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The Dungeons & Dragons Rule That Can Make Your Sessions Easier

Dungeons & Dragons is a community-driven, cooperative role playing game that lets players live out their wildest fantasies. As one might expect from a game essentially twisted and changed by any given group playing, it can be utter chaos, especially when factoring in the element of chance. The roll of a die can determine success or failure at any point in a D&D campaign, regardless of any player's or character's skill level. New D&D fans should just be happy if they're playing under the revamped d20 system and don't have to deal with the overly complicated THAC0 attack value system.

While a level 10 elf rogue, for instance, should not have much trouble using their high acrobatics skill to climb a building or jump over a fence, especially when the heavy-set orc Barbarian next to them sticks the landing on a flawless handspring, this is totally possible when playing under standard D&D rules. For players looking to streamline things a bit, one optional rule can be a total game-changer.

What Is Automatic Success?

Automatic Successes are usually reserved for special occasions in Dungeons & Dragons when players roll a natural 20. However, anything less than this can result in the failure of a skill check even if the player's character has ample experience with that skill. There is a variant to the Automatic Success rule which, according to Dungeon Master's Workshop, "allows automatic success if your governing ability score exceeds the DC of the check by 5 or more, or if the ability check relies on a skill or tool you're proficient in and the DC isn't too high (determined by your level)." If jumping that fence requires a dexterity roll of 10, then any character with a dexterity stat of 15 or above (including proficiencies) will not fail. This lets players whose D&D characters are especially skillful in certain areas proceed through checks for which they're sufficiently adept without the possibility of looking foolish.

There are likely other solutions to this issue, such as adding various levels of failure or success to a skill check depending on what the player rolls. However, the Automatic Success rule is a simple solution to a simple issue that plagues many campaigns. Players want their characters to be skilled and accomplished, not foppish and inconsistent. If the players in your group are constantly set back by bad rolls, then it may be worth considering integrating Automatic Success into your game rules, though be wary of its potential abuses.