I can't believe I'm saying this, but I want a new edition...


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Bill Dunn wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Something I would like to see in a revised Pathfinder game is a clarification of order of operations. Little things like when you roll concealment against an attack.
There's a dispute in this case?

As far as I'm aware the rules don't actually dictate which comes first.

I always have the players roll miss chance first, that way they don't roll attacks if the attack couldn't hit and they don't get bummed out by missing out on a crit or something like that.


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graystone wrote:
wakedown wrote:
graystone wrote:
For me, bounded accuracy destroys any sense of accomplishment or growth.

I certainly know my paladin who is playing in a "bounded accuracy" system feels like he's grown when he's defeating an ettin or gibbering mouther on his own at 8th level when he was only able to really defeat a goblin on his own at 1st level.

graystone wrote:
At end levels of the game, I can be fighting the same foes or failing the same skill rolls.

In Pathfinder (lacking bounded accuracy), I recently played an adventure printed by Paizo where I was still fighting goblins at 7th level. In that same scenario, my cleric still regularly failed to climb or swim.

The absence of bounded accuracy didn't help me here.

Can you provide more details or an example in the case against bounded accuracy?

I want to understand the case against bounded accuracy, while working through common misconceptions about it. I'm all for an alternative in a game system to bounded accuracy, but I don't see it's existence/implementation mattering in the two cases you provided.

Examples... I played the playtest. it didn't feel like I was getting any better even though the number in front of my level changed. What more do you want me to say?

In Pathfinder, I get better. Skills I used to fail at I advance and now I can make them without having to roll. Monsters that used to kick my butt are now pushovers. I have tangible means to see my advancement. Going through several 5e levels didn't seem to play any differently from one another.

If you like bounded accuracy, more power to you. Just don't pretend it's the game experience as pathfinder.

This has been experience as well, though I still enjoy 5E for it's simplicity. While I agree with graystone that bounded accuracy hurts my sense of what a character is actually good at, for a simpler game I can accept that. 5E will never be my favorite edition, but I think I will enjoy it occasionally (and I'll definitely use it to introduce someone to TTRPGs), even though I prefer the complexity of Pathfinder and 3.5.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Something I would like to see in a revised Pathfinder game is a clarification of order of operations. Little things like when you roll concealment against an attack.
There's a dispute in this case?

As far as I'm aware the rules don't actually dictate which comes first.

I always have the players roll miss chance first, that way they don't roll attacks if the attack couldn't hit and they don't get bummed out by missing out on a crit or something like that.

I always roll concealment after the attack roll. Then if is a crit, I get to see the player's crestfallen face. Warms the cockles of my RBGM heart.


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Speaking on the subject of Bounded Accuracy (which I kinda hate saying, as it's super buzzwordy), I like the fact that, from level 1 to 20, I can go from having a hard time climbing a cliff face to being able to effortless climb a sheer rock wall in the rain. I don't want to lose that progression, which is most certainly lost in 5e.

That said, I don't think it's all bad. A limitation on some areas, or a reduction of the gulfs between low and high might be alright. I just want my 20th level characters to be capable of impossible feats and be nigh invincible to the common rabble.


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Albatoonoe wrote:
Speaking on the subject of Bounded Accuracy (which I kinda hate saying, as it's super buzzwordy), I like the fact that, from level 1 to 20, I can go from having a hard time climbing a cliff face to being able to effortless climb a sheer rock wall in a category 5 hurricane. I don't want to lose that

Fixed that for you.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Albatoonoe wrote:
Speaking on the subject of Bounded Accuracy (which I kinda hate saying, as it's super buzzwordy), I like the fact that, from level 1 to 20, I can go from having a hard time climbing a cliff face to being able to effortless climb a sheer rock wall in a category 5 hurricane. I don't want to lose that
Fixed that for you.

Do you think that changes my position? HURRICANE CLIMBING, HO!


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Nah, just providing clarity.


The like/dislike of bounded accuracy comes down to if you think high levels should be demi-gods and near unable to be harmed by mere mortals or not.

The ones who think they should be demi-gods are over looking that bounded accuracy in PF does not need to be just like 5e, its just used as an example of the fact you can indeed fix the math and not allow 47 mods to stack.

For myself, I have always hated the "look I am now a GOD!" of high end 3e.

Shadow Lodge

graystone wrote:
Examples... I played the playtest. it didn't feel like I was getting any better even though the number in front of my level changed. What more do you want me to say?

You could explain why this is the case (which is specifically what I'm asking).

Like an example example... you played a druid from 1st to 8th level and what you expected to get better at that you didn't?

Going from 1st to 8th level, a plains druid gaining access to spells like invisibility, haste, freedom of movement, shapechanging into flying creatures, unlocking the ability to make extra attacks, hitting for +10 damage when they do, etc... here's an exaple where a character in a bounded accuracy system is clearly getting better.

If you share the class and levels you played, the feats you took, etc, it would be enlightening to see how it didn't get better (and if it's bounded accuracy at play, or something else).

graystone wrote:
Monsters that used to kick my butt are now pushovers. I have tangible means to see my advancement. Going through several 5e levels didn't seem to play any differently from one another.

Which adventure(s) did you play? Maybe it was adventure selection vs the actual existence of bounded accuracy. If your experience didn't take you from a 1st level where a good battle was you took out a kobold to mid-levels and good battle being you took out half a dozen kobolds and and a troll (by yourself as part of a bigger battle)... then I understand. The question is what are the details where you felt your mid-level experience had no advancement from your 1st-level experience.


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The game has also changed a bit since the playtest, greatly so depending on which version of the playtest was used.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:

The like/dislike of bounded accuracy comes down to if you think high levels should be demi-gods and near unable to be harmed by mere mortals or not.

The ones who think they should be demi-gods are over looking that bounded accuracy in PF does not need to be just like 5e, its just used as an example of the fact you can indeed fix the math and not allow 47 mods to stack.

For myself, I have always hated the "look I am now a GOD!" of high end 3e.

If you note, I've said I'd have no issues with some streamlining of the math as long as it doesn't even, kind of, sort of, if you squint looks like a bit like the bounded accuracy of 5e.

wakedown/seekerofshadowlight: I played from the first till last play test. I played every class through various adventures offered for the playtest plus others converted. I also looked at the new books when they came out and didn't see anything to alter my opinion.

As to leveling: The best way I can explain it is it seemed like I was a 1st level person gaining some extra abilities instead of actually leveling. I roll a one and I fail a skill I'm really good at while the same skill in pathfinder I wouldn't even have to roll. Combat is pretty much the same.

As to which class/adventure/feats/ect... in the end, it didn't matter. It didn't feel like actual advancement.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:


I'm not really arguing against a bit more bounded accuracy (what I'd really like are bounded Ability Scores and a lower number of buffs that stack with each other), I'm just noting that you're painting with a bit too broad a brush here.

Exactly this.

Bounded Accuracy isn't just about fixing the RNG. I mean yes, it sets out to do that, but it ALSO sets out to make sure low level and high level enemies are always on the same RNG (as opposed to wakedown's described problem of on level enemies being off the RNG compared to optimized PCs), and also forcing all PCs to be on the same RNG for all tasks regardless of specialization levels (so the best high level rogue in the world has a chance of failure and the untrained fighter or wizard has a chance of succeed on the vast majority of tasks). These are the aspects of bounded accuracy that offend me, and likely most others who have problems with it.

I am all for a revamp that nails down various stacking bonus types to a smaller handful of bonuses that you can get, particularly to Hit/AC/Saves/Save DCs, to try to keep people of the same level on roughly the same RNG.

Not to say everyone needs to be there (because let's face it, we don't care if the Wizard's to-hit bonus with his staff is only +5 and monsters at this level have 25 AC, he's not going to be attacking with that staff anyway), but it is totally doable and even desirable to have a system where any given 10th level character will have AC, to-hit, and save values that fall within a certain range that is predictable enough to work with.

The problem with 5e is that instead of fixing the RNG at a specific level, they fixed it across all levels, so you never really progress. Then they also applied it to skill checks, which makes the feeling of lack of progression even more profound.

The problem with 4e was that they did balance the RNG on a per level basis, but they kept the math -too- tight, to the point where being short +1 or +2 to hit felt like a catastrophic failure, rather than a tradeoff being made to be better elsewhere.

I figure at any given level you can have a 6-10 point swing in acceptable values and come out with a roughly balanced system where nobody is totally obviated. So something like:

Spoiler:

AC Expected Values
1st level: 12-18
5th level: 15-22
10th level: 19-27
15th level: 24-33
20th level: 30-40

Is acceptable.

Something like:

Spoiler:

AC Expected Values
1st level: 12-13
5th level: 15-17
10th level: 19-21
15th level: 24-26
20th level: 30-32

Is not acceptable. Because it constrains characters too much and makes everyone basically the same. This was the 4e problem.

Something like:

Spoiler:

AC Expected Values
1st level: 12-18
5th level: 12-18
10th level: 12-18
15th level: 12-18
20th level: 12-18

Is not acceptable because it eliminates the progression that is an inherent part of the d20 system.


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wakedown wrote:
If a table doesn't have problems with the numerical extremes in printed adventures, then they're already using "gentleman's" bounded accuracy without even knowing or calling it such.

I must disagree here. There's no "gentleman's agreement" in my games and I don't have this problem. My problems with the APs I've dealt with is rarely an issue with the raw statistics so much as it's an issue with the encounters overall. For example...

Quote:
At level 8 in Council of Thieves, he's squaring off with a certain weakened duke (holy smoke this guy should be scary!). Oh wait, his attack line is +15/+15/+15/+15/+10/+10. He's alone, so we're fishing for 20s against this skill+DPR character that apparently doubles as an unhittable tank!

Writing solo-encounters is challenging and virtually no character in the game is going to even challenge a team of PCs unless they are so far above their paygrade that it's silly, or they've got so trickery to make party's waste time and actions or prevent them from using them (mages can do this) because they are outclassed. The game isn't even bashful about this as it says it right there in the Challenge Ratings for both sides.

Party of 4 8th level PCs with PC WBL = CR 12 encounter.
An "Epic (APL+3)" enemy = CR 11 encounter.

Likewise, the character that you mentioned is pushing their buffs really well. Meanwhile you're comparing him to an unbuffed NPC with no support. I frankly do not want to play in any game where being buffed to hell and back doesn't give you a whopping advantage over the guy without buffs. At that point there's barely any point.


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On a side note, the entire premise behind the Council of Thieves encounter you're talking about is really, really dumb. Like, it hurts me emotionally and mentally thinking that not only was this green-lighted but that everyone at the module meeting "seemed to like the idea".

Said NPC in the encounter is also debuffed and crippled beyond hope. The fight is given to the PCs from the get-go. He's at best a glorified punching bag.

Liberty's Edge

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@seerow:

Yeah, but that last point isn't actually true of 5E, it's more like:

AC Expected Values
1st level: 14-18
5th level: 15-21
10th level: 17-22
15th level: 18-23
20th level: 19-25

Now, that may be less of a difference than you'd like, but it's not quite as flat a curve as you're implying. Now, anything above 20 requires magic items, but that's hardly unusual as compared to Pathfinder.

Shadow Lodge

Albatoonoe wrote:
I like the fact that, from level 1 to 20, I can go from having a hard time climbing a cliff face...

This is a good example. Although, I think it's one of the misconceptions about bounded accuracy specifically when applied to skills.

As another example drawn from Rise of the Runelords AE uses DC50 checks for near-impossible difficulty for a level 14 party. (Random examples are a DC50 Diplomacy check on pg274, a DC50 Knowledge check on pg248, etc).

If I create a standard, run-of-the-mill level 14 character using the CRB with a 26 Charisma (+8), max ranks (+14, so +17) in Diplomacy and toss in a background trait (+1), Skill Focus (Diplomacy) (+6 at this level), she gets to +32 and still needs to roll an 18+ (15% odds) to make this DC50 check.

That's because 3.5e and subsequently Pathfinder needed to set the really hard DCs at level 14 to DC50. Here, a character arguably invested and optimized to make this check still only nets a 15% chance to make it. Lacking this PC at their table, most groups have no shot to achieve the result of this skill check.

Your same level 14 character (at least in 5e's method of handling bounded accuracy ~ specifically the skill part) would have a character rolling against a DC25-DC30 check (the DCs aren't the same as they used to be, and I think this is what people overlook). As they say "30 is the new 50" (or is that the other way around?)

With proficiency+expertise (+10) and a 20 Charisma (+5), they are needing to only roll a 10-15 on the dice and have a 25-50% chance to make the check for the part of the scenario (not counting advantage for multiple rolls against this).

At least, in the adventures printed from the respective publishers, you're more likely to climb a wall in a hurricane in a game with bounded accuracy than one without! (or, at least I'd like someone to drag out a comparison between an "impossible" check from Rise Of Tiamat level 8-15 and Runelords/Fortress+Sins/Random AP level 8-15).

Additionally, in this case we aren't even really discussing bounded accuracy so much as 5e's specific implementation of skill proficiency. Pathfinder 2.0 could implement a variant bounded accuracy by having a blanket rule that no character can have greater bonus on a skill check than "5 + (level x 2)". Not that I'd do that, but it at least illustrates that the conceptual bounded accuracy and some of 5e's specific implementation details can be decoupled.

Community Manager

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A reminder to keep it civil in here. Calling something "stupid" or "dumb" doesn't really help the discussion—explaining *why* you have that response helps everybody reading.


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You're probably right about written adventures. They're notorious for fluffing difficulties to screw the mundane characters.

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wakedown, I think it's less about the extreme ends of the "tough/impossible" check, and more about the fact that the character who is seriously attempting a DC50 check in PF has no problems ever with a DC15 check, whereas the 5e character who might make the DC25 check can still fail at a 15.

Basically it's not that the top numbers are brought down, but that no task ever becomes trivially easy, no matter how good you get.

Shadow Lodge

Ashiel wrote:
I must disagree here. There's no "gentleman's agreement" in my games and I don't have this problem. My problems with the APs I've dealt with is rarely an issue with the raw statistics so much as it's an issue with the encounters overall. For example...

Cool, this is helpful.

My first question is, if you have any characters like the handful of example characters I detailed whereby "bounded accuracy" specifically lowers the ceiling for them.

My "gentleman's agreement" essentially refers to players who either willingly don't push the limits of math or simply don't yet know that they can do so.

3.5 and Pathfinder alike, and the adventures Paizo wrote for both systems generally feature locale-based adventuring, so a good gamer is going to have ablative barrier, barkskin, heroism, heightened awareness, discovery torch, etc all active for their 2 hours on site. Most of my other examples were simply uses of free or swift actions on round 1 or round 2 and are fully exemplary of PCs use of abilities in those rounds when they believe they are facing an appropriately challenging combat. A game system without some form of ceiling control (i.e. limiting which buffs stack, their durations, the action economy to bring them to bear) is what allows folks to exceed the upper bound.

I agree a lot of climatic finales are written poorly (single monster that can fail an unoptimized Slumber hex).

Alas, in terms of what Paizo prints is the common benchmark we have for an appropriate level challenge for PCs created in those systems. The fact that the rules have grown over the years where PCs created with the latest rules regularly end BBEG fights in printed APs within 1-2 rounds seems indicative of a revised edition trying to address that, at least for the purposes of delivering a climatic finale that can last for an hour of gaming.

As a GM, I know I can regularly deliver this finale by going above and beyond a printed AP installment, but I need to essentially run something APL+6 or chain together a handful of APL+2 or APL+3 fights into one long fight (which is arguably worse than an APL+6).

One of the essential problems with Pathfinder (and 3.5 too, but it's gotten to a point where I feel Pathfinder may be worse than 3.5) is that the standard off-the-shelf adventures aren't set up to challenge PCs crafted with the latest rules.

Currently, as an example of most-recent adventure and most-recent-PC, I'm playing with a group through Plunder & Peril. We have a solid GM, but at the halfway mark, I think the total party damage taken has been repaired by 5 charges from a wand of cure light wounds, and we have yet to get past 2 rounds of combat. It's a cool module, but mechanically underwhelming for a group of expert players (and we've "been good" so to speak in terms of pushing the game's upper math ceiling ~ aka AC, save DCs and DPR).

Shadow Lodge

ryric wrote:
.. in PF has no problems ever with a DC15 check, whereas the 5e character who might make the DC25 check can still fail at a 15.

Except..

What is printed as a DC15 check in a PF adventure is actually a DC10 check in a 5e scenario of the same level.

(The DCs aren't the same... which is the #1 misconception)

Also, the 5e character who adds +15 to their roll can't fail that DC10 or even DC15 check (which is comparable to a DC20-25 check in Pathfinder).

Bounded accuracy (and in our case, we're discussing 5e's specific skill proficiency and expertise system as a supporting element of that, which isn't required to implement a form of bounded accuracy) doesn't change that a character who is truly exceptional at a skill doesn't need to roll at that skill.


ryric wrote:

wakedown, I think it's less about the extreme ends of the "tough/impossible" check, and more about the fact that the character who is seriously attempting a DC50 check in PF has no problems ever with a DC15 check, whereas the 5e character who might make the DC25 check can still fail at a 15.

Basically it's not that the top numbers are brought down, but that no task ever becomes trivially easy, no matter how good you get.

This is it exactly. In pathfinder, I expect the DC I can do without failing to 'level' up with me. That's really not the case in 5e and it's what makes it seem that I'm not getting better/improving.


ryric wrote:

wakedown, I think it's less about the extreme ends of the "tough/impossible" check, and more about the fact that the character who is seriously attempting a DC50 check in PF has no problems ever with a DC15 check, whereas the 5e character who might make the DC25 check can still fail at a 15.

Basically it's not that the top numbers are brought down, but that no task ever becomes trivially easy, no matter how good you get.

How much would a Take 10 rule help with this problem?


Morzadian wrote:
i think its fair to say if you introduce 'bounded accuracy' into the Pathfinder system, Pathfinder is no longer Pathfinder.

I wouldn't mistake your particular PF comfort zone with 'this is what PF is.' It's true, PF fans tend to skew conservative when it comes to anything but incremental game changes -- many of you folks are 3.5 holdouts, after all -- but there are PF fans with much wider 'what PF is' comfort zones. Not to mention a world of non-fans who're just looking for good rpgs, and don't give a fig what PF currently looks like. Heck, to many a non-forum-crawling gamer buying games off the shelf, anything with 'Pathfinder' on the cover is PF, no questions asked.

Mind you, I don't care for the idea of BA, and I'm not a 5e fan. Haven't even played it, so I have no horse in this race. But I don't believe in holding oneself hostage to narrow definitions of what a particular game is or is not.

Jester David wrote:
Because good ideas are good ideas.

QFT. Good ideas can vary from gamer to gamer, but I'd rather try a potentially good idea than stick to an old idea just because it'd 'homogenize' the game I'm playing.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

@seerow:

Yeah, but that last point isn't actually true of 5E, it's more like:

AC Expected Values
1st level: 14-18
5th level: 15-21
10th level: 17-22
15th level: 18-23
20th level: 19-25

Now, that may be less of a difference than you'd like, but it's not quite as flat a curve as you're implying. Now, anything above 20 requires magic items, but that's hardly unusual as compared to Pathfinder.

5e actually explicitly does not have any assumptions about magic items. So while it is theoretically possible for characters to improve in AC while leveling, the default math assumes that the PCs are not, and a 20th level PC has no more AC than the 1st.

Okay, maybe an extra point or two, because I do remember there being some expensive armors that you aren't intended to have at first level that you will get eventually. Still far narrower than your numbers would claim. And even that range is about half the range available in AD&D.

Liberty's Edge

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Seerow wrote:
5e actually explicitly does not have any assumptions about magic items. So while it is theoretically possible for characters to improve in AC while leveling, the default math assumes that the PCs are not, and a 20th level PC has no more AC than the 1st.

They don't assume magic items won't be available either.

The only one of my low numbers to include magic is maybe the one at 20th level (and you can get that high with a shield without any magic at all). The high numbers are where magic comes in, and are based on the DMG's definitions of what level it's reasonable to have certain items at.

So, I'm assuming magic items exist and that some individual PC might have them for the high range only of ACs expected per level...that's not a radical assumption.

Seerow wrote:
Okay, maybe an extra point or two, because I do remember there being some expensive armors that you aren't intended to have at first level that you will get eventually. Still far narrower than your numbers would claim. And even that range is about half the range available in AD&D.

There's also stats going up. That matters quite a bit for low numbers since those are usually assumed to be wearing light armor.

Shadow Lodge

graystone wrote:
This is it exactly. In pathfinder, I expect the DC I can do without failing to 'level' up with me. That's really not the case in 5e and it's what makes it seem that I'm not getting better/improving.

Let's look at some rogues and scaling walls. These rogues will all have a Str13/Dex18 (where they just want power attack, and with Dex-to-damage continue to build on their Dex as they level up).

Pathfinder Rogue and Climbing:

Level 1 Pathfinder Rogue
* 1 rank in Climb, +3 competence, total = +5 Climb
* 55% chance to climb a surface with adequate holds while stressed (DC15)
* 0% chance to climb the slipper wall in a hurricane (DC50)

Level 8 Pathfinder Rogue
* 8 ranks in Climb, +3 competence, total = +12 Climb
* 90% chance to climb a surface with adequate holds while stressed (DC15)
* 0% chance to climb the slipper wall in a hurricane (DC50)

Level 16 Pathfinder Rogue
* 16 ranks in Climb, +3 competence, total = +20 Climb
* 100% chance to climb a surface with adequate holds while stressed (DC15)
* 0% chance to climb the slipper wall in a hurricane (DC50)

5E Rogue and Climbing:

Level 1 5E Rogue
* Proficient at climbing, total +3 Athletics
* 40% chance to climb a surface with adequate holds while stressed (DC10)
* 0% chance to climb the slipper wall in a hurricane (DC50)
* Likely has Advantage, so two chances at this roll

Level 8 5E Rogue
* Expertise at climbing, total +7 Athletics
* 70% chance to climb a surface with adequate holds while stressed (DC10)
* 0% chance to climb the slipper wall in a hurricane (DC30)
* Likely has Advantage, so two chances at this roll

Level 16 5E Rogue
* Expertise at climbing, total +10 Athletics
* 100% chance to climb a surface with adequate holds while stressed (DC10)
* 5% chance to climb the slipper wall in a hurricane (DC30)
* Likely has Advantage, so two chances at this roll

The net basically:

Pathfinder: Go from +5 to +20 while the DCs range from DC15 to DC50 for comparable tasks.

5e: Go from +3 to +10 while the DCs range from DC10 to DC30 for comparable tasks, with a 5% chance for the impossible and an advantage system (roll twice) to actually make your mathematical probability better at the comparable task.

I like to think of the changes as comparable to Patch 6.0.2 stat squish.

Sure some players liked to see 1,000,000 damage dealt as they killed an ogre in 5 seconds, but Blizzard really didn't want to use a long instead of an integer everywhere to tally up numbers.

So, magic happens and the character now swings for 10,000 damage again, and still kills that same ogre in 5 seconds. Some players aren't happy they aren't doing 1 million damage anymore... but most are bissfully unaware and are still content killing an ogre in 5 seconds flat.

If you're saying, "man I like looking down at my level 16 character and seeing +20 next to my Climb versus +10, even though I know my target numbers are much lower when I have +10"... I totally understand there's a psychological benefit to a game system using bigger numbers as a leveling reward.

(Perhaps Pathfinder 2e should have us roll d30s instead!)

(also note the scale on which numbers are used is completely independent from implementing bounded accuracy)


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Quote:
There's also stats going up. That matters quite a bit for low numbers since those are usually assumed to be wearing light armor.

Yes I'm sure those Wizards and Barbarians are lining up to boost their dex to get that extra point of AC, and it's totally not just the rogues who are ever going to see a boost to AC from that.

Quote:

They don't assume magic items won't be available either.

The only one of my low numbers to include magic is maybe the one at 20th level (and you can get that high with a shield without any magic at all). The high numbers are where magic comes in, and are based on the DMG's definitions of what level it's reasonable to have certain items at.

So, I'm assuming magic items exist and that some individual PC might have them for the high range only of ACs expected per level...that's not a radical assumption.

You are claiming that a character that started with a 14 AC is going to get up to 18 without any investment in magic items by level 15. I am not seeing that. There actually isn't enough bonuses floating around in the game for that to be the norm. There will be occasional characters that improve, but just taking a typical character they're going to get their expensive armor upgrade for +1, and maybe some dex for another +1 (and this one is going to be rare, pretty much rogues and maybe rangers only). If they weren't wearing a shield at level 1, they aren't going to suddenly pick one up at level 18 just because to hit your standard. In fact, if they did, that would run completely counter to the entire point of bounded accuracy, making the system even more ridiculous.


Bill Dunn wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Something I would like to see in a revised Pathfinder game is a clarification of order of operations. Little things like when you roll concealment against an attack.
There's a dispute in this case?

As far as I'm aware the rules don't actually dictate which comes first.

I always have the players roll miss chance first, that way they don't roll attacks if the attack couldn't hit and they don't get bummed out by missing out on a crit or something like that.

I always roll concealment after the attack roll. Then if is a crit, I get to see the player's crestfallen face. Warms the cockles of my RBGM heart.

And that's a fine interpretation. It's just never spelled out in the book. I've always found the order of operations to be poorly explained, or at overly spread out across rules.

For example: The rules for when arcane spell failure tell you when you roll the arcane spell failure chance (before the spell has been cast), and the rules for spell resistance tell you when spell resistance should be checked against (after a spell is cast, but before saving throws).

What I'd really love to see more of is something like:

Quote:

Casting spells

- Declare a spell to cast
- Roll arcane spell failure, if applicable
- Roll for concentration if applicable
- Check that the spell can be casted in the targeted area; that it won't be interfered with or prevented by the terrain.
- Declare targets that can be effected
- Roll to overcome spell resistance against targets that possess it
- Targets that are affected roll saving throws
- Affect targets

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Fair point that in 5e, Rogues are actually skill kings/queens and are better at them in a meaningful way than most other classes.


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Liz Courts wrote:
A reminder to keep it civil in here. Calling something "stupid" or "dumb" doesn't really help the discussion—explaining *why* you have that response helps everybody reading.

I was trying to avoid spoilers. Here's a more detailed explanation as for why it bothers the world out of me.

Council of Thieves Encounter:
The NPC that he was discussing is a "pit fiend". More so, it's an Infernal Duke (as in the biggest and baddest of pit fiends that there are). I have issues not only with the encounter itself but the premise. The following is copy/pasted from the AP for purposes of review.

“So there’s a decadent Chelish noble who imprisoned a
pit fiend in his basement and is using it to give his manor
hot water and self-lighting fireplaces, only something’s
gone wrong and the pit fiend is about to escape from
his cage.”

It likens this to nuclear fallout situations (whereas at best this is like saying you use a nuclear power plant to run your Gameboy). It really bothers me that a pit fiend which cannot even be called into the material plane with anything short of gate and a 17th+ level spellcaster, a pit fiend is one of the ultimate monsters in Pathfinder, a pit fiend literally able to look at you funny and steal your soul, and he's in some dude's basement acting as a hot water heater. Something that is trivially easy to do with cantrips on a wizard's pocket change. I guess if the idea was to be silly or humorous like in Munchkin or something that'd be par for the course but it just comes off as really...not cool.

A fire elemental could have pretty much the same usage, make more sense, be more consistent with the power scale, and still has the "uh-oh, outsider escaped, city burnin' down" factor. I'd even have not minded if it was any other kinda upper-level fiend, but you might as well have just stuck a Tarrasque in the family Kennel.

Then there's the encounter itself. The pit fiend in Pathfinder's strengths have never been due to its martial prowess but rather its great spell-like abilities, mobility, and general options that make it dangerous. However, even without the five negative levels that the pit fiend has, the pit fiend is reduced to a single fireball, greater dispel magic, fire wall, and scorching ray and is more or less permanently staggered. He's just there to get punched in the face until he falls down - possibly twice thanks to his duke power, but the entire thing is boring and feels really cheap. Resist energy pretty much shuts what little threat he poses to the party down. If the party uses any teamwork or consumable items (such as a tanglefoot bag) he's pretty much done. A mindless brute that is crippled at being a brute because of constant staggering.

Definitely a major disappointment all around. Not only does it feel really forced and kinda dumb, but then the fight with the pit fiend is really lame. I'd have much rather seen a lower-tier monster that is more fitting used in that place and actually get a real pit fiend encounter later in the AP that would feel as epic as it really should.

If it wasn't negotiable and it had to be a pit fiend, I'd at least have liked to have seen more ways of playing with his abilities to at least make it feel like you were fighting a pit fiend. Negative levels in Pathfinder don't remove feats, so having feats like Quicken Spell-like Ability on him would have been really cool since he could drop a quickened spell while lumbering forth, and applying pressure by dropping fireballs or around himself (taking advantage of his immunities) and setting debris in the room on fire! Maybe quickening his greater dispels so he could strip party buffs (all those extended buffs that wakedown was talking about would need to be re-applied, making it less of a cakewalk).

These are small things that would have made the encounter a lot cooler and way more fun and interesting. Instead, he doesn't really have much to do other than try to slowly lumber towards the party and bite them. It's very disappointing. (T_T)

Liberty's Edge

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Seerow wrote:
Yes I'm sure those Wizards and Barbarians are lining up to boost their dex to get that extra point of AC, and it's totally not just the rogues who are ever going to see a boost to AC from that.

Given that starting characters tend to start with 16 or so in their primary stat, they literally have more stat points than they can use on their main stat (gaining 10 over 20 levels). So...yes, I'd expect AC to be an eventual priority for many characters, at least a bit.

You're also missing the 'everyone can use finesse weapons' thing, which makes lightly armored characters quite incentivized to go Dex over Str if they use weapons at all. And in that case, it goes up quite a bit (since Dex is one of their main stats).

Seerow wrote:
You are claiming that a character that started with a 14 AC is going to get up to 18 without any investment in magic items by level 15. I am not seeing that. There actually isn't enough bonuses floating around in the game for that to be the norm. There will be occasional characters that improve, but just taking a typical character they're going to get their expensive armor upgrade for +1, and maybe some dex for another +1 (and this one is going to be rare, pretty much rogues and maybe rangers only).

Well...what Class are we talking here? It varies a lot per Class. And, frankly, I'd expect everyone (with the exception of Barbarians, who I'd still expect to grab Dex 14 at some point) who engages in melee combat to either be wearing Full Plate or going Dex-based, and archers are obviously gonna be Dex primary.

Several people can also potentially get Class bonuses to AC as they level (Bards and Warlocks leap to mind, via medium armor plus shields for the Bard, and less so via Armor of the Pit for Warlock).

The only people that leaves out are people who purely rely on spells for combat. Them I'd expect to have shields if they've got proficiency (and many do) or Mage Armor up, and thus some serious incentive to increase Dex as their next priority after their casting stat. Maybe I did overshoot slightly for a literally zero magic item scenario, but that's hardly the norm, even in 5E, and I didn't overshoot by all that much.

Seerow wrote:
If they weren't wearing a shield at level 1, they aren't going to suddenly pick one up at level 18 just because to hit your standard. In fact, if they did, that would run completely counter to the entire point of bounded accuracy, making the system even more ridiculous.

Raising AC somewhat over the course of levels seems like something that would happen naturally. Frankly, even as low as a 14 is a bad idea, and I was assuming a slightly growing level of optimization as play progresses. For characters as optimized as I'd expect just about anyone to get by 20th, I'd expect more like 15 as a minimum at 1st.

Shadow Lodge

Petty Alchemy wrote:
Fair point that in 5e, Rogues are actually skill kings/queens and are better at them in a meaningful way than most other classes.

I'd count that as a point in 5e's favor, myself.


Kthulhu wrote:
Petty Alchemy wrote:
Fair point that in 5e, Rogues are actually skill kings/queens and are better at them in a meaningful way than most other classes.
I'd count that as a point in 5e's favor, myself.

Rogues really aren't the kings of anything in 5e. Just like fighters they still suck, and their only real advantage is that they get Expertise a few levels earlier than Bards who are also full casters with access to the ritual system.

It doesn't help that 5e has an even less developed and explicit system (if you can call it a system) for Stealth than 3.x or PF. It basically comes down to "Ask the GM if you can hide and from who, because there aren't any actual rules for determining if you can."

Liberty's Edge

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Aratrok wrote:
fighters
Aratrok wrote:
suck

Heey. Heeeey. I'm doing pretty alright with my fighter in 5e. (Despite the fact that out of four permanent members and two who rotate in/out of the group, I'm the only person who doesn't use magic at all. On the other hand, I gots the ranged combat handled.)


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+7 vs DC 15 is a 65% chance of success.

Discussing 5e's skills is kind've moot, since they're very ephemeral. There are very few actually defined DCs, and the skill list is tiny and what you can actually do with them is barely defined at all.

It's easier to discuss the obvious problems like combat scaling and big monsters being laughably unable to knock anything down than skills, since you're likely to get a bunch of people swarming in to tell you "the GM is supposed to fix it" like that isn't indicative of a problem to begin with.

Liberty's Edge

Aratrok wrote:
It doesn't help that 5e has an even less developed and explicit system (if you can call it a system) for Stealth than 3.x or PF. It basically comes down to "Ask the GM if you can hide and from who, because there aren't any actual rules for determining if you can."

Which is only a problem if you're not playing with a GM.

The rules are like that on purpose because, after years of playing with stealth rules, they realized that harder rules always led to people being able to stealth in implausible ways. So we end up with the video game version of stealth, which equals invisibility only being non-magical. People standing in the middle of the field "stealthed" because of a corner case of the rules.


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Jester David wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
It doesn't help that 5e has an even less developed and explicit system (if you can call it a system) for Stealth than 3.x or PF. It basically comes down to "Ask the GM if you can hide and from who, because there aren't any actual rules for determining if you can."
Which is only a problem if you're not playing with a GM.
Or if your GM is new or inexperienced [or bad, we can't always vet our GMs before we get invested in a campaign.]
Quote:
The rules are like that on purpose because, after years of playing with stealth rules, they realized that harder rules always led to people being able to stealth in implausible ways. So we end up with the video game version of stealth, which equals invisibility only being non-magical. People standing in the middle of the field "stealthed" because of a corner case of the rules.

I actually LIKE that level of stealth. For someone to be so damned sneaky that they blend into the background unless somebody can successfully notice them.


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Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Something I would like to see in a revised Pathfinder game is a clarification of order of operations. Little things like when you roll concealment against an attack.
There's a dispute in this case?

As far as I'm aware the rules don't actually dictate which comes first.

I always have the players roll miss chance first, that way they don't roll attacks if the attack couldn't hit and they don't get bummed out by missing out on a crit or something like that.

I always roll concealment after the attack roll. Then if is a crit, I get to see the player's crestfallen face. Warms the cockles of my RBGM heart.

And that's a fine interpretation. It's just never spelled out in the book. I've always found the order of operations to be poorly explained, or at overly spread out across rules.

For example: The rules for when arcane spell failure tell you when you roll the arcane spell failure chance (before the spell has been cast), and the rules for spell resistance tell you when spell resistance should be checked against (after a spell is cast, but before saving throws).

What I'd really love to see more of is something like:

Quote:

Casting spells

- Declare a spell to cast
- Roll arcane spell failure, if applicable
- Roll for concentration if applicable
- Check that the spell can be casted in the targeted area; that it won't be interfered with or prevented by the terrain.
- Declare targets that can be effected
- Roll to overcome spell resistance against targets that possess it
- Targets that are affected roll saving throws
- Affect targets

Some of that's useful to know, but in some cases it doesn't matter. It literally makes no mechanical difference in most cases whether you roll spell resistance or saves first. I'd roll resistance first if the spell has some effect (half damage or something) if the save is made, but only because that saves on dice rolling. Otherwise, whichever one's more likely to stop the spell - again possibly less dice to roll.

Same with arcane spell failure/concentration or attack roll/miss chance. It doesn't matter, so there doesn't need to be a rule. Whatever's convenient.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Jester David wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
It doesn't help that 5e has an even less developed and explicit system (if you can call it a system) for Stealth than 3.x or PF. It basically comes down to "Ask the GM if you can hide and from who, because there aren't any actual rules for determining if you can."
Which is only a problem if you're not playing with a GM.
Or if your GM is new or inexperienced [or bad, we can't always vet our GMs before we get invested in a campaign.]
Quote:
The rules are like that on purpose because, after years of playing with stealth rules, they realized that harder rules always led to people being able to stealth in implausible ways. So we end up with the video game version of stealth, which equals invisibility only being non-magical. People standing in the middle of the field "stealthed" because of a corner case of the rules.
I actually LIKE that level of stealth. For someone to be so damned sneaky that they blend into the background unless somebody can successfully notice them.

I like that level of stealth, but I don't like it require corner cases of rules. It should just be "really good at stealth".

Shadow Lodge

Aratrok wrote:
Discussing 5e's skills is kind've moot, since they're very ephemeral. There are very few actually defined DCs, and the skill list is tiny and what you can actually do with them is barely defined at all.

Agreed.

I wouldn't be surprised to see form of bounded accuracy in Pathfinder 2e though, and some folks seem to have an unnatural objection to it because they perceive it would hurt their competence at basic skills. I think that's important to diffuse somewhat, so that when and if Pathfinder 2e playtesting arrives, folks don't have an immediate "reject" disposition and actually give that part a try.

To which, you can test differences in systems by examining printed adventures, the skills they would require for mundane, exceptional and near-impossible tasks (since these aren't so ephemeral and actually control success climbing a wall into the theoretical hill giant stockage). At comparable levels of play, the current 5e adventures are tossing out DC15 checks to accomplish something that a comparable level current PF AP chapter tosses out DC25 (Paizo tends to use DCs like DC22, DC23, etc a lot too to try to find an appropriate challenge bar).

This also ignores the general impact of advantage (roll twice) on success probabilty - which generaly affects perceived prowess in a skill (to some players, they feel like advantage/rolling twice is a higher indicator of expertise than a static +2 to +5 bonus).

Climbing is pretty rough in 3.x - by default you're moving quarter-speed (which for most 30ft move characters means 7.5ft climbed per move action). Climbing in 5e, by default characters are moving half-speed (something which imposes a further -5 in PF). In Pathfinder, if you fail by 5 or more you fall. In 5e, it's assumed you're not taking such risks and falling doesn't happen (unless your GM is as evil as Sauron).

Locally, we have a lot of PF and 5e characters, who when they both bump into each other start with the generalizations. It just takes a little conversation for the PF players here to see "oh, wow climbing sounds nicer in that system than this one". I wouldn't object to Pathfinder 2e making improvements to climbing similar to "that other game".

Maybe Climb was a bad example to show a character would be less effective in 5e than PF at a comparable level in a comparable adventure. It's certainly more interesting than discussing Appraise, though.


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Quote:

Despite all your comments, you didn't really put together any data to support a counterpoint.

I did however give plenty of examples of things you completely ignored in your data. In truth there are too many moving parts to make a quick comparison that is totally fair.

What should be obvious without any serious analysis is that PF leaves a lot more room for improvement in skills than 5e does. The 5e rogue you described is practically as good as it gets at climbing. He matches a 20th level Fighter, the only way you'll get better is by playing a strength based rogue or bard (never going to happen). Meanwhile the PF character presented is baseline minimum for climbing, and realistically will more than double his effectiveness if he cares about it, and if he doesn't will buy some slippers of spider climbing or whatever and put his ranks somewhere else.

What should also be easy to see without detailed analysis is the lack of relative progress being made against lower to mid range DCs. If you take a trained skill the character is good at (say a str based skill for a Fighter) at level 20 you have a +11 vs a +35. The Fighter is going to auto pass anything up to a DC36, which using your curve (I don't necessarily agree with, but we'll use it for this purpose) translates roughly to a DC20, which the 5e Fighter is going to fail at almost half the time. If you push the DC up to where the PF fighter is failing half the time, the 5e Fighter is succeeding closer to 10% of the time. And this is still ignoring all of the other stuff I mentioned (equipment, feats, traits, skill unlocks, etc).

Or even ignoring the PF comparisons, the typical 5e character starts at level 1 with a +5 vs DC15 (50% chance of success), and ends the game with +11 vs DC15 (80% chance of success). That's a pretty miniscule improvement overall. Add in that you're also getting fewer trained skills, and almost no options beyond training the skill to improve it further and it really makes it feel like nobody can actually master a skill in 5e, which is a major problem.

Basically, you cherry picked a single scenario that presents 5e in the best possible light, but when examining the majority of scenarios outside of that, it really shows how paper thin the defense of its skill system is.

Liberty's Edge

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There's an article on bounded accuracy here:
http://archive.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20120604

Bounded accuracy really comes down to doing with 95% of other RPGs do and not having characters increase their numbers by 1-3 every level so the DCs being used against characters remain constant. Other than D&D and D&D clones, most new games of the last, well, 30 years have gone for a form of BA.

But there's totally a middle ground between BA and Pathfinder. Just reducing the numbers and making bonuses to attack harder to get would have a dramatic impact on gameplay.
For example, just reducing someone like, say, the fighter's BAB by half means they're going from a default +1 to +20 to a +1 to +10. That's still a pretty big jump and you're still much more likely to hit, but it's not obscenely high.
Similarly, when calculating the assumed AC of monster by CR, the game can not assuming magic items, feats, or traits. This reduces the assumed ACs by as much as 10 (but very likely far more).
A level 20 character is still far, far, far more accurate but the numbers aren't crazy high for no real reason. And bonuses you do gain are a perk that makes you better, not just keep even.

Realistically, there comes a point when the numbers just stop mattering. The dirty truth is Pathfinder fighters aren't that much better against a small army of mooks than 5e fighters. If the orcs need a 20 of the die to hit the fighter, it doesn't matter if their AC is 25 of 45. They still hit on the 20 and their hit percentage is the same. Large numbers of opponents are always going to be the weakness of a fighter style class.


Jester David wrote:
Realistically, there comes a point when the numbers just stop mattering. The dirty truth is Pathfinder fighters aren't that much better against a small army of mooks than 5e fighters. If the orcs need a 20 of the die to hit the fighter, it doesn't matter if their AC is 25 of 45. They still hit on the 20 and their hit percentage is the same. Large numbers of opponents are always going to be the weakness of a fighter style class.

This is part of why I've done away with the d20. It's too wide and flat. 2d10 covers roughly the same range of rolls but it's a much cleaner die choice IMO.

It also reduces auto-hits [and auto-fails on a roll of snakeyes] from 5% to 1%

Granting a bit of scaling DR to martial characters would also make it easy for a... say... level 13+ martial to wade into an army of level 1s and 2s unscathed.


I think skills in the 5E PHB, was the biggest dud in book.

Still... there is much more in the 5E PHB, that I liked, than disliked.

It's what came after the PHB, that was the real disappointment. DMG, and the MM, were very lackluster.


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Quote:

Bounded accuracy really comes down to doing with 95% of other RPGs do and not having characters increase their numbers by 1-3 every level so the DCs being used against characters remain constant. Other than D&D and D&D clones, most new games of the last, well, 30 years have gone for a form of BA.

Most manage it by using resolution mechanics other than d20.

For example, I play Shadowrun. I really enjoy shadowrun. A typical character will be rolling 0-4 dice in a skill they aren't trained in, 4-7 dice in a skill they've got minimal investment in, and 8-15 dice in a skill they are specialized in. DCs tend to range between 1 and 5. Literally everyone has a chance at easy DCs. Everybody with any investment has a chance even at hard DCs. Somebody specialized is much more likely to succeed at all DCs, but still has a chance (though very small) of failing even at easy DCs.

This accomplishes everything bounded accuracy wants to. Keeping players on the same RNG, narrowing the band of power, and keeping the RNG important. But despite the general scale of progressing being going up about 10 points separating an amateur from a specialist, the core mechanic makes sure that 10 points is super meaningful and the specialist still feels awesome at his job.

Other games like L5R, White Wolf, etc, all tend to use alternate dice mechanics as well, generally involving rolling a larger number of smaller dice, relying on the normal distribution curve to make small improvements feel more meaningful.

In D&D or a D&D based game, you are never going to have that. 5e tries to do it with advantage/disadvantage, but rolling 2d20 isn't getting enough of a curve in the RNG to really get the same feeling. And going much beyond that really changes the feel of the game, to the point where I don't see that change happening.

You could theoretically still get away with bounded accuracy with yet more systemic changes. Things like making HP/DR/Damage scale faster with level than they have in other editions, and heavy utilization of mechanics like skill unlocks to make it so a level 20 character can do things with a skill that a level 1 character can't dream of, despite having a similar bonus. But that requires a lot of crunch and serious changes in design, which 5e never bothered with. So instead you end up with a half-baked 3e clone that tries to stretch E6 out to 20 levels but decides to go ahead and give casters 9th level spells anyway because why not.

Liberty's Edge

Seerow wrote:

Or even ignoring the PF comparisons, the typical 5e character starts at level 1 with a +5 vs DC15 (50% chance of success), and ends the game with +11 vs DC15 (80% chance of success). That's a pretty miniscule improvement overall. Add in that you're also getting fewer trained skills, and almost no options beyond training the skill to improve it further and it really makes it feel like nobody can actually master a skill in 5e, which is a major problem.

Basically, you cherry picked a single scenario that presents 5e in the best possible light, but when examining the majority of scenarios outside of that, it really shows how paper thin the defense of its skill system is.

50% to 80% is a miniscule improvement but it IS and improvement. The rogue gets better.

But in 3.X and 4e there was no improvement because the rogue wouldn't face a wall of the same DC at level 1 and level 20. The wall would gain DC at the same rate the rogue gained skill ranks so the chance of success would be a constant 50%.

The only time the rogue comes across a wall with a non-scaling DC is when the rest of the party has to climb it. At which point the rogue doesn't even need to bother because they cannot fail, even on a -1. They are so good at climbing they are ceasing to play the game.

The only way to actually get better as a rogue is to put some serious resources into climbing: feats, magic items, traits, making a racial bonus. Which is easy because bonuses to those things are handed out like candy.
I have a level 8 monk I'm playing in PFS. He has a +32 to jump. Oh, and 2 ranks. So it could be a +38. Pits and gaps just cease to be a problem.
It's just too easy to find bonuses and slap them on.

Shadow Lodge

Seerow wrote:
.. if he doesn't will buy some slippers of spider climbing or whatever and put his ranks somewhere else.

True for a character in any edition of any RPG. Magic obviates skills in a majority of cases at high-level play. You need to look at the comparable characters before they pick up an "I-Win" item for a specific skill if you want to talk about skill systems.

Seerow wrote:
(say a str based skill for a Fighter) at level 20 you have a +11 vs a +35. The Fighter is going to auto pass anything up to a DC36, which using your curve (I don't necessarily agree with, but we'll use it for this purpose) translates roughly to a DC20, which the 5e Fighter is going to fail at almost half the time...

Level 20 is one thing, I tend to like benchmarking somewhere around level 6-8 and somewhere around level 12-15 to get an idea of two different ideally sweet spots. Looking at level 20, you ignore 95% of levels (and probably 99.9% of actual games played).

A fighter rocking a +35 Climb or Swim... that's +19 in skill ranks (half the ones they get in their career), maybe +10 from rocking a 30 Strength, +6 from taking Skill Focus: Climb (which I don't think I've ever seen anyone do, but is the least expensive way to get there).

I believe if you take the time to measure up a 3.x/Pathfinder Fighter and a 5e Fighter, you may change your mind about which one is actually the one who is generally challenged when it comes to skills.

Bounce them up against an example adventure. Collect all the skill checks and their listed DCs. I'd place money that a level 10 5e figher succeeds at more than the level 10 3.x/PF fighter.

(since we've moved the conversation from the rogue to the fighter -- the question is where does it go next in the great skill discussion?)

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