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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glass wrote:

@Strachan, good point, that is interesting. And I think you're right, it does imply some rapidly escalating ACs in this edition.

I wonder how it will work in practice, since presumably the armour itself will still provide some kind of bonus. If full plate still provides +9 and masterwork weapons provide +1 (with everything else being largely the same), then that implies a lot of missing! EDIT: So presumably, either armour will provide much smaller bonuses to AC, or weapons will provide much bigger bonuses to attacks. I look forward to the gear blog with interest.

Since the blog also says your proficiencies generate both an check value and a DC, I wonder if that means you sometimes people roll against your armour (as now) and at other times you roll an armour check? I wonder what circumstances (if any) would call for the latter?.

I think the math is closer than you realize. Scaling AC (or with any other proficiency for that matter) is really how you progress (in comparison to a lower level characters) and your proficiency (and ability mod) is the variance for characters at the same level.

My next prediction is likely to be heretical. I suspect ability caps to be 20. It sounds like all stats for a character start at 10 (barring a player willingly lowering a stat). We know that there are now 4 degrees of success. Critical success, success, failure, critical failure with the critical portions coming at + or - 10. This means the math needs to be pretty tight. Allowing abilities to greatly vary I think greatly breaks this system. So now the variance of an ability mod will be between 0 and 5.

So now ability mod (or natural ability) and training (proficiency) play equal part in your success. If you are good at both, you are clearly superior.

I quite like this.


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Lady Firebird wrote:
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.

Not for me at least.

To me a level is a personal evolution, transcending the state of being you were before and becoming something greater.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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The more I think about this, the more it's grown on me.

It's similar to D&D 4e's approach, but the trained/untrained divide makes it more like a high-level adventurer picks up a lot of general knowledge rather than becoming an expert in all things.

It's similar to D&D 5e's proficiency system, but without the problem of 20th level characters only being marginally better than their 10th level counterparts at something.

I'm interested in seeing how this works during the playtest.


Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Something that no one seems to mention is Vic Wertz comments. If you understand how proficiencies worth with weapons, then you understand how they work with armor.

To me this implies that your AC is first determined by the type of armor worn, then adjusted by rank, then adjusted by level, then adjusted by ability modifier.

Assuming everything is the same between two rogues other than level, I would surmise a 10th level rogue’s AC would be 9 points higher than one that is first level.

That caught my eye as well, I'm assuming that it means AC will be 10+Training Modifier+Armor Modifier+Dex Modifier.

I'm reaaaaaaaally hoping something involving proficiency allows arcane casters to cast in heavier armors too. (By locking it behind proficiency, as opposed to arbitrary armor heaviness/spell failure)

Dark Archive

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

One of the things I do really like about this notion of "the whole party can sneak into a place, could dress up in stolen uniforms to get past a checkpoint, and can pass off forged paperwork as official even though the entire party is not skilled in stealth, disguise, and bluff" is that in practice, when the party figures out this is not going to work without leaving half the party behind (which isn't fun) is that the critical path then becomes "barge in and kill everyone" and if there's one thing Pathfinder needs it's less encouragement to be murderhobos.

I mean, the thing about these games is that they are about teams of people working together, not "one hero saves the day" so if for some reason the party needs to climb on top of something, in practice they have the best climber climb to the top and then fix a rope that the less experienced climbers can use to climb up. I figure now this is a situation where the fantasy and the game mechanics line up.

Why do they have to leave half the party behind?


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Arakhor wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
The untrained wizard shouldn’t be a better climber than the career mountaineer
He shouldn't be better than an Olympic swimmer either, assuming similar levels.

He won't be, because the Olympic swimmer has a swim speed and doesn't have to roll to move at half speed. This was touched on earlier.


glass wrote:
Actually most people do not seem to know how well that went. D&D 4e went fantastically well by the standards of anybody except Hasbro. In 4e's heyday, half a million dollars a month just from DDi* subscriptions, before they had sold a single book. I believe that was more than Paizo's entire turnover at the time. All 4e failed to do was make $50M a year with a clear growth path to $100M, by which metric every RPG system ever released has also been a failure.

We know that PF1 was consistently higher ranked than 4E.

So I guess if being lower ranked than a game that was lower ranked then their prior edition is ok, then go for it.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

One of the things I do really like about this notion of "the whole party can sneak into a place, could dress up in stolen uniforms to get past a checkpoint, and can pass off forged paperwork as official even though the entire party is not skilled in stealth, disguise, and bluff" is that in practice, when the party figures out this is not going to work without leaving half the party behind (which isn't fun) is that the critical path then becomes "barge in and kill everyone" and if there's one thing Pathfinder needs it's less encouragement to be murderhobos.

I mean, the thing about these games is that they are about teams of people working together, not "one hero saves the day" so if for some reason the party needs to climb on top of something, in practice they have the best climber climb to the top and then fix a rope that the less experienced climbers can use to climb up. I figure now this is a situation where the fantasy and the game mechanics line up.

Again, if this was a problem (and it has not been in my 18+ years of 3X/PF) then why was PF1 so successful?

I love how it is suddenly so in fashion to crap all over PF1.

In my games, solving problems so they didn't have to be murderhobos was a consistent part of the fun.

I'd humbly suggest that people who take the "barge in a kill everything / murderhobo" approach as their standard behavior are probably the last people that should be listened to for advice on game improvement.


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TiwazBlackhand wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

One of the things I do really like about this notion of "the whole party can sneak into a place, could dress up in stolen uniforms to get past a checkpoint, and can pass off forged paperwork as official even though the entire party is not skilled in stealth, disguise, and bluff" is that in practice, when the party figures out this is not going to work without leaving half the party behind (which isn't fun) is that the critical path then becomes "barge in and kill everyone" and if there's one thing Pathfinder needs it's less encouragement to be murderhobos.

I mean, the thing about these games is that they are about teams of people working together, not "one hero saves the day" so if for some reason the party needs to climb on top of something, in practice they have the best climber climb to the top and then fix a rope that the less experienced climbers can use to climb up. I figure now this is a situation where the fantasy and the game mechanics line up.

Why do they have to leave half the party behind?

Well in PF1 if half the party had a stealth modifier in the 20s, and half the party had a stealth modifier less than 5, it's reasonable to conclude that "well, you will give us away". When you have to bluff the Captain that the forged papers are legitimate, you would imaging the captain would not just interact with whoever appoints themself as the spokesperson, so you don't want the person standing at the back to give you away.

Now the stealthy person can scout ahead to figure out a good path for their less stealthy friends, with the help of the disguise artist everyone can pass off a plausible disguise as genuine if they don't have to say a lot, and everybody can grunt affirmatively in a plausible manner if the Captain asks them a question. No one is a liability anymore.


As much as I am supporting this system, I do think that Untrained might be a bit too strong.

In my current game I switched from skill ranks in character creation to the Skill Groups set up from Unchained, which is similar in bonuses to the Proficiency set up. It has been working very well. Characters fully invested in skills still out perform people who haven't, but people who haven't invested in a skill also don't hold things back.

I anticipate crusading for Untrained providing half the proficiency bonus (rounding down) instead of -2. When the dice hit the table I might be pleasantly surprised, but personal experience (which is only an anecdote, I know) allows me to be pretty optimistic about an expansion to this system.

Grand Lodge

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BryonD wrote:

Again, if this was a problem (and it has not been in my 18+ years of 3X/PF) then why was PF1 so successful?

I love how it is suddenly so in fashion to crap all over PF1.

In my games, solving problems so they didn't have to be murderhobos was a consistent part of the fun.

I'd humbly suggest that people who take the "barge in a kill everything / murderhobo" approach as their standard behavior are probably the last people that should be listened to for advice on game improvement.

Pathfinder was successful because GMs could work around the rough patches. The system is usable, but that doesn't mean it is intuitive. People HAVE been complaining about these problems since the D&D releases, this isn't a new thing. And it isn't crapping on PF1, it's honest criticism and evaluation. Just because you don't agree with it does not mean it should be ignored. Thankfully, the Paizo team does not subscribe to the 'barge in and kill everything' approach, so that concern is addressed.


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glass wrote:
PF1 had an issue whereby it was possible (and in fact highly likely) for two characters of the same (highish) level in the same group to have skills that differed by more than the range of a d20, making it impossible to set a DC that was not either an auto pass for one or an auto fail for the other. The new skill system is obviously (and explicitly) designed to avoid that situation. Whether you happen to agree that the former situation was a mistake, the designers clearly do**, and this is clearly their learning from that mistake.

Again, you are crapping on a hugely successful game here.

From a narrative point of view, it is completely reasonable for Tarzan to climb something without a roll and Gandalf to be unable to climb it at all.

I've been down this road before and I get that there is a segment of the gaming community that don't care about the narrative aspects, they just want to be Gandalf AND not have to worry about the weaknesses of Gandalf.

So the question becomes not "do we tweak this issue?", but "is it a good idea to take a system that has a proven track record and go wildly to the other extreme?"

Grand Lodge

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BryonD wrote:
Again, you are crapping on a hugely successful game here.

This is not helping your arguments.


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BryonD wrote:

Again, if this was a problem (and it has not been in my 18+ years of 3X/PF) then why was PF1 so successful?

I love how it is suddenly so in fashion to crap all over PF1.

In my games, solving problems so they didn't have to be murderhobos was a consistent part of the fun.

I'd humbly suggest that people who take the "barge in a kill everything / murderhobo" approach as their standard behavior are probably the last people that should be listened to for advice on game improvement.

A common experience I've had as a player is that we'd come up with fun, plausible, solutions to problems that involved zero violence. On reflection we would often be perturbed by how someone in the party lacks an appropriate skill so the plan might not work, which would eventually result in resigned sighs of "so do the module designers just want us to kill everything". Not wanting to do this would bring about a brainstorming session roughly 5x longer than it needed to be where a truly absurd plan is concocted.

It seems like "we're gonna sneak in, steal some uniforms, and pass off the forged papers as genuine, then leave" is a plan classic enough that it should be a go-to option rather than something that involves a lot of magic.

But in practice we would handwave away "well, the Unstealthy one is just going to give us away" by skipping the check sometimes, effectively playing this way so it's good that there is now an official solution. It's good when the rules are written in such a way that we do not need to ignore them to do the thing everyone in the room (including the GM) thinks is a good course of action.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
BryonD wrote:

Again, if this was a problem (and it has not been in my 18+ years of 3X/PF) then why was PF1 so successful?

I love how it is suddenly so in fashion to crap all over PF1.

In my games, solving problems so they didn't have to be murderhobos was a consistent part of the fun.

I'd humbly suggest that people who take the "barge in a kill everything / murderhobo" approach as their standard behavior are probably the last people that should be listened to for advice on game improvement.

Pathfinder was successful because GMs could work around the rough patches. The system is usable, but that doesn't mean it is intuitive. People HAVE been complaining about these problems since the D&D releases, this isn't a new thing. And it isn't crapping on PF1, it's honest criticism and evaluation. Just because you don't agree with it does not mean it should be ignored. Thankfully, the Paizo team does not subscribe to the 'barge in and kill everything' approach, so that concern is addressed.

The barge in and kill anything was their words, not mine. So don't dump it on me. And there has absolutely been posts totally crapping on PF1 here.

And if you read what I've been saying, I've been very open to looking at other games which have come in the past decade and improving PF. It is completely unreasonable to suggest I said anything approximate to "it should be ignored".

There is a very specific solution be discussed and there are real issues with that solution. And there is recent evidence that implementing something close to that solution had bad consequences in the recent past.

Would it be fair for me to say that you are advocating we ignore the problems with the system being proposed? I suspect you would take offense if I suggested you had said that.

I've said I love the Tiers thing. That sounds very interesting. It is the +level part that I'm questioning. I already stated that simply putting a cap on raw modifier tied to which tier a character is at would be a great solution.

I'd also offer that being very strict with unlocks could be a solution.
If you are completely untrained in stealth then you have not unlocked the right to *try* to sneak past a guard while wearing heavy armor.
If you are untrained in athletics, then you can't *try* to climb up a 40 ft rope (how many people in this thread can climb up a 40 foot rope?)

I've very open to finding the right compromise and clever solution.

It is the "my wizard should be able to climb and my full plate fighter should also sneak around easily" that is problematic. Where is the offers to find a happy middle from the people I'm debating?


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Porridge wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
One of the things I do really like about this notion of "the whole party can sneak into a place, could dress up in stolen uniforms to get past a checkpoint, and can pass off forged paperwork as official even though the entire party is not skilled in stealth, disguise, and bluff" is that in practice, when the party figures out this is not going to work without leaving half the party behind (which isn't fun) is that the critical path then becomes "barge in and kill everyone" and if there's one thing Pathfinder needs it's less encouragement to be murderhobos.
This. A thousand times this!

Agreed. I've even seen this lead to conflict among players. Vastly different skill bonuses in my experience lends toward culture of, "Just let the person with the highest modifier do it, and if they fail, we have you as a backup." The players in question were a high wisdom cleric with good Perception, and a elf ranger in the style of Legolas. The other players at the table began to default ask the Cleric, "What do your Taldan eyes see?" in situations when it seemed like something might be hidden from them.

The elf player, who very much wanted to use their elf eyes, was upset.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
BryonD wrote:
Again, you are crapping on a hugely successful game here.
This is not helping your arguments.

My arguments are one thing and the fact that people are crapping on PF1 are another.


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I think you may be reading ungenerously if you see "if there's one thing Pathfinder needs is less encouragement to be murderhobos" as "crapping on PF1". Personally I consider "murderhobos" to be a failure state that a game should take steps to, if not discourage, then at least to avoid encouraging. I don't thing PF1 mechanically did enough to encourage people to seek non-violent solutions, it seems like PF2 might Hooray!


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

A common experience I've had as a player is that we'd come up with fun, plausible, solutions to problems that involved zero violence. On reflection we would often be perturbed by how someone in the party lacks an appropriate skill so the plan might not work, which would eventually result in resigned sighs of "so do the module designers just want us to kill everything". Not wanting to do this would bring about a brainstorming session roughly 5x longer than it needed to be where a truly absurd plan is concocted.

It seems like "we're gonna sneak in, steal some uniforms, and pass off the forged papers as genuine, then leave" is a plan classic enough that it should be a go-to option rather than something that involves a lot of magic.

But in practice we would handwave away "well, the Unstealthy one is just going to give us away" by skipping the check sometimes, effectively playing this way so it's good that there is now an official solution. It's good when the rules are written in such a way that we do not need to ignore them to do the thing everyone in the room (including the GM) thinks is a good course of action.

I'm sympathetic and I don't know how best to help you.

I certainly know that sometimes my games go straight to fighting. It is a cornerstone of the game after all. So I can't come close to saying "that never ever happens". But they have been consistently able to find other solutions.

To me, if the totally untrained guy in full plate is sneaks past the guard, then the rules have completely failed to provide the narrative that fits the pieces present.

Saying I sneak past cuz the rules let me doesn't help if you're left with the question: "But WHY did the rules let the tank sneak past?"

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
BryonD wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BryonD wrote:
Again, you are crapping on a hugely successful game here.
This is not helping your arguments.
My arguments are one thing and the fact that people are crapping on PF1 are another.

So maybe stop bringing it up, since it's unhelpful? Flag and move on.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think you may be reading ungenerously if you see "if there's one thing Pathfinder needs is less encouragement to be murderhobos" as "crapping on PF1". Personally I consider "murderhobos" to be a failure state that a game should take steps to, if not discourage, then at least to avoid encouraging. I don't thing PF1 mechanically did enough to encourage people to seek non-violent solutions, it seems like PF2 might Hooray!

Ok, fine.

Can we agree to start generously reading posts in both directions?


TriOmegaZero wrote:
BryonD wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BryonD wrote:
Again, you are crapping on a hugely successful game here.
This is not helping your arguments.
My arguments are one thing and the fact that people are crapping on PF1 are another.
So maybe stop bringing it up, since it's unhelpful? Flag and move on.

Ok, in the moving on department.... Do you have any feedback on the two alternatives I offered?

Can you tell me why I am wrong to not want full plate fighters casually sneaking past guards?


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It's impossible for me to read the 800+ posts, but I have read enough that I think I get what the main debate is.

PF2 does away with the granularity of selecting ranks at every level. Instead, we get a fixed bonus per level, plus a narrow range of player-selected proficiency bonuses (even more narrow at low levels) and something akin to skill unlock, limiting what you can do when untrained and allowing for superhuman actions with high proficiency.

This is clearly intended to simplify the game. There will be less numbers to enter in the character sheet when leveling. I'm on board with that, because in PF1 (as with 3.5) I feel I'm spending time to picks ranks that aren't very meaningful. For some classes with few class skills, it's mostly the same 5-4 skills that get maxed out at every level without much thought.

Allowing for a greater range of actions, going beyond mundane human ability, is a great idea. It has potential to make skills relevant at high level. In PF1 there's a lot of skill-based stuff that becomes irrelevant when certain spells come online (burglary comes to mind as a typical case).

It also aims at greatly narrowing the skill differences between characters of the same level. Since we also heard that skills can be used to replace certain rolls such as initiative or to perform maneuvers, this narrowing is likely to be essential to the system. Because if this, I think the milder versions (with a wider gap between trained and untrained), that some have proposed, don't stand much of a chance of adoption. We can always think of houseruling, but only after we see the whole system.

Concerns about this seem to be about realism, and the ability to customize characters to one's heart's content.

The realism issue seems to be mostly about numbers. In a game where everything is ranked by numbers, this is natural. The system tries to do away with the idea that someone with +20 on his character sheet is far better than someone with +5. That's a hard sell with many in the audience, I get that. For many skills, however, PF2 proficiencies will matter a lot more than a bonus. Somebody gave an example with swimming: If you have a Swim speed, you're going to be better than the guy who hasn't one, no matter what the numbers say. This makes sense to me. I expect that all mundane skills will come with abilities for highly proficient characters that can't be matched by untrained ones, no matter how high their bonus. For example, the level 10 barbarian who's an Expert in Athletics could have a higher base speed when running, leaving the level 20 cleric in the dust without having to roll anything. I suspect this is how the higher base speed of the barbarian might be worked into the new rules.

The other concern is about customization. Some folks really want to have their high-level character be weak in something. To me, that's not a priority: My sorcerer will Teleport or Fly anyway, so I don't need it written on my sheet how bad he is at running; my barbarian will go to a bar while the wizard combs the library, so I don't need to know how he sucks at knowledge skills. However, if others feel it restricts their flexibility in character design, that's their call. I'm not sure what a solution to that might be. Someone asked for a mechanism to trade away their skill bonus coming for their level in exchange for some other ability. Maybe a traits-like system could allow for that?


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It might be worth considering that the untrained armored full plate guys stealth skill probably still isn't going to be as high as say, the untrained unarmored wizards because I imagine that things like Armor Check Penalty will be factored in as well. So a level 10 fighter with 0 dex and Full plate is going to get something more like +5 than +10?

Level is this instance doesn't mean that the armor is any less intrinsically noisy, but might reflect that this character, who knows their armor is noisy, is using their experience in an attempt to mitigate that inherent weakness.

I can understand your concern for the 'realism' of this system and how that might affect your suspension of disbelief, but the situation as it was previously presented doesn't account for the full context of the scenario as it would be experienced in actual gameplay.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
BryonD wrote:

Ok, in the moving on department.... Do you have any feedback on the two alternatives I offered?

Can you tell me why I am wrong to not want full plate fighters casually sneaking past guards?

Nope, never said you were wrong to want that. You may notice I've said nothing about if the proficiency system is a good or bad idea.

I addressed your question 'why is this a problem if PF is successful?', I addressed your perception of other people's opinion of PF, and I addressed your claim that murderhobo player opinions should not be prioritized.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
BryonD wrote:

Ok, in the moving on department.... Do you have any feedback on the two alternatives I offered?

Can you tell me why I am wrong to not want full plate fighters casually sneaking past guards?

Nope, never said you were wrong to want that. You may notice I've said nothing about if the proficiency system is a good or bad idea.

I addressed your question 'why is this a problem if PF is successful?', I addressed your perception of other people's opinion of PF, and I addressed your claim that murderhobo player opinions should not be prioritized.

Ok, I'd suggest that your strong inference that I was in favor of ignoring a problem wasn't exactly fair then. So be it.


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I am sort of looking forward to seeing exactly what they do with this proficiency system. They said it will carry throughout the game, not just skills.

Looking at past stuff, perhaps something like Prone Shooter would just require a certain level of proficiency with firearms/crossbows rather than being a separate feat. I expect all the equipment tricks and armor training will be replaced by a proficiency level in something. They will be able to add new rules defining what things characters can do without requiring that the characters have a specific feat.

The more I read of the developer's comments, the more I think that the proficiency level will make a bigger difference in what you can do than any numeric bonus.


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The group check issue is trivially easy to solve by just allowing critical successes of one party member to compensate for failures of others, in an extension of the 'Aid Another' rules.

So the plated cleric failed his sneak check, as expected. Did he screw things up for everybody? No he didn't, because the rogue cleared by 10 and was thus able to help him avoid detection. Problem solved, without giving every untrained level 20 cleric a default +18 to sneak.


So in PF1 skills come in three basic flavors
- you can do whatever untrained (e.g. Swim, Bluff)
- you can't do anything untrained (e.g. Fly, Use Magic Device)
- you can do some things untrained but most uses of the skill require training (e.g. knowledge checks up to DC10 for people with no ranks).

Presumably in PF2 all skills are going to be in that 3rd category, which opens up the question of "what are the untrained uses of Use Magic Device"? Is it just going to be "checks up to a certain DC" like knowledge skills were? So a high level fighter can automatically trigger, say, first level wands?


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I am more upset, with regards to skills at least, about how much emphasis is now on attributes rather than ranks. With this system, if they are shooting for a variation of ~20 for bonuses, at least half of that is coming from attribute scores. And that half is twice as much as training effects the variation, +10 vs +5 at level 20. In the current system, you can still be amazing in skills that are your dump stat, as shown by the 8 Cha intimidate builds Ive run multiple times. That doesnt seem viable with the system as presented here.

I mean, its the same for all the proficiency systems were proficiency is half as important as attribute, but I am much more okay with that for spells/defenses/BAB than skills. Which is the drawback of a one size fits all system for so many game statistics.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
And with no training, his mod should not be higher than the career mountaineer even for those things.

I think comparing the two versions boil down to this:

In PF the mod/roll tells you both what you can try and how well you do it.
In PF2 the mod only tells you how well you attempted something, the profencieny level tells you what you can do. So someone untrained with a high mod isn't actually "better" than a low mod.

Take a character who is a "homeowner" class at high level - but untrained in electrician - he can wire in a lamp, or a doorbell, know how not to overload his eletrical outlets.

A lower level character that is a master at electrician can wire in a new house, build branches, add circuit breakers and do many things the high level "homeowner" cannot do. His mod may be somewhat lower, but he is better at the skill of electrician.

10th level homeowner might have a +10 from level, +1 from ability, and -2 for untrained. +9.
The 5th level eletrician +5 from level, +2 from profeincey and +2 from abiltiy (as it is a focus, higher abiilty score there). for +9.

So 5 levels difference, same mod, and the master can do many many more things than the untrained guy can do.


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Turmoil wrote:

The group check issue is trivially easy to solve by just allowing critical successes of one party member to compensate for failures of others, in an extension of the 'Aid Another' rules.

So the plated cleric failed his sneak check, as expected. Did he screw things up for everybody? No he didn't, because the rogue cleared by 10 and was thus able to help him avoid detection. Problem solved, without giving every untrained level 20 cleric a default +18 to sneak.

Personally I strongly dislike "one person makes the check for the whole group" since it encourages, particularly in social situations, for everybody except one player to sit back and be passive. I would much rather have everybody be involved and just be mysteriously competent because they are experienced adventurers than have people just divvy up the skills so only one person ever rolls on each thing.

So with the PF2 rules I can call for someone who is being oddly quiet in a conversation to make a social skill check (because the person the party is talking to is suspicious of the quiet one) and not have this be a "screw the party" move. I mean "draw the person who hasn't done anything yet into the scene" is like improv 101.


Turmoil wrote:

The group check issue is trivially easy to solve by just allowing critical successes of one party member to compensate for failures of others, in an extension of the 'Aid Another' rules.

So the plated cleric failed his sneak check, as expected. Did he screw things up for everybody? No he didn't, because the rogue cleared by 10 and was thus able to help him avoid detection. Problem solved, without giving every untrained level 20 cleric a default +18 to sneak.

Except that really makes for a boring mechanic.. At those levels in current PF, the untrained character is basically an auto-fail and the rogue is an auto success. You might as well not have anyone but the rogue roll at that point. At least this alternative gives some interesting chances to things to unfold unpredictably.


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That's not what my suggestion implies. The cleric and rogue would both roll: the cleric to avoid critical failure, and the rogue to attain critical success. This extends the functionality of the scale beyond the d20 range and leads to more opportunities for meaningful rolls by everybody.


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So it enhances the feeling of participation to have a roll which you are good at merely because you are breathing and a certain level rather than any choices at all you made? I don’t see it.


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Albatoonoe wrote:
Turmoil wrote:

The group check issue is trivially easy to solve by just allowing critical successes of one party member to compensate for failures of others, in an extension of the 'Aid Another' rules.

So the plated cleric failed his sneak check, as expected. Did he screw things up for everybody? No he didn't, because the rogue cleared by 10 and was thus able to help him avoid detection. Problem solved, without giving every untrained level 20 cleric a default +18 to sneak.

Except that really makes for a boring mechanic.. At those levels in current PF, the untrained character is basically an auto-fail and the rogue is an auto success. You might as well not have anyone but the rogue roll at that point. At least this alternative gives some interesting chances to things to unfold unpredictably.

To expand on this further, with PF1 sometimes the characters who can do the thing like stealth are so specialized that its... literally insane. I recently had an issue with a player who build themselves to be a sniper and had nearly +50 to stealth at level 12. The group already had a dex focused rogue who was good at stealth and as a catfolk had a climb speed, who was previously the choice for a 'scout'. When this alchemist with +50 stealth joined the group, they immediately took up that persons role, to the point where they were even complaining about having to roll stealth at all.

Certainly as the GM of that game, there was not a single instance where I looked at a monster that was in the AP we were running who had a chance in hell of even seeing this character. The player knew this, and it was basically just auto succeed in nearly every situation. To the point where I as the GM, and several players wondered why this Alchemist even needed a party to adventure with, considering they were insistent every single time that they "check out the dungeon first" before anyone else ever stepped foot inside. With the option of using their sniping to 'solve problems' before the party as a whole even saw them.

This left the parties rogue unable to compete stealth-wise, and out of their previous role as the occassional 'scout' in dungeon situations. And left me as a GM with a player who literally *CANNOT* be challenged without me making heavy and specific character punishing edits to the AP monsters, which I never want to do. And the rest of the party feeling inadequate to this other PC, who even during combat is such a good sniper that even while firing is unable to be found by monsters actively looking for them, completely removing any threat to their characters at all.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
So it enhances the feeling of participation to have a roll which you are good at merely because you are breathing and a certain level rather than any choices at all you made? I don’t see it.

I just see "everybody of a certain level has a baseline competence at everything, whereas the people who have invested in a thing are capable of amazing displays of aptitude" as simply preferable in every way.

I mean "Our heroes are good at what they try, the people who are particularly good at it are *amazingly* good at it" is basically a genre convention in most fantasy that Pathfinder most closely resembles.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I find it silly to think the cleric couldn't pick up a few basic sneaking tips from hanging around with a rogue for twenty levels.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
I find it silly to think the cleric couldn't pick up a few basic sneaking tips from hanging around with a rogue for twenty levels.

I also find it silly that someone who would be used to wearing heavy armor wouldn't through its constant use be gradually more and more able to compensate for its bulk and know how to move a little more quietly than normal.


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Enough to have a better bonus than the guy whose career it is?


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KingOfAnything wrote:
I find it silly to think the cleric couldn't pick up a few basic sneaking tips from hanging around with a rogue for twenty levels.

I mean the level at which untrained stealth operates is most likely "be careful about your footing and keep to the dark places; if you can see them, likely they can see you".

It seems like people are being deliberately obtuse by not realizing that while the numerical modifers are similar, the untrained stealth only operates if you have cover and/or concealment, whereas a master of stealth can cover themselves in sequins and do backflips down a well lit hallway full of people and not be seen.


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Again, the fact that they know how to move more quietly doesn't actually change the fact that their armor probably has something close to a -5 to -8 Armor Check Penalty, which in every instance of this scenario I've seen has never been factored into the roll.

Also considering, that an untrained heavy armored person might be able to use that +5 bonus to hide behind cover, or blend into a crowd. But a trained person who's job is is might be able to use that bonus or higher to hide in shadows, sneak up behind a person without being noticed, or hide after firing a bow.

Yes, I think thats fair.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Arssanguinus wrote:
Enough to have a better bonus than the guy whose career it is?

Is this currently possible in the proposed system?


Add this rule:

"When doing an opposed skill check or competing based on a skill check, the character with more ranks automatically wins over the ones with less ranks" Unless crits and fumbles are involved or something.

The number is high indeed, but it's misleading as a way to tell who is better at a skill.

Gotta remember skill differences are 2-dimensional now, not 1-dimensional like before. That +1 from rank-up is probably the least relevant part of putting the rank in.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
So it enhances the feeling of participation to have a roll which you are good at merely because you are breathing and a certain level rather than any choices at all you made? I don’t see it.

How do you get levels? Experience.

Experience is honestly the best teacher.

Your high level character has a TON of experience.

Let's take Stealth as an example, with a level 10 layman and a level 1 expert.

The expert has been taught how to make camouflage, but has little to no practical experience.

The layman has no clue how to make camouflage, but has been forced to try and hide numerous times, and has been ambushed or spotted an ambush numerous times. He has a pretty good idea of what is and isn't a good hiding spot.

In a situation where camouflage is necessary to be able to hide, the expert is the only guy who has a chance. The layman is going to get spotted.

In a basic scenario where all you have to do is jump behind a rock and stay quiet, the level 10 layman has MUCH more experience and the level 1 expert's training is no substitute for that.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
I find it silly to think the cleric couldn't pick up a few basic sneaking tips from hanging around with a rogue for twenty levels.

He's free to spend just one of his skill rank increases on sneak at either level 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, or anywhere between by retraining.

I don't understand the point of pretending that there is this binary choice between letting untrained level 20 clerics auto-succeed on DC 19 sneak checks (which untrained level 1 clerics fail 95% of the time, and expert level 1 rogues with +4 DEX fail 65% of the time) on the one hand, and prohibiting anybody from ever taking non-class skills or something on the other. That's not what this is about.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
Enough to have a better bonus than the guy whose career it is?

If by "career" you mean "was trained in how to do X job, but has only been doing for a couple weeks" vs "guy who never had any formal training but has been doing this for years", then yes.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
Enough to have a better bonus than the guy whose career it is?

You seem to be absolutely refusing to accept the idea that there could be a game where having a bigger number doesn't mean you're better at something than the person who has more capabilities than you at the task.

"My high-level adventurer is a better mountain climber than the mountaineer because he's higher level and gets a big bonus to untrained checks," I believe was your earlier claim?

If you are judging "better mountain climber" by the high-level adventurer getting a +15 to the mountaineer's +10, which is how it would work in 1e, I suppose. But this isn't 1e.

The expert mountain climber doesn't need to roll to climb something an untrained person could climb. You do. Your high level adventurer can fail an untrained climb check, and the mountaineer can't.

The expert mountain climber can climb a number of things your higher-level adventurer cannot. He can attempt difficult climbs because of his training. Your alleged high-level polymath cannot.

On things that both characters can attempt to climb, for fairness's sake, the expert mountaineer will always climb twice as fast as your high-level adventurer no matter how well the adventurer rolls. You can roll five natural 20s in a roll to climb, get 35 after 35, and the mountaineer will still handily beat you to the top. Because he has more training than you do, and he will climb at least twice as fast and probably more like three or four times as fast.

You are not a better mountaineer than the career mountaineer.


I definitely like the notion that skill use can now break the expectations of realism.

Not sure how the world of difference between proficiency ranks will be represented in the rules yet, since proficiency eventually factors far less into the modifier than level, so I guess the difference will be explicit differences in the skill rules. But that would seem to mean that there is all the more rule text to write for each skill.


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I think there's a crucial point most people have been missing here.

Being trained, expert, master, legendary, etc, may not JUST give you minor bonuses and extra perks. What if it makes the DCs needed to accomplish a task lower, as well?

So while both MagicPants the level 20 wizard and Climbster the level 10 rogue has +17 to climbing, maybe the DC 15 check MagicPants has to make is a merely DC 5 check for Climbster. This is in line with what we've learned: that having certain levels of proficiency eliminates the need to roll for "basic" tasks at all.

We simply don't know enough to judge, at this point. If it turns out that what I mentioned above is the case (don't quote me on this -- but I do recall it mentioned that it's possible for a high proficiency character to need lower numbers to succeed, than a low proficiency character), then the numbers themselves are really not quite so relevant. They're very likely JUST there for parity with Saves, Attack Bonuses, and AC.

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