Learning Takes a Lifetime

Monday, June 04, 2018

While the kind of armor you wear, weapon you wield, and spells you know can be important measures of your character's power, your choice in skills is indicative of your character's depth. Is your character good at feats of acrobatics? Can they recall knowledge with scholastic effortlessness? Are they the sneakiest sneaker in the sneakerverse? Your skills may aid you in the thick of a fight, but they also enhance your effect on the world when the ringing of steel and the whizzing of spells subside.

The Pathfinder Playtest deals with skills a bit differently than the first edition did. First and foremost, we have cut down the skill list to 17 base skills (down from 35 base skills in Pathfinder First Edition). Now, I say "base skills" because the Lore skill can be split into numerous different lores, but for many purposes, like for this blog post, we can describe it as being a single skill.

Much of the reduction came from consolidation; for instance, we put the general functions of Use Magic Device into each of the various knowledge skills that focus on magical traditions, and we wrapped up a bunch of Strength-based skills into a general Athletics skill. In most cases, we coupled the consolidation with being a tad more generous in the number of skills you can be trained in (for instance, the fighter has 3 + Intelligence modifier trained skills in the playtest rather than 2 + Int in Pathfinder First Edition), making it easier to have a well-rounded character.

So what exactly are these 17 skills? They (and their key ability scores) are: Acrobatics (Dex), Arcana (Int), Athletics (Str), Crafting (Int), Deception (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidation (Cha), Lore (Int), Medicine (Wis), Nature (Wis), Occultism (Int), Performance (Cha), Religion (Wis), Society (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Thievery (Dex).

Skill Proficiency

Like many things in the Pathfinder Playtest, skills interact with the proficiency system. While a detailed description of the system can be found here, here's the nitty-gritty. Your character can be untrained, trained, an expert, a master, or legendary in a skill. Being untrained grants you a modifier of your level - 2, while being trained grants you a bonus equal to your level, expert a bonus equal to your level + 1, master a bonus equal to your level + 2, and legendary a bonus equal to your level + 3. Then, of course, you add your ability modifier in the key ability for that skill, and apply any other bonuses or penalties. But the new skill system is more than just the bonus you gain. Each level of proficiency unlocks skill uses that are either intrinsic to the skill itself or that are uses you select as your character advances.

Skill Uses

To give you an idea of what this means, let's take a quick look at the Medicine skill. Whether you are trained in Medicine or not, you can Administer First Aid.

[[A]] Administer First Aid

Manipulate

Requirements You must have healer's tools.

You perform first aid on an adjacent creature that is at 0 Hit Points in an attempt to stabilize or revive it. You can also perform first aid on an adjacent creature taking persistent bleed damage. The DC for either is 15. If a creature is both dying and bleeding, choose which one you're trying to end before you roll. You can Administer First Aid again to attempt to remedy the other.

Success The creature at 0 Hit Points gains 1 Hit Point, or you end the persistent bleed damage.

Critical Failure A creature with 0 Hit Points has its dying condition increased by 1. A creature with persistent bleed damage takes damage equal to the amount of its persistent bleed damage.

Basically, this skill use allows anyone who has a healing kit to treat another creature who is dying or suffering from bleed damage, which is super useful. Of course, being untrained reduces your chances to save your friend and increases your chances to hurt them accidentally, but it's worth trying in a pinch. If you are trained in the skill, not only do your chances to help a friend by Administering First Aid increase, but you also gain the ability to use the skill to Treat Disease and Treat Poison, something that someone untrained in the skill cannot do.

Skill Feats

These default uses are just the beginning. As you increase in level, you periodically gain skill feats, usually at even-numbered levels (unless you're a rogue—they gain skill feats every level instead). Skill feats are a subsection of general feats, which means that any character can take them as long as they meet the prerequisites. Moving forward with the example of the Medicine skill, as long as you are at least trained in Medicine, you can take the Battle Medic skill feat. This feat allows you to apply straight-up healing to an ally through nonmagical means, which is nice when your cleric is knocked to the ground or has run out of uses of channel energy.

For a higher-level example, Robust Recovery is a Medicine skill feat you can take after becoming an expert in that skill, and increases the bonus to saving throws against poison and diseases when you treat creatures with those trained skill uses. When you become legendary in Medicine, you can gain this skill feat:

Legendary Medic Feat 15

General, Skill

Prerequisites legendary in Medicine

You've invented new medical procedures or discovered ancient techniques that can achieve nearly miraculous results. Once per day for each target, you can spend 1 hour treating the target and attempt a Medicine check to remove a disease or the blinded, deafened, drained, or enervated condition. Use the DC of the disease or of the spell or effect that created the condition. If the effect's source is an artifact, a creature above 20th level, or other similarly powerful source, increase the DC by 5.

The more powerful or useful the skill feat, the higher the proficiency required to take it. Legendary Medic grants you the ability to perform amazing feats of healing through skill and experience rather than magic, but you must gain that skill and experience first. Of course, the Medicine skill is just the tip of the iceberg. This structure is replicated with every skill, including nearly every rogue's favorite—Stealth.

Stealth is a bit of an outlier in that all of its initial uses can be attempted untrained, but training and later proficiency in the skill yields some very subversive results. The Quiet Allies skill feat allows you to use your expertise in Stealth to reduce those pesky armor check penalties on allies' skill checks, while Swift Sneak allows a master in Stealth to move at their full speed when they Sneak. Upon becoming legendary, you further enhance your skill by no longer needing to specifically declare the sneaking exploration tactic when you are in exploration mode, allowing you to sneak everywhere. You're just that good.

But this is all just the start. Mark will take up more aspects of what you can do with skill feats this Friday!

Constant Progress

Like many aspects of the Pathfinder Playtest, the goal of skills is not only to gain the greatest bonus, but also for you to expand outward and create a unique character who uses skills the way you want them to be used. Much like how ancestry feats allow you to choose the type of human, dwarf, elf, or whatever you want to play, the proficiency and skill feat system will enable you to determine what kind of knowledgeable, athletic, or sneaky character you want to play. Over time, this system gives us the opportunity to add more skill uses by way of skill feats, which will allow the game to become more dynamic as we add options. This also allows you to continue to grow your skills in new and surprising ways without us having to pull out the wires of the underlying skill, which is something we are always loath to do. In this way, as the game progresses, we can expand skill options in an open-ended way, without invalidating the gateway mechanics.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

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Kalindlara wrote:
As someone who routinely prefers to be very bad at Sense Motive for character reasons - it was the skill that prompted me to ask for a "Completely Unskilled" drawback a few blogs ago - I really hope it's not being lumped in with Perception. (And if it is, I'll be lobbying for changes for the final product.)

Sense Motive rubs me the wrong way, maybe as in one of my very first 3rd Ed sessions back in the day, during an encounter with an NPC, in middle of the DM speaking as that NPC to the party, one of the players suddenly says with a blasé manner "...Sense Motive..." and picks up his dice, all off this unprompted. Seemed so rude, dismissive, interruptive, presumptuous, and undermining, almost put me off skills in 3rd Ed, period, as I was used to a more 2nd Ed approach.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Well, Sense Motive should be rolled in secret, by the GM.
I know, most groups don’t bother.

Liberty's Edge

Franz Lunzer wrote:

Well, Sense Motive should be rolled in secret, by the GM.

I know, most groups don’t bother.

In PF2 there are no opposed rolls. One person just rolls vs. the opponent's Skill DC (ie: their Skill Bonus +10). We don't know the guidelines on who rolls, but you can rearrange that easily enough if you like.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:

Well, Sense Motive should be rolled in secret, by the GM.

I know, most groups don’t bother.
In PF2 there are no opposed rolls. One person just rolls vs. the opponent's Skill DC (ie: their Skill Bonus +10). We don't know the guidelines on who rolls, but you can rearrange that easily enough if you like.

Yes, like those that dislike saving throws and want everything to be an attack, it is dead simple to turn saving throws into Defences (and AC into a check vs. attack DCs if you wish, so the players roll everything).

Liberty's Edge

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Weather Report wrote:
Yes, like those that dislike saving throws and want everything to be an attack, it is dead simple to turn saving throws into Defences (and AC into a check vs. attack DCs if you wish, so the players roll everything).

Yep. You'd need to be careful not to add magic item bonuses that add to attacks vs. AC to attacks vs. a Save and the like, but it's workable.

This slightly advantages whoever is doing the rolling, but not enough that it's a big deal if applied consistently.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Yes, like those that dislike saving throws and want everything to be an attack, it is dead simple to turn saving throws into Defences (and AC into a check vs. attack DCs if you wish, so the players roll everything).

Yep. You'd need to be careful not to add magic item bonuses that add to attacks vs. AC to attacks vs. a Save and the like, but it's workable.

This slightly advantages whoever is doing the rolling, but not enough that it's a big deal if applied consistently.

Yeah, I've heard the correct calculation should be 12 + saving throw bonus.


* I like the simple approach, and unlocking greater breadth through feats is interesting, but I wonder if it could be achieved through ranks instead.

* For more consolidation, why not just roll Deception, Diplomacy and Intimidate all into "Social"? Ok, so Intimidate might be different from Deception, but really, is Diplomacy? Here I could actually see skill feats working to add some granularity.

Liberty's Edge

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OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
* I like the simple approach, and unlocking greater breadth through feats is interesting, but I wonder if it could be achieved through ranks instead.

Well, it partially is. Note how treating diseases and poisons is a Trained use of Medicine rather than a Skill Feat. We likewise know that tumble is a Trained-only use of Acrobatics.

OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
* For more consolidation, why not just roll Deception, Diplomacy and Intimidate all into "Social"? Ok, so Intimidate might be different from Deception, but really, is Diplomacy? Here I could actually see skill feats working to add some granularity.

This creates serious issues. Making Paladins (known for their Diplomacy) also master liars has a few thematic issues, as does making all good liars also superbly charming.

That's in addition to the problems Mark Seifter mentioned with adding Intimidate in (Trolls are suddenly immensely charming and brilliant liars if all three are one skill, for example).


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
The issue with that is the +level to everything requires everyone to be at least at the batman level. If you want to play a different character (such as someone who has more weaknesses) you're out of luck/stuck at low level/forced to not roll dice for certain checks/have to create houserules in PF2e. That's a problem for people who don't want to always play Batman or better.

I actually agree with you, but I also understand why Paizo is doing this.

The way I see you have two conflicting interests. One is allowing you to make the character you exactly want and the other is making the game fun and playable. There is no right and wrong here. Paizo decided to go the batman-basic-competence-at-everything route for playability and adventure design reasons and personally I understand their decision.

Also now can easily play the typical sword and sorcery hero, who is good at everything, which in former editions wasn't that easy and for some classes impossible.

For me ultimately, only playing the game multiple times, will allow me to decide if Paizos decision was a smart one.

Scarab Sages

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You can always choose not to attempt a roll if you think your character wouldn’t be up to the task for RP reasons. The rules exists only to resolve the contested cases.


Fuzzypaws wrote:

I've been positive on the potential for this from the beginning! I just hope that things any character trained in a given skill should be able to do don't get locked behind feats. And I also hope that the proficiency ranks where feats do open up make intuitive sense.

Still no word on whether taking 10 or taking 20 are still a thing...

Shouldn't the DC for First Aid increase the closer someone is to dying? At the very least, the DC to stanch a bleeding wound should be based on the severity of the wound. A gusher dealing 6d6 bleed every round should not be the same DC 15 as bleed 1.

I was thinking curing mundane things like disease or Blindness would be a Master feat rather than a Legendary one. Drained, enervated, cursed at legendary, sure. But stuff within the realm of tens if not hundreds of thousands of real world doctors should not be the exclusive domain of level 15+ legends.

The Stealth feats sound good!

Here's hoping every skill gets lots of love in the CRB, and not just a few developer pet skills...

I almost hope they do lock some common things behind feats, might actually allow for characters with some realistic knowledge/skill gaps.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:

Well, Sense Motive should be rolled in secret, by the GM.

I know, most groups don’t bother.
In PF2 there are no opposed rolls. One person just rolls vs. the opponent's Skill DC (ie: their Skill Bonus +10). We don't know the guidelines on who rolls, but you can rearrange that easily enough if you like.

Yeah, that was a remark towards PF1E.

The essence should still hold true for PF2E though: some checks should be made by the GM, if the player should not know whether he rolled high or low. Probably even more so now, with 4 degrees of success.

Liberty's Edge

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Franz Lunzer wrote:

Yeah, that was a remark towards PF1E.

The essence should still hold true for PF2E though: some checks should be made by the GM, if the player should not know whether he rolled high or low. Probably even more so now, with 4 degrees of success.

Right. My point was that this is really easy to arrange in PF2 by having the person lying roll vs. the PCs Sense Motive DC if you want to do it that way.

Some players would get upset by that, so you should run it by them, but that was true of making their rolls for them in PF1 as well.


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Mark Seifter wrote:

And it looks like Batman's high enough level that he can get a decent result from Perform even if he's untrained in Performance.

(At the end, Batman points out that he heard the song over and over on stake-out after Penguin kidnapped a singer)

Silly rabbit, Batman isn't untrained in anything. His proficiency level in every skill is Batman, which is better than legendary. His class, level and alignment are also Batman. The Batman that can be properly statted, is not the true Batman.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

And it looks like Batman's high enough level that he can get a decent result from Perform even if he's untrained in Performance.

(At the end, Batman points out that he heard the song over and over on stake-out after Penguin kidnapped a singer)

Silly rabbit, Batman isn't untrained in anything. His proficiency level in every skill is Batman, which is better than legendary. His class, level and alignment are also Batman. The Batman that can be properly statted, is not the true Batman.

This is incorrect, sir! Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition statted him quite well, IMHO. But there, he has literally every skill at 5+ ranks, feats out the wazoo, and is 284 points at PL 12, with the devs putting a little disclaimer that's basically: "It's because he's Batman". For reference, the game recommends going from Power Level 12 to 13 at 195 points.

Exo-Guardians

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
The issue with that is the +level to everything requires everyone to be at least at the batman level. If you want to play a different character (such as someone who has more weaknesses) you're out of luck/stuck at low level/forced to not roll dice for certain checks/have to create houserules in PF2e. That's a problem for people who don't want to always play Batman or better.

This depends heavily on how limited the options are for untrained skill checks. If those are strict enough, I definitely think you can play someone with some real weaknesses (or, by getting everything to at least Trained, something Rogues seem good at, be Batman).

But I was primarily talking about the high end of 'non-magical' capability rather than the low end.

And it looks like Batman's high enough level that he can get a decent result from Perform even if he's untrained in Performance.

(At the end, Batman points out that he heard the song over and over on stake-out after Penguin kidnapped a singer)

♫ Na nana na nana Bat Elf! ♫

“I can perform. But it’s often just playing my own theme song as I make my acrobatic entrance into a fight!” Then Bat Elf looks around, and realizes that she’s in the Pathfinder Forum rather than the Starfinder one. “Wait a minute. What am I doing here? How can I dispense justice when I don’t even know the rules yet? Time to take off in the Batmobile!”

The elf in a mask disappears out of sight in another burst of theme song.

♫ Na nana na nana Bat Elf! ♫


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1of1 wrote:
Seems about as legendary as surviving in an airless, barren, featureless void.

He's surviving on the dew of a single Ginkgo leaf and the energy of the universe.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I NEED TO FAVORITE THIS BLOG POST SO MUCH

Two things I worry about :

That some uses of skills would be unduly gated behind too high proficiencies

"Thievery". Doubly so because of translation in foreign languages. Any nuance that would distance this from the heavily connoted Thief (immoral and duplicitous / illegal) will be lost

For example the likely translation in French would be Cambriolage which means Burglary. Hardly a honest way to ply your trade

Maybe Subtlety might work or Deftness


Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Iron_Matt17 wrote:
And judging from the skills used at Paizocon Playtest delves, they start at trained not expert.

Though it looks like you don't automatically get Trained in them based on Mark's previous comments in this thread:

Mark Seifter wrote:
This is not quite how it works. You pick what skills you're trained in. Classes do have signature skills, but you are not forced to be trained in those if you don't want.

I took that to mean "you can choose those 4 signature skills at level 1, but you don't HAVE to. If you want to choose another 4, by all means... It's up to you."

Kinda like the signature skills are what you typically would think of when you think of a class. Rogues have Stealth, Paladins have Diplomacy, Druids have Nature, etc... But you can create a non-stealthy rogue, or an unpersuasive Paladin if you want. (Don't know about that ignorant of nature Druid though...)

Getting a straight answer out of Mark as to what Signature Skills are is proving... frustrating.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:

As someone who routinely prefers to be very bad at Sense Motive for character reasons - it was the skill that prompted me to ask for a "Completely Unskilled" drawback a few blogs ago - I really hope it's not being lumped in with Perception. (And if it is, I'll be lobbying for changes for the final product.)

I generally support "level to everything" design... but it's nice to have the option of saying "my character just isn't any good at This One Thing".

I'm not sure there's a way to do it without it being min-max heaven, but I'm not a highly skilled game designer. Maybe the Design Team can come up with something. ^_^

I imagine the best way to work it is to give the player something they wouldn't need anyway if they didn't choose to take the flaw, so it can't possibly be a min/max decision.

For instance, imagine the following:

If you would like your character to have a blind spot, you can choose a type of check (or subcategory of checks, for instance maybe just Athletics checks to Swim because you are afraid of the water). You are always untrained in those checks and do not add your level to those checks, unless you later decide that you've overcome your blind spot.

Starting at 10th level, you can perform unexpectedly well in your blind spot when backed into a corner. Once per day, increase your degree of success in your blind spot by one degree; this can't be used if you rolled a natural 1 on the check. At 15th level, and again at 20th level, you gain an additional use of this ability. If you overcome your blind spot, you also lose this ability.

I quite like this direction! I'm sure it could use refinement, of course, but I do hope something like this makes it to the final version. ^_^


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

This creates serious issues. Making Paladins (known for their Diplomacy) also master liars has a few thematic issues, as does making all good liars also superbly charming.

That's in addition to the problems Mark Seifter mentioned with adding Intimidate in (Trolls are suddenly immensely charming and brilliant liars if all three are one skill, for example).

My issue with that is what makes this different from athletics or thievery?

Every pickpocket learns how to pick a lock? Every underwater creature learns how to climb a cliff? Mountian climbers are good swimmers?

If it's a bridge too far for social skills, what changes for physical ones?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Okay. I've been thinking and I do have some problems with the "gradual increase in all skills" thing... because why should a player increase in a skill they have no exposure in?

While it would require more paperwork, one thing I would do in my own game as a work-around is ask players to write down things they are doing during their downtime. Thus if someone isn't exposed to watching their rogue pick locks or look for traps during an adventure, and doesn't take any time to look up stuff on this while not adventuring, their Thievery skill would not increase. Likewise, a character with no exposure to magic (say there are no spellcasters in their gaming group) and spends no time looking up anything on the topic shouldn't get any Arcana or Occultism skill points when leveling up.

Now, some players will have their characters going around and reading up on stuff and being "well-rounded" but you could have other players whose character may very well not want to learn anything about a topic, and may have a good in-character reason to avoid that. For instance, a Paladin who finds thievery to be repugnant but has decided to set an example rather than try to beat their thieving companion... and when that companion starts picking a lock turns their back so not to be exposed to this (said Paladin may not have any oaths about this, but have personal views they feel strongly about - but also realize they don't have the right to force that view on someone who is not doing something to harm good people).

This approach would allow more varied leveling up of skills and would be more realistic in some ways. If the Barbarian is only used to war chants then they aren't going to be able to play an instrument or attempt more subtle vocal songs, and may not be able to carry a tune because they're about rhythmic chant. A wizard from a noble family who uses the Mending cantrip might know nothing about crafting because they've never sewn a seam or patched clothing, and never done any whittling or the like. And so forth.


SilverliteSword wrote:
1of1 wrote:
Seems about as legendary as surviving in an airless, barren, featureless void.
He's surviving on the dew of a single Ginkgo leaf and the energy of the universe.

I could see it. Sounds about on par with being intimidating enough that you can spook people to death, or quickly stitching up someone who was recently dismembered to death.

But maybe I've just been reading too much Franken Fran.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:

My issue with that is what makes this different from athletics or thievery?

Every pickpocket learns how to pick a lock? Every underwater creature learns how to climb a cliff? Mountian climbers are good swimmers?

Basically? That it feels a lot more forced and inappropriate with the social skills. It is very rarely thematically appropriate for a character to be excellent at pickpocketing but not also also good at disabling traps. Or for someone to be good at some athletic endeavors but not all. They go together thematically most of the time. The same is true for the the social skills skills.

In terms of realism, there's not a huge distinction there, it's true, but in terms of theme? There's an immense gap.

graystone wrote:
If it's a bridge too far for social skills, what changes for physical ones?

The fact that so far the skill groups we know of are well linked thematically. Most people who have one, it's at least believable for them to have the others. You have to actually reach to find fictional characters who have one but not the others. That is not true for the three social skills at all.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
graystone wrote:

My issue with that is what makes this different from athletics or thievery?

Every pickpocket learns how to pick a lock? Every underwater creature learns how to climb a cliff? Mountian climbers are good swimmers?

Basically? That it feels a lot more forced and inappropriate with the social skills. It is very rarely thematically appropriate for a character to be excellent at pickpocketing but not also also good at disabling traps. Or for someone to be good at all athletic endeavors. They go together thematically most of the time. The same is true for the the social skills skills.

In terms of realism, there's not a huge distinction there, it's true, but in terms of theme? There's an immense gap.

graystone wrote:
If it's a bridge too far for social skills, what changes for physical ones?
The fact that so far the skill groups we know of are well linked thematically. Most people who have one, it's at least believable for them to have the others. You have to actually reach to find fictional characters who have one but not the others. That is not true for the three social skills at all.

So fish being good at climbing is thematicly linked?


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graystone wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

This creates serious issues. Making Paladins (known for their Diplomacy) also master liars has a few thematic issues, as does making all good liars also superbly charming.

That's in addition to the problems Mark Seifter mentioned with adding Intimidate in (Trolls are suddenly immensely charming and brilliant liars if all three are one skill, for example).

My issue with that is what makes this different from athletics or thievery?

Every pickpocket learns how to pick a lock? Every underwater creature learns how to climb a cliff? Mountian climbers are good swimmers?

If it's a bridge too far for social skills, what changes for physical ones?

Because the game is being written by nerds (not an insult, Sara Marie, I identify as one myself), and nerds tend to be dismissive about and devalue physical ability and lump it all together.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
So fish being good at climbing is thematicly linked?

Fish have a swim speed, who says they have Athletics at all?

But really, skills built for humans tend to break down when used for animals just in general. Creatures without limbs suited to climbing should just have a flat prohibition on climbing, rather than being able to roll at all.


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dysartes wrote:
Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Iron_Matt17 wrote:
And judging from the skills used at Paizocon Playtest delves, they start at trained not expert.

Though it looks like you don't automatically get Trained in them based on Mark's previous comments in this thread:

Mark Seifter wrote:
This is not quite how it works. You pick what skills you're trained in. Classes do have signature skills, but you are not forced to be trained in those if you don't want.

I took that to mean "you can choose those 4 signature skills at level 1, but you don't HAVE to. If you want to choose another 4, by all means... It's up to you."

Kinda like the signature skills are what you typically would think of when you think of a class. Rogues have Stealth, Paladins have Diplomacy, Druids have Nature, etc... But you can create a non-stealthy rogue, or an unpersuasive Paladin if you want. (Don't know about that ignorant of nature Druid though...)

Getting a straight answer out of Mark as to what Signature Skills are is proving... frustrating.

That means he isn't allowed to tell us. He doesn't spoil stuff planned for later blogs. I bet we will find out on Friday.


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I feel like the uniform progression via level is not reflective of actual expertise but instead perspective gained through a wide range of experiences. A paladin might find breaking and entering abhorrent at every level but still might have put some thought into "how locks work" (perhaps in order to build a better one.)

Personally I prefer to represent "My character never learned to swim" not via having the number be so low they will invariably drown if they fall off a boat, but by having this character be hesitant or unwilling to get wet.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
graystone wrote:
So fish being good at climbing is thematicly linked?
Fish have a swim speed, who says they have Athletics at all?

Fish had to roll swim checks in pathfinder classic. Spiders had to roll climb checks in pathfinder classic. But sure... [and apply to humanoid that live underwater and/or climb. Merfolk, aquatic elves, catfolk, ect can be from locals where the other mode of travel isn't avalible]

The trained climber from a desert local somehow learns the backstroke by osmosis? A trained locksmith that's never 'thieved' in his life, a true artisan, gets sleight of hand magic tricks because 'theme'?

Sorry, IMO it's all the same in theme and realism.

Paizo Employee Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like the uniform progression via level is not reflective of actual expertise but instead perspective gained through a wide range of experiences. A paladin might find breaking and entering abhorrent at every level but still might have put some thought into "how locks work" (perhaps in order to build a better one.)

Seelah has Underworld Lore from her childhood life of crime, but if she used it to Practice a Trade nowadays, it would probably be as a white hat security consultant who helps people protect themselves and their businesses from crime.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:

Well, Sense Motive should be rolled in secret, by the GM.

I know, most groups don’t bother.
In PF2 there are no opposed rolls. One person just rolls vs. the opponent's Skill DC (ie: their Skill Bonus +10). We don't know the guidelines on who rolls, but you can rearrange that easily enough if you like.

In this case, I'd most likely roll a secret Perception check for a player whose character gets suspicious. A bit obvious to roll a Deception check in the middle of my speech, no? :)

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
Fish had to roll swim checks in pathfinder classic. Spiders had to roll climb checks in pathfinder classic. But sure... [and apply to humanoid that live underwater and/or climb. Merfolk, aquatic elves, catfolk, ect can be from locals where the other mode of travel isn't avalible]

I expanded on the point in an edit, too. :)

graystone wrote:
The trained climber from a desert local somehow learns the backstroke by osmosis?

He generally did that in PF1, too. Swim is usable untrained and a +10 str mod (well within what a PC might have) makes one an accomplished swimmer.

graystone wrote:
A trained locksmith that's never 'thieved' in his life, a true artisan, gets sleight of hand magic tricks because 'theme'?

Well, this sounds like Lore (Locksmith) rather than Thievery. I doubt you can use Thievery to make an honest living during downtime, while you can with Lore (Locksmith). It depends on how flexible the Lore system is, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could use something like Lore (Locksmith) for a specific subcategory of Thievery, either.

graystone wrote:
Sorry, IMO it's all the same in theme and realism.

It's really not. I have literally never seen a character in a work of fiction who could pick locks but not pockets and I read a lot. Do some exist? I'm sure they do. Are they common at all? No. Meanwhile, people who are intimidating but not likable (or vice versa, or likable but unable to lie) are common as dirt.

Liberty's Edge

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Logan Bonner wrote:
In this case, I'd most likely roll a secret Perception check for a player whose character gets suspicious. A bit obvious to roll a Deception check in the middle of my speech, no? :)

Not if you roll the die every time an NPC says anything. ;)


graystone wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
graystone wrote:
So fish being good at climbing is thematicly linked?
Fish have a swim speed, who says they have Athletics at all?

Fish had to roll swim checks in pathfinder classic. Spiders had to roll climb checks in pathfinder classic. But sure... [and apply to humanoid that live underwater and/or climb. Merfolk, aquatic elves, catfolk, ect can be from locals where the other mode of travel isn't avalible]

The trained climber from a desert local somehow learns the backstroke by osmosis? A trained locksmith that's never 'thieved' in his life, a true artisan, gets sleight of hand magic tricks because 'theme'?

Sorry, IMO it's all the same in theme and realism.

Athletics is more of a check on physical endurance or capability. it is capable to be used for swimming and climbing but that does not mean it always encompases it.

swim, climb and fly capabilities are determined by their respective movement speeds, you would use athletics to determine their endurance on actually moving that way.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Overall, I'm liking the skill consolidation, although I think I'd prefer Sense Motive not to be in with Perception. I'd like to be able to have a character that's great about noticing things, but doesn't really understand people...that being said, it's possible that skill feats will take care of that concern.

And add me to the camp of people who would prefer Thievery to be renamed something else. Not because I have any objection to thieves--I love thief types of characters--but because a fair amount of the time (possibly the majority of the time, depending on your party), the PC won't be using the skill to actually do any thieving, which rings a little oddly to me. The locksmith who helps me open my apartment if I lock my keys inside isn't engaging in "thievery"; they're just picking a lock. It'd be like if Knowledge (religion) was renamed "Proselytizing." Sure, that's a thing you can do with the skill, but it isn't the only use, and it probably isn't even the most common one.

It's a fairly minor quibble in the grand scheme of things, but it still sounds weird to me in a way that the other new names don't.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Captain Morgan wrote:
That means he isn't allowed to tell us. He doesn't spoil stuff planned for later blogs. I bet we will find out on Friday.

Signature skills are the ones you can increase to master and legend, and are typically defined by your class. Though there are a few other ways to get more.


Logan Bonner wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
That means he isn't allowed to tell us. He doesn't spoil stuff planned for later blogs. I bet we will find out on Friday.
Signature skills are the ones you can increase to master and legend, and are typically defined by your class. Though there are a few other ways to get more.

Yay! Thanks Logan!

Interesting... Is the characters background another way?...


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Logan Bonner wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
That means he isn't allowed to tell us. He doesn't spoil stuff planned for later blogs. I bet we will find out on Friday.
Signature skills are the ones you can increase to master and legend, and are typically defined by your class. Though there are a few other ways to get more.

This is... Disappointing. I like the idea that maybe you can get to higher ranks faster in signature skills, but being locked off from master or legend by class just feels wrong. There being other ways to get more doesn't make it feel any less wrong, unless there's some sort of thing like with Ancestries or Backgrounds, where you get certain signature skills based on your class, but one free. As much as I'm not sure I liked the extreme divergence in skills in PF1e, it at least let you be almost as good in non-class skills, by only granting a +3 boost in class skills, which is a decent boost, but isn't the same as gating off higher ranked skill feats and skill uses based on class.


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Tholomyes wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
That means he isn't allowed to tell us. He doesn't spoil stuff planned for later blogs. I bet we will find out on Friday.
Signature skills are the ones you can increase to master and legend, and are typically defined by your class. Though there are a few other ways to get more.
This is... Disappointing. I like the idea that maybe you can get to higher ranks faster in signature skills, but being locked off from master or legend by class just feels wrong. There being other ways to get more doesn't make it feel any less wrong, unless there's some sort of thing like with Ancestries or Backgrounds, where you get certain signature skills based on your class, but one free. As much as I'm not sure I liked the extreme divergence in skills in PF1e, it at least let you be almost as good in non-class skills, by only granting a +3 boost in class skills, which is a decent boost, but isn't the same as gating off higher ranked skill feats and skill uses based on class.

Yeah, I think lowering the level requirements for Master/Legendary might be better. Or attaining automatic Master/Legendary in X Signature skills. But gating the two highest levels of proficiency by class? That's kind of a bummer. It makes classes even more pigeonholed than in PF1.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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Logan Bonner wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
That means he isn't allowed to tell us. He doesn't spoil stuff planned for later blogs. I bet we will find out on Friday.
Signature skills are the ones you can increase to master and legend, and are typically defined by your class. Though there are a few other ways to get more.

Wait, so you can ONLY increase skills to master and legendary if they're class signature skills?

So much for creating different types of characters in the same class. It also sounds like another case for 1-level dipping multiclassing (assuming that's how multi-classing even works.)


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I understand the knee-jerk reaction to restricting master/legendary proficiency to signature skills, since I had it too. But I'm heartened by the word "typically" and the reassurance that there are other ways to get more besides class.

I think it'll be fine as long as there's some method by which a character can make any given skill a signature skill. I would guess there might be a general feat or skill feat to let you pick up some extra signature skills as you go. For me, they've earned enough benefit of the doubt to not freak out until I see the full story with this one.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Small note on secret rolls.

I know some players dislike having their freedom taken away from them and insist on rolls for all things - even Sense Motive or the like - despite the fact that KNOWING you need to make a roll of ANY kind starts getting people suspicious.

There's two ways around it. One is to have people randomly make rolls at any time. Most of the time it's for nothing. But that gets old fast and can disrupt the game.

Another method I've heard about works far better: have the players all roll 1d20 and write down the result... and do this for twenty or so rolls. Then you take that information and keep it on hand behind the GM screen (if you use one). Then if you need a secret roll, the player has already rolled for the result. They might not know they are rolling for Sense Motive but if they succeed you can always pass that player a note "you feel like this person is lying about not knowing who broke into the warehouse" (or whatever). Or even "you see something out of the corner of your eyes" (for a secret perception check).

It requires a little bit of work as the GM have to keep track of pertinent skills for the players... but it allows for more secrecy but still lets the player be in control of their own destiny, seeing they were the ones who pre-rolled the dice.


Tangent101 wrote:

Small note on secret rolls.

I know some players dislike having their freedom taken away from them and insist on rolls for all things - even Sense Motive or the like - despite the fact that KNOWING you need to make a roll of ANY kind starts getting people suspicious.

There's two ways around it. One is to have people randomly make rolls at any time. Most of the time it's for nothing. But that gets old fast and can disrupt the game.

Another method I've heard about works far better: have the players all roll 1d20 and write down the result... and do this for twenty or so rolls. Then you take that information and keep it on hand behind the GM screen (if you use one). Then if you need a secret roll, the player has already rolled for the result. They might not know they are rolling for Sense Motive but if they succeed you can always pass that player a note "you feel like this person is lying about not knowing who broke into the warehouse" (or whatever). Or even "you see something out of the corner of your eyes" (for a secret perception check).

It requires a little bit of work as the GM have to keep track of pertinent skills for the players... but it allows for more secrecy but still lets the player be in control of their own destiny, seeing they were the ones who pre-rolled the dice.

Just be sure to roll an extra one yourself for the seed.


TheFinish wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
That means he isn't allowed to tell us. He doesn't spoil stuff planned for later blogs. I bet we will find out on Friday.
Signature skills are the ones you can increase to master and legend, and are typically defined by your class. Though there are a few other ways to get more.
This is... Disappointing. I like the idea that maybe you can get to higher ranks faster in signature skills, but being locked off from master or legend by class just feels wrong. There being other ways to get more doesn't make it feel any less wrong, unless there's some sort of thing like with Ancestries or Backgrounds, where you get certain signature skills based on your class, but one free. As much as I'm not sure I liked the extreme divergence in skills in PF1e, it at least let you be almost as good in non-class skills, by only granting a +3 boost in class skills, which is a decent boost, but isn't the same as gating off higher ranked skill feats and skill uses based on class.
Yeah, I think lowering the level requirements for Master/Legendary might be better. Or attaining automatic Master/Legendary in X Signature skills. But gating the two highest levels of proficiency by class? That's kind of a bummer. It makes classes even more pigeonholed than in PF1.

He did say that there are a few other ways to get more, though. I don't see how that is significantly different from classes having different class skills in PF1.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Graystone, climbing fish exist, goats can climb locations that are hard for human climbers and sea lions can climb.

A person that don't know how to swim don't learn a backstroke by osmosis, but normally he is capable to dog paddle without any teaching if he don't panic. He would have the grace of a ferry boat, but he will be able to swim. On the other hand I know people that have been taught how to swim but will risk drowning if distracted of disturbed as they fear the water and at a minimal provocation they will start to panic. The guy with 20 levels maybe don't know what is doing, but he will be way more calm that a fist level guy that has followed a basic course about climbing.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Meraki wrote:

Overall, I'm liking the skill consolidation, although I think I'd prefer Sense Motive not to be in with Perception. I'd like to be able to have a character that's great about noticing things, but doesn't really understand people...that being said, it's possible that skill feats will take care of that concern.

I would prefer it as part of the Social skill. The great outdorsman that can spot a mice at 150 yards isn't necessarily able to notice a lie.

Sovereign Court

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You know i'm a bit apprehensive at the start of every blog. Often, it takes me a bit to open up to change, understand it, and eventually like it. This is the first blog that gets worse and worse with further discussion.

Sovereign Court

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Diego Rossi wrote:

Graystone, climbing fish exist, goats can climb locations that are hard for human climbers and sea lions can climb.

A person that don't know how to swim don't learn a backstroke by osmosis, but normally he is capable to dog paddle without any teaching if he don't panic. He would have the grace of a ferry boat, but he will be able to swim. On the other hand I know people that have been taught how to swim but will risk drowning if distracted of disturbed as they fear the water and at a minimal provocation they will start to panic. The guy with 20 levels maybe don't know what is doing, but he will be way more calm that a fist level guy that has followed a basic course about climbing.

So in other words corner cases are the norm in PF2?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
graystone wrote:
So fish being good at climbing is thematicly linked?

Fish have a swim speed, who says they have Athletics at all?

But really, skills built for humans tend to break down when used for animals just in general. Creatures without limbs suited to climbing should just have a flat prohibition on climbing, rather than being able to roll at all.

In PF1, a gar has a better Climb modifier than the average commoner, thanks to its 14 Strength.

The giant gar can even scale an unknotted rope or a dungeon wall by taking a 10.

It turns out, most people need special training in order to out-Climb a fish :)

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