Assurance as a feat is terrible


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells

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Silver Crusade

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Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think assurance is made just to work with lower level easy skill checks that people feel they shouldn't have to roll.

Then it shouldn’t take a Roll.

When there are no stakes the game should assume a baseline.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think assurance is made just to work with lower level easy skill checks that people feel they shouldn't have to roll.

Then it shouldn’t take a Roll.

When there are no stakes the game should assume a baseline.

Simmer down now.

I'm just telling you what I think is the theory behind it. I didn't express one way or the other how I felt about it.

but so you would just as soon keep the take 10 rule then aye?


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Vid, the book already says not to roll if the DC is below a certain amount.
And that amount is usually higher than Assurance.


Ediwir wrote:

Vid, the book already says not to roll if the DC is below a certain amount.

And that amount is usually higher than Assurance.

I guess that would make it a useless feat then eh? so why the discussion?


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Because as useless as it is, it’s an option. A clearly bad option, that however some players will end up finding on their character due to their background or simply bad choices.

Also, because in principle, a feat to ensure basic competence on a chosen skill is a good idea. If it works.


Ediwir wrote:

Because as useless as it is, it’s an option. A clearly bad option, that however some players will end up finding on their character due to their background or simply bad choices.

Also, because in principle, a feat to ensure basic competence on a chosen skill is a good idea. If it works.

that would be why the thread is made sure but why is their back and forth on it? Like why do others think it is fine as is? If the rules specifically say that you can already succeed on easier checks then it should be apparent that it needs to be changed yes?


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Because they haven't read table 10-2 on p.337 "Skill DCs per level".

(edit: I feel like this statement can sound a bit dickish. However, it fits way too well with the avatar and I'm just gonna leave it as is)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vidmaster7 wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think assurance is made just to work with lower level easy skill checks that people feel they shouldn't have to roll.

Then it shouldn’t take a Roll.

When there are no stakes the game should assume a baseline.

Simmer down now.

I'm just telling you what I think is the theory behind it. I didn't express one way or the other how I felt about it.

but so you would just as soon keep the take 10 rule then aye?

I apologise if my tone was brusque or rude, definitely not my intention. I was trying to make a point using your post as a baseline is all.

But in answer to your question, yes I would keep the take 10 rule because it flags what is and is not challenging to the GM and to the players.


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Ediwir wrote:
Because as useless as it is, it’s an option. A clearly bad option, that however some players will end up finding on their character due to their background or simply bad choices.

I wouldn't label it as clearly bad.

I mean, OK it's clear the feat is bad when you look at the DC table. But there are more than 150 pages between the feat and the table ; and the table is in the "game mastering" chapter: a casual player who has already read 200+ pages just to create a fighter will not read 100 more pages.

People will take tha feat because they aren't nerd-optimizators who spent their time reading the rules (including the rules for the DM) and posting on Paizo's forum.


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Gaterie wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
Because as useless as it is, it’s an option. A clearly bad option, that however some players will end up finding on their character due to their background or simply bad choices.

I wouldn't label it as clearly bad.

I mean, OK it's clear the feat is bad when you look at the DC table.

You don't need the table to realize it's clearly bad, all you have to do is look at your character sheet. What would you need to roll in order to achieve a 10 with that skill?

Is it less than 5?

Yes? Then it's bad. Very bad.

My 4th level character has the following skills at Trained (and could thus take Assurance):

Arcana +6
Crafting +6
Diplomacy +8
Lore +6
Medicine +7
Religion +6
Society +6

Meaning, at best, Assurance is letting me skip out on the 15% chance to crit fail and offering me a failure instead. At worst it's letting me auto-crit-fail.

A feat that lets you do something you could already do is bad. A feat that lets you be worse at something is terrifyingly awful (see also Caustic Slur and Monkey Lunge).


At level 4 one of your skill should be expert (medicine I guess?), so Assurance grants a 15. This looks "meh OK" (automatically roll a 15 when your bonus is only +7 is OK) (actually i don't like the "take 10" rule much, I'd replace it with a "take 7", I feel the gap from auto-success to 50% failure is too huge) until you look at the DC table and see it doesn't even pass a low DC of your level.

What I'm saying is I can see a lot of non-dumb casual players fall in the assurance trap.


While the DC table for level-equivalent challenges yes, doesn't match for Assurance. A number of DCs are flat set, and Assurance's 10, 20, 30 auto do actually beat these DCs for consistent success. As Natural 1s are not always purely critical failures (sometimes being just failures if your modifier is high enough), they still represent a 5% chance of failure.

The example from my first post here was Battle Medic. Many of the Ordinary Tasks as well have their failure chance removed by Assurance. Falling while climbing is a big one.

Concerning Battle Medic specifically though, if Assurance was any more powerful you're looking at automatic critical success in most cases. As this is a first draft Playtest, it is very likely we will see changes in many areas before the end. It's very likely that Assurance was drafted up along with feats and class abilities and then when they added level to everything and drafted up the DCs for GMs to use it wasn't considered.


Failing a climb check doesn't make you fall.


Gaterie wrote:

Failing a climb check doesn't make you fall.

Critical Failure You fall (see page 310). If you began the climb on stable ground, you fall and land prone.

5% chance.


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Isaac Zephyr wrote:


Concerning Battle Medic specifically though, if Assurance was any more powerful you're looking at automatic critical success in most cases.

What? To crit succeed on Battle Medic with Assurance, you'd have to be Legendary in Medicine (DC 30). To even succeed you'd have to be Master (DC 20). If you're Expert, you'll fail. If you're Trained, you'll critically fail and kill your patient.

You can't even succeed to perform First Aid with Assurance unless you're Expert (DC 15).

For that matter, what are these fixed DC skill checks that Assurance's DC 10 result can make? The only ones I see are pulling an arrow out of a wall, Long Jumping 5 feet, Recall Knowledge to recognize a Legendary Performer or Professional and Aid if it's "a particularly easy task." That's it.


Assurance feat does have a use. If you take a skill to Master or legendary that keys off a dump stat it is useful. My stats at level 20 without stat boosting items are 22, 19, 18, 18, 16, and 12. Listed from highest to lowest. A legendary skill for the dump stat would have only a +24, and only a plus +19 at level 15.

Assurance makes you not bad at a skill would be bad at other wise. This feat would be alright if it was not in the core rules and it was clear that it was to be used to make skills you would be bad at or alright.

This kind of corner case feat is not a good fit for the core rule book I think. The effect needs another name. The name is miss leading as the feat is not.


The Narration wrote:
Isaac Zephyr wrote:


Concerning Battle Medic specifically though, if Assurance was any more powerful you're looking at automatic critical success in most cases.

What? To crit succeed on Battle Medic with Assurance, you'd have to be Legendary in Medicine (DC 30). To even succeed you'd have to be Master (DC 20). If you're Expert, you'll fail. If you're Trained, you'll critically fail and kill your patient.

You can't even succeed to perform First Aid with Assurance unless you're Expert (DC 15).

For that matter, what are these fixed DC skill checks that Assurance's DC 10 result can make? The only ones I see are pulling an arrow out of a wall, Long Jumping 5 feet, Recall Knowledge to recognize a Legendary Performer or Professional and Aid if it's "a particularly easy task." That's it.

To use either of Battle Medic's high up skills you need to be Master or Legendary in Medicine... This is what I am referring to. If the 20, or 30 were any higher, or added additional bonuses you are looking at pure crit success.

Another legendary example is the Rogue's Sabotage. A thievery check with against the target's Reflex DC. They would need a +20 to Reflex Saves (doable, certainly but anything max level without Dex isn't going to hit that) to avoid it.

While yes, 10 is low, if you are taking Assurance on something you aren't going to invest into, it's likely not a very good use of the feat. The feat though does have a variety of late-scaling uses with other abilities.


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Isaac Zephyr wrote:
and Assurance's 10, 20, 30 auto do actually beat these DCs for consistent success. Many of the Ordinary Tasks as well have their failure chance removed by Assurance.

What flat DCs? There are almost none of them, and those that do exist are frequently above 10. We don't even have the DC for "grab the edge of a pit while falling." It's all GM guesswork with no guildlines other than table 10-2 where Assurance fails against trivial tasks at nearly all levels.

And again, "ordinary tasks" are exactly the ones that don't require a roll.


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Tursic wrote:

Assurance feat does have a use. If you take a skill to Master or legendary that keys off a dump stat it is useful. My stats at level 20 without stat boosting items are 22, 19, 18, 18, 16, and 12. Listed from highest to lowest. A legendary skill for the dump stat would have only a +24, and only a plus +19 at level 15.

Assurance makes you not bad at a skill would be bad at other wise. This feat would be alright if it was not in the core rules and it was clear that it was to be used to make skills you would be bad at or alright.

This kind of corner case feat is not a good fit for the core rule book I think. The effect needs another name. The name is miss leading as the feat is not.

Question: why is your best skill (because let’s be serious, you don’t bring many skills to Legendary) dependant on your dump stat?

In any case, if you have no items that boost your best skills (you normally do by the time you’re lv10 - i got two different stacking +2 to my main skill without even trying when building an npc. Might have been lucky) then Assurance grants you a roll of 6... good feat.

“A skill you would be bad at” is usually something that stays at Trained, not one of the top three skills you have as a character overall. There was this rumor initially, but if, one wanted Assurance to ‘patch up’ a bad skill, it would scale with level, not rank.


Ediwir wrote:
Tursic wrote:

Assurance feat does have a use. If you take a skill to Master or legendary that keys off a dump stat it is useful. My stats at level 20 without stat boosting items are 22, 19, 18, 18, 16, and 12. Listed from highest to lowest. A legendary skill for the dump stat would have only a +24, and only a plus +19 at level 15.

Assurance makes you not bad at a skill would be bad at other wise. This feat would be alright if it was not in the core rules and it was clear that it was to be used to make skills you would be bad at or alright.

This kind of corner case feat is not a good fit for the core rule book I think. The effect needs another name. The name is miss leading as the feat is not.

Question: why is your best skill (because let’s be serious, you don’t bring many skills to Legendary) dependant on your dump stat?

In any case, if you have no items that boost your best skills (you normally do by the time you’re lv10) then Assurance grants you a roll of 6... good feat.

“A skill you would be bad at” is usually something that stays at Trained, not one of the top three skills you have as a character overall. There was this rumor initially, but if, one wanted Assurance to ‘patch up’ a bad skill, it would scale with level, not rank.

Fighter/Rogue. Needed some more healing in the party. Use Assurance to use the Trick Magic Item feat to use low level staff of healing. Expert lets you use level 3 staff of healing, Master lets you use level 7 staff of healing and legendary lets you use a level 11 staff of healing. A caster can charge the staff during down time. Like I said a corner case.


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A caster can only charge a staff that they attune with. So why is the caster not the one using the item?


The caster has their own staff. The charges do not go bad. A level 3 staff of healing has three charges. The higher the level of the staff the more charges.The caster can attune a different staff each day during down time.

This is a work around to a problem in the system. Would use the heal skill instead but as it is now this bad option is the best without forcing a player into playing a healing cleric.


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Tursic wrote:
The caster can attune a different staff each day during down time.

This is the key point:

Quote:

You can invest only one staff at a time. If you invest

another staff when you have another one currently
invested, you must expend a number of charges equal to
your highest-level spell slot
, as transferring your personal
spell energy is taxing. These charges can be divided in any
way you choose between the two staves.


Just replace the entire text of Assurance with "You can always take a 10 on the die instead of rolling with the chosen skill".

Problem solved!


It's a bit sad to see that to give a good example of usage of Assurance you had to make up a convoluted workaround.
It's... confusing... that the workaround does not work. I suppose it's a good thing for balancing, but for Assurance, it spells Charlie Romeo Alpha Papa.


Draco18s wrote:
Tursic wrote:
The caster can attune a different staff each day during down time.

This is the key point:

Quote:

You can invest only one staff at a time. If you invest

another staff when you have another one currently
invested, you must expend a number of charges equal to
your highest-level spell slot
, as transferring your personal
spell energy is taxing. These charges can be divided in any
way you choose between the two staves.

Vesting only last a day. That rule is for switch in the same day.


Tursic wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Tursic wrote:
The caster can attune a different staff each day during down time.

This is the key point:

Quote:

You can invest only one staff at a time. If you invest

another staff when you have another one currently
invested, you must expend a number of charges equal to
your highest-level spell slot
, as transferring your personal
spell energy is taxing. These charges can be divided in any
way you choose between the two staves.
Vesting only last a day. That rule is for switch in the same day.

So... your workaround for making Assurance useful... involves... in order:

-Expert in a magical skill
-Assurance in the same magical skill
-Trick Magic Item
-A friendly spellcaster and downtime activities, or
-A friendly spellcaster with all his items fully charged and no reason to want to use them
-Nominally optional: said magical skill should be a signature skill and maxed out

and gets you

-The ability to not need to roll a very easy check when using one specific magic item of level 3 or lower (non scaling)
-Nominally optional: If you maxed out your magical skill, you can use items up to level 7 (from lv7 onwards, non scaling) and up to level 14 (from level 15 onwards, non scaling).

...really? Just roll it. It's called an easy check for a reason.


I already found another work around, I was just saying there is a use for the feat. It is a poor feat.


So what would be the fix just increase the number so instead of 10 its 15 and then continue to scale accordingly?


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I have a concept.
Assurance:
Select a skill to which assurance applies. If the skill is untrained, you may never critically fail any check in which the DC is equal or below a trivial DC for your level. If this skill is trained, you may never critically fail a check which is equal or below a Low DC for your level, or fail a task which is trivial. If the skill is expert, these limits become High and Low DC for your level. At master, you may not critically fail a Severe DC for your level, and at legendary you may not fail a High DC for your level.

Now the lowest mark for your assurance feats scales to your character and the DC of the tasks they might attempt and consider trivial, but also rewards putting more effort into the skill. It's useful for athletics for swim check for a fighter who has it at trained because they can't possibly drown in calm water, and probably won't drown as quickly in moving water. It's also very useful for a legendary rogue in acrobatics, because they can accomplish many impressive tasks without any effort and can at least avoid severe harm during all but the most insane stunts.


Shiroi wrote:

I have a concept.

Assurance:
Select a skill to which assurance applies. If the skill is untrained, you may never critically fail any check in which the DC is equal or below a trivial DC for your level. If this skill is trained, you may never critically fail a check which is equal or below a Low DC for your level, or fail a task which is trivial. If the skill is expert, these limits become High and Low DC for your level. At master, you may not critically fail a Severe DC for your level, and at legendary you may not fail a High DC for your level.

Now the lowest mark for your assurance feats scales to your character and the DC of the tasks they might attempt and consider trivial, but also rewards putting more effort into the skill. It's useful for athletics for swim check for a fighter who has it at trained because they can't possibly drown in calm water, and probably won't drown as quickly in moving water. It's also very useful for a legendary rogue in acrobatics, because they can accomplish many impressive tasks without any effort and can at least avoid severe harm during all but the most insane stunts.

That could also work, though it is more complex than either the feat as it exists now or taking 10.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think assurance is made just to work with lower level easy skill checks that people feel they shouldn't have to roll.

Then why are we expected to blow our precious feats on it?

If assurance allowed you to take 10 (or 15 or 20 or 30) whenever you wanted on a certain skill check, then I would pick it up in a heartbeat.


CoeusFreeze wrote:
If assurance allowed you to take 10 (or 15 or 20 or 30) whenever you wanted on a certain skill check, then I would pick it up in a heartbeat.

I'm not sure about "in a heart beat" but I'd at least consider it.


I'd also just like to point out for the record that you can only use battle medic once per day per party member, as your target is bolstered to it, pass or fail.


theservantsllcleanitup wrote:
I'd also just like to point out for the record that you can only use battle medic once per day per party member, as your target is bolstered to it, pass or fail.

Its once per day per party member per player with the feat.

Specifically:

Quote:
Regardless of your result, the target is bolstered to your use of Battle Medic.


Just to throw it in here, I found an unexpected use for Assurance (Expert). It lets you automatically aid in skill checks.
That was a nice buff for the row of survival checks on DD2.
Not exactly awe inspiring, but nice. No Chance of critfailing and making the Situation worse.

Silver Crusade

DerNils wrote:

Just to throw it in here, I found an unexpected use for Assurance (Expert). It lets you automatically aid in skill checks.

That was a nice buff for the row of survival checks on DD2.
Not exactly awe inspiring, but nice. No Chance of critfailing and making the Situation worse.

It's pretty rare that the character has invested a lot in a skill ( expert and assurance so a skill raise AND a skill feat) is going to be aiding as opposed to being the primary.

And, at least for me, pretty unsatisfying too. I'm the fantastic skilled guy who, uh, aids?


DerNils wrote:

Just to throw it in here, I found an unexpected use for Assurance (Expert). It lets you automatically aid in skill checks.

That was a nice buff for the row of survival checks on DD2.
Not exactly awe inspiring, but nice. No Chance of critfailing and making the Situation worse.

*Looks at the numbers*

4th level
+1 expert
+2 wisdom (I mean, honestly)

Total (4+1+2): 7
DC 15
Crit-fail threshold 5

You can't crit-fail. You'd have to get a natrual -2.

ok, ok, fine, maybe you don't have a 14 wisdom. If you have a 10 you...

Uh, still need a natural 0 to crit-fail.


If you have multiple party members with assurance: medicine and legendary medicine... go for it honestly.


Nat 1 ist a critfail as long as you don't succeed with the role, in which case it becomes a normal fail. I said it isn't great, the guy had assurance survival from his background (I guess). So it was an ok thing, not exactly a wow.


ereklich wrote:
Shiroi wrote:

I have a concept.

Assurance:
Select a skill to which assurance applies. If the skill is untrained, you may never critically fail any check in which the DC is equal or below a trivial DC for your level. If this skill is trained, you may never critically fail a check which is equal or below a Low DC for your level, or fail a task which is trivial. If the skill is expert, these limits become High and Low DC for your level. At master, you may not critically fail a Severe DC for your level, and at legendary you may not fail a High DC for your level.

Now the lowest mark for your assurance feats scales to your character and the DC of the tasks they might attempt and consider trivial, but also rewards putting more effort into the skill. It's useful for athletics for swim check for a fighter who has it at trained because they can't possibly drown in calm water, and probably won't drown as quickly in moving water. It's also very useful for a legendary rogue in acrobatics, because they can accomplish many impressive tasks without any effort and can at least avoid severe harm during all but the most insane stunts.

That could also work, though it is more complex than either the feat as it exists now or taking 10.

It is, I'd like a better wording it was just a conceptual design really. The idea is to make assurance work off the concept of not necessarily being better at the skill (as in broader knowledge of technique) so much as becoming more confident and practiced in the things you do know of the skill. You might not know any more about religion than before, but you have absolutely memorized what you have been told and won't misremember it. If assurance functions off changing the degree of success, then it allows a roll but reduces the consequences of a bad roll.

Perhaps that might be the ideal shortcut right there, for a very simple implementation.

Assurance
Choose a skill in which you are trained. Treat your degree of success as one step higher to a maximum of failure in that skill. If you are master or better, your may treat it as one step higher to a maximum of success instead.


One use for assurance is for anything that isn't one your major skills. If you have little investment or even a penalty in the skill attribute assurance just makes it go away.


CoeusFreeze wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think assurance is made just to work with lower level easy skill checks that people feel they shouldn't have to roll.

Then why are we expected to blow our precious feats on it?

If assurance allowed you to take 10 (or 15 or 20 or 30) whenever you wanted on a certain skill check, then I would pick it up in a heartbeat.

We are past that try to keep moving forward.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think assurance is made just to work with lower level easy skill checks that people feel they shouldn't have to roll.

The same checks the book flat out says you shouldn't bother rolling anyway?


Aiken Frost wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think assurance is made just to work with lower level easy skill checks that people feel they shouldn't have to roll.
The same checks the book flat out says you shouldn't bother rolling anyway?

Sigh KEEP READING DON"T JUST REPEAT WHAT EVERYONE ELSE HAS SAID!


I think take 10 does not play well with the current design intent. It would work fine if proficiencies gave a bigger numerical bonus, but as it stands now the result of take 10 of an untrained and legendary character would be too close to each other.

What we have now (from page 338) is an implicit rule that says a DC of level+8 is always an auto-success. I think at least it should be extended to level+10+proficiency modifier.

Now, this would make Trained Assurance obsolete at least. So perhaps the least disruptive way to fix that would be to say that with Assurance you receive a result equal to High DC of the level when you normally get the proficency. So for Trained it would be 14, Expert 17, Master 23, Legendary 35. This progression would mean that if you keep investing your skill increases, the only way Assurance can be worse than rolling is if you have the max ability score and/or item bonuses for that skill.

Now, another way which I personally like more but that sits somewhere in between the current design philosophy and the old take 10/20 would be something like this:

1) A special acivity (let's call it Perform a Routine) allows you to take (7+Proficiency modifier) instead of rolling a skill check when not in combat or otherwise under threat of imminent harm. This takes 3x more time than normal. The result cannot be a critical failure or a critical success.
2) A skill feat (let's call it Combat Assurance) feat lets you do it with one skill even in combat as an action taking the normal time.
3) In downtime, you can use the Perform a Routine activity taking 10+(2xProficiency modifier) by spending a lot of time.
4) Another skill feat (let's call it Assured Success, must be an Expert) allows you to add your proficiency modifier once more when forgoing the roll and allows critical success on the activity.


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CyberMephit wrote:

I think take 10 does not play well with the current design intent. It would work fine if proficiencies gave a bigger numerical bonus, but as it stands now the result of take 10 of an untrained and legendary character would be too close to each other.

a) That's a problem with proficiencies in general, not with the take 10 mechanic. There's very little gap between the ranks, and that's being complained about in other threads.

b) There's actually a relatively simple way to fix that, one I suggested elsewhere: Trained: 8+normal bonuses, Expert: 10+Normal Bonuses, Master: 12+Normal Bonuses, Legendary: 14+Normal Bonuses.


a) For take 10 it is more serious than in general. In general it is mitigated by the crit system giving more weight to the pluses and also by proficiency gating skill uses. But with take 10 you will never have a situation where a legendary character critically succeeds where an untrained one would fail.

b) I suspect the designers purposefully do not want normal bonuses to apply without rolling (again to prevent people from bypassing or exploiting the crit system). But I think if we at least set a low result it should be OK. Subtract 5 from your proposal and then it's unlikely to break the game while removing a good chunk of meaningless rolls.


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CyberMephit wrote:

a) For take 10 it is more serious than in general. In general it is mitigated by the crit system giving more weight to the pluses and also by proficiency gating skill uses. But with take 10 you will never have a situation where a legendary character critically succeeds where an untrained one would fail.

b) I suspect the designers purposefully do not want normal bonuses to apply without rolling (again to prevent people from bypassing or exploiting the crit system). But I think if we at least set a low result it should be OK. Subtract 5 from your proposal and then it's unlikely to break the game while removing a good chunk of meaningless rolls.

The problem with it is that I'm spending a feat to be able to remove meaningless rolls... that I shouldn't be making anyway, because the GM is advised to not make me roll trivial checks. "Take 3" is not worth the feat slot; I'll just roll. I honestly think that the difference between untrained and Legendary should be (but currently is not) in the Skill Feats, not in your modifier.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I dislike assurance because:
1) For it's intended purpose it is terrible. If you have assurance in something you're good at, choosing to use it is choosing to fail any check except ones the book says the GM shouldn't even make you roll anyway.

2) At some levels you're actually "Taking" a negative result. Level 14 is the first where it's actually explicitly negative even assuming:
- You've max'd out the rank ups for the skill (It's worse if you don't)
- You've got a +4 in the relevant stat (You probably have better, making it worse)
- You have no item or circumstance bonuses (You probably do, making this worse).

3) Ignoring conditional modifiers is very vague, because it's unclear normally if the DC should be higher or a conditional penalty should apply. Many of the examples in the book suggesting why a DC may be higher are circumstances that could apply a conditional penalty... so this rule probably only exists to remove your own bonuses and penalties.

4) The only spot I've found where it's effective is covering your penalties. Armor check penalty for things like stealth. Though it also gets silly in that if you're sneaking past someone you can be good but if they're looking for you then you go back to being clunky (Assurance can help with your stealth check, but not DC to spot you). Thematically this feels wrong for what Assurance is meant to be.

5) One last spot is combat maneuvers to hide your multiple attack penalty... which strikes me as an abuse rather than an intended way to use it.

6) The old "Should I take 10? I'm not sure if it succeeds" is back, but even worse. As the GM quietly hides the difficulty of a check despite the fact your character should be able to assess how hard it is.

7) Feats that require assurance first essentially have a feat tax on them with the uselessness of assurance.

I'd like to either see assurance gone, or have it replaced by something where you roll but if you get below X, you get X. Even if you made it that without changing the numbers I think it'd be balanced. Though I'd probably make sure the ACP and multiple attack penalty apply even with assurance either way, as they already seem open to abuse.

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