Jan 15

Faculty Meeting # 68 – DC’s in DnD

cropped-New-RPG-Academy-Crest-Hi-Rez-clean-edges.pngHello and Welcome to Faculty Meetings: The general advice and discussion podcast from The RPG Academy.  I am Michael, and this is Faculty Meeting  # 68: DC’s in DnD

In this episode, Caleb and I discuss setting DC’s in a D&D game. We feel this is a core responsibility of a DM and doing it well can help make a new DM a better DM. We then get into some advance topics with DC’s, such as Success at a cost, extreme results and Failing Forward.


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    • Jerry H. on January 15, 2015 at 4:03 pm
    • Reply

    I really enjoyed this Table Topics. Excellent food for thought to improve my game!

    1. Excellent to hear that Jerry! Any suggestions for future topics?


        • Jerry H. on January 16, 2015 at 10:39 am
        • Reply

        Hmmm, how about these as future topic suggestions?

        1. Types of players at your table and how to tailor your game to make them happier and the game better (e.g. thinker, role player, story, social, the watcher, the X factor/zany player, etc.).

        2. Types of GMs.

        3. Discussion of various types of house rules you’ve encountered in your play.

    • John on January 28, 2015 at 6:09 am
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    Hi guys. Really liked the discussion of DCs from a game design point of view. Especially the fact that one of you is more of a numbers cruncher while the other was always thinking in terms of fun and interesting moments.

    Not only did I learn how DCs worked, I learned how they could be improved, or at least modified.

    Maybe you can do something similar looking at other core aspects of RPG game mechanics using D&D as a model. Perhaps healing, looking at the role of cleric spells vs recovering HP between battles, how to model disease, kill shots, etc.. Or maybe armor class vs saving throws? Or perhaps taking on the different classes such as a fighter. How fun is it to swing your Axe turn after turn and how different editions try to give you options. How complex should each class be?

    Anyway, keep up the great podcasts.

    1. John,
      Thank so much for listening and leaving us a note. Means a lot. We’ve got a lot of positive feedback on this episode. We like that! so we are going to try and do some more in this vein. I like your suggestion a lot for future episodes and we’ll add them to our short list.

      Thanks again,

    • PlainText on October 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm
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    I agree that a “passive” roll can be made based on the character’s abilities. However, I have discovered that sometimes you can flavor that success or failure depending on a roll anyway. For example, using the injured wolf in the town square example, you can automatically succeed but you can have the character roll anyway and use that roll to vary the degree of success. While the character has the tools needed to tame the wolf, but will it take more time before he can call it an ally or is it an instant friendship. I loved the podcast, keep up the great work!

    1. Hey!
      Thanks for the listen and the comment. I have done what you suggest before but depending on the player it’s sometimes weird for them to have a roll that they “fail” but still succeed and could give the impression that you’re (as the DM) just narrating the story and the dice don’t matter (Which, for me, IS sometimes true) but I would suggest that you consider telling the player before hand “hey, you can do what you are trying to do, but lets roll to see how awesomely you do it.” if you do it often enough the players should get on board and you won’t need to state it every time but those first few can be jarring,esp to new players who are overly attached to dice.

      Thanks again!

    • Richard Kreutz-Landry on July 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm
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    This epic hour and a half episode is probably my favorite table topics episode so far. Setting DCs and keeping the story from grinding to a boring halt are skills that every DM should be looking to improve. Any thoughts on a generic scale for Pathfinder/3.5? The 5e scale is significantly flatter from what I can tell. I’d be tempted to go with 15/20/25 for medium/hard/very hard, since the bonuses can get out of hand in no time flat.

    1. Richard,

      I’ll have to get Caleb to weigh-in here. He’s much more (recently) familiar with 3.5 than I am. But i’d say 15/20/25 isn’t a bad place to start (depending on the levels of the PC – with 5e’s bounded accuracy the 12/15/18 works for much longer of a time).


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