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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PossibleCabbage wrote:
edduardco wrote:
I think that the suggestion of making untrained = level/2 is quite terrible, is good and bad save progression all over again, the higher the level higher the gap. And what exactly would be the benefit other than to punish players for not be able to max all skills. Right now makes math simpler, easier to learn, and coherent for high levels

If we needed to widen the gap between "untrained" and "someone who is good at a skill" doing something like Level -2 or level -4 would be much better than level/2 IMO.

I'm still not sure why we want our fantasy heroes to get less uniformly competent at basic tasks though.

We do probably want to keep the difference between "really good" and "really bad" at a roll less than 10 though, just so we don't have issues where the same roll is a critical success for one member of the party and a failure for one of their peers.

Agree, a flat penalty would reflect better the gap between levels of training. A level based penalty just broke at higher levels.

I'm also on the camp that higher level characters should be more broadly competent.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I really think a lot of the potential issues I and others could have with automatic bonuses to skills really depends heavily on what is locked behind Training. Take swimming, for example. Maybe being able to swim is a Trained skill, making the trope of the otherwise competent character who can't swim quite easily doable. It might be that the untrained uses of every skill are such feeble things that they'll effect the game about as much as untrained Knowledge checks do in PF1e.

I'm also highly in support of a "disadvantage" or "flaw" system to handicap a single skill if desired by a player - the example I think of is from the move Fifth Element, where Corbin Dallas, who up to this point has been pretty much hypercompetent at everything, stares at a bomb with a deer-in-headlights look before taking off running.


ryric wrote:

I really think a lot of the potential issues I and others could have with automatic bonuses to skills really depends heavily on what is locked behind Training. Take swimming, for example. Maybe being able to swim is a Trained skill, making the trope of the otherwise competent character who can't swim quite easily doable. It might be that the untrained uses of every skill are such feeble things that they'll effect the game about as much as untrained Knowledge checks do in PF1e.

I'm also highly in support of a "disadvantage" or "flaw" system to handicap a single skill if desired by a player - the example I think of is from the move Fifth Element, where Corbin Dallas, who up to this point has been pretty much hypercompetent at everything, stares at a bomb with a deer-in-headlights look before taking off running.

Stat dumping by any name is so largely opposed by this community that I imagine it's role in the game design structure most likely what lead to this system in the first place.


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I think playing people with serious flaws is fun and interesting. I am deeply suspicious, however, that players will gravitate directly towards "what skill am I never going to need, I will elect to be woeful at this one so I can have an advantage elsewhere."

Codify "a flaw that does not disadvantage you regularly confers no mechanical advantage" in rule form though and it should be fine. In a lot of campaigns "I am terribly afraid of horses and refuse to ride one" is just something you can just roleplay (since it's not going to come up in, say, a nautical campaign).


Milo v3 wrote:
Thing is, if they do go with that, then there is no point having such high bonuses to begin with since the only reason to have high bonuses is to attempt difficult challenges.

Difficult challenges, and challenges with high DC, are not the same once you break the difficulty in two axes.

For example, sneak past a guard hiding in some bushes is not difficult. It is the most basic thing for hiding. But if it is a opposed roll, the guards might have, +18 to perception. Which is why low level wizards can attempt basic stuff like sneak past a guard of his level, but high level wizards can not do the same with guards of his level


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think playing people with serious flaws is fun and interesting. I am deeply suspicious, however, that players will gravitate directly towards "what skill am I never going to need, I will elect to be woeful at this one so I can have an advantage elsewhere."

Codify "a flaw that does not disadvantage you regularly confers no mechanical advantage" in rule form though and it should be fine. In a lot of campaigns "I am terribly afraid of horses and refuse to ride one" is just something you can just roleplay (since it's not going to come up in, say, a nautical campaign).

One of the things I liked about OWoD Merits and Flaws. It was very clear that if you picked a flaw and the planned around it never coming up, the Storyteller was well within their rights to funnel your xp into removing those flaws for you. Wouldn't mind a rule like that in PF


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Thing is, if they do go with that, then there is no point having such high bonuses to begin with since the only reason to have high bonuses is to attempt difficult challenges.

Difficult challenges, and challenges with high DC, are not the same once you break the difficulty in two axes.

For example, sneak past a guard hiding in some bushes is not difficult. It is the most basic thing for hiding. But if it is a opposed roll, the guards might have, +18 to perception. Which is why low level wizards can attempt basic stuff like sneak past a guard of his level, but high level wizards can not do the same with guards of his level

Brace yourself, "wizards have invisibility" posts are coming.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think playing people with serious flaws is fun and interesting. I am deeply suspicious, however, that players will gravitate directly towards "what skill am I never going to need, I will elect to be woeful at this one so I can have an advantage elsewhere."

Make all skills equally useful then.


Lemartes wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think playing people with serious flaws is fun and interesting. I am deeply suspicious, however, that players will gravitate directly towards "what skill am I never going to need, I will elect to be woeful at this one so I can have an advantage elsewhere."
Make all skills equally useful then.

Seems hard to do without really cutting down on the list of skills. Like it's not hard to do a whole campaign without ever riding anything, sailing anywhere, swimming, or encountering a whole class of monsters (say an urban intrigue campaign set within a non-port city in which no aberrations appear) for example. But many games are going to involve sailing and aberrations and a horse. Ideally we want the game to support many different themes and stories.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think playing people with serious flaws is fun and interesting. I am deeply suspicious, however, that players will gravitate directly towards "what skill am I never going to need, I will elect to be woeful at this one so I can have an advantage elsewhere."
Make all skills equally useful then.
Seems hard to do without really cutting down on the list of skills. Like it's not hard to do a whole campaign without ever riding anything, sailing anywhere, swimming, or encountering a whole class of monsters (say an urban intrigue campaign set within a non-port city in which no aberrations appear) for example. But many games are going to involve sailing and aberrations and a horse. Ideally we want the game to support many different themes and stories.

And play styles.

I don't care if someone dumps something to get better at something else.

It's funny when that comes up to bite them in the ass. :)


Lemartes wrote:
It's funny when that comes up to bite them in the ass. :)

It just seems to me like it's unnecessarily antagonistic when a GM starts throwing a lot of challenges at a player simply because that player has elected to be deathly afraid of water and horses, for example. Like sure the player might have been min-maxing because the campaign takes place in the mountains, but I don't want to come across like a jerk.

Better to just avoid the situation where "being completely incapable of riding a horse" conveys mechanical advantages.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
It's funny when that comes up to bite them in the ass. :)

It just seems to me like it's unnecessarily antagonistic when a GM starts throwing a lot of challenges at a player simply because that player has elected to be deathly afraid of water and horses, for example. Like sure the player might have been min-maxing because the campaign takes place in the mountains, but I don't want to come across like a jerk.

Better to just avoid the situation where "being completely incapable of riding a horse" conveys mechanical advantages.

I'm not talking about the GM being a jerk.

Sometimes things come up your character isn't built for.

That's fun. You have to think of a way to handle it that might not be mechanically covered by your character. Or be inventive and do something new. :)


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
It's funny when that comes up to bite them in the ass. :)

It just seems to me like it's unnecessarily antagonistic when a GM starts throwing a lot of challenges at a player simply because that player has elected to be deathly afraid of water and horses, for example. Like sure the player might have been min-maxing because the campaign takes place in the mountains, but I don't want to come across like a jerk.

Better to just avoid the situation where "being completely incapable of riding a horse" conveys mechanical advantages.

Think of what a great role-playing moment it will be when that player is able to get over their irrational fear of water or horses in order to ride that pony (who is wearing Horseshoes of the Zephyr) riding across the sea to the little village on the island to deliver the needed vial of medicine.

Hurray! They saved the say by overcoming their fear.

That's not being antagonistic, it's progressing the character's story so they aren't a cardboard cutout.


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Gregg Reece wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
It's funny when that comes up to bite them in the ass. :)

It just seems to me like it's unnecessarily antagonistic when a GM starts throwing a lot of challenges at a player simply because that player has elected to be deathly afraid of water and horses, for example. Like sure the player might have been min-maxing because the campaign takes place in the mountains, but I don't want to come across like a jerk.

Better to just avoid the situation where "being completely incapable of riding a horse" conveys mechanical advantages.

Think of what a great role-playing moment it will be when that player is able to get over their irrational fear of water or horses in order to ride that pony (who is wearing Horseshoes of the Zephyr) riding across the sea to the little village on the island to deliver the needed vial of medicine.

Hurray! They saved the say by overcoming their fear.

That's not being antagonistic, it's progressing the character's story so they aren't a cardboard cutout.

That's called good DMing and it needs to be praised.


It just feels like "choosing to be worse than untrained in a skill" should be one of those optional rules that is genuinely optional, not a default option. Like consider how many more PF1 games allow traits than allow drawbacks.


master_marshmallow wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
RocksAhead wrote:

What if the different ranks in proficiency capped your straight level bonus? That way it becomes important to become proficient in skills in order to unlock further bonuses as you level. You don't automatically get unceasingly better at everything only what you gain proficiency in.

It already does this.

People are obsessing over the numbers, and seemingly only over skills.

Why?

Wait until the skill blog.

No it doesn't... unless you're referring to some sight-yet-unseen information. If that's the case, then that's an issue with Paizo releasing partial information on a topic.

Acknowledged and agreed.

I said that upthread but it's more than possible that it got lost in the ether.

Fair enough. Up until this point, I feel as if the releases, while not giving away everything, have presented a pretty good picture of how the underlying system works. It sounds like, from what you're saying, this one just may have missed the mark. I'm willing to wait until there are more details... as others have pointed out, we're rehashing a lot of the same things at this point.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
It just feels like "choosing to be worse than untrained in a skill" should be one of those optional rules that is genuinely optional, not a default option. Like consider how many more PF1 games allow traits than allow drawbacks.

Yeah, but often I see disadvantages show up something like this in games.


tivadar27 wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
RocksAhead wrote:

What if the different ranks in proficiency capped your straight level bonus? That way it becomes important to become proficient in skills in order to unlock further bonuses as you level. You don't automatically get unceasingly better at everything only what you gain proficiency in.

It already does this.

People are obsessing over the numbers, and seemingly only over skills.

Why?

Wait until the skill blog.

No it doesn't... unless you're referring to some sight-yet-unseen information. If that's the case, then that's an issue with Paizo releasing partial information on a topic.

Acknowledged and agreed.

I said that upthread but it's more than possible that it got lost in the ether.
Fair enough. Up until this point, I feel as if the releases, while not giving away everything, have presented a pretty good picture of how the underlying system works. It sounds like, from what you're saying, this one just may have missed the mark. I'm willing to wait until there are more details... as others have pointed out, we're rehashing a lot of the same things at this point.
master_marshmallow wrote:

I'll agree that the rate at which we're getting stuff isn't satisfactory when it comes to actually understanding what is being released.

This is a major part of the game engine, it needs to have more umph.

Here's my post for context.

The fact that this subsystem is so inherently tied to all other systems means it needed to be exposed first, but because it's tied to every system it's hard to understand how each of those systems will work in a vacuum.

Skills have become the system we seem to understand the least, hopefully this informs the devs to release the skills blog sooner rather than later so we have a better grasp of what's really going on.
But I really wanna know how AC works too.


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On one hand, I like that it looks like the numbers in this version of Pathfinder look more balanced. On the other hand, if this turns into a game of "You have about of 50% chance of accomplishing anything" it is going to get really boring really quickly. Someone who is "legendary" at a skill should be more than 5 points better than someone who is untrained but happens to be the same level.

Grand Lodge

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Dαedαlus wrote:
Also, it seems strange that the adventurer who's spent all his life plundering Ancient Osirani tombs might go to the sea and immediately be better at sailing than someone who's spent decades on the deck of a ship.
tivadar27 wrote:
This system is almost as flat as 5E, and I don't love that. I'm curious to see what you can and can't do, but the fact remains, my level 5 Legendary Stealther has the same base stealth score as your level 10 Untrained Stealther.
rooneg wrote:
But that's part of the problem. If your higher level character somehow becomes "trained" in Sailing they immediately jump from "I know the names of some ships" to "I am better at this than everyone on the boat because I'm a 15th level character". That strains credulity. I'm not sure I like the way that level mixes in to this at all.

Agreed. I hope I'm either reading too much/too little into the blog or just don't have enough info yet.

Lindley Court wrote:
As someone who has, for years, been confused and frustrated that a 20th level fighter is bound by the logic of reality while a 1st level wizard isn't.

Wait, a wizard sacrifices martial power and uses MAGIC to become unbound by reality. That's why wizard can do stuff-because they don't do martial stuff and access magic. SMH.

Personally, and in my experience with other groups, "legendary" fighters that jump 100 feet into the air and cleave an enemy in half with one shot is a recipe for a no-fun game and a miserable GM.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Or said rogue at level 9 finding herself a landlubber that's in a campaign with some nautical interests. Come level 10 after defeating a sea serpent, she decides to pause up on maxing out other skills for a bit and sinks 10 ranks into Profession (Sailor), which is a class skill. With her minimum +13 bonus (and probably more than that, given that rogues like their wisdom nice and high to spot traps and keep the will saves at bay) she has become a masterful sailor overnight.

But this is explained by those with higher skill point allocations having higher learning capability. Plus it's usually been explained that the "taking" of new skills/ranks is something that is the culmination of learning, not necessarily the sudden taking on of knowledge. For instance, maybe that rogue during their downtime for the past several years has been training this, but has not been able to perform any of the skills. Much like someone graduating from college, one isn't graduated (think a rank) until the final day of class, and thus an outsider may see this rank (graduation) as a sudden learning of knowledge.

Mekkis wrote:
So, where in Pathfinder, there is the trained/untrained divide specifying what your character can't achieve, we now have a "You must be at least Expert in this skill to succeed here" barrier.

There should be some limit or barrier to certain actions. This business of everyone can do everything ruins the game. However, having the ability to customize skills and abilities to do something "outside the box" should be a feature in the game, but it should also be a limited feature. I think PF1e might have taken things a bit too far. It appears that PF2e will present limitations, but the limits will be expressed by advantages to those who should be better. It appears if you are a wizard who wants to also be good at disarming traps that you'll still be able to do this; it's just the rogue will be better at it. I think this is the best system. A barbarian in full plate SHOULD NOT be able to use stealth simply because the she's the only person in the party that can't.

As an example, Stealth has been used. If that slow Barbarian in full plate wants to stealth, they're screwed or the party has to come up with some ingenious way to get them past...the solution is to allow the barbarian to succeed at a stealth check? Well if that's the case, the why couldn't a caster-less group attempt casting? It makes no sense.

Lady Firebird wrote:
Look at Conan. Or Aragorn. Two examples off the top of my head who have a lot of skills and competence in broad areas. Aragorn has the hands of a healer, the most skilled woodsman to be found in Middle-earth, a tracker without peer, a legendary warrior, and a great leader. He's also learned in lore from several ages of the world.

Aragorn was also a Dúnedain, which would not be a core race, so that comparison might not be the greatest!

John Lynch 106 wrote:
LadyBird: Playing superheroes who are good at everything was not what Pathfinder 1st ed was about. Moving into that design space has a high risk of alienating a good portion of the Pathfinder fanbase. Making it the core assumption with optional rules to enable Pathfinder 1st ed feel is going to be extremely controversial. I'd rather preserve the Pathfinder 1st ed feel and have the superheroic option be optional and cost a small amount of resources.

THIS ^

kyrt-ryder wrote:
I have played several 'clerics' that had nothing to do with organized religion and only aligned with their god by happenstance.

This makes no sense to me. Who was granting your character magic abilities, then? Santa Claus?

Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
Does it bother you that high level wizards in PF1 are kinda master swordsmen and can shrug off poisons and the like?

What in the world are you talking about? High level wizards are like master swordsmen? You are confused. Can shrug off poisons? What sort of experience do you have with wizards? You're either doing it completely wrong or the person you're playing with is cheating.

Lady Firebird wrote:
Dismissively calling it "superheroes" carries about the same weight as when detractors dismissively called 4E "an MMO." It's abjectly false, and also ignores the facts: in this case, it's that the fantasy game in question is taking inspiration from the very thing that inspired superheroes, and fantasy to begin with. It's a short-sighted view that ultimately misses the heart of the matter.

I and many others would argue Lord of the Rings was the beginning of fantasy heroes...and at best the main characters weren't that powerful. Even the very main characters- Bilbo and Frodo- weren't "super" heroes. Even Gandalf had to call on giant eagles to rescue him. None of the characters in these books do superhuman things (even by that setting). The very beginning of tabletop RPGs saw one man in an army stepping out of that role and into like-minded adventuring group- might add, a regular man who learned some skills, honed fighting or magic use, and did what he could to stay alive.

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.

Well if this is the only other option, you're party should probably spend some time figuring out ways to improve those scores by asking your GM for bonuses for using unique and fun ideas. The problem you are talking about rests with the party, not the rules. A good GM will modify some of the variables based on your actions and ideas. Just like with Diplomacy and/or Bluff checks, a good GM will throw a few bonuses into your rolls for good roleplay.


Arssanguinus wrote:
necromental wrote:
This debate has gone so many rounds in circle that I cannot wait for Paizo to publish the blog about next thing people will hate.
I liked the action economy one.

It's the only thing I liked from too.


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nogoodscallywag wrote:
Lindley Court wrote:
As someone who has, for years, been confused and frustrated that a 20th level fighter is bound by the logic of reality while a 1st level wizard isn't.

Wait, a wizard sacrifices martial power and uses MAGIC to become unbound by reality. That's why wizard can do stuff-because they don't do martial stuff and access magic. SMH.

Personally, and in my experience with other groups, "legendary" fighters that jump 100 feet into the air and cleave an enemy in half with one shot is a recipe for a no-fun game and a miserable GM.

Wait, a Fighter sacrifices magical power and uses EPIC PROWESS to become unbound by reality. That's why Fighters can do stuff — because they don't do caster stuff and use their own demigodlike potential. SMH

Personally, and in my experience with all groups, "legendary" Fighters who can't jump 100 feet into the air and cleave an enemy in half with one shot is a recipe for a no-fun game (except for the Wizard) and a miserable GM and players, and a game that quickly fizzles out.

See how easy it is to "justify" with such circular logic? There is no argument to be made that casters can break all the laws of physics and have godlike power and martials can't that isn't pure hypocrisy. If you want everyone to be toned down, that's what E6 is for. Otherwise, high-level martials get to become Beowulf and Sun Wukong and Heracles. It's good the developers recognize the need for non-Wizard players to be relevant in the late game, and are giving us tools to do so.


so stepping away to think on it....
I'm really just anxious to see what all the "unlocks" are.
I really don't think it makes any sense to climb a rope and be "untrained" in athletics. (and the argument that L20 wizard would learn this is saying "he would be trained over that period of time")
If you need to be trained to climb a rope then my concern is largely removed.

In the same sense, I really can't imagine that sneaking past a guard while wearing full plate is something that someone untrained in stealth should be allowed to try.

So, assuming that the number of ranks allowed compared to the range of skills and cool things that can be taken is reasonable, if a wizard decides to sacrifice something else so that he is good at climbing, then I have zero issue with that. It is exactly like the PF1 wizard who points resources into being able to climb.

What will be interesting is how this sits with those who want L20 wizards to do everything. If you use to be unable to hit a target DC and now you just are not allowed to roll, then nothing has really changed on that front.

If PF2 says "pfff...... untrained people stealth around in full plate all the time!!" Then that would be a pretty major change in approach.


nogoodscallywag wrote:


Lindley Court wrote:
As someone who has, for years, been confused and frustrated that a 20th level fighter is bound by the logic of reality while a 1st level wizard isn't.

Wait, a wizard sacrifices martial power and uses MAGIC to become unbound by reality. That's why wizard can do stuff-because they don't do martial stuff and access magic. SMH.

Personally, and in my experience with other groups, "legendary" fighters that jump 100 feet into the air and cleave an enemy in half with one shot is a recipe for a no-fun game and a miserable GM.

Please expound on this.

Why do you find such games 'no fun' and might you find more fun sticking to low levels?


Lady Firebird wrote:
high-level martials get to become Beowulf and Sun Wukong and Heracles. It's good the developers recognize the need for non-Wizard players to be relevant in the late game, and are giving us tools to do so.

I still see Beowulf as mid-level. Level 10ish


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:


Lindley Court wrote:
As someone who has, for years, been confused and frustrated that a 20th level fighter is bound by the logic of reality while a 1st level wizard isn't.

Wait, a wizard sacrifices martial power and uses MAGIC to become unbound by reality. That's why wizard can do stuff-because they don't do martial stuff and access magic. SMH.

Personally, and in my experience with other groups, "legendary" fighters that jump 100 feet into the air and cleave an enemy in half with one shot is a recipe for a no-fun game and a miserable GM.

Please expound on this.

Why do you find such games 'no fun' and might you find more fun sticking to low levels?

Why should that be made the only style of high level game it is possible to play, disenfranchising a rather large chunk of the customer base by making that style baked in irretrievably?


Because that is what high level gameplay is.

Read the bestiaries and consider what legitimate high level threats can do... And then run them to their full potential


Which is an evasive way of not answering the question at all.

High level play need not involve jumping 100 feet in the air and splitting mountains with your sword.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
Why should that be made the only style of high level game it is possible to play, disenfranchising a rather large chunk of the customer base by making that style baked in irretrievably?

So what other styles would you like to play? What are the choices that the "rather large chunk of the customer base" would like to see?


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Arssanguinus wrote:

Which is an evasive way of not answering the question at all.

High level play need not involve jumping 100 feet in the air and splitting mountains with your sword.

High level play need not involve wizards breaking reality and trivializing 90% of encounters either, but here we are...


Things where people DON’T do the above as an assumption.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
Why should that be made the only style of high level game it is possible to play, disenfranchising a rather large chunk of the customer base by making that style baked in irretrievably?

You mean like it is now for players of martial characters? They don't get to enjoy the high-level games because it's "magic or irrelevance?"

It's easy for you to limit Fighters and such to level 10 in your games if you want to keep them irrelevant at high levels. It's much harder for those of us who don't want to be excluded to make up rules for keeping them in it.

Almost no spellcasters in fiction and mythology have the ridiculous power that 3.x/PF casters get. Most gods don't. It's entirely a choice made for D&D, inherited by PF1. So it's not like it's some inviolable law that magic = able to break all boundaries while mythic heroics = bound somehow by the laws of physics that don't apply to the rest of the game, let alone to casters.

Limit your martial heroes to low levels if that's how you want to play it. Just don't be surprised if you find players being quite unhappy. I, for one, don't want to play a game where I can't be a high-level Monk or Fighter or Paladin and be just as awesome as the casters. It's part of the reason I don't currently play 3.x/PF.

PF2, fortunately, looks poised to fix this issue. The developers being keenly aware of this glaring issue with the aging 3.x/PF engine is great. Them working to fix that is even better. And every single thing they've said about it is encouraging to me. This will be the game that brings me back and most certainly becomes my fantasy game of choice.


thflame wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:

Which is an evasive way of not answering the question at all.

High level play need not involve jumping 100 feet in the air and splitting mountains with your sword.

High level play need not involve wizards breaking reality and trivializing 90% of encounters either, but here we are...

Rein back high level wizards.

Paizo Employee Designer

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I'm actually curious to separate jumping 100 feet into the air from splitting mountains with a sword slash, even though these two are some of the stock examples from superpowered fiction that are often grouped together. Mostly because jumping 100 feet in the air seems like something reasonable to expect from a high level character, reasonably easy to balance against in game assumptions, and beneficial to high level games where flight magic is readily available, whereas cutting a mountain in half (and thus presumably destroying the entire dungeon that was on the mountain, possibly multiple dungeons on that mountain) seems pretty disruptive no how you slice it (yes, intended). While, again, they are often grouped together in examples, just because we're giving you more options to have your martial characters do things in the vein of giant leaps doesn't mean we're adding in slicing mountains in half.


It's not a new suggestion by any means, but if you don't want to play superheroes couldn't you just end the campaign at level 10, same as someone who doesn't want to play "realistic" people could start at level 11? (Or whatever level gets too gonzo/not gonzo enough)


So I'm wondering, if someone didn't want to run a game in quite as fantastic a world ("selective realism" being the cause of a whole lot of problems notwithstanding) how much of an issue would it be if a GM just lopped off, say, the legendary tier for skills?

How much does this break the math versus merely limiting the set of actions possible?

Personally I'm all for cutting mountains in half with a sword, but I understand others might not be.


Arssanguinus wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:


Lindley Court wrote:
As someone who has, for years, been confused and frustrated that a 20th level fighter is bound by the logic of reality while a 1st level wizard isn't.

Wait, a wizard sacrifices martial power and uses MAGIC to become unbound by reality. That's why wizard can do stuff-because they don't do martial stuff and access magic. SMH.

Personally, and in my experience with other groups, "legendary" fighters that jump 100 feet into the air and cleave an enemy in half with one shot is a recipe for a no-fun game and a miserable GM.

Please expound on this.

Why do you find such games 'no fun' and might you find more fun sticking to low levels?

Why should that be made the only style of high level game it is possible to play, disenfranchising a rather large chunk of the customer base by making that style baked in irretrievably?

Because, simply put, high level in a game like Pathfinder already implies some amount of mythic, larger-than-life quality to the heroes.

PF1 (and 3.5 before it) already gives ample amounts of world-changing power to spellcasters of that level. When clerics can raise the dead, druids can call up earthquakes and hurricanes, wizards can temporarily stop time and conjure meteors...it's narratively unfair that a fighter of comparable level and experience couldn't do much more than hit a bit harder.

Now, I understand the silliness some of these actions can be described to look like, and I understand it's fine to dislike, say, anime or superhero aesthetics when we think of our high level martials. But here's the thing -- powerful warriors with superhuman ability is a staple of fantasy and mythology, just like great wizards and mighty priests are. As many have stated, you're not Superman; you're Hercules, Cú Chulainn, or Beowulf. (I saw Sun Wukong mentioned but his trademark shapeshifting and summoning abilities put him solidly in gish territory. Sorry).

If you don't like the epic nature already baked into high level games (just previously reserved for casters, really), then it really is better to play lower level games. Or, ban legendary skill tricks and feats, BUT YOU SHOULD ALSO leave level 7+ spells out of easy reach of casters.

I have no issue with preference for either gritty or epic playstyles. I just want to close the caster-martial disparity, and elevating martials (rather than gimping casters) is simply the more option-friendly way to go.


In other words, no options for people who might not want to go quite that direction of calling jumping 100 feet ‘reasonable’.


It does mean that, presuming aps go the whole way, many of them will become unusable.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Arssanguinus wrote:
Things where people DON’T do the above as an assumption.

I still don't understand what you think the players would/could/should do instead.

Can you describe what options would do what you want?

Paizo Employee Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So I'm wondering, if someone didn't want to run a game in quite as fantastic a world ("selective realism" being the cause of a whole lot of problems notwithstanding) how much of an issue would it be if a GM just lopped off, say, the legendary tier for skills?

How much does this break the math versus merely limiting the set of actions possible?

Personally I'm all for cutting mountains in half with a sword, but I understand others might not be.

Honestly, just like the people earlier in the thread mentioning that you could add a more mythic feel to low-level characters by giving them one skill at legendary early, you could absolutely play a grittier game that disallowed legendary (or master, even). Presumably, you wouldn't reduce rank increases, so this would mean that characters would use their rank increases to get a lot of skills at expert instead. I might recommend a group using that rule to also look at delaying or curbing various magical options a bit as well, or else it just becomes a situation where the wizards can do it anyway, and that part will take more time and thought than limiting the skills (which you've discerned and pretty much covered all you'd have to do here in a short forum post, even without having access to the rules).


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Mark Seifter wrote:
I'm actually curious to separate jumping 100 feet into the air from splitting mountains with a sword slash, even though these two are some of the stock examples from superpowered fiction that are often grouped together. Mostly because jumping 100 feet in the air seems like something reasonable to expect from a high level character, reasonably easy to balance against in game assumptions, and beneficial to high level games where flight magic is readily available, whereas cutting a mountain in half (and thus presumably destroying the entire dungeon that was on the mountain, possibly multiple dungeons on that mountain) seems pretty disruptive no how you slice it (yes, intended). While, again, they are often grouped together in examples, just because we're giving you more options to have your martial characters do things in the vein of giant leaps doesn't mean we're adding in slicing mountains in half.

To be fair, collapsing a whole dungeon under a mountain can already happen when the druid casts earthquake. So...


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Arssanguinus wrote:
In other words, no options for people who might not want to go quite that direction of calling jumping 100 feet ‘reasonable’.

I mean, how unreasonable is jumping real high in the air versus "loading, aiming, and firing a heavy crossbow 6 times in 6 seconds"? Lots of impossible mundane things were already possible in PF1 without magic, and where we draw the line is a matter of personal aesthetics.


Arssanguinus wrote:
It does mean that, presuming aps go the whole way, many of them will become unusable.

Ah good point! Hadn't considered that. Unfortunately, as far as I can see, the same argument makes it impossible to accommodate both styles of play at high level, at least for the APs. Challenges meant to be trivial for one playstyle might be insurmountable to the other, and vice versa.


The thing that gets me is seem to think that segment of players is vanishingly small and not worth thinking about in game.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Lady Funnyhat wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I'm actually curious to separate jumping 100 feet into the air from splitting mountains with a sword slash, even though these two are some of the stock examples from superpowered fiction that are often grouped together. Mostly because jumping 100 feet in the air seems like something reasonable to expect from a high level character, reasonably easy to balance against in game assumptions, and beneficial to high level games where flight magic is readily available, whereas cutting a mountain in half (and thus presumably destroying the entire dungeon that was on the mountain, possibly multiple dungeons on that mountain) seems pretty disruptive no how you slice it (yes, intended). While, again, they are often grouped together in examples, just because we're giving you more options to have your martial characters do things in the vein of giant leaps doesn't mean we're adding in slicing mountains in half.
To be fair, collapsing a whole dungeon under a mountain can already happen when the druid casts earthquake. So...
That depends on the dungeon. Not to say we kept the exact language from PF1, but here's earthquake from PF1 on structures:
PF1 earthquake wrote:
Structure: Any structure standing on open ground takes 100 points of damage, enough to collapse a typical wooden or masonry building, but not a structure built of stone or reinforced masonry. Hardness does not reduce this damage, nor is it halved as damage dealt to objects normally is. Any creature caught inside a collapsing structure takes 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Reflex DC 15 half) and is pinned beneath the rubble (see below).

I think it would be reasonable to expect that, say, an extremely high level barbarian, could create levels of destruction similar to whatever the earthquake spell does in PF2 (again, I am not saying it does what is in the quote; that's from PF1's earthquake).


Mark Seifter wrote:
I'm actually curious to separate jumping 100 feet into the air from splitting mountains with a sword slash, even though these two are some of the stock examples from superpowered fiction that are often grouped together. Mostly because jumping 100 feet in the air seems like something reasonable to expect from a high level character, reasonably easy to balance against in game assumptions, and beneficial to high level games where flight magic is readily available, whereas cutting a mountain in half (and thus presumably destroying the entire dungeon that was on the mountain, possibly multiple dungeons on that mountain) seems pretty disruptive no how you slice it (yes, intended). While, again, they are often grouped together in examples, just because we're giving you more options to have your martial characters do things in the vein of giant leaps doesn't mean we're adding in slicing mountains in half.

Can't the Earthquake spell in PF1 destroy entire (small) dungeons they way it's written though?

I now it's not "cutting a mountain in half" destructive, but still....

EDIT: Ninja'd


Arssanguinus wrote:
The thing that gets me is seem to think that segment of players is vanishingly small and not worth thinking about in game.

We'll see if it is come August. So far as I can tell, it's mostly 3-4 very vocal posters doing most of the talking (on both sides).


Arssanguinus wrote:
thflame wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:

Which is an evasive way of not answering the question at all.

High level play need not involve jumping 100 feet in the air and splitting mountains with your sword.

High level play need not involve wizards breaking reality and trivializing 90% of encounters either, but here we are...
Rein back high level wizards.

Please don't, just don't. We already have 5e for that actually. Pathfinder should aim to be better.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
In other words, no options for people who might not want to go quite that direction of calling jumping 100 feet ‘reasonable’.
I mean, how unreasonable is jumping real high in the air versus "loading, aiming, and firing a heavy crossbow 6 times in 6 seconds"? Lots of impossible mundane things were already possible in PF1 without magic, and where we draw the line is a matter of personal aesthetics.

Agreed.

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