Pros and Cons of Table 10-2: Skill DCs


General Discussion

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Tridus wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Ediwir wrote:

No.

If I just level up from lv12 to lv13, my Medicine improved by +1.
At the same time, the DC to heal myself increases by +2.

I just got better at something, but my success chances worsened.
This is absolutely a number problem, if not an item problem.

(Example is made win Treat Wounds and base 10.2, but you could make another with, say, Bard’s features and the new 10.2, it’s the same issue on a different line)

Am I missing something? I don't see a "Treat Wounds" ability and all the Medicine uses I see listed have either static DCs or based on the particular thing (disease or poison) being treated.

Treat Wounds is in the playtest updates as a new action with Medicine. It takes 10 minutes and restores CON * Level HP to up to six people if you succeed, with the DC based on the level of the people you are using it on.

And yes, the idea that you gain a level, get better at Medicine, and it gets *harder* to treat the same wounds as the day before is really odd. But that's becuase it has a success DC, rather than it simply being "your check result was X, therefore you heal Y HP". Which is a house rule I would use instead.

Harder to treat the same wounds, but you heal more HP with it, so it's not really the same wounds.

But yeah, some kind of heal more based on result would work better for me.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

On Treat Wounds: It should heal half on a failure. That would massively soften the blow of the DC increasing, to the point that I doubt people would often complain about it.

On standard DC scaling: Even for "average" tasks, the scaling can't be completely linear, because an "average" character's "average" growth isn't linear, so if it is linear then it will become effortless even for the characters who aren't trying.

For example, when you go from level 9 to level 10, most likely the majority (or even all) of your trained skills increase by 2, not 1. And that's without any special investment on your part at all.


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See, the whole problem with table 10-2 is this:

Player: My 7th level rogue want to climb that castle wall. I rolled a 19, did I make it?
GM: Hmmm, walls are probably a normal challenge, so I know which column to use. But what level is the wall? The adventure doesn't say what level it is. But the adventure does say that it is for 7th level characters, so I guess it's a 7th level wall. Let's use that row at medium difficulty. DC 21. Nope, you didn't climb the wall.

That's weird.

Even more weird when the level 1 village idiot wanders by and says "Hey, lemme try that" and then rolls a 19. Is his DC only a 13 because he's level 1? No, the text says not to do it that way. Is the wall still level 7? Yes, that's what we're supposed to do.

But fast forward another 8 levels. Now that rogue is level 15 and he's in a level 15 adventure and they find another castle. Sure enough, he wants to climb that castle wall. Now the GM sets the DC at 30 because this is a level 15 adventure.

Player: My 15th level rogue want to climb that castle wall. I rolled a 27, did I make it?
GM: Nope. It's DC 30.
Player: Why DC 30? I remember that castle walls were only DC 21 the last time I tried this.
GM: Well, yeah. but you're higher level now and this wall is supposed to keep you out so it's got to match your level. It's a level 15 adventure after all.
Player: Is it a special kind of wall or something?
GM: I dunno. The adventure just says it's a castle wall. Nothing specific. But it's just harder to climb somehow.
Player: Why?
GM: Uh, I guess it's made by dwarven master wallsmiths who used Stone Shape spells to make it seamless and smooth as glass.
Player: Wow, that's incredible!
GM: Oh, good point. I should use the Incredible column too, so the DC is 37!
Player: ...

Aternatively, the GM could say that all normal walls are level 4 (table 10-4 doesn't have walls listed, but trees are level 1 and cliffs are level 2 and walls are probably harder than most cliffs) and do it that way. Now he gets out a Sharpie and adds Wall to table 10-4 and gives it a level of 4. Dwarven walls might be 1 step to the right (Hard), Stone Shape walls might be two steps to the right (Incredible), etc.

This make more sense but ultimately he's making a house rule. Fine. But not helpful for PFS, perhaps.

Either way, both solutions require that every adventure designer needs to account for how walls are made in every adventure where they have a wall that might be a challenge for the PCs, but I guess that's inherent in this +1/level with scaling challenges system.


Considering in PF1 people stopped putting ranks in climb after flying spells became commonplace, so DC for climbing didn't really advance very far in published materials, I'm inclined to just declare that most things are pretty climbable.

Like unless you wanted your building unclimbable for some reason and took steps for that, a sufficiently high level character can climb it no problem.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I definitely agree that the table is easy to misuse. I believe I've seen some things from Paizo indicating that they are going to be extra, extra clear on what the table is for and how to use it in the release version.

...I also feel obligated to mention that the GM described in your example is clearly a very inexperienced GM. :P

But that's fair - inexperienced GMs are the ones that need the most help and direction, for sure.


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Minor Red Flags spoilers

Spoiler:
So, in re-writing Red Flags, I'm also making new DCs from scratch. I find I'm not using 10-2 at all. I pick the tier of character that might attempt the check, "Okay, gathering information about a party everyone in the town is talking about... yeah, anyone can do that" - easily low tier of level 1-5 characters. Or "convincing the ghost pirates to tell you about the party hosts dark secrets... they're talkative, but this is not a normal person challenge." Adventurer tier of 6-10.

Then I figure out for someone good at that type of thing, at that tier, what success chance do I want?

"Hm, skkilled guy, asking about... probably succeeds most the time, almost never bogs things up entirely and ruins his reputation. DC... 14" sounds good.

"Lesse, someone talking to ghosts can definitely stumble in a few ways, and they're hardly easy conversation partners at that, being pirates. That adventuerer gets info... 75% of the time. DC 18." Yep, the level 14 PCs are going to wreck these DCs. Awesome. They're the Order's top dog super agents, they really ought to. There'll be some tough DCs, but only the sections that have earned it, when interacting with the Kelpie's Wrath, or the Kraken, or Necerion, etc. The DC for tricking the contract devil is very tough, but diplomacy less so. Etc

Overall I've had no issue setting DCs at a high level without even blinking at 10-2. For all its flaws, the tight math helps a lot here, as I can have a good handle on what a DC actually means to each tier of play.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As an experienced GM, I mostly do the same thing.

But when I was an inexperienced GM, "what the heck DC should I use to challenge my party without crushing them?" was easily one of the questions I struggled most with, and most often got wrong.


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Lyee wrote:

Minor Red Flags spoilers

** spoiler omitted **

Overall I've had no issue setting DCs at a high level without even blinking at 10-2. For all its flaws, the tight math helps a lot here, as I can have a good handle on what a DC actually means to each tier of play.

Isn't "good handle on what a DC means to each tier of play" just about what the Table is supposed to give you - except that it's more granular, going by level instead of tier.

Which I'd say is probably a good thing, given how far the top and bottom of a tier are from each other.

If you've already got a good handle, you don't need it. If you don't, then it helps.

I do agree that parallel to that table, more examples of DCs for skill uses would be great, particularly of ones that high level PCs should struggle with.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I posted in another thread that we could easily approximate each row of the 10.2 table with simple formulas based on level. And it was rightly pointed out to me that it was only an approximation and does not fit perfectly.

However, this gave me a clue that the table might represent a static difficulty gap for a character, or rather one for each of 5 characters who invest differently in the factors that affect checks modifiers : ability score, proficiency and item bonus. From less invested (Easy) to most invested (Ultimate).

To separate these different factors, the first step is to isolate the level to everything from the table. We then get steps of progression that should be explained through increasing ability scores, rising proficiency or an item bonus.

Interestingly enough, when we do this DC-lvl table, we get a flat 7 for the Easy column, ie a character that has invested nothing in the skill : no relevant ability boost, no proficiency (worked better under the original -2 for Untrained obviously) and no item. I take this as a confirmation the the devs team based the table, at least partly, on what they thought should be the total bonus of 5 characters with varying degrees of investment.

Basically, Easy is a character that has 10 (or maybe 8) in the relevant ability, puts no ability boosts there, is Untrained and does not have an item bonus.

Medium is a character that starts at Trained, gets 4 +1 bonuses (whether from ability boosts, rising Proficiency or item bonuses).

Hard is a character that starts at Trained, gets 5 +1 bonuses (whether from ability boosts, rising Proficiency or item bonuses).

Incredible is a character that starts at Trained, gets 8 +1 bonuses (whether from ability boosts, rising Proficiency or item bonuses).

Ultimate is a character that starts at Trained, gets 10 +1 bonuses (whether from ability boosts, rising Proficiency or item bonuses).

2 of the 3 ways to increase skill modifiers have precise rules to follow :

- Ability boosts happen at level 5, 10, 15 and 20.
- Increasing Proficiency happens at odd levels, but you must wait for level 3 before going from Trained to Expert, level 7 before going from Expert to Master and level 15 before going from Master to Legendary.
- Item bonuses might increase basically at any time, depending on wealth available and item costs (which likely also follow hypotheses made by the Devs on how much money a character would invest on improving his modifier)

To model the sources for bonuses used to get the above number of +1 bonuses for each difficulty column other than Easy, I made the following hypotheses :

- Any +1 that comes at levels multiple of 5 comes from an ability boost allocated to the relevant ability

- Any other +1 that comes at odd levels originates in rising Proficiency, as long as it respects the required levels (3, 7, 15)

- Any other +1 left comes from an item bonus

With these hypotheses, I come to the following profiles :

Ultimate is a Trained character who put ability boosts in the relevant ability every time (5th, 10th, 15th, 20th), who rose to Expert at 7th, to Master at 9th and to Legendary at 19th, who got a +1 item at 6th, a +2 item at 13th and a +3 item at 14th.

Incredible is a Trained character who put ability boosts in the relevant ability twice (5th and 10th), who rose to Expert at 3rd, to Master at 7th and to Legendary at 17th, who got a +1 item at 7th, a +2 item at 9th and a +3 item at 13th.

Hard is a Trained character who put ability boosts in the relevant ability twice (5th and 15th), who rose to Expert at 9th, to Master at 17th and never reached Legendary and who got a +1 item at 8th.

Medium is a Trained character who put a single ability boost in the relevant ability (5th), who rose to Expert at 7th, to Master at 13th and to Legendary at 16th and who has no item.

Obviously, other profiles could fit those progressions in bonuses, but it seems to me that just to maintain your success chances, even Medium supposes some significant investments, while Ultimate requires nigh complete dedication.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Although the levels don't line up neatly, I suspect that Medium is more likely a Trained character assuming 3 Ability boosts and Expert.

With 2/3rds of your abilities getting boosted each time, it's most likely that there is a near-100% overlap between the Abilities you choose to boost and the Abilities associated with your Trained skills. I would be surprised if the table doesn't assume that.

EDIT: Actually, the math does line up if you have low standards for how much training is expected. The jump at 5th represents "this probably isn't the first skill they put at expert, maybe the second"; the jumps at 7th, 13th, and 16th are "they probably raised the Attribute associated with this skill, but we are going to delay the increase a bit so they have a level or two to have a higher bonus".


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thejeff wrote:
Tridus wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Ediwir wrote:

No.

If I just level up from lv12 to lv13, my Medicine improved by +1.
At the same time, the DC to heal myself increases by +2.

I just got better at something, but my success chances worsened.
This is absolutely a number problem, if not an item problem.

(Example is made win Treat Wounds and base 10.2, but you could make another with, say, Bard’s features and the new 10.2, it’s the same issue on a different line)

Am I missing something? I don't see a "Treat Wounds" ability and all the Medicine uses I see listed have either static DCs or based on the particular thing (disease or poison) being treated.

Treat Wounds is in the playtest updates as a new action with Medicine. It takes 10 minutes and restores CON * Level HP to up to six people if you succeed, with the DC based on the level of the people you are using it on.

And yes, the idea that you gain a level, get better at Medicine, and it gets *harder* to treat the same wounds as the day before is really odd. But that's becuase it has a success DC, rather than it simply being "your check result was X, therefore you heal Y HP". Which is a house rule I would use instead.

Harder to treat the same wounds, but you heal more HP with it, so it's not really the same wounds.

But yeah, some kind of heal more based on result would work better for me.

Fine.

You’re a Bard using Lingering Composition.
Pretty sure we can easily find a level where the DC goes up by 2.

You just got better, but your chances are worse.

The fact that item bonuses have so much impact that they become mandatory for basic success is a plague of nonsense. Especially because the DC scaling assumes them for everyhing, but not all skills have an item to boost-I mean, to uncripple them.

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I dunno how necessary item bonuses really are.

A hard task for level 20 is DC 39. If my character has no item bonus, a +5 ability score, and legendary training, that's a +28 modifier, giving me a 50% chance of success without considering other PCs aiding me, bardic magic, and the like.

The questions are: what is a hard 20th level task and should people have to optimize to have a 50% chance of success at it? But I'm not totally sure that items are as necessary as previously believed.


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Charlie Brooks wrote:


The questions are: what is a hard 20th level task and should people have to optimize to have a 50% chance of success at it? ...

I am not sure what a 20th level hard DC task may be, but to pull an example from the real world would look like.

Let's use medicine as an example, a hard DC IRL would be heart surgery. A quick internet search yields this:

"99% survived their surgery to leave the hospital. The rate of such survival improved sharply as the study went on, from 85 percent in the early years to 98 percent by its end. Patients also reported a quality of life similar to that of those their age who did not have bypass surgery."

So depending on whether you would count leaving the hospital success or living a few more years, the rate is still 85%+.

So yes, its a bit insane that optimizing to the max possible in a skill only yields a 50-65% chance sucess rate.


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Charlie Brooks wrote:

I dunno how necessary item bonuses really are.

A hard task for level 20 is DC 39. If my character has no item bonus, a +5 ability score, and legendary training, that's a +28 modifier, giving me a 50% chance of success without considering other PCs aiding me, bardic magic, and the like.

The questions are: what is a hard 20th level task and should people have to optimize to have a 50% chance of success at it? But I'm not totally sure that items are as necessary as previously believed.

That works for your best skill on your best stat. Not all skills will be maxed out and not all skills key off your main stat.

Say I am the backup guy. I'm Expert because I still wanted to be good at it, my stat gets to +3 because it's not a save but I still pumped it a bit. Used to be perfectly fine until level 7-8, then suddenly I'm going downhill. I put some effort into being good at this, but with my +24 I only have a 30% chance of making it nowadays.

Why?

Because I am supposed to buy the +5 item.
Oh don't worry, there's an active effect - with a fixed, non-scaling DC that was good 4 levels ago.

Seriously, tight math, +3 legendary bonuses, the impact of a +1, and then they give us +5 items. Of course it's messed up.

(This is, of course, assuming that the skill we're talking about even HAS a +5 item. Not all do, but the DCs still assume them)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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Normal Pathetic Caster wrote:


I am not sure what a 20th level hard DC task may be, but to pull an example from the real world would look like.

Let's use medicine as an example, a hard DC IRL would be heart surgery. A quick internet search yields this:

"99% survived their surgery to leave the hospital. The rate of such survival improved sharply as the study went on, from 85 percent in the early years to 98 percent by its end. Patients also reported a quality of life similar to that of those their age who did not have bypass surgery."

So depending on whether you would count leaving the hospital success or living a few more years, the rate is still 85%+.

If we're talking about a hard 20th level task, I would expect something less along the lines of a routine heart surgery and more along the lines of saving somebody who is going through a widowmaker heart attack at the exact moment. (And, since this is Pathfinder, they're probably also being attacked by demonic sharks.)

Clear examples of some high-level challenges could definitely help to keep people on the same page and give a better sense of scale.

Ediwir wrote:


That works for your best skill on your best stat. Not all skills will be maxed out and not all skills key off your main stat.

Say I am the backup guy. I'm Expert because I still wanted to be good at it, my stat gets to +3 because it's not a save but I still pumped it a bit. Used to be perfectly fine until level 7-8, then suddenly I'm going downhill. I put some effort into being good at this, but with my +24 I only have a 30% chance of making it nowadays.

This is one reason why I would personally use the medium difficulty column more frequently than the hard one. Medium difficulty seems to be a good option when you want a non-optimized character to have a decent chance to succeed, while an optimized character will most likely breeze through it, albeit with a small chance of failure.

The hard column seems very much tailored to the idea that it's meant to challenge the best in the group at a particular task. I've got my fingers crossed that things like Recall Knowledge will shift to an easier column in the final version and that the reference to hard checks being the most common in the game will go away.

Barring that, it would be pretty cool to have a GM's Guide or something else as an early supplement that lays out ways to tweak the game's dials to your liking, such as increasing overall proficiency bonus so you can remove item bonuses from the game.


I like the idea of Table 10-2 (found on Page L337), and I totally plan to use non-level appropriate DCs to simulate simple or daunting tasks for the party. To do that, I do need to know what the standard difficulty is.

Normal Pathetic Caster wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:


The questions are: what is a hard 20th level task and should people have to optimize to have a 50% chance of success at it? ...

I am not sure what a 20th level hard DC task may be, but to pull an example from the real world would look like.

Let's use medicine as an example, a hard DC IRL would be heart surgery. A quick internet search yields this:

"99% survived their surgery to leave the hospital. The rate of such survival improved sharply as the study went on, from 85 percent in the early years to 98 percent by its end. Patients also reported a quality of life similar to that of those their age who did not have bypass surgery."

So depending on whether you would count leaving the hospital success or living a few more years, the rate is still 85%+.

So yes, its a bit insane that optimizing to the max possible in a skill only yields a 50-65% chance sucess rate.

Well, those statistics are from a modern setting, with a clean operating room and state-of-the-art technology, with a dozen specialists monitoring them before, during, and after. If a PC were to perform an open-heart surgery in a dirty dungeon with maybe one assistant who knows a scalpel from a clamp, *that* would certainly be legendary.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Charlie Brooks wrote:

I dunno how necessary item bonuses really are.

A hard task for level 20 is DC 39. If my character has no item bonus, a +5 ability score, and legendary training, that's a +28 modifier, giving me a 50% chance of success without considering other PCs aiding me, bardic magic, and the like.

The questions are: what is a hard 20th level task and should people have to optimize to have a 50% chance of success at it? But I'm not totally sure that items are as necessary as previously believed.

A hard task for level 1 is DC 15. To get the same chance of success at level 20, you need to get a +4 bonus in addition to the +19 that come from level. That seems indeed quite doable even without items.

But if you look at Ultimate DCs, it becomes another story completely.

At level 1, Ultimate DC is 18. But at level 20, Ultimate DC is 47. So, to maintain your probability of success, you need a +10 bonus in addition to the +19 from level. Even if you rise from Trained to Legendary, and put ability boosts in the relevant ability every time, that gives you only +8, so there a +2 item is basically required. That is overall a huge investment just to maintain your probability of success


for me, there is no problem that the higher DCs the more you need additional bonuses in the form of items. Imagine a cyclist starting in the Tour de France on a cheap bike. I do not think he would have gone far.


Lacking the high levels tools to take on the high level tasks can also be presented as being unprepared for them, and it is very reasonable to be unlikely to succeed unprepared.


Of course, if the child doesn't set any DC, he can be level 1, level -12 or level 32. Who cares?

If there's at least one DC depending on the child, then this DC is level 14 - implicitly making the child a level 14 child. This is how published material works.


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Tridus wrote:
You keep saying that's how published material works, but no. Published material doesn't need the table at all, because in published material the DC is whatever the person writing it decides it should be, which is how it's always worked.

People writing published material will likely consult the table before deciding what the DC should be.


I forget who all has mentioned it, but a counterargument to the claim that a simple linear formula can't work:

It really comes down to specificity. If you add more linear terms, you can model it more closely, while if you add fewer, it's easier to replicate. For example, suppose Medium difficultly includes a +1 bonus at levels 5, 10, and 20 to represent ability increases slowing down after you hit 18 in an ability, +1 at level 13 for proficiency, and +5 over 20 levels from magic items. Meanwhile, suppose Hard difficultly removes the +1 bonus at level 5, but adds a +1 at levels 1 and 3 for proficiency. I could just use those as tables, but they're still going to feel more like effectively random numbers.

Meanwhile, I could say Medium difficulty assumes you start at +2 and end up around +11, not counting +1/level, or maybe +1 to +11 to simplify the math. Thus, 11+Lv/2. Hard difficult assumes you start at +5 and go up to +15, or 15+Lv/2.

The smoothed formulas don't stray too far from the "true" values, but they're still much easier to use, because I can calculate 15+Lv/2 much more quickly.


Just to be clear by "level 12 rabbits", we mean there are some rabbits hiding and it's a high DC check to avoid waking them up.

There are no skills given for rabbits. It's not clear that the DC for that should in any way be based on the rabbit's skills or level.

This isn't a matter of "There happened to be some rabbits and they needed to be really powerful rabbits because the PCs are high level." At worst, it's poor fluff for what is basically a trap. Without the table, you'd likely do exactly the same thing - or feel obliged to use powerful monsters to justify the DC and thus probably turn the encounter into another fight.


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That is Kind of the Point - if it is not described in an interesting way why the rabbit/wall/child is suddenly a Level appropriate challenge, it breaks down the illusion.
That is why we Need more Guidelines as to what Level appropriate challenges are. In the Frozen Oath, this should have been some strange fey creatures known to be incredibly twitchy by nature or something, not some rabbit stand-ins. (There's lots of other stuff wrong with that Encounter, but that's neither here nor there)
Otherwise we, and expecially newer GM's, will fall into the trap of "That wall is now randomly Harder to climb than the same wall 5 Levels ago."
So while I don't hate 10-2, it Needs to be significantly better supported by it's buddies 10-3 and following, and it either Needs to be directly in the skill section or referenced there, to help with Player expectation.


DerNils wrote:

That is Kind of the Point - if it is not described in an interesting way why the rabbit/wall/child is suddenly a Level appropriate challenge, it breaks down the illusion.

That is why we Need more Guidelines as to what Level appropriate challenges are. In the Frozen Oath, this should have been some strange fey creatures known to be incredibly twitchy by nature or something, not some rabbit stand-ins. (There's lots of other stuff wrong with that Encounter, but that's neither here nor there)
Otherwise we, and expecially newer GM's, will fall into the trap of "That wall is now randomly Harder to climb than the same wall 5 Levels ago."
So while I don't hate 10-2, it Needs to be significantly better supported by it's buddies 10-3 and following, and it either Needs to be directly in the skill section or referenced there, to help with Player expectation.

I agree it needs to be better supported by the other tables, but I don't really have a problem with that aspect of the encounter.

It's different enough it can't really be used as an example of the "same wall being harder to climb".

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Here's another issue with not having set DCs for things in adventures. Imagine two PFS GMs, both running the same scenario, one for an APL 7 party and one for an APL 9 party(I have no idea how tiers will work in PFS2.0 but it seems safe to assume there will be some level spread for scenarios). I'll bet that the level 9 party gets higher DCs for the exact same challenges because the source of the DCs is nonsensical - they just come from an arbitrary table, and as we've seen, the adventure itself might tell the GM to set things based on APL. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised, if you have a level 7 and a level 9 PC in the same party, if those two PC see different DCs for the same task! From some GMs, at least.


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thejeff wrote:
DerNils wrote:

That is Kind of the Point - if it is not described in an interesting way why the rabbit/wall/child is suddenly a Level appropriate challenge, it breaks down the illusion.

That is why we Need more Guidelines as to what Level appropriate challenges are. In the Frozen Oath, this should have been some strange fey creatures known to be incredibly twitchy by nature or something, not some rabbit stand-ins. (There's lots of other stuff wrong with that Encounter, but that's neither here nor there)
Otherwise we, and expecially newer GM's, will fall into the trap of "That wall is now randomly Harder to climb than the same wall 5 Levels ago."
So while I don't hate 10-2, it Needs to be significantly better supported by it's buddies 10-3 and following, and it either Needs to be directly in the skill section or referenced there, to help with Player expectation.

I agree it needs to be better supported by the other tables, but I don't really have a problem with that aspect of the encounter.

It's different enough it can't really be used as an example of the "same wall being harder to climb".

Minor Red Flags Spoilers

Spoiler:

DC 31 check: Basic information about the local god, cursed on a crit failure. Your average Joe getting a nat-19 is cursed for a week for asking what's going on.
DC 31 check: Ask why there's a party the entire town is talking about. It's a public gesture to appease a god. The gala host is going out of her way to make this public. DC 31.
DC 36 check: Get information so basic it starts 'Well, I guess it’s no secret...'. Not a secret. Common, public knowledge from locals at the tavern. DC 36.
DC 36 check: Move through a mundane crowd of unasuming party guests. Average folk, not actively against you. Just kinda there. Passively being DC 36.
DC 31 check: Move on a flat pillar that has a mixture of rough and smooth surfaces. For reference, I grew up on a beach and would say I had about a 90% success rate moving across things like the described slippery pillars. At age 8. DC 31.
That room is also full of DC 31 swim checks and DC 29 checks to not be knocked off a pillar by water by waves, but the water is magic so I can imagine it having enough strength to do that. Probably over-DC'd, but by Red Flags standard, it's acceptable.

Those DCs are not acceptable or excusable. They're absurd, insulting the idea that the players have competent characters - more than that, they're just about the top super agents of a secret order. The DCs do not respect that at all.


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There really should not be level 14 children or level 12 bunnies. That completely defies the concept of level. (Sure there could be exceptional exceptions, but they need story-wise explanations). But it is possible that a challenge involving children or bunnies might still be something that needs to be more challenging that a single skill check that pits a players stealth vs the child or bunny's perception.

One way of handling this, how PF1 handles this, is to have a massive list of penalties and bonuses that a GM might give to adjust the difficulty for one or both people involved in a contested check. I think a lot of players enjoy this because it becomes possible to predict how challenging something might be by adding and subtracting each of these modifiers together and guessing at the general ability of the other person.

Many people complaining about the existence of table 10-2 are people who probably want every number in PF2 to be predictable and calculable from a static world perspective. This is understandable, and it is not bad/wrong fun to want, but it is not easy to do, and it is every bit as artificial and arbitrary a way of constructing a game as basing the numbers off of something like level, because these bonuses and penalties and static DCs are only approximations in the first place. A DC is an abstract value even when it is a static unchanging number. A wall may very well be a DC 10 today and DC 12 tomorrow based on a large number of variables that are incredibly tedious to calculate.

However, changing the numbers without changing the descriptions is emersion breaking, and GMs need a lot more help than they get understanding how to describe these changing circumstances to the players. Even more challenging, not all GMs and players will feel that specific descriptions will match what get set as official numbers. There will need to be some flexibility and wiggle room built into any system to accommodate groups who want to use dim lighting or a light to establish mood, without massively penalizing all checks the players may have to make in them, but also allow for groups that want a fight in such conditions to be immensely impactful.

A variable chart, like 10-2, allows for this flexibility, and probably needs to exist in the game, even if more players would like to see additional tables to help set some very static expectations for things. Personally, I think starting with the 10-2 table as the core base, and allowing those specific tables to come in a later GM supplement is a better design move than going the other way around, because it favors "GM interpretation" over "codified rule set" which is one of the fundamental principles that defines the unique space that table top RPGs occupy, away from boardgames and video games.


What isn't clear about table 10-2, and what has room for better development is understanding what makes something fit into each of the categories and whether, if the DCs will vary by level, if it doesn't makes sense for certain tasks to just be easier for some characters than for others. Maybe a better way to make proficiency meaningful is for proficiency to determine what tasks would default to being Ultimate/hard/moderate/easy, and for challenges to have default levels instead of set DCs.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think some people are forgetting that Doomsday Door is not a published adventure, it's a published playtest. It is not meant to be an ideal example of a well-built adventure, it is meant to test the system, and thus deviates from good adventure design in a number of ways.

That all said, WOW. Accusing Paizo's lead designer of lying to court a demographic is WAY beyond the pale.


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Yep. I know Doomsday has different goals and development pipeline than a normal published adventure. But I know at least a few people who won't look at PF2's full release based on their experienced with Doomsday. I know several in my current group that will end up that way if I don't entirely re-write Red Flags to show PF2 has a nice system under it, and Doomsday itself is the worst of the problem.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Folks...

There are problems with Table 10-2.

Most task DCs are set by the world, not the PCs. A pine tree is a level 0 challenge to climb at 1st level and it remains a level 0 challenge at 20th level.

The adventures try to keep things close to level in terms of challenge to ensure that we get some solid playtest data on how characters respond to level appropriate tasks. This was not always implemented in the best way.

All of this is known to us. We have a number of plans in place to rectify this in the final version of the game.

Your feedback has been valuable to us in this process, but this thread has devolved into some unnecessary sniping (much of which has been moderated) and has run its course.

This thread is locked.

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