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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wakedown wrote:

Ooh, all the potential here.

This means adventurers are really good dancers!

I'm totally taking level 10 characters in PFS2 and having them detour to dance halls and other similar venues, rocking their level-based +10 (+12 to +13 with Cha/Dex) and rolling out the Perform (dance) or Perform (sing) checks having never even attempted a single step or vocal note before that very minute in their careers!

All present will assume their naturals, but they simply "saved" themselves until they had a few months of adventuring under their belt!

The Joke here is that they're untrained, so the only dance they know is the Macarena, and the only songs they can sing are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Bohemian Rhapsody.


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Mama, just killed a man


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Arssanguinus wrote:
All adventurers are really good everythings. Complete polymaths.

Considering at just 7th level you can jump 20 feet straight up into the air from a standing position just by being taught how to jump properly, I'm guessing it's closer to omnipotence than polymathy by 18th or so.


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Calling preferences different to your own poison is a style of posting I do not wish to see. I will call you out on it every time. I've seen playtests poisoned (yes. I am deiverately using the same languave to get my point across) with that sort of rhetoric. It helps no one. Find another way to disagree.


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BryonD wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
To be fair, Jason said that it presented HUGE problems to them, as game designers, to design high level play. And certainly the number of APs that delve into lvl 20 is pretty small, and PFS ends at 12 I think. Maybe one of the reasons is because it's hard for them to properly design things at those levels because the math breaks.
He said "which distorted character choice and severely hampered design". You have ignored the first part. Not that it makes any difference to the real issue at hand.

With APs character select forcing and avoiding it when writing can be a bit of an issue that an organic campaign won't run into.

I don't run adventure paths with my group, but I see where this skill system would make things easier on AP writers. My dungeon design is spontaneous and comes as the campaign develops, and as a result the challenges the party faces will be at least partially if not heavily informed by what the party can in fact do. I know it is a waste of everyone's time if I've made a dungeon that has a number of challenges that don't reflect anything anyone in the party is good at.

An AP doesn't have that kind of flexibility. Characters that don't know about the scenario are inserted into a scenario the writers designed without the ability to know anything about who was undertaking the tasks they laid down. There are certain challenges the writer may have in mind that the group, not having any spoilers, doesn't know to be ready for and therefore you can't assume any level of competence with nearly any skill (I'll consider perception an exception to this rule, but that's because by osmosis it is commonly held among players you want max Perception no matter what your class or character concept is) because maybe nobody took that skill, or trained in it enough that it's even remotely possible for them to make the check at higher levels, and now the GM must step in to cover for this problem if it might mess up the adventure.

Adjusting things so that there is a baseline you can make assumptions that the party can at least be expected to accomplish this or that at the appropriate level does offer more freedom in design.


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Except it IS poison.

It's poison that ruined High Level Fighters, Monks and Rogues and strongly disadvantaged Paladins, Rangers and Barbarians throughout 3P.


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Bloodrealm wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
All adventurers are really good everythings. Complete polymaths.
Considering at just 7th level you can jump 20 feet straight up into the air from a standing position just by being taught how to jump properly, I'm guessing it's closer to omnipotence than polymathy by 18th or so.

By being taught how to jump properly, then Mastering that art while increasing in level over an ordinary person 6 times


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Alright there are things I like about this new skill system and things I don’t.

I’m not trying to piss on anyone’s cornflakes but there are some issues with this system. Note I’m all for solving PF1 issues, even if those issues are just for the game designers.

First the good stuff.

Critical successes and failures…yay.

Being able to get super abilities like running up walls, a swim speed and other crazy stuff. Cool. Well except the stealing armour thing but I can live with that.

Essentially everyone getting a lot more skill points…good. I think PF1 didn’t give out enough.

Next the “I’m not sure part”.

The granularity of the system is a bit of a concern. I think this may need to be fixed up a bit. However, I think maybe I can live with this. I don’t know the full story here anyways.

Now for the problem.

Let’s go back to the “everyone is essentially getting more skill points” part above because I have an issue with that. The issue is that I’m losing some choice to play all the concepts that I want to play. Now everyone defending the new skill system is doing so because they can make the character concepts that they want. Well excellent I’m truly happy for you. I don’t want to take that away from you in fact I will probably play some “I can do everything skill characters” too. However, I also want to play some “I’m a not very good at this skill or skills characters” as well. Add something to the rules so the rest of us can play what we want to play. This way we all get to play what we want to play and everyone is happy. I think that’s fair.

For all the narrative reasons people have come up with to explain why everyone is competent at all skills people have also come up with counter narrative reasons for why not.

To the people who say well you’re limiting the group. So what? What if my group doesn’t care or if we have fun playing that way. The whole group can’t sneak past a guard. Well how about be creative and think of another way around the challenge. Rappel out the window. Have the best stealth character sneak past the guards and cause a distraction leading them away for the other characters to get by. I mean there is more than one way to solve any problem in the game. That’s what makes it fun. Helping out your ally who stinks at something is fun or vice versa. Having a laugh at how bad your pc fluffed something is fun…sometimes. :) Laughing at your friend fluffing something is funny too…sometimes. :)

To the people say house rule it. Well what if I’m playing in pfs or with a DM that doesn’t allow house rules? I’m not asking anyone to house rule.

Anyways, this is limiting player options in a way I don’t like. It should be in the game to have lesser skill in something with getting something in return. More options please.

I know some people think you shouldn’t get something in return for being bad in a skill or skills. I disagree. For example I think you should be able to dump stats in Starfinder. How about this what if you had 11 in 5 stats and 5 build points and got nothing for dumping stats? Still like that? I bet not. Personally I think stats should start at 1 and you build from there…with an appropriate point total to equal the same current numbers. That is player options. No I’m not fighting for stat starting at 1. :)

Min maxing…sometimes so what? I hardly make world breaker characters I do make some pretty unusual builds though. I think most power gamers would laugh at my builds. My characters are more than just numbers I have a whole concept, story, look and theme to them. Generally with a several page story too depending on the DM. I bet most of us can say similar things about their pcs.

So if we could get something for having lesser stats and skills great. I don’t think I’d have any complaints and I think that would reduce the wedge between the two sides. I’m not interested in a zero sum game with the rules. I want us all to get to play what we want to play.

I think of the Paladin thread. If I play a CN paladin it doesn’t stop you from playing a LG one.

If I dump my stats or skills that doesn’t ruin your character. I just want the option to do so.

That’s it.

Erik and Jason said we could play the characters we want to play in the video. The same characters we could play in PF1. I’m afraid not.
So now this is to Mark and Jason. No offense to the rest of the thread but I don’t have the time for a back and forth quote fest for all the arguments for and against. I think we are all painfully aware of everyone’s position.

Mark, Jason, would it be possible to add something to these rules to allow people to play characters that are not competent in all skills and get something for it? Do it in a way that doesn’t infringe on the people on the other side of the argument? That takes away nothing from their characters?

Would you consider this? I don’t think the people on my side of the argument are asking for much. Any input is much appreciated. Thanks.


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Lemartes wrote:
Mark, Jason, would it be possible to add something to these rules to allow people to play characters that are not competent in all skills and get something for it? Do it in a way that doesn’t infringe on the people on the other side of the argument? That takes away nothing from their characters?

Well said my friend.


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I would be glad to see both sides be happy via an optional rule or "heroic/fatal flaw" system. I am fine with the new skill system...but I myself think it would be fun to choose to be really bad at something(and not forced to because i don't have enough skill ranks or make myself smarter so that I do)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just adding my two coppers' worth ...

This description of the skill system does not grab me, nor does the over-use of the word proficiency. ("So, we have to go up a level before we can do down a level?") Maybe my opinion will change when the playtest rules drop in August, or when PF2 actually comes out next year, but I'm starting to feel glum about it.

I hate the idea of legendary pickpocketing allowing a character to steal armour off a guard, or of another legendary proficiency allowing a fighter to wrestle purple worms and the like. In my eyes, that belongs to epic level (L 20+) play which should be optional, not baked into the regular rules for high level play (L 11-20).


Bellona wrote:

In my eyes, that belongs to epic level (L 20+) play which should be optional, not baked into the regular rules for high level play (L 11-20).

You mean levels 7 to 20.


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I'm pretty lost with this write up.

You've got... level based bonuses, combined with 'tiers' of proficiency that give trivial bonuses, but sometimes you just can't even do things because... reasons, no matter what your tier is.

And most of the entire thing is level based, so you absolutely have to have 15th level blacksmiths and sages running around in the world so that non-adventurers can know and do plot-relevant things.

Also, yeah. Buy a bloody thesaurus. This is class level, spell level and dungeon level all over again. You've got multiple meanings of proficiency and multiple uses of modifier and rank and none of them seem particularly consistent in this write up.

I'm also at a loss for how you juggle proficiency in all the things you have to be proficient in- several weapons, an armor type or two, saves, spells, skills, perception-the-not-a-skill, and who knows what else. It actually looks like someone jammed a classless system in there sideways and all the system coherency is leaking out all over the place.


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ryric wrote:

Here's a reducto ad absurdum argument: So there are things out there that aren't necessarily covered by the skill list. At first you think, great, I can just use the untrained value. But you know what else a fantasy character is Untrained in? Computer hacking. Hyperspace navigation. Corporate accounting. Aircraft piloting. Retroviral engineering. Now my 10th level rogue has a +8 in all these as well! I guess he just picked it up somewhere by osmosis.

While this example is admittedly silly, many of us has had that player who attempts to build a modern piece of technology in the fantasy world. In PF1e, we could say "your PC doesn't have the background knowledge for that," but in this system that explanation doesn't fly because everybody gets free skills at everything.

This question then becomes "What's Skillable in this setting [of PF2)]?" It doesn't make flavour sense for a fantasy/mythic character to want for a PC, when a soothsayer will provide the job of information/magical hacking/spying.

If you had your Pathfinder players sucked into Starfinder, where those skills became relevant, Computers is suddenly available and I'd take it's the GMs choice at that point. Give them the +15, but only after spending 1 level "getting used to modern technology/life" and requiring a Will save, then again a level later to take on those skills.

Just an idea.


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Why not make untrained characters to receive only 1/2 level (or 1/2 proficiency) on untrained skill checks?
(And maybe also reply this for weapons and armor, which would "simulate" the half level BAB of full arcane spellcasters [the 3/4 BAB classes, in my opinion, should always be Full BAB, since almost all of them could remove that difference spending a standard action in the start of the combat, like casting Divine Favor and so on])

Did the development team considered this? Why not use it?

For me, it seems like a good and fair solution for the "high-level untrained good-climber Wizards/Sorcerers", still gives a significative advancement for the untrained higher-level characters, and would make the difference between high-level untrained and low-level trained (and also high-level trained vs high-level untrained) characters a little more fair.

(I'll probably use this way in my games, since I see/consider the 5 points difference for legendary to untrained too little, even despite of ability scores and unlocks).


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

I want to take a moment to thank everyone here for the spirited debate on this part of the game.

I really appreciate the opportunity afforded by the forums for everyone to have this lively debate; I'm truly grateful that the community continues to be open to the wide variety of opinions the various tidbits have engendered. A big thank you to the paizo staff that makes it all happen.

Everyone wants a better game, and everyone has ideas on how to make that happen. It may be a tall order, but I really believe the paizo team can deliver an amazing new edition, as long they engage with their community in an earnest fashion. I play pathfinder now (well starfinder the last month or so) and I look forward to another ten years of role playing under paizo.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Bellona wrote:

In my eyes, that belongs to epic level (L 20+) play which should be optional, not baked into the regular rules for high level play (L 11-20).

You mean levels 7 to 20.

do you ever take the Pathfinder 1 over level 12?

Because this does not feel like a high level perspective at all.


Half level + Ability mod for untrained (no -2's, it seems too fiddly) (N/)PCs seems reasonable. And give the hypothetical NPC class(es) a class feature that let them gain mastery at earlier levels for "background skills" to simulate low level meisters of the trades.

And I really support the "sideways" growth for the new proficiency system which let me crack some laws of physics when I'm really focused here and there.


Honestly the one thing that's bugging me is the deprivation of Proficiencies. We only get one every other level if I'm hearing correctly?

At the very least I really want to see one every level [at least for martial characters.]


kyrt-ryder wrote:

Honestly the one thing that's bugging me is the deprivation of Proficiencies. We only get one every other level if I'm hearing correctly?

At the very least I really want to see one every level [at least for martial characters.]

I think you get a bunch of them every other level, not just one.


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ryric wrote:

Here's a reducto ad absurdum argument: So there are things out there that aren't necessarily covered by the skill list. At first you think, great, I can just use the untrained value. But you know what else a fantasy character is Untrained in? Computer hacking. Hyperspace navigation. Corporate accounting. Aircraft piloting. Retroviral engineering. Now my 10th level rogue has a +8 in all these as well! I guess he just picked it up somewhere by osmosis.

While this example is admittedly silly, many of us has had that player who attempts to build a modern piece of technology in the fantasy world. In PF1e, we could say "your PC doesn't have the background knowledge for that," but in this system that explanation doesn't fly because everybody gets free skills at everything.

Here's the thing though, "computer hacking" does not need to be a skill any more than "ice climbing" does. It's a subset of a different skill (say, hypothetically "Computers") so a character from Golarion who is transported to 21st century Earth would be untrained in "Computers", sure.

But if that character is sufficiently high level that they have accumulated confidence, careful observation skills, and a willingness to try stuff they could make "Computer" checks untrained, sure. So what sorts of things could someone untrained in computers attempt? Perhaps, they could use a word processor or edit a spreadsheet or sign up for a twitter account- things anybody who can figure out a keyboard and a mouse and learn how these things are correlated to what appears on the screen. More of an issue than "what happens if I press this button- oh, it does that, now I know" is that people from Golarion likely cannot read any earth languages which would probably prevent them from making appropriate checks. Like in PF1 a character cannot make a research check in a library if none of the books are in a language they undestand.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
Mark, Jason, would it be possible to add something to these rules to allow people to play characters that are not competent in all skills and get something for it? Do it in a way that doesn’t infringe on the people on the other side of the argument? That takes away nothing from their characters?
Well said my friend.

Role play your flaws.

Want to play a character that can't do Diplomacy, don't make a Diplomacy Check.

Want to play a character that can't climb or swim. Refuse to make such checks. If your forced into a situation where you have to swim, tell the GM you drown.

If you REALLY want to play a character that sucks at X Skill, role play it.

Game calls for Stealth? Tell the party that you aren't even going to try because your character "knows" that they can't hide. (Or describe some stupid attempt they make, like putting a bucket on their head, that obviously fails.)

You may find that your characters don't live long, but that's fairly realistic.

I remember reading about WW2 and how most soldiers near the end of the war were pretty good at being soldiers. Why? Because they had both been fighting for months, if not years, and the ones that weren't good at being soldiers died.

I imagine that the life of an adventurer is about as perilous as a soldier in war. Your character sucks at something important, it will probably get him killed.

Mechanically, I think the problem the system is trying to solve is that an on level encounter that forces you to make a skill check is going to absolutely destroy anyone that doesn't have a hefty bonus to that skill.

Level 20 fighter with no ranks in Swim falls into the water in PF1? He's going to drown unless someone else saves him, he gets REALLY lucky, or the GM intervenes.

In PF2, we assume that the fighter realized that this was a huge liability at some point, and learned to tread water. He isn't going to be winning any gold medals, but he won't flat out die if he trips and falls into a swimming pool.

Granted, there are some skills that I really don't know how they are going to rationalize every character being passable at. Perform Skills are a good example here. Maybe some skills don't do anything for you without being trained? That was a thing in PF1.

I really think that the main difference between character's skill levels is not intended to be in the -2 to +3 difference between their proficiency, but the skill unlocks you get at higher proficiency. We may find that comparing untrained characters to trained characters is not really valid, as trained characters just get better options.

For example, the Untrained thief may be trying to pick someone's pocket, but the Trained thief can pick locks.

Sure, your high level Untrained thief might be better at picking pockets than the low level Trained thief, but picking pockets is beneath the low level thief, if he can break into someone's house, pick their safe, and steal all their valuables.


For those wondering why the "Untrained" penalty is -1 instead of 0, allow me to explain that even at level 1, you're adding your level 1 to the skills, so all would be higher than 0. The -1 makes your starting untrained skills actually add up to the proper 0.


ChibiNyan wrote:
For those wondering why the "Untrained" penalty is -1 instead of 0, allow me to explain that even at level 1, you're adding your level 1 to the skills, so all would be higher than 0. The -1 makes your starting untrained skills actually add up to the proper 0.

It's a -2. A level 1, untrained character has -2, +1 for level, for a total of -1 (plus anything else that modifies that number).


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Arssanguinus wrote:
All adventurers are really good everythings. Complete polymaths.

If true, that is completely awesome and a welcome change.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Here's the thing though, "computer hacking" does not need to be a skill any more than "ice climbing" does. It's a subset of a different skill (say, hypothetically "Computers") so a character from Golarion who is transported to 21st century Earth would be untrained in "Computers", sure.

But if that character is sufficiently high level that they have accumulated confidence, careful observation skills, and a willingness to try stuff they could make "Computer" checks untrained, sure. So what sorts of things could someone untrained in computers attempt? Perhaps, they could use a word processor or edit a spreadsheet or sign up for a twitter account- things anybody who can figure out a keyboard and a mouse and learn how these things are correlated to what appears on the screen. More of an issue than "what happens if I press this button- oh, it does that, now I know" is that people from Golarion likely cannot read any earth languages which would probably prevent them from making appropriate checks. Like in PF1 a character cannot make a research check in a library if none of the books are in a language they undestand.

The problem then is that they have a mechanical advantage over everyone else in the world that also isn't trained in "computers", simply by virtue of being higher leveled. Some guy who just got a new computer for his office has a higher chance of failure when setting it up without the manual than THRAGGNAR-ORCSPLLITTER, 12th LEVEL BARBARIAN, CHIEF OF MOUNT KILLKLEAVE, despite THRAGGNAR, with his INT 7, having a tenuous grasp on what exactly electricity is, much less a power outlet.


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Much of the pessimism is (I think) derived from the legacy of the D&D brand as the conventions of the past decade were repeatedly discarded and the game reinvented - whether the customers wanted it to or not. The 2E-3E overhaul worked out in D&D's favor, dramatically increasing the player base. The 3E-4E overhaul... didn't.

But the tale of D&D Editions is one of complete turnover of design teams. Most editions were new creations by a new group of people, not an iteration on past design. Conversely Pathfinder 2 is a direct iteration on Pathfinder 1, by basically the same people who developed it in the first place. I expect there to be a few growing pains as we get used to new ideas, but I think some faith in the Paizo team is in order to respect their previous work and the love their customers have for it.

My own anecdotal commentary:
I found the majority of players unwilling to touch Pathfinder unless they had been playing it consistently (of whom there are few). Most simply found it too big, too complicated, too slow to make a character and too cumbersome to handle all the math at the table. Conversely, I found 5E too oversimplified to enjoy GMing, so the compromise was to homebrew the heck out of Pathfinder to produce a streamlined version that appealed to both those who wanted PF's customisation options and those who didn't want Pathfinder's cumbersome* engine. Ironically about two months ago, by popular demand, we started compiling it into an "Alternate Core Rulebook" to use as a one-stop-shop for rules and character building.

I was very amused, but not overly surprised, by the announcement of PF2.

That being said, I doubt our design goals (which include the elimination of the 15-minute work day) exactly align with PF2, so there's a good chance we'll still adapt across a hefty chunk of our homebrew across.

*By cumbersome, the key bits that I find people struggle with are:

  • Magic item christmas tree
  • A myriad of different rules to handle similar situations
  • Stacking bonus and penalty management from spells, feats, circumstances and class abilities
  • Overabundance of irrelevant/ultra-specific feats and spells
  • Lack of baked-in archetype mechanic, and juggling the class feature tradeout
  • Too low a floor and too high a ceiling for character effectiveness
  • Personally, I started off in 2nd Ed and was immensely skeptical of 3.0 when it was announced - the concept of just taking levels in classes as they came in a class-feature smorgasbord sounded... insane. Everything I heard about the system sounded nothing like D&D. And yet, despite there being some radical differences, and some aspects not being as much to my taste (I prefered 1E and 2E initiative over 3E), the system was fun, playable and brought with it a wealth of new options to create vastly more unique characters than ever before.

    I just had to stop griping about how "silly" or "backwards" some of the new mechanics were, and actually play the thing.

    This isn't a request for people to stop talking about the announced ideas (not that I am narcissistic enough to believe that would achieve anything anyway) - but more of a suggestion that it probably isn't worth getting too worked up about it and the math until we see how it all hangs together.

    A Note on Physics:

    Arguing about changes to mechanics breaking physics or the limits of suspension of disbelief are... well... not that useful.

    There is nothing realistic about "Experience Points", "Magic", "Levels", "Class", "Hit Points", feats, skill ranks, or even armor proficiency. These are all extremely abstract and unrealistic inventions of a game system to encourage fun and a feeling of advancement/achievement, not to improve realism.

    So the more important question is not "Is it realistic that my character can do a 30ft standing leap without magic?", but "Is it fun/satisfying for my character to be able to do a 30ft standing leap without having to beg the spellcaster to make me relevant?".

    Because if we're pushing for realism, the best a 20th level wizard should accomplish is pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

    Arguing that non-casting classes should abide by real world physics while spellcasters can freely ignore them is a blatant double standard that has provoked entire libraries worth of debate and argument on the net. Let's accept the fact that there is no single "right answer" that will please everyone, and put some faith in Paizo in trying to reach a decent compromise.


    Modern stage magicians have masters that put 'pulling a rabbit out of a hat' in the nursery by comparison.

    But it is an excellent point nonetheless.

    Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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    Temporarily locking.

    Paizo Employee Designer

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    Jason Bulmahn wrote:


    Finally... in regards to PF1. Let me state unequivocally. I LOVE the game. It was my life's work for the past decade. I do not at all want it to go away, but I cannot let my love and efforts blind me to the fact that it is not perfect. There are things that could be even better, making the game more approachable and hopefully widening out the audience of people who love the game just as much as I do.

    A hearty agreement here. I would not have left my degree to come work here if I didn't absolutely love PF1. I still play PF1, and in fact I just played in a PF1 Ironfang Invasion game earlier today. PF1 is a great system and works really well for my group, especially with our house rules to match our particular group style. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to improve the chassis, fixing some of the issues with, for instance, the fast vs slow save progression compared to spell DC meaning that optimized PC and NPC spellcasters alike can eliminate multiple targets with one spell on any but the luckiest rolls if the spell targets a weak save. The presence of these issues doesn't mean the game isn't great; far from it. But just because the game is great, it doesn't mean it couldn't be even better.

    EDIT: Whoops, I started typing this before the temp lock X_X.

    Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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    I removed some posts and replies to posts, mostly from the middle of the thread. Remember that hyperbole and sarcasm do not help encourage productive conversation. A person saying they like something doesn't mean they necessarily think its perfect and a person being concerned doesn't mean they necessarily will hate it. Try to be gracious in your interpretations of fellow gamers's words here on the forums and help promote a welcoming and respectful atmosphere. Thanks!


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    To those saying "just roleplay it", here is a (somewhat silly) example of why that doesn't work:
    Player 1: My character doesn't know how to climb. He can't go up the wall.
    Player 2: can't he at least try?
    Player 1: But I'm trying to roleplay his flaws.
    Player 2: Right now your roleplaying a stubborn ass who refuses to even try.
    Player 1: Fine. He tries.
    GM: Give me an athletics check.
    Player 1: I get a 7. Because I'm untrained and STR 10 that gives me a 20.
    GM: The DC was 15, so you climb up without any difficulty.
    Player 2: Given how low you rolled I guess you can not only climb those things with ease but even harder things with a descent chance of success.
    Player 1: Can't we go back to PF 1st ed? I'm getting flashbacks to my D&D 4th ed days.

    You can play a game system that supports your character or you can play a different character. Playing a character the game system doesn't support just doesn't work. NOTE: I'm all in favoured of people getting to play characters with "basic training" in everything. I just want to play a character who doesn't have to have that training.


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    John Lynch 106 wrote:

    To those saying "just roleplay it", here is a (somewhat silly) example of why that doesn't work:

    Player 1: My character doesn't know how to climb. He can't go up the wall.
    Player 2: can't he at least try?
    Player 1: But I'm trying to roleplay his flaws.
    Player 2: Right now your roleplaying a stubborn ass who refuses to even try.
    Player 1: Fine. He tries.
    GM: Give me an athletics check.
    Player 1: I get a 7. Because I'm untrained and STR 10 that gives me a 20.
    GM: The DC was 15, so you climb up without any difficulty.
    Player 2: Given how low you rolled I guess you can not only climb those things with ease but even harder things with a descent chance of success.
    Player 1: Can't we go back to PF 1st ed? I'm getting flashbacks to my D&D 4th ed days.

    You can play a game system that supports your character or you can play a different character. Playing a character the game system doesn't support just doesn't work. NOTE: I'm all in favoured of people getting to play characters with "basic training" in everything. I just want to play a character who doesn't have to have that training.

    Your solution is to render anyone who doesn't heavily focus in the skill completely irrelevant at it beyond maybe level 1. The characters you mention are at least level 15 (in order to roll a 7 and get +13 to the roll, and with the untrained penalty). If one of the world's greatest heroes can succeed on a relatively easy climbing roll even untrained, that fits just fine.

    If the game must cater toward one segment, I hope it continues to be the segment who wants the characters to be capable heroes, and not the ones who like to see all but Rogues punished for attempting skill feats anytime after first level. You still have PF1 that is perfect for you, as you will not stop reiterating. Some of us don't have anything.


    Lady Firebird: I believe you've stopped arguing in good faith at this point. I will point out to you one last time that is not what I am arguing. Feel free to read my earlier posts to see what I'm actually advocating. The only person arguing a "my way or nothing" standpoint is you.

    NOTE: PF 1st Ed isn't perfect. That's about as on point as me saying "D&D 4th ed is just perfect for you. Go play that." Let's not get this thread locked though. Yeah? If you can't argue the points I'm actually making feel free to just not respond to my points.


    thflame wrote:
    kyrt-ryder wrote:
    Lemartes wrote:
    Mark, Jason, would it be possible to add something to these rules to allow people to play characters that are not competent in all skills and get something for it? Do it in a way that doesn’t infringe on the people on the other side of the argument? That takes away nothing from their characters?
    Well said my friend.

    Role play your flaws.

    Want to play a character that can't do Diplomacy, don't make a Diplomacy Check.

    Want to play a character that can't climb or swim. Refuse to make such checks. If your forced into a situation where you have to swim, tell the GM you drown.

    If you REALLY want to play a character that sucks at X Skill, role play it.

    Game calls for Stealth? Tell the party that you aren't even going to try because your character "knows" that they can't hide. (Or describe some stupid attempt they make, like putting a bucket on their head, that obviously fails.)

    You may find that your characters don't live long, but that's fairly realistic.

    I remember reading about WW2 and how most soldiers near the end of the war were pretty good at being soldiers. Why? Because they had both been fighting for months, if not years, and the ones that weren't good at being soldiers died.

    I imagine that the life of an adventurer is about as perilous as a soldier in war. Your character sucks at something important, it will probably get him killed.

    Mechanically, I think the problem the system is trying to solve is that an on level encounter that forces you to make a skill check is going to absolutely destroy anyone that doesn't have a hefty bonus to that skill.

    Level 20 fighter with no ranks in Swim falls into the water in PF1? He's going to drown unless someone else saves him, he gets REALLY lucky, or the GM intervenes.

    In PF2, we assume that the fighter realized that this was a huge liability at some point, and learned to tread water. He isn't going to be winning any gold medals, but he won't flat out...

    No offense but I am not in favour of your solution.

    One I want a correct mechanical representation of what my character can do. I will role play that and not something else.

    Two I don't think there is much role-playing potential in simply saying I can't do things or to just not attempt them. I'm a reasonably decent actor when I'm playing the right character. I've even had people in pfs eager to know if I was playing a certain character again as they really enjoyed that pc.

    Three "my fighter" wouldn't be bad at swim they would be bad at doing a drum solo. My Internal Alchemist who can hold their breath for 20 hours might be bad at swimming.

    Four how many of those soldiers became experts at interior decorating during that period?

    Five my solution takes nothing away from how you can play the game. We both get to play characters we want to play.

    Again no offense. :)


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    Raynulf wrote:
    Arguing about changes to mechanics breaking physics or the limits of suspension of disbelief are... well... not that useful.

    I have to reject this notion. Game "feel", presentation, and verisimilitude ARE a part and parcel to a systems's end goal of fun. Pathfinder itself owes a part of its existence due in part to people's dissatisfaction of how 4e handled this part of the experience.


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    John Lynch 106 wrote:

    <Snip>

    GM: Give me an athletics check.
    Player 1: I get a 7. Because I'm untrained and STR 10 that gives me a 20.
    GM: The DC was 15, so you climb up without any difficulty.
    Player 2: Given how low you rolled I guess you can not only climb those things with ease but even harder things with a descent chance of success.
    <Snip>

    I understand your desire to have the option for an Achilles heal on your characters, but I think you may want to reconsider your example for two reasons.

    The first is that we don't know how what DCs look like in PF2, or what limitations you have on untrained skill checks, making it hard to ascertain how effective a +13 untrained bonus is at 15th level. Can challenges have a level - such as a cliff face being "expert" - and if so, what effect does not having the requisite proficiency have? Does it prevent rolling or simply incur a steeper penalty? We simply don't know.

    The second is that in PF1 terms, DC15 is an almost trivial challenge except at very low levels, and thus for a 15th level party with access to spider climb and fly, or simply a knotted rope, it is barely worth playing out with dice; one way or another, your character is getting up there, even if they had a +0 in Climb.


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    Raynulf: The more you lock behind proficiency levels and special rules to stop untrained people from being able to do things, the more you minimize the usefulness of having +level to your checks. You gate enough uses for skills behind proficiency levels you end up with the PF 1st Ed situation with an unnecessary amount of complexity added on top.

    As for DC 15 being trivial: Sure. The wizard could eventually get up. But not on a roll of 7. Maybe he will have to rely on his friends for help. Or he will have to cast a spell. Either way, the roleplay is very different to "My character takes 10 and does it without blinking."


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    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    Lady Firebird: I believe you've stopped arguing in good faith at this point.

    That's rich.

    John Lynch 106 wrote:

    I will point out to you one last time that is not what I am arguing. Feel free to read my earlier posts to see what I'm actually advocating. The only person arguing a "my way or nothing" standpoint is you.

    NOTE: PF 1st Ed isn't perfect. That's about as on point as me saying "D&D 4th ed is just perfect for you. Go play that." Let's not get this thread locked though. Yeah? If you can't argue the points I'm actually making feel free to just not respond to my points.

    Yes, it is what you are arguing. You want the baseline to be the exact opposite of what they've said they want to do: make it such that all characters can have cool skill-related stuff to do, and that it's not a binary "either you've focused on this skill and are one of the few classes with lots of skill ranks or you can't participate."

    Whereas what you want could easily be accomplished by a system of Flaws or houserules limiting your skill increases. That's very easy and could be done in five minutes. Coming up with a skill system that is inclusive, allows for epic feats, and allows everyone to at least participate, and opens up more roleplaying and action opportunities, like they've said they're creating, takes a lot more work. I'm glad they're going with the latter.

    But on this I think we agree: I don't want to respond to you anymore, and let's just say I look forward to PF2 as they've presented it. Whether or not your camp is enjoying it, I'm going to be doing awesome things and enjoying every minute of it, even with my Fighter or Monk just using her skills.


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    As I said before. I'm happy to have a feat that gives you "rank 1 in X skills" where X is sufficiently high that it doesn't require a high investment to get basic training in all skills. This gives people who don't want that to have a small boost in something else (perhaps a couple of extra skill tricks that make other skills slightly more versatile).

    But feel free to keep distorting my posts to fit your arguments. Or feel free to not respond at all. Also if the final game ends up not having the skill system you want. Check out D&D 4th ed. Sounds like it would be right up your alley.

    (This post was mainly for the benefit of others who may have missed me making this same point earlier in the 500+ posts).


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    John Lynch 106 wrote:

    To those saying "just roleplay it", here is a (somewhat silly) example of why that doesn't work:

    Player 1: My character doesn't know how to climb. He can't go up the wall.
    Player 2: can't he at least try?
    Player 1: But I'm trying to roleplay his flaws.
    Player 2: Right now your roleplaying a stubborn ass who refuses to even try.
    Player 1: Fine. He tries.
    GM: Give me an athletics check.
    Player 1: I get a 7. Because I'm untrained and STR 10 that gives me a 20.
    GM: The DC was 15, so you climb up without any difficulty.
    Player 2: Given how low you rolled I guess you can not only climb those things with ease but even harder things with a descent chance of success.
    Player 1: Can't we go back to PF 1st ed? I'm getting flashbacks to my D&D 4th ed days.

    You can play a game system that supports your character or you can play a different character. Playing a character the game system doesn't support just doesn't work. NOTE: I'm all in favoured of people getting to play characters with "basic training" in everything. I just want to play a character who doesn't have to have that training.

    First of all, if your group starts foring your character to take actions they wouldn't normally take, something needs to change in your group setup. (More on this later.)

    That being said, a DC 15 climb check is, according to PF1, a free hanging rope or any surface with adequate footholds and handholds.

    Forgive me, but I find it hard to believe that a 15th level character, who can potentially have a Legendary Proficiency in a Skill(aka breaks physics because he's just that awesome), and has been making a living by trekking through dungeons for a LONG time, can't climb a basic rope, or what equates to a rock wall you find at gyms. For one, he most likely would have died by then falling to his death at some point earlier in his adventures.

    Your character is around the power level of someone like Beowulf at that point. You can probably slay dragons as big as elephants single handedly. Climbing a rope should be easy.

    I guess what I am saying (and this is just my opinion) a character that can't climb a rope is NOT a 15th level character in PF2.

    My question is, is the edge case where a character is surprisingly inept at a certain skill check worth a whole rule being implemented?

    I feel like an Epic (literary term) adventurer being inept at basic adventuring skills is on par with wanting to role play having a physical ailment like asthma, or being mentally stunted, or having some form of psychosis.

    While these can be fun character ideas to role play, remember that you are playing with other people who's characters have to put up with your character's crap (not trying to be offensive, just putting myself in the other PC's shoes).

    If the other players are willing to do this, then have fun! The issue of the group forcing you to do a Climb check won't come up. If not, then you should probably make a new character or find a new group.

    Another option is that the "Climb" check isn't actually your character proficiently navigating handholds and footholds, but them tapping into their magic (in the case of a caster) to help them climb, or jury rigging something together to make the climb easier. Perhaps the party has worked out some method to help this guy climb rock faces, and his roll is simulating how well that method works? Perhaps a good chunk of it is luck (if you lived through 14 levels, you probably have some amount of luck on your side).


    Problem with what your saying: In PF 1st Ed I can play a 15th level character who can't climb a rope. It is not unreasonable to want to play the same type of characters in a new edition of the same game.

    NOTE: Paizo recognize players of 1st Ed will want to play the same type of characters in PF 2nd ed and recognize the value in enabling that. It's why they have the same core races and classes.


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    thflame wrote:
    Perhaps a good chunk of it is luck (if you lived through 14 levels, you probably have some amount of luck on your side).

    Indeed, this is a large part of what the whole "level" mechanic even represents.


    thflame wrote:
    Forgive me, but I find it hard to believe that a 15th level character, who can potentially have a Legendary Proficiency in a Skill(aka breaks physics because he's just that awesome), and has been making a living by trekking through dungeons for a LONG time, can't climb a basic rope, or what equates to a rock wall you find at gyms. For one, he most likely would have died by then falling to his death at some point earlier in his adventures.

    Well you need to forgive me but I find it hard to believe that Old Master Orswald, 15th level hermit of the desert kingdom, who has never seen a body of water larger than a bathtub, can now execute basic swimming with more proficiency than a 2nd level pirate.

    thflame wrote:
    Another option is that the "Climb" check isn't actually your character proficiently navigating handholds and footholds, but them tapping into their magic (in the case of a caster) to help them climb, or jury rigging something together to make the climb easier. Perhaps the party has worked out some method to help this guy climb rock faces, and his roll is simulating how well that method works? Perhaps a good chunk of it is luck (if you lived through 14 levels, you probably have some amount of luck on your side).

    The problem is that there are better ways to use existing skills to simulate what you propose.

    Magic -> Spells like Spider Climb
    Pully System -> Knowledge engineering
    Helping the guy is aid another, or having the guys at the top use a strength check to pull him up.
    Luck-> Hero Points.


    I'm not even asking for characters to be inept at basic adventuring things. My issue is not wanting characters to be forced to be amazing at everything, with friggin +15 bonuses to skills they never used before.


    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?

    Mostly no, but also somewhat yes. We know from the blog that in addition to check modifiers, characters also have skill DCs which are affected by the same proficiency modifiers. We do not know exactly how opposed rolls work, but we know that they are different from PF1, so it reasonable to surmise that they will use those DCs somehow.

    For non-opposed rolls, I seriously doubt the basic DCs will change with proficiency ranks or skill feats (which would rather defeat the object), but higher ranks and (especially) skill feats will almost certainly do things like allow you to do rapid climbs for a smaller DC increase/penalty (or none at all). I would also expect ranks and/or feats to affect when you can take 10 (and possibly other variants like take 5 or 15), possibly including after rolling.

    _
    glass.

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