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


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Envall wrote:
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.

It only kills the fantasy if they fail (when not attempting a seemingly impossible task) more than about 5% of the time at the thing they're supposed to be an expert at; if Tarzan falls out of the tree, if Sherlock Holmes fails to spot the clues, if Batman can't disguise himself...


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It seems like a lot of contention about the role of +level to proficiency stems from disagreements about what level even represents in a game. This is perfectly understandable, since level is the most gamist of gamey conventions that really has no practical comparison to the real world.

Clearly, some gamers want experience to mean, the things your character specifically does. Video games like the Elder Scrolls handle this very well by having experience points earned by specific activities applying only to that activity. The problem with trying to adapt that to a table top, is that it creates book keeping nightmares when it is not being managed by a computer.

Most RPG tables do not keep track of adventurers lives in real time and the skills that get used on a daily basis to move through wilderness setting and navigate the characters general social environment are usually hand waved or glossed over.

Adventurers absolutely are getting experience in a host of skills, every day of their lives, whether they are deliberately training them or not. PF1's skill point system of intentional development was another approach to representing experience with selective experience attribution, but it did a horrible job of reflecting what characters actually experienced vs what they just wanted to be good at.

Even the fantasy desert druid who never sees a large body of water is probably engaged in more athletics checks a day then most college athletes, and the convention of not putting skill ranks in the minor skills that you practice every day, but only to minor competency is not well represented by a voluntary only skill point system.

But the appeal is that PF 1 does a good job of letting players have nearly 100% control over their character's mechanics, even if those mechanical choices would fly in the face of the character's lived experience.

The playtest clearly wanted to test many elements of having character mechanics match character experience. This was clearly the idea behind signature skills (that you had to have some in character reason for being able to train a skill outside of your character's representable experiences of Ancestry, Background and class).

Going from extreme levels of customization based on player whim and not character experience, to limited customization based more on character experience than player whim has been a very bold thing to try out and is clearly not being met with universal support, nor complete distain.

It is a tricky road to walk and any playtest worth its salt was going to have to try pushing its boundaries in both directions.

As long as level exists in RPGs, I would much rather it represent the broader definition of character experience than a specific skill level representation, especially when it is responsible for most of the growth that happens to characters. For me, that is represented well by the + level to proficiency system, I just think 20 levels is probably too much of an emphasis and would prefer that scaled down to 10.


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Cyouni wrote:


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

Pathfinder is a complex game. There is always going to be a certain amount of guidance for new players. But I agree.

Cyouni wrote:


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.

To me that is more a function of there being over powerful and totally useless options in the game. The better way is for the designers to test these and fix them up, so there are dozens of reasonable combinations. Its a playtest isn't it?

PF1 is full of narrow, useless feats/spells and abilities.Plus a few broken ones. The designers need to take off the tops of a few mountains without making it bland and formulaic like D&D 4th ed.

Cyouni wrote:


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

The designers should do their bit, but thats really up to the GM to pull up and stop. You'll have plenty of other problems if your player group are prepared to do that to each other.

Its a question of degree really, 25% differences can be fine, but 100% differences are not.

But with the way PF2 is at the moment in an encounter designed for a level 11 party, the level 8 character will die in one round, too bad about the level 5 one.

I'm not prepared to play in a game where the PCs and the GM are straight jacketed by the system. We have to have significant options and choices. Its an open extensible role playing game that everyone wants to do differently.


Gortle wrote:


Cyouni wrote:


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.

To me that is more a function of there being over powerful and totally useless options in the game. The better way is for the designers to test these and fix them up, so there are dozens of reasonable combinations. Its a playtest isn't it?

PF1 is full of narrow, useless feats/spells and abilities.Plus a few broken ones. The designers need to take off the tops of a few mountains without making it bland and formulaic like D&D 4th ed.

Then you won't have the numeric versatility that certain people keep complaining they don't have. The freedom to optimize and have that many choices also leads to the inability to be remotely relevant to a party.

My kineticist in Carrion Crown wasn't even that numerically optimized, and yet he's still known to this day as a character whose contribution was worth more than two fellow party members'.

Gortle wrote:


Cyouni wrote:


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

The designers should do their bit, but thats really up to the GM to pull up and stop. You'll have plenty of other problems if your player group are prepared to do that to each other.

Its a question of degree really, 25% differences can be fine, but 100% differences are not.

But with the way PF2 is at the moment in an encounter designed for a level 11 party, the level 8 character will die in one round, too bad about the level 5 one.

I'm not prepared to play in a game where the PCs and the GM are straight jacketed by the system. We have to have significant options and choices. Its an open extensible role playing game that everyone wants to do differently.

Effectively level 11, effectively level 8, effectively level 5. In this sample, the party would have been level 8, with one person who's good at optimizing being an effective 3 levels higher and one person who's bad at optimizing being effectively 3 levels lower. It's really not hard to do something like that in PF1.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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It doesn't really take "optimization" to make a character who actually does well at their specialty in PF1e. Here's an example:

Take a level 12 fighter. We'll start him with a 17 Str, put his three level bumps into Strength, give him a +4 Str item, a +3 weapon, and he'll have WF and GWF plus his class abilities. None of that is particularly optimized; they are all obvious CRB choices. He has a total to hit bonus of 12+7Str+2WT+2WF+3weapon = +26. The suggested armor class for a level 12 monster is 27. Our fighter would hit on a 1. If he power attacks he needs a 5 to hit.

Making these choices isn't optimization. This guy would be laughed out of the DPR Olympics. It's possible he might not have access to those magic items; he still hits on a 6 without them. This player hasn't spent hours poring over options and selecting just the right build - this is a set of obvious, and some even bad, choices. This is what I consider "baseline" 12th level in PF1e. This build could be a pregen iconic at a convention.

So I find the argument that expecting mid/high level characters to succeed at actions on low die rolls is somehow about optimization to be unconvincing. IN PF1e even mediocre characters succeed on low die rolls at higher levels. This is a virtue of the system to me.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ryric wrote:


So I find the argument that expecting mid/high level characters to succeed at actions on low die rolls is somehow about optimization to be unconvincing. IN PF1e even mediocre characters succeed on low die rolls at higher levels. This is a virtue of the system to me.

So you're saying that my gnome cRogue/cMonk who started off with Str 12 Dex 14 Wis 14 Int 18 (he's a bookish type of character) has a chance in high level combat? ;-)


ryric wrote:


So I find the argument that expecting mid/high level characters to succeed at actions on low die rolls is somehow about optimization to be unconvincing. IN PF1e even mediocre characters succeed on low die rolls at higher levels. This is a virtue of the system to me.

If it is a virtue, then that is a strong argument for just getting rid of d20 all together. Why bother keeping the power of the roll of the dice for rest of the game?


ryric wrote:

Take a level 12 fighter. We'll start him with a 17 Str, put his three level bumps into Strength, give him a +4 Str item, a +3 weapon, and he'll have WF and GWF plus his class abilities. None of that is particularly optimized; they are all obvious CRB choices. He has a total to hit bonus of 12+7Str+2WT+2WF+3weapon = +26. The suggested armor class for a level 12 monster is 27. Our fighter would hit on a 1. If he power attacks he needs a 5 to hit.

Making these choices isn't optimization.

It's not minimaxed, but it is pretty optimized. He started out with Strength as his highest stat. He's put all his level bumps into Strength. He's used a significant proportion of his money and feats on items that boost his melee hit chance, because that's what he wants to optimize. As a result he gets an 80% / 55% / 30% success rate on his power attacks (against mediocre enemies).

In the hands of a true non-optimizer his hit chance could be a lot worse.

He could have decided to boost his Constitution so he'd have more hit points so he could survive the long battles he always seems to get into because he takes a long time to kill anything. He could have spent his money on a Ring of Evasion because he's scared of dragons breathing fire on him, and a +2 crossbow because he was having trouble fighting things that weren't right next to him. He could be two-weapon fighting. Heck, he could have been a Rogue.

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Gorbacz wrote:


So you're saying that my gnome cRogue/cMonk who started off with Str 12 Dex 14 Wis 14 Int 18 (he's a bookish type of character) has a chance in high level combat? ;-)

I don't see any issues there. Having a high Int is leaning into the Rogue's strengths. You might not be the star in combat, but you could easily help the party avoid a lot of combats with clever skill use. I've run a lot of high level games, and I have a player that would take the outline you have there and make an amazing high level PC with it.

A fighter putting their high stat in Strength is considered optimization now? We have very different definitions of that word if following the basic ability score advice of every D&D-alike ever constitutes optimization. That character spent two out of 13 feats, and 34k out of an expected 108k money. And I showed that even without spending the money he's better than a PF2e fighter at hitting equal-level foes.

I would have thought it was a straw man argument, but it seems some people literally want to make the least effective build choices possible, along the lines of an Int 8 wizard, and somehow have that still make a character comparable to someone actually designed to be good at their job. That's...not what I want in a system. I want to choose to be actually good or actually bad at things. I don't want to make a character who is "bad" at something only to have the system prop me back up to a 40% success rate. I also don't want to be "good" at something with only a 60% success rate.

As to why to still keep the d20? Because you can't be great at everything. Your best stuff should basically eliminate the need to roll - but you'll be average at some stuff, and bad at some stuff, and for those things the roll is still valuable.


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ryric said wrote:

A fighter putting their high stat in Strength is considered optimization now? We have very different definitions of that word if following the basic ability score advice of every D&D-alike ever constitutes optimization. That character spent two out of 13 feats, and 34k out of an expected 108k money. And I showed that even without spending the money he's better than a PF2e fighter at hitting equal-level foes.

I would have thought it was a straw man argument, but it seems some people literally want to make the least effective build choices possible, along the lines of an Int 8 wizard, and somehow have that still make a character comparable to someone actually designed to be good at their job. That's...not what I want in a system. I want to choose to be actually good or actually bad at things. I don't want to make a character who is "bad" at something only to have the system prop me back up to a 40% success rate. I also don't want to be "good" at something with only a 60% success rate.

As to why to still keep the d20? Because you can't be great at everything. Your best stuff should basically eliminate the need to roll - but you'll be average at some stuff, and bad at some stuff, and for those things the roll is still valuable.

I agree that isn't even close to be an optimized fighter. But I don't think you can compare the to hit of a fighter in pathfinder 1 to pathfinder 2. The core of the math has been radically changed. You may disagree with what you think is a suitable to-hit and what pathfinder 2 is doing. Personally I like that armor is also valid and that both scale accordingly, at best I might give some monster -1 in AC, but overall I think with the new crit system and various buff/ debuffs in combat you will actually hit quite often.

I don't really see you ever been good at something and being at 60% while bad is 40%, more likely 70% and 30% (once you are a hitting the midlevels).


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My problem with "your best stuff should eliminate the need to roll" is the definition of "level" and the idea of opposed rolls. Here is where I am coming from:

Premise 1) "Level" should have an absolute meaning in terms of power. A level 8 monster should be roughly equal to a level 8 PC. This is good for the system because it means NPCs can be built with PC classes without mucking with balance.

Premise 2) Someone who optimizes for defense should be almost as good at defense as someone who optimizes for offense. The "almost" is because missing is less fun.

Putting those two together, it seems blatantly obvious to me that the only way a level 8 fighter should be hitting on a 2 against a level 8 monster is if there is some reason for that monster to have neglected defense entirely. Against a level 8 monster that is actually decent at defending itself, a level 8 fighter should be missing some of the time. Especially a non-optimized level 8 fighter. Just like a level 8 fighter should be missing some of the time against a level 8 champion. If a level 8 monster is supposed to have good defenses for its level, but a level 8 fighter hits it on a 2, then that isn't really a level 8 monster, is it?

Now, for non-opposed rolls I do agree that your chance of success should creep up with the more focus you put into that thing. But if you look at Table 10-2 and do the math, you will see that already happens. An optimized character starts out at a 55% chance to hit a Hard DC and ends up at an 85-90% chance.


ryric wrote:


As to why to still keep the d20? Because you can't be great at everything. Your best stuff should basically eliminate the need to roll - but you'll be average at some stuff, and bad at some stuff, and for those things the roll is still valuable.

To stay logically consistent, if you auto-succeed where you are good at, you auto-fail at the things you are not good at. Thus there is no need for rolling at any point then.


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MaxAstro wrote:

My problem with "your best stuff should eliminate the need to roll" is the definition of "level" and the idea of opposed rolls. Here is where I am coming from:

Premise 1) "Level" should have an absolute meaning in terms of power. A level 8 monster should be roughly equal to a level 8 PC. This is good for the system because it means NPCs can be built with PC classes without mucking with balance.

Premise 2) Someone who optimizes for defense should be almost as good at defense as someone who optimizes for offense. The "almost" is because missing is less fun.

Putting those two together, it seems blatantly obvious to me that the only way a level 8 fighter should be hitting on a 2 against a level 8 monster is if there is some reason for that monster to have neglected defense entirely. Against a level 8 monster that is actually decent at defending itself, a level 8 fighter should be missing some of the time. Especially a non-optimized level 8 fighter. Just like a level 8 fighter should be missing some of the time against a level 8 champion. If a level 8 monster is supposed to have good defenses for its level, but a level 8 fighter hits it on a 2, then that isn't really a level 8 monster, is it?

Now, for non-opposed rolls I do agree that your chance of success should creep up with the more focus you put into that thing. But if you look at Table 10-2 and do the math, you will see that already happens. An optimized character starts out at a 55% chance to hit a Hard DC and ends up at an 85-90% chance.

Yes, EXACTLY this. I have said this myself multiple times elsewhere, if you're steamrolling a level-appropriate challenge with something you are supposed to be good at vs. something it is supposed to be good at then IT ISN'T ACTUALLY A LEVEL-APPROPRIATE CHALLENGE. By any reasonable definition.

Hitting on low numbers against, say, a Mage is another thing, they specialize in different areas and will challenge you in different ways. Though hitting on 2 may still be a bit ridiculous unless they are the squishiest of bois. Something like hitting on 5 or 6 is a bit more reasonable if they haven't taken pains to shore up their defenses, maybe like 7 or 8 if they have.

And as above, growing in non-opposed matters is a different thing and already happens.

Silver Crusade

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ryric wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:


So you're saying that my gnome cRogue/cMonk who started off with Str 12 Dex 14 Wis 14 Int 18 (he's a bookish type of character) has a chance in high level combat? ;-)

I don't see any issues there. Having a high Int is leaning into the Rogue's strengths. You might not be the star in combat, but you could easily help the party avoid a lot of combats with clever skill use. I've run a lot of high level games, and I have a player that would take the outline you have there and make an amazing high level PC with it.

A fighter putting their high stat in Strength is considered optimization now? We have very different definitions of that word if following the basic ability score advice of every D&D-alike ever constitutes optimization. That character spent two out of 13 feats, and 34k out of an expected 108k money. And I showed that even without spending the money he's better than a PF2e fighter at hitting equal-level foes.

I would have thought it was a straw man argument, but it seems some people literally want to make the least effective build choices possible, along the lines of an Int 8 wizard, and somehow have that still make a character comparable to someone actually designed to be good at their job. That's...not what I want in a system. I want to choose to be actually good or actually bad at things. I don't want to make a character who is "bad" at something only to have the system prop me back up to a 40% success rate. I also don't want to be "good" at something with only a 60% success rate.

As to why to still keep the d20? Because you can't be great at everything. Your best stuff should basically eliminate the need to roll - but you'll be average at some stuff, and bad at some stuff, and for those things the roll is still valuable.

cRogues don't have strengths. They are a cripplingly bad class at what they were supposed to be good at. Same for Monks. Sure, you can have fun playing them. I know people who enjoy getting fired from a job every half a year or so, fun is, after all, subjective. But D&D is a tactical wargame ruleset, and within that ruleset, Rogues and Monks suck. Badly.

A very good GM will play around that and design adventures where the Rogue and the Monk will contribute and feel validated, but ... we're back at the "requires a good, experienced GM" square. I'm about done with PF1 being a ruleset which requires so much energy to ensure that I compensate for shortcomings of rules design inherited from 3.5e.

And you're an experienced player. You can design a character who blows donkey balls because you enjoy that and want that. Fine! But PF1 as it stands gives a player a chance to play a Rogue and pretends that Rogues are equally valid to Slayers or to play a Rogue/Wizard/Druid and somehow expect to be equally useful to a single-class PC.

It's bull. It's a system designed to reward people who spend their free time investing in system mastery. It's one that punishes you for not spending 20h reading guides and CharOp boards. You can make a perfectly competent non-optimized Fighter and you will contribute, sure - but the person next to you with a Slayer rocking the goz mask/eversmoking combo bottle will be just so better than you. At everything. You won't be "consciously better at something and worse at something", you'll be a footnote, because the system is designed that way.


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Gorbacz wrote:
I'm about done with PF1 being a ruleset which requires so much energy to ensure that I compensate for shortcomings of rules design inherited from 3.5e.

Can I get an AMEN in here? I said, can I get an AMEN?


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Gorbacz wrote:

cRogues don't have strengths. They are a cripplingly bad class at what they were supposed to be good at. Same for Monks. Sure, you can have fun playing them. I know people who enjoy getting fired from a job every half a year or so, fun is, after all, subjective. But D&D is a tactical wargame ruleset, and within that ruleset, Rogues and Monks suck. Badly.

A very good GM will play around that and design adventures where the Rogue and the Monk will contribute and feel validated, but ... we're back at the "requires a good, experienced GM" square. I'm about done with PF1 being a ruleset which requires so much energy to ensure that I compensate for shortcomings of rules design inherited from 3.5e.

And you're an experienced player. You can design a character who blows donkey balls because you enjoy that and want that. Fine! But PF1 as it stands gives a player a chance to play a Rogue and pretends that Rogues are equally valid to Slayers or to play a Rogue/Wizard/Druid and somehow expect to be equally useful to a single-class PC.

It's bull. It's a system designed to reward people who spend their free time investing in system mastery. It's one that punishes you for not spending 20h reading guides and CharOp boards. You can make a perfectly competent non-optimized Fighter and you will contribute, sure - but the person next to you with a Slayer rocking the goz mask/eversmoking combo bottle will be just so better than you. At everything. You won't be "consciously better at something and worse at something", you'll be a footnote, because the system is designed that way.

The two Core Rulebook rogues in my Rise of the Runelords campaign in 2012-2013 found a useful dynamic with the battle oracle. They would rush into battle at high initiative while the oracle stood still buffing herself. They would attack once more on the 2nd round and retreat. Then the highly buffed battle oracle stepped forward and started slaughtering the weakened foes. The rogues would return if not too injured and if they could flank. The other party members--wizard, sorcerer, and bard--worked on buffs, debuffs, and battlefield control. I raised the CR of the encounters by 1 to compensate for the 6-member party.

This was my first year as a full-time GM, so I would count as experienced only due to 23 years as a player before that. My GM experience before that was single-session games.

I do agree that rogues and monks are the weakest classes in the Core Rulebook. Rogues were supposed to be the ultimate skill monkeys, but bards ended up better at that. I don't know what the designers were thinking of for monks. The D&D 3rd Edition rulebook called them masters of diplomacy, but did not give them Diplomacy as a class skill. The Pathfinder version dropped that false flavor text and gave them a ki pool that ran out way too quickly.

Now that I am an experienced GM, I design encounters around the strengths and weaknesses of all the player characters. The newbie player who optimized his combat abilities at the expense of everything else was the weakest character in the party. He was even worse before I sent him links to some good class guides. The other players knew that the true power in the game was not combat prowess. Instead, true power is narrative control. Why battle hostile minions when the party can bypass them? Why wander cluelessly into battle when the party can learn all the enemy's weaknesses first? Why stand like a target and bear the brunt of enemy damage when teammates can control the flow of enemies?

The Paizo adventure paths are written to enable two kinds of players: find-the-path players and hack-and-slash players. The find-the-path players know that the module writer had one plot in mind for the adventure path and they are willing to find the writer's clues and follow the path he or she laid out. Yet, the writer is careful to leave an option open for the hack-and-slash players who would rather fight everything than find the easy way. Thus, the find-the-path players will talk to the crazy old hermit and learn about the secret tunnel into the enemy castle, while the hack-and-slash players will build their characters to fight their way in by the front gate. My players prefer a third way, some clever scheme of their own invention. Fortunately, Paizo modules are also written as travelogues introducing readers to that tiny piece of Golarion, and the travelogue usually has sufficient details for me to enable the third way.

This relates back the the +1 per level in that the +1 aids combat and aids finding the predetermined path, but the associated tight math often results in capping the weird abilities that are used for third-way solutions.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
I'm about done with PF1 being a ruleset which requires so much energy to ensure that I compensate for shortcomings of rules design inherited from 3.5e.
Can I get an AMEN in here? I said, can I get an AMEN?

AMEN!

And this is coming from someone who HAS spent the many hours learning many manners of optimization, to the point where my players very frequently come to me for advice because I know how to build all of their characters more efficiently than they do.

The number of times someone has showed up to a session having not taken the time to level up and I had to speed-level them...

And now in PF2 we reconstructed half of our level 17 Sorcerer MC Fighter's stats after the player lost the computer document with a bunch of his stats in less time than it sometimes takes me to level up a caster in PF1. XD

And that level of character building competency is with 6 months of experience with PF2, as opposed to over 3 years of PF1.

Exo-Guardians

Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
I'm about done with PF1 being a ruleset which requires so much energy to ensure that I compensate for shortcomings of rules design inherited from 3.5e.
Can I get an AMEN in here? I said, can I get an AMEN?

AMEN!

And this is coming from someone who HAS spent the many hours learning many manners of optimization, to the point where my players very frequently come to me for advice because I know how to build all of their characters more efficiently than they do.

The number of times someone has showed up to a session having not taken the time to level up and I had to speed-level them...

And now in PF2 we reconstructed half of our level 17 Sorcerer MC Fighter's stats after the player lost the computer document with a bunch of his stats in less time than it sometimes takes me to level up a caster in PF1. XD

And that level of character building competency is with 6 months of experience with PF2, as opposed to over 3 years of PF1.

Our record for build a level one with a new to the game player was 90 minutes, with most of that being bathroom breaks and lunch.


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ryric wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:


So you're saying that my gnome cRogue/cMonk who started off with Str 12 Dex 14 Wis 14 Int 18 (he's a bookish type of character) has a chance in high level combat? ;-)

I don't see any issues there. Having a high Int is leaning into the Rogue's strengths. You might not be the star in combat, but you could easily help the party avoid a lot of combats with clever skill use. I've run a lot of high level games, and I have a player that would take the outline you have there and make an amazing high level PC with it.

A fighter putting their high stat in Strength is considered optimization now? We have very different definitions of that word if following the basic ability score advice of every D&D-alike ever constitutes optimization. That character spent two out of 13 feats, and 34k out of an expected 108k money. And I showed that even without spending the money he's better than a PF2e fighter at hitting equal-level foes.

I would have thought it was a straw man argument, but it seems some people literally want to make the least effective build choices possible, along the lines of an Int 8 wizard, and somehow have that still make a character comparable to someone actually designed to be good at their job. That's...not what I want in a system. I want to choose to be actually good or actually bad at things. I don't want to make a character who is "bad" at something only to have the system prop me back up to a 40% success rate. I also don't want to be "good" at something with only a 60% success rate.

As to why to still keep the d20? Because you can't be great at everything. Your best stuff should basically eliminate the need to roll - but you'll be average at some stuff, and bad at some stuff, and for those things the roll is still valuable.

Show me a cRogue 6/cMonk 6 with that statline and I'm pretty sure it won't be hard to show a level 9 or lower character that outperforms it in every way.


MaxAstro wrote:


Premise 2) Someone who optimizes for defense should be almost as good at defense as someone who optimizes for offense. The "almost" is because missing is less fun.

Is this really a good idea?

There are actual issues with defences being too high - especially defences that negate effects (which definitely includes 'high AC').

It slows combat down. It causes frustration to the other side (GM or player). In extreme cases it results in fishing for natural 20s.

Luckily, a pool of HP should also be considered a defence, which might be a mitigating factor...


Richard Crawford wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:


Premise 2) Someone who optimizes for defense should be almost as good at defense as someone who optimizes for offense. The "almost" is because missing is less fun.

Is this really a good idea?

There are actual issues with defences being too high - especially defences that negate effects (which definitely includes 'high AC').

It slows combat down. It causes frustration to the other side (GM or player). In extreme cases it results in fishing for natural 20s.

Luckily, a pool of HP should also be considered a defence, which might be a mitigating factor...

Depend, you think rocket tag is any more fun? We've tried it where to-hit well outscales AC, and as it turns out, combats become too quick or too trivial, and therefore become anti-climactic. Also consider that if a BBEG is equally optimized, that there will be a dead PC (or two) each round. Is that fun? Not to many. So clearly, the old approach isn't correct.

You clearly don't understand what "slowing combat down" means. Having minions on the board with summon-type spells, not knowing what your abilities do requiring time and effort to look said abilities up, people not paying attention to what happens in the game because their phone app is more interesting meaning they don't plan their turns ahead, these are things that slow down combat simply because it means players (and GMs) take longer to complete their turns, which makes the pace of combat slow down. All a higher AC means is that A. attacking on that front won't be as successful, and B. the enemy has a more difficult number to reach. This doesn't do anything to slow down combat, but instead extend the length of combat due to requiring a more stringent set of numbers to succeed. Which, if that is your concern, see the rocket tag argument above that disproves that claim altogether, and we aren't even getting into the Save/Die territory yet.

As for the HP as defense thing, this made sense when CLW wands were a staple and effectively broke the HP/gold conversion ratio for anything of higher level, and made it so all characters started at max HP at every combat. This is now gone and practically nonexistent in PF2, or very limited, which means making this a reliable thing is not very smart to do (and isn't very cheap to boot anymore until you get in the really high levels of gameplay). In other words, your concept falls flat on its face, and it's especially true in the case of Barbarians, where they are supposed to be HP tanks, but don't get hardly any HP to compensate for it. Oh, D12 hit dice? Only 2 more than the fighter per level. Higher Constitution? Can't be much higher than anyone else's, making it at-best a 16, or 1 more than a fighter per level. Ancestry might give up to 2 more (or 2 less) HP flat, and everyone and their grandma will have Toughness at some point. Temporary HP? Yeah, 4 HP at 1st level isn't bad, as that's ~25% of your current HP, but when you get past 4th or 5th level, where you only get 8-9 HP per rage (and Raging Vitality not helping very much due to its action cost and reduced temporary HP gain), it's just absolute garbage compared to someone raising their shield and outright avoiding a 20-30 HP damage attack, or reducing said attack by an amount usually greater than the Barbarian's temporary HP.

And good luck using potions or wands in combat, as they take hands, actions, checks, and provoke for using them. No sane Barbarian would have a viable potion or even be able to use a wand unless they want to be trash in other parts of their niche. I might as well just attack/intimidate until either it dies or I die, because doing anything else is just a waste of actions.


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I mean, the "I might as well just attak because anything else is a waste" mentality is more of a PF1 thing, not PF2. (I know you said intimidate as well but still). Potions really aren't unusable in combat. Yeah, it can take a full turn to chug them (Draw, drink, re-grasp weapon) assuming you are using a 2-handed weapon but that's at worst. And yeah it provokes but few monsters have AoO. And this can be worked with cleverly if you know ahead of time you need a potion. release and draw it with your last action on one turn, drink it and re-grasp your weapon with 2 actions next turn. Both turns you will have an action to get off an attack at full accuracy, which is the most important part of offense in a turn. MAP really devalues multiple attacks in a turn.

As to wands, I mean, you're only using wands if you have caster multiclass and aren't raging. I think that's a minority.

Not to mention you may well have hands-free items that have in-combat use, or combat maneuvers, or something else. Just attacking blandly all the time is really not optimal anymore.


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I've been reading through this thread and something keeps popping up. "+1/level is a lazy way to do it." My response is a firm "so what"?

The combat is a lot more than numbers. In fact numbers are the least important part. Numbers are an abstraction for the sake of variance. Having the math be more intricate or clever really doesn't bring anything to the table that helps actual play.

On the other hand, having everything operate on the same baseline allows a GM to have a fine time adjusting things. Increasing or decreasing the challenge is not shot in the dark anymore. Consistency allows for a greater narrative control within the context of the game.


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Albatoonoe wrote:

I've been reading through this thread and something keeps popping up. "+1/level is a lazy way to do it." My response is a firm "so what"?

The combat is a lot more than numbers. In fact numbers are the least important part. Numbers are an abstraction for the sake of variance. Having the math be more intricate or clever really doesn't bring anything to the table that helps actual play.

On the other hand, having everything operate on the same baseline allows a GM to have a fine time adjusting things. Increasing or decreasing the challenge is not shot in the dark anymore. Consistency allows for a greater narrative control within the context of the game.

I'd use the wording. "The simplest way to do it."

Even though I'm not completely sold that that would be my absolute preferred progression, it is absolutely simple, and that has a definite advantage.

Because of its almost extreme simplicity, tweaking it also becomes pretty simple too.

Say you feel it goes up too fast, make it 1/2 [it was pointed out that it gives a bit of a feel for dead levels, but that could be changed by making skills round up, and saves and other proficiency progressions round down] Tweaking monsters or other threats, you would just pull numbers down by about 1/2 the opponent/obstacle/effect level involved.

Say that the idea of untrained skills being used by high level characters, Slash their progression, completely or in half. If you are worried about them crit-failing, make them only critical fail if they would critical fail with full level added to their roll. [making a much bigger block where they would fail, but keeping frequency of crit-fails down where the would be by raw]

Both those are pretty simple tweaks to me, I don't know how easily I convey them, and how easily others would properly interpret them. The given rules are super simple, and leave tweaks as I can quickly think of as really easy to implement on top of it. So by having an almost overly simple basis, it is relatively easy to implement some variation to it.

So I agree that Removing the +1/level flatly isn't really much of a solution. However, I don't see the original +1/level as a problem, but a potential stylistic variation. I think adding 0/level as a scale would normally not be well taken by most people. I'd guess people potentially liking scales anywhere form 1/4;1/3;1/2;2/3; as well as the original 1/1 being likely preferences. So, no, I don't feel *0 is a good option, so no, I agree removing it isn't a good option. However, I feel it isn't unworkable as it is, and feel it wouldn't be that hard to scale down a little bit, if that suits people's taste better.

I also suspect it would be easier to scale it down some, than to scale it up. So even if stylistically it may be a little high for me, I probably prefer the scale starting as it is, since it feels more flexible this way.


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Albatoonoe wrote:

I've been reading through this thread and something keeps popping up. "+1/level is a lazy way to do it." My response is a firm "so what"?

The combat is a lot more than numbers. In fact numbers are the least important part. Numbers are an abstraction for the sake of variance. Having the math be more intricate or clever really doesn't bring anything to the table that helps actual play.

On the other hand, having everything operate on the same baseline allows a GM to have a fine time adjusting things. Increasing or decreasing the challenge is not shot in the dark anymore. Consistency allows for a greater narrative control within the context of the game.

+1 per level is not precisely the lazy way. Rather, it is the simple way. And given that one of the goals of Pathfinder 2nd Edition is to make the game more accessible to new players, simplicity is a tremendous asset.

The problems of players wanting their level-ups to more closely fit their character concept could be solved by other mechanisms, such as strong feats or skill gating. The solution could be more than numbers, because I agree with Albatoonoe that numbers vs. numbers is dull.

However, +1 per level is such a powerful an advancement that it breaks the Pathfinder 1st Edition principle that a character's power doubles every two levels. Either encounter design has to be changed to reflect that the character's power triples every two levels, or Paizo needs to tone down advancement. I liked that exponential leveling, but Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition had quadratic leveling, so it is not essential to d20 game design. It is just more fun.

Loreguard wrote:
I'd use the wording. "The simplest way to do it."

Loreguard beat me to it. :-)


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I do think that aggressive skill gating is going to help a lot with skills. I believe that their should be some things a 3rd level character can do easily but a 20th level character cannot attempt, because the 3rd level character is an expert and the 20th level character is untrained, even if the 3rd level character rolls like a +5 and the 20th level character would roll up to a +22 if they were allowed to roll.

In doing this we see how the 3rd level skill expert is better at the skill than the 20th level hero, as broadly competent as they may be they don't understand advanced techniques or intricacies and lack a theoretical basis.

Like a 20th level character untrained in religion can identify vampires until the sun comes up, but wouldn't be able to stand at the Sandpoint Cathedral with clerics of Desna, Abadar, Sarenrae, Shelyn, Gozreh, and Erastil in attendance and perform a service which honors each in equal measure.


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Yep, very much this. I have been on this camp for a while. I feel this is already done somewhat but we definitely need more. More skill feats scaling with proficiency like Cat Fall and Recognize Spell, too.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like a 20th level character untrained in religion can identify vampires until the sun comes up, but wouldn't be able to stand at the Sandpoint Cathedral with clerics of Desna, Abadar, Sarenrae, Shelyn, Gozreh, and Erastil in attendance and perform a service which honors each in equal measure.

To me that's an example of why I find "highly skilled but untrained / low-skill expert" confusing.

There are some things that a non-expert can't even attempt. I guess having a big perform skill bonus isn't enough to play a violin if you've never picked one up before, but it is enough to walk onto a stage and improvise some kind of entertainment?

Is "putting on a religious service" expert-only? A skilled amateur who's attended religious services in the past could surely bluff their way through with some vague platitudes. Can an amateur remember who Desna and Abadar are? Can an untrained-in-religion person think of something to say that won't offend either of them? Where's the cut-off point between "they can do it really well because they have +22 on their skill check" and "they can't do it at all because they're an amateur"?


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Lot of confusion seems to come from trying to use both levels and proficiency to measure the same things. Level is merely abstraction of power.

This is very different from PF1 where only pure skill rank mattered. Consider this metaphor: Artisan of past, present and future all craft an expertly made weapon. All of them are equally fancy inside their own cultures, but they operate on completely different level: sword, assault rifle and plasma destroyer.


Maybe instead of hard binary gates, jumping straight from "impossible" to "normal", softer penalty gates could be included.


  • "When playing sophisticated instruments (e.g. violins), if your Perform is less than Expert, roll twice and take the worse result."
  • "The DC for the ceremony is X; if your Religion is less than Master, subtle nuances impose a -4 penalty."
  • "Pandora's Box is beyond mortal artifice; if your Disable Device is less than Legendary, reduce your result by 1 degree."
  • "Jumping is easy with basic competence; if your Athletics is Trained or better, roll twice and take the better result."


Matthew Downie wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like a 20th level character untrained in religion can identify vampires until the sun comes up, but wouldn't be able to stand at the Sandpoint Cathedral with clerics of Desna, Abadar, Sarenrae, Shelyn, Gozreh, and Erastil in attendance and perform a service which honors each in equal measure.

To me that's an example of why I find "highly skilled but untrained / low-skill expert" confusing.

There are some things that a non-expert can't even attempt. I guess having a big perform skill bonus isn't enough to play a violin if you've never picked one up before, but it is enough to walk onto a stage and improvise some kind of entertainment?

Is "putting on a religious service" expert-only? A skilled amateur who's attended religious services in the past could surely bluff their way through with some vague platitudes. Can an amateur remember who Desna and Abadar are? Can an untrained-in-religion person think of something to say that won't offend either of them? Where's the cut-off point between "they can do it really well because they have +22 on their skill check" and "they can't do it at all because they're an amateur"?

Last week, in the thread Lore Skills, I argued that holding a ceremony, religious or secular, was a Lore-based action. Acolyte background gives Lore for the acolyte's diety, and I would expect such an acolyte, even one untrained in Religion, to be able to conduct a religious ceremony for his or her diety. Likewise, the Lore skill for Scholars would include graduation ceremonies, and the Lore skill for Nobles would include ceremonial formal dances and dinners.

Ceremonies feel cultural, and Lore is the best skill for specific cultures.

We could also argue that an expert or master in Religion would have studied many religious cultures and could use religion in the place of diety lore. That would be good skill gating, though it would steal a little from the undersupported Lore skill.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like a 20th level character untrained in religion can identify vampires until the sun comes up, but wouldn't be able to stand at the Sandpoint Cathedral with clerics of Desna, Abadar, Sarenrae, Shelyn, Gozreh, and Erastil in attendance and perform a service which honors each in equal measure.
To me that's an example of why I find "highly skilled but untrained / low-skill expert" confusing.

This confusion is perfectly understandable and something that does need to get cleared up. What is the relationship between being "skilled" and being "high level?" Strangely, I think that 3.x was the edition of the game that broke away from level=skilled, instead starting on a path that made "level" a nebulous category for "development potential."

PF1 failed to balance development potential with expected competency and had far too many circuitous routes for players to bypass level for determining character abilities. Beyond combat, very little is predictable in PF1 about what is a suitable challenge for a generic party of characters (Combat was a little more predictable, but still pretty swingy). Many players consider this a feature. Especially at low levels, it can be pretty awesome to accomplish tasks far above your level by clever use of resources and character optimization. However, punching above your level is also a great way to get the entire party killed pretty quickly, and often requires a lot of fudging on the part of the GM to keep the party challenged but alive (the issue with rocket tag).

The Playtest is clearly trying to flip that script back towards level = expected competency rather than potential. Trying to just bring over all the skills from PF1 and 3.x and how they were used in those editions, and have them work in the Playtest was always going to be difficult because of this major design change. I think the designers have been getting great feedback on the places where this redesign has been breaking the game for people's sense of believability and arbitrating skill checks and actions outside of combat, but it is a massive undertaking, and probably wont be perfect by the time of a second edition release.

It is my hope that the core rule book actually leaves this framework as bare as possible and subject to GM discretion, rather than rushing a hard set framework for how skill checks must work for the core game experience, because it is easier to correct ambiguity than hardcoded mistakes. Future supplements could look at groups of skills specifically, and include GM guides for using those skills as well as tons of new items, skill feats and other character options that build on them.

In that effort, I would rather see less of the mess that is the way the playtest handles jumping as a part of athletics checks, and more of what has been done (or not done yet) with knowledge skills. Which sounds counter intuitive, because I think the knowledge/lore skills are still a mess, but I would rather have a mysterious mess in a core rulebook, than an unplayably convoluted system that was rushed into existance and then danced around by all future material.

I hope that proficiency gating remains something like tips and suggestions for GM discretion in the core rule book, and supplemental material is where this confusion about the difference between training, level, skill, and ability are clarified on a skill by skill basis.


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Actually, I would be a little inclined to say that there is room for some extra/bonus lore skills.

Certainly, if someone has a background as a acolyte, they should have a Lore skill for their deity. However, I'd be fine with even reasonably devout flowers being granted the trained level in matters pertaining to their own chosen faith. I don't know if that waters down the benefit of the Acolyte background, however, but it still seems relevant for some active faithful followers. Additionally, things like their home town, or their nation/culture in which they have been raised seem like things that could qualify for granting bonus Lore skills.

Some things that call for Religion checks, I'd be fine with substituting a Lore pertaining to the specific deity. Probably not anything having to do with casting of divine magic however. But identifying symbols, knowing of minions or artifacts of the faith, all seem reasonable. Potentially, being able to recognizing relevant (even magical) rituals specific to their faith.

Other situations, like knowing someone in a town, if they have the Lore already, allow them to roll a knowledge check, to know of someone, even before having to do a gather knowledge check.

Actually, as to the idea of getting to re-roll results if you are a higher tier than is required was something that I've already considered as a really good way to make sure that really well trained individuals aren't critical failing on items that are nearly trivial to them, even when in a time crunch. (not completely getting rid of the chance, which is easy to arbitrarily do, by having them not bother to roll, but rather making it less than 5% it would likely be otherwise)

The idea of having them roll twice and take the worst result is a viable option rather than absolute gating. I'm just a little worried it places more weight on the arbitrary high number than the Rank which is supposed to be the bigger factor. Perhaps limit it to things where the player is being forced to roll a check as a passive result of something (something akin to a save, vs an attempted action) Then rather than auto-failing, allow them the chance to get two successes, to result in a success.

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Unicore wrote:
The Playtest is clearly trying to flip that script back towards level = expected competency rather than potential.

This is sort of my read on it. Your level reflects your experience with the adventuring world as a whole, and your numbers go up as a result. However, proficiency is a big equalizer in a lot of ways.

A dimwitted 15th-level barbarian can repair just about any shield and has a reasonably good chance at identifying creatures from beyond the stars because that's the sort of stuff a 15th-level adventurer picks up just by surviving that long. But without at least a little training she can't make her own shield or read occult writing.

And even though the 20th-level wizard she meets has a higher Intimidation bonus (because who isn't afraid of what a 20th-level wizard can do to you), the barbarian's the one who can scare people to death with a single glance because that's a tactic she's focused on throughout her adventuring career.


Charlie Brooks wrote:
Unicore wrote:
The Playtest is clearly trying to flip that script back towards level = expected competency rather than potential.

This is sort of my read on it. Your level reflects your experience with the adventuring world as a whole, and your numbers go up as a result. However, proficiency is a big equalizer in a lot of ways.

A dimwitted 15th-level barbarian can repair just about any shield and has a reasonably good chance at identifying creatures from beyond the stars because that's the sort of stuff a 15th-level adventurer picks up just by surviving that long. But without at least a little training she can't make her own shield or read occult writing.

And even though the 20th-level wizard she meets has a higher Intimidation bonus (because who isn't afraid of what a 20th-level wizard can do to you), the barbarian's the one who can scare people to death with a single glance because that's a tactic she's focused on throughout her adventuring career.

+1 to this!


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Count me as a fan of level as "expected competency" rather than potential. It always annoyed me that over a PF1 character's career a character could (and would likely) become a world's leading expert on like 2-10 things while being utterly hopeless at the remaining 20-30 things.

Particularly insofar as it put the onus on the player to spend skill ranks to reflect "things that happened" rather than letting them spend them wherever they like. Like "I gained a level from killing a bunch of vampires, should I put points in knowledge (religion) to represent that I know a bunch of ways to kill a vampire? Shouldn't I just know that stuff since I spent a whole level doing it?" Like let's have level be "the stuff you have absorbed through osmosis by living" and have proficiency simply be "what you have put in effort to improve at."


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Particularly insofar as it put the onus on the player to spend skill ranks to reflect "things that happened" rather than letting them spend them wherever they like. Like "I gained a level from killing a bunch of vampires, should I put points in knowledge (religion) to represent that I know a bunch of ways to kill a vampire? Shouldn't I just know that stuff since I spent a whole level doing it?"

I never felt under any pressure to do that.

Skills are so broad that even if you did that it doesn't make much sense. "I stabbed a lot of vampires with wooden sticks, so now I know all about the ascension of Aroden."


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Matthew Downie wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Particularly insofar as it put the onus on the player to spend skill ranks to reflect "things that happened" rather than letting them spend them wherever they like. Like "I gained a level from killing a bunch of vampires, should I put points in knowledge (religion) to represent that I know a bunch of ways to kill a vampire? Shouldn't I just know that stuff since I spent a whole level doing it?"

I never felt under any pressure to do that.

Skills are so broad that even if you did that it doesn't make much sense. "I stabbed a lot of vampires with wooden sticks, so now I know all about the ascension of Aroden."

I think the issue is more clearly represented in the fact that in a wilderness themed AP, most parties will have one or two characters who specialize in survival, and as a result, the rest of the party would be seen as wasting resources putting any points in the skill at all, despite the fact that it would be almost inevitable that the characters would be learning the basics of the skill, if the party is spending weeks/months/years in the wilderness.


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Luckily my characters were very lazy. "Oh, you're putting up a tent and making a campfire? Have fun! I'll be over here, reading a book about how to pick locks. I mean, there's no point in me learning how to make a campfire when you can do that for me."

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Count me as a fan of level as "expected competency" rather than potential. It always annoyed me that over a PF1 character's career a character could (and would likely) become a world's leading expert on like 2-10 things while being utterly hopeless at the remaining 20-30 things.

Utterly hopeless? Most PF1e DCs for everyday tasks should be in the 0-15 range, easily achievable by someone with no ranks. Also, it sounds like you might keep putting useless ranks into skills after you've gotten them to a point where it's no longer needed...if a skill isn't opposed, it's often not worth putting ranks into it once you can beat the highest DC listed in the skill. That frees up ranks for other skills. For example, Appraise almost never has a DC higher than 20, and you can usually take 10, so it's not worth putting it above a +10. Many skills are like this.

In PF2e, +level to all skills means that lack of exposure to an idea or concept doesn't stop you character from being absolutely great at it. Fighting a bunch of kobolds in caves makes you great at repairing everything, even cars and laser pistols. Just because your character shouldn't know what a "car" is, isn't an excuse to not know all about them, how to fix them, and the physics of their innermost workings. Apparently you randomly "pick up" this stuff about every possible field of knowledge. So your barbarian isn't just great at recognizing odd spell effects that he should have never heard of, but also a whiz at hyperspace navigation, spacecraft repair, and computer science. You can't have it "halfway" where one set of ridiculous, implausible things is okay to know but another set isn't.


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ryric wrote:


In PF2e, +level to all skills means that lack of exposure to an idea or concept doesn't stop you character from being absolutely great at it. Fighting a bunch of kobolds in caves makes you great at repairing everything, even cars and laser pistols. Just because your character shouldn't know what a "car" is, isn't an excuse to not know all about them, how to fix them, and the physics of their innermost workings. Apparently you randomly "pick up" this stuff about every possible field of knowledge. So your barbarian isn't just great at recognizing odd spell effects that he should have never heard of, but also a whiz at hyperspace navigation, spacecraft repair, and computer science. You can't have it "halfway" where one set of ridiculous, implausible things is okay to know but another set isn't.

To be fair, you are forgetting all the proficiency and skill feat gating. The GM should be constantly dropping "you cant do that level of insert untrained skill here" on the PCs unless they have the prof and feats.


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GM: "With your +24 untrained Computer Science skills, your Barbarian can fix the missing DLL problem of the alien spaceship AI by reinstalling, but he can't debug the mutex semaphore issue; that's Expert only."

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Quote:
You can't have it "halfway" where one set of ridiculous, implausible things is okay to know but another set isn't.

You actually can thanks to the proficiency system.

In the playtest, anybody can spot and disarm a hidden pit. However, only somebody trained in Thievery can disarm a poisoned lock. You have to be a master in Thievery to disarm a polymorph trap, and a master in Perception to notice a magical trap that disrupts the flow of time.

Similarly, a character who spent time as a blacksmith before becoming an adventurer but who doesn't have an interest in crafting things beyond horseshoes and mundane weapons never has to become more than trained in Craft. While you do get faster at making mundane items as you level up, you never gain the ability to craft alchemical items, create magic swords, or built laser guns unless you invest in the skill later on.


ryric wrote:


In PF2e, +level to all skills means that lack of exposure to an idea or concept doesn't stop you character from being absolutely great at it.

Actually, this is exactly the point of proficiencies. Lack of exposure to an idea or concept (untrained proficiency) is the thing that does stop you from making meaningful use of the skill in question. If PF2 eventually introduces a lot of new complex technological items like cars, it probably will either have to make specific skill feats to enable using and fixing them, or at least have lore skills explicitly directed at them.

The Playtest version of not ranking skills up to max points is different than PF1, but it is still representable. Instead of having between 40 and 240 skill ranks to apply to skills with a 21 point range (including 0) of specialized proficiency, the Playtest narrows it down to into the 12 to 30 ranks in a 5 point scale. Trained in a skill proficiency in the playtest is good at low levels, but will fall pretty far behind focused skills by higher levels, just like putting a couple of ranks in a skill early in PF1.

Everyone agrees that the exact comparison of the playtest's proficiencies and skill feats to PF1's skill ranks is a little vague and undefined at this time, but that doesn't mean that the kind of nuance you are looking for is unavailable in the design.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
GM: "With your +24 untrained Computer Science skills, your Barbarian can fix the missing DLL problem of the alien spaceship AI by reinstalling, but he can't debug the mutex semaphore issue; that's Expert only."

This is a desirable outcome for me, unironically.


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I really dislike the +level to everything for everyone, basically for the same reasons it doesn't like to many others that posted in this thread: it's a cheap method to give some feeling of "growth" or different strength, but ends up making every character equally good at everything and not that different from everything else of the same level.

I don't remember where, but I proposed a solution to that issue which allows for some really great difference in what a character can do well and what not, but also leaves the feeling of growth that the +level mechanic gives: tie how much "level" you add to the rolls to your level of proficiency, in a way similar to the progressions in PF1.
This system, though, would require splitting weapon and spell proficiency into more "focused" proficiencies, and each character and monster should receive more "free" proficiency ranks from advancement and more "bound" ranks from class and ancestry, being able to decide how to advance and in what.

For example, a fighter could have a Master rank in swords and axes, but only a Trained rank in crossbows, while a wizard could be a Legend with ray spells and strike spells, but as low as Untrained in trap spells or illusion spells.
And the difference could go from having to add just 1/2 level plus half your relevant ability bonus to adding 3/2 level and double your relevant ability bonus or so.

This way, you could have training and proficiency being really significative, but you would also need level to really be stronger.
(EDIT) And you won't need to make a list of what you can do at what proficiency rank, just to decide the proper DC for the task.

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I'd find these arguments acceptable if a level 1 trained person was actually better at (untrained uses of) skills than a level 20 untrained person, but that isn't the case.

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I think it's worth noting that no RPG skill system is perfect and that each one can be made to look ridiculous by pushing at the areas where it stretches thin.

In 1st edition Pathfinder, your fighter never gets better at identifying a fireball even if every single wizard she meets over the course of her career leads off with a fireball in the first round.

In 4th edition D&D, your druid who refuses to touch any metal tool still gets better at picking locks as she levels up.

In 5th edition D&D, a character with an 18 Intelligence is better at recalling obscure lore than a moderately-intelligent person who has studied that specific subject.

In 2nd edition Pathfinder, the dance-hating mayor of the Footloose town can still deliver a quality performance that lowers the DC of subsequent Diplomacy checks.

Whether a skill system makes sense really boils down to how the players experience it during play. 90% of the time, the corner cases that break immersion probably aren't going to come up. When they do come up, a group that's interested in the game can probably figure out an explanation that provides enough suspension of disbelief.

To me, the biggest advantage to the 2nd edition system isn't that it's any more realistic, but that it's easier to teach new players. There are stress points you can push to make it seem ridiculous, but that's true of every single RPG skill system.

The level of abstraction in the skill system is about on par with the level of abstraction involved in the Hit Point and Armor Class mechanics. Unfortunately, I guess that means we'd best get used to having these debates for 40 more years.


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ryric wrote:
I'd find these arguments acceptable if a level 1 trained person was actually better at (untrained uses of) skills than a level 20 untrained person, but that isn't the case.

And I'm kind of the opposite. I'd find it extremely silly if a level 1 Trained person was better at untrained skill uses than a level 20 person. For one, that completely defeats the point of skill gating. It exists largely for "I am more powerful at the basic applications of this skill but I cannot perform advanced applications of this skill like the trained guy can" (BTW I agree that we need more in the skill gating department but that isn't the argument you're making here so it's irrelevant.)

For two, why should a level 1 noob who has practiced jumping a bit be better at it than a level 20 superhuman?

Why should a level 1 Wizard who's book-studied arcane stuff and a few other topics be better at picking out the abilities and weaknesses of a monster than a level 20 warrior who has spent years and years experiencing monsters firsthand and learning all the stuff that the books don't tell you about?

Why should a level 1 guy who is reasonably practiced in social graces be more likely to make a good impression on people or get someone to do him a favor than the level 20 Dragonslayer known far and wide who exudes a superhuman aura even outside of his reputation? I can practically guarantee that average folk will be clambering to do the literal demigod favors and will be taking a more favorable impression of him over the generally nicer or more socially savvy level 1 Joe, even if he is a bit crass or ugly or rude. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of IRL examples of people ignoring someone's manners because of their status or power, I don't think it's a stretch to expect that to be even stronger for actual superhumans.

A level 20 adventurer has gained enough power and seen enough equipment that he should totally be able to bang out dents, hone out chips, etc. very well, especially considering it's in essence an extension of the equipment maintenance they should be doing on a regular basis. They don't know squat about making a shield from scratch though.

Trained and higher skill gates represent areas where you need more than raw power, experience, or presence to get by. A level 20 character untrained can't do these things but logically he really should be better at the basic stuff.

And as for the arguments about cars, laser pistols, hyperspace navigation, etc., that's really kind of fallacious given none of those things exist in Golarion as far as I am aware (Unless some of that comes from Numeria), and if it was then either they would be common enough to fall into basic tasks or they would clearly be a trained or higher skill gate or locked behind a trained or higher skill feat.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also worth noting that in PF1e you can be an 8th level barbarian who's never seen a computer before, spend all of 8th level fighting kobolds with sticks in a cave, and then at 9th level suddenly be able to hack reasonably complex security systems because you took Technologist and dumped a bunch of skill ranks into Disable Device. Even if you've still never seen a computer.

Nonsensical edge cases exist in every system, like Charlie says.

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