"Level bonus is making differences at high level irrelevant", but actually no


General Discussion


Characters are going to be the same level in normal games, as this is strongly encouraged in the gamemastering section.
Let's analyze how large the spread is at minimum and maximum level

----- LOW LEVEL -----

Maximum difference:

8 stat, -2 untrained, 0 item, +1LV = TOT -2
VS
18 stat, +0 trained, 0 item, +1 LV = TOT +5

DIFFERENCE: 7 points

Now, on to the

----- HIGH LEVELS -----

Maximum difference:

8 stat, -2 untrained, 0 item, +20LV = TOT +17
VS
22 stat, +3 legendary, +5 item, +20 LV = TOT +34

----- TO SUM IT UP -----

In-Party spread (comparing the best with the worst)

At low levels: 7
At high levels: 17

----- CONCLUSION -----

-Chance of "worst" beating "best" at an opposed roll drop significantly with party level increase

-Differences are MORE pronounced at high levels, not less


Yeah, this has all been broken down months ago by Deadmanwalking, and Paizo staff explained the spread (between untrained and legendary at high levels, etc), so not sure what this has to do with the price of tea (actually, like everything else, tea is getting way too expensive!).


what really bothers me is that some people seem to think that you should divide instead of subtract

+5 is 500% better than +1, and +15 is only 300% better than +5

Right? No, WRONG

You should instead count the chance of success when adding a d20

+5 VS +1 is a less relevant difference when factoring the D20 in than +15 vs +5

Scores and bonuses should be compared in a linear fashion, not a proportional one.


imho, you should remove +5 item from the equation as no matter the skill or training or natural ability, everyone can use a +5 item.

so at high levels difference is only +12

also you may include that up to 20th level you will have 16× +2 ability boosts.

I'm more than sure that one or two will make it's way to the "dumped" 8.

so your lowest stat will be 12 rather than 8.

so difference only comes down to 10.

And that is OK.

I have more bones to pick with +1/level treadmill than with 10 bonus difference.


Other +1 is only level 20 as well so from level 10-19 the only other increase is off legendary+1 at 15.

You can smooth out the dump stats with the 5 buffs as well. The variance mostly is 5 points + stat modifier which is really +4 or +5 at most probably less.

Level 10-14 its 4 for untrained- expert and no more than +5 off ability score so maybe 6 if someone has an 8 which in a worst case scenario (8 vs 20 untrained vs expert) is +11


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The playtest math works fine against equal level challenges. However anything other than +-3 levels becomes trivial or super deadly.

One example that recently struck out at me was a gelatinous cube. (I started listening to the Glass Cannon podcast). It's a CR3 creature in both systems. What happens if characters of 1st, 5th or 10th level stumble upon it in a dungeon? Let's say it happens after many fights and they are out of their most powerful abilities which could make it a non-threat at 10th level.

PF1: Level 1 characters have Perception between -2 and +10 so that's a 20-80% to notice the cube. Their saves can be between -2 and +8 so it's a 35-85% chance to avoid being engulfed. If they were engulfed or attacked they have a 0-45% chance to resist paralysis for 3d6 rounds.

Level 5 characters can have Perception between -2 and +16 (or more?) so that's a 20-100% chance to notice the cube. Their saves can be between 0 and +12 so it's a 45-95% to avoid being engulfed. If they were engulfed or attacked they have a 5-65% chance to resist paralysis for 3d6 rounds.

Level 10 characters can have Perception between -2 and +25 (or more?) so that's a 20-100% chance to notice the cube. Their saves can be between +3 and +17 so it's a 60-95% to avoid being engulfed. If they were engulfed or attacked they have a 20-90% chance to resist paralysis for 3d6 rounds.

PF2: Level 1 characters can have their any of their d20 modifiers to be between 0 and +5 (I don't think anyone is Untrained in any saves or Perception, some are Expert). so it's a 5-30% chance to notice the cube, and 20-45% chance to avoid engulf or resist paralysis. Paralysis will therefore last for 2-5 rounds.

Level 5 characters can have their modifiers between +5 and +10 (assuming a +1 Item bonus). 30-55% chance to notice, 45-70% chance to avoid engulf or resist paralysis. Paralysis will last for 1-2 rounds.

Level 10 characters can have their modifiers between +11 and +19 (assuming a +2 Item bonus, some can be Masters now, and have +5 to abilities). 60-95% chance to notice, 75-95% to avoid engulf or resist paralysis. Paralysis for over 1 round is very unlikely.

Now, some observations can be made: even at high levels some low-level threats could be hard counters for certain PF1 characters who were not optimized to face them. A level 10 character who hasn't invested in Perception, has low Ref and Fort saves and has not pumped Dex or Con is in a very real danger of being dissolved by a CR3 ooze. If even if one or two of these conditions are met, the danger is non-negligible. They need help of their dungeoneering-savvy buddies who can wade right through gelatinous cubes without breaking a sweat - until they find their own hard counter like maybe a harpy or something. That's the classic trope of adventuring fellowship right there.

In PF2 the characters are more independent. They still need to gang up to take out the high-level threats, and level-appropriate threats will be challenging for them. But aside from level difference, little else affects how dangerous this particular threat is for that particular character. Even the weakest level 10 character would find the cube a cakewalk, with only 1/8 chance of being paralyzed for 1 round. Even the strongest level 1 character would find it very difficult with a 30% chance to be paralyzed for 2+ rounds and the encounter likely taking much longer than 3 rounds due to the cube now having almost double HP (50->90). So it almost doesn't matter if it's 4 barbarians or 4 sorcerers adventuring - they will storm through most low-level foes and tremble before most high-level ones.


CyberMephit wrote:
The playtest math works fine against equal level challenges. However anything other than +-3 levels becomes trivial or super deadly.

Which is something I do not really like, why I removed the +1/2 level deal from 4th Ed. In 1st Ed AD&D, I think the Fighter's THACO should be dialled down a notch (far outstrips the max AC of -10/30).

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