Legends and Lore: Bounded Acuracy

Legends and Lore:
Bounded Accuracy

by Rodney Thompson

Conventional D&D wisdom tells us that the maxim "the numbers go up" is an inherent part of the class and level progression in D&D. While that might be true, in the next iteration of the game we're experimenting with something we call the bounded accuracy system.

Talk about this column here.
This is what Old School Hack already does.  It works in that game, no reason it can't work here.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
This actually sounds pretty awesome. Plus, from now on, any time somebody in these boards has a new idea or proposes something new and somebody else responds with some bull about "that's counter to D&D history and tradition, so it's bad and will never happen", we can all point to bounded accuracy.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
"Furthermore, gaining levels grants the characters new capabilities, which go much farther toward making your character feel different than simple numerical increases."

Fighters.

*giggle*

Other than that:

Getting better at something means actually getting better at something.
I dunno, I guess it seems harmless enough. It makes me wonder just how many +1s they predict players will be getting though. It also seems to fall inline with the older edition players and their manner of thinking that a +1 Sword should be special, and I oppose their viewpoints on principle. ;)

Nonspecialized characters can more easily participate in many scenes.
I fear that this is part of an attempt to justify classes not being balanced to contribute in each pillar, which is something I'm very much set against.

The DM's monster roster expands, never contracts.
I can't see any issue with this.

Bounded accuracy makes it easier to DM and easier to adjudicate improvised scenes.
Things being easier to DM is always a plus. I hope they still give guidelines in the book though. Relying on DMs to eventually get it right is just lazy.

It opens up new possibilities of encounter and adventure design.
I'm happy about this. I think. Its really hard for me to tell when I'm happy about something involving 5e at this point. I'm fairly used to disappointment and it feels weird.

It is easier for players and DMs to understand the relative strength and difficulty of things.
I don't see any big downside here.

It's good for verisimilitude.
Oh my how I have grown to hate that word, much as I'm sure the older editions players hate the word 'balance'. At this point it feels like a keyword for "This is really going to piss you off. Tee hee." This doesn't seem terrible though. Still... I don't trust that word. Not at all.
I wonder if ability score increases will still be in, if sow that seems one of the few ways to increase to hit.

and i wonder what they are planing with the + on magical weapons, it used to only be a small part of your to hit bonus but if they are still going forn the +1 to +5 magic items that would mean they would be a huge chunk of your to hit in the next editiion.

I agree with almost everything that was said in the article.

My only concern is with all the talk of hit point and damage bloat, which is just as problematic as bonus bloat but even less realistic. A mob of peasents won't be a non-threat because they can't hit you, they'll be a non-threat because the wizard can effortlessly wipe them off the face of the map with one area effect spell, due to their low hp and the wizard's high damage.

"After a short period of DMing, DMs should gain a clear sense of how to assign DCs to various tasks."

Wow, looks like they didn't learn a thing from DM fiat problems in the past or on the forums...

"Thus, when it comes time to improvise, a link has been created between the difficulty of the challenge in the world (balancing as you run across this rickety bridge is pretty tough due to the breaking planks, especially if you're not a nimble character) and the target number. Since those target numbers don't change, the longer a DM runs his or her game, the easier it is going to be to set quick target numbers, improvise monster attack bonuses and AC, or determine just what kind of bonus a skilled NPC has to a particular check. The DM's understanding of how difficult tasks are ceases to be a moving target under a bounded accuracy system."

Yeah, unless the DM sets the DC wrong at the start of the game, then the rest of the DCs will cascade out of wack for the rest of the game.

"It opens up new possibilities of encounter and adventure design. A 1st-level character might not fight the black dragon plaguing the town in a face-to-face fight and expect to survive. But if they rally the town to their side, outfit the guards with bows and arrows, and whittle the dragon down with dozens of attacks instead of only four or five, the possibilities grow. With the bounded accuracy system, lower-level creatures banding together can erode a higher-level creature's hit points, which cuts both ways; now, fights involving hordes of orcs against the higher-level party can be threatening using only the basic orc stat block, and the city militia can still battle against the fire giants rampaging at the gates without having to inflate the statistics of the city guards to make that possible."

Yeah, it also means you can't put save or die mechanics in the game on the PCs side or they will just bypass whole groups of monsters or boss monsters. It won't matter what level they are or what level the monsters are.

"Likewise, a DM knows that he or she can reasonably expect players to understand the difficulty of things based purely on their in-world description, and so the DM can focus more on the details of the world rather than on setting player expectations."

This is just pure bunk. They won't understand anything until the DM tells them what the DC is...

"For example, we can say that breaking down an iron-banded wooden door is a DC 17 check"

Yeah, except they didn't do that, they said easy, moderate, hard, and impossible. They didn't tell you jack about what you were supposed to be doing.

"Now, we want to avoid situations where DMs feel bound by the numbers. ("Hey," says the player, "you said it was an iron-bound wooden door and I rolled a 17, what do you mean I didn't break it down?") We hope to do that by making sure we focus more on teaching DMs how to determine DCs and other numbers, and letting them adjust descriptions and difficulties based on their needs."

This part is hilarious. Its exactly the situation that is created. Expectations don't cross from table to table and the players have no real clue how hard a specific obstacle is without asking the DM what the DC is. One party might have a high str fighter because they know their DM sets DCs for strength based tasks high, but when they take that character to another table the new DM might set strength DCs low and Cha high, other DMs might auto-succeed on cha checks (like role-players that ignore in game rules and make you role-play it out). In other words they enable **** DMs, and turn mediocre DMs into **** DMs by default...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.

I agree with almost everything that was said in the article.

My only concern is with all the talk of hit point and damage bloat, which is just as problematic as bonus bloat but even less realistic. A mob of peasents won't be a non-threat because they can't hit you, they'll be a non-threat because the wizard can effortlessly wipe them off the face of the map with one area effect spell, due to their low hp and the wizard's high damage.



I take your point, but your example does not strike me as particularly unrealistic.  I am worried about what damage rolls and hit point totals will look like at higher levels - and, of course, I hope they're balanced against each other so that we don't have the 4e padded sumo wrestler phenomenon again.

Aside from that, bounded accuracy seems on paper to offer a lot of benefits to the game.

Yeah, unless the DM sets the DC wrong at the start of the game, then the rest of the DCs will cascade out of wack for the rest of the game.


A problem that would only be compounded if DCs scaled.  I am unsure what you're trying to prove here.

Yeah, it also means you can't put save or die mechanics in the game on the PCs side or they will just bypass whole groups of monsters or boss monsters. It won't matter what level they are or what level the monsters are.


Are you aware of the hit point threshold mechanic that they've been talking about using for powerful effects?  You can see it in the playtest on the sleep spell.  Expect save-or-dies to be handled like that.

This part is hilarious. Its exactly the situation that is created. Expectations don't cross from table to table and the players have no real clue how hard a specific obstacle is without asking the DM what the DC is. One party might have a high str fighter because they know their DM sets DCs for strength based tasks high, but when they take that character to another table the new DM might set strength DCs low and Cha high, other DMs might auto-succeed on cha checks (like role-players that ignore in game rules and make you role-play it out). In other words they enable **** DMs, and turn mediocre DMs into **** DMs by default...


I'm, again, not sure what you're trying to prove here, or how you get to here from what Thompson wrote.
I actually hate this idea. To illustrate shortly, the idea that the party should grab the militia to fight the dragon example he uses means that we are adding lots (and potentially many more lots) of dice rolls to the combat, extending the very thing they want to shorten (not to mention the large amount of casualties that the use of an adventuring party is supposed to limit).

Also, while I'm aware of the illusion of progression that the half level + other stuff that 4th provides, that illusion is precious to me and seems lacking in this playtest so far (not to mention Dark Priest or Hobgoblin Warlord, hitting on 15+ if your lucky is not my idea of fun).
I actually hate this idea. To illustrate shortly, the idea that the party should grab the militia to fight the dragon example he uses means that we are adding lots (and potentially many more lots) of dice rolls to the combat, extending the very thing they want to shorten (not to mention the large amount of casualties that the use of an adventuring party is supposed to limit).


I don't think he's saying that people need to form up EQ-style raid parties to go kill the dragon on a regular basis.  The point is that, while the heroes will find the dragon a challenge at an appropriate level, it is possible, however inadvisable, to take it on at early levels, with help, and without changing the dragon's stats to make it hittable.  People aren't going to do that on a regular basis, because of any number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that most militia would consider hunting a dragon in its lair suicidal.  Still, it's possible, which wasn't the case before--at least in 3E and 4E.

Also, while I'm aware of the illusion of progression that the half level + other stuff that 4th provides, that illusion is precious to me and seems lacking in this playtest so far (not to mention Dark Priest or Hobgoblin Warlord, hitting on 15+ if your lucky is not my idea of fun).


This is something I don't really want to comment on as a condemnation of the system, apart from saying that monsters are far from set in stone.  There is some definite work that needs to be done on the monster end of things, and monsters like the hobgoblin warlord are fine examples of the shortcomings of the system as we see it now.
Yeah, unless the DM sets the DC wrong at the start of the game, then the rest of the DCs will cascade out of wack for the rest of the game.


A problem that would only be compounded if DCs scaled.  I am unsure what you're trying to prove here.



They assume the DM will get it right at low levels without any guidance. Go look at the forum threads in the DM and Player section, wildly different DCs.

Yeah, it also means you can't put save or die mechanics in the game on the PCs side or they will just bypass whole groups of monsters or boss monsters. It won't matter what level they are or what level the monsters are.


Are you aware of the hit point threshold mechanic that they've been talking about using for powerful effects?  You can see it in the playtest on the sleep spell.  Expect save-or-dies to be handled like that.



Sure which means the wizard can put 64 monsters to sleep at level 1 and 20 (since the monsters HP isn't going to scale you'll just fight the same low level mobs at higher level, just in greater numbers). The fighter will hit what 3 maybe 4 of them at level 20?

This part is hilarious. Its exactly the situation that is created. Expectations don't cross from table to table and the players have no real clue how hard a specific obstacle is without asking the DM what the DC is. One party might have a high str fighter because they know their DM sets DCs for strength based tasks high, but when they take that character to another table the new DM might set strength DCs low and Cha high, other DMs might auto-succeed on cha checks (like role-players that ignore in game rules and make you role-play it out). In other words they enable **** DMs, and turn mediocre DMs into **** DMs by default...


I'm, again, not sure what you're trying to prove here, or how you get to here from what Thompson wrote.



I got there from what he wrote because the DM in one game will set the DC for that iron door at 17, the next DM will set it at 25. Another one might say its an auto success. Another might say its impossible. Then when the party finds that magically sealed door the first DM sets it at 20, the second says its impossible and the third laughs at the players futile attempts. I can't imagine trying to build a character with the intent of being good at breaking down iron doors because I'd have to know my DM pretty good. It just doesn't work. It didn't work in 2E, and it doesn't work now...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I really like this idea, in fact I was just talking to my friends that this exact thing would be a good idea if they wanted to reduce the math, which seemed to be their goal. 

I would actually like to see magic items without any bonus to attack on them and just added effects and damage. Actually having a bonus to attack would be far more powerful and rare I would imagine.  

Also for those who are concerned over the example and having hordes of orcs and goblins, it was just an example for those who don't mind that kind of game (which there are plenty).  There will be plenty of high HP monsters out there that don't require hordes to be a challenge.  I'm sure they will have optional (suggested) rules for these encounters.  

It will be interesting to see some of the high level monsters though and how much damage/hp they have.  Good news is that there likely won't be errata for AC changes on monsters when the MM comes out (well hopefully less anyway). 
This part is hilarious. Its exactly the situation that is created. Expectations don't cross from table to table and the players have no real clue how hard a specific obstacle is without asking the DM what the DC is. One party might have a high str fighter because they know their DM sets DCs for strength based tasks high, but when they take that character to another table the new DM might set strength DCs low and Cha high, other DMs might auto-succeed on cha checks (like role-players that ignore in game rules and make you role-play it out). In other words they enable **** DMs, and turn mediocre DMs into **** DMs by default...


From reading this, it sounds like you believe that WotC won't provide a table of DCs for most types of checks.  I see no reason why DCs would be wide open to interpretation when both 3E and 4E included DCs for certain skill uses, and the playtest materials themselves include DCs for many different types of ability checks.  A skill module should include even more DCs for the specific skills.

Walking across an icy surface is a Dexterity (Balance) check DC of 11.  Most DMs (the "mediocre" DMs you mention, though it's hard to tell what's good and what's bad without knowing your specific criteria) are going to stick with that DC printed in the book.  Why bother trying to make up a new DC when one already exists?  Other factors may come in, which can modify the DC, of course.  Perhaps the ice is melting, creating an even slippier surface then normal.  Then maybe the DC goes up to 13.  But every player can expect a character with a +0 Dex modifier to be able to successfully traverse the ice 50% of the time.

I'm really not sure what you're on about with the DM quality argument here.

This part is hilarious. Its exactly the situation that is created. Expectations don't cross from table to table and the players have no real clue how hard a specific obstacle is without asking the DM what the DC is. One party might have a high str fighter because they know their DM sets DCs for strength based tasks high, but when they take that character to another table the new DM might set strength DCs low and Cha high, other DMs might auto-succeed on cha checks (like role-players that ignore in game rules and make you role-play it out). In other words they enable **** DMs, and turn mediocre DMs into **** DMs by default...


From reading this, it sounds like you believe that WotC won't provide a table of DCs for most types of checks.  I see no reason why DCs would be wide open to interpretation when both 3E and 4E included DCs for certain skill uses, and the playtest materials themselves include DCs for many different types of ability checks.  A skill module should include even more DCs for the specific skills.

Walking across an icy surface is a Dexterity (Balance) check DC of 11.  Most DMs (the "mediocre" DMs you mention, though it's hard to tell what's good and what's bad without knowing your specific criteria) are going to stick with that DC printed in the book.  Why bother trying to make up a new DC when one already exists?  Other factors may come in, which can modify the DC, of course.  Perhaps the ice is melting, creating an even slippier surface then normal.  Then maybe the DC goes up to 13.  But every player can expect a character with a +0 Dex modifier to be able to successfully traverse the ice 50% of the time.

I'm really not sure what you're on about with the DM quality argument here.




They didn't in the playtest. A lot of people are letting them know that it is not ok, to not have guidelines.

If the final rules come out and there are charts, and I can take my DM aside and tell them after a game that their ruling was unrealistic and invalidated my characters build, background, and role-playing, then I'll be happy, and I'll know they listened.
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
They assume the DM will get it right at low levels without any guidance. Go look at the forum threads in the DM and Player section, wildly different DCs.


But there is guidance.  It's in the playtest materials, and it'll be in the books.

I got there from what he wrote because the DM in one game will set the DC for that iron door at 17, the next DM will set it at 25. Another one might say its an auto success. Another might say its impossible. Then when the party finds that magically sealed door the first DM sets it at 20, the second says its impossible and the third laughs at the players futile attempts. I can't imagine trying to build a character with the intent of being good at breaking down iron doors because I'd have to know my DM pretty good. It just doesn't work. It didn't work in 2E, and it doesn't work now...


Why wouldn't all the DMs look in the book and see that the DC for breaking down an iron door is a Strength check with a DC of 21?  If they did, they'd also see a list of common lock types, and the DCs for picking them.  Magical locks aren't listed, but I wouldn't use the "Pick a Lock" use of Dexterity for a magical lock, anyway.  I'd use some sort of magical skill, as befitting the magical nature of the lock.  And the DC for that would be based on the skill level of the person who cast the spell to lock the door, using the other skills' DC charts as a guideline.

They didn't in the playtest. A lot of people are letting them know that it is not ok, to not have guidelines.


Those people did not read the DM portion of the playtest materials.

They assume the DM will get it right at low levels without any guidance. Go look at the forum threads in the DM and Player section, wildly different DCs.


But there is guidance.  It's in the playtest materials, and it'll be in the books.

I got there from what he wrote because the DM in one game will set the DC for that iron door at 17, the next DM will set it at 25. Another one might say its an auto success. Another might say its impossible. Then when the party finds that magically sealed door the first DM sets it at 20, the second says its impossible and the third laughs at the players futile attempts. I can't imagine trying to build a character with the intent of being good at breaking down iron doors because I'd have to know my DM pretty good. It just doesn't work. It didn't work in 2E, and it doesn't work now...


Why wouldn't all the DMs look in the book and see that the DC for breaking down an iron door is a Strength check with a DC of 21?  If they did, they'd also see a list of common lock types, and the DCs for picking them.  Magical locks aren't listed, but I wouldn't use the "Pick a Lock" use of Dexterity for a magical lock, anyway.  I'd use some sort of magical skill, as befitting the magical nature of the lock.  And the DC for that would be based on the skill level of the person who cast the spell to lock the door, using the other skills' DC charts as a guideline.




Where was that in the playtest? I saw a chart that had easy, moderate, difficult, hard, and nearly impossible, I didn't see anything about actual examples...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Where was that in the playtest? I saw a chart that had easy, moderate, difficult, hard, and nearly impossible, I didn't see anything about actual examples...


DM Guidelines, starting on page 6.  It is a bit anemic now, but then so is the system itself.  I expect to see more charts as the playtest goes on and the system is filled out for us.

Where was that in the playtest? I saw a chart that had easy, moderate, difficult, hard, and nearly impossible, I didn't see anything about actual examples...


DM Guidelines, starting on page 6.  It is a bit anemic now, but then so is the system itself.  I expect to see more charts as the playtest goes on and the system is filled out for us.




Its pretty sparse like you said. Maybe they will fill it out into a full chapter or three and put it in a word searchable PDF so it would be easy to find an example...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
They assume the DM will get it right at low levels without any guidance. Go look at the forum threads in the DM and Player section, wildly different DCs.


Why do you assume there won't be any guidance?  The article explicitly says there will be, and gives specific examples of it.

Sure which means the wizard can put 64 monsters to sleep at level 1 and 20 (since the monsters HP isn't going to scale you'll just fight the same low level mobs at higher level, just in greater numbers). The fighter will hit what 3 maybe 4 of them at level 20?


First of all, who knows what the fighter will be able to do at level 20?  Second, it is possible - indeed, desirable - for different classes to have different strengths and weaknesses.  Clearing out hordes of weaklings has traditionally been a strength of the wizard.

I got there from what he wrote because the DM in one game will set the DC for that iron door at 17, the next DM will set it at 25.


He wrote that "we" (as in, Wizards of the Coast) will set the DC for the iron-banded door at 17.  He notes that DMs shouldn't feel like that's an absolute, and adjust it at needed, but it's pretty clear that he's trying to say there will be more hard-and-fast DCs for tasks.
It's a good idea. The objections so far seem to be:
1. Sometimes DMs aren't good.
So what?
2. High level characters will be able to take out lots of mooks.
Good.
3. If you try to fight tough monsters, you'll need more guys, and have to roll more dice.
All those guys are basic attacking. Roll dice in handfuls.
4. Save or dies will kill monsters regardless of level.
Unless the save or dies only work when the monster has below a certain number of hitpoints. Like Sleep.
5. I don't like verisimilitude.
Do you want the game to not feel like you're in a fantasy world? I always thought that was kind of the point.
From the comments:

I'm a little bummed and confused  that so many seem so pleased by this. It sounds like it will be impossible to have a truly mythic melee character character, fighting dozens of first level threats alone. It also seems impossible to have a monster that is any kind of threat to a decent-sized militia at close range.

I'm of the opinion that the greatest heroes, and the greatest monsters, should be engaging whole armies. It seems I am alone in this.
I like the flattier math and what is now known as Bounded Acuracy, for the reasons Rodney brought up. 
@gothikaiju: Not at all. The Tarrasque in AD&D didn't have AC in the stratosphere - it was still an army-destroying monster. Having big numbers on the sheet isn't necessary to make an epic dude.
@gothikaiju: Not at all. The Tarrasque in AD&D didn't have AC in the stratosphere - it was still an army-destroying monster. Having big numbers on the sheet isn't necessary to make an epic dude.



True, I remember the Tarrasque having DR and regeneration/fast healing... though I doubt high level Fighters will be buffing themselves like that in this system. Maybe Barbarians?
Gothikaiju: as I mentioned in the comments, I could see an optional module that allows for bonuses to attack, saving throws, AC and ability checks based on level, much like 4E.  The only really tough part would be adjusting DCs over the new scale.

Honestly, though, the fact that I can use kobolds forever is a huge bonus for me.  I like using more classic monsters in my games, like orcs, goblins and the like, so having access to them in later levels is a huge plus.  I also once made a level 9 pit fiend for my game, so being able to actually drop one of those big bad monsters you only see at high levels into a low-level game with a minimum of fuss is another plus for me.
It's good for verisimilitude.
Oh my how I have grown to hate that word, much as I'm sure the older editions players hate the word 'balance'. At this point it feels like a keyword for "This is really going to piss you off. Tee hee." This doesn't seem terrible though. Still... I don't trust that word. Not at all.


What it tells me is that they're going to be taking a hard left turn away from rules-as-conflict-resolution and right back into these-rules-ARE-the-world land.  And I hate that land.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
5. I don't like verisimilitude.
Do you want the game to not feel like you're in a fantasy world? I always thought that was kind of the point.


Verisimilitude is a keyword for "We're going to stomp on your cherries because you aren't playing a Caster" to me. Much like Balance is a keyword for "We're going to castrate the Wizard because some people don't like him doing his job." for other people on the board.

The primary issue is what fantasy world the verisimilitude is supporting. Fighters being strictly 'mundane' just doesn't jive for me. Seeing that word just makes me nervous.
But but but... how can I make my mountain of goblins if they can hit me?

I want my Dynasty Warrior style 200 kills on my level 13 fighter!

With no increases, you intial rolls for stats matter a lot. No more growing your 14 STR halfling into a warrior by getting +10 to hit over 10 level. That +2 stays forever...maybe.
A 18 str cleric is about equal to a 18 str fighter in hitting. 18 Dex wizard is as sneak as a 18 Dex rogue. Class feature will mean a lot now. And bad ones equals really bad classes.

Great goals, but every change affects something. Unforeseen consequences. Nothing is 100% good stuff.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

@Areleth: For me, verisimilitude means things make sense within the framework of the scenario, whatever scenario that might be. If you want fighter superpowers, give a workable rationale within the scenario for each one, so that players can make decisions based on in-scenario information, rather than dissociated mechanics. 
Like: bounded accuracy making monsters relevant over wider ranges

Dislike: Bounded skills.  Even with bounded accuracy, scaling HP and Damage still provide for a sense of progression and the capacity to move from low level challenges to suitably amazing and epic challenges as a hero levels.  But skills don't have a 'damage roll'.  If your skill modifier doesn't scale, than you don't get better at skills at all.  Just like I want characters to progress over levels to be able to challenge foes in combat that would have been nigh impossible at level one, so to do I want them to be able to get better at skills until they're able to perform "nigh impossible" feats of stealth, or athletics, or smithery, or knowledge, or wordplay, and skills that don't scale don't provide for that progression.

It's supposed to let me place set DCs on certain challenges rather then having to go with level dependant fuzzy numbers for "easy, moderate, hard", but the effect is just the opposite.  In 4e, I could set a DC for, say, Breaking down a wooden door, - something that in my mind might be tough at level one, but should be pretty easy at level ten and trivial at level 20, but that only works because the players skills scale such that what was tough at level one is trivial by level 20.  If skills don't scale, than I'll have to drop set DCs and go to a "do I think this should be hard for a character of their level" fuzzy DC system if I want players to have that sense of heroic progression outside of combat.

Hordes of goblins may still be a threat to high level characters in next, but a single goblin is not, and that's perfect.  But if a single wooden door is as difficult for a party to get through via skills at 20th level as it is at 1st level, that's just not acceptable.  And it's even worse, not better, if the non-combat threats magic can bypass grow ever greater in scope while skills stay the same if only some classes have magic for non-combat situations while other classes are stuck with non-scaling skills when they aren't bashing heads in.

Worry: I share worries that the bounded accuracy assumption will let designers get lazy on providing guidance to DMs on proper skill DCs and rough estimates of the difficulty of various challenges.  Though there were some hickups, I loved that in 4e I could grab X monsters of Y levels and know what kind of challenge I was setting for the party - something they'd walk through, something that would be challenging, or something that they'd need to flee from until the got help, found some other way to deal with it, or got stronger.  If next lacks such plug and play utility in its final incarnation, than it will make my job as the DM much harder, not easier.  Harder enough that I might not be able to run it
I really like this bound accuracy idea. It's not new though, the designers have been talking about it for months now.

I wonder how encounter design will work with this system.
Legends and Lore:
Bounded Accuracy

by Rodney Thompson

Conventional D&D wisdom tells us that the maxim "the numbers go up" is an inherent part of the class and level progression in D&D. While that might be true, in the next iteration of the game we're experimenting with something we call the bounded accuracy system.

Talk about this column here.

I think that's a very good idea!
 I was beginning to believe that they just wanted a reprint of D&D basic... but this idea is complitely new!

May I hope for progress?!

No more vancian. No "edition war" for me, thank'you.
The idea of bounded accuracy has been around for a while. The AC system of TSR D&D, for instance.
Is "fight Orcs during your whole career" what the majority of D&D players want ? If so, if most players really want to have a low power progression, that's good. If this is not the attitude of the majority of players, though... Wait and see.
Remember Tunnel Seventeen !
Like: bounded accuracy making monsters relevant over wider ranges

I agree

Dislike: Bounded skills.  Even with bounded accuracy, scaling HP and Damage still provide for a sense of progression and the capacity to move from low level challenges to suitably amazing and epic challenges as a hero levels.  But skills don't have a 'damage roll'.  If your skill modifier doesn't scale, than you don't get better at skills at all.  Just like I want characters to progress over levels to be able to challenge foes in combat that would have been nigh impossible at level one, so to do I want them to be able to get better at skills until they're able to perform "nigh impossible" feats of stealth, or athletics, or smithery, or knowledge, or wordplay, and skills that don't scale don't provide for that progression.



I complitely agree, but then I don't think that they want to leave out any possibilito to increase a skill (that would be foulish), I think they just don't want an automatical increase of skills with levels, maybe they will give feats or skillpoints...


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No more vancian. No "edition war" for me, thank'you.
Is "fight Orcs during your whole career" what the majority of D&D players want ? If so, if most players really want to have a low power progression, that's good. If this is not the attitude of the majority of players, though... Wait and see.



It's not a requirement that you fight Orcs your whole career. It's now merely an option. As always, each table decides what they want. This is merely a way to provide more options to everyone.
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Dislike: Bounded skills.  Even with bounded accuracy, scaling HP and Damage still provide for a sense of progression and the capacity to move from low level challenges to suitably amazing and epic challenges as a hero levels.  But skills don't have a 'damage roll'.  If your skill modifier doesn't scale, than you don't get better at skills at all.  Just like I want characters to progress over levels to be able to challenge foes in combat that would have been nigh impossible at level one, so to do I want them to be able to get better at skills until they're able to perform "nigh impossible" feats of stealth, or athletics, or smithery, or knowledge, or wordplay, and skills that don't scale don't provide for that progression.



I think in one of the earlyer atricles about skill they talked about 3 tiered skill training.
( and i thougnt this was also the favorite from the poll they did)
i thougn they where thinking about +3/+5/+8 would this in your opinion  be enough to cover the range of skills you would like.

i think the playtest already lists a character that can do DC 27 tasks on a regular basis godlike.
Legends and Lore:
Bounded Accuracy

by Rodney Thompson

Conventional D&D wisdom tells us that the maxim "the numbers go up" is an inherent part of the class and level progression in D&D. While that might be true, in the next iteration of the game we're experimenting with something we call the bounded accuracy system.

Talk about this column here.

Something which bothered me about 3.x was that at first level your character was good with some skills, and had an outside chance of passing something he wasn't good at. At 20th level however, the same character was good with the same skills he started with (and maintained through their career) but had no chance of passing a check with a skill he hadn't been raising. It always felt to me that in 3.x your characters didn't get better at some skills so much as relatively worse in all the others as they levelled up. 4th edition was a big step forward in that respect, but even then the stat bumps started widening the gap as the levels increased as well, albiet at a slower rate. It looks to me that this system may go a fair way to fixing that issue for me.

I like the idea of a system that gives the masses a chance to bring down a big monster, and I like that it gives the PC's something to worry about when a horde of pitch-fork weilding peasents decides they can't ignore the party necromancer and his pet flesh golem walking through the centre of town any more on a sunny summers afternoon. 

As far as creating a mythical melee monstrosity that tears apart armies with his bare hands goes, I think we'll have to sit back and wait to see what they do with high level class abilities or the equivilent of PrC or Paragon Paths before we cry in despair.

I for one am happy to give this approach a try. I'd like to see if it plays as well as it sounds. I also think it's very harsh making a call as to whether it's appropriate without understanding the greater context of how the game system will be put together. I might be bitterly dissapointed, but I do like that we're seeing some innovative thinking from the design team.

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I complitely agree, but then I don't think that they want to leave out any possibilito to increase a skill (that would be foulish), I think they just don't want an automatical increase of skills with levels, maybe they will give feats or skillpoints...



I also don't want this advancement to come at the expense of combat ability - as I fear it would if it depended on feats, nor do I want it to depend entirely on class features - or I fear that a lot of the modularity of the background system would be lost (sure, your mage can take the 'talky' background to have decent social skills at first level, but since you don't have the rogues class features you'll never get any better with them so you'll never get to do anything 'epic' with them like stare down a dragon or rouse an army to war, the best you'll be able to do will still be chatting up the local inkeeper.

I mean, sure, presumably the wizard will have phenomenal cosmic powers such that he doesn't care about skills, but what about the fighter?  "you're the fightin guy, your class features are all for combat, use skills for your non-combat actions... but oh wait, without skill enhancing class features your skills don't scale at all!"

So yeah, I really, really do want some sort of built in scaling for skills.  Bounded skills just doesn't work for me.  I'd end up having to fudge all the skill DCs for specific tasks, lowering them as players advance in level, which is exactly the opposite of what the article says they're trying to achieve here.
i like the article
it means that a fighter dont automatcley screw up the group stealth 
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