Are you forcing GMs to adjust skill checks DCs with character level?


Running the Game


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I have been a GM for many years. In my mind when setting up the DC of a skill check I always think of baselines like 10 for easy 15 for normal and 20+ for hard adjusting on the situation and circumstances.

In Pathfinder I always had problems tailoring the right DC for high level characters because of their insanely high bonuses. The thing always bothered me. But at least that was only for their signature skills.

Then I played 5e and the slower pace progression made a bit more sense to me as I could just use static numbers for DCs and characters that were naturally better at doing things would success while untrained would naturally fail even at higher levels.

In PF2e I find that instead of solving the problem we had in the 1st edition you made it worse, as now everyone can sport a +1/lvl modifier to any skill so when getting to higher levels this completely breaks the game as these characters would succeed automatically at every normal/hard task regardless of the training they received. We all read the example of the untrained Barbarian with 7 CHA being better at performing than an expert Bard with 16 CHA just thanks to the levels. It makes no sense, but worse than this is the fact that you are forcing GMs to bump the DCs for high level characters.

That's the only solution I could find to give high level PCs a challenge. DCs constructed on the character and his level instead that based simply on the difficulty of the task. But this is an abomination to me and I refuse to do it. I cannot believe game designers produced such flawed rules so I'm clearly not seeing something that justify this weirdness. What the hell am I missing?


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You are not missing anything. and I agree with you.. I made a post "Skill system" about this already and i hope it gets changed or i will have to houserule the system =/


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Any particular task (like climbing a tree) is supposed to have a fixed DC, whatever level the PCs are. So, yes, an experienced adventurer can easily succeed at tasks that they had trouble with early on in their career. Those tasks are no longer an appropriate challenge for the character.

Appropriate challenges will have higher DCs as the PCs level up, but they will be different challenges. That's just the way the system works.

The whole skill use thing is supposed to be balanced out by characters with higher proficiency auto-succeeding at the easy stuff, and being able to attempt things that a less trained, or untrained character can't even try. Unfortunately the playtest is lacking in things that a Master or Legendary character can do but somebody Trained can't.


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While PF2 isn't saying things like "trees get harder to climb", as was the common misinterpretation of things in 4e it is shading into the actual issue 4e had with skill DCs:

An encouragement of 'backwards' design, where you start with the DC you need to have an appropriate challenge then figure out what would give that DC. So if the characters are, say, 10th level there simply won't be a tree anywhere useful for getting over a wall or into a window¹ and the wall will generally be hard to climb. As opposed to 'forwards' design where you start with what is right for the adventure from a plot and setting perspective and then deal with things that are too hard/too easy, (too hard might mean 'this probably isn't an option' and too easy may have something else attached to it² or simply be assumed as something the party can just do).

N.B. Encourage and require are not synonyms.

1: If one wanted to be silly about it a GM could say "you advance to sixth level, in 'totally unrelated' news a new landscaping fad for short bushes is sweeping the nation."

2: e.g. The guards know about how easy it is to climb in that window and thus include the lord's childhood room in their rounds.


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One of the things that separates PF and 5e is that a high level Pathfinder character is supposed to be a badass. It is fully intended that things that were difficult at low levels become effortless for high level characters. I don't think this is a problem; coming up against a challenge that you would have struggled with as a youngling that you can now pass without even requiring a roll feels good, it feels like your character has improved over the course of her levels.

As for the specific example given in the OP, the intent is that the Untrained high-level Barbarian can't even make the checks that the Expert low-level Bard can make. The idea is that the Barbarian can do a fun rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb and then the Bard says "that's cute, now watch this" as she nails a famous concerto. This isn't made as clear as it could be in the book, but based on replies to these very concerns in pre-release blog posts this seems to be what the devs are going for.


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Arachnofiend wrote:

One of the things that separates PF and 5e is that a high level Pathfinder character is supposed to be a badass. It is fully intended that things that were difficult at low levels become effortless for high level characters. I don't think this is a problem; coming up against a challenge that you would have struggled with as a youngling that you can now pass without even requiring a roll feels good, it feels like your character has improved over the course of her levels.

As for the specific example given in the OP, the intent is that the Untrained high-level Barbarian can't even make the checks that the Expert low-level Bard can make. The idea is that the Barbarian can do a fun rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb and then the Bard says "that's cute, now watch this" as she nails a famous concerto. This isn't made as clear as it could be in the book, but based on replies to these very concerns in pre-release blog posts this seems to be what the devs are going for.

Spoiler:

Mary had a little lamb,
It's fangs as white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.

He followed her to war one day
The meanest of them all;
It made the goblins laugh and play,
To see a lamb so cruel.

And so the orcs barred him out,
But still he lingered near;
And waited patiently about
Till Mary did appear

"What makes the lamb love Mary so?"
The eager goblins pry;
"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know,"
The orcs begin to cry.

Scarab Sages

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Arachnofiend wrote:

One of the things that separates PF and 5e is that a high level Pathfinder character is supposed to be a badass. It is fully intended that things that were difficult at low levels become effortless for high level characters. I don't think this is a problem; coming up against a challenge that you would have struggled with as a youngling that you can now pass without even requiring a roll feels good, it feels like your character has improved over the course of her levels.

As for the specific example given in the OP, the intent is that the Untrained high-level Barbarian can't even make the checks that the Expert low-level Bard can make. The idea is that the Barbarian can do a fun rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb and then the Bard says "that's cute, now watch this" as she nails a famous concerto. This isn't made as clear as it could be in the book, but based on replies to these very concerns in pre-release blog posts this seems to be what the devs are going for.

If I'm reading the skills right, it'd make more sense that way if the bard had more than a 50% chance of success at that concerto against a CR appropriate music critic.


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Angel Hunter D wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

One of the things that separates PF and 5e is that a high level Pathfinder character is supposed to be a badass. It is fully intended that things that were difficult at low levels become effortless for high level characters. I don't think this is a problem; coming up against a challenge that you would have struggled with as a youngling that you can now pass without even requiring a roll feels good, it feels like your character has improved over the course of her levels.

As for the specific example given in the OP, the intent is that the Untrained high-level Barbarian can't even make the checks that the Expert low-level Bard can make. The idea is that the Barbarian can do a fun rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb and then the Bard says "that's cute, now watch this" as she nails a famous concerto. This isn't made as clear as it could be in the book, but based on replies to these very concerns in pre-release blog posts this seems to be what the devs are going for.

If I'm reading the skills right, it'd make more sense that way if the bard had more than a 50% chance of success at that concerto against a CR appropriate music critic.

Ah yes the every dangerous music critic. Truly a formidable and evil creature be those.


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Completly horrified Vidmaster7 wrote:


Ah yes the every dangerous music critic. Truly a formidable and evil creature be those.

Have you never met the blasphemous ghoul-priests of the broken flute, the cannibalistic elders of the musical society, or even the dreaded Men of Masks that lurk beyond the pale of the crimson curtain?

Iä! Iä!


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There is a chart on pg 337 that provides suggested DCs by level. The text in that vicinity also discusses non-scaling checks like climbing a tree and how to build challenges that make sense at higher levels.


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What is wrong with a 20th level barbarian being able to sing? Nothing is broken you just don't understand what high levels means. High level pathfinder characters are friggan bad asses. Something that was hard for a 1st level character shouldn't be hard for them, regardless if they specialize in that thing anymore. A 20th level character inst Aragorn, he's batman, or superman, or the hulk. And I can think of one scene in particular from a dc animated film that explains my feelings on your issue. Search for batman sings in the old justice league cartoon.

This fixes way more problems then it caused. Such as for instance a 20th level wizard being more afraid of falling into a pond, then facing down a red dragon.


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What's wrong with a hero that can't swim? Sounds like great narrative potential to me.


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Kolokotroni wrote:

What is wrong with a 20th level barbarian being able to sing? Nothing is broken you just don't understand what high levels means. High level pathfinder characters are friggan bad asses. Something that was hard for a 1st level character shouldn't be hard for them, regardless if they specialize in that thing anymore. A 20th level character inst Aragorn, he's batman, or superman, or the hulk. And I can think of one scene in particular from a dc animated film that explains my feelings on your issue. Search for batman sings in the old justice league cartoon.

This fixes way more problems then it caused. Such as for instance a 20th level wizard being more afraid of falling into a pond, then facing down a red dragon.

how about a 90 year old wizard with 8 Strenght outdoing a level 10 barbarian with 20 str in most athletics tasks, without the aid of magic mind you. Is that ok aswell? Same Wizard is outdoing the level 10 rogue in acrobatics and the level 10 bard att singing and playing every single instrument in the world.. Said wizard outdoes the level 10 fighter at swordsplay and is scarier than the halforc barbarian. this wizard outdoes an entire level 10 party at everything they are best at and has dedicated their life to perfect.. and only reason is "Because level 20 and bad ass"


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Soldarc wrote:
how about a 90 year old wizard with 8 Strenght outdoing a level 10 barbarian with 20 str in most athletics tasks, without the aid of magic mind you. Is that ok aswell? Same Wizard is outdoing the level 10 rogue in acrobatics and the level 10 bard att singing and playing every single instrument in the world.. Said wizard outdoes the level 10 fighter at swordsplay and is scarier than the halforc barbarian. this wizard outdoes an entire level 10 party at everything they are best at and has dedicated their life to perfect.. and only reason is "Because level 20 and bad ass"

So: 8 STR vs 20 STR, that's a difference of 6 (-1 vs +5). Let's also assume, based on your description, that the wizard is Untrained while the barbarian is a Master, which they can pick up by level 7. That's another difference of 4 (-2 vs + 2). This means that, for tasks that don't require training, they have the same bonus; the two are evenly matched if the task isn't at all proficiency-gated. If proficiency matters, or if the non level 20 char has relevant skill feats, they'll come out ahead.

20th level characters should be... i'm trying to find a word for mythic/epic/legendary that isn't already a loaded game term. That's the story this system seems primed to tell.


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First World Bard wrote:
Soldarc wrote:
how about a 90 year old wizard with 8 Strenght outdoing a level 10 barbarian with 20 str in most athletics tasks, without the aid of magic mind you. Is that ok aswell? Same Wizard is outdoing the level 10 rogue in acrobatics and the level 10 bard att singing and playing every single instrument in the world.. Said wizard outdoes the level 10 fighter at swordsplay and is scarier than the halforc barbarian. this wizard outdoes an entire level 10 party at everything they are best at and has dedicated their life to perfect.. and only reason is "Because level 20 and bad ass"

So: 8 STR vs 20 STR, that's a difference of 6 (-1 vs +5). Let's also assume, based on your description, that the wizard is Untrained while the barbarian is a Master, which they can pick up by level 7. That's another difference of 4 (-2 vs + 2). This means that, for tasks that don't require training, they have the same bonus; the two are evenly matched if the task isn't at all proficiency-gated. If proficiency matters, or if the non level 20 char has relevant skill feats, they'll come out ahead.

20th level characters should be... i'm trying to find a word for mythic/epic/legendary that isn't already a loaded game term. That's the story this system seems primed to tell.

I have no problem with that when it comes to the skills that they have focused on. but in every single skill just isent ok.. Not even Elminster, who is a half god at level 30ish, could do well at an obstical course without the aid of his magic.. And it becomes skewed even in a group of equal level characters. The extra actions and things you can do with skillfeats doesent really make "all the difference" so a rogue becomes less unique since any other class can fill her role, just slightly worse. every character is a jack of all trades.. every character can do everything already at around level 5.. we dont have to go to god mode 20. we still have a level 5 character who has never touched a flute in their life, pick it up for the first time and playing as good or better than a level 1 bard who has trained for years in her craft.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Soldarc wrote:
I have no problem with that when it comes to the skills that they have focused on. but in every single skill just isent ok.. Not even Elminster, who is a half god at level 30ish, could do well at an obstical course without the aid of his magic.. And it becomes skewed even in a group of equal level characters. The extra actions and things you can do with skillfeats doesent really make "all the difference" so a rogue becomes less unique since any other class can fill her role, just slightly worse. every character is a jack of all trades.. every character can do everything already at around level 5.. we dont have to go to god mode 20. we still have a level 5 character who has never touched a flute in their life, pick it up for the first time and playing as good or better than a level 1 bard who has trained for years in her craft.

Why not assume that a level 20 wizard probably is using a little hocus pocus to get through any challenge they face and the net result of that innate magical ability is a bonus equal to thier level for things they need to do to stay alive.

As for a level 20 fighter, they probably are trained in the stay alive stuff, but being able to anticipate what someone expects from a given situation is a tactical ability as well.

In fiction, main characters grow confident in everything they do. PF2 at level 20 is power gaming. And at 20th level untrained checks against 20th level opponents are going to be 20% shots anyway, so this is only an issue in theory because probably even that 10th level expert bard is getting nervous when that 20th level barbarian walks into the room and starts singing a little ditty that includes an actual tale of them beating a level 19 monster that would have destroyed the entire village, even if they miss the occasional high note.


I read the chart as merely suggestions. So it's not "this is the DC for an difficult task a 10th level character rolls against" it's "this is the DC you provide if you want a task to be difficult for a 10th level character".

In theory, if a lock is supposed to be difficult for a 10th level character to pick, it would be nigh impossible for a 3rd level character to pick. A merchant wanting to keep people from looting their warehouse might select security measures based on "who is actually likely to rob this place" (i.e. "what is the maximum level of anybody in the local thieves guild, excepting the PCs.)


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Kolokotroni wrote:
What is wrong with a 20th level barbarian being able to sing? Nothing is broken you just don't understand what high levels means.

Everything is both wrong and broken about this. A high level PC untrained can NEVER EVER be better than any expert/master/legendary PC no matter the level gap, especially if the statistic tied to the check is negative for the high level PC and positive for the low level one, otherwise you create paradoxes like an old wizard level 15 with strength 7 more athletic than a barbarian lvl 5 with str 18 (+11 vs +9). IT MAKES NO SENSE

Unicore wrote:
10th level expert bard is getting nervous when that 20th level barbarian walks into the room and starts singing a little ditty that includes an actual tale of them beating a level 19 monster that would have destroyed the entire village, even if they miss the occasional high note.

This also makes no sense, the Barbarian does not know how to sing or how to recite, especially if he has low CHA. I don't care if he is Conan the Barbarian, he does not have a clue on how entertain a crowd and certainly not better than a low level bard!

About the DCs I get it that mundane tasks like climbing a tree should become automatic for high lvl characters. I don't like it, but I can understand it. The problem is not mundane tasks. This will apply to everything except contested checks between PCs and NPCs and Hazards like Traps and stuff. These are the only things that scale. For the rest GMs can only gatelock the check using ranks, like lock picking: no matter the bonus if you don't have expert you can pick that lock, it does not matter if you have +20.

But think of all the time you as GM will spend checking tables 10-2 and 10-3 trying to figure out the baseline DC based on the level of the party or figuring out if you can/should gatelock a check instead of using the old easy=10/medium=15/hard=20/very_hard=25/impossible=30+

As a GM I want a smooth game, I don't want to waste my time scaling the DCs, I don't want to look at the tables every single time to find the DC by level baseline and I absolutely don't want to change challenge just to adjust the DC!

Some of you are suggesting that challenges change, even the manual say so at p.336

For instance, when the PCs’ level is relatively low, they might be faced with climbing a stone wall with handholds, but later in the campaign they should encounter tougher obstacles, like a smooth iron wall.

So according to this for low level players players climbing my wall is hard DC20, but it magically becomes harder DC40 for high level characters because the campaign must scale so it's like the wall would become smoother, less climbable the moment a high level character approaches.

It's such a ridiculous approach, how do you even do it if you have a party with mixed characters? Maybe some sidekicks low level or followers, what do you do then? The wall just becomes a hybrid to accomodate both tiers?

This is why the system is utterly broken and needs to change before pf2e hits release.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ghilteras wrote:

Some of you are suggesting that challenges change, even the manual say so at p.336

Quote:
For instance, when the PCs’ level is relatively low, they might be faced with climbing a stone wall with handholds, but later in the campaign they should encounter tougher obstacles, like a smooth iron wall.
So according to this for low level players players climbing my wall is hard DC20, but it magically becomes harder DC40 for high level characters because the campaign must scale so it's like the wall would become smoother, less climbable the moment a high level character approaches.

That paragraph is not suggesting the wall itself changes. It is saying that high level characters are more likely to storm the iron-walled fortress than the crumbling stone castle.

A high level character approaching the crumbling stone wall just won't consider it much of a challenge.


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KingOfAnything wrote:

That paragraph is not suggesting the wall itself changes. It is saying that high level characters are more likely to storm the iron-walled fortress than the crumbling stone castle.

A high level character approaching the crumbling stone wall just won't consider it much of a challenge.

Indeed it's basically pointing out to the GM that asking players to roll for things they will surely succeed at is kind of a waste of everyone's time. It's basically the same idea as how 16th level parties in PF1 did not fight a lot of CR 1 opponents- we know exactly what will happen so narrating it and rolling dice is a waste of time. It's not that once you're level 16 the universe has run out of Lemures or Small Elementals for you to fight, it's just that those things are not interested in fighting you because they are not interesting for you to fight. A 20th level wizard can still seek out a Brownie or an Akata to beat up if they really wanted to, though.

So put a crumbling stone wall there if it makes sense for there to be a crumbling stone wall somewhere (or you want there to be an obvious easy way in to something) but don't put a crumbling stone wall somewhere just to have some obstacle for the PCs overcome, since it stops being a meaningful obstacle at some point.

Lantern Lodge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
In theory, if a lock is supposed to be difficult for a 10th level character to pick, it would be nigh impossible for a 3rd level character to pick. A merchant wanting to keep people from looting their warehouse might select security measures based on "who is actually likely to rob this place" (i.e. "what is the maximum level of anybody in the local thieves guild, excepting the PCs.)

Who is going to be constructing these locks that are a challenge for a level 10 character to pick? Certainly not your person who has spent their entire life becoming a level 5 expert locksmith because they don't have the 'levels' to create an appropriate challenge. Means we are going to have to populate the world with level 10 experts to create anything of worth that can't be outdone by level 10 characters who have spent their life smashing things to pieces. Bleh!

Please please please remove this 'higher level beats everything' rubbish!


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shade2077 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
In theory, if a lock is supposed to be difficult for a 10th level character to pick, it would be nigh impossible for a 3rd level character to pick. A merchant wanting to keep people from looting their warehouse might select security measures based on "who is actually likely to rob this place" (i.e. "what is the maximum level of anybody in the local thieves guild, excepting the PCs.)

Who is going to be constructing these locks that are a challenge for a level 10 character to pick? Certainly not your person who has spent their entire life becoming a level 5 expert locksmith because they don't have the 'levels' to create an appropriate challenge. Means we are going to have to populate the world with level 10 experts to create anything of worth that can't be outdone by level 10 characters who have spent their life smashing things to pieces. Bleh!

Please please please remove this 'higher level beats everything' rubbish!

Basicly you need to break logic or ignore logic to be able to GM and if any player asks "Why?" youre only response is "Because level". if youre a GM that enjoys a game where the RPs can do anything and everything or a player that wants no weaknesses and likes being awesome at everything then this is the game for you. If you like some tidbit of realism in your game and like playing characters with some flaws and balansed group where everyone is needed to succeede even out of combat.. well then move along and find a game with a working skill system or houserule the crap out of this one.


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I'm going to posit the existence of a 20th level rogue who is a transcendent locksmith- she charges exorbitant prices for locks she is confident no one can pick unless they are at least as good as her.

I mean, a lot of modern security experts used to be blackhats, so it checks out.


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The problem is not the crumbling wall vs the smooth wall. The problem is that if a challenge does not scale everybody will succeed because at higher lvl all players will have 20+ in all skills, making every DC less than that an automatic success. I don't like that. I don't want to scale my DCs just because of level. It's an added labor and there is no guidance on how I'm supposed to set it.

In PF 1st edition and D&D 5e untrained character stay behind so if I decide my wall is hard to climb and set DC20 then only the trained ppl will succeed. In PF2e everyone will, forcing me to add vampire bats to the climb and change the DC to 40. I don't see how anyone could like this system to be honest, how are you supposed to pick the new DC? Tables 10-2 and 10-3 would need to be constantly consulted to find a use case close to what you need. It's such a useless overcomplication.


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Why is "untrained characters stay behind" ever a good thing?

If there's a tactic that everyone in the party cannot succeed at (e.g. somebody in the party is decidedly not-stealthy) then the party tends not to even attempt it.


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Ghilteras wrote:

The problem is not the crumbling wall vs the smooth wall. The problem is that if a challenge does not scale everybody will succeed because at higher lvl all players will have 20+ in all skills, making every DC less than that an automatic success. I don't like that. I don't want to scale my DCs just because of level. It's an added labor and there is no guidance on how I'm supposed to set it.

In PF 1st edition and D&D 5e untrained character stay behind so if I decide my wall is hard to climb and set DC20 then only the trained ppl will succeed. In PF2e everyone will, forcing me to add vampire bats to the climb and change the DC to 40. I don't see how anyone could like this system to be honest, how are you supposed to pick the new DC? Tables 10-2 and 10-3 would need to be constantly consulted to find a use case close to what you need. It's such a useless overcomplication.

Its easy, the higher level the party gets the more illogical and weird and messed up the world gets.. all important walls all of a sudden secrete slippery oil, grow thorns, have little gnomes living in them that push players with sticks to make them harder to climb. everything the group encounters in the form of none combat encounters works this way and all of a sudden all NPCs level to level 15+ so the party cant just go in to a town and tell the mayor "This is our town now" roll diplomacy and crit succeed on a nat 2. you see in PF2 its not about a party of heroes adjusting and growing in a world but rather a world that grows and evolve around the heroes.


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Alternatively- once the party is sufficiently experienced, all walls are climbable unless somebody for some reason took steps to make a particular wall more difficult to climb.

Like if we're attacking the dread arch-necromancer in his spooky castle, it's presumable that he has taken steps to make his sanctum difficult to breech, so maybe the walls just ooze blood (which is surprisingly slippery)- this is pretty atmospheric for a spooky necromancer castle. But if that same party comes back to town after murking said necromancer, they can just climb every wall, tree, drain-pipe, or what have you in the city with no problem.

The Exchange

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I have been giving the skills system a lot of thought. The +1 per level bonus combined with a -2 penalty for not being skilled means that for characters with the same ability score two levels of experience means the trained professional is no better than someone who has never encountered the matter in hand before. Yes this is qualified: there are skills with gated subsets. There are also skill feats that require higher proficiency pips.

DCs are static but if you want a wall to act as a barrier that needs to be overcome you will need to make the one that the high level guys encounter very different to the ones the lower level folk do.

So given that characters of all level live in the same world there are some narrative problems that I worry about. Either a wall of the type we tend to imagine in a FRPG will provide very limited functionality in keeping any mid level adventurer out regardless of his experience or fitness level or it will have to be designed to keep high level PCs out and be next to impossible for low level ones.

Traditionally the solution was that the average adventurer would have real difficulties breaching e.g. a prison wall but that a skilled rogue might and then the rogue lets down a rope.

And it is not just walls of course.

So there is a degree of forcing going on if you prioritise narrative consistency.

I also get that people hate the way that in certain circumstance a PC is just useless in an encounter because the encounter needs certain skills which they don’t have. Not sure this even fixes this or if it does, does so at too great a cost.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
shade2077 wrote:


Please please please remove this 'higher level beats everything' rubbish!

If you really hate the idea that experience trumps training, then PF2 is probably not the game for you. PF1 past level 10 is probably not the game for you either because magic trumps both experience and training and everything else starting right about then as well.

It is really hard to represent the breath of "training" that lived experience yields in a game. It doesn't work at all in a game that only gives you 1 point to increase proficiencies and one feat per level, without getting that general +1 to everything. It also fails spectacularly in games designed to allow you to do things like fight dragons and demi-gods because balancing numbers around 20+ point swings in ability is really really difficult/impossible (ie. see mythic pathfinder).

PF2 has decided to really let Experience shine and that actually gives it a fairly unique place in the game industry. I have my own reservations as well, but I have been impressed enough to see it in play before deciding whether it is the system for me.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Why is "untrained characters stay behind" ever a good thing?

I'm afraid It's the other way around. Paizo should explain to us why having everybody good at everything should be better and not the opposite. It's never been like this and it's always worked fine since the dawn of rpg, no system made everybody godlike even at untrained stuff. I don't find a good justification for this choice. Actually t forces GMs to scale DCs for skill checks so it's more work for me. That's why I want to know why this is a good change. I don't need to justify for opposite because it's always been the opposite and it's always worked! This is introducing more overhead for GMs so it's a price we pay for +1/lvl, is it worth it? Why? What does this +1/lvl gives us that is so hot and good that is ok to have scaling DCs and 20lvl characters with 20+ modifiers to everything? How is that any good?


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Actually Ghilteras has a point, in the part 6 of Doomsday Dawn the main focus of it is to see how skills are working, and it really got me disappointed, until then I didn't pay attention about skills, of course the whole concept bothered me but the focus was killing foes and stuff so I ignored it.

But when I read it I saw simple tasks like gathering informations that wouldn't be that difficult to gather, or picklocking a servant's room that should be a easy task if you stop to think that no one would care about a servant a DC 25 check. I'm pretty sure that if it was a low level adventure those DCs would be much lower.

People talk about how epic it gets when you get high level but the only thing I'm seeing is the DCs getting higher for no reason, and don't call this bad GMing or nothing like that, because even the official content does this.

and even if you can make pertinent DCs, climbing trees is each level easier and the solution to that is stop placing trees and start placing flat walls, it loses all sense, the challenge isn't gone, it's just skinned


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Would you accept the situation if proficiency only added your level to the bonus if you were trained?

So instead of untrained being a penalty -2, it simply leaves your score proficiency score at 0. Sure, at low levels a very dexterous character might be the trained thief with low(er) dex. But then the trained character will quickly outstrip the other person.

I could potentially get behind that sort of change to the system, but otherwise I very much like the system of adding +1 per level to everything. Especially for recalling knowledge on monster. Even though my barbarian might have no formal training on these monsters, he's fought enough of them to recognize this monster and their similar kin.


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The intention to me seems simple enough.

By everyone getting +1 at every lvl, the gap from one to another PC dimishes, this way everyone may attempt a task.

So instead of, one guy being at stealth, but the party refuses to do it cause the others arent, one guy is good at climb, but the party refuses to do it cause the wizard or whatever isnt, the other guy is good at X and the party refuses to do it cause they arent...

You in turn have more situations where everyone might not be as good as the other guy, but they are still willing to try cause they are high enough lvl and thus have a good bonus to whatever it is.


Nox Aeterna wrote:

The intention to me seems simple enough.

By everyone getting +1 at every lvl, the gap from one to another PC dimishes, this way everyone may attempt a task.

So instead of, one guy being at stealth, but the party refuses to do it cause the others arent, one guy is good at climb, but the party refuses to do it cause the wizard or whatever isnt, the other guy is good at X and the party refuses to do it cause they arent...

You in turn have more situations where everyone might not be as good as the other guy, but they are still willing to try cause they are high enough lvl and thus have a good bonus to whatever it is.

I do think this a huge benefit.

My party having run the 1st level of the play test found that only the rogue was really prepared to use stealth, which meant it wasn't a particularly useful overall tactic for the rogue. At higher levels, we might be willing to try despite being untrained because our bonuses from level will outweigh the penalties, and everyone is likely to have at least a moderately good dex.


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Claxon wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

The intention to me seems simple enough.

By everyone getting +1 at every lvl, the gap from one to another PC dimishes, this way everyone may attempt a task.

So instead of, one guy being at stealth, but the party refuses to do it cause the others arent, one guy is good at climb, but the party refuses to do it cause the wizard or whatever isnt, the other guy is good at X and the party refuses to do it cause they arent...

You in turn have more situations where everyone might not be as good as the other guy, but they are still willing to try cause they are high enough lvl and thus have a good bonus to whatever it is.

I do think this a huge benefit.

My party having run the 1st level of the play test found that only the rogue was really prepared to use stealth, which meant it wasn't a particularly useful overall tactic for the rogue. At higher levels, we might be willing to try despite being untrained because our bonuses from level will outweigh the penalties, and everyone is likely to have at least a moderately good dex.

@ Claxon, Why?, why would your party suddenly get to a point where their stealth is enough to sneak around with the rogue? It does not work that way. You must remember that all your opponents perceptions are going up the same rate as your parties stealth, because the GM is going to raise the level of the monsters you face thereby raising their perception, because of the +1 to everything mechanic. You say they will try it because your DEX will go up, but so do the the abilities of the monsters. This is the fallacy that +1 to everything tricks people into thinking, its an illusion, your skill goes up and your target DCs go up, they are the same percentage whether you have the +1 to everything or not.


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Jackofmages wrote:


@ Claxon, Why?, why would your party suddenly get to a point where their stealth is enough to sneak around with the rogue? It does not work that way. You must remember that all your opponents perceptions are going up the same rate as your parties stealth, because the GM is going to raise the level of the monsters you face thereby raising their perception, because of the +1 to everything mechanic. You say they will try it because your DEX will go up, but so do the the abilities of the monsters. This is the fallacy that +1 to everything tricks people into thinking, its an illusion, your skill goes up and your target DCs go up, they are the same percentage whether you have the +1 to everything or not.

Exactly. Note this post. Quote: “Out of curiosity, I scanned through the bestiary from A through E and found that only 12 out of 112 creatures have a perception modifier that is lower than an absolutely MAXED out player character of the same level.”


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heretic wrote:

DCs are static but if you want a wall to act as a barrier that needs to be overcome you will need to make the one that the high level guys encounter very different to the ones the lower level folk do.

So given that characters of all level live in the same world there are some narrative problems that I worry about. Either a wall of the type we tend to imagine in a FRPG will provide very limited functionality in keeping any mid level adventurer out regardless of his experience or fitness level or it will have to be designed to keep high level PCs out and be next to impossible for low level ones.

Traditionally the solution was that the average adventurer would have real difficulties breaching e.g. a prison wall but that a skilled rogue might and then the rogue lets down a rope.

And it is not just walls of course.

I disagree that this is a problem or that this is new. You set the DCs to where they should be and then construct your adventures to work around those DCs. So if the players need to breach an area but can't beat the DC, provide them with other ways to access that area. Using the castle walls example, perhaps the sense gal has a gambling addiction that the PCs can exploit. Or a smuggler knows a way in. Or a gala is being thrown.


Jackofmages wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

The intention to me seems simple enough.

By everyone getting +1 at every lvl, the gap from one to another PC dimishes, this way everyone may attempt a task.

So instead of, one guy being at stealth, but the party refuses to do it cause the others arent, one guy is good at climb, but the party refuses to do it cause the wizard or whatever isnt, the other guy is good at X and the party refuses to do it cause they arent...

You in turn have more situations where everyone might not be as good as the other guy, but they are still willing to try cause they are high enough lvl and thus have a good bonus to whatever it is.

I do think this a huge benefit.

My party having run the 1st level of the play test found that only the rogue was really prepared to use stealth, which meant it wasn't a particularly useful overall tactic for the rogue. At higher levels, we might be willing to try despite being untrained because our bonuses from level will outweigh the penalties, and everyone is likely to have at least a moderately good dex.

@ Claxon, Why?, why would your party suddenly get to a point where their stealth is enough to sneak around with the rogue? It does not work that way. You must remember that all your opponents perceptions are going up the same rate as your parties stealth, because the GM is going to raise the level of the monsters you face thereby raising their perception, because of the +1 to everything mechanic. You say they will try it because your DEX will go up, but so do the the abilities of the monsters. This is the fallacy that +1 to everything tricks people into thinking, its an illusion, your skill goes up and your target DCs go up, they are the same percentage whether you have the +1 to everything or not.

This too is a fallacy. Level appropriate challenges go up, but not all challenges go up.

You can sneak through the woods, and the tribe of level 1 through 3 goblins wont notice your level 10 and you can pass by unhindered.

But the level 10 owl bear will notice you. And that's fine.

The GM just needs to make the world "realistic" in that the party doesn't only encounter level appropriate enemies. Meaning that you don't need to be the best of the best to sneak by them, or to use diplomacy on them, etc.

Sure, if you only ever see level appropriate enemies then the +1 is per level is worthless because they scale at the same rate (approximately). But if the world around you continues to have a range of enemies that are both relevant and not it allows characters to truly feel like they've grown.

And this was an issue in PF1 anyways. Where if you only encountered CR appropriate enemies you might never really "awesome" because everything remained a challenge.

*I'm just making up monsters as a random example, I have no idea if there's a level 10 owl bear stated out already, though you can make monsters of essentially any level.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I'm going to posit the existence of a 20th level rogue who is a transcendent locksmith- she charges exorbitant prices for locks she is confident no one can pick unless they are at least as good as her.

I mean, a lot of modern security experts used to be blackhats, so it checks out.

"I'm a 20th level locksmith. For only $levelappropriate SP, I'll sell you a lock that can't be picked by anyone under 12th level - 95% of the time. I don't provide insurance against the Natural Twenty"


Monsters and Hazards have been already scaled properly with the +1/lvl to everything bonus by Paizo. The only thing left to GMs is the skill DCs. 10-2 table gives some guidance, but IMHO it's not enough.

Also I don't like that some of the iconic low level monsters will be absolutely useless even in waves when you take into account the +1/lvl to AC as well. In 5e I can still use goblins and orcs as minions to a party mid level effectively (especially thanks to mob rules). In PF unless you publish some elite version of low level monsters like orc/goblin captains or whatever you will only use them at first levels or they would crit-failure most rolls even against a mid lvl party.. It was not like this in previous editions where the AC did not scale.


I expect (or at least hope) there will be a troop template. Which I would expect to help with waves of attackers. And overall have a higher attack bonus than the individuals. I don't know how much higher it should be.


Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
I expect (or at least hope) there will be a troop template. Which I would expect to help with waves of attackers. And overall have a higher attack bonus than the individuals. I don't know how much higher it should be.

What? You dont find it realistic that a high level character can walk onto a battlefield with thousends of orcs and sit down to drink some tea and have a snack while watching everyone critically miss them? You dont think its ok that you're level 1 bard is sitting and playing at an in and a group of level 5-6 goblin barbarians come in, ask what that sound thing is in your hand and then takes it from you to try to make sounds from it and turning out to be better than you at playing it, all of them.. just "because of level". Seems odd that you wouldent agree with rules like that.. I mean a person of higher level should be better at exactly everything than lower level ppl or?


One thing I want to see is an option to NOT get the bonus to certain skills at a level - not to be mechanically better in any way, but just because you don't think it fits the character. I mean, I get stuff like "I've seen the rogue pick dozens of locks and explain them to me, so while I'm not as good as he is, I understand enough to at least try it with a minimal level of competence", but I feel like not being good at things should be an option for roleplaying reasons.


I think the best compromise for this would be to simply say you need to be trained in a skill to get the bonus of your level to the skill.

That approximates being completely untrained as now skill point in PF1 did.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Jeff Deaner wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I'm going to posit the existence of a 20th level rogue who is a transcendent locksmith- she charges exorbitant prices for locks she is confident no one can pick unless they are at least as good as her.

I mean, a lot of modern security experts used to be blackhats, so it checks out.

"I'm a 20th level locksmith. For only $levelappropriate SP, I'll sell you a lock that can't be picked by anyone under 12th level - 95% of the time. I don't provide insurance against the Natural Twenty"

No lock in PF2 gets picked with one roll, so it would probably be 3 natural 20s, which is not a 5% shot and is going to take a very long time. But most locks can be circumnavigated with time and energy so that doesn't shatter much for me as far as game experience.

The real issue is that this PF2 system is different and complex enough that it takes a while to figure out as a GM how to fit old challenges into the new system and a lot of folks are making judgements on it without really doing the reading or looking at how these things work in the new system.


Ghilteras wrote:
It was not like this in previous editions where the AC did not scale.

in 3.5e and PF1e, AC did not rise by level. Instead, it rose by magic armor (+5), natural armor (+5), ring of protection (+5), and probably a couple of other sources of +5 that I'm forgetting.


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Nightwhisper wrote:
in 3.5e and PF1e, AC did not rise by level. Instead, it rose by magic armor (+5), natural armor (+5), ring of protection (+5), and probably a couple of other sources of +5 that I'm forgetting.

Itemization you can always control, the +1/lvl you can't. It just goes up regardless. There are no mob rules in pf2e so the low lvl monster will always critical miss, while on 5e I can still effectively use them as minions as mob rules are statistical. Also we lack variants of monsters that are elite, no orc or goblin elite. A mid level PC can literally kill hundreds of them without ever being hit.


I'm still running The Lost Star in the playtest, but I'm finding that first level characters also have annoyingly low bonusses. Ignoring stat bonusses, a PF1e character will have +4 for putting a rank into a class skill; a 1st level PF2e character with a trained skill gets +1. Also, it makes no difference if the skill is a "signature skill" or not until you're at least 7th level. Our party has a Bard but no Rogue, and despite being trained in Thievery the player has pretty much given up on trying to use it vs. the DCs in the adventure.

I'd prefer it if signature skills just gave a flat +3 (whether untrained, trained, or whatever) - that's your class training. Also, don't gate Master and Legendary based on signature. If a character wants to invest their precious skill advances in a non-signature skill, I don't see why they can't.

WRT the whole "+1 every level" thing... I can see that on paper it helps with setting DCs for mid or high level parties which can potentially be hit by everyone in the party without being an auto-critical for the specialists or impossible for the untrained, but I'm not sure why that's a huge problem.

If there's a wall to climb, you only need one PC to make the climb and then lower a rope.

If there's sneaking to be done in PF1e, the Rogue and Ranger can go off in front, and the clanky Paladin can follow behind, and because distance affects Perception DCs in PF1e that actually makes a difference. Even if an enemy notices the Paladin's clanking, the Rogue and Ranger's Stealth can still beat the monster's Perception and thus they remain hidden and ambush or flank the monsters as they rush towards the bait, err I mean, rest of the party.

By the time you get to mid-to-high level play in PF1e, the alternatives to skill checks grow massively anyway, so the fact that this legendary lock can only be picked by a high-level rogue isn't going to stop the party... the Wizard could cast Knock or Passwall, the Fighter can pull out his adamantine dagger and cut out the lock, the Barbarian can hack the door to pieces.

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