Proficiency


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


What are peoples thoughts on the latest updates to Proficiency?

Jason Bulmahn announced Prof and DC changes during a Twitch Stream (which is now on YouTube as of Jan 2nd 2019)

Pathfinder Playtest Update with Jason Bulmahn! (Pathfinder Friday #26)

Relevant times:
-DC 26:26
-Prof. 32:16

It was announced that the Table of DCs will be addressed "1 level line, 1 list of numbers"

Additionally Proficiency looks like this:
Untrained: 0
Trained: 2 + Level
Expert: 4 + Level
Master: 6 + Level
Legendary: 8 + Level


I wanted to post this to start a new thread about it. But basically I see it as a step in the right direction, but with 2 major problems.

1) It's still only a +2 variance between the Proficiency levels.[Except Untrained, which brings me to number 2]
2) The numerical benefit from going to Untrained to Trained will be so great that the meta of the mechanics will be to become Trained in as many Skills as you can. Especially at higher levels.


Kaelizar wrote:

I wanted to post this to start a new thread about it. But basically I see it as a step in the right direction, but with 2 major problems.

1) It's still only a +2 variance between the Proficiency levels.[Except Untrained, which brings me to number 2]
2) The numerical benefit from going to Untrained to Trained will be so great that the meta of the mechanics will be to become Trained in as many Skills as you can. Especially at higher levels.

1) It's not huge but with the crit system each point is a little more valuable so it's more like a +3 in PF1 terms.

2) I'm not sure that's a bad thing. There should be a balance between becoming broad and specializing. If they make skill feats more worthwhile there might actually be an interesting trade off between the two. Also as a side note right there they made Int providing more trained skills a whole lot more powerful. Much less of a dump stat now.

A lot still depends on skill feats but overall I like these numbers better. (Though I would prefer 1/2 lvl I doubt that will happen and Im not really willing to fight over it)


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Ah, no-one has posted in the thread Trying to understand removing +level from untrained proficiency since Saturday, so it is harder to find than usual. That thread discusses Kaelizar's second point.


I think there are about 5 threads on this topic.
We just need someone to comment, "I think 5E did this really well..." and we'll be set.


Bardarok wrote:
Kaelizar wrote:

I wanted to post this to start a new thread about it. But basically I see it as a step in the right direction, but with 2 major problems.

1) It's still only a +2 variance between the Proficiency levels.[Except Untrained, which brings me to number 2]
2) The numerical benefit from going to Untrained to Trained will be so great that the meta of the mechanics will be to become Trained in as many Skills as you can. Especially at higher levels.

1) It's not huge but with the crit system each point is a little more valuable so it's more like a +3 in PF1 terms.

2) I'm not sure that's a bad thing. There should be a balance between becoming broad and specializing. If they make skill feats more worthwhile there might actually be an interesting trade off between the two. Also as a side note right there they made Int providing more trained skills a whole lot more powerful. Much less of a dump stat now.

A lot still depends on skill feats but overall I like these numbers better. (Though I would prefer 1/2 lvl I doubt that will happen and Im not really willing to fight over it)

The problem I see with #2 is that they are simplifying the proficiency system to use this one rule for most things +0 2+level, etc. but then now requiring everyone to know more about what feats are useful/meaning full. I for one want Skill feats to be very useful and require advancement in. But then at that rate, why have this proficiency system as another layer on top of that? Just git rid of "Skill Increase" and have "Skill Feats" be what constitute "proficiency" in a skill, if I'm putting a feat in it, I want it to be good.


Additionally in PF1 if you neglected a skill until later levels, then you need to put your ranks into it and neglect your maxed skills, and to be fair you could still go from +0 to +2 to +10 depending on your class, but at the cost of your other skill ranks.

I think non-level increments allows for investment to determine numerical benefits and prevent a huge bump in bonuses when going from Untrained to Trained.


Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

I think there are about 5 threads on this topic.

We just need someone to comment, "I think 5E did this really well..." and we'll be set.

Nobody thinks that though...


There are several threads on this UTEML topic. And in every one of them, someone started a thread to talk about it, and at least one person comments, "I don't know if anyone brought this up yet, but 5E does this really well..."
I was being facetious by pointing out that there are already a multitude of UTEML threads.


I think the end product of proficiencies is going to look a lot different in PF2 than it did in the playtest. For one example: Armor as a whole needs a lot of work rebalancing, with the proficiency scale being stretched out as far as it has.

Things like that means issue 1 is actually a bigger issue that the difference between trained and legendary proficiency in armor and weapons, as well as saves and DCs is going to be the same level of nonsense that exists in PF1, which makes it impossible to balance monsters against PCs. Especially when stacked with a +/-10 crit system.

I think that is a big part of why Jason was talking about how even wizards are going to have to get expert proficiency in their starting weapon proficiencies by the time people start getting legendary Armor, because bigger gaps between proficiency means that a gap of more than 2 for important contested checks in now pretty much impossible. Probably the only proficiency that will even be able to be sitting at trained by level 20 are skills at this point, (maybe even by level 17).


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Hey, another UTEML thread :-)

That said, this one is a bit more focused than the others.

Kaelizar wrote:

I wanted to post this to start a new thread about it. But basically I see it as a step in the right direction, but with 2 major problems.

1) It's still only a +2 variance between the Proficiency levels.[Except Untrained, which brings me to number 2]
2) The numerical benefit from going to Untrained to Trained will be so great that the meta of the mechanics will be to become Trained in as many Skills as you can. Especially at higher levels.

1) +2 is as high as it should get, imo. And even that requires that other bonuses get toned down a bit. I really think it's important that the math remains fairly tight. A solution could be to remove all ability-boosting items, and to cap proficiency-boosting items to something like +3. This way, the difference between most and least optimized characters for a certain task would still increase, but by at most 1, instead of 4. That could be reasonable.

2) Yes, this remains a problem. Some skills will become must-have, or in other words, taxes. Athletics and Acrobatics are likely candidates for that. Of course, there are solutions, for example items that provide Trained proficiency instead of just a bonus.


1) I like the increased distance between the ranks (but it does require some balancing changes to characters attack and defense proficiencies in the final version)

2) Maybe, maybe not. It could end up being similar to PF1 wherein the party has a specialist in the different areas and the rest just don't really use that skill. We also don't know how many skill increases you will get now, or whether there will be feats that let's you use untrained skills better or maybe letting high ranked players "aid" the others thus allowing them +level to the roll. It was hinted in the stream that some changes would come to this area as well.

3) I know you didn't have a 3rd point but in terms of the DC-table I think it's a good idea to simplify it and just having a flat + - you can add to the level DC for making the task easy, hard or impossible. It did seem a bit odd to me that each variant scaled so differently (but it might also make certain checks too hard/easy now that it's gone. Time will tell).


Trying to reply to multiple comments here, so I'll try to make it general.

1) I think that the bonuses should be larger than +2 (assuming Level is removed) BUT as @Unicore and others have stated this gets into a huge problem with DCs and Defenses

Honestly I would like to see Skills separated from Saves, Armor, Weapons, etc. In PF2 they have consolidated many of the terms and options. Features, etc are all Feats now, and EVERYTHING has a proficiency *UTEML*. For me UTEML is only be as useful as the Feats that are associated with them (which currently is lacking, which is fine b/c of playtest, but when we get more feats the 'simple' UTEML math will be overshadowed by the complex, and system expertise that comes with knowing all the feats. Currently most of UTEML is based on Skills for determining Skill feats. So why not only use them for Skills and move Saves/etc to another system. Only Class feats require any sort of Expert/Master,etc Prof. for non-Skills, generally. And if we're arbitrarily providing Expert level Prof. in weapons for Wizards just so they aren't left in the dust, then I see that as a problem.

2) Most of what I have to say about this is basically address in 1). Most of any "Important" saves, Armor, weapons, etc will automatically be Trained (by default, without choice from the player), and any Skills that a group consider important will end up becoming a 'tax' that you MUST have training to prevent yourself from crit failing.

Solution:
-Create a new form of "Proficiency" for non skills (I don't know what a good system for this would be, but it can include Level [I'm hearty, stronger, better at my class things as I level] is a good thing)
-Update current UTEML Prof. for skills to no longer be level based and with larger numbers and no level (-2, +2, +4, +8, +16)

Combined those solutions will 'hopefully' create a system in which those who specialize in Grappling will have a better chance of succeeding when they reach their new Prof. level, but also will decrease slightly as the opponents level increase due to +level to defenses.
(You might think Doubling or +16 looks too big, but at level 15 when you can get Legendary, same level opponents will already have a ~+15 to their defense)


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Personally, I am not a fan with the recently announced changes though I'm at least open to seeing how it looks in the final printed version. If it does not work as well as I'd like then I'll just end up with a tweak to it in my games.

This is what I would prefer.

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

Keeping the math tight is definitely a net positive in my opinion. Especially with as easy to use as Proficiency Gates are for skill challenges.

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