[RPG] How many times may a character attempt a skill roll for the same test?


We have a rogue locked in a cell and he is trying to escape.

How many attempts does he get to try and unlock the same door with the same hairpin if no outside influences ever change?

I have a vague memory somewhere of a rule from maybe 2nd edition D&D that unless conditions change the character's roll (and hence their caged status) does not change no matter how long the character waits and they may only re-roll if something happens to improve their situation. For instance: their skill level improves from leveling up, they find a set of proper lockpicks, a second character is helping work the lock, etc.

I know many DMs that allow characters to re-roll these types of skill checks once a day, or every hour, or sometimes every 15 minutes. Is there a hard rule on this?

Best Answer

The DMG, at "Multiple Ability Checks," is your friend.

Read p.237. Some highlights include:

  • No number of attempts make an impossible task possible
  • Failed attempts may make possible tasks impossible (like the hairpin breaking off in the lock!)
  • If repeated attempts are all it takes, dispatch with ability checks and figure out the time success should take