Rework how proficiencies work.


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


I understand why the design team would want all characters to improve as they level, but currently it makes no thematic sense on how it works.
How can the untrained sultry Cha 20 prostitute be as good at diplomacy as the legendary, but ugly Cha 10 Spymaster? My concept to fix this would be capping your bonus based on your proficiency level.
Untrained: you gain no proficiency bonus to the check
Trained: You gain your level as a proficiency bonus to the check up to 5
Expert: The cap is raised up to 10
Master: Cap is 15
Legend: Cap is 20
Each proficiency level could impart the bonus or negative it currently does also (-2,0,+1,+2,+3 respectively).


A simple fix would be to mimic the Good and Poor save scales of PF1E to reflect the Trained and Untrained issue here.

That way something you are trained in nets you a +2 to +12 bonus while untrained leaves you with +0 to +6 max.

Or if that's too burdensome, just say Trained is equal to your Level and Untrained is 1/2 Level (rounded down).

The Expert/Master/Legend ranks could then either stick with their +1 each or provide a +2 each. Or they could just offer a bonus die of some type (+1d4, +1d6, +1d8 comes to mind).


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In another thread, I proposed a different solution. Each Proficiency allows you to roll another d20 and take the best result. So a person with Legendary Survival would get to roll 4 times on any Survival check. This achieves several goals:

1) It preserves the bounded accuracy and the paradigm where everyone can at least attempt a check.

2) By giving players more attempts at the same check it creates a substantive feeling of improvement as you gain proficiency.

3) Dramatically reduces the chances that the Untrained Barbarian knows more about any subject on Arcana than the Master Wizard.

I've heard 5e uses something similar.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
N N 959 wrote:

In another thread, I proposed a different solution. Each Proficiency allows you to roll another d20 and take the best result. So a person with Legendary Survival would get to roll 4 times on any Survival check. This achieves several goals:

1) It preserves the bounded accuracy and the paradigm where everyone can at least attempt a check.

2) By giving players more attempts at the same check it creates a substantive feeling of improvement as you gain proficiency.

3) Dramatically reduces the chances that the Untrained Barbarian knows more about any subject on Arcana than the Master Wizard.

I've heard 5e uses something similar.

I like it- probably the only alternative I've seen so far that really seems to carry much merit.


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Personally, I find that the system overall power creeps on big bads a little too hard and there isn't enough desparity between those who are in the different tiers. I saw a forum post at one point (can't remember where I found it). It had exactly what I wanted in terms of desparity and still have the legendary tier the badassery that I love.

It went something like this:

untrained: flat -2; and +1 per 5 levels
trained: flat +0; and +2 per 5 levels
expert: flat +1; and +3 per 5 levels
master: flat +2; and +4 per 5 levels
legend: flat +3; and +5 per 5 levels

At level 20 it should look something like this for disparity.

untrained: +2
trained: +8
expert: +13
master: +18
legend: +23

(None of these are my ideas or systems are mine, I am just displaying a system I saw an liked that I am currently implementing with my players)


FYI: Jason Bulmahn announced Prof and DC changes during a Twitch Stream (which is now on YouTube as of Jan 2nd 2019)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q6_huC37a0&lc=z223wvhzcyeqtxn1aacdp431 iqrzbgfh3d0wpbxxsspw03c010c

Relevant times:
-DC 26:26
-Prof. 32:16

It was announced that the Table of DCs will be addressed "1 level line, 1 list of numbers"

Additionally Proficiency looks like this:
Untrained: 0
Trained: 2 + Level
Expert: 4 + Level
Master: 6 + Level
Legendary: 8 + Level

I want to see more discussion on this. I think it's a step in the right direction, but I think that it causes other concerns.

I would Much prefer
Untrained: -2
Trained: 2
Expert: 4
Master: 8
Legendary: 16

and remove level all together: there's already a preq to be a certain level to even become an Expert/Master/Legendary [so instead of adding level, you 'bake' level into the bonus you get (somewhat) for achieving that proficiency. [making choices more important] without the gamey feel you get from +level to 'everything you're at least trained in' AND additionally removing how large of a bonus you get from just becoming trained at higher levels

Hi, I'm a level 10 Wizard, with a +0 to Athletics due to my 10 Str [untrained: 0]
(3 weeks later) OH Hi again I'm a level 11 Wizard, with a +13 to Athletics [Trained: 2+level]

I feel that bump is just too much, especially if DCs are going to be changing. I feel it basically says that unless you're pushing for Legendary status, that you better spend your skill feats on becoming trained in as many skills as you can so you can at least get the +level to that check.

I hope they do not change this.

OH and for s#!&s and giggles lets get ahead of ourselves and make a Mythic level proficiency that provides +32 in my preferred method (as my method prof's are Powers of 2) and I feel it fits the fantasy. And will make leveling and the math so much more understandable.


Not sure doubling each time is the right amount, but I like the cut of your jib.


The problem with drastically changing the proficiency numbers is that they don't apply to just skills, they also apply to attacks, AC and saves.

That means you're basically dead against anything that forces you to save with Trained or even Expert against a Legendary DC (you know, every high-level spellcaster with all of their spells) using the numbers suggested by Kaelizar. Most characters are only Trained in at least one save, and rarely get more than one save at Master or Legendary.

Monster will either be unable to hit the Paladin and Monk, or almost never miss the Barbarian and Cleric.


Nightwhisper wrote:

The problem with drastically changing the proficiency numbers is that they don't apply to just skills, they also apply to attacks, AC and saves.

That means you're basically dead against anything that forces you to save with Trained or even Expert against a Legendary DC (you know, every high-level spellcaster with all of their spells) using the numbers suggested by Kaelizar. Most characters are only Trained in at least one save, and rarely get more than one save at Master or Legendary.

Monster will either be unable to hit the Paladin and Monk, or almost never miss the Barbarian and Cleric.

Very good point. But it's still somewhat true in the current system. If a 12th level party is up against a 16th level caster with Legendary DCs it's still going to be a bit harsh, just due to '+level' alone. At the very least I'm happy about the change, and it give me confidence that they are trying to make the new system simple to implement and 'balanced' to a manageable point.


Kaelizar wrote:
Nightwhisper wrote:

The problem with drastically changing the proficiency numbers is that they don't apply to just skills, they also apply to attacks, AC and saves.

That means you're basically dead against anything that forces you to save with Trained or even Expert against a Legendary DC (you know, every high-level spellcaster with all of their spells) using the numbers suggested by Kaelizar. Most characters are only Trained in at least one save, and rarely get more than one save at Master or Legendary.

Monster will either be unable to hit the Paladin and Monk, or almost never miss the Barbarian and Cleric.

Very good point. But it's still somewhat true in the current system. If a 12th level party is up against a 16th level caster with Legendary DCs it's still going to be a bit harsh, just due to '+level' alone. At the very least I'm happy about the change, and it give me confidence that they are trying to make the new system simple to implement and 'balanced' to a manageable point.

Absolutely true (well, spellcasters dont get Legendary spellcasting at that level, only Master). But I see level difference causing this being less of an issue than the fact that increased difference between the proficiency levels causes it. If level is taken out and proficiency increased, a level 20 Barbarian cannot avoid the blows of a level 5 Fighter to any appreciable degree.

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