Dungeons & Dragons Online

Putting skill checks in a “Favorable / Unfavorable Outcome” context rather than a “Pass / Fail” one

While showerthinking (of course), I decided to take a new approach to skill checks with my future games and wanted to put it out there to both share it with folks that might not have thought of it, as well as get feedback from those who have.

I, like many DMs, tend to look at skill checks as binary pass/fail situations. I might butter up the failures to make them more plausible ("Your beefcake half-orc barbarian fails to kick down the plywood door because he turned his ankle on the approach.") but at the end of the day, if you roll lower than the DC, you fail; higher, you pass.

This is both boring and can lead to narrative bottlenecks when there's a secret or locked door that the party can't just seem to find or open, or undefeatable guard they need to social past, or physical challenge they need to best in order to continue.

Moving forward, I'm gonna instead let the roll determine not so much whether they succeed or fail, but whether the outcome is ultimately positive or negative.

So if it's in the best interest of the plot that the party finds that secret door and they roll a 3, I'll let them find it anyway. Except now they somehow jammed it and have a new puzzle that they need to solve before progressing.

Read more:  The New Druid (Steelshod 433)

Or if it makes things easier for them if the party knows the NPC is lying, maybe their 7 Insight roll still tells them this, but the NPC saw the look of realization in their eyes and now they know that the party knows they were lying, even though the party doesn't know they know. You know?

Stuff like that.

It seems like a "Well, dur" kinda thing and I full expect (and probably deserve) someone to comment as such, but it was still a bit of a moment for me and I think it'll really improve my storytelling moving forward, so I wanted to see if those that currently do this (or have done this in the past) had any insight or feedback to share.

Source: reddit.com

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