With Essentials, the skill-check DCs have been rejiggered yet again. For first-level characters, they’re now 8 for Easy checks, 12 for Moderate, and 19 for Hard.
This is about halfway between their initial DMG1 values of 10-15-20 and their first errata to 5-10-15. Notable is that instead of a 5-point difference between each level, there’s now 4 points from Easy to Moderate and 7 points from Moderate to Hard.
A leaked photo from the Essentials DM screen confirms that the gap between a Moderate and a Hard check continues to widen at high levels. Sad: I prefer a system that doesn’t require a giant chart to run with. I’ve been using the rule of thumb of 10-15-20 plus half level, but because of issues with 4e skills, my system does give trained PCs a lot of gimmes at high levels. I guess I’ll give the new DC numbers a try.
New numbers? AWESOME! The old ones didn’t really work. They were way too easy!
Weird that the gap widens between moderate and hard, but then again, I can kind of understand it. If you look at a moderate check as something someone untrained in the skill or trained without a primary stat and other bonuses would have some difficulty accomplishing but something that would be pretty easy for a character who really focused on that skill, it makes sense that it would increase at a fairly normal rate, say about 1 point every other level (to match the normal increase of skills).
On the other hand, hard checks need to increase more rapidly to keep up with all the ability increases, item bonuses, and feats people can pick up! If that’s the logic, I applaud it. When I max out my diplomacy so that I’m rolling in the mid 50s in paragon tier, I want to be rewarded by being able to make appropriately difficult DC consistently!
Based on the fact that the level 30 Hard check is DC 42, Rory, I’d say that your Diplomacy monkey will remain effective.