I am excited to have a new edition and there are numerous aspects that I like. I want to love this game.
Now that I have the book in my hands I’m finding the proficiency system to be a bigger challenge than expected.
I’m looking for different perspectives for how I can make this system work for my play style. So I’ll offer a few points where it doesn’t work for me, and hopefully someone can help me out.
I was hoping that the Tiers and gating system would keep character archetypes and support story-telling based on the novels and movies I’ve loved. I was very disappointed to see that being trained is a gate for remarkably few things and higher tiers unlock nothing. [I appreciate the access to feats, and note the general guidance for GM imposition of other gates].
For example, according to Table 10-3 that walking a tightrope is DC17. (Let’s ignore that looking up a single value that points you to a single value in a second table is really bad presentation). Balance attempts are allowed “untrained”. A level 7, Dex 14 wizard, untrained has a +7 acrobatics. So a 1 is an auto crit fail here. Ok, it’s a 1. A 2 to 9 is a failure, which results in “must stay stationary”, so my wizard is swaying but stable on a wire, with no magic, no nothing just sheer untrained acrobatic mojo. On a 10 to 19 he succeeds, allowing him to move his normal speed (though really at half speed for the difficult terrain). On a 20 he crits and moves his speed. Walking across a tightrope is really no big deal at all for a completely unoptimized character.
IMO, walking a tightrope should be gated behind Expert. The stories I like don’t feature untrained characters scampering across wires. Expert characters of the correct archetype scampering freely? Sure thing. Even without gating, +7 acrobatics makes no sense here.
How do I fix this? I understand the game solution offered. But story trumps game for me every time. How do I use this system and stay story first?
Sneaking past the guards is a rally cry for some. In games going back close to two decades now, my groups have faced this kind of challenge numerous times. Sometimes they just attack. That is fine. But sometimes, as with others, they want to avoid the fight. Usually there is a really sneaky character who can go scout the situation despite the complete lack of sneakiness for the fighter and cleric. Then, with information gathered, maybe they cast some silence and invisibility. Maybe they use disguises or illusions. Maybe they go for diplomacy. Maybe they chart out some good dimension doors. Maybe they go back to Plan A and frontal assault. Figuring out the options and picking one is FUN. Now the fighter and cleric can just sneak by. I guess we could just *not*. But not using a system has never been a good defense of that system.
How do I fix this? Can the system support the story telling and challenge solving I want? I want enough gap in stealth bonuses so that the rogue CAN sneak around in way that blow the socks off of the fighter. I want him to be at least reasonably confident so he can go shine at something the fighter knows is hopeless. That, to me, is not just a feature, but a core required function. Can I do that?
In my current game my wife plays a L13 Bard (AC20). There are a couple front line tanks that are AC27. She knows that she needs to not have things swinging at her. They all really like the value her character brings to the team. And they work together. Adding level to AC and making that the largest factor removes the tension and thus removes some fun they we want.
How do I fix this?
Does 2E support my story first play style that 1E does? Or am I just too old school and need to get out of the way.
Am I missing something?
I'd love to have a different perspective change my mind.