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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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.

That’s not very fun. Having party members who literally can’t contribute out of battle is something that cripples martials. Wizards already get all the spells that allow them to trivialize encounters, why do they also get all the skills? Is it so bad that a fighter or barbarian might be able to contribute in a non combat way without crippling their character? 5e has clearly shown that keeping all players engaged is a plus. When you tell most players they can’t help and are restricted that’s not fun.

Plus Mark’s math already showed there is a substantive difference between specialists and untrained at the same level. Remember ability modifier will be in here too, so that will further differentiate as well as any skill feats and other bonuses. If a player doesn’t want to make his player contribute in a way they can make themselves untrained, but that’s a player option now and not something forced on you by the system. The ways fighters work in current PF is sad and I’m glad they’re moving away from it.


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If he’s lumbering around in loud clanky armor it should be, without mitigating factors.


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thflame wrote:
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?

It is absolutely that, but you don't understand precisely what "reductio/argumentum ad absurdum" is. You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that it is a logical fallacy, when in fact it is a valid form of argument.

The "absurdum" is that the wizard is good at climbing under this system, not that it is absurd in a game of Pathfinder that a Wizard could go from Level 1 to 20 without doing any meaningful amount of climbing. Urban campaigns exist. The levitation spell is incredibly low level. It is entirely possible for a Wizard to go his entire adventuring life without doing any meaningful physical activity.


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Enable fighters and the like to become trained in more things. Cool. Excellent. Great. But not to become basically an expert while untrained. The solution is to give them the opportunity to learn more skills, not to make it so it’s impossible to not know how to do something.


Arssanguinus wrote:
If he’s lumbering around in loud clanky armor it should be, without mitigating factors.

it should be... for what? For making the simulation closer to a certain realism, for sure.

For storytelling, maybe not.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
If he’s lumbering around in loud clanky armor it should be, without mitigating factors.

it should be... for what? For making the simulation closer to a certain realism, for sure.

For storytelling, maybe not.

There is a significant chunk of the player base for whom those are not separate things. And the change makes it literally impossible to tell those stories.


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vagabond_666 wrote:
it is entirely possible for a Wizard to go his entire adventuring life without doing any meaningful physical activity.

... and he'll still survive falling from skyscrappers, drink cianure, and being hit by 20 crossbowbolts without dying. But somehow, climbing is the straw that breaks the camel's back.


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Realism is fun, but it falls apart at high levels mechanically.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
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.

We also don't know if feats are the only things that unlock at high skill levels. There might be unchained style passive unlocks that turn a stealth specialized character, despite not being THAT numerically ahead of the non-sneaker that makes the sneaky character damn-near a ghost.


Arssanguinus wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
If he’s lumbering around in loud clanky armor it should be, without mitigating factors.

it should be... for what? For making the simulation closer to a certain realism, for sure.

For storytelling, maybe not.
There is a significant chunk of the player base for whom those are not separate things. And the change makes it literally impossible to tell those stories.

That significant chunk of the player base just have to amplify their selective realism to either include climbing into "falling from the sky and surviving", or ignoring climbing at all, I suppose.


ChibiNyan wrote:
You don't want +20 difference between 2 party members in ANYTHING (well, HP is fine).

Attack Rolls is also fine, so long as everyone who is supposed to be making Attack Rolls is within a reasonable spread (which might not be all the time, particularly in the case of a Cleric or druid.


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

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

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

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

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

The gap in Star Wars: Saga Edition, where skill checks increase by half your level automatically, was having a skill as "trained" got +5 bonus and trained only options, while any specialist would take skill focus for another +5. This choice of numbers means a non-heroic (the single NPC class for non-animals in the system) actually specialized in a skill will still be better than an untrained level 20, but stops how characters become unstopable lords of death yet deadweight if the party wants to hide, especially as non-heroics tend to have ~3-5 levels in non-heroic.

Example: A basic droid (who start trained and with skill focus) doing its intended role is ~+13 and an untrained but level 20 hero is ~+10 (depending on ability score).


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So because some things break down at high levels we should work as hard as possible to make completely sure nothing has any sense of verisimilitude at all, eh?


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
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.

We also don't know if feats are the only things that unlock at high skill levels. There might be unchained style passive unlocks that turn a stealth specialized character, despite not being THAT numerically ahead of the non-sneaker that makes the sneaky character damn-near a ghost.

Skill feats is basically the name for old skill unlocks. And yes, that's why the second guy in my example was able to sneak in plain sight while running at full speed and still have more chances to critically succeed at the task than the other guy had chances to barely pass it while moving at half speed and moving from cover to cover.

The first one is basically a wuxia ninja and the second one is a real world guy trying to sneak past a guard.

The Exchange

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

Some math. Let's assume a maximum attribute can reach is 30. This is a reasonable assumption because Starfinder has a max attribute of 28 and it's attribute increasing system is influencing PF2. This score gives us a modifier of +10.

Now, The difference between untrained and legendary is a total of 5 points (ranging from -2 to +3).

Now let's compare 2 level 20 characters (and thus we can ignore level in the equation).

Character 1(A boisterous Heavily Armored fighter) has a 10 dex (this is somewhat unlikely but bear with me) and is untrained in stealth for a -2 total modifer.

Character 2(Master Thief who views Norgorber as his only true rival) has a 30 dex (+10) and is legendary in stealth (+3). Total modifier is +13.

The total difference between the stealth capabilities of these 2 character is 15pts. If skill focus is still a thing, that's another 3pts if it's similar to its past iterations. Which btw brings us to the hypothetical difference Mark mentions in the quote above.

I don't know guys.... I feel like... this shows that the numerical difference between two individuals of widely varying degrees of skill can be quite large.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
So because some things break down at high levels we should work as hard as possible to make completely sure nothing has any sense of verisimilitude at all, eh?

Nope.

Because Pathfinder is a game with levels, we should not try to keep trying to believe that it's a game without levels.


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I'll have to look at the actual rules again and make comment on them later, I just have to bring up a pet peeve. It's about words.

Please don't call the skill Thievery. They did that in 4E: it condensed a variety of skills that could conceivably be used for non-criminal actions into a single term that's synonymous with crime. A magician has to use Thievery (instead of Sleight of Hand) to pull a rabbit out of a hat or perform other tricks, for example.

Calling it 'Thievery' seems to me like it will limit builds based on the negative preconceptions rather than open up the skill list. It did with my experiences in 4E anyhow.

If 'Thievery' is literally JUST the skill for 'stealing things', that's one thing, but I fear it will once again be the lump skill for Sleight of Hand and Disable Device... and maybe not everyone who wants to do magic tricks or disable traps wants to have to roll the Thievery skill and be pigeon-holed as the thief of the party.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
vagabond_666 wrote:
it is entirely possible for a Wizard to go his entire adventuring life without doing any meaningful physical activity.
... and he'll still survive falling from skyscrappers, drink cianure, and being hit by 20 crossbowbolts without dying. But somehow, climbing is the straw that breaks the camel's back.

They're fixing falling so that will kill him.

A 20th level wizard with a poor con score has no more chance of surviving poison than a 1st level fighter with a good con.

If you don't run hit points as "you lost 6 hit points so you now have a crossbow bolt stuck in your chest" then that isn't an issue.

Even if these were all glaring issues, rather than falling damage just being stupid, the fact that there is stupid stuff is not justification for yet more stupid stuff.


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I mean, how is a level 20 wizard being better at swordfighting than a level 4 fighter (as it was in PF1) any weirder than the level 20 wizard being better at rope climbing than the level 4 fighter?


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I remember using this example back in the day:

In a game without levels, like Runequest, a dwarf fighter is harder to kill with a backstab than an elven lady because he is tougher. In a game with levels, Galadriel is harder to kill with a backstab than Gimli for the simple reason that Galadriel has a higher level.


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So let me get this right?

If I'm untrained in something, Acrobatics, my check will be DEX+lvl-2?

So you add the level to everything, and the mathematical differences only comes from the degree to which you have invested your skill [resource name]s?

However, that same degree has tied to it a list of tasks that are gated to the degrees of proficiency themselves?


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xevious573 wrote:


I don't know guys.... I feel like... this shows that the numerical difference between two individuals of widely varying degrees of skill can be quite large.

Or, you know, if skill focus is no longer a thing, it's a system where someone with no training and decidedly average attributes, will be better at doing something that someone with godlike attributes and legendary skills 25% of the time...


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vagabond_666 wrote:
Even if these were all glaring issues, rather than falling damage just being stupid, the fact that there is stupid stuff is not justification for yet more stupid stuff.

I disagree with the idea that this is stupid


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, how is a level 20 wizard being better at swordfighting than a level 4 fighter (as it was in PF1) any weirder than the level 20 wizard being better at rope climbing than the level 4 fighter?

It's just as weird, but since no one runs any games where 20th level wizards fight duels with 4th level fighters it never comes up and no-one cares.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
So a grand total of difference for two equally dexterous characters at level twenty of, yes, five.

Yes, numerically. The question is what kind of cool stuff can the fully trained guy do that makes the "Sorta okay, but not amazing" guy stare wide-eyed and exclaim "Holy ****, you can do THAT?!" The kinda okay guy can sneak good enough to not instantly give his position away to a guard, though he's screwed if he tries to move. The trained guy can sneak up on deities with all the extra unlocks he has. WHile numbers are important, it's not STRICTLY a raw numbers game anymore.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I’d prefer Finesse to Thievery but it’s a minor quibble.


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
So a grand total of difference for two equally dexterous characters at level twenty of, yes, five.
Yes, numerically. The question is what kind of cool stuff can the fully trained guy do that makes the "Sorta okay, but not amazing" guy stare wide-eyed and exclaim "Holy ****, you can do THAT?!" The kinda okay guy can sneak good enough to not instantly give his position away to a guard, though he's screwed if he tries to move. The trained guy can sneak up on deities with all the extra unlocks he has.

But at the same basic task, the legendary guy is really not that much better.


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master_marshmallow wrote:

So let me get this right?

If I'm untrained in something, Acrobatics, my check will be DEX+lvl-2?

So you add the level to everything, and the mathematical differences only comes from the degree to which you have invested your skill [resource name]s?

However, that same degree has tied to it a list of tasks that are gated to the degrees of proficiency themselves?

Seems to be basically correct. Gaining levels makes you broadly competent in those tasks pretty much anybody has a good chance of completing, but you can't even attempt things that require specific expertise or mastery because you haven't the foggiest idea how to free climb a frozen waterfall or paint a masterpiece or forge masterwork plate.


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vagabond_666 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, how is a level 20 wizard being better at swordfighting than a level 4 fighter (as it was in PF1) any weirder than the level 20 wizard being better at rope climbing than the level 4 fighter?
It's just as weird, but since no one runs any games where 20th level wizards fight duels with 4th level fighters it never comes up and no-one cares.

Nobody runs game with lvl 20 wizards with 10 in con and no great fortitude feat, resistance bonuses, etc, and you just used that as an example to say that lvl 20 wizards have the same chance of surviving poison than lvl 1 fighters with good Con. Which in reality, it's not even close to be true. Any lvl 20 wizard will have Fortitude over 15+

And it's not weird. It's how it SHOULD be, in a game with levels. Galadriel will smack any lvl 2 guard with his bare hands, for the sole reason that she has more levels. Even if those levels are in sorceress or oracle or whatever. She has more chances to survive an arrow, a poison, or the flame breath of a dragon, just because she was born a lot of time ago and has seen a lot of things and has a huge experience, which raises her level.

That might not be truth for, say, the characters of Game of Thrones. But it is for the characters of Silmarillion. Which is why stories like Game of Thrones work best with game systems without levels, while stories about Silmarillion work best with games like Pathfinder.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
So a grand total of difference for two equally dexterous characters at level twenty of, yes, five.
Yes, numerically. The question is what kind of cool stuff can the fully trained guy do that makes the "Sorta okay, but not amazing" guy stare wide-eyed and exclaim "Holy ****, you can do THAT?!" The kinda okay guy can sneak good enough to not instantly give his position away to a guard, though he's screwed if he tries to move. The trained guy can sneak up on deities with all the extra unlocks he has.
But at the same basic task, the legendary guy is really not that much better.

Depends on what you call "Basic." At crouching behind a bush while a company of Orcs charge past? Yes, the untrained guy is passingly competent enough not to screw over himself and the trained guy. Do you mean moving unseen? Because the untrained guy in fullplate will still be slow and loud compared to the Leather-Clad Rogue who practically stealth-sprints his way to safety. Not to mention the DM could decide that someone untrained has no way in hell of pulling this off.


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28. Vs, say, 23. That’s it. Unskilled vs legend. That spread is ridiculous.


vagabond_666 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, how is a level 20 wizard being better at swordfighting than a level 4 fighter (as it was in PF1) any weirder than the level 20 wizard being better at rope climbing than the level 4 fighter?
It's just as weird, but since no one runs any games where 20th level wizards fight duels with 4th level fighters it never comes up and no-one cares.

I have had a 16th level Wizard duel a 4th level Fighter.

Wizard was having some fun tooling around in the mortal realm, seeking further enlightenment through the eyes of lesser beings.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
vagabond_666 wrote:
Even if these were all glaring issues, rather than falling damage just being stupid, the fact that there is stupid stuff is not justification for yet more stupid stuff.
I disagree with the idea that this is stupid

That he sacrifices himself so that the others may get away is pretty cool.

That he doesn't really die and turns up later as though nothing ever happened is the worst sort of Deus Ex Machina garbage that your players will rebel against if you try and pull it in a game.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
So a grand total of difference for two equally dexterous characters at level twenty of, yes, five.
Yes, numerically. The question is what kind of cool stuff can the fully trained guy do that makes the "Sorta okay, but not amazing" guy stare wide-eyed and exclaim "Holy ****, you can do THAT?!" The kinda okay guy can sneak good enough to not instantly give his position away to a guard, though he's screwed if he tries to move. The trained guy can sneak up on deities with all the extra unlocks he has.
But at the same basic task, the legendary guy is really not that much better.

Again, he is.

+5 from ranks and +5 from ability (and that's being conservative), means +10 in difference in the skill. That means the elite guy will critically succeed at the task with the same roll the other guy just barely pass it.
That's not including any perks he gains for his skill feats, like needing half the time to do it, ignoring penalties from enviroment, or bypassing the need of some elements.


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Why do you presume the untrained guy will be also bad at the relevant ability score?

Liberty's Edge

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The proposed playtest system seems to be more like 5E D&D in that it gives less chance for a player to customize his own type of character and increases the chances of similarity of same level/class characters. IF this proves to be the case, I will probably buy the CORE rulebook and play in PFS organized play; but will not buy any of the other materials and continue to utilize the PF1 rules for my home games and the games I DM at my local pool. To me, the fun is in creating interesting characters, situations and interactions- not just in the chance to achieve "legendary" power. My home and pool games are created by myself- so I do not require a multitude of books/rules beyond what I already have from PF1; and so far I have not experienced a shortage of players in either my home or pool games. Having been a strong supporter of Pathfinder since its onset, I sincerely hope that it does not go down the 5.0 D&D route.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Arssanguinus wrote:
28. Vs, say, 23. That’s it. Unskilled vs legend. That spread is ridiculous.

The spread gets much bigger if the 23 isn't even allowed to try some checks.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
28. Vs, say, 23. That’s it. Unskilled vs legend. That spread is ridiculous.
The spread gets much bigger if the 23 isn't even allowed to try some checks.

It’s ridiculous for that to be the spread on the things they can both try.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
vagabond_666 wrote:
xevious573 wrote:


I don't know guys.... I feel like... this shows that the numerical difference between two individuals of widely varying degrees of skill can be quite large.
Or, you know, if skill focus is no longer a thing, it's a system where someone with no training and decidedly average attributes, will be better at doing something that someone with godlike attributes and legendary skills 25% of the time...

Um wrong.... So. Very. Wrong.

Okay, more math.

If the fighter rolls a natural 20 (5%), our rogue needs to roll a 4 or lower (20%) to be lower then the fighter. ((.05*.2 = .01)). That means this scenario has a 1% chance of happening.

If the fighter rolls a natural 19 or higher (10%), our rogue needs to roll a 3 (15%) or lower to be lower then the fighter. ((.1*.15= .015)). 1.5% chance of happening.

If the fighter rolls a natural 18 or higher (15%), our rogue needs to roll a 2 (10%) or lower to be lower then the fighter. ((.1*.15= .015)). 1.5% chance of happening.

Finally if the fighter rolls a natural 17 or higher (20%), our rogue needs to roll a nat 1 (5%) to be lower then the fighter. ((.05*.2 = .01)). That means this scenario has a 1% chance of happening.

Add up all the values above (1%+1.5%+1.5%+1%) and you get a total of 5%. The fighter has a 5% chance of beating this rogue in a competition of stealth. If I'm remembering my math correctly. This is the total chance of any of these scenarios playing out because even if the rogue should roll terrible, the fighter would have to roll incredibly well to beat that rogue in a contest of stealth. And that's assuming there is no skill focus.

EDIT: I believe there's something wrong with my math. I think that something wrong pushes things even further in my favor but I think there is something still wrong with it. Get back to you.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
28. Vs, say, 23. That’s it. Unskilled vs legend. That spread is ridiculous.

The point is that there's more to the skill system than the raw numbers now. We don't have any examples of skill feats, but it seems the character with the +28 bonus will be able to do many more things with their skill, or perhaps even gain numerical bonuses in certain tasks from their skill feats.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
Why do you presume the untrained guy will be also bad at the relevant ability score?

Because there are not a lot of lvl 20 wizards with str 26 trying to climb things, and if there were a lvl 26 wizard trying to climb something basic like, say, a tree, then yes, I think the equivalent of Gandalf on steroids and STR 26 should have roughly the same kind of problems than a lvl 20 Beowulf with STR 26: none at all.

Beowulf should probably be able to climb a sheer surface of polished iron, though, while Gandalf cannot even try. But that's also covered by the system.


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That may be true. But that spread should still not be that small.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Arssanguinus wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
28. Vs, say, 23. That’s it. Unskilled vs legend. That spread is ridiculous.
The spread gets much bigger if the 23 isn't even allowed to try some checks.
It’s ridiculous for that to be the spread on the things they can both try.

Yes, if nothing else increases that spread, like ability scores and feat selection.


So I've seen a couple of proposed changes to how the level scaling works, and it doesn't really fix anything because ultimately everything still ends up scaling pretty linearly. Instead, while I do like the system in concept myself and am withholding judgment on numbers until I see it in action at higher levels of play than the playtests we've seen, I will offer this alternative houserule: You add your level to skills you are at least trained in, up to a limit based on your ranks in that skill. So if you're trained it's up to 5, expert is up to 10, master is up to 15 and legendary is up to 20. Each level of proficiency works you up to a fairly substantial 25% increase in success rate, making each level feel like a worthwhile investment even if you don't invest further, it resolves the "Amiri walks into a courtroom after ten years fighting monsters in the wilderness" issue, and it distinguishes the base capabilities of each tier as reflected by your experience.


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Thebazilly wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
28. Vs, say, 23. That’s it. Unskilled vs legend. That spread is ridiculous.
The point is that there's more to the skill system than the raw numbers now. We don't have any examples of skill feats, but it seems the character with the +28 bonus will be able to do many more things with their skill, or perhaps even gain numerical bonuses in certain tasks from their skill feats.

Again for the folks in the back please


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
28. Vs, say, 23. That’s it. Unskilled vs legend. That spread is ridiculous.
The point is that there's more to the skill system than the raw numbers now. We don't have any examples of skill feats, but it seems the character with the +28 bonus will be able to do many more things with their skill, or perhaps even gain numerical bonuses in certain tasks from their skill feats.
Again for the folks in the back please

Which is irrelevant to how weird that small of a spread is.


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vagabond_666 wrote:
xevious573 wrote:


I don't know guys.... I feel like... this shows that the numerical difference between two individuals of widely varying degrees of skill can be quite large.
Or, you know, if skill focus is no longer a thing, it's a system where someone with no training and decidedly average attributes, will be better at doing something that someone with godlike attributes and legendary skills 25% of the time...

Except that the Legendary guy gets to break physics and the untrained guy can't do anything that would realistically require training to accomplish.

I think it was specifically mentioned that someone untrained in Thievery can't even try to pick a lock.

I imagine that, for an example, a guy untrained in Stealth probably can't use camouflage to hide in plain sight, but the Legendary guy can hide from Divination magic.

Sure, if all they are doing is jumping behind a bush to evade a passing monster, the Legendary guy might roll worse than the untrained guy after stat modifiers and magic items, but the Legendary guy probably has a feat to do something better than just "hide behind a bush".

I think it was also stated that the ability to take 10 even in stressful situations is a feat you can take for skills you are proficient enough in.

Ultimately it is all going to come down to how DCs scale and how useful these Skill Feats are going to be.

Also, I'm going to assume that Skill Focus will probably have a prerequisite of "trained in skill".

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