My personal, belated thoughts on 2nd edition playtest


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Cyouni wrote:
avr wrote:

The other big reason to dislike Table 10-2 is that it's a step away from difficulties being determined by something related to the world, and towards difficulties being a number determined purely by the needs of the game. Also there's the way it's used; to keep bards on a treadmill for how they use the performance skill in their magic for example.

I find both of those annoying. If the designer wants a cantrip to have a 50% chance of success, just use that rather than cross-referencing bard level with a table and rolling performance against that number, it'd be simpler to learn and use. And it feels better to have some idea what you can climb with a +10 skill than for that to vary depending on character level.

My 14th level bard has a Perform of +27 vs DC 31, and therefore succeeds on a 4 or higher. That's significantly better than a level 1 character, who would have a Perform of (at most) +4 vs DC 15, and succeeds on a 11 or higher.

Ah, it does vary more by level than I realised. Perhaps there is a use there. Still, that did make it less useful as a judge of what a hard DC for a 13th level party would be as MaxAstro mentions just above.


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MaxAstro wrote:

It's probably hardest for natural obstacles. At least to my mind it's really easy for anything built by sentient creatures. "What level creatures creatures built this castle? How good were they at building impenetrable castles?" Answer those two questions and I instantly know what DC the walls are.

Plus, I have the option of approaching it from the other side. "What level creatures built this castle? How hard do I want it to be for a party of equal level to scale the walls?"

I totally understand how the table could have/would have been misused or misunderstood. But as someone who does a lot of adventure design, I lament the loss of how incredibly useful it was for answering certain basic adventure design questions.

One of the things that frustrates me so much about PF1e adventure design is that "what DC will be hard but not impossible for a 13th level party?" is a question that is almost impossible to answer, and having that information baked into the system in the playtest was something I saw, much like the standardization of monster levels, as taking a huge amount of guesswork out of my design.

Oh god don't remind of the swim incident... No one had swim, no one could swim... Oh yeah a 7 level party stopped by a gentle flowing river...

Basically i thought it would be fun to have a small river around a combat, the river required a small DC 10ish? For you to not get dragged by the river. I thought, yeah that sounds fair, fighters can make it, wizards will struggle but can make it... But no one had real bonuses, wizard had -1 in str, fighter had ACP... So a small hazard turned into hell...


MaxAstro wrote:


One of the things that frustrates me so much about PF1e adventure design is that "what DC will be hard but not impossible for a 13th level party?" is a question that is almost impossible to answer, and having that information baked into the system in the playtest was something I saw, much like the standardization of monster levels, as taking a huge amount of guesswork out of my design.

I think this is still doable with the new system, as Mark Seifter noted you can apply adjustments of +- 2, 5 or 10, as appropriate. So I'd assume a moderately hard DC would be level DC+2.


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MaxAstro wrote:

It's probably hardest for natural obstacles. At least to my mind it's really easy for anything built by sentient creatures. "What level creatures creatures built this castle? How good were they at building impenetrable castles?" Answer those two questions and I instantly know what DC the walls are.

Plus, I have the option of approaching it from the other side. "What level creatures built this castle? How hard do I want it to be for a party of equal level to scale the walls?"

I totally understand how the table could have/would have been misused or misunderstood. But as someone who does a lot of adventure design, I lament the loss of how incredibly useful it was for answering certain basic adventure design questions.

One of the things that frustrates me so much about PF1e adventure design is that "what DC will be hard but not impossible for a 13th level party?" is a question that is almost impossible to answer, and having that information baked into the system in the playtest was something I saw, much like the standardization of monster levels, as taking a huge amount of guesswork out of my design.

Well, it was very opaque from here. What was a level 1 hard task and what was a level 3 trivial one... not readily discernible to me.

Now that you give examples, yes, that's a very good use of the table.

Natural obstacles still pose problems of course, because no one built them. The same problem would be present for an artificial object not intended to be an obstacle. Sure, disarming a trap would be harder for a trap built by an expert engineer, but it does not logically follow that a wizard creates a stone wall which is very difficult to climb. Or even breach. It might be heavily ornamented, yet not incredibly tough. A bard doesn't necessarily need to roll a DC related to the level of their audience - your musical refinement isn't automatically tied to your personal power. And a swordsmith who doesn't have any character level could conceivably forge highly resistant, valuable and strong-edged blades. Moreover, a swordsmith with a hotter furnace and more expert apprentices could do even better, again regardless of level.

I hope I'm getting my point across. I'm possibly spewing a cartload of bs, but I'd like for my thought process to be as clear as possible.

And what I'm (slowly) getting at is: I don't think we need a table like 10-2. It is a matter of tastes, and there's no way around it, but I love games with a single-column table for DCs (like 5e and M&M). Easier to remember, and to adjudicate efforts by. The small number of DCs listed is easy to learn by heart, together with their corresponding meaning, so you can ad lib during play whether you want your players to roll an easy, average, hard or very hard total, for instance, with no noticeable break in the flow of the game.

In the meantime, AC, attack bonuses, save bonuses and so on are still hard, pre-calculated numbers. Same for skill ratings.

I do understand limiting the amount of guesswork involved in building an adventure is a desirable goal. I think the whole process can be slimmed down and simplified greatly, but yes, having solid landmarks to base your DCs by (as opposed to pulling numbers from your arse) is certainly a legitimate request on your part, hands down.


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Temperans wrote:

idk but it makes sense that ranged attacks (regardless of what it is) require good aiming. Now what attribute/skill is best for aiming is a difficult question, in which pf1 decided its Dex (unless something changes it).

I do agree its kind of odd that a Wizard needs to max out dex to hit better. But isn't that why they also targeted TAC in PF1? So even with suboptimal Dex they could hit most targets baring a horrible roll?

TAC was introduced in 3e because they wanted to unify attack rolls with weapons and particular spells, but ran into the issue of wizards having poor BAB. Thus, because armor was the main method of increasing your AC in systems past (and indeed, that's where the name and decreasing scale came from, e.g. full plate + shield was 1st class armor), they just invented TAC as a way wizards could ignore it.

This, of course, caused Dex to be more attractive as a way to increase your AC, because it also applies to TAC, bringing us right back to where we started. Whether you let casters use their casting stat or not, TAC has definitely served its purpose and no longer needs to exist. (In contrast, however, I think KAC/EAC was a very elegant solution to SF's problem of energy weapon)


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Roswynn wrote:

I hope I'm getting my point across. I'm possibly spewing a cartload of bs, but I'd like for my thought process to be as clear as possible.

And what I'm (slowly) getting at is: I don't think we need a table like 10-2. It is a matter of tastes, and there's no way around it, but I love games with a single-column table for DCs (like 5e and M&M). Easier to remember, and to adjudicate efforts by. The small number of DCs listed is easy to learn by heart, together with their corresponding meaning, so you can ad lib during play whether you want your players to roll an easy, average, hard or very hard total, for instance, with no noticeable break in the flow of the game.

In the meantime, AC, attack bonuses, save bonuses and so on are still hard, pre-calculated numbers. Same for skill ratings.

I do understand limiting the amount of guesswork involved in building an adventure is a desirable goal. I think the whole process can be slimmed down and simplified greatly, but yes, having solid landmarks to base your DCs by (as opposed to pulling numbers from your arse) is certainly a legitimate request on your part, hands down.

Uhmmm now i can get behind your point, yeah the 10-2 table indeed was... Let's say not well put together, not like it was bad it was just not explained very well and did not have many examples. I am not optimist about a new one but... But if it is made i hope it is well done and balanced.

Even if i am still hopeful that the untrained bonus is +level on untrained checks and +0 to anything that might require training xD.


oholoko wrote:
Roswynn wrote:

I hope I'm getting my point across. I'm possibly spewing a cartload of bs, but I'd like for my thought process to be as clear as possible.

And what I'm (slowly) getting at is: I don't think we need a table like 10-2. It is a matter of tastes, and there's no way around it, but I love games with a single-column table for DCs (like 5e and M&M). Easier to remember, and to adjudicate efforts by. The small number of DCs listed is easy to learn by heart, together with their corresponding meaning, so you can ad lib during play whether you want your players to roll an easy, average, hard or very hard total, for instance, with no noticeable break in the flow of the game.

In the meantime, AC, attack bonuses, save bonuses and so on are still hard, pre-calculated numbers. Same for skill ratings.

I do understand limiting the amount of guesswork involved in building an adventure is a desirable goal. I think the whole process can be slimmed down and simplified greatly, but yes, having solid landmarks to base your DCs by (as opposed to pulling numbers from your arse) is certainly a legitimate request on your part, hands down.

Uhmmm now i can get behind your point, yeah the 10-2 table indeed was... Let's say not well put together, not like it was bad it was just not explained very well and did not have many examples. I am not optimist about a new one but... But if it is made i hope it is well done and balanced.

Even if i am still hopeful that the untrained bonus is +level on untrained checks and +0 to anything that might require training xD.

Yeah, it just wasn't clear, and it was huge, so it was really hard to use during play. I understand its usefulness for creating scenarios and locations, but even then they could have elaborated further on which level a particular task was (they stopped at about 5th level, IIRC).

I'm not sure I understand your last point, must be the flu - I think level should be added only to trained skills (at best). Actually... adding level to everything isn't what I would have done. Reminds me a lot of 4e. Again, it distances itself from a simulationist gameplay - now all monsters arbitrarily become harder to hit for no apparent reason, according to their power level. Their skills also grow proportionately, as does their attack bonus.

The point is, since everyone applies their level to everything, isn't it like applying it to nothing? In that, I'm very much a supporter of 5e's bounded accuracy - it just makes more sense to me.


Roswynn wrote:
oholoko wrote:
Roswynn wrote:

I hope I'm getting my point across. I'm possibly spewing a cartload of bs, but I'd like for my thought process to be as clear as possible.

And what I'm (slowly) getting at is: I don't think we need a table like 10-2. It is a matter of tastes, and there's no way around it, but I love games with a single-column table for DCs (like 5e and M&M). Easier to remember, and to adjudicate efforts by. The small number of DCs listed is easy to learn by heart, together with their corresponding meaning, so you can ad lib during play whether you want your players to roll an easy, average, hard or very hard total, for instance, with no noticeable break in the flow of the game.

In the meantime, AC, attack bonuses, save bonuses and so on are still hard, pre-calculated numbers. Same for skill ratings.

I do understand limiting the amount of guesswork involved in building an adventure is a desirable goal. I think the whole process can be slimmed down and simplified greatly, but yes, having solid landmarks to base your DCs by (as opposed to pulling numbers from your arse) is certainly a legitimate request on your part, hands down.

Uhmmm now i can get behind your point, yeah the 10-2 table indeed was... Let's say not well put together, not like it was bad it was just not explained very well and did not have many examples. I am not optimist about a new one but... But if it is made i hope it is well done and balanced.

Even if i am still hopeful that the untrained bonus is +level on untrained checks and +0 to anything that might require training xD.

Yeah, it just wasn't clear, and it was huge, so it was really hard to use during play. I understand its usefulness for creating scenarios and locations, but even then they could have elaborated further on which level a particular task was (they stopped at about 5th level, IIRC).

I'm not sure I understand your last point, must be the flu - I think level should be added only to trained skills (at best). Actually......

I never had an appropriate use for table 10-2. I've been able to gauge the results of a player's success based on the situation alone and the number they give me. In fact, a lot of encounters I've ran have been off the top of my head, with little to no reference to statblocks of any kind.

Monsters have always been "arbitrarily" stronger as the players get stronger, you can't expect level 12+ PCs to always be fighting creatures they faced at 1st level. It's just more obvious now than it was back then, since the lines of progression in the past were not universal, whereas now they are. And for simplicity's sake, it's nice. It's just now less dynamic, which is what people have issue with, but those are practically mutually exclusive (can't have a more dynamic game while also keeping it stupidly simple and universal).


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I never had an appropriate use for table 10-2. I've been able to gauge the results of a player's success based on the situation alone and the number they give me. In fact, a lot of encounters I've ran have been off the top of my head, with little to no reference to statblocks of any kind.

Monsters have always been "arbitrarily" stronger as the players get stronger, you can't expect level 12+ PCs to always be fighting creatures they faced at 1st level. It's just more obvious now than it was back then, since the lines of progression in the past were not universal, whereas now they are. And for simplicity's sake, it's nice. It's just now less dynamic, which is what people have issue with, but those are practically mutually exclusive (can't have a more dynamic game while also keeping it stupidly simple and universal).

Doomsday Dawn provided its own DCs, and the few times my players went with an unexpected plan I improvised new DCs from what was already in the chapter, so I never consulted table 10-2 for the scenario. However, a few abilities, such as Treat Wounds and a bard's Lingering Composition, said to pull the DC from Table 10-2, so I did. And those are examples of the table at its worst, where the player character is pitted directly against his own level rather than against a level-appropriate opponent.

I can imagine using table 10-2 to judge whether an encounter I built from scratch would challenge my players enough, but I could figure that out from their character sheets. Paizo mentioned reducing it to a single list--a list of expected skill bonus at all the levels would serve me as well as checking the character sheets, especially since each player keeps their sheet in a format of their choice, some hard for me to read.

As for high-level PCs against low-level monsters, one memorable encounter about 15 years ago in a D&D 3.5 game stands out. The 11th-level party in disguise in a hostile country needed to cross a suspension bridge over a raging river. A 500-orc army was camped on the other side of the river. The bard, disguised as a haughty evil wizard (meek was seen as a sign of weakness in the current locale), crossed over apparently alone, with the rogue following secretly via Slippers of Spider Climb on the underside of the bridge. The orcs were charging a toll, all the magic items of any traveler. The bard, staying in character, blasted the orc guards with his Circlet of Blasting, levitated out of their reach with his Boots of Levitation, pulled out a wand, and started dishing out more damage. The rogue, in hiding, aided with flasks of Alchemist's Fire, and persuaded the bard to retreat to the party. The end result of the following batttle was a hundred orcs dead, the bridge destroyed, and the party slipping away unseen still on our original side of the river. We swam (or flew over) the river 20 miles upstream.

Those low-level encounters can be fun.

The meaning of "less dynamic" is unclear. If I interpret it to mean less likely to challenge to players in new ways, then I agree.

Liberty's Edge

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For the record, we know for a fact that Table 10-2 as such is gonna be gone. A table with the same function is replacing it, but it only has one DC per level, and they're just using moving up and down the chart rather than different options per level (ie: 'this is a Level-2 check' instead of 'this is a Medium difficulty check').

It's still a DC chart based on level, but the 'ease of use' problem is a solved issue.


I'm aware; I was merely expressing my hope that solving the ease of use problem won't come at the cost of the specific utility I was getting out of the table.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

For the record, we know for a fact that Table 10-2 as such is gonna be gone. A table with the same function is replacing it, but it only has one DC per level, and they're just using moving up and down the chart rather than different options per level (ie: 'this is a Level-2 check' instead of 'this is a Medium difficulty check').

It's still a DC chart based on level, but the 'ease of use' problem is a solved issue.

Not quite, it's the DCs that can go +- 2, 5, or 10 for a total result of effectively 7 values at each level.


Roswynn wrote:
The point is, since everyone applies their level to everything, isn't it like applying it to nothing? In that, I'm very much a supporter of 5e's bounded accuracy - it just makes more sense to me.

Well, let's look at an example. Let's say a level 1 and 10 character, identical in every way besides level, try to identify a minor noble, a level 2 task with a DC of 14. Let's say the level 1 character has a +2 bonus, and thus needs to roll a 12. The level 10 character thus needs to roll a 3, making them vastly more likely to succeed on this low-level task because of their greater wealth of experience.

By the system of 5e, they'd both have the same chance, which is also where the meme of "grappling a pit devil at level 1" comes from.


Cyouni wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
The point is, since everyone applies their level to everything, isn't it like applying it to nothing? In that, I'm very much a supporter of 5e's bounded accuracy - it just makes more sense to me.

Well, let's look at an example. Let's say a level 1 and 10 character, identical in every way besides level, try to identify a minor noble, a level 2 task with a DC of 14. Let's say the level 1 character has a +2 bonus, and thus needs to roll a 12. The level 10 character thus needs to roll a 3, making them vastly more likely to succeed on this low-level task because of their greater wealth of experience.

By the system of 5e, they'd both have the same chance, which is also where the meme of "grappling a pit devil at level 1" comes from.

Proficiency modifier in 5e increases at levels 5, 9, 13, and 17, so the 10th level character is 2 increases ahead unless they are not proficient (but if they aren't proficient then the situation is identical in PF2, unless Paizo goes back on their announced changes to Untrained proficiency), and they've also had at least 2 opportunities for Ability Score Improvement (3, if they are a fighter). 2-4 points difference is certainly not as much as 10 points, but it's certainly not the same chance.

Liberty's Edge

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Cyouni wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

For the record, we know for a fact that Table 10-2 as such is gonna be gone. A table with the same function is replacing it, but it only has one DC per level, and they're just using moving up and down the chart rather than different options per level (ie: 'this is a Level-2 check' instead of 'this is a Medium difficulty check').

It's still a DC chart based on level, but the 'ease of use' problem is a solved issue.

Not quite, it's the DCs that can go +- 2, 5, or 10 for a total result of effectively 7 values at each level.

Really? Huh. That wasn't quite the impression I got, but is equally viable and probably correct.


Roswynn wrote:
Plate was impenetrable, unless you aimed for a mail-covered articulation or smashed it with a heavy bludgeon.

Hmmm.... If you have actually studied Medieval Arms and Armor, then you know that this is flatly untrue. The English long bowmen at Crécy proved this rather decisively. Sometimes fun game play and fidelity to reality don't go hand in hand (you know, like the existence of magic). Unless of course you are in favor of Longbows and Heavy Crossbows ignoring AC entirely (which would do terrible things to melee combat and melee characters), in which case I think you are playing the wrong game.


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orestes08 wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
Plate was impenetrable, unless you aimed for a mail-covered articulation or smashed it with a heavy bludgeon.
Hmmm.... If you have actually studied Medieval Arms and Armor, then you know that this is flatly untrue. The English long bowmen at Crécy proved this rather decisively. Sometimes fun game play and fidelity to reality don't go hand in hand (you know, like the existence of magic). Unless of course you are in favor of Longbows and Heavy Crossbows ignoring AC entirely (which would do terrible things to melee combat and melee characters), in which case I think you are playing the wrong game.

Well your own studies are clearly lacking. While plate is not really impenetrapable it is real good. The term bullet proof comes from breast plates being tested by guns. Heavy crossbows and warbows MIGHT pierce well made plate but it would not get deep enough to get through the padding underneath. On some parts of plate it is thin enough that it might do actual harm(instead of none or too minor) but suggesting that they somehow ignored armor is about as based in reality as swords cutting through the steel. Even the battle you cited has the French king have two horses killed from under him, yet still only suffered an arrow to the jaw(not unlikely by a shot bypassing the armor or visor raised), so I would say his armor held up just fine.

All that said yeah the game part has to come first. Even the armor as AC is profoundly illogical instead of it working as DR. Just decided to pipe up when seeing nonsense.


While you are correct that modern testing of arrows v plate armor shows that plate would have been largely effective in stopping arrows, remember that those tests are done for battlefield conditions in the Middle Ages. Most tests were simulating archers firing from 750 feet away. No weapon in pathfinder has a range of longer than 120 feet. So, while a longbow might not have pierced plate when fired at an arc to cover the length of the battle field, the results at close range would be vastly different.


Umm unmagical longbows have a range of 1k ft before feats or special arrows, distance/flight arrows add another ~100 ft in exchange of dmg.

If the problem is penalty, well medieval armies used volleys of arrows (more than 1 archer) to guarantee hit. Even so, something as simple as the Far Shot feat makes >120 ft archery vastly more effective.

Finally, you don't see >120 ft ranged fighting in PF/DnD do to the map being so small in comparison to max range (~4k ft after magic and multiclassing). If wide maps where used more often than maybe people would build to properly shoot at that range.

Finally, I agree that at short range plate might not be effective. But then again, not using plate would probably mean a lot more damage.


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MaxAstro wrote:

It's probably hardest for natural obstacles. At least to my mind it's really easy for anything built by sentient creatures. "What level creatures creatures built this castle? How good were they at building impenetrable castles?" Answer those two questions and I instantly know what DC the walls are.

Plus, I have the option of approaching it from the other side. "What level creatures built this castle? How hard do I want it to be for a party of equal level to scale the walls?"

I totally understand how the table could have/would have been misused or misunderstood. But as someone who does a lot of adventure design, I lament the loss of how incredibly useful it was for answering certain basic adventure design questions.

One of the things that frustrates me so much about PF1e adventure design is that "what DC will be hard but not impossible for a 13th level party?" is a question that is almost impossible to answer, and having that information baked into the system in the playtest was something I saw, much like the standardization of monster levels, as taking a huge amount of guesswork out of my design.

If we're thinking of the same table, aren't you supposed to also ask "What level is the party hitting this castle?"

Level 1 or 20 artisans built the castle. Your team arrives at level 10. It should be a level 10-11 challenge right? And if they come back at 15, it's a level 15 challenge now right?

As for "What DC will be hard but not impossible for a 13th party" Depends on the party. Your DC is different from my DC because your party stacked all their knowledge checks but mine put points into bluff and slight of hand.

Only reason the Table can exist is due to the +level of proficiency so you have a better general idea of everyone's skill level. Without it, I don't think you could have such a table.


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orestes08 wrote:
While you are correct that modern testing of arrows v plate armor shows that plate would have been largely effective in stopping arrows, remember that those tests are done for battlefield conditions in the Middle Ages. Most tests were simulating archers firing from 750 feet away. No weapon in pathfinder has a range of longer than 120 feet. So, while a longbow might not have pierced plate when fired at an arc to cover the length of the battle field, the results at close range would be vastly different.

Link to video

Link provided as proof I am not pulling this out of my butt. Also there isn't proof within the video about the poundage of the bow so will have to take word for it. (Though casual research showed that at least some of the people involved have some reputation in their respective circles)

To save time.
-120lbs bow (some confusion of that but that is the lowest mentioned)
-Distance is 60ish feet
- Arrow weight 113g
-Shot at a breast plate. (forged but likely better steel than most smiths had to work with.)

Results were the arrow shaft breaking the arrowheads point flattening(but still fully intact) and a very minor scratch on the breastplate. Granted the bow isn't on the high end of warbows but still very respectable and the range was about as close as one could reasonably expect to fire a bow in a battlefield conditions, or at least close enough that any significant loss of speed shouldn't have happened.

Now I realize that I am going off on a tangent of the thread. So let's concentrate on that now.

The whole skill DCs and the way they are created are silly because they decided to use the same mechanics for everything. The needs of mechanics for combat are not the same as those from out of combat activities. And even if they were the math/probabilities shouldn't work out the same way. So in the pursuit of simplicity they screwed it up like usual in PF2.


MerlinCross wrote:


If we're thinking of the same table, aren't you supposed to also ask "What level is the party hitting this castle?"

Level 1 or 20 artisans built the castle. Your team arrives at level 10. It should be a level 10-11 challenge right? And if they come back at 15, it's a level 15 challenge now right?

You are quite specifically not supposed to do that, spelled out clearly by the very first passage of the Difficulty Classes section on page 336 of the rulebook:

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook wrote:

It's important that you don't simply make the DC arbitrarily higher or lower with the PC's level. Any increase must be justified based on how the challenge actually increased, and thus how success is more impressive.

...

Many tasks are not opposed and have no reason to change in level. If you decide climbing the ordinary pine tree nest to the temple is a level 0 task, climbing it doesn't arbitrarily get harder when the PCs are higher level; its level stays 0. If you need a task with a significantly higher DC to challenge your PCs, you should choose one that's inherently harder rather than inflating the level of a simple task to increase its DC.


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FowlJ wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:


If we're thinking of the same table, aren't you supposed to also ask "What level is the party hitting this castle?"

Level 1 or 20 artisans built the castle. Your team arrives at level 10. It should be a level 10-11 challenge right? And if they come back at 15, it's a level 15 challenge now right?

You are quite specifically not supposed to do that, spelled out clearly by the very first passage of the Difficulty Classes section on page 336 of the rulebook:

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook wrote:

It's important that you don't simply make the DC arbitrarily higher or lower with the PC's level. Any increase must be justified based on how the challenge actually increased, and thus how success is more impressive.

...

Many tasks are not opposed and have no reason to change in level. If you decide climbing the ordinary pine tree nest to the temple is a level 0 task, climbing it doesn't arbitrarily get harder when the PCs are higher level; its level stays 0. If you need a task with a significantly higher DC to challenge your PCs, you should choose one that's inherently harder rather than inflating the level of a simple task to increase its DC.

"Choose one that's inherently harder rather than inflating the level of a simple task to increase it's DC".

So how do you choose "Climb castle wall" that's harder than "Climb castle wall" without inflating the level of the first "Climb castle wall"?

Pretty it up as much as you want. The PCs have to climb in the rain now. The Guards made it slick with oil. The Castle mage came around and used Permanent Grease or maybe the Alchemist did something tricky to the wall. You're still at the end of the day, climbing a wall.

If the PCs leave a castle they broke into, and come back a couple levels higher, under this system I would expect the DC to rise due to said levels.

Example; The pine tree is level 0 Climbing check. Oh but you're level 5 now so the tree has weaker branches so it's actually a level 5 maybe low difficulty? Or the tree's on fire.

All this seems to read to me is "Make sure you have an excuse as to why it's tougher" rather than just make it "Tougher". That's probably not how it was intended but I can't help but feel that's what's going to end up happening. More flubbed excuses as to why X is tough now rather than "Because I am GM".

On the flip side, one could make the argument that it doesn't matter WHAT is done, the DC should remain the same. And meta-gamed into oblivion. "Oh everything that was done to the castle-walls SHOULDN'T have actually raised the DC so it's still what it was last time." I'm pretty sure everyone reading knows a THAT GUY would probably pull the stunt at least once. Like he figures out human hands can only get Castle Walls to level 8 and figures out the DC, then goes on to complain about any attempt to raise said level to actually give a challenge.

Dunno, probably overthinking this.


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Well even if you are over thinking it. It is not far fetched as its easy to just say, "you are lv 13 so here is a lv 13 DC."

Its specially serious in both editions when the lv1 town has lv1 guards; But, when you return 10 lvs later, the lv1 town now has a bunch of elite lv11 guards for no apparent reason.

Or when you don't find an area on your first pass, but when you find it on later levels, the lock happens to be your exact current level.

This does seem like a problem for balancing APs and Campaigns.


MerlinCross wrote:

"Choose one that's inherently harder rather than inflating the level of a simple task to increase it's DC".

So how do you choose "Climb castle wall" that's harder than "Climb castle wall" without inflating the level of the first "Climb castle wall"?

Pretty it up as much as you want. The PCs have to climb in the rain now. The Guards made it slick with oil. The Castle mage came around and used Permanent Grease or maybe the Alchemist did something tricky to the wall. You're still at the end of the day, climbing a wall.

If the PCs leave a castle they broke into, and come back a couple levels higher, under this system I would expect the DC to rise due to said levels.

Example; The pine tree is level 0 Climbing check. Oh but you're level 5 now so the tree has weaker branches so it's actually a level 5 maybe low difficulty? Or the tree's on fire.

All this seems to read to me is "Make sure you have an excuse as to why it's tougher" rather than just make it "Tougher". That's probably not how it was intended but I can't help but feel that's what's going to end up happening. More flubbed excuses as to why X is tough now rather than "Because I am GM".

Being completely serious here, I'm not sure where it is that you are making the jump from 'the pine tree next to the temple should remain level 0' to 'the pine tree next to the temple should absolutely not remain level 0, no matter how contrived an explanation you need to invent for it doing so'.

As to climbing in the rain and other scenarios, I'm not sure that things like that are problems in absence of the idea that the GM is doing them for no good reason but that the party is higher level than the last time they visited - if there really isn't any good reason, that's obviously a problem, but I'm not sure how best Paizo can be more clear that that's not the intent. 'You shouldn't do this' doesn't seem like ambiguous advice to me.


Dr.s David Whetham and Paul Burke published a paper in 2013 that showed bows with draw weights as low as 150lbs (bows recovered from the Mary Rose had draw weights as high as 180lbs) could pierce plate mail at distances up to 50 meters. They conducted their tests at the British DoD against armor of period thickness and quality (which was quite different from modern steel as in the Youtube video). 2mm thick period armor was penetrated up to 16mm by a 150lbs long bow at the distances used in Pathfinder.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/174962607X177436


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FowlJ wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

"Choose one that's inherently harder rather than inflating the level of a simple task to increase it's DC".

So how do you choose "Climb castle wall" that's harder than "Climb castle wall" without inflating the level of the first "Climb castle wall"?

Pretty it up as much as you want. The PCs have to climb in the rain now. The Guards made it slick with oil. The Castle mage came around and used Permanent Grease or maybe the Alchemist did something tricky to the wall. You're still at the end of the day, climbing a wall.

If the PCs leave a castle they broke into, and come back a couple levels higher, under this system I would expect the DC to rise due to said levels.

Example; The pine tree is level 0 Climbing check. Oh but you're level 5 now so the tree has weaker branches so it's actually a level 5 maybe low difficulty? Or the tree's on fire.

All this seems to read to me is "Make sure you have an excuse as to why it's tougher" rather than just make it "Tougher". That's probably not how it was intended but I can't help but feel that's what's going to end up happening. More flubbed excuses as to why X is tough now rather than "Because I am GM".

Being completely serious here, I'm not sure where it is that you are making the jump from 'the pine tree next to the temple should remain level 0' to 'the pine tree next to the temple should absolutely not remain level 0, no matter how contrived an explanation you need to invent for it doing so'.

Table 10-3 on page 338 gives the levels of some climbing activities, that then are converted into DC by table 10-2. Climb a tree is level 0, climb a robe is level 1, and climb a cliff is level 2. Then the GM has to decided whether the tree, rope, or cliff is trivial, low, high, severe, or extreme to climb and match the level and difficulty to get the DC. For example a high-difficulty cliff (level 2) would be DC 15 and an extreme-difficulty cliff would be DC 19.

In the In Pale Mountain's Shadow chapter of Doomsday Dawn, the party can face shallowly-inclined short cliffs that do not require an Athletics check, difficult-pathway taller cliffs with Athletics DC 19, and some other climbing with Athletics DC 10 and 18. I don't think those values follow the guidelines in chapter 10 of the Playtest Rulebook, since the DC 19 cliffs are the ones the party would chose to climb provided they did not scout ahead and find the short cliffs with a good Survival check. They would not choose the most difficult cliffs in sight.

Since walls are meant to be more difficult to climb than a tree or rope, we could put a fitted stone wall at level 3 (see Cyclopean masonry), a brick wall at level 4, and a smooth-worked castle wall at level 5. Assuming the building techniques carved away all handholds in the castle wall, we could go for severe-difficulty level 5, which is DC 22 (this is incredible-difficulty level 5 on the Rules Update version of table 10-2). The most difficult would be original-table extreme-difficulty level-5 DC 25 or update-table ultimate-difficulty level-5 DC 23. To gain more difficulty, we would need a glass-smooth polish or a slippery coating on the wall, which exceeds the usual definition of castle wall.

Okay, now I put on my GM hat. Imagine I am designing a quest where the party has to break into the Temple of the Cold Iron Fist in order to read an ancient manuscript. They are 3rd level, so a hard-difficulty level-3 climbing challenge would be appropriate. The climb is not the only challenge, because they also have to make sure they are not spotted by the monks of the temple. That is DC 17. To get DC 17, I describe the wall as either an ordinary stone wall or maybe a brick wall has a few fingerholds in the crumbling mortar. I would not call it a castle wall.

By the way, if climbing a wall would require multiple successes, then the difficulty of climbing the wall scales with the square of the DC, so throw all these DC values into the trash and forget about a balanced challenge. This wall is only 8 feet tall.

But suppose I remember that the party wizard has strength 8 and is untrained in Athletics, so he has a -1 to climb. I decide to make the wall easier to climb. But the monks would not let their wall fall into severe disrepair, so I cannot go below DC 15. Instead, I decided that the monks let a small tree grow next to the wall and the DC to climb that tree is 10.

But if I need the DC to be higher than 17, I have to find a reason why the Temple of the Cold Iron Fist is located in a castle with a full castle wall. And I mention that some of these monks were dwarven stonemasons who carved the wall into elegant smoothness, DC 23.

And if I need the DC to be higher than 23, I give up on the wall idea entirely. No realistic wall would have higher DC. Instead, I would need to find a different challenge to approaching the temple. Maybe it was built on an isolated island and the party has to sail to it.

Using table 10-2 is not simply changing a DC. It requires changing the setting.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

For the record, we know for a fact that Table 10-2 as such is gonna be gone. A table with the same function is replacing it, but it only has one DC per level, and they're just using moving up and down the chart rather than different options per level (ie: 'this is a Level-2 check' instead of 'this is a Medium difficulty check').

It's still a DC chart based on level, but the 'ease of use' problem is a solved issue.

Deadmanwalking, my favorite huecuva! Glad to see you!

One DC per level sounds about right.

If Cyouni's correct and you can apply +/-2, 5 and 10 modifiers to the DC according to difficulty... doesn't that kind of defeat the whole purpose, though?

Talking about general DCs, anyways, if we have a different DC for each level, we'll always be thinking whether a given task is level 1, 2, 3 etc, both when running the game and when building a scenario. Instead we could simply decide whether it's easy, average, hard etc (for an average human), and that would make it so much simpler. Rain or wind or fire while climbing would give you a penalty (or simply disadvantage, which is a mechanic I would have loved to see appear in PF), while a climbing kit would give you a bonus (incidentally it occurs to me this might be what Cyouni was referring to). You don't need to wonder whether a brick wall is level 3, 4 or 5 to scale, you just figure out whether it's easy or difficult, or very difficult, or almost impossible. The game proceeds from the fictional narrative, without needing to calculate what exact number would appropriately challenge most of the party - and consequently needing to change elements of the setting itself, as Mathmuse explains (they're right imho).

Again, I have this "uncanny feeling" I'm not the target audience of the PF game system, and that is perfectly fine (I wasn't 3.5's as for that). It's also possible that less mathematical precision, looser rules and less bookkeeping would make the game simpler, more interesting to neophytes, and less subject to rules-bloat and power creep. Still, of course PF isn't 5e or Dungeon World. I do maintain that moving in that general direction (while maintaining its distinct core identity - and most of all, its beautiful setting and APs...) would have brought improvements... then again one needs only look at the 7th Sea 2nd edition fiasco to be keenly aware of what happens when you too flagrantly disregard your fanbase's core assumptions.

So I'm not saying, at all, that my preferences would be a financially good move for Paizo... it's just that, personally, since 2e is something that will happen whether the base wants it or not, it could have followed narrative versimilitude more closely, and while it was there, lightened the rules load a bit.


orestes08 wrote:

Dr.s David Whetham and Paul Burke published a paper in 2013 that showed bows with draw weights as low as 150lbs (bows recovered from the Mary Rose had draw weights as high as 180lbs) could pierce plate mail at distances up to 50 meters. They conducted their tests at the British DoD against armor of period thickness and quality (which was quite different from modern steel as in the Youtube video). 2mm thick period armor was penetrated up to 16mm by a 150lbs long bow at the distances used in Pathfinder.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/174962607X177436

You do realize that penetration of 16mm would not hurt the wearer? The point of the arrow would not even come close to touching skin. Regardless we have derailed enough, if you want to continue the discussion shoot me a PM.


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Roswynn wrote:

If Cyouni's correct and you can apply +/-2, 5 and 10 modifiers to the DC according to difficulty... doesn't that kind of defeat the whole purpose, though?

Talking about general DCs, anyways, if we have a different DC for each level, we'll always be thinking whether a given task is level 1, 2, 3 etc, both when running the game and when building a scenario. Instead we could simply decide whether it's easy, average, hard etc (for an average human), and that would make it so much simpler. Rain or wind or fire while climbing would give you a penalty (or simply disadvantage, which is a mechanic I would have loved to see appear in PF), while a climbing kit would give you a bonus (incidentally it occurs to me this might be what Cyouni was referring to). You don't need to wonder whether a brick wall is level 3, 4 or 5 to scale, you just figure out whether it's easy or difficult, or very difficult, or almost impossible. The game proceeds from the fictional narrative, without needing to calculate what exact number would appropriately challenge most of the party - and consequently needing to change elements of the setting itself, as Mathmuse explains (they're right imho).

I'm pretty sure circumstances like what you noted are what's supposed to affect the DCs, and really the whole purpose of the adjustments. The one you're given is the standard DC, and the GM can just apply adjustments based on how much they think it should matter.

The exact line used was:
"While the new table only has one progression to make it easier to read, you can use easy-to-remember adjustments (+ or - 2, 5, or 10) to actually generate seven values per level."


FowlJ wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
The point is, since everyone applies their level to everything, isn't it like applying it to nothing? In that, I'm very much a supporter of 5e's bounded accuracy - it just makes more sense to me.

Well, let's look at an example. Let's say a level 1 and 10 character, identical in every way besides level, try to identify a minor noble, a level 2 task with a DC of 14. Let's say the level 1 character has a +2 bonus, and thus needs to roll a 12. The level 10 character thus needs to roll a 3, making them vastly more likely to succeed on this low-level task because of their greater wealth of experience.

By the system of 5e, they'd both have the same chance, which is also where the meme of "grappling a pit devil at level 1" comes from.

Proficiency modifier in 5e increases at levels 5, 9, 13, and 17, so the 10th level character is 2 increases ahead unless they are not proficient (but if they aren't proficient then the situation is identical in PF2, unless Paizo goes back on their announced changes to Untrained proficiency), and they've also had at least 2 opportunities for Ability Score Improvement (3, if they are a fighter). 2-4 points difference is certainly not as much as 10 points, but it's certainly not the same chance.

Quoted for truth.

Also, regarding that pit fiend... okay, grappling isn't the best-thought out bunch of mechanics in 5e. The mere fact that it's based off of Athletics (a skill) means a rogue can get expertise in Athletics, getting double skill bonus, and get honorarily adopted by the Gracie family. Honestly, I would've used someone's unarmed attack bonus probably (monks ftw).

Moreover, for some reason... I'm noticing pit fiends... don't have skill bonuses. Now that's an interesting choice. Interesting as in, "WTF were they thinking?!!", that's how interesting.

Assuming that wasn't errataed somewhere, they should have a very high Athletics skill bonus, making it very friggin' hard to wrestle them at 1st level, and completely ineffective over the course of multiple rounds. Their Fear Aura also helps, passively, and while you're holding them still they're also devastating you with their 4 attacks per round, but, sure, purely from a wrestling standpoint, right now... yep, they suck.


Cyouni wrote:
Roswynn wrote:

If Cyouni's correct and you can apply +/-2, 5 and 10 modifiers to the DC according to difficulty... doesn't that kind of defeat the whole purpose, though?

Talking about general DCs, anyways, if we have a different DC for each level, we'll always be thinking whether a given task is level 1, 2, 3 etc, both when running the game and when building a scenario. Instead we could simply decide whether it's easy, average, hard etc (for an average human), and that would make it so much simpler. Rain or wind or fire while climbing would give you a penalty (or simply disadvantage, which is a mechanic I would have loved to see appear in PF), while a climbing kit would give you a bonus (incidentally it occurs to me this might be what Cyouni was referring to). You don't need to wonder whether a brick wall is level 3, 4 or 5 to scale, you just figure out whether it's easy or difficult, or very difficult, or almost impossible. The game proceeds from the fictional narrative, without needing to calculate what exact number would appropriately challenge most of the party - and consequently needing to change elements of the setting itself, as Mathmuse explains (they're right imho).

I'm pretty sure circumstances like what you noted are what's supposed to affect the DCs, and really the whole purpose of the adjustments. The one you're given is the standard DC, and the GM can just apply adjustments based on how much they think it should matter.

The exact line used was:
"While the new table only has one progression to make it easier to read, you can use easy-to-remember adjustments (+ or - 2, 5, or 10) to actually generate seven values per level."

Got it! That makes a lot of sense then. I still think 20+ difficulty classes is a tad over the edge, personally, but at least it is coherent with the whole design metric used. Thank you Cyouni!


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And triple-posting now! And to derail my own thread, no less ;)

Yes, I have indeed studied hoplology. Quite extensively. That said, I'll happily confess I'm not the be-all end-all authority about bows and arrows. Hell, I'm just no authority, full stop - it's not like I have a degree or certificate, or something. I'm just very interested in weapons, armor and martial arts (from Europe as much as from the rest of the world).

There's a lot of interesting points you guys made above. I think (I'm not sure, but this is my impression) that right now it is quite hard to exactly measure the penetration power of a broadhead cast from a longbow wielded by a longbowman against a knight in full plate at a hundred yards, or really, any permutation of the above.

I can tell you this:

* Plate is not uniformly thick. The rerebraces and vambraces (upper arm and forearm plates) are not as thick as the corselet (breastplate/cuirass). Sometimes, there's even a plackart attached to the front of the corselet, adding another layer of steel to the defenses arrayed against oncoming blows. It's all still thin enough not to really weigh you down (and steel is famously lighter - and stronger - than many other metals), but when push comes to bodkin arrow it does matter.

* At Crécy the English longbowmen were, indeed, terribly effective. First off, they had trained for years with their weapons, both to enhance their arms strength and their aim - it was simply the law. Secondarily, when they shot on the French cavalry, they didn't need to then stop, hide behind a pavise, shove a foot into their crossbow stirrup... no, they just picked up another arrow, cocked, aimed, shot again. They were damn fast, they rained a veritable storm of arrows on those knights. Unlike the slow and not necessarily more powerful Genoese crossbowmen mercenaries, whose main advantage was that crossbows... are easier to learn than bows.

* Plate, in general, is not actually impenetrable. For instance, if you swing a powerful downward strike with a warhammer (a real warhammer, with a peen, like a so-called "war pick") you'll often be able to break into the visor joint of a helm and the face beneath (good for you, less good for the unfortunate other dude). With a mace, even a relatively small one, you can dent and deform a pauldron until it's really hard to move that arm, or bash a person on the head until they can't think straight, full helm notwithstanding. All that said, there's a reason knights in full plate didn't carry shields. There's a reason the main techniques illustrated in fechtbuchen were to thrust a sharp point as hard as you can into one of the armor gaps, and possibly to wrestle the opponent to the ground, first. Generally speaking, it's really, really hard to breach plate. So hard, in fact, shields became a superfluous weight in the mind of most combatants. As Fumbles_suck mentions, they even developed corselets that resisted shot. Shot! The proof in "bulletproof" was originally the scratch from the firearm's discharge, which was left on the cuirass to show its quality.

* When archers shot at knights, they usually counted on the large amount of arrows loosed so that at least some found the gaps in the armor, and some of those managed to break and penetrate the mail links within (a little easier with bodkins), and then, with the residual kinetic energy, that they sank into the pourpoint and the human body beneath it. There are a lot of variables at work, but puncturing solid steel plate is almost never one of them.


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Roswynn wrote:
When archers shot at knights, they usually counted on the large amount of arrows loosed so that at least some found the gaps in the armor, and some of those managed to break and penetrate the mail links within (a little easier with bodkins), and then, with the residual kinetic energy, that they sank into the pourpoint and the human body beneath it. There are a lot of variables at work, but puncturing solid steel plate is almost never one of them.

Well now doesn't this just sound like a Fighter with Triple Shot or a Ranger with Flurry Hunter's Edge? XD

Seriously though, this sounds like how one of my players played his Ranger, especially in DD part 7 (And his Druid in Part 5). Just fire arrow after arrow in the hopes that they start piercing armor (Of course in part 7 they did more often than not...).

As Sean Connery calls it in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, very American-style shooting. Fire enough bullets (err, arrows) and you're bound to hit something. XD


Roswynn wrote:
At Crécy the English longbowmen were, indeed, terribly effective. First off, they had trained for years with their weapons, both to enhance their arms strength and their aim - it was simply the law. Secondarily, when they shot on the French cavalry, they didn't need to then stop, hide behind a pavise, shove a foot into their crossbow stirrup... no, they just picked up another arrow, cocked, aimed, shot again. They were damn fast, they rained a veritable storm of arrows on those knights. Unlike the slow and not necessarily more powerful Genoese crossbowmen mercenaries, whose main advantage was that crossbows... are easier to learn than bows.

Crecy, of course, predates plate armour. And the French did get through the arrow-storm and into contact with the English foot. And incidentally, Genoese law dictated very similar training for their crossbow militia (and other militia) as English law did for the English longbow, so I'm dubious at the idea that the crossbow is especially easy to be good with.


MaxAstro wrote:
as someone who does a lot of adventure design, I lament the loss of how incredibly useful it was for answering certain basic adventure design questions.

Paizo probably has a table like that hidden away. It may come in a book on adventure design.

As an opponent of Table 10-2, I'm a bit touched by nostalgia for it.

About the new table, I'm not sure giving it just one column prevents misuse. They can still base bard abilities's DC off this new table, making it just as bad. So it is a bit of a hollow victory.


FowlJ wrote:

Being completely serious here, I'm not sure where it is that you are making the jump from 'the pine tree next to the temple should remain level 0' to 'the pine tree next to the temple should absolutely not remain level 0, no matter how contrived an explanation you need to invent for it doing so'.

As to climbing in the rain and other scenarios, I'm not sure that things like that are problems in absence of the idea that the GM is doing them for no good reason but that the party is higher level than the last time they visited - if there really isn't any good reason, that's obviously a problem, but I'm not sure how best Paizo can be more clear that that's not the intent. 'You shouldn't do this' doesn't seem like ambiguous advice to me.

If you're really fixated on the "Tree next to the temple" image;

Level 1s start the game. Climb the "Tree next to the temple" to get a better view of things. It's described as a level 0 challenge so at most it's a DC 17, Extreme. Now is this because of the tree, the weather, some other reason, or the GM want's to crank it up to max?

Level 5s, come back to town. Decide they want to get a bird's eye view again. You, as GM, are not allowed to increase the level 0 tree challenge so "Tree next to the temple" remains at level 0 regardless of what you do, with a max DC of 17.

So you just make them climb the old rotten tree at the edge of town.

How is that different to just increasing the "Tree next to the temple" DC level? Why can't you say that "Tree next to the temple" got some sort of tree rot which makes the branches weaker for extra challenge? I mean we're supposed to be giving them a level appropriate challenge right?

Tables 10-3 to 10-6 give examples of DCs along with some 'modifiers'. But it actually doesn't list what they do. Does "Strong Storm" just make it extreme or make it a higher level when it comes to swimming? Oh no, it can't increase the level, we were told "We shouldn't do this" to levels. Then why is swimming in a Stormy Ocean 5 and normal Ocean is 1? I thought we couldn't increase the level. Wait says "Shouldn't make them higher or lower, arbitrarily". So we CAN make the level increase based on what's happening or is that still no go?

Crossing a bridge is level 0. Crossing the same bridge covered in ice, in a snow storm, while possibly having to run across it is...., what? Is it still level 0 just extreme or have we suddenly raised the magical DC level we're not supposed to? Or do we just take the level the PCs are at and look up that row of DCs and work from there?

Mathmuse also has some better worded complaints than I do but I can't help but feel the table, while a useful tool on the surface, is probably going to lead to more confusion and bad GM practices. If not metagaming from some people.

They climbed "Tree next to the temple" no problem. Why are they having trouble with the same type of tree just elsewhere? Or were you not supposed to give them a harder check no matter what's going on? And if you're supposed to only give them suitable DCs, why are you letting them climb a tree that is no challenge for them now?

Again, might be overthinking it but I'd rather come up with my own DCs without having to see how it would fit into the table.


MerlinCross wrote:
I mean we're supposed to be giving them a level appropriate challenge right?

Here, I think, is the disconnect - you keep approaching this from the angle that everything is supposed to be an on-level challenge for the party, at all times, and that every other instruction given is secondary to that.

Higher level parties will often face challenges of their level or above, because of course - that's what being higher level means, and the exact same thing happens in PF1 and in other systems, whether there's a specific guideline for what characters are capable of at a level or not. They are not supposed to always do that, which is exactly what that passage in the DC chapter is trying to say - things which are easy stay easy, unless there's a good reason in the story for it to not.

Admittedly, there are issues with this in Doomsday Dawn - Paizo didn't do a great job of fluffing up the relatively high DCs, and neither did they do a good job of explaining why they were so high (because they wanted more data on the success/failure rates of actual difficult checks, rather than ones that will most likely succeed). They have explained this on the forums before, though, and I don't see a reason personally to assume that they are lying about it.

I will totally agree that the difference between changing the level of a task and increasing its difficulty tier is unclear and frankly kind of dumb, but as of the latest announcement from Paizo's stream they are replacing the table with a simpler one, which should resolve that.


MerlinCross wrote:

If you're really fixated on the "Tree next to the temple" image;

Level 1s start the game. Climb the "Tree next to the temple" to get a better view of things. It's described as a level 0 challenge so at most it's a DC 17, Extreme. Now is this because of the tree, the weather, some other reason, or the GM want's to crank it up to max?

Why don't the level 5s get the same DC? They're literally attempting the exact same task at a higher level, yet you want them to be challenged by the same thing despite the fact they've grown.

MerlinCross wrote:
Crossing a bridge is level 0. Crossing the same bridge covered in ice, in a snow storm, while possibly having to run across it is...., what? Is it still level 0 just extreme or have we suddenly raised the magical DC level we're not supposed to? Or do we just take the level the PCs are at and look up that row of DCs and work from there?

Level 0, with two upward adjustments for DC+5.

Alternately, if icy bridge is a different enough bridge, than icy bridge DC+2.

This is starting to feel like pedantry for the sake of missing the point.


FowlJ wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
I mean we're supposed to be giving them a level appropriate challenge right?
Here, I think, is the disconnect - you keep approaching this from the angle that everything is supposed to be an on-level challenge for the party, at all times, and that every other instruction given is secondary to that.

Everything? No. Not really.

Can I use this moment for plot or world building? Yes. The area is effected by drought, so the larger trees are more brittle as a result making it harder to climb thanks to branches snapping.

Would this be an increase in DC level or not though?

FowlJ wrote:
Higher level parties will often face challenges of their level or above, because of course - that's what being higher level means, and the exact same thing happens in PF1 and in other systems, whether there's a specific guideline for what characters are capable of at a level or not. They are not supposed to always do that, which is exactly what that passage in the DC chapter is trying to say - things which are easy stay easy, unless there's a good reason in the story for it to not.

They are always supposed to stay easy, unless you give a reason. The problem is how much leeway of a reason do you need I suppose? Or how much you need to explain it? And how this actually effects the DCs. They want to climb a tree, I want it to be challenging based on me as a GM and possibly story factors. How much leeway do I have, or should I follow the chart?

FowlJ wrote:
Admittedly, there are issues with this in Doomsday Dawn - Paizo didn't do a great job of fluffing up the relatively high DCs, and neither did they do a good job of explaining why they were so high (because they wanted more data on the success/failure rates of actual difficult checks, rather than ones that will most likely succeed). They have explained this on the forums before, though, and I don't see a reason personally to assume that they are lying about it.

Given fluff seems to effect mechanics in the form of modifiers(Slick, stormy, rotten, in a hurry, etc etc), I would like to see this bit expanded in the actual book.

FowlJ wrote:
I will totally agree that the difference between changing the level of a task and increasing its difficulty tier is unclear and frankly kind of dumb, but as of the latest announcement from Paizo's stream they are replacing the table with a simpler one, which should resolve that.

Now see, we can agree to that.

Cyouni wrote:
Why don't the level 5s get the same DC? They're literally attempting the exact same task at a higher level, yet you want them to be challenged by the same thing despite the fact they've grown.

Because I deemed the level one to be a challenge and deem the level 5 to also be a challenge. How many modifiers do I need to excuse it if I'm going by the book? Now they could go climb a different tree and see the DC is "Climb a tree - 0", but I have decided that this one act of climbing this tree is to be challenging.

Am I allowed to do so, and if so, how would you go about doing it? I would think taking their average party level and going to the same DC level to maybe be the fastest way to do it.

Cyouni wrote:

Level 0, with two upward adjustments for DC+5.

Alternately, if icy bridge is a different enough bridge, than icy bridge DC+2.

This is starting to feel like pedantry for the sake of missing the point.

I will admit; I am working with an older PDF of the playtest. My own copy does not list what level it's supposed to be, nor does it list what the 'modifiers' are supposed to effect, DC or DC level. So I will admit, it is possible for me to be talking complete hot air if a more polished version of the table and section as a whole is floating around.

But without those extra details, this is the point I have arrived at.


MerlinCross wrote:

Because I deemed the level one to be a challenge and deem the level 5 to also be a challenge. How many modifiers do I need to excuse it if I'm going by the book? Now they could go climb a different tree and see the DC is "Climb a tree - 0", but I have decided that this one act of climbing this tree is to be challenging.

Am I allowed to do so, and if so, how would you go about doing it? I would think taking their average party level and going to the same DC level to maybe be the fastest way to do it.

Technically you can (in that there's nothing stopping you), but it's pointless to me and pretty much listed in the book as "something to not do". You're pretty much defeating the whole point of +level and adding a treadmill in for the sake of it.

If hypothetically this same tree were to be covered in ice, during a localized storm, while arrows are being fired at the climbers, then it'd still be a level 0 task, just with a +10 DC adjustment for circumstances.

MerlinCross wrote:

I will admit; I am working with an older PDF of the playtest. My own copy does not list what level it's supposed to be, nor does it list what the 'modifiers' are supposed to effect, DC or DC level. So I will admit, it is possible for me to be talking complete hot air if a more polished version of the table and section as a whole is floating around.

But without those extra details, this is the point I have arrived at.

The level of the task doesn't change with situational modifiers unless it would completely change the base nature of the task (normal ocean vs stormy ocean). Adjustments move the DC up/downwards, but the level stays the same. This should remain consistent with the new table.

One of the other problems I found with the original table was that it had no real "default" check - it was somewhere between high and medium by my reading.


Cyouni wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

Because I deemed the level one to be a challenge and deem the level 5 to also be a challenge. How many modifiers do I need to excuse it if I'm going by the book? Now they could go climb a different tree and see the DC is "Climb a tree - 0", but I have decided that this one act of climbing this tree is to be challenging.

Am I allowed to do so, and if so, how would you go about doing it? I would think taking their average party level and going to the same DC level to maybe be the fastest way to do it.

Technically you can (in that there's nothing stopping you), but it's pointless to me and pretty much listed in the book as "something to not do". You're pretty much defeating the whole point of +level and adding a treadmill in for the sake of it.

If hypothetically this same tree were to be covered in ice, during a localized storm, while arrows are being fired at the climbers, then it'd still be a level 0 task, just with a +10 DC adjustment for circumstances.

It's a treadmill only if it applies to everything. But I still feel that some challenges should be based off what level the PCs are at. Mathmuse gave a good example as to how confusing it can be if you really dig into it.

At the same time, I don't see anything in the rule set I have that suggest a +10 DC adjustment.

Cyouni wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

I will admit; I am working with an older PDF of the playtest. My own copy does not list what level it's supposed to be, nor does it list what the 'modifiers' are supposed to effect, DC or DC level. So I will admit, it is possible for me to be talking complete hot air if a more polished version of the table and section as a whole is floating around.

But without those extra details, this is the point I have arrived at.

The level of the task doesn't change with situational modifiers unless it would completely change the base nature of the task (normal ocean vs stormy ocean). Adjustments move the DC up/downwards, but the level stays the same. This should remain consistent with the new table.

One of the other problems I found with the original table was that it had no real "default" check - it was somewhere between high and medium by my reading.

Why doesn't it level? I assume just leveling it up and letting you pick from one of 6 numbers would be easier on the GM to figure out "My players can or can't clear this" rather than 5 becoming 15. That and it doesn't give a +5 or +10 example.

Swiming in the ocean is level 1, swiming in a stormy ocean is level 5. Does that mean swiming in a stormy river is... level 5 because it's also level 1? Or would it be +7 because that's seems to be the DC that swiming in a stormy ocean is to be trivial. Basically what modifier is "Stormy"?


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MerlinCross wrote:
Mathmuse also has some better worded complaints than I do but I can't help but feel the table, while a useful tool on the surface, is probably going to lead to more confusion and bad GM practices. If not metagaming from some people.

I had only one true complaint in my comment #77, that having to make multiple climb checks to climb a tall wall or cliff totally messes up the intent of the DC. I am going to houserule that one into a single roll that could get the character in trouble higher up.

The rest was instructions on how to use Table 10-2 as I saw it. It is a difficult tool, but sometimes a difficult tool is the appropriate one for the job.

FowlJ wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
I mean we're supposed to be giving them a level appropriate challenge right?
Here, I think, is the disconnect - you keep approaching this from the angle that everything is supposed to be an on-level challenge for the party, at all times, and that every other instruction given is secondary to that.

When I design a challenge, I try to make it close to level appropriate. It could be a low challenge, there simply to remind the party that the adventure is not a cakewalk. It could be an average challenge, part of the heart of the adventure. It could be a severe challenge, a capstone accomplishment to resolve the adventure. In all cases, though, the measurement is how well the party will be able to handle it. And that depends on the party's capabilities, which depends on level.

Individual pieces of the challenge, in contrast, can be wildly off from the level. The players chose the details. Suppose that I did not put a tree next to the temple wall. Does that mean that no PC will climb a tree? Nope. A player could decide to climb at tall tree far from the temple wall in order to look into the temple courtyard and see what temple guards are on patrol. The Athletics check will be easy, but the Perception check might be difficult since the tree is far from the temple.

Then the party decides to enter the temple in disguise as visiting pilgrims and I go, what?! I had not prepared for this! The monks have high Wisdom, so the party's Deception DCs will be extreme.

My players love the clever solution. I can't call the solutions unexpected, because my wife choses her outlandish plans based on well-known goals and personality of her character, though sometimes my players invent a plan on the spur of the moment based on a tiny detail that I had thought unimportant. For example, in Affair at Sombrefell Hall in Doomsday Dawn, they did not start at Sombrefell Hall. Since they were traveling to Sombrefell Hall, they stopped their coach (the noble in the party paid for elegant transportation) at the town where the servants of the hall would do their shopping and asked around. The elf noble bard asked the high-class families about the Oscilar family, the half-elf barkeep cleric asked the merchants about the household, the dwarf barkeep monk asked the working class people about the gossip among the servants, and the half-elf esoteric-scion cleric asked about local activities of the Night Heralds.

The Gather Information skill says, "The GM determines the DC of the check and the amount of time it takes." Fat lot of good that sentence does me. Do you think I used Table 10-2 for those Gather Information rolls? Hah! Chapter 10 has no DCs for Diplomacy. Under Society, Table 10-5 gives Identify a monarch (level 0), Know proper forms of introduction (level 1), Subsist on the streets of a normal city (level 1), and Identify a minor noble (level 2).

Roleplaying the conversations without dice rolls was easier than inventing a DC for a Diplomacy check. The players were not attempting anything difficult, so they did not expect a challenge anyway. And the town was not part of the official playtest chapter, so it was irrelevant for the playtest.

This is my second complaint. Table 10-2 is too complicated to use on the fly for an unexpected DC. The secrets of Sombrefell Hall would be based on the level of Dr. Oscilar, an NPC without a level. The mystery was merely a setup for some 7th-level combat. That does not mean that the mystery was 7th level itself. Parts of the mystery relate to the 9th-level character Ilvoresh and the 20th-level character Ramlock. The local Night Heralds had been 4th level, but they were now led by Ilvoresh. And although the PCs were trying to uncover the secrets of Sombrefell Hall, at this time they were merely asking about the common knowledge about Sombrefell Hall.

The quick way to determine a Gather Information DC would be to take the most obvious difficulty and level, which would be trivial for common knowledge and 7th level for a 7th-level party, and declare it a trival 7th-level challenge, DC 16. But by my understanding of "Difficulty Classes" section of Chapter 10, Game Mastering, that would be a misuse of Table 10-2. The challenge is not 7th level.

Playtest Rulebook, Game Mastering, Difficulty Classes, page 336 wrote:

It’s important that you don’t simply make the DC arbitrarily higher or lower with the PCs’ level. Any increase must be justified based on how the challenge actually increased, and thus how success is more impressive. For checks against opponents’ DCs, higher-level adversaries have higher skills, so the players can clearly see improvement as they challenge and surpass more powerful foes.

Many tasks are not opposed and have no reason to change in level. If you decide climbing the ordinary pine tree next to the temple is a level 0 task, climbing it doesn’t arbitrarily get harder when the PCs are higher level; its level stays 0. If you need a task with a significantly higher DC to challenge your PCs, you should choose one that’s inherently harder rather than artificially inflating the level of a simple task to increase its DC. ...

That section discusses Gather Information:

Playtest Rulebook, Game Mastering, Difficulty Classes, page 337 wrote:

Gathering Information

To set the DC to Gather Information, use the notoriety of the subject to set the level and the depth of information to set the difficulty category. For example, if a character were trying to Gather Information about a visiting caravan, you might decide that a common person wouldn’t know much about it but a merchant or city guard would, so it’s level 1 information. A caravan leader’s name is superficial, so discovering it might be a low-difficulty level 1 check. If you were trying to learn the identity of the leader’s employers, however, that might be a severe or extreme level 1 check, or higher level if they were particularly hidden.

So the level of the Gather Information check depends on the notoriety of Dr. Oscilar. The chapter does not provide this information, either, because it was irrelevant to the playtest.

By the way, Tables 10-3 through 10-6 on page 338 have a column marked Trivial. I had to read through the Ordinary Tasks paragraph on page 336 to find its meaning. It is not the same as the Trivial DC from Table 10-2. Instead, the Trivial number in Tables 10-3 through 10-6 is a level, the character level at which the task becomes so trivial that the character no longer needs to roll to succeed at the check. Thus, by table 10-4 a 5th-level character can almost always succeed at climbing a tree despite the climb check's trivial 0th-level DC 9 from table 10-2. This sounds contradictory to me, since under the unupdated playtest rules, a 5th-level character trained in Athletics would have only +5+Str bonus to Athletics checks against DC 9, 20% chance of failure at Str +0. It will also need to change based on the latest revelation that Untrained won't give +level to checks.


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Let me summarize the situation with the unexpected Gather Information actions in my comment above.

As a GM, once my players unexpected announced they would gather information on Sombrefell Hall in a town not mentioned in the chapter, I would first check the Gather Information action written on page 150 in the Skills chapter of the Playtest Rulebook. That says, "The GM determines the DC of the check," which means I need to go to the Difficulty Classes section of the Game Mastering chapter for advice on DCs. I would second turn to page 338 to see whether Gather Information was among the ordinary tasks in Tables 10-3 through 10-6. It is not, so I would page backwards seeking guidance and spot the section on page 337 labeled, "Gathering Information." Reading that, I see the DC depends on the notoriety of the subject to set the level and difficulty. There is no table to translate notoriety into level. Instead, this tells me that a higher level on the subject does not mean a higher level on the DC; instead, the reverse might be true. High-level famous people might be easier to gather information on than low-level nobodies.

Then the Pathfinder 2nd Edition rules leave me high and dry and I have to wing it. As an experienced storyteller, I decide that the townsfolk do have stories of Dr. Oscilar's grandparents who used to live on Sombrefell Hall. I decide that the town would have gossip about a professor cared for by graduate students rather than proper servants. As an experienced GM, I decide that I do not want to introduce false information into the narrative at this time, because it would mess with the adventure. To avoid false information, either the DC should be 7 at the highest so that a natural 1 is only a failure rather than a critical failure, or I should avoid Diplomacy checks.

These decisions do not create information that I can plug into Table 10-2, so that table is useless.

The Ordinary Tasks section on pages 336 and 337 give an alternative to determining DCs. It suggests that some tasks are so easy for a high-level party that they don't need to roll. Its last sentence is, "You can allow automatic successes at lower levels than listed if that makes your game run more smoothly." I had not read that sentence before or during my game, but that is the decision I made during that game.

Personally, I would be happier with Proficiency Gating rather than Level Gating. It is easier to think that a character expert in Diplomacy will never fail a Gather Information check for common knowledge and that a character trained in Diplomacy would at least hear common gossip, than that a 7th-level character would never fail.


A ote on the climbing, something important to note that makes the multiple checks less of an issue:

IIRC you only fall from the wall on a CRIT fail. Failed checks just mean you stay in place for that action. So a successful wall climb doesn't require multiple successes in a row, it requires multiple successes without crit failing. (And even then a climbing kit offers the ability to halve speed to eliminate falling danger) Any failures before getting enough successes just make the climb take longer, which may or may not be an issue depending on the situation.


MerlinCross, let me tell you a secret about adventure design in PF1e.

Nearly everything the PCs encountered in an Adventure Path was scaled to their level, it just wasn't quite as obvious as it is in Doomsday Door.

Table 10-2 did not change any of the underlying assumptions of adventure design - it merely made explicit what was implicit. Most of the time PCs happen to encounter things that are roughly of a level to challenge them without destroying them. Funny how that works.

But at the same time, occasionally they won't be. Reign of Winter has a cliff in book 6 that is a laughably easy climb check (and of course the PCs most likely just fly).


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Huh, kinda like how PF1 monster design ignored PC rules when it was needed to get their stats right and PF2 is just up front about it. ;P

The only real difference IMO is PF1 is such a mess numerically now that you really CAN'T set something to the party's "level" with any sort of reliability. With the PF2 chassis that actually works.


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The issue of using levels to determine DC's is that no one knows what the f~%@ a level is supposed to mean devoid of context.

In 5e, "easy" and "hard" can be used because there's no proficiency inflation (or there is but it's very mild). You can picture it, decide for yourself whether it's "hard" or "easy" or whatever, and then you're given an exact DC. It's 10, 15, 20, or if you're feeling really randy, 25.

What the f!+! is a level 5 gap that needs to be jumped? What is a level 7 attempt to convince an angry mob to go home? It only makes sense if a leveled creature in some way interacts with the task somehow, but even then you get into ludicrious situations like "level 7 masons" making a wall extra unclimbable somehow. They're f+#~ing rocks mate, there is no skill involved here. Are buildings made by high level carpenters just universally covered in grease that just so happens to match the levels of the enemies inside?

When you then add descriptors like easy/medium/hard et cetera on top of level, you get something extra nonsensical. What the hell is level supposed to even mean in that context then if it's not difficulty? DC stands for Difficulty Class, why would there be both the actual difficulty as ascertained by the GM then be cross-referenced with a level?

Complexity sometimes is necessary, sure, but for calculating DC's that is the wrong time to be introducing a table you have no hope of memorizing. You need to make that s#%& up on the spot in response to a players doing things you didn't predict, and if multiple GM's can't b%!*$%$@ the same reasonable answer to within a reasonable range (5 or so DC off from the median) then what's the point?

Proficiency gating I like a lot more, as it's a lot easier to b$#+$##@ a simple binary question, "Does this require specialized training?" If not, you don't need to be trained to attempt it. If it does, you do need to be trained. Don't ask whether it requires expert or master or legendary or all that s!#+, all that should be for skill feats only, the only question that matters there is "does it make sense for someone who doesn't know what they're doing to succeed just by winging it?" Can you just wing knowing what these arcane runes mean if you're not trained in Arcana? No, so you need training. Can you just wing knowing something is magical if you aren't trained in Arcana? Sure, so you can attempt without training.

Those sorts of easy to answer questions are what should be factoring into a GM's decision to set a DC or whether someone can roll. Yes or no questions like "is this reasonably possible, or is this as ludicrous as jumping to the moon?" and slightly more involved questions like "Is this easy, normal, hard, or almost impossible?" are far more appropriate than what table 10-2 was asking of you.


Helmic, you have some points, but could you bring the escalation level down a bit?

There's no need for that language.

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