Are You Proficient?

Friday, March 16, 2018

The term "proficiency" has been a part of the Pathfinder rules since the very beginning, but in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, we've expanded the concept to cover more than just weapons and armor. In the new proficiency system, your proficiency matters for just about every check you attempt and DC you have. You don't just have proficiency in weapons, which helps when you swing a sword, or proficiency in armor, which protects you when you try to avoid a blow—instead, proficiency covers everything from axes to spells, from Acrobatics to Thievery, and from Perception to Will saves. Your proficiency in Fortitude saves can allow you to shake off virulent poisons in an instant, and your proficiency in Diplomacy might help you stop a fight before it begins. There are five different ranks of proficiency.

Untrained

An untrained character lacks even basic proficiency. He adjusts his checks and DCs by –2 and sometimes flat-out can't attempt certain things. For instance, someone who is untrained in Thievery might be able to try to steal from someone but isn't skilled enough to pick a lock, no matter how high level he is.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Trained

A trained character has put in enough work that she's able to perform effectively. She can even start taking skill feats to achieve new and special effects with her skills. Many skill feats grow more and more powerful as your proficiency rank increases.

Expert

An expert is particularly accomplished in a particular field, adjusting her checks and DCs by +1, and gains access to more powerful features requiring expertise.

Master

A master is extremely skilled in an area, and she can achieve incredible results. In addition to adjusting her checks and DCs by +2, she may unlock powerful perks like master-level skill feats for skills, or the ability to dodge fireballs completely for Reflex saves. Other than a few classes like fighters, with their incredible command of weapons, characters can't become masters until level 7 at the earliest, and sometimes much later.

Legendary

A legendary character is world-class, and in addition to adjusting checks and DCs by +3, can routinely produce results that defy real-world explanation, even if they're not a spellcaster. For instance, a character who is legendary in Survival could learn to survive without food, water, or air in a featureless void, a character legendary in Thievery might be able to steal the armor off a guard, and a character with a legendary Will save might have a mind so strong that no mental intrusion can fully affect him. Most characters can't hope to become legendary until level 15 at the earliest, and even the mightiest fighters reach these heights with their weapons only at level 13. Most characters become legendary in only a few skills and one or two other statistics.

Proficiency Modifier

Your proficiency modifier is based partly on your rank and partly on your level—you add your level to the modifier from your rank to determine your proficiency modifier. For instance, a level 20 rogue who is legendary at Stealth might have a +23 proficiency modifier, while a level 1 paladin who is untrained at Stealth might have a –1 proficiency modifier. But does that mean that your level 20 untrained and magic-hating barbarian knows more about arcane magic than your friend's level 1 bibliophile wizard does? Not really. Your barbarian, with her extensive experience in battle, might be able to identify a dragon's weaknesses much better than the wizard with his ivory-tower book learning, but when it comes to magical theory, identifying the gestures that compose a spell, or other such topics, your barbarian simply doesn't know anything at all.

Gaining Proficiency

For most of your statistics, your starting proficiencies are determined by your class, though for skills, you can assign your ranks as you choose among any of the skills in the game. When it comes to leveling up, all classes gain skill rank increases at every odd-numbered level (or more often for the rogue!). Your other proficiencies increase based on your class and feat choices.

Making the Nonmagical Extraordinary

The best part about proficiencies is the way they push the boundaries for nonmagical characters, particularly those with a legendary rank. If you're legendary in something, you're like a character out of real-world myth and legend, swimming across an entire sea while beating up sea monsters like Beowulf, performing unbelievable tasks like Heracles, or hunting and racing at astounding speeds like Atalanta. While we did perform a bit of research on things like real world Olympic records and average expectations when it came to the lower ranks, masters and especially legends break all those rules. Want your fighter to leap 20 feet straight up and smash a chimera down to the ground? You can do that (eventually)!

And that's the basics of how proficiency works! Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think in the comments.

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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PossibleCabbage wrote:

As I understand it:

NPC swordsman who is bodyguard to the queen: built with PC rules.
NPC baker who asks the PCs to investigate the noises in his basement - not built with PC rules.

Basically the rule of thumb is if there's no reason for the PCs to fight someone, and if they decide to they wouldn't actually have a chance, they don't need a full stat block. All you need is their modifiers for a few checks they might make. So this probably is the majority of NPCs- the butcher, the baker, and the guy who makes candlesticks all don't need full stat blocks. No GM is going to make the baker roll for how good the cake is, as though it matters for the story anyway. If "producing a sufficiently amazing cake" is actually a matter of dramatic tension, a PC should be rolling for it.

Makes sense. I didn't like the idea when I first heard it brought up, but after thinking about it, it actually fixes a lot of the oddities of the 3.x skills system and how it worked with NPCs. And there's not really any legitimate good reason why every creature needs a full PC style stat block. AD&D 2e monsters worked pretty well, and they really only had about a dozen relevant things listed in their stat block.


Planpanther wrote:
The proficiency and skill feats system got me thinking about feat taxes of PF1. Its not a good feeling.

The way I understand it is that Skill Feats have a prerequisite of Character Level and Proficiency Level. If a Skill Feat requires another Skill Feat, it's because it builds directly off of the previous feat.


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Yeah, I was already on board with bespoke NPC generation rules because it would just be less of a headache, but it interfaces with this to make it feel more right. Part of my intuitions were informed by a sense that, even if I got to be very good at the things I want to be good at, there'd always be plenty of things I'm worse than the average person at. But "adventurers" naturally have to acquire a very broad skill set, and this fits with genre expectations in a lot of ways. (Conan isn't a specialized smashing machine, he's incredibly broadly competent, and the same applies to Gandalf and so on.)


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Clearly the discussion in this thread can never truly be "solved" because there are 2 issues here:

1- Characters of X level are far too distinct in their capabilities to where it's a detriment to the gameplay
2- New system would make characters not distinct enough in their capabilities (pro vs newbie at same level) where it's a detriment to realism.

Both of those are mutually exclusive. Solving one leads to the other.

The third thing I see a lot here is how adventures would be able to destroy NPCs at their specialties without even noticing. Special rules for NPCs should be able to counteract this if they dont get the same "ceiling" based on Adventuring level.


It's just my opinion, but I liked the skill rank system better. The new proficiency system makes it very similar, in terms of numbers only, to be or not to be proficient in something.


ChibiNyan wrote:

Clearly the discussion in this thread can never truly be "solved" because there are 2 issues here:

1- Characters of X level are far too distinct in their capabilities to where it's a detriment to the gameplay
2- New system would make characters not distinct enough in their capabilities (pro vs newbie at same level) where it's a detriment to realism.

Both of those are mutually exclusive. Solving one leads to the other.

The third thing I see a lot here is how adventures would be able to destroy NPCs at their specialties without even noticing. Special rules for NPCs should be able to counteract this if they dont get the same "ceiling" based on Adventuring level.

I think we could find a happy medium between the two.

Doubling/Tripling the Skill Proficiency Bonuses and halving the Level Up Bonus would probably get us closer.

I will disagree that the new system is a detriment to realism.

While, yes, it is totally possible that an experienced adventurer could absolutely suck at one thing, these types of people realistically don't live very long. A wizard who sucks at athletics is basically guaranteed to die if he finds himself out of spells in a situation where he needs to climb a rope.

There is also the problem that it is HIGHLY unlikely that PCs don't learn basics from experience. I think people are just used to 3.P's way of handling things. I feel like PCs SHOULD get better at stuff that they aren't trained on, just by being exposed to others doing that stuff and learning via watching.

The idea that a level 20 wizard is no better than a level 1 wizard at climbing a rope is preposterous. Sure, early on the party has to tie the wizard up to hoist him up, but later I would assume the wizard would figure out how to climb a rope. Even if he has access to spells that let him avoid the need, he would probably rather learn how to do it without magic than waste a couple spell slots on it every day.

I also don't think that high level PCs are going to necessarily completely out-shine specialized NPCs. People keep forgetting that higher skill unlocks are giving you access to new uses of the skill.

Let's take Craft: Smithing:

A level 1 expert Blacksmith NPC can make Expert quality weapons. The level 20 untrained PC can only make crude weapons.

The level 20 PC is definitely still going to buy his swords from the NPC.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
The third thing I see a lot here is how adventures would be able to destroy NPCs at their specialties without even noticing. Special rules for NPCs should be able to counteract this if they dont get the same "ceiling" based on Adventuring level.

I feel like one of the assumptions of the game (not the world, just the game) is that people or things of very different levels never go up against each other in a head-to-head competition. Or if they do it's not a matter of rolling dice so much as narrating how the higher level people wipe the floor with their competition.

Just as one wouldn't set their level 16 party against CR 1 enemies, one should not set their level 16 party against level 1 bakers in a bake-off". Rules are intending to model the actions of great heroes, not to accurately model the fact that "some craftspeople are better at their jobs than others."

Making the experienced heroes less competent so that it is possible to use the same rules to run "Top Chef Golarion" with NPCs who are not adventurers is a the wrong decision because the game isn't about chefs, it's about heroes. If you try to make the game model all things accurately, you're going to end up with a mess. I mean, the economy made no sense in PF1, but that was fine. People interested in fantasy games with realistic economies and chef competitions can probably find a game which does those things specifically.

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I think a lot of the discussion here comes down to game rules as "world physics" versus game rules as "story moderation." I come down pretty heavily in favor of the former approach, which is a major reason I switched to Pathfinder instead of 4e. I want my world to have some semblance of internal sense, which is why I want to compare characters of different levels - I know this system works if you "spotlight" a PC party and just look at things near their level, but as soon as you start thinking about a city with people of a whole range of levels, working and living day to day lives, this skill system falls apart.

Obviously no game is going to model a physics engine perfectly, but the smaller the issues the more easily things can be "tucked away" and ignored - see, for example, PF1e economics. The skill system previewed here makes it clear that PCs just aren't supposed to interact with things way outside their level, because in that case a lot of the verisimilitude breaks.

Let's consider the example someone above gave of sneaking past some guards in both systems. The example give was someone with a +11 and a +23 sneaking past some DC 25 guards, and how at least it's possible in PF2e whereas in PF1e the unskilled person would have a -2 and have no chance. My reaction to this was along the lines of "who the heck are they sneaking past, freaking Daredevil?" In my games most guards, no matter the level of the PCs, will be 1st-3rd level warriors so sneaking by them is maybe DC12-15. Guaranteed for the sneak specialist and still possible for Mr. Armor.

I guess what I'm saying is I see this having problems in sandbox style games where PCs aren't assured of facing "appropriate" challenges. I fear the huge level swing in the system causes it to break down (even more than PF1e) if players are doing something far above or below their "pay grade."

Knowing that there's a somewhat internally consistent world running in the background, and not just a "magic trick" that's ruined if you can see the guts of how it works, is not just a matter of peace of mind for the GM - it also helps immensely with figuring out what happens when PCs go off in an unexpected direction - the GM can rely on their sense of the world to narrate. Otherwise you run a greater risk of the players knocking over the fourth wall and realizing the whole world is a careful illusion propped up for their benefit.


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Leedwashere wrote:
quillblade wrote:

I'll have to look at the actual rules again and make comment on them later, I just have to bring up a pet peeve. It's about words.

Please don't call the skill Thievery. They did that in 4E: it condensed a variety of skills that could conceivably be used for non-criminal actions into a single term that's synonymous with crime. A magician has to use Thievery (instead of Sleight of Hand) to pull a rabbit out of a hat or perform other tricks, for example.

Calling it 'Thievery' seems to me like it will limit builds based on the negative preconceptions rather than open up the skill list. It did with my experiences in 4E anyhow.

If 'Thievery' is literally JUST the skill for 'stealing things', that's one thing, but I fear it will once again be the lump skill for Sleight of Hand and Disable Device... and maybe not everyone who wants to do magic tricks or disable traps wants to have to roll the Thievery skill and be pigeon-holed as the thief of the party.

Ooh, ooh, call it "legerdemain." It sounds cool and has a meaning which covers basically everything you want it to do.

It's been one of my favorite words since the first time I watched Star Trek VI. "What we need now is a feat of linguistic legerdemain and a degree of intrepidity."

Yes, I like this. And incidentally, the word "legerdemain" is borrowed from French "léger de main" which basically means "sleight of hand".


Bianchi wrote:
It's just my opinion, but I liked the skill rank system better. The new proficiency system makes it very similar, in terms of numbers only, to be or not to be proficient in something.

Keep in mind that certain Skill uses are gated behind Proficiency.

Yes, the level 20 untrained PC is better at hiding than the level 1 expert at Sneak, but the expert can probably make camouflage and hide in plain sight, while the level 20 PC needs cover.

I think comparing based solely on base modifiers is flawed, because a guy with Proficiency has better options that a guy who doesn't.

In a situation where orcs are chasing people through some tunnels, the expert Sneak guy tosses his stone colored cloak over himself and blends in with the wall. The level 20 untrained guy doesn't even get to roll because there isn't any cover to hide behind.


Zaister wrote:
Leedwashere wrote:
quillblade wrote:

I'll have to look at the actual rules again and make comment on them later, I just have to bring up a pet peeve. It's about words.

Please don't call the skill Thievery. They did that in 4E: it condensed a variety of skills that could conceivably be used for non-criminal actions into a single term that's synonymous with crime. A magician has to use Thievery (instead of Sleight of Hand) to pull a rabbit out of a hat or perform other tricks, for example.

Calling it 'Thievery' seems to me like it will limit builds based on the negative preconceptions rather than open up the skill list. It did with my experiences in 4E anyhow.

If 'Thievery' is literally JUST the skill for 'stealing things', that's one thing, but I fear it will once again be the lump skill for Sleight of Hand and Disable Device... and maybe not everyone who wants to do magic tricks or disable traps wants to have to roll the Thievery skill and be pigeon-holed as the thief of the party.

Ooh, ooh, call it "legerdemain." It sounds cool and has a meaning which covers basically everything you want it to do.

It's been one of my favorite words since the first time I watched Star Trek VI. "What we need now is a feat of linguistic legerdemain and a degree of intrepidity."

Yes, I like this. And incidentally, the word "legerdemain" is borrowed from French "léger de main" which basically means "sleight of hand".

I think 'finesse' would work well, because then that also opens it up to other fine-motor-skill uses. Stuff like high-DC checks to read a book by touch, and that sort of thing.


A nice consequence of this system is that whenever you invest proficiency in a skill, your chance of success against an appropriate challenge permanently goes up by one.

You can look at it as if in P1, every 2 levels you get a choice of +1 skill point per level, getting a class skill, or 1/3rd of a skill focus.


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thflame wrote:


The idea that a level 20 wizard is no better than a level 1 wizard at climbing a rope is preposterous. Sure, early on the party has to tie the wizard up to hoist him up, but later I would assume the wizard would figure out how to climb a rope. Even if he has access to spells that let him avoid the need, he would probably rather learn how to do it without magic than waste a couple spell slots on it every day.

I've had a masters degree in engineering for 20 years now. I'm good at math. I can do a lot of math in my head. I'm not nearly as good at doing math in my head now as I was twenty years ago.

I think it is a far cry from preposterous that a wizard 20 would be less skilled at climbing then a wizard 1. I don't see either case as "preposterous". But I think moving away from menial skills would be far more typical than enhancing those skills.

It is mildly alarming that the same red flag arguments are coming up here as come up during the run up to 4E. Granted, this is the exception to the rule in PF2 discussion so far. But still. The logic presented here imploded very recently.


thflame wrote:
Bianchi wrote:
It's just my opinion, but I liked the skill rank system better. The new proficiency system makes it very similar, in terms of numbers only, to be or not to be proficient in something.

Keep in mind that certain Skill uses are gated behind Proficiency.

Yes, the level 20 untrained PC is better at hiding than the level 1 expert at Sneak, but the expert can probably make camouflage and hide in plain sight, while the level 20 PC needs cover.

I think comparing based solely on base modifiers is flawed, because a guy with Proficiency has better options that a guy who doesn't.

In a situation where orcs are chasing people through some tunnels, the expert Sneak guy tosses his stone colored cloak over himself and blends in with the wall. The level 20 untrained guy doesn't even get to roll because there isn't any cover to hide behind.

They have better options they can’t succeed at.


Squeakmaan wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

So in order to play a character we currently can in the new edition, we have to put mechanical limitations on ourselves for nothing but "role play purposes". Sure. I could do that. Or I could play a system that supports my character. Wonder which I'll do?

Note: This is not me saying I won't play of 2nd ed. This is me pointing out how asinine of a suggestion it was.

If you want to represent a character being bad at something, like say lying, why not just represent that by not lying?

Guard: "So you're all here as caterers of Lord McEvilface's cotillion then."

Rogue: "Absolutely"

Fighter: "Sure, just like he said." -Points at Rogue

Barbarian: "Huh, no that's silly, I'm not even wearing a chef's hat, I'm here to punch him in the face."

'Imma deck him in the schnoz.'


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ChibiNyan wrote:

Clearly the discussion in this thread can never truly be "solved" because there are 2 issues here:

1- Characters of X level are far too distinct in their capabilities to where it's a detriment to the gameplay
2- New system would make characters not distinct enough in their capabilities (pro vs newbie at same level) where it's a detriment to realism.

Both of those are mutually exclusive. Solving one leads to the other.

I don't agree with your conclusion, because of the bolded word.

Number 1 is about the split in bonuses. If a player has +36 to a skill and the other has +14, there is no roll that means a challenge for player A that is possible for player B.

In number 2, it's also true that if the numerical bonus of player A is, say, 23, and the numerical bonus of player b is +18, there is not enough granularity in the numeric bonus to really say one of them is better than the other. However the same is not true about capabilities. If player A can hide in plain sight, remain unseen even after attacking, stealth while running at full speed, and can't be traced by magic, his capabilities are much different than player B, who just can sneak while in cover or darkness. Even if both roll a similar number to sneak while in cover or darkness.


Arssanguinus wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
You aren't, the different tiers of proficiency gate what tasks can even be attempted

For some reason I think things like lying, climbing, jumping, surviving in the wild, and sneaking will all be things that you can do untrained.

Quote:
characters already at those higher tiers of proficiency don't even need to roll.
I'm not comparing it to the higher level characters, I'm comparing it to the NPCs who will be low level and unable to keep up with heroes who are outclassing them at their jobs despite that hero never actually spending any time doing that skill.
A wizard will be a better farmer than the farmer, just by osmosis.

In the specific instance of the wizard this makes perfect sense (far superior intellect and assumed access to far reaching knowledge) at least in contrast to common peasant farmers.

It also makes sense for martials using the same common methods with fundamentally infinite stamina compared to the common farmers.

Bards sing their crops to high production and woo their animals with music and charm.

Druids have this in the bag.

It totally breaks down with clerics depending on their god.

Also breaks down with sorcerers.


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thflame wrote:

I think we could find a happy medium between the two.

Doubling/Tripling the Skill Proficiency Bonuses and halving the Level Up Bonus would probably get us closer.

That's going to quickly move it out of the territory to match saves and attack ratings, something that seems to be a design goal for this system. Once those numbers change, it becomes a lot harder to be able to swap out a skill for an attack roll to pull off a combat maneuver. Just as an example.

That's one of the things that actually leaves me pretty hopeful about this system and the flexibility it will allow. If proficiencies are more universal (like feats seem to be now), it opens a lot of options over the long haul.


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whatever change they do to skill proficiencies, will carry to save proficiencies and weapon proficiencies too, I think. Not sure they want that (certainly I don't)


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Personally, as for the whole 'wizards are better at climbing at level 20 than at level 1, despite never practicing,' I have three responses:

If the wizard ever had to be hoisted up on the end of a rope, it would make sense that, in some of his spare time, he might do some research on better climbing techniques, and thus have a better theory as to how to climb later on.

If the wizard has never, ever come across something to climb before in the campaign, well, maybe he was always that good, and it just never came up. Perhaps even he didn't know he was secretly a climbing prodigy all along.

Finally, magic (*insert sparkles*) could be the answer. Perhaps he's developed a minor technique that allows him to improve his skill with physical activities/substitutes normal labor for minor magic, to the extent that, with how efficient he's gotten with magic over time, and how much magic he has, it doesn't impact his daily magic power in the slightest.


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Dαedαlus wrote:

Personally, as for the whole 'wizards are better at climbing at level 20 than at level 1, despite never practicing,' I have three responses:

If the wizard ever had to be hoisted up on the end of a rope, it would make sense that, in some of his spare time, he might do some research on better climbing techniques, and thus have a better theory as to how to climb later on.

If the wizard has never, ever come across something to climb before in the campaign, well, maybe he was always that good, and it just never came up. Perhaps even he didn't know he was secretly a climbing prodigy all along.

Finally, magic (*insert sparkles*) could be the answer. Perhaps he's developed a minor technique that allows him to improve his skill with physical activities/substitutes normal labor for minor magic, to the extent that, with how efficient he's gotten with magic over time, and how much magic he has, it doesn't impact his daily magic power in the slightest.

I can do all that in PF1.

I can make a wizard who gets better at climbing and gets really good at it.
I can make a wizard that DOESN'T get better at it.

The question is not "can I invent a narrative around the rules?". The question is "why should I have to invent a narrative around the rules?".
I have less options now.
I'll readily concede that PF has some warts on this broad topic. But the reality is that I've been playing this basic system for 18 years now. And it has been a very popular and successful system throughout that time. Fixing a quirk that was not undermining the home run success of the overall package isn't something that should be done lightly. And this option appears to be bringing a lot more baggage to the table than it is removing. Handwaving the new problems and harping on the old quirks don't speak to "hey, a lot of people are seeing much bigger issues with this new approach."


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I'm intrigued by this profiency system, and it makes sense to me. I do like the idea of gradually unlocking new things to do with your skills as you become better at them. I'm glad that we'll be able to do really extraordinary stuff at high levels. For me, I really like progression where things are realistic at the start, but through enough work and experience, you'll eventually be able to accomplish superheroic feats. The realism in the beginning makes the extraordinary later feel all that more special.

I don't know if the modifiers between the different tiers of proficiency is big enough to feel significant, even when counting the ability score and gear modifier adjustments. I understand the math and how it works with the new critical success and fumble system, but I need to feel it in action.

I kinda get why all classes get the same +level modifier in order to keep characters who didn't invest in a particular skill still capable of participating, but my biggest worry is that it would make things too easy, that groups won't have that sense of failure or the need for creative problem solving because everyone is capable of overcoming the challenge to some degree.

In the Stealth scenario, what I did for my home campaign is that if the group needed to stealth all together, I had them all roll and I selected the lowest result for the group. I then used all the other players' stealth check as an aid another (I house ruled that an aid another gives a +1 bonus for every 10 the check beats), justifying that the better stealthy characters were giving pointers or lifting the less skilled members of the group. There was still the risk of the untrained member still f&!$ing things up for the group, but the more skilled members still felt validated in investing in their skill to mitigate that.

From the blog:
"Your barbarian, with her extensive experience in battle, might be able to identify a dragon's weaknesses much better than the wizard with his ivory-tower book learning, but when it comes to magical theory, identifying the gestures that compose a spell, or other such topics, your barbarian simply doesn't know anything at all."
This makes it sound like skills are either all or nothing, which disagrees with the premise made earlier. Does this mean that there are certain skills that are just useless to certain classes, even with a base modifier of +20 at 20th-level? Or was this example a bit too simplistic, and that a 20th-level barbarian will still be able to have some use out of an untrained Arcana skill, and that the wizard, who invested in skill feats for Arcana, is able to do more? (I'm assuming its the latter, but that example threw up some questions marks.)

What I really need to see is:
1) What skill uses are gated between the different tiers of proficiency?
2) What can skill feats do exactly?
3) How much can gear affect the skill modifier?
4) What other bonuses can we get? (class skills?)

Whatever method we increase skills, what I need to have is for the player to have the agency to improve their skills as they see fit to their character and needs. I need there to be a signficant feel in difference between two characters of the same level where one invested progress into one skill vs. the other who did not for the same skill.

A bit off-topic, but I'm beginning to feel frustrated in getting all this info in piecemeal format. Because each blog only examines one piece of the system without truly giving context in how they work with the rest of the system, there are just so many questions and concerns that pop up because we don't have that context. I'm already tired of seeing comments to just "wait until the playtest comes out" which is still more than 4 months away. If we can't adequately form opinions and concerns regarding the new system from these pieces of info, then you should have just stayed quiet until the playtest release.

Something to mitigate this would be to release a schedule of the blog topics so that we know when to anticipate answers to questions that come up in previous blog posts. I would also like to see blog updates on PF2 on a daily basis. Keep that information stream continuously pumping to prevent a build up of frustration and questions. I think that PF2 playtest announcement should have come out no earlier than a month before release. Long enough to allow preorders, build up hype, and condense the time between blog updates, but not long enough for people to stew in their concerns before seeing the actual thing.


One thing that I am contemplating is how Crafting and Riding work in FantasyCraft. You have to select focuses showing what you can craft and what you can ride.

I wonder if the Craft, Knowledge, & Performance skills will be like that, where you won't select Trained: Craft, but instead you'll select Trained: Craft (Weapons) and then you'll be untrained in everything else.


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Kain Gallant wrote:
I'm intrigued by this profiency system, and it makes sense to me. I do like the idea of gradually unlocking new things to do with your skills as you become better at them.

I do agree with this sentiment.

The tiers and "unlocks" sound cool.
Maybe a simple option would be to also cap modifiers based on Tier. Untrained means your base modifier caps out at 5.


BryonD wrote:
thflame wrote:


The idea that a level 20 wizard is no better than a level 1 wizard at climbing a rope is preposterous. Sure, early on the party has to tie the wizard up to hoist him up, but later I would assume the wizard would figure out how to climb a rope. Even if he has access to spells that let him avoid the need, he would probably rather learn how to do it without magic than waste a couple spell slots on it every day.

I've had a masters degree in engineering for 20 years now. I'm good at math. I can do a lot of math in my head. I'm not nearly as good at doing math in my head now as I was twenty years ago.

Have you been constantly practicing your math skills since then?

It is implied that an adventurer, regularly adventures.

If we are talking about a level 20 wizard who hasn't touched his spell book in decades, then I would probably rule that the wizard has "lost levels" due to being out of practice. There aren't normally rules for this, because the assumption is that you keep your skills sharp.

Quote:
I think it is a far cry from preposterous that a wizard 20 would be less skilled at climbing then a wizard 1. I don't see either case as "preposterous". But I think moving away from menial skills would be far more typical than enhancing those skills.

Except in this case, the level 1 Wizard may have never tried to climb a rope. The level 20 wizard has probably been adventuring for years and had numerous instances where he had to climb a rope, or he watched his allies do the same. He is definitely no worse than he was, a likely much better, as he has had practice.

Quote:
It is mildly alarming that the same red flag arguments are coming up here as come up during the run up to 4E. Granted, this is the exception to the rule in PF2 discussion so far. But still. The logic presented here imploded very recently.

What is illogical about someone who regularly adventures getting better at stuff that adventurers do?

I said it earlier, and I'll say it again, I think people are used to the way PF1 did things where if you didn't put ranks into something, you were just inept, this actually doesn't make sense, unless your character ACTIVELY avoids use of the skill and exposure to other using it.

Let's take knowledge skills for example:

A level 20 character is going to know more general knowledge about the world than a level 1 scholar. The scholar has read interesting facts in books, but the level 20 has LIVED it. The level 20 may not know the king of a far away kingdom, because he hasn't been there, while the Scholar might because he read about it in a book. On the other hand, the level 20 knows the customs of the next town over because he has been there, experienced it, and had to adapt to it while he was there. The scholar knows that they have special customs, but doesn't have details.

For an analogy, the level 20 adventurer is a guy who had to spend 10 years in Japan for work, picked up the language and learned via the Braille method how to fit in to society. The level 1 scholar is a "weeaboo" who has read a ton of stuff about Japan, but when he actually goes to visit, he's extremely awkward because his research is no substitute for experience.


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thflame wrote:
Have you been constantly practicing your math skills since then?

I've been involved in engineering projects and routinely perform engineering myself. But I also have better tools and have responsibility for more managerial portions of projects.

Things change.

Quote:
It is implied that an adventurer, regularly adventures.

Right, and I still engineer regularly.

Quote:
If we are talking about a level 20 wizard who hasn't touched his spell book in decades, then I would probably rule that the wizard has "lost levels" due to being out of practice. There aren't normally rules for this, because the assumption is that you keep your skills sharp.

Odd jump in the conversation there. You are suggesting not only that a miracle occurs which connects "touching of ones spellbook" with enhancing of manual climbing skill, but further that said miracle *must* occur in 100% of all wizards who ever exist within any universe engaged via the PF2 ruleset.

I think that miraculous claim requires more evidence than you have offered.

Quote:
Except in this case, the level 1 Wizard may have never tried to climb a rope. The level 20 wizard has probably been adventuring for years and had numerous instances where he had to climb a rope, or he watched his allies do the same. He is definitely no worse than he was, a likely much better, as he has had practice.

Says who?

My 18 years of 3.X/PF gaming says this proclamation also demands more evidence. MUCH more evidence.

Quote:
What is illogical about someone who regularly adventures getting better at stuff that adventurers do?

Asked and answered.

And, again, I've been down this very road before. The people who refused to address the questions then, still refuse to address the questions now. Their favored game is out of print. but that didn't seem to influence them.


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And, most importantly, the real question remains and was dodged above.
I could go either way in PF1. I just have less options now.

Is this proposed system flawless and perfect? I doubt anyone claims that.
Will it support two decades of gaming?

Can you address the concerns rather than attempting to hand wave them away?

Is this removing more issues than it is adding?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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I am concerned that the way they seem to be tying together everything under proficiencies - skills, saves, weapons, armor - that there is no real way to adjust anything based on playtest feedback since fixing any one issue will ripple to all the other areas. I think this unified system might actually be a flaw due to creating this constraint. What if it turns out that something that's good for skills just doesn't work when applied to armor - I'm not sure there's a way to resolve that at present.

When I see people commenting that we can't change the rate of skill progression because that would also mess up attacks, saves, and so forth, that seems like an argument against tying them all together.


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I feel though that a game in which +1 to a skill is every bit as valuable as +1 to hit with a specific weapon or +1 to a specific save is worth pursuing. So anything that takes us further from that I don't think is a good reaction to the playtest.


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We don't know the skills in PF2, we don't know the breakdown of trained or untrained, and we don't know what gets gated behind the different levels of proficiencies, that said here's what was untrained in pf1

Acrobatics
Appraise
Bluff
Climb
Craft
Diplomacy
Disguise
Escape Artist
Fly
Heal
Intimidate
Perception
Perform
Ride
Sense Motive
Stealth
Survival
Swim

As it stands every high level character no matter their background, class, stats, race, etc etc, will be better at all such skills then a low level character.

That low wisdom wizard who is brilliant but lacks decorum and often quite gullible? Nope he doesn't exist.

That loud mouthed monk who can't settle anything diplomatically? doesn't exist.

The clumsy paladin who can't tiptoe and find his way out of a paper bag? Never will happen.

We're being forced to play hyper competent heroes. That may be cool when you read a story about a single protagonist, but just feels bland and overly restrictive in team driven shared story games. I want my rogue to be different from my wizard, I want to feel like my investment in stealth and bluff matters, is distinctive.

Now every high level character can do backflips, immediately identify a fake picasso or the value of every gem, carpet and statue they come across, free climb mountains, craft anything and everything, settle international peace treaties, are master spies, intuitively know how to handle aerial maneuvers, are combat medics, can intimidate every low level npc ever, can sing, dance, paint, yodel, and play every instrument known, ride all manner of beasts, discern every lie every told by every low level npc, swim in all manner of weathers and survive in nearly every environment.

And if they gateway off basic things like you need to be proficient to forage for food, then it's going to like 2nd edition where a character could make a fire and swim, or swim and climb but not all 3, inevitably dooming them to either freeze to death, drown, or starve at the bottom of a hole.

I agree the spread at times in PF1 is too extreme, but that wasn't the fault of the skill point system, that was because a character can dumpster dive for more bonuses than the skill points could ever give you, not to mention magic would just blow away 20 levels of skill points with a level 2 spell. I wanted the Devs to fix that issue, not throw out the whole system and build something that will just remind me I am playing a game and the only thing that really matters is what level my character sheet says because they will determine 50%+ of how good I am at skills, at every skill, even skills that doesn't make a lick of sense for me to ever have been exposed to.

So far it's hard to justify playing a rogue, just play a full caster, and if you really need to pick locks spend a 'proficiency' or whatever on it, you'll always be just as good at the skills that matter plus you'll have magic.

Skills really are one key way martials can differentiate themselves, but apparently those mundanes can go pound sand.


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ryric wrote:

I am concerned that the way they seem to be tying together everything under proficiencies - skills, saves, weapons, armor - that there is no real way to adjust anything based on playtest feedback since fixing any one issue will ripple to all the other areas. I think this unified system might actually be a flaw due to creating this constraint. What if it turns out that something that's good for skills just doesn't work when applied to armor - I'm not sure there's a way to resolve that at present.

When I see people commenting that we can't change the rate of skill progression because that would also mess up attacks, saves, and so forth, that seems like an argument against tying them all together.

Yes... That also worries me a lot. It looks like the playtest will simply not be long enough to allow really big changes and that we will be stuck with what was decided beforehand as the playtest was actually design to fix minor problems.

I really want to come back to PF from 5e and i think Paizo can do that as a company after what i've seen latelly i'm losing faith on that as a possibility. It looks like it will still be 5e for me for the years to come.


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ryric wrote:

I am concerned that the way they seem to be tying together everything under proficiencies - skills, saves, weapons, armor - that there is no real way to adjust anything based on playtest feedback since fixing any one issue will ripple to all the other areas. I think this unified system might actually be a flaw due to creating this constraint. What if it turns out that something that's good for skills just doesn't work when applied to armor - I'm not sure there's a way to resolve that at present.

When I see people commenting that we can't change the rate of skill progression because that would also mess up attacks, saves, and so forth, that seems like an argument against tying them all together.

One thing that occurred to me is that the range between the sort of bonus I want a specialist and non-specialist to have varies based on the skill.

I quite like that in the 5e game I'm playing in, everyone has a decent chance to hit with their melee attacks. The difference between the wizard's attack bonus and the paladin's is small.

I don't like that in the same game if there is a question of historical interest and we're making skill checks the wizard isn't very likely to be the best result. Everyone rolls, and the randomness of the d20 swamps the small difference in skill and frequently the sage isn't the one who knows the answer.

I might want a system where only the sage can read that weird rune but not one where only the fighter hits anything.


thflame wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

Clearly the discussion in this thread can never truly be "solved" because there are 2 issues here:

1- Characters of X level are far too distinct in their capabilities to where it's a detriment to the gameplay
2- New system would make characters not distinct enough in their capabilities (pro vs newbie at same level) where it's a detriment to realism.

Both of those are mutually exclusive. Solving one leads to the other.

The third thing I see a lot here is how adventures would be able to destroy NPCs at their specialties without even noticing. Special rules for NPCs should be able to counteract this if they dont get the same "ceiling" based on Adventuring level.

I think we could find a happy medium between the two.

Doubling/Tripling the Skill Proficiency Bonuses and halving the Level Up Bonus would probably get us closer.

Don’t think this works. It just makes things just as bad as PF1 with the huge difference between low level and high level play. I could see changing legendary from 3 to 4/5 or untrained to -3 but that’s likely as far a split as they’re willing to handle. Remember Mark posted about the 11 skill difference at level 7.


+3 per rank (with untrained starting at 0) results in a spread of +12 between untrained and legendary. Couple that with 1/2 level progression to all skill checks and you wind up with +22 (legendary) vs +10 (untrained) before accounting for other factors.

I find that feels much better than the numbers Paizo is currently offering


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Trimalchio wrote:
That low wisdom wizard who is brilliant but lacks decorum and often quite gullible? Nope he doesn't exist.

Does it bother you that high level wizards in PF1 are kinda master swordsmen and can shrug off poisons and the like? A base attack bonus of +10 is phenomenal if a professional soldier is a 3rd level warrior. A +6 fortitude save and 100hp is amazing if a bear has a +6 save and 32 hp.

Levels bundle lots of unrelated things together and force you to purchase them together. I don't mind it too much in fantasy (can Gandalf punch out a bear? Sure, why not).

It drove me crazy in Star Wars. The d20 implementation of Star Wars meant if you wanted Mon Mothma to be the best diplomat in the land (with a +20 to a handful of skills), she also had to be high level. Defense ran off level as well (level added straight to AC). If Mon Mothma was the best diplomat around, she could also beat a squad of Stormtroopers to death with her bare hands.

In less heroic fantasy it could be a problem as well. If you're trying to build Game of Thrones, can Littlefinger beat a bear to death? If he's got the highest Bluff in the land he's high level, if he's high level he's got the attacks and HP to beat up bears. I'm not sure if you could build littlefinger in PF2. He'd be hard to build in PF1, but easier as skills were less tied to levels.

The solution in general is to dump levels and buy competencies independently of each other. Point based systems likes GURPS let you buy extra spellcasting without raising your HP, attack rolls, or swimming talents. Point based systems have their own problems, but aren't really on the table.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

+3 per rank (with untrained starting at 0) results in a spread of +12 between untrained and legendary. Couple that with 1/2 level progression to all skill checks and you wind up with +22 (legendary) vs +10 (untrained) before accounting for other factors.

I find that feels much better than the numbers Paizo is currently offering

Unless the other side of the math compensates for it?

The information we have is incomplete.


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Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
The solution in general is to dump levels and buy competencies independently of each other. Point based systems likes GURPS let you buy extra spellcasting without raising your HP, attack rolls, or swimming talents. Point based systems have their own problems, but aren't really on the table.

I feel like if you don't want to play "extremely competent heroes" then d20 games are not the right choice. Which is fine. Other games won't be as good at doing what Pathfinder does well as Pathfinder is, but better at other things.

If the only thing that will satisfy you is "no classes, no levels, no alignment, and a slow competency curve" it might be better to just play something that tries to do those things instead of forcing that peg in this hole.

Dark Archive

This is something of a bummer for me, not because I dislike it, because I was using something like this for the cornerstone of a game I haven't been able to publish (due to funds). Basically a Novice/Proficient/Experienced/Teacher/Master 1 system tied to tiered output that I developed for an unreleased Post Apocalyptic RPG . Granted no quasi-supernatural abilities at Master 1, but eh. Sucks, now it will look like I ripped off something from PF 2e.

I posted a fragment of it in 2014 but I've been working on and off on this system since the late 90's.

link

Auxmaulous wrote:

I'd go one further (to protect skill classes) and have skill tiers. Mechanics (Novice): You can id mechanical devices and can attempt to disable simple devices, Mechanics (Proficient): You can attempt to disable moderate to Complex devices, etc, etc.

This eliminates the "this stat boost gives me +X" or "this spell gives me +X" that effectively negates the skill investment system.

So a spell that gives you climbing gives you X bonus and climbing at you already invested skill level - so it would probably be better to cast it on a tier invested character(Rogue or someone with climbing) vs. the wizard with an Str of 8.

I've always hated the overly simplistic "I throw numbers at it" approach of 3rd ed based games.

It also wouldn't hurt to cap some things off of base stats - Aka the Cha 8 guy with 10 ranks in Diplomacy should not be making checks at 9, or if he is doing it at a 9 it should be a restricted in results as a 9 because he is a Cha 8 character.


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
Trimalchio wrote:
That low wisdom wizard who is brilliant but lacks decorum and often quite gullible? Nope he doesn't exist.

Does it bother you that high level wizards in PF1 are kinda master swordsmen and can shrug off poisons and the like? A base attack bonus of +10 is phenomenal if a professional soldier is a 3rd level warrior. A +6 fortitude save and 100hp is amazing if a bear has a +6 save and 32 hp.

Levels bundle lots of unrelated things together and force you to purchase them together. I don't mind it too much in fantasy (can Gandalf punch out a bear? Sure, why not).

It drove me crazy in Star Wars. The d20 implementation of Star Wars meant if you wanted Mon Mothma to be the best diplomat in the land (with a +20 to a handful of skills), she also had to be high level. Defense ran off level as well (level added straight to AC). If Mon Mothma was the best diplomat around, she could also beat a squad of Stormtroopers to death with her bare hands.

In less heroic fantasy it could be a problem as well. If you're trying to build Game of Thrones, can Littlefinger beat a bear to death? If he's got the highest Bluff in the land he's high level, if he's high level he's got the attacks and HP to beat up bears. I'm not sure if you could build littlefinger in PF2. He'd be hard to build in PF1, but easier as skills were less tied to levels.

The solution in general is to dump levels and buy competencies independently of each other. Point based systems likes GURPS let you buy extra spellcasting without raising your HP, attack rolls, or swimming talents. Point based systems have their own problems, but aren't really on the table.

Surprisingly, you actually need a computer to run an RPG system where characters grow organically based on what they do while adventuring. Tabletop is limited to "gamey" abstractions like these... Oh the irony!


kyrt-ryder wrote:

+3 per rank (with untrained starting at 0) results in a spread of +12 between untrained and legendary. Couple that with 1/2 level progression to all skill checks and you wind up with +22 (legendary) vs +10 (untrained) before accounting for other factors.

I find that feels much better than the numbers Paizo is currently offering

Remember proficiency is only one part of the modifier. There is still ability, feats, magic items and spells. (Plus likely ancestry stuff) You make it the numbers you do and it’s PF1 all over again where past level 6 the experts auto succeed everything and everyone else auto fails it.

Plus remember things like athletics checks will be used to sub for things like attack rolls on modifiers. So they can’t have skills scale differently from attacks/saves.


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
Trimalchio wrote:
That low wisdom wizard who is brilliant but lacks decorum and often quite gullible? Nope he doesn't exist.

Does it bother you that high level wizards in PF1 are kinda master swordsmen and can shrug off poisons and the like? A base attack bonus of +10 is phenomenal if a professional soldier is a 3rd level warrior. A +6 fortitude save and 100hp is amazing if a bear has a +6 save and 32 hp.

Levels bundle lots of unrelated things together and force you to purchase them together. I don't mind it too much in fantasy (can Gandalf punch out a bear? Sure, why not).

It drove me crazy in Star Wars. The d20 implementation of Star Wars meant if you wanted Mon Mothma to be the best diplomat in the land (with a +20 to a handful of skills), she also had to be high level. Defense ran off level as well (level added straight to AC). If Mon Mothma was the best diplomat around, she could also beat a squad of Stormtroopers to death with her bare hands.

In less heroic fantasy it could be a problem as well. If you're trying to build Game of Thrones, can Littlefinger beat a bear to death? If he's got the highest Bluff in the land he's high level, if he's high level he's got the attacks and HP to beat up bears. I'm not sure if you could build littlefinger in PF2. He'd be hard to build in PF1, but easier as skills were less tied to levels.

These work as low level worlds.

If Yoda and Palpatine are level 8 suddenly everything fits. Mon Mothma can be a level 5-ish Diplomat (call it a d6 1/2 bab non-combatant class intended primarily for npcs... like the l5r courtesan) with very low physical attributes and be an appropriately vulnerable 'greatest diplomat in the galaxy'

Edit: in PF2 you would probably want her to be level 7 for Mastery of Diplomacy... And PF2 has the maximized hit points...

Paizo Employee Designer

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Bruno Mares wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
In PF2, it's still going to be dicey and the group might want to come up with some ways to help Amiri (like thflame's idea of shifting the best gear onto her to help out) because she's still the most likely to land them all in hot water from a critical failure, but the plan also might succeed.

Is something going to be done about what multiple checks effectively do to your odds of success? If everyone in the party needs to roll a disguise check and the guards get a perception check against everyone you're failing unless you've got 15 points on them . That's just math.

We did the math there and suggested some rough guidelines for situations like (in roughly descending order of difficulty):

"Everybody can keep rolling until it works with nothing bad on a failure"

"Everybody can roll once, only one person needs to succeed, and trying and failing doesn't do anything bad"

"Only the best person will roll this, possibly with assistance"

"Everyone has to roll and something bad happens to the people who fail"

"Everyone has to roll and if anyone fails, the whole thing fails"

And what was the final decision of the development team? Which of these options did you pick?

There's no reason we can't give advice for all of those situations. They all come up in adventures after all!

Paizo Employee Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

So, how does proficiency affect things other than skills?

Is it tied to weapon groups? Can I be legendary with swords and use a legendary weapon to get level +6 to hit?

Mark Seifter said something to the effect of "just wait until you see what one can do with proficiency in armor" so I think it's even more dramatic (and a legendary heavy armor user will also get +6 AC).

I think that quote was from one of the other designers. However, you can absolutely use a high-quality item and be awesome yourself and stack them.


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Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
Trimalchio wrote:
That low wisdom wizard who is brilliant but lacks decorum and often quite gullible? Nope he doesn't exist.

Does it bother you that high level wizards in PF1 are kinda master swordsmen and can shrug off poisons and the like? A base attack bonus of +10 is phenomenal if a professional soldier is a 3rd level warrior. A +6 fortitude save and 100hp is amazing if a bear has a +6 save and 32 hp.

Since this example comes up lets do the math

Level 20 wizard vs level 3 fighter

BA 10/5
str 10

The wizard picks up a long sword, but isn't proficient that's at -4, they are attacking at:
+6/+1 for 1d8

The fighter

BA 3
str 16

The fighter has weapon focus and weapon specialization

that long sword for the fighter attacks at:
+7 for 1d8+5 (or 1d8+6 if two handed)

yeah i'm perfectly ok with that. If the wizard wants to spend a feat to be proficient in long swords, i'm ok with that, if the wizard wants to spend gold or magic to give them a higher strength, i'm okay with that.

What i'm not okay with is a wizard who doesn't spend any resources at all suddenly becoming james bond because that's what the game dictates happens as you level up.
~

How long will the play test be, how committed is the paizo team to overhauling their system in potentially radical ways if majority of feedback is critical of certain sub systems?

Again I like the design space proficiency tiers opens up, but i'm not excited by the current level bonus math, it feels way too gamey, the math needs to support the fluff and we need the flexibility to create characters and stories that we have in pf1, not less and the current bonus by level is really hurting that system. It just feels like they are essentially giving everyone skill points: gain a point in every skill. How many people want to play pathfinder 1st edition where every character gets skill points in all those skills i listed above? I know I don't.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:

+3 per rank (with untrained starting at 0) results in a spread of +12 between untrained and legendary. Couple that with 1/2 level progression to all skill checks and you wind up with +22 (legendary) vs +10 (untrained) before accounting for other factors.

I find that feels much better than the numbers Paizo is currently offering

Now add -1 to +10 ability bonus, +0 to ... +5? gear bonus, and 0-2 racial/ancestry bonus, plus 0-3 feat/trait/background.

So the spread goes from +9 to +42.

Too extreme for me. I'd rather have the spread that Paizo is suggesting: +17 or so at lvl 20, and +11 or so at lvl 7.

Not only that, but if this progression is going to be standarized for attacks and saves too, that +12 difference before ability bonuses is too much too. Specially when using the new +-10 system of 4 degrees of success.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Alydos wrote:
There are 500+ posts now, did they ever do official followup and tell us that people at different tiers roll on different tables? So it's not just a +3, it's a +3 on a table with different DCs or somesuch?

Sorta. An level 20 wizard untrained in disable device will have a huge modifier, but since they are untrained they cannot even attempt to pick a lock let alone crack a safe. So a level 1 rogue with training in disable device is better at mundane lockpicking than a level 20 wizard.

Similarly, the example Seifter gave above is that an expert trained swimmer might just have a swim speed so a lot of things they will simply not need to roll. A higher level character might have a bigger modifier, but they will need to roll to swim across the river and the expert swimmer will not- the expert swimmer can just do it without rolling. Even the best result the hapless level 20 wizard can manage on the swim check will probably not equal the level 9 fighter with the swim speed.

And what is level? A miserable little pile of secr—oops, I mean, it's a concept representing a combination of luck, toughness, experience, skills, all refined over the course of your adventures, right? As a construct it must indeed represent these things, and not just any one of them, vague as it still is. It's like a high-level (pun not intended) summation of a character's general ability. Other traits, such as skills, powers, and ability scores, help define a character's potency in those areas in more detail.

A level 20 Wizard has seen more, done more, heard of more, absorbed more knowledge through osmosis. You could even justify it within the bounds of being high fantasy: she is a magical creature, even if she was born mortal, and has now attained basically demigod levels of power, if not status. Maybe she's not a full-on Outsider or something, but enough of that magic has imbued her very form that simply put she's more capable of doing mundane things, because she's greater than she was at level 1. It's the way that these things work in much fiction, especially fantasy and mythological stuff.

There is no satisfactory answer here, I think, for the crowd who finds the whole thing somehow immersion-breaking, when the original way is just as much so. You kill a few orcs and suddenly you know more about arcane lore and are able to take several more punches, or cast new spells, etc. This way is equally as verisimilitude, even if it's not to the player's preference — unfortunately, a lot of the detractors seem to not make that distinction.


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So it sounds to me, like a lot of this argument could be voided if they were to just include an optional rule to allow players to take 1 or 2 "incompetencies" in return for an extra skill rank. Hmmm...

Incompetence: Choose one skill. For purposes of this skill, you do not gain your level as a bonus. You must spend a proficiency in the skill to reach the untrained rank, and each rank of the skill is treated as one higher for purposes of level requirement. You can never achieve Legendary rank in this skill. In exchange you gain one extra skill rank to spend as you like.

You'd probably wind up with a lot of players automatically being incompetent at Appraise, but hey whatever. From my experience 95% of PF1 characters were incompetent at Appraise anyway. And if all you get out of it is an extra trained skill it's not terribly unbalancing.

Regardless, this would let you play that incompetent character that so many people for some reason seem to want so desperately, without having to re-write the entire notion from the ground up.


Basically, I would prefer a certain baseline competence be assumed, but allow incompetence as an optional disadvantage.


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I have a feeling that when some (again, I repeat: some) people say that +1 to skills per level is inmersion breaking, what they really mean, deep inside, is that levels are inmersion breaking. They want the game to be something that it's not. To tell stories the game is not built for. That's why they say that if 10 goblins shoot crossbows at you and do 10d6, it's not really that you have 10 crossbows bolts in your chest because hit points are not meat points and blablabla. Except they totally are, because when a dinosaur bites you, and grabs you with his jaws, and put you in his jaws and start chewing you, you cannot move at all because you are grappled in his jaws, and you receive bite damage everyround because he is, in fact, chewing you. They opt-out of this dissonance between the story they want to tell, and the stories the game is built for: level-based stories. As Erik Mona said, this game is built for swordmasters that breeze over 8 brigands.

It's built for wizards that can climb and fight and ride and storytell and does diplomacy and intimidate and endure weather with survival and research.

And he does all those things, because of his level.


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BryonD wrote:
thflame wrote:


The idea that a level 20 wizard is no better than a level 1 wizard at climbing a rope is preposterous. Sure, early on the party has to tie the wizard up to hoist him up, but later I would assume the wizard would figure out how to climb a rope. Even if he has access to spells that let him avoid the need, he would probably rather learn how to do it without magic than waste a couple spell slots on it every day.

I've had a masters degree in engineering for 20 years now. I'm good at math. I can do a lot of math in my head. I'm not nearly as good at doing math in my head now as I was twenty years ago.

I think it is a far cry from preposterous that a wizard 20 would be less skilled at climbing then a wizard 1. I don't see either case as "preposterous". But I think moving away from menial skills would be far more typical than enhancing those skills.

It is mildly alarming that the same red flag arguments are coming up here as come up during the run up to 4E. Granted, this is the exception to the rule in PF2 discussion so far. But still. The logic presented here imploded very recently.

The logic did not implode, and your example is an anecdote only. For instance, I am far better at writing today than I was twenty years ago. I'm better at the games I play which require skill. I'm a much better play of Magic now than when I returned to the game almost a decade ago — and I'm also a lot better at bluffing, reading an opponent, and having a feel for what a questionable opening hand can lead to, what the deck I've played hundreds of times can do (which in itself is a bonus sometimes better than upgrading the deck). So experience counts, both at improving and at knowing the subject on a deeper, almost instinctive level.

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