Skills and DCs

A lot of people have a hard time with setting skill DCs. These are guidelines that I personally use, and are in line with most of what the book puts forth as well as the game's house rules.

The main thing to focus on is this: setting DCs too high can lead to skill inflation. This is a bad thing. You do not want to tell a player that in order to do something relatively simple, they need a +15 to +20 skill. This leaves those who have more mundane skill levels out in the cold, and leads to frustration.

In general, a DC15 should be used if the skill is difficult enough to need a professional to be assured of success. Examples include hacking a computer, picking an average lock, or convincing someone who is friendly to you to help you and take some risks.

A DC20 should be used if the attempt has risk for a professional, or should be almost impossible for someone who has no training. Examples include hacking a big business' computers or police computers, picking a secure lock such as a local bank, or doing a bootlegger reverse in a vehicle.

A DC25 should be used if the attempt is a major risk for a professional, or is impossible for someone who has no training. Examples include hacking the Pentagon, breaking a lock that might be found in Fort Knox, or finding an average, skilled thief in a huge metropolis who's trying to hide.

In general, you shouldn't exceed DC25 for 'normal' rolls. The exception comes when you're being contested by another highly skilled person like a neohuman or badass normal. In this case, rather than using a set DC, make it a contested roll. Oracle trying to hack the Pentagon does it easily with a DC25 check. Oracle trying to hack Calculator has it harder, as their computer skills are equivalent and it's a crapshoot whether she'll succeed.

This leads to another important thing: do not inflate /NPC/ skills either. If PCs find that all of the NPCs have really high skills, it will lead to all PCs inflating their scores in order to succeed, and this is bad for the game. +8 is a good score. Treat it like one. +13 to +15 are -really- darn good scores, and as an example, this is the range that Batman probably has in most of his skills. Those with +20s should be -rare-, and in at most one skill or in case of knowledges, skill group. And only if it makes sense in genre, like a Super Scientist having it in sciences. Basically, just because there's a theoretical maximum of X doesn't mean that players or villains should necessarily be hitting that value, and in fact probably shouldn't. It leaves too much 'swing' and makes lower skill values obsolete.

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