AC and prof bonus


Playing the Game


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Of all the things I've griped about over the previews, this seems to be the one that I don't see a reasonable solution for.

Why is being a naked 10 DEX level 8 wizard with no spells up better for avoiding the axe swing of an orc than being a 10 Dex level 1 fighter in full plate?

Is this purely an absolute gamist surrender of narrative sense?

How does it make the storytelling game better?


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From the game perspective, Mark said the reasoning was that they wanted to keep higher level characters stronger than lower level foes - this is by design to let level 10 characters be obviously superior than level 1 foes. I can’t say it’s my favorite expression of this idea, either, but if they have the goal to make higher level PCs stack up against hordes of low levels, it’s one way to do it.

From a narrative perspective, that level 8 wizard has dodged HUNDREDS of orc axe blows in his life; he’s a wizard, yes, but he’s also a grizzled mercenary with literally hours worth of minute-by-minute combat experience. Maybe he’s even so skilled at magic by this point he’s subconsciously manipulating probability?

The level 1 fighter is a newb who has drilled quite a lot, but has probably faced all of 1 orc in his life, maybe 2. By comparison, he’s green and has never seen a fireball go off, much less faced down anything on his own without a troop of fellow guards.

This is not to say the level 8 naked wizard wouldn’t be slaughtered on his own by a bunch of level 1 orcs. But apples to apples, he’s tougher and has the battle scars to show it.


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ENHenry wrote:

From a narrative perspective, that level 8 wizard has dodged HUNDREDS of orc axe blows in his life; he’s a wizard, yes, but he’s also a grizzled mercenary with literally hours worth of minute-by-minute combat experience. Maybe he’s even so skilled at magic by this point he’s subconsciously manipulating probability?

The level 1 fighter is a newb who has drilled quite a lot, but has probably faced all of 1 orc in his life, maybe 2. By comparison, he’s green and has never seen a fireball go off, much less faced down anything on his own without a troop of fellow guards.

Henry, I've respected your opinion for a very long time.

Sincerely, do you buy that?

I've played LOT's of campaigns. I've seen wizards go from L1 to L8. Wizards getting attacked by hundreds of axe blows, don't last to L8. And, even with that, they are using all kinds of magic defenses. The one thing they are never doing by choice is demonstrating or developing martial defensive prowess.

Or in order to play 2E I have to accept the conventional that ALL WIZARDS EVERYWHERE are using undocumented magic to deflect weapons (and ALL CLERICS have a little faith going in the exact same measure)?

If I need to accept these things then the question becomes, how ids that appealing? Why should I choose this mechanical system? Because to offer this hand wave is an admission that it doen't work here the way the old system did.


Again, I can’t say it’s the way I would have gone with it (I am more a fan of the lower numbers as a whole produced by 5e’s bounded accuracy), but since it is the way they went, from a narrative perspective, it’s at least consistent. It’s also the reason why said level 8 wizard also succeeds at a basic skill check better than the expert low-level slob.

The level 8 person you at least can agree has definitely more real-world experience than the level 1 person; it’s a matter of degrees if you can believe he could dodge a sword blow markedly more effectively than the green level 1 newbie.


Thanks
I appreciate the response.

I could buy some argument that some progress is made. Though I could also argue that a wizard becomes worse because he relies on magic all the more.

Seven levels of wizard providing comparable martial defense as wearing full plate? We can say that the wizard also gets better at jumping by level 8, and it is only a matter of degrees if you can believe he has a 10 foot vertical leap despite a 10 strength and untrained status. Not saying 2E says *that*, I'm just pointing out that a matter if degrees can be a huge thing.

Either way, it is simply a statement that is going to put the rules into the "why play this one there are better options out there?" stack.

I've beat this into the ground. I'll continue to pay attention and look for dev feedback. I'm not remotely the only one bothered. So if I can provide constructive feedback I'm happy to pretend I'm important. :)
If it seems this issue isn't on the table, then so be it. Asked and answered and fair enough.

Thanks again.
I am a fan of your thoughts and insights going back to the original "C'mon August"


BryonD wrote:


Thanks again.
I am a fan of your thoughts and insights going back to the original "C'mon August"

:-) You too, man.

This weekend, my group kicks off our first PF2 session, so I expect to have a lot more to say after then.


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Yep...

It is because they add the level to everything, because they think people fall for bigger number = stronger. Despite having no effect compared to the rest of the party or an equal level enemy, they feel the need to add your level to everything for everyone with the net effect is rapid obsolescence of lower level foes and being grossly over matched against higher level foes.

Basically, as written, everything has to be within four levels of your character, or it won't be worth your time killing or will be too strong for you to kill.

Numbers become meaningless. And don't even get me started on that 10-2 table on 337 titled Skill DCs by Level and Difficulty. That thing will give you nightmares.


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I've wanted level (or BAB, or something) to apply to AC for as long as I've been playing D&D.

In reality, but especially in fiction, skill and experience are huge factors in your ability to defend yourself. When you see a swordfight in a movie, do they just stand there letting the other guy bounce blows off their armor, or do they dodge and parry, pitting their fighting skill against the other guy's?

This is something that every other RPG accounts for but D&D has always ignored in favor of making your defense entirely dependent on your magic items. That's not narritively satisfying at all.

Yes, your 8th level wizard is harder to hit that your first level fighter. That's because an 8th level character is an experienced badass hero who's been around the block a few times. A 1st level character is a rookie. That's what having levels means. An 8th level fighter will be even harder to hit than the wizard because he's got the skill and experience and armor. His advantage over the equivalent-level wizard is three times the wizard's over the 1st level guy.

This is not anything new. In PF1 or D&D 3E, that 8th level wizard already had a higher BAB than the 1st level fighter. "Higher level characters are more badass than lower level characters" is a core conceit of a level-based RPG like D20 and always has been.


The Narration wrote:
I've wanted level (or BAB, or something) to apply to AC for as long as I've been playing D&D....

Wonderful for you.

You need to recognize that "winning" this debate is not a thing.
First, it won't happen.
If you want me to agree with the vague concept of improvement, ok I can do that. If you want to tell me that a naked, no active spells L8 wizard is as good as plate mail then I;'m going to play a different game and your opinion is not relevant.

I've been playing since literally the late 70s and HP have always done a great job of capturing the survivability of advanced characters. I don't need AC and HP double counting that.

But, you like it, at least you THINK you are going to like it.
Maybe you will find out it wasn't all you thought, as has happened before with other system that sold well then lost their fan base fairly quickly. Or maybe you will keep loving it but the issue with too many other people having their playstyle ignored sinks the game in the market and you are disappointed despite your love of the design.

So, bottom line, "winning" our difference in taste won't help you any.

Quote:
This is not anything new. In PF1 or D&D 3E, that 8th level wizard already had a higher BAB than the 1st level fighter. "Higher level characters are more badass than lower level characters" is a core conceit of a level-based RPG like D20 and always has been.

Wait, so you WOULD be ok with leaving well enough alone.... ???? ????


ENHenry wrote:
It’s also the reason why said level 8 wizard also succeeds at a basic skill check better than the expert low-level slob.

Actually, he doesn't, because the DCs for that same check go up too. A level 1 Trivial DC is 10 but at level 8 it's 17 (+7 level...+7 DC: same odds of success). How about a High DC? Level 1 its 14 and at level 8 its 24 (+7 level...+10 DC: lower odds of success).

Sure, the level 8 PC might have access to higher levels of skill training and a skill feat or two, but those benefits are relatively minor (gaining a proficiency rank is +1, and skill feats either let you do something New or let you do something Faster).


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Draco18s wrote:
ENHenry wrote:
It’s also the reason why said level 8 wizard also succeeds at a basic skill check better than the expert low-level slob.

Actually, he doesn't, because the DCs for that same check go up too. A level 1 Trivial DC is 10 but at level 8 it's 17 (+7 level...+7 DC: same odds of success). How about a High DC? Level 1 its 14 and at level 8 its 24 (+7 level...+10 DC: lower odds of success).

Sure, the level 8 PC might have access to higher levels of skill training and a skill feat or two, but those benefits are relatively minor (gaining a proficiency rank is +1, and skill feats either let you do something New or let you do something Faster).

Only DCs and rolls contested by a scaling foe stay the same. Page 338 is pretty clear that the world as a whole runs off static DCs.

Regarding the discussion between Byron and Henry, while I think I'm willing to run with this system (by end game in 5e I've found myself really wishing I could throw entire armies at my players without simply scaring them off), I do sort of find it funny how it plays like plot armour manifest.


Draco18s wrote:
ENHenry wrote:
It’s also the reason why said level 8 wizard also succeeds at a basic skill check better than the expert low-level slob.

Actually, he doesn't, because the DCs for that same check go up too. A level 1 Trivial DC is 10 but at level 8 it's 17 (+7 level...+7 DC: same odds of success). How about a High DC? Level 1 its 14 and at level 8 its 24 (+7 level...+10 DC: lower odds of success).

Sure, the level 8 PC might have access to higher levels of skill training and a skill feat or two, but those benefits are relatively minor (gaining a proficiency rank is +1, and skill feats either let you do something New or let you do something Faster).

I think Elleth is correct.

Though, in fairness, that table has way more columns and data than it needs.

Specific to AC it is completely easy. The orc has a set attack bonus. Done.

But, for example, walking a tightrope is given a level. As you advance, walking a tightrope does not.


BryonD wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
ENHenry wrote:
It’s also the reason why said level 8 wizard also succeeds at a basic skill check better than the expert low-level slob.

Actually, he doesn't, because the DCs for that same check go up too. A level 1 Trivial DC is 10 but at level 8 it's 17 (+7 level...+7 DC: same odds of success). How about a High DC? Level 1 its 14 and at level 8 its 24 (+7 level...+10 DC: lower odds of success).

Sure, the level 8 PC might have access to higher levels of skill training and a skill feat or two, but those benefits are relatively minor (gaining a proficiency rank is +1, and skill feats either let you do something New or let you do something Faster).

I think Elleth is correct.

Though, in fairness, that table has way more columns and data than it needs.

Specific to AC it is completely easy. The orc has a set attack bonus. Done.

But, for example, walking a tightrope is given a level. As you advance, walking a tightrope does not.

I agree that the rough gist of most of the table could probably be covered by a formula.

That said, I'm not adverse to a table. Compared to what I'm used to at least this doesn't seem that hard to read. I think the thin layout might be why.


Elleth wrote:


I agree that the rough gist of most of the table could probably be covered by a formula.

That said, I'm not adverse to a table. Compared to what I'm used to at least this doesn't seem that hard to read. I think the thin layout might be why.

To me it just needs two columns: Level / Typical DC

Two levels higher is "Hard"
A little harder than average is +1.
It just doesn't seem complex enough to warrant low/high/severe
:)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm of two minds about proficiency bonus.

I've considered seeing what "flattening" the game - removing proficiency bonus from everything - would look like, and I think it would be an interesting experiment.

It does however definitely result in a much grittier game. Without proficiency bonus, a level 1 orc is a much more meaningful threat to a level 6 PC than with; a pack of level 1 orcs could about slaughter a level 6 PC who lacks a way to quickly take advantage of their relatively low hit points.

On the flip side, a group of level 6 PCs stands a much better odds of overwhelming a level 11 villain. So you end up with a world where level matters a lot less and fights in general are a whole lot more dangerous; could be quite interesting.

But really the mainly controversial part of proficiency bonus is AC. Attacks, skills, and saves have always scaled with level. Not 1-to-1, but with level. And I definitely understand why the devs wanted to bring AC into that equation, too - the math is a LOT easier to balance when you are more comfortable talking about the expected AC of a character at a given level.

I also understand why "off" skills scale with level, too. The argument the devs make about those times when the whole party needs to make a stealth check make sense. I've been there.

But I definitely understand feeling weird about the whole system. I feel weird about it, even though I understand the reasoning.


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MaxAstro wrote:
But really the mainly controversial part of proficiency bonus is AC. Attacks, skills, and saves have always scaled with level. Not 1-to-1, but with level. And I definitely understand why the devs wanted to bring AC into that equation, too - the math is a LOT easier to balance when you are more comfortable talking about the expected AC of a character at a given level.

Right. And that kinda backs into my issue. Despite claims of better character dodging blows, I personally don't know of ANY stories in which naked and no magic going wizards are dancing around dodging blows from men at arms and orcs. I don't doubt someone out there somewhere could come up with something obscure, but it isn't a fantasy trope that anyone on the street would recognize. Easier math and "more awesomomerestist" characters seem to be the drivers. Which, to me, is a shame. Because I would *like* to play a new game, but I'm not willing to sacrifice the storytelling I can already have. So be it.

Quote:
I also understand why "off" skills scale with level, too. The argument the devs make about those times when the whole party needs to make a stealth check make sense. I've been there.

Ehh.. I don't want to go there because *this one* is easy to house rule around. But an archetype dwarf in plate can't sneak. I don't have any quibble with how other people play their game. But if you are at my table letting full plate dwarves sneak just because not sneaking is frustrating is not an improvement. It is just doing dwarves in full plate wrong. I'd rather the rules just say "make them explain it and then the GM is "Required" to let them get past" over simply fudging the math.

Players in my game ENJOY solving this kind of problem. As written, 2E would actively take away part of the challenge and reward.

But, again, easy to house rule this part.

Quote:
But I definitely understand feeling weird about the whole system. I feel weird about it, even though I understand the reasoning.

Yep.

And history suggests that a lot of players will quickly pick up on the wrong feeling and even those who love it at first will find the system giving too much away becomes less fun quickly.

Again, I don't say this last piece because I want to demand 2E be catered to me. (I do want to love it, I'm not going to lie about wishing they would move in my direction) But I sincerely think that cutting corners on story and challenge has already been demonstrated to be a bad way to get a sustained fanbase.


I would rather see more or better secondary or tertirary attacks to meet higher HPs of character than this suggested +1/level treadmill.

Now attacks are +0/-5/-10/-10/...

maybe after some levels add

+0/-4/-8/-8...

after that,

+0/-3/-6/-6...

finaly

+0/-2/-4/-4...


BryonD wrote:


Right. And that kinda backs into my issue. Despite claims of better character dodging blows, I personally don't know of ANY stories in which naked and no magic going wizards are dancing around dodging blows from men at arms and orcs. I don't doubt someone out there somewhere could come up with something obscure, but it isn't a fantasy trope that anyone on the street would recognize. Easier math and "more awesomomerestist" characters seem to be the drivers. Which, to me, is a shame. Because I would *like* to play a new game, but I'm not willing to sacrifice the storytelling I can already have. So be it.

Is Lord of the Rings too obscure for you? Gandalf was running around meleeing orcs wearing just his robes and did just fine.

The idea of "more experienced combatants are better at defending themselves" isn't going to be an alien one to most people; that's what's expected. It's D&D's decision to make fighting skill meaningless and make defense all about magic items that people find alien. Telling someone that their highly-experienced and skilled swordsman is no harder to hit without armor and magic items than any random schmuck and they look at you like you're crazy.

Look, have you ever played any non-D&D RPGs? Pretty much all of them base your defense on your fighting skill. Armor usually adds to damage resistance. D&D was the anomaly in this regard.

Just because Gygax did it that way decades ago does not make it a good idea. I have a ton of issues with PF2, but adding level to AC is one of the few things I'd say is unambiguously an improvement.

You're bothered that an 8th level character is harder to hit than a 1st level one? To that I say, "No duh." The first level character is a scrub. The eighth level one is an experienced hero who's seen more action than most people ever will.

Lantern Lodge

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The Narration wrote:


You're bothered that an 8th level character is harder to hit than a 1st level one? To that I say, "No duh." The first level character is a scrub. The eighth level one is an experienced hero who's seen more action than most people ever will.

That's why an 8th level character has a ton more hit points, better armor, better spells, etc. Adding +1 per level to AC is double dipping.


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Gah I'm so tired of this why is it never constructive analysis. Thread title interesting oh another of the same thing sigh. its always the same thing ad nausem.


The Narration wrote:
Is Lord of the Rings too obscure for you? Gandalf was running around meleeing orcs wearing just his robes and did just fine.

I haven't seen the movies in a few years. I've read the books a few times. And, yeah, I don't recall that. I recall him tricking them and such, but not that.

Quote:

The idea of "more experienced combatants are better at defending themselves" isn't going to be an alien one to most people; that's what's expected. It's D&D's decision to make fighting skill meaningless and make defense all about magic items that people find alien. Telling someone that their highly-experienced and skilled swordsman is no harder to hit without armor and magic items than any random schmuck and they look at you like you're crazy.

Look, have you ever played any non-D&D RPGs? Pretty much all of them base your defense on your fighting skill. Armor usually adds to damage resistance. D&D was the anomaly in this regard.

Just because Gygax did it that way decades ago does not make it a good idea. I have a ton of issues with PF2, but adding level to AC is one of the few things I'd say is unambiguously an improvement.

You are blurring the conversation with the DR debate.

I'll just say, yes, I've played a lot of games that involve avoiding getting hit and passive high levels of automatic all-circumstance martial evasion is rare for the martial masters, and pretty much unheardof for non-martials. Having strong active defenses or magic, yes. That sin't what is happening here.

Quote:
You're bothered that an 8th level character is harder to hit than a 1st level one? To that I say, "No duh." The first level character is a scrub. The eighth level one is an experienced hero who's seen more action than most people ever will.

Asked and answered above.

and, again, you are missing the bigger picture altogether. If YOU love it and you are too closed minded to support a game that embraces a wider audience, this debate won't matter.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Gah I'm so tired of this why is it never constructive analysis. Thread title interesting oh another of the same thing sigh. its always the same thing ad nausem.

Hmm. When the concerns reach ad nausem levels, that means it is time to ignore that issue, right?

Your posts seems to indicate the trend might be meaningful.
Thank you for calling attention to the level of response this concern has created.


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As people have mentioned, you do just literally get better at everything with experience.

I don't necessarily think you should get so much better, so quickly. I generally think the game would "feel" better if the proficiency bonus to AC and everything else was half level, instead of full level.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:

As people have mentioned, you do just literally get better at everything with experience.

I don't necessarily think you should get so much better, so quickly. I generally think the game would "feel" better if the proficiency bonus to AC and everything else was half level, instead of full level.

Literally, you don't. People get worse at things as they gain better options for getting them done. For example, people good at doing math in their head when they are young frequently start using tools for more advanced calculations and become notably less proficient at the "in their head" stuff. Just like a wizard relying on more and more magic....

People also stay incompetent at things they simply don't do.

But none of that matters because (a) it isn't about be a perfect reflection of reality. But to a lot of people it is about capturing the kind of story they want to tell and naked wizards with no magic being better at martial defense than a guy in full plate actively thwarts that. and (b) differences of opinion are fine but rejecting a chunk of the fanbase is a bad strategy.


BryonD wrote:


Is this purely an absolute gamist surrender of narrative sense?

Yes.

Intentional or not, 2E is utterly gamist driven in it's design.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Narration wrote:


Is Lord of the Rings too obscure for you? Gandalf was running around meleeing orcs wearing just his robes and did just fine.

Well, to be fair, Gandalf wasn't really a wizard by Pathfinder/D&D standards. I think Wizards in Middle Earth were, like, some kind of outsider rather than humans with class levels.

It might seem pedantic, but it matters about what wizards are supposed to be in the world of the narrative.


This is another reason, outside the playtest, I have omitted +Level in my home-games; I did the same thing with 4th Ed's treadmill, worked out marvellously.

You can dial the +level deal to whatever you like (+0, +1/4 level, +1/2 level, etc), for the aesthetic/feel, monster threat range that you want; just a style choice, something I really like about PF2.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

One thing i honestly find s bit confusing is. Why do ppl have problems with ac getting increased automatically. When the same mechsnic slmlst was there the whole time for thac?

A lvl 10 wizard was in pf1 and d&d WAY better st hitting rhings rham a lvl 1 or 2 ot 3 dightrr.

But that dowsnt seem to bother anyone?


This is heavily discussed in my group as well. In general people don't like the +level to everything. The size of the bonuses eclipse alot of stats and proficiencies. I want progression but in my group most people seem to want a +1/4th level or +1/2 level to find a suitable balance between storytelling, range of NPCs and monsters which are viable encounters at any given level.

It is a gamist mechanic but it also reflects experience and the goal should be to provide a good gaming experience.

AC generally scaled with other things in PF1 (magic items and similar) at a higher rate than +to-hit did so I think that is why people didn't think about it as much. Also, the pf1 level 10 wizard did scale with half their level meaning that the difference wasn't as big as it is in PF2.


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Drakli wrote:
The Narration wrote:


Is Lord of the Rings too obscure for you? Gandalf was running around meleeing orcs wearing just his robes and did just fine.

Well, to be fair, Gandalf wasn't really a wizard by Pathfinder/D&D standards. I think Wizards in Middle Earth were, like, some kind of outsider rather than humans with class levels.

It might seem pedantic, but it matters about what wizards are supposed to be in the world of the narrative.

It's not pedantic. I'm a fan of the 5e open license Adventures in Middle Earth series by Cubicle 7. Most notable is that you can't play a wizard in the game at all: Gandalf-type behaviour is so out of the zone of what normal adventurers can achieve they simply said 'no you can't.


Yossarian wrote:
Drakli wrote:
The Narration wrote:


Is Lord of the Rings too obscure for you? Gandalf was running around meleeing orcs wearing just his robes and did just fine.

Well, to be fair, Gandalf wasn't really a wizard by Pathfinder/D&D standards. I think Wizards in Middle Earth were, like, some kind of outsider rather than humans with class levels.

It might seem pedantic, but it matters about what wizards are supposed to be in the world of the narrative.

It's not pedantic. I'm a fan of the 5e open license Adventures in Middle Earth series by Cubicle 7. Most notable is that you can't play a wizard in the game at all: Gandalf-type behaviour is so out of the zone of what normal adventurers can achieve they simply said 'no you can't.

Yeah, playing 1 of 5 unique demigods is not really a feasible option for PCs.

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