Strip 126 - "These guys need new dice..."

23rd Jan 2015, 11:00 PM in Forest of Doom
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kidra 24th Jan 2015, 12:39 AM edit delete reply
Funny, I literally just came back from a session where my guy got a 1 on his survival. Luckily the ranger did better.
Zilfallion 25th Jan 2015, 7:18 PM edit delete reply
"Survival Failure"
Oh man, this reminds me of a SAGA Edition game I ran once. The whole party decided to go back and check corpses they'd left hours ago, which had been dragged off by Womp Rats. I'd set the Track DC at 15 based on the conditions. Now... My players had anywhere between a +5 and a +12 to Survival Checks, so not a hard thing for them to track, They'd just need someone to roll a 10, or the Scout to roll a 3 or higher. 5 tries later with 4 of them rolling, one of them finally rolls an 18 and catches the trail...

They then proceed to murder the Womp Rats with 3 Nat 20s rolled in the first round and further desecrate the corpses of bounty hunters they'd killed for no discernibly good reason.
Raxon 24th Jan 2015, 9:18 AM edit delete reply
This is why you alway take at least ten when performing survival related acts.
Book O Dragons 24th Jan 2015, 9:46 AM edit delete reply

Unfortunately that feature is gone from 5e but yea you should.
Malroth 25th Jan 2015, 1:10 AM edit delete reply
not always, when you have 4+ people making untrained survival checks to find food, statisticaly none of them will succeed if everyone takes 10 but 1 in 4 will typicaly roll a 15+ needed to feed 4 people.
DamonIsa 25th Jan 2015, 6:44 AM edit delete reply

That and some DMs really hate Take 10 and take weird exception to the rule.

For example I've had DMs rule the following:

I can't take 10 on any test where failure has an actual consequence (e.g.: I could take 10 to use Disable Device to open a lock, but I couldn't Take 10 on Survival for foraging because if I failed I could have starved). Yes I know that's actually the rule behind Take 20 but hasn't stopped DMs from doing it. Same deal with Crafting, DMs saying I couldn't take 10 because I ran the "risk" of failure consuming my materials.

Liberal Application of "Threatened or Distracted". E.g.: I was told I couldn't take 10 on a Knowledge (Local) to ID an Orc that was currently doing some banter with our Face (who was trying to talk our way past) because I was "Threatened" by the fact that he is "Clearly unfriendly and might attack soon".

Just one of those rules DMs don't seem to like in my experience and go out of their way to shaft.
Greywander 25th Jan 2015, 3:56 PM edit delete reply
The problem is that a flat d20 roll produces too random of a distribution, so you can't reliably get any kind of results, good or bad. It's all too easy to get a string of bad rolls that even the DM can't fudge to save you, or get a string of good rolls that trivialize what should have been an exciting challenge. Most players tend to be more concerned with the former, though.

There's a couple of ways you could improve this. One might be to grant a limited number of rerolls per day or per session. Something I'm considering is rolling 2d10 or 3d6 instead of 1d20, as those produce distributions that are much more weighted to produce moderate results, with either extreme cropping up much less often. With 2d10 or 3d6, you can more reliably get around a 10 on any roll, allowing players to get more reliable results overall.

Of course, I like the idea of taking 10, with the assumption that doing so means spending more time to make sure you do it right. You can't take 10 to pick a lock when a patrolling guard is about to walk around the corner because you just don't have time. My opinion is that what taking 10 (or taking 20) is intended for is those less dramatic situations where failure is more of an annoyance rather than a danger. Sometimes, it's better not to roll at all, and have the players succeed automatically, as failure will only derail the story.
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