My biggest problem with +1 / level


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HWalsh wrote:
I had enough of being told, "No, you need acrobatics to jump this 5 foot hole, even though you're level 11 and can bench press a Buick you can't do this."

You have "had enough"?

How many times has this happened in your game?


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Lycar wrote:
The adventurer who, after years of travelling the wilderness is no better at survival then when he started out, because 'mechanically' he felt he could not spare skill points to actually reflect that experience in the numbers on the sheet, on the other hand, can either eat crow and suck it, or just complain and whine about it until the GM caves and tosses him a bone. Which is unfair to those players who actually did bite the bullet and put points in survival, for whatever reason, and are now weaker elsewhere.

This is a major example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

You have specifically framed the system to discuss a character whose narrative concept SHOULD have some survival. If the mechanics of a system make it impossible or unreasonable for that character to get better then that system should be criticized for this. 1E does, in places, have this problem. It should be criticized. Improvements can be found.

But what we are looking at now is clanky plate mails dwarves sneaking around for no good reason beyond some people seem to want an "I win" button for sneaking and climbing and diplomacy.

Pointing out a flaw on one side is fair. Implying that a fatal defect on the other side should be ignored due to this flaw is not so much fair.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

This is one of the things I don’t like the look of in PF2 (full disclosure - I’m not playing it, just reading and listening to the odd twitch stream).

My biggest gripe would be removed, I suspect, if it didn’t apply to an untrained skill. Basically, I want to be able to suck at something (in a “cant swim, could drown in a deep bath” kind of level, not just a “probably fail level appropriate challenges” level).

The +1/tier structure seems really insignificant to me also, but I suspect that concern would go away with a little bit of actually playing the game - no doubt requiring expert/master proficiency for some tasks will provide big enough incentive beyond the +1/+2.

Okay, you can just purposefully fail (or critically fail) those checks (because even if you claim a Natural 1 roll while still being 10+ the base DC, you still count as a failure). I'm not really seeing the point of this post when the +1/level structure doesn't deny what you're wanting to do (because you can still choose to fail or critically fail at aspects; it just means you, as a player, have to make that choice, and I've seen players make those choices in the playtest adventure already).

I mean, I suppose you can claim "But the rules don't let me autofail checks or saving throws," but I disagree based on the premise of the Superstition Totem for Barbarians, where even a positive effect from a spell would demand a saving throw from me (whereas if I didn't have this totem power, I'd handwave this potential saving throw and just take the effects of the spell, as is the general rule in this case). So, even if there isn't a general rule, precedent (both from this edition and PF1) would dictate that it's still possible based on other rules elements in place.

In short, PF2 leaves it more to the players to play up their faults than it leaves to the mechanics. Some people may not like it, which is fine, but saying that PF2 doesn't let you have faults (when they actually have specific rules and clauses for doing so) is outright false, and is a misleading argument. The players can still have whatever faults they want. They just shouldn't expect any compensation for it, which is practically where all of the complaints come from, in which case that's a deliberate design choice, and good luck changing the developers' minds on that.


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HWalsh wrote:


Level 9, -1 for 8 Cha, -4 Untrained - He would have a +3. In order to make a trivial level 0 check he'd need a natural 6.

9 (level) -1 (CHA) -4 (Untrained) = 4, not 3.

Quote:
The only reason to hate +level is to penalize non-int classes or classes with low skills.

Or the stated issue of "being good at everything". Cherry picking one specific instance at a particular level, then claiming it works the same in PF1 does not prove your point.

Quote:

I had enough of that in PF1 when PFS Bards literally told my Paladin, who invested 1/3 of all of his skill points, a feat, and an item into ONE SKILL, (diplomacy) because his +24 wasn't needed when they had a +56, that he should sit down and shut up.

I had enough of being told, "No, you need acrobatics to jump this 5 foot hole, even though you're level 11 and can bench press a Buick you can't do this."

Aside from your issue being jerk players, have you ever thought that maybe some of those random bonuses that allow bards to have +56 to Diplomacy might be the problem?

I'll agree that nearly everyone needed more Skill Points in PF1, and that PF1 (and 3.5) does a terrible job when it comes to making everyone max out one or two skills, as opposed to branching out and having more well rounded skills, but changing the incentive is MUCH preferable to making everyone Jacks of all Trades and masters of a few others.

I'm also interested in how someone get's a +56 to Diplomacy at any level allowed in PFS. I hope that the players know that versatile performance does NOT stack with any skill points you have invested in that skill.

The final thing I'll add is that I wonder how often +56 to a skill check is necessary? I'm willing to bet that, 99/100 times, they completely overkill any DC they roll against. This means all of those extra points are worthless. When you get a group that realizes this, the game plays a LOT differently. (Although, at high levels, Bards don't really have a choice but to have really good skills, due to versatile performance.)


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In short, PF2 leaves it more to the players to play up their faults

I'm curious.

With regard to spamming CLW I simply posted "don't do it". Isn't that a good solution?

I was flamed for this.

Now I'm seeing that same general logic applied, expect now it is as a hand wave toward an implicit admission that the mechanic is broken.

Saying "don't spam CLW" is a suggestion to use the rules as written, but have an agreement amongst the players at the table regarding the overall availability of resources such that a non-fun byproduct is not present.

You are literally saying "don't use the rules as written".


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HWalsh wrote:

Level 9, -1 for 8 Cha, -4 Untrained - He would have a +3. In order to make a trivial level 0 check he'd need a natural 6.

In PF1 that's the equal to needing to hit a DC 5, which this same character, in PF1, would also make if they rolled a 6.

You guys act like +level makes you *good* at things. The only thing it does is give you an outside chance not to fail. Again I say outside. Look at the DC chart.

...

I had enough of that in PF1 when PFS Bards literally told my Paladin, who invested 1/3 of all of his skill points, a feat, and an item into ONE SKILL, (diplomacy) because his +24 wasn't needed when they had a +56, that he should sit down and shut up.

I had enough of being told, "No, you need acrobatics to jump this 5 foot hole, even though you're level 11 and can bench press a Buick you can't do this."

So no. I love +Level

Thanks - so it seems that the main problem is crazy high numbers. If you don't invest in skill where you don't have a strong ability score, the +1/level system doesn't help you very much at all.

As it happens, I'm in total agreement with the crazy high numbers problem in PF1e as it currently exists. I think this primarily due to the willy nilly release of feats, archetypes, etc without considering the impact of this material. I don't think this problem requires the drastic approach of the +1/level system to fix. Also, if Paizo publishes PF2e material similar to how it has published PF1e material, then this problem will rear its ugly head again.


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HWalsh wrote:
The only reason to hate +level is to penalize non-int classes or classes with low skills.

Seems like just yesterday I provided an explanation of narrative based mechanics. That counts as a "reason". A good reason.


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BryonD wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In short, PF2 leaves it more to the players to play up their faults

I'm curious.

With regard to spamming CLW I simply posted "don't do it". Isn't that a good solution?

I was flamed for this.

Now I'm seeing that same general logic applied, expect now it is as a hand wave toward an implicit admission that the mechanic is broken.

Saying "don't spam CLW" is a suggestion to use the rules as written, but have an agreement amongst the players at the table regarding the overall availability of resources such that a non-fun byproduct is not present.

You are literally saying "don't use the rules as written".

Except there are rules in place that say "You can choose to have character flaws, but you receive no mechanical benefits for them." There aren't rules in PF1 that say "You can choose to not use CLW Wands, but there are no mechanical benefits for doing so," so saying it's the same thing is incorrect.

Also, suggesting that CLW Wand spam is the same issue as not having character flaws is practically a strawman, since they have almost nothing in common.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
BryonD wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In short, PF2 leaves it more to the players to play up their faults

I'm curious.

With regard to spamming CLW I simply posted "don't do it". Isn't that a good solution?

I was flamed for this.

Now I'm seeing that same general logic applied, expect now it is as a hand wave toward an implicit admission that the mechanic is broken.

Saying "don't spam CLW" is a suggestion to use the rules as written, but have an agreement amongst the players at the table regarding the overall availability of resources such that a non-fun byproduct is not present.

You are literally saying "don't use the rules as written".

Except there are rules in place that say "You can choose to have character flaws, but you receive no mechanical benefits for them." There aren't rules in PF1 that say "You can choose to not use CLW Wands, but there are no mechanical benefits for doing so," so saying it's the same thing is incorrect.

Also, suggesting that CLW Wand spam is the same issue as not having character flaws is practically a strawman, since they have almost nothing in common.

Ok, so applying the general reference to choosing to have flaws to mean "don't use the skills as the system mechanically presented" is fair, but referencing on lessor point of "don't do that" against a far more blatant point of "don't do that even though the mechanics say to" is a straw man.

I can't think of a better reply for your side either.


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I mean the standard example of "I have spent my entire life in the desert, I do not know how to swim" merits more examination. So how do you play that character? Well, they will not voluntarily get in the water if they can't stand up in it. So when the suggestion is "we can just swim to that island over there" the character in question will say "nope" unless some kind of assurances can be made.

But if that character ends up on a ship (a la Mr. T getting on a plane) and the ship is caught in a storm and that character ends up in the water, I don't think anybody is going to decide "welp, guess I'll just die". Said capsized desert-dweller is going to flail and struggle without a plan, but will nonetheless do their darnedest to not drown.

Big difference with +Level in PF2 is that now they have a fair chance of not drowning (as opposed to PF1 where it was essentially certain they will die, barring GM fiat). So I think you can still manage your "I don't know how to swim" character by just refusing to get wet when you can avoid it.


BryonD wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
BryonD wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In short, PF2 leaves it more to the players to play up their faults

I'm curious.

With regard to spamming CLW I simply posted "don't do it". Isn't that a good solution?

I was flamed for this.

Now I'm seeing that same general logic applied, expect now it is as a hand wave toward an implicit admission that the mechanic is broken.

Saying "don't spam CLW" is a suggestion to use the rules as written, but have an agreement amongst the players at the table regarding the overall availability of resources such that a non-fun byproduct is not present.

You are literally saying "don't use the rules as written".

Except there are rules in place that say "You can choose to have character flaws, but you receive no mechanical benefits for them." There aren't rules in PF1 that say "You can choose to not use CLW Wands, but there are no mechanical benefits for doing so," so saying it's the same thing is incorrect.

Also, suggesting that CLW Wand spam is the same issue as not having character flaws is practically a strawman, since they have almost nothing in common.

Ok, so applying the general reference to choosing to have flaws to mean "don't use the skills as the system mechanically presented" is fair, but referencing on lessor point of "don't do that" against a far more blatant point of "don't do that even though the mechanics say to" is a straw man.

I can't think of a better reply for your side either.

Let's go back to my original point, which is "Character flaws are more of a player choice in PF2 than in PF1." How does the choice of CLW Wand usage fit into that claim? In reality, it doesn't, because the presence or absence of CLW Wands isn't a character flaw, it's a playstyle flaw (because CLW Wands aren't tied to character development), which was never argued about. So yes, it's a strawman, for starters.

Furthermore, the complaint the OP makes is that the +1/level rule kills a character's ability to be bad at something. This doesn't make sense largely because the +1/level rule doesn't mean a player can't voluntarily make their character fail (or critically fail) a given check. In fact, the Superstition totem serves as a precedent, because such characters must make a saving throw against those effects, even if they normally wouldn't (whereas a fail would still confer the standardized effects of the spell in question). While Saving Throws and Skill Checks aren't exactly the same, both are checks that are rolled by PCs to determine success or failure, and are usually rolled with the intent to try and succeed. I've yet to see a GM say characters can't voluntarily fail saving throws (again, except for the Superstition Totem example above, but this serves as an exception to the general rule in this case, and we now actually have a hard rule to explain that paradigm).


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If he *can* swim in a storm at sea, then why can't he swim to the island?

If he can't swim, and doesn't have magic, and he gets tossed into the sea in a storm, then shouldn't he just drown?

For someone who puts telling a story above "winning", can you not see how "not drowning" in this circumstance not only undermines fun the, but casts a pall over everything else in the game. If you cheat once, everything is different because you cheated. And if you know you *can* cheat then you know that from the start.

Again, I do respect that not everyone wants to "be the character" and that my style is mine. But I see a consistent failure to even present a comprehension of my playstyle, much less acknowledge the merit of it, and much much less an effort to be inclusive.

Also, I don't see any marketplace examples of mechanics over narrative systems which resulted in notable success.


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BryonD wrote:
If he *can* swim in a storm at sea, then why can't he swim to the island?

Because people sometimes survive in situations where they have no reasonable chance of survival and thus would not voluntarily enter? Like look at all those people whose parachutes did not open, yet they improbably survived- they are no better at "flying" than the capsized desert-dweller is at swimming, but sometimes they do well enough to not die.

I think the disconnect I have with some people is that I do not believe a character knows what's on their character sheet. Regardless of their athletics modifier what they will know is "I have never been immersed in the water, I do not know how to swim".

Like I have no issue with someone with legendary proficiency in athletics not knowing how to swim (if they tried, they'd be fantastic, but they won't) or someone with legendary proficiency in religion not knowing what a Penanggalen is (say they have never been to Vudra and are not particularly interested in the taxonomy of the undead.)


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Let's go back to my original point, which is "Character flaws are more of a player choice in PF2 than in PF1." How does the choice of CLW Wand usage fit into that claim?

It is right there in the word's "player choice". "Player", not "character", and meta assumptions are the core in both cases.

Quote:
Furthermore, the complaint the OP makes is that the +1/level rule kills a character's ability to be bad at something. This doesn't make sense largely because the +1/level rule doesn't mean a player can't voluntarily make their character fail (or critically fail) a given check.

Again, if the correct solution is to ignore the mechanics then this is an implicit admission that the mechanics are wrong. There are games on the marketplace which don't ask me to ignore their failures. As it stands those games are firmly superior to 2E. Now is the time to fix that.

Quote:
In fact, the Superstition totem serves as a precedent, because such characters must make a saving throw against those effects, even if they normally wouldn't (whereas a fail would still confer the standardized effects of the spell in question). While Saving Throws and Skill Checks aren't exactly the same, both are checks that are rolled by PCs to determine success or failure, and are usually rolled with the intent to try and succeed. I've yet to see a GM say characters can't voluntarily fail saving throws (again, except for the Superstition Totem example above, but this serves as an exception to the general rule in this case, and we now actually have a hard rule to explain that paradigm).

That is an extremely tenuous example. The entire point is that it, by design, flies in the face of the normal system.

The fact that the mechanics have stated that the character must make a roll which is not made in 99.999% of the cases makes it an extreme outlier. That is a mechanic "you must make this save" which creates a situation entirely unlike the expectation.

We are talking about fundamental rules of 2E that apply to every single character. There is no mechanic anywhere that says "you must choose not to make this check", or that your character is at any other special disadvantage.

Choosing to fail a save with superstition is rolling with a special mechanic and reinforcing the spirit of that rule. It is something that happens only in corner case. Choosing to fail a swim check is an overt reject of the mechanics and the spirit of their design and applies to virtually ever character on occasion.

I applaude rejecting the spirit of this rule. But I don't see that as superior to fixing the rule.


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BryonD wrote:
If he *can* swim in a storm at sea, then why can't he swim to the island?

Funny story.

I lost the ability to properly walk almost 2 years ago. I hobble on a cane but spend most of my time in a wheelchair.

So I was going up a flight of stairs a little over a year ago, holding onto the railing, when the railing broke and I toppled over the side.

Note, I was never a strong kid, I never climbed the rope in gym class, I have fabulous inflatable wobbly noodle arms.

I held on for dear life though and managed to pull myself back up only using my arms.

I am untrained in climb, I can't climb things. Not a tree, not a rope, not even one of those kiddy rock climbing walls.

I should have fallen (granted it was only about 6 feet) but I did not. Just like how your Dwarf who can't swim might be able to in a crisis.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
BryonD wrote:
If he *can* swim in a storm at sea, then why can't he swim to the island?
Because people sometimes survive in situations where they have no reasonable chance of survival and thus would not voluntarily enter? Like look at all those people whose parachutes did not open, yet they improbably survived- they are no better at "flying" than the capsized desert-dweller is at swimming, but sometimes they do well enough to not die.

You odds of rolling a few nat 20S in a row are better than surviving a parachute failure.

If somebody in my 1E game rolls 2 nat 20s in a row, I will yelp with glee as they survive the shipwreck.

And I don't need wrong mechanics for that.

Quote:
I think the disconnect I have with some people is that I do not believe a character knows what's on their character sheet. Regardless of their athletics modifier what they will know is "I have never been immersed in the water, I do not know how to swim".

That is out of left field. Nobody opposed to +level has suggested such and you are simply creating a straw man (note the good example here)

Bottom line, I can completely agree with you.
Since we agree, lets make the mechanics right.

If you also want a separate "survive the parachute failure" rule, I'm honestly interested. A cool "extreme circumstance and heroic outcome" mechanic is welcome for consideration. A mechanic which says I "can" swim, I just don't, that is just a bad idea for narrative.


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Well, I think we get into philosophical Platonism here. A hypothetical desert dweller who is very athletic but has never seen enough water to float a boat on *can* swim by the same standard that me, personally, *can* play the saxophone even though I have never attempted to play any sort of wind instrument. Like I don't doubt that with time, direction, and effort I could figure it out but the issue with the game is that "training to get better at something" is almost completely abstracted anyway (e.g. a Wizard gets better at casting spells by killing Vampires, not by reading books).

Which is to say there's no mechanism for representing "I work at something to get better at it".

But I think "PCs" are inherently exceptional so should survive "parachute failure" level dire circumstances much more often than would be realistic.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A level 20 character not being able to swim in a still pond is much more ridiculous sounding to me than a level 20 character being able to swim despite not training to do so... These are heroic characters, let them do heroic things. If you really want a character that's absolutely unable to swim at all then just have your GM make you auto fail such challenges.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I don't get the "PF1 characters were so much more heroic but it's completely stupid that a high level PF2 character is competent at walking and chewing gum at the same time without expending 20 skill points, 2 feats, 1 racial trait and 2 magic items" drift, either.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Ephialtes wrote:

For instance:

Poisened Lock, a level 1 hazard has the following entry:

Disable: Thievery DC 18 (trained) on the spring mechanism

If you have Joe the Fighter level 20 with DEX 14 he will have an untrained skill bonus of +18 (+20 level -4 untrained +2 DEX).
But will Joe succeed here? Nope, because he has to be trained in thievery to disable this simple hazard 1 lock. You see, even the highest leveled char cannot succeed no matter his bonus in the skill check if the prerequesite is to be trained in this very skill.
All the while a level 1 rogue might disable this lock because he is trained in Trickery.
This is what I love most about the new skill system, you can still gate the succeed behind a skill rank, so being untrained in a skill does matter tremendously. Let yourself not be discouraged by petential high skill bonus. Always see them in context to the skill rank.

I understand. I like the UTEML structure too. It doesn’t solve the problem I’m alluding to here unless they vastly increase the amount of “trained” prerequisites in tasks.

I hear you, though really I think this is a case where it's best to houserule and tweak if the specific things you can do with the standard system are too much for your liking in your weak areas. I think this variance is part of the whole point of giving GM discretion in proficiency-gating tasks. I think that's much easier than trying to add provisos to the base rules to make these multiple different styles possible with 0 houseruling. I just think it serves re-emphasizing how a GM being good about proficiency gating is probably going to be the way to have these weaknesses while still maintaining the "Base" power for your level.

An example here for how you could work a high level socially awkward Fighter (8 Cha, untrained diplomacy). Characters at high level are basically superhumans, it only stands to reason that they would have a certain air of presence about them, not to mention potential reputation. So your average Joe unwashed-masses Commoner (An Untrained-level Diplomacy task) will just be in awe of you and likely defer to whatever you say due to your powerful presence or reputation, just ignoring your social graces or lack thereof unless you deliberately alienate them (i.e. fail your roll on purpose). However anyone a bit more sensible with their head about their shoulders might scrutinize your manner a bit more, looking past those initial factors (Trained difficulty diplomacy task). These people just aren't going to be swayed by that presence or reputation as they see you've got the social skills of a brick.

This is a way you could make weaknesses flow well even in a social situation without removing +level or ignoring any rules.

Now of course that's not to say I'm saying you should switch your opinion and say +level is the best. Your opinion is yours. I just want to make it clear that this rule system by NO means has to prevent you from playing the kinds of characters that you like.

Plus devs have said they're aiming to tune the math to where systems like +level will be easy to remove or alter for those that didn't like them so there is that too.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
But I think "PCs" are inherently exceptional so should survive "parachute failure" level dire circumstances much more often than would be realistic.

I mean this is what the Catfall rogue lives for. Starting a mission in free fall.

Liberty's Edge

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I 100% understand and agree with the wish to have a character that is inept at a few skills as part of their characterization

What I do not want and that PF2 skillfully avoids compared to PF1 is that MOST characters would be inept at a few skills, and even that they would be inept at most skills

I like that PF2 can easily be tweaked so that you can choose a few skills and be inept at them rather than choose a few skills where your 20th level character will not be inept at (aka PF1)


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I'm assuming in this post that the table of DCs on page 337 hasn't changed in the last few updates. Ignore this if it has.

BryonD wrote:
If he *can* swim in a storm at sea, then why can't he swim to the island?

Simple. You can swim. Fine. But can you swim several hundred kilometres at once, where each successive hour becomes harder and harder (due to exhaustion)? You might auto-succeed on the first few tries, but eventually you'll meet a DC you can't beat.

---

Which brings me exactly to my point. I don't like this system because it's artificial number inflation: the game. AC automatically goes up, but so does to-hit. Skill automatically go up, but there's literally a chart with linear DCs per level. Your +1 per level doesn't mean anything when the DC goes up by 1 as well.
In PF1, multiclassing had a purpose: you got extra saves, class skills, or BAB you didn't have access to before. That small little bump in to-hit means you're ahead of the curve, at the cost of your main class. Sure, the main thing for multiclassing is getting new class features, but I've seen plenty people multiclass to get a small boost to their Will save, for instance.

Anyway, the "I want to be bad at something, but I can't" argument holds no water, because while you get better at it, the DC also goes up. It's mainly the environment you're in. Say a level 3 companion is tagging along with a level 7 party. The DCs for the party are set at level 7+. That level 3 companion will have a lot more trouble making it than you are, even with maxed stats. When everything gets a +1 to something, nothing gets a +1 to something. That +1 loses its value. You're better at it than before, but for some reason, the challenge has increased as well. You literally have the same chance of making it as before, but the numbers have increased, so it feels like you're making progress. In D&D 5, it's very hard to increase your AC, but monster to-hit also increases very slowly, and looks almost pitiful compared to Pathfinder. But because the numbers don't get ridiculously high, those small bonuses feel more important.

What's even worse, there's very little opportunity to increase those numbers (mainly referring to skills here) outside pure level gain. So you have work really hard for a very tiny little gain. I wish UTEML had either bigger steps in mumbers, or more level proficiencies, and it's easier to increase them. Now scoring those increases means something. These bonuses are in addition to your level, with more opportunities to get them, instead of being locked behind level gains (and artificially capped). And, because there's a clear cap to them, you don't get the huge number nonsense of PF1, where you get can easily get +50 on a skill.

Number inflation also means you lose comparability. Having a high AC doesn't matter if you have nothing to compare it to. PF1 was a bit extreme, but having AC 20 at level 5 was pretty decent. Not fantastic, but decent. In PF2, 5 of that is already just your level. This is just a quirk of me comparing PF1 to PF2, something I'll probably stop doing when I play more of that, but the point is that right now, I don't feel like I have a proper touchstone for how good my skills/AC/whatever should be, or what is acceptable at which level. Numbers are meaningless when they keep going up for no reason.


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The Raven Black wrote:

I 100% understand and agree with the wish to have a character that is inept at a few skills as part of their characterization

What I do not want and that PF2 skillfully avoids compared to PF1 is that MOST characters would be inept at a few skills, and even that they would be inept at most skills

I like that PF2 can easily be tweaked so that you can choose a few skills and be inept at them rather than choose a few skills where your 20th level character will not be inept at (aka PF1)

I mean that sounds like an interesting house rule. Picking 1-2 skills that being untrained in means that level doesn't add to them.


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ByronD wrote:

It is right there in the word's "player choice". "Player", not "character", and meta assumptions are the core in both cases.

Again, if the correct solution is to ignore the mechanics then this is an implicit admission that the mechanics are wrong. There are games on the marketplace which don't ask me to ignore their failures. As it stands those games are firmly superior to 2E. Now is the time to fix that.

That is an extremely tenuous example. The entire point is that it, by design, flies in the face of the normal system.

The fact that the mechanics have stated that the character must make a roll which is not made in 99.999% of the cases makes it an extreme outlier. That is a mechanic "you must make this save" which creates a situation entirely unlike the expectation.
We are talking about fundamental rules of 2E that apply to every single character. There is no mechanic anywhere that says "you must choose not to make this check", or that your character is at any other special disadvantage.

Choosing to fail a save with superstition is rolling with a special mechanic and reinforcing the spirit of that rule. It is something that happens only in corner case. Choosing to fail a swim check is an overt reject of the mechanics and the spirit of their design and applies to virtually ever character on occasion.

I applaude rejecting the spirit of this rule. But I don't see that as superior to fixing the rule.

Okay, but the character flaws are a part of the character's growth and development. CLW Wands aren't, so it still doesn't really make sense to apply to the claim.

The only apparent "fixes" are to either half the bonus progression (which doesn't technically solve the initial problem of scaling that people have in the first place), or to cut it out entirely (and thereby ruin most any threat differences between a Goblin or a Dragon). In short, people are asking for a Herculean miracle, and I won't expect to see that happen (or if it does, it will change the game in a way that they still won't be satisfied with, in which case we're back to square 1).

There is other precedent besides Superstition (to be frank, even Superstition is stretching it a bit). You can choose to not spend an action to Swim or Fly, thereby automatically failing those respective checks and proceed to sink or fall, respectively. Most creatures won't do that, but if they aren't in any real danger (or simply don't want to spend the actions to maintain their altitude), then the choice is still there. Granted, this is more specific to those types of checks, but I don't see a reason why only two checks should get this choice instead of other ones (for example, choosing not to spend an action to Climb or perform Acrobatics to fall off ledges, would be equally appropriate as well).

Of course, expecting the rules to cover absolutely every case imaginable is silly to say the least, and it's hard to say that allowing characters to voluntarily fail checks is against the spirit of the rules if the rules also allow players to voluntarily play generally weaker characters (with no upside to it, I might add). If anything, based on numerous entries in the rulebook as it stands, Pathfinder would be more freeform from a GM perspective than restrictive.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In short, PF2 leaves it more to the players to play up their faults than it leaves to the mechanics. Some people may not like it, which is fine, but saying that PF2 doesn't let you have faults (when they actually have specific rules and clauses for doing so) is outright false, and is a misleading argument. The players can still have whatever faults they want. They just shouldn't expect any compensation for it, which is practically where all of the complaints come from, in which case that's a deliberate design choice, and good luck changing the developers' minds on that.

This was in reply to my post (which you say you don’t see the point of):

Steve Geddes wrote:

This is one of the things I don’t like the look of in PF2 (full disclosure - I’m not playing it, just reading and listening to the odd twitch stream).

My biggest gripe would be removed, I suspect, if it didn’t apply to an untrained skill. Basically, I want to be able to suck at something (in a “cant swim, could drown in a deep bath” kind of level, not just a “probably fail level appropriate challenges” level).

The +1/tier structure seems really insignificant to me also, but I suspect that concern would go away with a little bit of actually playing the game - no doubt requiring expert/master proficiency for some tasks will provide big enough incentive beyond the +1/+2.

Where I say I don’t like it and make no argument.

I’m not making any claim, I’m telling the developers what I don’t like (one of the most significant barriers to me getting into the game as it currently stands) and trying to be constructive about it.

That was the point.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:

I 100% understand and agree with the wish to have a character that is inept at a few skills as part of their characterization

What I do not want and that PF2 skillfully avoids compared to PF1 is that MOST characters would be inept at a few skills, and even that they would be inept at most skills

I like that PF2 can easily be tweaked so that you can choose a few skills and be inept at them rather than choose a few skills where your 20th level character will not be inept at (aka PF1)

There’s a fair bit of the PF2 skill system I admire. I’m hoping the developers might be able to expand the rules in a way that makes me admire it more.

(Having a couple of skills which don’t grant a level bonus is an easy enough houserule. I’d rather play a ruleset I don’t have to houserule though. Generally, I outsource my game design to professionals these days).


BryonD wrote:
Lycar wrote:
The adventurer who, after years of travelling the wilderness is no better at survival then when he started out, because 'mechanically' he felt he could not spare skill points to actually reflect that experience in the numbers on the sheet, on the other hand, can either eat crow and suck it, or just complain and whine about it until the GM caves and tosses him a bone. Which is unfair to those players who actually did bite the bullet and put points in survival, for whatever reason, and are now weaker elsewhere.

This is a major example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

You have specifically framed the system to discuss a character whose narrative concept SHOULD have some survival. If the mechanics of a system make it impossible or unreasonable for that character to get better then that system should be criticized for this. 1E does, in places, have this problem. It should be criticized. Improvements can be found.

But what we are looking at now is clanky plate mails dwarves sneaking around for no good reason beyond some people seem to want an "I win" button for sneaking and climbing and diplomacy.

Pointing out a flaw on one side is fair. Implying that a fatal defect on the other side should be ignored due to this flaw is not so much fair.

Uhm... PF1 does have this problem, period. The best thing you can hope to do for skills is being a human rogue with boosted INT, who also puts his favoured class bonus into skills. Oh and a feat or two give you extra skill points too.

Now granted, with 10 skill points, you can already cover a lot of ground, keep your core skills maxed out and have 1 or 2 left over for flavour skills. But even with INT 14 and a feat, you are effectively maxing out at 13 skills. This allows some knowledges and appraise to have ranks that don't gimp your main skills, but that's it. You simply CAN'T get more skill points, no matter how hard you want them (hard enough to put an 18 into INT and invest into Headbands maybe, but that is pushing it).

So, in other words, in PF1 there is no way to be at least competent in many skills. The new system on the other hand gives everybody some basic competence in everything, merely by virtue of levelling up. So in other words, you get things you may not necessarily want.

But what is easier? Getting things you can't have, or ignoring things you already have?


Steve Geddes wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

I 100% understand and agree with the wish to have a character that is inept at a few skills as part of their characterization

What I do not want and that PF2 skillfully avoids compared to PF1 is that MOST characters would be inept at a few skills, and even that they would be inept at most skills

I like that PF2 can easily be tweaked so that you can choose a few skills and be inept at them rather than choose a few skills where your 20th level character will not be inept at (aka PF1)

There’s a fair bit of the PF2 skill system I admire. I’m hoping the developers might be able to expand the rules in a way that makes me admire it more.

(Having a couple of skills which don’t grant a level bonus is an easy enough houserule. I’d rather play a ruleset I don’t have to houserule though. Generally, I outsource my game design to professionals these days).

It is going to have to be houseruled for someone. It is not possible to make one system that is tailored to the play styles of every group of players.

I would like to see an official alternate rule that deals with this case. That is the best that I can actually hope for. At least one, maybe more, alternate rules for proficiency bonus that a particular home game table can choose from to get the flavor of game that they want.

Because the official rules have to be tailored for Pathfinder Society. That is what Pathfinder Society games have to play with - the official rules.


breithauptclan wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

I 100% understand and agree with the wish to have a character that is inept at a few skills as part of their characterization

What I do not want and that PF2 skillfully avoids compared to PF1 is that MOST characters would be inept at a few skills, and even that they would be inept at most skills

I like that PF2 can easily be tweaked so that you can choose a few skills and be inept at them rather than choose a few skills where your 20th level character will not be inept at (aka PF1)

There’s a fair bit of the PF2 skill system I admire. I’m hoping the developers might be able to expand the rules in a way that makes me admire it more.

(Having a couple of skills which don’t grant a level bonus is an easy enough houserule. I’d rather play a ruleset I don’t have to houserule though. Generally, I outsource my game design to professionals these days).

It is going to have to be houseruled for someone. It is not possible to make one system that is tailored to the play styles of every group of players.

I would like to see an official alternate rule that deals with this case. That is the best that I can actually hope for. At least one, maybe more, alternate rules for proficiency bonus that a particular home game table can choose from to get the flavor of game that they want.

Because the official rules have to be tailored for Pathfinder Society. That is what Pathfinder Society games have to play with - the official rules.

PF1S didn't have to, they made their own. So that makes no sense.

Also, if PF2 is going to tailor their rules to PF2S, I probably won't like them if they make a lot of the same decisions that PF1S did. I already disliked the changes that PF1S had on the rules for PF1, I'd rather not have a repeat of those things here.

The Exchange

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Thinking on this it struck has just me that next year will be the 40th anniversary of my first game of D&D.

In all those years I can’t think of a time I would have thought of introducing a rule that high level characters were a sort of homo superior who were soooo cool they got good at everything by osmosis like a parody of a 1970’s secret agent. The suggested solution that if do you feel that this is silly is to hamstring your PC thus making the standard PC by comparison all the cooler yet is not helpful at all.

I much prefer a choice: The strong, brave but rather dim and academically limited warrior, the highly educated but athletically useless cleric or the wizard who can move mountains but would quiver when faced with asking a girl he fancies to dance (for instance because he has always chosen learning arcane mystery instead of dancing or social interaction).

The point at which 4e finally lost me was when in response to a question about playing a musical instrument for which there was no mechanic was that if you wanted to be a virtuoso (on the bagpipes iirc) you just declared you were and so it was. We were invited to feel liberated by this and if we really had to associate it with a skill then use diplomacy. Seemed wrong . Surely there should be a quid pro quo mechanically.

PF2 is of course not 4e though I feel in many cases both sets of developers indentified the same philosophical problems and solutions with the 3.x they were moving on from and made their own stabs at fixing them within some inevitable similarities.

I hope our developers can square the circle . So inter alia we don’t end up with every wall in Absolom that needs to thwart level 7 PCs consequentially being an insoluble problem for a level 1.

W


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Quentin Coldwater wrote:

Which brings me exactly to my point. I don't like this system because it's artificial number inflation: the game. AC automatically goes up, but so does to-hit. Skill automatically go up, but there's literally a chart with linear DCs per level. Your +1 per level doesn't mean anything when the DC goes up by 1 as well.

DCs per level of the challenge. The text next to the DCs specifically calls out not just scaling check difficulty because the PCs gained a level, and if you decided that something was a given level, it stays that level unless something happens.


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Nightwhisper wrote:
DCs per level of the challenge. The text next to the DCs specifically calls out not just scaling check difficulty because the PCs gained a level, and if you decided that something was a given level, it stays that level unless something happens.

Precisely. As the PCs level up, they get better at things, and so can take on more difficult challenges. It is not as though the entire world levels up with them. A level 10 Paladin in heavy armor getting +5 to stealth even though they are untrained in it is still useful to sneak past like "Manor servants" and "the guard dog" even if it's severely unlikely they can sneak past a fire giant patrol. A level 10 Paladin in heavy armor PF1 having a negative stealth modifier wouldn't even evade the old blind guard dog, the deaf gardener, and the servants having a tryst off in the stables.

10-2 is not a "set DC by the level of the party" it's a "set DC by level of the opposition" and old assumptions about CR matching or exceeding the level of party are no longer valid.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Nightwhisper wrote:
DCs per level of the challenge. The text next to the DCs specifically calls out not just scaling check difficulty because the PCs gained a level, and if you decided that something was a given level, it stays that level unless something happens.
10-2 is not a "set DC by the level of the party" it's a "set DC by level of the opposition" and old assumptions about CR matching or exceeding the level of party are no longer valid.

Which brings up something that doesn't seem to be discussed as much. What is a "level appropriate challenge"? That is, you have a character of level 5. If they put all their character resources into a thing, what should they need to roll to beat a "level 5 challenge" of that thing? If they put as few resources (or as many negatives) into that thing, what should be the odds of succeeding a "level 5 challenge"? And, should the requisite die roll for each of those situations change from level 1 to level 20?


heretic wrote:
I much prefer a choice: The strong, brave but rather dim and academically limited warrior, the highly educated but athletically useless cleric or the wizard who can move mountains but would quiver when faced with asking a girl he fancies to dance (for instance because he has always chosen learning arcane mystery instead of dancing or social interaction).

The thing is that this system doesn't take that choice away. It makes it more of a player-dependent choice than a mechanics-dependent one, that much is true, but it's not like you can't not be worse at what you want to be worse at. The only big differences are that A. Players make that choice, not the mechanics (or GM, usually), and B. Players don't get any sort of compensation for choosing to be worse. That's it.

If the complaint people have towards this is A., then I'm not really seeing why having a mechanical reinforcement would be of any help other than to sate one's ego of "people have flaws', especially when not every player wants to play a character with glaring flaws, like having a 7 Intelligence score as a Fighter. Playing a tactical master who is skilled with a sword is just as valid (and interesting) a character.

If the complaint is B., then people just need to understand that PF2 wants to cut down on minmaxing shenanigans, and this is a deliberate design choice in that direction; if they don't like it, they can say something about it, but if the developers don't want to do anything about it (or don't think anything needs to be done), then there's the door, and don't let it hit you on the way out. Chances are, PF2 won't be for you, and I wish you the best of luck in finding the system that better suits your needs.

The Exchange

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
heretic wrote:
I much prefer a choice: The strong, brave but rather dim and academically limited warrior, the highly educated but athletically useless cleric or the wizard who can move mountains but would quiver when faced with asking a girl he fancies to dance (for instance because he has always chosen learning arcane mystery instead of dancing or social interaction).

The thing is that this system doesn't take that choice away. It makes it more of a player-dependent choice than a mechanics-dependent one, that much is true, but it's not like you can't not be worse at what you want to be worse at. The only big differences are that A. Players make that choice, not the mechanics (or GM, usually), and B. Players don't get any sort of compensation for choosing to be worse. That's it.

If the complaint people have towards this is A., then I'm not really seeing why having a mechanical reinforcement would be of any help other than to sate one's ego of "people have flaws', especially when not every player wants to play a character with glaring flaws, like having a 7 Intelligence score as a Fighter. Playing a tactical master who is skilled with a sword is just as valid (and interesting) a character.

If the complaint is B., then people just need to understand that PF2 wants to cut down on minmaxing shenanigans, and this is a deliberate design choice in that direction; if they don't like it, they can say something about it, but if the developers don't want to do anything about it (or don't think anything needs to be done), then there's the door, and don't let it hit you on the way out. Chances are, PF2 won't be for you, and I wish you the best of luck in finding the system that better suits your needs.

In all candour I find it almost impossible to be receptive to anyone who includes a “ if you don’t like this then this game isn’t for you etc.” I will try not to let the door hit me on the way out.

I wonder though if I am really in a demographic that Paizo would so blithely dismiss as surplus to requirements.

Your point A leaves me rather nonplussed. In any system including PF a player can decide to role play in specific character flaws to make them bad a stuff for story reasons. It is not really great in a rules heavy system.

Point B. Heck yes solving the problems by making the standard characters who are now akin to old school Batman clones seem even more inexplicably cool by comparison is not imho a good idea. It effectively removes choice remembering that the adventures a PC is expected to deal with are set to challenge a standard build. Like ppl turning up to PFS sessions with builds incapable of fufilling their role because of a cool backstory.

Referencing min maxing as something that justifies this doesn’t convince. A desire that you don’t have to so skew your resources so that you are only good at one thing to be mechanically relevant is understandable. Wanting to be relevant at a tactical level in any and all circumstances ... not so much & insisting all PCs are Bruce Wayne with magic is not the best solution!

W


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Nightwhisper wrote:
DCs per level of the challenge. The text next to the DCs specifically calls out not just scaling check difficulty because the PCs gained a level, and if you decided that something was a given level, it stays that level unless something happens.

Precisely. As the PCs level up, they get better at things, and so can take on more difficult challenges. It is not as though the entire world levels up with them. A level 10 Paladin in heavy armor getting +5 to stealth even though they are untrained in it is still useful to sneak past like "Manor servants" and "the guard dog" even if it's severely unlikely they can sneak past a fire giant patrol. A level 10 Paladin in heavy armor PF1 having a negative stealth modifier wouldn't even evade the old blind guard dog, the deaf gardener, and the servants having a tryst off in the stables.

10-2 is not a "set DC by the level of the party" it's a "set DC by level of the opposition" and old assumptions about CR matching or exceeding the level of party are no longer valid.

Okay, according to page 336:

It’s important that you don’t simply make the DC
arbitrarily higher or lower with the PCs’ level. Any increase
must be justifed based on how the challenge actually
increased, and thus how success is more impressive.

So, indeed, you're right, it's not always a static DC. But how do you determine a baseline? I have no frame of reference what a regular skill DC is supposed to be like. A regular guard might be a level 1 challenge, with maybe High difficulty. But if you put a specific thing on guard, such as the Fire Giants, how do you do that? Look at CR and circumstances? Fire Giant is CR 10, and then at least High difficulty. But what if you have an abstract number (not directly related to CR) you want to set as a DC (such as recalling or gathering information)? A DC that doesn't change over time? If it's a check they didn't make the first go at it, why make it easier for them without them doing anything about it?

The idea that you set a challenge based on realism is nice and all, but it's simply not practical. Most of the time, you want a level-appropriate challenge. If the Paladin in heavy armour rolls a 3 and still manages to make the check because the DC is ridiculously low, he feels cheated. You softballed him. And while it makes sense that climbing a wall doesn't become harder when you level up, it also shouldn't automatically become easier. If there's a set DC for everything, people will know that it'll be more likely to make it if they come back in three levels. You want level-appropriate challenges to keep players on their toes.

For example, in this system, at level 1 players enter a regular thieves' den, riddled with traps. They're pretty good with traps, so their DC is 14. Now, the same party is level 10 and in a Fire Giant lair, also filled with traps. Fire Giants are CR-appropriate and they should be there according to your story. You planned they'd go here at roughly this level. Their traps should therefore be at level 10, and at the same difficulty level as the thieves' den, so High. That's 27. The system you're describing only works if either players are punching above or under their weight, or want very standardised challenges. Neither works.


heretic wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
heretic wrote:
I much prefer a choice: The strong, brave but rather dim and academically limited warrior, the highly educated but athletically useless cleric or the wizard who can move mountains but would quiver when faced with asking a girl he fancies to dance (for instance because he has always chosen learning arcane mystery instead of dancing or social interaction).

The thing is that this system doesn't take that choice away. It makes it more of a player-dependent choice than a mechanics-dependent one, that much is true, but it's not like you can't not be worse at what you want to be worse at. The only big differences are that A. Players make that choice, not the mechanics (or GM, usually), and B. Players don't get any sort of compensation for choosing to be worse. That's it.

If the complaint people have towards this is A., then I'm not really seeing why having a mechanical reinforcement would be of any help other than to sate one's ego of "people have flaws', especially when not every player wants to play a character with glaring flaws, like having a 7 Intelligence score as a Fighter. Playing a tactical master who is skilled with a sword is just as valid (and interesting) a character.

If the complaint is B., then people just need to understand that PF2 wants to cut down on minmaxing shenanigans, and this is a deliberate design choice in that direction; if they don't like it, they can say something about it, but if the developers don't want to do anything about it (or don't think anything needs to be done), then there's the door, and don't let it hit you on the way out. Chances are, PF2 won't be for you, and I wish you the best of luck in finding the system that better suits your needs.

In all candour I find it almost impossible to be receptive to anyone who includes a “ if you don’t like this then this game isn’t for you etc.” I will try not to let the door hit me on the way out.

I wonder though if I am really in a demographic that...

Of course, I could just make the claim of "Sure, come right in, the water's fine!" But I'd rather be more realistic of the expectations being presented in relation to the topic at hand, which is that Pathfinder is not going to be a cure-all system for the roleplaying genre, and it never will be. Just like it's never, ever going to compete with the D&D franchise, and Paizo has stated that it would be an unhealthy relationship to have, being in competition of a company whose past success they've used as a stepping stool to go into their own little niche. Yes, people play all kinds of tabletop games (or games in general), but it doesn't help when people compare Pathfinder (and by relation, Paizo) to games (like 5E, or producers like WotC) that they were never interested in competing with in the first place.

I don't necessarily think that Paizo is doing things just to dismiss potential customers though, more that they are trying to create an identity for themselves, one that people may not always agree with, and that's fine; Paizo shouldn't expect to please everybody (even if trying to please as many people as possible is their goal, companies do need to balance their personal wants with the wants and demands of the company's success as well).

The point with A is that a player can still choose to roleplay (or accept) their flaws if that is what they, as a player, wants for their character. There is no need to implement a mechanical restriction if players don't want it (and based on Paizo's decision, they'd rather let the players decide that, not the rules).

The point with B is that a lot of options in PF1 broke the game in a lot of ways that the developers didn't want to have happen in PF2 (most notably spellcasting, but a lot of martial guides have been powerful enough to do that as well). Sure, this can be fixed by making options more reasonable and better tailoring the game mechanics to those standards, however, you're now getting people who are complaining about relevant challenges now being boiled down to a coin flip (and I agree to a point), super hard challenges being practically impossible, and easier challenges being a large joke. The best course of action is to change the balance of those numbers, but when you aren't absolutely familiar with the inner workings of the system, even slight changes in those numbers can make the difference between a build being broken or even just plain worthless.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "Bruce Wayne with Magic." A bit more clarity here would help.

Quite frankly, I never played 4E, or 5E, so I don't see the draw of those systems by comparison, and based on where I live, there's nobody in the state that plays those games (or at least most importantly, that I would be comfortable with playing), so I doubt I'll ever experience those systems. The fact of the matter is though, I enjoyed PF1 when it debuted, and I'm starting to get into the groove of PF2 now, even when there are design choices that I don't agree with. (If I don't like it, I can just make my own game, right?)


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
heretic wrote:
In all candour I find it almost impossible to be receptive to anyone who includes a “ if you don’t like this then this game isn’t for you etc.”.

Especially during a playtest where Paizo have said that everything is potentially up for change and they want to hear about what we do and don’t like. It’s premature to declare “this game isn’t for you”.

I don’t like +1/level more broadly than just this. However, the real problem for me is the way it applies to untrained skills my character has never attempted. I figure that distinction is worth bringing up to the design team.

The fans of +1/level may not be able to think of a way to reconcile the system as it currently stands with what I’m looking for. They may also think the cohort of people who share my opinion is negligible and safely addressed via “just overrule your PC’s stats or go find another game”.

I’m not really speaking to them. I’m addressing my concerns to the design team who are both more informed as to the state of the market and more experienced at crafting RPG subsystems. Maybe it will help improve the game or maybe not. It doesn’t hurt to put it forth during an open playtest (nor should it be shutdown by people who like the system as is - they can explain what they like without arguing over whether what I like “makes sense” or is “crazy”).


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Nightwhisper wrote:
DCs per level of the challenge. The text next to the DCs specifically calls out not just scaling check difficulty because the PCs gained a level, and if you decided that something was a given level, it stays that level unless something happens.

Precisely. As the PCs level up, they get better at things, and so can take on more difficult challenges. It is not as though the entire world levels up with them. A level 10 Paladin in heavy armor getting +5 to stealth even though they are untrained in it is still useful to sneak past like "Manor servants" and "the guard dog" even if it's severely unlikely they can sneak past a fire giant patrol. A level 10 Paladin in heavy armor PF1 having a negative stealth modifier wouldn't even evade the old blind guard dog, the deaf gardener, and the servants having a tryst off in the stables.

10-2 is not a "set DC by the level of the party" it's a "set DC by level of the opposition" and old assumptions about CR matching or exceeding the level of party are no longer valid.

That seems the best way to handle it, but I have trouble with the DCs in Doomsday Dawn. The current issue I am planning for Tuesday's game session has me confused--I initially misread it--that something that should have been incredibly hard is not so hard.

In Pale Mountain's Shadow:
Part of the 2nd chapter of Doomsday Dawn takes place in the labyrinthine tomb of the elemental scholar Tular Seft. One skill challenge is a puzzle lock. What should be the DC of the Arcane/Nature/Occult/Religion check? (I hate that it says pick any of 4 skills. The lock design is Occult.) I don't know Tular Seft's level, but his janni ally is 4th level and he had permanently gated in some level 5 elementals. And he could make level 10 elemental gems and pipe in elements directly from the Elemental Planes. Correction, he could make a spell that made level 10 elemental gems. Let's say level 10 as a minimum. The puzzle lock is meant to lock out adventurous tomb raiders (and the chapter provides a bypass option), so its difficulty should be 10th-level Severe (DC 29) on the original table 10-2 or 10th-level Incredible (DC 31) on the rules update 1.4 table 10-2.

The DC is 25. Probably because the adventure was written for 4th-level characters. That is more than extreme for 4th level, since 4th-level Extreme on the original table 10-2 is DC 23, but it seems awfully easy for a design by Tular Seft.

Quentin Coldwater wrote:
The idea that you set a challenge based on realism is nice and all, but it's simply not practical. Most of the time, you want a level-appropriate challenge. If the Paladin in heavy armour rolls a 3 and still manages to make the check because the DC is ridiculously low, he feels cheated. You softballed him. And while it makes sense that climbing a wall doesn't become harder when you level up, it also shouldn't automatically become easier. If there's a set DC for everything, people will know that it'll be more likely to make it if they come back in three levels. You want level-appropriate challenges to keep players on their toes.

My players are inventive. They will find away around a challenge that they don't care for. For example, in Lords of Rust, 2nd module in the Iron Gods adventure path, rather than dealing with the gate guards to the town of Scrapwall, they asked about the wall of scrap around the town.

Lords of Rust wrote:

Scrapwall is 3 miles across

at its widest point, and the walls of junk enclosing its
interior are an average of 30 feet high. These walls are not
vertical and can be scaled, but the rubble shifts dangerously
at times. A successful DC 15 Climb check is needed to
ascend these walls, but each round spent climbing there’s
a cumulative 20% chance that the rubble shifts. If this
occurs, the climber must immediately attempt a DC 15
Reflex save to avoid falling along with the shifting rubble;
it she falls, she takes the normal amount of falling damage
for the height plus an additional 1d6 points of damage
from the collapse.

Um, according to the map, the unguarded wall is 400 feet wide. 30 feet up over 200 feet is a 15% grade, a hill rather than a wall. Given that one party member was a flying strix, another was a dwarf with Mountaineer trait, and the other three were strong (Climb is a Strength skill), the four nonflying characters roped themselves together and walked over the scrap with only a few missteps giving 1d6 collapse damage.

If they can't climb a wall, then the wizard will Levitate up the wall and lower down a rope. The difficulty of climbing the rope should not depend on the difficulty of climbing the wall. In my AD&D games of olden days, throwing a grappling hook with a rope attached was a standard method of climbing a wall or cliff.

I like that kind of roleplaying, where the party members are thinking for themselves rather than numbly following the adventure path before them. But it will mean that the party members will be facing natural challenges other than the ones designed by their high-level opponents. What level will those undesigned challenges have?


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Lycar wrote:

The problem with PF1/D&D 3.x is that it has skill points. And you never have enough of them.

Why? Because to stay on the treadmill, you have to put ALL YOUR POINTS into the skills you want to be relevant in. Just relevant, not good. 'Good' requires investing feats. Or being a caster, but that is a problem they are getting at.

However, that means that all your skill points are spoken for, and even putting so much as 1 skill point into a knowledge skill for flavour (mostly being able to roll for more then a 10 and actually know something that isn't 'common knowledge') is basically 'gimping' you character elsewhere. /hyperbole.

But Pathfinder skills barely have any "treadmill" to stay on. After spending far too long looking at the tables in the Core Rulebook, I've noticed that there are very few skill uses that have any form of per-level scaling: I can even list them.


  • Acrobatics to avoid AoO (enemy's CMD)
  • Bluff to Feint (enemy's BAB or Sense Motive)
  • Bluff to lie (opposed by Sense Motive)
  • Disguise (opposed by Perception)
  • Escape Artist to escape a grapple (enemy's CMD)
  • Handle animal to rear a wild animal (animal's HD)
  • Intimidate (opponent's HD)
  • Linguistics to create a forgery (opposed by linguistics of opponent)
  • Perception to detect a pickpocket (opposed by opponent's Sleight of Hand)
  • Perception to see someone hiding (opposed by opponent's Stealth)
  • Use Magic Device to use a scroll (DC based on scroll CL)

This isn't much. And everything on this list is based on an active opponent - you know - the time it makes sense for a check to scale.

As far as I can tell, the only treadmill-like table I have seen in Pathfinder is the scaling in PFS specials, and Table 4-1 from Ultimate Intrigue (which is again effectively pitting skills against active opponents - and yet I haven't seen it in play...)

PF2, however, is scaling DCs in nonsensical ways - not only is table 10-02 presented with a tacit expectation for it to be universally applied (as it has been in the published adventures) - powers such as Lingering Performance and Heal are also based directly from that table.


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Would it make any sense in addition to +1/level, UTEML also created a ceiling? Untrained could only get a max of +3 if they are untrained, trained could get a max of +6 etc ... That way you get the best of both worlds.


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Something to remember is that they are creating a baseline. The basic assumption. A 10th level character, generally, should have at least some development of skills. This is a baseline they want and I think that is fair.

Counter to that, I think there is a design space from some drawbacks that confer penalties or limits to your skills. "Socially" inept could half your level bonus to diplomacy or "Feeble" could limit your athletics level bonus.

However, for the sake of adventure design at high levels, this shouldn't be the baseline. This shouldn't be a problem you have to design around by default. Ineptitudes are perfectly fine as an exception, but I'd rather they not be the rule.

Keeping skill checks in line with each other actually helps with hazards, where they gulf between the untrained and specialist aren't "Auto-fail and Auto-succeed".


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Naszir wrote:
Would it make any sense in addition to +1/level, UTEML also created a ceiling? Untrained could only get a max of +3 if they are untrained, trained could get a max of +6 etc ... That way you get the best of both worlds.

Something like that might work for me.

I know the designers have said they are aware of some disquiet around +1/level, particularly as it pertains to skills.

They've indicated they are looking at it with a view to more closely aligning the results with what they were trying to achieve. It's possible a cap as you suggest might be part of that - or that prerequisite tiers will become much more widespread (that would also go someway to meeting what I'm looking for).


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Albatoonoe wrote:

Something to remember is that they are creating a baseline. The basic assumption. A 10th level character, generally, should have at least some development of skills. This is a baseline they want and I think that is fair.

Counter to that, I think there is a design space from some drawbacks that confer penalties or limits to your skills. "Socially" inept could half your level bonus to diplomacy or "Feeble" could limit your athletics level bonus.

However, for the sake of adventure design at high levels, this shouldn't be the baseline. This shouldn't be a problem you have to design around by default. Ineptitudes are perfectly fine as an exception, but I'd rather they not be the rule.

Keeping skill checks in line with each other actually helps with hazards, where they gulf between the untrained and specialist aren't "Auto-fail and Auto-succeed".

Some kind of "flaw" system would also suit me (though I personally don't like the schemes where you swap a downside for a bonus elsewhere).


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Albatoonoe wrote:

Something to remember is that they are creating a baseline. The basic assumption. A 10th level character, generally, should have at least some development of skills. This is a baseline they want and I think that is fair.

Counter to that, I think there is a design space from some drawbacks that confer penalties or limits to your skills. "Socially" inept could half your level bonus to diplomacy or "Feeble" could limit your athletics level bonus.

However, for the sake of adventure design at high levels, this shouldn't be the baseline. This shouldn't be a problem you have to design around by default. Ineptitudes are perfectly fine as an exception, but I'd rather they not be the rule.

Keeping skill checks in line with each other actually helps with hazards, where they gulf between the untrained and specialist aren't "Auto-fail and Auto-succeed".

Some kind of "flaw" system would also suit me (though I personally don't like the schemes where you swap a downside for a bonus elsewhere).

I prefer penalty systems that are packaged together. Where the benefit packaged in with the penalty, thus avoiding the min-maxing power gaming.


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Naszir wrote:
Would it make any sense in addition to +1/level, UTEML also created a ceiling? Untrained could only get a max of +3 if they are untrained, trained could get a max of +6 etc ... That way you get the best of both worlds.

I feel like aggressive proficiency gating for checks is preferable to this. Since if you want a particular lock to be extremely difficult to pick, you can declare "this check requires master or legendary thievery to attempt". But if I have a character who is merely trained in thievery, I want for them to have a very easy time at level 15 with the locks which were a fair challenge at level 5.


Mekkis wrote:

But Pathfinder skills barely have any "treadmill" to stay on. After spending far too long looking at the tables in the Core Rulebook, I've noticed that there are very few skill uses that have any form of per-level scaling: I can even list them.


  • Acrobatics to avoid AoO (enemy's CMD)
  • Bluff to Feint (enemy's BAB or Sense Motive)
  • Bluff to lie (opposed by Sense Motive)
  • Disguise (opposed by Perception)
  • Escape Artist to escape a grapple (enemy's CMD)
  • Handle animal to rear a wild animal (animal's HD)
  • Intimidate (opponent's HD)
  • Linguistics to create a forgery (opposed by linguistics of opponent)
  • Perception to detect a pickpocket (opposed by opponent's Sleight of Hand)
  • Perception to see someone hiding (opposed by opponent's Stealth)
  • Use Magic Device to use a scroll (DC based on scroll CL)

Aren't you forgetting something? Knowledge skills? The DC to know some information about a monster scales with the CR. Arcana, Local, Nature, Planes, Religion. If I'm not forgetting something.

Plus the Sense Motive DC scaling with enemy Bluff. Stealth scaling with monster Perception. 16 skills.

Now, seeing that it may be of questionable value to max out all of these skills, you may want at least 1 rank in the knowledge skills to 'unlock' them and achieve better results then DC 10.

And there are skill unlocks. Most of them may be of questionable value at best, but still...


Steve Geddes wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I learned to swim on the spot by being thrown in the water. I think people panic to much and flail swimming seemed easy enough to learn to me.

Skill with music then. I’d like to slay dragons without developing perfect pitch (or mastering obscure knots, learning to cook, getting great at calligraphy....).

The actual skill doesn’t matter - I’d just like the option of being bad at something and staying bad at it.

That's fair. maybe they should differentiate a few skills using the old trained and untrained thing. I would say mostly like the ones you mentioned performance related ones. I don't thnk athletics acrobatics stealth etc. need it so much. but you have a good point with performance and those type.

You should learn to cook however valuable skill to have.

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