Learning Takes a Lifetime

Monday, June 04, 2018

While the kind of armor you wear, weapon you wield, and spells you know can be important measures of your character's power, your choice in skills is indicative of your character's depth. Is your character good at feats of acrobatics? Can they recall knowledge with scholastic effortlessness? Are they the sneakiest sneaker in the sneakerverse? Your skills may aid you in the thick of a fight, but they also enhance your effect on the world when the ringing of steel and the whizzing of spells subside.

The Pathfinder Playtest deals with skills a bit differently than the first edition did. First and foremost, we have cut down the skill list to 17 base skills (down from 35 base skills in Pathfinder First Edition). Now, I say "base skills" because the Lore skill can be split into numerous different lores, but for many purposes, like for this blog post, we can describe it as being a single skill.

Much of the reduction came from consolidation; for instance, we put the general functions of Use Magic Device into each of the various knowledge skills that focus on magical traditions, and we wrapped up a bunch of Strength-based skills into a general Athletics skill. In most cases, we coupled the consolidation with being a tad more generous in the number of skills you can be trained in (for instance, the fighter has 3 + Intelligence modifier trained skills in the playtest rather than 2 + Int in Pathfinder First Edition), making it easier to have a well-rounded character.

So what exactly are these 17 skills? They (and their key ability scores) are: Acrobatics (Dex), Arcana (Int), Athletics (Str), Crafting (Int), Deception (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidation (Cha), Lore (Int), Medicine (Wis), Nature (Wis), Occultism (Int), Performance (Cha), Religion (Wis), Society (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Thievery (Dex).

Skill Proficiency

Like many things in the Pathfinder Playtest, skills interact with the proficiency system. While a detailed description of the system can be found here, here's the nitty-gritty. Your character can be untrained, trained, an expert, a master, or legendary in a skill. Being untrained grants you a modifier of your level - 2, while being trained grants you a bonus equal to your level, expert a bonus equal to your level + 1, master a bonus equal to your level + 2, and legendary a bonus equal to your level + 3. Then, of course, you add your ability modifier in the key ability for that skill, and apply any other bonuses or penalties. But the new skill system is more than just the bonus you gain. Each level of proficiency unlocks skill uses that are either intrinsic to the skill itself or that are uses you select as your character advances.

Skill Uses

To give you an idea of what this means, let's take a quick look at the Medicine skill. Whether you are trained in Medicine or not, you can Administer First Aid.

[[A]] Administer First Aid

Manipulate

Requirements You must have healer's tools.

You perform first aid on an adjacent creature that is at 0 Hit Points in an attempt to stabilize or revive it. You can also perform first aid on an adjacent creature taking persistent bleed damage. The DC for either is 15. If a creature is both dying and bleeding, choose which one you're trying to end before you roll. You can Administer First Aid again to attempt to remedy the other.

Success The creature at 0 Hit Points gains 1 Hit Point, or you end the persistent bleed damage.

Critical Failure A creature with 0 Hit Points has its dying condition increased by 1. A creature with persistent bleed damage takes damage equal to the amount of its persistent bleed damage.

Basically, this skill use allows anyone who has a healing kit to treat another creature who is dying or suffering from bleed damage, which is super useful. Of course, being untrained reduces your chances to save your friend and increases your chances to hurt them accidentally, but it's worth trying in a pinch. If you are trained in the skill, not only do your chances to help a friend by Administering First Aid increase, but you also gain the ability to use the skill to Treat Disease and Treat Poison, something that someone untrained in the skill cannot do.

Skill Feats

These default uses are just the beginning. As you increase in level, you periodically gain skill feats, usually at even-numbered levels (unless you're a rogue—they gain skill feats every level instead). Skill feats are a subsection of general feats, which means that any character can take them as long as they meet the prerequisites. Moving forward with the example of the Medicine skill, as long as you are at least trained in Medicine, you can take the Battle Medic skill feat. This feat allows you to apply straight-up healing to an ally through nonmagical means, which is nice when your cleric is knocked to the ground or has run out of uses of channel energy.

For a higher-level example, Robust Recovery is a Medicine skill feat you can take after becoming an expert in that skill, and increases the bonus to saving throws against poison and diseases when you treat creatures with those trained skill uses. When you become legendary in Medicine, you can gain this skill feat:

Legendary Medic Feat 15

General, Skill

Prerequisites legendary in Medicine

You've invented new medical procedures or discovered ancient techniques that can achieve nearly miraculous results. Once per day for each target, you can spend 1 hour treating the target and attempt a Medicine check to remove a disease or the blinded, deafened, drained, or enervated condition. Use the DC of the disease or of the spell or effect that created the condition. If the effect's source is an artifact, a creature above 20th level, or other similarly powerful source, increase the DC by 5.

The more powerful or useful the skill feat, the higher the proficiency required to take it. Legendary Medic grants you the ability to perform amazing feats of healing through skill and experience rather than magic, but you must gain that skill and experience first. Of course, the Medicine skill is just the tip of the iceberg. This structure is replicated with every skill, including nearly every rogue's favorite—Stealth.

Stealth is a bit of an outlier in that all of its initial uses can be attempted untrained, but training and later proficiency in the skill yields some very subversive results. The Quiet Allies skill feat allows you to use your expertise in Stealth to reduce those pesky armor check penalties on allies' skill checks, while Swift Sneak allows a master in Stealth to move at their full speed when they Sneak. Upon becoming legendary, you further enhance your skill by no longer needing to specifically declare the sneaking exploration tactic when you are in exploration mode, allowing you to sneak everywhere. You're just that good.

But this is all just the start. Mark will take up more aspects of what you can do with skill feats this Friday!

Constant Progress

Like many aspects of the Pathfinder Playtest, the goal of skills is not only to gain the greatest bonus, but also for you to expand outward and create a unique character who uses skills the way you want them to be used. Much like how ancestry feats allow you to choose the type of human, dwarf, elf, or whatever you want to play, the proficiency and skill feat system will enable you to determine what kind of knowledgeable, athletic, or sneaky character you want to play. Over time, this system gives us the opportunity to add more skill uses by way of skill feats, which will allow the game to become more dynamic as we add options. This also allows you to continue to grow your skills in new and surprising ways without us having to pull out the wires of the underlying skill, which is something we are always loath to do. In this way, as the game progresses, we can expand skill options in an open-ended way, without invalidating the gateway mechanics.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

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Liberty's Edge

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Captain Morgan wrote:
It occurs to me that getting so few skill increases and skill feats having so many tempting options that party members will really want to avoid redundancy. In PF1, it was often nice to have two characters who could attempt spellcraft checks or Knowledge checks if the other failed. Now, that's very costly. The +level thing will probably help your untrained party members try a thing, but man, most characters will have a lot of untrained skills.

This is a little misleading for a few reasons:

1. The Skill List is only 16 skills long ignoring Lore. If you likewise ignore the 4 Knowledge Skills that don't do Monster Knowledge and Profession in PF1, the PF1 list is 30 Skills. This means that 5 trained skills in PF2 is roughly the equivalent of 9 Trained Skills in PF1. That's still a fair amount of redundancy.

2. Raising Int probably gives additional Trained Skills. I'd expect a fair number of people to raise Int a bit given how leveling Abilities works. This means that by 10th, the average number of non-Lore skills most characters have at Trained or better is gonna be more like 6-7. Which is the equivalent of 10 to 13 or so in PF1.

3. You can spend Skill Feats on getting additional Skills to Trained. Not everyone will do this, but I wouldn't expect it to be especially uncommon either.

4. You can technically invest all your Skill Ranks into having 3 Legendary Skills...but do you want or need 3 Legendary Skills? Given that you get a grand total of 4 Master Level Skill Feats and 3 Legendary Level Skill Feats unless you invest your General Feats, I'm not sure having three Legendary skills is super relevant to most non skill-focused characters. Most people might well make do with two. If doing that, you free up three more ranks to get Skills at Trained. That takes you to between 8 and 10 skills at Trained or higher (the equivalent of 15-18 or so in PF1).

5. And then there's Rogues. Who appear to wind up with 8 or so non-Lore skills at 1st level. With the Int thing above that goes to 10. Assuming they only want 5 Legendary Skills, adds another 4 ranks, and they have plenty of Skill Feats to throw in another couple if they like. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see most Rogues eventually wind up with every skill Trained.

I'd definitely expect to see very little overlap in skills at Master and higher, but Trained? I think Trained will be common enough that you'll very often have someone with Trained to back up the guy who actually specialized.


Fair enough, all good points.

Dark Archive

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Hmmm... I really like how skills apparently work in PF2, and skill feats are an excellent addition to the game. However, I feel that it'd be nice to have something like Profession still in the game, because I don't think Crafting can completely cover different professions or even potential uses of Appraise. 'Trade' or something like it (e.g. 'Trade (Merchant)') would IMO cover at least most cases just nicely, maybe? Likewise I wouldn't mind seeing Diplomacy replaced by Persuasion, perhaps even folding Intimidation into the same skill?

If 'Sense Motive' still exists as a term in the game in any form (now a part of Deception or Perception, I guess?), in my opinion it should be renamed to 'Insight' or something like that.

Liberty's Edge

Asgetrion wrote:
Hmmm... I really like how skills apparently work in PF2, and skill feats are an excellent addition to the game. However, I feel that it'd be nice to have something like Profession still in the game, because I don't think Crafting can completely cover different professions or even potential uses of Appraise. 'Trade' or something like it (e.g. 'Trade (Merchant)') would IMO cover at least most cases just nicely, maybe?

Good news! Lore can be used for precisely this, at least in regards to Profession, and being a freeform skill can work much like Profession did in PF1.

Asgetrion wrote:
Likewise I wouldn't mind seeing Diplomacy replaced by Persuasion, perhaps even folding Intimidation into the same skill?

The issue with this is that it makes Trolls (and other huge, unpleasant, intimidating creatures) super charming and likable, which would be why they didn't do it. They thought about it but there were issues.

Asgetrion wrote:
If 'Sense Motive' still exists as a term in the game in any form (now a part of Deception or Perception, I guess?), in my opinion it should be renamed to 'Insight' or something like that.

It's been rolled into Perception. It doesn't seem to have a specific term separate from other Perception tasks per se.

Dark Archive

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Good news! Lore can be used for precisely this, at least in regards to Profession, and being a freeform skill can work much like Profession did in PF1.

That works just fine for my group! It's nice to know it's still in the game in some form. :)

Deadmanwalking wrote:
The issue with this is that it makes Trolls (and other huge, unpleasant, intimidating creatures) super charming and likable, which would be why they didn't do it. They thought about it but there were issues.

Yeah, I guess that is true. And now that you mentioned it (Intimidation), PCs will likely get a skill feat to replace Cha modifier with Str, just like in PF1.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
It's been rolled into Perception. It doesn't seem to have a specific term separate from other Perception tasks per se.

That's also fantastic news! I always wondered why it existed as a skill; after all, Sense Motive is practically just a very specialized use of Perception or 4E's Insight.

Liberty's Edge

Asgetrion wrote:
That works just fine for my group! It's nice to know it's still in the game in some form. :)

Agreed. As a nice side effect, since everyone gets a single free Lore from Background, everyone can make a living in whatever trade they grew up learning (assuming there's a market where they are, anyway). That's cool thematically and, on a mechanical level, allows for more standardized rates to be used regarding employment in the Downtime system.

Asgetrion wrote:
Yeah, I guess that is true. And now that you mentioned it (Intimidation), PCs will likely get a skill feat to replace Cha modifier with Str, just like in PF1.

This seems pretty plausible, yeah.

Asgetrion wrote:
That's also fantastic news! I always wondered why it existed as a skill; after all, Sense Motive is practically just a very specialized use of Perception or 4E's Insight.

I'm fairly happy with it myself.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Deadmanwalking wrote:


Asgetrion wrote:
Yeah, I guess that is true. And now that you mentioned it (Intimidation), PCs will likely get a skill feat to replace Cha modifier with Str, just like in PF1.

This seems pretty plausible, yeah.

Even better (than the option in the quote, not than the PF1 feat which does a thing that can't happen in the playtest) if you have some Cha: there's a Strength-req skill feat that lets you essentially use your physical menace to create your own circumstance bonus, and it increases if your rank in Intimidate is high enough and your Strength is high enough.

Dark Archive

Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:


Asgetrion wrote:
Yeah, I guess that is true. And now that you mentioned it (Intimidation), PCs will likely get a skill feat to replace Cha modifier with Str, just like in PF1.

This seems pretty plausible, yeah.

Even better (than the option in the quote, not than the PF1 feat which does a thing that can't happen in the playtest) if you have some Cha: there's a Strength-req skill feat that lets you essentially use your physical menace to create your own circumstance bonus, and it increases if your rank in Intimidate is high enough and your Strength is high enough.

Sounds actually better than Intimidating Prowess! :)

Mark, is there any chance for a "lifepath" style of character creation process in PF2? I know it's not possible to do that in the core rulebook, but perhaps somewhere down the line in one of the supplements, such as APG for PF2?

What I mean by "lifepath" is some sort of table/chart for random events that guide you in determining your ability scores and background skills, and also helps you and the GM to tie your PC's background (storywise) into the campaign.

For example, if you roll an event that establishes an antagonist relationship with a criminal organization, you might (to give you a crude example) try negotiation (+1 proficiency rank to Diplomacy or Society and +2 Int or Cha), trickery (+1 prof.rank to Deception or Thievery and +2 to Cha or Dex), fighting them (+1 prof.rank to Intimidation or Survival and +2 to Str or Con), etecetera. You would always get options to raise any of the six ability scores, so that you would end up with whatever stats you originally wanted for your PC, but it would be a series of "proto-organic" choices that also establishes some major pieces of each character's history.

I mean, things being as they are now, I fear most fighters will end up with whatever background (Warrior?) lets them get the best bonuses to Str and Con, especially if the scores will be capped at 20-22. If any of the backgrounds (or a series of lifepath-style events) lets you choose whatever scores you want, you'll likely end up with PCs that have a wide variety of backgrounds instead of players "metagaming" them. Or that's what I think, anyway. :)

Or backgrounds could be divorced from ability scores altogether (5E style), granting you only proficiency ranks? And you would instead pick "training packages" that let you raise your scores... the warrior being naturally the package a fighter would pick. For example, you might end up with a nomad mercenary fighter, with 'nomad' being the background and 'mercenary' being your "ability score boost" package?

Just some wild, random ideas here... it's 2am here on the other side of the world, and I should be getting to bed soon! :)

Paizo Employee Designer

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Asgetrion wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:


Asgetrion wrote:
Yeah, I guess that is true. And now that you mentioned it (Intimidation), PCs will likely get a skill feat to replace Cha modifier with Str, just like in PF1.

This seems pretty plausible, yeah.

Even better (than the option in the quote, not than the PF1 feat which does a thing that can't happen in the playtest) if you have some Cha: there's a Strength-req skill feat that lets you essentially use your physical menace to create your own circumstance bonus, and it increases if your rank in Intimidate is high enough and your Strength is high enough.

Sounds actually better than Intimidating Prowess! :)

Mark, is there any chance for a "lifepath" style of character creation process in PF2? I know it's not possible to do that in the core rulebook, but perhaps somewhere down the line in one of the supplements, such as APG for PF2?

What I mean by "lifepath" is some sort of table/chart for random events that guide you in determining your ability scores and background skills, and also helps you and the GM to tie your PC's background (storywise) into the campaign.

For example, if you roll an event that establishes an antagonist relationship with a criminal organization, you might (to give you a crude example) try negotiation (+1 proficiency rank to Diplomacy or Society and +2 Int or Cha), trickery (+1 prof.rank to Deception or Thievery and +2 to Cha or Dex), fighting them (+1 prof.rank to Intimidation or Survival and +2 to Str or Con), etecetera. You would always get options to raise any of the six ability scores, so that you would end up with whatever stats you originally wanted for your PC, but it would be a series of "proto-organic" choices that also establishes some major pieces of each character's history.

I mean, things being as they are now, I fear most fighters will end up with whatever background (Warrior?) lets them get the best bonuses to Str and Con, especially if the scores will be capped...

You could randomize the background fairly easily. Even assuming you were deadset on Strength and Con being the exact two stat boosts you get from background (and unwilling to budge to Dex or Wis in there), on average that means that 60% of backgrounds will work for you (with floating raise, you need one of Strength or Con out of the two options, and chances of not getting that is 4/6*3/5=40%).

Liberty's Edge

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Asgetrion wrote:
I mean, things being as they are now, I fear most fighters will end up with whatever background (Warrior?) lets them get the best bonuses to Str and Con, especially if the scores will be capped at 20-22. If any of the backgrounds (or a series of lifepath-style events) lets you choose whatever scores you want, you'll likely end up with PCs that have a wide variety of backgrounds instead of players "metagaming" them.

We actually know which Backgrounds give what bonuses (the list can be found here).

Of that list of 19 Backgrounds, 10 can grant both Str and Con. If you instead consider Dex and Str acceptable (also a very reasonable Fighter choice by all the evidence) that rises to 15 out of 19, and if you just want a bonus to Str, any Background will do.

In short, I'm pretty sure this already isn't a problem.

And, IMO, the current Ancestry/Background/Class system is already a Lifepath system, if a very simple one. It's even easy to randomize if you want (1d8 for Ancestry, 1d20 re-rolling 20s for Background, 1d12 for Class...you can even roll where stats go, though that gets a trifle cumbersome just due to number of rolls).

EDIT: Semi-ninja'd by Mark, but I'll leave this here for the link to the list anyway.

Dark Archive

Deadmanwalking wrote:

We actually know which Backgrounds give what bonuses (the list can be found here).

Of that list of 19 Backgrounds, 10 can grant both Str and Con. If you instead consider Dex and Str acceptable (also a very reasonable Fighter choice by all the evidence) that rises to 15 out of 19, and if you just want a bonus to Str, any Background will do.

In short, I'm pretty sure this already isn't a problem.

And, IMO, the current Ancestry/Background/Class system is already a Lifepath system, if a very simple one. It's even easy to randomize if you want (1d8 for Ancestry, 1d20 re-rolling 20s for Background, 1d12 for Class...you can even roll where stats go, though that gets a trifle cumbersome just due to number of rolls).

Thanks for the link! Hmm, I don't know, that's a long list of lores there, I'd probably want to either "wing it" (improvise lores for new PCs) or have a shorter list, e.g. Heraldry, History, Profession, Merchant plus a few others. I mean, Circus lore, Entertainment lore, Alcoholic lore? Labor of lov... no, sorry, Love lab... LABOR LORE! ;)

Heh, I don't want to randomize everything, rather I'd like to have a few rolls for random events that help establish who your character is and *how* (s)he reacted to those events. They should be generic enough to allow any GM to decide how to tie each character's background to the campaign. Maybe 2 rolls for major events, or 4 if it would be only +1 to stat per event.

For example, if you acquire a new ally, whether it's a grizzled old warrior who trains you (+2 Str or Con, +1 rank to Warfare lore), a cleric of Abadar (+2 Wis or Cha, +1 rank to Religion) or a gnome "illusionist" (+2 Int or Cha, +1 rank to Arcana) is totally up to you.

And that criminal organization you've antagonized (which I mentioned above), why not make it Kuthites or Red Mantis assassins, whatever best fits the campaign? This is what I'd like to have, a pretty generic list of random events that each lets you choose how you want to handle it; and even if the player "metagames" it to optimize stats, it's still going to have an impact on the character's history, storywise as well. :)

Dark Archive

Mark Seifter wrote:
You could randomize the background fairly easily. Even assuming you were deadset on Strength and Con being the exact two stat boosts you get from background (and unwilling to budge to Dex or Wis in there), on average that means that 60% of backgrounds will work for you (with floating raise, you need one of Strength or Con out of the two options, and chances of not getting that is 4/6*3/5=40%).

I know, and I'm not usually very good at optimization anyway! I just feels a bit "metagame-y" (is that even a proper word?) to cherrypick your stats (and a skill feat) by choosing the "optimal" background. This is probably why backgrounds in 5E only give you a flavorful minor ability and no ability score boosts.

I don't think this is going to be a problem with the guys I primarily game with. However, I also play in other groups every now and then, and I suspect this might come up occasionally (that Nomad background, for example, looks really, really good for all martial PCs).

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Asgetrion wrote:
Thanks for the link! Hmm, I don't know, that's a long list of lores there, I'd probably want to either "wing it" (improvise lores for new PCs) or have a shorter list, e.g. Heraldry, History, Profession, Merchant plus a few others. I mean, Circus lore, Entertainment lore, Alcoholic lore? Labor of lov... no, sorry, Love lab... LABOR LORE! ;)

Lores are freeform, there's no specific list. You can take anything as a Lore, and allowing non-listed Lores to replace the one from your Background is casually easy.

Asgetrion wrote:
Heh, I don't want to randomize everything, rather I'd like to have a few rolls for random events that help establish who your character is and *how* (s)he reacted to those events. They should be generic enough to allow any GM to decide how to tie each character's background to the campaign. Maybe 2 rolls for major events, or 4 if it would be only +1 to stat per event.

Dropping it to +1 is probably a bad idea. Characters don't start with odd numbered stats in the standard chargen, and that's a good thing. But if you want to replace Background with two Events you can certainly do so.

Asgetrion wrote:
For example, if you acquire a new ally, whether it's a grizzled old warrior who trains you (+2 Str or Con, +1 rank to Warfare lore), a cleric of Abadar (+2 Wis or Cha, +1 rank to Religion) or a gnome "illusionist" (+2 Int or Cha, +1 rank to Arcana) is totally up to you.

Assigning Skill Ranks to non-Lore skills is possible, but you'd need to drop the number your Class gives you. You also want to make sure everyone winds up with one Lore. Everyone having one is a mechanical assumption you're not gonna want to mess with.

Asgetrion wrote:
And that criminal organization you've antagonized (which I mentioned above), why not make it Kuthites or Red Mantis assassins, whatever best fits the campaign? This is what I'd like to have, a pretty generic list of random events that each lets you choose how you want to handle it; and even if the player "metagames" it to optimize stats, it's still going to have an impact on the character's history, storywise as well. :)

Like I said above, I think this is already pretty much the case. All the stats are really mechanically useful and you're gonna wind up with at least 4 of them above 10 in almost all cases, so non-standard assignments are hardly a problem.

I mean, a Fighter going with the Noble Background might have Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 10 to the Warrior Background character's Str 18, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 10...but I'm not sure that second character is actually better mechanically (the extra Skill you get for the Int boost is very good), and even that second stat-line can be created with 10 out of 19 Backgrounds.

I also don't think people having thematically likely Backgrounds (ie: Entertainer for Bard, Warrior for Fighter, etc.) slightly more often is a bad thing.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Im liking +lvl to everything now that ive sat down and looked at it some more. Im not convinced wizards will be comparable to martials in melee due to +level to everything. Consider level 8 say. The wizard will most likely be untrained or trained in a weapon, the martial probably master. So wizard with staff is 10+0+str, the martial 10+2+str. I suspect the martial will focus on strength far more than the wizard. Even bolstering for stats why would a wizard pick strength over dex, con, cha, int? So there str mods may well be diff by +5 at this time. This mans unless he goes out of his way to master a melee weapon the wizard is probably +10 to +11, the martial +17ish so at leadt 6 difference if not 7. To me that seems like a big difference in attack success and crits. In fact the 8th level wizard is probably as competant as a 6th level fighter who’s avoided all abilities and feats that bolster his attavk skills, so probably as good as a sensible 4th level fighter.

thats my impression at the moment and im ok with that.

By 15th level the difference is in the order of +10 if the fighter has done nothing to help his combat effectiveness and the wizard 15, close to his peak is about as good as a well designed 7-8th level fighter, a character half his level.

Yes the wizard can be closer to the fighter in martial attack ability but then he has to use his stat advances on strength and his feat choice needs to be more martial, less magic oriented, perfect if you want to play a magus type character. So again this looks to open more options rather than closing them off.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

As to intimidate and diplomacy rolled into one skill? I can reconcile the differences. I can see a character high in diplomacy being capable of intimidation, i suspect being able to deal with and manage people, understanding people being able to also intimidate. Wether he chooses too that depends on personality. Just because i have great diplomacy means i will automatically want to intimidate people, i kniw how but is its against my personal code, my personality why would i? A roleplay choice.

Similarly a brute thats great at intimidation, if you interpret intimidation that way, clearly understands people and can manage them. He may even be able to manage them well ie be diplomatic if he chooses. Ive known many great ”managers” who had great “diplomacyl skills that were just thinly veiled bullies (intimidation) who relied and power and/or physical size to “manage” people, they even thought they had great people skills.

For thievery i image much of the sleight of hand, pick pockets, pick locks will be “gated” by feats so simply having a high thievery wont mean you can both use sleight of hand well and pick locks for example.

Athletics could be the same easilly, feat choice deciding what you can and cant do. So id wait until the playtest is out to really interrogate the skills. Then its up to the feedback from there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Asgetrion wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
You could randomize the background fairly easily. Even assuming you were deadset on Strength and Con being the exact two stat boosts you get from background (and unwilling to budge to Dex or Wis in there), on average that means that 60% of backgrounds will work for you (with floating raise, you need one of Strength or Con out of the two options, and chances of not getting that is 4/6*3/5=40%).

I know, and I'm not usually very good at optimization anyway! I just feels a bit "metagame-y" (is that even a proper word?) to cherrypick your stats (and a skill feat) by choosing the "optimal" background. This is probably why backgrounds in 5E only give you a flavorful minor ability and no ability score boosts.

I don't think this is going to be a problem with the guys I primarily game with. However, I also play in other groups every now and then, and I suspect this might come up occasionally (that Nomad background, for example, looks really, really good for all martial PCs).

I think that there will be plenty of backgrounds to choose from as we go along in addition to the 19 in the Playtest there are 6 more in the adventure.

Having said that backgrounds seem like an easy thing for GMs and players to design themselves (or together). +2 to a Mental or Physical score, +2 to any score, a skill feat and trained in a lore skill. It is one of the areas of the game I am looking forward to designing in.

Dark Archive

Weird question about First Aid. Because there is no failure save does that mean that you critically fail always on a 1 no matter your level?

E.I. if I am 20th level and have a legendary Medicine skill (+23 without another bonuses) but roll a 1 does that mean I critically fail?


brad2411 wrote:

Weird question about First Aid. Because there is no failure save does that mean that you critically fail always on a 1 no matter your level?

E.I. if I am 20th level and have a legendary Medicine skill (+23 without another bonuses) but roll a 1 does that mean I critically fail?

As far as I've seen, if you would succeed on a natural 1, that's still a fail, but not a critical fail.


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This feels too much like they are dissociating level and related mechanics from the narrative. A massive negative in my mind.

Further, it also means that roll results will most certainly be dissociated from the narrative, which is extremely bad as that is one of the reasons that I actually play d20 despite all the other things I don't like about it. That association between results and narrative is one of key fundementals that keeps on board with d20. Removing that is removing me from the Pathfinder player list.

Liberty's Edge

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
This feels too much like they are dissociating level and related mechanics from the narrative. A massive negative in my mind.

What? This...makes no sense. My brain is not computing what led you to this conclusion. You add level as a bonus to all skill checks, many of which have static DCs. Level matters more mechanically, and thus in most cases narratively as well.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Further, it also means that roll results will most certainly be dissociated from the narrative, which is extremely bad as that is one of the reasons that I actually play d20 despite all the other things I don't like about it. That association between results and narrative is one of key fundementals that keeps on board with d20. Removing that is removing me from the Pathfinder player list.

How does this result in 'results no longer being associated with the narrative'? I'm not seeing how that's an outcome or implication of these rules.


Have you read Alexandrian's Calibrating Your Expectations?

A level 5 character is the max a real world human can ever hope to be according the system and it's numbers.

Things like level and the placement of these vague master/expert/legend categories are wrecking that wildly.

Further, it also presumes that simply being higher level makes you better at absolutely everything.

How far can you jump? Instead of asking how much you've practiced, now you ask how high level you are in something that has nothkng to do with your jumping ability.

Heck, let us just start with this question: What does level mean in the narrative milieu?

Liberty's Edge

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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

Have you read Alexandrian's Calibrating Your Expectations?

A level 5 character is the max a real world human can ever hope to be according the system and it's numbers.

I have indeed. It's more like level 6 in PF2, but that's not a vast sea change or anything.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Things like level and the placement of these vague master/expert/legend categories are wrecking that wildly.

Actually, they enforce it. Master level Skill Feats (available only at levels 7+) are where characters start getting stuff that is impossible in the real world.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Further, it also presumes that simply being higher level makes you better at absolutely everything.

It does to some degree, yes. Of course, many skill uses now require the skill to be at least Trained, or occasionally higher than that. So the list of stuff you get 'automatically better' at is somewhat limited. For example, as noted above, the only thing you get automatically better at in the Medicine skill is stabilizing dying people.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
How far can you jump? Instead of asking how much you've practiced, now you ask how high level you are in something that has nothkng to do with your jumping ability.

No, how much you've practiced is still very relevant. Level is also relevant, but it always was (there was nobody of 3rd level with 10 ranks in Acrobatics).

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Heck, let us just start with this question: What does level mean in the narrative milieu?

Power and experience. Someone of high level is an 'experienced adventurer' or the equivalent in some other profession, with the basic competencies you'd expect of that and a great deal of raw power/skill in their primary area of specialization.


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So where is the polymath? Where is the olympic athlete? Where is the master sword polisher?

======
Power and experience should not go up hand-in-hand (something I didn't like before either admittedly). But here, it not only goes up together, but makes you better at everything. You didn't practice or study a skill, but because you killed a bunch of guys now you're better at it.

Also, while I'm not seeing how the numbers can play nice with the narrative (it isn't just maximums, but minimums and averages and ranges, etc), I also am not seeing the whole thing at all yet.

However, there is an aspect that is separate from that, and that is how it feels.

I've done the whole Star Wars thing with skills based on level. Never once did it feel like my character had skill different from others. It always felt samey to me. You had it or you didn't. Felt like if someone didn't do it themselves, it was because they were a minimaxer worried about that +1 point, or they were basically untrained.

Here, it feels like the skills themselves are being phased out. Like they will get rather samey, and that it is not skill but feats that everyone will care about. Feats by any other name, are not skills, and they feel very different. The feel of feats suit them better to tricks, not categories.

Further, is the flexibility factor. What happens when soneone wants to attempt something unusual? There needs to be tools that the gm can scramble something together that actually feels like the right call. A broad skill list is a really good jumping off point for this, and indeed, most of the time, I could solve such problems with a skill check. But basing skills on level and witb too small a list, starts feeling too much like a cheat.

For example, a special forces commando shouldn't be able to program the next WoW clone with just a few classes on c++. Yet neither should they have to quit the military and swap all their commando training either.

Liberty's Edge

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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
So where is the polymath? Where is the olympic athlete? Where is the master sword polisher?

They exist and are high level, like always (well, except the sword polisher, that's never been a thing).

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Power and experience should not go up hand-in-hand (something I didn't like before either admittedly). But here, it not only goes up together, but makes you better at everything. You didn't practice or study a skill, but because you killed a bunch of guys now you're better at it.

That's always been true. This is not a new thing and hasn't gitten any worse logic-wise. It's always been possible to raise Craft (Jewelry) and Lingusitics by killing stuff.

It's perhaps slightly more overt now, but the logic hasn't really changed.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Also, while I'm not seeing how the numbers can play nice with the narrative (it isn't just maximums, but minimums and averages and ranges, etc), I also am not seeing the whole thing at all yet.

I'm still really not seeing how the numbers are your issue here.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
However, there is an aspect that is separate from that, and that is how it feels.

This is pretty subjective. To me, levels have always felt pretty artificial, but this doesn't mostly make them notably worse.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
I've done the whole Star Wars thing with skills based on level. Never once did it feel like my character had skill different from others. It always felt samey to me. You had it or you didn't. Felt like if someone didn't do it themselves, it was because they were a minimaxer worried about that +1 point, or they were basically untrained.

It's not binary. That's a big difference for me. You don't just have a skill or not, you have different gradients within that skill that actually matter.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Here, it feels like the skills themselves are being phased out. Like they will get rather samey, and that it is not skill but feats that everyone will care about. Feats by any other name, are not skills, and they feel very different. The feel of feats suit them better to tricks, not categories.

Skills still matter quite a lot. Several things seem gated behind specific degrees of Proficiency, which is pretty important. Skill Feats are also a factor, naturally, but far from the only one.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Further, is the flexibility factor. What happens when soneone wants to attempt something unusual? There needs to be tools that the gm can scramble something together that actually feels like the right call. A broad skill list is a really good jumping off point for this, and indeed, most of the time, I could solve such problems with a skill check. But basing skills on level and witb too small a list, starts feeling too much like a cheat.

I'm not sure exactly what you're complaining about here. Using level appropriate DCs, someone good at a skill is vastly more likely to succeed than someone who isn't, which would seem to solve this problem.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
For example, a special forces commando shouldn't be able to program the next WoW clone with just a few classes on c++. Yet neither should they have to quit the military and swap all their commando training either.

That's where Proficiency gating and Skill Feats come in. You can't do advanced skill uses automatically.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
So where is the polymath? Where is the olympic athlete? Where is the master sword polisher?

They exist and are high level, like always (well, except the sword polisher, that's never been a thing).

Except, they aren't supposed to be high level. unless they really alter DCs across the board, they are never above lvl 5 and rarely even lvl 4.

And sword polisher is a thing. Look at how katanas are made. There are several documentaries on it.

Quote:


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Power and experience should not go up hand-in-hand (something I didn't like before either admittedly). But here, it not only goes up together, but makes you better at everything. You didn't practice or study a skill, but because you killed a bunch of guys now you're better at it.

That's always been true. This is not a new thing and hasn't gitten any worse logic-wise. It's always been possible to raise Craft (Jewelry) and Lingusitics by killing stuff.

It's perhaps slightly more overt now, but the logic hasn't really changed.

And that makes it less of a bad thing? New edition, things are supposed tl be improving, not getting worse.

And it is worse when you add level to skill checks.

In 3.x and pf1, I can gate things. I can deny players putting ranks jnto things they never use. I can keep things sensible. And indeed, for mamy players, I wouldn't need to, as they'd increase only what they practiced or studied.

But lvl adding denies that entirely, it adds something for the sake of balance at the expense of narrative milieu.

Quote:

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Also, while I'm not seeing how the numbers can play nice with the narrative (it isn't just maximums, but minimums and averages and ranges, etc), I also am not seeing the whole thing at all yet.

I'm still really not seeing how the numbers are your issue here.

A master swordsman who has never touched a smith's hammer should not be equal to an apprentice who while still young has been practicing for a couple years already.

The point is that if a lvl 2 has a +8 to smithing when it's their specialty, they should not be eclipsed by a level 10 fighter that barely even tried smithing before, not even on the simple tasks that don't require more than merely being trained.

Quote:


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
However, there is an aspect that is separate from that, and that is how it feels.

This is pretty subjective. To me, levels have always felt pretty artificial, but this doesn't mostly make them notably worse.

True, depdnding on what you think they represent, but even then, a matter of degree still matters.

They shouldn't be making worse. They shoukdn't be making more video game-like, nor even more board game like.

Quote:


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
I've done the whole Star Wars thing with skills based on level. Never once did it feel like my character had skill different from others. It always felt samey to me. You had it or you didn't. Felt like if someone didn't do it themselves, it was because they were a minimaxer worried about that +1 point, or they were basically untrained.

It's not binary. That's a big difference for me. You don't just have a skill or not, you have different gradients within that skill that actually matter.

Except theh are diminishing that difference, for no narrative reason. It gets in the way of the art.

Too much game, not enough rp.

Quote:


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Here, it feels like the skills themselves are being phased out. Like they will get rather samey, and that it
...


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Quote:
That's where Proficiency gating and Skill Feats come in. You can't do advanced skill uses automatically.

First, a master blacksmith is lvl 3. A lvl 7 blacksmith is better than human has ever been.

Second, I don't think skill feats is a good idea. Feats feel more like tricks rather than broad and general knowledge/practice/experience.

Feats ard also either not fine grained enough, or subject to not enough feat slots and too much feat prerequisites.

Liberty's Edge

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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Except, they aren't supposed to be high level. unless they really alter DCs across the board, they are never above lvl 5 and rarely even lvl 4.

Oh, you mean real life ones. I thought you meant the in-universe equivalent.

What about them? At level 4 they can be Experts in a skill, and, in a world where most people probably aren't even trained in their skill of choice and are level 0-2, they stand out a fair bit with their +9 or +10 in the thing they're really good at (and probable ability to automatically succeed at anything DC 15 or less).

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
And sword polisher is a thing. Look at how katanas are made. There are several documentaries on it.

I meant in the game. That people cared about. Sword polisher is (or was) a real profession, sure, but like being a banker it's not one the game explores in detail.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

And that makes it less of a bad thing? New edition, things are supposed tl be improving, not getting worse.

And it is worse when you add level to skill checks.

The gating things behind a minimum of Trained really solves a lot of this. See below.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
In 3.x and pf1, I can gate things. I can deny players putting ranks jnto things they never use. I can keep things sensible. And indeed, for mamy players, I wouldn't need to, as they'd increase only what they practiced or studied.

You can gate getting Trained (or raising Proficiency at all) in exactly the same way and achieve much the same effect. They'll still get better in things they were already trained in, but most GMs tend to allow that anyway.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
But lvl adding denies that entirely, it adds something for the sake of balance at the expense of narrative milieu.

No. It changes the narrative milieu a bit. In many narratives powerful people becoming somewhat competent at just about everything is normal and expected. That's, to some degree, the sort of narrative high level Pathfinder embraces now. And no less realistic than surviving immersion in lava (which was something you could easily survive in PF1 as a high level character).

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

A master swordsman who has never touched a smith's hammer should not be equal to an apprentice who while still young has been practicing for a couple years already.

The point is that if a lvl 2 has a +8 to smithing when it's their specialty, they should not be eclipsed by a level 10 fighter that barely even tried smithing before, not even on the simple tasks that don't require more than merely being trained.

He isn't. Someone untrained in Crafting can't even attempt to make a sword. Creating new items is a Trained only use of the skill.

The same is true for most 'advanced' uses of most other skills. For example, practicing law requires having the Lore (Law) skill, so if you never trained as a lawyer, you are just s*#! out of luck.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

True, depdnding on what you think they represent, but even then, a matter of degree still matters.

They shouldn't be making worse. They shoukdn't be making more video game-like, nor even more board game like.

I'd argue they're making it more mythic. More epic. It's more like the tales of Hercules, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh now. That's not 'more gamey' or 'less narrative', it's just shifting narrative focus to a slightly different narrative. One acknowledging the ridiculous power level Pathfinder characters have always been capable of.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

Except theh are diminishing that difference, for no narrative reason. It gets in the way of the art.

Too much game, not enough rp.

'Low power' or 'realistic' and 'more narrative' are not synonyms. Indeed, for many styles of story they are antonyms. You keep saying that this is less narrative, but it isn't. It plays into narratives with omnicompetent protagonists like myths and superhero stories (or at least it does at high levels), but those are the sort of stories high level Pathfinder has always been about. I'd argue it plays much closer to the narrative of those stories now than it did before.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
First, a master blacksmith is lvl 3. A lvl 7 blacksmith is better than human has ever been.

Master now has a specific game meaning. It's the level 7 power level. Using it for other stuff is thus confusing. The level you're talking about is 'Expert'.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Second, I don't think skill feats is a good idea. Feats feel more like tricks rather than broad and general knowledge/practice/experience.

Broad competence is what Proficiency Rank + Level measure, and they seem to do a fine job. Skill Feats are for specific uses you've learned, or for being able to accomplish easy stuff casually.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Feats ard also either not fine grained enough, or subject to not enough feat slots and too much feat prerequisites.

Except that you get 10 Feats just for Skill Feats in PF2, and none seem to have more than a single prerequisite.


As long as someone does need to be a 20th-level character or what-have-you in order to be a cracking blacksmith, I'm cool.


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Quote:
It plays into narratives with omnicompetent protagonists like myths and superhero stories

That is an extremely narrow scope, way more narrow than it has been previous, and not a stich has been gained by limiting the scope to such a narrow degree.

Quote:
It's more like the tales of Hercules, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh now.

Not really. Those guys were never high level. 3.x could handle those stories very easy without comprimising flexibility for doing other things. PF2 isn't even doing them better, it is just disallowing you anything else.

Quote:
'Low power' or 'realistic' and 'more narrative' are not synonyms.

Indeed, we agree on this, and don't think otherwise.

The brilliance of 3.x was the great simulation of realism, yet in an easy to use way, that then smoothly extended beyond into supernatural and demigodly range. It wasn't limited to just one power level, it could handle the whole range and even be extended as far as you wanted.

That basis on reality though was important. It was like the unit marks on a ruler. Hence the reference to real people and real professions (and yes there still are sword polishers in Japan).

Besides, I don't want nor need more epic/mythic/whatever. Firstly, nothing pf2 can do will actually give me more of that. There is a certain point when it is all up to the gm, and even 3.x had reached that point.

Pf1 simply raised the minimum, and now they are not only raising the minimum once again, they are severely limiting scope and wiping away the reference that made the whole thing work.

4e was an awesome game. Why don't I play? Because it is purely a combat game. It has no support what-so-ever for anything else. I haven't gotten far into 5e, but nothing I've seen so far has led me to think it is any different beyond the superficialness of it.

PF2 looks to me like it will be nothing more than a 5e clone set in Golarion. And that is nothing to be excited about.

There is no other game that has as much support for narrative consistancy and communication as 3.x. No modern publisher even seems to be trying.


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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
The brilliance of 3.x was the great simulation of realism,

Not from the reality I am looking at it.


Chest Rockwell wrote:
GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
The brilliance of 3.x was the great simulation of realism,
Not from the reality I am looking at it.

And what reality is that?

Actually wait. The Alexandrian has been over this and presented it really well in the Calibrating Your Expectations article, so why don't you read that, and start there.

What do you disagree with about his analysis and why?


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Jeez, you are on some next level stuff, you know that?


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Chest Rockwell wrote:
GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
The brilliance of 3.x was the great simulation of realism,
Not from the reality I am looking at it.

And what reality is that?

Actually wait. The Alexandrian has been over this and presented it really well in the Calibrating Your Expectations article, so why don't you read that, and start there.

What do you disagree with about his analysis and why?

That the reality breaks down at reasonably high levels for even sub optimally built characters. Those expectations hold out for maybe 6 levels in PF1. In fact in PF2 it looks like at early and high levels your numbers will be much more constrained, allowing for a more reasonable range of DCs to "simulate" the world. It is much easier to achieve this when the span of modifiers goes from -2 to +38 over 20 levels than it does in a system where you can break that range at level 1 (given some generous gold.)

It seems you are having difficulty calibrating your expectations to what PF (and specifically PF2) offers.


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Chest Rockwell wrote:
GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
The brilliance of 3.x was the great simulation of realism,
Not from the reality I am looking at it.
And what reality is that?

Good question, rather existential, best thing you have posted yet; but, for sake of argument, let's say the reality we are both currently sharing.

D&D and PF as reality simulators are notoriously a joke.


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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Chest Rockwell wrote:
GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
The brilliance of 3.x was the great simulation of realism,
Not from the reality I am looking at it.

And what reality is that?

Actually wait. The Alexandrian has been over this and presented it really well in the Calibrating Your Expectations article, so why don't you read that, and start there.

What do you disagree with about his analysis and why?

If I'm not mistaken, in that analysis they said level 5 is the pinnacle of humanity, so I'm gonna look at level 5.

A level 5 Commoner with straight 10s, the best of the best of being common, the absolute pinnacle of commonality, has 17 HP. That is, average HP for 5d6 HD with no con bonus. If this pinnacle of commonality got pushed off the side of a four story building onto cement, he has better than even odds to walk away from it, because a four story fall is only 4d6 damage, average 14 damage. Heck, the chances of him being knocked out is not quite 16% even. Now granted, that's not the "jump off a skyscraper and do a superhero landing" that high level can manage, but that seems like quite the stretch even for the absolute pinnacle of commonality. And of course, the further we get away from being a pinnacle of commonality the worst it gets. For instance, let's bump our pinnacle up a couple stations. He's now an Aristocrat. Well, now his HP is bumped up to 22 because nobles are sturdier than the average man I guess. That same four story fall? Now there's only a 0.39% chance of it knocking him out. Give him 12 Con and now he is guaranteed to walk away from a 4 story fall.

But okay, so level 5s are rare in our world, so let's look at a more reasonable level 3 Aristocrat. HP is dropped down to 13 at 10 Con. So now... that same 4 story fall actually does have greater than even odds to knock him out at least, at a bit more than 55 and a half percent. That's still a good 44 and change percent chance he's just casually walking away. Now let's give him 12 Con again. Oh look at that, he's up to 16 HP, and that 4 story fall is down to 23.92% chance of even knocking him out. So 3 times out of 4, he's getting pushed off a four story building and walking away like nothing happened. And that's the aristocrat. Now let's look at an actual PC class.

More precisely, let's look at a Fighter. The generic fighty man PC class. As a PC class, he gets full HD at level 1. That means his level 3 HP is 21 at 10 Con. But let's be real, what Fighter has 10 Con? So let's give him 12. So now he has 24 HP at level 3. Oh look at that, 24 is also the max damage 4d6 can do. So at level 3, a not unreasonable level according to the article IIRC, someone trained in fighting who takes the worst possible tumble off a four-story building is limping away, and otherwise is going to stand up, brush himself off, and walk away like nothing happened.

Ladies and gentlemen, "realism".


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1)

Quote:

it looks like at early and high levels your numbers will be much more constrained, allowing for a more reasonable range of DCs to "simulate" the world

You are assuming that more constrained is a better simulation, but it isn't.

Real world things don't scale evenly like that. In fact, the idea that perfectly simulating the real world would give you numbers anywhere near "mechanically balanced" is so laughable, that anyone believing that should get checked into seeing a psychologist. And that is before you start streching things out into supermen realm.

Anything about the real world extrapolated into the realm of superheroes will be ridiculous and bonkers, but then again, that's the nature of superheroes. I read so e superhero stories, jot to mention the movies, and I'm not seeing any reason to think that superheroes should have all their DCs be more contrained.

That said, every time I see someone with broken numbers, they don't have characters. Their excuse for characters, which they treat more like game pawns than characters, also break the narrative milieu.

It then becomes an arguement between the GM who should deny something because it doesn't fit the narrative milieu against the player who says "but the book says..."

A GM who allows the narrative milieu to be ignored in favor of mechanics designed to be constrained by the narrative milieu, are gms who miss the point, and therefore deserve the problems that come from it.

The rules are not there to make everything fair and balanced. Fair and balanced are concepts for competetive games, not cooperative narrative based activities.

You don't tear aoart movies and books because things aren't fair and balanced, so if you're doing that about RPGs*, particular 3.x and earlier DnF, then you are entirely missing the point of them.

*I do admit that scope of the term RPG has grown not only beyond the point of being useful, but so far it no longer even resembles the original concept nor the literal meaning of the phrase. So consider the above statement as referencing something more similar to the original concepts of roleplay.

Quote:

the absolute pinnacle of commonality, has 17 HP.

First, HP is the worst aspect of the system in the simulationism aspect.

Second, while simulationism can be a good thing, it needs to be balanced with ease of use and playability. HP is one thing that changing will most certainly be better than simulationism.

After all, having everybody die after the first wound is less than fun, and terrible storytelling.

Besides, even if you actually wanted health tk be as simulationist as everything else, then it is still bad form to look at only the worst aspect of something and claim everything is equally bad.

For example, if comparing vehicles, you don't compare cargo capacity between a 2-door sports car and an 18-wheeler with 54' trailer, then claim the sportscar is a horrible car.

Even comparing reletively similar traits, say acceleration and top speed. A car having less than stellar acceleration does not mean it has equally terrible top speed.

So HP alone is not a good argument here, both because it is the first thing anyone would want to make unrealistic, and second, because it is a single aspect.

I hate classes, yet despite that, I'll still play 3.x and pf1. Why? Because other things compensate for the things I don't like.

Likewise, one trait (or even a few) being horribly not-simulationist does not make a system horrible at simulationism overall.

A system is complex, even when it looks simple.

Oh, and thirdly, a system being bad at something, does not mean it isn't the best (after all, there may not be any good options), neither does that mean that one should stop trying to make something less bad.

Quote:

D&D and PF as reality simulators are notoriously a joke.

Firstly, HP alone does not makd this statement true.

Second, nothkng else I've seen does anywhere nearly as well being fairly simulationist and yet remain easy, fun, and quick to use. In fact, the couple other attempts at simulationism tend to focus on the wrong parts of simulationism. It isn't about modeling physics, it is about real world experience informing the expectations of the system's results. I.E. an olympic long jumper is going to want their experience in jumping to mesh well with determining whether their character can jump a gap.

Thirdly, I want something better at being a simulator, not something better at being a game. If it can do both, then awesome, but it is my belief that the two are opposites and 3.x was awesome for mixing them as well as it did.

Quote:


Silver Crusade

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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Thirdly, I want something better at being a simulator, not something better at being a game.

You do realise that it's not exactly the most popular sentiment about D&D, right?


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I feel like a good simulator in an RPG doesn't have Elves or Magic in it. Once you add, like, Dragons- it's just a matter of what levels of realism make for a better experience, and the bar is already pretty low.


Yeah if you want a simulator you don't want D&D its more on the game side for sure.

Silver Crusade

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To be fair, I can imagine a RPG where there's a palpable difference in the airspeed velocity of unladen swallow depending on it's species, or where you can be a level 1 polymath with +30 to Knowledge (mathematics).

I just can't imagine myself, or anybody at my table, enjoying such a game, because the level of complexity and granularity of the ruleset would be pretty much the opposite of what we enjoy in RPGs.


I always heard GURPS and paladium tried for simulation type games. Never had any first person experience with them.

Liberty's Edge

D&D and Pathfinder have always been terrible reality simulators. If you want a realistic game may I recommend All Flesh Must Be Eaten and Unisystem Classic in general? It's a solid, pretty simple, game where getting stabbed may well kill you.

That's a serious recommendation, AFMBE is a great system that works in just about any low-powered genre. There's even a 'Dungeons and Zombies' supplement if you want to do D&D style fantasy.


Wait isn't all flesh must be eaten that one that uses playing cards for probability?

Liberty's Edge

Vidmaster7 wrote:
Wait isn't all flesh must be eaten that one that uses playing cards for probability?

No. AFMBE uses d10s for everything but damage (and the whole list short of d20s for damage). It's billed as 'The Zombie Survival Roleplaying Game' but is really a pretty generic system, and you can use the zombie creation rules for most monster creation.

Castle Falkenstein uses playing cards as do several other games, but most of them are very setting-specific. I think there might be a variant set of rules for AFMBE where you use cards, but it's very much not the default.


Ok wasn't sure If that was the zombie game I played one time or not. the only thing I really remember about it was we used playing cards. That and character creation was super easy I assume because they figured you were going to die a lot.


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

Quote:

D&D and PF as reality simulators are notoriously a joke.

Firstly, HP alone does not makd this statement true.

I never mentioned Hit Points.

Gygax states in the 1st Ed AD&D DMG that D&D is game, not a fantasy simulator. You seem to want it to be something it was not originally designed for, and has never been.


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Chest Rockwell wrote:
GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
The brilliance of 3.x was the great simulation of realism,
Not from the reality I am looking at it.

And what reality is that?

Actually wait. The Alexandrian has been over this and presented it really well in the Calibrating Your Expectations article, so why don't you read that, and start there.

What do you disagree with about his analysis and why?

Wizards of the Coast did an outstanding job in researching human capabilities and 16th-century prices and modeling the capabilities and prices in Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition based on that research.

Ironically, one quirk of that research is a price that looks wrong to us 21st-century folk: the price of telescopes is 1,000 gp for a spyglass and 2,000 gp for a x10 magnification telescope. Telescopes were invented in 1608 A.D., after the 1599 A.D. deadline for the D&D equipment. And their prices in the early 1600s reflected that they were exotic items.

Malk_Content wrote:

That the reality breaks down at reasonably high levels for even sub optimally built characters. Those expectations hold out for maybe 6 levels in PF1. In fact in PF2 it looks like at early and high levels your numbers will be much more constrained, allowing for a more reasonable range of DCs to "simulate" the world. It is much easier to achieve this when the span of modifiers goes from -2 to +38 over 20 levels than it does in a system where you can break that range at level 1 (given some generous gold.)

It seems you are having difficulty calibrating your expectations to what PF (and specifically PF2) offers.

Yes, Wizards of the Coast switched from the tables of AD&D to simple addition in D&D 3rd Edition. Therefore, many quadratic or square root functions were modeled as linear functions. That works reasonably well over a short range of values, and poorly for higher values. Convenience was more important than reality. Since high levels are rather unreal anyway, I agree with their decision.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

It then becomes an arguement between the GM who should deny something because it doesn't fit the narrative milieu against the player who says "but the book says..."

A GM who allows the narrative milieu to be ignored in favor of mechanics designed to be constrained by the narrative milieu, are gms who miss the point, and therefore deserve the problems that come from it.

The rules are not there to make everything fair and balanced. Fair and balanced are concepts for competetive games, not cooperative narrative based activities.

I had this argument with a player just a year and a half ago. His fighter/investigator character, like most of the party members in my Iron Gods campaign, studied hard in Knowledge(engineering), necessary for identifying robots and alien technology. At 10th level, that fighter decided to build a workshop in the party's hometown of Torch. I provided the rules from Ultimate Campaign on establishing a business, and let him buy land above the waterfall in Torch for a waterwheel. But then the player went too far. I had told him that Golarion had 16th-century technology. He looked up every bit of technology invented somewhere in the world before 1600 A.D. and wanted to include it all in his workshop. Such as a trompe, a water-powered air compressor. He had a reference that showed it was invented in Italy in 1593, though it did not spread to other countries until the 1600s.

Torch, and the entire Iron Gods campaign, are in Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars. It is a barbaric land, but an alien space fleet crashed there centuries ago, so the inhabitants can find pieces of high-technology such as laser guns. No-one in Numeria would know how to make a trompe, not even the experts in alien technology, such as the Technic League. Numeria is pretty much 13th-century technology with laser guns and robots.

The player kept arguing. His character did have a very high Knowledge(engineering) bonus. Finally, I compromised. Once he got his Knowledge(engineering) bonus up to +20 (11 ranks + 3 class skill + 6 Skill Focus), I would let him know any engineering technology in the world. Maybe he subscribed to international technical journals of advanced mechanics.

Fair and balanced is not to keep the game fair. Fairness is my job as the GM. However, "that would not be fair" is a wonderful argument in our Western culture to shut up players who want an uneven advantage.

Though technically, the houserule bonus I give for a workshop is that the character can Take 10 on crafting and has the +2 bonus from masterwork tools. A trompe would not have made any difference. But I worried that that player would have insisted on a higher bonus for a cutting-edge workshop. And a trompe did not fit the milieu of Numeria.

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