Proficiency without level variant


Homebrew and House Rules

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I know Paizo has teased a discussion about this in the upcoming APG.

Thing is, I don't think you need to much at all for the Core Rulebook to remove level from proficiency. Basically revisit the tables for DC (Simple DC and DC per level); that's pretty much it.

However.

For the Bestiary, it's a massive headache if all Paizo is planning to do is give us the advice "and subtract level from any attack, save DC or..."

What would be FANTASTIC is if Paizo were to issue a Bestiary PDF where level has already been taken out of all the numbers! :-)


If it is simply -level I am going to be very disappointed as there are already a variety of feats, spells and abilities that don't scale well with doing this.

Critical success/failure being one of them.

I want it, but it requires a bit more thought than just "take away the level".


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

If it is simply -level I am going to be very disappointed as there are already a variety of feats, spells and abilities that don't scale well with doing this.

Critical success/failure being one of them.

I want it, but it requires a bit more thought than just "take away the level".

For on level foes it would be the same chance of a critical success or failure. The main difference would be for checks against simple DCs.Which, I feel that if you want to run a “bounded accuracy” game, there’s probably half a chance that you want things to be a bit less fantastic anyway. (Like there being very little chance, if any, of anyone climbing across a ceiling without handholds or up a sheer wall even at high levels.)


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We've been going with omitting + level since the playtest for some adventures (we also tried out + level x2), just opens up monster threat ranges. I prefer it, as I am not into number inflation like I used to be, and I like 20 orcs to always be a problem for 1 PC to take on.

Like Inigo, the best swordsman in the land, even he can't take on 20 guards at once.

Grand Lodge

I mean the idea behind the level thing on a narrative level is so a commoner with a pitchfork can’t actually damage the red dragon that’s demanding an offering of his livestock under threat of burning the place down.


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Syries wrote:
I mean the idea behind the level thing on a narrative level is so a commoner with a pitchfork can’t actually damage the red dragon that’s demanding an offering of his livestock under threat of burning the place down.

The issue is it also begs the question... why are ghouls or orcs a problem when a level 7 guard captain could walk into a 50 of them and scoff as he mows them down.

Look to 5e for instance, a villager can damage a dragon theoretically. But it isn't going to survive the dragon.

An army of low level people however are enough of a deterrent to keep a dragon at bay if it is adult and cause an ancient dragon to pause before thinking "well why don't I just raid every major city rather than bullying smaller villages?"

Buttttt given that I was raised on AD&D and later B/X I suppose I have a fonder memory of bounded accuracy than some.

I don't believe the numerical increases of 3.0 were designed for realism, I believe they were designed for power fantasy. It is why I describe Pathfinder 2e as Fantasy Superheroes, not that this is bad... I didn't have a system I liked for that genre. But reealism goes out the window.

It is also weird for me to read the PF2e description of the banshee and go... well that is stupidly strong, angels and demons pick your game up a distressed dead elf is kicking your ass.

/end mini rant (less emotion behind this than it may seem I swear :P)


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I prefer my fantasy to have an extreme top end where the greatest fighter in the land can slay 20 Orcs without breaking a sweat. Legolas and Gimly could wade through an army of orcs, kill dozens and exit unscathed. If you want the numbers to stay low, that’s why people came up with E6 it E8 games and that’s fine. But I want that Sauron villain who can walk up to a literal army unafraid and starts slapping soldiers around a dozen at a time - a villain only a true hero can hope to defeat.

It’s one of my biggest pet peeves with the latest edition of the worlds oldest RPG - sometimes the monsters really just suck (or they’re absurdly OP broken sometimes driven by wild variances or absurd save or suck/die powers)

Double arithmetic values don’t scare or impress me, but I want that high end power scale


Zapp wrote:

I know Paizo has teased a discussion about this in the upcoming APG.

Thing is, I don't think you need to much at all for the Core Rulebook to remove level from proficiency. Basically revisit the tables for DC (Simple DC and DC per level); that's pretty much it.

However.

For the Bestiary, it's a massive headache if all Paizo is planning to do is give us the advice "and subtract level from any attack, save DC or..."

What would be FANTASTIC is if Paizo were to issue a Bestiary PDF where level has already been taken out of all the numbers! :-)

I was not aware they were planning to talk about removing level from proficiency in the APG. That is fantastic news to me, whatever they do with it, because even just having it mentioned as an optional rule in a printed 1st party source makes it a much easier sell to players. An adjusted Bestiary PDF would be the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake for me.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zapp wrote:
I know Paizo has teased a discussion about this in the upcoming APG.

Gamemastery Guide, not Advanced Player's Guide. Removing levels from game stats is an optional system that would have ramifications throughout the game, so the Gamemastery Guide would be the place to discuss them.


I really dig 5e's bounded accuracy, as PCs feel less like superheros and more like "realistic" fantasy novel characters that keep tension when even fighting mooks.

I also really like PF2e's system, BECAUSE the PCs feel like superheroes, mowing down the riff-raff while casually humming a jaunty tune.

There is kind of a problem with bounded accuracy, in my opinion: even a commoner can break free of a charm effect from a tenth level PC if they roll well enough. With PF2e's system, that's much less of an issue, since there's not even the chance of a nat 20 being an auto-succeed (although there are no rules in 5e that say nat 20's are auto-succeeds in anything but attacks, but most DMs add it. I want lower level threats to still be threats, yes, but I also want lower level threats to be weak in comparison. It's always a balance, and PF2e leans heavily towards lower level threats being basically worthless.

And the higher numbers just make my eyes swim. It's harder to get a bead on how good something is if they get a bonus just from level.

Maybe a new system could work? Bonuses and penalties versus lower or higher enemies, but with no added level bonus. Like, for every five levels a PC has over an enemy, they get an extra +2 to all attacks and DCs, likewise the enemy gets a penalty.

Just my two copper on the subject.


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Knight of Whispers wrote:

I really dig 5e's bounded accuracy, as PCs feel less like superheros and more like "realistic" fantasy novel characters that keep tension when even fighting mooks.

I also really like PF2e's system, BECAUSE the PCs feel like superheroes, mowing down the riff-raff while casually humming a jaunty tune.

There is kind of a problem with bounded accuracy, in my opinion: even a commoner can break free of a charm effect from a tenth level PC if they roll well enough. With PF2e's system, that's much less of an issue, since there's not even the chance of a nat 20 being an auto-succeed (although there are no rules in 5e that say nat 20's are auto-succeeds in anything but attacks, but most DMs add it. I want lower level threats to still be threats, yes, but I also want lower level threats to be weak in comparison. It's always a balance, and PF2e leans heavily towards lower level threats being basically worthless.

And the higher numbers just make my eyes swim. It's harder to get a bead on how good something is if they get a bonus just from level.

Maybe a new system could work? Bonuses and penalties versus lower or higher enemies, but with no added level bonus. Like, for every five levels a PC has over an enemy, they get an extra +2 to all attacks and DCs, likewise the enemy gets a penalty.

Just my two copper on the subject.

What you want is either +level/5, +level/3, or what ever rate works for you. It's easier than looking at relative levels and as long as everything uses the same rate, it won't radically change things more than any other variant of +level. Cause if you think of about it, +level to everything is the same as you gain +1/-1 for every level difference between you and the target. (think getting a +6 vs the target getting +7 from level vs taking a -1 penalty due to relative level)


What if we remove +level scaling to proficiency, but also let characters gain ability score increases more often? Say, rather than boosting 4 ability scores every 5 levels, you let players boost 3 ability scores every 2 levels, or 2 ability scores every level (although you might want to also rule that no ability score can be boosted back to back)?

This way, accuracy is still bounded for anything the players don't feel like investing in, but become much higher in things they do put effort into.


Liegence wrote:
I prefer my fantasy to have an extreme top end where the greatest fighter in the land can slay 20 Orcs without breaking a sweat.

How about 1000 orc warriors and literally be unable to be hit :P, by level 8 that is easily doable and without cheese at all.

Where even a 20 just turns that crit failure into a failure.

(I am jesting though, this is actually filling a slot for me in my RPG collection regardless of whether I get a semblance of bounded accuracy or not. I also think paizo made the right choice to go for a different niche even if it isn't my favourite niche)


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Zapp wrote:


What would be FANTASTIC is if Paizo were to issue a Bestiary PDF where level has already been taken out of all the numbers! :-)

I figure the game will play fine as-is, but yeah, aesthetically I would have preferred the game without adding level to everything. I consider myself pretty good at mental math, but it's just easier to roll d20+8 and compare it to DC 22 than d20+23 and compare it to DC 37.

It's hardly a deal-breaker, though.

I doubt Paizo itself would want to fracture their player base (or have to do double layout work) by doing all the stats twice, but maybe some intrepid fans could set up a variant SRD for groups who want flatter leveling.


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Weirdly, though, I want high-powered high level characters doing awesome stuff. I don't mind a level 10 fighter taking on 20 foot soldiers and coming through with just a few scratches. But I want him to do that through interesting character abilities, not just higher numbers.

It's hard, though, to model that in a game without slowing down play.

It can work in something like Dark Souls, where exceptional player skill lets even a non-leveled character dodge and parry every attack. But in a dice-based game that model isn't really feasible. You can't, y'know, roll your dice just right to represent how good your high-level swordsman is at parrying.

I have some ideas for how it could work, but not in the PF2 framework. You'd have to build a wholly different game.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

For hordes of low-level enemies, I'd handle it the same way I saw Jason handle the hoard of rats; it is like a hazard with a save. Everyone on the front line makes a level-appropriate basic fortitude save for the sheer endurance of fighting an endless hoard of zombies at the door, or all the PCs make a reflex for dodging crossbow bolts from the entire castle guard, etc.

As a GM I don't want to have more than 3 or 4 distinct turns per round; it hogs table time and is too much hassle!


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If the intent of removing level bonus is to allow lower level enemies to remain threatening, what would actually be more helpful is robust horde/troop rules for large numbers of enemies. More than just stats for a few common hordes like zombies or orcs; the ability to convert ANY enemy into a horde would be highly useful, as it will both allow individual mooks of low level to be trivial to defeat for a high level PC, and to simultaneously allow an entire army of mooks to pose a truly epic threat.


Lady Funnyhat wrote:
If the intent of removing level bonus is to allow lower level enemies to remain threatening, what would actually be more helpful is robust horde/troop rules for large numbers of enemies. More than just stats for a few common hordes like zombies or orcs; the ability to convert ANY enemy into a horde would be highly useful, as it will both allow individual mooks of low level to be trivial to defeat for a high level PC, and to simultaneously allow an entire army of mooks to pose a truly epic threat.

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, allowing lower level enemies to remain threatening is a welcome side-effect of removing level bonus, not the primary goal. The primary goal, for me, is to make the numbers more manageable. I’m with RangerWickett, give me +8 against a DC 22 Ofer a +23 against a DC 37 any day of the week. If trimming down the number bloat also makes it possible for PCs to punch above their weight class with the right tactics and keeps low-level monsters viable threats in large numbers, so much the better.


Funny how the discussion turned out.

I wasn't questioning the "level-less" variant.

My point was that to offer really robust support for it, Paizo should consider a Bestiary (at least in PDF form) with all the numbers recalculated. (It's a trivial operation, assuming Paizo got a spreadsheet of all the monsters, but it would save A LOT of hassle at the table for loads and loads of Gamesmasters)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Loads and loads of GM's, eh? Do you have any concrete numbers?

Releasing a Bestiary (Levels removed) would split the player-base and set expectations for future releases, making it harder for Paizo to earn money in the long run.

Having it be an optional rule in the GMG is far more lucrative.

Paizo is a company, after all. They need to make money and not destroy their own business.

Liberty's Edge

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Making lower level enemies a greater threat also means blasting spells not heightened to max level remain useful. When spell damage only scales with slot level, low level damage spells age terribly as enemy HP increases. Having 20 low level enemies be something other than scenery means your unheightened fireball has a reason to exist in the mid to late gane.


Franz Lunzer wrote:
split the player-base

Not at all.

I'm talking about running the **exact** same game as you run, only using the levelless variant.


I think the GMG will say it is just -Level to all characters and monsters (not only from their proficiencies but also their damage as explained below), and I think that's fine. The fact that the system is designed for this modularity and it's easy to customize is a strength of the system.

The challenge for the GM, though, is how to balance encounters once you do this, since +Level is baked into the Level calculations of monsters. I think that is what the GMG will have to go into.

I have been wondering what we can do in the meantime while waiting for the GMG -- I am interested in setting up a sandbox setting where monsters of a wide variety of Levels are distributed in the area. Removing level proficiency means that, while that blue dragon will still kill some members of the party, not all rolls are completely foregone conclusions. And wandering highway bandits still provide some challenge to high-level characters (or at least depletion of resources).

It looks like the one clue we have is the Elite and Weak templates at the beginning of the Bestiary:
- Weak Template: Subtract 2 from all attack bonuses, damage, and DCs. Double that for abilities that can't be used every round (such as dragon's breath weapon)
- Elite Template: Add 2 to all attack bonuses, damage, and DCs. Double that for abilities that can't be used every round

So what we have here is an adjustment to the numbers that is modifying the exact same numbers that a "remove Level from proficiencies and damage" variant would modify.

So what can we deduce from this?
- We know from the Core Rulebook that increasing the Level of a creature doubles its strength, for encounter-balancing purposes.
- Therefore, increasing the Level of a creature by 1 results in approximately a 1.4x power increase, for encounter-balancing purposes.
- That monster that is 1 Level higher already has +1 baked into its proficiency modifiers.
- The Elite Template adds 2 to all attacks, damage, and DCs.
- Therefore, the increase in Level accounts for about one-half the increase in power from Level to Level. The rest of that increase is accounted for by other things accounting for the monster's threat level -- more powerful actions, new effects, and (sometimes) better action economy.

So, instead of creatures doubling in power every 2 levels, if we subtract level from proficiency and damage then creatures double in power approximately every 4 levels.

So Table 10-2 on page 489 of the Core Rulebook changes to:
Party level-4: 20xp
Party level-3: 25xp
Party level-2: 30xp
Party level-1: 35xp
Party level: 40xp
Party level+1: 50xp
Party level+2: 60xp
Party level+3: 70xp
Party level+4: 80xp
Party level+5: 100xp
Party level+6: 120xp
Party level+7: 140xp
Party level+8: 160xp

Right now, a Level 5 party under Raw has a moderate encounter (80xp), by encountering four Level 3 Bugbear Tormentors.

If you remove Level from proficiency, you will get a moderate encounter by encountering four Level 3 Bugbear Tormentors, with 3 subtracted from all their proficiencies and damage.

I have yet to do some test runs of this, but I think the math behind the system will bear out.

(And yes, this means that a Level 1 party will have a "Severe" challenge encountering a Level 7 Young Black Dragon! Subtract 7 from all attacks, DCs, and damage, and 14 from its breath weapon.)

EDIT: This did not take into account the Strong and Weak template modifying the creature's hit points. I need to guess at the math behind that. But I need to leave the computer now and will update this post when I can.


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(For some reason I can't edit my previous post.)

TAKE TWO:

Variant: Subtract level from all proficiency modifiers and DCs for both monsters and PCs. Otherwise keep a creature's hit points, damage and actions and abilities the same.

Goal of this analysis: Finding a way to quantify the strength of creatures to assist in balancing encounters using this variant.

Analysis

A Level 5 monster is comparable in power to a Level 5 character that has Level 5 appropriate gear. Part of what makes a Level 5 monster a Level 5 monster, is that its level (5) is added to proficiency modifier. This is also true for the Level 5 character.

In the current system, if the Level 5 PC were to fight one-on-one against a Bugbear Tormentor (Level 3). Its +Level is 2 higher than the bugbear's, but that is only one factor accounting for the PC being twice as powerful. There also are:
-numerical bonuses in addition to level (e.g., Expert training, +1 potency weapon and armor, striking runes, etc.)
-more hit points
-more-powerful available actions
-better use of action economy

Similarly, a Level 5 troll is considered twice as powerful as the Level 3 bugbear, for MORE than simply having +2 to its +Level:
-additional numerical bonuses reflecting the base assumptions for Level 5 (notice that high-level spellcasters in the Bestiary are presumed to better than Trained in their spellcasting proficiency, for example)
-harder to quantify abilities that the bugbear lacks, such as regeneration (counteracted by its weakness to fire), attack of opportunity (combined with 10 ft. reach), and its rend ability

This creates difficulty for quantifying exactly the effect that removing level from proficiency would have on encounter balance. How to isolate that effect?

We know from the Elite Template from the Bestiary that adding 2 to all attacks, damage, and DCs and increasing its Hit points some amount (10, 15 or 20), taken together, increases the monster's Level by 1. It should be noted these increases need to overcompensate for the lack of increase in the harder-to-quantify abilities that higher-level creatures have.

All that can be known for sure, then, is increasing a monster's +Level by 2 has the effect of something less than substituting it with a monster that is one level higher.

That Level 5 PC facing the Level 3 bugbear is twice as powerful as the bugbear. Take +Level out of the equation, and you subtract more from the PC than you do from the bugbear. Now the bugbear has a relative increase of its +Level by 2.

This means that the Level 3 bugbear now weighs something more than Level 3 and something less than a Level 4 monster.

So the math only gets me so far, and all we can do is approximate. In the end this whole theory requires some testing. If we assume that "something more" is one-half, then we have this replacement of Table 10-2 on page 489 of the Core Rulebook:

Party level-6: 10xp
Party level-5: 13xp
Party level-4: 16xp
Party level-3: 20xp
Party level-2: 25xp ("something more" than 20, "something less" than 30)
Party level-1: 32xp
Party level: 40xp
Party level+1: 50xp
Party level+2: 65xp
Party level+3: 80xp
Party level+4: 100xp
Party level+5: 125xp
Party Level+6: 160xp

Experiments to try:

80XP ("MODERATE") ENCOUNTER, DEFAULT RULES
Level 5 party vs. eight Level 1 goblin commandos (80xp)

COMPARE WITH 80XP ENCOUNTER, SUBTRACTING LEVEL FROM PROFICIENCIES:
Level 5 party vs. five Level 1 goblin commandos thugs (80xp)
(Are the two encounters similar in challenge? Is this a "moderate" challenge?)

ENCOUNTER WITH MUCH LOWER-LEVEL CREATURES, SUBTRACTING LEVEL FROM PROFICIENCIES:
Level 5 party vs. eight Level -1 goblin warriors* (60xp) (Is this a "Moderate" challenge?)

*Treat Level -1 and Level 0 creatures as having +0 as their +Level bonus in the Bestiary. (Since attack bonuses for Level -1 monsters don't seem to be much lower than those of Level 1 creatures and so it's unclear whether their +Level was applied.)

125XP ("SEVERE") ENCOUNTER WITH YOUNG WHITE DRAGON, SUBTRACTING LEVEL FROM PROFICIENCIES:
Level 1 party vs. Level 6 young white dragon (Is this a "severe" encounter?)

EDIT: The white dragon absolutely destroys a Level 1 party, because its HP and damage are so much higher than the party's. It looks like the factor of the dragon being +Level is outweighed by other increases, at least for Level 1 parties. Conclusion: simply removing +Level for monsters is only a small part of what distinguishes low and high level monsters!


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Liegence wrote:

I prefer my fantasy to have an extreme top end where the greatest fighter in the land can slay 20 Orcs without breaking a sweat. Legolas and Gimly could wade through an army of orcs, kill dozens and exit unscathed. If you want the numbers to stay low, that’s why people came up with E6 it E8 games and that’s fine. But I want that Sauron villain who can walk up to a literal army unafraid and starts slapping soldiers around a dozen at a time - a villain only a true hero can hope to defeat.

It’s one of my biggest pet peeves with the latest edition of the worlds oldest RPG - sometimes the monsters really just suck (or they’re absurdly OP broken sometimes driven by wild variances or absurd save or suck/die powers)

Double arithmetic values don’t scare or impress me, but I want that high end power scale

If the fighter was 20 it would be more like 2000 orcs, and I'm all for it.


Changing the game to not include level in proficiency will indeed be a very short guide: just subtract the level.

My point is that it would be nice to have the monsters "pre-recalculated" :)


Also note to self: apparently the mods think this is about house rules. It's not. It's about an announced official rule.

Oh well, I will have to create a new thread once the GMG drops in the official rules thread where this discussion belongs.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It wouldn't work exactly that simply, for example here is the level and DC list for Locks in the CRB, and what happens when you take Level out.

Locks
Name: `Poor` `Simple` `Average` `Good` `Superior`
Level: `0` `1` `3` `9` `17`
Base DC: `15` `20` `25` `30` `40`
Flat DC: `15` `19` `22` `21` `23`


So the DC of each level got squished as is therefore easier to calculate and way more dependent on dice. Isnt that what removing all level to checks is for?

Although yes, good and superior locks need to be increased by 2 or 3 to maintain the progression correctly.

So its subtract level +/- 2 points as needed.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Vic Ferrari wrote:

We've been going with omitting + level since the playtest for some adventures (we also tried out + level x2), just opens up monster threat ranges. I prefer it, as I am not into number inflation like I used to be, and I like 20 orcs to always be a problem for 1 PC to take on.

Like Inigo, the best swordsman in the land, even he can't take on 20 guards at once.

i enjoy the troop template... erg subtype technically.

just treat the 20 orcs like a swarm that can fill squares, makes casting spells hard, and they take damage based on their HD

the hero is mowing down 20 orcs and you don't have to roll for a 20 20 times.


The Rot Grub wrote:
The white dragon absolutely destroys a Level 1 party, because its HP and damage are so much higher than the party's. It looks like the factor of the dragon being +Level is outweighed by other increases, at least for Level 1 parties. Conclusion: simply removing +Level for monsters is only a small part of what distinguishes low and high level monsters!

This is to be expected. Parts of the community seem to have latched on to the proficiency system as a numbers treadmill, but it's a little more complicated than that.

Higher level monsters have item bonuses factored into their skills and abilities.

Higher level monsters have higher ability scores.

Higher level monsters have much greater HP due to having more "hit dice."

Higher level monsters do more damage thanks to getting die increases similar to striking runes.

Subtracting level from everything is probably a fine houserule, but I suspect that correctly balancing the game around bounded accuracy would require completely rebalancing the core math.


Thebazilly wrote:
The Rot Grub wrote:
The white dragon absolutely destroys a Level 1 party, because its HP and damage are so much higher than the party's. It looks like the factor of the dragon being +Level is outweighed by other increases, at least for Level 1 parties. Conclusion: simply removing +Level for monsters is only a small part of what distinguishes low and high level monsters!

This is to be expected. Parts of the community seem to have latched on to the proficiency system as a numbers treadmill, but it's a little more complicated than that.

Higher level monsters have item bonuses factored into their skills and abilities.

Higher level monsters have higher ability scores.

Higher level monsters have much greater HP due to having more "hit dice."

Higher level monsters do more damage thanks to getting die increases similar to striking runes.

Subtracting level from everything is probably a fine houserule, but I suspect that correctly balancing the game around bounded accuracy would require completely rebalancing the core math.

Could you guys explain why the discussion has taken this path?

At first blush, it appears as if you think the aim is for everyone, including a White Dragon, to be equal to a first level party?!?!

Obviously that makes no sense. That a White Dragon is far too powerful than a 1st level party even without level to proficiency is expected and desired.

What am I missing here?

Why would you say "correctly balancing the game around bounded accuracy would require completely rebalancing the core math"?

What does even "correctly balancing the game" mean? That a dragon can't have bonuses over humans?

I would think removing level from proficiency is as easy as.... removing level from proficiency. That is, all creatures are not born alike? That all creatures doesn't end up with the exact same base values as an adventurer is not a bug but a feature?

Sorry for any confusion.

Scarab Sages

Three weeks after the release of the playtest. I designed a simple progression by level, unlike +1 per level it is +1 per three levels, that is for everything, the monsters, the character, the traps, the DC charts etc. This is very simple to accomplish by the way. Now, to those who want to remove the level bonus completely, that is to say make it a flat 0+prof, that is also a poor design. I wanted the level bonus to be closer to the other bonuses you get like attributes, prof, magic/buffs. The key is to have level matter, but you do not want it to trump everything in the game, my system accomplishes the perfect progression, I will show you my table on IMGUR : https://imgur.com/mfx0vcm

Now the other flawed design is 0/+2/+4/+6/+8, good designers do not make math for the norm, that is to say proficiency should be the base +0, non proficiency which is usually used way less than proficiency should be a negative (See prof in AD&D). IMO, here is what it should have been.

UTEML: U -2 T +0 E +1 M +2 L +3

This UTEML progression worked perfectly with my bounded level bonus, and other bonuses in the game.

Also I would have maintained Touch AC, as an example It makes no sense that a incorporeal creature has to penetrate physical plate male?!?!?! And do not say it makes it simpler with out it, this is not a simple game.

One other thing, they should have avoided making a level 2 feat that reduces the cooldown of Treat Wounds to 10 minutes, i.e. Continual Recovery.


Luceon wrote:

Three weeks after the release of the playtest. I designed a simple progression by level, unlike +1 per level it is +1 per three levels, that is for everything, the monsters, the character, the traps, the DC charts etc. This is very simple to accomplish by the way. Now, to those who want to remove the level bonus completely, that is to say make it a flat 0+prof, that is also a poor design. I wanted the level bonus to be closer to the other bonuses you get like attributes, prof, magic/buffs. The key is to have level matter, but you do not want it to trump everything in the game, my system accomplishes the perfect progression, I will show you my table on IMGUR : https://imgur.com/mfx0vcm

Now the other flawed design is 0/+2/+4/+6/+8, good designers do not make math for the norm, that is to say proficiency should be the base +0, non proficiency which is usually used way less than proficiency should be a negative (See prof in AD&D). IMO, here is what it should have been.

UTEML: U -2 T +0 E +1 M +2 L +3

This UTEML progression worked perfectly with my bounded level bonus, and other bonuses in the game.

Also I would have maintained Touch AC, as an example It makes no sense that a incorporeal creature has to penetrate physical plate male?!?!?! And do not say it makes it simpler with out it, this is not a simple game.

One other thing, they should have avoided making a level 2 feat that reduces the cooldown of Treat Wounds to 10 minutes, i.e. Continual Recovery.

I agree. The playtest's UTEML progression was better and seeing 0/2/4/6/8 in the final was, well, unfortunate. I kept arguing that underneath the needless level scaling of +level to proficiency the underlying game was a very solid bound one. I even ran a multi-month campaign using my bound rules that worked quite well. Monsters had more than enough scaling with their HP/Damage/Proficiency/Item scaling. Now, they had issues with the Item bonus and Monster Perception which they mostly solved, but the core changes to proficiency aren't good ones for running P2 Bound.


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Well if you think about it, if your end goal is to change the bounding of proficiency, and you change the scale of how level effects proficiency, it makes perfect sense that it would impact how much you want rank to influence proficiency.

It seems to me that it makes perfect sense, that if level affects proficiency by up to 20, that you will want rank to be able to influence things by more than three or four. It doesn't surprise me that they upped those values from the playtest, since they kept the +1 per level.

If you are wanting to cut how much level influences the scaling on proficiency, I would imagine you are going to be wanting the bonuses imparted by Rank to be reduced, so rank is a giant boost like six levels of advancement.

Granted, if you remove level altogether, then you only have proficiency scaling by rank. In those cases I'm guessing you will want to keep the +2 steps, if not potentially have them potentially grow more at higher ranks.

So sure, if you cut advancement of proficiency by 1/2 or 1/3, I imagine you will want to cut the advancement by rank from +2 per level to +1 to make it feel more natural advancement.

Then with your up to +6 bonus based on level and extra +3 or +4 based on rank investment, you have the difference between almost superhuman and an amateur generally described as the one level of success difference, unlike in the RAW version where that difference is admittedly more like two and a half levels of success. In either case you are still talking about over 10 time difference in HP, so in that respect people are still super-human unless you adjust that advancement.

I think that the strong-point of this system is that it actually does leave a couple easily adjusted knobs to help people get the flavor they want. The hard part, will obviously be how to understand and accommodate for the changes in difficulty of opponents when you have changed one of those 'knobs'.

I'm curious what the GMG will say about such encounter difficulty calculations.


It's most likely not going to involve printing a whole second bestiary, sorry.

But since "no level in proficiency" means that PCs would be the same they'd just subtract their level from a bunch of things, why wouldn't the monsters work the same way?

I still have no idea why people want this, but apparently a lot of people do.


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Well part of it is probably to expand the list of enemies. The smaller the level bonus the less a higher level enemy explodes you with crits, but also the more likely for low level enemies to pose a threat.


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Temperans wrote:
Well part of it is probably to expand the list of enemies. The smaller the level bonus the less a higher level enemy explodes you with crits, but also the more likely for low level enemies to pose a threat.

I guess I get that, but aesthetically it's kind of the opposite of what I want. I like how "don't step to them, they're out of your weight class" is a thing hard coded into the game mechanics, and I appreciate being forced to find new antagonists regularly so the PCs don't just end up fighting the same "orc warriors" for a dozen levels.

Plus, every edition of this family of game I've played scaled off your level. Just dropping it feels off to me.

I hope the section on "dropping +level" also discusses other variants, like half-level and double-level. Double-level sounds like a game I'd like to try, and half-level seems like a less drastic way to expand the list of threats.


Temperans wrote:
Well part of it is probably to expand the list of enemies. The smaller the level bonus the less a higher level enemy explodes you with crits, but also the more likely for low level enemies to pose a threat.

Still not going to happen, the damage and hp values will prevent that.

My best guess from the GMGis that there's going to be one of two possible paths taken:

-damage/hp recalculations, with templates to apply to every single creature based on how far away they are from player level. This would give the critter range expansion you're after.
-critical range alteration, with criticals happening on +/-10 for equal level and on different values with creatures of different levels. This would actually work better to maintain players' power (most notably casters) but would prevent creature range expansion.

Either way, it's not as simple. I tried altering the level proficiency math a while ago and the amount of major screwups I got faced with made me backpedal pretty fast. Even with an official ruleset, I expect the game balancement to be noticeably affected.


Yeah no level scaling seems to be like the extreme specifically for people that dont like "numbers bloat".

2*lv seems seems interesting for a superhero campaign. But 1 lv above enemies suddenly become walking TPK machines.

1/2*lv does seems like a nice middle ground, 1 level difference aren't as oppressing, but it doesn't make lv1 enemies an actual threat.

*************
Side note
I just realized while writing this that 1/3 lv with expert proficiency is close to 1/2 BAB in PF1. While 1/2 lv with legendary proficiency is 2 points shy of full bab in PF1.

To make 1/3 lv == BAB it would mean having proficiency scale by 0, 2, 4, 9, 14. Expert would equal 1/2 BAB, Master 3/4 BAB, and 14 Full BAB.

** I'm not saying to do this or that it would be good, just something I found interesting.


I figured they did away with the numbers bloat since you're no longer swinging a +5 sword with weapon training and gloves of dueling with (greater) weapon focus. Or you don't have skill focus (bluff), deceitful, and consummate liar so you roll 1.5*level+ 13 to lie to people.


Well they did away with most number bloating options and squished most of the remaining ones. A few like magic weapon damage actually got increase, from 1dX+5 (max 11 for a d6) to 3dX (max 18 for a d6).

Thing is +full level to everything is at least +22 to everything you are trained in (which is a lot of things).


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I guess I get that, but aesthetically it's kind of the opposite of what I want. I like how "don't step to them, they're out of your weight class" is a thing hard coded into the game mechanics, and I appreciate being forced to find new antagonists regularly so the PCs don't just end up fighting the same "orc warriors" for a dozen levels.

Plus, every edition of this family of game I've played scaled off your level. Just dropping it feels off to me.

I hope the section on "dropping +level" also discusses other variants, like half-level and double-level. Double-level sounds like a game I'd like to try, and half-level seems like a less drastic way to expand the list of threats.

D&D 5e doesn't remotely scale to level, and I would consider it to be in the same family of games. A lot of players come to Pathfinder from 5e, after all.

I've seen lazy 5e DMs reuse the same enemies over and over again and I consider it a DM problem rather than a system problem. When I want to expand the level range of enemies, it's because I frequently find a new thematic monster for the current arc that's unfortunately a few levels below the PCs. Now in Pathfinder 1e I could just give it templates, class levels, or advance its HD. But it's still extra work I would have to do to prep.

I don't see the point of doubling level, because it would just further restrict the level range of enemies you can use. That's assuming you use double level scaling on enemies as well -- if you don't, then you'll run out of monsters to fight at higher levels since you'll just crit the hell out of everything. If you want something mythic, high levels already have that feel (legendary skills and all) without needing more numbers bloat.

Half/third/quarter/zero level scaling all seem useful as fine-tuning tools for DMs that want it.


Frogliacci wrote:
D&D 5e doesn't remotely scale to level

So I don't know anything about 5e, and I don't care. But I have played the D&D Basic Set, AD&D, 2e, 3e, 3.5, and 4e and all but the last scaled to level (THAC0 is basically BAB backwards) and 4e scaled to half level. So if you ask me, that's a bizarre change for 5e.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
D&D 5e doesn't remotely scale to level
So I don't know anything about 5e, and I don't care. But I have played the D&D Basic Set, AD&D, 2e, 3e, 3.5, and 4e and all but the last scaled to level (THAC0 is basically BAB backwards) and 4e scaled to half level. So if you ask me, that's a bizarre change for 5e.

Well, 5e scales to proficiency rating which I believe is +2 at level 1 and then an additional +1 for every 4 levels after 1 (so 5, 9, 13, 17). It sorta scales at 1/4 level, is my point. I am kind of with OP and Grognard in preferring that smaller kind of scaling, but that is what homerules and other games are for.

Also, can't we get the adjusted monster just by subtracting the creature's CR from its attacks, saves, and AC and such? That math seems to more or less work out. The GM would need to adjust their expectations on how challenging various things will be then, though. Like: Level-2 monsters are much stronger relatively under this regime as Level+2 monsters are generally weaker.


The main problem with removing level scaling (or reducing scaling) as is has to do with how critical successes and failures work. With normal level scaling, you're expected to critically succeed far more often against lower level enemies, and critically fail far more often against higher level enemies. Without level scaling, lower level enemies are not JUST more difficult because they're harder to hit or hit you more; their crit ranges would also be closer to those of the same level.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
D&D 5e doesn't remotely scale to level
So I don't know anything about 5e, and I don't care. But I have played the D&D Basic Set, AD&D, 2e, 3e, 3.5, and 4e and all but the last scaled to level (THAC0 is basically BAB backwards) and 4e scaled to half level. So if you ask me, that's a bizarre change for 5e.

5e has a "1/4lv+1" rounded up binary proficiency. You either are proficient, or not. It's a lil weird when you first see it.


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Ediwir wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
D&D 5e doesn't remotely scale to level
So I don't know anything about 5e, and I don't care. But I have played the D&D Basic Set, AD&D, 2e, 3e, 3.5, and 4e and all but the last scaled to level (THAC0 is basically BAB backwards) and 4e scaled to half level. So if you ask me, that's a bizarre change for 5e.
5e has a "1/4lv+1" rounded up binary proficiency. You either are proficient, or not. It's a lil weird when you first see it.

Rogues have an option for expertise which doubles that. So it isn't an absolute binary, you have untrained, trained, and expert. It is just expert is kind of a class feature for a class. I don't recall any other classes being able to get that option.


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Loreguard wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
D&D 5e doesn't remotely scale to level
So I don't know anything about 5e, and I don't care. But I have played the D&D Basic Set, AD&D, 2e, 3e, 3.5, and 4e and all but the last scaled to level (THAC0 is basically BAB backwards) and 4e scaled to half level. So if you ask me, that's a bizarre change for 5e.
5e has a "1/4lv+1" rounded up binary proficiency. You either are proficient, or not. It's a lil weird when you first see it.
Rogues have an option for expertise which doubles that. So it isn't an absolute binary, you have untrained, trained, and expert. It is just expert is kind of a class feature for a class. I don't recall any other classes being able to get that option.

Bards also get expertise.


Lots of posts here that obsess over minute details, that I simply do not understand. (But that's ok)

To my mind, its obvious that even if we remove level from proficiency, higher level monsters will still trounce low level heroes. To change that wasn't the issue.

But it would mean a level 5 creature wouldn't have vastly higher skill bonuses than a level 1 creature, that really stretches into the realm of the supernatural.

For instance, did you know a charismatic level 5 character can automatically crit each and every social interaction with many level 1 characters in Pathfinder 2! If you're used to 5th edition (or a level-less game) this comes across as wholly unexpected and strange.

But implementing Proficiency without level won't change the fact the level 5 character will still obliterate the level 1 character in any contest (such as combat).

---

That said, I really don't see why some of you make this very complicated. To me, you need nothing more than to say "just don't add level to your attack rolls, saves and skill checks". Am I missing something here, or why can't the GMG simply say a level 4 hero gets -4 to every d20 roll. A level 8 monster gets -8 on everything. Proficiency without level - Done!

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