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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Mark Seifter wrote:
This is one of several nice benefits. You can put in as much as you want and get something useful if what you want to put in is "not much" or something awesome if what you want is "all in." For instance, in one of our 14th level playtest games, my alchemist was trained in Thievery because it was really easy for him to do with all that Intelligence, and that let me pick locks and disable some types of traps if necessary. The rogue was still way better than I was, but I was a competent if not stellar replacement when we were forced to split up our efforts in different areas and wasn't just useless like someone with 1 rank would be at 14th level in PF1.

>Thievery

>Intelligence

You lost me there Mark. Does that mean that Thievery scales off of Intelligence or that your skill ranks do?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Trimalchio wrote:

Based on this system a level 15 barbarian completely untrained is going nto walk all over every level 5 highly trained team in every skill.

I guess pf2 is the mmorpg edition.

I mean, a level 15 character should eat a level 5 party for lunch in combat (as it should be) so why not everywhere else too?

The idea that my Rogue has put all their efforts into finding and disarming traps.

As opposed to the Barbarian that put everything into HP and hitting things.

This won't matter much more than likely but if I wanted to introduce an NPC to be their 'lawyer' or 'builder' for a plot, this seems to shoot it in the foot unless they are the same level as the PCs. And if they aren't why aren't they saving the world and aaaaaaagh there's that rabbit hole of insanity again noooooo.

Disabling traps, performing the profession of a lawyer, and constructing and building a complex building would all be trained uses of the skill, so the untrained barbarian can't do any of those. The level 15 barbarian who actually trained at being a lawyer throughout those 15 levels (reminds me of the monk/rogue lawyer PC in one of my 3.5 games) would have a higher bonus than a 5th-level NPC expert lawyer would have (probably 4 or 5 higher assuming the lawyer had better Intelligence), though the expert lawyer might have some skill feats (to make some up off the top of my head, perhaps a skill feat to help read potential jurors and select a more sympathetic jury, to coax extra info out of a witness, etc). Then again, at that point the barbarian decided that being a lawyer is a significant enough part of her superhuman 15th level character that she spent resources to make it so.

Resists urge to bring up “unfrozen caveman lawyer” except doesn’t.


Leedwashere wrote:
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:

I don't like the way this works for skills at all. What if I don't want my level 20 character to have a +20 proficiency modifier in any given skill? Wat id I want him to have a +10 proficiency modifier in one skill, +2 in another skill, and +10 in a third skill?

Also, besides better skill feats, why pick up any skill ranks beyond trained? The difference between a +20 modifier and a +23 modifier isn't much.

I think the point is that if you don't want those unlocks, there isn't a huge pressure to keep investing in a skill. A token investment remains as effective as a token investment. You don't have to keep dedicating resources to being just okay at something. You only need more investment if you want access to the really cool toys a skill has to offer (or if you want a better chance of crit success / fumble avoidance).

Nah, I get the concerns here. It's one complaint that I've always had with "binary" skill systems. When everyone gets the same number of skills, and they're either "all the way good" or "all the way bad", you can't really stand out from everyone else. It was something I despised in D&D 4e. Classes felt same-y. That said, 5e did an adequate job of giving flexibility by having customizable backgrounds, and in P2e it looks like you will still be able to get the "dabber" approach by spreading out lower ranks of many skills instead of mastering a few, and spreading out skill feats along with it.

I'd not say it isn't a concern, but I'll acknowledge there's reason to be cautiously optimistic, at least.

Paizo Employee Designer

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FedoraFerret wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
This is one of several nice benefits. You can put in as much as you want and get something useful if what you want to put in is "not much" or something awesome if what you want is "all in." For instance, in one of our 14th level playtest games, my alchemist was trained in Thievery because it was really easy for him to do with all that Intelligence, and that let me pick locks and disable some types of traps if necessary. The rogue was still way better than I was, but I was a competent if not stellar replacement when we were forced to split up our efforts in different areas and wasn't just useless like someone with 1 rank would be at 14th level in PF1.

>Thievery

>Intelligence

You lost me there Mark. Does that mean that Thievery scales off of Intelligence or that your skill ranks do?

My high Intelligence helped broaden my horizons in terms of skill training.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Trimalchio wrote:

Based on this system a level 15 barbarian completely untrained is going nto walk all over every level 5 highly trained team in every skill.

I guess pf2 is the mmorpg edition.

I mean, a level 15 character should eat a level 5 party for lunch in combat (as it should be) so why not everywhere else too?

The idea that my Rogue has put all their efforts into finding and disarming traps.

As opposed to the Barbarian that put everything into HP and hitting things.

This won't matter much more than likely but if I wanted to introduce an NPC to be their 'lawyer' or 'builder' for a plot, this seems to shoot it in the foot unless they are the same level as the PCs. And if they aren't why aren't they saving the world and aaaaaaagh there's that rabbit hole of insanity again noooooo.

Disabling traps, performing the profession of a lawyer, and constructing and building a complex building would all be trained uses of the skill, so the untrained barbarian can't do any of those. The level 15 barbarian who actually trained at being a lawyer throughout those 15 levels (reminds me of the monk/rogue lawyer PC in one of my 3.5 games) would have a higher bonus than a 5th-level NPC expert lawyer would have (probably 4 or 5 higher assuming the lawyer had better Intelligence), though the expert lawyer might have some skill feats (to make some up off the top of my head, perhaps a skill feat to help read potential jurors and select a more sympathetic jury, to coax extra info out of a witness, etc). Then again, at that point the barbarian decided that being a lawyer is a significant enough part of her superhuman 15th level character that she spent resources to make it so.

I am immediately on board with any system that lets me be She-Hulk.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:

Okay. I'm more confused now than I was before.

In the old rules, there were skills such as Acrobatics, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Stealth, Heal, Perception, and other skills. Players could assign ranks to them and with a skill where it was a Class Skill, gain a bonus to that skill.

How does the old Skill Rank system fit with the new Proficiency system? Could you provide us with an example of how skills work in the new system in regards to gaining new skills (and how that works with the leveling system)?

The blog entry is incredibly vague. So I'm trying to understand what's going on and how this works within the system compared to the old Pathfinder system. (I'm not even concerned with the saving throws now. Just the old skill rank system and how it works in the new system.)

As I understand it, under the new rules, there are skills such as Acrobatics, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Stealth, and Heal. Every odd level, you put "ranks" in. Instead of having a cap of ranks = level, there's the following:

1 or 2 ranks: Available at level 1.
3 ranks: available at level 7.
4 ranks: Available at level 15.

Putting a rank in gets rid of the untrained penalty, and lets you use all the stuff you need training for. Putting more ranks lets you get fancier things with the skill, up through "inhuman" to "impossible".


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Then again, at that point the barbarian decided that being a lawyer is a significant enough part of her superhuman 15th level character that she spent resources to make it so.

Except they might have decided that at second level, and then never did lawyer things again but are still superhumanly good at it. And even if they don't pick to be trained in it, they're still superhumanly good at it.


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It's not just IDing monsters, it is every single skill that be done untrained.

Climb, swim, bluff, sense motive, stealth, disguise, perform, appraise, slight of hand and so on. And it's not just the barbarian, the level 15 wizard with an 8 strength will be better climber and swimmer, a better everything. A level 15 NPC Baker will be a better pick pocket.

This feels like a mmorpg, next we'll hear about the level 15 guards that keep towns safe from PvP conflicts.

Maybe rogues will get the ability, scan enemy level because I wouldn't want to try anything untoward when I know just being againdt higher level going to hose me in the skill check mini game.


Mark Seifter wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
This is one of several nice benefits. You can put in as much as you want and get something useful if what you want to put in is "not much" or something awesome if what you want is "all in." For instance, in one of our 14th level playtest games, my alchemist was trained in Thievery because it was really easy for him to do with all that Intelligence, and that let me pick locks and disable some types of traps if necessary. The rogue was still way better than I was, but I was a competent if not stellar replacement when we were forced to split up our efforts in different areas and wasn't just useless like someone with 1 rank would be at 14th level in PF1.

>Thievery

>Intelligence

You lost me there Mark. Does that mean that Thievery scales off of Intelligence or that your skill ranks do?

My high Intelligence helped broaden my horizons in terms of skill training.

So Intelligence DOES influence how many ranks you get per level, not just class? Nice. So Rogue who's the Smartest guy in the room is still a good choice for Ultimate Skill Monkey'ing then.


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So I had a number of PF1 characters where I invested max ranks in a frankly useless skill because it was a thing that character should be good at. Like a Changeling Monk who had sworn off her cannibalistic urges and swore herself to a strict vegan diet taking max ranks in Profession (Chef) ("how I would cook and eat you, I won't mind you, but if anybody is taking notes I have considerable expertise" played into more than a few intimidate checks) or a Dwarf Telekineticist who ran off and joined the circus who took max ranks in Sleight of Hand and Perform (Comedy) so she could be a comedy juggler (the comedy is there to serve the juggling, dwarves have a cha penalty).

So is there any reason to become a legendary chef or juggler in PF2? Is this sort of thing even possible?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

What isn’t clear is to what extent does a character have to specialise to be at the top of their proficiency . Is the investment to legendary plus the proficiency feats the kind of investment that you can only do with a single proficiency at most? Are you going to have to reduce your number of combat feats to get these proficiencies feats?

I think this is one area which is difficult to judge until the play test. However it looks like criticals and fumbles on proficiency checks are again going to be based upon how much you succeed or fail by which makes the double damage on saves of 1 seem especially odd and out of kilter with everything else.


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I'm intrigued, but I am also worried.

I like the idea of having to have some training to attempt certain "heroic" things. This is fine, but...

Hopefully, stuff untrained people should be reasonably capable of attempting isn't gated behind higher levels of proficiency. This is my biggest fear.

For example, having an Expert level Proficiency in Stealth allow you to hide from Divination magic is cool and works, but preventing an untrained person from hiding in a crowd of people using Stealth would feel like gating an easily plausible action behind a game mechanic.

In other words, if you could reasonably expect an untrained individual to be able to plausibly accomplish a task, they should be allowed to try.

My next fear is that the small difference between untrained and Legendary could lead to situations where the Legendary Sneak Thief get's spotted and the untrained wizard doesn't.

I understand that there will be magic items and the like to further boost these skills, but I feel as though a Stealth Expert shouldn't need these items to succeed while the layman buys a cloak of adaptive camouflage so as to not hold the others back.

I think the current expectation is that characters with higher proficiency in skills are going to be the ones buying the magic gear to boost themselves, while those with lower proficiency are going to ignore the items. I don't think this is a safe assumption to make.

If the current system allows for magic items/spells to swallow the 5 point difference between Untrained and Legendary, then I feel as though this is an oversight.

I'll share the idea I came up with in my custom system a few months ago:

Skill have 5 levels (like PF2), and they scale with levels (also like PF2) but the rate of scaling is as follows:

Untrained = 0
Novice(Trained) = 1/4 Level + 1
Adept(Expert) = 1/2 Level + 2
Expert (Master) = 3/4 Level + 3
Master (Legendary) = Level + 3

This gives the following distribution:

Rank/Level 1/Level 20
Untrained / 0 / 0
Novice / 1 / 6
Adept / 2 / 12
Expert / 3 / 18
Master / 4 / 23

An Untrained individual in my system may be able to cast a spell or buy a magic item to push themselves up a proficiency level or two, but they aren't going to infringe upon a Master's skill level without spending a TON of money on a really powerful magic item (or more likely going on a grand quest for it) or a TON of spell power to do so.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Milo v3 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Then again, at that point the barbarian decided that being a lawyer is a significant enough part of her superhuman 15th level character that she spent resources to make it so.
Except they might have decided that at second level, and then never did lawyer things again but are still superhumanly good at it. And even if they don't pick to be trained in it, they're still superhumanly good at it.

The untrained barbarian is more likely to know that Justice Ironbriar is the harshest judge in Magnimar than the law school student, but she still can't actually practice law effectively at all, let alone superhumanly well.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Bruno Mares wrote:


Having that in mind, is possible to assume that the number needed to be rolled in the dice will be always the same (like 8+) for a character who gets the greatest effort possible to maximize his skills?

A character who continues putting their darnedest into something and becomes legendary is actually going to find they actually start needing slightly lower numbers to succeed and critically succeed over time against level-appropriate situations (or for armor, that the enemies are having more trouble hitting). But that said, we're not doing something weird where trees magically become harder to climb because you're higher level now; tasks have the difficulty that they have, so when you're coming back to try to climb the same ledge that gave you trouble many levels ago, you'll be able to handle it no problem!

Happy to hearing that! But my concern was about recall knowledge, Diplomacy, Sense Motive and other opposed skill checks.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Please tell me you didn't just make Evasion a feat instead of a Class Feature....

Please tell me they did. Personally I find much, much more utility in a system that allows thematic mix & matching than a system that locks features that fit your character idea behind unobtanium class gates.

Sure, sure, "you can multiclass". Seriously? If you've got an image of say... a fire sorcerer who drops ground-zero fire blasts where they're standing because they Just Don't Care, that's awesome. Of course, you'll want to get a high Reflex save, and some fire resistance, and hopefully... evasion. Because without those, your whole idea is suicidal. Also known as invalidated.

A two-level dip in rogue to pick up evasion is huge. You end up getting a given spell level three levels after the game assumes you get them. Why? Just so you can execute a simple character concept that isn't particularly broken.

Meh.

3.5 did it wrong when trapfinding was basically impossible to get into a party unless one of the characters was a rogue. That's really constraining.

It is my humble opinion that every class feature should be possible to get at least somewhat, without fully multiclassing. Want one round of rage a day? There should be a way. Want one spell slot per day? There should be a way.


Funnily enough, I had a somewhat similar idea for a homebrew in the sense that each Skill would have both a value determining proficiency and a rank allowing access to more sophisticated uses of a skill.

Basically, if I understand this correctly, players will now be able invest in achieving basic competency in things like Survival, Ride, Swim, and Stealth without adversely affecting the skills essential to their class. If the investment costs are low enough, it should also be good for flavour skills like Professions or Knowledges.

My only concern, as mentioned is that DCs will be trivialized by the inclusion of the +Level adjustment, but hopefully Paizo will have come up with something suitably clever.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
I'll tell you guys just this once, especially since you're close: Evasion is actually the name of the locked-in class feature that makes you a master at Reflex saves, and what I describe in the blog is the ability to treat all your successes on Reflex save as critical successes! ;)

Well, damn.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Then again, at that point the barbarian decided that being a lawyer is a significant enough part of her superhuman 15th level character that she spent resources to make it so.
Except they might have decided that at second level, and then never did lawyer things again but are still superhumanly good at it. And even if they don't pick to be trained in it, they're still superhumanly good at it.

If she isn't trained, then she's still going to be bad at lawyering.

But, supposing she decided she wants to be trained in law at level two, so by level three she's studied law and put trained proficiency in Profession(Barrister). Level 15 rolls around, and the occasion comes up to practice law. The opposition lawyer has just finished setting up when a towering muscular woman strides in. The jury whispers amongst themselves- this is Amiri, legendary heroine who, with the help of her much scrawnier allies, saved the land from (insert AP book 5 threat here). What's she doing in a civil case like this? The bailiff briefly considers intervention, but then realizes that he still has too much to live for. She strides up to the accused, and everybody can see death in her eyes. Those in the court know they will only leave here alive if she wills it. She turns to the judge, and speaks. "Your honor, I will be serving as Mr. Doe's attorney."

How is she not going to have a higher lawyering modifier?


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Because raw intimidation doesn’t make you know the law better?

Paizo Employee Designer

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thflame wrote:

I understand that there will be magic items and the like to further boost these skills, but I feel as though a Stealth Expert shouldn't need these items to succeed while the layman buys a cloak of adaptive camouflage so as to not hold the others back.

I think the current expectation is that characters with higher proficiency in skills are going to be the ones buying the magic gear to boost themselves, while those with lower proficiency are going to ignore the items. I don't think this is a safe assumption to make.

It depends on what you're trying to do. There are a lot of situations where the legendary character with pretty substandard gear might still be succeeding on, say, a 6 on the die, so it's up to her whether she feels like she really needs to spend resources to raise that and especially to up her critical success rate, whereas her trained buddy who's trying to keep up somewhat maybe needs a 12 and could use gear to catch up a bit more and shave off some of those extra critical failures.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Then again, at that point the barbarian decided that being a lawyer is a significant enough part of her superhuman 15th level character that she spent resources to make it so.
Except they might have decided that at second level, and then never did lawyer things again but are still superhumanly good at it. And even if they don't pick to be trained in it, they're still superhumanly good at it.
The untrained barbarian is more likely to know that Justice Ironbriar is the harshest judge in Magnimar than the law school student, but she still can't actually practice law effectively at all, let alone superhumanly well.

The point is that someone that becomes Trained at level 2 continues to get a bigger and better skill modifier as they become higher level, and can pass higher and harsher skill DCs, without actually having put any extra effort into being better at that skill, and even if they don't want to be better at that skill.

There's no logic in someone with only basic training in a skill be able to pass DC 30-40 checks in that skill for no reason other than being higher level when they intentionally stopped investing in that skill after 2nd level.


thanks for taking your time explaining all this but i think i would just need to see a sheet and some examples for it to sink in.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
There's no logic in someone with only basic training in a skill be able to pass DC 30-40 checks in that skill for no reason other than being higher level when they intentionally stopped investing in that skill after 2nd level.

There's also no logic in a level 20 character being no better at identifying monsters than a first level character, even if they haven't been studying it. I'll take the broad competence over broad ineptitude.

Scarab Sages

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

Of course all the comments in this thread are speculative without at least the information of what typical DCs are for each level. I'm personally excited about a tiered proficiency system that unlocks greater abilities and feat options the more proficient you are.
Without DCs to check them against though, we'll have to wait and see how the rest of the math in the system plays out before we can really understand the affect proficiency has on the system overall.
Cool tease though!


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Then again, at that point the barbarian decided that being a lawyer is a significant enough part of her superhuman 15th level character that she spent resources to make it so.
Except they might have decided that at second level, and then never did lawyer things again but are still superhumanly good at it. And even if they don't pick to be trained in it, they're still superhumanly good at it.
The untrained barbarian is more likely to know that Justice Ironbriar is the harshest judge in Magnimar than the law school student, but she still can't actually practice law effectively at all, let alone superhumanly well.

Why? How does that make any sense?

A high level barbarian walks into a city he's never been and he's going to know more about it the than the level 5 Baker whose been there their entire life.

Being able to make high skills checks because you just happened to be high level but have never performed the skill completely breaks immersion, it reminds I'm in a game and the thing that really matters is your level, not the choices you made.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Mark Seifter wrote:


I'll tell you guys just this once, especially since you're close: Evasion is actually the name of the locked-in class feature that makes you a master at Reflex saves, and what I describe in the blog is the ability to treat all your successes on Reflex save as critical successes! ;)

I thought I sensed a spoiler.... ;)

Paizo Employee Designer

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Trimalchio wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Then again, at that point the barbarian decided that being a lawyer is a significant enough part of her superhuman 15th level character that she spent resources to make it so.
Except they might have decided that at second level, and then never did lawyer things again but are still superhumanly good at it. And even if they don't pick to be trained in it, they're still superhumanly good at it.
The untrained barbarian is more likely to know that Justice Ironbriar is the harshest judge in Magnimar than the law school student, but she still can't actually practice law effectively at all, let alone superhumanly well.

Why? How does that make any sense?

A high level barbarian walks into a city he's never been and he's going to know more about it the than the level 5 Baker whose been there their entire life.

Being able to make high skills checks because you just happened to be high level but have never performed the skill completely breaks immersion, it reminds I'm in a game and the thing that really matters is your level, not the choices you made.

I should have been clearer: this is for characters who are active in Magnimar, where Ironbriar is pretty famous. If we're talking about knowing some obscure judge from Tian Xia, then only the law student would have a chance, since that's not general knowledge. It's like the whole "Knowledge up to DC 10" rule from PF1.


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Thomas, A wrote:
thanks for taking your time explaining all this but i think i would just need to see a sheet and some examples for it to sink in.

I'm in agreement with you. I think I need to see the upper (expected) limits on stuff like Attribute Modifiers, Magic Item bonuses, Spell bonuses, and Misc. Bonuses before I know how to feel about it.

This and what exactly is and isn't locked behind skill feats.

Grand Lodge

Every new announcement gets me more and more excited for the playtest! I'll worry myself over any issues turned up at the time and be sure to report it as my groups run into them during the playtest, but I can't say that Paizo's ever really disappointed me before, so I'm just rubbing my hands together in anticipation.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am somewhat concerned about only being able to invest skill ranks into new skills every other level. I like to be able to adapt my character based on the events that happened, so I have often learned a skill or language based on that.

Are the ability to use tools limited by your ranks? It usually takes some skill at something to make the best use of high quality tools. You get to the point where you just don't have enough skill to take advantage of the best tools.

The best news I saw so far was being able to take a skill feat so as to auto-succeed at some skills. That should help take care of the swing from the die roll being greater than the difference in skills.

I can definitely see this helping with scenario design.

I'll reserve judgement on how much I like it until I get more details.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
This is one of several nice benefits. You can put in as much as you want and get something useful if what you want to put in is "not much" or something awesome if what you want is "all in." For instance, in one of our 14th level playtest games, my alchemist was trained in Thievery because it was really easy for him to do with all that Intelligence, and that let me pick locks and disable some types of traps if necessary. The rogue was still way better than I was, but I was a competent if not stellar replacement when we were forced to split up our efforts in different areas and wasn't just useless like someone with 1 rank would be at 14th level in PF1.

>Thievery

>Intelligence

You lost me there Mark. Does that mean that Thievery scales off of Intelligence or that your skill ranks do?

My high Intelligence helped broaden my horizons in terms of skill training.
So Intelligence DOES influence how many ranks you get per level, not just class? Nice. So Rogue who's the Smartest guy in the room is still a good choice for Ultimate Skill Monkey'ing then.

Based on the "broadening" word choice, my guess is that you get INT-bonus free Trained skill ranks

BTW I knew that they were called skill ranks rather than skill points in PF1 and I think calling the 5 degrees of proficiency "skill ranks" too in PF2 is extremely confusing. Would "skill degree" make sense, or some other word (I am not a native speaker) ?


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:

"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**."

Please tell me you didn't just make Evasion a feat instead of a Class Feature....

Why not? This would make it more readily available to everyone, but especially to those nimble characters whose expertise lies in that sort of thing.


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QuidEst wrote:
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
There's no logic in someone with only basic training in a skill be able to pass DC 30-40 checks in that skill for no reason other than being higher level when they intentionally stopped investing in that skill after 2nd level.
There's also no logic in a level 20 character being no better at identifying monsters than a first level character, even if they haven't been studying it. I'll take the broad competence over broad ineptitude.

Some of us _don't_ want our characters to become better at literally everything over time. Skills that the characters stop practicing shouldn't improve.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


I'll tell you guys just this once, especially since you're close: Evasion is actually the name of the locked-in class feature that makes you a master at Reflex saves, and what I describe in the blog is the ability to treat all your successes on Reflex save as critical successes! ;)
I thought I sensed a spoiler.... ;)

Critical success and critical failure do sound intriguing and worth a blog post IMO :-)

Paizo Employee Designer

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QuidEst wrote:
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
There's no logic in someone with only basic training in a skill be able to pass DC 30-40 checks in that skill for no reason other than being higher level when they intentionally stopped investing in that skill after 2nd level.
There's also no logic in a level 20 character being no better at identifying monsters than a first level character, even if they haven't been studying it. I'll take the broad competence over broad ineptitude.

Broad competence is also a hallmark of many fantasy stories (and actually many stories in a lot of genres). At some point, all the PCs are going to want to try to do something together involving untrained skill uses, like disguising as actors to infiltrate the Lord Mayor's mansion and its sharp-eyed guards who are certain to be on the lookout for charlatans. In PF1, you had a few choices: you could just never try to do that, you could try it straight out and pretty much fail automatically because Amiri has no ranks in Disguise, you could maybe find some spellcaster-only option that granted an enormous bonus that essentially erased the other characters' investments anyway so it's fine that Amiri didn't invest, or you could have the GM decide not to use the skill system because the idea was so cool and to handwave that Amiri doesn't have to make a Disguise check. In PF2, it's still going to be dicey and the group might want to come up with some ways to help Amiri (like thflame's idea of shifting the best gear onto her to help out) because she's still the most likely to land them all in hot water from a critical failure, but the plan also might succeed.


This is not really different guys from the Unchained skill system, where each time you got up by 5 you get a cool new thing or passive you can do. Instead of doing it at 5/10/15 they're doing it at 1/2/3.


Lady Firebird wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:

"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**."

Please tell me you didn't just make Evasion a feat instead of a Class Feature....

Why not? This would make it more readily available to everyone, but especially to those nimble characters whose expertise lies in that sort of thing.

We don't need a Dex-Based Barbarian that in addition to having a MASSIVE pool of HP, and probably DR of some sort, also just "Lol, Nope"-ing Fireballs.


BretI wrote:

I am somewhat concerned about only being able to invest skill ranks into new skills every other level. I like to be able to adapt my character based on the events that happened, so I have often learned a skill or language based on that.

Are the ability to use tools limited by your ranks? It usually takes some skill at something to make the best use of high quality tools. You get to the point where you just don't have enough skill to take advantage of the best tools.

The best news I saw so far was being able to take a skill feat so as to auto-succeed at some skills. That should help take care of the swing from the die roll being greater than the difference in skills.

I can definitely see this helping with scenario design.

I'll reserve judgement on how much I like it until I get more details.

Sounds like it might be worth your while to reserve a skill rank or two to advance in later rather than at level up.

There is zero reason a gm should disallow you from applying the held ranks during a full night's rest.


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Personally, regarding the naming conventions, I intend to colloquially refer to the new skill ranks as skill levels, and for ease of use refer to someone who's an Acrobatics expert as having Level 2 Acrobatics.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
In PF2, it's still going to be dicey and the group might want to come up with some ways to help Amiri (like thflame's idea of shifting the best gear onto her to help out) because she's still the most likely to land them all in hot water from a critical failure, but the plan also might succeed.

Is something going to be done about what multiple checks effectively do to your odds of success? If everyone in the party needs to roll a disguise check and the guards get a perception check against everyone you're failing unless you've got 15 points on them . That's just math.


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Trimalchio wrote:

A high level barbarian walks into a city he's never been and he's going to know more about it the than the level 5 Baker whose been there their entire life.

In OPF a Barbarian can spend 20 ranks in Knowledge Local and suddenly knows more about every single city in the world, even cities he doesn't know yet, than the bakers of said cities. Best part of it: he became much better at knowing the names of judges in cities because he bashed the heads of goblins, then orcs, then trolls, then giants, then devils, until he got to lvl 20.

All systems with skills and class levels are weird when you look at them. They only work for those who selectively choose to be blind for the ugly spots of the system they like. It's no different in NPF and OPF

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
There's no logic in someone with only basic training in a skill be able to pass DC 30-40 checks in that skill for no reason other than being higher level when they intentionally stopped investing in that skill after 2nd level.
There's also no logic in a level 20 character being no better at identifying monsters than a first level character, even if they haven't been studying it. I'll take the broad competence over broad ineptitude.
Some of us _don't_ want our characters to become better at literally everything over time. Skills that the characters stop practicing shouldn't improve.

I think they went a step further away from simulationist here as far as skills are concerned. Way I see it becoming trained means that from now on your character continuously devotes a bit of his time at getting better at the skill. They just do not track the discrete expense of points every level anymore.

Same really as rolling an attack roll only once every round while you are actually hitting several times in 6 seconds


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
Some of us _don't_ want our characters to become better at literally everything over time. Skills that the characters stop practicing shouldn't improve.

Bleh, no thanks. I'm sick of my Sorcerers being able to do precisely five things other than cast spells, and one of those has to be "see things".


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*raises eyebrow

This is just a rework of the 4e system. Not really a complaint, our group is about to start a 4e campaign.

But it seems really weird for Pathfinder to steal anything from 4e.

Paizo Employee Designer

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
In PF2, it's still going to be dicey and the group might want to come up with some ways to help Amiri (like thflame's idea of shifting the best gear onto her to help out) because she's still the most likely to land them all in hot water from a critical failure, but the plan also might succeed.

Is something going to be done about what multiple checks effectively do to your odds of success? If everyone in the party needs to roll a disguise check and the guards get a perception check against everyone you're failing unless you've got 15 points on them . That's just math.

We did the math there and suggested some rough guidelines for situations like (in roughly descending order of difficulty):

"Everybody can keep rolling until it works with nothing bad on a failure"

"Everybody can roll once, only one person needs to succeed, and trying and failing doesn't do anything bad"

"Only the best person will roll this, possibly with assistance"

"Everyone has to roll and something bad happens to the people who fail"

"Everyone has to roll and if anyone fails, the whole thing fails"

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

With disguise in general I always recommend the person with the most ranks picks up a Masterwork Disguise kit, and then take 20 to disguise the whole party. It means your characters are going to spend about 2 hours in the make-up chair, but that's what you get for wanting to look like Nightcrawler.

Paizo Employee Designer

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The Raven Black wrote:

Way I see it becoming trained means that from now on your character continuously devotes a bit of his time at getting better at the skill. They just do not track the discrete expense of points every level anymore.

Same really as rolling an attack roll only once every round while you are actually hitting several times in 6 seconds

This is fairly accurate, you're maintaining and slowly improving over time. If you want to mimic the idea that your skill you raised at 2nd level and never used again stagnates with disuse, we have the tools for that too! Using the retraining rules, you can not only return yourself to untrained to represent that stagnation, you'll even get to pick a new skill that you actually want to keep up to date too!


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I'm not sure why you would try to use the same system for combat and non combat abilities because 40 years ago someone didn't use a thesaurus on the word proficiencies.

(I mean, not that i blame them. It was the dark ages. It was made of dead trees. You had to find it on the shelf. Or in a sock drawer. Then turn pages.)


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I'm totally fine with people becoming better at everything, in general, as they level up. I'm just not as fine with "experts" being only marginally better than those who are proficient.

Maybe this is just me, but if one person is trained in a skill, but not done anything else, and another is Legendary, then for a majority of tasks, the Legendary person is only 15% more likely to succeed...

Someone mentioned this being a d20 system before, and they're entirely right. +3 is a huge advantage in a 3d6 system, it's not in Pathfinder.

Honestly, take a look at people's issues with 5e, because, yeah, the spreads are bigger there, and they still don't work.

Also consider this: I don't know what the ability score ranges will be, but it feels safe to assume 12 and 18 will be somewhat reasonable scores. The person who's less naturally good at a skill (12 stat) but has spent their entire career mastering it is equally as good as the person with a natural aptitude (18 stat) who's just taken the base proficiency.

I don't know all of the details, but I feel like this will likely lead to even more 1 point dumps into a skill for basic access and then ignoring it around there. Specialization will happen, but it'll only happen when you want to use one of the higher level abilities, not to become generically better at a skill.


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Only there is no option to retain what you have but just not improve.

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