Trying to understand removing +level from untrained proficiency


General Discussion

401 to 444 of 444 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | next > last >>

2 people marked this as a favorite.
D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

what if "not competenet" was an optional training rank, that gives +1 to another skill at the cost of never getting the +level bonus to that "not competent skill; You can do it with a number of skills and never get the +1 to the same one.

+ it would be optional
+ it would allow for the trope of "a character with strengths and weaknesses" that is much cherished

This is what I recommended before the playtest started. I got shouted down by how that was bad design and would be terrible for the game.

Envall wrote:
Accept the abstraction.

I don't need to. Paizo pulled the plug on +level to everything (now it's +level to almost everything).

gwynfrid wrote:
A well-run game doesn't need to break immersion, as PF2 gives the GM all the tools to prevent it.

Whether Paizo wanted it or not, the playtest provided a sample as to how PF2 could work if implemented with the rules that were present in the playtest. In Paizo's own playtest adventures* the DCs were based entirely on PC level and not based on any actual narrative. D&D 4th edition also had the same rules in their game, implemented in a remarkably similar way. And despite the fact that game provided the same tools to DMs, the DCs were 99.9999% of the time based on the PC's level and not the narrative of the game (at least in WotC's published adventures).

People will base their decisions off what you do and not what you say. They'll also draw upon similar experiences to reach conclusions. Paizo made the right decision to revisit how they present the rules for DCs in Pathfinder 2e. Not because they weren't providing the tools GMs needed, but because they had provided tools in such a way that would ensure they didn't get used correctly. If PF2e really is about making it easier to GM Pathfinder correctly, then the way they presented the DC tools to GMs was literally the worst way they could have.

*I am going off what everyone here has said, including I believe the designers and developers. I didn't read them myself.


I mean, Paizo has clearly stated plenty of times that that was specifically to test the on-level DCs for the PLAYTEST, and that future APs will not follow that guideline. So the "base their decisions off what you do and not what you say" isn't really even valid. The Playtest, as Jason B. has said, WAS A TEST. We're really past the point where people should be complaining about the ways where it didn't necessarily function great as an AP. (Although my group found it to function quite well, I definitely liked it more than Fires over Blackcrag, the only Paizo AP I have actually run.)

Lantern Lodge

I find it interesting some of the conversation is shifting back to dropping + level completely as this would fix many, if not all of PF2 problems. Although I think dropping the +10/-10 would also be a big benefit.

However to the OP unicore and I were on opposite sides (him wanting +1 to all and me none) but I totally agree dropping + level to untrained makes no sense. It doesn’t fix the problem of inflation making those untrained worthless which was a core issue of PF1 / 3.x. At least +1 to level and no bonus from level solve the issue of untrained becoming irrelevant...

That part aside the skill proficiency gating is poorly implemented. It can work alright for skill feat gates but when determining skill checks becomes less clear. I think it’s easy to come up with a legendary task but gets more muddled when thinking what separates a master from expert. DMs have to consider this on top of creating a supposed static DC.

You could theoretically have a trained lvl 15 PC with +4 stat at +19 skill and a PC master at said skill with +4 stat at +23. That’s only a difference of +4 but people say there are certain instances where a GM just says nope you can’t attempt what you are trying to do at all because you aren’t a master. And those occasions aren’t even clearly defined? And if they are clearly defined the DM has to remember what things a legendary can do over expert over master over trained... Sounds terrible.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I know people feel like many of these threads lead in circular arguments that go nowhere, but I have to say that the debate in this thread, although sometimes sidetracked, has been both civil and thoughtful and has definitely deepened my thinking on this issue, even if I still feel fairly muddled about about the outcome.

Overall, I think I found the initial declaration from Jason both disappointing and alarming, because I was just starting to understand what kind of game was being built, and even though it made some choices I wasn't excited about, it felt like it was coming together as a unified system with some interesting growth potential.

Over and over again, people asked for a clear cut explanation for the +level to proficiency bonus system and the developers pretty much stayed out of any justification debate, except to say that they wanted to make sure that a high level hero, set upon by low level thugs in an ambush, could expect to easily wipe the floor with 6 to 8 of them, that PF2 was going to be a fast scaling system that meant leaving behind the old (equipment, enemies, spells) or at least having it so that the things that were good or challenging at low levels occupied a very different roll at higher levels.

I.E: Ogres going from boss monsters to minions.

Spell slots rotating through from damage to control and buff as you gained higher levels of spells.

Runes getting moved to new weapons and old weapons shifting from primary weapon to secondary weapon.

Love it or hate it, it is a self-contained system with a clear goal and playable logic.

Maybe this decision to throw untrained proficiencies (and eventually even trained proficiencies) on the trash heap as you level up will keep things tight and narrowly focused, so that the 90% of the game in play stays challenging but feels different as you play and progress through 20 levels. We will find out if this is true when the books start coming out and the adventure paths drop, and we learn what DCs are like and what the expectations are for competency and character growth are. But having a central pillar of the system unity unplugged in a twitch interview without much explanation for how that was all going to come together was a little alarming for me.

It made me feel like the developers lacked confidence in the ability for +level to proficiency, and having 5 tiers of proficiency to establish difference between characters, which isn't a great thing to be conveying at this point in the process. It is a change that means that the whole proficiency system we saw in the playtest is shifting much more significantly than just reducing DCs by 2 across the board and adding more feats and clearer explanations for the rules. Maybe that new system will be great, but we won't get to see it until print at this point.

How weapon and armor is going to fit within the new proficiency system is a big question mark, and I hope there are good answers within the design team, because they are looking questionable from the outside. This includes trying to understand how and when wizards will automatically progress to expert proficiency with weapons as well as what the new ceiling for weapon training is for non-martials, vs non-martial fighters, vs fighters. And the same with issue with Armor and saves for different classes.

Is all of this worth it to keep skills in a unified proficiency system with things that have to progress beyond untrained to be functional at higher levels? Maybe, maybe not. The skill/exploration/non-combat encounter side of things feels less developed and was pretty messy in the playtest, far more so than combat mechanics. I see why there were drastic steps taken to change it. I hope the new system is either spot on and well developed in the CRB, or almost excluded/just hinted at and can be developed more tightly and coherently in future books like "wilderness adventures" and "ultimate intrigue," and those systems get a chance to go through some more revisions.

At this point, I don't really see the value in trying to present my own personal suggestions for work arounds or fixes. Real talk, there are fundamental disconnects for me with things that had to be held on to for legacy reasons and to carry on D&D derivation of fantasy role playing, as well as a desire to see RPGs grow into more flexible systems than the current industry model precipitates. It may be time for me to turn my creative efforts to a different role playing game system, perhaps even collaborate with some folks upon the creation of a new one. I have always loved Paizo adventures and will probably remain a customer of narrative and story developing content, but I don't think I see PF2 solving the issues that have driven me and my gaming group away from PF1 rules.

It has been fun participating in the playtest process and really exploring design decisions and game mechanics at such a fundamental level. I wish Paizo all the success that they can find and really hope they keep finding and fostering the kinds of incredible creative content makers that make Golarion such a wild and fascinating world to explore. I especially want to give shout outs to Crystal Frasier, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Richard Pett, Amber E. Scott, Mark Seifter, Adam Daigle, Jason Bulmahn, and James Jacobs for all of the amazing adventures or creative inspiration.


Edge93 wrote:
I mean, Paizo has clearly stated plenty of times that that was specifically to test the on-level DCs for the PLAYTEST, and that future APs will not follow that guideline.
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Whether Paizo wanted it or not, the playtest provided a sample as to how PF2 could work if implemented with the rules that were present in the playtest.

I'm not arguing whether or not people SHOULD see the playtest as a sample of how PF2e will work if the rules get implemented as written in the playtest. I'm saying they did.

As an addendum: Paizo also said they knew the risks of presenting the DC difficulty table in the same way that D&D 4th edition did and had learned from that and had incorporated that learning into how they were handling the issue with Pathfinder 2e. They then went ahead and presented the rules exactly the same way as D&D 4th edition did.

Actions speak louder then words and the way they presented the DCs in the playtest indicated they DIDN'T learn the lessons of D&D 4th edition. Fortunately it would appear they now have and are presenting the DCs in a different format.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder PF Special Edition Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
A well-run game doesn't need to break immersion, as PF2 gives the GM all the tools to prevent it.
Whether Paizo wanted it or not, the playtest provided a sample as to how PF2 could work if implemented with the rules that were present in the playtest.

Doomsday Dawn was a test, as Edge93 reminded us. Using this as a predictor of how PF2 adventures will be designed requires assuming that Paizo will ignore their own stated intent. I think we can safely dismiss that hypothesis.

Beyond that, I agree with Unicore: The discussion has been civil and enlightening, but it seems to have run its course, as arguments have become circular over the past few pages. While I understand the differing viewpoints, my own takeaway remains unchanged: +level is a good mechanic, justified by game balance and the idea that level gain should make a major difference in character power. Restricting it to trained and above is a surprising decision, but I trust Paizo to make it work for most players (not all players though - some opposition will remain, with some views deeply entrenched and not amenable to compromise).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MerlinCross wrote:
thflame wrote:

Let's say your character is trying to listen in on a conversation between 2 NPCs in the local tavern.

He needs to move within earshot of the NPCs' table, without drawing attention to himself, and he also needs to be able to blend in with the crowd once he's there, and make it appear as though he is just another tavern patron.

I'd imagine that would fall under a very basic use of stealth, but I imagine that a character that was good at stalking prey in the woods might not necessarily be well equipped to complete the task.

Side question; how worried about needing a Feat to pick out just 2 voices in a crowded room should we be?

Cause that's something I could totally see needing a Skill feat for.

No offense, but I don't think that would be a terribly good feat. It would be WAY to circumstantial. On average, how many times does a situation where you need to eavesdrop on someone from across a noisy room come up per campaign? Maybe once?

Unless the feat came with other benefits, that is.

Another problem with that feat is that it would most certainly fall under Perception. Does Perception even have skill feats?


I mean, Read Lips says it can be done without effort, though may need a Society check in more crowded instances, so I'd assume the same. Except in this case, the base function doesn't even need a skill feat.


thflame wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
thflame wrote:

Let's say your character is trying to listen in on a conversation between 2 NPCs in the local tavern.

He needs to move within earshot of the NPCs' table, without drawing attention to himself, and he also needs to be able to blend in with the crowd once he's there, and make it appear as though he is just another tavern patron.

I'd imagine that would fall under a very basic use of stealth, but I imagine that a character that was good at stalking prey in the woods might not necessarily be well equipped to complete the task.

Side question; how worried about needing a Feat to pick out just 2 voices in a crowded room should we be?

Cause that's something I could totally see needing a Skill feat for.

No offense, but I don't think that would be a terribly good feat. It would be WAY to circumstantial. On average, how many times does a situation where you need to eavesdrop on someone from across a noisy room come up per campaign? Maybe once?

Unless the feat came with other benefits, that is.

Another problem with that feat is that it would most certainly fall under Perception. Does Perception even have skill feats?

How often are you going to need to need to pull yourself up after you have used Leap and grabbed an edge? Rapid Mantel seems pretty Circumstantial. And we can just keep looking over the list of "Why is this a skill feat" though I believe they have, or are to be buffed.

With how they seem to be moving some things into Profiency and skill feats, I can see needing something for "Focused Hearing".

And no Perception doesn't skill feats. Which makes me wonder how they're going to apply any of the old Perception feats moving forward or are they all dead?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

what if "not competenet" was an optional training rank, that gives +1 to another skill at the cost of never getting the +level bonus to that "not competent skill; You can do it with a number of skills and never get the +1 to the same one.

+ it would be optional
+ it would allow for the trope of "a character with strengths and weaknesses" that is much cherished

This is what I recommended before the playtest started. I got shouted down by how that was bad design and would be terrible for the game.

It IS bad game design and would be terrible, because it adds another source of min-max guesswork.

On the other hand, I would be entirely in favor of an optional incompetent rank that didn't give you a bonus elsewhere, much like how you can intentionally lower your attributes for no bonus.


MerlinCross wrote:
thflame wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
thflame wrote:

Let's say your character is trying to listen in on a conversation between 2 NPCs in the local tavern.

He needs to move within earshot of the NPCs' table, without drawing attention to himself, and he also needs to be able to blend in with the crowd once he's there, and make it appear as though he is just another tavern patron.

I'd imagine that would fall under a very basic use of stealth, but I imagine that a character that was good at stalking prey in the woods might not necessarily be well equipped to complete the task.

Side question; how worried about needing a Feat to pick out just 2 voices in a crowded room should we be?

Cause that's something I could totally see needing a Skill feat for.

No offense, but I don't think that would be a terribly good feat. It would be WAY to circumstantial. On average, how many times does a situation where you need to eavesdrop on someone from across a noisy room come up per campaign? Maybe once?

Unless the feat came with other benefits, that is.

Another problem with that feat is that it would most certainly fall under Perception. Does Perception even have skill feats?

How often are you going to need to need to pull yourself up after you have used Leap and grabbed an edge? Rapid Mantel seems pretty Circumstantial. And we can just keep looking over the list of "Why is this a skill feat" though I believe they have, or are to be buffed.

It could be quite a lot. If you are attempting to jump up things near your maximum jumping ability it could be as high as 100% of the time (if it is exactly you maximum jump every time you succeed at jumping high enough Rapid Mantel will be useful.) The Master upgrade is more useful and will come into play every time you avoid falling down a pit or being pushed off a ledge.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, I'm with MaxAstro on this one. It sounds decent on paper but in practice it pressures characters to just conveniently have a "weak" skill for every skill they plan to use regularly so they can get that free +1 on top of all the other possible bonuses on the skills they will actually use.

Making it optional without benefit is the best of both worlds. It provides no minmaxing benefit and people who really want to be abysmal and not just bad at a skill for roleplaying reasons don't need a mechanical benefit to make their strengths better than someone else who didn't want to do the same could ever get. They're just doing it for the RP.

The ability to tank (not just neglect or leave neutral, but actively tank) things you don't intend to use to buff the things you will use regularly is pretty much the definition of minmaxing.


Malk_Content wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
thflame wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
thflame wrote:

Let's say your character is trying to listen in on a conversation between 2 NPCs in the local tavern.

He needs to move within earshot of the NPCs' table, without drawing attention to himself, and he also needs to be able to blend in with the crowd once he's there, and make it appear as though he is just another tavern patron.

I'd imagine that would fall under a very basic use of stealth, but I imagine that a character that was good at stalking prey in the woods might not necessarily be well equipped to complete the task.

Side question; how worried about needing a Feat to pick out just 2 voices in a crowded room should we be?

Cause that's something I could totally see needing a Skill feat for.

No offense, but I don't think that would be a terribly good feat. It would be WAY to circumstantial. On average, how many times does a situation where you need to eavesdrop on someone from across a noisy room come up per campaign? Maybe once?

Unless the feat came with other benefits, that is.

Another problem with that feat is that it would most certainly fall under Perception. Does Perception even have skill feats?

How often are you going to need to need to pull yourself up after you have used Leap and grabbed an edge? Rapid Mantel seems pretty Circumstantial. And we can just keep looking over the list of "Why is this a skill feat" though I believe they have, or are to be buffed.

It could be quite a lot. If you are attempting to jump up things near your maximum jumping ability it could be as high as 100% of the time (if it is exactly you maximum jump every time you succeed at jumping high enough Rapid Mantel will be useful.) The Master upgrade is more useful and will come into play every time you avoid falling down a pit or being pushed off a ledge.

Our Fighter used it at least twice in Heroes of Undarin.

It's actually pretty hype if terrain is actually a factor in your battles.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
gwynfrid wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
A well-run game doesn't need to break immersion, as PF2 gives the GM all the tools to prevent it.
Whether Paizo wanted it or not, the playtest provided a sample as to how PF2 could work if implemented with the rules that were present in the playtest.

Doomsday Dawn was a test, as Edge93 reminded us. Using this as a predictor of how PF2 adventures will be designed requires assuming that Paizo will ignore their own stated intent. I think we can safely dismiss that hypothesis.

If Doomsday Dawn was a test, one thing it objectively failed at was demonstrating that AP writers could readily come up with justifications as to why a certain skill usage required a particular level-appropriate DC.

Exo-Guardians

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Richard Crawford wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
A well-run game doesn't need to break immersion, as PF2 gives the GM all the tools to prevent it.
Whether Paizo wanted it or not, the playtest provided a sample as to how PF2 could work if implemented with the rules that were present in the playtest.

Doomsday Dawn was a test, as Edge93 reminded us. Using this as a predictor of how PF2 adventures will be designed requires assuming that Paizo will ignore their own stated intent. I think we can safely dismiss that hypothesis.

If Doomsday Dawn was a test, one thing it objectively failed at was demonstrating that AP writers could readily come up with justifications as to why a certain skill usage required a particular level-appropriate DC.

It wasn’t trying to, nor should we use it as such. It was for mechanics testing above all else, story was secondary to the testing process.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Edge93 wrote:

Yeah, I'm with MaxAstro on this one. It sounds decent on paper but in practice it pressures characters to just conveniently have a "weak" skill for every skill they plan to use regularly so they can get that free +1 on top of all the other possible bonuses on the skills they will actually use.

Making it optional without benefit is the best of both worlds. It provides no minmaxing benefit and people who really want to be abysmal and not just bad at a skill for roleplaying reasons don't need a mechanical benefit to make their strengths better than someone else who didn't want to do the same could ever get. They're just doing it for the RP.

The ability to tank (not just neglect or leave neutral, but actively tank) things you don't intend to use to buff the things you will use regularly is pretty much the definition of minmaxing.

I 100% agree with you on this one. In the same way that players can take one or more optional flaws to their attributes at character creation with no benefit, they should be afforded the ability to do that here as well.

This should not be an avenue for min-maxing, but I am not against players wanting to use it as a roleplaying tool to represent character flaws.


Min-maxing is not inherently bad.

I would argue that it is healthy in the right doses.

YMMV on what the right dose is, but here are some potential points to adress:

1 - It makes the game imbalanced
It depends on how effective the minmaxing option is compared to its cost first, and to the whole game in general second.
If the game can handle it fine, then it's fine in this regard.

2 - It rewards players who min-max
Again, it depends on how effective the minmaxing option is compared to its cost - some players may very well prefer to be able to roll on every occasion rather than have a 5% higher chance of a spotlight at a single skill, that sounds reasonable to me

3 - it is not necessary
Nothing is, but it's a feature some players will love to have. Again, it cannot be bad as long as there are no adverse effects.

4 - it is BAD design, ditto
It is not as long as it has no adverse effects


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Edge93 wrote:
Making it optional without benefit is the best of both worlds.

It actually isn't. It's why you don't see anyone walking around Starfinder with anything below an 8. It's the exact same logic as "you can always just choose to fail a roll and choose to not apply your +level to a particular skill." That's not the best of both worlds. That's just completely failing to cater to one segment of the playerbase.

Which is fine. The responses my post got have demonstrated that there is a very extreme attitude on this issue which is incompatible with those who want there to be SOME sort of resource cost to get +level to all skills (although I expect it to be one or two general or skill feats at most with Paizo giving all characters an extra couple of feats to compensate).

Paizo can only cater to one segment here. They chose to cater to those who didn't want +level to everything for free/those who were willing to put up with having to pay to get +level to everything. I do hope they give something that lets you design the type of characters you want without the cost being too onerous. I doubt the diehard fans though will be happy with that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder PF Special Edition Subscriber
D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

Min-maxing is not inherently bad.

I would argue that it is healthy in the right doses.

YMMV on what the right dose is, but here are some potential points to adress:

1 - It makes the game imbalanced
It depends on how effective the minmaxing option is compared to its cost first, and to the whole game in general second.
If the game can handle it fine, then it's fine in this regard.

2 - It rewards players who min-max
Again, it depends on how effective the minmaxing option is compared to its cost - some players may very well prefer to be able to roll on every occasion rather than have a 5% higher chance of a spotlight at a single skill, that sounds reasonable to me

3 - it is not necessary
Nothing is, but it's a feature some players will love to have. Again, it cannot be bad as long as there are no adverse effects.

4 - it is BAD design, ditto
It is not as long as it has no adverse effects

I'm afraid your suggestion fails badly on point #2. The benefit is +5% to pass on the skill you want to use most, and +5% to either critically succeed or avoid a critical failure (depending on how hard the DC is). So this is a pretty effective option. But the bigger problem is on the cost side: The cost is effectively zero for the vast majority of builds. Only very rare characters will not have at least 3-4 skills they really don't care about. For example, martials can expect the high Int folks in their group to deal with the four knowledge skills in 99.9% of occasions.

An option with some benefit and zero cost is dangerously close to a mandatory option. Enough to qualify as bad design? It's a matter of opinion. Personally, I would say, yes.

Anyway, this is purely academic, since the devs chose to remove +level from untrained.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

"I want my character to be able to be absolutely terrible at things. But if being absolutely terrible isn't the default, then I expect to be compensated for being terrible."

That logic doesn't flow to me; I don't understand that point of view.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:

"I want my character to be able to be absolutely terrible at things. But if being absolutely terrible isn't the default, then I expect to be compensated for being terrible."

That logic doesn't flow to me; I don't understand that point of view.

The trade-off mechanics of Pathfinder 1st Edition and its predecessor editions of Dungeons & Dragons create that mindset. We players like balanced game mechanics and then we explain the mechanics in roleplaying narrative. For versimitude, we roleplay a mechanical weakness granted to balance a mechanical strength as neglecting the area of the weakness. For example, when players ask, "Why does my fighter get only 2 skill ranks per level?" the other players explain that the fighter spends all his time practicing combat and has no time to learn skills. This narrative gives the false impression that it ought to work in reverse, too, that roleplaying neglecting an area and practicing in another area should give a boost in the second area, even though no mechanics support it.

We lie about the mechanics for versimitude and then expect the lie to be true.


I will preface this by stating that the following example is not guaranteed, but what I see as the most probable results of the 2 willing nerf rules: No +lv at full negative cost; and, No +lv for full cost and a minor benefit (+1 to one thing)..

The logic is this imagine for 1 second that you got a choice of an ability for free even when you didn't want it. The rules says that you could get rid of it/not choose one but wont get anything in return.

This has 2 mayor probable results:
A) You are now ineffective compared to all the other characters for absolutely no reason, which drags down play (and may get you glares at the table).

B) You lose nothing because the ability/s was useless in first first place, which abilities are broken.

***************
Now imagine you got the choice of 1 ability or increasing another by +1.

This gives 4 mayor probable results:
A) The ability/s are broken because getting it or not doesn't matter, abiloties are broken (Same as option B from previous example).

B) You are ineffective compared to other characters, the +1 is not worth the loss of the ability (same result as A from previous example).

C) You are balanced with the other party, The +1 was worth the loss and ability/s are helped helped by the +1.

D) You break the entire balance of the game. +1 is so much more effective than an entire ability, that the entire rules are probably broken and should probably get reviewed and fixed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also the fighter getting 2 skill ranks is a 3.5 legacy that was fixed with archetypes, a feat, and both an A. Armor & Weapon Training option.

And even if it didn't get fixed. The explanation for why a Fighter has less skills is also the explanation for why every other class has their abilities.

So if the fighter stops practicing how to fight and instead practices magic he will learn that by taking a lv of a casting class. If instead he practices skills he would learns them by taking a lv of a skill class.

The idea that everyone is a Gary Stu/Mary Sue unless they opt out is what confuses me.

I don't mean this as an attack, I'm just really puzzled as to how that makes the game better.


Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

"Every character can roll on a skill challenge and have a chance to succeed. There is no real difference between the characters in the party when they all get +/level to skill checks. The game is extremely homogenized and everyone can be good at everything."

"Proficiency Gates are a worthless mechanic, the idea that my character shouldn't be able to attempt something because his proficiency doesn't meet some arbitrary rank is ridiculous. What's the point in even trying unless you're going to ignore everything else to raise one skill?"

I see variations of those two arguments from the same person way too often here. In the end it pretty much seems to come down to this.

"I want to be able to choose to be terrible at something so I can be amazing at something else."

This is pretty much the core of min-maxing and I really hope that they don't cater to that crowd as it can very quickly get out of control and break game balance with enough rules bloat.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Temperans wrote:

The idea that everyone is a Gary Stu/Mary Sue unless they opt out is what confuses me.

I don't mean this as an attack, I'm just really puzzled as to how that makes the game better.

I'm in the same boat.

Since AD&D the character sheet has been described to me as "listing your character's strengths and weaknesses". The concept that there should be no weaknesses, just strengths, and if you want weaknesses pencil in some RP justification/houserule is bizarre.

If I wanted to play a game where I have to constantly handwave or pull mechanics out of my rear to suit my storytelling, I would play something like Fate.

It's also astounding to me that there are so many people here who are fully behind the concept of every character being able to do anything they want for free that any suggestion to the contrary is essentially shouted down with "Superheroes don't need to explain jack!"

I *love* roleplaying. I can be annoyingly RP focused. But I like it when my roleplaying has backup in the rules, so it would be nice to have some way, somewhere, to numerically make my character frail, or bad at sports, without fudging it.

Edit: Which is why I'm glad untrained had +lvl removed. I hope we also get some sort of minor trait/drawback system too, that would be nice.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
WatersLethe wrote:
Temperans wrote:

The idea that everyone is a Gary Stu/Mary Sue unless they opt out is what confuses me.

I don't mean this as an attack, I'm just really puzzled as to how that makes the game better.

I'm in the same boat.

Since AD&D the character sheet has been described to me as "listing your character's strengths and weaknesses". The concept that there should be no weaknesses, just strengths, and if you want weaknesses pencil in some RP justification/houserule is bizarre.

If I wanted to play a game where I have to constantly handwave or pull mechanics out of my rear to suit my storytelling, I would play something like Fate.

It's also astounding to me that there are so many people here who are fully behind the concept of every character being able to do anything they want for free that any suggestion to the contrary is essentially shouted down with "Superheroes don't need to explain jack!"

I *love* roleplaying. I can be annoyingly RP focused. But I like it when my roleplaying has backup in the rules, so it would be nice to have some way, somewhere, to numerically make my character frail, or bad at sports, without fudging it.

Edit: Which is why I'm glad untrained had +lvl removed. I hope we also get some sort of minor trait/drawback system too, that would be nice.

Here's the thing.

Weakness and strength are RELATIVE.

A +5 to Athletics is amazing for a level 1 character. This is a trained strongman, not some average joe.

An 8th+ level character with +5 to Athletics is as good as that level 1 strongman but absolutely SUCKS for a level 8 character, someone who has essentially exceeded human capabilities by far at this point.

The idea for people like me who favor +level to untrained is that at higher levels you should be striving to a whole different standard at higher levels. By 10th level I think you should have higher bonuses to EVERYTHING than a 1st level character because you should be on a whole different playing field, putting yourself up to higher challenges than anything that would challenge a level 1 character reasonably.

And by that view you ARE still bad at things you don't invest in, you DO still have weaknesses, but you are weak to the standards of the higher-level playing field, not the standards of an average Joe.

A guy who can run a mile is pretty fit by my book, but that strength doesn't cut it if he's planning to run a 5k. It's a whole different standard you have to aim at. This is magnified greatly in a fantasy world where you escalate to much greater challenges.

This is the core of why I like +level to untrained. You can still be bad at things relative to your level, but you aren't bad by level 1 standards (which would equate to absolutely useless to a higher level standard). So you aren't good but can still potentially contribute or at least not be totally useless to challenges on your level.

A Mary Sue/Gary Stu is someone who is overly competent/capable or incompetent/incapable in context of the challenges they face. That last part is key. A level 10 character living the like of a level 1 character and facing the challenges of a level 1 character would ABSOLUTELY be a Mary Sue. They would just be omg so good at everything because they r so kewl. My Original Character, do not steal.

But that's not what happens. You are a level 10 character living the life of a level 10 character an facing those challenges, and being untrained means you may well not be able to measure up to those challenges (but luck or talent in other aspects of a skill may carry you), but you aren't out of the question laughably incompetent by those standards.

To put it another way, I don't think a level 10 untrained character should be more incompetent by level 10 standards than a level 1 untrained character is by level 1 standards.

It's not about being able to just do anything at high level, because really there is PLENTY that an untrained level 20 character even can't do (IIRC a level 20 untrained with 10 in the stat and no item could potentially fail a LEVEL 5 task, and higher ability score doesn't bump that a lot) and that is a fact that is glossed over a LOT. It's about keeping your investment-to-competence ratio for your level more consistent.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Temperans wrote:

The idea that everyone is a Gary Stu/Mary Sue unless they opt out is what confuses me.

I don't mean this as an attack, I'm just really puzzled as to how that makes the game better.

I think it's a matter of perspective. I don't see a character with +level to untrained to be good at everything (a Mary Sue type), I just see them being competent within reason at everything and good/great at some things. Especially now with the increased difference between the proficiency ranks, which would end up with +10 difference between untrained and legendary (if untrained stayed with 4 less than trained as it currently is).

Purely mechanical it makes all skills a possibility to use (the untrained uses at least) for characters throughout the game, instead of the scenario where all but the "face" of the party will have to keep their mouths shut when interacting with anyone in the world or magic being the only real solution for infiltrating anywhere in the game as a group, because most balanced party will not include 4 characters all trained in stealth and athletics.

In terms of "realism" the idea that a normal capable adventure would be stomped by any basic skill use while fighting monsters that could easily wipe out entire towns seems odd to me.

So that is why I think +level to untrained made for a better game.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Rather than the direction they chose to go my suggestion would have definitely been the following with the level bonus applied evenly to each rank.

Untrained:-2
Trained:+2
Expert:+4
Master:+6
Legendary:+8

This leaves characters who are untrained in a skill still able to compete at first level, though with a noticeable disadvantage and a total 50% probability spread between Untrained and Legendary.

More importantly this also means that skill will matter more than the linked attribute in terms of contribution.

Finally, the area that I feel they would be better served focusing their time on would be how to build a proper skill challenge in varying scenarios and more examples on how/when to apply proficiency gates.

That's just my opinion though.

Lantern Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think it works to say higher level PCs take on vastly higher level challenges so can be vastly more powerful than lower level PCs (such as the above example saying you are above human by level 8)... If the game is vacuum where the PCs are the only level 8 or among a handful of level 8 characters in the world. But this totally breaks down when you throw in other NPCs who are also at that level and strength. And PF2 requires this for the treadmill to work. Also falls apart when creating static DCs.

The reason the super hero genre works is because those super heroes had something extraordinary, bit by a radioactive spider or gene mutation from birth etc, that gave them strength. It’s not that Bob the butcher learned how to wield a sword and is now capable of slaying armies at lvl 12.

Don’t get me wrong this is a legacy issue from PF1 /3x but sadly the +10/-10 crit system and magic weapon damage reliance makes the disparity even worse.


Temperans wrote:

Also the fighter getting 2 skill ranks is a 3.5 legacy that was fixed with archetypes, a feat, and both an A. Armor & Weapon Training option.

And even if it didn't get fixed. The explanation for why a Fighter has less skills is also the explanation for why every other class has their abilities.

So if the fighter stops practicing how to fight and instead practices magic he will learn that by taking a lv of a casting class. If instead he practices skills he would learns them by taking a lv of a skill class.

The idea that everyone is a Gary Stu/Mary Sue unless they opt out is what confuses me.

I don't mean this as an attack, I'm just really puzzled as to how that makes the game better.

I have heard about Mary Sue as a literary concept, a character that steps into an existing narrative, often a fan fiction, and the other characters offer her respect for abilities and virtues that she never displayed. I can't figure out what the trope means in a roleplaying game. The only equivalent I can imagine is a GMPC.

A Mary Sue is about unearned victory, and roleplaying is about earning victories. And that earning is important to this discussion.

A PF1 fighter swapping out a level in fighter with its +1 to BAB and combat feat for a level in wizard with its +0 to BAB and a handful of 1st-level spells with arcane spell failure for casting in armor is a choice. That choice will affect how he earns his victories, making melee combat more difficult but giving him some surprising options.

A PF2 fighter passing up a fighter feat and taking Wizard Dedication instead for two cantrips is a lesser choice, but a choice nonetheless. It, too, will affect how he earns his victories, making melee combat more difficult but giving him some surprising options.

A character who choses how to roleplay his character with a weakness that is not balanced by another advantage is a roleplaying choice. It will affect how he earns his victories. However, it will make something more difficult and not give new options, so it is only half the fun of a more balanced mechanic.

I measure victories by their stories. I cannot write three posts without mentioning a character from my campaigns, because they have such memorable stories. Well-envisioned weaknesses make stories.
-If a human, darkvisioned goblins, and arkvisioned dwarves delve down in unlit caves and the human says, no, I will not carry a torch that always gives us away; instead, I will learn Blind-Fight and other skills so that I can stumble adequately in the dark, then he has accepted a handicap without a personal reward. The other players can tell the story of his sacrifice.
- If a player creates a sorcerer with high Charisma for occult power, but says, no, I do not want my character to be a master of Deception and Diplomacy and forced to be party face. We other characters can understand the character concept and appreciate the stories of the quiet sorcerer, but if PF2 went with +level to Deception and Diplomacy for untrained, we would know that the sorcerer secretly is a master of Deception and Diplomacy.
- If a player created a desert nomad character who says he cannot swim despite being expert in Athletics, we might expect one day to find that nomad falling into a river and discovering an unrealized talent for swimming. In the meanwhile, we go along with the story.

Wait, Edge93 posted a definition of Mary Sue.

Edge93 wrote:
A Mary Sue/Gary Stu is someone who is overly competent/capable or incompetent/incapable in context of the challenges they face. That last part is key. A level 10 character living the like of a level 1 character and facing the challenges of a level 1 character would ABSOLUTELY be a Mary Sue. They would just be omg so good at everything because they r so kewl. My Original Character, do not steal.

Wow, the roleplaying definition of Mary Sue drifted far from the literary definition.

If overly competent PCs are a problem, then throw tougher challenges at them. That is what I did as a GM and it worked.

I and my players played 12th-level characters pretending to be 1st-, 2nd-, or 3rd-level characters in Palace of Fallen Stars, the 5th module in Iron Gods. They needed to visit Starfall, captial city of Numeria and home of the Technic League, but they were on the Technic League's most wanted list under the false names they used for adventuring. So they reverted to their true identities, or another secret identity, and simply walked into Starfall. They even cross-classed, the bloodrager pretending to be a 1st-level wizard, the gunslinger pretending to be a 2nd-level expert (NPC class), and the skald pretending to be a 3rd-level cleric. They dared not use their high-level abilities in public, so they often had to deal with challenges while limited to their low-level abilities. It was fun, too fun, and the players were distracted by helping the poor and allying with local contacts rather than following the main quest: Inconspicuous PCs Unmotivated in Palace of Fallen Stars (Iron Gods spoilers).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I know I bowed out, but this issue still has me thinking.

One aspect of the issue is that I feel like the things thrown into the "skill pool" don't all necessarily belong there or together.

Yes it is possible to learn techniques and formulas that can help you engage in diplomacy and improve your athletic ability or fighting prowess, but most of these things are aspects of a character that rely so heavily on natural ability that it is really hard to see characters having a +0 bonus to them at level 20, if they are getting a +20 to trained abilities.

Maybe there should be a subset of skills that truly do get no bonus from level without training because they represent specialized skill sets that people don't do every day as a part of living an adventurers life. Lores, knowledges (although knowledge of monsters fought needs to be more clearly addressed in the rules then), perform, etc. Personally I feel like those are pretty clearly skills that just can't be used untrained, and then there is no reason to have them written on your character sheet until you get training in them, but it is not a deal breaker to me to see them sitting there unused.

I understand people wanting to throw swimming and climbing in that category, but to do so probably means to break athletics down from one skill because the overall use of physical strength to walk long distances, lift things, and live the incredibly active lifestyle of an adventurer means that the part that plays into wrestling and endurance activities needs +level to it as well.

Also, it really looks like a mistake to make weapons and armors proficiencies in the same way as skills and saves, if the root of proficiency can vary by up to 20 points based upon trained or not. I am a big fan of getting rid of BAB, but it is better than trying to understand why an attack or defense bonus can drop off so radically if you are forced into wearing armor or using a weapon you are not familiar with. Wouldn't the exact same situation apply to the use of any skill with an improvised tool, or while wearing encumbering clothing?

Overall, I still feel like the proficiency system (by itself) is a good system if it works entirely with or without the +level bonus, but with having that extra caveat of untrained not getting it and everything else getting it, much more attention needs to go into explaining what a proficiency is and why it works the way it does, then it got in the playtest.

I am still curious what the final product looks like, and see a lot of potential in most of the systems PF2 is trying to adopt, but some of them are still not playing together nicely and I don't think we as playtesters have been shown how they could play together nicely from the game we have played.


MaxAstro wrote:

"I want my character to be able to be absolutely terrible at things. But if being absolutely terrible isn't the default, then I expect to be compensated for being terrible."

That logic doesn't flow to me; I don't understand that point of view.

Because that's not it.

It needs to be rephrased to better represent the actual content of the point of view:

"I want to be able to choose to have a character who is overall able to attempt any challenge, which reflects a certain narrative trope, OR a character that has more marked strengths and weaknesses compared to the former, which represents another trope"


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Edge93 wrote:

The idea for people like me who favor +level to untrained is that at higher levels you should be striving to a whole different standard at higher levels. By 10th level I think you should have higher bonuses to EVERYTHING than a 1st level character because you should be on a whole different playing field, putting yourself up to higher challenges than anything that would challenge a level 1 character reasonably.

And by that view you ARE still bad at things you don't invest in, you DO still have weaknesses, but you are weak to the standards of the higher-level playing field, not the standards of an average Joe.

I think the difference, then, is one of perspective on whether higher-level characters should be on that whole other playing field in things they haven't invested in learning (i.e., things they're untrained in) versus the average person.

Some people view this as positive. They think a higher-level character should be on that higher-level playing field, better than an average person at everything. In this viewpoint, the cumulative experiences of a campaign add up to being more capable at all basic tasks, even ones they haven't necessarily studied, because they've had more experiences overall.

Some people view this as negative. They think that a character, even a higher-level one, shouldn't be dramatically better at something solely by dint of leveling, even in comparison to the average person. In this viewpoint, 1st level Ranger Alice should still be better at tracking and finding food in the wilderness than 10th level Wizard Bob, who lives in a city and only leaves his tower to buy more books. This group wants their characters to have weaknesses not only by the standards of their level and the challenges they're engaging in, but also relative to a lower-level person who specializes in the thing that they don't.

It's the disconnect between these two viewpoints that I think leads to people talking past each other a bit.

We used to have trained/untrained skills and take 10 in PF1, which enabled these to co-exist a little better. The types of skills that were considered untrained in PF1 seem to be the ones people bring up as particularly wanting +1/level to apply to in PF2, things that you might not be good at without investment, but could at least make an attempt. For things the playtest would probably consider a "basic skill," you could take 10--or 20, depending on time and the skill involved--and still likely succeed. The playtest doesn't have this mechanic, which means that the issue of a higher-level character being incompetent at basic tasks is raised more often. (I miss take 10 and 20, can you tell?)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Meraki wrote:
It's the disconnect between these two viewpoints that I think leads to people talking past each other a bit.

You've touched on something I think is very relevant here. The context of the average joe vs a PC. And the best way to describe "average joe" is a character with nothing but raw ability scores in certain skills + proficiency bonus. No level at all. The average joe can spend time getting to Master if they so choose in something, giving them a +6 bonus. But average joe typically doesn't have "levels" in anything.

So why can't a 20th level Wizard be equivalent to the average joe in something? I think it would make perfect sense that my Wizard who has never had a reason to climb up anything but a ladder outside of casting a spell should be about as good at doing it as anyone else you might find on the street. No level bonus or anything.

But this also illustrates why I think the +level bonus mechanic breaks down. With the existing system the moment a PC becomes trained their (say at level 10), their bonus doesn't merely go up a bit, it jumps by 10. There's just no reasonable way to explain such a situation, how someone can become so much better at something so quickly, but additional training nets diminishing returns at this point.

That only matters if you care about it "making sense", and like all systems abstractions tend to break down eventually. But the base-line of "average joe" should always apply. Just because you don't get +level to something doesn't mean you're inherently bad at something, it really means you're average.

Maybe this means we need to decouple Proficiency and +Level from each other. Considering we already do that with quality vs proficiency vs magic on items I don't see that as much of an issue. But I think such a system might result in too drastic a change for PF2 as a whole.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Emn1ty wrote:
Meraki wrote:
It's the disconnect between these two viewpoints that I think leads to people talking past each other a bit.

You've touched on something I think is very relevant here. The context of the average joe vs a PC. And the best way to describe "average joe" is a character with nothing but raw ability scores in certain skills + proficiency bonus. No level at all. The average joe can spend time getting to Master if they so choose in something, giving them a +6 bonus. But average joe typically doesn't have "levels" in anything.

So why can't a 20th level Wizard be equivalent to the average joe in something? I think it would make perfect sense that my Wizard who has never had a reason to climb up anything but a ladder outside of casting a spell should be about as good at doing it as anyone else you might find on the street. No level bonus or anything.

But this also illustrates why I think the +level bonus mechanic breaks down. With the existing system the moment a PC becomes trained their (say at level 10), their bonus doesn't merely go up a bit, it jumps by 10. There's just no reasonable way to explain such a situation, how someone can become so much better at something so quickly, but additional training nets diminishing returns at this point.

That only matters if you care about it "making sense", and like all systems abstractions tend to break down eventually. But the base-line of "average joe" should always apply. Just because you don't get +level to something doesn't mean you're inherently bad at something, it really means you're average.

Maybe this means we need to decouple Proficiency and +Level from each other. Considering we already do that with quality vs proficiency vs magic on items I don't see that as much of an issue. But I think such a system might result in too drastic a change for PF2 as a whole.

"Average Joe" is not a mechanically constructed character in PF2. By that, I mean there would be no PC with master proficiency in a skill at level 1, not even expert. As a GM, if you need an NPC for just one skill, you determine how good the NPC should be at that skill and you set the level according to what makes sense for the campaign and the setting. This is confusing and not popular with a lot of theory crafters because it shows the game world as an artificial construct built around the heroes.

But it does mean that a lot of these attempts to construct logical explanations for what power level means objective to the world setting is problematic, because the game itself lacks that objective position for what it means for a random character to be competent at something vs amazing at it, except the imagination of the GM, and some lose guidelines.

Edit: By PC rules, Master proficiency is gated to 7th level for skills. Unless high level commoners are common thing in PF2, Proficiency IS level + a small numerical bonus.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Unicore wrote:

"Average Joe" is not a mechanically constructed character in PF2. By that, I mean there would be no PC with master proficiency in a skill at level 1, not even expert. As a GM, if you need an NPC for just one skill, you determine how good the NPC should be at that skill and you set the level according to what makes sense for the campaign and the setting. This is confusing and not popular with a lot of theory crafters because it shows the game world as an artificial construct built around the heroes.

But it does mean that a lot of these attempts to construct logical explanations for what power level means objective to the world setting is problematic, because the game itself lacks that objective position for what it means for a random character to be competent at something vs amazing at it, except the imagination of the GM, and some lose guidelines.

Edit: By PC rules, Master proficiency is gated to 7th level for skills. Unless high level commoners are common thing in PF2, Proficiency IS level + a small numerical bonus.

True, average joe isn't a mechanically constructed character. But even then, PC's start off as average joe with only a difference of +1. Even with Master being gated at 7th level, should an Expert Climber be worse at climbing than trained, fourth level character?

And now we're back to the crux of the issue that I really think there's no clear answer. People who say "yes" are likely people who don't mind the inconsistency (honestly it's not all that important or even relevant in the grand scheme of things). Those who say "no" are those who read "proficiency" ratings as they imply.

Untrained < Trained < Expert < Master < Legendary.

The current system introduces an "except... when you're higher level". Which, at least in my mind, breaks the intuitiveness of the proficiency system (and why I prefer no level bonus at all).

Going back though to your example of Master being gated behind a level 7 prereq. To me that just makes it sound that there are no master craftsman below 7th level (which just seems fundamentally incorrect). Another reason why I think it might be a good idea (though an unlikely event) to decouple proficiency and level entirely.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:

"I want my character to be able to be absolutely terrible at things. But if being absolutely terrible isn't the default, then I expect to be compensated for being terrible."

That logic doesn't flow to me; I don't understand that point of view.

Do you understand why people don't want a game where all characters have the ability to cast all spells? After all, if you want to play a spell-less fighter, just choose not to cast spells.

If you do understand why the above would be unsatisfying, then you already understand why your quote is also unsatisfying. Simply apply the same logic in both situations. If you don't understand why the above is unsatisfying, then your expectations are so far removed from what I expect when I play Pathfinder that I can't communicate my viewpoint any further to you.

Now that no bonus to untrained is the default: I want characters to be able to get a status of trained to all skills (or a +level bonus on untrained skills) with minimal cost. I'm even happy if all characters are given additional resources to lessen that cost even further.

As for the whole "higher level characters are only thrown higher level challenges" argument: A DC 15 wall isn't difficult to overcome, because I've purchased equipment that helps me climb, or I have abilities/spells that I can expend to overcome that challenge. I haven't automatically become good at it because "it's a game and everything has to be finely balanced". I've become good at it because I've got more resources at my disposal.

A river doesn't challenge a balanced high level party, but that's because the party has invested in abilities to overcome the river and can do so through teamwork. Those resources are also not available to spend on overcoming other challenges, causing the party to work together to maximise their collective pool of resources. This is why I don't want the lowest chance of failure on sneaking to be 50% under threat of the party otherwise never trying it. I want the expert stealth character to be able to help the party stealth past because of how awesome they are. That is far more satisfying then "+level to everything so everyone automatically becomes good at everything".

Finally if characters do truly get competent "at everything" as they go up in level because of their experiences, that mechanic should be reflected in the status of whether or not something is trained. Give all characters the ability to denote 1 skill as trained every X levels. This resource can ONLY be spent on getting skills trained. That way the mechanic truly reflects the narrative of what is happening.

Mechanics should fit the narrative. +level to untrained means a character is untrained. That's a disconnect between mechanic and narrative. +level to trained only and giving PCs a pool to get skills to trained is a much better marriage between narrative and mechanic.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Emn1ty wrote:
Unicore wrote:

"Average Joe" is not a mechanically constructed character in PF2. By that, I mean there would be no PC with master proficiency in a skill at level 1, not even expert. As a GM, if you need an NPC for just one skill, you determine how good the NPC should be at that skill and you set the level according to what makes sense for the campaign and the setting. This is confusing and not popular with a lot of theory crafters because it shows the game world as an artificial construct built around the heroes.

But it does mean that a lot of these attempts to construct logical explanations for what power level means objective to the world setting is problematic, because the game itself lacks that objective position for what it means for a random character to be competent at something vs amazing at it, except the imagination of the GM, and some lose guidelines.

Edit: By PC rules, Master proficiency is gated to 7th level for skills. Unless high level commoners are common thing in PF2, Proficiency IS level + a small numerical bonus.

True, average joe isn't a mechanically constructed character. But even then, PC's start off as average joe with only a difference of +1. Even with Master being gated at 7th level, should an Expert Climber be worse at climbing than trained, fourth level character?

And now we're back to the crux of the issue that I really think there's no clear answer. People who say "yes" are likely people who don't mind the inconsistency (honestly it's not all that important or even relevant in the grand scheme of things). Those who say "no" are those who read "proficiency" ratings as they imply.

Untrained < Trained < Expert < Master < Legendary.

The current system introduces an "except... when you're higher level". Which, at least in my mind, breaks the intuitiveness of the proficiency system (and why I prefer no level bonus at all).

Going back though to your example of Master being gated behind a level 7 prereq. To me that just makes it sound that there are no master...

In this regard, I think the named proficiency tiers are creating a disconnect for people because saying X character is a master artisan has context for our imaginations that is hard to reconcile with a system where master is a level of proficiency gated by level, meaning that low level characters are never master artisans. Meaning that characters can get the experience to become master tier artisans without risking the adventurer's life, or all good crafts people are adventurers. Neither one of those works very well for a role playing game where characters are encouraged to take risks and not sit at the forge all day.

The question that you seem to be arguing around, and has many other folks confused as well is "what role does level play in the Untrained < Trained < Expert < Master < Legendary hierarchy?"

Because the two are fundamentally linked, it is a very different question if we change the equation to try to understand the relationship to compare:

Untrained level 15 to Trained level 2 to Expert level 6 to Master level 20 to legendary level 18, and whether those differences can be summarized without taking into account what level means as far as defining character identity.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Edge93 wrote:


Here's the thing.

Weakness and strength are RELATIVE.

This is just another form of "Superheroes don't have to explain jack". It's fine that you feel it's okay that high level characters should be better at everything by virtue of being high level. Lots of people share that idea with you.

That doesn't change the fact that basic, untrained uses of the skill become unacceptably jaw-dropping from an objective standpoint for my tastes.

Another example, because we all love examples:

My level 20 wizard who is untrained in athletics looks at a climb DC 15 wall that he wants to get to the top of.

With +lvl to untrained, what in-game incentive does he have to use magic to do so? He cannot possibly fail the climb check, so instead of asking for help from his team or wasting money or arcane power on a climb spell or teleport or equipment or potions, he just straight up climbs the wall, no roll even necessary.

That's not the concept I have for this character, and doesn't fit any source material I can think of. So what if he's high level? I don't want my wizard to be Assassin's Creed-ing it everywhere.

And if you say: Just use magic because it's good roleplaying, you forget that game mechanics exert a constant conscious and subconscious pressure on player choices.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:


My level 20 wizard who is untrained in athletics looks at a climb DC 15 wall that he wants to get to the top of.

With +lvl to untrained, what in-game incentive does he have to use magic to do so? He cannot possibly fail the climb check, so instead of asking for help from his team or wasting money or arcane power on a climb spell or teleport or equipment or potions, he just straight up climbs the wall, no roll even necessary.

For some of us, the abstraction of level can mean that essentially that this wizard is using magic to climb the wall, but is doing so with magics that have no more cost to him than the energy a level 15 fighter would spend to climb it.

It really does boil down to character concept.

My question for you Waters Lethe, is how does adding level to proficiency help contextualize characters for you that might be 20th level and come across a regular wall that would present difficulty to climb after fighting off an elder dragon?

It feels like having your wizard get a +8 from spell casting proficiency, +5 or 6 from attribute, and +3 to 5 from item would accomplish everything that trying to shift 20 points of bonus to level would accomplish, and let your character have more clearly defined strengths and weaknesses that are comparable to objective human experiences.

I am not trying to tell you how you should feel about the system. I just am having a hard time seeing why your arguments don't generally favor removing level from proficiency, and instead giving level significance through the additional proficiencies and feats that your character gains?

Paizo Employee

1 person marked this as a favorite.
WatersLethe wrote:
Edge93 wrote:


Here's the thing.

Weakness and strength are RELATIVE.

This is just another form of "Superheroes don't have to explain jack". It's fine that you feel it's okay that high level characters should be better at everything by virtue of being high level. Lots of people share that idea with you.

That doesn't change the fact that basic, untrained uses of the skill become unacceptably jaw-dropping from an objective standpoint for my tastes.

Another example, because we all love examples:

My level 20 wizard who is untrained in athletics looks at a climb DC 15 wall that he wants to get to the top of.

With +lvl to untrained, what in-game incentive does he have to use magic to do so? He cannot possibly fail the climb check, so instead of asking for help from his team or wasting money or arcane power on a climb spell or teleport or equipment or potions, he just straight up climbs the wall, no roll even necessary.

That's not the concept I have for this character, and doesn't fit any source material I can think of. So what if he's high level? I don't want my wizard to be Assassin's Creed-ing it everywhere.

And if you say: Just use magic because it's good roleplaying, you forget that game mechanics exert a constant conscious and subconscious pressure on player choices.

The rules actually say this shouldn't even come up, at least in the playtest. A level 20 party shouldn't even be made to roll for checks like that because they're so trivially overcome that all you're doing is wasting everyone's time. If my group's level 20 wizard says "Hey, we're all going to climb over that brick wall" my general assumption is that they would do so successfully without wasting any significant amount of resource and the correct thing for me to do as a GM is say, "Cool, on the other side of the wall is...."

This is actually another reason I don't like +level being removed from untrained; if the bonus is there, then I know consistently that no one in the party needs to roll anyways and I can quickly move on to the meatier portions of the story. Without +level to untrained though, every time I skip through the "small" challenges I'm rewarding the untrained party member by assuming they have a resource they didn't pay for in their character build. If treating people at the table fairly matters to me, I'm now faced with the choice of either accepting that there is a hole in the game that people can take advantage of, or bogging down my game in annoying minutiae to make the decisions people make matter. Either way, removing +level from untrained didn't help my table at all and the whole table suffers because of these giant gaps in capability across party members that keep interrupting the game with 15-foot high brick walls and calm ponds that should be dressing for the story, not obstacles.

As far as inspirations and source material go, I can't think of a single instance of a wall posing a challenge to a 20th level wizard. (The closest thing I can come up with is Gandalf at the mines of Moria, and there was no climbing around that, although he literally swam and climbed from the bottom of that mountain to the top after fighting a balrog in melee range while falling thousands of feet.) Not once in any book I've read or any game I've played has anything resembling the party's 20th level barbarian looked up at a dragon flying through the sky and breathing fire only to yell "Look out everyone! I'm pretty sure that's a stegosaurus!", but that's the reality that removing +level from untrained creates.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

For me, the reason this is a fundamentally important issue to game design is the role it plays in defining what is an appropriate challenge to throw at a party. Level has always been the primary way that GMs were supposed to determine what to challenge their party with, but especially in 3.x and PF, the ability to gage challenge rating by level started falling apart badly. There were a lot of tricks introduced to try to help GMs rebalance it based upon their Players desire and competence for meeting challenges as mechanically adept as possible, or narratively adept as possible, but all of them placed extra work on GMs.

Having the unity of the proficiency system fall apart contributes to this problem, and the ways I see the developers making sure that is not the case involve actually narrowing the range of character proficiencies in play at any given level, and taking a heavier hand with guiding characters towards expected power levels.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Folks,

I am not really sure this thread is serving any purpose at this point other than to stir the pot, as it were. Everyone has had more than their chance to have their say and its going around in circles.

We will call this good.

This thread is locked.

401 to 444 of 444 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest General Discussion / Trying to understand removing +level from untrained proficiency All Messageboards
Recent threads in Pathfinder Playtest General Discussion