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Taking 20

Discussion in 'Neverwinter Nights (Classic)' started by gibberishh, Feb 26, 2023.

  1. gibberishh Gems: 14/31
    Latest gem: Chrysoberyl

    Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

    Feb 24, 2022
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    It is amazing to me that after so many years, players still don't understand the concept of "taking 20."

    This is going to be a rant, but hopefully it proves useful to someone.

    In NWN (and therefore I suppose in NWNEE), if you attempt any action during combat (music blaring), the result of that action is determined by a dice roll. It doesn't matter what the action is: attack, disarm trap, unlock chest/door, parry, cast spell, evade, run, heal, heal other, search, spot, listen, use magic device). All results are determined by a dice roll. The "number of die" rolled depends on the action's requirements, of course.

    The music blaring part of that explanation is the most significant bit. As long as that music is playing, you are in combat mode. In combat mode, you will always get a random outcome. Of course, this is necessary for many actions (death-defying healing, use magic device).

    But I've seen videos of people attempting totally unnecessary actions while in combat to apparently save time. E.g., disarming a chest while the merc/summon/familiar does the killing. In 80% of cases, you will actually save time by attempting to disarm the chest after combat.

    Why? Because when you are out of combat, the game "takes 20." I.e., it always rolls 20 (if the action allows it) and checks whether you were successful or not. This is to simulate the fact that if you are unsuccessful in disarming/unlocking a chest through a normal dice roll, you will attempt it again and again and again until you get the highest possible value (20).

    Although this should not affect healing, I have consistently observed even healing to be much greater outside combat. Imo, there should be randomness applied to healing kits no matter whether in combat or not.

    Please, video creators, take 20 [folded hands]
  2. SlickRCBD Gems: 29/31
    Latest gem: Glittering Beljuril

    Resourceful Adored Veteran

    May 7, 2005
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    It might not be the concept so much as not realizing that the game "takes 20" or under what conditions it does.
    It is not well explained in the manual or the on-screen documentation.
    I was surprised myself and I did read the manual, although I skimmed a lot of parts of it because by the time I could play NWN I'd already played the Gold Box games, Dark Sun (only the first, never got my hands on the second), Pool of Radiance 2:Ruins of Myth Dranor, and the Infinity Engine games. In addition, I played P&P AD&D 2nd edition from 1990-1997. So I was familiar with a lot of D&D's concepts. IWD2 and PoR:RoMD had introduced me to 3rd edition with it's BAB instead of THAC0, did AC backwards like many CRPGS (well, actually I always thought the negative AC used in AD&D, Bard's Tale, and Wizardry among others to be a bit odd).
    If this mechanic is explained in the manual, it is easily missed. I know I missed it.

    I did figure out that opening locks or disarming traps worked better outside combat, but I had to figure that out myself, and I only did so because I had "show die rolls" enabled when I was working on recognizing which enemies did what type of damage so I could swap DR belts.
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