Bounded Accuracy Isn't Bad


Prerelease Discussion

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Bounded accuracy works well for combat but not for skill checks. It's really about how much damage you deal, not how often you hit. B.A. just makes the math easier and faster. I like that magic weapons/armor only go up to +3, and that +3 is a big bonus. I like that getting a +1 to hit from something is valuable, instead of in PF where you have to stack a bunch of features or items to stay competitive.

As previously mentioned, it can be hard to make an encounter balanced when there's a 5-10 point swing between different character's attack rolls and the progressive penalty to additional attacks. It's all extra rules that don't need to be there. It's just clutter.

One thing I dislike about 5e is the skills. If I'm proficient, then I should be able to reliably perform the task. The mechanics just don't support the concept. If I want to be effective at a skill, then I have to be a rogue or bard.

But on the PF side, I had a ranger of about 8th level that stacked everything and with a few good rolls, was hitting DC 30. It was fun, but all of a sudden, I needed to hit DC 30. It set the par too high. My GM was unimpressed with DC 20's because that was an easy roll. Maybe that's not fair but it happens all the time. I played a ranger recently in 5e and she hasn't succeeded once on a tracking track or nature check. She has a decent wisdom too.

So perhaps there's a middle ground where PCs can be good at something but not so good that it messes with the GM's ability to set up challenges. Ex. proficient +4, expert +8, master +12. I personally would like to see proficiency = Advantage (take the better or two rolls). Less math, more reliable results, and less book keeping. Attribute mod + 1d20 for unskilled or 2d20 for skilled.


bounded accuracy is fine, but being able to pull of inhumanly amazing tricks is nice too.

For encounter balance there are other ways to make adds for a high level battle. Assuming that damage still scales as strongly in in pathfinder as it did before. Monsters or NPCs with sufficiently high Attack rolls and AC but with a lower Damage output and HP gauge would work fine. This just was not very feasible in PF1 because monsters and NPCs were bound to the same progression rules as PCs, which is being changed this edition as far as i understand.


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Skullkeeper wrote:

Bounded accuracy works well for combat but not for skill checks. It's really about how much damage you deal, not how often you hit. B.A. just makes the math easier and faster. I like that magic weapons/armor only go up to +3, and that +3 is a big bonus. I like that getting a +1 to hit from something is valuable, instead of in PF where you have to stack a bunch of features or items to stay competitive.

As previously mentioned, it can be hard to make an encounter balanced when there's a 5-10 point swing between different character's attack rolls and the progressive penalty to additional attacks. It's all extra rules that don't need to be there. It's just clutter.

One thing I dislike about 5e is the skills. If I'm proficient, then I should be able to reliably perform the task. The mechanics just don't support the concept. If I want to be effective at a skill, then I have to be a rogue or bard.

But on the PF side, I had a ranger of about 8th level that stacked everything and with a few good rolls, was hitting DC 30. It was fun, but all of a sudden, I needed to hit DC 30. It set the par too high. My GM was unimpressed with DC 20's because that was an easy roll. Maybe that's not fair but it happens all the time. I played a ranger recently in 5e and she hasn't succeeded once on a tracking track or nature check. She has a decent wisdom too.

So perhaps there's a middle ground where PCs can be good at something but not so good that it messes with the GM's ability to set up challenges. Ex. proficient +4, expert +8, master +12. I personally would like to see proficiency = Advantage (take the better or two rolls). Less math, more reliable results, and less book keeping. Attribute mod + 1d20 for unskilled or 2d20 for skilled.

I agree with this completely - I like the idea of player characters being mortals who, even when very powerful, can't stand down an entire army of determined kobolds but the way that 5e handles skills feels very passive and unsatisfying. For verisimilitude/RP reasons it also makes sense why a pudgy old man is king and not the PCs. Because he has an army, and they don't.


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Skullkeeper wrote:
So perhaps there's a middle ground where PCs can be good at something but not so good that it messes with the GM's ability to set up challenges

This is a GM problem not a system problem.

If your ranger can succeed on a roll of 2 on the d20 then it's the GM's job to give you that success.

As GMs our job isn't about 'challenge' it's about creating an engaging world and fairly arbitrating its behavior independently and in reaction to the actions of the PCs


Filthy Lucre wrote:
I like the idea of player characters being mortals who, even when very powerful, can't stand down an entire army of determined kobolds

How are you defining an army?

One hundred Kobold crossbowmen would statistically hit 5 times per round against a target with 'hit on a 20' Once every other round one of those will crit for double damage.

Without DR that will shred most parties that tried to 'stand them down'

Not exactly fair considering a wizard can butcher them all with AoE but whatever.


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If the Kobolds have a standing army instead of a warren full of traps and tricks before the enemy ever gets to them, they deserve to get taken out by the party.


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I think problems arise when you try to go too simulationist with the game rules. They don't support that very well. Just look at hit points. The debate on what they actually mean ("luck and skill points" vs. "meat points") is an old one. Even today there is no consensus. Falling damage is another stickler. When you try to go simulationist with a set of rules that can't properly function that way (not completely), you run into problems.

So it is with monsters. Now, in D&D-style fantasy, certainly characters tend to become as demigods (or casters, in the case of 3.x, become as full gods), so that it makes narrative sense for them to mow through groups of less experienced and less powerful creatures. But what we should really be hewing to here is the narrative requirements of the story, not slave to the mechanics. If there's a need for this particular scenario to be more threatening, with more on the line, you can up the threat level of the foes without necessarily making every single war band of orcs into demigods unto themselves.

Monsters having levels instead of hit dice and CR really helps with this. For the same reason an ancient dragon awakened and weak from slumber could be a big "boss" encounter at level 4. They don't kill it, and not every level 4 group is going to vanquish dragons. Later on, that same dragon, who is now using more of its power and investing its time into the encounter, might be its full level of 18. Most orcs might be low-level, but the elite guards employed by that iron-fisted tyrant are meant to pose a threat for the purposes of the narrative, so they're higher level.

Assuming "the whole world levels up when you do" or that because exceptions exist that everything must be extrapolated to the same degree doesn't work. Assuming that each area is a zone like in an MMO and must be at a certain level range likewise doesn't work. Or rather, those things run into problems when you expect them to perfectly simulate every aspect of interaction with the game world. Heck, the process runs into problems with just characters. A few levels can make a huge difference, even though maybe only a couple months have passed in-game since you last encountered those orcs.

So in that sense, bounded accuracy has both advantages and disadvantages. Even without it, though, I think you can get a lot of the same effect by adjusting monster levels (which, if I read correctly, is replacing hit dice and CR, and thank the gods!) to pose the threat that your story says they should. It doesn't help you with the math being faster and easier, but it's at least something that gives all of us a chance to have what we want.


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On thinking about it, bounded accuracy is okay as long as the bounds are not kept artificially low. It's okay if you can still make meaningful customization choices to raise the bonuses you care about. It is okay as long as it doesn't mean a pack of level 1 snot goblins are a credible threat to a party of elite level 20 adventurers.

All bounded accuracy really has to mean is that characters and creatures of similar level, are within a similar range of capability to each other.


So, prime example of how the CR/Combat encounter math needs to change. According to the official guidelines...

5 CR1 creatures should be MORE than a match for a group of (5) level 5 Characters. Run that encounter and tell me how well the monsters fair.


That doesn't sound right Filthy.

It might place them as equivalent CR [which is supposed to be a speedbump that's felt, but not stressful] for a party of four at level 5

Still seems a bit underpowered [especially since the theory is that every +2 in CR is supposed to represent a doubling in power, which would make it 8 CR 1 creatures for CR 5 against a 4 member party] though.


Lady Firebird wrote:

I think problems arise when you try to go too simulationist with the game rules. They don't support that very well. Just look at hit points. The debate on what they actually mean ("luck and skill points" vs. "meat points") is an old one. Even today there is no consensus. Falling damage is another stickler. When you try to go simulationist with a set of rules that can't properly function that way (not completely), you run into problems.

So it is with monsters. Now, in D&D-style fantasy, certainly characters tend to become as demigods (or casters, in the case of 3.x, become as full gods), so that it makes narrative sense for them to mow through groups of less experienced and less powerful creatures. But what we should really be hewing to here is the narrative requirements of the story, not slave to the mechanics. If there's a need for this particular scenario to be more threatening, with more on the line, you can up the threat level of the foes without necessarily making every single war band of orcs into demigods unto themselves.

Monsters having levels instead of hit dice and CR really helps with this. For the same reason an ancient dragon awakened and weak from slumber could be a big "boss" encounter at level 4. They don't kill it, and not every level 4 group is going to vanquish dragons. Later on, that same dragon, who is now using more of its power and investing its time into the encounter, might be its full level of 18. Most orcs might be low-level, but the elite guards employed by that iron-fisted tyrant are meant to pose a threat for the purposes of the narrative, so they're higher level.

Assuming "the whole world levels up when you do" or that because exceptions exist that everything must be extrapolated to the same degree doesn't work. Assuming that each area is a zone like in an MMO and must be at a certain level range likewise doesn't work. Or rather, those things run into problems when you expect them to perfectly simulate every aspect of interaction with the game world. Heck, the process...

How many demi-god level powers can be running around in a world that is presumably ruled by mundane monarchs, emperors, and municipal governments? It's incongruous and immersion breaking for the characters to be THIS powerful and still be set inside a "classic" fantasy environment.


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Filthy Lucre wrote:
How many demi-god level powers can be running around in a world that is presumably ruled by mundane monarchs, emperors, and municipal governments? It's incongruous and immersion breaking for the characters to be THIS powerful and still be set inside a "classic" fantasy environment.

By that level they're *not* running around inside a "classic" fantasy environment.

"Classic Fantasy" runs out somewhere between level 8 and 16, depending on your definitions and which areas one hones in on. [If one focuses on the upper echelon that of Classical Fantasy which typically excludes the PCs, like the Maiar and Valar, it definitely goes up to level 16, if you're focusing on the actual protagonists... 8 to 12]

By level 13 your characters are above and beyond mortal kingdoms. They're dealing with sleeping ancient threats, or exploring territory long since held by powerful forces that were keen to keep to themselves at the time, or delving into other planes of existence.

Level 13 is the threshold where PF1 completely steps out of Classical Fantasy and into Myth or Supers.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

By level 13 your characters are above and beyond mortal kingdoms. They're dealing with sleeping ancient threats, or exploring territory long since held by powerful forces that were keen to keep to themselves at the time, or delving into other planes of existence.

Level 13 is the threshold where PF1 completely steps out of Classical Fantasy and into Myth or Supers.

Well hopefully theres plenty of GM support for customizing the game because "myth and supers" are super boring.


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What about all those 15th+ level characters who decided not to explore the depths of the abyss?

Wouldn't they be able to easily conquer nations and rule with an iron fist? How many cities and nations are run by the ultra powerful?

Without a bounded system, you should expect to see every nation and major city to be run by 20th level characters.

With a bounded system, the peasents actually have a chance to overthrow the government.


bookrat wrote:

What about all those 15th+ level characters who decided not to explore the depths of the abyss?

Wouldn't they be able to easily conquer nations and rule with an iron fist? How many cities and nations are run by the ultra powerful?

Without a bounded system, you should expect to see every nation and major city to be run by 20th level characters.

With a bounded system, the peasents actually have a chance to overthrow the government.

Exactly - I don't even need to see truly "bounded" accuracy - finding cool treasures and specializing IS the fun of the game... but I also prefer to keep my PCs mortal.


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Well, the game could still theoretically limit the difference between the highest bonus in the party and the lowest bonus in the party at any given level WITHOUT minimizing the difference between a higher level party and a lower level one.


Filthy Lucre wrote:
How many demi-god level powers can be running around in a world that is presumably ruled by mundane monarchs, emperors, and municipal governments?

One party of PCs per campaign. At the very end of it.


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bookrat wrote:


Without a bounded system, you should expect to see every nation and major city to be run by 20th level characters.

I don't think the basic Pathfinder expectations support getting enough 20th level characters on an average planet to do that at any one time.

Besides, to my mind a 20th-level character wanting to run a nation is like an MMA champion wanting to be toughest kid in an elementary-school sandbox. There's plenty of bigger and more interesting things to do out there in the wider multiverse; a 15th level character can perfectly well run a nation.


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Um, I don't think PF2 is going to have the same issue as 5e.

5e uses that proficiency bonus for like.. everything, and um, it goes from +2 at level 1 to +6 at level 20 -- very little spread.

It sounds like PF2 will be adding your character level to everything.. that's sorta the same thingie, but you'll get +1 at first level and +20 at 20th, just like a fighter's BAB. So you should have a +19 advantage (instead of +4) over some level-1 appropriate creature.

I guess that might be sorta like bounded accuracy (maybe?) still, as I think Paizo might be adding flat bonuses for fighties and flat penalties for wizzies, so they all have a reasonable chance of hitting the monster.

Example:
Jane McFighter is level 15, and has a total bonus of +5 to hit, so she adds 20 to every roll.
Bob T. Wizard is also level 15, and has a total .. penalty of -3 to hit, so he adds 12.
Kerri MacCleric is also 15, with a +0 bonus to hit because omg who said clerics were a SAD class ~ nerf~

ahem. Anywai, they encounter a beh--er, a mind--er, some sort of homebrew turtle-like monster with a thick shell and no Product Identity attached. The turtle has a high AC from it's thick shell - 32. Jane needs 12 or better to hit, Kerri needs 17 or better to hit, and Bob only hits on a natural 20. Ouchie!

Later on, they encounter some sort of enormous Gelatinous Cube, but it's only AC25. That's 5, 10, and 13 to hit. Jane is ahead in hitting (75%), but the other two aren't too far behind (50%, 35%).

Finally they meet a goblin cr 1/2, ac16 - -4, 1, and 4 to hit (practically all the time for all three characters).

With current BAB progressions, it would be like 17, 12, and 5 bonuses for Jane, Kerri, and Bob..or even a bigger spread.

Fuzzypaws wrote:
All bounded accuracy really has to mean is that characters and creatures of similar level, are within a similar range of capability to each other.

That sounds good to me. I think that's what they're aiming for..


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Filthy Lucre wrote:


Exactly - I don't even need to see truly "bounded" accuracy - finding cool treasures and specializing IS the fun of the game... but I also prefer to keep my PCs mortal.

E6 works perfectly fine without turning all 20 levels into E6. Or E10, or E12, or E15, or wherever the cutoff point is for your preferences.


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KahnyaGnorc wrote:
Well, the game could still theoretically limit the difference between the highest bonus in the party and the lowest bonus in the party at any given level WITHOUT minimizing the difference between a higher level party and a lower level one.

I don't care how different party members are - in fact I want them to be different... I just want to be able to easily challenge my players with a diverse array of creatures, situations, and levels.

ULTIMATELY I'm hyped as hell for Pathfinder 2nd Edition and I hope that the rules are flexible and modular enough to allow as many different play styles as possible - I just hope that mine is included under that umbrella.

That Mark the developer guy should comment on this thread to let weigh in on the conversation!


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
bookrat wrote:


Without a bounded system, you should expect to see every nation and major city to be run by 20th level characters.

I don't think the basic Pathfinder expectations support getting enough 20th level characters on an average planet to do that at any one time.

Besides, to my mind a 20th-level character wanting to run a nation is like an MMA champion wanting to be toughest kid in an elementary-school sandbox. There's plenty of bigger and more interesting things to do out there in the wider multiverse; a 15th level character can perfectly well run a nation.

Even in a Metropolis you can't expect to be able to find a 9th level spellcaster.

Another point worth bearing in mind is that the majority of people who acquire power have no interest in controlling people. Whether one wants to quantify that minority as 4% or 40% is up to the individual, but more people just want to continue their personal pursuits rather than become rulers.


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Filthy Lucre wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

By level 13 your characters are above and beyond mortal kingdoms. They're dealing with sleeping ancient threats, or exploring territory long since held by powerful forces that were keen to keep to themselves at the time, or delving into other planes of existence.

Level 13 is the threshold where PF1 completely steps out of Classical Fantasy and into Myth or Supers.

Well hopefully theres plenty of GM support for customizing the game because "myth and supers" are super boring.

I'm sure there will be. I don't know about bounded accuracy, but even if you don't want to tweak the numbers, you could just keep raising the level of enemies they encounter, with the assumption that orc war parties are always as dangerous to the PCs as they are now, that sort of thing.

Personally, I much prefer going demigod and beyond. Beowulf swam in armor across the sea while fighting monsters. He had the strength of 30 in each hand. Heracles decided that the lion of the impenetrable hide could still be choked out. Or even more high-powered feats like a given video game, anime, high fantasy story. That's what I want at the end of it. I want to be that super-powered Monk that is able to duel a war god.

If you just keep adjusting the scale as you go, I think you'll probably have what you want, too.


Lady Firebird wrote:
Personally, I much prefer going demigod and beyond. Beowulf swam in armor across the sea while fighting monsters. He had the strength of 30 in each hand. Heracles decided that the lion of the impenetrable hide could still be choked out. Or even more high-powered feats like a given video game, anime, high fantasy story. That's what I want at the end of it. I want to be that super-powered Monk that is able to duel a war god.

Or a god of destruction


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Lady Firebird wrote:
Personally, I much prefer going demigod and beyond. Beowulf swam in armor across the sea while fighting monsters. He had the strength of 30 in each hand. Heracles decided that the lion of the impenetrable hide could still be choked out. Or even more high-powered feats like a given video game, anime, high fantasy story. That's what I want at the end of it. I want to be that super-powered Monk that is able to duel a war god.
Or a god of destruction

Haha, yes, I would also enjoy that, but my Super Elven God character probably breaks the system. :P Still, a Pathfinder-context high fantasy version of those kinds of epic battles would be great!


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Filthy Lucre wrote:
KahnyaGnorc wrote:
Well, the game could still theoretically limit the difference between the highest bonus in the party and the lowest bonus in the party at any given level WITHOUT minimizing the difference between a higher level party and a lower level one.

I don't care how different party members are - in fact I want them to be different... I just want to be able to easily challenge my players with a diverse array of creatures, situations, and levels.

ULTIMATELY I'm hyped as hell for Pathfinder 2nd Edition and I hope that the rules are flexible and modular enough to allow as many different play styles as possible - I just hope that mine is included under that umbrella.

That Mark the developer guy should comment on this thread to let weigh in on the conversation!

It is difficult to easily challenge a party when the Barbarian is hitting on a Nat 2 and failing a Will Save on a Nat 17, while the Rogue is missing on a Nat 16, and the Cleric is succeeding that Will Save on a Nat 2. When I say limiting the difference in bonuses, I mean so that a monster's AC can challenge the best attacker, while allowing those with lower attack bonuses to still have a reasonable chance of hitting, as well as making saves challenging to all, but not practically impossible for some.

I love building characters that grow gigantic with massive strength to go nose-to-nose with giants, as well as physically weak casters who barely shot the crossbow and never swung a melee weapon their entire adventuring career. So, I like great variety in characters, but encounters where slightly suboptimal-for-combat 3/4 BAB characters can hardly hit and the combat-specced Full BAB characters can barely miss aren't that good imo.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Filthy Lucre wrote:


Exactly - I don't even need to see truly "bounded" accuracy - finding cool treasures and specializing IS the fun of the game... but I also prefer to keep my PCs mortal.
E6 works perfectly fine without turning all 20 levels into E6. Or E10, or E12, or E15, or wherever the cutoff point is for your preferences.

So much this. Power levels are already handled by... levels. If your sweet spot is level 5 challenges, that's awesome!

Trying to force people who like level 15 challenges to play like their character's level 5 not so much.


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KahnyaGnorc wrote:
Filthy Lucre wrote:
KahnyaGnorc wrote:
Well, the game could still theoretically limit the difference between the highest bonus in the party and the lowest bonus in the party at any given level WITHOUT minimizing the difference between a higher level party and a lower level one.

I don't care how different party members are - in fact I want them to be different... I just want to be able to easily challenge my players with a diverse array of creatures, situations, and levels.

ULTIMATELY I'm hyped as hell for Pathfinder 2nd Edition and I hope that the rules are flexible and modular enough to allow as many different play styles as possible - I just hope that mine is included under that umbrella.

That Mark the developer guy should comment on this thread to let weigh in on the conversation!

It is difficult to easily challenge a party when the Barbarian is hitting on a Nat 2 and failing a Will Save on a Nat 17, while the Rogue is missing on a Nat 16, and the Cleric is succeeding that Will Save on a Nat 2. When I say limiting the difference in bonuses, I mean so that a monster's AC can challenge the best attacker, while allowing those with lower attack bonuses to still have a reasonable chance of hitting, as well as making saves challenging to all, but not practically impossible for some.

I love building characters that grow gigantic with massive strength to go nose-to-nose with giants, as well as physically weak casters who barely shot the crossbow and never swung a melee weapon their entire adventuring career. So, I like great variety in characters, but encounters where slightly suboptimal-for-combat 3/4 BAB characters can hardly hit and the combat-specced Full BAB characters can barely miss aren't that good imo.

This is exactly what bounded accuracy fixes (for combat). It looks weird at first but works great. Even a flat bonus of +1 attack/saves per two levels would solve most of these issues.


It can be bound, so long as it's not strangled. 5e strangles it.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Skullkeeper wrote:
So perhaps there's a middle ground where PCs can be good at something but not so good that it messes with the GM's ability to set up challenges

This is a GM problem not a system problem.

If your ranger can succeed on a roll of 2 on the d20 then it's the GM's job to give you that success.

As GMs our job isn't about 'challenge' it's about creating an engaging world and fairly arbitrating its behavior independently and in reaction to the actions of the PCs

The Spires of Xin-Shalast, the final module of the Rise of the Runelords adventure path, begins with a side quest to find the first clue as to the location of Xin-Shalast. In my judgment, that side quest was solely for versimitude. Fortunately, the party wizard had specialied as a scholar of ancient Thassilonian lore. I let him roll on Knowledge(history) whether he knew the location of the lost city of Xin-Shalast, the holy grail of Thassilonian lore. He rolled 45. If he had rolled 50, he would have know where the city was. But 45 was good enough to know the first clue. They went directly to find the second clue.

I set up that challenge because the wizard was an amazing scholar. It was a moment of victory for roleplaying.

Victory does not have to be earned by blood and sweat in bulldozing through every single obstacle, no matter how small. Victory by cleverly sidestepping obstacles through tactical information-gathering or outstanding skill can be just as glorious.


Filthy Lucre wrote:

So, prime example of how the CR/Combat encounter math needs to change. According to the official guidelines...

5 CR1 creatures should be MORE than a match for a group of (5) level 5 Characters. Run that encounter and tell me how well the monsters fair.

Four CR1 creatures are a CR5 challenge. A CR5 challenge is an average encounter for a party of four 5th-level PC. Increasing each group to five members keeps it at the same relative challenge, but it requires a +0.5 to both the CR and the APL. (Why did Filthy Lucre complicate this with a non-standard party size?)

By Table: Encounter Design in the Gamemastering chapter, CR5.5 would be easy against a 5-membeer 5th-level party, CR5.5 would be average, CR6.5 would be challenging, CR7.5 would be hard, and CR8.5 would be epic. What would be CR9.5? That is the mirror match, where the party faces an equal-size group of enemies just as powerful as them. The mirror match would have only a 50% chance of the party winning, and it would likely be a pyrrhic one-man-standing victory.

An encounter rated "average" is like running into a pair of guards in the hallway. The party can't dismiss the challenge as easy, but they are guaranteed to win and the only price will be some resources, such as two spells and four charges on a wand of Cure Light Wounds. "Challenging" provides some risk, such as an injured rogue stepping out of the final round of combat because another hit could knock him unconscious. "Hard" requires tactics that combine the party's strengths to win without a PC getting knocked out. "Epic" means the party could lose if the dice hate them. Only the mirror-match challenge, APL+4, qualifies as "MORE than a match".


Mathmuse wrote:
"Epic" means the party could lose if the dice hate them. Only the mirror-match challenge, APL+4, qualifies as "MORE than a match".

Still not "MORE than a match," just an equal match.


bookrat wrote:

What about all those 15th+ level characters who decided not to explore the depths of the abyss?

Wouldn't they be able to easily conquer nations and rule with an iron fist? How many cities and nations are run by the ultra powerful?

Without a bounded system, you should expect to see every nation and major city to be run by 20th level characters.

With a bounded system, the peasents actually have a chance to overthrow the government.

Haven't gotten through all the threads yet, but if we go through the APs thus far, with at least high level NPCs (over 10th level) being in two or three of each one...It seems almost every nation and major city has High Level Creatures or characters threatening or ruling them (or at least every other nation).

As some joke, with this many high level tyrants, Golarion should be burning to the ground constantly!


GreyWolfLord wrote:
bookrat wrote:

What about all those 15th+ level characters who decided not to explore the depths of the abyss?

Wouldn't they be able to easily conquer nations and rule with an iron fist? How many cities and nations are run by the ultra powerful?

Without a bounded system, you should expect to see every nation and major city to be run by 20th level characters.

With a bounded system, the peasents actually have a chance to overthrow the government.

Haven't gotten through all the threads yet, but if we go through the APs thus far, with at least high level NPCs (over 10th level) being in two or three of each one...It seems almost every nation and major city has High Level Creatures or characters threatening or ruling them (or at least every other nation).

As some joke, with this many high level tyrants, Golarion should be burning to the ground constantly!

Why would you conquer it?

Wealth? You can get more from adventuring
Prestige/Recognition? What's the point of that?

You're now in charge of a nation. Enjoy wasting your time with paperwork and diplomacy, mate.

Oh, and you've painted a target on your back for anyone who doesn't like what you're doing. Time to become paranoid.

Even with arbitrarily high AC, a scythe in the back while sleeping is still likely going to kill you.


Frozen Mustelid wrote:

Bounded accuracy is atrocious. Your main thing you specialize in the whole game is rendered worthless through will of the dice. Consider this scenario between a level 8 rogue with +3 Int and Dex and expertise in Search and Thief Tools and a level 8 barbarian with -2 to both Int and Dex and no proficiency in either skill.

Rogue: I search the chest for traps. (rolls nat 6) 15!
DM: You don't find any traps.
Barbarian: I want to try! (rolls nat 18) 16!
DM: The lid is sitting on a pressure plate. It will be difficult to remove the trap without setting it off.
Rogue: I try to disarm the trap. My Dexterity(Thief tools) check is 17 (nat 8).
DM: You're trying to jam the plate closed, but it doesn't want to stay.
Barbarian: Let me try that.
Rogue: Sure.
Barbarian: WOO! Nat 20! That's an 18.
DM: You manage to jam the plate. The chest is now safe to open.

This is not a hypothetical scenario, this happens ALL THE TIME in 5e. It's not always the same player, but very often the one player who took an obscure or rarely-used ability is completely upstaged by another player because of a bad roll. It feels awful. 5e is designed to make every class useful in combat, so as a player you feel like your build is useless because the only thing you can contribute is damage, which every other class can do just as well - And if you're having a bad night, you can't roll to hit, and the enemies make all of their saves because level-appropriate enemies rarely have less than a 40% chance to make their save. Heck, a CR 1/4 Zombie has a 15% change of making its CON save against a level 20 Wizard with 20 (i.e., max) INT. Because zombies have a +3 CON mod, they can make a DC21 save by rolling 18. Likewise, a CR 1/4 skeleton can take half damage from Fireball from the same wizard on 19. Since the average damage of 5e Fireball cast at its lowest level is 28, and skeletons have 13 HP, if you roll low on the damage then it's very possible for skeletons to survive being Fireballed by a max level wizard. Out of all of the...

Perhaps I'm veering off topic, but the skill examples you gave here are not really how 5e is supposed to work. Your trap-checking example, for instance, should have been resolved as 'the barbarian helps you search, which gives you advantage' - so you'd have had 2 rolls at +9 rather than a roll at +9 and a roll at -2.

The takeaway for the larger discussion, I guess, is that you can't really discuss 5e's bounded accuracy/DC system without accounting for the effects of the advantage/disadvantage system.


GreyWolfLord wrote:


Haven't gotten through all the threads yet, but if we go through the APs thus far, with at least high level NPCs (over 10th level) being in two or three of each one...It seems almost every nation and major city has High Level Creatures or characters threatening or ruling them (or at least every other nation).

As some joke, with this many high level tyrants, Golarion should be burning to the ground constantly!

How many people actually play all the APs such that their Golarion demonstrably has all those BBEGs ?


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:


Haven't gotten through all the threads yet, but if we go through the APs thus far, with at least high level NPCs (over 10th level) being in two or three of each one...It seems almost every nation and major city has High Level Creatures or characters threatening or ruling them (or at least every other nation).

As some joke, with this many high level tyrants, Golarion should be burning to the ground constantly!

How many people actually play all the APs such that their Golarion demonstrably has all those BBEGs ?

The old Forgotten Realms style of "the highest powers keep one another in check, and thus must act through proxies and lesser means most of the time" also works.

I also find it safe to assume that not every single threat needs to exist in every single particular game.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
lordfeint wrote:
I just hope they do away with multiple attacks that look like this: +13/+8/+3. You should gain momentum over the course of an attack in a heroic game, not lose it. It's one of the few things I never liked about 3e and its clones.
They currently have plans to keep that. Your first attack is full bonus, second in a round -5 and third in a round -10. And something as fundamental as this is likely not changing from the playtest.
While I don't see them removing it, I actually DO think they might be persuaded to change it, if they get enough playtest feedback, from BAB/-5/-10 to BAB/-5/-5/(...still -5 if you get a fourth attack from Haste or something). This way it would work more like monster attacks, where primary is at full bonus and all secondaries are at full bonus -5.

So the issue is the DEVs notion of balance.

Lets say devs want option "block with shield" to be less valuable than the DRR of a -5 attack but better than the DPR of a -10 attack on average. So they do that. Also enemies AC and HP will be setup in such a way for "DEVs balance" that lets say a full attack drops in 3 rounds while only doing 2 attacks drops in 4 because the -10 attack only adds so much DPR. Now changing that to a -5 lets people crit more often and hit more often and now a full attack kills things in 2 rounds and that's too fast for what the DEVs want.

So I hope the point is made. Because of the snowball effect changing a core thing causes the playtest that they are going to do is NOT going to result in any massive overhauls. It CAN'T while still letting the book be ready in time.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Bounded accuracy is awful in every way.

It was the worst thing in the 5th ed playtest, is one of the worst things in 5th ed, and if it's in @F2 it will be one of the worst things there as well.


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thflame wrote:

I never had an issue with low level threats not being threats to PCs.

GM - "You see a small band of goblins ahead."

Level 10 Players - "We got this!"

GM - "Roll for initiative....looks like the goblins go first."

Players - "What?"

GM - "The first goblin hits you and since it is the first round, they get to use Sneak Attack....45 damage."

Players - "Oh @#$%."

All you have to do is give "low level" enemies some class levels and stuff works out.

So Low-Level enemies not being a threat works out if...the enemies are not, in fact, low-level.

Personally I liked Bounded Accuracy when I GM'd and played 5e. Players don't get complacent because there aren't many encounters where they're in no danger of being injured, while the GM can throw out encounters that are a little quicker because the easier enemies don't have as much HP, but are still able to get some licks in to make their encounters something other than a transparent excuse to burn party resources.

A thing a lot of PF encounters end up being if you don't pack a LOT of beef into your encounters.


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Ian Bell wrote:

Perhaps I'm veering off topic, but the skill examples you gave here are not really how 5e is supposed to work. Your trap-checking example, for instance, should have been resolved as 'the barbarian helps you search, which gives you advantage' - so you'd have had 2 rolls at +9 rather than a roll at +9 and a roll at -2.

The takeaway for the larger discussion, I guess, is that you can't really discuss 5e's bounded accuracy/DC system without accounting for the effects of the advantage/disadvantage system.

The barbarian can't assist the rogue because the barb doesn't have proficiency in either skill. You can't assist another person unless the assister is proficient.

If you don't think that this scenario can't be repeated with advantage/disadvantage, you're sorely mistaken. It's a fairly regular occurrence to watch somebody roll double nat 20 at disadvantage or double nat 1 at advantage. We've seen it so many times, we sometimes shout, "1 in 400!" as a way of recognizing that the theoretically rare chance that either of these things happen seems to happen about every three sessions, for each game we're in. Oh, and we rarely have scenarios come up where players have advantage - The 5e rules have very few ways of letting the players get advantage, usually just leaving it up to, "L0L gm sez wen u get it." There are lots of ways to impose disadvantage on enemies, but outside of the Enhance Ability spell, the Fighting Spirit feature of the Samurai subclass, Aid Another (which, in skills or in attacks, rarely sees actual play in any of my groups) and Barbarian Reckless Attack, I can't think of too many ways to get advantage without inflicting a status condition or being a stealthy stealthy rogue.


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Frozen Mustelid wrote:
The barbarian can't assist the rogue because the barb doesn't have proficiency in either skill. You can't assist another person unless the assister is proficient..

There's nothing in the Help section that says you must be proficient in order to help someone. Nor anywhere else in the book, as I can find.


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Basically any situation where you would get a numerical bonus to your roll in Pathfinder gives advantage in 5e instead.

Flanking? Higher Ground or other terrain advantages? Doing something outside the box? You get advantage.

If all else fails, spend inspiration, a reward your characters should be getting on a fairly regular basis if your DM isn't stingy.

Also I find 5e's DC system is a lot better for players that are willing to improvise than PF's is, as 5e tends to err on "you're welcome to try, and if you can come up with a plan that lets you try with advantage your odds of success should be decent unless the task was quite difficult to begin with."

PF, by contrast, tends to err on "don't even try if you weren't built to do this."


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So your defense of a crap system like 5E is that nothing matters because you have about the same chance of succeeding or failing no matter what?
Advantage doesn't stack, by the way, no matter how many clever or useful things you do. You could set up an awesome plan and all you'd get is Advantage. In PF1, the GM might reward you with a total +10 circumstance bonus or something.


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Bloodrealm wrote:

So your defense of a crap system like 5E is that nothing matters because you have about the same chance of succeeding or failing no matter what?

Advantage doesn't stack, by the way, no matter how many clever or useful things you do. You could set up an awesome plan and all you'd get is Advantage. In PF1, the GM might reward you with a total +10 circumstance bonus or something.

Only if it's RAW, in PF1. Otherwise it's an ambiguous rule and shouldn't be in the game. Or so I'm told.


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Bloodrealm wrote:

So your defense of a crap system like 5E is that nothing matters because you have about the same chance of succeeding or failing no matter what?

Advantage doesn't stack, by the way, no matter how many clever or useful things you do. You could set up an awesome plan and all you'd get is Advantage. In PF1, the GM might reward you with a total +10 circumstance bonus or something.

No, you don't have "about the same chance of succeeding or failing no matter what." A social rogue who has maxed his charisma and used expertise in Persuasion has a +17 to the check at high levels. Anything short of "nearly impossible," he succeeds on an 8+, and that's before he gets advantage. A rogue who is not charismatic (but didn't dump) and didn't train in persuasion is just rolling a d20. If he can manage to get advantage in some way, he has a decent chance of pulling off an easier bit of fast-talking but no, his chances of succeeding at a genuine social challenge are nowhere near that of someone that's actually trained for them.

I have never, in any circumstances, seen a GM hand out a circumstance bonus that big. The @%$*ing gods themselves descending to play background music on your intimidate check wouldn't wriggle a +10 circumstance bonus out of most GMs.

Which is a shame, because in Pathfinder you can have a +10 circumstance bonus and still be so far off from what the DC of the check you're attempting is that you're still guaranteed to fail, and so should not waste anyone's time by attempting in the first place.

5e's not obsessed with big numbers the way Pathfinder is. If you don't like that, that's fine, but personally I like a system where people feel free to try for long-shots and think about how they can get an advantage to better their odds. Circumstance bonuses are exactly as arbitrary as Advantage in how they're granted, tend to vary far more in size, and are much less likely to make a long shot pay off.

As a result, time and again, I've noticed 5e players experiment and try things outside their specialities, trusting that advantage granted for clever planning or good roleplaying can see them through trials outside their comfort zones. Pathfinder players stick to things they've specialized in enough to get their big auto-win numbers and will not attempt something outside their specialities because the system is poised to spank them if they do.


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In the first half of your post you argue that someone specialized and optimized will have a decent chance of succeeding at a task while someone who isn't has almost nonexistent chances of succeeding at 'genuine challenges'.

In the last half of your post you argue 5e is better at allowing experimentation because you have a decent chance to succeed at tasks you aren't actually optimized or built to handle.

So which is it?


Frozen Mustelid wrote:


The barbarian can't assist the rogue because the barb doesn't have proficiency in either skill. You can't assist another person unless the assister is proficient.

This is only true of checks that require proficiency to attempt in the first place, like, say opening a lock. In which case the example doesn't apply at all, because the barbarian could never make his own check after the rogue failed.


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Stupid question;

As someone who's only played about 3 systems, Pathfinder being the main one, just what is Bounded Accuracy and how does it differ from what we have?


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MerlinCross wrote:

Stupid question;

As someone who's only played about 3 systems, Pathfinder being the main one, just what is Bounded Accuracy and how does it differ from what we have?

There's no such thing as a stupid question.

There's a description of Bounded Accuracy here..

But the short of it is that WotC decided to limit the range of accuracy (attack rolls) and AC so you don't end up with the situation of trying to hit a 1400 AC monster with an attack of +1408...or being completely useless since your attack is only 1381.

In 5e, you attack by rolling d20 plus your class "proficiency bonus" which is a tiny number between 2 (at first level) and 6 (at twentyith), plus a handful of small bonuses that they intentionally trimmed down (there's fewer of them and they're also smaller).

They did it because they wanted to get rid of the treadmill of constant item upgrades, reduce the giant pile of bonuses and math and bookkeeping, and also because they wanted a level 1 orc to represent at least a minor threat to a level 20 PC. There's still a huge difference in hit points and damage and capabilities in 5e so it's not like you'll lose to the orc, but it has a good chance of getting in a hit or two before being vaporized.

I actually don't mind most of that, except for one thing: it makes progression feel less progress-y. A level 20 character whiffing like a level 1? >.<

PF2 sounds like it will be adding your total character level to everything, so it will be +1 to +20 instead of this +2 to +6 stuff.

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