[RPG] What does a strength check of 24 actually mean


In the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons, barbarians receive this ability;

Indomitable Might

Beginning at 18th level, if your total for a Strength check is less than your Strength score, you can use that score in place of the total.

As a level 20 goliath barbarian, with a strength score of 24 (base 18, +2 from race, +4 from barbarian final level ability), Indomitable Might means that without fail I can always apply the outcome of a 24 or higher on any strength check. What does that translate to, in real world physics?

With a strength of 24, and the powerful build racial ability, I can use rules within the system to determine the maximum amount of weight I can lift. (24 str x 30 max lift x 2 for large size = 1,040 lbs). Knowing that I can lift half a ton of weight, I am able to understand how strong my character is, and what his strength actually enables me to do in a role-playing sense.

I can not find rules that translate in this way what a 24 strength check result actually allows. Normally, it would not be a problem, as it's simply a case-by-case basis. I could not get that result consistently, so it would be very unlikely I'd be able to do anything that relies on me doing it consistently. However, Indomitable Might changes that.

As an example of what I'm looking for; In another game system I use, objects have a 'break DC,' which represents the amount of strength needed to just break them. By comparing what a check of 24 allows me to break in this system, I could translate that into real-world numbers to determine what kind of feats of strength I'd actually be capable of.
Are there any lists of strength-checks in 5e D&D that I could use like this? If not, are there any strength check DCs predetermined by the book that could be used for comparison? These would be examples of bench marks that could be used to help determine what a strength check of 24 would represent, in real-world terms.

Best Answer

Ah! A hard one but not a very hard one

From the DMG p.238:

When you do so, think of how difficult a task is and then pick the associated DC from the Typical DCs table.

Typical DCs

\$ \begin{matrix} \text{Task} & \text{DC} & \text{Task} & \text{DC}\\ \text{Very easy} & \text{5} & \text{Hard} & \text{20}\\ \text{Easy} & \text{10} & \text{Very hard} & \text{25}\\ \text{Moderate} & \text{15} & \text{Nearly impossible} & \text{30}\\ \end{matrix} \$

With 24 Strength you have +7 if you are non-proficient and +13 if you are proficient. So we can rewrite the table for you:

\$ \begin{matrix} \text{Task} & \text{DC} & \text{Task} & \text{DC}\\ \text{Very easy} & \text{100%} & \text{Hard} & \text{100%}\\ \text{Easy} & \text{100%} & \text{Very hard} & \text{20% or 50%}\\ \text{Moderate} & \text{100%} & \text{Nearly impossible} & \text{0% or 20%}\\ \end{matrix} \$

Also from the DMG:

  • It's Very Hard to pull yourself out of quicksand if you have sunk 15 feet into it (p. 110)
  • It's Hard to pry open a locked pit cover (p. 122)
  • It's Hard to slow a Rolling Sphere trap (p. 123)
  • It's Hard to pull another creature out of a Bag of Devouring (p.153)
  • It's Nearly Impossible to move an Immovable Rod (p. 175)
  • It's Hard to break the Iron Bands of Bilarro (p. 177)

Everything else in there is Moderate or easier.

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