Ability checks: DC or roll under?

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How do you run your ability checks?

DC check: d20 + ability bonus vs. DC
7
41%
Roll under ability: d20 (or other die), roll equal or under to succeed
1
6%
I use either one of the above, depending on the situation
7
41%
I use another technique (detailed below)
2
12%
 
Total votes: 17

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Skyscraper
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Ability checks: DC or roll under?

Post by Skyscraper » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:00 pm

I'm curious about how you handle ability checks, such as STR or INT checks.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: Ability checks: DC or roll under?

Post by Raven_Crowking » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:19 pm

I use something largely akin to d20 + ability modifier vs. DC (except for some forms of Luck check, such as recovering the body), but you may not be using a d20 to make the check.
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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Ravenheart87
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Re: Ability checks: DC or roll under?

Post by Ravenheart87 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:24 pm

I only roll under with luck checks. Otherwise I use the guidelines in the skill chapter.
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IronWolf
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Re: Ability checks: DC or roll under?

Post by IronWolf » Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:06 pm

Ravenheart87 wrote:I only roll under with luck checks. Otherwise I use the guidelines in the skill chapter.
Same with me. Luck is about the only one I use the roll under method for. The others tend to be DC based - so roll a d20 and add your modifier.

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Skyscraper
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Re: Ability checks: DC or roll under?

Post by Skyscraper » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:40 am

Back in the '80s, I used roll under (DCs didn't exist then, at least as far as I know). Then, with the advent of D20, I started to use the DC system.

But I admit that 'm really warming to the roll under method and I now use that one more than the DC system. For one thing, someone with 12 in his ability score has more chances of success than someone with 8, which in my mind just plainly makes sense. That's a 4 points difference (on an 18 point scale), that's a lot! Of course, the idea behind the slow bonus evolution curve is probably meant to reduce the incidence of the ability scores. But then... Why have any if there is little difference? Anyway, hehe :)

But more than that, I feel the roll under method is more straightforward: the player knows what he needs to roll for at the outset without the judge having to tell him. He knows that the judge won't decide whether he succeeds or fails (i.e. fudge the DC, although you can always declare the DC beforehand of course for the same result). When the die falls, he knows whether it's success or failure immediately, which is fun. And finally, I also like that you can simply up or down the die (e.g. d24 or d16 instead of d20) to adjust the ifficulty rating, which is a fun little mechanical twist that is DCC's and DCC's alone. (You could also mingle with both the DC and the die being rolled in the DC system, but it gets slightly wonky and unpredictable IMO). It's like penalties or bonuses on attack rolls: you can give +4 or -4, or you can change the die. I prefer to change the die, simply because I feel like that's DCC.

In the end, both systems are pretty equivalent, my present favoritism towards one is pretty flimsy.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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cjoepar
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Re: Ability checks: DC or roll under?

Post by cjoepar » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:33 am

I usually use equal to or under an ability score on a d20 for off the cuff things (sometimes I adjust it to d16 or d24 depending on the difficulty). When I am designing the adventure, I usually write up the DC's to beat and include that in the room notes.

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Mr Black
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Re: Ability checks: DC or roll under?

Post by Mr Black » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:21 am

I'm starting to be swayed towards the roll under method. I like the idea that there is a difference between a 12 strength and a 9 strength.

I'll just have to come up with a way to mentally convert DC to bonuses or penalties to the roll somehow.

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