How to do stuff

When playing SimpleDnD checks are only used in a very narrow scope. Checks are only made when the players want to do something (non-combat), and only after the DM decides what the check, if any, would be. It is first and foremost about determining HOW something is being done and WHAT the result is intended before any checks can be setup.

You need to distract the guard so you can sneak into the fortress. Or search a room for something specific.

How do you figure out what happens?

1) the players tell the DM what they are trying to do.

The players tell the DM what they are trying to do. Climb a wall, pick a lock, deceive the guards. Specifically what they’d like to happen.

2) the players narrate how this is to be accomplished

The player then goes into detail about what they character does. “I use my grappling hook and attempt to climb” or “Using my thief abilities I use my lock picks and pick the lock” or “I pull the guard aside and I tell him this big long story about …” this is the role-playing that the game is all about.

3) The DM decides if the action is actually possible, if a check is necessary, and what ability score to use.

Depending on the what and how of the action the players want to take, the DM uses their common sense to answer these three questions.

  1. Is this possible at all?
  2. Do we need to roll to add some random results to the outcome?
  3. What ability score bonus would apply for that scenario?

4) Roll dice and add bonuses

If the action is possible, the DM will determine the Difficulty Check for success, then players (or DM if it is a secret check) roll d20 and add their bonuses. Compare the roll to the Difficulty Check (see below) to figure out what happens to the players.

NOTE : If the player wishes to use a Heroic point, they can uses it before or after a roll. If before, they gain advantage on the roll, if after they get to reroll their roll (and keep the new roll result).

5) Determine the outcome

Roll less than 5 below required number and fail with a negative result

A negative result would be that the action fails but in doing so also creates some other complication. The character falls off the wall (roll for damage),  the lock breaks and cannot be opened, the guard tries to arrest the player. 

Roll 1 to 4 less the number and pass with a very minor cost to the player.

A minor cost should complicate the character’s life and as a means to change-up the situation a bit, rather than just negating whatever the players wanted. You climb the wall, but are spotted by a monster on the other side. You unlock the lock, but your lock pick breaks. The guard buys your story, but feels he needs to keep an eye on you.

Roll equal to or more than the number to pass

Player gets what they set out to do.

Roll a natural 20 and succeed with a bonus!

This could be double damage, a positive upside, or some type of advantage to future rolls. You climb the wall and spot the monsters and they don’t see you and you gain advantage to surprise them, you unlock the lock and accidentally disable a trap, you tell the guard your story and he buys it and gives you special access or buys you a drink.

Dungeon Masters, check out how to determine a difficulty check

For how to run combat, click here.

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