What about having "remove +1 / level" as an optional rule, at least?


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currently this game is fun to play. I do not know if you play or just write on the forum and theorize. I played tens of hours. As a player and as a dungeon master. Currently, I come up with my own adventures. Taking +1 to everything will completely change the rules. the -4 to +4 challenges really give you a lot of space.


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scoutmaster wrote:
currently this game is fun to play.

good for you. I sadly can't say that this is true for me.


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For those who are in favor of removing +1/level, let me ask you a question:

Should a generic Goblin NPC be as deadly as an Ancient Red Dragon? I'm genuinely curious, because if we remove those bonuses, the only difference between a 1st level creature and a higher level creature is the abilities and features they have.

It kills immersion. You don't really feel like you get stronger, or more accurately, that the game changes, as you gain levels. That Goblin at 1st level is just as deadly to you as that Ancient Red Dragon at 1st level. You could probably get rid of levels as a mechanic entirely if we are going to go this route, since it won't be much different.


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at least the Goblin NPC could resemble the Goblin PC in some form, that would be a great start. But that is another failure of PF2 altogether and a very different topic.

And PF1 didn't have +1/Level and the deadliness of Goblins and Ancient Red Dragons worked just fine. If PF2 isn't capable of providing that, that's just one more reason to rethink the basics this game is built upon


I'm genuinely uncertain on why people want a PF2 fighter to be less accurate compared to their prior self at an earlier level against a common target, in a way that a PF1 fighter was not.

I mean, aside from things like weapon focus, BAB was literally +1/Level" for several classes, and taking that away for PF2 would be weird and incongruous.

Like a 20th level ranger should be much better at hitting a difficult archery target than a level 3 ranger, even if they use the same gear. Without +Level the difference between these two is literally +1 (or +3 if they increased dex from 18 to 22)- that's not a big enough difference, IMO.


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+1/level became our group's primary reason for abandoning the PF2 playtest and returning to 5E. It doesn't look like Paizo is willing to change this and is determined to have bloated numbers at higher levels, a steep power curve, and narrow bands of level-appropriate opponents. The effect on skill progression creates strange and unbelievable situations. I will take a look at PF2 if they address this, but also will happily continue to play 5E if not.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

For those who are in favor of removing +1/level, let me ask you a question:

Should a generic Goblin NPC be as deadly as an Ancient Red Dragon? I'm genuinely curious, because if we remove those bonuses, the only difference between a 1st level creature and a higher level creature is the abilities and features they have.

It kills immersion. You don't really feel like you get stronger, or more accurately, that the game changes, as you gain levels. That Goblin at 1st level is just as deadly to you as that Ancient Red Dragon at 1st level. You could probably get rid of levels as a mechanic entirely if we are going to go this route, since it won't be much different.

Sorry, but... what? A Goblin Commando deals 1d8+1 damage, has 18 HP and would have +6 to hit if the level scaling was removed. An Ancient Red Dragon has a s+&* ton of attacks, would have +13 to hit without the level scaling, deals 5d6+18 or similar damage per attack, has 385 HP and can breath fire that deals 20d6 damage, how is that even a comparison? Removing the +1/level wouldn't make the goblin 1/1000 as deadly as the dragon, it would just make so that they can actually touch you and dodge your attacks sometimes, and could be a decent threat in high numbers. You are talking like AC and +to hit are the only stats that makes monsters more or less deadly.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

For those who are in favor of removing +1/level, let me ask you a question:

Should a generic Goblin NPC be as deadly as an Ancient Red Dragon? I'm genuinely curious, because if we remove those bonuses, the only difference between a 1st level creature and a higher level creature is the abilities and features they have.

It kills immersion. You don't really feel like you get stronger, or more accurately, that the game changes, as you gain levels. That Goblin at 1st level is just as deadly to you as that Ancient Red Dragon at 1st level. You could probably get rid of levels as a mechanic entirely if we are going to go this route, since it won't be much different.

Well, there's also hp, which we get on a per level basis. I suppose we could ditch that as well, for the same basic argument as removing +1/level.

Essentially D&D has always been based around +1/level (or some variation on that) at whatever matters. Martials get +1 to attack per level. (Half-martials got 2/3, but generally something to bring rolls up to par). Spell DCs went up at half that. Saves at a couple of different rates. Skills you cared about at 1/level, others not at all. (At least in 3.x. AD&D had different details. 5 broke that mold.)

One of the problems with that paradigm was that difference between good and bad abilities broke the game at high levels, when the difference had escalated to the point where it usually outweighed the dice. That's what PF2 seems to be trying to fix, while still not going as far as 5's bounded accuracy.
Also trying to limit the need to make up for the lack of progression with gear or simply fiat bonuses, particularly for AC.


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Technotrooper wrote:
+1/level became our group's primary reason for abandoning the PF2 playtest and returning to 5E. It doesn't look like Paizo is willing to change this and is determined to have bloated numbers at higher levels, a steep power curve, and narrow bands of level-appropriate opponents. The effect on skill progression creates strange and unbelievable situations. I will take a look at PF2 if they address this, but also will happily continue to play 5E if not.

You mean basically like PF1 did?

Other than skill progression, but the rest of it pretty much tracks.

What's funny is that I remember all of these arguments from when 5e came out, but in reverse.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I'm genuinely uncertain on why people want a PF2 fighter to be less accurate compared to their prior self at an earlier level against a common target, in a way that a PF1 fighter was not.

I mean, aside from things like weapon focus, BAB was literally +1/Level" for several classes, and taking that away for PF2 would be weird and incongruous.

Like a 20th level ranger should be much better at hitting a difficult archery target than a level 3 ranger, even if they use the same gear. Without +Level the difference between these two is literally +1 (or +3 if they increased dex from 18 to 22)- that's not a big enough difference, IMO.

I can't speak for all the people that dislike this part of the system, of course, but I personally wouldn't be against a proficiency bonus if it was much smaller. The problem with +1/level for me is that the numbers are so high that level becomes more important than attributes, training, etc, and it narrows down a lot the kind of things you can use to effectively challenge your players. Also, a 20th level Ranger should have more abilities, more stats, more magic items, deal a lot more damage, you don't need to have this huge gap in +to hit and AC to have high level characters feel powerful.


Dr. Zerom Brandercook wrote:

The variance you mention sounds fine to me too, but my problem with the add level advancement isn't this.

It's partly aesthetic, with +52 perception or whatever just not feeling or looking right (no edition or clone of d&d has had so many modifiers this high). It's just big numbers with no real justifiable reason behind them. Cumbersome. Bloated.

With the way all skills increase it becomes preposterous pretty quickly when a high level barbarian is so diplomatic, and a high level mage is so deadly with a mundane weapon compared to a low level fighter, and so on.

Inflated DCs are a problem. You have this bloated chart, that you basically HAVE to reference or memorize, when it could be so much simpler. For example, 5e DC table: very easy DC 5, easy DC 10, medium DC 15, hard DC 20, very hard DC 25, nearly impossible DC 30. That's it. That's all you need to know from level 1 to level 20. Pretty elegant.

As a DM you need to justify increasingly massive DC numbers just to have a challenge. This then becomes a wash, because as you increase the DCs, everyone's skills also increase, so really it's just similar odds with bigger numbers. Treadmill effect.

This applies basically to every value in the game that adds + level. It's...

Having played games with +255 to a skill and % calculations, I was just thinking that I liked these small numbers in PF2...

It's a difference of how people see the higher levels I guess. Can I swallow that a 8 str 20 lvl wizard can trounce a lvl 1 fighter with his bare hands? Depends on how they explain it. Do you get progressively more magical as you level? The experience of killing All the Creatures in the Land, and watching your lvl 20 fighter buddy fight, made you just better than this mere mortal dude who just walked out of his town? Considering the level of crazy that the high levels imply in Golarion... well, yes. It also works better for some skills than others. Should the barbarian have learned something of Not Pissing People You Like Off in all these levels? Yeah, probably. Though I admit that it may not work for everyone. I find it fun actually. *shrug*

Now that I think of it... maybe they could add a note about how you can tank your own skill values if you want to for RP. A disadvantage if you will. Or optionally just turn off automatic +lvl to untrained skills. That seems fine.

The table is kinda confusing, yes. But that's more a problem of the table than of +1/lvl directly, I think. Needs more examples to get an idea of what 'standard human difficulty' is.

Edit: I keep forgetting the profanity filter.


Dilvias wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:


The only time I don't think it's necessary is for Untrained skills, where you get better at things you really have no business improving. +1/lvl to untrained is only necessary if all checks nonsensically scale with character level, which we're promised they shouldn't.

My concern in that regard is while there may be nothing in the rules about non-sensible scaling, the people doing the adventure design will do such scaling under the idea that skill use should challenge the players.

Like the mayor the characters try to convince at first level is equivalent to a third level character, but the same mayor when dealing with tenth level characters is now equivalent to a 12th level character. Or that the wall of the fortress is now built of smooth adamantine instead of rough-hewn rock to make climbing it more difficult, simply to be difficult.

Which is exactly how adventure design worked throughout 3.x. Characters get better at things and can thus overcome tougher challenges.

Generally you don't convince the same Mayor at 10th level as at 1st level, so it's not that obvious. You convince the small town mayor at 1st, the Duke at 10th, the King at 15 and demigods at 20th.
Similarly, the local bandit stronghold may have rough hewn rock walls and the wizard-lord's tower have polished Adamantine.

Or you fight a dozen goblins at 1st level and a dozen giants at 10th. Because the game scales.


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I mean, in PF1 you had +Level to:

- Accuracy (most likely your BAB was full, or you had an accuracy fixing feature in-class, or "hitting people" wasn't your job).

- Armor Class (benchmarks for "what is a good/okay armor class" were always phrased in terms of "level +x", maintained through selective feats, class features, and upgrading like 4 magic items via cash)

- Skills you were interested in and put a rank in at every level.

So fundamentally all we have changed is that we made the accuracy and AC advancement automatic instead of something you had to work to stack modifiers for, and added it to saves, and differentiated skills you were interested in from other skills via a scalar difference (rather than like +7 vs. +1 at 1st level extending to like +38 vs. +1 late as it could be in PF1.)

It's genuinely baffling to me how many people are mad about this since it affects so little that was different from PF1, it's just much less fiddly to hit your benchmarks. I mean, just in terms of fixing the math from PF1 my preference would have been "lower numbers at the high end of competency, but higher numbers at the low end of competency" which is more or less what we've accomplished.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think this thread probably is at least somewhat representational of the wider response; some people like it, some people don't.

Based on Paizo's moves thus far, I would be absolutely shocked if the amount of "we don't like it" feedback they are getting is larger than the amount of "we like it" feedback.

So far they have moved to change many things that have gotten negative feedback. The fact that not only have they not removed +1/level but have in fact gone so far as to say that removing it is not currently on the table really only has two possible explanations:

1) Paizo is completely out of touch with their feedback and is determined to keep that system regardless of what anyone wants, or

2) More people like the system than dislike it, and removing it would upset the larger portion of the playerbase.

Based on what I have seen from Paizo as a company, #1 simply doesn't seem likely to me.


Technotrooper wrote:
+1/level became our group's primary reason for abandoning the PF2 playtest and returning to 5E. It doesn't look like Paizo is willing to change this and is determined to have bloated numbers at higher levels, a steep power curve, and narrow bands of level-appropriate opponents. The effect on skill progression creates strange and unbelievable situations. I will take a look at PF2 if they address this, but also will happily continue to play 5E if not.

advantage and disadvantage advantage and disadvantage as the game master allows feats to take the polearm master. Very rich mechanics.

Dark Archive

I'm pretty sure it's already been stated that there will be an option in the final print release to implement such a houserule easily, though I do want to add my 2cp.

The biggest effect of removing +1/Level entirely is that it removes much of the power variance between creatures of different levels. Without the +Level bonus, an optimized Level 1 character benefiting from just Bless and Flanking hits a Level 10 creature 55% of the time on their first attack and a Level 23 creature 10% of the time, +5% on each for a Fighter. An optimized caster or alchemist at the same level with just a +1 from Bless hits Level 10 and 23 TAC just as often. Granted, higher enemy HP and resistances would render small increments of damage nearly meaningless, but it would shift the odds of a fight between creatures with a smaller level difference significantly and make weaker enemies dangerous in groups for far longer than they used to be (both in PF2 and PF1).

Similarly, applying the same change to skills and Perception would mean a Level 1 PC with +4 Perception would have a 30% chance to spot a Level 10 creature and a 9% chance to spot a Level 23 creature. At that point, the difference in the result of an opposed skill comes down to luck rather than actual investment and experience.

YMMV on whether either of those would make for a more interesting game, but both would mark a significant shift in the assumptions of the setting based on PF1 rules.


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LuniasM wrote:
Granted, higher enemy HP and resistances would render small increments of damage nearly meaningless, but it would shift the odds of a fight between creatures with a smaller level difference significantly and make weaker enemies dangerous in groups for far longer than they used to be (both in PF2 and PF1).

Also, this would effectively shift the relevant emphasis even more towards "magic gear" and away from "personal prowess and training." Like without +Level a wealthy benefactor could kit out a bunch of villagers with +2 holy longspears and they would chew through demons, whereas if a PC loses their mighty weapon and has to use a weaker one they are vastly less powerful.

I mean, I'm already concerned that with escalating damage dice "magic gear" has too big of an effect, so I wouldn't want to make it more pronounced.


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Dr. Zerom wrote:


Inflated DCs are a problem. You have this bloated chart, that you basically HAVE to reference or memorize, when it could be so much simpler. For example, 5e DC table: very easy DC 5, easy DC 10, medium DC 15, hard DC 20, very hard DC 25, nearly impossible DC 30. That's it. That's all you need to know from level 1 to level 20. Pretty elegant.

As a DM you need to justify increasingly massive DC numbers just to have a challenge. This then becomes a wash, because as you increase the DCs, everyone's skills also increase, so really it's just similar odds with bigger numbers. Treadmill effect.

That's because 5e has bounded accuracy. The difference in bonus to a roll between a level 1 character and a level 20 character in that system is 4 to a given check, + or - a few. A DC25 check at level 1 is nearly impossible, and only has about a 30% chance of success at level 20 (barring, for example, item bonuses). Do you feel that you get more powerful as a character in that system?

Re: the treadmill, the game is always a treadmill. Or it's static. Or it's ever easier. Pick one:
- Treadmill: As the party faces challenges and gets stronger, they're (in general) put up against even stronger challenges that match them.
- Static: As the party faces challenges, they grow stronger, though only marginally. Their challenges, not needing to rise much to meet their new power, stay more or less the same forever.
- Easier: As the party faces challenges and gets stronger, they're put up against...the same challenges. The stronger party starts to walk over everything they're faced with with minimal effort.

I'm not going to say any are right or wrong, but I know which one I'd most prefer to play.

Megistone wrote:
While I like the fact that a level 20 demigod will not face any problems when trying to cross a calm river, I'm wary about the fact that designing skill challenges for high level groups could be a very hard task. What kind of situation you have to imagine to justify a level 14 swim check? What more should you add to make it a level 18 one? How many of those challenges can you design before you run out of ideas?

Did you not already have to do this? In pf1 if you wanted a skill challenge for swim, did you not have it at least in some way relative to the party's level? Or did swim DC never go up above 10 because no one ever put ranks into it, so any more difficult swim related task would be impossible for everyone? Or did it not go up, but the party invested in swim in some way, so they automatically passed any swim checks they came upon, but at that point is it even a skill challenge that needs the numbers at all?

PossibleCabbage & Megistone wrote:
We already had +Level to saves, BAB, spell DCs (sorta), the skills you focused in, etc.

Quoting for emphasis. It's now just normalized across everything so you don't have to play a game where one person passes any level appropriate challenge of a skill automatically while no one else has a chance at the roll.


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So what I'm unsure about is whether people are mad at "adding level to things" so that the high level character can more reliably hit low level orcs than the low level character" -or- are people mad that we're adding level to *everything*?

Since the former was how it worked in PF1, and the latter is mostly about "making saving throws a difficulty class like AC" and "you are not automatically incapable of succeeding at a skill you have not invested in."

I buy "perhaps you should not necessarily get better at *everything* as you level up" since potentially there's value in defining a character as specifically bad at something (though often this might have been a post hoc justification for not investing in it), but I'm not going to buy "a 20th level fighter with the same stats and gear as a 1st level fighter should not be *much* better at hitting things" since we've had that since AD&D (in AD&D a 17th level fighter hits an AC 0 opponent on a 4, whereas a 1st level fighter hits that same opponent on a 20; lower AC used to be better than higher AC.)


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, in PF1 you had +Level to:

- Accuracy (most likely your BAB was full, or you had an accuracy fixing feature in-class, or "hitting people" wasn't your job).

- Armor Class (benchmarks for "what is a good/okay armor class" were always phrased in terms of "level +x", maintained through selective feats, class features, and upgrading like 4 magic items via cash)

- Skills you were interested in and put a rank in at every level.

So fundamentally all we have changed is that we made the accuracy and AC advancement automatic instead of something you had to work to stack modifiers for, and added it to saves, and differentiated skills you were interested in from other skills via a scalar difference (rather than like +7 vs. +1 at 1st level extending to like +38 vs. +1 late as it could be in PF1.)

It's genuinely baffling to me how many people are mad about this since it affects so little that was different from PF1, it's just much less fiddly to hit your benchmarks. I mean, just in terms of fixing the math from PF1 my preference would have been "lower numbers at the high end of competency, but higher numbers at the low end of competency" which is more or less what we've accomplished.

Thank you. I was getting worried that I was the only one who saw it this way.

Looking back at the PF1 skill check calculation:
For a fully trained skill we have (drum roll please)

1d20
+ ability modifier
+ 1/level from skill ranks
+ 3 if it is a class skill
+ any other bonuses or penalties from armor, items, spell effects, etc.

I was worried that I was the only one who saw the +1/level in there.

Basically this new system removes the trap option of putting partial ranks in a skill.


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Ranishe wrote:

That's because 5e has bounded accuracy. The difference in bonus to a roll between a level 1 character and a level 20 character in that system is 4 to a given check, + or - a few. A DC25 check at level 1 is nearly impossible, and only has about a 30% chance of success at level 20 (barring, for example, item bonuses). Do you feel that you get more powerful as a character in that system?

Re: the treadmill, the game is always a treadmill. Or it's static. Or it's ever easier. Pick one:
- Treadmill: As the party faces challenges and gets stronger, they're (in general) put up against even stronger challenges that match them.
- Static: As the party faces challenges, they grow stronger, though only marginally. Their challenges, not needing to rise much to meet their new power, stay more or less the same forever.
- Easier: As the party faces challenges and gets stronger, they're put up against...the same challenges. The stronger party starts to walk over everything they're faced with with minimal effort.

I'm not going to say any are right or wrong, but I know which one I'd most prefer to play.

A treadmill is when your chance of success and your target number both automatically increase by the same rate. When you use a progression of +1 to +20 you create huge gaps in power and narrow the range of useful threats. Being lower level is to be totally irrelevant and to be higher level is to be completely dominant in every way.

Hit points go up in 5e, along with potential damage and overall utility (more things you can do). So, yes I do feel like you progress in that system, and obviously so do many other people. I should note btw that 5e is not my favorite system, it is just a relevant example.

You are implying I don't want progression, that's not true.

You can have a slower progression rate that keeps a larger part of the game more relevant for longer, 5e went with one extreme, and PF2 with another. I would prefer something in the middle myself.

A growth of 20 points is huge and it makes many silly scenarios, like a mid level mage easily besting the captain of the guard in a sword duel. Or the mid level barbarian impressing the local nobles with his knowledge of etiquette, because his + level bonus gives him such a huge advantage.

In addition, you have to deal with silly high numbers. Some of my players have problems with simple math as it is.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So what I'm unsure about is whether people are mad at "adding level to things" so that the high level character can more reliably hit low level orcs than the low level character -or- are people mad that we're adding level to *everything*?

Since the former was how it worked in PF1, and the latter is mostly about "making saving throws a difficulty class like AC" and "you are not automatically incapable of succeeding at a skill you have not invested in."

I buy "perhaps you should not necessarily get better at *everything* as you level up" since potentially there's value in defining a character as specifically bad at something (though often this might have been a post hoc justification for not investing in it), but I'm not going to buy "a 20th level fighter with the same stats and gear as a 1st level fighter should not be *much* better at hitting things" since we've had that since AD&D (in AD&D a 17th level fighter hits an AC 0 opponent on a 4, whereas a 1st level fighter hits that same opponent on a 20; lower AC used to be better than higher AC.)

For me, its mainly the amount of things that get level added. That, and the table of skill DCs. You should be progressing yes, but it gets really weird with all skills auto progressing.

Its just too much scaling for my taste, I'm not a fan of high level PF1 play either for similar reasons, and to me this is actually worse.


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O. N. wrote:


It's a difference of how people see the higher levels I guess. Can I swallow that a 8 str 20 lvl wizard can trounce a lvl 1 fighter with his bare hands? Depends on how they explain it. Do you get progressively more magical as you level? The experience of killing All the Creatures in the Land, and watching your lvl 20 fighter buddy fight, made you just better than this mere mortal dude who just walked out of his town? Considering the level of crazy that the high levels imply in Golarion... well, yes. It also works better for some skills than others. Should the barbarian have learned something of Not Pissing...

Even in PF1, the 8 str 20lvl wizard would trounce the lvl 1 fighter with his bare hands.

I mean, the ability modifiers would reduce the attack bonus difference to only 4 and he'd be doing less damage, but the vast difference in hit points would more than make up for it.


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Ranishe wrote:
Did you not already have to do this? In pf1 if you wanted a skill challenge for swim, did you not have it at least in some way relative to the party's level? Or did swim DC never go up above 10 because no one ever put ranks into it, so any more difficult swim related task would be impossible for everyone? Or did it not go up, but the party invested in swim in some way, so they automatically passed any swim checks they came upon, but at that point is it even a skill challenge that needs the numbers at all?

No one bothered with swim checks past a certain level because not everyone would be able to keep swim skill maxed and it was easy enough to use magic to bypass any such challenge.

Designing skill challenges for high level groups actually becomes much easier when everyone is constrained to a similar range. It's including the one PC with a 38 and the 4 in the +2-4 range that's hard.


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Dr. Zerom Brandercook wrote:

For me, its mainly the amount of things that get level added. That, and the table of skill DCs. You should be progressing yes, but it gets really weird with all skills auto progressing.

Its just too much scaling for my taste, I'm not a fan of high level PF1 play either for similar reasons, and to me this is actually worse.

First off I feel like a lot of people interpreted the DC chart very differently than how I did. I saw it as defined by the level of the antagonist or obstacle, rather than the level of the party. Unlike PF1 where people were regularly fighting CRs above their level, it appears that "right at your level" is a serious challenge in PF1, which is fine.

So you're going to be seeing a lot of obstacles of lower level than you, so those are going to have lower DCs. It just makes sense that more difficult opposition would have higher DCs- some locks are harder to pick than other locks, say.

Regarding the number of things that get added to I think this is largely to redress an issue in PF1 where a player would say "Okay, I get 6 skills per level, so I'm going to pick 5-6 things and be as good at them as I possibly could be, and then be terrible at almost everything else." So you're either artificially organizing up skills between the party ("I've got Nature and Survival, you take Arcana and Planes, everybody take Stealth") or you end up with a lot of challenges that either can be handled by one person or could not be attempted because only one person has the requisite skill. I found this pretty unfun in practice.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Dr. Zerom Brandercook wrote:

For me, its mainly the amount of things that get level added. That, and the table of skill DCs. You should be progressing yes, but it gets really weird with all skills auto progressing.

Its just too much scaling for my taste, I'm not a fan of high level PF1 play either for similar reasons, and to me this is actually worse.

First off I feel like a lot of people interpreted the DC chart very differently than how I did. I saw it as defined by the level of the antagonist or obstacle, rather than the level of the party. Unlike PF1 where people were regularly fighting CRs above their level, it appears that "right at your level" is a serious challenge in PF1, which is fine.

So you're going to be seeing a lot of obstacles of lower level than you, so those are going to have lower DCs. It just makes sense that more difficult opposition would have higher DCs- some locks are harder to pick than other locks, say.

Regarding the number of things that get added to I think this is largely to redress an issue in PF1 where a player would say "Okay, I get 6 skills per level, so I'm going to pick 5-6 things and be as good at them as I possibly could be, and then be terrible at almost everything else." So you're either artificially organizing up skills between the party ("I've got Nature and Survival, you take Arcana and Planes, everybody take Stealth") or you end up with a lot of challenges that either can be handled by one person or could not be attempted because only one person has the requisite skill. I found this pretty unfun in practice.

Yeah, this makes sense. I'm not really trying to over-harp on the + level thing, it is just one of several things that I'm not comfortable with.

I hope the final product is better for me than what I am seeing, and they could win me over in the end, but I will reserve final judgement until then.

I can't find anyone who wants to play this anyway, so I am not in a position to deeply debate the system. I know that the way things look on paper can be quite different then how they play.


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This discussion of the +level mechanic has consistently been one of the forum's most contentious. I think this is a bit of a theoretical one since the devs have indicated they aren't considering a change. However, for the sake of house ruling, or possibly just for the sake of understanding the variety of contemporary play styles, I find it an interesting discussion.

Those asking to remove +level don't always indicate what they'd like to replace it with. Let me consider a few alternatives I have seen here and there:

1) Don't add anything tied to level, leave everything else unchanged. For the purpose of equal-level challenges, this changes nothing. However, it means a low level challenge can be a threat for high-level PCs. I guess we could call this the gritty option.

2) +level/2 to everything. Kind of an intermediate step. Low level challenges will threaten mid-level PCs but not high-level ones.

3) +level to everything except skills, which presumably would get a separate system. This creates some more complexity since a unified system is replaced by 2 separate ones. This would also make skills less relevant in combat, except for characters that invest in them. Combat maneuvers would likely be more difficult to balance.

4) +level to everything except untrained. This means not investing in a skill can be very costly, especially Acrobatics, Athletics, and Stealth (maybe Diplomacy as well, but the thing with Diplomacy is that you can always let someone else speak for you). I suspect the classes with few starting skills would be at a marked disadvantage, while the rogue would barely notice the change.

5) Any one of the 4 options above, but with higher proficiency bonuses for Expert/Master/Legendary. This would come with the same impacts as the chosen 1 out of first 4 options, plus added differentiation between classes: The wizard without armor training would be much more fragile in melee combat, while the rogue with only basic will save training would be more susceptible to mind-bending magic. This would make combat faster, but also a lot more swingy: If your PC gets high initiative and happens to know the opponents' weakest defense, you gain a huge advantage.

6) Back to PF1, with the warts and all.

I wonder which of the above house rule would be favored by a majority. Personally, I tend to favor keeping +level as is, but I'd be happy to play PF2 under any of options 1-5, if that's what the majority at the table prefers.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah all you need to do to really implement it is reduce all DC's by the characters current level, or the reduce it by its CR.

Well yes, but that doesn't change how the game plays at all. The numbers get smaller, but the differences remain the same (since something above the PCs level will still be above them, and something below them will still be below them).

It's an easy house rule precisely because aside from making smaller numbers, it changes absolutely nothing.

I'd presume that people who dislike this system are doing so for reasons other than "the numbers get big"... because if that's the objection we are really dealing with, it's much ado about nothing.

A house rule that actually changes how things work (so classes gain at different rates and such) would not be a simple house rule as it would pretty drastically alter how the game plays.


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Dr. Zerom Brandercook wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

In fact, if you pop over to the "top three positives/top three negatives" thread, you will see that more than one person has listed +1/level in their top three positives of PF2e.

how reliable is that thread to mirror the larger group of gamers? does it include people too frustrated with the PF2 playtest to post on a regular basis anymore? or those so frustrated that they dropped out completely? what about those that would love to post in the thread, but can't find three positive things to post? because I know I love maybe three for ideas of PF2 as iodeas, but find the implementations of those ideas lacking enough that I wouldn't exactly describe my current feeling towards them as 'positive' but as 'meh' at best.

This is the problem. Most of the people who strongly dislike the way the game is going probably gave up left already. They have better things to do, like play games they like.

The voices you hear the most on the forums are either from people who are in favor of the direction the game is heading, or people who are quite dissatisfied, but haven't quite given up hope yet. I think within the group of those who dislike PF2e, not many are bothering with it anymore, so largely they are underrepresented on the forums, and in the surveys.

Some people here praise almost everything Paizo does, and they are some of the loudest voices, and they carry a lot of weight because they participate. The end result may be a game that largely caters to this bias, and unfortunately, not to the likely even larger group of casual players, who are less likely to participate.

The amount of negative comments on topics like this suggests that isn't really the case, but they also have the survey data to see how a wider audience likes it.

What they've told us, and what we can see for ourselves in comparing this forum to things like the Facebook group is that this is commonly the most negative place, feedback wise.

So, I really don't think this idea that it's controversial "because everyone who dislikes it already left" holds up.


1) That "gritty" option is also the one where low level PCs can more easily tackle high level challenges. Without serious changes in adventure design, that's likely to intensify problems that already exist in PF1 due to action economy: solo bosses will go down really easily. At least their flunkies will do better.

And the likely result is that, looking for challenge, PCs will fight higher level enemies, which will work until they hit abilities they can't counter yet. It'll get much harder to balance encounters and we'll see more trivial fights and more TPKs.

Mostly though I just wanted to point out that despite the emphasis on low-level enemies remaining a threat longer, the same calculation applies to higher level enemies being less of a threat - except for those things that aren't directly math.


Tridus wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah all you need to do to really implement it is reduce all DC's by the characters current level, or the reduce it by its CR.

Well yes, but that doesn't change how the game plays at all. The numbers get smaller, but the differences remain the same (since something above the PCs level will still be above them, and something below them will still be below them).

It's an easy house rule precisely because aside from making smaller numbers, it changes absolutely nothing.

I'd presume that people who dislike this system are doing so for reasons other than "the numbers get big"... because if that's the objection we are really dealing with, it's much ado about nothing.

It changes nothing in that it's easy to implement.

But it changes all sorts of things about how the game balances. About encounter and adventure design. In short about how the game plays. You couldn't usefully run prewritten adventures without rewriting them - encounters with numbers of weaker opponents will be much stronger than intended, those with higher level enemies weaker.
This is in fact the point of a lot of people's argument: The +1/level narrows the range of useful threats.


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With it in encounters with large numbers of lesser opponents will be essentially pointless.


Arssanguinus wrote:
With it in encounters with large numbers of lesser opponents will be essentially pointless.

Agreed... Even with the +2 to increase the monster level, we will need a lot more than that to make an goblin champion well equipped become a decent threat to adventurers. But i don't expect that in the core.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
With it in encounters with large numbers of lesser opponents will be essentially pointless.

Except to make the players feel like they are awesome, which IMO is literally the only reason to run a combat with a large number of lesser opponents, because it's a pain in the butt for the GM if they aren't dropping super fast.

I mean, if you want the baddest goblin in the village to be a threat to the PCs- build him or her as a PC with barbarian or fighter levels or something.

Personally I like narrow bands for "this thing is dangerous" since it forces me to add variety to the opposition and creates a plausible reason why you aren't fighting [x] anymore (i.e. they are afraid of you, and won't pick a fight.) Like if 200 goblins are a threat to a 20th level fighter, that fighter needs to tread lightly around said goblins else they get together 199 of their friends to make trouble, and I don't want high level characters to have to worry about stuff like that.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
With it in encounters with large numbers of lesser opponents will be essentially pointless.

Except to make the players feel like they are awesome, which IMO is literally the only reason to run a combat with a large number of lesser opponents, because it's a pain in the butt for the GM if they aren't dropping super fast.

I mean, if you want the baddest goblin in the village to be a threat to the PCs- build him or her as a PC with barbarian or fighter levels or something.

I put 8 sugahil? Suhigillu? The shark fish people CR2... Versus 3 level 5 players never saw someone so happy to main a shark person before. Almost every hit was a crit xD


Arssanguinus wrote:
With it in encounters with large numbers of lesser opponents will be essentially pointless.

I wasn't aware 200 goblins were a challenge to a level 20 fighter.


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Cyouni wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
With it in encounters with large numbers of lesser opponents will be essentially pointless.
I wasn't aware 200 goblins were a challenge to a level 20 fighter.

It causes a problem at a much much lower differential than merely at twentieth level. It absurdly and very narrowly restricts the options a GM has for building encounters unless they just want ROFLSTOMP either by the monsters or the players.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I feel like that's not new, though.

I mean, I'm running Hell's Rebels right now, my players are 12th level, and I threw an encounter of almost a dozen CR 8 creatures at them.

It was a joke; nothing about the encounter was remotely a challenge.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Arssanguinus wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
With it in encounters with large numbers of lesser opponents will be essentially pointless.
I wasn't aware 200 goblins were a challenge to a level 20 fighter.
It causes a problem at a much much lower differential than merely at twentieth level. It absurdly and very narrowly restricts the options a GM has for building encounters unless they just want ROFLSTOMP either by the monsters or the players.

Easy, you just use the troop subtype (which I dearly hope will be part of PF2 from day one) to simulate "handful of heroes vs. a goblin horde" encounter. This way you can have your goblins be a meaningful threat of whatever magnitude you need AND not have the fight take 6 hours in real life.


thejeff wrote:
Tridus wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah all you need to do to really implement it is reduce all DC's by the characters current level, or the reduce it by its CR.

Well yes, but that doesn't change how the game plays at all. The numbers get smaller, but the differences remain the same (since something above the PCs level will still be above them, and something below them will still be below them).

It's an easy house rule precisely because aside from making smaller numbers, it changes absolutely nothing.

I'd presume that people who dislike this system are doing so for reasons other than "the numbers get big"... because if that's the objection we are really dealing with, it's much ado about nothing.

It changes nothing in that it's easy to implement.

But it changes all sorts of things about how the game balances. About encounter and adventure design. In short about how the game plays. You couldn't usefully run prewritten adventures without rewriting them - encounters with numbers of weaker opponents will be much stronger than intended, those with higher level enemies weaker.
This is in fact the point of a lot of people's argument: The +1/level narrows the range of useful threats.

No, reducing all DCs by the characters currently level does nothing to the math at all except making the numbers smaller.

Something that was +2 on the PCs before is still +2 on the PCs, except it's now a +6 instead of a +23. Something that was -4 to the PCs is still -4. The net effect on how the game plays is absolutely nothing.

That is what I was replying to, specifically. Subtracting the PCs current level from everything. It has no real effect except smaller numbers. If you just remove their CR instead then you wind up flattening everything out, but I don't see how that's workable without some kind of progression system to replace it... and that's not a simple house rule.


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dmerceless wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

For those who are in favor of removing +1/level, let me ask you a question:

Should a generic Goblin NPC be as deadly as an Ancient Red Dragon? I'm genuinely curious, because if we remove those bonuses, the only difference between a 1st level creature and a higher level creature is the abilities and features they have.

It kills immersion. You don't really feel like you get stronger, or more accurately, that the game changes, as you gain levels. That Goblin at 1st level is just as deadly to you as that Ancient Red Dragon at 1st level. You could probably get rid of levels as a mechanic entirely if we are going to go this route, since it won't be much different.

Sorry, but... what? A Goblin Commando deals 1d8+1 damage, has 18 HP and would have +6 to hit if the level scaling was removed. An Ancient Red Dragon has a s##& ton of attacks, would have +13 to hit without the level scaling, deals 5d6+18 or similar damage per attack, has 385 HP and can breath fire that deals 20d6 damage, how is that even a comparison? Removing the +1/level wouldn't make the goblin 1/1000 as deadly as the dragon, it would just make so that they can actually touch you and dodge your attacks sometimes, and could be a decent threat in high numbers. You are talking like AC and +to hit are the only stats that makes monsters more or less deadly.

It's really the only thing martials get when they level up. Their feats and class features are boring crap and offer the same thing in the form of proficiency increases, or minor abilities that are extremely niche and completely weak compared to what monsters get. Barbarian Breath Weapon with Dragon Totem is trash compared to what Dragons truly get. Why don't we get rid of those, too? And since spellcasters get way more abilities in the form of spellcasting scaling, we're now back with the Caster/Martial disparity all over again, and people absolutely -expletive- up a storm when it was exposed back in PF1. Do we really want to reinvent the broken wheel again?

While we're at it, if we're going to remove +level because it bloats the game for no reason, why don't we also remove +HP scaling and +Damage scaling too? They both do the same thing, and if +level is stupidly arbitrary and makes the game unfun, why not cut down on the other aspects for the same amount of unfun they can be causing too?

No need to have 300 HP when it just turns into a stupid slugfest that takes hours and doesn't accomplish anything, which gets even worse if Positive Channel Clerics are involved (or players get overwhelmed by monsters and turns into a TPK), and no need to have to roll a hundred different dice each time you attack, adding that up and applying it to the bad guy (or to yourself when the monsters go) is tedious! Abilities might be the only thing that matter with levels after this fact, but there's no reason to hold them behind levels anymore, as it feels very arbitrary when you do so. Why can't I just cast Time Stop at 1st level, why do I need to wait until 17th level when the amount of power I gained between that time is practically non-existent?

The point is that this changes the meta to a point where PCs have no chance of properly facing the future challenges that await them. If PCs don't get more to-hit or AC as they gain levels, but the monsters do, in other ways that PCs can't, why on earth would I play this game when I know that in the end, I'll die? I mean, there are games where they work like this, and if I wanted to play those kinds of games, I wouldn't be on these forums talking about something that does not even approach that genre of play.

Quite frankly, I think a lot of people who are asking for "+level" to be removed are cheapening the point of what a level gives you, which is a new peak and access of power (and future challenges) that you as a character have (or are awaiting your character). Those new levels make you stronger not only in the shape of abilities, but in the shape of numbers as well. Cutting out one aspect of that means I don't really care about my levels anymore. If a GM says "You gained enough experience to reach Level X," I won't get excited, because there is nothing to look forward to with gaining levels. The features suck and do the same thing "+level" does more often than not. The class feats are trash compared to everything a monster would get as a comparable feat. (Which means I might as well be fighting PC-classed humanoids every game, but even those are cheated too, thanks Beastiary rules!) I might as well just be 1st level and forever stay at 1st level, because I have no motivation, as a player, to adventure (which is the whole point of the game)!


Hythlodeus wrote:

at least the Goblin NPC could resemble the Goblin PC in some form, that would be a great start. But that is another failure of PF2 altogether and a very different topic.

And PF1 didn't have +1/Level and the deadliness of Goblins and Ancient Red Dragons worked just fine. If PF2 isn't capable of providing that, that's just one more reason to rethink the basics this game is built upon

Creatures and classes had their own independent scaling. The point of +1/level was to cut down on the amount of knowledge needed to understand how each creature (or character) scaled in respect to specific attributes.

While the request is only to tweak this formula, this still changes the result of the equation significantly, and I'm of the opinion that people don't fully understand the ramifications of those changes. They might see a few probable examples that come out fine (such as saying 2^2 is fine since it's the same result as 2 X 2), but that won't be the case for all situations (such as if we go 4^4, the result is vastly different compared to 4 X 4).

It's easier to tweak the numbers of the equation to match up better than it is to change the operations of the equation, which is effectively what is being requested here.


Arssanguinus wrote:
With it in encounters with large numbers of lesser opponents will be essentially pointless.

Yeah, hordes are boring to fight anyway. "Everyone take a break while I roll 200 Attack rolls." (Though as Gorbacz says, the troop subtype might help that. From both ends.)

But I'm not talking hordes of mooks, just basic encounter design. Say 4 monsters 2 levels lower than the party. House ruling away the +1/level changes the difficulty of that, but by how much?

Or in the other direction, a single enemy 3 levels above the party? Already not as strong as expected due to action economy, but now with all abilities a relative 3 points less than expected, much weaker.

Now, if that's the game design that's one thing, though it's still a big shift from 3.x/PF towards the 5E paradigm, but at least it would be supported.


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I think anyone saying removing +level is easy has really failed to wrap their mind around the system. Yes, you can still roll dice, add number and compare them to DCs. The system "functions", but if you take this system as-is and back out the +level it becomes a major mess. (or a least a different kind of major mess).

Certainly PF2 with houserule [subtract out +level everywhere] is hopeless as competition to several other games on the marketplace.

I also think that a lot of people saying it is great for combat are not really grasping it. PF2 is set to virtually force play to stay within a tight range. If you get more than a handful of levels away then it is "out of bounds". Just look at the XP table.

Now if you are 12th level and fighting a 12th level monster, you don't have a +12 to AC that was missing in PF1. This is because the monster has a fudge factor +12 to hit which, by design exactly cancels out your +12. Yes, you will likely fight a lot of L11 and L10 creatures, so you do get a relative +2 and +4 in those cases. And +s are worth more in 2E. But it still does not represent skill, experience, or anything else.

A L12 barbarian, a L12 ooze, a L12 construct just off the mold, a L12 mindless undead, a L12 anything gets the exact same meaningless fudge factor. It doesn't represent anything. It is there for the math, period. You can attempt to retroactively shoehorn story around it. But that is what you are doing. It is there for the math and the math alone.

And the system is firmly founded on it.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Quite frankly, I think a lot of people who are asking for "+level" to be removed are cheapening the point of what a level gives you, which is a new peak and access of power (and future challenges) that you as a character have (or are awaiting your character).

Can I request a clarification? Are you saying this specifically in regard to 2E as-is with simply +level removed?

When I first read it I thought you were implying this is needed for an level based game. I'd suggest that 1E and D&D3E and 5E all do quite well at leveling. But I think you only mean to comment on what would happen to 2E without it. Am I understanding you?


Founded on it much to its detriment.


Tridus wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Tridus wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah all you need to do to really implement it is reduce all DC's by the characters current level, or the reduce it by its CR.

Well yes, but that doesn't change how the game plays at all. The numbers get smaller, but the differences remain the same (since something above the PCs level will still be above them, and something below them will still be below them).

It's an easy house rule precisely because aside from making smaller numbers, it changes absolutely nothing.

I'd presume that people who dislike this system are doing so for reasons other than "the numbers get big"... because if that's the objection we are really dealing with, it's much ado about nothing.

It changes nothing in that it's easy to implement.

But it changes all sorts of things about how the game balances. About encounter and adventure design. In short about how the game plays. You couldn't usefully run prewritten adventures without rewriting them - encounters with numbers of weaker opponents will be much stronger than intended, those with higher level enemies weaker.
This is in fact the point of a lot of people's argument: The +1/level narrows the range of useful threats.

No, reducing all DCs by the characters currently level does nothing to the math at all except making the numbers smaller.

Something that was +2 on the PCs before is still +2 on the PCs, except it's now a +6 instead of a +23. Something that was -4 to the PCs is still -4. The net effect on how the game plays is absolutely nothing.

That is what I was replying to, specifically. Subtracting the PCs current level from everything. It has no real effect except smaller numbers. If you just remove their CR instead then you wind up flattening everything out, but I don't see how that's workable without some kind of progression system to replace it... and that's not a simple house rule.

Wait. You're adjusting the power of the monster based on who they're fighting? That seems even weirder to me.

But yes, you're right that does simplify the math. (Well sort of - if you're doing it on the fly, you have to subtract so it's actually just as much math.)

But I don't think it's what the poster you were replying to was suggesting, since they included "or the reduce it by its CR". And nearly everyone else wanting to ditch the +1/level wants to flatten the system.


BryonD wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Quite frankly, I think a lot of people who are asking for "+level" to be removed are cheapening the point of what a level gives you, which is a new peak and access of power (and future challenges) that you as a character have (or are awaiting your character).

Can I request a clarification? Are you saying this specifically in regard to 2E as-is with simply +level removed?

When I first read it I thought you were implying this is needed for an level based game. I'd suggest that 1E and D&D3E and 5E all do quite well at leveling. But I think you only mean to comment on what would happen to 2E without it. Am I understanding you?

Note that both AD&D and 3.x give something akin to +1/level. Just not so cleanly.

The numbers definitely get bigger on a per level basis, though it's not everything that's included in PF2 and it's often not the same between classes. Martial attack bonus goes up 1/level in both systems. Generally in 3.x skills you care about go up 1/level. Saves go up by less. Spell DCs as well (in 3.x).
A good part of the problem in high level PF/3.x is that those things that went up 1/lvl for one character get too far from those that didn't go up at all or went up 1/2lvl or 2/3lvls for another.

Obviously a level based game doesn't need the full PF2 +1/level deal, but 5e is the only real exception to having significant numerical increase by level. (And even there hp goes up per level, though less so.)


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I feel like a lot of the complaints about +Level are really complaints about the tightness of the math.

Like no matter how much you specialize in lockpicking, the number of locks that fall between "too easy to bother rolling" and "too hard to attempt" is pretty small.

All adding +Level to the lockpicking expert's roll to pick locks does is represent as a character gains experience they get better at lockpicking- for purposes of verisimilitude a character of a higher level should have an easier time with an identical lock they struggled with at an earlier level.

I mean, without +level one's "pick locks" roll modifier ranges from -4 (untrained, 10 dex) to +9 (legendary, 22 dex), which is less than the range on a d20. So if we want to have locks that cannot be picked by literally anyone off the street, we'd need to set the DC so high that the world's best expert wouldn't have a better than even chance. Having the range be from -3 (1st level, untrained, 10 dex) to 29 (20th level, legendary, 22 dex) helps widen the range of locks considerably.


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I think a lot of people arguing that +1/level being present in PF1 justifies it being present in PF2 is a bit of a stretch.

Things like BAB and save progression used that kind of metric because different classes progressed differently. A fighter got +1/level, a wizard got +1/2 per level. In 2e, everything gets +1 per level everywhere. And what's more frustrating about it is that +1/level isn't the important part of any of your abilities.

The important part of your abilities are proficiency, quality, magic and attributes. Those are what determine the variance of success/failure for skills, attacks, saves and DC's.

All the +1/level does is trick you into feeling like you're progressing and provide artificial gates for lower level characters/monsters/npc's to prevent them from putting up any kind of a fight against higher levels.

People say it's super easy to remove, and to me that's an even bigger indicator that it's an artificial stat. It doesn't mechanically represent anything meaningful if it's so easy to extract from the game. It's just more math and work for players to make them feel better whilst simultaneously making it harder for GM's and encounter designers to come up with new challenges that make logical sense (why would swimming across a river suddenly have a more difficult DC compared to level?).

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