many areas. 10X30=300 lbs lifting ability? I still think that's straight up nuts and unbelievable for a Strength 10 average person. Even if average is a farmer, 300 lbs is heavy. An average person trying to lift 300 lbs and putting all they have into it would be an amazing feat. I have a REAL hard time with rules like that.
Posted By: Dexai Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 01:30 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
I think all this boils down to a misunderstanding of what a roll means in a roleplaying game.

Roll is strictly about whether you succeed in something or not.

That's not true at all. Rolls might just as well be about how well you succeed (or how badly you fail), or how long a task you can't fail takes to succeed (or how long it takes you yo realise there's no chance of succeeding).

For example. You're breaking down a door to a burning inn. If you roll well, you get it open with no time lost. If you roll poorly, you still bash it down, but it takes several tried and now the fire inside is much greater.

I know this is irrelevant in the context of BG3 because they don't do rolls that way, but in terms of what rolls mean in DnD it applies.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 01:56 PM
Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by GM4Him
I think all this boils down to a misunderstanding of what a roll means in a roleplaying game.

Roll is strictly about whether you succeed in something or not.

That's not true at all. Rolls might just as well be about how well you succeed (or how badly you fail), or how long a task you can't fail takes to succeed (or how long it takes you yo realise there's no chance of succeeding).

For example. You're breaking down a door to a burning inn. If you roll well, you get it open with no time lost. If you roll poorly, you still bash it down, but it takes several tried and now the fire inside is much greater.

I know this is irrelevant in the context of BG3 because they don't do rolls that way, but in terms of what rolls mean in DnD it applies.

Sorry Dexai, but I have to disagree. A person who rolls Critical Miss doesn't miss worse than a person who rolls a 19 and needs a 20. The entire point of a Critical Miss is that even if someone would get an automatic hit, there is still a chance that they miss. It is not to indicate that you epically missed. That's not how 5e works. I've played games where if you roll a Critical Miss your gun jams or you run out of ammo or you epically miss, but that is not 5e.

If you roll a one and fail to bash down the door, you can try again next turn. That is what determines how long it takes to bust the door down. Your rolling a one doesn't indicate that it takes you longer to bust the door down. It just means that you failed at that particular attempt. It also doesn't mean that you will succeed eventually but it takes you several turns to do it. It simply means that you failed in that six second round. You can try again on the next six second round. Hopefully the fire doesn't get to you before you are able to succeed on your turn in busting the door down.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 02:58 PM
The d20 ability checks certainly are not the strongest part of 5e. The d20 roll being swingy is in it's fullest effect here. And skill checks to a lesser degree.

The difference between 8 Str and 20 Str is a 30% probability. A whopping 30%. 80% vs. 50% chance to successfully perform a Strength feat is a laughably insignificant difference when talking about a weak human compared to an Ogre.

That's why some kind of thresholds need to be applied to make some sense in the system. Creative DM explanations for unlikely success or failure only go so far, and in BG3 we don't have that DM.

Same with 8 Int Barbarians somehow acing their -1 Arcana checks when Gale fails with +5. A DM could explain that they found a note on the floor explaining it (which doesn't have anything to do with knowledge, but somehow it needs to be explained rationally), but BG3 can't do that. In BG3 it's just weird.

I think video games should enforce a lot of proficiency requirements and thresholds before allowing a check. Make those ability scores, proficiencies and expertise in a field count for something instead of just spamming Guidance and getting lucky. In BG3 it feels like everyone is an expert in every field and universally able to do anything with only some very minor differences between them.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 03:32 PM
Let's go with Intelligence now, so we move away from just Strength.

Character has 17 Intelligence, so +3, and is proficient in Arcana for a +5 at lower levels. They are able to reduce a difficulty by one whole category because they have more than just basic knowledge. 20 becomes 15, 15 becomes 10, etc.

This is quite a difference from someone with 8 Intelligence and no Arcana proficiency. -1 each roll. That means a 10 is an 11, 15 is 16, 20 is 21 and therefore impossible. So, more advanced knowledge is completely impossible for the person to know while someone who is intelligent and proficient in Arcana still has a chance of knowing something very obscure.

Arcana, a knowledge skill, represents how much a character knows about magic. Because YOU the player don't have an entire listing of everything your character should know, the roll represents the probability that - out of the vast sea of knowledge on the subject - you know details about a particular something.

So, for example, knowledge about Sussur Bark and how to use it to craft antimagic weapons should be a DC 20 or even 25 roll because Lenore was a pioneer on the topic. Maybe, just maybe, some information on it was spread by Lenore in Baldur's Gate when she returned there... maybe. Or maybe she told someone who then spread word about the few details that they knew. So, the DM might make a player roll to see if they even know some random details about it. Who has a better chance of having heard said details? Gale, because he's a Wizard and presumably a sage of sorts who has studied a lot of things like Netherese magic. His +5 then allows him to even have a chance of making the roll.

On the flip side, my barbarian with -1 Arcana has absolutely no chance at all in knowing anything about the topic because not only is he low intelligent, because he just doesn't care to learn such things, but he also doesn't focus on Arcana at all because, again, he just doesn't care about such things.

That said, take a situation where the Arcana roll is 15. The barbarian now has a chance. It's a slim one at 16 or higher, but it's a chance that, at some point in his life, he ran across details about this thing that he PROBABLY doesn't know anything about, but he might. So, a high roll is appropriate because there's a CHANCE that he might actually know something about.

Gale, on the other hand, would need a 10 or higher. He has a much higher chance of knowing it because he's done a lot of studying. However, should he just automatically know something just because he is proficient in Arcana and has high intelligence? Why should he just automatically know everything that is of a certain threshold? Does a student astrophysicist know everything about astrophysics? Each student of astrophysics might know different things because some things stuck in their brains and others didn't.

You have to remember that ALL the characters are low level in EA. So they aren't experts. They're maybe smarter than the locals, or stronger, or whatever, but they aren't experts yet. That comes at later levels and higher proficiency bonuses. There's even an Expertise feat that one has to purchase/earn that then sets the novices apart from the masters. A rogue with Expertise in Thieves' Tools may get a +10 to their roll with Dex 18 and Double Proficiency +6, while a rogue without Expertise would only get +7. That means the expert has a chance, though slim, of picking insanely difficult locks of 30 or higher, while the non-expert can't.

The point is, the roll represents, again, the CHANCE that you do or don't know something within a certain field, so it is appropriate to roll whenever there is a chance of failure. That's the whole point of skill and ability checks.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 03:39 PM
Oh, and one final thing to consider. Raw ability checks are supposed to be few and far between. That's why you have skills.

Athletics should be used for most Strength-based activities.

Acrobatics should be used for most Dexterity-based activities involving flipping, balance, etc.

Arcana should be used for most Intelligence checks in the field of magic.

Religion should be used for most Intelligence checks in the field of deities, cults, etc.

Medicine should be used for most Intelligence checks in the field of potions, cures, bandaging, etc.

You would RARELY make a raw Intelligence roll. Likewise, most of the time you don't make a raw Strength check. You usually use the skills that go with them.

So, the proficient, intelligent character might get a +5 to their roll as opposed to the unproficient, unintelligent character who gets a -1.

In your scenario with the Strength 8 versus the Strength 20, the one with Strength 20 is also probably proficient in Athletics and would thus gain not only the +5 for raw Strength but also an additional +2 or +3 at lower levels for a +7 or +8 which is then a considerable difference from the person who gets a -1.

That is why grapple and shove are Athletics rolls, not raw Strength. Likewise, busting a door down should probably be more of an Athletics roll than a raw Strength roll.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 04:00 PM
Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.
Posted By: RagnarokCzD Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 04:19 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Same with 8 Int Barbarians somehow acing their -1 Arcana checks when Gale fails with +5. A DM could explain that they found a note on the floor explaining it (which doesn't have anything to do with knowledge, but somehow it needs to be explained rationally)
What is so irational about the possibility that Wizard whos mind is permanently occupied with effort to exactly remember several memorized spells and potentialy keeping concentration has ben unable to recall exact description of something ... while mind of Barbarian that have litteraly nothing to do outside of combat (and in many cases even in it) were able to remember that? O_o

Arcana dont affect just things you learned ... it also affect if you understand those things, if you remember those things ... and most importantly of it all, if you are able to recall them when needed.

Gale mind is clearly preocupied enough so he simply didnt recall it, whatever the roll was made for.
Barbarians isnt.

Simple as that.

Also ... finding a note on the floor should in my humbe opinion made by Perception + Wisdom ... rather than Arcana + Intelligence. :-/
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 25/02/22 04:57 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.

Well, it's your opinion. You don't like it. That's cool.

I'm just trying to help you see that it's not as bad as you think. MOST DC's should NOT be DC 20 or more. A DC 20 should be reserved for a really obscure piece of information.

Let's take an example of your party finds a rare item. Now, in true D&D 5e, you don't just know what the item is exactly. You look at it, and it's an amulet. It is in the shape of a star with a green gemstone in it.

Now, you have a party of 4: Gale, Lae'zel, Dorn the barbarian and Shadowheart.

DM calls for an Arcana roll to identify the item. He says, "The DC is 20." That means that this item is VERY VERY rare. There is VERY little chance that no one but Gale has a chance in Hades of knowing what the item is. They still might have a chance if they even have an Intelligence of 10 (0), but that's only IF they roll a 20.

Meanwhile, this very obscure thing Gale gets a +6. He only needs a 14 or higher. Everyone else, 1 in 20 chance, 5% shot at it (just for the sake of the example, saying they all have Intelligence 0 except Gale). Gale gets a 35% chance of success at knowing a VERY VERY rare item's identity. How might he know about it? He's read lots and lots of books about magic items, while none of the others have.

HOWEVER, there is still a 5% chance that Lae'zel might have at some point in her life run into the item somewhere or heard a story about it or saw a picture of it and someone told her about it, or SOMEthing. It's a slim chance, but allowing her to roll gives her at least a chance, and the 35% chance that Gale has at knowing a very very rare item is a lot better than 5%.

Now, let's go with DC 10 Religion check. This is fairly common knowledge we're talking about now. LOTS of people have potentially heard about these details. Same group. But it's also about Shar. Shadowheart has a +4 Religion (I don't remember if she does, but just for the sake of the example). Gale is not proficient, but he has +3 Intelligence, so he gets a +3. Lae'zel and Dorn get a 0.

Dorn and Lae'zel get a 55% chance of success. Intelligence 10, so what this is saying is that there is a 55% chance that the common, average person has heard something about this. Gale gets a whopping 70% chance of knowing it. Why? Because even though it's Religion, not his strongest field of expertise, the man is quite learned in general and thus has a vast library in his head even of things he's not focused his studies on.

And then there's Shadowheart. She gets +4, but because she's a Sharran Cleric, she should get advantage. This is what she does.
So she doesn't just get a 75% chance of success. She gets advantage besides. Her probability of success is WAY higher because circumstances provide her with an extra boost; advantage.

But let's say it's about Tyr. Well, she still gets 75% chance of success because Religion is a field she's studied in. So, she has some knowledge even about Tyr, who she's not super knowledgeable about.

Now let's say she had Expertise in Religion. +6 now. Whoa! She only needs a 4 or higher to succeed in knowing something fairly common about Tyr because now she's an expert in it. That's 4 or higher, an 85% chance of success. At higher levels, her proficiency might go from +2 to +4, and Expertise would make a typical +4 a +8 Double bonus. So, at higher levels, the true expert shines. A 10 or higher roll now would be no contest. No need to roll for the Expert with +8 Double Proficiency because with a +2 Intelligence bonus, that's a +10 total. That means that fairly common knowledge is automatic to the expert. Only the rare and VERY VERY rare stuff would require a roll for the expert.

Because levels determine who is a true expert and master in something. It's not just whether you are proficient or have expertise in it. Those only illustrate that you are focusing your studies in those areas. As you increase in levels, that's when you see a true difference.

Dorn, the Barbarian at level 10 with Expertise feat in Athletics should have like a +10 Athletics while Gale at level 10 will still only have -1. NOW we're talking some serious gap in skill level.

THAT is how it should be done.

So, if you are breaking down a door and you are simply using your brute strength, an ogre with 20 Strength (+5) and who is proficient with Athletics (+3) would get a +8 to try to smash open a door that is maybe DC 10. What's his chance of success? 2 or higher/ 95% chance. On the flip side, Gale with 8 Strength (-1), would need an 11 or higher/ 50% chance. Both can break down the fairly commonly constructed door, but the ogre has a MUCH more likely chance of success than Gale. Can he still fail? Yes. Maybe he slams his shoulder into the wall when he meant to slam it directly into the door. Maybe he hits his head. Maybe he slips. Who knows. Either way, if he fails and he only needed a 2 or higher, that means SOMEthing went wrong and caused him to flub it up. However, he can try again in 6 seconds and if he doesn't succeed the second time... wow! The gods must be against him.

Shoot! I'd probably even give an ogre advantage on such a roll because he's Large, making it even more likely he'd succeed, but that's, again, circumstance bonus.
Posted By: fallenj Re: Strength checks - 26/02/22 12:01 AM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Originally Posted by Dexai
[quote=GM4Him]I think all this boils down to a misunderstanding of what a roll means in a roleplaying game.

Roll is strictly about whether you succeed in something or not.

That's not true at all. Rolls might just as well be about how well you succeed (or how badly you fail), or how long a task you can't fail takes to succeed (or how long it takes you yo realise there's no chance of succeeding).

For example. You're breaking down a door to a burning inn. If you roll well, you get it open with no time lost. If you roll poorly, you still bash it down, but it takes several tried and now the fire inside is much greater.

I know this is irrelevant in the context of BG3 because they don't do rolls that way, but in terms of what rolls mean in DnD it applies.

Dexai never said critical miss, it was about skill checks required over a prolonged period. Pretty close to taking 10 in a relaxed time. If not, it would be something like taking a skill check on your turn for each 6 seconds you have (been a bit, but pretty sure turns are 6 seconds). An without knowing the DC of the check (except if your meta gaming) its very possible you'll be wasting your time.

Originally Posted by GM4Him
Originally Posted by fallenj
5e rules is plain dumb, dead lifting something is going to be harder than straight pushing or pulling something. It says a average person is str 10 btw so -8 will be lacking in that department.

Well, I did admit, 5e is crazy in many areas.

Are you talking to yourself here? I haven't talked to you on this thread at all.


Originally Posted by 1varangian
The d20 ability checks certainly are not the strongest part of 5e. The d20 roll being swingy is in it's fullest effect here. And skill checks to a lesser degree.

The difference between 8 Str and 20 Str is a 30% probability. A whopping 30%. 80% vs. 50% chance to successfully perform a Strength feat is a laughably insignificant difference when talking about a weak human compared to an Ogre.

That's why some kind of thresholds need to be applied to make some sense in the system. Creative DM explanations for unlikely success or failure only go so far, and in BG3 we don't have that DM.

Same with 8 Int Barbarians somehow acing their -1 Arcana checks when Gale fails with +5. A DM could explain that they found a note on the floor explaining it (which doesn't have anything to do with knowledge, but somehow it needs to be explained rationally), but BG3 can't do that. In BG3 it's just weird.

I think video games should enforce a lot of proficiency requirements and thresholds before allowing a check. Make those ability scores, proficiencies and expertise in a field count for something instead of just spamming Guidance and getting lucky. In BG3 it feels like everyone is an expert in every field and universally able to do anything with only some very minor differences between them.

It would really come down to DM choice, but I'd bet advantage would come into effect or no rolls period for the ogre with whatever challenge is in the scenario. Reading through the Strength examples, just looks like rolls are only for strenuous activities.

so a weak human (Strength 8) vs a ogre with 20 would be:

Human: 120 carry capacity, 240 for lifting, pushing or dragging
Ogre: 600 carry capacity, 2400 lifting, pushing, or dragging. (example of weight: Black Rhinoceros weighs 2k lbs.)

couple copy/paste from the freebe pdf

Lifting and Carrying
Size and Strength. Larger creatures can bear more
weight, whereas Tiny creatures can carry less. For each
size category above Medium, double the creature’s carrying capacity and the amount it can push, drag, or lift. For
a Tiny creature, halve these weights.

Passive Checks
A passive check is a special kind of ability check that
doesn’t involve any die rolls. Such a check can represent
the average result for a task done repeatedly, such as
searching for secret doors over and over again, or can be
used when the DM wants to secretly determine whether
the characters succeed at something without rolling dice,
such as noticing a hidden monster.
Here’s how to determine a character’s total for a passive check:
10 + all modifiers that normally apply to the check
If the character has advantage on the check, add 5. For
disadvantage, subtract 5. The game refers to a passive
check total as a score.

I haven't checked it but it's possible that BG3 is using the Variant carry capacity rules
Also taking 10 as it used to be called is similar to passive check, there is no roll and you just add 10 to whatever bonuses you have.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: Strength checks - 26/02/22 11:39 AM
I've argued before they should use Passive Checks / Take 10 in many cases instead of the d20 roll to reduce the insane amount of randomness with skills, regardless of actual skill levels.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: Strength checks - 26/02/22 01:06 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
I've argued before they should use Passive Checks / Take 10 in many cases instead of the d20 roll to reduce the insane amount of randomness with skills, regardless of actual skill levels.

I see. Yes. I do miss the Take 10/20 rules, and as a DM still kinda use them. I mean, if you got all the time in the world to keep trying until you succeed...
Posted By: fallenj Re: Strength checks - 26/02/22 02:09 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Originally Posted by 1varangian
I've argued before they should use Passive Checks / Take 10 in many cases instead of the d20 roll to reduce the insane amount of randomness with skills, regardless of actual skill levels.

I see. Yes. I do miss the Take 10/20 rules, and as a DM still kinda use them. I mean, if you got all the time in the world to keep trying until you succeed...

yep, what taking 10 is. under a stressful situation or strenuous situation requires actual rolls.
Posted By: WebSpyder Re: Strength checks - 27/02/22 04:27 AM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.

You're certainly welcome to that opinion but you're trying to overhaul the core of the 5e system. You don't have to like it but d20 IS D&D.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: Strength checks - 28/02/22 10:46 AM
Originally Posted by WebSpyder
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.

You're certainly welcome to that opinion but you're trying to overhaul the core of the 5e system. You don't have to like it but d20 IS D&D.
This is not a constructive or helpful comment.

If you actually read and tried to understand what is being discussed, you would know that no one is asking for an unrealistic "overhaul of the 5e system" but rather using mechanics that are already built in said system.
Posted By: JandK Re: Strength checks - 28/02/22 01:21 PM
Originally Posted by WebSpyder
You're certainly welcome to that opinion but you're trying to overhaul the core of the 5e system. You don't have to like it but d20 IS D&D.

Agreed. That variation is built into the DnD system. The expertise isn't about the individual roles. It's about the combined roles averaging out over time. It's about the statistical likelihood.

A barbarian with a negative Arcane check can theoretically succeed where a wizard with a high Arcane check can theoretically fail. That's a core part of the system.
Posted By: WebSpyder Re: Strength checks - 01/03/22 10:10 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Originally Posted by WebSpyder
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.

You're certainly welcome to that opinion but you're trying to overhaul the core of the 5e system. You don't have to like it but d20 IS D&D.
This is not a constructive or helpful comment.

If you actually read and tried to understand what is being discussed, you would know that no one is asking for an unrealistic "overhaul of the 5e system" but rather using mechanics that are already built in said system.

Nope! Passive checks are not meant to prevent those who can't pass the passive from making the check at all. You're creating mechanics where none exist. 5e simply doesn't have any of the stat based gatekeeping you're attempting here. The closest 5e gets to that is having checks that simply CAN NOT be succeeded due to the difficulty of the check (as critical success and failure on checks is not a thing in 5e despite Larian implementing it).
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