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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The "cutting a mountain in half" thing shouldn't be an issue. All the GM needs to do is put someone or something that the players need to save in there.

That said, I think that level of destruction should be reserved or epic or mythic levels of play. Being able to cut a building in half might be more reasonable for a 15-20th level character.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I confess as much as I like the idea of this, and a lot of things mentioned in the blog post, even I am struggling with the leaping a 100 feet into the air. Though I don't know why I find that more objectionable than 20 feet as they're both impossible. Maybe I've discovered my preferred level of superhuman abilities?


edduardco wrote:
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.

I like a mid point between reining them back and unleashing the full potential of p1. What if we just make the most powerful, reality-changing stuff, hard-to-find rituals? Stopping time for a few round is really powerful, but mostly a combat buff. Creating a whole demiplane should be the crux of a whole quest rather than a spell you can scribe into your book when you level up.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Squeakmaan wrote:
I confess as much as I like the idea of this, and a lot of things mentioned in the blog post, even I am struggling with the leaping a 100 feet into the air. Though I don't know why I find that more objectionable than 20 feet as they're both impossible. Maybe I've discovered my preferred level of superhuman abilities?

If it makes you feel any better, the roughly ~master level ability I discussed before is more like 20-30 feet than 100.


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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.

Why is jumping a 100 feet so bad when characters are already able to call down meteors, create tsunamis in the desert, take a dip in lava, conjure a storm of acid, lightning and hail, and drink arsenic with little fear.


Nightwhisper 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.

Why is jumping a 100 feet so bad when characters are already able to call down meteors, create tsunamis in the desert, take a dip in lava, conjure a storm of acid, lightning and hail, and drink arsenic with little fear.

Because that's magic! *waves hands*


gustavo iglesias wrote:
To be fair, autoscaling and skills as combat substitution do not need to happen together.

They do if "proficiency is a universal system that is applied to everything" (not a direct quote).

gustavo iglesias wrote:
So, if in the playtest Paizo finds that combat substitution (ie: roll acrobatics as a reaction to dodge an attack, for example, or use Athletics to grapple) works well, they can keep that without making Acrobatics autoscaling for everybody.

Agreed.

As others have started noticing, legendary (at least the way it's being described by us in the comments which is why I've refrained from posting on it) is starting to sound a lot like Mythic. You know what other ruleset had "mythic" baked into the core? D&D 4e. Now no single idea of D&D 4e being incorporated is a bad thing. But too many D&D 4e ideas mean that you haven't got Pathfinder anymore, you've got a new iteration on D&D 4e (with perhaps a Pathfinder veneer sprayed on). I get why they're doing it. "Wizards can create a demiplane. We have to give martials a corresponding ability!" Problem is, that misses the entire point of being a martial. If I'm playing a Fighter it's because I didn't want magic (if I wanted magic I would have played a Ranger or a Paladin). If I'm playing a Fighter I want to be able to give a rousing speech to my comrades just before the final battle and inspire them into battle. I don't want to be able to lay my hands on them and remove disease.

How well Paizo tread the fine line between inspiring and "so powerful and outside of reality it really is magic with another name" won't be known until we get access to all of the Utility Powers Skill Powers Feats.


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).

It's only disruptive in games that rely on the dungeon as a crutch. Looking at what high level play really entails.... why are we still leaning on the dungeon concept?

This hasn't been Dungeons and Dragons for two editions now.

(Note that in this one instance and this one alone I feel casters are held back by the system as well. 9th level evocation has far too little setting impact.)

(Note 2: I am specifically referring to the use of Dungeons in high level play. They certainly have their use at lower levels.)


I think I might bow out of this particular conversation. It seems that addressing this particular segment of the customer base is not one of the goals. I’ll sit back, watch and hope what emerges feels enough like a game that can support playing my home brews in instead of one that would require me to chunk them in order to adopt it. Might comment on other portions, but it appears this ship at least has completely sailed.


Arssanguinus wrote:
I think I might bow out of this particular conversation. It seems that addressing this particular segment of the customer base is not one of the goals. I’ll sit back, watch and hope what emerges feels enough like a game that can support playing my home brews in instead of one that would require me to chunk them in order to adopt it. Might comment on other portions, but it appears this ship at least has completely sailed.

There's nothing really stopping you from playing E10, or houserule banning legendary skills (and whatever other option that's too "epic" for you). The jumping 100 feet stuff is there for people who wants it.


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Lady Funnyhat wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
I think I might bow out of this particular conversation. It seems that addressing this particular segment of the customer base is not one of the goals. I’ll sit back, watch and hope what emerges feels enough like a game that can support playing my home brews in instead of one that would require me to chunk them in order to adopt it. Might comment on other portions, but it appears this ship at least has completely sailed.
There's nothing really stopping you from playing E10, or houserule banning legendary skills (and whatever other option that's too "epic" for you). The jumping 100 feet stuff is there for people who wants it.

Banning half the game/a third of the game/whatever portion of the game is necessary to play something that resembles Pathfinder 1st ed is possible. Or I can play a game that supports the type of game I enjoy running.


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

Indeed, and the "superheroes" that are being used as a dismissive insult were largely inspired by the sort of mythic heroics that is now being brought into the game. Cú Chulainn was noted for great leaps, as was Sun Wukong, and other mythical heroes often did incredible feats (check out the Mahabharata for more inspiration)

Lady Funnyhat wrote:
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.

That's the infuriating thing. It's all selective. When these players want their magic characters to be superior to everything in the game, but balk at the idea of the martial characters getting to do actual mythic feats, like the kind that inspired this kind of fantasy to begin with, it's hypocrisy at best.

Lady Funnyhat wrote:
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).

True on all counts, but Sun Wukong also did a lot of impressive physical feats. He was perhaps godly, but so can martial characters become demigods and stuff, too.

Lady Funnyhat wrote:

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.

Preferences are one thing. Demanding that only one group doesn't get the fun toys that all the others get is not a matter of preference, it's a matter of exclusion.


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The problem isn't that Pathfinder 1st ed is perfect and doesn't need fixing. It does. The problem is among the playerbase there is such a signficiant disconnect as to what "fixing" Pathfinder really means. It's concerning to see the company that built up the Pathfinder brand from the "3.5 survives thrives!" platform appears to now be moving so drastically away from what makes Pathfinder Pathfinder as opposed to D&D 4th ed.

That's why you're seeing this resistance. Some of us were around when Pathfinder started and actually appreciate the basis from which Pathfinder was built upon.


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People already need to stop playing the game less than a third of the way through (E6) to play "gritty" adventures as it is.

It is always, always, always easier to go long and then set handicaps for people that don't want to reach that level than to kneecap what you can do and force people to make up their own rules if they want to go beyond that. Lots of people have been talking about "accommodating both sides", but the way I'm seeing this break down:

Option A: The rules accommodate being able to jump to incredible physics-breaking heights with enough training. People that want to be able to make incredible jumps and play things like the Final Fantasy's dragoon class are able to, and the people who don't feel like that fits the game world they want can soft-block that level of skill mastery or play exclusively at low levels for a grittier feel, much like people already do. Both sides can play the game they want to play.

Option B: The option to make the hundred-foot leap doesn't exist in the first place. The people that didn't want it are happy and the people that wanted to do things that were impossible in 1e are not.


Here's something that hasn't been discussed so far, but is relevant to the ensuing martial/caster debate. I'm assuming intelligence will still contribute to skill ranks in some manner. If so, is there anything that balances the scale so wizards will not have an easier time of becoming legendary athletes and/or acrobats and/or sneakers than martials? Having set-in-stone class skills could help, but would conflict with customizability via ancestry/background as alternative paths to "preferred" skill access (I was going to say "treated as class skills", but that kind of language is supposed to go away). And this solution is obviously vulnerable to level-dipping, so not very robust anyway.

In the PF1 system, of course, there was for the most part just this 1-dimensional DC scale to measure the total magnitude of a skill against, so attribute bonuses easily prevented standard build wizards from ever really competing at strength/agility based skills, but it seems that the raw modifier now takes a back seat to proficiency levels in determining actual competency, especially given that there are skill feats which grant auto-success depending on DC and regardless of modifiers, and that there will have to be a system of proficiency-gating to ensure that high skilled lower level characters aren't hopelessly outclassed by untrained higher level ones due to the extreme level scaling. If intelligence only contributes to breadth (and/or if wizards get less base skills from their class than martials) then some of the problems are ameliorated, but not solved because the "modifier depreciation" issue would still be there.

Couple all this with the automatic +1/level attack and AC scaling, and it looks like it will be very easy (hard to avoid, even) to build high skilled combat machine wizards who absolutely demolish all lower level threats via pure physical superiority, without even needing to dust off their spell book. This certainly rubs me the wrong way; my image of a wizard is an arcane specialist who is in big trouble when caught with his magical underpants down, even against low level threats.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

The problem isn't that Pathfinder 1st ed is perfect and doesn't need fixing. It does. The problem is among the playerbase there is such a signficiant disconnect as to what "fixing" Pathfinder really means. It's concerning to see the company that built up the Pathfinder brand from the "3.5 survives thrives!" platform appears to now be moving so drastically away from what makes Pathfinder Pathfinder as opposed to D&D 4th ed.

That's why you're seeing this resistance. Some of us were around when Pathfinder started and actually appreciate the basis from which Pathfinder was built upon.

Pathfinder 1e is GOOD. Is it perfect? Not even the people who made it (not to mention the vast majority of people who play it) think so. I've rarely played in a group who don't use houserules or homebrew in some way. Very commonly, houserules address the very problem being addressed by this new skill system -- martials not getting their share of superhuman abilities at high levels, while casters have them aplenty. Feat tax reduction, limiting high level spell access, retooling skill usage...I can find a whole lot of them floating on these forums alone.

Again, we haven't seen the new edition in full yet, and I'm still quite reserved on the whole level-scaling proficiency thing. But giving martials good stuff? Yes please. It's practically necessary if you don't want them to take away your casters' Time Stop and Earthquake.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Lady Funnyhat wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
I think I might bow out of this particular conversation. It seems that addressing this particular segment of the customer base is not one of the goals. I’ll sit back, watch and hope what emerges feels enough like a game that can support playing my home brews in instead of one that would require me to chunk them in order to adopt it. Might comment on other portions, but it appears this ship at least has completely sailed.
There's nothing really stopping you from playing E10, or houserule banning legendary skills (and whatever other option that's too "epic" for you). The jumping 100 feet stuff is there for people who wants it.
Banning half the game/a third of the game/whatever portion of the game is necessary to play something that resembles Pathfinder 1st ed is possible. Or I can play a game that supports the type of game I enjoy running.

John, 3.P isn't one game, it's 4 or 5 games.

The Four Game division is quite well known and can be seen discussed in various gaming message boards.

Here is my own Five Game Analysis


Turmoil wrote:

Here's something that hasn't been discussed so far, but is relevant to the ensuing martial/caster debate. I'm assuming intelligence will still contribute to skill ranks in some manner. If so, is there anything that balances the scale so wizards will not have an easier time of becoming legendary athletes and/or acrobats and/or sneakers than martials? Having set-in-stone class skills could help, but would conflict with customizability via ancestry/background as alternative paths to "preferred" skill access (I was going to say "treated as class skills", but that kind of language is supposed to go away). And this solution is obviously vulnerable to level-dipping, so not very robust anyway.

In the PF1 system, of course, there was for the most part just this 1-dimensional DC scale to measure the total magnitude of a skill against, so attribute bonuses easily prevented standard build wizards from ever really competing at strength/agility based skills, but it seems that the raw modifier now takes a back seat to proficiency levels in determining actual competency, especially given that there are skill feats which grant auto-success depending on DC and regardless of modifiers, and that there will have to be a system of proficiency-gating to ensure that high skilled lower level characters aren't hopelessly outclassed by untrained higher level ones due to the extreme level scaling. If intelligence only contributes to breadth (and/or if wizards get less base skills from their class than martials) then some of the problems are ameliorated, but not solved because the "modifier depreciation" issue would still be there.

Couple all this with the automatic +1/level attack and AC scaling, and it looks like it will be very easy (hard to avoid, even) to build high skilled combat machine wizards who absolutely demolish all lower level threats via pure physical superiority, without even needing to dust off their spell book. This certainly rubs me the wrong way; my image of a wizard is an arcane specialist who is in big trouble...

Eh. A level 20 wizard with a knife is going to handily defeat a few low-level cutthroats that try to jump him without needing to spend any spells. And considers being savaged by a T-Rex more vexing than lethal.

Pathfinder wizards just aren't very squishy, particularly not PC wizards who build for lives of danger, not sedate study.

That said, since they're mentioning that proficiency unlocks a number of options an untrained person doesn't get, I strongly suspect that a wizard who is not proficient in weapons and armor that finds himself in a knife-fight with someone that IS doesn't have as much of an advantage as you fear.


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Giving materials good things is fine. Giving th magic by another name means they're no longer martials. There isn't a disagreement materials need more. The disagreement is how much more. The language being thrown around it looks like some portion of the Pathfinder base want some pretty out there abilities


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
...

A PF1 level 20 wizard with a dagger will lose against a regular ogre, a level 3 or 4 fighter in mundane gear, or even a couple of level 1 fighters. The new rules seem to imply that a level 20 wizard will demolish such foes without even taking damage.


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Turmoil wrote:
A PF1 level 20 wizard with a dagger will lose against a regular ogre, a level 4 fighter in mundane gear, or even a couple of level 1 fighters. The new rules seem to imply that a level 20 wizard will demolish such foes without even taking damage.

A couple of level 1 fighters lose to a particularly vicious HOUSECAT. A level 20 wizard would slaughter them all long before they did enough damage to even moderately inconvenience him.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Giving materials good things is fine. Giving th magic by another name means they're no longer martials. There isn't a disagreement materials need more. The disagreement is how much more. The language being thrown around it looks like some portion of the Pathfinder base want some pretty out there abilities

Magical abilities has a definition in PF1. They're Supernatural Abilities or Spell-like abilities (I believe in PF2 SLAs are being replaced by spells) or Spells.

Anything not one of those is EX.

Like the Fighter that slashes open the veil between planes to travel between them. No magic, just martial prowess interacting with the setting.


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It should be clear that "taking away stuff you don't like" is very easy. A lot of us banned Leadership, Sacred Geometry, and Blood Money (among other things) in PF1. I personally banned two entire classes (then later unbanned the gunslinger once the Bolt Ace was printed.) PFS has a very long list of "things you cannot have" We have experience with this, it is not hard.

Saying "no legendary skills" is pretty easy and the massaging you'd need to make this seamless doesn't seem like it would take a whole lot of work. I think "Paizo doesn't care about some portion of the playerbase" is a hyperbolic overreaction. People who want gritty games are no more put out by "printing options to be more like Gilgamesh or Achilles" than people who want light hearted games are put out by printing options to run horror games. Solution to "people want different things" is "print a whole lot of things people want" then trust people can edit to fit their own needs.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Eh. A level 20 wizard with a knife is going to handily defeat a few low-level cutthroats that try to jump him without needing to spend any spells. And considers being savaged by a T-Rex more vexing than lethal.

With or without 20th level gear?

Edit: Do you mean no spells vs the T-Rex as well?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Turmoil wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
...
A PF1 level 20 wizard with a dagger will lose against a regular ogre, a level 3 or 4 fighter in mundane gear, or even a couple of level 1 fighters. The new rules seem to imply that a level 20 wizard will demolish such foes without even taking damage.

Not exactly. A PF1 level 20 wizard who chooses to attack those threats with just a normal dagger is probably in for a boring and lengthy combat, but the wizard is strongly expected to win, just because those opponents only hit the wizard on a natural 20 and the wizard has more than enough HP to soak a few unlucky 20s. In PF2, a level 20 wizard low-Strength wizard using a non-magic dagger against a low-level fighter might have an additional problem to contend with: The fighter's shield. If the fighter makes two attacks and then moves back, the wizard moves up and makes two attacks, one of which the fighter can entirely block. Now, the fighter still needs a 20, just like in PF1, so the wizard will eventually win on the 2nd attacks. But if the fighter attacks once and moves back twice (assuming this wizard doesn't have enhanced mobility options because this is a weird example where the wizard is just not using magic for some reason), the wizard is in trouble.

Of course, this is a weird example that we wouldn't see turn up in play in any but the most unusual circumstances.


Lemartes wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Eh. A level 20 wizard with a knife is going to handily defeat a few low-level cutthroats that try to jump him without needing to spend any spells. And considers being savaged by a T-Rex more vexing than lethal.
With or without 20th level gear?

I should hope without, given that I've seen a 9th-level wizard survive a T-Rex bite and kill the thing before going for medical attention.

EDIT: In answer to your second question, he'd need spells against the T-Rex, but my point was that a bite that tears dinosaurs limb from limb is troublesome but not lethal to a high level wizard. A couple twerps who have never been in a real fight with knives or clubs are not going to ruin his day.


Kyrt-ryder: In Pathfinder the game plays a certain way. Do you become bad was at high level? Yes. Does it resemble 4th ed epic or 1e mythic? No. What I'm hearing in this thread sounds much more like 4th ed and mythic than it does Pathfinder 1st ed.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
the wizard is in trouble.

Good thing he can just climb away from the fighter. :)


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
A couple of level 1 fighters lose to a particularly vicious HOUSECAT. A level 20 wizard would slaughter them all long before they did enough damage to even moderately inconvenience him.

Do we really have to do the math for things we all know to be true?

An unoptimized level 1 fighter with very ordinary stats would have something like 12 HP, an AC of 17, and an attack +4 for 1d8 + 2 damage. The level 20 Wizard with a dagger might have like 90 HP, an AC of 10, and an attack +10/5 for 1d4 damage. Ball-park math has each fighter dealing an average of about 5 damage per round, and surviving an average of 5 rounds. Take a group of 6 fighters. In the time the wizard kills 1 fighter, he's down 30 HP (6 fighters * 5 rounds). For the next, down 55 (5 fighters * 5 rounds), the next, 75 (4 fighters * 5 rounds), the next he's dead. So he would take down 2 or 3 of them and then die. These are ball-park figures and rough calculations, but you can easily do the exact math with exact stat blocks yourself if you want.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Kyrt-ryder: In Pathfinder the game plays a certain way. Do you become bad was at high level? Yes. Does it resemble 4th ed epic or 1e mythic?

Yes, for the classes that are allowed to in the old paradigm (primarily full casters, though Mid Casters almost get to play the same game until very high levels)


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I feel like most people didn't play high level in PF1 unless it was a printed adventure so we can get people to stay on the Path because "what we're doing is this AP" or "we're only going to use classes that are manageable at high levels". So making high level play in PF2 resemble high level play in PF1 is not really desirable. If high level play in PF2 is in no way reminiscent of high level play in PF1, but it's fun and people want to play at those levels now, that's a win.

If PF2 feels like PF1 from like levels 1-12, and "is fun and people want to play it" thereafter, then that's pretty much ideal.


Mark Seifter wrote:
...

I was assuming an unarmored Wizard without magic items. In the PF2 example, the same wizard could just use a greatsword at the lower -2 untrained penalty to easily bypass ordinary shields. He would regularly crit for 2x damage due to his untrained +18 attack rolls, so even with a dagger he could bypass the 6DR (which is what I think a regular shield has). And of course he would demolish low level fighters without a shield.

There may be some additional info we're not privy to yet that prevents these situations in internal playtesting, but I do think this potential problem merits attention.

Edit: The PF2 wizard would also presumably have an unarmored AC of 30 due to the unified scaled proficiency system.


Honestly high level is so much fun with a group of proactive, creative and adventurous players.

Low levels are fun in their own way, but so restricted by comparison.


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Turmoil wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
A couple of level 1 fighters lose to a particularly vicious HOUSECAT. A level 20 wizard would slaughter them all long before they did enough damage to even moderately inconvenience him.

Do we really have to do the math for things we all know to be true?

An unoptimized level 1 fighter with very ordinary stats would have something like 12 HP, an AC of 17, and an attack +4 for 1d8 + 2 damage. The level 20 Wizard with a dagger might have like 90 HP, an AC of 10, and an attack +10/5 for 1d4 damage. Ball-park math has each fighter dealing an average of about 5 damage per round, and surviving an average of 5 rounds. Take a group of 6 fighters. In the time the wizard kills 1 fighter, he's down 30 HP (6 fighters * 5 rounds). For the next, down 55 (5 fighters * 5 rounds), the next, 75 (4 fighters * 5 rounds), the next he's dead. So he would take down 2 or 3 of them and then die. These are ball-park figures and rough calculations, but you can easily do the exact math with exact stat blocks yourself if you want.

The exact stat block from the NPC codex for a level 20 wizard suggests HP and AC are twice as high as you're ballparking it. It'd take a while for the wizard to do 14 damage to each of them but he's got the time even six on one.

Unless you're suggesting a naked dex 10 con 10 wizard vs six optimized level 1 fighters, but let's be frigging real, bud, when was the last time you REALLY saw a wizard with less than 14 of both?


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Eh. A level 20 wizard with a knife is going to handily defeat a few low-level cutthroats that try to jump him without needing to spend any spells. And considers being savaged by a T-Rex more vexing than lethal.
With or without 20th level gear?

I should hope without, given that I've seen a 9th-level wizard survive a T-Rex bite and kill the thing before going for medical attention.

EDIT: In answer to your second question, he'd need spells against the T-Rex, but my point was that a bite that tears dinosaurs limb from limb is troublesome but not lethal to a high level wizard. A couple twerps who have never been in a real fight with knives or clubs are not going to ruin his day.

Don't T-Rexes have Improved Grab? How did the wizard manage the grapple?


thflame wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Eh. A level 20 wizard with a knife is going to handily defeat a few low-level cutthroats that try to jump him without needing to spend any spells. And considers being savaged by a T-Rex more vexing than lethal.
With or without 20th level gear?

I should hope without, given that I've seen a 9th-level wizard survive a T-Rex bite and kill the thing before going for medical attention.

EDIT: In answer to your second question, he'd need spells against the T-Rex, but my point was that a bite that tears dinosaurs limb from limb is troublesome but not lethal to a high level wizard. A couple twerps who have never been in a real fight with knives or clubs are not going to ruin his day.

Don't T-Rexes have Improved Grab? How did the wizard manage the grapple?

Natural 1, in the case of my player. It'd probably have gone worse for her if she'd been grappled, but she did have hero points if it'd come to that.

In the case of the level 20 wizard, I strongly doubt he got to that level without the capacity to get out of being grappled, and that bite damage certainly isn't going to kill him outright anymore than it killed my player.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
...

I gave the wizard 10 STR 10 DEX 12 CON. Not terribly unusual. No magic items, just his robe and a dagger. The fighters were very unoptimized as well; this was just ballpark figures. I could haven given them 18 STR, greatswords and power attack and needed even less of them. Or made them level 2. It doesn't matter, the point stands.


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Turmoil wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
...
I gave the wizard 10 STR 10 DEX 12 CON. Not terribly unusual. No magic items, just his robe and a dagger. The fighters were very unoptimized as well; this was just ballpark figures. I could haven given them 18 STR, greatswords and power attack and needed even less of them. Or made them level 2. It doesn't matter, the point stands.

On the contrary, I'd say that stat spread is EXTREMELY unusual if you're not using basic stat array. Wizards tend to ignore strength, but dexterity and constitution are both stats adventuring wizards prioritize and even NPC wizards tend to have plenty of both.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
On the contrary, I'd say that stat spread is EXTREMELY unusual if you're not using basic stat array. Wizards tend to ignore strength, but dexterity and constitution are both stats adventuring wizards prioritize and even NPC wizards tend to have plenty of both.

I'm perfectly happy to go down that road if you honestly think that I'm misrepresenting the situation, but if this is just nitpicking and you're not really challenging the conclusion I'd save myself the effort. So do you want me to do the exact math for a couple of level 1 optimized fighters against an unarmored level 20 Wizard without magical items with a different ability score spread of your choosing?


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I've played level 18 PF1, things go off the rails and it has little to do with the fact fighters can't cast disintegrate or create demiplanes. 4th ed epic is not what I want in Pathfinder. If that's where PF2 is a headed, I'm not going to be happy.

The fundamental problem is a segment of the playerbase think PF1 had a "bad" paradigm and we need a new one. The paradigm we got with OF wasn't new. We knew what we were getting. We liked that and wanted it. Getting something different isn't what a portion of us want. We don't want a new game. We want a cleaned up Pathfinder with some optional stuff made core.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
I've played level 18 PF1, things go off the rails

Might this be part of our disconnect?

I don't GM with rails (aside from the rare AP for playtesting purposes.)

There is nothing I value more than player agency and seeing what a player will do through his character in my world.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
I've played level 18 PF1, things go off the rails

Might this be part of our disconnect?

I don't GM with rails (aside from the rare AP for playtesting purposes.)

There is nothing I value more than player agency and seeing what a player will do through his character in my world.

It was a metaphor, don't get nit picky.


I was trying to understand, not to nitpick.


Turmoil wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
On the contrary, I'd say that stat spread is EXTREMELY unusual if you're not using basic stat array. Wizards tend to ignore strength, but dexterity and constitution are both stats adventuring wizards prioritize and even NPC wizards tend to have plenty of both.
I'm perfectly happy to go down that road if you honestly think that I'm misrepresenting the situation, but if this is just nitpicking and you're not really challenging the conclusion I'd save myself the effort. So do you want me to do the exact math for a couple of level 1 optimized fighters against an unarmored level 20 Wizard without magical items with a different ability score spread of your choosing?

Eh, I took the time to run the dice myself for the level 1 fighter from the npc codex times six vs the level 20 wizard from the NPC codex without his buffs.

Running through it, the wizard killed five of the fighters but the sixth managed to bring him down before he could finish him off, assuming they were all able to flank him, were using longswords to threaten crits semi-frequently, and the wizard did nothing besides full-attack the one that damaged him most recently. The wizard might have done better if he'd used Hand of the Apprentice while moving around, but that might have been unsporting.

The lone ogre vs the same wizard didn't do nearly so well.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:
I was trying to understand, not to nitpick.

The problems with high level play have been well known and well made multiple times since the 3.x era, problems that PF1E never really addressed sadly.

Not just in terms of character abilities, but also parity of narrative power between characters, complexity of building high level NPCs to challenge players, buff tracking, penalty tracking and the sheer length of time each individual turn takes as warriors gain multiple attacks at differing bonuses, and spellcasters have incredibly lengthy spell-lists.

There's a reason level's 6-10 are known as the "sweet spot".


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@Blackwaltzomega:

He would have done better if he full-attacked one repeatedly until it died, then the next and the next.

Why would an intelligent being divide its attacks the way you described?


kyrt-ryder wrote:

@Blackwaltzomega:

He would have done better if he full-attacked one repeatedly until it died, then the next and the next.

Why would an intelligent being divide its attacks the way you described?

I suppose I threw that in because I figured the advantage was to the wizard and I might as well include something "realistic" like the distraction of fighting a gang of enemies from every angle.

Honestly, even fighting like that he'd probably have won if he'd pinned and tied up the last fighter, which despite being an 8 strength old elf he would have accomplished handily. But that might have been seen as unfair.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
...

The NPC codex wizard has magic items. Did you read my post?


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
I was trying to understand, not to nitpick.

The problems with high level play have been well known and well made multiple times since the 3.x era, problems that PF1E never really addressed sadly.

Not just in terms of character abilities,

Are you part of the group that would like to see high level magic removed or toned down?

Quote:
But also parity of narrative power between characters,

PF2's skill system may be a step in the right direction.

Quote:
complexity of building high level NPCs to challenge players

I will be the first to admit that I am lazy about this. I don't build npcs, I give them appropriate numbers and abilities and cut them loose.

One thing that I find is a massive help is to not stress over challenging my players. I would rather let them be amazing and walk all over most encounters with an occasional nailbiter popping up now and then.

Quote:
the sheer length of time each individual turn takes as warriors gain multiple attacks at differing bonuses, and spellcasters have incredibly lengthy spell-lists.

This right here might be an actual disconnect. I don't experience these sluggish turns. My players get one minute to complete their turn and then the next person goes. My combats average 5(recall that I allow many easy encounters) to 30 minutes.

Quote:
There's a reason level's 6-10 are known as the "sweet spot".

I never found that to be the sweet spot. Better than low levels sure, but I strongly enjoy high level play for what it is, replete with reality bending gods rising to take their place in the pantheon.


Turmoil wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
...
The NPC codex wizard has magic items. Did you read my post?

I did, and deliberately ignored the bit about not having any items because that's not something an NPC enemy OR a PC is going to have going on in a fight that's actually indicative of their skills. It's a pretty short hop from there to "the rogue is the strongest class in the game if your enemy is sleeping."

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