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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I think we're so used to every challenge in the game being described by a number that must be hit (AC, DC) that there will be an adjustment period so we can acclimatize to a system where proficiency level matters as much as or more than the biggest damn bonus possible.

Dark Archive

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I really don't get the "if everyone is special then nobody is" line of thought. Every class in PF1 was special in some way, and that didn't detract from gameplay. I think the point that is actually being made is "If everyone is good at everything then nobody is", which isn't exactly an accurate reflection of PF2 because there's more to specialization than raw numeric bonuses.

Look at the example of sneaking into a castle with a Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, and Cleric. In PF1, the specialist Rogue does it easily, and the Wizard can spend resources to bypass the obstacle. The Fighter and Cleric, on the other hand, likely fail outright unless they invested in Stealth, making that tactic impossible for the party and rendering the Rogue's investment useless. In this case, having players who cannot possibly succeed is a roadblock that interferes with the choices a party can make.

In PF2, every character has at least some baseline competency in Stealth, so the tactic isn't automatically useless. The Wizard can spend a spell to improve their chances of success, and the Fighter and Cleric pass about as often as they fail (or less, depending on armor). But the specialist Rogue? Their skill feats and expertise reduces the Armor Check Penalty for the rest of their party, they move twice as fast, and if they don't automatically succeed with Assurance and bypass the need to roll entirely they likely still have no chance of critically failing, a high chance of passing, and a solid chance of critically succeeding and getting some additional benefit. Nobody would be able to look at that and claim the other characters are stealing the Rogue's thunder just because they have a chance to pass.


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
LuniasM wrote:
In PF2, every character has at least some baseline competency in Stealth, so the tactic isn't automatically useless. The Wizard can spend a spell to improve their chances of success, and the Fighter and Cleric pass about as often as they fail (or less, depending on armor). But the specialist Rogue? Their skill feats and expertise reduces the Armor Check Penalty for the rest of their party, they move twice as fast, and if they don't automatically succeed with Assurance and bypass the need to roll entirely they likely still have no chance of critically failing, a high chance of passing, and a solid chance of critically succeeding and getting some additional benefit. Nobody would be able to look at that and claim the other characters are stealing the Rogue's thunder just because they have a chance to pass.

Really it's even more extreme then this, with the Stealth Master Rogue is ALWAYS stealthing, thus he cannot accidentally trigger the trap in the room, even if he's not looking for one. Because of his higher proficiency and class skills, he can lift the keys off the palace guard with ease, but the other 3 can't even TRY because it's gated behind a proficiency level.


j b 200 wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
In PF2, every character has at least some baseline competency in Stealth, so the tactic isn't automatically useless. The Wizard can spend a spell to improve their chances of success, and the Fighter and Cleric pass about as often as they fail (or less, depending on armor). But the specialist Rogue? Their skill feats and expertise reduces the Armor Check Penalty for the rest of their party, they move twice as fast, and if they don't automatically succeed with Assurance and bypass the need to roll entirely they likely still have no chance of critically failing, a high chance of passing, and a solid chance of critically succeeding and getting some additional benefit. Nobody would be able to look at that and claim the other characters are stealing the Rogue's thunder just because they have a chance to pass.
Really it's even more extreme then this, with the Stealth Master Rogue is ALWAYS stealthing, thus he cannot accidentally trigger the trap in the room, even if he's not looking for one. Because of his higher proficiency and class skills, he can lift the keys off the palace guard with ease, but the other 3 can't even TRY because it's gated behind a proficiency level.

You guys are forgetting that for the Cleric and fighter to have proficiency in stealth they need to actually invest those skills as they level. I don’t think the Cleric or fighter is trained in stealth unless it’s due to their background or ancestry. This means the rogue is still the stealth specialist. The only class that has pretty much all the skills at 1st level is the rogue. But through their adventures both the Cleric and fighter could become skilled in stealth and possibly be able to follow the rogue. And in all honesty I think that is a great idea. They won’t be as great as the rogue but at least tactics like sneaking in won’t be so impossible anymore.


j b 200 wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
In PF2, every character has at least some baseline competency in Stealth, so the tactic isn't automatically useless. The Wizard can spend a spell to improve their chances of success, and the Fighter and Cleric pass about as often as they fail (or less, depending on armor). But the specialist Rogue? Their skill feats and expertise reduces the Armor Check Penalty for the rest of their party, they move twice as fast, and if they don't automatically succeed with Assurance and bypass the need to roll entirely they likely still have no chance of critically failing, a high chance of passing, and a solid chance of critically succeeding and getting some additional benefit. Nobody would be able to look at that and claim the other characters are stealing the Rogue's thunder just because they have a chance to pass.
Really it's even more extreme then this, with the Stealth Master Rogue is ALWAYS stealthing, thus he cannot accidentally trigger the trap in the room, even if he's not looking for one. Because of his higher proficiency and class skills, he can lift the keys off the palace guard with ease, but the other 3 can't even TRY because it's gated behind a proficiency level.

Gated behind a proficiency level that the Cleric and fighter can work towards achieving.


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Alric Rahl wrote:
j b 200 wrote:


Really it's even more extreme then this, with the Stealth Master Rogue is ALWAYS stealthing, thus he cannot accidentally trigger the trap in the room, even if he's not looking for one. Because of his higher proficiency and class skills, he can lift the keys off the palace guard with ease, but the other 3 can't even TRY because it's gated behind a proficiency level.
Gated behind a proficiency level that the Cleric and fighter can work towards achieving.

What usually happened more often in my PF1 games is that the Stealth Rogue and the Wizard went on the adventure alone and the Cleric and Fighter just sat at the table and listened to what fun the Wizard and Rogue were having for an hour. And at higher levels, the Rogue sat back, too, while the Wizard turned invisible with mind blank and teleported without error into the objective and finished it for us all. :-)


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LuniasM wrote:
I really don't get the "if everyone is special then nobody is" line of thought. Every class in PF1 was special in some way, and that didn't detract from gameplay.

Everyone wasn't special at everything. Nor were they special in the same way.

If everyone can sneak past a guard, then the Rogue being able to do it stops being amazing. Everything else you state just demonstrates that the Rogue has invested in a lot of resources to be able to do the same thing as the fighter and cleric (succeed). What a critical success looks like in this example scenario has yet to be determined, so the rogue the benefit for the rogue being able to critically succeed is somewhere between no benefit at all to EPIC. More information is needed to know if the rogue actually is amazing or if he wasted a lot of resources.

Being a stealth specialist in PF1 means being able to succeed. If it means the same thing in PF2 then it's a waste of resources to invest too heavily in it.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

Everyone wasn't special at everything. Nor were they special in the same way.

If everyone can sneak past a guard, then the Rogue being able to do it stops being amazing. Everything else you state just demonstrates that the Rogue has invested in a lot of resources to be able to do the same thing as the fighter and cleric (succeed). What a critical success looks like in this example scenario has yet to be determined, so the rogue the benefit for the rogue being able to critically succeed is somewhere between no benefit at all to EPIC. More information is needed to know if the rogue actually is amazing or if he wasted a lot of resources.

Being a stealth specialist in PF1 means being able to succeed. If it means the same thing in PF2 then it's a waste of resources to invest too heavily in it.

I agree with you, but we don't know what higher Stealth proficiencies unlock. For all I know, that Rogue with Expert/Master/Legendary (depending on level) Stealth could be able to hide fully lit in plain sight, while everyone else has to stick to shadows and never be in plain sight.


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The DC table might be "here's what an opponent of this level should create for things which have a DC but not a fixed DC" but that's probably not how it's going to be used. It's a bit too long for that. As I already said, the worry is that GMs (or heaven forbid, developers) are either going to use it as a shortcut (so everything about the castle designed by a level 6 architect uses that DC, even climbing the outside) or everywhere the party goes is going to be designed by a <party level> architect/trapmaker/locksmith.

And (also again), this is exactly 4e's system. The DC to climb a rope in 4e is 10, +/- based on other conditions (as posted by Insight here). It doesn't scale. Scaling DCs were for opposed checks, unique level-appropriate challenges (usually skill challenges?), and monster special abilities. You know, exactly like an "obstacle created by an enemy of a certain level".

The problem arose when other things people thought should have a fixed DC (climbing a tree) would scale (because the tree was bigger/had less branches/whatever) because it was meant to pose a level-appropriate challenge. This is the exact worry I have with the scaling DC table, as one of the bard abilities says "The DC is usually a high-difficulty DC of a level equal to the highest-level target of your composition, but the GM can assign a different DC based on the circumstances." So the developers are already using it to scale the entire game. And remember those parts where the DC goes up 2 instead of 1? Better up how trained you are, level a stat, or pick up a better instrument or you're falling behind. You know, like a treadmill.


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Barathos wrote:
I agree with you, but we don't know what higher Stealth proficiencies unlock. For all I know, that Rogue with Expert/Master/Legendary (depending on level) Stealth could be able to hide fully lit in plain sight, while everyone else has to stick to shadows and never be in plain sight.

Sure. But don't also forget the opportunity cost for specialising.

What do people consider specialising to be in PF1e? I consider it be a minimum of 2 or 3 of the following:
* Good stat
* Skill Focus
* Max ranks
* Magic Item

So a dex based rogue could have high dex and max ranks whereas a low charisma rogue would take max ranks, skill focus and perhaps even a magic item.

With the above definition a PF1e rogue could reasonable specialise in 4 or 6 skills. How many will they be able to specialise in with PF2e?

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
I really don't get the "if everyone is special then nobody is" line of thought. Every class in PF1 was special in some way, and that didn't detract from gameplay.
Everyone wasn't special at everything. Nor were they special in the same way.

This is true. I feel that it's also very much true in PF2, though.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
If everyone can sneak past a guard, then the Rogue being able to do it stops being amazing.

When the Fighter can succeed 50% of the time and the Rogue doesn't even have to roll, the Rogue feels pretty special.

Let's examine a 7th level Rogue vs. a 7th level Fighter both trying to sneak. The Rogue will, if specialized, have +15 or so, while the Fighter likely has more like a +7 or +8, assuming they are untrained and have no armor check penalty to speak of (possible, though not immensely likely, at that level).

The Rogue may also be able to auto-succeed on a 20 or less.

So, on a DC 15 check, the Fighter succeeds 65-70% of the time, but the Rogue succeeds either 95% of the time, or more likely 100% (from either Assurance or the other easy check auto-success mechanic that's been mentioned).

On a DC 20 check, the Fighter is down to 40-45% chance of success, while the Rogue is at 80%...or 100% with Assurance. Or double the Fighter's chances or better.

On a DC 25 check, the Fighter has a 15-20% chance, while the Rogue has a 55% chance, and something like three times as much of a chance of success.

On a DC 30 check, the Fighter has a 5% chance of success, while the Rogue has a full 30% chance of success. Not high, but vastly better than the Fighter.

Those numbers mean the Fighter can attempt easy Stealth rolls and not auto-fail. They in no way mean that specializing doesn't have real value.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Everything else you state just demonstrates that the Rogue has invested in a lot of resources to be able to do the same thing as the fighter and cleric (succeed). What a critical success looks like in this example scenario has yet to be determined, so the rogue the benefit for the rogue being able to critically succeed is somewhere between no benefit at all to EPIC. More information is needed to know if the rogue actually is amazing or if he wasted a lot of resources.

I definitely think critical successes are another piece of the puzzle and one we have less info on that would be ideal, but even just looking at percentages of success, specialization seems to very much remain rewarded.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Being a stealth specialist in PF1 means being able to succeed. If it means the same thing in PF2 then it's a waste of resources to invest too heavily in it.

A Stealth specialist can sneak up on a Perception specialist. An untrained person can theoretically succeed vs. that guy (since that's in the DC 20-25 range at 7th level) but not anywhere near as often as the Stealth specialist. A 1/3 chance vs. a 2/3 chance or possibly something even more favorable for the specialist.

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Barathos wrote:
I agree with you, but we don't know what higher Stealth proficiencies unlock. For all I know, that Rogue with Expert/Master/Legendary (depending on level) Stealth could be able to hide fully lit in plain sight, while everyone else has to stick to shadows and never be in plain sight.

Sure. But don't also forget the opportunity cost for specialising.

What do people consider specialising to be in PF1e? I consider it be a minimum of 2 or 3 of the following:
* Good stat
* Skill Focus
* Max ranks
* Magic Item

So a dex based rogue could have high dex and max ranks whereas a low charisma rogue would take max ranks, skill focus and perhaps even a magic item.

With the above definition a PF1e rogue could reasonable specialise in 4 or 6 skills. How many will they be able to specialise in with PF2e?

Well, a Rogue can have as many as 6 maxed out (or, depending on level, one rank below maxed out) in terms of Ranks. Other Classes (possibly with the exception of Bards and/or Rangers who've been mentioned as having skill options, though not as many as Rogues) have a max of 3.

That many magic items are unlikely in the Rogue's case, but it's very possible that Expert/Master/Legendary tools for most skills are readily available (Masterwork Tools certainly are in PF1).

So in PF2, it's been debatably pared down to:

* Good stat
* Max ranks
* Item

But Skill Feats do probably also matter, just not in terms of numerical bonus. So you have most of the same options available to increase things, the raw numbers are all just smaller.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
I really don't get the "if everyone is special then nobody is" line of thought. Every class in PF1 was special in some way, and that didn't detract from gameplay.

Everyone wasn't special at everything. Nor were they special in the same way.

If everyone can sneak past a guard, then the Rogue being able to do it stops being amazing. Everything else you state just demonstrates that the Rogue has invested in a lot of resources to be able to do the same thing as the fighter and cleric (succeed). What a critical success looks like in this example scenario has yet to be determined, so the rogue the benefit for the rogue being able to critically succeed is somewhere between no benefit at all to EPIC. More information is needed to know if the rogue actually is amazing or if he wasted a lot of resources.

Being a stealth specialist in PF1 means being able to succeed. If it means the same thing in PF2 then it's a waste of resources to invest too heavily in it.

I picked a bog standard 20th level fighter and a standard city guard (warrior 2) out of the NPC Codex. The fighter has +3 Stealth. The guard has +3 Perception.

The 20th level fighter, a person who can take on an ancient black dragon without batting an eye, has approximately 50% odds to sneak past a random city guard. And it's not that the guard is so perceptive - it's that the fighter is utterly incompetent for his level.

Because of that, anything involving stealth is not even a question for this fighter's party, as he's going to fail practically anything remotely close to his level. It's very uninteresting to be automatically gated out of options because everyone didn't decide to invest heavily in that option from level 1.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
When the Fighter can succeed 50% of the time and the Rogue doesn't even have to roll, the Rogue feels pretty special.

Do they though? Does a PF1e fighter feel special when he hits on a 2 or better? Or does he feel special when he hits 4 out of 5 times and deals a truckload of damage?

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Let's examine a 7th level Rogue vs. a 7th level Fighter

Sure. That rogue might have a really good numerical chance of succeeding (that chance could be 100%). But either they succeed or fail. If the party succeeds then the fight is avoided and the rogue has done something just as well as the fighter. Alternatively the fighter and cleric fail while the rogue succeeds and then combat is initiated (at best the rogue has advantageous footing although is separated from the cleric, at worst the rogue succeeding imparts zero benefit to the rogue).

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Those numbers mean the Fighter can attempt easy Stealth rolls and not auto-fail. They in no way mean that specializing doesn't have real value.

Wait... we're adding +level to EVERYTHING so that people can attempt easy things? That seems to be a substantial change to the game for little to no benefit. A sidebar saying "If a party faces challenge that is X levels below their level then handwaive rolling".

John Lynch 106 wrote:
A Stealth specialist can sneak up on a Perception specialist. An untrained person can theoretically succeed vs. that guy (since that's in the DC 20-25 range at 7th level) but not anywhere near as often as the Stealth specialist. A 1/3 chance vs. a 2/3 chance or possibly something even more favorable for the specialist.

If a fighter has zero chance of succeeding against a perception specialist then the rogue might as well not bother specialising if the group always has to travel together.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Well, a Rogue can have as many as 6 maxed out (or, depending on level, one rank below maxed out) in terms of Ranks.

Cool. Didn't know that. So opportunity cost to max out ranks is the same if not lower. The cost of having good stat has also decreased (although in doing so the good stat is potentially less valuable).

Deadmanwalking wrote:
But Skill Feats do probably also matter, just not in terms of numerical bonus. So you have most of the same options available to increase things, the raw numbers are all just smaller.

Yeah. Skill feats was specifically what I was concerned about. If having max ranks and a good score is enough to specialise: awesome. Otherwise you're limited by your skill feats as to how many skills you've truly specialised in.


Cyouni wrote:

I picked a bog standard 20th level fighter and a standard city guard (warrior 2) out of the NPC Codex. The fighter has +3 Stealth. The guard has +3 Perception.

The 20th level fighter, a person who can take on an ancient black dragon without batting an eye, has approximately 50% odds to sneak past a random city guard. And it's not that the guard is so perceptive - it's that the fighter is utterly incompetent for his level.

Because of that, anything involving stealth is not even a question for this fighter's party, as he's going to fail practically anything remotely close to his level. It's very uninteresting to be automatically gated out of options because everyone didn't decide to invest heavily in that option from level 1.

Fighter isn't incompetent at doing what he's spent the past 20 levels doing. He's incompetent at doing something he has no training in. A fighter also can't cast clerical spells, cast wizard spells, disarm magical traps, walk on water or troubleshoot a broken computer or write a best selling novel.

All that are good things IMO. Automatically giving everyone cleric spells, wizard spells, rogue abilities and knowledge of things he has never even heard of before entering a spaceship isn't so great. You obviously disagree with at least some of that.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It seems that many features that people find unneeded will actually be extremely useful to new GMs

Which is needed since PF is a complex chassis

I think many posters do not realize just how much of an experienced and practiced GM they themselves are

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:

I picked a bog standard 20th level fighter and a standard city guard (warrior 2) out of the NPC Codex. The fighter has +3 Stealth. The guard has +3 Perception.

The 20th level fighter, a person who can take on an ancient black dragon without batting an eye, has approximately 50% odds to sneak past a random city guard. And it's not that the guard is so perceptive - it's that the fighter is utterly incompetent for his level.

Because of that, anything involving stealth is not even a question for this fighter's party, as he's going to fail practically anything remotely close to his level. It's very uninteresting to be automatically gated out of options because everyone didn't decide to invest heavily in that option from level 1.

Fighter isn't incompetent at doing what he's spent the past 20 levels doing. He's incompetent at doing something he has no training in. A fighter also can't cast clerical spells, cast wizard spells, disarm magical traps, walk on water or troubleshoot a broken computer or write a best selling novel.

All that are good things IMO. Automatically giving everyone cleric spells, wizard spells, rogue abilities and knowledge of things he has never even heard of before entering a spaceship isn't so great. You obviously disagree with at least some of that.

I believe all these uses will be gated behind high proficiency and/or skill feats if at all possible

PF2 actually makes the skill system more precise while also making it simpler as well as more realistic IMO. That is an awesome feat of RPG design


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:

I picked a bog standard 20th level fighter and a standard city guard (warrior 2) out of the NPC Codex. The fighter has +3 Stealth. The guard has +3 Perception.

The 20th level fighter, a person who can take on an ancient black dragon without batting an eye, has approximately 50% odds to sneak past a random city guard. And it's not that the guard is so perceptive - it's that the fighter is utterly incompetent for his level.

Because of that, anything involving stealth is not even a question for this fighter's party, as he's going to fail practically anything remotely close to his level. It's very uninteresting to be automatically gated out of options because everyone didn't decide to invest heavily in that option from level 1.

Fighter isn't incompetent at doing what he's spent the past 20 levels doing. He's incompetent at doing something he has no training in. A fighter also can't cast clerical spells, cast wizard spells, disarm magical traps, walk on water or troubleshoot a broken computer or write a best selling novel.

All that are good things IMO. Automatically giving everyone cleric spells, wizard spells, rogue abilities and knowledge of things he has never even heard of before entering a spaceship isn't so great. You obviously disagree with at least some of that.

A glance at said fighter also says they can't climb a standard wall reliably (DC 20 vs +8) or stay afloat in stormy water. Without investing in it, said fighter also would barely be able to jump a 10-foot gap with a running start. Even so, he can barely do it, and can't reliably manage a 15-foot gap. None of these are specialized in any way, and I'd appreciate if you didn't strawman that. None of the things I've mentioned are things that should require massive amounts of training for a level 20 fighter. And the biggest one is obviously Perception, which he's still pretty incompetent at, with a +4 score. That's certainly something he's spent the last 20 levels doing, and is yet incompetent at - that's not going to spot anything level-appropriate.

The more you gate basic skill usage behind "need to invest your life into it", the more power is automatically given to casters, who don't need to rely on that.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Fighter isn't incompetent at doing what he's spent the past 20 levels doing. He's incompetent at doing something he has no training in. A fighter also can't cast clerical spells, cast wizard spells, disarm magical traps, walk on water or troubleshoot a broken computer or write a best selling novel.

The difference between Stealth and those things is that none of those are all or nothing situations.

If the fighter can't cast wizard spells but the wizard can, the "cast a wizard spell" challenge can still be passed.

If the fighter can't Stealth but the rogue can... then neither can the rogue.

Best case scenario (for the rogue, anyway), the rogue gets to have an adventure while everyone else goes and plays video games or something. More likely, the rest of the party says "well, most of us can't Stealth, so that's not a viable plan. Let's plan our direct assault." and the rogue doesn't get to Stealth.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
All that are good things IMO. Automatically giving everyone cleric spells, wizard spells, rogue abilities and knowledge of things he has never even heard of before entering a spaceship isn't so great. You obviously disagree with at least some of that.

Must we do this?


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Soooo the argument is that now that the Cleric and fighter have the option to join the rogue on his stealth mission and more then likely not get caught is a bad thing.... this opens up so many more optional tactics for teams. And the text being clearly indicated will help GMs figure out that chart, if any GM has trouble with this and assigns 1 DC for the whole castle then they are a bad GM. That is all. If you can’t be smart enough to assign multiple DCs to an encounter area then they aren’t good GMs.

Bards should have scaling DCs for their performance, because they are adding an additional benefit to their performance to make it last longer but they are doing so in increasingly difficult battles, just as the fighter and rogue have to deal with increasing AC and the wizard has to deal with increasing saves on their normal abilities where the bards normal ability is free. Otherwise bards really would be OP, and auto succeeding on everything they do. There should be some risk to make that ability even more awesome.

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Do they though? Does a PF1e fighter feel special when he hits on a 2 or better? Or does he feel special when he hits 4 out of 5 times and deals a truckload of damage?

Skills tend to be a bit more binary than attacks, even with Critical Successes around.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Sure. That rogue might have a really good numerical chance of succeeding (that chance could be 100%). But either they succeed or fail. If the party succeeds then the fight is avoided and the rogue has done something just as well as the fighter. Alternatively the fighter and cleric fail while the rogue succeeds and then combat is initiated (at best the rogue has advantageous footing although is separated from the cleric, at worst the rogue succeeding imparts zero benefit to the rogue).

Well, if you fail to sneak up on someone, Stealth is almost certainly your initiative. That's pretty useful.

Being a specialist in something like Stealth specifically does indeed work better when you're by yourself, but at least in PF2 you won't be completely screwed by the presence of someone who's not trained.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Wait... we're adding +level to EVERYTHING so that people can attempt easy things? That seems to be a substantial change to the game for little to no benefit. A sidebar saying "If a party faces challenge that is X levels below their level then handwaive rolling".

We're doing it for several reasons:

#1. Simplicity. Having everything rise consistently when you level is just so much simpler than the varying progressions of varying things in PF1.

#2. We're doing it so they don't auto-fail the same check the Rogue auto-succeeds at.

#3. Having attacks, skills, saves, and everything operate on the same scale allows them to interact with each other in cool and interesting ways without mechanical awkwardness (maneuvers use Skills to target Saves, for example).

4. So why add level to everything? So that level matters. A 10th level character being utterly beyond a 5th level one in every way is very much an intended part of the system, and tends not to work well with much smaller numbers.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
If a fighter has zero chance of succeeding against a perception specialist then the rogue might as well not bother specialising if the group always has to travel together.

A Perception specialist probably only has a +13 or so at level 7. The Fighter has to make a DC 23 check (or so, between DC 20 and DC 25 anyway), which is by no means impossible.

And mostly, you're sneaking up on people who aren't maximal experts in the field. Ogres have a +5, while a 'maximal 3rd level bonus' would be +9, while Redcaps have a +10, but the maximal number at that level is more like +11 or +12.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Cool. Didn't know that. So opportunity cost to max out ranks is the same if not lower. The cost of having good stat has also decreased (although in doing so the good stat is potentially less valuable).

It's pretty doable, yeah. Hitting more than the listed 6 seems to be impossible, though. U=You can wind up with everything you like Trained (especially as a Rogue) but going higher than Trained is sharply circumscribed (most characters get 9 ranks, Rogues get 19)

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Yeah. Skill feats was specifically what I was concerned about. If having max ranks and a good score is enough to specialise: awesome. Otherwise you're limited by your skill feats as to how many skills you've truly specialised in.

I'm pretty hopeful that they mostly give cool 'extra' stuff rather than anything basic being locked behind Skill Feats. Most of the evidence supports this, though Pickpocket is admittedly slightly worrisome.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Skills tend to be a bit more binary than attacks, even with Critical Successes around.

Right. Which is why in PF1e the specialist succeeding was normally achieved by being able to succeed where others fail.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Well, if you fail to sneak up on someone, Stealth is almost certainly your initiative. That's pretty useful.

We've yet to see how well the initiative system can be gamed. I expect that perception will be a big "skill" that's routinely used for initiative. I won't be surprised if fighters try to get away with using athletics a lot in a very eye-roll worthy way as well.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
#1. Simplicity.

We don't know how simple it is because we don't know how much is gated behind proficiencies. It could end up being much more complicated.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
#2. We're doing it so they don't auto-fail the same check the Rogue auto-succeeds at.

You said the fighter should try against easy opponents. Are you saying they'll also have a chance of succeeding against perception specialists as well? Because if they can then the rogue's heavy investment into stealth seems dubious. Might as well just throw in a single rank and let your level handle everything.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
#3. Having attacks, skills, saves, and everything operate on the same scale allows them to interact with each other in cool and interesting ways without mechanical awkwardness (maneuvers use Skills to target Saves, for example).

Had this in 4th ed with skills and attack rolls. Don't know that I'd call it "cool". It was largely forgotten about 99% of the time. We'll see how it goes in PF2e.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
4. So why add level to everything? So that level matters. A 10th level character being utterly beyond a 5th level one in every way is very much an intended part of the system, and tends not to work well with much smaller numbers.

Level already matters in PF1e. This is killing an ant with a nuclear bomb from space if this is the solution you're using to address this goal.

Overall I'm not convinced the pros outweigh the cons. The biggest difference is a philosophical one. PF1e says you should have to invest resources in something to get better at it. PF2e's paradigm is that you simply have to not die to get better at something. When I first got into tabletop RPGs the game I played subscribed to the PF2e philosophy. I prefer the PF1e philosophy (although it did take a few years of playing under the +level to everything philosophy before I grew tired of it, something we don't have time for in the playtest).


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Kalindlara wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
All that are good things IMO. Automatically giving everyone cleric spells, wizard spells, rogue abilities and knowledge of things he has never even heard of before entering a spaceship isn't so great. You obviously disagree with at least some of that.
Must we do this?

The next sentence was to say: it's a philosophical difference. Neither philosophy is objectively better. I find the PF2e philosophy stale, boring and ultimately unenjoyable. Other people find the PF1e philosophy to be frustrating and unenjyoable.

I can see how it looks in the above quote though and I didn't intend for it to come across as that.


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Deadmanwalking didn’t say the fighter would auto succeed always too, but would give them a reasonable chance to try. This is better then not bothering at all. If everyone succeeds (even with a bit of difficulty) then great the plan works, if only the rogue succeeds then that’s ok too because he can use the stealth to get into a position for the combat. The fact is stealth missions are now a possibility, not a “either the rogue goes alone, or the rogue has to comply with the rest of the group” Situation.


MadScientistWorking wrote:
Actually the major revision to 3E that fixed a lot of it's problems was 4E. There is really no way to salvage 3E as game system because even by the creators own admission they purposefully added bad elements into the game as a design point and made it ridiculously obtuse that they did that. Even the stuff retained from 3E the developers admitted had issues in 4th in that you had limited resources (feats) which competed for cool stuff and stuff that was kind of needed.

Fortunately, none of the above information is quite right.

3rd Ed needed improvement, cleaning up, but unfortunately 4th Ed was like cutting off the head to cure the headache.
3rd Ed is easily salvageable, doesn't take many adjustments to bring it in line.
Not sure about purposely added bad elements, ridiculously obtuse, but they did intentionally include system mastery (Timmy Cards, etc), due to M:tG's influence at the time, which they later regretted, and apparently, when it was all done, and ready for the printers, Monte Cook said "What have we wrought..."

At this point, with all the d20 systems out there, and another one coming (PF2), you can pretty much amalgamate your own dream version d20 D&D.


Also how hard of a concept is it to understand that you use a check such as stealth, vs the opponents appropriate skills DC, in this case perception, and that DC is 10+the skills mod. That seems pretty easy to me.

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Right. Which is why in PF1e the specialist succeeding was normally achieved by being able to succeed where others fail.

It still is. A specialist may well have a 1/3 or greater chance of succeeding in a roll most people are fishing for natural 20s on.

The difference comes in moderate difficulty checks. The kind like a group of 10th level PCs sneaking up on a group of giants. Most giants aren't masters of Perception, and sneaking up on them logically seems like it should be doable. In PF1? It simply isn't. Fire Giants have a +14 Perception. That's actually not great, but in PF1 basically nobody without ranks in stealth is ever gonna hit DC 24 checks. There's at least a 10 point difference between that +14 and most people without the skill.

In PF2 the Giant seems likely to still have a +14 or so, but the Fighter has gone from a +3 before ACP to a +11 before ACP and can actually attempt the check.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
We've yet to see how well the initiative system can be gamed. I expect that perception will be a big "skill" that's routinely used for initiative. I won't be surprised if fighters try to get away with using athletics a lot in a very eye-roll worthy way as well.

WE know for a fact you can use Stealth if sneaking around, though.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
We don't know how simple it is because we don't know how much is gated behind proficiencies. It could end up being much more complicated.

The math is simpler. What you need to write on your character sheet is simpler. That makes for a vast improvement in ease of use even if the categories do wind up being complicated.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
You said the fighter should try against easy opponents. Are you saying they'll also have a chance of succeeding against perception specialists as well? Because if they can then the rogue's heavy investment into stealth seems dubious. Might as well just throw in a single rank and let your level handle everything.

Yes. They'll have a chance. Mathematically, between a 15% and 30% chance or so at 7th level, depending on what you count as 'specialized'.

It's not a good chance vs. a real specialist but at least it exists at all.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Had this in 4th ed with skills and attack rolls. Don't know that I'd call it "cool". It was largely forgotten about 99% of the time. We'll see how it goes in PF2e.

4E did not use this particular math interaction very well. That doesn't mean PF2 won't.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Level already matters in PF1e. This is killing an ant with a nuclear bomb from space if this is the solution you're using to address this goal.

Preserving that is part of the rationale for why PF2's current system works the way it does, but it's not the reason for the changes. The other three points speak to the reason for the changes.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Overall I'm not convinced the pros outweigh the cons. The biggest difference is a philosophical one. PF1e says you should have to invest resources in something to get better at it. PF2e's paradigm is that you simply have to not die to get better at something. When I first got into tabletop RPGs the game I played subscribed to the PF2e philosophy. I prefer the PF1e philosophy (although it did take a few years of playing under the +level to everything philosophy before I grew tired of it, something we don't have time for in the playtest).

I actually disagree.

PF2's philosophy is that level is a measure of narrative and in-universe power in the most direct sense. Raising level thus makes you better at everything. This philosophy was applied in PF1 as well, just in a weirdly inconsistent fashion (it applied to HP, BAB, combat stuff, and spells, but not AC, and only applied to some Skills).

And really, you need this philosophy to have a level based system make sense at all. A system where training matters needs to have the possibility of training only a single skill at a time, getting better at that one thing and nothing else. Such systems exist, and are fun, but Pathfinder has never been one of them.

Indeed, in that respect at least, PF2 is much closer to 'I train at thing X and get better' than PF1, since you pick one skill to raise Rank in at a time, something that almost never happened in PF1.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
I can see how it looks in the above quote though and I didn't intend for it to come across as that.

Fair enough. Thank you for clarifying.


At least PF2 says wether something is gated by proficiency.
I mean, that was also the case in PF1. At higher levels, the numbers of someone untrained with +0 to a skill and someone that maxed out that skill with +30 and more are just in different worlds. A DC30 challenge for the skilled character was basically gated for the untrained one.

Liberty's Edge

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masda_gib wrote:

At least PF2 says wether something is gated by proficiency.

I mean, that was also the case in PF1. At higher levels, the numbers of someone untrained with +0 to a skill and someone that maxed out that skill with +30 and more are just in different worlds. A DC30 challenge for the skilled character was basically gated for the untrained one.

It gets worse when you realize there were no caps or guidelines on what a bonus actually meant. Two people who both wanted to be 'good at X' could wind up with a 30 point difference between their bonuses just based on different degrees of optimization. Optimization should matter, but not that much.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Does a PF1e fighter feel special when he hits on a 2 or better?

Assuming the rest of the party doesn't and the fight isn't trivial: Yes. Certainly.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
#3. Having attacks, skills, saves, and everything operate on the same scale allows them to interact with each other in cool and interesting ways without mechanical awkwardness (maneuvers use Skills to target Saves, for example).
Had this in 4th ed with skills and attack rolls. Don't know that I'd call it "cool". It was largely forgotten about 99% of the time. We'll see how it goes in PF2e.

As much as I personally like 4e, this was one area it failed to actually live up to its own design. While the base advancement was the same for everything, the actual numbers weren't even close between stuff like skills and attacks.

Even at 1st level, you would have a big difference between the best attack bonus and the best skill bonus: +10 attack (Str 20, +3 proficiency, Fighter weapon talent, Expertise feat) vs +15 (stat 20, trained, +2 race, skill focus), and getting non-conditional bonuses to your skill was a lot easier than to attack. Plus most mechanics that had you make skill checks were against the other defenses, and weapon attacks against AC.

It at least seems like PF2e is going to avoid this problem by having everything scale using the exact same proficiency mechanic along with the same equipment rules that interact with it.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I disagree.
You can disagree all you want. I have played 4th ed with mediocre GMs who used the table to make the game less fun than it otherwise would have been.

To be fair, a “mediocre” GM is going to make any type of ruleset “less fun”.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Quandary wrote:
I think Average/Normal/Standard is better term than Trivial for "baseline 50% challenge for individual non-specialist".
I think I've been failing to communicate the statistics of this coin flip character. This isn't a character that's somewhere in the middle between a specialist and the worst possible character. This is a check that is roughly a coin flip (often 45%) for literally the worst character around. A character beyond which there cannot be a lower permanent modifier at that level. If even that character can make it around half the time, it's definitely not an average or normal check for that level. I do still think there might be a way to recast the name of the column that might work with people's expectations more than trivial, but it would still have to be some word that indicated it was extremely easy for that level.
How about "Easy." And save the word "Trivial" for referring to tasks that are so easy they don't require a check.
Easy, Low Difficulty, High Difficulty, Severe Difficulty, Extreme Difficulty? Hmm, I admit, maybe the Gordian knot could work there.

Maybe Very easy, easy, medium, high, Very high.

But those last are much best than the actual said in the blog.


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I don't mind the current categories, but as I love lists and scales:

Very Easy < Easy < Fair < Hard < Very Hard


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I love the conversation about Stealth and "specialists vs. untrained [incompetent]" in PF1e. It seems people have a significantly different experience with Stealth in PF1e than I do.

My personal experience is that Stealth "specialization" usually works out one of two ways in PF1e.*

  • The Rogue goes off alone to scout/sneak/steal/burgle, because someone in the party is incompetent at stealth. The Rogue eventually fails a Stealth check while far from the party, and then is brutally murdered, without the party realizing it.
  • The party, gun-shy from losing the previous three Rogues to solo scouting expeditions, declares that the Rogue must stick with the party. Scouting is done by the Wizard's familiar, or not at all. Stealth seldom gets used.

    I've seen this dynamic cause plenty of consternation among people who want to play a stealthy character. PF2e changing this dynamic is one of the things I'm tentatively excited about.

    Also, I could easily have a Fighter who spent 20 levels practicing moving Stealthily in PF1e, and who is still terrible at it. She could literally attempt to Stealth every time it was thematically appropriate. She's just been a bumbling idiot for 20 levels, and never got better at it, because she never sought out training. I don't find this dynamic super appealing, and I don't think it models the way learning works in the real world.


  • I would prefer 3 degree of difficulty, not 5, and Trivial is absolutely an inappropriate term in this context, trivial means do not bother to roll, as in, "it's trivial".

    I also find the DC table very unpleasant to look at.


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    Cheburn wrote:

    I love the conversation about Stealth and "specialists vs. untrained [incompetent]" in PF1e. It seems people have a significantly different experience with Stealth in PF1e than I do.

    My personal experience is that Stealth "specialization" usually works out one of two ways in PF1e.*

  • The Rogue goes off alone to scout/sneak/steal/burgle, because someone in the party is incompetent at stealth. The Rogue eventually fails a Stealth check while far from the party, and then is brutally murdered, without the party realizing it.
  • The party, gun-shy from losing the previous three Rogues to solo scouting expeditions, declares that the Rogue must stick with the party. Scouting is done by the Wizard's familiar, or not at all. Stealth seldom gets used.

    I've seen this dynamic cause plenty of consternation among people who want to play a stealthy character. PF2e changing this dynamic is one of the things I'm tentatively excited about.

    Also, I could easily have a Fighter who spent 20 levels practicing moving Stealthily in PF1e, and who is still terrible at it. She could literally attempt to Stealth every time it was thematically appropriate. She's just been a bumbling idiot for 20 levels, and never got better at it, because she never sought out training. I don't find this dynamic super appealing, and I don't think it models the way learning works in the real world.

  • I think perception, stealth, persuasion, intimidate, survival and craft are all things a fighter would realistically get better at over time without even needing to be an adventurer - just existing in an army or as a guard makes those things you would get a lot of experience at.

    Heck, any adventurer would pick up most knowledge skills just by going on adventures, especially the ones relevant to identifying creatures and hazards. A 20th level barbarian might not be schooled in religion, but she knows the difference between a demon and a devil and how to hurt them because she has literally fought them and been told repeatedly by the party cleric what they are. An academic who studied dragons in books for a year probably won't be able to recall as much about dragons mid combat as grokthar, the 15th level barbarian who slew 100 dragons in single combat.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Ideally one would like labels which (1) are naturally grouped together (e.g., low and high are OK together, easy and hard are OK together, but you don’t want low and easy and high and hard all together), and (2) have the appropriate connotations regarding difficulty.

    Cantriped wrote:

    I don't mind the current categories, but as I love lists and scales:

    Very Easy < Easy < Fair < Hard < Very Hard

    (1): check!

    (2): check!

    Perfect. You have my vote!

    Dark Archive

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    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    LuniasM wrote:
    I really don't get the "if everyone is special then nobody is" line of thought. Every class in PF1 was special in some way, and that didn't detract from gameplay.
    Everyone wasn't special at everything. Nor were they special in the same way.

    And that's still true. Being good enough to succeed on basic uses of skills slightly under half the time by no means makes you special in PF2.

    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    If everyone can sneak past a guard, then the Rogue being able to do it stops being amazing.

    Maths:
    Consider the pre-gen character sheets for Merisiel and Valeros. Valeros has DEX 14, is Untrained, and his armor gives a -5 penalty for a total Stealth bonus of -4. He's not sneaking anywhere. At Level 10 we'll give him DEX 18 from levels and reduce his ACP by 2, just to be nice. That gives him a total bonus of +9. Merisiel has DEX 18, is Trained, and has an ACP of -1 for a total of +4. That's already a full 8 points higher than Valeros at Level 1. At Level 10 Merisiel should have DEX 20, and I'll reduce her ACP by 1 (to 0). At this point she should also be an Expert at least (I don't remember when Rogues can become Master in skills so I'll leave it there). That gives her a total bonus of +16 without any magic items, which is +7 over Valeros. Put them against a High Level 1 challenge (DC14) and their crit fail / fail / success / crit success rates look like this:

    Valeros: 40%/45%/10%/5%
    Merisiel: 5%/40%/50%/5%

    At Level 10, assuming the Trivial challenge is a 45% success rate for the absolute worst character (bonus is +7, so DC19) and the High challenge is 4-5 points higher, let's put them up against a DC23 check.
    Valeros: 20%/45%/30%/5%
    Merisiel: 5%/25%/50%/20%

    With no skill feats or magic items, just investment in Dexterity and Proficiency plus better armor for sneaking, Merisiel beats out Valeros easily. She succeeds an extra 35-40% of the time and only critically fails on a Natural 1. Add in skill feats and magic items and Merisiel pulls even further ahead.

    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    Everything else you state just demonstrates that the Rogue has invested in a lot of resources to be able to do the same thing as the fighter and cleric (succeed).

    As I've proven in the math above, the rogue doesn't need any skill feats or resources to succeed, just proficiency increases and good Dexterity. I used 3 skill feats of a possible 20+ the class gains over the course of the game. Even a non-Rogue spending the same resources uses 30% of their skill feats at most. It's hardly a lot of resources.

    And the specialist example I gave isn't just succeeding the same as the Fighter and Cleric - they're doing so faster, more reliably, while using one of their skill feats to compensate for the party's weakness (being ACP). That's not just succeeding, that's excelling.

    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    What a critical success looks like in this example scenario has yet to be determined, so the rogue the benefit for the rogue being able to critically succeed is somewhere between no benefit at all to EPIC. More information is needed to know if the rogue actually is amazing or if he wasted a lot of resources.

    The point about crit success is fair, but even without any benefit from it the Rogue example I gave is still far better at Stealth than their peers and has a number of benefits the others don't. That's hardly wasted resources.

    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    Being a stealth specialist in PF1 means being able to succeed. If it means the same thing in PF2 then it's a waste of resources to invest too heavily in it.

    In my experience of PF1 it was more important for the Stealth specialist to have access to things like Hide in Plain Sight and ways to avoid special senses like Scent and Tremorsense than it was to have a massive bonus (though that was certainly a factor). I suspect that PF2 will go a similar route with their Skill Feats, personally, focusing more on what special stuff you can pull off than how likely you are to succeed.


    Cheburn wrote:

    I love the conversation about Stealth and "specialists vs. untrained [incompetent]" in PF1e. It seems people have a significantly different experience with Stealth in PF1e than I do.

    My personal experience is that Stealth "specialization" usually works out one of two ways in PF1e.*

  • The Rogue goes off alone to scout/sneak/steal/burgle, because someone in the party is incompetent at stealth. The Rogue eventually fails a Stealth check while far from the party, and then is brutally murdered, without the party realizing it.
  • The party, gun-shy from losing the previous three Rogues to solo scouting expeditions, declares that the Rogue must stick with the party. Scouting is done by the Wizard's familiar, or not at all. Stealth seldom gets used.

    I've seen this dynamic cause plenty of consternation among people who want to play a stealthy character. PF2e changing this dynamic is one of the things I'm tentatively excited about.

    Also, I could easily have a Fighter who spent 20 levels practicing moving Stealthily in PF1e, and who is still terrible at it. She could literally attempt to Stealth every time it was thematically appropriate. She's just been a bumbling idiot for 20 levels, and never got better at it, because she never sought out training. I don't find this dynamic super appealing, and I don't think it models the way learning works in the real world.

  • Speaking personally, this is basically what happened with my group (except my Rogue managed to survive... barely... because fortunately it wasn't that large a building and the Barbarian's pet wolf had good hearing). This was in one of the first games we ever did, and ever since Stealth has been borderline taboo unless the entire party is good at it. Which... has been rather un-fun when I've wanted to invest in Stealth with a character but the rest of the party wanted, say, Full Plate. Heck, sometimes magic doesn't even help. 12 Dex character in Full Plate has -4 default, with Invis has a +16 Stealth while moving, which sounds impressive... except when the enemies have around +10 Perception, the GM rolls every Perception check, and every enemy gets a Perception check. That +16 is going to fall apart really quickly unless they rolled a nat 20 or something.


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    Shinigami02 wrote:
    Cheburn wrote:

    I love the conversation about Stealth and "specialists vs. untrained [incompetent]" in PF1e. It seems people have a significantly different experience with Stealth in PF1e than I do.

    My personal experience is that Stealth "specialization" usually works out one of two ways in PF1e.*

  • The Rogue goes off alone to scout/sneak/steal/burgle, because someone in the party is incompetent at stealth. The Rogue eventually fails a Stealth check while far from the party, and then is brutally murdered, without the party realizing it.
  • The party, gun-shy from losing the previous three Rogues to solo scouting expeditions, declares that the Rogue must stick with the party. Scouting is done by the Wizard's familiar, or not at all. Stealth seldom gets used.

    I've seen this dynamic cause plenty of consternation among people who want to play a stealthy character. PF2e changing this dynamic is one of the things I'm tentatively excited about.

    Also, I could easily have a Fighter who spent 20 levels practicing moving Stealthily in PF1e, and who is still terrible at it. She could literally attempt to Stealth every time it was thematically appropriate. She's just been a bumbling idiot for 20 levels, and never got better at it, because she never sought out training. I don't find this dynamic super appealing, and I don't think it models the way learning works in the real world.

  • Speaking personally, this is basically what happened with my group (except my Rogue managed to survive... barely... because fortunately it wasn't that large a building and the Barbarian's pet wolf had good hearing). This was in one of the first games we ever did, and ever since Stealth has been borderline taboo unless the entire party is good at it. Which... has been rather un-fun when I've wanted to invest in Stealth with a character but the rest of the party wanted, say, Full Plate. Heck, sometimes magic doesn't even help. 12 Dex character in Full Plate has -4 default, with Invis has a +16 Stealth while moving, which...

    Every single enemy rolling individual perception checks is always a recipe for a very frustrated rogue. Sneaking through a cave of 40 sleeping goblins becomes a statistical impossibility at that point, even with the huge penalties they take for being asleep (unless your stealth exceeds their perception to the point where they can't detect you even on a nat 20, at which point why are you rolling dice?


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    Shinigami02 wrote:
    Cheburn wrote:

    I love the conversation about Stealth and "specialists vs. untrained [incompetent]" in PF1e. It seems people have a significantly different experience with Stealth in PF1e than I do.

    My personal experience is that Stealth "specialization" usually works out one of two ways in PF1e.*

  • The Rogue goes off alone to scout/sneak/steal/burgle, because someone in the party is incompetent at stealth. The Rogue eventually fails a Stealth check while far from the party, and then is brutally murdered, without the party realizing it.
  • The party, gun-shy from losing the previous three Rogues to solo scouting expeditions, declares that the Rogue must stick with the party. Scouting is done by the Wizard's familiar, or not at all. Stealth seldom gets used.

    I've seen this dynamic cause plenty of consternation among people who want to play a stealthy character. PF2e changing this dynamic is one of the things I'm tentatively excited about.

    Also, I could easily have a Fighter who spent 20 levels practicing moving Stealthily in PF1e, and who is still terrible at it. She could literally attempt to Stealth every time it was thematically appropriate. She's just been a bumbling idiot for 20 levels, and never got better at it, because she never sought out training. I don't find this dynamic super appealing, and I don't think it models the way learning works in the real world.

  • Speaking personally, this is basically what happened with my group (except my Rogue managed to survive... barely... because fortunately it wasn't that large a building and the Barbarian's pet wolf had good hearing). This was in one of the first games we ever did, and ever since Stealth has been borderline taboo unless the entire party is good at it. Which... has been rather un-fun when I've wanted to invest in Stealth with a character but the rest of the party wanted, say, Full Plate. Heck, sometimes magic doesn't even help. 12 Dex character in Full Plate has -4 default, with Invis has a +16 Stealth while moving, which...

    You know. As a GM, I'm going to be so happy if, during the playtest, the party resorts to group stealth tactics or tries to pull a heist or something where they're all actually slinking around.


    Aratrok wrote:
    JakBlitz wrote:
    Liking the Lvl based DC chart.

    I'm in the exact opposite camp. A chart of DCs with specific examples for each skill is a far better. I don't want to have to try and assign arbitrary levels to things like climbing as a GM, and I don't want to have to try and read my GM's mind to figure out how hard they think a free-hanging rope climb is based on their gym class experience or whatever.

    The problems with static level based DC charts have been enumerated many times since they were presented in 4e. I'm not looking forward to having those arguments again for more months or years.

    For example: I can't tell what Paizo thinks a task being "trivial" means, and it doesn't jive at all with my own personal definition. A 1st level trivial task in this setup is failed by a trained specialist of the same level (+4) 25% of the time, and an average attempt from an untrained character (-2) fails 55% of the time. This is almost certainly going to translate to comedy of errors gameplay at the table, with party members regularly failing the easiest possible tasks the system defines.

    If a task is that easy, just don't roll any dice and say it happens.


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    Cyouni wrote:
    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    LuniasM wrote:
    I really don't get the "if everyone is special then nobody is" line of thought. Every class in PF1 was special in some way, and that didn't detract from gameplay.

    Everyone wasn't special at everything. Nor were they special in the same way.

    If everyone can sneak past a guard, then the Rogue being able to do it stops being amazing. Everything else you state just demonstrates that the Rogue has invested in a lot of resources to be able to do the same thing as the fighter and cleric (succeed). What a critical success looks like in this example scenario has yet to be determined, so the rogue the benefit for the rogue being able to critically succeed is somewhere between no benefit at all to EPIC. More information is needed to know if the rogue actually is amazing or if he wasted a lot of resources.

    Being a stealth specialist in PF1 means being able to succeed. If it means the same thing in PF2 then it's a waste of resources to invest too heavily in it.

    I picked a bog standard 20th level fighter and a standard city guard (warrior 2) out of the NPC Codex. The fighter has +3 Stealth. The guard has +3 Perception.

    The 20th level fighter, a person who can take on an ancient black dragon without batting an eye, has approximately 50% odds to sneak past a random city guard. And it's not that the guard is so perceptive - it's that the fighter is utterly incompetent for his level.

    Because of that, anything involving stealth is not even a question for this fighter's party, as he's going to fail practically anything remotely close to his level. It's very uninteresting to be automatically gated out of options because everyone didn't decide to invest heavily in that option from level 1.

    I think this is more of an issue of PF1 not giving martials any skill points. Fighters were the worst. Non casters should all get 4 or more skill points per level.

    I also think this argument can be had forever with no true answer. It is a matter of taste. I like the idea that a high level character has some weakness (i.e. the clumsy fighter, the weak mage who can't climb a tree). PF1 supports that better.


    Tender Tendrils wrote:
    I think perception, stealth, persuasion, intimidate, survival and craft are all things a fighter would realistically get better at over time without even needing to be an adventurer - just existing in an army or as a guard makes those things you would get a lot of experience at.

    I don't agree with this. Say you have someone that guards the back garden gate of an estate. That entrance rarely gets used so it's mostly a formality. She's happy to sit there alone and read trashy romance novels for her shift.

    I don't see why that guard is filled with "lot of experience at" "perception, stealth, persuasion, intimidate, survival and craft". Even if you have an active army situation, not every individual is going to participate in every activity. A footman behind the cavalry isn't using any of those skills activity: scouts using perception, stealth, and survival sure. Diplomats using persuasion and intimidate, ok [though both isn't a given]. Logistical units might use survival and craft aall the time.

    Even in the very best situation, I can't see every single skill going up at the same exact same rate and it'd take an exceptionally well rounded individual to manage to do so with multiple skills at once: life just doesn't give you the opportunities to gain new experiences in that many areas of interest all the time. I understand the reasoning behind the math, I just don't see it making in game/setting sense. No amount of guarding makes you better at history if you never picked up a history book or talked about the subject with others.

    Sovereign Court

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    graystone wrote:
    No amount of guarding makes you better at history if you never picked up a history book or talked about the subject with others.

    No, but going to the tavern every week with the guys and listening to the bard spin tales over a beer might give someone the broad base of history knowledge that an untrained knowledge check represents. Guarding doesn't make you better at history, but living as a guard does.


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    graystone wrote:
    Tender Tendrils wrote:
    I think perception, stealth, persuasion, intimidate, survival and craft are all things a fighter would realistically get better at over time without even needing to be an adventurer - just existing in an army or as a guard makes those things you would get a lot of experience at.
    I don't agree with this. Say you have someone that guards the back garden gate of an estate. That entrance rarely gets used so it's mostly a formality. She's happy to sit there alone and read trashy romance novels for her shift.

    And she doesn't level up, because she's just sitting around doing shift work.

    PCs don't generally level up by sitting around and guarding things. They go on adventures. Adventures, as a rule, expose you to a lot of new challenges and environments. It's eminently reasonable that surviving those challenges and environments would give you broad competence in a number of areas, even if only from seeing others in action and then imitating them.

    I'm sure that there's a counterexample we could find of a character who got up to level 10 by going into the woods and killing thousands of boars [or whatever other boring method of leveling up we want], but I feel that's really a rarity in Pathfinder.

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