5th Edition D&D uses ability checks in a pass/fail fashion. The DM sets the Difficulty Class (DC), the players roll, adding their ability modifier and any relevant skill proficiencies, and the result either meets/exceeds the DC (and passes) or falls short (and fails).
While there’s some guidance in the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide suggesting a “fail forward” mechanic if you fail by two or less, this isn’t really hard coded in the system, or implemented in its adventures. Some D&D adventures offer differing degrees of failure (see, e.g. the avalanche and blizzard mechanics in Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden). But, some skills are better suited to having varying degrees of success.
The Problem with Pass/Fail
Insight is the prime example. Insight should not be a pass/fail skill. When used this way, it falls into a boring “lie detector” cycle where characters can either catch the non-player…
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