A proposal for changing the way proficiency and Difficulty class work for non-opposed challenges.


General Discussion


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I had this idea in the thread discussing table 10-2, but it is buried deep and this really seems like a way to solve a lot of issues people have had with different aspects of the playtest together in one place.

What if things like picking locks, and interacting with the world didn't go up against specific DC values, but those challenges would just be listed as having a level, and then you proficiency in the related skill determined whether you were looking at an Easy/moderate/difficult/ultimate challenge for completing that task, based off of the task's level?

Most oppositional checks would still be based off of direct number comparisons, but this would give proficiency with skills a much wider method of being impactful on what a character can do, without creating massive imbalances in core aspects of the game's math.

To attempt to clarify. Untrained athletics checks might be facing difficult to ultimate challenge values for any climbing that doesn't include rope, other equipment or assistance. A level 1 wall could then pose a real challenge, even to characters several levels higher than level 1, but a character with expert athletics proficiency might be looking at that wall as a level one moderate or easy challenge.


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That would be nice, as is expert/master/legendary proficiency in a skill isn't as significant as it should be because they shackled them to attack and AC.

They really need more value, this would be one way to do it.


citricking wrote:

That would be nice, as is expert/master/legendary proficiency in a skill isn't as significant as it should be because they shackled them to attack and AC.

They really need more value, this would be one way to do it.

Most other suggestions that I have heard, or even thought of myself, tend to flounder around the idea that a DC has to be one set number for any specific task, regardless of who is attempting it. This puts a lot of pressure on characters to maximize number values, and really undervalues training. (experience is pretty well covered by the +level bonus to the proficiency number). Even if the difference in trained vs Untrained for most skill checks turns out to be the difference between Extreme and Severe difficulty, that makes it a +5 difference with a built in -2 for being untrained, and if legendary proficiency can knock tasks down to trivial, it would make having legendary proficiency in a skill extremely valuable, even without adding on extra skill feats.

Skill feats could then focus purely on giving you new things you could do with skills rather than having to be wasted making certain checks more reliable.


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I agree, dropping the tier of difficulty based on proficiency would make the most sense. What is difficult for someone untrained can be trivial for a Master.

Untrained - 1 tier higher.

Trained - Equal tier.

Expert/Master/Legendary - 1 to 3 tiers lower, respectively.

We already have basis for this via Thievery, why not make it for every check?


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Isn't this just mechanically identical to raising the bonus granted by expert/master/and legendary?

For example:
If a lock is DC 30 for the trained and DC 25 for experts, that is the same as increasing the bonus from expert by five to +1 to +6.

Increasing the bonus from proficiency is an option, but it is cleaner to do it directly rather than add a step of consulting a chart to find new lower tier DCs.

If my expert has a +16 and faces a DC 30 lock I don't need a table.
If my expert has a +11 and faces a DC 30 trained lock, I need to reach for a book to tell me what the new expert DC is.


Unicore wrote:


What if things like picking locks, and interacting with the world didn't go up against specific DC values, but those challenges would just be listed as having a level, and then you proficiency in the related skill determined whether you were looking at an Easy/moderate/difficult/ultimate challenge for completing that task, based off of the task's level?

But that's exactly how it's supposed to work. If I remember correctly one of the questions in the Rules Survey specifically asked if it was easy to notice that the DC's are based on the Task's level, not the PC's.

Furthermore, you can check on Pg 336, under Creating Appropriate Challenges:
"... DCs are determined partly by the level of a check, which is tied to the underlying task, and partly by the check’s diffculty, which represents helpful or adverse circumstances. For example, crossing a river on a bridge is a different task from crossing on a log, and using a bridge is easier, so its level is lower. In contrast, crossing a bridge is the same task whether it’s dry and well maintained or icy and crumbling, but the circumstances make the former easier and the latter
more difficult.
It’s important that you don’t simply make the DC arbitrarily higher or lower with the PCs’ level. Any increase must be justified based on how the challenge actually increased, and thus how success is more impressive..."

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Same DC for everyone is ingrained in the game and I just cannot imagine having to ask everyone what their proficiency is before giving each of them different target numbers


I would prefer that the numerical effect of proficiency would be encapsulated entirely on a character's sheet, since when I'm preparing for the game I would prefer to be able to just write down the DC (and possibly proficiency gate) for a lock (or whatever) and move on, then if the PC wants to pick the lock I just have to look at my notes instead of a table. "Having to keep opening the book" is going to slow down games, IMO.

My preference is to increase the numerical bonuses for impressive sounding proficiency (-4/0/+1/+3/+5 seems fine), and to proficiency gate more things a la "you don't have the conceptual underpinnings to even know how to approach this yet."

Liberty's Edge

Honestly I would prefer a simpler Table for this broken up into: Level & Relative Difficulty. We don't need 5 categories for every level, if something is a Level 8 Trivial Task, what is the point in classifying it that way instead of just making the Task Level 3-4?
___________________________

___________________________
Levels 1-10
Easy: Baseline -2
Regular: Baseline
Hard: Baseline +2

Levels 10-15
Easy: Baseline -3
Regular: Baseline
Hard: Baseline +3
Each Level has a set DC with

Levels 16+
Easy: Baseline -4
Regular: Baseline
Hard: Baseline +4

Also, level 0 challenges? Why? There is currently no Level 0 funnel pipeline for creating Characters so what is the purpose of this? Don't all creatures, PC, NPC, or otherwise ALL have at least 1 Hit Die or the equivalent?


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Themetricsystem wrote:

Honestly I would prefer a simpler Table for this broken up into: Level & Relative Difficulty. We don't need 5 categories for every level, if something is a Level 8 Trivial Task, what is the point in classifying it that way instead of just making the Task Level 3-4?

___________________________

___________________________
Levels 1-10
Easy: Baseline -2
Regular: Baseline
Hard: Baseline +2

Levels 10-15
Easy: Baseline -3
Regular: Baseline
Hard: Baseline +3
Each Level has a set DC with

Levels 16+
Easy: Baseline -4
Regular: Baseline
Hard: Baseline +4

Also, level 0 challenges? Why? There is currently no Level 0 funnel pipeline for creating Characters so what is the purpose of this? Don't all creatures, PC, NPC, or otherwise ALL have at least 1 Hit Die or the equivalent?

To be fair, those numbers are about as arbitrary as Table 10-2. It's also similar in that it gets harder the higher level, and keeping steam makes you worse off than proper investment, which seems a little silly, and is something others have chided on for table 10-2 for doing.

As for NPCs with Level 0, they only have their "ancestral" HP. I.e. level 0 goblins in the Doomsday Dawn adventures only have 6 HP, which is their ancestral baseline as a PC ancestry. This makes sense, and if I were to stage, say, a bar fight, this would be the baseline I'd use (though with less to-hit and damage) to simulate the PCs facing the likes of commoners.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would prefer that the numerical effect of proficiency would be encapsulated entirely on a character's sheet, since when I'm preparing for the game I would prefer to be able to just write down the DC (and possibly proficiency gate) for a lock (or whatever) and move on, then if the PC wants to pick the lock I just have to look at my notes instead of a table. "Having to keep opening the book" is going to slow down games, IMO.

My preference is to increase the numerical bonuses for impressive sounding proficiency (-4/0/+1/+3/+5 seems fine), and to proficiency gate more things a la "you don't have the conceptual underpinnings to even know how to approach this yet."

I see this as a valid point, but I think a system like this original proposal could have the advantage of allowing most situational bonuses play into affecting the difficulty of the task rather than having to keep strait a large number of different bonuses and how well they stack. Meaning that pretty much every skill challenge would only need a level and this one chart, and everything else could be relatively intuitive about boosting or decreasing the difficulty.

How much more difficult is it to pick the lock in the rain? what about if it is dark outside? What if you only have half the tools you need? Or there is a ghost in the room who can describe how to make picking the lock much easier?

These things fall into the range of arbitrary +/- 2 situational bonuses, but for many challenges, especially at higher levels that will often be less than a 10% increase or decrease in difficulty. Where as letting players come up with good strategies to make a difficult challenge easy is much easier to do playing off of a chart like 10-2 than raw numbers.

If there was really only one chart and all the DCs for every skill was on it, and you didn't need to reference 6 to 10 different pages of situational/conditional modifiers for environmental effects, I think a lot more people would have those elements play into their games then they do currently, where most of that stuff gets passed over and the raw number is just used as default.

Stretching the raw bonuses of proficiencies gets really ugly at high levels since so few things get boosted to Legendary proficiency. It is fairly reasonable to believe that many characters will have trained as a cap for many core proficiencies, like armor, weapons and saves. +5 is an absolutely brutal difference that will easily spill over into the +8 to 12 range with attribute and item bonus, and could stretch into the 15 or more range, even if the lower character is trained in the proficiency.

For skill checks, that is fine, but it is not ideal for saves and defenses vs attacks. Splitting the skills from other proficiencies is a sloppy system that requires twice as many numbers to remember, even at the most basic level of what is a good average bonus to attack at level 3? vs a good skill bonus? Having one Chart that gets consulted for all skills is relatively clean and easy in comparison and then the level of different kinds of challenges is the only other chart you need.


Themetricsystem wrote:

Honestly I would prefer a simpler Table for this broken up into: Level & Relative Difficulty. We don't need 5 categories for every level, if something is a Level 8 Trivial Task, what is the point in classifying it that way instead of just making the Task Level 3-4?

___________________________

___________________________
Levels 1-10
Easy: Baseline -2
Regular: Baseline
Hard: Baseline +2

Levels 10-15
Easy: Baseline -3
Regular: Baseline
Hard: Baseline +3
Each Level has a set DC with

Levels 16+
Easy: Baseline -4
Regular: Baseline
Hard: Baseline +4

Also, level 0 challenges? Why? There is currently no Level 0 funnel pipeline for creating Characters so what is the purpose of this? Don't all creatures, PC, NPC, or otherwise ALL have at least 1 Hit Die or the equivalent?

I haven't dug through the bestiary, but I assume there are the equivalents of 1/3, 1/2 CR creatures. There need to be challenges that are easy for a 1st level party.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


To be fair, those numbers are about as arbitrary as Table 10-2. It's also similar in that it gets harder the higher level, and keeping steam makes you worse off than proper investment, which seems a little silly, and is something others have chided on for table 10-2 for doing.

As for NPCs with Level 0, they only have their "ancestral" HP. I.e. level 0 goblins in the Doomsday Dawn adventures only have 6 HP, which is their ancestral baseline as a PC ancestry. This makes sense, and if I were to stage, say, a bar fight, this would be the baseline I'd use (though with less to-hit and damage) to simulate the PCs facing the likes of commoners.

I know we are on the same page with this idea, so consider this post a building off of your point here rather than a counter to it.

If legendary moves you to easy on the chart instead of giving one flat numerical bonus, then the advantage you get from it gets better the more difficult harder challenges become. This seems like a good idea because it means that having legendary proficiency in a skill is more valuable the higher the level of the challenge, without making legendary proficiency for opposed checks out of control.

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