Monday, January 27, 2014
Rules Review: DC
For some reason, this is one of those rules that is relatively simple and straightforward, but that I nevertheless always forget. Obviously, I don't forget what a difficulty class is, I just regularly fumble about on how to calculate it. I'll arbitrarily assign a DC on the fly for some things just based on my own subjective thought about how difficult they probably are. Which is, of course, perfectly appropriate. However, in certain situations DC is more important and needs to be more precisely calculated. So, it would behoove me to really get the rule down for all situations instead of vaguely mumbling "Hmm, so add ten and your spell level... and then something, and...."
I know, this post is making me sound stupid.
The most common DC's we need to know are spell saves. (Seriously, now that I'm writing this I can't believe that I've always had so much trouble with this). The basic formula for spell save DC is 10 + spell level + the relevant modifier (i.e., the ability modifier the casting class uses for spells, WIS for clerics, INT for wizards, etc.). Combat will run smoother if everyone knows what the DC's for their spells are before we sit down to play. Easy enough.
The other common DC's that you need to know off the top of your head are also related to spell casting. Distractions can interrupt spells, and cause them to fail. Table 9-1 on page 207 of the PFRPG Core Rulebook lays out DC's for concentration checks to complete spellcasting. Casting, of course, can provoke an attack of opportunity. If you are injured while casting a spell, the DC to succeed at casting it is 10 + damage taken + level of the spell you are casting. (This can also happen if you are casting a full round spell and take damage on an enemy's attack during their initiative count -- not just due to attacks of opportunity). If you are taking continuing damage, you still have to make a concentration check. In that case, the DC is 10 + 1/2 the damage that the continuous source last dealt + the level of the spell you're casting.
If you are affected by another spell while attempting to cast that doesn't deal damage, the DC is the DC of the other spell's saving throw + the level of the spell you are casting. If the spell you are affected by does not have a saving throw, it's DC is equal to what it's saving throw would be if it had one.
Concentration checks while grappling or pinned are based on a DC of 10 + grappler's CMB + level of the spell you are casting. You may also choose to cast defensively when in combat and thus not provoke an attack of opportunity. In that instance DC is 15 + double the level of the spell you're casting. The rulebook details the DC's for a number of other spellcasting situations that are less common, but may add some options to your tactics toolbox.
DC's for a variety of skill checks are listed with the appropriate skill. Using acrobatics to avoid an attack of opportunity, for example, has a DC equal to the threatening character's Combat Maneuver Defense. To move through the enemy's space using acrobatics is 5 + the enemy's CMD.
In our current campaign, Grace likes to attempt to intimidate rather than jump right into fighting. DC for an intimidate check is 10 + target's hit dice + the target's Wisdom modifier. (This check can also be used after combat starts to demoralize the target).
Some combat actions have special DC's, e.g. feinting. Feinting is a standard action. The DC for a feint is 10 + enemy's base attack bonus + enemy's Wisdom modifier. (Unless your opponent is trained in Sense Motive, in which case the DC becomes 10 + his Sense Motive bonus, if this value is higher than the normal DC).
DC's for climbing or breaking different walls, breaking doors, perceiving and disabling traps, surviving in different wilderness or environmental conditions, are found in Chapter 13 of the Core Rulebook.
Okay, that's my brief (or not so brief) review of the rules on how to calculate Difficulty Class. This doesn't cover every DC in the rules, but does address the most common ones.