[RPG] Do skill DCs have to be multiples of 5


In D&D 5e, spell save DCs can be any number based on the calculation (Player's Basic Rules pp. 22, 30):

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

However, the DM screen has a table for setting skill DCs for tasks, which are all divisible by 5 (I don't have my screen to reference the exact figures).

Are there any reasons not to set task DCs to anything between these defined, round numbers?

Best Answer

A DC could be any (real) number you like.

The reference table shows descriptors for DCs of 10, 15, 20, &c. This is just to provide you some touchstones--you can set intermediate DCs any time you'd like.

(However, the fine-tuning by 5% probabilities that provides isn't, in my experience, that useful and increases my cognitive load more than necessary. I've generally been happy with just using the "major" DCs.)


If you've considering setting a DC much lower than ten or upwards of thirty, please read 5 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Skill System by AngryGM. It's an excellent expansion on the DMG's section "Using Ability Scores" (p.237) which says, in part:

Only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure.

When deciding whether to use a roll, ask yourself two questions:

  • Is a task so easy...?
  • Is a task so inappropriate or impossible...?

(Warning: Angry's excellent advice and analyses are salted liberally with rude and vulgar language.)