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


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Note that a builder who has been building for most of his life, and is close to retirement, could easily point out edge cases that academic architects that graduated with honors might accidentally include in a design that has a practical limitation/drawback that they would not intend.

He may not have the architect skill itself, but has enough experience to say... that isn't going to work. It wouldn't mean he'd be able to draw out a floorplan that would pass architectural requirements exam.

So in theory, stating that an Untrained usage of the skill could be interpreted as something that training isn't as relevant to. (after all you specified untrained usage) So someone with a little training, and little experience, should be better at it than someone with no training (on something that training is explicitly not as relevant) and lots of experience?

So by nature, when you compare things, you are naturally are going to try to compare a trained use from a trained person v. an untrained person. I think this is the biggest core issue with the system. The fact that it is perceived that the number is the most important part, and that isn't the intent.

Now, honestly, I'm not entirely in the camp of I believe that untrained 'has' to have full level to their skill roll. Since gating should be blocking them from some uses, I don't see giving them something like 1/2 level as being unacceptable. I recognize the potential danger of critical failures, and have suggested that when making untrained checks, failures might only become critical failures if they would be a critical failure if the roll had used full level. [making unskilled rolls far less likely to succeed, but leaving critical failures no less likely than they were with full level]


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MaxAstro wrote:

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.

LOL I'm picturing the Barbarian "Hacking" the security system with a stick since it worked so well for those Kobolds, and it somehow works. XD

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Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

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.

LOL I'm picturing the Barbarian "Hacking" the security system with a stick since it worked so well for those Kobolds, and it somehow works. XD

"My ship works better when I kick it."


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People arguing that +level is lazy might be missing the point that resting all competency exclusively on a comparison of raw numbers (character X's bonus at the skill being used for task A vs character Y's bonus at the skill being used for task A)is a gross oversimplification that almost necessitates massive +5/10/15/20s, as well as needlessly long and specific skill lists, to be significant.

Of course Expert proficiency is a conceptual joke when the extent of its effect is to gain a +1 to the task vs a character who is otherwise identical except only trained in that proficiency. Largely, the playtest has not succeeded in demonstrating how Expert proficiency is more than a +1 in most of its applications and this has, rightfully, lead many to be nervous about this system being rushed into the codification of a core rulebook...but, the fact that it can be much more than just a numerical bonus is very exciting and enables modular skills where one character, with the right set of feats, could hypothetically be using athletics to practically run up walls as a climb check, while another character is a master wrestler, wrestling creatures 8 times her size, but the bonuses of both characters are effectively the same for the purposes of figuring out how well they can swim to shore in a storm. Character design that can use fewer mechanical numbers to create a larger breadth of conceptual diversity is a good backbone for making a game that is easy to learn, but has a massive potential for well balanced growth (the numbers will stay relatively close when it does come time for raw ability checks, saves, etc).

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MaxAstro wrote:

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.

In PF1e you can do that; in PF2e you must. All characters must become awesome at all things, no matter how silly or out-of-character it is to do so. Except, of course, for the things you'd actually like to be good at, you must remain merely okay at those.

Also, years and years of adventuring? Most APs take a PC from 1st to 17th level in the span of weeks or months. It's like taking a year off from school to "find yourself" and realizing after the year that you are now better at every university subject than every single professor.

And yes, it's silly to level up in PF1e and suddenly go to super-expert in a skill you've never used, but at least in PF1e you can choose not to do that.

Also, if you want your PF1e fighter to recognize common spells, you can always put a single rank in Spellcraft. The DC for low level spells is well within reach of a d20+1. You don't have to keep all skills maxed, and IME it's a mistake to do so on 2sp/level classes.


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You make valid points, but I feel you hurt your credibility by using hyperbolic example like hyperspace navigation and computers - knowledge that even a 20th level max Int character is not going to have.

It's also worth mentioning that if your main issue with +1/level is untrained skills, you probably can let that concern rest, as "it's weird that my character is competent in skills I've never used" is something that James Jacobs has explicitly said they are looking to address in the final rules.


ryric wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

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.

In PF1e you can do that; in PF2e you must. All characters must become awesome at all things, no matter how silly or out-of-character it is to do so. Except, of course, for the things you'd actually like to be good at, you must remain merely okay at those.

Also, years and years of adventuring? Most APs take a PC from 1st to 17th level in the span of weeks or months. It's like taking a year off from school to "find yourself" and realizing after the year that you are now better at every university subject than every single professor.

And yes, it's silly to level up in PF1e and suddenly go to super-expert in a skill you've never used, but at least in PF1e you can choose not to do that.

Also, if you want your PF1e fighter to recognize common spells, you can always put a single rank in Spellcraft. The DC for low level spells is well within reach of a d20+1. You don't have to keep all skills maxed, and IME it's a mistake to do so on 2sp/level classes.

I haven't seen most APs, the only sample I have is Doomsday Dawn which takes over a decade to take your main party from 1 to 17. And that's the only sample we HAVE for PF2 level speed, so...

Also taking a year off to find yourself is in NO way equivalent to the life an adventurer leads, come on.

Not to mention most of the examples I gave remain relevant regardless of how long the levels took to achieve, the exception being the monster identification. Though really, 20 levels of EXP in monsters fought in 1 year probably teaches just as ch as fighting the same number of monsters in 10 years.

So really the previously mentioned examples I put remain entirely relevant. The point is the AMOUNT of experience gained, not the time spent gaining it.

Also arguing "This thing is ridiculous but it's optional" does not acquit that thing from being ridiculous and ostensibly a flaw in the system.

The point of can vs. must would be a bit more valid if it weren't for, again, all of the above.


ryric said wrote:

In PF1e you can do that; in PF2e you must. All characters must become awesome at all things, no matter how silly or out-of-character it is to do so. Except, of course, for the things you'd actually like to be good at, you must remain merely okay at those.

Also, years and years of adventuring? Most APs take a PC from 1st to 17th level in the span of weeks or months. It's like taking a year off from school to "find yourself" and realizing after the year that you are now better at every university subject than every single professor.

And yes, it's silly to level up in PF1e and suddenly go to super-expert in a skill you've never used, but at least in PF1e you can choose not to do that.

Also, if you want your PF1e fighter to recognize common spells, you can always put a single rank in Spellcraft. The DC for low level spells is well within reach of a d20+1. You don't have to keep all skills maxed, and IME it's a mistake to do so on 2sp/level classes.

Well there is still skill-gates. And do you really think the most silly part of going from 1st to 17th level in weeks is the untrained skill increase and not the fact that recently you were weaker than the average guard but a month later you are one of the most powerful persons on the planet.

You won't suddenly get loads better at anything in pf2, but gradually increase your skill in everything as your character progress.


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Edge, while I agree with most of your points, I think "PF2e APs will probably cover a similar time span to PF1e APs" is a reasonable assumption.


Charlie Brooks wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

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.

LOL I'm picturing the Barbarian "Hacking" the security system with a stick since it worked so well for those Kobolds, and it somehow works. XD
"My ship works better when I kick it."

In my Iron Gods campaign, it was an 8th-level gunslinger rather than an 8th-level barbarian who hacked into the Aurora's computer systems with Technologist feat in order to restart the recycling system to clean up the contaminated water.

But she was a technologist's assistant at 0th level, disassembling robots at 1st level, reading computer manuals at 4th level, and reassembling robots at 7th level (homebrew feat). Why would a GM let a PC take Technologist if the feat made no sense for the character's background? We GMs have veto power. Technologist is an example of a gating feat.

And don't kick her spaceship. It will upset her.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

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.

LOL I'm picturing the Barbarian "Hacking" the security system with a stick since it worked so well for those Kobolds, and it somehow works. XD
"My ship works better when I kick it."

In my Iron Gods campaign, it was an 8th-level gunslinger rather than an 8th-level barbarian who hacked into the Aurora's computer systems with Technologist feat in order to restart the recycling system to clean up the contaminated water.

But she was a technologist's assistant at 0th level, disassembling robots at 1st level, reading computer manuals at 4th level, and reassembling robots at 7th level (homebrew feat). Why would a GM let a PC take Technologist if the feat made no sense for the character's background? We GMs have veto power. Technologist is an example of a gating feat.

And don't kick her spaceship. It will upset her.

Not all GMs check everything that goes onto a sheet. I mean didn't you have a player who broke the playtest rules and then wouldn't change it?


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Malk_Content wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

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.

LOL I'm picturing the Barbarian "Hacking" the security system with a stick since it worked so well for those Kobolds, and it somehow works. XD
"My ship works better when I kick it."

In my Iron Gods campaign, it was an 8th-level gunslinger rather than an 8th-level barbarian who hacked into the Aurora's computer systems with Technologist feat in order to restart the recycling system to clean up the contaminated water.

But she was a technologist's assistant at 0th level, disassembling robots at 1st level, reading computer manuals at 4th level, and reassembling robots at 7th level (homebrew feat). Why would a GM let a PC take Technologist if the feat made no sense for the character's background? We GMs have veto power. Technologist is an example of a gating feat.

And don't kick her spaceship. It will upset her.

Not all GMs check everything that goes onto a sheet. I mean didn't you have a player who broke the playtest rules and then wouldn't change it?

He would have been willing to change his mistake with the rules, but we could not afford to spend a quarter of the game session letting him select new items. We might not finish Affair at Sombrefell Hall before the surveys close, because unless we schedule extra sessions Tuesday will be our last session. My wife and I will be traveling to see family for Christmas the week after.

As for the barbarian example, if the barbarian had never seen a computer before, why would the player select Technologist?

BARBARIAN: I hack the computer with my Knowledge(engineering).
GM: That requires Technologist feat.
BARBARIAN: I learned Technologist at 7th level.
GM: Why?
BARBARIAN: I had a hunch that since we were going up the Sellen River we might reach Numeria with all its technology. I had read the Technology Guide and was hoping for it.
GM: Um, so you learned about technology before you ever saw any?
BARBARIAN: I guess so. We can pretend that I have been learning Technology from the moment I first saw it. Some kind of barbarian intuition.
GM: Okay, I can work with that. You also need an e-pick to hack the computer, but the rogue found one in the previous room. You know that because of your barbarian intuition.

Seriously, a Golarian barbarian learning to use an alien computer is not much harder to believe than a 20th-century American learning to fly an alien spaceship and I have seen that in plenty of science fiction movies. If the GM had some story reason to put a computer in front of them without them being able to use it, then he can retroactively veto the Technologist, "Select a new feat. I don't buy the barbarian intuition malarkey."


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The point is you didn't check the sheet before it got to the table. Its a bit hypocritical to then ask why a GM would let a player take an option that doesn't make sense, when presumably if that player had taken an option that didn't make sense (instead of breaking the rules) you wouldn't have caught that until it came up either. The specific option is really not important, it goes for any option. Repicking a feat would take just as long or longer than picking a new level x item.


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So what you are saying is, a good GM will smooth the edges of the system to mitigate things that would otherwise be immersion breaking in their weirdness.

In this we completely agree. :)


Malk_Content wrote:
The point is you didn't check the sheet before it got to the table. Its a bit hypocritical to then ask why a GM would let a player take an option that doesn't make sense, when presumably if that player had taken an option that didn't make sense (instead of breaking the rules) you wouldn't have caught that until it came up either. The specific option is really not important, it goes for any option. Repicking a feat would take just as long or longer than picking a new level x item.

I myself have lenient GM practices because I can trust my players to not deliberately abuse the rules. I mentioned a homebrew feat, and I also let them go wild with technology. I was irritated about the Playtest Rulebook that did not make the rules about property runes clear to the player rather than irritated with the player. (He put two property runes on a merely expert-quality +1 rapier.)

A hypothetical GM who is worried that the PCs might secretly learn Technologist or another gating feat would have stricter practices.

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Charlie Brooks wrote:

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 Pathfinder 1e, the moderately Intelligent person would have taken the Skill Focus feat, which would counter act the bonus for Intelligence from the 18.


Malk_Content wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

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.

LOL I'm picturing the Barbarian "Hacking" the security system with a stick since it worked so well for those Kobolds, and it somehow works. XD
"My ship works better when I kick it."

In my Iron Gods campaign, it was an 8th-level gunslinger rather than an 8th-level barbarian who hacked into the Aurora's computer systems with Technologist feat in order to restart the recycling system to clean up the contaminated water.

But she was a technologist's assistant at 0th level, disassembling robots at 1st level, reading computer manuals at 4th level, and reassembling robots at 7th level (homebrew feat). Why would a GM let a PC take Technologist if the feat made no sense for the character's background? We GMs have veto power. Technologist is an example of a gating feat.

And don't kick her spaceship. It will upset her.

Not all GMs check everything that goes onto a sheet. I mean didn't you have a player who broke the playtest rules and then wouldn't change it?

If the halfling staff sling is an uncommon weapon, then I am guessing any feat that lets a character use skills to repair or utilize advanced technology will be more rare than common, and a player would know that they need to talk to their GM before making the choice. The Playtest has considered many of these issues, and GMs with the time to have familiarized themselves with the rules probably do feel like they have the means to arbitrate these rules.


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Planpanther wrote:


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.

As a GM, the last thing I want to be required to do is tell players, "you can never achieve that". Blanket denials rob players' ability to creatively overcome challenges.


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Richard Crawford wrote:
Planpanther wrote:


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.

As a GM, the last thing I want to be required to do is tell players, "you can never achieve that". Blanket denials rob players' ability to creatively overcome challenges.

Nobody said never. You do require prerequisites for certain tasks tho.


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Planpanther wrote:
Richard Crawford wrote:
Planpanther wrote:


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.

As a GM, the last thing I want to be required to do is tell players, "you can never achieve that". Blanket denials rob players' ability to creatively overcome challenges.
Nobody said never. You do require prerequisites for certain tasks tho.

Indeed. There is such a thing as being flat unable to do a thing. And it needs to be that way for most games.

You cannot use Stealth to Hide if you do not have cover or concealment, unless you had a specific ability that allowed it. This is a blanket denial, in these circumstances you cannot make a Hide check, no matter how high your bonus or how lucky your rolls.

If an enemy is out of your reach you cannot Strike them. This is a blanket denial. No accuracy bonus, no lucky roll will let you hit an enemy 30 feet away with your Longsword.

There is nothing wrong with this. It isn't stifling players' creativity, it's a basic sense of limitations existing.

You cannot make a shield from scratch without being Trained in Crafting.

This and other skill gates are no different than the above examples.

If anything, refusing to say "You can't do x" can be what robs players of creatively overcoming challenges. You tell a player they can't Hide without cover, they need to either find a way to get cover or do without Hiding. You tell them they can Hide without cover, they have no need for cover anymore.

You tell a player they can't hit with their Longsword at 30 feet, they need to find a way to close the distance or an alternate attack method. You tell them they can, there's little need for positioning anymore.

If players never have limits that can't be overcome with a broken modifier or a Nat 20 then that doesn't encourage creativity, it encourages throwing dice at problems until you luck or break by them instead of finding a creative solution around what should be a limit.

It sounds well and good to have a "The player shouldn't have been able to do this but they got lucky and pulled it off" moment, but that and having hard caps aren't mutually exclusive. You can beat the odds with a clever idea and good rolls on something that's within your proficiency gate. Locking things behind a hard cap just means you can't luck or cheese your way past any problem, you sometimes have to find a workaround instead.

Having no hard caps IMO devalues lucky moments like that by making them much more standard. It also makes clever workaround less appealing because why not just throw dice at it first and hope you get lucky?

A party of 4 making 1 attempt each at a task has about an 18 1/2% chance of getting a Nat 20 on one of the attempts. So if you have no hard caps or "Blanket denials", that means any challenge that doesn't have a hard limit on number of attempts (Which in itself would be a blanket denial) has an 18 1/2% chance of being circumnavigated in one party-wide attempt, and that's if they can only do the thing on a 20.

I don't favor such a high chance of players just bulling through challenges that should require some prerequisite or else require working around. I think it hurts both gameplay and story, as mentioned it makes those story moments of a lucky success lesser when they happen about 1/6 of the time. If you run into what would be skill-gated tasks a lot then this adds up real fast.


I feel like the difference between "high DC" and "proficiency gate" is easily understood in a realistic concept, since it's basically the difference between "doing this is tricky, because there are a lot of steps, it requires precision, there's a lot of ways it can go wrong, etc." and "I literally have no idea where to start."

I'm sure we're all aware of things in whatever particular interests or areas of expertise where the idea is simple but the execution is involved and things where the execution is fairly simple but you have to understand the advanced technique or theory.


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I think what we all need to remember is that Perform is an untrained use of Performance, and therefore RAW all high level adventurers are f+*~ing fantastic singers and dancers. Doesn't matter if it's the most po-faced dwarven fighter, if he's killed enough people then he's going to throw the most energetic jazzhands the town has ever seen. High level PF2 is literally High School Musical and there is absolutely nothing any GM can do to stop the party from reenacting an objectively beautiful rendition of "We're All in this Together" so long they don't try to make money off of it.

The flipside of this is that high level enemies are notorious music snobs and may require higher quality music to impress than the unwashed masses.

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Helmic wrote:

I think what we all need to remember is that Perform is an untrained use of Performance, and therefore RAW all high level adventurers are f!~&ing fantastic singers and dancers. Doesn't matter if it's the most po-faced dwarven fighter, if he's killed enough people then he's going to throw the most energetic jazzhands the town has ever seen. High level PF2 is literally High School Musical and there is absolutely nothing any GM can do to stop the party from reenacting an objectively beautiful rendition of "We're All in this Together" so long they don't try to make money off of it.

The flipside of this is that high level enemies are notorious music snobs and may require higher quality music to impress than the unwashed masses.

Playing Pathfinder is basically running a fantasy superhero TV series.

Every good fantasy superhero TV series needs a musical episode.

Therefore, all is well now, in PF1 PCs were laughably incompetent at one of core staples of the genre. Fixed.


My character can now bring down an adult dragon in flight, but the fact that he can competently sing a song in tavern after his accomplishment is what what is supposed to break our suspension of disbelief?

I can understand why people have had strong negative reactions to the +level mechanic when they first encountered it, especially people coming from PF1. I agree that the proficiency mechanic is very different than the PF1 skill mechanic, and people's love of that mechanic is pretty entrenched from having used it for over a decade, and the fact that it was such a massive leap forward from what folks playing AD&D 2nd Edition were used to. I don't need to reiterate that the problem for me is that 20 levels of advancement at this rate just feels unnecessary and like it is holding on to a legacy, but it that legacy is one the developers really seem loathed to let go of, and I doubt my protests will change their minds.

But the core idea of streamlining the numerical values of character growth and investing more in diversifying the way character can use their proficiencies is still an awesome and exciting evolution from PF1. There is value in highlighting the edge cases that make us uneasy about adopting the proficiency system, but most of those edge cases have felt like they are either easily arbitrated by the GM, and can be made easier to do so with more future development of splat books focusing on skills, skill feats and what you can do with them, Or they are cases where the developers tried to force a PF1 method of handling a skill check (and usually something that PF1 did not handle well to begin with) into something that the new proficiency system also does not handle well.

Characters singing well fits squarely into the first camp. The game is not going to break because the barbarian with a Charisma of 8 can occasionally sing a fun tavern song that makes the city guard that were there singing along look at her a little more friendly the next time they see her. If anything, with a -4 untrained proficiency, she probably tries it once or twice at low level, fails, and thinks about throwing a single skill rank at it in the future or thinks twice about trying it the next time the opportunity arises. And if she does come back to the same village she tried it at the first time, 5 -7 levels later and is successful, based solely off of her travels and exposure to the rigors of the adventurers life, good! That sounds like the kind of thing people expect in a fantasy story.


MaxAstro wrote:
Edge, while I agree with most of your points, I think "PF2e APs will probably cover a similar time span to PF1e APs" is a reasonable assumption.

I actually beg to differ here. Downtime is (at least supposed to be) much more important now than it was in PF1e. As such, I expect PF2e APs to be written to be at least several weeks, probably several months, possibly even several years longer so that Downtime can be used properly.


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Helmic wrote:

I think what we all need to remember is that Perform is an untrained use of Performance, and therefore RAW all high level adventurers are f$!!ing fantastic singers and dancers. Doesn't matter if it's the most po-faced dwarven fighter, if he's killed enough people then he's going to throw the most energetic jazzhands the town has ever seen. High level PF2 is literally High School Musical and there is absolutely nothing any GM can do to stop the party from reenacting an objectively beautiful rendition of "We're All in this Together" so long they don't try to make money off of it.

The flipside of this is that high level enemies are notorious music snobs and may require higher quality music to impress than the unwashed masses.

Okay, so first of all this sounds hilarious and honestly believable. XD

But second of all, I don't actually picture a 15th level Dwarf Barbarian with 8 Cha and untrained Performance's +10 to Perform (Which I'd like to note is about the same as a level FIVE Bard with no item bonus or feat focus. With a good quality instrument you can get there at 4th and a feat gets you there at 3rd. Even a 20th level character with +15 or 16 can only compare to a 6th-8th level Performance-focused character, depending on the degree of item and feat investment. I think it's easy to forget just how wide the gap between uninvested and specialized really is when looking at +/level and honestly it's just the kind of range I would want between specialized and uninvested.)

Sorry, unintentionally long rant. Anyway, I picture that uninvested 15th level Barbarian's performance not as being objectively awesome but as objectively being kinda crap but the crowd eats it up anyway because they're all low level Joes who are being graced with a performance by a legendary something-slayer. He could sing the entirety of 99 mugs of ale on the wall completely off-key and they'd eat it up. A higher-level crowd would be more discerning and less automatically wowed by his presence or fame and might see that his singing is actually crap and his dancing looks like a Stone Golem that just got hit with Stone to Flesh.

As a note, that 15th level uncharismatic untrained check has a 90-95% chance of passing a Hard-difficulty level 1 crowd, rapidly falling in chance until he needs a Nat 20 to impress a level 13 or 14 crowd.

The level 20 hero doesn't need a Nat 20 until a 17th level crowd, but it's not like his chances are good for anything 10th or higher.

Like, don't get me wrong I understand the hesitation but the flavor ideas and probabilities above MORE than suspend the disbelief for me. XD


Edge93 wrote:
Helmic wrote:

I think what we all need to remember is that Perform is an untrained use of Performance, and therefore RAW all high level adventurers are f$!!ing fantastic singers and dancers. Doesn't matter if it's the most po-faced dwarven fighter, if he's killed enough people then he's going to throw the most energetic jazzhands the town has ever seen. High level PF2 is literally High School Musical and there is absolutely nothing any GM can do to stop the party from reenacting an objectively beautiful rendition of "We're All in this Together" so long they don't try to make money off of it.

The flipside of this is that high level enemies are notorious music snobs and may require higher quality music to impress than the unwashed masses.

Okay, so first of all this sounds hilarious and honestly believable. XD

But second of all, I don't actually picture a 15th level Dwarf Barbarian with 8 Cha and untrained Performance's +10 to Perform (Which I'd like to note is about the same as a level FIVE Bard with no item bonus or feat focus. ...

...

Like, don't get me wrong I understand the hesitation but the flavor ideas and probabilities above MORE than suspend the disbelief for me. XD

Ah, but the proper flavor is to argue that po-faced dwarf (I had to look up "po-faced" as meaning solemn and humorless) is good, because of his life experiences. When the dwarf sings the classic "The Dragon of Fire Hill" to the crowd, he sings it with passion and lets the audience experience through his words the feelings of fighting a dragon. And he can do this because he has fought a dragon. A 5th-level bard can mimic those feelings, but the dwarf has those feelings.

Meanwhile, the wizard accompanying him on the 12-string lute is deftly playing those strings like a professional minstrel, because that wizard took up the 12-string lute as a hobby to keep his fingers limber for spellcasting but still counts as untrained because he learned to play only three different songs. Luckily, one of those songs is "The Dragon of Fire Hill." For the next song, a solo by the cleric, well, he was in the church choir as an acolyte which is why he is trained in Performance, and for every bawdy song the barbarian sang at the campfire, he would match her with a pious one. He spends part of his downtime at cathedrals learning new hymns from the best composers in his religion just to never be outdone by the barbarian with the new songs she learns from the taverns.

Edge93 wrote:
Sorry, unintentionally long rant. Anyway, I picture that uninvested 15th level Barbarian's performance not as being objectively awesome but as objectively being kinda crap but the crowd eats it up anyway because they're all low level Joes who are being graced with a performance by a legendary something-slayer. He could sing the entirety of 99 mugs of ale on the wall completely off-key and they'd eat it up. A higher-level crowd would be more discerning and less automatically wowed by his presence or fame and might see that his singing is actually crap and his dancing looks like a Stone Golem that just got hit with Stone to Flesh.

And the trap snaps shut on Edge93, who just argued that a 15th-level dwarf with +10 to Performance is not as good at Perform as a 5th-level bard with +10 to Perfomance by stating that to a discerning audience "his singing is actually crap." That is not what the PF2 rules say. Okay, hyperbole is difficult and maybe that audience thinks that 5th-level bards are crap, too, but that would undermine Edge93's argument. Few bards and minstrels reach 5th level, and they are considered very good except by the spoiled elite.

+1 to everything means +1 to some things that don't improve in real life. We can make colorful and plausible excuses for these inaccuracies, but we are not allowed--and by "we" I especially mean we GMs--to argue that the character is bad at the skill. Often playability is more important than accuracy.


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I don't honestly see the difference in Mathmuse's and Edge93s solutions. They both offer a narrative reason to explain mechanics. Edge's can say that +10 to performance from a level 15 character is a technically crap performance while the +10 from the bard is a reasonable good one technically because where that + is derived from represents different thinks.

Afterall the roll doesn't represent how well you perform but how well your performance affects the people viewing it. I think we can all think of examples where a technically excellent performance hasn't achieved the same level of recognition over a lesser work that has bigger names. I.E Birdman versus Super Hero movie 26.


Malk_Content wrote:
I don't honestly see the difference in Mathmuse's and Edge93s solutions. They both offer a narrative reason to explain mechanics.

Mechanically, +5 and +10 both mean roll a die and add a number. The difference between which number to use is narrative. Is this character supposed to be good at that skill? Thus, we argue about narrative.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
I don't honestly see the difference in Mathmuse's and Edge93s solutions. They both offer a narrative reason to explain mechanics.
Mechanically, +5 and +10 both mean roll a die and add a number. The difference between which number to use is narrative. Is this character supposed to be good at that skill? Thus, we argue about narrative.

The number represents their capability to achieve a result. Not their technical skill. Thus the result achieved by performance (crowd enjoys it and is in your favour) can have an increased likelyhood to succeed without a narrative increase in technical ability.

Merrifold the bard receives rave reviews by critic for his excellent performance of Chandra's Mandolin a technically difficult piece for one so young. Across the street Bardock the Liberator misses the notes on a battle ballad but people want to sing along with the man who was actually there. Both have the same modifier and both succeeded at their roll, but what Bardock's modifier represents is starkly different to Merrifolds.


Exactly my thought. PF2 only has so much set in stone as to what it represents narratively. I don't see any issue with equal modifiers, that is to say an equal amount of something going for you, having differing manifestations as suits a table.


Mathmuse wrote:
And the trap snaps shut on Edge93, who just argued that a 15th-level dwarf with +10 to Performance is not as good at Perform as a 5th-level bard with +10 to Perfomance by stating that to a discerning audience "his singing is actually crap." That is not what the PF2 rules say.

Well... that really depends on what we mean by "discerning audience". Arguably the most discerning audiences would be the ones willing to pay the performer, and that audience is going to hear the dwarf's caterwauling, turn around, and walk away; while they might actually slip the Bard a few silver. Because the Bard is properly trained, and while the Dwarf's got spirit a-plenty, that training shows.


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But we aren’t allowed to think that. Because any flaws whatsoever must be removed from characters. They are only allowed to be good or REALLY good at something.

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The Perform action is pretty explicit that you're not putting on an extended routine. You're "making a brief performance—one song, a quick dance, or a few jokes."

A successful performance doesn't even have a mechanical impact unless the GM decides it does. An untrained performer who succeeds at a check isn't putting on some grand performance - they're showing that they have the potential to sing a few lines or tell a series of jokes. The Basic Competence description in the skill even gives the GM extra latitude to apply extra penalties as deemed appropriate.

Overall, the Perform action looks like it's there more or less so every skill has an untrained use. An 18th-level character who has a big bonus in Performance can convince somebody that she has the potential to become a decent singer or actor. Compared to a 3rd-level minstrel, she might be able to distract from a key performance but she's not going to win any guitar duels.

In an actual adventure, I expect that untrained uses of Performance would probably only come up if you're trying to Aid somebody who knows what they're doing. (My 20th-level barbarian can be the best back-up dancer ever!)

If you want to make money with the skill, fascinate somebody, or influence people with your performance, you need at least training and probably some skill feats.


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I mean, insofar as high level characters can make money during downtime with skills they are untrained in, I figure that's mostly a function of "if you are sufficiently famous, people are going to give you money for no real reason."

Like people would pay considerable money for a pancake breakfast where Beyonce is doing the cooking, even though she has shown no particular skill at cooking (it's not like pancakes are hard.) I mean, people bought Shaq's rap album...


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Unicore wrote:
My character can now bring down an adult dragon in flight, but the fact that he can competently sing a song in tavern after his accomplishment is what what is supposed to break our suspension of disbelief?

I'm not saying you gotta have your suspension of disbelief broken, I'm saying that if you want any hope of being optimal in PF2 you better start working on those pipes because your campaign's OST just got f#%+ing upgraded. At level 15, you can no longer stop the beat.

Edge93 wrote:
unintentionally long rant

I mean, if we're going to start looking for excuses as to why the level 15 dwarf barbarian is such a fantastic dancer despite never dancing before and will easily outdo even the most gifted bards in town, I don't think "it's actually s~%~ but they don't know better" makes much sense.

The main issue is that while stuff like acrobatics, sneaking, diplomacy, and whatnot can be explained as just things that adventurers have to learn how to do on a basic level as a part of adventuring, performance is a skill that generally does not come up for anyone that isn't a Bard or maybe a Gladiator. So it leads to a silly situation where we're trying to explain why the crowd is going hog wild for the level 15 Barbarian like they've never heard something this amazing before.

Again, crit successes are a thing, and on a roll of 10 or better that dwarf isn't just wowwing that crowd, that crowd is then going home and telling their friends about this dude. He is going to become famous for this, as all level 15 adventurers are. The crowd will want more on the condition he does not monetize his music, probably requiring that he sing something public domain. He can't sing happy birthday I'm afraid.

Unfortunately for our dwarf barbarian, he is liable to be upstaged by the legendary sea serpent, who as a CR 12 creature with a +0 CHA modifier gets a +12 to Performance. And if that's not enough for those snobbish nobles who think level 5 bards are just pure trash, they better look out for the motherf!!%ing Kraken with a massive +22 to Performance, whose raw talent is tempered only by its instinct to immediately murder everyone in the room.

With style.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, insofar as high level characters can make money during downtime with skills they are untrained in, I figure that's mostly a function of "if you are sufficiently famous, people are going to give you money for no real reason."

Actually, I don't see untrained uses of skills giving people downtime money - Craft, Lore, and Performance all require you to be trained if you want to make some cash on the side.

Although the idea of people paying money just to see what a famous person does would certainly explain how William Shatner got away with doing spoken word albums for so long.


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Helmic wrote:

Unfortunately for our dwarf barbarian, he is liable to be upstaged by the legendary sea serpent, who as a CR 12 creature with a +0 CHA modifier gets a +12 to Performance. And if that's not enough for those snobbish nobles who think level 5 bards are just pure trash, they better look out for the motherf%#&ing Kraken with a massive +22 to Performance, whose raw talent is tempered only by its instinct to immediately murder everyone in the room.

With style.

(Laughs uncontrollably)


Helmic wrote:
Unfortunately for our dwarf barbarian, he is liable to be upstaged by the legendary sea serpent, who as a CR 12 creature with a +0 CHA modifier gets a +12 to Performance. And if that's not enough for those snobbish nobles who think level 5 bards are just pure trash, they better look out for the motherf&#~ing Kraken with a massive +22 to Performance, whose raw talent is tempered only by its instinct to immediately murder everyone in the room.

Good thing the Marvel Universe doesn't operate on PF2 logic. Starlord's dance off at the end of GotG 1 would have been tragic...


Charlie Brooks wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, insofar as high level characters can make money during downtime with skills they are untrained in, I figure that's mostly a function of "if you are sufficiently famous, people are going to give you money for no real reason."

Actually, I don't see untrained uses of skills giving people downtime money - Craft, Lore, and Performance all require you to be trained if you want to make some cash on the side.

Although the idea of people paying money just to see what a famous person does would certainly explain how William Shatner got away with doing spoken word albums for so long.

As Charlie Brooks said, the only activities in the Skills chapter that earn money are Craft, Practice a Trade, and Stage a Performance, and they are all trained activities. Since Practice a Trade is what allows the Lore skill to fill the role that Profession serves in PF1, we can understand it being treated as a profession. Both Practice a Trade and Stage a Performance use TABLE 4–4: SKILL INCOME, so they are pretty similar.

And staging a performance is about finding an audience, getting out word to increase demand, allow time for the audience to fit the performance into their schedule, and performing the show. The Performance roll is both about how moved the audience is by the performance and about how much money the performer earns. After 4 days of preparation time, the performer can continue holding performances for days, provided that he or she does not roll a failure, which could shut down the show. The activity mentions that "A typical audience of commoners on the street is a 0-level audience, but a group of artisans with more refined tastes might be a 2nd- or 3rd-level audience, and merchants, nobility, and royalty are increasingly higher level." Thus, we could consider the audience as Shakespeare's Globe Theater to be 3rd level, earning the performer 4 sp a day if he or she meets a DC that the activity says is set by the GM without giving the GM a clue whether it is easy or not. The medium DC for a 3rd-level audience would be 15, so most 5th-level bards with 18 Charisma and +10 expert proficiency in Performance would fail 3 days out of 20 and earn only 0.8 sp that day and critically fail 1 day out of 20 for zero income and one more day lost revamping the show. An medium DC for a 0th-level audience would be 11, but that audience pays only 0.5 sp a day.

The 5th-level bard before a 3rd-level audience would earn 26.1 sp a week on average. TABLE 6–15: COST OF LIVING on page 188 says that a comfortable living cost 14 sp a week, so that is excellent. At 4th level (still assuming expert and Cha 18) that bard earned 23.3 sp a week and at 3rd level that bard earned 19.8 sp a week. This assumes a 7-day workweek.

Nevertheless, the 15th-level po-faced dwarven fighter is not going to Stage a Performance. The pay is too low. A typical encounter with a 15th-level creature would earn the dwarf about a year's wages for the bard, after splitting the treasure with three fellow party members.

I also have an interesting comparison because my players had their characters stage a performance during my Iron Gods campaign. The skald Kirii had performed at Silverdisk Hall in Torch during the 1st module, Fires of Creation, and they purchased Silverdisk Hall during the 3rd module, The Choking Tower, but the 2nd module, Lords of Rust, occurred in the impoverished camp called Scrapwall. The party had entered Scrapwall under false identities and needed to build up a reputation. They used music rather than combat. They built a stage, purchased beer and grog to sell at cost, spread world, and held a concert. They lost a little money in expenses, since the concert was free, but their "scrapworth" reputation score went up by 1 and they made some useful contacts. Building a stage was a Craft check, purchasing beer was a cash transaction, spreading word was a Diplomacy check, and the concert was a Perform(Sing) check.


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Helmic wrote:
Unfortunately for our dwarf barbarian, he is liable to be upstaged by the legendary sea serpent, who as a CR 12 creature with a +0 CHA modifier gets a +12 to Performance.

If I went to a show and an enormous sea monster turned up and tried to do tricks for me, you'd better believe I'd cheer like crazy.


Helmic wrote:


Unfortunately for our dwarf barbarian, he is liable to be upstaged by the legendary sea serpent, who as a CR 12 creature with a +0 CHA modifier gets a +12 to Performance.

Small point of contention, unless the Sea Serpent is Trained in Performance (in which case good for it, you rock that performer life you massive serpent you) it should only be +8. The -4 Untrained penalty is supposed to apply to Monsters too I'm pretty sure.


Do monsters really need the generic "Skills: +x" in the bestiary?

It feels like we could just print the skills it is willing/able to use and just not have it roll anything else ever. If a GM is interested in having a marilith cook a soufflé or have a sewer ooze play the harpsichord, they can just work backwards and figure out the modifier.


Well judging by the fact that Helmic brought up both CR and Cha mod, I believe that's exactly what they were doing, and I was merely pointing out they missed a step. I don't think anyone's suggested listing every skill for every creature in the bestiary?


Shinigami02 wrote:
Well judging by the fact that Helmic brought up both CR and Cha mod, I believe that's exactly what they were doing, and I was merely pointing out they missed a step. I don't think anyone's suggested listing every skill for every creature in the bestiary?

Well, the bestiary lists a generic "+Skills" in before the specific skills, which I think is supposed to be the modifier for "everything else". In general, these are probably 2 too high since the untrained mod was changed from -2 to -4 after the bestiary was printed.

Like the Serpentfolk entry reads: "Skills +2; Acrobatics +7, Arcana +7, Deception +9, Occultism +7, Society +7"


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Do monsters really need the generic "Skills: +x" in the bestiary?

It feels like we could just print the skills it is willing/able to use and just not have it roll anything else ever. If a GM is interested in having a marilith cook a soufflé or have a sewer ooze play the harpsichord, they can just work backwards and figure out the modifier.

If the argument is that PCs gain in skills by way of adventuring, what is the argument for +1/level for monsters? I get it that it's to maintain the rule of "neither auto-fail nor auto-success" but it does leave a rather comical issue with regards to Performace (and some other skill uses).

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Greg.Everham wrote:
If the argument is that PCs gain in skills by way of adventuring, what is the argument for +1/level for monsters? I get it that it's to maintain the rule of "neither auto-fail nor auto-success" but it does leave a rather comical issue with regards to Performace (and some other skill uses).

Any game where the performance ability of a sea serpent is at all relevant is both an extreme outlier and the type of game I would enjoy.


I mean we have a general house guideline of "if something wholly implausible or bizarre is suggested by the game mechanics, it does not happen unless someone can provide an explanation of how it happens that is satisfactory or amusing."

But I can guarantee people will be falling all over themselves to create a mental picture of the sea serpent dance recital.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean we have a general house guideline of "if something wholly implausible or bizarre is suggested by the game mechanics, it does not happen unless someone can provide an explanation of how it happens that is satisfactory or amusing."

But I can guarantee people will be falling all over themselves to create a mental picture of the sea serpent dance recital.

I mean, have you SEEN sea creatures swim? That s*** can be majestic as FRICK.


And as for other performance types, I'd argue things like not speaking a language, having like 6 Int, and not having digits would trigger the basic competency clause of things like singing, comedy, oratory, and instruments.

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