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Turns out that DCs can go past 16.

Turns out that DCs can go past 16. published on 9 Comments on Turns out that DCs can go past 16.

Happy Monday, dungeon divers!

So this scenario is not a thing I have done to my players, but is a thing that I’ve had done to me. So you’re going along, dooping through the dungeon, and some obvious factor of your character that’s never come up before is suddenly hyper-critical. Like, everyone knows that the goliath in plate armor weighs in excess of 300 pounds *before* his backpack and other equipment are taken into account. This guy’s size has *had* to have been at least been worth a funny moment or something when he has to squeeze through a doorway that everyone else can just step through. But nope. It’s never come up, even incidentally, until this bridge, and it was some kind of DC 25-ass bullshit check for anyone in character or at the table to be like, “hey, wait, that bridge might not support the weight of our elementally massive friend.”

But hey, that’s cool, because fall damage + the spikes at the bottom still weren’t enough to kill him, because hitpoints are an inherently broken concept and we were having fun anyway.

Arcana Check Stuff

Up on the Patreon this week: I’ll be talking about the creation of the upcoming Arcana Check, which is a 15-or-so page monstrosity that takes the Dragonborn in the PHB, throws them in the trash where they belong, and starts over from scratch. And then once I’m done copy editing it, it’ll be a neat PDF for everyone who supports. One of our reader-friend… people — one of our Freaders (there we go) requested a dragonborn mod after we released Humanity Revisited. Also, I’m not sure what to call these. Mods feels right, because I’m modifying the game, and when I do that for Civ, I call the result a mod — but I don’t want to confuse people into thinking these are modules. “Hack” might be a better word, but that implies… like… coding. What would you guys call these things?

That’s it for now, folks. If you support us on Patreon, you’ll get access to this other stuff I’m doing and that’ll be cool. If you want to support us and money is a thing you just don’t have, (1 – never feel guilty about that, money is hard, and (2 – talk about us on social media to your other D&D friends, and tweet at us with #yesthievescan. We don’t have a way of paying for advertising (I want to sponsor an episode of The Animated Spellbook but I found out it’s like my entire budget for food for the year to do so, so nooope) so when you tell a friend about our stuff, it has a pretty big impact on us, and one that we always really appreciate.

Expect Kickstarter updates this week as well. Now that Zach’s family is healthy, well, and wise, we’re back in the saddle.

Ciao. Chow? Chou. One of those.


Moments like these, I file under “assume most characters are not in fact stupid, inept, and ignorant”. Even if the players don’t think of it, the characters were clearly concerned about how much the bridge could withstand, and they’re right there in the “fictional world” looking at the bridge and at their hulking compatriot. This doesn’t require a narrative approach or anything (for those allergic to such), just treating the characters as “people-who-could-be-real”.

To me these “gotcha!” moments tie back to an older approach to RPGs that treated the PCs as “playing pieces” for the players in a “freeform boardgame”.

I want to play with GM’s like that. If you can have that happen, and it’s just played off for a laugh before the game continues on as planned, that’s what i want out of a good time.

Most GM’s i’ve been with would have looked through the books for appropriate additional damage/rolls, then thrown the planned direction of the session/campaign out the window.

One of the popular variant rules from way back to AD&D was ‘wound levels’ with Hit Points. Divide the hit point percentages into about 5 levels, and the more health you lose the more incapacitated your character begins. Start with things like limping; your movement speed is slowed. Then maybe bleedouts. Then maybe broken limbs; not being able to move unaided. And then being on the verge of passing out, before the inevitable ‘0 HP’ brings what by this point is sweet, merciful death.

I’d be tempted to run a campaign like this. It’d stop players from pulling the kind of stupid shit you regularly see. But on the flipside, seeing people successfully pull off stupid shit is kinda why most of us play D&D in the first place.

Mutants and Masterminds does something similar for it’s damage. Each degree of failure (each increment of 5 under the DC) has a harsher penalty, the last one resulting in incapacitation. Each of the lesser degrees of failure however provide negative modifiers to future rolls, and more severe failures can impose conditions like exhaustion.

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