DCs too high?


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Yeah, the weird assumption here is that most checks you make will be on-level checks. They won't.

I mean, I just went through Hellknight Hill looking at skill DCs. There are certainly on-level, and even above level, checks to make, but they are not the majority of important skill checks. Not even close. Most checks are below level (or, depending on point of view, on-level but with the -2 or -5 for being easy applied).

That the numbers had to shift around to make things work with the new system mechanics is of course going to happen, but I wonder if anyone considered the notion that is sounds demotivating to say 'Most of the time you won't encounter things of your level.'

There's a deliberate decision to have creatures that have a -1 level or a 0 level, when I wonder why not have creatures start at 1 and just use that as the lowest measure of power? Then the PCs are always punching up and that sounds more satisfying on paper, even if the math is the same.


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I mean, think about it this way- if the party has to fight magical copies of themselves, that is going to be a very, very difficult fight, right?

What level should the "you are fighting an identical version of yourself" fight be if not "whatever level you are"?

Antagonists of your level should be "as competent as you are" and challenges of your level should be "something someone as competent as you are finds challenging."


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, think about it this way- if the party has to fight magical copies of themselves, that is going to be a very, very difficult fight, right?

What level should the "you are fighting an identical version of yourself" fight be if not "whatever level you are?

Antagonists of your level should be "as competent as you are" and challenges of your level should be "something someone as competent as you are finds challenging."

Agreed. It also preserves the option to build an NPC using the PC rules and use the encounter building guidelines without guesswork.


Kasoh wrote:
I wonder if anyone considered the notion that is sounds demotivating to say 'Most of the time you won't encounter things of your level.'

I disagree. Obviously you want the main challenges of a story to be, well, challenging but I think it's important to present the PCs with lesser options because it can feel good to be good.

It's easy, from my experience, for a game to end up in a sort of treadmilly situation where the PCs get better, but the tasks in the next adventure are just equally that much more difficult. It makes the specialist feel like they're never really improving and the characters who are only just 'okay' at a skill never feeling relevant at all.

The PCs should definitely have a lot of opportunities to feel like they're really good at the things they want to be good at and competent at the things they want to be competent at.

Silver Crusade

Yup. Mook fights are a thing.

On the other hand, this thread is mostly about skills, which are mostly used out of combat.


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Fromper wrote:

Yup. Mook fights are a thing.

On the other hand, this thread is mostly about skills, which are mostly used out of combat.

The point applies just as well to skills. Getting better at lockpicking or climbing doesn't feel great if every new lock you encounter is that much more complicated and every new wall is that much more sheer.


Squiggit wrote:
Fromper wrote:

Yup. Mook fights are a thing.

On the other hand, this thread is mostly about skills, which are mostly used out of combat.

The point applies just as well to skills. Getting better at lockpicking or climbing doesn't feel great if every new lock you encounter is that much more complicated and every new wall is that much more sheer.

Yep, and it's way more satisfying to steamroll a higher level lock or encounter than it is to steamroll a lower level one.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Well, here's a comparison to try out. That ranger I mentioned, at 10th level, will have a Perception DC of 32 (10 level + 6 master + 4 Wisdom + 2 item). That's a level 15 DC.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Yeah, the weird assumption here is that most checks you make will be on-level checks. They won't.

I mean, I just went through Hellknight Hill looking at skill DCs. There are certainly on-level, and even above level, checks to make, but they are not the majority of important skill checks. Not even close. Most checks are below level (or, depending on point of view, on-level but with the -2 or -5 for being easy applied).

I remember reading, don't know if on the Playtest CRB or current CRB, where the DC tables are, something like this:

"The party should mostly face Medium challenges for their level"


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
ChibiNyan wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Yeah, the weird assumption here is that most checks you make will be on-level checks. They won't.

I mean, I just went through Hellknight Hill looking at skill DCs. There are certainly on-level, and even above level, checks to make, but they are not the majority of important skill checks. Not even close. Most checks are below level (or, depending on point of view, on-level but with the -2 or -5 for being easy applied).

I remember reading, don't know if on the Playtest CRB or current CRB, where the DC tables are, something like this:

"The party should mostly face Medium challenges for their level"

I doubt it is the new one because on setting DCs it has this advice

"The adjustments’ names don’t translate to how hard a
task actually is for a PC or group of PCs, and adjustments
aren’t meant to balance out or replace PCs’ bonuses and
penalties. PCs who invest in a skill will become better and
better at that skill as they increase in level"

Liberty's Edge

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ChibiNyan wrote:

I remember reading, don't know if on the Playtest CRB or current CRB, where the DC tables are, something like this:

"The party should mostly face Medium challenges for their level"

That's definitely the playtest. The current stuff on DC on p. 503 and 504 doesn't say that at all.

Basically, what it says is to use the Simple DCs (10 Untrained, 15 Trained, 20 Expert, 30 Master, 40 Legend) for most stuff (based on what Skill level the GM thinks should have good odds at the task in question) unless it is directly about a creature with a level or was actively done by such a creature, and then you should use the DC for that creature's level.

You then apply the +/-2/5/10 adjustments for difficulty.


ChibiNyan wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Yeah, the weird assumption here is that most checks you make will be on-level checks. They won't.

I mean, I just went through Hellknight Hill looking at skill DCs. There are certainly on-level, and even above level, checks to make, but they are not the majority of important skill checks. Not even close. Most checks are below level (or, depending on point of view, on-level but with the -2 or -5 for being easy applied).

I remember reading, don't know if on the Playtest CRB or current CRB, where the DC tables are, something like this:

"The party should mostly face Medium challenges for their level"

Even the playtest had this:

"A hard skill DC, the most common in the game, represents something that an average commoner might not try but that adventurers attempt frequently. This DC challenges even characters who have strongly focused on the skill and can often be overcome by a character who has increased their modifier or proficiency rank. A character who’s really strong in the skill starts at around a 50% chance of succeeding but
ends up almost certain to succeed at higher levels."

But it's also important to note that hard was the horizontal one for the task level (where the difficulty modifiers currently occupy), where:
"It’s important that you don’t simply make the DC arbitrarily higher or lower with the PCs’ level. ... Many tasks are not opposed and have no reason to change in level."

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