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Sapienza magica


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può prendere 10 o 20 alla prova di sapienza magica?
How can I tell whether or not I can take 20 on a check, and what constitutes “failure” on a check?

Taking 20 is simply a time-saving short-cut that avoids requiring a player to roll and roll until he gets a 20 on a check that everyone knows he’ll simply retry until he either succeeds or is convinced he can’t.

Ultimately, whether or not you can take 20 relies on only three criteria:

The check allows you to try again. Each skill has a “Try Again” entry that lists whether you can attempt the same task again. If you can’t retry the task, you can’t take 20 (since taking 20 involves retrying the task). You can’t retry a Decipher Script check, so taking 20 is out of the question.

Failure does not carry an inherent penalty (that is, a consequence). If something bad happens when you fail a check, you can’t take 20, since the DM needs to know exactly when or how often failure occurs. When you’re halfway up a wall and fail a Climb check, you might fall and take damage. That’s an inherent consequence, so you can’t normally take 20 on Climb checks.

You have available time equal to making the check 20 times. If you have only 1 minute until the walls of the room slide together and crush you, you obviously can’t take 20 on a Search check to find the hidden off switch (since that takes 20 rounds).

There’s no perfect list of which checks do or don’t allow taking 20. For example, you can retry Spot checks, and it doesn’t seem like a failed Spot check carries any inherent consequence. Does that mean you can take 20 on Spot checks when keeping watch for monsters sneaking up on your campsite? Well, yes and no. If you stare at the same sight for 2 minutes, you can absolutely take 20 on a Spot check to get a really good look at it. But if an assassin is sneaking through the shadows toward you, he’s probably not there for that whole 2 minutes. Thus, you couldn’t take 20, since you don’t actually have available time equal to making the check 20 times against that enemy. You’d have to roll your Spot check normally (opposed by the assassin’s Hide check) to notice the enemy. Similarly, if a check’s success or failure depends on another character’s opposed roll, both sides have to roll when that opposition occurs—you can’t take 20 and “save up” the maximum result. If you hide in the bushes to attack a group of orcs that will walk by later, you can’t take 20 on the Hide check, since the success or failure of your Hide check isn’t resolved until the orcs make their Spot checks. You can’t take 20 on a Use Rope check to tie someone up, since you don’t really know how successful you’ve been until that enemy tries to struggle free. If you’re having trouble with the concept, try ignoring it and instead allow characters to retry failed skill checks until they roll 20. You’ll soon recognize what checks are appropriate for taking 20—they’re the ones during which everyone sits around bored while one player rolls and rolls and rolls.

Imagine a game without the “take 20” rule:

• After defeating hordes of monsters, the PCs stand before a strong wooden door blocking entry to the treasure room. The break DC is 23, which the 20 Strength Regdar shouldn’t have too much trouble getting eventually. The DM knows that there’s nothing left in the dungeon to harm the characters, so time (and noise) isn’t an issue. However, everyone has to sit around and wait until Regdar’s player rolls an 18 or better on the d20.

• Once inside, the PCs discover a locked chest. Wary of a trap, Lidda’s player rolls a 16 on her Search check. She finds nothing, but that doesn’t allay her suspicion, so she wants to keep rolling her Search check until she gets a 20. (She might as well, since the party has plenty of time and nothing bad happens to her if she fails the Search check.) If she’s lucky, this takes only a few rolls, but we’ve all played with players who couldn’t roll a 20 with a hundred tries.

• After finally determining that the chest seems safe, Lidda now turns to the lock. Her first Open Lock check garners a d20 roll of 11, which fails to open the lock even with her prodigious +14 modifier. Again, the party has plenty of time, so she tries again but rolls a 6. The DM knows the DC 30 lock is well within Lidda’s ability to unlock, but has to wait until she rolls a 16 or better on the d20. Meanwhile, the rest of the players are wandering off to check what’s on TV.

In the Sage’s experience, over 90% of all “take 20” checks are made for one of the following four reasons. Even if youonly limit yourself to these few examples, you’ll save valuable game time: Strength checks to open doors Listen checks at

  • closed doors
  • Open Lock checks
  • Search checks

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