Bounded accuracy in and out of combat

Full disclosure; I like bounded accuracy. I think it has a lot of advantages . However, it isn’t truly bounded, because as you increase in level, although your chances of success don’t really increase much, your dividends for being successful do. In other words you are not much more likely to hit, but when you do you do more damage (though this is balanced by opponents tending to have more HP)


This is all cool and the gang, and what makes the BA a good system. My concern is that the “increased payoff” doesn’t carry across to skills. With skills, you have the same flattening of success, but I don’t see a mechanic that provides the “bigger payoff” for skills.  I realise that it is harder to do with skills because the rewards for success are often more abstract , 25HP damage is 5 times more than 5 HP, what would an equivalent be with diplomacy? With Knowledge ?


Some scenarios it does make sense for however, for instance bartering.  A starting character might need to beat a 13 to get a discount, and that discount might be 15%, or 10 gp. The same character at level 10 might still have to beat a similar number, but the payoff might now be a 50% discount.


Thoughts?

I feel it should be bounded difficulty and Ability checks or skills should have degrees of success.
Example: Stealth check, DC # is opponents WIS. Meet DC you are hidden. DC+5 hidden and can 1/2 move. DC +10 hidden and full move.
Example: Attack vs AC, Meet AC do 1W damage, AC +5 does 2W, AC +10 does 3W.
Rolling a natural 20 adds one degree of success.
Characters can trade degrees of success for maneuvers like Trip or Disarm, or in the case of Stealth you could Shadow. I would want the Players to declare they want to perform these stunts before they roll unless they had a feat that allowed them to call it after the roll (Stealth Specialist).
   

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

Degrees of success are somewhat irritating to track, but at least case-by-case they do help. 

Consider , for an example these rolls:

result =< DC -5 : You fail, AND something bad happens

DC == result: You just barely succeed (you disarm the trap, just before it goes off, you remain hidden but the target glances around suspiciously)

DC < result <= DC +2: You succeed BUT something interesting happens

Result >= DC +5: You succeed AND gain a slight narrative boon of some sort.
Degrees of success are somewhat irritating to track, but at least case-by-case they do help. 

Consider , for an example these rolls:

result =< DC -5 : You fail, AND something bad happens

DC == result: You just barely succeed (you disarm the trap, just before it goes off, you remain hidden but the target glances around suspiciously)

DC < result <= dc="" 2:="" you="" succeed="" but="" something="" interesting="" happens="" br="">
Result >= DC +5: You succeed AND gain a slight narrative boon of some sort.


I think many DMs already do something like this. Some skills are easy to give a benefit to (Knowledge, Profession). Others are contested and don't need a benefit (Stealth, Spot, Listen, Search, Use Rope, Escape Artist). The trick would be for the handful of other skills that are so situational, the DM either doesn't give a benefit or makes one up on the fly.
Look at the 4e PHB3 skill powers for examples of higher degrees of success.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

Well, in combat, damage is the most basic measure of your degree of success.  So if we want skills to reflect that, then skill challenges need to have an equivalent to HP.  Just as enemies have an AC and HP, maybe climbing a wall should have both a DC and "DP" -- "difficulty points," for lack of a better term.

This also reflects a Weapon Dice <-> Skill Dice symmetry.  So as with attack and damage, you'd get a small, minimally scaling bonus on certain tasks, and then a die (or dice) to determine the degree of your success.

To go back to the climbing example, you would make a Str check, possibly modified by a small, static skill bonus; if you beat the DC for the wall, you'd then roll your skill dice to see how far up the wall you climbed.  If the wall had 10 "difficulty points" and you rolled a 5 on you skill die, you'd climb halfway up the wall.  A subsequent success might get you to the top of the wall.

Of course, some tasks would be a simple success/failure, so skill dice wouldn't apply, in the same way that a 10th level fighter who hits a goblin doesn't have to bother rolling damage.

I might have to write up a more indepth description of how this subsystem would work.  I'd like to get it to mesh with the "only have to remember one modifier and one die" goal of the current rules, but I'm not certain how to do that just yet (if at all).

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

The point of damage scaling is to give a sense of evolving withing the BA system beyond just hitting more. It allows you to meaningfully hit and combat more dangerous creatures. In effect the reward for this is not actually the damage you inflict, but the ability to defeat more dangerous creatures and gain the reward they are stopping you from gaining. In the same sense we can utilize skills in the same way by making things that were initially hard easier to obtain or by allowing you to more effectively navigate situations to reach the final reward when you are more skilled in certain areas. This can be a simple as gate switch that you can effectively navigate to as a higher level because you can make the trek up a slope and have enough health to deal with a failure or two, or more complex diplomatic situations where a high charisma and wisdom will allow you to make enough good checks to avoid a fight.
Well, in combat, damage is the most basic measure of your degree of success.  So if we want skills to reflect that, then skill challenges need to have an equivalent to HP.  Just as enemies have an AC and HP, maybe climbing a wall should have both a DC and "DP" -- "difficulty points," for lack of a better term.

This also reflects a Weapon Dice <-> Skill Dice symmetry.  So as with attack and damage, you'd get a small, minimally scaling bonus on certain tasks, and then a die (or dice) to determine the degree of your success.

To go back to the climbing example, you would make a Str check, possibly modified by a small, static skill bonus; if you beat the DC for the wall, you'd then roll your skill dice to see how far up the wall you climbed.  If the wall had 10 "difficulty points" and you rolled a 5 on you skill die, you'd climb halfway up the wall.  A subsequent success might get you to the top of the wall.

Of course, some tasks would be a simple success/failure, so skill dice wouldn't apply, in the same way that a 10th level fighter who hits a goblin doesn't have to bother rolling damage.

I might have to write up a more indepth description of how this subsystem would work.  I'd like to get it to mesh with the "only have to remember one modifier and one die" goal of the current rules, but I'm not certain how to do that just yet (if at all).



Thankyou. That little post clearly summed up the issue I was clumsily trying to describe (weapon dice/skill dice symmetry in particular). Even at first pass, I like the system you describe. My issue with degrees of success is that as you level up, the only way to be getting DoS is by increasing skill bonus, which is the oposite of BA. The system you sugest provides a way of having combat rolls and out of combat (or climing in combat) rolls qork on similar lines.

Glad I could help. 

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

Degress of success would definitely be a nice thing to include. And then I suppose we'd have to have degrees of failure as well. The easiest way to do this would for a greater success to be the DC+5 and then a critical success to be the DC+10. What happens exactly is determined by the DM I suppose.
We already have potential levels of failure: Hazard rules.

Full disclosure; I like bounded accuracy. I think it has a lot of advantages . However, it isn’t truly bounded, because as you increase in level, although your chances of success don’t really increase much, your dividends for being successful do. In other words you are not much more likely to hit, but when you do you do more damage (though this is balanced by opponents tending to have more HP)


This is all cool and the gang, and what makes the BA a good system. My concern is that the “increased payoff” doesn’t carry across to skills. With skills, you have the same flattening of success, but I don’t see a mechanic that provides the “bigger payoff” for skills.  I realise that it is harder to do with skills because the rewards for success are often more abstract , 25HP damage is 5 times more than 5 HP, what would an equivalent be with diplomacy? With Knowledge ?


Some scenarios it does make sense for however, for instance bartering.  A starting character might need to beat a 13 to get a discount, and that discount might be 15%, or 10 gp. The same character at level 10 might still have to beat a similar number, but the payoff might now be a 50% discount.


Thoughts?





Aren't the rewards for suceeding out of combat proportional to level intrinsically?

Aren't the rewards for suceeding out of combat proportional to level intrinsically?



Yeah.  It seems like the payoff in that scenario wouldn't be a 50% discount, it would be a 15% discount on a more expensive item.
yeah, barter was a terribad example. You are right, the reward for success already scales with power level if you use a % discount. Problem still remains with walls to be climbed or other areas.
yeah, barter was a terribad example. You are right, the reward for success already scales with power level if you use a % discount. Problem still remains with walls to be climbed or other areas.



Climbing the wall cannot be the end goal though?  It's just a minor obstacle so the reward for being 10 or 50 feet higher may seem weak but being 10% closer to your final goal should not be discounted. And hopefully as the players progress the type of wall is slightly more challenging. Even in 1st edition walls got taller and more slick.