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

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
301 to 350 of 1,441 << first < prev | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | next > last >>

6 people marked this as a favorite.

They aren't masters though, they're just really practiced with the basic or intrinsic uses of bluff, climb, and stealth that they use in their every day lives.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
ChibiNyan wrote:

Most of the complaints here about high-level chars having the potential automatically be better at everything than low level ones are ignoring the fact that PF1 had this issue too.

Remember that your number of ranks on a skill was limited by your level. So on any level that you decided to spend a god chunk of your skill points on ONE skill (Say a rogue brings diplomacy from 0 to 10 ranks in one level up) they will automatically be better overnight than the lv5 Aristocrat that has been putting ranks into it since the beginning of his career.

Yeah, it's not realistic on EITHER of the editions at all, but at least it's more fun in this one.

If you wanted realistic, you'd have to make it so you can't put more than 1 rank at a time on any skill at any level-up while using the PF system.

And also, it's more fun in the sense that just having the higher bonus doesn't always mean the greater ability. So if anything, it offers a little more opportunity for more "realism" (such as it is). The Rogue is presumably not jumping straight from nothing to Master Diplomacy (at least at low levels), so even if she suddenly has gleaned a wealth of knowledge from recent encounters, the Aristocrat still knows some tricks she doesn't. Experience matters.

Honestly, this whole skill system is one of those things that clicks so well for me, it's one of those "Why didn't we do this before?" kinds of deals.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Remember, D&D had a 1st level character gain X4 skill points at first level, to distribute, and then had the single base skill points gained in succeeding levels. (Based on Int and Class). Pathfinder, whether they are call points or ranks, had Class Skills gain the three missing fillers instead, making choosing skill easier for first level character, and also limiting what the lower skilled classes could get, only getting one to three ranks per level. (Dayjob in PFS, what is that?)


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Oh goodness, yes, I want twentieth level characters who, regardless of choices, won't drown in calm weather, can always climb trees, and are capable of playing poker.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
I'm going to be houseruling the hell out of this system. I really dislike that it's impossible to have a high level character who isn't a master of lying, climbing, or sneaking.

Why should high level characters ever fail at mundane tasks? I think that's basically the question these rules are posing. If it's an obstacle appropriate to the calibre of heroes we're talking about, then you require training, but "sneaking through an area in the dark when there's a lot of ambient noise" isn't something experienced adventurers should fail at, even if they are untrained in stealth. The sorts of things that you can easily do untrained at high level are likely the sorts of things I don't even ask high level characters to roll at.

Like a level 20 character who cannot climb a rope and who starves to death in the woods if no one helps them is hardly a hero.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Why should high level characters ever fail at mundane tasks? I think that's basically the question these rules are posing. If it's an obstacle appropriate to the calibre of heroes we're talking about, then you require training, but "sneaking through an area in the dark when there's a lot of ambient noise" isn't something experienced adventurers should fail at, even if they are untrained in stealth. The sorts of things that you can easily do untrained at high level are likely the sorts of things I don't even ask high level characters to roll at.

Like a level 20 character who cannot climb a rope and who starves to death in the woods if no one helps them is hardly a hero.

So basically, if you're playing a scholarly wizard at high levels who isn't a god-tier athlete/con-artist/survivalist you're playing wrong. Good to hear.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like a level 20 character who cannot climb a rope and who starves to death in the woods if no one helps them is hardly a hero.

"My heart's right down in my toes, Mr. Pippin," said Sam. "But we aren't etten yet, and there are some stout folk here with us. Whatever may be in store for old Gandalf, I'll wager it isn't a wolf's belly."


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Subparhiggins wrote:

But they aren't as good as you? Who are you going to consider the better chef? The level 20 novice who can make the best cookies you've ever tasted? Or the level 10 master who can make pretty dang good cookies, but can also make from scratch a ton of other recipes? The level 20 chef may have been making cookies for decades, but the level 10 master went to culinary school and just knows how to do a lot of things way outside the level 20 characters limited experience.

It's easy to hyperfocus in on the numbers alone as a sign of better or worse. But it matters a lot more how many situations you can use the skill in, and how many things you can do with it.

The problem is they aren't a Master Chef in this system.*

Assume there is a master chef NPC that runs a cooking school, and each time a new group of 10 students starts classes a cookie bake off is the first thing that happens. In PF1e the plusses to the dice roll are sufficiently large that the chef wins the contest against his new students most of the time. In this, lower plusses system the chef is probably going to be beaten by one of the students most of the time.

Now you might not be that concern about cooking contests, but my two main concerns are that

1) in a situation where everybody gets a chance to roll, the skill monkey will no longer have a chance to shine because most of the time someone else will just beat them with a raw dice roll,
and that
2) where the skill system needs game balance to outside factors (eg. crafting items) then you will end up with the local blacksmith being necessarily 10th level to make the skill checks that have DCs stopping 1st level characters from abusing the system.

* Technically, they "probably aren't", since there may well be a Skill Feat that is restricted to their level of proficiency that says "you automatically win all cooking competitions against people of a lower proficiency than you, but since Paizo are doing these teases with such a consistent "Lets only tell them half of how this works so that it sounds utterly awful" that I assume it's deliberate, what else are we going to do but speculate wildly.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I find my feelings toward this blog to be a little weird.

The numbers side of my brain sees a 4-point difference between untrained and legendary and feels like it's not enough.

Another part of my brain sees that skill ranks will only tell one side of a story this time around. It draws parallels with my experience playing with the mythic rules, where the high-level NPCs in the setting still had to give respect to mid-level mythic PCs because mythic was a totally different level of power. I really liked that numbers didn't tell the whole story, and it seems that numbers won't be the be-all and end-all of this system.

Another part of my brain that likes simplicity is concerned because while I like numbers not telling the whole story, they do make things simpler to handle. I'm partly concerned that proficiency level and skill feats will add more complexity than I'd like.

So far, proficiency, resonance, critical success/failures, and the dying rules are all things I'm a bit uneasy with. They're also some of the things I'm most interested in playtesting, because I want to know if my first impression is right or if they work better in context.


Hmmm... Kinda reminds me of Unchained's skill unlocks crossed with Fallout 4's perk sheet.
:^(


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Sean R wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Sean R wrote:


I won't be happy with this change unless there's a way to push outside of the class structure and allow a measure of flexibility. As a cleric (or Paladin), I should NEVER need to choose between Knowledge: Religion and Diplomacy, simply because I have an average INT score. That makes little sense to me, given how churches tend to operate.
As a cleric or paladin with low Int, you can still choose to start out trained in Thievery or even Arcana as a skill. Whichever skills you want, unrestrained by class skills.

Except that I then have to give up Knowledge: Religion and/or Diplomacy. No class who gets it's powers from the gods should be clueless as to how their religion works.

Likewise, no class about studying tomes to cast spells should be clueless as to how spells work (Knowledge: Arcana and Spellcraft).

You -can- do it in the current system, but it begs the question 'how?' How can this character exemplify these concepts without limiting them to JUST these concepts. If this is core to what the class is about, it should be granted, not limiting. It's part of who the class is.

Don't limit characters by your perception of class.

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

I have played a Book Eating Magician who devoured scrolls to write his spells into his spellbook without any musty tomes in his backstory and I have played a chef wizard whose only 'tomes' were recipe books, including the one which held his recipes aka spells.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It would probably be a bit more reasonable if it was only 1/2 of your level added and doubling the bonus from the ranks. It makes the lv20 case not be so ridiculous, but they're still quite good at most tasks. It also increases the value of the ranks, which think are being considered too small right now. +10 bonus just from levels is not insurmountable by even lower-level-ish experts who are getting more from their investment.

Yeah, it's kinda like 4e. This also doesn't add up to the same math either, but there's still time to adjust the DCs.

There is a reason it doesn't work as I suggest, however, and that is that this proficiency bonus applies to saves and weapon stuff. So reducing it too much could lead to bounded accuracy being a lot more noticeable.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Why should high level characters ever fail at mundane tasks? I think that's basically the question these rules are posing. If it's an obstacle appropriate to the calibre of heroes we're talking about, then you require training, but "sneaking through an area in the dark when there's a lot of ambient noise" isn't something experienced adventurers should fail at, even if they are untrained in stealth. The sorts of things that you can easily do untrained at high level are likely the sorts of things I don't even ask high level characters to roll at.

Like a level 20 character who cannot climb a rope and who starves to death in the woods if no one helps them is hardly a hero.
So basically, if you're playing a scholarly wizard at high levels who isn't a god-tier athlete/con-artist/survivalist you're playing wrong. Good to hear.

I was in agreement with you until I thought about it for a few minutes.

A level 20 Paladin has probably been lied to dozens if not hundreds of times in his career. He has probably learned through exposure how to be halfway decent at basic deception.

Your level 20 wizard has likely been crawling through dungeons, climbing mountains, and gone for an unintentional swim at least a few times on his journey and seen his allies do the same. He probably has a decent idea how to climb, swim, sprint, etc. after that much exposure.

Now, I'm not sure he should have "Level - 2" proficiency in it, but he should definitely have some.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

I think what has happened is that they have looked at the "what if the PCs want to disguise themselves and sneak into the mayors party" scenario and realised that they had a Dichotomy.

Either the system can support people who are very good at things, and the above is not doable as a result, or the system can allow the above to take place, but then nobody can be good enough at a thing for it to really matter.

Realising this, they have gone with a third option, which is "everybody is blandly good at stuff" but has access to niche super powers via skill feats. There can be no skill feats that substantially increase your plusses to your roll that are not a trap choice, because of the above dichotomy and their decision to come down on the side of everybody needs to be able to succeed at everything.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Not gonna lie, I love every word of this. The new proficiency tiers, the supernatural master and legendary abilities, the simplification of a needlessly complicated/inflated skill system, this is what I like in my games.

Shut up and take my money, Paizo. <3

Liberty's Edge

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Why should high level characters ever fail at mundane tasks? I think that's basically the question these rules are posing. If it's an obstacle appropriate to the calibre of heroes we're talking about, then you require training, but "sneaking through an area in the dark when there's a lot of ambient noise" isn't something experienced adventurers should fail at, even if they are untrained in stealth. The sorts of things that you can easily do untrained at high level are likely the sorts of things I don't even ask high level characters to roll at.

Like a level 20 character who cannot climb a rope and who starves to death in the woods if no one helps them is hardly a hero.
So basically, if you're playing a scholarly wizard at high levels who isn't a god-tier athlete/con-artist/survivalist you're playing wrong. Good to hear.

If you're playing a Wizard that's gone through enough adventures to get to high levels, you're no longer playing a scholarly Wizard, you're playing a badass adventurer Wizard, who has picked up tons of badass adventuring skills in his years of going on badass adventures.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:

I'm going to be houseruling the hell out of this system. I really dislike that it's impossible to have a high level character who isn't a master of lying, climbing, or sneaking.

If I want a high level paladin character who sucks at deception, it doesn't matter, your forced to be immensely better than the level 3 con-artist NPC. Skill feats don't even help fix this because the con-artist would probably only have two or three skill feats, which are not going to be able to catch up to the immense difference between +4 proficiency bonus and a +13 proficiency bonus.

First houserule I'll make will probably be changing Untrained from level-2 to level/2. That way it keeps Paizo's desire for characters to "keep up" while at least reducing the "Your character is forced to be amazing at everything" factor.

1/2 round down might indeed be better.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I like it a lot! Starting to feel more like heroes, and has the barest touch of Exalted (a very good thing)!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
thflame wrote:

I was in agreement with you until I thought about it for a few minutes.

A level 20 Paladin has probably been lied to dozens if not hundreds of times in his career. He has probably learned through exposure how to be halfway decent at basic deception.

Except what he's doing isn't "halfway decent at basic deception" it's a friggin +18 + his super high charisma when he's lying. He has basically no chance at failing against anyone who isn't also high level.

Quote:
Your level 20 wizard has likely been crawling through dungeons, climbing mountains, and gone for an unintentional swim at least a few times on his journey and seen his allies do the same. He probably has a decent idea how to climb, swim, sprint, etc. after that much exposure.

Assuming your campaign is just constantly travelling overland and that your wizard forgot he has spells which remove the need to do most of that....

Quote:
Now, I'm not sure he should have "Level - 2" proficiency in it, but he should definitely have some.

I'm not suggesting 0. I suggested Untrained be Level/2. So at 20th level you have +10 from proficiency, you have something from exposure (probably too high logically tbh) but still more logical than random barbarian who has never cooked in his life out cooking master chefs just because they were both cooking steak.

Liberty's Edge

Milo v3 wrote:
Quote:
Your level 20 wizard has likely been crawling through dungeons, climbing mountains, and gone for an unintentional swim at least a few times on his journey and seen his allies do the same. He probably has a decent idea how to climb, swim, sprint, etc. after that much exposure.
Assuming your campaign is just constantly travelling overland and that your wizard forgot he has spells which remove the need to do most of that....

While Wizards do have a lot of spells available to them, in my experience very few mage classes have ever used spells exclusively to get around. Those spells are good for a pinch, but in a non-emergency situation, it's better to devote spell slots to things that will save your life, not just make your commute slightly more comfortable.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
thflame wrote:


I was in agreement with you until I thought about it for a few minutes.

A level 20 Paladin has probably been lied to dozens if not hundreds of times in his career. He has probably learned through exposure how to be halfway decent at basic deception.

Your level 20 wizard has likely been crawling through dungeons, climbing mountains, and gone for an unintentional swim at least a few times on his journey and seen his allies do the same. He probably has a decent idea how to climb, swim, sprint, etc. after that much exposure.

Now, I'm not sure he should have "Level - 2" proficiency in it, but he should definitely have some.

The problem with this, and the "a 20th level Barbarian has seen a bunch of stuff so can make knowledge checks good" argument is that while that works in a vague general sense, it does not work in the slightest for a group of PC that have been played from Level 1 to 20.

We were there. We saw every monster that the Barbarian encountered over the course of his adventuring career. Why does he know everything about a Lich, he's never studied monsters, and he's never seen one before.

Why can the Wizard climb better than the group of NPC stablehands that we are trying to rescue from this pit. The entire urban campaign has taken place in this one city, and whilst I can name 17 inns where the wizard drunkenly passed out on the bar, I can't recall a single time he ever saw a rope or a ladder, let alone climbed it.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Since when is a badass adventure absolutely required to be physically intense? I like the trippy, talky, thinky ones, too.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Why should high level characters ever fail at mundane tasks? I think that's basically the question these rules are posing. If it's an obstacle appropriate to the calibre of heroes we're talking about, then you require training, but "sneaking through an area in the dark when there's a lot of ambient noise" isn't something experienced adventurers should fail at, even if they are untrained in stealth. The sorts of things that you can easily do untrained at high level are likely the sorts of things I don't even ask high level characters to roll at.

Like a level 20 character who cannot climb a rope and who starves to death in the woods if no one helps them is hardly a hero.
So basically, if you're playing a scholarly wizard at high levels who isn't a god-tier athlete/con-artist/survivalist you're playing wrong. Good to hear.

The same scholarly wizard can now survive most normal poisons with ease, ignore being stabbed several times by a bunch of goblins, resist mind reading, fall from a skycrapper and dodge fireballs in old Pathfinder.

So maybe the problem here is what you have in your mind for a lvl 20 scholar wizard isn't sync'ed with what the game really represents as a lvl 20 wizard.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.


JRutterbush wrote:


While Wizards do have a lot of spells available to them, in my experience very few mage classes have ever used spells exclusively to get around. Those spells are good for a pinch, but in a non-emergency situation, it's better to devote spell slots to things that will save your life, not just make your commute slightly more comfortable.

Why would you risk having encounters that require you use those other spell slots by travelling slowly across the country side when Overland Flight and/or Teleport will get you there quicker and safer.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

As an extension of my previous post. You could also MAX out skills you have never ever used or will use in PF1. Neither system is realistic.


Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.

Problem with this is it makes the gap between Expert and rookie characters in the same party get potentially very big. Part of it is making all members be able to contribute somewhat even at stuff they suck at.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.

Let's say a character is lvl 12.

By your option, trained would grant you +3, expert +4, master +6, and legendary can't be an option at that level.

What did you achieve?

The spread between characters at the same level is roughly the same (only master gets an extra +1), but now a lvl 12 expert and a lvl 2 expert are almost the same.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
gustavo iglesias wrote:

The same scholarly wizard can now survive most normal poisons with ease, ignore being stabbed several times by a bunch of goblins, resist mind reading, fall from a skycrapper and dodge fireballs in old Pathfinder.

So maybe the problem here is what you have in your mind for a lvl 20 scholar wizard isn't sync'ed with what the game really represents as a lvl 20 wizard.

"Instead of trying to remove logical dissonance with the fact the rules are an abstraction, lets amplify it to make it thirty times worse, and then apply it to Everything".


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
So basically, if you're playing a scholarly wizard at high levels who isn't a god-tier athlete/con-artist/survivalist you're playing wrong. Good to hear.

People who get to level 20 don't do so by staying home and reading books, they get that way by going out and having adventures. In the course of these adventures at some point the Wizard might have had to climb a rope, might have had to be on a ship, might have had to move quietly, might have had to tell the difference between a dragon and an ooze, might have had to cook a meal, etc. So is this a level 20 character who has retained none of this? A level 20 wizard, who is likely by virtue of their profession someone intelligent, curious, and thoughtful never saw a companion do something and learned anything from it? Someone who has attained level 20 without meaningful personal growth and overall competency?

Is this not something you've noticed in real life? Like I am not a trained auto mechanic by any stretch but over the course of my life I have learned how to change out a tire, how to change my oil and filter, etc. Once upon a time I did not know these things. How did I learn them? I was in a situation where this information was relevant and I retained it.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

A level 20 fighter who has never in his life seen an exotic weapon like a hunga munga is also much better at it, even with -4 proficiency, than a lvl 4 fighter who has it as specialization and weapon focus.

A lvl 20 fighter who has never faced Mind Reading is much better at resisting it than a lvl 4 psychic character that train for it daily.

There are things already that improve with your level, regardless of what you train for. Mainly, attack bonus with weapons, and saving throws. This rule just put skills in the same group as other proficiencies.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

The same scholarly wizard can now survive most normal poisons with ease, ignore being stabbed several times by a bunch of goblins, resist mind reading, fall from a skycrapper and dodge fireballs in old Pathfinder.

So maybe the problem here is what you have in your mind for a lvl 20 scholar wizard isn't sync'ed with what the game really represents as a lvl 20 wizard.

"Instead of trying to remove logical dissonance with the fact the rules are an abstraction, lets amplify it to make it thirty times worse, and then apply it to Everything".

Not really.

"instead of trying to believe that lvl 20 characters are just like lvl 1 characters but with bigger numbers, recognize the fact that lvl 20 characters are superheroes and demigods".

My father at age 70 cannot survive falling from a skyscrapper. Gandalf, at the same age, could. Because my father is not a high level character, and Gandalf is.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
vagabond_666 wrote:


The problem with this, and the "a 20th level Barbarian has seen a bunch of stuff so can make knowledge checks good" argument is that while that works in a vague general sense, it does not work in the slightest for a group of PC that have been played from Level 1 to 20.

We were there. We saw every monster that the Barbarian encountered over the course of his adventuring career. Why does he know everything about a Lich, he's never studied monsters, and he's never seen one before.

This exact situation was mentioned in the Glass Cannon Podcast. You literally can't know something about a Lich without some training.

vagabond_666 wrote:


Why can the Wizard climb better than the group of NPC stablehands that we are trying to rescue from this pit. The entire urban campaign has taken place in this one city, and whilst I can name 17 inns where the wizard drunkenly passed out on the bar, I can't recall a single time he ever saw a rope or a ladder, let alone climbed it.

This is borderline "argumentum ad absurdum". In the entirety of the Wizard's life experience as an adventurer, he NEVER climbed or saw someone climb a rope or ladder?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also everyone's forgetting that not everyone gets to level 20. Level 20 is an extraordinary, or rather, LEGENDARY pinnacle of power. You're not some average Joe anymore. You've seen damn near everything the world has to offer. Guess what? That means you'll end up pretty much better than the 1-5s who are still basically peasants. You're a Hero, nigh-unto a demigod. Maybe if your Wizard is old as the hills, he'll end up being more scholarly than athletic with whatever penalties Aging brings, but even Gandalf could swing a sword well enough to be dangerous, and he was described as "Old but Vigorous."


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Tangent101 wrote:

This is incredibly vague and confusing. Unlike the blog posts on things like Actions or leveling up, this leaves us with no real understanding what is going on. For instance, training in Fortitude or Will saves. It almost sounds like people will have to choose between having a character with a well-rounded series of abilities because they invested their skills in them but who is easily poisoned or mind-controlled, and a character who is able to adventure and survive the world but is dumb as a rock.

This also brings into question what happens when someone learns a new skill set when they are several levels in. If their skill ability is based on level, then does that mean that if you have a level 10 Paladin who finally is tired of being the loud clunky one and gets trained in Stealth that they suddenly have a +10 to their Stealth roll instead of penalties? Did everyone already have that +10 and are basically stealthy in which point there isn't much need to be proficient?

If I sound confused and like I have no idea what I'm talking about, it's because I'm confused and have no idea what I'm talking about. I've been liking what I've been hearing about 2nd Edition Pathfinder up until now. But without a better knowledge of how proficiencies work... well... I can understand you can't give us too many specifics as you need to save things for the actual playtest. But this just left me confused... and I've been gaming with AD&D, DND, and Pathfinder for some 40 years now.

*sigh* Okay, I suppose I'm being vague as well.

If I could have one thing answered, it is: how do skill proficiencies work, learning new skill proficiencies, and gaining increased experience in them under the new system? Or are skill proficiencies going away entirely for the sake of simplicity?

Exactly this. After reading this post and the first 3 and a half pages of comments, I still don't understand what's going on. It sounds like half of the information we need to understand this still hasn't been mentioned. Does this replace BAB? Does it completely replace skill ranks as they exist now? Apparently Mark said they are still around but don't go to 20, so what are they like? How often do proficiencies increase? Are skill ranks unrelated, or somehow tied in with them? Is evasion now just a skill feat instead of a class feature?

I'm really hating the way that this information is being dribbled out one bit of a time without the context to understand what it means. Then the pro-whatever-change people attack anyone with any criticism as not knowing the full story. Well, tell us! Having to read hundreds of posts across dozens of threads and listen to hours of podcasts to get a very foggy idea about how something works and still not having all the information is just plain frustrating. This five month gap between announcement and actual playtest is problematic.


I'm generally content about the new system. It seems that your skills now grow on two axes, the old Rank axis and the new(?) Functionality axis (which obviously came from skill unlocks). If coupled with concrete DCs and generously epic functions for Master/Legendary ranks, this seriously has great potential.

Although...

Milo v3 wrote:
First houserule I'll make will probably be changing Untrained from level-2 to level/2. That way it keeps Paizo's desire for characters to "keep up" while at least reducing the "Your character is forced to be amazing at everything" factor.
ChibiNyan wrote:
It would probably be a bit more reasonable if it was only 1/2 of your level added and doubling the bonus from the ranks. It makes the lv20 case not be so ridiculous, but they're still quite good at most tasks. It also increases the value of the ranks, which think are being considered too small right now. +10 bonus just from levels is not insurmountable by even lower-level-ish experts who are getting more from their investment.

Funny, everything I was going to insist was Ninja'd by someone better...! If using this variant, just in case of saves and other combat related numbers, maybe the math should assume the regular DCs to be around 3/4 times the APL so player characters being untrained in saves don't get snuffed out too quickly.

Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.

Huh, and this is almost like what I was originally going to post before I fully accepted the rules as is of now...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
ChibiNyan wrote:
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.
Problem with this is it makes the gap between Expert and rookie characters in the same party get potentially very big. Part of it is making all members be able to contribute somewhat even at stuff they suck at.

And there being a very significant gap between a rookie and an expert is not a bad thing. If some freshman straight out of high school tries to take on an experienced pro he probably gets his head handed to him embarrassingly.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.

I was thinking something similar - you could even be generous with the math so that lots of skills were on a middling track, so that both the skills you were especially bad at and especially good at served as a distinguishing choice. Maybe martial characters have two or three skills advancing at full, six or seven at 3/4, another six or seven at 1/2, and another 5 or six at 1/4; with casters similar but downshifted by 1/4 or something.

The Exchange

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
vagabond_666 wrote:

I think what has happened is that they have looked at the "what if the PCs want to disguise themselves and sneak into the mayors party" scenario and realised that they had a Dichotomy.

Either the system can support people who are very good at things, and the above is not doable as a result, or the system can allow the above to take place, but then nobody can be good enough at a thing for it to really matter.

Realising this, they have gone with a third option, which is "everybody is blandly good at stuff" but has access to niche super powers via skill feats. There can be no skill feats that substantially increase your plusses to your roll that are not a trap choice, because of the above dichotomy and their decision to come down on the side of everybody needs to be able to succeed at everything.

Yes this is exactly the problem with this idea!

I would rather have full team stealth and disguise be a challenge than for things to get this...bland.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Arssanguinus wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.
Problem with this is it makes the gap between Expert and rookie characters in the same party get potentially very big. Part of it is making all members be able to contribute somewhat even at stuff they suck at.
And there being a very significant gap between a rookie and an expert is not a bad thing. If some freshman straight out of high school tries to take on an experienced pro he probably gets his head handed to him embarrassingly.

This isn't to solve a "realism" problem, but an attempt to fix a game problem that comes up in 1e, which is that skills and DCs scale so ridiculously that you get left in the dust very fast as levels start to get high. This includes life-defining numbers such as saves and BAB, but also things like stealth checks. Essentially, it's all about number issues.

You don't want +20 difference between 2 party members in ANYTHING (well, HP is fine). But it's fine to have it relative to normal NPCs. Yes, it is bounded accuracy (As long as characters involved are roughly same level, otherwise it's huge gap).


2 people marked this as a favorite.
ChibiNyan wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.
Problem with this is it makes the gap between Expert and rookie characters in the same party get potentially very big. Part of it is making all members be able to contribute somewhat even at stuff they suck at.
And there being a very significant gap between a rookie and an expert is not a bad thing. If some freshman straight out of high school tries to take on an experienced pro he probably gets his head handed to him embarrassingly.

This isn't to solve a "realism" problem, but an attempt to fix a game problem that comes up in 1e, which is that skills and DCs scale so ridiculously that you get left in the dust very fast as levels start to get high. This includes life-defining numbers such as saves and BAB, but also things like stealth checks. Essentially, it's all about number issues.

You don't want +20 difference between 2 party members in ANYTHING (well, HP is fine). But it's fine to have it relative to normal NPCs.

Why? Why should the lumbering guy who charges around from place to place being loud NOT be that much worse than the rogue who spends all of his time practicing how to breathe silently?


9 people marked this as a favorite.

Honestly, I think the game is improved by not preventing the party from sneaking into anywhere because one of their number is a Gorumite warpriest with low dex who wears religiously significant fullplate and has put none of their meager skill ranks into stealth, and the party is unwilling to just leave one of their number behind.

So now we get a situation where the party can attempt to sneak into places with a reasonable chance of success despite their Gorumite pal, but if they blow it (via a critical failure) it's almost certainly the Warpriest who is responsible.

I like that tactics like that are now available without the entire party needing to be built for it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Arssanguinus wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.
Problem with this is it makes the gap between Expert and rookie characters in the same party get potentially very big. Part of it is making all members be able to contribute somewhat even at stuff they suck at.
And there being a very significant gap between a rookie and an expert is not a bad thing. If some freshman straight out of high school tries to take on an experienced pro he probably gets his head handed to him embarrassingly.

This isn't to solve a "realism" problem, but an attempt to fix a game problem that comes up in 1e, which is that skills and DCs scale so ridiculously that you get left in the dust very fast as levels start to get high. This includes life-defining numbers such as saves and BAB, but also things like stealth checks. Essentially, it's all about number issues.

You don't want +20 difference between 2 party members in ANYTHING (well, HP is fine). But it's fine to have it relative to normal NPCs.

Why? Why should the lumbering guy who charges around from place to place being loud NOT be that much worse than the rogue who spends all of his time practicing how to breathe silently?

The dev already explained it somewhat. Because there will come a time when that Rogue needs to sneak in the entire party past a guard. But since he's the "stealth" guy and everyone else ignored it, this becomes impossible, and the gap of this impossibility grows every level. It might be kinda doable at lv1, but hell no at lvl 6.

EDIT: Yes, it is unrealistic, but it's fun and adds new stuff that can happen.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Arssanguinus wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.
Problem with this is it makes the gap between Expert and rookie characters in the same party get potentially very big. Part of it is making all members be able to contribute somewhat even at stuff they suck at.
And there being a very significant gap between a rookie and an expert is not a bad thing. If some freshman straight out of high school tries to take on an experienced pro he probably gets his head handed to him embarrassingly.

It's not a bad thing, if we are trying to make a simulation. If we are trying to play a game, it does create a problem, because it removes options for the group if they cannot even try to sneak past the guards, or disguise themselves, or climb the cliff. Also, all of those are things that are cool in a story, but can't happen in our collective storytelling, because some of the protagonists will not have enough stealth, or disguise, or athletics to even try it.

So this is a problem for 2 of the 3 styles of play (simulationism, narrativism and gamism).


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, if nobody else spends any time being sneakable, then that should be a problem, shouldn’t it?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.
Problem with this is it makes the gap between Expert and rookie characters in the same party get potentially very big. Part of it is making all members be able to contribute somewhat even at stuff they suck at.
And there being a very significant gap between a rookie and an expert is not a bad thing. If some freshman straight out of high school tries to take on an experienced pro he probably gets his head handed to him embarrassingly.

It's not a bad thing, if we are trying to make a simulation. If we are trying to play a game, it does create a problem, because it removes options for the group if they cannot even try to sneak past the guards, or disguise themselves, or climb the cliff. Also, all of those are things that are cool in a story, but can't happen in our collective storytelling, because some of the protagonists will not have enough stealth, or disguise, or athletics to even try it.

So this is a problem for 2 of the 3 styles of play (simulationism, narrativism and gamism).

. So instead they can try other things that they ARE suited for, or find ways around the others deficiencies.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Arssanguinus wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.
Problem with this is it makes the gap between Expert and rookie characters in the same party get potentially very big. Part of it is making all members be able to contribute somewhat even at stuff they suck at.
And there being a very significant gap between a rookie and an expert is not a bad thing. If some freshman straight out of high school tries to take on an experienced pro he probably gets his head handed to him embarrassingly.

It's not a bad thing, if we are trying to make a simulation. If we are trying to play a game, it does create a problem, because it removes options for the group if they cannot even try to sneak past the guards, or disguise themselves, or climb the cliff. Also, all of those are things that are cool in a story, but can't happen in our collective storytelling, because some of the protagonists will not have enough stealth, or disguise, or athletics to even try it.

So this is a problem for 2 of the 3 styles of play (simulationism, narrativism and gamism).

. So instead they can try other things that they ARE suited for, or find ways around the others deficiencies.

Apparently that wasn't good enough in PF1 that it needed to be addressed.

Also remember the skill "ranks" and feats offer insurmountable qualitative differences between characters who specialize and those who don't. And these ranks are very few and far between. The difference between the Rogue and the other guys should be VERY noticeable in other ways than just numeric value.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
ChibiNyan wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Harveyopolis wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the +level to your modifier, but I think an easy fix could be had. Just make the amount your level contributes to your modifier based on your proficiency rank? For examples Trained would grant 1/4 of your level, Expert 1/3, Master 1/2 and then Legendary for the full level which at that point would be a reasonable thing. It makes the proficiency ranks matter a whole lot more, while still keeping more or less the same balance.
Problem with this is it makes the gap between Expert and rookie characters in the same party get potentially very big. Part of it is making all members be able to contribute somewhat even at stuff they suck at.
And there being a very significant gap between a rookie and an expert is not a bad thing. If some freshman straight out of high school tries to take on an experienced pro he probably gets his head handed to him embarrassingly.

It's not a bad thing, if we are trying to make a simulation. If we are trying to play a game, it does create a problem, because it removes options for the group if they cannot even try to sneak past the guards, or disguise themselves, or climb the cliff. Also, all of those are things that are cool in a story, but can't happen in our collective storytelling, because some of the protagonists will not have enough stealth, or disguise, or athletics to even try it.

So this is a problem for 2 of the 3 styles of play (simulationism, narrativism and gamism).

. So instead they can try other things that they ARE suited for, or find ways around the others deficiencies.

Apparently that wasn't good enough in PF1 that it needed to be addressed.

Also remember the skill "ranks" and feats offer insurmountable qualitative differences between characters who specialize and those who don't. And these ranks are very few and far between. The difference between the Rogue and the...

It should ALSO be significantly different in numeric value.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So uh... Like, you level up and you just kind of automatically get better at stuff in general, then you invest these perk things you get every level to actually be able to do specific things with that betterness, and then you spend other perk things to do really specialized things with that bettererness, and if you get enough of these betterererness perks you can do some admittedly very cool sounding things.
I'm sure that the folks at Bethesda thought that this was a great idea after working of FO4 for so long, but I just found it bland and uninteresting. And hard to mod.

Now, admittedly, a pen and paper game is far less constrictive than a video game, especially if you're lucky enough to get a great DM. This has a class system to deepen the pot, and an expanding base of support that I'm hoping will at least keep up the pace that PF1 did. I'm also hoping that it's not framed too specifically as to what you can do with these skill "proficiencies", because the other DM in my group doesn't like a lot of arbitration his games. I'm pretty sure we frustrate the poor guy.

Things that I'll miss include being able to choose to be inept at things my character hasn't experienced without having to houserule some artificial penalty, and people not believing me when I say the base fighter I built is practically superman while I stare smuggly at them.

One of the things that I'm looking forward to is being undeniably superhuman at later levels. Other DM is a little too heavy with the selective realism stick for my tastes. I'm also looking forward to actually seeing what any of this means, because marketing. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's so pervasive in our culture that I don't belive a product till it's in my hands. Here's to hoping it meets or exceeds the hype.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Arssanguinus wrote:


Why? Why should the lumbering guy who charges around from place to place being loud NOT be that much worse than the rogue who spends all of his time practicing how to breathe silently?

My first option was to say "Because it's more fun if the group can try things".

But then I decided to give a deeper answer.

Let's say they are both lvl 15. First guy might have 13 ranks (untrained is -2), dex +0, and probably let's say -2 from heavy armor(?). So 11. The other guy has 18 ranks, DEX +5, and let's say just a +0 from gear (we don't know if +5 cloaks and such are still there, but light armor with no penalties to stealth will probably be a thing). So he has +23. Let's say the DC is 25.
The first guy can try to sneak past the guards, moving at half speed, as long as he has cover or darkness, and need to roll 14+. If he rolls 1-4, he'll fumble the check, maybe granting a surprise round to the guards.

The second guy can hide in plain sight, sneak while running, will succeed with 2+, will crit 12+ (with crit meaning that maybe he grants +4 stealth to all the party, for example).

What makes you think the first guy is "NOT that much worse" than the second guy?

The key difference here with OPF, is that in OPF the first guy will not have +11. He'll have a grand total of -2. Making it IMPOSSIBLE for him to try to sneak past guards, at all.

301 to 350 of 1,441 << first < prev | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest Prerelease Discussion / Paizo Blog: Are You Proficient? All Messageboards