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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Sounds intresting. I like the way this seems to be gping.


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My naive impression, like almost everyone else's, is that the level effect seems overwhelming compared to the proficiency effect. The solution called out for this seems to be making some things just impossible for lower-proficiency characters regardless of level, but then we have two parallel systems for adjudicating the difficulty of an action - minimum proficiency, and also net bonus vs. DC - with no clear conceptual distinction between them. It seems like an unnecessary complication that would certainly be a cognitive load issue for me as GM, especially if every skill has bespoke things that end up with different minimum proficiency levels, although of course I haven't seen it play out in play.

On the positive side, I should say I'm very happy to see the designers embracing the idea that non-casters should be capable of performing amazing deeds (although a lot depends on how quickly Master proficiency comes online, and what it can pull off.) Meager non-magical capabilities out of combat, especially outside the lowest levels, has always been one of the most disappointing aspects of 3e and its spinoffs.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
rooneg wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

I feel like calling everything 'proficiencies' and 'feats' might get a bit confusing, but maybe that's just me.

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.

That said, I am all for making skills awesome again. By the time you hit level 15, logic goes out the window, and I can't wait to make a thief with Skyrim-style pickpocketing.

Your tomb raider actually wouldn't be able to practically sail at all, though you might know basic facts like the names of different ships that you read about somewhere. An actual sailor trained in the skill would be able to practice sailing. Now if your tomb raider became trained in it, that's a different story.

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.

I'm also not a fan of the low numerical range between "I know nothing" and "I'm a legend". First it eventually gets dwarfed by level, and second the portion of the range between "trained" and "legend" itself seems super small numerically.

Now maybe all of this is less of an issue when you see the specifics of what types of per-skill stuff you unlock as you go from trained to legend, but if that's the case you really need to provide some actual meaningful examples of what those unlocks look like to help sell people on the system, because as it currently stands it's hard to buy in to it.

But that's no different than PF1 where you pick up a feat and suddenly learn a new ability.

But I have to agree, I do think there should be some more disparity between the proficiency levels on the modifiers. However, it is pretty clear the biggest difference between the proficiency levels is what they give you/allow you to do, than the modifiers.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Bardic Dave wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
As I've said in another thread, not counting any sort of temporary buff effects or circumstance bonuses or penalties, it is possible to build two level 20 characters in PF2 with an all-day gap between their bonuses in the same skill of around 17-18. Proficiency is one piece of that split, with a potential gap up to 5 (and 5 is a really big advantage; all other modifiers being equal, which is almost certainly an overestimate of the untrained character, and rolling the same number on a d20, half of the untrained character's successes are critical successes for the legendary character, and half of the untrained character's failures are successes for the legendary character).

And in D&D 5e, you can build 2 level 20 characters with a skill bonus gap of 18, and that's before you factor in equipment. If the Expert character happens to have a magic item that grants +5 or Advantage then the gap grows more still.

Seems like you found roughly the same "sweet spot" for the proficiency math as WOTC.

EDIT: This is isn't a criticism. Just an observation. I happen to think it's the right spread.

I've heard the 5e gap is smaller from other forum posters and took their word for it, but my knowledge of 5e isn't very thorough, so I'll take your word for it as well. It's certainly been a better feel for me so far to be able to have a wide spread like that but only between a character who's exceptionally bad at the skill and one who is amazing than it is to have a situation where two people sit down at the table and both think they are playing a specialist in a given skill, but one of the two of them is +20 or more better than the other is so the other one is actually vestigial, which can happen easily in PF1 (it's happened to me a lot; I'm usually the one with the PC who is better, and it's very awkward as a player and I'm sure frustrating to the other player).


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As I can see it, the bonus will be flatter, but the DCs will be too. Running in water will not be a DC 60, but maybe a DC 30 that only characters with legendary athletics can try. So that "small" difference will be actually big because the legendary runner will be on another scale entirely.


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But in this case there is little appreciable difference between the two ... is that better?

Liberty's Edge

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rooneg wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

I feel like calling everything 'proficiencies' and 'feats' might get a bit confusing, but maybe that's just me.

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.

That said, I am all for making skills awesome again. By the time you hit level 15, logic goes out the window, and I can't wait to make a thief with Skyrim-style pickpocketing.

Your tomb raider actually wouldn't be able to practically sail at all, though you might know basic facts like the names of different ships that you read about somewhere. An actual sailor trained in the skill would be able to practice sailing. Now if your tomb raider became trained in it, that's a different story.
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.

You're not better than everyone on the boat, though, because dedicated sailors have the appropriate Skill Feats, which you do not. But aside from that, once you spend the time to get trained, your "on the brink of being a demigod" character should be better than most. You just pick up on things faster thanks to your years of experience and training in areas that you can use to help you learn (things like Athletics and other skills that would also be useful on a ship would help give you a foundation in Sailing).

And if you don't want your character to be a fast learner for story purposes, just don't take Training in the skill until you've spent some time on a ship.


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Hey, alright. Sounds really cool! Like exactly the sort of thing a high fantasy game needs. I'd really love to see more about what you can do with high-level skills, so I'm going to be eagerly checking that part of the book when it comes out.


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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.

I'm also not a fan of the low numerical range between "I know nothing" and "I'm a legend". First it eventually gets dwarfed by level, and second the portion of the range between "trained" and "legend" itself seems super small numerically.

Now maybe all of this is less of an issue when you see the specifics of what types of per-skill stuff you unlock as you go from trained to legend, but if that's the case you really need to provide some actual meaningful examples of what those unlocks look like to help sell people on the system, because as it currently stands it's hard to buy in to it.

I agree especially on the last point. We're really going to need some examples on what characters can do with a given skill, keeping level constant, depending on their proficiency ranks.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
As I've said in another thread, not counting any sort of temporary buff effects or circumstance bonuses or penalties, it is possible to build two level 20 characters in PF2 with an all-day gap between their bonuses in the same skill of around 17-18. Proficiency is one piece of that split, with a potential gap up to 5 (and 5 is a really big advantage; all other modifiers being equal, which is almost certainly an overestimate of the untrained character, and rolling the same number on a d20, half of the untrained character's successes are critical successes for the legendary character, and half of the untrained character's failures are successes for the legendary character).

And in D&D 5e, you can build 2 level 20 characters with a skill bonus gap of 18, and that's before you factor in equipment. If the Expert character happens to have a magic item that grants +5 or Advantage then the gap grows more still.

Seems like you found roughly the same "sweet spot" for the proficiency math as WOTC.

EDIT: This is isn't a criticism. Just an observation. I happen to think it's the right spread.

I've heard the 5e gap is smaller from other forum posters and took their word for it, but my knowledge of 5e isn't very thorough, so I'll take your word for it as well. It's certainly been a better feel for me so far to be able to have a wide spread like that but only between a character who's exceptionally bad at the skill and one who is amazing than it is to have a situation where two people sit down at the table and both think they are playing a specialist in a given skill, but one of the two of them is +20 or more better than the other is so the other one is actually vestigial, which can happen easily in PF1 (it's happened to me a lot; I'm usually the one with the PC who is better, and it's very awkward as a player and I'm sure frustrating to the other player).

The gap is the same at level 20, but the difference between your proposed system and 5E kicks in when you compare characters of disparate level.

In 5e if you were to compare that level 20 expert to a level 1 untrained peasant, you'd get the same gap of 18. In PF2, the gap would be 46 or so. In PF2, the actual numbers are significantly larger because of the whole +level thing, but the difference between characters of a given level seems to be about the same as 5E.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Kurald Galain wrote:
It's nice to hear that the bonuses work out at level 20 but this is not representative of common gameplay. I would be more interested to see how things work at level five because it's way more common to play at that level.

I happen to have some numbers handy for level 7, so let's see: It's looking like a skill gap up to about 11 at that point.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JRutterbush wrote:
rooneg wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

I feel like calling everything 'proficiencies' and 'feats' might get a bit confusing, but maybe that's just me.

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.

That said, I am all for making skills awesome again. By the time you hit level 15, logic goes out the window, and I can't wait to make a thief with Skyrim-style pickpocketing.

Your tomb raider actually wouldn't be able to practically sail at all, though you might know basic facts like the names of different ships that you read about somewhere. An actual sailor trained in the skill would be able to practice sailing. Now if your tomb raider became trained in it, that's a different story.
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.

You're not better than everyone on the boat, though, because dedicated sailors have the appropriate Skill Feats, which you do not. But aside from that, once you spend the time to get trained, your "on the brink of being a demigod" character should be better than most. You just pick up on things faster thanks to your years of experience and training in areas that you can use to help you learn (things like Athletics and other skills that would also be useful on a ship would help give you a foundation in Sailing).

And if you don't want your character to be a fast learner for story purposes, just don't take Training in the skill until you've spent some time on a ship.

But "the appropriate skill feats" only move the needle a maximum of 5, my level moves the needle by 15 just by itself. It doesn't matter how many skill feats they have.

And "well, just don't do that if it doesn't feel right" seems like a poor way to design a system. If the system lets you do things that conflict so strongly with verisimilitude then maybe it's not a very good system.


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My primary concern is that the lists of what you can and can't do at specific tiers will become something of a memory nightmare.

"I'm going to pole-vault across that gap."
"You can't do that until you're at expert."
"Is that expert? I thought that was trained..."
"Let me check... no, wait, you're right, trained. But earlier when you leapt out of that loft without taking damage, that should've required expert..."

I foresee variations of that conversation happening constantly.


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I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Well... okay.

I was really hoping for some more meat to this preview. For instance how does one gain ranks in proficiency. Secondly, a feel for what - if any - restrictions or prerequisites exist; how many hoops does a character of one class have to jump through to become good at something not normally associated with their class?

One thing I am liking is the way things in PF2 seem to have degrees. Various degrees of dying conditions. Different degrees of proficiency. Though... I'd honestly rather see "Proficiency III" instead of "Expert". There's something nice about not having to remember the order of various hyperbolic adjectives.


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JRutterbush wrote:
rooneg wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

I feel like calling everything 'proficiencies' and 'feats' might get a bit confusing, but maybe that's just me.

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.

That said, I am all for making skills awesome again. By the time you hit level 15, logic goes out the window, and I can't wait to make a thief with Skyrim-style pickpocketing.

Your tomb raider actually wouldn't be able to practically sail at all, though you might know basic facts like the names of different ships that you read about somewhere. An actual sailor trained in the skill would be able to practice sailing. Now if your tomb raider became trained in it, that's a different story.
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.

You're not better than everyone on the boat, though, because dedicated sailors have the appropriate Skill Feats, which you do not. But aside from that, once you spend the time to get trained, your "on the brink of being a demigod" character should be better than most. You just pick up on things faster thanks to your years of experience and training in areas that you can use to help you learn (things like Athletics and other skills that would also be useful on a ship would help give you a foundation in Sailing).

And if you don't want your character to be a fast learner for story purposes, just don't take Training in the skill until you've spent some time on a ship.

That was going to be my response, as well. This shouldn't strain credulity any more than suddenly being able to learn different spells and techniques than yesterday by leveling up or whatever. Either wait until you feel the narrative justifies the purchase or use of the ability, or just go "Ding!" and take the insta-skill, but either way, this is only going to be a problem if you allow it to be. Certainly it's not different than any other part of leveling up.


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ryschwith wrote:

My primary concern is that the lists of what you can and can't do at specific tiers will become something of a memory nightmare.

"I'm going to pole-vault across that gap."
"You can't do that until you're at expert."
"Is that expert? I thought that was trained..."
"Let me check... no, wait, you're right, trained. But earlier when you leapt out of that loft without taking damage, that should've required expert..."

I foresee variations of that conversation happening constantly.

Yes, I share this concern. Mark, could you please give us some examples of how this is going to work?

Liberty's Edge

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rooneg wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
rooneg wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

I feel like calling everything 'proficiencies' and 'feats' might get a bit confusing, but maybe that's just me.

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.

That said, I am all for making skills awesome again. By the time you hit level 15, logic goes out the window, and I can't wait to make a thief with Skyrim-style pickpocketing.

Your tomb raider actually wouldn't be able to practically sail at all, though you might know basic facts like the names of different ships that you read about somewhere. An actual sailor trained in the skill would be able to practice sailing. Now if your tomb raider became trained in it, that's a different story.
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.

You're not better than everyone on the boat, though, because dedicated sailors have the appropriate Skill Feats, which you do not. But aside from that, once you spend the time to get trained, your "on the brink of being a demigod" character should be better than most. You just pick up on things faster thanks to your years of experience and training in areas that you can use to help you learn (things like Athletics and other skills that would also be useful on a ship would help give you a foundation in Sailing).

And if you don't want your character to be a fast learner for story purposes, just don't take Training in the skill until you've spent some time on a ship.

But "the appropriate skill feats" only move the needle a maximum of 5...

No, Skill Feats give you new abilities with the skill, they don't modify your bonus. There's also the rest of my comment to address.


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Sounds very good - avoiding the 'classes without INT can't do anything much' problem. It feels like you took the idea behind Skill Unlocks and ran with it. PF1's skill system really isn't its strongest suit (mathematically at least) - this looks to improve that a lot.

If you want suggestions: please consider a less than binary result system. Mostly now its 'you succeed or fail' and that's it. You've improved that a bit in a few cases - such as intimidate where you get more effect for every +5. That's a good step. In turms ef states / steps, FATE has some smart ideas there, giving the possible results: fail, succeed at a cost, succeed, and succeed with style. Those give a lot for the GM to hang on to when working out how to describe the player's results.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
As I've said in another thread, not counting any sort of temporary buff effects or circumstance bonuses or penalties, it is possible to build two level 20 characters in PF2 with an all-day gap between their bonuses in the same skill of around 17-18. Proficiency is one piece of that split, with a potential gap up to 5 (and 5 is a really big advantage; all other modifiers being equal, which is almost certainly an overestimate of the untrained character, and rolling the same number on a d20, half of the untrained character's successes are critical successes for the legendary character, and half of the untrained character's failures are successes for the legendary character).

And in D&D 5e, you can build 2 level 20 characters with a skill bonus gap of 18, and that's before you factor in equipment. If the Expert character happens to have a magic item that grants +5 or Advantage then the gap grows more still.

Seems like you found roughly the same "sweet spot" for the proficiency math as WOTC.

EDIT: This is isn't a criticism. Just an observation. I happen to think it's the right spread.

I've heard the 5e gap is smaller from other forum posters and took their word for it, but my knowledge of 5e isn't very thorough, so I'll take your word for it as well. It's certainly been a better feel for me so far to be able to have a wide spread like that but only between a character who's exceptionally bad at the skill and one who is amazing than it is to have a situation where two people sit down at the table and both think they are playing a specialist in a given skill, but one of the two of them is +20 or more better than the other is so the other one is actually vestigial, which can happen easily in PF1 (it's happened to me a lot; I'm usually the one with the PC who is better, and it's very awkward as a player and I'm sure frustrating to the other player).

In 5e Stat Bonuses go from -1 to +5 (stat value 8 to 20) and Proficiency goes form 0 to +6. There is also a thing called expertise where a character can get double their proficiency on a skill so that gives a range from -1 to +17 before magic items.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Bardic Dave wrote:
In 5e if you were to compare that level 20 expert to a level 1 untrained peasant, you'd get the same gap of 18. In PF2, the gap would be 46 or so.

That part I knew. I made a post on another thread about reading a fantasy book where a swordmaster was attacked by eight brigands and figured he would probably die because that much of a number advantage outclassed his skill. It makes sense and is probably more realistic, but I was surprised when I read it because most books, TV shows, movies, and games would show the swordmaster easily winning against eight brigands. PF2 tells stories more like the ones where the swordmaster wipes the floor with the brigands, and 5e tells stories more like the ones where the swordmaster still has to sweat. Both are cool stories that are good for different situations!

Liberty's Edge

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Bardic Dave wrote:
ryschwith wrote:

My primary concern is that the lists of what you can and can't do at specific tiers will become something of a memory nightmare.

"I'm going to pole-vault across that gap."
"You can't do that until you're at expert."
"Is that expert? I thought that was trained..."
"Let me check... no, wait, you're right, trained. But earlier when you leapt out of that loft without taking damage, that should've required expert..."

I foresee variations of that conversation happening constantly.

Yes, I share this concern. Mark, could you please give us some examples of how this is going to work?

From my understanding, the only gate to normal checks is Trained and Untrained, there will be no checks that require Expert, Master, or Legend. It's just that certain Skill Feats will require Expert, Master, or Legend. So you don't have to worry about remembering what's what (it's either Trained only or it isn't), you just have to remember which Skill Feats you specifically have taken.

Liberty's Edge

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Yossarian wrote:

Sounds very good - avoiding the 'classes without INT can't do anything much' problem. It feels like you took the idea behind Skill Unlocks and ran with it. PF1's skill system really isn't its strongest suit (mathematically at least) - this looks to improve that a lot.

If you want suggestions: please consider a less than binary result system. Mostly now its 'you succeed or fail' and that's it. You've improved that a bit in a few cases - such as intimidate where you get more effect for every +5. That's a good step. In turms ef states / steps, FATE has some smart ideas there, giving the possible results: fail, succeed at a cost, succeed, and succeed with style. Those give a lot for the GM to hang on to when working out how to describe the players resultss.

They've already revealed that one of the benefits of the new critical success and failure system (+10 over the DC is a critical success, -10 under the DC is a critical failure) allows them to have four degrees of success instead of two.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
In 5e if you were to compare that level 20 expert to a level 1 untrained peasant, you'd get the same gap of 18. In PF2, the gap would be 46 or so.
That part I knew. I made a post on another thread about reading a fantasy book where a swordmaster was attacked by eight brigands and figured he would probably die because that much of a number advantage outclassed his skill. It makes sense and is probably more realistic, but I was surprised when I read it because most books, TV shows, movies, and games would show the swordmaster easily winning against eight brigands. PF2 tells stories more like the ones where the swordmaster wipes the floor with the brigands, and 5e tells stories more like the ones where the swordmaster still has to sweat. Both are cool stories that are good for different situations!

Agreed!

Paizo Employee Designer

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Yossarian wrote:
If you want suggestions: please consider a less than binary result system. Mostly now its 'you succeed or fail' and that's it. You've improved that a bit in a few cases - such as intimidate where you get more effect for every +5. That's a good step. In turms ef states / steps, FATE has some smart ideas there, giving the possible results: fail, succeed at a cost, succeed, and succeed with style. Those give a lot for the GM to hang on to when working out how to describe the player's results.

My crystal ball says you are going to be very happy!


How does proficiency interacts with spells? are by school? I really hope not that would kill the generalist wizard.


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So Paizo thinks that in a system based on D20, the diffrence between being untrained and legendary at a skill is +4 ??

Seriously ??


Loved it.
Especially about the Legendary rank. Charles Atlas Superpowers at their finest. Seems good!
I would just rethink about the whole "add your level to skills". I don't particularly like that, but it's doable considering that an untrained guy wold simply not be able to do tasks a mere proficient one can.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Dαedαlus wrote:
I feel like calling everything 'proficiencies' and 'feats' might get a bit confusing, but maybe that's just me.

They have the same name because they work the same way. Once you understand how proficiency works with weapons, you understand how it works with armor, and with skills, and with saves. And once you understand how ancestry feats work, you understand how skill feats work, and how class feats work.


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I welcome the introduction of tiers to skills and other 'proficencies', it's a much welcomed conspection change and will open great design possibilities.

I however also think the spread in the math is wrong and giving what essentially amounts to free skill points because of level feels overly game and silly.

For one I'd change the modifier to -5 +0 +5 +10 +15 of you insist on retaining free advancement from level alone.

I'd rather not just give away these by level and instead give generous amounts of proficiencies, or make the Level asjustment much smaller, maybe more like +1 every 4 levels, and retain the generous proficiency bonuses.

This will destroy the feel of the system, especially at low levels where my rogue doesn't feel all that better at sneaking or bluffing then the barbarian or the cleric. This combined with skill fumbles will be outright frustrating where the level 5 rogue will fail against their unspecialized maybe 25% of the time sometimes fail in some super stupid way because they rolled a one.

I don't want to hear about the spread at level 20, tell us the spread at level 5, level 10, the levels people spend most of their time playing.

As it is a level 5 rogue going to always be worse the level 15 paladin at stealth, is that reasonable, is that thematic, or does it just feel like I'm playing a generic mmorpg and that's the math.

This not why I play PF and not why I play table top.

The design team just get the math right, if the math is wrong it doesn't matter what the fluff says.


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Perhaps some of my objection here is that I felt like the fact that one of the weaknesses of 5e's Proficiency model was that for a given level of character their skills were binary, you either have proficiency or you don't. Yeah, some classes get expertise (so double proficiency) and you can have variation in your underlying attribute, but there was often no way to demonstrate "pretty good at a thing" as separate from "good at a thing".

PF1 didn't have this problem. As currently described PF2 sort of does, just because of the way that level dwarfs other bonuses.

Now maybe the details of what unlocks as you go from untrained to trained to expert to legendary changes things enough to make that not relevant, but the blog post doesn't include anywhere near enough information to evaluate that.


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JRutterbush wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
ryschwith wrote:

My primary concern is that the lists of what you can and can't do at specific tiers will become something of a memory nightmare.

"I'm going to pole-vault across that gap."
"You can't do that until you're at expert."
"Is that expert? I thought that was trained..."
"Let me check... no, wait, you're right, trained. But earlier when you leapt out of that loft without taking damage, that should've required expert..."

I foresee variations of that conversation happening constantly.

Yes, I share this concern. Mark, could you please give us some examples of how this is going to work?
From my understanding, the only gate to normal checks is Trained and Untrained, there will be no checks that require Expert, Master, or Legend. It's just that certain Skill Feats will require Expert, Master, or Legend. So you don't have to worry about remembering what's what (it's either Trained only or it isn't), you just have to remember which Skill Feats you specifically have taken.

I don't think so, because Legendary rank supposedly unlocks abilities like "can swim across an ocean" and "can jump 20 feet vertically without a running start". It sounds more like each level of proficiency comes with its own list of what you can and can't do.

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Yossarian wrote:
If you want suggestions: please consider a less than binary result system. Mostly now its 'you succeed or fail' and that's it.

That's where fumbles and critical successes are coming in. Now any roll could potentially have a result for either, but not all of them do. I think it was Jason that said that if something noted a critical success of a failure than it had one. If it doesn't note one then they are just regular successes and failures.

Most skills in 1e have something like this already with "fail by 5" results. In this case its "fail by 10" results with some "succeed by 10" results also in there.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Yossarian wrote:
If you want suggestions: please consider a less than binary result system. Mostly now its 'you succeed or fail' and that's it. You've improved that a bit in a few cases - such as intimidate where you get more effect for every +5. That's a good step. In turms ef states / steps, FATE has some smart ideas there, giving the possible results: fail, succeed at a cost, succeed, and succeed with style. Those give a lot for the GM to hang on to when working out how to describe the player's results.
My crystal ball says you are going to be very happy!

And my crystal ball says you're referring to the -10/+10 crit fail/success system. I have to admit, the first time I read about that I was extremely sceptical, but once I began to understand the design space it opened it started to grow on me!


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I feel like I'm going to need to see "what sorts of things people at various levels are and are not allowed to attempt skill checks in" before I can really make sense of this.

Since sure, the difference between untrained and legendary is a small number, but if the legendary character can Shoryuken flying creatures while the untrained character at the same level can "climb a rope really well" but can't free climb at all, that's probably all right. It's not actually interesting, IMO, for experienced heroes to struggle to complete a task so "everybody who is level 20 can climb a rope, identify a dragon, tread water, move quietly in the dark, etc." is just fine.

But I really want to dragon punch a dragon now.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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Vic Wertz wrote:
Once you understand how proficiency works with weapons, you understand how it works with armor...

I don't know why this gave me tingles, but I have a feeling my fighter builds are going to be even cooler as a result.

Liberty's Edge

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Noir le Lotus wrote:

So Paizo thinks that in a system based on D20, the diffrence between being untrained and legendary at a skill is +4 ??

Seriously ??

No, the difference is +5 (-2 to +3), and also the ability to make certain checks that you can only make if Trained, and the ability to use incredibly powerful Skill Feats. Skill mastery in PF2 won't be about raw numbers, it'll be about what you can do with the numbers you have.


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Save at mundane tasks, which they should ALSO be significantly better at, there will be little appreciable difference.

Liberty's Edge

Bardic Dave wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
ryschwith wrote:

My primary concern is that the lists of what you can and can't do at specific tiers will become something of a memory nightmare.

"I'm going to pole-vault across that gap."
"You can't do that until you're at expert."
"Is that expert? I thought that was trained..."
"Let me check... no, wait, you're right, trained. But earlier when you leapt out of that loft without taking damage, that should've required expert..."

I foresee variations of that conversation happening constantly.

Yes, I share this concern. Mark, could you please give us some examples of how this is going to work?
From my understanding, the only gate to normal checks is Trained and Untrained, there will be no checks that require Expert, Master, or Legend. It's just that certain Skill Feats will require Expert, Master, or Legend. So you don't have to worry about remembering what's what (it's either Trained only or it isn't), you just have to remember which Skill Feats you specifically have taken.
I don't think so, because Legendary rank supposedly unlocks abilities like "can swim across an ocean" and "can jump 20 feet vertically without a running start". It sounds more like each level of proficiency comes with its own list of what you can and can't do.

I'm pretty sure it "unlocks" those abilities by granting access to the Skill Feats that let you use those abilities. But we won't know for sure until August, I'm guessing, so we'll have to wait and see.


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JRutterbush wrote:
Noir le Lotus wrote:

So Paizo thinks that in a system based on D20, the diffrence between being untrained and legendary at a skill is +4 ??

Seriously ??

No, the difference is +5 (-2 to +3), and also the ability to make certain checks that you can only make if Trained, and the ability to use incredibly powerful Skill Feats. Skill mastery in PF2 won't be about raw numbers, it'll be about what you can do with the numbers you have.

Cool ...

So instead on having to just check if I pass a DC, now I will have to check if I pass the DC and if my proficiencies give me the appropriate perks for my actions ...


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Anguish wrote:
Though... I'd honestly rather see "Proficiency III" instead of "Expert". There's something nice about not having to remember the order of various hyperbolic adjectives.

This is a pet peeve of mine. Many of us play lots of games which all use the same words to mean different things.

Using words in mechanics should be avoided as much as possible, in my view. It’s easy to reconstruct a half-remembered rule when you’re looking at a numerical rating rather than a flavourful description.


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I'm missing something...

Where do skill ranks come into this equation? Are they in addition to the proficiency bonus? Does a level five character trained in a skill have roughly a +10 before abilities are added?

In general I want to be in favor of this, but it reads like there are just bigger numbers involved, which may be to grease the DC+10 rules.


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Its going to be a bit frustrating when the GM has to say "you can't even attempt what Jeff is going because you have Trained rather than Expert in that skill", but otherwise I think I'm OK with this system.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

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Mark Seifter wrote:
As I've said in another thread, not counting any sort of temporary buff effects or circumstance bonuses or penalties, it is possible to build two level 20 characters in PF2 with an all-day gap between their bonuses in the same skill of around 17-18. Proficiency is one piece of that split, with a potential gap up to 5 (and 5 is a really big advantage; all other modifiers being equal, which is almost certainly an overestimate of the untrained character, and rolling the same number on a d20, half of the untrained character's successes are critical successes for the legendary character, and half of the untrained character's failures are successes for the legendary character).

No offense, but thats at level 20. 5 is actually a really really small gap compared to what we are used to seeing in 1e.

5 is still well within the realm of loldice making the barbarian grognard as likely to charm someone as my charming courtier bard. It really needs to be less bounded and flat or else skills are just going to be lame to focus on at all.


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Noir le Lotus wrote:

So Paizo thinks that in a system based on D20, the diffrence between being untrained and legendary at a skill is +4 ??

Seriously ??

My reading is that there are other components to one’s ability. So the legendary character will also have more skill ranks, more skill feats and probably better stats too.

Liberty's Edge

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Noir le Lotus wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
Noir le Lotus wrote:

So Paizo thinks that in a system based on D20, the diffrence between being untrained and legendary at a skill is +4 ??

Seriously ??

No, the difference is +5 (-2 to +3), and also the ability to make certain checks that you can only make if Trained, and the ability to use incredibly powerful Skill Feats. Skill mastery in PF2 won't be about raw numbers, it'll be about what you can do with the numbers you have.

Cool ...

So instead on having to just check if I pass a DC, now I will have to check if I pass the DC and if my proficiencies give me the appropriate perks for my actions ...

Presumably, since you chose the feats, you wouldn't have to check to see if you have them.

Paizo Employee Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like I'm going to need to see "what sorts of things people at various levels are and are not allowed to attempt skill checks in" before I can really make sense of this.

Since sure, the difference between untrained and legendary is a small number, but if the legendary character can Shoryuken flying creatures while the untrained character at the same level can "climb a rope really well" but can't free climb at all, that's probably all right.

But I really want to dragon punch a dragon now.

When the playtest comes out, please dragon punch some dragons and let me know how it goes!

As to the gap, though, +5 is really not a small difference. It means that in the weird situation where you were a legendary character in an Athletics competition with someone equal level, who also had a superhuman world-class Strength score like you did, who had all the same items and other choices to raise their Athletics that you picked, but for some reason did all that while only being untrained, when you roll a check against that guy, you'll critically succeed 30% of the time and succeed an additional 50% of the time. Despite all the effort, magic, high level awesomeness, and incredible Strength of your opponent, you're significantly more likely to embarrass him by critically succeeding against him than he is to actually win.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
Save at mundane tasks, which they should ALSO be significantly better at, there will be little appreciable difference.

Unless of course proficiencies come with some sort of built in modifiers. Maybe a roll of 30 to paint a picture could be different for a legendary artist compared to a trained one?

Liberty's Edge

Stone Dog wrote:

I'm missing something...

Where do skill ranks come into this equation? Are they in addition to the proficiency bonus? Does a level five character trained in a skill have roughly a +10 before abilities are added?

In general I want to be in favor of this, but it reads like there are just bigger numbers involved, which may be to grease the DC+10 rules.

The ranks are Untrained, Trained, Expert, Master, and Legend. It's not the same as the current "skill ranks", though I can understand your confusion.


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on paper, that's not awful. it might even open up more possibilities.
if that were the worst change to the system Paizo made, there would still be hope for PF2, maybe even excitement.

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