Difficulty Class in D&D

Difficuly Class (DC) is integral to the D&D 5e platform. This article explains how it works.

While gameplaying, there is often a scenario where a player or creature will need to perform an action, require insight into a discovered item, dodge a wayward arrow, lift a heavy object etc. There are specific rules built into the platform that determine how circumstances such as these are handled.

The Difficulty Class in Dungeons and Dragons is a fundemental component that is used to determine how difficult it is to complete a specific task/challenge.

Challenges, Difficulty Classes and Abilities

When faced with a challenge, the DM will

  • Determine how difficult the challenge is
  • What ability would be needed to overcome the challenge.

The assigned difficulty will range from 1 to 30 (1 being extremely easy to 30 being nearly impossible).

The ability will be selected from the range of abilities that are core to the D&D platform.

Once the difficulty has been assigned, the player will roll a d20 to determine if they can overcome the challenge. Any modifiers for the given ability will be added to the roll.

Roll + Ability Modifiers > DC ==> Success!

Difficulty class examples (page 174 Players Handbook)

Task Difficulty DC
Very easy 5
Easy 10
Medium 15
Hard 20
Very hard 25
Nearly impossible 30