Goodman Games

Fan Forums
It is currently Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:55 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:53 pm 
Offline
Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 660
Location: Montreal
Hi,

Copied from another thread where this question might have been lost (thanks to the one poster that replied):

My understanding on resolving any particular non-combat situation where you feel a die roll is warranted:

Option 1: ability check: 1d20 + ability modifier vs a set DC (or, alternately, 1d20, roll under ability value)
Option 2: skill check: if trained, 1d20 + ability modifier vs a set DC; if untrained, 1d10 + ability modifier vs a set DC

The question: when to do an ability check (1d20) where the 1d10 vs 1d20 question doesn't come up; and when to have a skill roll where the 1d10 vs 1d20 question comes up. For example, if the fighter wishes to sprint to the other side of a clearing, do you do a STR check (1d20 + STR) or an untrained skill roll (1d10 + STR)? Likewise, if he wants to break a locked door down? In my humble opinion, you can argue that just about anything can be a skill. In some games, you have a set list of skills, but here, with the undefined skill list, you sprinting can most certainly fall under a skill or an ability check. At least, IMHO, again.

Now I get that some skills are more obvious, unlocking doors, crafting a sword, and most professional arts. But many more mundane activities can be trained as skills also. Where do you, judges, draw the line between both? How do you handle sprinting, swimming?

Thanks for thoughts and insights.

_________________
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.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:16 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:04 pm
Posts: 757
Location: Los Angeles
This is how I do it. Role play it out first. It might resolve itself. If it's a routine task, or even non-consequential, keep it to a narrative element. i.e. Warrior with 18 STR will not have an issue killing a chicken. On the other hand, catching it would be an issue.

If it's a test of pure "ability", and class/skill wouldn't factor in it, use an ability check. Whichever method you prefer. Sometimes I let them roll a d20 + ability mod vs variable DC, sometimes I roll against PC ability scores.

If it's a test of skills/class ability, then let them use a d20, plus an appropriate ability mod if it's something their class or former occupation should be "skilled" at. Such a disable traps or perform magic rituals. But a d10 + mod if it's something their class wouldn't normally do. This is very rare in my game, because I enforce class privilege (only thieves can do thief things, etc.)

_________________
Reverend Dakota Jesus Ultimak, S.S.M.o.t.S.M.S., D.M.

(Dungeon) Master In Chief of Crawl! fanzine. - http://www.crawlfanzine.com/

"[...] there is no doubt that Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell." - William Schnoebelen, Straight talk on Dungeons & Dragons


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:42 am 
Offline
Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 660
Location: Montreal
reverenddak wrote:
This is how I do it. Role play it out first. It might resolve itself. If it's a routine task, or even non-consequential, keep it to a narrative element. i.e. Warrior with 18 STR will not have an issue killing a chicken. On the other hand, catching it would be an issue.


Yeah, I'm clear on that, that's why I introduced the topic with "where you feel a die roll is warranted".

Quote:
If it's a test of pure "ability", and class/skill wouldn't factor in it, use an ability check. Whichever method you prefer. Sometimes I let them roll a d20 + ability mod vs variable DC, sometimes I roll against PC ability scores.

If it's a test of skills/class ability, then let them use a d20, plus an appropriate ability mod if it's something their class or former occupation should be "skilled" at. Such a disable traps or perform magic rituals. But a d10 + mod if it's something their class wouldn't normally do. This is very rare in my game, because I enforce class privilege (only thieves can do thief things, etc.)


My question is: when is something a pure "ability" check, and when is it a "class/skill" check? You seem to define "class/skill" as something their class or former occupation should be skilled at. I assume you mean that class/skill checks are those that relate to any possible class or occupation, not just this particular PC's class or occupation. In other words, what I'm saying is that for class/skill specialization to mean anything, you need to have a bunch of class/skill checks in which the characters are not proficient and roll 1d10 instead of 1d20. This is where the line blurs for me with ability checks, because I believe just about any activity (or a vast majority) could be categorized as something that could be related to a class/skill and almost nothing would fall into "pure ability" checks.

Take the running after a chicken example. I could easily argue that a farmer should be proficient in this (1d20), whereas any other non-farmer occupations should be non-proficient (1d10). This means that although there are no farmers in the PC group, I should not ask for an ability check for a PC to catch a chicken, I should ask for a non-specialized class/skill check (1d10). Swimming? Seems like a sailer should be proficient (1d20), and perhaps a few other maritime professions, while others, not (1d10). Balancing on a narrow joist? Circus artists or the like should be proficient (1d20), others not (1d10).

In the end, there are very few things that I see where no class/skill proficiency would apply and that we should then fall back to a pure ability check. Perhaps battering down a door (STR check) because I see no profession where battering down doors is a developped skill. On top of my head, I can't see others.

What I see is that an ability check (1d20) is like a proficient class/skill check (1d20 also). I don't understand why we should have PCs benefit from such a high die (d20) for pure ability checks when they are not proficient in doing what they do. So for example, the farmer benefits from 1d20 when wanting to catch a chicken and only gets 1d10 to try to swim (non-proficient, he wasn't a sailor). But he gets 1d20 to batter down a door? Why?

Or, is it that you adjust DCs according to the task at hand? If it's an ability check, such as battering down a door, you figure no proficient/non-proficient roll is implicated, so you up the DC? However if you come into a class/skill check, you lower the DC to give the non-proficient types a chance? (This makes no sense to me, but I figure it could be one line of thought.)

Am I being clear at all? :)

_________________
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.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:18 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:04 pm
Posts: 757
Location: Los Angeles
Skyscraper wrote:

Am I being clear at all? :)


You are.

Keep in mind one of the principle "rules" for DCC RPG, is to keep things loose. And one of the "natural" principles is that one group, or Judge or player, may disagree on things, such as whether knocking down a door is pure "ability", skill or a class feature. I would argue that a Warrior would be "skilled" at knocking down doors. I honestly don't have a problem much at my table, but I don't use the d10 for (un)skilled checks that often, I usually resort to Ability Checks/Tests.

Are you familiar with d20 System's "Trained Only" rule for skill checks? I'd apply the "Trained Only" to mean adventurers can roll a d10. While "skills" that can be used "Untrained" means that can roll a d20. This allows any adventurer to "try".

_________________
Reverend Dakota Jesus Ultimak, S.S.M.o.t.S.M.S., D.M.

(Dungeon) Master In Chief of Crawl! fanzine. - http://www.crawlfanzine.com/

"[...] there is no doubt that Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell." - William Schnoebelen, Straight talk on Dungeons & Dragons


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:31 pm 
Offline
Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 660
Location: Montreal
reverenddak wrote:
Keep in mind one of the principle "rules" for DCC RPG, is to keep things loose. And one of the "natural" principles is that one group, or Judge or player, may disagree on things, such as whether knocking down a door is pure "ability", skill or a class feature. I would argue that a Warrior would be "skilled" at knocking down doors. I honestly don't have a problem much at my table, but I don't use the d10 for (un)skilled checks that often, I usually resort to Ability Checks/Tests.

Are you familiar with d20 System's "Trained Only" rule for skill checks? I'd apply the "Trained Only" to mean adventurers can roll a d10. While "skills" that can be used "Untrained" means that can roll a d20. This allows any adventurer to "try".


Thanks for the replies reverenddak.

The "trained only" rule, IIRC, is that some skills cannot be attempted if the PC is not trained in that particular skill, for example open locks. While in the case of other skills, such as running or catching a chicken, anyone can try that, they are not "trained only". Assumiong this is what you mean, I've seen that in a few systems.

While I see your point, I think that the basic DCC skill principle differs. The way I understand DCC skills, is that anyone can try anything (1d10). However, those that are trained in something, get a bonus (1d20). There are no "trained only skills" apart from those that the judge will rule "you can't do it unless your profession or class allow it". Any skill, including opening locks, swimming or catching chickens, falls into either one of those two categories: untrained (1d10) or trained (1d20).

My impression is that there is a parallel system that is offered, namely the ability checks, that overlaps the skill system. And the ability check system is more advantageous since you always get 1d20.

_________________
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.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:17 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:04 pm
Posts: 757
Location: Los Angeles
Skyscraper wrote:
Thanks for the replies reverenddak.

The "trained only" rule, IIRC, is that some skills cannot be attempted if the PC is not trained in that particular skill, for example open locks. While in the case of other skills, such as running or catching a chicken, anyone can try that, they are not "trained only". Assumiong this is what you mean, I've seen that in a few systems.

While I see your point, I think that the basic DCC skill principle differs. The way I understand DCC skills, is that anyone can try anything (1d10). However, those that are trained in something, get a bonus (1d20). There are no "trained only skills" apart from those that the judge will rule "you can't do it unless your profession or class allow it". Any skill, including opening locks, swimming or catching chickens, falls into either one of those two categories: untrained (1d10) or trained (1d20).

My impression is that there is a parallel system that is offered, namely the ability checks, that overlaps the skill system. And the ability check system is more advantageous since you always get 1d20.


The Ability Check is kind of a hold-over from D&D (any edition), but actually not in any official capacity in DCC RPG except for a Luck Check, which is referenced on page 19. I use Ability Checks, or Tests, because I get my games mixed up, but in the official rules there are only Trained (d20) and Untrained (d10) skill checks. They both benefit from an appropriate ability mod. And, it's clear you have a good understanding in what it means when it says, "logically role-play the connection between his occupation and the skill in a way that the character's background supports the skill in question... (page 66)". So I'd stick with Skill Checks. Chasing chickens around is definitely a farmer skill, and knocking down doors would clearly be a Warrior skill.

basically, forget about ability checks unless you're talking about luck, and stick to Trained & Untrained skills, and remember that all characters with a level or more are adventurers, and some skills all adventurers should "have".

The more I think about it, what I call "ability checks" is functionally the same as the DCC RPG Trained Skill check.

_________________
Reverend Dakota Jesus Ultimak, S.S.M.o.t.S.M.S., D.M.

(Dungeon) Master In Chief of Crawl! fanzine. - http://www.crawlfanzine.com/

"[...] there is no doubt that Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell." - William Schnoebelen, Straight talk on Dungeons & Dragons


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:36 pm 
Offline
Far-Sighted Wanderer
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:38 pm
Posts: 44
Have you seen this on page 66? It's an important little rule, and I always think about it when having to decide what die type I'll let them roll:

"Finally, if the skill is something that any adult could have a reasonable chance of attempting, then any character can make a trained skill check."

Regarding your examples I would rule that:
- Opening locks is d10 for anyone but the Thief (as are other Thief skills, or Spell checks if done by a non-magic user).
- Swimming is d20 since anyone would have a reasonable chance (just like other basic movement skills such as climbing, jumping, running).
- Catching Chicken - I would let them roll a d20, as anyone might have a reasonable chance at it, unless the chicken has to be caught in a special trained way, e.g. the ancient cyclopean tradition of catching chicken with a sling made from a giant's intestines. Latter would need any occupation with the word "chicken" in it.

As far as I remember the skill rules only let characters use trained skills depending on their occupation. I'd rule however that characters also have some basic skills from their class. So in my campaign a Wizard with a Wood Cutter Background would still roll a d20 to analyse arcane writings.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:48 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:04 pm
Posts: 757
Location: Los Angeles
Sir Robilar wrote:

As far as I remember the skill rules only let characters use trained skills depending on their occupation. I'd rule however that characters also have some basic skills from their class. So in my campaign a Wizard with a Wood Cutter Background would still roll a d20 to analyse arcane writings.


It's actually vague if class counts as background (it's all relative, right?) in addition to occupation, but I also rule it as such.

_________________
Reverend Dakota Jesus Ultimak, S.S.M.o.t.S.M.S., D.M.

(Dungeon) Master In Chief of Crawl! fanzine. - http://www.crawlfanzine.com/

"[...] there is no doubt that Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell." - William Schnoebelen, Straight talk on Dungeons & Dragons


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:49 pm 
Offline
Hard-Bitten Adventurer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:27 am
Posts: 161
Location: Ohio
I only use ability checks when it obviously doesn't fall within a trained skill, or when a character's physical abilities would give them a better chance of success. For example, certain things like jumping a chasm, sprinting across a field, or swimming 100 yards may well be the kind of thing you can be trained in, but for me it's also a question of how strong and agile a character naturally is. Other things, too, like a Personality check for when you meet someone and want to make friends with them, or an Intelligence check for figuring out a puzzle lock, maybe. Otherwise I try to stick to the skilled and unskilled checks against a DC.

Incidently, some of you may not agree with this, but I use a d12 for untrained checks. I felt that the gap between trained and untrained should be a little less than twice as good, but that's me.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:55 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:04 pm
Posts: 757
Location: Los Angeles
cjoepar wrote:
Incidently, some of you may not agree with this, but I use a d12 for untrained checks. I felt that the gap between trained and untrained should be a little less than twice as good, but that's me.


You might want to bump the Thief's ability to cast from scrolls if you use a d12 for untrained.

_________________
Reverend Dakota Jesus Ultimak, S.S.M.o.t.S.M.S., D.M.

(Dungeon) Master In Chief of Crawl! fanzine. - http://www.crawlfanzine.com/

"[...] there is no doubt that Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell." - William Schnoebelen, Straight talk on Dungeons & Dragons


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:20 pm 
Offline
Cold-Blooded Diabolist

Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:36 am
Posts: 525
cjoepar wrote:
...gap between trained and untrained should be a little less than twice as good, but that's me.
You may want to reconsider your opinion on a d20 being "twice" as good as a d10 when it comes to skill checks.

DC 5: a d10 has a 60% chance, a d20 has an 80% chance.
DC 10: a d10 has a 10% chance, a d20 has a 55% chance.

The motivation - closing the gap - is still clear, but it is a lot more of a gap than just "twice as good."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:00 pm 
Offline
Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 660
Location: Montreal
reverenddak wrote:
The Ability Check is kind of a hold-over from D&D (any edition),


Yeah, I've used it for a few decades :)

Quote:
basically, forget about ability checks unless you're talking about luck, and stick to Trained & Untrained skills, and remember that all characters with a level or more are adventurers, and some skills all adventurers should "have".

The more I think about it, what I call "ability checks" is functionally the same as the DCC RPG Trained Skill check.


Interesting take, thank you again for your relevant input.

_________________
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.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Skill use vs ability check use
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:21 pm 
Offline
Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 660
Location: Montreal
Sir Robilar wrote:
Have you seen this on page 66? It's an important little rule, and I always think about it when having to decide what die type I'll let them roll:

"Finally, if the skill is something that any adult could have a reasonable chance of attempting, then any character can make a trained skill check."

Regarding your examples I would rule that:
- Opening locks is d10 for anyone but the Thief (as are other Thief skills, or Spell checks if done by a non-magic user).
- Swimming is d20 since anyone would have a reasonable chance (just like other basic movement skills such as climbing, jumping, running).
- Catching Chicken - I would let them roll a d20, as anyone might have a reasonable chance at it, unless the chicken has to be caught in a special trained way, e.g. the ancient cyclopean tradition of catching chicken with a sling made from a giant's intestines. Latter would need any occupation with the word "chicken" in it.

As far as I remember the skill rules only let characters use trained skills depending on their occupation. I'd rule however that characters also have some basic skills from their class. So in my campaign a Wizard with a Wood Cutter Background would still roll a d20 to analyse arcane writings.


Good stuff there. Thanks.

I wonder about this however. I've never caught (or tried to catch) a chicken in my life, but I can only assume that I would have a hard time, at least on a first attempt. Whereas the farmer would probably catch it in a short moment's time, laughing at my incapacity. Likewise, I've never had to break a door down, shoulder first, but I can only assume that my first attemps would probably be somewhat clumsy. Inversely, although anyone can push on a soccer ball with his foot, but I probably could make the first-timer look like a dork because I've been playing for so long. My point being: training counts for a lot IMO, in many things, including the areas where anyone has a reasonable chance of success.

In-game, there are two questions that regulate skill (or ability) use: (1) training and inherent skill (each PC has more or less of it) and (2) DC.

You could argue that anything that someone has a reasonable chance of succeeding at, simply has a lower DC. Say, DC 5. Rolling a d10 gives you fair chances of succeeding. If you're trained, it gets pretty easy for you (d20). I think catching a chicken would probably be something with a DC 5 agility check, with the farmer getting the training bonus and probably succeeding rather quickly

Swimming? Well, I think that the basic assumption is that the PC either knows how to swim or not. If he doesn't, he drowns. If he knonws how to swim, he can, well, swim. The skill check would only come about if a difficult swimming task appears. Again, I would probably approach this by assuming that the DC is easy (DC 5) for somethign not too complex, say, crossing a small-sized lake. However, if somethign complex crops up, say, not drowning in the Hellriver Rapids, then I would think that the sailor with the training bonus should indeed get a decent bonus (d20) as compared to the farmer who learned how to swim as a kid and did swim a few times in his life, but no more than that (d10).

I guess my point is mostly: for anything that "anyone has a reasonable chance of succeeding at", don't roll a skill check unless it's still hard enough for one reason or another. If it is (hard enough), then set the DC consequently. A DC 5 still requires a successful roll, it's not an auto-success by any margin. But training should make that easy for the trained PC, while the others might still find it easy, albeit not as much as the one with the training.

This kind of approach (using revendddak's suggestion as a basis) allows me to be relatively liberal with class/occupation bonuses also, since it means that anything else falls into non-trained, i.e. d10. I also need to keep in mind that DC 10 and higher means very tough stuff to accomplish.

Further thoughts?

_________________
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.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group