A unicorn's guide to understanding Proficiencies


Playing the Game


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So a lot of people are getting their toes wet with PF2 either by play testing or theory crafting and wanting to see specific changes related to how proficiencies work or what they do in the game. A big part of this is that the blogs were deliberately quiet about how a lot of this worked in a unified system and so people began theory crafting their own systems without seeing the whole thing in action and now they are trying to fit it all together.

Ideas like tying weapon damage to Proficiency, or stretching proficiency numbers might all have been fine ideas if they were the ones built into the system, but they weren't and it creates a lot of problems when you really look at who has access to what proficiencies and what levels they get them.

To help folks get a better sense of this, I have pulled all the base proficiencies each class gets by default into one place so they can be directly compared:


Alchemist Proficiencies:
lvl 1
Perception - Trained

Fortitude - Expert
Reflex - Expert
Will - Trained

Skills - trained 3+INT

Weapons - trained simple + bombs

Armor - Trained light

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Barbarian
Lvl 1 -
Perception - Expert

Fort - Expert
Reflex - Trained
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 3+Int

Weapons - Trained - simple and martial

Armor - trained in light and medium

Lvl to 20 -
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Fort Master (7th) - Legendary (13)
Weapons - Expert (13)
Will - Master (15)

Bard -
lvl 1
Perception - Expert

Fortitude - Trained
Reflex - Trained
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 7+INT

Weapons - trained simple + 6 weapons

Armor - Trained light, shields

Spells - Trained in occult

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Spells - Occult - Expert (12), Master (16), Legendary (19)

Cleric -
lvl 1
Perception - Trained

Fortitude - Expert
Reflex - Trained
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 5+INT

Weapons - trained simple + favored

Armor - Trained light, medium, + shields

Spells - Trained in divine

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Spells - Divine - Expert (12), Master (16), Legendary (19)

Druid
lvl 1
Perception - Trained

Fortitude - Expert
Reflex - Trained
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 3+INT

Weapons - trained simple + 1 weapon

Armor - Trained light + medium non metal armors, shields

Spells - Trained in Primal

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Spells - Primal - Expert (12), Master (16), Legendary (19)

Fighter
lvl 1
Perception - Expert

Fortitude - Expert
Reflex - Expert
Will - Trained

Skills - trained 2+INT

Weapons - Expert simple and martial, trained in exotic

Armor - Trained in all

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Weapons - Expert - exotic (13), Master - 1 group (3rd), simple and martial (13), Exotic (19), Legendary - 1 group(13), Simple and martial (19)

Perception - master (7th)

Armor - Expert - heavy and shields (11), Master - heavy and shield, (17), Expert - medium and light (17)

Monk:
lvl 1
Perception - Trained

Fortitude - Expert
Reflex - Expert
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 3+INT

Weapons - Trained - Unarmed attacks

Armor - Expert - Unarmored,

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Saving throw - Master - 1 of choice (7), Up to legendary - (15)

Armor - Master - Unarmored (13),Legendary - Unarmored (17)

Paladin
lvl 1
Perception - Trained

Fortitude - Expert
Reflex - Trained
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 4+INT

Weapons - Trained simple and martial,

Armor - Trained in all

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Weapons - Expert - 1 weapon group (5), Master - 1 group (15th), simple and martial (15), Exotic (19), Legendary - 1 group(13), Simple and martial (19)

Armor - Expert - heavy and shields (7), Master - heavy and shield, (13), Medium and light (17), Expert - medium and light (13), Legendary - Heavy and shield (17)

Fort - Master (7th)

Ranger
lvl 1
Perception - Expert

Fortitude - Expert
Reflex - Expert
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 6+INT

Weapons - Trained simple and martial

Armor - Trained in Light and medium

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Weapons - Expert - 1 group (3), simple and martial (13), Master - 1 group (13),

Reflex - master (7th), Legendary (15)

Perception - master (7th), Legendary (15)

Rogue:
lvl 1
Perception - Expert

Fortitude - Trained
Reflex - Expert
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 10+INT

Weapons - Trained - simple + 5 weapons

Armor - Trained in Light

Lvl to 20
5 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
8 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
5 skill increases to Legendary.

Reflex - master (7th), Legendary (13)

Will - Master (17)

Perception - master (7th), Legendary (13)

Weapons - Expert - Simple + 5 (13)

Sorcerer
lvl 1
Perception - Trained

Fortitude - Trained
Reflex - Trained
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 5+INT+bloodline

Weapons - trained simple

Armor - trained unarmored

Spells - Trained in any 1

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Spells - any 1 - Expert (12), Master (16), Legendary (19)

Wizard
lvl 1
Perception - Trained

Fortitude - Trained
Reflex - Trained
Will - Expert

Skills - trained 2+INT

Weapons - trained 6 weapons

Armor - Trained - unarmored

Spells - Trained in Arcane

Lvl to 20
2 skill increases to Expert (before level 7)
4 skill increases up to Master (before level 15)
3 skill increases to Legendary.

Spells - Arcane - Expert (12), Master (16), Legendary (19)


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That is a lot of information, but now anyone can link to it when they see people confused or pushing suggestions that would make the wizard trained in perception (and thus initiative) cringe, when the rogue with legendary proficiency at 13 get some massive bonus that they will never be able to top.

As modular as some aspects of PF2 are, it is not universal and weapon proficiencies, Armor Proficiencies, Saves, Perception, and even skill access (for the rogue) become wildly swingy when you try to make them all do more than they already are.

This isn't to say that some tweaking might not be possible, but I really suggest you try playing through the whole of the play test adventure at all the different levels, against the encounters present there, instead of hypothetical potential ones, before you make suggestions for massive changes to how these systems interact.


A bit rough that Cleric can't improve weapon prof with one of their class things. I realize not all clerics would want to boost weapons, but a lot do.


ChibiNyan wrote:
A bit rough that Cleric can't improve weapon prof with one of their class things. I realize not all clerics would want to boost weapons, but a lot do.

They can, just takes two feats instead of just one. They pick up Fighter Dedication and gain Trained in Martial Weapons and Heavy Armor. Then at 12th level they pick up Weapons Expert to get Expert in their chosen weapon type.

There is support for the concept, just more expensive.


ChibiNyan wrote:
A bit rough that Cleric can't improve weapon prof with one of their class things. I realize not all clerics would want to boost weapons, but a lot do.

In the grand scheme of things being stuck at trained is only a -3 penalty overall. That is a much better situation than Clerics were in with 3/4 BAB. Fighters get those proficiencies really fast though. I am curious about how "cool" the fighter feels in play between levels 13 and 20.


Unicore wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
A bit rough that Cleric can't improve weapon prof with one of their class things. I realize not all clerics would want to boost weapons, but a lot do.
In the grand scheme of things being stuck at trained is only a -3 penalty overall. That is a much better situation than Clerics were in with 3/4 BAB. Fighters get those proficiencies really fast though. I am curious about how "cool" the fighter feels in play between levels 13 and 20.

A cleric in PF1 was at most, behind by -5.

A cleric in PF2 is down at most(without multiclassing) -3.

however in PF2 a +1 is worth twice as much, so a cleric is really down the equivalent of -6.

This paired with the nerf to the buff aspect of cleric spellcasting and the reduction to their overall spells per day has made spells a non reliable buff source.

Clerics are worse in PF2 than in PF1


ChibiNyan wrote:
A bit rough that Cleric can't improve weapon prof with one of their class things. I realize not all clerics would want to boost weapons, but a lot do.

Mmm...Warrior Priest (level 14) puts their proficiency to expert in their deific weapon, as well as giving crit specialization. Looking at the levels, I also want to note that I don't think it's worth it compared to taking Weapon Proficiency as a General Feat. That's not a good scenario - a level 14 class feat compares unfavourably to a level 1 general feat.


fearcypher wrote:


This paired with the nerf to the buff aspect of cleric spellcasting and the reduction to their overall spells per day has made spells a non reliable buff source.

Clerics are worse in PF2 than in PF1

This is an interesting perspective because most of what I read about the cleric is that they are one of the classes really shining in PF2.

I think it is true that caster's generally will be less objectively powerful than in PF1 but that is a universal condition for casters and not tied to anyone class in particular.

As far as the Cleric's weapon proficiency, the Weapon Proficiency feat only gives trained. you can't increase any weapons or armor to expert with general feats, only archetype feats. General feats also can't raise saves above expert.

Getting Expert with weapon critical unlocks at level 14 without having to take a multi-class feat is probably about right in comparison to being able to get it at level 12 with the multi-class archetype.


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Unicore wrote:
fearcypher wrote:


This paired with the nerf to the buff aspect of cleric spellcasting and the reduction to their overall spells per day has made spells a non reliable buff source.

Clerics are worse in PF2 than in PF1

This is an interesting perspective because most of what I read about the cleric is that they are one of the classes really shining in PF2.

I think it is true that caster's generally will be less objectively powerful than in PF1 but that is a universal condition for casters and not tied to anyone class in particular.

As far as the Cleric's weapon proficiency, the Weapon Proficiency feat only gives trained. you can't increase any weapons or armor to expert with general feats, only archetype feats. General feats also can't raise saves above expert.

Getting Expert with weapon critical unlocks at level 14 without having to take a multi-class feat is probably about right in comparison to being able to get it at level 12 with the multi-class archetype.

I should have stated martial clerics are worse off right now. Casting clerics are having a ball, and being half decent with a weapon after they blow through the good stuff isn't necessarily a bad thing.


fearcypher wrote:


I should have stated martial clerics are worse off right now. Casting clerics are having a ball, and being half decent with a weapon after they blow through the good stuff isn't necessarily a bad thing.

You could very well be right. I haven't played a cleric at all yet, much less a martial one, much less one that goes to a higher level. My suspicion is that a martial cleric has to take the fighter multi-class archetype very early (as they have very few weapon support feats otherwise) and that probably feels a little straight jacketish for people coming out of PF1, but I will try to play test it before I make any broad statements about how wrong or broken it is.

(Absolutely not directed at you Fearcypher, I am climbing on a soapbox here so I can link to this post in other threads where people need to hear it as well.)

People need to start playing the game before making comments about how to change it. Not just make one character of X level, with wealth by level and then pronounce judgement. Nor create one or two hypothetical confrontations specifically designed to exacerbate a particular flaw you see in the system. These concerns may be valid and real, but specific situations might have specific solutions in the rest of everything is working out better than you think it will because of the one flaw you managed to spot.

Again, I am not saying don't find faults and point them out. Have those places where you are concerned and play test into the game with the character that is going to be confronted by those issues.

If your concern is that a 15th level wizard with a STR of 8 is going to feel like they can handle any athletics situation, try playing one that is untrained at athletics and see if it feels like the character plays like an olympic athlete just because of their level.

Or don't play the game if you think it looks terrible and no fun. Don't play games you won't give yourself the opportunity to like (I don't play games all the time, even ones that look like they might be interesting, just because I have no interest in developing them into a new obsession, I mean hobby).

But trust the developers when they say that they are soliciting feedback right now from people who are testing the game in actual play and they are not trying to solicit general feedback right now from people theory crafting a new game that they would rather play.

The moving parts here are complicated. This is somewhat counter to how the proficiency system was originally presented to us in the blog as a unified system works, and it is ok to be confused by the difference in expectation and current product. It is also ok to be skeptical of it. But SO many suggestions on these boards are very clearly coming from a place of, "I haven't played it yet, but..." and those perspectives are obvious because they often make suggestions that are counter to the way the game works in play.

If you want to be an informed critic making valuable contributions to the play test process, or even just actually have your idea considered by the developers, you need to try putting the game into practice and then talking about that experience and how it did or did not live up to your expectations and hopes for the game.


I want to say that I think proficiency overall is a good idea. It is very elegant that it replaces so many things, BAB, AC, skill progression, saves progression. The downside to this is that it leaves little room for playing with the numbers. Spreading out skills would also have drastic impact on AC and "BAB". Despite this I think there are a few changes they can make without disrupting the entire system. I am sure these ideas have been posted elsewhere but I could not find a thread for them. This thread seemed the most reasonable place for me to add my voice.

1. Legendary can go to +4 just to emphasize legendary a little more for fighters attack and paladin AC. (It is already is differentiated for saves and skills due to no crit fails and feats).

2. More importantly I think untrained should give no level bonus. This does not effect saves (everyone is at least trained in saves), it means those who are trained in a skill improve over time, while those who don't practice it don't improve. Finally, it means after the early levels I am usually going to critically fail with any weapon I am not trained in. As it stands now a level 20 wizard can pick up a great axe and have the same chance to hit as the fighter making a second attack with axe (-5 to compared to the fighters first hit). This seems off to me.


magicplane wrote:


1. Legendary can go to +4 just to emphasize legendary a little more for fighters attack and paladin AC. (It is already is differentiated for saves and skills due to no crit fails and feats).

An issue with this is that it puts a greater emphasis on attributes when it comes to skills.

Like as it stands an 18 CHA cleric who is legendary in diplomacy and a 22 CHA sorcerer who is an expert in diplomacy have the same modifier. If we made legendary even bigger, you'd make it so the cleric likely could never catch up to the sorcerer because of choices made at character generation.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
magicplane wrote:


1. Legendary can go to +4 just to emphasize legendary a little more for fighters attack and paladin AC. (It is already is differentiated for saves and skills due to no crit fails and feats).

An issue with this is that it puts a greater emphasis on attributes when it comes to skills.

Like as it stands an 18 CHA cleric who is legendary in diplomacy and a 22 CHA sorcerer who is an expert in diplomacy have the same modifier. If we made legendary even bigger, you'd make it so the cleric likely could never catch up to the sorcerer because of choices made at character generation.

I am confused by your post. Currently legendary is +3, so making it +4 helps the cleric catch up.

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