The House That Peace Built
Taking 10 or Taking 20
The official rules (see PHB pg. 65) contain two rules – Taking 10, and Taking 20, where a character can add 10 or 20 to their skill check without rolling for success or failure.
These rules are modified for use in my campaign (see below). My campaign makes use of the Critical Success / Critical failure rules, and I believe that automatic success (as granted under the Take 10 / Take 20 rules) or failure are undesirable events in a game based on skill ʻandʻ luck. The Take 10 / Take 20 rules reduce the ʻSkillʼ in skill checks to near certainty. This puts anyone with one rank in a skill at the same level as someone with 20 rank in that same skill. In addition to eliminating the benefit of high rank, the Take 10 / Take 20 rules (as listed in the PHB) eliminate the chances for critical success or failure. In order to use a skill, the result should always have to be rolled for.
This does not mean that a character canʼt take their time when performing a skill. This doesnʼt mean they shouldnʼt gain a bonus when they have no distractions. What it does mean is that there are no checks where no roll is needed.
In all situations that require a skill, ability, etc. check, a d20 roll must be made and checked against the listed/calculated DC. A character can never completely remove chance from the equation, no matter how favorable the conditions. Even the most careful alchemist could slip up and drop a flask of “Concentrated Fireball”.
- Taking 10:
- When your character is not being threatened or distracted, you will receive a +3 circumstance bonus on the check. Distractions or threats (such as nearby combat) make it impossible for a character to gain this bonus.
- Taking 20:
- When you have plenty of time (generally 2 minutes for a skill check that can normally be checked in one round, one full-round action, or one standard action), you are faced with no threats or distractions, and the skill being attempted carries no penalties (including any skill check for which a character would receive experience points), you will receive a +5 circumstance bonus on the check. Under these circumstances, it takes ten times as long to perform the skill check/activity. (generally 1 minute for a skill that can normally be checked in 1 round, one full-round action, or one standard action).
(Note: There are some racial and class abilities that allow a character to always Take 10 on a particular skill check, even when distracted or endangered. Under these House Rules, characters with such a ability would be granted a permanent +3 bonus to that skill.)