While +1 / level is a problem, removing it alone is not a solution.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
dmerceless wrote:
The reason I dislike +1/level is how quickly threats become non-threatening and challenges become non-challenging.

Was this also a problem in PF1, 3.5, 3e, etc?

Since my 18 Str 5th level fighter in PF1 adds +10 to their to-hit rolls with their martial weapon of choice (in PF2 I would add +10). My 16 Dex 5th level Monk adds +11 to their Stealth rolls (in PF2 I would add +9), etc. All of the numbers to me seem in keeping with previous editions, except for how the floor is higher and the ceiling is lower, and if you asked me like 4 years ago what I would like to be seen done with a new edition I would have said "higher floor, lower ceiling for the numbers."

The numbers are more widespread (i.e., +1 per level means every proficiency, not just BAB) and due to the critical-failure and critical-success have more impact. By my calculations, a +1 in PF2 is 50% more effective than a +1 in PF1.

For example, if a 5th-level PF1 fighter with +10 to hit against a 1st-level creature with AC 15 (hits on a 5 or higher) gains an additional +1 for some reason, he increases from 16/20 chance of hitting to a 17/20 chance of hitting and deals 6.25% more damage. If a 5th-level PF2 fighter with a +10 to hit against a 1st-level creature with AC 15 gains an additional +1, he increases from 10/20 chances of a regular hit and 6/20 chances of a critical hit to 10/20 chances of a regular hit and 7/20 chances of a critical hit and deals 9.09% more damage. Then on his second attack for the turn, he goes from 10/20 chances of a regular hit and 1/20 chance of a critical hit to 10/20 chances of a regular hit and 2/20 chances of a critical hit and deals 16.67% more damage.

The bonuses to skills is not as drastic, because a critical success usually just means faster progress. The bonus to saving throws increases high-threat boss opponents laughing at the party spellcasters' best spells, as stories from Doomsday Dawn illustrate.

The consequences of this I presented in comment #51 of this thread. The range of viable threats shrinks from 4 levels below and 4 levels above to 3 levels below and 2 levels above.

In my own campaigns the inhabitants of the world become more filled out that the adventure path sets up, because my players like non-combat encounters. And those extra characters and creatures I add are mostly low-level because the world is mostly full of low-level creatures. Thus, I am especially bothered by a narrowing of ranges. I could have a 7th-level party walk into a hostile city and worry about the 3nd-level veteran guards because enough of those guards could take them down. In PF2 I would have to use 4th-level elite guards, and that is harder to justify.

Paizo is right to tighten the math in PF2, despite my dislike of other effects of that decision, because the 4-degrees-of-success system makes out of control numbers more devastating.

Nettah wrote:

I think that is a very valid concern to have (I don't share it personally, but different taste) and I really hope Paizo will include rules for 1/2 level gameplay (or other fractions) if not in the core rulebook then in a game mastery guide etc that ships not too long after.

Until then have you tried playing with just 1/2 level? If so are there any area where the game seems to break? I could imagine the encounter builder would need some rework and maybe some monsters.

Because there is no half-integer bonuses in dice rolls, +1/2 per level really means +0 at odd levels and +1 at even levels. When that is just one bonus, such as 1/2 BAB in PF1, we can handle a bit of irregular progression. But +1/2 per level to everything means that the characters improve 0% from their proficiencies at odd levels and 36% from their proficiencies at even levels. That is a big difference between even and odd. We would prefer roughly 17% improvement from proficiencies at both odd and even levels.

Thus, +1/2 per level is a lot more complicated that +1 per level.

I have seen two workable solutions to the even/odd problem. Kaelizar's comment #75 in this thread presents one of them: staggered slopes for proficiency ranks. In that method untrained, trained, expert, master, and legendary proficiency don't all get +1 at every level. Instead, about half of them advance at a given level. This is combined with the higher ranks getting more +1s, so that expert might start with just a +1 advantage over trained, but by 7th level it could have a +2 advantage and by 14th it could have a +3 advantage. If a PC has a good mixture of different proficiency ranks, then about half their proficiencies would gain +1 regardless of whether the level is even or odd.

The other solution I first saw proposed by GwynHawk in September: combine the even and odd levels together into one fat level. Pathfinder would become a 10-level game where 1st double-thick level is equivalent to PF1 2nd level, 2nd double-thick level is equivalent to PF1 4th level, etc. +1 per level to double-thick levels would be the equivalent to + 1/2 per level to PF1-thickness levels. Spell level would be the same as character level. Character power would double every level.

I didn't like the drastic change of character power doubling from a level-up, but Unicore proposed a variant in November. Have the double-thick levels, but don't give all the abilities of the level to the character immediately. Given them out at milestones. Thus, when a character reaches 2nd double-level, they receive 20% of the benefits at the level. When they reach 200 xp in 2nd-level, they receive another 20%. At 400 xp, 600 xp, and 80 xp in 2nd-level, they receive another 20% each. Thus, at 800 xp they have 100% of their 2nd-level abilites. At 1000 xp, they advance to 3rd level. And that first 20% includes +1 to all proficiencies. That other 20% bundles are gained in an order of the player's choice. I created an example from the Pathfinder Playtest cleric on November 12 to demonstrate all the details.

Okay, the five milestones won't be even distributions. +1 to all proficienies is a 36% improvement. All the other milestones would have to be a 10% improvement in a character's power in order to end at the character having doubled in power after a complete level-up.


Mathmuse wrote:
The consequences of this I presented in comment #51 of this thread. The range of viable threats shrinks from 4 levels below and 4 levels above to 3 levels below and 2 levels above.

I might have to check out that comment, because it was my understanding that you could work with monsters up to 4 levels above or below without the math being out of hand. Like how a creature of party level+4 is an even-footing threat to a party of 4.

Or that is to say, 4 level 6 characters = a level 10 character. Also 2 level 8 characters = a level 8 character. Hence "Extreme" fights being level +4, with one possible configuration of that challenge being a single level +4 monster.

So for your example, four level 3 guards should be roughly equal to a level 7 player, so enough guards could still be a threat. It was my understanding that it wasn't until the level difference exceeds +/-4 that CR equivalencies fail, as you get to where the higher level characters are just invulnerable, or close enough to such, to the lower level characters almost regardless of number.


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Edge93 wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
The consequences of this I presented in comment #51 of this thread. The range of viable threats shrinks from 4 levels below and 4 levels above to 3 levels below and 2 levels above.

I might have to check out that comment, because it was my understanding that you could work with monsters up to 4 levels above or below without the math being out of hand. Like how a creature of party level+4 is an even-footing threat to a party of 4.

Or that is to say, 4 level 6 characters = a level 10 character. Also 2 level 8 characters = a level 8 character. Hence "Extreme" fights being level +4, with one possible configuration of that challenge being a single level +4 monster.

So for your example, four level 3 guards should be roughly equal to a level 7 player, so enough guards could still be a threat. It was my understanding that it wasn't until the level difference exceeds +/-4 that CR equivalencies fail, as you get to where the higher level characters are just invulnerable, or close enough to such, to the lower level characters almost regardless of number.

Yes, that is how Pathfinder 1st Edition works, and Table 3, Hazard Experience, and Table 4, Creature XP and Role, on pages 13 and 21 in the Bestiary assume that Pathfinder 2nd Edition works that way, too. I even wrote a gigantic post about the techniques that PF1 uses to ensure this, The Mind-Boggling Math of Exponential Leveling.

This all relies on a character becoming 41% more powerful upon leveling up. Controlling and measuring the improvement from gaining new abilities is not precise, but anywhere between 33% and 50% appears to work.

But Pathfinder Playtest gives +1 per level to everything, which is a 36% improvement. Add in hit points, which are a big improvement, like 20%, at low levels. And a feat ought to be at least a 10% improvement or it feels lame. Actually, a lot of Pathfinder Playtest feats do feel lame, so call a playtest feat a 5% improvement. Those combine multipicatively, (1.36)(1.20)(1.05) = 1.71, a 71% improvement.

I have also run simulations where a horde of low-level creatures battle a creature three or four levels above them. That method estimates that the improvement per level is about 68%.

Both methods are prone to error, but they both support that characters and creatures gain power per level much more than intended.


Mathmuse said wrote:

Because there is no half-integer bonuses in dice rolls, +1/2 per level really means +0 at odd levels and +1 at even levels. When that is just one bonus, such as 1/2 BAB in PF1, we can handle a bit of irregular progression. But +1/2 per level to everything means that the characters improve 0% from their proficiencies at odd levels and 36% from their proficiencies at even levels. That is a big difference between even and odd. We would prefer roughly 17% improvement from proficiencies at both odd and even levels.

Thus, +1/2 per level is a lot more complicated that +1 per level.

I have seen two workable solutions to the even/odd problem. Kaelizar's comment #75 in this thread presents one of them: staggered slopes for proficiency ranks. In that method untrained, trained, expert, master, and legendary proficiency don't all get +1 at every level. Instead, about half of them advance at a given level. This is combined with the higher ranks getting more +1s, so that expert might start with just a +1 advantage over trained, but by 7th level it could have a +2 advantage and by 14th it could have a +3 advantage. If a PC has a good mixture of different proficiency ranks, then about half their proficiencies would gain +1 regardless of whether the level is even or odd.

The other solution I first saw proposed by GwynHawk in September: combine the even and odd levels together into one fat level. Pathfinder would become a 10-level game where 1st double-thick level is equivalent to PF1 2nd level, 2nd double-thick level is equivalent to PF1 4th level, etc. +1 per level to double-thick levels would be the equivalent to + 1/2 per level to PF1-thickness levels. Spell level would be the same as character level. Character power would double every level.

I didn't like the drastic change of character power doubling from a level-up, but Unicore proposed a variant in November. Have the double-thick levels, but don't give all the abilities of the level to the character immediately. Given them out at milestones. Thus, when a character reaches 2nd double-level, they receive 20% of the benefits at the level. When they reach 200 xp in 2nd-level, they receive another 20%. At 400 xp, 600 xp, and 80 xp in 2nd-level, they receive another 20% each. Thus, at 800 xp they have 100% of their 2nd-level abilites. At 1000 xp, they advance to 3rd level. And that first 20% includes +1 to all proficiencies. That other 20% bundles are gained in an order of the player's choice. I created an example from the Pathfinder Playtest cleric on November 12 to demonstrate all the details.

Okay, the five milestones won't be even distributions. +1 to all proficienies is a 36% improvement. All the other milestones would have to be a 10% improvement in a character's power in order to end at the character having doubled in power after a complete level-up.

The added complications is one of the main reasons I prefer the system to stick with integers rather than fractions, and why I asked which elements changing this would currently break. Not to mentioned the feeling of getting "nothing" every odd level might not make leveling up as enjoyable.

I haven't done the extensive math that you and the people you mentioned have done (kudos on work nicely done) but if what you are saying is true that the viable level of threats shrink to -3 to +2 levels it's starting to become an issue I agree. Most of the current suggested solutions does seem pretty complicated, and one of the reasons I liked +1/level is the simplicity.
However balance and more importantly fun in the game should absolutely be the leading principle, guiding how best to do the system.

I have a hard time fully realizing what the changes would bring to the current playtest and I would imagine that every class, certain feats and skills etc would need to be completely redone for it to be close to balanced. I prefer that the core of the system stick to a principle of simplicity, but if that can't be done satisfactorily these changes might be for the better. Up until now (in my limited amount of play testing and theory crafting) I have been pretty satisfied with the core of the system, but more playing might start to show the problems you have mentioned. So while I consider myself in the camp of pro +1/level your post have shown me that there might be some underlying problems beyond the complain that every character is just the same (which I still don't agree with).

Anyways keep up the good work, I imagine that thoroughly well calculated post is helpful to the design team.


Mathmuse wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
The consequences of this I presented in comment #51 of this thread. The range of viable threats shrinks from 4 levels below and 4 levels above to 3 levels below and 2 levels above.

I might have to check out that comment, because it was my understanding that you could work with monsters up to 4 levels above or below without the math being out of hand. Like how a creature of party level+4 is an even-footing threat to a party of 4.

Or that is to say, 4 level 6 characters = a level 10 character. Also 2 level 8 characters = a level 8 character. Hence "Extreme" fights being level +4, with one possible configuration of that challenge being a single level +4 monster.

So for your example, four level 3 guards should be roughly equal to a level 7 player, so enough guards could still be a threat. It was my understanding that it wasn't until the level difference exceeds +/-4 that CR equivalencies fail, as you get to where the higher level characters are just invulnerable, or close enough to such, to the lower level characters almost regardless of number.

Yes, that is how Pathfinder 1st Edition works, and Table 3, Hazard Experience, and Table 4, Creature XP and Role, on pages 13 and 21 in the Bestiary assume that Pathfinder 2nd Edition works that way, too. I even wrote a gigantic post about the techniques that PF1 uses to ensure this, The Mind-Boggling Math of Exponential Leveling.

This all relies on a character becoming 41% more powerful upon leveling up. Controlling and measuring the improvement from gaining new abilities is not precise, but anywhere between 33% and 50% appears to work.

But Pathfinder Playtest gives +1 per level to everything, which is a 36% improvement. Add in hit points, which are a big improvement, like 20%, at low levels. And a feat ought to be at least a 10% improvement or it feels lame. Actually, a lot of Pathfinder Playtest feats...

I don't know about the math, but in actual play experience I have found that a level +3 enemy against a party of 4 is VERY much manageable, so I'm not sure how, as you put it, "The range of viable threats decreases from 4 levels above or below to 3 levels below and 2 levels above". A creature 3 levels above is clearly a viable threat when it is as manageable as it is in the Playtest (And I wold extend this to say that creatures 4 levels above are a viable threat if you are willing to take a more notable risk of party loss, but a couple of extenuating circumstances have prevented me from testing that in practice, unlike the aforementioned point). Unless I'm missing something?


Edge93 said wrote:
I don't know about the math, but in actual play experience I have found that a level +3 enemy against a party of 4 is VERY much manageable, so I'm not sure how, as you put it, "The range of viable threats decreases from 4 levels above or below to 3 levels below and 2 levels above". A creature 3 levels above is clearly a viable threat when it is as manageable as it is in the Playtest (And I wold extend this to say that creatures 4 levels above are a viable threat if you are willing to take a more notable risk of party loss, but a couple of extenuating circumstances have prevented me from testing that in practice, unlike the aforementioned point). Unless I'm missing something?

Another question would be whether a monster 3 levels above the party is roughly the same challenge as 3 monster of equal level to the party or 6 monsters 2 levels below the party. Which it should be according to the encounter builder, but that might not be the case in actual gameplay.


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Edge93 wrote:
I don't know about the math, but in actual play experience I have found that a level +3 enemy against a party of 4 is VERY much manageable, so I'm not sure how, as you put it, "The range of viable threats decreases from 4 levels above or below to 3 levels below and 2 levels above". A creature 3 levels above is clearly a viable threat when it is as manageable as it is in the Playtest (And I wold extend this to say that creatures 4 levels above are a viable threat if you are willing to take a more notable risk of party loss, but a couple of extenuating circumstances have prevented me from testing that in practice, unlike the aforementioned point). Unless I'm missing something?

I refer to a level+4 (160 xp) challenge as a mirror match, because that challenge is as tough as the party facing a copy of itself (Order of the Stick: What's Behind Door #2?). The party ought to have a 50% chance of winning a mirror match. One challenge level lower, level+3 (120 xp), is 71% as powerful as the party. That means that the party has a definite advantage, and all things being equal they would be guaranteed a win. But it would cost a lot of resources. And all things are not necessarily equal: sometimes the party has a series of bad rolls or a particular weakness to an enemy attack or one party member takes the brunt of the enemy attacks and dies.

A single level+3 or level+4 enemy against a party in PF1 also suffers an action economy penalty. Imagine a single powerful wizard. One party member can stand next to him and disrupt his spells. Even if the wizard casts defensively, the party member can ready an attack triggered by the enemy starting to cast. Step Up feat counters the 5-foot step defense. Meanwhile the other three party members beat on the wizard. A single powerful fighter or large beast against the party sufferes similarly, but for opposite reasons. The party's wizard or witch is safely out of reach of the enemy, due to two frontline fighters standing between him and the enemy, and can easily cast his most powerful debuff spells against the single enemy. Thus, the GM guides recommend that a single powerful villain be level+2 rather than level+3 and have enough level-1 minions to protect him from such tactics.

To further complicate comparisons, the monsters in the Playtest Bestiary are built 25% stronger than a PC of the same level. Thus, my table in comment #51 rates an equal-level creature at 50 xp rather than the 40 xp from Table 4 in the Bestiary.

In Playfinder Playtest, if creatures actually increase by 68% per level, then a level+3 creature would be (1.25)(1.68)^3 = 5.93 times as a single party member, more powerful than a mirror match. The action economy impairment of a single foe might make the challenge winnable. A better-balanced encounter with one level+2 foe (80 xp in Table 4) and two level-2 foes (20 xp each) would rate as a severe challenge (120 xp) by the Playtest. But by my calculations the correct xp for those foes would be 140xp + 20xp + 20xp = 160 xp, the mirror-match level.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like a big problem with not having +Level to untrained skills, is that it means past a certain level you will absolutely never want to try to do something untrained for fear of a critical failure. Sure, this is in part a consequence of DCs going up as you level, but that's always been the case- the DC to identify a CR10 creature has always been 5 more than the DC to identify a CR5 creature.

I think that the game is far more heroic if people are not afraid of attempting things in which they have not received formal training.

Does this not say then that the crit failure rules should be looked at and possibly changed as it limits RP'ing and options to a large extent?

I am not saying that the +10 -10 rule is the issue but in general I know of quite a few people who propose rpg's who insist on core game rules that dramatically affect how the rest of the game is played by players and GM's. By not changing them they often limit the audience who enjoy and continue to play the game long term as hidden flaws become more and more apparent and dissolve the illusion the game projects and players/GM's want to experience.

MDC


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PC, I love you, my dude; I swear I'm not picking on you - you just say good things that I feel are worth addressing in a manner that I feel that I can address!

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like a big problem with not having +Level to untrained skills, is that it means past a certain level you will absolutely never want to try to do something untrained for fear of a critical failure. Sure, this is in part a consequence of DCs going up as you level,

This is absolutely true, and one of the big reasons I (and likely others?) really, really don't like the idea of a level-based progression chart.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
but that's always been the case- the DC to identify a CR10 creature has always been 5 more than the DC to identify a CR5 creature.

This is only partially true, though it certainly seems true.

The CR system has only ever been the roughest of approximations. I will submit that it seems ironclad, and is presented as pretty solid... sort of. Because the entire idea was based on, "Well, you can go higher or lower, and that's fine, here's how it'll affect your combats." even in the initial presentation - that is, the PCs were expected to fight creatures above and below their relative CRs.

That said, that seems to be true of PF2 as well, from what I'm picking up.

... which brings up the issue that it seems strange to tie things so tightly to level (to me and my way of interacting with the game, which clearly isn't everyone's; I'll get back to this in a bit).

Beyond that, "CR" still didn't indicate (necessarily) how tough a creature was in combat - it gave a close approximation, but it was easy to find critters that punched way outside their weight class, on one end or the other. This meant that the "measuring stick" wasn't strictly how powerful a creature was.

Now, none of this is to say the current way of doing CR is the best way, or even a good way, only that it served the same purpose while broadly expecting a larger built-in variance (see MathMuse's excessively and delightfully detailed posts). In fact, I do and have had some issues with the way PF has been handling things, so I'm not trying to suggest that a PF 2e shouldn't happen (though I do feel rather strongly that a cleaned up version of PF1e should have happened a long time ago).

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think that the game is far more heroic if people are not afraid of attempting things in which they have not received formal training.

I agree with this to an extent, but I don't feel that "getting a bonus equal to your level" needs to be the solution to this problem.

And, again, I'm really, really not trying to pick on you, though it can kind of seem that way. You have such clear points, it's the easiest to interact with!


ryric wrote:

Table 10-2 requires the GM to assign an arbitrary "level" to each challenge as it comes up. Unless you have a giant listing of levels for various situations, in which case you might as well just list DCs for those situations, most GMs are just going to pick the level of the party for whatever it is they are trying to do. This creates the treadmill effect where no one ever gets better at things because the DC increases along with them.

I know 10-2 "is not supposed to be used that way." But so far, in the playtest, that's the only way it's been used. I expect PFS scenarios with mixed level groups to have different DCs for the same task, depending on the PC's individual level, because that's how people think.

A table with lists of DCs by level was one of the most misinterpreted parts of 4e, and I see no evidence that somehow it's not going to be misused now.

You know what's a better tool for coming up with DCs on the fly? A table like this:

Easy DC10
Hard DC15
Very Hard DC20
.
.
.
Worthy of Myth DC60

Takes up less book space, creates a more consistent world, and makes PCs feel like they actually get better at things as they level.

This. Solid.

ryric wrote:

You all do realize that "you can voluntarily lower your own stats for no tradeoff" is basically a non-starter, right? First, this is a team game, so choosing to make yourself weaker to no benefit is disrespectful to the other players that need you to be up to par. It also means this option likely won't be available in PFS, for that very reason. A 10 in an ability score is not a "flaw," it's average.

The solution should be to make all ability penalties meaningful, so it's a tough choice to take them, rather than to eliminate having them all together. It's the same design attitude that drove me away from other editions - "Fixing this option is hard, so we'll just get rid of it." I don't like PCs with three 7s either, but I should be able to make a character who is actually clumsy or foolish and get some tradeoff for it. I should also pay, in game, for that clumsiness or foolishness.

You want people to stop casually dumping Charisma? Make all class special abilities depend on Charisma. For spellcasters, make all max spell levels based on Int, bonus spells on Wis, and save DCs on Cha and you nerf casters and eliminate them being SAD at the same time. Dex and Con don't need much work as everyone feels the sting if they are bad. Base item slots off Strength so casters are less willing to dump it. Boom, now everyone feels the burn for dumping anything.

My little paragraph there is just one possible way to fix stat dumping without eliminating it.

Fundamentally, it looks like a lot of the core philosophy of PF2e is that of a game I don't really want to play. I switched to PF1e because 4e wasn't a game that felt like D&D to me, and now PF2e looks to be going down that same road and 5e is looking more appealing. Right now I plan to pick up the PF2e core book when it comes out, but I don't have high expectations. I currently expect that I'll read through the 2e CRB at Gen Con, come home, and cancel my subs. Paizo staff are nice people so I hope this change does work out for them; I'm more just sad that it seems like the game they want to make isn't for me.

I wish I was as eloquent as you sometimes. Sigh.


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ShadeRaven wrote:

Count me among those who see +1/level to be a solution, not a problem, especially in relationship to combat. I find that it creates a clearly recognizable advancement in power as characters rise in levels.

The test results have proved to be satisfactory in this regard for all my players but one who simply loves the Min-Max, Optimization First style of PF1 - unfortunately, he's found it frustrating in PF2 because he's simply not found a way to make his character significantly better than the challenges he's expected to face at various levels.

Personally, when optimization is the only path to success, I think it becomes more restraining. PF1 has innumerable options but the need to optimize/min-max actually railroads players tremendously. So many fun character concepts became trivialized by their relative inadequacy compared to the hardcore op character, resulting in frustration and abandonment. It's one of the significant factors to why PF1 campaigns have rarely succeeded at our local hobby shop and why 5E all but made PF1 extinct. The Playtest has revived Pathfinder here.

My group has always liked that there were optimisation points in Pathfinder. While toning things down is definitely a good idea, the playtest has shown that they have gone far too far in that direction. There still need to be some useful combination and preparations that can be done.

+1 per level is a blunt tool that swamps everything else. It negates a lot of the fun of designing a character, and takes too much from the game.

ShadeRaven wrote:


Now a concern of mine with PF2 (as it exists now) is that there isn't enough delineation between the advancement in Skills. There needs to be more meat on the bone between Trained, Expert, Master, and Legendary. Some skills show some structure that makes improved skill obvious, but many (most) don't. I expect that to change with a final release.

I agree, perhaps a larger bonus, or more options at higher skill levels.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:
Richard Crawford wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:


I would say that damage/HPs/special abilities/manuevars/spells should be enough to make definite difference in an encounter challenge.

If you are both increasing damage and attack roll or HPs and AC, you are double-dipping the same kind of thing and raising lowering difficulty too much over different levels, IMHO.

Sounds like Quadratic Fighters. Why is this an issue in-principle?

My only issue is that it trivializes CRs below your level really fast 2 or 3 levels max, and makes higher level CRs completely out of reach not matter how much preparation, tactics, or numbers you put in the fight.

A 20 str Orc with a huge ax, even if he is CR1 encounter should be a threat somewhat to higher level character, especially if he brings few friends along you you don't have any AoE or you are ambushed by them.

That's where I disagree completely. High level characters shouldn't have any problem dealing with low level orcs. Like at all. The fighter should laugh at them as he easily deflects all their blows and then slice through them like butter.

Richard Crawford said "Quadratic" and summoned the Mathmuse. Sorry about being late to the conversation.

The principle against quadratic leveling is that it is too slow at higher levels. The explanation is not simple: The Mind-Boggling Math of Exponential Leveling. The short version for this conversation is that Pathfinder 1st Edition scales so that each level makes a creature or character 41.4% more powerful.

PF2 actually scales at +1.5 per level, +1 from the level itself, and another 0.5 from magic item bonuses/spell bonuses/stat increases.

Each plus 1 equates to about 10% increased damage dealt in combat and 10% reduced damage suffered. Basically each plus one is a +5% chance of a hit and a +5% chance of a critical.

A level difference of just 2 is around +30% extra damage dealt and -30% damage taken. At just 2 levels the difference is crushing. At 3 levels differences it is a pointless waste of time going through the motions of resolving the fight. Adding extra enemies at that point just drags things out - they don't alter the outcome.

It's too much it creates a very narrow band of play. I like to play and GM in long compaigns. This makes it very hard to challenge the PCs with a swarm of "low" level mooks. The progression is too fast.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So help me understand something. Every single edition of this game leading up to Pathfinder since thac0 was no longer a thing has had the fighter add 1 to his rolls to hit every single level. With the same equipment a level 20 fighter will hit things on a 2 that a level 1 fighter will only hit on a 20 in 3rd edition, 3.5, and PF1. We can even trace this back to 1st edition even though the thac0 chart ends at "17+", as a first level fighter hits AC 0 on a 20 and a 17th level fighter needs a 4; thac0 being basically 20-BAB.

Why are we suddenly wanting to do away with this?

I personally want my high level fighter's ability to hit things to be much greater than the same character at low level. If BAB, and hence +Level, is fine for accuracy why are we making the argument about +Level instead of "what, specifically, it is added to."

Other classes always had a different progression. 2/3 for clerics

I don't see it as such a concern to change the maths a bit if its desired.


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Gortle wrote:
Each plus 1 equates to about 10% increased damage dealt in combat and 10% reduced damage suffered. Basically each plus one is a +5% chance of a hit and a +5% chance of a critical.

An absolute 5% increase in hit chance is better than a relative 5% increase in damage.

If I attack three times with 55%/30%/5% hit chance, I get an average of .9 hits per round (ignoring crits). With an extra 5% hit chance, I get 1.05 hits per round. That's a damage-per-round increase of 16.7%.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Well, people keep saying +Level is a problem, without actually pointing out what the problem is.

So compared to PF1:
- My Accuracy goes up at the same rate if I am a fighter, barbarian, monk, ranger, or paladin. It goes up faster if I'm another class.
- My DCs go up twice as fast, but good saves go up at the same rate. No saves are bad saves any more.
- My important skills go up at the same rate. My "bad skills" start at a lower number, but do increase whereas they would not in PF1.
- My Armor Class just goes up, but I can no longer buy an amulet of natural armor or ring of protection, and I was expected to maintain an AC of like 17+Level anyway.

Which of these things is the problem?

The problem is that PCs get good at things they don't want to or need to be good at, harming character concept and diversity.

The problem is that the free increases in AC, critical hit chance, saves, etc, make level differences too pronounced and greatly narrows the range of suitable challenges.

The problem is that the free increases in AC, critical hit chance, saves, etc, provide so much power increase that the system can't afford to offer class powers/feats that are better than mediocre or the exponential growth would get out of hand.

The problem is excessive balance; if all DCs and saves and skills and attacks and ACs increase at the same rate, everything stays the same and you don't feel any sense of progress.

The problems is that numbers get too big. Numbers like +12 are OK, but numbers like +41 are obviously silly.

The problem is that everyone assumes everyone else has the same problems as them.

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Basically, attacks should scale faster than AC, skills should scale faster than skill DCs(but only for skills you want), and saves should scale faster than save DCs. What number constitutes an successful roll on the d20 should get lower as levels increase.


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ryric wrote:
Basically, attacks should scale faster than AC, skills should scale faster than skill DCs(but only for skills you want), and saves should scale faster than save DCs. What number constitutes an successful roll on the d20 should get lower as levels increase.

Skill DCs should NOT SCALE AT ALL.

A legendary lock has the same DC no matter who picks it.

But, I do agree that AC should scale much slower, if at all.

HPs are your virtual scaling AC


ryric wrote:
Basically, attacks should scale faster than AC, skills should scale faster than skill DCs(but only for skills you want), and saves should scale faster than save DCs. What number constitutes an successful roll on the d20 should get lower as levels increase.

And this is definitely a difference of opinion area, since the first was something I hated seriously about PF1, and the third was as well with the asterik that for any characters poor saves scaled too far BEHIND save DCs, rather than ahead of them like good saves.

And both of those have the asterik that if you didn't know the system well enough you could easily make a mistake and fall behind where you "Should" be, like not getting the Big 6 for example.


Igor Horvat wrote:
ryric wrote:
Basically, attacks should scale faster than AC, skills should scale faster than skill DCs(but only for skills you want), and saves should scale faster than save DCs. What number constitutes an successful roll on the d20 should get lower as levels increase.

Skill DCs should NOT SCALE AT ALL.

A legendary lock has the same DC no matter who picks it.

But, I do agree that AC should scale much slower, if at all.

HPs are your virtual scaling AC

The last does of course lead to the situation where being hard to hit with a weapon means you can fall long distances and expect to survive. And to the desire for constant increases in the power of damage spells due to the constantly increasing hit points of targets. And to the requirement to add more and more damage to every attack.


ryric wrote:
What number constitutes a successful roll on the d20 should get lower as levels increase.

This, definitionally, is exactly what adding +level to proficiency does for everything. Arguing that the game is on a treadmill is not an argument about the +level to proficiency, it is an argument about adventure design. The argument that adding your level to proficiency for everything makes characters feel too much the same is the one that feels more relevant to the Original Post.

ryric wrote:
Basically, attacks should scale faster than AC, skills should scale faster than skill DCs(but only for skills you want), and saves should scale faster than save DCs.

The problem with this, which is what we saw in PF1, is that trying to build a strong defensive character that stays defensively strong over time is nearly impossible. In PF 1 the only character that even had a hope of it was the paladin with a high charisma, because there are too many defenses to have characters have slow and fast defensive progressions. Eventually the PCs are going to run up against the one they can't reasonably save against, against a save or die effect, and the only way to defeat that is to focus everything into going first and hitting the hardest (i.e: rocket tag).

I find the ease with which adjusting level for enemies to make for predictably more or less challenging encounters to be a great improvement of the playtest, but it is one that didn't really feature in Doomsday dawn and is being overlooked by theorycrafters, since none of the prewritten material really get to highlight it for a GM.

EDIT: Except in some of the live stream discussions where the developers talk about how easy it has been to adjust PF1 material to work with the PF2 rules.

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Igor Horvat wrote:
ryric wrote:
Basically, attacks should scale faster than AC, skills should scale faster than skill DCs(but only for skills you want), and saves should scale faster than save DCs. What number constitutes an successful roll on the d20 should get lower as levels increase.

Skill DCs should NOT SCALE AT ALL.

A legendary lock has the same DC no matter who picks it.

But, I do agree that AC should scale much slower, if at all.

HPs are your virtual scaling AC

But it's okay to say that a cheap lock is appropriate for 1st level adventurers while a legendary lock is appropriate for 15th level. That's a form of scaling. But I agree, skill DCs should be set by the world, not by the PC's level.

I make no claim that PF1e is perfect in this area, as spell DCs going up faster than saves demonstrate. In AD&D one of the things that kept high level SoD spells under control was the fact that most opponents made their save on something like a 5 by those levels.


Bluenose wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:
ryric wrote:
Basically, attacks should scale faster than AC, skills should scale faster than skill DCs(but only for skills you want), and saves should scale faster than save DCs. What number constitutes an successful roll on the d20 should get lower as levels increase.

Skill DCs should NOT SCALE AT ALL.

A legendary lock has the same DC no matter who picks it.

But, I do agree that AC should scale much slower, if at all.

HPs are your virtual scaling AC

The last does of course lead to the situation where being hard to hit with a weapon means you can fall long distances and expect to survive. And to the desire for constant increases in the power of damage spells due to the constantly increasing hit points of targets. And to the requirement to add more and more damage to every attack.

Oh, I have ruled falling damage decades ago.

You take 10% of your MAX HPs per 10ft. 100ft=100% HP. you die.

You can always try acrobatics check to reduce distance by 10ft or more


ryric wrote:

But it's okay to say that a cheap lock is appropriate for 1st level adventurers while a legendary lock is appropriate for 15th level. That's a form of scaling. But I agree, skill DCs should be set by the world, not by the PC's level.

I think video games are really twisting people's ideas about how this should work in RPGs.

Video games only have elements that the player is eventually going to be able to interact with. Assigning a flat DC to everything in a videogame world is an easy way of gating everything behind the illusion of static numbers when in fact it is all level gating by a much more rigid story arc then happens in table top RPGs.

The role playing word doesn't actually exist outside of the PCs and their level. Trying to GM an entire wold that is moving on its own outside of the actions of a group of protagonists (the party) is maybe fun for some people, but it requires far more work than the vast majority of people are going to want to do. Is it unbelievable that a town might higher a better locksmith to come back through after a PC rogue picked half the locks in town? Or that the villains are aware that their plots are being foiled and trying apply additional resources to the only force in world that is actually making a major impact on their machinations? Because that is what the Party is, or at least becomes, the only group that is expected to serious change the outcome away from the bad event that defines the need for adventurers in the first place.

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Unicore wrote:
ryric wrote:

But it's okay to say that a cheap lock is appropriate for 1st level adventurers while a legendary lock is appropriate for 15th level. That's a form of scaling. But I agree, skill DCs should be set by the world, not by the PC's level.

I think video games are really twisting people's ideas about how this should work in RPGs.

Video games only have elements that the player is eventually going to be able to interact with. Assigning a flat DC to everything in a videogame world is an easy way of gating everything behind the illusion of static numbers when in fact it is all level gating by a much more rigid story arc then happens in table top RPGs.

The role playing word doesn't actually exist outside of the PCs and their level. Trying to GM an entire wold that is moving on its own outside of the actions of a group of protagonists (the party) is maybe fun for some people, but it requires far more work than the vast majority of people are going to want to do. Is it unbelievable that a town might higher a better locksmith to come back through after a PC rogue picked half the locks in town? Or that the villains are aware that their plots are being foiled and trying apply additional resources to the only force in world that is actually making a major impact on their machinations? Because that is what the Party is, or at least becomes, the only group that is expected to serious change the outcome away from the bad event that defines the need for adventurers in the first place.

But you want the illusion of a wider world. In a sandbox game of course I have NPCs doing things when the PCs aren't there - that's one way to give consequences to PC choices. You focused on plot A, so plot B advances unhindered.

I've been running tabletop games since computer games were wireframe dungeons with black&white monster still images, and console games were various colored squares moving around. I don't think my preferences were designed around video game area gating. My first video games pretty much only had "deeper level = harder stuff" for scaling. And "skills" at that time were pretty much what the thief class had, and they just got absolutely better with levels.


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ryric wrote:


But you want the illusion of a wider world. In a sandbox game of course I have NPCs doing things when the PCs aren't there - that's one way to give consequences to PC choices. You focused on plot A, so plot B advances unhindered.

Right, but you don't actually simulate those events. You don't need to know the stats of every creature involved in those events or need nearly the same level of depth that you need with PCs. You just decide what reactions would create the best, most complete story based upon the players actions or inactions to create consequences for player decisions. What does this have to do with the conversation?

Flat DCs and level based challenges are essentially the same thing. The question is how you arrive at them. This was obfuscated in PF1 because a DC 20 skill check might be a suitable hard challenge to drop on characters of such a wide spectrum of characters that deciding anything except combat (CR) by level was folly, and even combat and CR varied widely on extra abilities that the monsters had. What level of adventure is it suitable to throw the PCs at castle made of Ice on a cliff face? Without specific monster CR to set that stage for a GM, bending the environment around PCs in PF1 goes from extremely difficult to trivialized by magic by level 11 at the latest. Especially with skills like Diplomacy and disable device, you often ran into the problem that challenges were bypassed by magic, impossible for 50-75% of parties and trivialized by a diplomancer or other specialized character.

War of the Crown looks like an awesome AP that I will probably never play because my group will Overpower it into something that the GM would essentially be having to rewrite entirely past book 1.

This is what the +level to proficiency fixes and it is very easy to see how appealing it is from a design perspective. Knowing the approximate power level of a party at level x is essential to good but challenging encounter design. This needs to apply to skills just as much as it does to combat.

As far as its effect on player choice and flexibility, we will have to see if it is present in the actual PF2 design or not, but it is going to rely much more on things beyond the numerical difference between one characters bonus in one skill vs another character's bonus in that skill.


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ryric wrote:
Basically, attacks should scale faster than AC, skills should scale faster than skill DCs(but only for skills you want), and saves should scale faster than save DCs. What number constitutes an successful roll on the d20 should get lower as levels increase.

I feel like doing this makes high level (against level-appropriate antagonists) play much easier than low level play, leading to those levels where you should be feeling like epic heroes but mostly you just walk over everything.

If the gulf between "your modifier" and "a level appropriate challenge" is lower at high levels then higher levels, we've mostly set up a game of "work to get awesome then cruise to the finish". Admittedly this is a very common thing to see, but it's not good.

I agree that the world sets the DCs (which is also how PF2 does it) but the issue is that the trajectory of these games sends PCs off to places where they are liable to find much tougher challenges that they are now able to handle... from Sandpoint, to Magnimar, to Hook Mountain, to the Storval Plateau, to the Labyrinth of Sin, to Xin-Shalast- a steady increase in difficulty level within the narrative.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
ryric wrote:
Basically, attacks should scale faster than AC, skills should scale faster than skill DCs(but only for skills you want), and saves should scale faster than save DCs. What number constitutes an successful roll on the d20 should get lower as levels increase.

I feel like doing this makes high level (against level-appropriate antagonists) play much easier than low level play, leading to those levels where you should be feeling like epic heroes but mostly you just walk over everything.

If the gulf between "your modifier" and "a level appropriate challenge" is lower at high levels then higher levels, we've mostly set up a game of "work to get awesome then cruise to the finish". Admittedly this is a very common thing to see, but it's not good.

I agree that the world sets the DCs (which is also how PF2 does it) but the issue is that the trajectory of these games sends PCs off to places where they are liable to find much tougher challenges that they are now able to handle... from Sandpoint, to Magnimar, to Hook Mountain, to the Storval Plateau, to the Labyrinth of Sin, to Xin-Shalast- a steady increase in difficulty level within the narrative.

Yes, ALL of this. Walking over everything gets old after a while, it's not terribly exciting when most of your d20 rolls are just to see if you get a 1 or a crit.

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Why are you insisting on conflating "unlikely" with "hard?" A task isn't more challenging because you need to roll a 17+ rather than a 12+, it's just more unlikely. A challenge is only fun to overcome when you actually can overcome it, and one challenge I enjoy overcoming is randomness and unpredictability. In PF2e you just have to hope you roll well, because no preparation, plan, skill, talent or anything helps. I don't want to get to high levels and coast - I want challenges that are more interesting than "roll a 10 or better to succeed."

To put it another way - "hitting the monster" isn't an interesting challenge. "Stop the monster from killing innocents" is better. "Defeat the monster with minimal collateral damage" is better.

"Climb the wall" isn't an interesting challenge either. "Make it to the top of the cliff, watch out for the pterodactyls!" is much better, and is still interesting even if the PCs fly or make their Climb checks on a 1.

Individual die rolls are the nuts and bolts of solving a challenge, not the challenge themselves. You can have challenge at both ends of the probability spectrum, but one end is a whole lot less frustrating for the players.


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I mean, have people who wanted "the difference between the target number and the modifier gets smaller as you go" played Wrath of the Righteous? Because with a full book to go in that one, we had a group capable of murking a demon lord in a single round (Baphomet had like 12HP left after the person who won initiative went) for which basically every skill check was automatic.

Stuff like this is fun occasionally, but it should not be the default setting.

Stuff that makes your important modifiers go up faster are going to be added to PF2 just like they were added in PF1, so making them go up much faster than DCs in the core book is dangerous.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
ryric wrote:

Why are you insisting on conflating "unlikely" with "hard?" A task isn't more challenging because you need to roll a 17+ rather than a 12+, it's just more unlikely. A challenge is only fun to overcome when you actually can overcome it, and one challenge I enjoy overcoming is randomness and unpredictability. In PF2e you just have to hope you roll well, because no preparation, plan, skill, talent or anything helps. I don't want to get to high levels and coast - I want challenges that are more interesting than "roll a 10 or better to succeed."

To put it another way - "hitting the monster" isn't an interesting challenge. "Stop the monster from killing innocents" is better. "Defeat the monster with minimal collateral damage" is better.

"Climb the wall" isn't an interesting challenge either. "Make it to the top of the cliff, watch out for the pterodactyls!" is much better, and is still interesting even if the PCs fly or make their Climb checks on a 1.

Individual die rolls are the nuts and bolts of solving a challenge, not the challenge themselves. You can have challenge at both ends of the probability spectrum, but one end is a whole lot less frustrating for the players.

What has that got to do with anything really. Literally nothing in PF2 discourages having coinciding events. In fact it encourages it. In PF1 you can't have the pterodactyls harass adventurers climbing a cliff, because two characters can't actually climb at all and the other 2 are so good that being on a cliff doesn't really change the fight for them. PF2 helps in that scenario.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, have people who wanted "the difference between the target number and the modifier gets smaller as you go" played Wrath of the Righteous? Because with a full book to go in that one, we had a group capable of murking a demon lord in a single round (Baphomet had like 12HP left after the person who won initiative went) for which basically every skill check was automatic.

Stuff like this is fun occasionally, but it should not be the default setting.

Which is why mythic is an optional subsystem and not a default presumption.


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In general:
1) I know of various GM's who do need to know what various NPC's can and cannot do and those that do not need to know exactly the numbers.
2) The above info factors into how each "type" of GM manages their game and how dynamic and "living" it is.
3) I have found that in general it helps to give each the tools they need to make their game easier.

I have seen this by playing in multiple games at home, at con's as well as watching games being played in game stores since the late 70's. As well as talking to many people around the world on how to improve their games and or improve their play by identifying what type of GM and or player they are and what type of game most satisfy's them.
I agree your experience may differ but I have found that just going to a game store and hanging out and watching and listening can be very informative. I learned at lot about how various younger kids were playing 3.X by watching games while waiting for my next MtG match or listening in while playing MtG.

MDC


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Unicore wrote:
Flat DCs and level based challenges are essentially the same thing.

Technically, level-based challenges are attribute checks, i.e., a Strength check, a Dexterity check, etc., because the attirbute modifier is not cancelled out by level. Flat checks don't have attribute modifiers. This might be why the Pathfinder Playtest lacks attribute checks. They can use proficiency checks as attribute checks with no trouble.

For the most part, attributes (called abilities in PF2 but that is an awkward name when the game has features that better fit the name "ability") correspond to what the characters want to be good at, so we can clumsily pretend the attribue bonus is a proficiency bonus. Back in page 2 of this thread, Charlie Brooks argued, "I've got a 4th-level wizard with a +9 Arcana and a 4th-level fighter with a +1," to demonstrate that proficiency mattered, when really half that difference was from the wizard's Intelligence bonus and the other half was from the one case where proficiency matters, the -4 difference between trained and untrained (and that started at -2 before the Rules Updates).

We still have a few awkward classes where attribute does not match use. A bard and an occult sorcerer are the classes that we would expect to be masters at Occultism, but Occultism is an Intelligence-based skill and the two occult spellcasters use Charisma as their primary stat.

Unicore wrote:
What level of adventure is it suitable to throw the PCs at castle made of Ice on a cliff face?

17th level :-) Pathfinder Module: The Witchwar Legacy takes place in an icy necropolis on a cliff face, and it is for 17th-level characters. I ran it for my Rise of the Runelords campaign after we finished the adventure path itself.


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Mathmuse wrote:


Unicore wrote:
What level of adventure is it suitable to throw the PCs at castle made of Ice on a cliff face?
17th level :-) Pathfinder Module: The Witchwar Legacy takes place in an icy necropolis on a cliff face, and it is for 17th-level characters. I ran it for my Rise of the Runelords campaign after we finished the adventure path itself.

Certainly comparing material to previously published work is a great thing to do when you have the time and resources. I hope your party had fun!

At 17th level, did you find your party engaged in any skill checks that were relevant to the environmental hazards? I can't imagine many parties trying to climb walls or move silently without using invisibility or other magic resources to greatly increase their stealth abilities?

I misspoke in the post you previously responded to about Flat DC checks. I was actually referencing situations where the DC for a task is chosen from a set list of DCs for different possible scenarios: Lists of DCs for different quality locks, acrobatic checks, climb checks, etc.

The difference between assigning those tasks a level and a difficulty, and assigning them a static DC is near enough to the same thing, the difference being that having a suggested level in a game with a tighter math balance makes it easier to know off hand if it is an appropriate challenge to throw at your party.

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Had to remove a lot of posts. The arguing isn't productive. There are more mature ways to discuss and debate others' opinions. Don't be hostile.


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Tacticslion wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, have people who wanted "the difference between the target number and the modifier gets smaller as you go" played Wrath of the Righteous? Because with a full book to go in that one, we had a group capable of murking a demon lord in a single round (Baphomet had like 12HP left after the person who won initiative went) for which basically every skill check was automatic.

Stuff like this is fun occasionally, but it should not be the default setting.

Which is why mythic is an optional subsystem and not a default presumption.

I'm pretty sure it's possible, possibly even easy for some people, to get a party like that even in a non-Mythic game.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Gortle wrote:
Each plus 1 equates to about 10% increased damage dealt in combat and 10% reduced damage suffered. Basically each plus one is a +5% chance of a hit and a +5% chance of a critical.

An absolute 5% increase in hit chance is better than a relative 5% increase in damage.

If I attack three times with 55%/30%/5% hit chance, I get an average of .9 hits per round (ignoring crits). With an extra 5% hit chance, I get 1.05 hits per round. That's a damage-per-round increase of 16.7%.

Yes I've phrased my percentages wrong. I was considering against a 100% base of hit chance.

You definitely should not be making the assumption of ignoring critcals as they are a large part of the damage in the game. Assuming that critical damage is close to double damage and therefore counts as 2 normal hits. (its actually higher because of deadly weapons and critical special effects)
To your maths I'd be adding in criticals on 19,20/20/20 for 1.1 hits per round base. Then with a plus 1 there would be an extra chance of a critical on an 18 => 1.3 hits per round for a damage per round increase of 18%.
But thats a particular case, often you aren't making a 3rd attack, often gaining a +1 to hit won't make a difference of a hit.
We also haven't considered increased hitpoints or damage.

Someone with more patience than me should do the maths properley. But I'm happy to concede that the increased damage from each +1 is 15% to 20%.


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Preventing good optimizers from accidentally being able to roll basically anything in their way is why I'm not a fan of "PC bonuses increase faster than target numbers" in the bones of the system since I like my high level play to be somewhat challenging, and with the inevitable power creep over the life of an edition we're going to get there eventually.

Likewise preventing people from being incredibly bad at something I count as a positive since a lot of the time having a 0 (or lower) modifier at something in PF1 meant "you just sat their quietly and did not participate when that something was going on." See, for example, all of the Cha 5-7 characters with 0 ranks in social skills who simply decided to sit out all social encounters (not all low charisma characters, the mentally ill garbage-eating Cha 5 Vermin Druid in our Hell's Rebels game was great fun because the player was *great* at picking her spots, and the party had 3 diplomancers.) Having the nadir now be Level-5 (for Dwarves, Level-4 for others) now means that your 11th level dude can at least feel okay about opening their mouth at fancy parties- the question is now "do you avoid embarrassing yourself when put on the spot" instead of "avoid being put on the spot at all costs."


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ryric wrote:

Why are you insisting on conflating "unlikely" with "hard?" A task isn't more challenging because you need to roll a 17+ rather than a 12+, it's just more unlikely. A challenge is only fun to overcome when you actually can overcome it, and one challenge I enjoy overcoming is randomness and unpredictability. In PF2e you just have to hope you roll well, because no preparation, plan, skill, talent or anything helps. I don't want to get to high levels and coast - I want challenges that are more interesting than "roll a 10 or better to succeed."

To put it another way - "hitting the monster" isn't an interesting challenge. "Stop the monster from killing innocents" is better. "Defeat the monster with minimal collateral damage" is better.

"Climb the wall" isn't an interesting challenge either. "Make it to the top of the cliff, watch out for the pterodactyls!" is much better, and is still interesting even if the PCs fly or make their Climb checks on a 1.

Individual die rolls are the nuts and bolts of solving a challenge, not the challenge themselves. You can have challenge at both ends of the probability spectrum, but one end is a whole lot less frustrating for the players.

Malk_Content wrote:
What has that got to do with anything really. Literally nothing in PF2 discourages having coinciding events. In fact it encourages it. In PF1 you can't have the pterodactyls harass adventurers climbing a cliff, because two characters can't actually climb at all and the other 2 are so good that being on a cliff doesn't really change the fight for them. PF2 helps in that scenario.

Note: I like PF1, but I am not of the opinion that it is flawless. My arguments here are not actually about PF2 directly, merely broad game-play principles.

Man, this interplay clearly represents a deep-seated misunderstanding of the concepts actually being discussed. I myself almost fell into the same trap, though in the first draft of this response; it happens. In fact, multiple people on all sides of the conversation have devoted posts to trying to clarify this exact sort of thing (and PC has a couple of times, in particular); this is ultimately just one more.

ryric's point is this: relative-difficulty with dice rolls do not inherently make an event challenging (and, if relied upon to excess, it generates a boring set of interactions with the world); instead, challenges make the event challenging (dice rolls are a portion of this, but only a portion).

How this relates to PF2 is: there appears to be a mistaken impression that correlates "dice-rolling" with "challenging," which fundamentally misunderstands the nature of playing the game.

It is understandable (based on his examples) that ryric's contention be seen as "coinciding events" being the only way to make a challenge more challenging. This is false. Instead (looking at the preponderance of his arguments), ryric is suggesting that the illusion of reality (and thus depth of potential immersion) is supported and maintained by the rules backing up the concept that the game world is, in fact, a world; using fiat mechanics can easily give lie to this belief, potentially making it harder to become immersed into the world by giving a strikingly and fundamentally out-of-character set of explanations for events that are supposed to happen in-character.

For the sake of clarity, let's actually look at that wall-climbing scenario.

ryric pointed at the wall, because it's an example of something that exists "in the world" of the PCs.

So the two scenarios go like this:
- a) the PCs must get to the other side of a wall
- b) the PCs must get to the top of a cliff while somehow not getting killed by pterodactyls

Fundamentally, both of these are adventure snippets are about movement. There are multiple ways to handle such things in the game system.

-------------------------

In a "PF2-alike" conceit (that is, a system with a flat-numbers-by-level v. DC-by-level approach) the functional effect of the system (though specifics may differ) is either creating something that you never really get better at (ultimately either leading to potentially apparently-unnecessary numbers-bloat or leading to a potentially very repetitive play experience) or something that everyone gets better at (leading to apparent-sameness among supposedly-different character concepts). This is not fundamentally bad design, but it can lead to the sense of repetitive, "roll a dice and hope it's ten or better" for twenty levels straight - which can get very boring (in addition to feeling very "off" at times). There are - without question! - ways around this, of course, but, functionally, the idea of everyone getting better at things, but the DCs get just as harder can lead to a feeling of disconnect between the rules and the story.

So looking at this, the two gameplay would play out thusly:

- a) the PCs climb a wall by making three checks with a 10 or higher on a d20 at first level; they also do that at 10th level; and do that again at 20th level. Alternatively, they might have some abilities that help out, but really aren't necessary.

- b) the PCs climb a cliff by making five checks with a 10 or higher on a d20 at first level, and trusting their equipment and hp to ablate the death-causing birds at 1st level; they also do that at 10th level; and do that again at 20th level. Alternatively, they might have some abilities that help out, but really aren't necessary.

Of course, that presupposes "b" is just as valid as "a" in this context at all levels of play. It might not be. Different games are made differently. And "a" need not be prosaic as a 10 ft. wall. What may well be a super-difficult challenge at level 1 - that is a 10 ft. wall - might be mild later on (having the same DCs; that was so 9 levels ago, you know), and now the challenge is a 100 ft. wall. All of that is separate from his point, though, and merely serve to illustrate the point: functionally, relying on the "everyone's good enough to pass basic things at this level in the same way" can feel extremely "same-y" in terms of gameplay. (It need not, and I suspect PF2 will have a variety of methods for accomplishing things; it can lead to other issues, however.)

The upshot of this method is that you can kind of "quick glance" a very broad number of challenges based on level, and "quick set" what is expected to be reasonable without much effort.

-------------------------

In a "PF1-alike" conceit (that is, a system with a plurality of choices and investments that radically alter character build) the functional effect of the system (though specifics may differ) is either creating something that you never really get better at (ultimately leaving characters potentially unable to pass obstacles) or something that everyone has a chance to succeed at (leading to a limit to how "dangerous" things are). This is not fundamentally bad design, but it can lead to the sense of empty, "might as well not even try" for twenty levels straight - which can get very boring (in addition to feeling very "unheroic" at times). There are - without question! - ways around this, of course, but, functionally, the idea of people never getting better at things can lead to a feeling of rules hampering when the telling an epic story.

So looking at this, the two gameplay would play out thusly:

- a) the PCs either climb the wall or fail to do so and must rely on other elements to get around it or talk their way out of the consequences for that failure (or otherwise escape them... or suffer them) at level 1; the PCs either easily climb the wall or are forced to wait behind (or use various abilities - usually magic items and spells) to circumvent the wall at level 10; the PCs generally don't care about the wall by level 20, because the concept of walls being a challenge stopped being a thing 10 levels ago.

- b) the PCs climb a cliff by making five checks with a 10 or higher on a d20 at first level, and trusting their equipment and hp to ablate the death-causing birds at 1st level - many of them simply cannot do so, and they must either figure something else out, or stay behind or suffer a loss; they also do that at 10th level, but non-skill abilities are generally more useful (levitation, flying, dimension door or teleport, telekinesis, being carried by a strong climbing or flying mount or friend, and other non-skill-based solutions); and by 20th level you're needing things other than a cliff and some leather birds to challenge you.

Of course, that presupposes "b" is just as valid as "a" in this context at all levels of play. It might not be. Different games are made differently. And "a" need not be prosaic as a 10 ft. wall. What may well be a super-difficult challenge at level 1 - that is a 10 ft. wall - is presupposed to be less of a challenge later on as you have the same DC and skill-value but an entire new set of abilities (that was so 9 levels ago, you know), and now the challenge is a 100 ft. wall (which might be a bunch of lower DCs or the same amount of higher DCs or whatever). This serves to illustrate Malk's (and Possible Cabbage's) point: functionally, relying on the "everyone's either invested in skills or extremely specific abilities pass things with no level-based guidance" can lead to complete failures (often called "gates") preventing successful gameplay or leaving others feeling unheroic. (It need not, and there is plenty of PF1-and-older experiences that indicate that most players or groups either quickly learn and adapt, or GMs ad hoc chances - or tables learn to live with failure, as Steve Geddes' group seems to enjoy doing... at least enough to keep gaming!)

The upshot of this method is that you have a world that is internally very consistent, and this can lead to great depth of the illusion of reality and immersion - usually more easily than other things.

-------------------------

Neither approach is wrong, per se, and there are a host of other gaming styles and designs out there, but I am in the camp that the latter is more important than the former. I don't think PF1 perfectly aces the latter by any means, but it does it better than most of its competition, and that's something I appreciate (also, the folks at Paizo rock it pretty hard; they're good folks).


Shinigami02 wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, have people who wanted "the difference between the target number and the modifier gets smaller as you go" played Wrath of the Righteous? Because with a full book to go in that one, we had a group capable of murking a demon lord in a single round (Baphomet had like 12HP left after the person who won initiative went) for which basically every skill check was automatic.

Stuff like this is fun occasionally, but it should not be the default setting.

Which is why mythic is an optional subsystem and not a default presumption.
I'm pretty sure it's possible, possibly even easy for some people, to get a party like that even in a non-Mythic game.

It depends - heavily depends - on the scale of challenges you're facing, and how a potential foe is run. In Mythic, the PCs are given a lot of nifty thingies that remove the agency from a GM for messing with basic strategies while also making those basic strategies more effective.

In the standard game, you're going to have to run a much, much higher effort to get similar results against the specific foes in question.

The reason the illusion holds is because people generally assign things that they expect people to have a chance to overcome, but most same-level PCs would have a much, much harder time (while most mythic PCs would have a not-terribly-difficult time).

Also, there are definitely exploits in the base game that can make such things much more viable, but most of those involve using spells to solve all your problems before they become problems. Much of the "shock" at mythic is that martials, suddenly, can solve all your problems after they become problems without nearly so much effort or specialization. None of which relates to using flat bonus/DCs, except as an example of "there's this one time when non-flat bonus/DCs let us do ludicrous things with a subsystem specifically for letting us do ludicrous things in an AP widely acknowledge as not well-balanced, and generally posited as best left several mythic tiers lower than the official written work says it is." Basically, I acknowledge you can come up with good examples, but drawing upon mythic isn't one of those, and most people have a much harder time when not relying on super-magic-users.

EDIT: For an example of non-mythic creatures that can really lay into powerful opponents, see the Beastmass threads and DPR Olympics. For an example of why that's much harder than with mythic, see the long-raging arguments and debates over the validity of different characters within the Beastmass threads and DPR Olympics. Short version: there are people who can make pretty powerful and shockingly effective characters, but mythic really just changes the game to the point that you can't suggest,

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Stuff like this is fun occasionally, but it should not be the default setting.

It also should be clear that the vast majority of tables don't have to deal with that kind of nonsense on a regular basis, as Mythic isn't the default presumption (though many tables report the adoption of Mythic as "easy mode" for whatever). For better examples, you might want to look at CoT (a level ~13 AP; the end check of the AP usually is nearly impossible; several high-Cha builds can effectively invalidate the need for a roll, however they are surprisingly specific), S'S (an level ~18 AP, where you need to fight a <SPOILER!>, which can be quite tough... or not, if you're cribbing certain martial builds), KM (a level ~15 AP, where downtime makes crafting wizards the One True Build), or RotR (infamous for several "real potential TPKs" across various levels; these can be mostly be invalidated with access to low-level spell buffs). Strangely, three of those four are rather beloved APs, and the fourth is less popular not due to the final boss, but because of... lots of roughly-level-appropriate dice-rolls leading to a feeling of slow-down and slog toward the middle levels.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Preventing good optimizers from accidentally being able to roll basically anything in their way is why I'm not a fan of "PC bonuses increase faster than target numbers" in the bones of the system since I like my high level play to be somewhat challenging, and with the inevitable power creep over the life of an edition we're going to get there eventually.

This is a very fair contention, but it's a thing that I don't feel is inherent to the idea of dice rolls getting easier, and is directly tackled by ryric's previous point that "higher DCs don't inherently represent a fun challenge to overcome" (though, I'll add, depending on the playstyle and experiences of the party, it hypothetically could be, even if it's not my cuppa).

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Likewise preventing people from being incredibly bad at something I count as a positive since a lot of the time having a 0 (or lower) modifier at something in PF1 meant "you just sat their quietly and did not participate when that something was going on." See, for example, all of the Cha 5-7 characters with 0 ranks in social skills who simply decided to sit out all social encounters (not all low charisma characters, the mentally ill garbage-eating Cha 5 Vermin Druid in our Hell's Rebels game was great fun because the player was *great* at picking her spots, and the party had 3 diplomancers.) Having the nadir now be Level-5 (for Dwarves, Level-4 for others) now means that your 11th level dude can at least feel okay about opening their mouth at fancy parties- the question is now "do you avoid embarrassing yourself when put on the spot" instead of "avoid being put on the spot at all costs."

I think that this is also reasonable, but fundamentally mistakes (in a very valid and understandable way) that you feel obligated to roll dice whenever you happen to say something and that you cannot and should not participate when dice rolls are not possible.

This is exactly something that ryric was addressing, albeit potentially indirectly: RP and problem-solving does not inherently require a dice roll to accomplish (or at least not the direct dice roll).

I will suggest one of the deeper difficulties people have with casters is that most people seem hinged on their dice rolls, while casters tend to obviate the need for most dice rolls through any means necessary (the "alternate solution" approach).

Ultimately, however, this comes down to a perceptive issue - what you see as superior (and makes for better fun for you) does not necessarily equate to what others see as superior (and thus does not make for better fun for them). Clarification: I'm using a generic "you" here - that means I apply the statement to myself as well, "what I see as superior (and makes for better fun for me) does not necessarily equate to what others see as superior (and thus does not make for better fun for them)." Also, PC does over-all seem to keep that point in mind, himself. My point is simply this - whoever you are, it's worth considering that your preferred playstyle might just clash with someone else's, and this isn't wrong, but may be why your "smoking gun" (or whatever) concept or idea isn't as well-received as you might expect.


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Anyway, as most of my arguments are not specifically about the merits of PF2e, but rather potential downfalls with broadly-similar-basic-design structure, I'll probably remove myself from this conversation and allow others to either continue the discourse with others, or drop it at their leisure. My points have been made, and I'm not really trying to argue about PF2e directly, anyway, beyond broad strokes, so it's probably rather off-topic.


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Obviously, yes, challenges for higher-level characters do need to be comparatively higher. The issue is, as presented in the playtest, +1/level feels like an oversimplified way of doing this. Being high-level feels fairly meaningless, to me, in terms of everything but spell access and a couple of class features. For comparison, in 1e, higher level play felt defined by the amount of difference between things my PC was good at, and things they weren't. In one game, this took the form that I couldn't just coast on being sorta okay at melee combat, because AC would improve faster than my attack modifiers, but I could feel confident that I could get a basic success on nearly all Intimidate checks, for instance. That was fun. That made level advancement mean something besides just inflated numbers.

My group just finished Red Flags, and I did not feel that way at all there. My wizard, who was highly specialized in Diplomacy, still had only slightly better than even odds of succeeding at any given Diplomacy check (using the updated DCs), and thus significant odds of a critical failure too. This was with characters who were supposed to be extraordinary and highly-talented. Instead every single skill check was eliciting groans, because it meant things our characters were meant to be incredible at, they could quite possibly screw up completely. It felt like level 1 in most 1e games: all the PCs are just slightly better than average even at things they're good at, and the world is a very risky place to be a normal person in the face of orcs and trolls. For all that training, you still might falter at a critical moment. I like that feeling at level 1, but not at level 14.

The other thing that I don't like about it, is the contrast with the attempted tight math. Being "legendary" instead of trained is a whole +3 more. And grants access to some skill feats. That does not feel "legendary" to me. It's really hard to feel like I can customize characters meaningfully, when the difference between having, say, incredible Deception vs pretty okay Deception is... something like +3 proficiency, maybe a +3 from an item, and with the same Charisma score that would be it. But let's go ahead and say it's +6 vs +3 from Charisma, because with ability scores gained as in the playtest, getting a 16 in a pretty much unneeded stat at high levels is very doable. Let's say it's level 15, to maximize relevance of skill training compared to level. So that's going to be... 1d20+27, vs 1d20+18. That's... okay, I guess. Better than 1d20+24 vs 1d20+18, assuming my character is meant to be good at Deception without being amazingly charismatic. Or 1d20+31/1d20+28 compared to 1d20+23 at level 20. Either way, it feels unimpressive. The largest factor is randomness. The second largest factor is level. Me deciding to make my character good at Deception is the smallest factor. My character having practiced being good at lying, however many years they spent playing poker or making up stories in front of a mirror or getting by as a thief, whatever, account for a measly +3. Equal to the significance of having a nice magic ring. Equal to a relatively minor fluctuation in die rolls. For a game/setting meant to be about human limitations and futility in the face of magic and destiny, sure! But I don't think that's the genre Pathfinder is meant to be.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Preventing good optimizers from accidentally being able to roll basically anything in their way is why I'm not a fan of "PC bonuses increase faster than target numbers" in the bones of the system since I like my high level play to be somewhat challenging, and with the inevitable power creep over the life of an edition we're going to get there eventually.

Likewise preventing people from being incredibly bad at something I count as a positive since a lot of the time having a 0 (or lower) modifier at something in PF1 meant "you just sat their quietly and did not participate when that something was going on." See, for example, all of the Cha 5-7 characters with 0 ranks in social skills who simply decided to sit out all social encounters (not all low charisma characters, the mentally ill garbage-eating Cha 5 Vermin Druid in our Hell's Rebels game was great fun because the player was *great* at picking her spots, and the party had 3 diplomancers.) Having the nadir now be Level-5 (for Dwarves, Level-4 for others) now means that your 11th level dude can at least feel okay about opening their mouth at fancy parties- the question is now "do you avoid embarrassing yourself when put on the spot" instead of "avoid being put on the spot at all costs."

Thats all fine for casual or convention play. But I don't want to play in campaigns with rules like that. Players need to be able to get very good in specific things or it just never feels like they are progressing.

There has to be good and bad combinations. Building a character is fun. Being very bad at something is fun.

Every character should have a least something useful they can do in combat, and something useful out of combat. A GM should guide new players in that direction.

Characters shouldn't be the all the same, bland vanilla. Player choices have to matter.


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Gortle wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Preventing good optimizers from accidentally being able to roll basically anything in their way is why I'm not a fan of "PC bonuses increase faster than target numbers" in the bones of the system since I like my high level play to be somewhat challenging, and with the inevitable power creep over the life of an edition we're going to get there eventually.

Likewise preventing people from being incredibly bad at something I count as a positive since a lot of the time having a 0 (or lower) modifier at something in PF1 meant "you just sat their quietly and did not participate when that something was going on." See, for example, all of the Cha 5-7 characters with 0 ranks in social skills who simply decided to sit out all social encounters (not all low charisma characters, the mentally ill garbage-eating Cha 5 Vermin Druid in our Hell's Rebels game was great fun because the player was *great* at picking her spots, and the party had 3 diplomancers.) Having the nadir now be Level-5 (for Dwarves, Level-4 for others) now means that your 11th level dude can at least feel okay about opening their mouth at fancy parties- the question is now "do you avoid embarrassing yourself when put on the spot" instead of "avoid being put on the spot at all costs."

Thats all fine for casual or convention play. But I don't want to play in campaigns with rules like that. Players need to be able to get very good in specific things or it just never feels like they are progressing.

There has to be good and bad combinations. Building a character is fun. Being very bad at something is fun.

Every character should have a least something useful they can do in combat, and something useful out of combat. A GM should guide new players in that direction.

Characters shouldn't be the all the same, bland vanilla. Player choices have to matter.

Playing a game where you have to be constantly handheld by the GM to not be bad is not fun.

Playing a game where you have the "option" to be constantly useless because other players do your job way more competently without even trying is not fun.

Playing a game where some players are effectively level 8, one level 11, and one level 5 is not fun.


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I'm personally okay with a player being so good at one or two things, that they steamroll appropriately leveled challenges in those areas. The GM can always throw something higher level for them if he REALLY wants to challenge that character in those areas. Or, better yet, he can throw an NPC at that PC that has the appropriate attributes to check that PC's focus.

The thing is that such a character should have meaningful flaws to make up for that exceptional skill.

Finally, the game should incentivize diversifying your character's skill set, such that PCs tend to fall around an "average" capability.

It isn't fun when everyone hovers around average, with no flaws, and a couple skills that are slightly better than average. That character should be allowed to exist, but not everyone should have to be that character.


Someone said wrote:
The other thing that I don't like about it, is the contrast with the attempted tight math. Being "legendary" instead of trained is a whole +3 more. And grants access to some skill feats. That does not feel "legendary" to me. It's really hard to feel like I can customize characters meaningfully, when the difference between having, say, incredible Deception vs pretty okay Deception is... something like +3 proficiency, maybe a +3 from an item, and with the same Charisma score that would be it. But let's go ahead and say it's +6 vs +3 from Charisma, because with ability scores gained as in the playtest, getting a 16 in a pretty much unneeded stat at high levels is very doable. Let's say it's level 15, to maximize relevance of skill training compared to level. So that's going to be... 1d20+27, vs 1d20+18. That's... okay, I guess. Better than 1d20+24 vs 1d20+18, assuming my character is meant to be good at Deception without being amazingly charismatic. Or 1d20+31/1d20+28 compared to 1d20+23 at level 20. Either way, it feels unimpressive. The largest factor is randomness. The second largest factor is level. Me deciding to make my character good at Deception is the smallest factor. My character having practiced being good at lying, however many years they spent playing poker or making up stories in front of a mirror or getting by as a thief, whatever, account for a measly +3. Equal to the significance of having a nice magic ring. Equal to a relatively minor fluctuation in die rolls. For a game/setting meant to be about human limitations and futility in the face of magic and destiny, sure! But I don't think that's the genre Pathfinder is meant to be.

I do agree that the difference between trained and legendary isn't big enough. I think +5 difference would be better, and then adding interesting skill uses/skill feats to let you better utilize the difference between the proficiencies.


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Character's prowess should be defined by the situation they are in at the moment they make the skill roll rather than the size of the bonus modifier. We can't do anything about d20 at this point, but repeated rolls and crits allow even small number differences to make them feel distinctive. "Oh it is just 3 point", well the DC difference between something severe and impossible is also just 4 points.

Also the fact that the roll of the dice meant less and less the higher level you got in PF1 was not really as much a planned feature as the bug in the system. There is no reason to keep that, unless you are just so risk averse that your power fantasy is killed the moment your character does not succeed.

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