Proficiencies: To hard to be good, but easy to be very weak


Playing the Game


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This Problem comes to me when I was trying to create a rogue character: Skills that are against Monster DCs are very hard. This is a matter of all Proficencies so I took it to the genarel discusion.
One Example to start with: Deception is Charisma based and I was thinking about how much Cha I want to have for my elven rouge. Bevore that I had looked at several monsters to understand the ruleset better.
This is what I got: Perception of a 2 lvl monster +7, a 4 lvl Monster +10, 8 lv +18, 18 lvl +28.
Some Math: (character lvl) 2 + (Attribute) 4 + (Proficency) 1 = +7 vs. (2 lvl monster) DC 17 => 50% with maximum stats
18 + 5 + 3 = +26 vs (18 lcl monster) DC 38 => 40% without feat or magic boosts (There are not many such boosts)
For the rogish character this means even with max Charisma she will be weak in the impersonate action or every other decepion action against an opponent of the same lvl.
Curious by this I checked other Skills and the result is that most skills, attackrolls and savingthrows has to be on your best attribute to get an 50% chance with lower Attributes this falls of quickly.
If you are no Dex-character you are very bad at hiding even if you get legendary and deception is mostly usefull for Charismna based Charakters. On the other hand afer a few lvl everyone can use Medicine to stabilise a charakter (fix DC 15)
Fighters are the best martialists and hardly get a 65% to hit most other characters have a 15% or higher critical failure chance, even raising on 2nd Stikes.
These checks that are against enemys seems to be a lot harder than other DCs and if you not concentrate all your resources in them you will be weak even if you concentrate recources these skills seem to be very unrelaiabel. With this character I do not want to sneak in a buildiung because I wont trust her ability to stay hiden even with all my resources put in there.
Durting character creation this kept in my mind and it feels wierd to allocate Skill increases, even by having so much of them I knew that I wont use many of them because the risk of failing is just to high and often to dangerous.
To put it in a nutshell I fell the Attribute bonuses are way to important to the usage of action against enemy DCs and these Skils are very unreliabel what makes them less interesting (35% feint action) or very dangerous (geting caught while scouting alone). The only part where I like this is in savingthrows you have to roll nearly always against the best DC of the caster with your most of the time subotional save. This makes magic users stronger and more reliabel.

I want to add that I feel very undicided by what I see in PF PLaytest overall. There are great advantages but I have the feeling that a lot of them are unused and this is a good thing for a beta test, but on the other hand I see so many holes that I am not sure if this playtest will be enough to fix it. But good luck and best wiches.


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As much as I hate to say it. This is actually better than Starfinder's system on it.

In early levels, you have about a 30% chance fully invested in skills, however unless you completely commit with Attribute, Skill Focus (feats), Items and more, your chance at succeeding with many skills at higher levels is around -15% (that is you would need to roll a 23 on a 20 sided dice). This comes from that linear building game from having DCs like 15+(1.5×CR).

From that, I would gladly take a 50%, however I do also agree that one should not have to pour every resource into something to be good at it.

Scarab Sages

I'm not sure that it wasn't designed with the intention of making this 50% possible or worse. In other words, PF1's system of an initial attack or skills are virtually a lock for even creatures at AP+5 is something that it appears they decided was not a good design space.

This is all conjecture though.


I like this better than PF1 where I have a level 9 rogue that barely has reason to roll to sneak/bluff/disguise/backflip past level 15+ enemies. As much fun as I had building him that way, it's pretty absurd. And that's even before I get advanced talents that would let me take 10 on all my checks even in combat, invalidating combat for him entirely.

Also Hellcat Stealth is stupid and I can't believe they printed it.

Scarab Sages

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I find it weird how often people say they hated the reliability of PF1 characters, it was a major draw for me. I like being good at what I spend resources on, IRL how often do we do something dangerous with only a 50/50 shot at it? I don't, I don't know anyone that does - why should professional adventurers?


My issue is that the crit success is like impossible for so many. If "the best" only sometimes crits on a 19 then everyone is failing and not being invested means that everyone fails.

Like if sneak at lv 10 for the rogue has a 50% chance and is +7 or more better than the fighter at sneaking then having the party sneak to get in a place means it's not happening unless the fighter gets an 18 or better or the place kinds isn't worth sneaking into.

Scarab Sages

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Angel Hunter D wrote:
I find it weird how often people say they hated the reliability of PF1 characters, it was a major draw for me. I like being good at what I spend resources on, IRL how often do we do something dangerous with only a 50/50 shot at it? I don't, I don't know anyone that does - why should professional adventurers?

Best of the best, going against Best of the Best in almost any professional sport are usually successful around 50% of the time or worse.

Dark Archive

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Angel Hunter D wrote:
I find it weird how often people say they hated the reliability of PF1 characters, it was a major draw for me. I like being good at what I spend resources on, IRL how often do we do something dangerous with only a 50/50 shot at it? I don't, I don't know anyone that does - why should professional adventurers?

I can't speak for others, but I don't dislike reliability. What I dislike is characters whose bonus is so high that there is no possibility for failure even against level-appropriate challenges. Things like Casting Defensively at high levels, for instance, or Intimidate to demoralize. For example, my current character's Intimidate bonus is high enough unbuffed to demoralize a Tarrasque on a 14 or higher, despite having only a +1 from my ability score, and I'm not even Level 20 yet. That level of certainty isn't very engaging for me. But again, your mileage may vary.

Scarab Sages

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LuniasM wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
I find it weird how often people say they hated the reliability of PF1 characters, it was a major draw for me. I like being good at what I spend resources on, IRL how often do we do something dangerous with only a 50/50 shot at it? I don't, I don't know anyone that does - why should professional adventurers?
I can't speak for others, but I don't dislike reliability. What I dislike is characters whose bonus is so high that there is no possibility for failure even against level-appropriate challenges. Things like Casting Defensively at high levels, for instance, or Intimidate to demoralize. For example, my current character's Intimidate bonus is high enough unbuffed to demoralize a Tarrasque on a 14 or higher, despite having only a +1 from my ability score, and I'm not even Level 20 yet. That level of certainty isn't very engaging for me. But again, your mileage may vary.

I agree with this. We shall see if the reset is too far the other direction or not through game play. If it feels like my super skilled character keeps failing more than I feel he should, that it feels useless to even try anymore, then I can report on that and let Paizo know.

Scarab Sages

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Tallow wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
I find it weird how often people say they hated the reliability of PF1 characters, it was a major draw for me. I like being good at what I spend resources on, IRL how often do we do something dangerous with only a 50/50 shot at it? I don't, I don't know anyone that does - why should professional adventurers?
Best of the best, going against Best of the Best in almost any professional sport are usually successful around 50% of the time or worse.

I'd go outside and grab an épée if I wanted realism. 50/50 hits that point where we might as well flip a coin - why have the granularity of a d20 if we aren't using it? And worse yet why use it when most of that granularity is in how we fail?


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Tallow wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
I find it weird how often people say they hated the reliability of PF1 characters, it was a major draw for me. I like being good at what I spend resources on, IRL how often do we do something dangerous with only a 50/50 shot at it? I don't, I don't know anyone that does - why should professional adventurers?
Best of the best, going against Best of the Best in almost any professional sport are usually successful around 50% of the time or worse.

Right, but I HIGHLY doubt that if they had the option of play the game and if you lose get thrown into prison or die or not play they'd choose not play and would play where the stacks weren't so high or super in their favor.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I believe that if you've put every possible resource into that skill your chance of success against the average equal level unspecialized opponent should be around 90%. If you're in your specialty but not completely optimized, maybe 70-80% range. The chance of the average trained character with maybe 12-14 stat and no other bonus is what should be 50%. Untrained, ability penalty, unfavorable circumstances, or a higher level opponent are the only situations in which you should be much below 50%. If the system can't do that, then I think it needs to be fixed.

I haven't played an actual game session yet, let alone a high level one, so I have no idea if it works this way in play... but that's the scale I'll be grading on.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

D20 system is frankly way too swingy to NOT overload with bonuses.

Crit failures/successes just exacerbates what is already a mathematically poor chassis.


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chocobot wrote:
I believe that if you've put every possible resource into that skill your chance of success against the average equal level unspecialized opponent should be around 90%. If you're in your specialty but not completely optimized, maybe 70-80% range. The chance of the average trained character with maybe 12-14 stat and no other bonus is what should be 50%. Untrained, ability penalty, unfavorable circumstances, or a higher level opponent are the only situations in which you should be much below 50%. If the system can't do that, then I think it needs to be fixed.

THIS!

So very much this. They have been harping so much about how the new system is supposed to allow even characters that are not invested in, say, Stealth, to still play the game.

If this is to be true, even a STR-based Fighter must have a baseline chance of success of AT LEAST 40 % or so, otherwise he is in the same spot he was in PF1: Don't bother playing.

The idea that you are REQUIRED to invest in a skill to merely stay ADEQUATE was a BIG PART of what made skills so frustrating in PF 1. Go ALL IN or don't bother. And with the pitiful amounts of skill points most classes had, that meant only being good at the 'must have' skills like Perception, and nothing to little else.

I already mentioned it in another post, but if skill tiers like Expert and Master are supposed to be worth a damn, they MUST make a meaningful difference. A mere +1 to a skill roll doesn't cut it. Make skill USES a matter of having the right skill tier, but make FEATS matter for getting a +1, +2, or even +3 to some of those skill uses to make an actual difference.

Let there be feats for, for example, Thievery to specialize in picking locks, or picking pockets, or dealing with traps, so you CAN get a 70%, 80% or maybe even 90% success chance vs. UNSPECIALISED foes. If you go up against an equally skilled foe, then, AND ONLY THEN, should it be more like a (weighted) coin flip.

And yes, if the enemy is specialised and you aren't then your chances of beating him in HIS SPECIALITY ought to be slim.


then use 3d6 instead of d20.

Treat +5 over DC as crit success and -5 under DC as crit failure.


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Lycar wrote:
chocobot wrote:
I believe that if you've put every possible resource into that skill your chance of success against the average equal level unspecialized opponent should be around 90%. If you're in your specialty but not completely optimized, maybe 70-80% range. The chance of the average trained character with maybe 12-14 stat and no other bonus is what should be 50%. Untrained, ability penalty, unfavorable circumstances, or a higher level opponent are the only situations in which you should be much below 50%. If the system can't do that, then I think it needs to be fixed.

THIS!

So very much this. They have been harping so much about how the new system is supposed to allow even characters that are not invested in, say, Stealth, to still play the game.

If this is to be true, even a STR-based Fighter must have a baseline chance of success of AT LEAST 40 % or so, otherwise he is in the same spot he was in PF1: Don't bother playing.

The idea that you are REQUIRED to invest in a skill to merely stay ADEQUATE was a BIG PART of what made skills so frustrating in PF 1. Go ALL IN or don't bother. And with the pitiful amounts of skill points most classes had, that meant only being good at the 'must have' skills like Perception, and nothing to little else.

Absolutely all of this. I mean, there should always be a chance of failure, but that shouldn't always be floating around 50+% - that's appropriate for going up against a boss, not literally everything.

We'll see what shakes out during the actual campaign when that gets rolling and it's not just quick tests, but so far the initial run of failures and crit failures with basically no critical successes isn't encouraging.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fuzzypaws wrote:
We'll see what shakes out during the actual campaign when that gets rolling and it's not just quick tests, but so far the initial run of failures and crit failures with basically no critical successes isn't encouraging.

I think this might be because enemies are a bit overtuned. I think I did get two or three critical successes during the first playtest session, but two of those were nat 20s and the other one was against a goblin with a roll of 19. No other crits occured during the playtest from me, and I tried to be as good of a martial as possible.


Lycar wrote:
If this is to be true, even a STR-based Fighter must have a baseline chance of success of AT LEAST 40 % or so, otherwise he is in the same spot he was in PF1: Don't bother playing

Well let's run some numbers. Let's assume two fighters have stat arrays of approximately 18/14/14/10/12/10 and both are level 1 wearing half-plate with no shield. That gives an AC of 18 (10 + 0 prof + 5 armor + 2 dex + 1 level) while having a +6 (+4 str + 1 prof + 1 level) to hit. 40% chance to hit. If the wizard plays honest and isn't also wearing half-plate, then they have a 13 AC giving a 70% chance to hit. If they optimize and don that half-plate then it's 16 AC for only a 55% chance to hit. Here's the thing: those numbers aren't going to meaningfully change as you go up in level.


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chocobot wrote:

I believe that if you've put every possible resource into that skill your chance of success against the average equal level unspecialized opponent should be around 90%. If you're in your specialty but not completely optimized, maybe 70-80% range. The chance of the average trained character with maybe 12-14 stat and no other bonus is what should be 50%. Untrained, ability penalty, unfavorable circumstances, or a higher level opponent are the only situations in which you should be much below 50%. If the system can't do that, then I think it needs to be fixed.

I haven't played an actual game session yet, let alone a high level one, so I have no idea if it works this way in play... but that's the scale I'll be grading on.

I'd go a step further. If you put a lot of resources into a skill, I have no problem with it succeeding 95 or even 100 percent of the time against challenges that are right around your level. I expect there will be other aspects of your character where you would fail 95%-100% of the time.

But to have your focus tactics only be reliable 50-70% of the time is completely unfun and non-heroic (once you get some experience; obviously at first-4th level the success rate is lower, but I expect success rates to climb as we level up so that by the mid levels (8-11) our focus tactics have a very high rate of success).
I have not yet tried to build a higher level character and see how it rates once it has magic items at its disposal, but I am expecting it will be a big challenge to get to 90-100% success, and that is not good.


Angel Hunter D wrote:
I find it weird how often people say they hated the reliability of PF1 characters, it was a major draw for me. I like being good at what I spend resources on, IRL how often do we do something dangerous with only a 50/50 shot at it? I don't, I don't know anyone that does - why should professional adventurers?

Amen to that.

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