Running the Game

Friday, July 20, 2018

As the Pathfinder Playtest begins, Game Masters will need to quickly get up to speed with the new rules. The Game Mastering chapter of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook is here to help you out! It covers the responsibilities of a GM, gives advice on running sessions, and teaches you how to adjudicate the rules of the game. Because this is a playtest, there aren't details about creating your own campaign or adventures, but rest assured, this information will appear in the Pathfinder Second Edition rulebook!

Running Modes of Play

A large section of the Game Mastering chapter runs through the special concerns of running the three modes of play: encounters, exploration, and downtime. The specific rules governing those modes appear in the Playing the Game chapter, so this chapter instead talks about how to set the pace of the game as you GM. Exploration and downtime get the most focus here, since most the rules for running encounters are addressed in Playing the Game. The section on exploration goes over exploration tactics characters might adopt, and gives advice on what to do when players want to choose tactics that aren't included in the default options. It also addresses how to begin and end encounters, including some advice on how to use the new initiative rules of the playtest. The section on downtime shows you how to play out a single downtime day at the table, and how to cover long periods of downtime quickly and keep them interesting. It also talks about buying and selling items and retraining abilities.

Difficulty Classes

Setting DCs is one of your major tasks as GM, and the rulebook covers how to create two different types of DCs: those that are appropriate for a certain level and those that are static challenges in the world. This first category is great when you need the DC of an obstacle created by an enemy of a certain level but don't have all their statistics, when you set the DC to Craft an item of a particular level, and so on. Levels and categories of difficulty are given in a table so you can pick a DC quickly. The level is based on your opposition's level, and the category depends on the particular situation. Here's a portion of that table.

LevelTrivialLowHighSevereExtreme
0 910121417
11012141518
21113151619

Static challenges are everything from climbing a tree to identifying a minor noble. These tasks don't really get more difficult if the PCs are higher level, but can still be expressed in terms of level and difficulty category. The guidelines explain how to select a level and category of difficulty. For instance, climbing a rope that's hanging in mid-air is a level 1 task, so it's normally a high DC (14), but it might have a low DC (12) if you can brace yourself against a wall while climbing through a narrow area, and maybe even a trivial DC (10) if you can brace against two walls. Because static DCs don't increase as the PCs advance in levels, eventually low-level static tasks will become nearly automatic for them. We give guidelines here for GMs crafting their own adventures, but it's ultimately up to them what level and DC tasks are. (In published adventures, this information is still provided.)

As you can see, the rules for DCs intentionally put far more choice in your hands as the GM. Rather than having a long list of DCs and modifiers pre-defined, we wanted to let the GM assess the particulars of any given situation and then use some simple tools to set the DC, rather than needing to calculate a DC based on rules that aren't always exactly suitable to the challenge facing the players.

This section also speaks to some particular categories of skill DCs for crafting, gathering Information, performing for an audience, practicing a trade with Lore, recalling knowledge with skills like Arcana or Lore, or training an animal.

Rewards

This section contains some rules not directly related to Doomsday Dawn, but that we want people to take a look at and use if they create their own campaigns during the playtest. One thing that shows up is rules on awarding Experience Points. This includes XP awards for accomplishments, so that you'll have guidance for when the group pulls off important tasks that aren't encounters or hazards. As noted previously, it normally takes 1,000 XP to level up, but there are also options for varying the players' advancement speed by having a new level every 800 XP or 1,200 XP. If you're playtesting your own campaign, you might want to have characters level up every 800 XP so you get a chance to playtest more levels of the game!

Environment and Hazards

The last section of the Game Mastering chapter briefly summarizes environments and the rules for hazards (such as traps, environmental dangers, and haunts). These are covered in more detail in the Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary. They'll be in the final version of Pathfinder Second Edition's core rulebook, but the Playtest Rulebook didn't have quite enough space for the whole thing!

Are you looking forward to GMing playtest games? What changes are you hoping to see? Are you going to run Doomsday Dawn, or try some of your own adventures too? Sound off in the comments!

Logan Bonner
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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KingOfAnything wrote:
graystone wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
graystone wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
I'm not telling you to ignore rules, I'm telling you to play using the rules, and not let the rules play your character for you.
As this is a playtest, I'd much rather advocate for a system that I don't have to step outside the rules to have my character function as i think it should. I'd rather not start a game knowing I'm going to have to houserule parts of it before I even pick up the book/pdf. [and I count having to step in to override rolls houseruling]

*whispers*

If you don't roll, there is nothing you need to override...

*whispers*

If the DM asks for a roll and I don't do that, I had to override something...
It’s okay to say “No, thank you”. It’s your character, not the GM’s.

It's also ok to ask for a game where I don't have to do that...


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graystone wrote:
It's also ok to ask for a game where I don't have to do that...

Based on your other comments in the thread, I assume you would prefer a system where your character would have no chance to succeed at the roll, but would still be able to attempt the roll. Is that correct? What kind of skill system would you advocate in order to get that? If the table is being asked for a roll, regardless of modifier or in-character knowledge, then I'm not seeing how PF1's system was better. Rolling when your modifier is zero is still rolling, after all.

In fact, PF2 seems more nuanced in that regard, from what we've been told, since instead of only certain skills having the "trained only" tag, every skill will have that. And that training is not free, or binary in your ability to attempt/not attempt.

Would it be preferable if your untrained modifier remained at zero, and you only started getting the +level proficiency modifier once you get at least trained in a skill?


AnimatedPaper wrote:
Would it be preferable if your untrained modifier remained at zero, and you only started getting the +level proficiency modifier once you get at least trained in a skill?

I am going for omission of +Level.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Would it be preferable if your untrained modifier remained at zero, and you only started getting the +level proficiency modifier once you get at least trained in a skill?
I am going for omission of +Level.

This. Then replace that 1/2 level with the ability to rank your skills as you wish. Want a hobby skill? only put in a few points. Want to be an expert? put the max in. Have no interest in the skill? don't put any points in. That way you JUST roll the dice and the result actually MAKES SENSE instead of having to opt in or out of rolls and/or ask for special bonuses/penalties. I'd rather the system does the work and actually reflects my character instead of me having to manually adjust it because it's unable to do its job in a satisfactory way.


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graystone wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Would it be preferable if your untrained modifier remained at zero, and you only started getting the +level proficiency modifier once you get at least trained in a skill?
I am going for omission of +Level.
This. Then replace that 1/2 level with the ability to rank your skills as you wish. Want a hobby skill? only put in a few points. Want to be an expert? put the max in. Have no interest in the skill? don't put any points in. That way you JUST roll the dice and the result actually MAKES SENSE instead of having to opt in or out of rolls and/or ask for special bonuses/penalties. I'd rather the system does the work and actually reflects my character instead of me having to manually adjust it because it's unable to do its job in a satisfactory way.

The issue I have with this (the same issue I had with PF1e... since this basically is PF1e) is this: How many points is the right amount? Because frankly, much of the time in PF1e you got far too few points. Even with Background Skills some classes (Fighters, Paladins, Cleric, Sorcerers, Summoners... basically all of the 2+Int classes that were not int-based casters) wound up sitting out anything involving skills because they just did not have the points to actually have skills. And that's beside the issue of how without some basic competency bonus any tactic that involved multiple people (Stealth being the most notorious one, though it sometimes applies to Climb, Swim, and sometimes even jumping too) becomes either a dead option or a character-killer if you split the party. And heavens know that even with a decent Intelligence (which on a fighty-type probably can't go above maybe 3rd or 4th highest stat, more likely is one of the more useless ones) there's never enough points for a fighter to actually be scholarly inclined so even if this is the hundredth dragon we've faced they couldn't tell you the first thing about them because there's simply no points to spare for Know (Arcana).


Shinigami02 wrote:
Because frankly, much of the time in PF1e you got far too few points.

Oh, I agree. Often you'd get far, far too few points so no argument there. My suggestion is take that 1/2 x number of skills and allow people to spend it up to your level. Or if you NEED a cap of 1/2 level for the 'math' then 1/2 or a 1/3 skill number times 1/2 level. So give EVERYONE a generous and equal amount to work with and leave the 'skilled monkey' part to proficiencies and skill feats.

Shinigami02 wrote:
And that's beside the issue of how without some basic competency bonus any tactic that involved multiple people (Stealth being the most notorious one, though it sometimes applies to Climb, Swim, and sometimes even jumping too) becomes either a dead option or a character-killer if you split the party.

I'm fine with this situation: if you want a party that's stealthy, you have to have stealthy PC's and that should be a choice instead of a default. Now I agree that everyone should have enough skill points that meaningful decisions like this are an actual option.


graystone wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Would it be preferable if your untrained modifier remained at zero, and you only started getting the +level proficiency modifier once you get at least trained in a skill?
I am going for omission of +Level.
This. Then replace that 1/2 level with the ability to rank your skills as you wish. Want a hobby skill? only put in a few points. Want to be an expert? put the max in. Have no interest in the skill? don't put any points in. That way you JUST roll the dice and the result actually MAKES SENSE instead of having to opt in or out of rolls and/or ask for special bonuses/penalties. I'd rather the system does the work and actually reflects my character instead of me having to manually adjust it because it's unable to do its job in a satisfactory way.

Apparently it's best to simply go with no level, or +1/4, +1/2, +3/4, or +full level, everything else stays the same (you still need the same roll on the ol' d20), except for the DCs from that Running the Game table.

Liberty's Edge

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I'll repeat what I've said in other threads: Changing things so the bonuses vary like that is gonna completely wreck the game's math and violate several core system goals. I strongly advise against it.


One can change the bonuses from level to suit one's desired game.

If one wanted a dark, gritty game, then remove level bonuses altogether (and likely remove legendary skills & items too.) This would make equipment that much more significant as the engine of PC growth (mechanically that is) which I find less fulfilling than via a PC's intrinsic abilities. Such a shift conflicts with a major change in the model from PF1 to PF2, as Paizo is trying to integrate more advancement into level progression and less via WBL.
I think stripping out level bonuses skews things toward casters (more than whatever one thinks it is now). It also flattens the game, so that lesser enemies remain significant and greater enemies lose some oomph. This would make PF2 similar to DnD 1st, 2nd, & 5th.

I could see such a choice working well, especially if trying to mirror a specific sub-genre or novel, but I want the more fantastic setting, where heroes do transcend their roots and where a master swordsman stripped of his armor isn't chewed apart by mundane guards. And also I want a setting where dabbling in a skill is worthwhile and heroes display a broad range of competency.

From what I'm hearing, I think the PF2 system shall accomplish that easily, and be flexible enough to be scaled back should one wish, especially when it comes to personal PC faults & flaws. I don't think the opposite would be achievable.

ETA: And for the playtest, please do not toy around with this as it would make for poor feedback, as Paizo's goals have lots of math behind them that they're looking for input on.

On a separate note, now I'm wondering how extreme a +2/level bonus would be in terms of scaling! Ultimately, since combat challenges rise to suit the PCs' power levels, a lot of this scaling impacts how the PCs interact with their static environment & setting more than with their active enemies. By subtracting level bonuses, static challenges, such as climbing a tree, shall remain challenges...for better or worse.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
glass wrote:
thaX wrote:

It wasn't the table that was the problem, it was in the way the table was used in reference with the rules at hand. PF2 is going by challenge level, and however you believe what happened in previous editions of this fine game by whatever company, it was not like that in 4th. 4th edition went by character level, and used Skill Challenges for everything, so you had to pass a 50/50 chance at least three times to overcome the challenge.

Why do people still have to keep spreading misinformation about 4e? It hasn't even been in print for years.

_
glass.

Because the default was to set the challenge to the level of the characters. A lock wasn't determined by what type of lock was used, but by how high of level the character was. The same lock that was simple at level one became fort knox at level 30. This was an example IN THE BOOK.

Now, having the challenge be of a lower level than the character was is something that could have been done, but wasn't for most of the published adventures that was available at the time I played/GM'd.

Likely, houserules played into how the game was played and might have been playable for some, but however much I tried to get my group to get into 4th edition, any type of houserules that I could have instituted would have broke the game and made it into something more akin to the previous system.

Going back to the subject of the thread, this table may seem like a holdover from 4th, but my belief is that it is not used in the same way or even with every skill check turning into a pointless challenge. Making clear from the get go that the challenge of the skill is set by the environment and setting around the character instead of having it set by what level the character actually is, this is very much different than anything in 4th. I do not see Paizo making the same mistakes that was made in the past, and repeating those vague nuances that killed 4th edition.

Silver Crusade

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graystone wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Would it be preferable if your untrained modifier remained at zero, and you only started getting the +level proficiency modifier once you get at least trained in a skill?
I am going for omission of +Level.
This. Then replace that 1/2 level with the ability to rank your skills as you wish. Want a hobby skill? only put in a few points. Want to be an expert? put the max in. Have no interest in the skill? don't put any points in. That way you JUST roll the dice and the result actually MAKES SENSE instead of having to opt in or out of rolls and/or ask for special bonuses/penalties. I'd rather the system does the work and actually reflects my character instead of me having to manually adjust it because it's unable to do its job in a satisfactory way.

That's, honestly and sincerely, kind of you to let everybody know that your playtest input can be discarded as non-consequential right off the bat. Some people reveal that only long time after they've written tons of posts about how their playtest experience doesn't match the baseline.


thaX wrote:
Because the default was to set the challenge to the level of the characters. A lock wasn't determined by what type of lock was used, but by how high of level the character was. The same lock that was simple at level one became fort knox at level 30. This was an example IN THE BOOK.

That was the reason how I ended up abandoning 4E, despite it being my introduction to the roleplaying game hobby. It was anathema for my instinctual preferences (for rational verisimilitude).

thaX wrote:
Making clear from the get go that the challenge of the skill is set by the environment and setting around the character instead of having it set by what level the character actually is, this is very much different than anything in 4th.

...Did they? If so, why did I get the knee-jerk reaction to make that rant of a post (against what seemed to be those ugly "scaling DCs" again) earlier in this thread?

thaX wrote:
I do not see Paizo making the same mistakes that was made in the past, and repeating those vague nuances that killed 4th edition.

Hope that won't never creep up when PF2 launches proper. For now, I'll see if the playtest documents give satisfactory examples on how to assign levels for recurring challenges proper per check.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'll repeat what I've said in other threads: Changing things so the bonuses vary like that is gonna completely wreck the game's math and violate several core system goals. I strongly advise against it.

Absolutely; but you can mess with the universal +Level, as long as you apply it consistently, you can decide that it is +1/2 level across the board, or +0, as you have illustrated.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Want a hobby skill? only put in a few points. Want to be an expert? put the max in. Have no interest in the skill? don't put any points in. That way you JUST roll the dice and the result actually MAKES SENSE instead of having to opt in or out of rolls and/or ask for special bonuses/penalties.

That seems to be exactly what the design of PF2 skills seems to be going for. Like, you almost used the same words the devs would have used to describe the UTEML system.

But if it doesn't work or you conceptually, it doesn't work. It does for me, depending on what exactly winds up an untrained vs trained vs expert level task.

Edit:

Vic Ferrari wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'll repeat what I've said in other threads: Changing things so the bonuses vary like that is gonna completely wreck the game's math and violate several core system goals. I strongly advise against it.
Absolutely; but you can mess with the universal +Level, as long as you apply it consistently, you can decide that it is +1/2 level across the board, or +0, as you have illustrated.

If you're going to do this, I would advise chucking the entire CR system out the window as well. A level 20 monster will still be scarier than a level 2, in terms of HP, damage output, resistances, and how complex they are, but the difference will be much narrower with their AC and saves so much lower, and their attack bonus so heavily nerfed.


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I personally want a game where a level 18 fighter can beat 30 orcs singlehandedly in a swordfight without taking a scratch. Level 18 people are Gilgamesh/Heracles level heroes- they simply should not be threatened by the sorts of foes who threaten 3rd level characters.

Like if I wanted to play a gritty fantasy game, I'd pick something without discrete tiers of power (like levels), which is not Pathfinder.


AnimatedPaper wrote:
hat seems to be exactly what the design of PF2 skills seems to be going for. Like, you almost used the same words the devs would have used to describe the UTEML system.

My issue is that the skill modifier [unskilled up] is quickly dwarfed by 1/2 level. So it's MUCH more important that I'm 8th level than the fact I'm trained in a skill. So it doesn't seem like I'm picking novice, hobby user or expert but just varying degrees of 'trained'. The bulk of the modifier is out of my hands, meaning the bulk of me decisions on how I want my skills to play out are also taken out of my hands.

PS: I know some are going to mention skill feats. IMO they are secondary concerns. If I'm not happy with the base skill system, the fact that I can alter it with feats doesn't alter things IMO. Only if they are primarily non-skill roll abilities would it make it seem better.


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I guess for me the difference is that the modifier doesn't matter to me if I can't roll on the skill check because I'm not an expert level in thievery, so provides for me the differentiation you seek.

I see it like breaking into a house. Pretend that, due to the dubious nature of my cousins, I'd be considered trained in thievery, or possibly just have a skill feat that allows me to bypass trained level locks without disabling traps. I can jimmy doors and open windows that stymy most people. Even the locks that are on gym lockers aren't very hard. But I wouldn't know where to begin with a safe or disabling an alarm. well okay maybe I'd know where to BEGIN but I'd probably still fail. Most people can use a credit card to open a door. But if that fails they have to call a locksmith, who with the proper tools has the training to open the door almost as fast as they could have with the key.

Okay that was long winded, but my point is that in PF1, the DC was the only thing that mattered. That worked for you, but I was always a bit dissatisfied (more so on knowledge checks than, say, stealth or theivery). This way works better for me.

As an aside, this means that Rogues now don't need a separate class ability to disable magic traps with a DC higher than 20. That can just be baked into the UTEML system or be a skill feat that might be more widely available.

Sovereign Court

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
I guess for me the difference is that the modifier doesn't matter to me if I can't roll on the skill check because I'm not an expert level in thievery, so provides for me the differentiation you seek.

Yeah, your modifier doesn't matter at all if you can't even attempt the check. I expect that most untrained uses of skills will be appropriate for novices, and uses that would require training actually require Trained.


AnimatedPaper wrote:
I guess for me the difference is that the modifier doesn't matter to me if I can't roll on the skill check because I'm not an expert level in thievery, so provides for me the differentiation you seek.

I'm really hoping that everything isn't locked behind skill levels, or that's worse than the + 1/2 levels. I'm fine with some, but they are, IMO, different than overall skill: You could end up with someone with a higher total bonuses being unable to try something while a lower bonuses but technically more skilled person can try.

AnimatedPaper wrote:
Okay that was long winded, but my point is that in PF1, the DC was the only thing that mattered. That worked for you, but I was always a bit dissatisfied (more so on knowledge checks than, say, stealth or theivery). This way works better for me.

Not really. Several skills where trained only. For me if EVERY skill is now trained only, it'll leave me more than a "bit dissatisfied".

AnimatedPaper wrote:
As an aside, this means that Rogues now don't need a separate class ability to disable magic traps with a DC higher than 20. That can just be baked into the UTEML system or be a skill feat that might be more widely available.

It could have been baked in before, but you know backwards compatibility with 3.5. They actually DID in unchained skill unlocks.

"Disable Device 10 Ranks: You can disarm magical traps at a –10 penalty even if you lack the trapfinding ability."


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graystone wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I guess for me the difference is that the modifier doesn't matter to me if I can't roll on the skill check because I'm not an expert level in thievery, so provides for me the differentiation you seek.
I'm really hoping that everything isn't locked behind skill levels, or that's worse than the + 1/2 levels. I'm fine with some, but they are, IMO, different than overall skill: You could end up with someone with a higher total bonuses being unable to try something while a lower bonuses but technically more skilled person can try.

Unfortunately, based on my reading of the Proficiency and Learning lasts a lifetime blog, that seems to be exactly what they're going for.

The example they used of a level 20 barbarian having the experience to id a dragon, but not the training to interpret a spellcraft check, even though both are rolled on Arcana, comes to mind.

Sovereign Court

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graystone wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I guess for me the difference is that the modifier doesn't matter to me if I can't roll on the skill check because I'm not an expert level in thievery, so provides for me the differentiation you seek.
I'm really hoping that everything isn't locked behind skill levels, or that's worse than the + 1/2 levels. I'm fine with some, but they are, IMO, different than overall skill: You could end up with someone with a higher total bonuses being unable to try something while a lower bonuses but technically more skilled person can try.

Wait, do you think that is a bad thing?


KingOfAnything wrote:
Wait, do you think that is a bad thing?

Yes, very bad. The more skilled person should never have a worse roll: if they don't, I wouldn't consider them more skilled.


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Hmm so person that works out and is in good shape and has good athletics but doesn't know how to swim vrs someone who knows how to swim but is otherwise a couch potato.

Which one drowns first?


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KingOfAnything wrote:
graystone wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I guess for me the difference is that the modifier doesn't matter to me if I can't roll on the skill check because I'm not an expert level in thievery, so provides for me the differentiation you seek.
I'm really hoping that everything isn't locked behind skill levels, or that's worse than the + 1/2 levels. I'm fine with some, but they are, IMO, different than overall skill: You could end up with someone with a higher total bonuses being unable to try something while a lower bonuses but technically more skilled person can try.
Wait, do you think that is a bad thing?

Because it feels very weird and to a point, video gamey. Though it depends on what we're talking about.

Let's say..., Johnny the Fighter has thrown all his bonuses into Diplomacy, where as James the Bard has barely touched it. The only difference? Specialization. James is up to Expert maybe even Master while Johnny only has Trained. So to group this better;

Johnny - More Bonuses, Trained.
James - No Bonuses, Expert or Higher.

Now by all rights both can make the same check, both can make rolls and both could maybe average out to be the same number on the dice. However it starts to feel weird if the skills end up having say, Unchained effects tied to their Specialization and not the number you have. Say having Expert Diplomacy lets you lower the Asking price of an item down to say 60% of the value?

Now James can easily hit this let's call it "Bargaining" bonus and if not he will just by existing if his class lets him hit Master in Diplomacy. Meanwhile Johnny, for all his bonuses, is going to need a feat or two to hit that. Doesn't matter if he actually can get to twice as high on James as a roll, the rules won't let him hit that Skill level/Specialization bonus until he hits the that level.

That just sounds weird when looking at it that way. Now this is just an example. They could have it so there's no bonuses to the skills when they hit a certain level... but given that you need to be I think Master Crafter to do some blacksmith/equipment stuff...

Well it doesn't matter if James put all his points and items into boosting his Blacksmith skill, he didn't take the feat to hit Master Blacksmith.


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I don't think you understand how the skills are actually going to work or in your example are you using PF1?


Vidmaster7 wrote:

Hmm so person that works out and is in good shape and has good athletics but doesn't know how to swim vrs someone who knows how to swim but is otherwise a couch potato.

Which one drowns first?

It's more like student A has a +20 to astrophysics rolls having never picked up a science book and professor Q has a +10 and has a masters: Why would I call the professor an expert when the student can regularly perform the skill and outperform the professor? From what I've seen, your proficiency is for a VERY minor skill bonus and gating skill feats so if the task doesn't require a skill feat, this kind of thing seems like a real possibility.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
I don't think you understand how the skills are actually going to work or in your example are you using PF1?

I don't know what they will entail fully yes I will admit that. I don't know if being Master is going to do anything besides just give someone more dice to roll. Or lessen/improve the success chance.

But I still think there's going to be Non Feat/Class bonuses to skills(maybe not as many as there are in PF1). And I would find it weird if a character that picked up Expert/Master for free by leveling their class is not only better but allowed to do stuff someone that's only at Trained cannot. More so if the Trained guy did pick up bonuses for the Skill.

Now I wouldn't mind if the skill level just unlocks new feats to pick up but anything innately tied to the skill that can't be overcome with bonuses besides unlocking feats... that seems weird.


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graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

Hmm so person that works out and is in good shape and has good athletics but doesn't know how to swim vrs someone who knows how to swim but is otherwise a couch potato.

Which one drowns first?

It's more like student A has a +20 to astrophysics rolls having never picked up a science book and professor Q has a +10 and has a masters: Why would I call the professor an expert when the student can regularly perform the skill and outperform the professor? From what I've seen, your proficiency is for a VERY minor skill bonus and gating skill feats so if the task doesn't require a skill feat, this kind of thing seems like a real possibility.

Why would the student be higher level then the professor? So in order for the student to have a higher bonus unless his attributes are sky high (and I don't see anyone arguing that someone with a higher int shouldn't have a higher bonus then someone skilled) The student would have to be higher level So that would mean more life expereinces and more potential in general now I feel the other hold up is that in real life we don't have 20th level people like lvl 4-5 max imo. So that also makes some real life logic less applicable to the situation. But I have seens like highschool students who were smarter then their teachers before.

Sovereign Court

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graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

Hmm so person that works out and is in good shape and has good athletics but doesn't know how to swim vrs someone who knows how to swim but is otherwise a couch potato.

Which one drowns first?

It's more like student A has a +20 to astrophysics rolls having never picked up a science book and professor Q has a +10 and has a masters: Why would I call the professor an expert when the student can regularly perform the skill and outperform the professor? From what I've seen, your proficiency is for a VERY minor skill bonus and gating skill feats so if the task doesn't require a skill feat, this kind of thing seems like a real possibility.

Your example doesn’t make sense.

Try this one: professor Q has a +20 bonus in arcana. But he is just a substitute (budget cuts). His area of study is really occult, so he’s Untrained in arcana. The students only have +15, but they’ve been studying for years and are now experts in arcana.

The professor is still better at identifying the abilities of dragons and constructs due to his experience, but he can’t perform the arcane rituals and complicated magical theory his students are up to.


AnimatedPaper wrote:
Edit:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'll repeat what I've said in other threads: Changing things so the bonuses vary like that is gonna completely wreck the game's math and violate several core system goals. I strongly advise against it.
Absolutely; but you can mess with the universal +Level, as long as you apply it consistently, you can decide that it is +1/2 level across the board, or +0, as you have illustrated.
If you're going to do this, I would advise chucking the entire CR system out the window as well.

Of course, I always do, regardless, CR has been pretty crap since 2000, I never used it before and certainly didn't start with 3rd Ed, CR is also rather worthless in 5th Ed, and the fact they based Proficiency Bonus off of it, instead of HD/level, like PCs, is a top bonehead-move.


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MerlinCross wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
graystone wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I guess for me the difference is that the modifier doesn't matter to me if I can't roll on the skill check because I'm not an expert level in thievery, so provides for me the differentiation you seek.
I'm really hoping that everything isn't locked behind skill levels, or that's worse than the + 1/2 levels. I'm fine with some, but they are, IMO, different than overall skill: You could end up with someone with a higher total bonuses being unable to try something while a lower bonuses but technically more skilled person can try.
Wait, do you think that is a bad thing?

Because it feels very weird and to a point, video gamey. Though it depends on what we're talking about.

Let's say..., Johnny the Fighter has thrown all his bonuses into Diplomacy, where as James the Bard has barely touched it. The only difference? Specialization. James is up to Expert maybe even Master while Johnny only has Trained. So to group this better;

Johnny - More Bonuses, Trained.
James - No Bonuses, Expert or Higher.

Now by all rights both can make the same check, both can make rolls and both could maybe average out to be the same number on the dice. However it starts to feel weird if the skills end up having say, Unchained effects tied to their Specialization and not the number you have. Say having Expert Diplomacy lets you lower the Asking price of an item down to say 60% of the value?

Now James can easily hit this let's call it "Bargaining" bonus and if not he will just by existing if his class lets him hit Master in Diplomacy. Meanwhile Johnny, for all his bonuses, is going to need a feat or two to hit that. Doesn't matter if he actually can get to twice as high on James as a roll, the rules won't let him hit that Skill level/Specialization bonus until he hits the that level.

That just sounds weird when looking at it that way. Now this is just an example. They could have it so there's no bonuses to the...

I think you need to have some investment in a skill for it to be "Trained," but let's say Johnny did minimal effort for this purpose; it still makes sense.

Let's say Johnny is extremely skilled at talking to people to gather information. But he's not great at, for example, negotiating a peace treaty with a bandit group or other terrorizing faction. James, on the other hand, has done numerous treaty negotiations as part of his soldier training, meaning he's actually capable of doing the job correctly, whereas Johnny is just not qualified to do it simply because he has no idea how they work, whereas James does. Now, you can say "Well, why doesn't James just talk Johnny through how it works so Johnny can do it?" Sure, he can, but this only goes based off of what James knows, which means it's still technically his check, since Johnny is taking James' lead on the matter, and even then, there might be pitfalls Johnny won't be aware of that James at the time could help him with (which means these are things that Johnny can't make a check on, but James could since he's proficient enough with the skill to do so, meaning you're still using James' check).

Expanding this to a more physically limiting activity, Athletics, maybe James is trained so well that he can jump without needing a head start to do so. Johnny, on the other hand, might not be skilled enough (i.e. invested in the proper training) to do that, even if he is better at doing raw jumps. Similarly, if Johnny is extremely trained in Acrobatics, he could probably tumble right through bad guys' squares, whereas James, who didn't partake in that much training, might not have the capabilities of doing so.

It seems video game-y on paper, but with enough ingenuity (and if you decide to go with the Bounded Accuracy route), it can make sense.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:

But I still think there's going to be Non Feat/Class bonuses to skills(maybe not as many as there are in PF1). And I would find it weird if a character that picked up Expert/Master for free by leveling their class is not only better but allowed to do stuff someone that's only at Trained cannot. More so if the Trained guy did pick up bonuses for the Skill.

Now I wouldn't mind if the skill level just unlocks new feats to pick up but anything innately tied to the skill that can't be overcome with bonuses besides unlocking feats... that seems weird.

I think your frame of reference for how skills work is a little off, but I can't quite tell if that's the case. I apologize if I'm repeating things you already know. I don't intend to talk down to you, I just want to be completely clear in what I'm saying.

1. I don't think classes generally get higher than trained in skills just for leveling. They do for saves, weapons/armor skills, and perception, but normal skills you have to choose to advance your training. Classes limit how far you can advance those skills, but you have to choose to advance them.
Certain subclasses and your background will give you at least trained in skills, like the leaf druid gives you trained in diplomacy, and all dieties give their clerics trained in a skill, but that doesn't sound common. And even those, I think they only get you as far as trained, not expert or master.

2. I'm not sure what you mean about putting resources into a skill, but those resources not advancing your training. To reuse some of your examples, we have Faye the fighter and Breseis the bard.
-Faye is an old hand at getting her troops to follow her, and believes in leading rather than managing. She's invested two ranks into diplomacy and is now an Expert in it, as well as having a skill feat or two. Her charisma score isn't terribly high, so she relies on that training and uses it pretty often.
-Breseis hasn't left her temple since she took vows as a teenager. As part of her schooling, she received training in diplomacy, but it rarely comes up and so she never advanced her training beyond the basics, choosing instead to focus on Religion and Occultism. Her charisma is through the roof as a bard, and that has carried her through the few times it has come up.
At equal level, Breseis's modifier to her roll is going to be at least is high and probably higher than Faye's. As you and Graystone said, the bonus for training just doesn't add much compared to the +level. But because Faye has invested so much into Diplomacy, and Breseis has not, there's going to be situations where the fighter is able to act as the party face and the bard isn't even going to be allowed to the table. Now, Breseis could catch up, even surpass Faye, with some investment on her part. Diplomacy ought to be a signature skill for bards, so she can get legendary in the skill should she choose, and Faye probably cannot (although it's possible there's an archetype or other way for her to do so). But, again, she has to make that choice.

Does that make any sense? I don't want to minimize the distaste you and others feel regarding this system, because it is a matter of taste and you're not wrong in yours.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
It seems video game-y on paper, but with enough ingenuity (and if you decide to go with the Bounded Accuracy route), it can make sense.

And yet at the same time, you can just as easily say "James can do this because he unlocked the 'Treaty' ability even though his rolls are lower than Johnny".

It doesn't matter how boosted you get, you are out of luck because your Skill doesn't meet the actual requirement we need. What's that, you thought you could get around not raising your skill? Too bad.

What's that? You thought you could tumble through enemies? Pay us a feat first and then we'll talk. Unless you took a class that gets Acrobatics to that level automatically by leveling.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:


I think your frame of reference for how skills work is a little off, but I can't quite tell if that's the case. I apologize if I'm repeating things you already know. I don't intend to talk down to you, I just want to be completely clear in what I'm saying.

I'm used to it at this point.

AnimatedPaper wrote:

1. I don't think classes generally get higher than trained in skills just for leveling. They do for saves, weapons/armor skills, and perception, but normal skills you have to choose to advance your training. Classes limit how far you can advance those skills, but you have to choose to advance them.

Certain subclasses and your background will give you at least trained in skills, like the leaf druid gives you trained in diplomacy, and all dieties give their clerics trained in a skill, but that doesn't sound common. And even those, I think they only get you as far as trained, not expert or master.

I recall posts of "This character gets Expert" or "She gets Master" when talking about skills in the playtest. This lead to me believe that classes will automatically get skill ups just for leveling. In fact lemme go check something in the Leveling blog. Which gives this section;

Quote:

For instance, at 2nd and 3rd levels, the cleric gets the following:

2 - Cleric feat, skill feat
3 - 2nd-level spells, general feat, skill increase

Okay. Can someone tell me what the difference is between skill feat that can be used to raise the the Skill level and a Skill increase. is that just increasing the CAP of the skill? If so, ... I fall back to a different complaint.

That Paizo is making a mess by naming everything from the same pool. Feat this and Skill that and Feat everything. First character is going to be Featy McSkillfulfeatness.

AnimatedPaper wrote:

2. I'm not sure what you mean about putting resources into a skill, but those resources not advancing your training. To reuse some of your examples, we have Faye the fighter and Breseis the bard.

-Faye is an old hand at getting her troops to follow her, and believes in leading rather than managing. She's invested two ranks into diplomacy and is now an Expert in it, as well as having a skill feat or two. Her charisma score isn't terribly high, so she relies on that training and uses it pretty often.
-Breseis hasn't left her temple since she took vows as a teenager. As part of her schooling, she received training in diplomacy, but it rarely comes up and so she never advanced her training beyond the basics, choosing instead to focus on Religion and Occultism. Her charisma is through the roof as a bard, and that has carried her through the few times it has come up.
At equal level, Breseis's modifier to her roll is going to be at least is high and probably higher than Faye's. As you and Graystone said, the bonus for training just doesn't add much compared to the +level. But because Faye has invested so much into Diplomacy, and Breseis has not, there's going to be situations where the fighter is able to act as the party face and the bard isn't even going to be allowed to the table. Now, Breseis could catch up, even surpass Faye, with some investment on her part. Diplomacy ought to be a signature skill for bards, so she can get legendary in the skill should she choose, and Faye probably cannot (although it's possible there's an archetype or other way for her to do so). But, again, she has to make that choice.

Does that make any sense? I don't want to minimize the distaste you and others feel regarding this system, because it is a matter of taste and you're not wrong in yours.

And personally to me that feels wrong and arbitrary that Faye can "Action - Diplomacy - Form Militia Patrol" but Breseis cannot regardless of what she does unless she spends feats to get to Expert. I would actually like to be able to roleplay that without the GM looking at my sheet and going "Impossible. So Faye, what do you say to them?"

Faye: Why should I talk, I have the skill just let me roll.
GM: Good point. Roll.

Hyperbole yes, but I think it gets the point across. I'd rather have the option of trying and failing than to be instantly blocked out.

Sovereign Court

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In PF1, if you didn’t put ranks in a skill, eventually you auto fail. Don’t bother rolling.

In PF2, if you don’t put ranks in a skill, you can’t attempt trained-only, expert-only, etc. skill checks, but you actually have a chance on an untrained check.

PF2 is way better at giving you the option of trying and failing than PF1.


MerlinCross wrote:

Okay. Can someone tell me what the difference is between skill feat that can be used to raise the the Skill level and a Skill increase. is that just increasing the CAP of the skill? If so, ... I fall back to a different complaint.

That Paizo is making a mess by naming everything from the same pool. Feat this and Skill that and Feat everything. First character is going not be Featy McSkillfulfeatness.

A way of putting it might be - skill increases expand the depth of what is capable, while skill feats expand the breadth.

A skill increase is where you go from Untrained -> Trained -> Expert -> Master -> Legendary. That would be where you're getting better at the skill.

A skill feat would be something like a specific, more specialized use of that skill. That would be where you learn to use Medicine to instantly heal ailments, or focus your skill in scaring people so that you can scare them to death.


KingOfAnything wrote:
PF2 is way better at giving you the option of trying and failing than PF1.

It doesn't give you the option though: it's the default. Instead of having the option to have a skill that auto fails, or has a small chance, or has an average chance or has a great chance... I just get the set chance. My actual options? a small swing of bonuses and what gates I open up... It seems that the actual roll is secondary in the whole thing.

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graystone wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
PF2 is way better at giving you the option of trying and failing than PF1.
It doesn't give you the option though: it's the default. Instead of having the option to have a skill that auto fails, or has a small chance, or has an average chance or has a great chance... I just get the set chance. My actual options? a small swing of bonuses and what gates I open up... It seems that the actual roll is secondary in the whole thing.

An auto-fail is not an option for trying.

If you want a small chance, don’t invest. Average chance? Invest in the related ability score. If you want a great chance, you’ll also want a skill boost item.


KingOfAnything wrote:
graystone wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
PF2 is way better at giving you the option of trying and failing than PF1.
It doesn't give you the option though: it's the default. Instead of having the option to have a skill that auto fails, or has a small chance, or has an average chance or has a great chance... I just get the set chance. My actual options? a small swing of bonuses and what gates I open up... It seems that the actual roll is secondary in the whole thing.

An auto-fail is not an option for trying.

If you want a small chance, don’t invest. Average chance? Invest in the related ability score. If you want a great chance, you’ll also want a skill boost item.

But none of that matters if I'm not allowed to roll does it? And even if I can, I'm not controlling the skill itself, but it's modifiers. So my actual skill is set in stone: Like saying my car doesn't run but I'm lucky since I can pay to get it towed...

really, you can frame it anyway you wish, the way skills are done isn't satisfying to me as it takes too much 'free will' from the process.

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Because rolling +4 against a DC 25 was so satisfying?

You can’t seem to make up your mind whether you want skills to require investment or not.


graystone wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
graystone wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
PF2 is way better at giving you the option of trying and failing than PF1.
It doesn't give you the option though: it's the default. Instead of having the option to have a skill that auto fails, or has a small chance, or has an average chance or has a great chance... I just get the set chance. My actual options? a small swing of bonuses and what gates I open up... It seems that the actual roll is secondary in the whole thing.

An auto-fail is not an option for trying.

If you want a small chance, don’t invest. Average chance? Invest in the related ability score. If you want a great chance, you’ll also want a skill boost item.

But none of that matters if I'm not allowed to roll does it? And even if I can, I'm not controlling the skill itself, but it's modifiers. So my actual skill is set in stone: Like saying my car doesn't run but I'm lucky since I can pay to get it towed...

really, you can frame it anyway you wish, the way skills are done isn't satisfying to me as it takes too much 'free will' from the process.

Clarity: do you want something like Untrained Disable Device or "whoops I am incapable of seeing the ground under my feet"?


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KingOfAnything wrote:

In PF1, if you didn’t put ranks in a skill, eventually you auto fail. Don’t bother rolling.

In PF2, if you don’t put ranks in a skill, you can’t attempt trained-only, expert-only, etc. skill checks, but you actually have a chance on an untrained check.

PF2 is way better at giving you the option of trying and failing than PF1.

I will bother rolling. Because my Skill ranks might not be as high as the other person but I might have some bonuses to even that out. At the very least we can both roll and luck might actually say I win and do the thing.

By telling me I can not even roll for a thing is better in PF2 now? "You must have Skill X High to roll" is a better system?

How is "You can not do this action, you are untrained" better than "The DC is too high, you cannot do this"? Especially if in the second one I have Spells and items that can boost that number. Or the DM being lenient.

KingOfAnything wrote:
Because rolling +4 against a DC 25 was so satisfying?

Yes. Yes it was.

Because then I turn to any items I have giving me a chance to find something I might have overlooked. Or I look at my abilities/spells to see I can boost it. Or I ask my allies if they have anything that could help.

OR and bare with me on this, the GM doesn't tell me it's a DC 25. He just says Roll it. I wouldn't know that I couldn't make it at all unless I sit there and memorize every bloody skill check DC.

Oh hey. This is Master. I know I can't do that. Because of any number of possible reasons.

Again, it could very well work out that all the Skill ranks/levels do is make you better at passing the check and that's basically it. That's actually what I hope for because if so, I would think there's ways of boosting your roll in other ways to clear it.


Cyouni wrote:
Clarity: do you want something like Untrained Disable Device or "whoops I am incapable of seeing the ground under my feet"?

I want variable investments in the DIE ROLL. At level 20, I want there is be more options than skill proficiency a, b or c. I want a choice in how I invest: in pathfinder classic, I had 21 options on how to invest in a skill

no points
1 point
2 points
3 points
4 points
5 points
6 points
7 points
8 points
9 points
10 points
11 points
13 points
14 points
15 points
16 points
17 points
18 points
19 points
20 points

I had a choice to not invest in a skill, invest a small amount or a large amount. I had a choice to make my roll matter.

Now? I don't have the option to invest or not: I get 1/2 level no matter what even if it makes no sense. What do i control? a minor modifier and the gate to new abilities... So control of the base skill is almost 100% out of my control... Not satisfying in the least.


Frankly I always just maxed out skills I hated spending each individual point on a dozen different things always seemed better to keep a few maxed.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Frankly I always just maxed out skills I hated spending each individual point on a dozen different things always seemed better to keep a few maxed.

I always hated doing that because most my characters were Int based or had good Int scores anyway. Throw on Background Skills and suddenly I often had way too many points. That and we've been messing around with skill points per level/starting. Example, current game raises Skill points up to 4 as a base line. So Fighter rejoice in this campaign(Oddly no Fighter. As a Brawler I like some of the new Skill rules the DM made up).

I suppose this also helps point to the fact that PF1 skill system wasn't that much of a bother for me given that we used the Background skill system from basically day 1 and have also come up with patches/homebrew that we're trying out.

Silver Crusade

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In PF1 it simply never made sense to NOT max your skills, unless you needed just the precise number of ranks for feat/PrC requirement. Simply put, anything less than maxing meant that you were shooting yourself in the foot.


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Gorbacz wrote:
In PF1 it simply never made sense to NOT max your skills, unless you needed just the precise number of ranks for feat/PrC requirement. Simply put, anything less than maxing meant that you were shooting yourself in the foot.

Yeah If you stopped putting points into it you might as well just get rid of it all together.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Frankly I always just maxed out skills I hated spending each individual point on a dozen different things always seemed better to keep a few maxed.

I rarely did unless I #1 had more points than I knew what to do with or #2 had a class feature that hinged on the skill. I'd have skills all over the place as they have different importance: Say I had a background as a blacksmith. A few point in it represented that but it wasn't something I did all the time and didn't warrant a bigger investment. It was enough to aid another but wasn't something to make masterwork exotic weapons with. Now if I want the background/hobby skill it MUST be at the same level as an important daily use skill.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah If you stopped putting points into it you might as well just get rid of it all together.

Not even a little. If you can hit a 10 then it was a valuable skill for aid another. Other skills had DC checks that weren't super high for things to do. Not every task auto raised to your level.


But most likely someone else in the party would have it maxxed and would have a substantially better check then you so might as well let them do it.

Assisting just gave +2 so If everyone took out 2 points into other skills they could sure assit each other and cance out the 2 points they spread out to assit or just max the skill and allow others to do the same.

Plus assigning skill points was all of my groups I've ever played with least favorite part of character creation. Its just increasing a number that it. When you had a lot you had to go and increase a bunch and piddle around. I never played with anyone who enjoyed that.

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