DCs too high?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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So, I had a feeling that the typical level-based DCs listed on page 503 are a bit too high, so I did some math to them. You can see the results here.

The sheet above is made assuming a skill that uses a stat that's important but not your character's main focus. You'll start at 14 and boost it at later levels, increasing it to 16 at level 5, 18 at level 10, 19 at level 15, and 20 at level 20. You will see that the needed roll to succeed on a Trained skill is 10-11 at levels 1-8, 11-12 at levels 6-14, and 13-14 at levels 15+. I don't know about what others think, but to me those chances are too darn low.

But, you say, at those levels you have higher proficiency ranks! To which I say, no, you don't. Not really. Most characters start with 5+Int modifier skills (plus a Lore): 1 from your background, and either 1 fixed from your class/subclass plus 3+Int of your choice, or 2 fixed + 2+Int of your choice. Bards and rangers have a few more, and rogues are playing in a league of their own regarding skills (so I'm ignoring them here). Assuming an average Int of 12, that's 6 skills. Over the course of your career, you'll probably boost two to Expert at levels 3 and 5 and then to Master at levels 7 and 9, then boost a third to Expert and then Master at level 11 and 13, and then boost those three to Legendary at levels 15, 17, and 19. So half of your skills or more will stay at Trained.

IMO, someone Trained in a skill should have at least a 60% chance of success at level-appropriate tasks. If that means that a high-level specialist will auto-succeed on some level-appropriate tasks, I'm OK with that. I put in a revised list of DCs in the spreadsheet that reflects that.


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You left out item bonuses.

And if you don't care enough about a skill to raise it above trained at high levels you probably shouldn't be attempting high level tasks.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My worry, is that there is no DCs for crafting or repairing. It just says the DCs are determined by the GM. If you get an adversarial GM, what is to stop them from setting the DC to repair a wooden shield at a 25 at 1st level.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

If you have an adversarial GM, it doesn't matter what the book says, since GM rulings have always been higher in the order of precedence than books. The game isn't going to be great, regardless of system.

A reasonable GM would be basing that repair difficulty off of pages 503-504, though.

Liberty's Edge

Xenocrat wrote:

You left out item bonuses.

And if you don't care enough about a skill to raise it above trained at high levels you probably shouldn't be attempting high level tasks.

So, are you only supposed to use the 2-3 skills you can afford to raise to master/legendary? That seems terribly restrictive.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tim Statler wrote:
My worry, is that there is no DCs for crafting or repairing. It just says the DCs are determined by the GM. If you get an adversarial GM, what is to stop them from setting the DC to repair a wooden shield at a 25 at 1st level.

Don't sweat it. GMs really needed more power, lest their players get unruly. /sarcasm

In all seriousness, that's not a rule problem (though I admit that the rules make it more likely), but a social one. Tell the GM that's not cool. Then leave if he doesn't see reason.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
HammerJack wrote:

If you have an adversarial GM, it doesn't matter what the book says, since GM rulings have always been higher in the order of precedence than books. The game isn't going to be great, regardless of system.

A reasonable GM would be basing that repair difficulty off of pages 503-504, though.

Thanks for the page point out. I had not gotten that deep in the book yet. Just read the rules on repairing an item, then how it pointed to crafting rules, and the line that stuck out was how the GM set the DC.


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Deighton Thrane wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:

You left out item bonuses.

And if you don't care enough about a skill to raise it above trained at high levels you probably shouldn't be attempting high level tasks.

So, are you only supposed to use the 2-3 skills you can afford to raise to master/legendary? That seems terribly restrictive.

Not every skill check should be scaling with your level.

But yes, if you expect to lie with confidence to equally competent people in social situations you probably shouldn't be merely trained in Deception at the reception full of level 12-15 people.


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Deighton Thrane wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:

You left out item bonuses.

And if you don't care enough about a skill to raise it above trained at high levels you probably shouldn't be attempting high level tasks.

So, are you only supposed to use the 2-3 skills you can afford to raise to master/legendary? That seems terribly restrictive.

If we add in circumstance, item, and status bonuses, the success rate greatly increases to the point where a trained skill could succeed on a 7, maybe less. Sure you won't be fully buffed all the time, but if you cared about that skill, you'd probably have some kind of item bonus to it. And with that item bonus, you would succeed with a trained skill roughly half the time.

And not every check you make, will be level appropriate. So there will be varying degrees of success.

Liberty's Edge

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Xenocrat wrote:
You left out item bonuses.

I'd like to bring attention back to this, as I don't think it's being emphasized enough.

+1 Items can be acquired by 3rd, +2 items by 9th, and +3 items by 17th.

Adding those at the appropriate levels immediately makes the 'Trained' column entirely composed of 10s and 11s.

So to fall behind you must both never increase your Proficiency and not acquire items to boost the skill. Go to Expert or get an Item and you keep up, do both or get better than Expert and you pull ahead.

Your odds also start out (and stay) better than this if you have an actual good Ability score involved (though that doesn't help with the scaling).


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Xenocrat wrote:

You left out item bonuses.

And if you don't care enough about a skill to raise it above trained at high levels you probably shouldn't be attempting high level tasks.

Like I said, you only get three skills raised above Trained (unless you spread the increases around which means fewer skills at Master and Legendary). And you're not getting item bonuses for all your skills.

I think Trained with an OK-but-not-great stat should be the baseline for skill competence. You shouldn't need to hyperspecialize in something to have a better than 50% chance. Specializing should be what gets you from competent to awesome.

For example, look at the TV show Leverage. The characters there are all what I'd call high-level rogues in Pathfinder terms (except maybe Eliot who might be a fighter or monk with some rogue dedication feats). They are all fairly competent in all aspects of pulling a heist - they can all pick pockets, fast-talk their way into a situation, pick a regular lock, and so on. But if you need to get into a super-secure place, you want Parker to pick that lock, not Hardison. And if you want to hack into the big mainframe, that's Hardison's job. And while Hardison can talk his way past a guard, Sophie is the one who can gain the trust of the mark.

This is an issue I saw in Starfinder as well, where a lot of things had DCs scaling with 1.5 times level/CR. That meant it wasn't enough to keep sinking skill points into something, you also had to find some way to keep getting extra bonuses. I'm not super-fond of this sort of "Red Queen's Race" where you keep running faster just to stay in the same place.


Another way to increase ranks.

Human at level 9: Take Multi-talented and get Rogue Dedication. You get 2 skills and a skill feat.

Any time you get a class feat you can then get Skill Mastery. This increases a skill from expert to master and a second skill from trained to expert. You also get a skill feat.

For the above you lost 1 Ancestry Feat, 1 Class Feat but gained 2 skills, 2 skill feats, and increase ranks in 2 skills. Not to mention gaining surprise attack and access to other rogue feats and abilities.

If you do not want to be a human you can either sacrifice another class feat or get adopted ancestry general feat human. Humans have some very good skill based ancestry feats.

Liberty's Edge

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Well, the Leverage team would, in fact, mostly be Rogues (and all would have Rogue Multiclass for extra Skills). Rogues get a lot of Skill boosts.

And it's a fine example of what people with Trained in a lot of skills look like, because all those 'basic competence' things they do like picking pockets or locks? Those aren't on-level challenges. Not default difficulty ones anyway.

An on-level challenge is, definitionally, something that people of that level are challenged by. Even skilled people. The stuff you're talking about in Leverage? Level -2 challenges at best. Or, I suppose, easy on-level challenges (for -2 or -5 DC). Or even lower level in many cases. In either case, they succeed at it because it's not hard (not for someone of their level, anyway), not because they can reliably succeed at truly difficult feats outside their area of specialty.


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Staffan Johansson wrote:
Like I said, you only get three skills raised above Trained (unless you spread the increases around which means fewer skills at Master and Legendary). And you're not getting item bonuses for all your skills.

Why not? Most classes only have 3-5 skills they care about. And you can raise 3 skills to legendary. You could get item bonuses to multiple skills, or get other bonuses to skills. Plus you won't always be making level appropriate checks.

Staffan Johansson wrote:
I think Trained with an OK-but-not-great stat should be the baseline for skill competence. You shouldn't need to hyperspecialize in something to have a better than 50% chance. Specializing should be what gets you from competent to awesome.

It's already been pointed out, but there are several types of bonuses, and you won't always be making level appropriate DCs. So the success rate of trained skills is closer to 50%.

Staffan Johansson wrote:
For example, look at the TV show Leverage. The characters there are all what I'd call high-level rogues in Pathfinder terms (except maybe Eliot who might be a fighter or monk with some rogue dedication feats). They are all fairly competent in all aspects of pulling a heist - they can all pick pockets, fast-talk their way into a situation, pick a regular lock, and so on. But if you need to get into a super-secure place, you want Parker to pick that lock, not Hardison. And if you want to hack into the big mainframe, that's Hardison's job. And while Hardison can talk his way past a guard, Sophie is the one who can gain the trust of the mark.

So a specialist does better than someone who doesn't specialize in that area? I'm not seeing a problem here. Or is it that a specialist will auto succeed at something? Because part of the design philosophy of pf2 was that you can't auto succeed at level appropriate tasks any more.


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I've brought up this issue with Skill Increases several times during the Playtest, but yeah it's an issue and it's deliberate.

There's no real way to diversify your Skill Increases, and personally, I was hoping that once you reached the appropriate proficiency threshold (Expert -> Master -> Legendary), that you would get a "bonus" increase for Skill Increases laterally.

Basically, when you get an increase that would take Expert -> Master or Master -> Legendary, you also get a "bonus" Skill Increase for Trained -> Expert or when Master -> Legendary a "bonus" Skill Increase for any Trained -> Expert or Expert -> Master.

Or something of that nature. You could even tie the "bonus" Skill Increases to Intelligence in some way (perhaps modifier increases with a minimum of 1).

As of right now, you're encouraged to shove all your increases in a small subset of Skills so that only those Skills advance due to Proficiency Tier requirements on Skill Feats.

Right now Skills at 20th level look as you've said:

X Untrained
Y Trained
0 Expert
0 Master
3 Legendary

What would make far more sense is:

X Untrained
Y Trained
4 Expert
3 Master
3 Legendary

I would say just create new Skill Feats or General Feats to supplement the issue for increases, but ultimately there isn't enough to spend to solve the problem (IMO).

Personally would have loved to see Int matter more in that regard, but I assume Int based classes were the reasoning against (though if you dropped initial Training numbers down, I think the Int Mod would work).

As is, I wouldn't call it "bad" so much as it to me is unrealistic that a 20th level Fighter is Legendary in Athletics, Acrobatics, and Intimidate but is then untrained or trained in the rest of his skills (and thus can't really use many of them at higher level).

This is the same issue Proficiency is suffering from across Proficiency sharing as well, it's too hard to keep up with number inflation related to opposing the scores at higher levels.


Imperial Sorcerer laughing because they have at least expert in ALL the skills.

Remember that DC's depends of the task, climbing a tree with low branches will always be DC10, doesn't matter if you are lvl 1 or lvl 20 for that per example.


Those DCs do not represent what is an appropriate challenge for characters of X level. They represent a creature or obstacle of that level that is meant to be equal to an individual PC. With creatures it should be assumed that they are capable. It's why there's an adjustment chart included.

It's generally meant to be used in cases where a GM has no stats for say a town guard and a rogue wants to sneak past them. The GM thinks about what level they likely are and makes adjustments based on the fiction like time of day, how crowded the market is. It is not meant to be used for suitability of a challenge.

In cases where the GM has stats they will use the creature's Perception DC and make adjustments from there.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
An on-level challenge is, definitionally, something that people of that level are challenged by. Even skilled people.

Someone who's Trained is skilled. And a 60% success rate is pretty challenging.

The way I see it, the exceptional skills of higher proficiency ranks should be better expressed in two ways: access to skill feats, and the ability to perform Hard and Very Hard level-appropriate checks. It should not be expressed as a general DC increase.

If I'm Roy Greenhilt, and learned some stuff about magic from my father before going off to fighting school, that would make me Trained in Arcana. If I'm a level 5 fighter, recognizing a 3rd level common spell is a level-appropriate task. Once I'm level 15 instead, a level-appropriate task would be recognizing a level 8 spell. If I'm at the same proficiency rank, my chance should be about the same for these.

My buddy Varsuuvius, on the other hand, has gone from being Expert to Legendary in Arcana. They will instantly recognize the level 8 spell, without trouble - they are, after all, a legendary wizard. But figuring out that secret ritual our nemesis is cooking up? That's a Unique spell, which makes it an Incredibly Hard task (+10 DC), so Roy's chances aren't so good. But Varsuuvius has seen things and studied books Roy can only dream of, and still has a pretty good chance even in the face of such high difficulties.

Another issue is that the default DCs mean that your competence narrows as you go up in level. At level 1, you have about six things you are OK at. At level 17, you have two you're good at, one you're OK at, and three mediocre. That doesn't really feel so good.


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It would certainly be nice if Int 16 allowed a trained skill to be upgraded to expert, and int 20 allowed an expert to Master.

it would be making Int a stat worth considering upgrading later on like all the other stats. Now, it's mostly "what you started at except if you're a wizard/alchemist"

Sovereign Court

I'm not entirely happy with the narrowing competence aspect, although I have to see in practice if it's really as bad as all that. I think they re-calibrated a lot compared to the playtest. And added the Simple DCs which help a lot in reconceptualizing the concept of skill difficulty.

But what PF2 clearly tries to do and what I'm quite okay with, is make skills challenging again. PF1 had a lot of "I got this, my skill bonus is so high, I can't fail" with skills. PF2 aims for "if you're rolling for it, then the outcome is really in doubt".

Another aspect of PF2 is that it really pushes the party to rely on each other. In PF1 a wizard with sufficiently high Intelligence could be so good at every knowledge that nobody else should even bother. Now, that wizard gets to pick only a couple of things to truly master, leaving some room for other people to excel in.

Scarab Sages

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Skills in general seem a little rushed in this edition, I think a second pass or hefty errata would really help the game in the long run


Campbell wrote:

Those DCs do not represent what is an appropriate challenge for characters of X level. They represent a creature or obstacle of that level that is meant to be equal to an individual PC. With creatures it should be assumed that they are capable. It's why there's an adjustment chart included.

It's generally meant to be used in cases where a GM has no stats for say a town guard and a rogue wants to sneak past them. The GM thinks about what level they likely are and makes adjustments based on the fiction like time of day, how crowded the market is. It is not meant to be used for suitability of a challenge.

In cases where the GM has stats they will use the creature's Perception DC and make adjustments from there.

The GMing chapter explicitly tells you to use the level-based DCs for things like Recall Knowledge, Gain Income, or crafting things. Recognizing a frost giant? That's a 9th level creature, so DC 26. You want to make a Spellguard Shield? That's a level 6 item, so DC 22. You want to assist the tea master? That's a 5th level task, so DC 20.


Ascalaphus wrote:
But what PF2 clearly tries to do and what I'm quite okay with, is make skills challenging again. PF1 had a lot of "I got this, my skill bonus is so high, I can't fail" with skills. PF2 aims for "if you're rolling for it, then the outcome is really in doubt".

I don't think the problem with PF1 skill-wise was so much the "I got this" part. It was more the follow-up "... and you don't stand a chance."

For example, let's say our 8th level party has to walk a narrow bridge across a chasm, and roll Acrobatics DC 15.

The rogue has like +16 without even trying (skill ranks, class skill, +5 Dex) and doesn't even need to roll.

The wizard says "Walk? Pfft, what am I, a farmer?" and flies over.

The paladin looks at their -1 Dex modifier and -6 armor check penalty and lack of ranks in Acrobatics and goes "Race you guys to the bottom!"

The problem there isn't that the rogue has an easy time of it. The problem is that the same thing that's no challenge at all to the rogue is completely impossible for the paladin.


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Angel Hunter D wrote:
Skills in general seem a little rushed in this edition, I think a second pass or hefty errata would really help the game in the long run

Yeah, I was really hoping skill feats would have been expanded upon compared to the playtest. I mean, we don't need Exalted-level shenanigans, but I would have liked to see something more impressive than "stealing someone's shoes while they're wearing them" as Legendary expressions of skill.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Need I mention that everyone can aid? That's a +2, and it is a teamwork game.


Sliska Zafir wrote:
Need I mention that everyone can aid? That's a +2, and it is a teamwork game.

not everyone since it's dc 20. you need to be at least trained to have a chance.

aid is +1 if you're only trained.

you need to crit (so hit a DC of 30) and be higher trained to give bigger bonuses.

Bard with inspire competance though can aid in everything and since he's using perform, crit that for +3 from level 7 almost 1/2 times and 3/4 times at level 11, and guaranteed +4 at 15.

Another thing about aid is that it circumstance bonus. and there are a couple of those and they won't stack with aid.

Scarab Sages

Yeah, from my first PFS game I'm pretty sure the "always aid" cooperative unwritten rule is gone, it hurts too much to fail at low levels.


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Midnightoker wrote:

I've brought up this issue with Skill Increases several times during the Playtest, but yeah it's an issue and it's deliberate.

There's no real way to diversify your Skill Increases, and personally, I was hoping that once you reached the appropriate proficiency threshold (Expert -> Master -> Legendary), that you would get a "bonus" increase for Skill Increases laterally.

Basically, when you get an increase that would take Expert -> Master or Master -> Legendary, you also get a "bonus" Skill Increase for Trained -> Expert or when Master -> Legendary a "bonus" Skill Increase for any Trained -> Expert or Expert -> Master.

Or something of that nature. You could even tie the "bonus" Skill Increases to Intelligence in some way (perhaps modifier increases with a minimum of 1).

As of right now, you're encouraged to shove all your increases in a small subset of Skills so that only those Skills advance due to Proficiency Tier requirements on Skill Feats.

Right now Skills at 20th level look as you've said:

X Untrained
Y Trained
0 Expert
0 Master
3 Legendary

What would make far more sense is:

X Untrained
Y Trained
4 Expert
3 Master
3 Legendary

I would say just create new Skill Feats or General Feats to supplement the issue for increases, but ultimately there isn't enough to spend to solve the problem (IMO).

Personally would have loved to see Int matter more in that regard, but I assume Int based classes were the reasoning against (though if you dropped initial Training numbers down, I think the Int Mod would work).

As is, I wouldn't call it "bad" so much as it to me is unrealistic that a 20th level Fighter is Legendary in Athletics, Acrobatics, and Intimidate but is then untrained or trained in the rest of his skills (and thus can't really use many of them at higher level).

This is the same issue Proficiency is suffering from across Proficiency sharing as well, it's too hard to keep up with number inflation related to opposing the scores at higher levels.

This is a much bigger issue to me than the DCs. Characters start with broad competence but end up with only 3 real skills pretty early in, and it carries all the way to level 20. Only Rogue is Safe from this.

Silver Crusade

Staffan Johansson wrote:


Like I said, you only get three skills raised above Trained (unless you spread the increases around which means fewer skills at Master and Legendary). And you're not getting item bonuses for all your skills.

So in a 4 player party, with no overlap, that means 12 skills above trained, out of 16 + Lore skills total in the game. Including a rogue in the party, or having more players, increases the odds of having a specialist in almost every skill. And, of course, most people will specialize in at least one skill tied to their primary stat, so those will be better than your 14 starting attribute assumption.

The skill system was one of my complaints about Starfinder, which I tried out when it was new, but didn't like enough to stick with it. I was a little worried how it would play out in PF2, so I was very interested when I saw this thread title. But it's obvious that Paizo learned from their mistakes in Starfinder. It may not be perfect, but it's an improvement. I'm willing to give it time and see how it plays out.

Silver Crusade

Staffan Johansson wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
But what PF2 clearly tries to do and what I'm quite okay with, is make skills challenging again. PF1 had a lot of "I got this, my skill bonus is so high, I can't fail" with skills. PF2 aims for "if you're rolling for it, then the outcome is really in doubt".

I don't think the problem with PF1 skill-wise was so much the "I got this" part. It was more the follow-up "... and you don't stand a chance."

For example, let's say our 8th level party has to walk a narrow bridge across a chasm, and roll Acrobatics DC 15.

The rogue has like +16 without even trying (skill ranks, class skill, +5 Dex) and doesn't even need to roll.

The wizard says "Walk? Pfft, what am I, a farmer?" and flies over.

The paladin looks at their -1 Dex modifier and -6 armor check penalty and lack of ranks in Acrobatics and goes "Race you guys to the bottom!"

The problem there isn't that the rogue has an easy time of it. The problem is that the same thing that's no challenge at all to the rogue is completely impossible for the paladin.

And this is why all of my Society melee characters had a potion of Fly by level 5 or 6, and kept 2 or 3 of them at all times by level 8. In a party with a wizard, rather than random gatherings of PFS, make those scrolls of Fly, since they're cheaper.

At low levels, you may need the whole party to make a check like this (but that's also where the best guy in the party goes across first and anchors the rope), but by level 8, the climb and swim skills in PF1 were replaced by magic.


Staffan Johansson wrote:
Campbell wrote:

Those DCs do not represent what is an appropriate challenge for characters of X level. They represent a creature or obstacle of that level that is meant to be equal to an individual PC. With creatures it should be assumed that they are capable. It's why there's an adjustment chart included.

It's generally meant to be used in cases where a GM has no stats for say a town guard and a rogue wants to sneak past them. The GM thinks about what level they likely are and makes adjustments based on the fiction like time of day, how crowded the market is. It is not meant to be used for suitability of a challenge.

In cases where the GM has stats they will use the creature's Perception DC and make adjustments from there.

The GMing chapter explicitly tells you to use the level-based DCs for things like Recall Knowledge, Gain Income, or crafting things. Recognizing a frost giant? That's a 9th level creature, so DC 26. You want to make a Spellguard Shield? That's a level 6 item, so DC 22. You want to assist the tea master? That's a 5th level task, so DC 20.

They are set for based on the level of the subject, not how challenging the task is meant to be for a PC of a given level. Level is a measure of potency. Adjustments are also meant to be made according to details of the fiction - not how difficult you want the check to be. The example given was that a specific lore skill would have a lower DC than the baseline Occult check.

In the Earn an Income example Harsk was attempting a level 5 job as a 2nd level PC. The GM did not set the DC based on making it a level appropriate challenge. The job would be level 5 if Harsk was level 7. The much easier job of serving had a lower level and a lower DC.

In general level is a measure of potency rather than appropriateness to challenge PCs of the same level. A 9th level creature is meant to be the equal of a PC, not an appropriate challenge for them. A 9th level Fighter facing off against a Frost Giant could be in for a very rough day. It is also 9th level regardless of what level the PC is.

Liberty's Edge

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Fromper wrote:
So in a 4 player party, with no overlap, that means 12 skills above trained, out of 16 + Lore skills total in the game. Including a rogue in the party, or having more players, increases the odds of having a specialist in almost every skill. And, of course, most people will specialize in at least one skill tied to their primary stat, so those will be better than your 14 starting attribute assumption.

How often do we expect there to be no overlap though? I assume most parties are going to have overlap in skills like athletics, acrobatics, medicine and stealth. With quite a few parties overlapping on crafting, deception, and intimidate as well. Really, I wouldn't expect more than half of the skills to be covered by a specialist in a typical 4 man party unless you intentionally designed your characters in concert with that specific purpose. Or like you said, there's a rogue in the party.


I definitely feel like skill increases probably do not come often enough for everyone who is not a Rogue. Rather than simply giving out more I might consider giving out skill increases as another form of treasure when appropriate.

Silver Crusade

Deighton Thrane wrote:
Fromper wrote:
So in a 4 player party, with no overlap, that means 12 skills above trained, out of 16 + Lore skills total in the game. Including a rogue in the party, or having more players, increases the odds of having a specialist in almost every skill. And, of course, most people will specialize in at least one skill tied to their primary stat, so those will be better than your 14 starting attribute assumption.
How often do we expect there to be no overlap though? I assume most parties are going to have overlap in skills like athletics, acrobatics, medicine and stealth. With quite a few parties overlapping on crafting, deception, and intimidate as well. Really, I wouldn't expect more than half of the skills to be covered by a specialist in a typical 4 man party unless you intentionally designed your characters in concert with that specific purpose. Or like you said, there's a rogue in the party.

Depends on the party. In a home campaign, most groups intentionally organize to cover all party needs.

For instance, my current (1st edition) campaign started with 5 players, and we intentionally went for an arcane caster, divine caster, two front liners, and an archer. We also went through the skill list and made sure we had every knowledge or other skill we were worried about covered by level 2. So it's not that hard to organize.

On the other hand, random groups thrown together for Pathfinder Society might have trouble. But you're more likely to have 5 or 6 players, which helps, and I think rogues are likely to be more common than they were in 1st edition. And even then, you'll have players who show up with more than one PC and ask "So what does the party need?" to balance out the group.


Kyrone wrote:

Imperial Sorcerer laughing because they have at least expert in ALL the skills.

Remember that DC's depends of the task, climbing a tree with low branches will always be DC10, doesn't matter if you are lvl 1 or lvl 20 for that per example.

Not how it will turn out in practice. They said that in the playtest, but all DCs automatically scaled. If you are climbing a tree a 20th level it will be a 20th level tree.


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thorin001 wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

Imperial Sorcerer laughing because they have at least expert in ALL the skills.

Remember that DC's depends of the task, climbing a tree with low branches will always be DC10, doesn't matter if you are lvl 1 or lvl 20 for that per example.

Not how it will turn out in practice. They said that in the playtest, but all DCs automatically scaled. If you are climbing a tree a 20th level it will be a 20th level tree.

Welcome to the point of a test, to gauge numbers?

Like, if you have a test where all the numbers are easily beatable by everyone, then you get 0 relevant data.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thorin001 wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

Imperial Sorcerer laughing because they have at least expert in ALL the skills.

Remember that DC's depends of the task, climbing a tree with low branches will always be DC10, doesn't matter if you are lvl 1 or lvl 20 for that per example.

Not how it will turn out in practice. They said that in the playtest, but all DCs automatically scaled. If you are climbing a tree a 20th level it will be a 20th level tree.

But what do the current rules say? Do they still support such absurdity?

Liberty's Edge

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

I'm not convinced that "every character will always take all three possible skills to Legendary" is a truism that should be relied on without question. I have a half-orc ranger that I really only want one skill (Stealth) at Legendary for; for most of the other skills I want, Master is good enough, and I would rather spread my options outward than upward.


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Ravingdork wrote:
But what do the current rules say? Do they still support such absurdity?

The rules never supported that, they were very clear that you shouldn't do it, and still are. The adventure for the playtest had some dubious DCs in it (likely for the reason Cyouni gave), however.

So, the only real question here is whether the adventures, like Fall of Plaguestone or Age of Ashes, will have good DCs assigned. I don't have either, so I can't check myself.


Shisumo wrote:
I'm not convinced that "every character will always take all three possible skills to Legendary" is a truism that should be relied on without question. I have a half-orc ranger that I really only want one skill (Stealth) at Legendary for; for most of the other skills I want, Master is good enough, and I would rather spread my options outward than upward.

This holds true, perhaps true-er, for lateral progression of skills, as well.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thorin001 wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

Imperial Sorcerer laughing because they have at least expert in ALL the skills.

Remember that DC's depends of the task, climbing a tree with low branches will always be DC10, doesn't matter if you are lvl 1 or lvl 20 for that per example.

Not how it will turn out in practice. They said that in the playtest, but all DCs automatically scaled. If you are climbing a tree a 20th level it will be a 20th level tree.

IF it was a 20th level tree (which Would likely be some kind of long thin beyond rubber bending spaghetti limbed splintering sharper then metal razor barked, gushing with super lubricating sap covered hellish monstrosity most humans would consider by all physical laws of nature impossible to climb) as described in both the core rulebook and the playtest. On the other hand if it's a nice normal thick well shaped tree it might be Lv. 1 or 2, regardless of your character level.


Well, the level-based DCs are explicitly to be used only for enemy challenges that have a level. Most things go by the untrained/trained/master/legendary table, which they even give examples of what task level those are.

Legendary Climb is pretty much an unmarked vertical plane of glass that you spiderman your way up.

Liberty's Edge

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Well, looking at Hellknight Hill:

The 1st level section is almost entirely DC 12 or 13 checks. A few lower, some DC 15 checks, and a couple DC 18-20 Perception check to find extra loot (or Thievery checks to open locks...both things that can be retried). As it shades into the 2nd level section DCs rise a tad and are more often in the 15-18 range, though rarely much higher.

There are a few DC 20 checks to reveal obscure information, as well, but it's not essential, and is indeed pretty obscure. As well as a few DC 20-25 checks you're not intended to attempt or succeed at (ie: if you did succeed you could circumvent major sections of the dungeon).

As you hit 3rd level-ish, the DCs continue to rise slightly, with the range of DCs now having a to end of 22-23 for obscure knowledge or Perception to find loot, but DCs like 15 to 18 are still more common for things that are 'challenges' in a meaningful sense (though there's at least one with a DC of 19-21 depending on method).

As level 4 arrives, DCs remain mostly the same (in the range of DC 15-20) with a few higher exceptions that the PCs are not expected to succeed at (there are a few DC 27-30 checks you're expected to fail, for example...all would result in really interesting stuff if they succeeded, which isn't impossible, especially since two are knowledge-based). Plus a DC 35 Climb check the adventure treats as an impossible challenge you have to work around (which is fair).

It's also worth noting that DC 10-15 checks never actually stop showing up, just becoming less common. Indeed, some of the checks in the last section of the adventure are DC 10-15.

That all looks fine to me, with the DCs based on how difficult the specific thing should be rather than strictly based on level in any way. I mean, I'm sure they follow the guidelines, but they look pretty easy, and identifying one of the core 20 Gods based on their holy symbol remains a DC 10 check regardless of when you do it (more obscure Gods are DC 15).

Sovereign Court

ChibiNyan wrote:
This is a much bigger issue to me than the DCs. Characters start with broad competence but end up with only 3 real skills pretty early in, and it carries all the way to level 20. Only Rogue is Safe from this.

As I understand the book, that's not precisely true. If you focus on only three skills, you'll actually start doing better and better.

CRB p. 503 wrote:

Note that PCs who invest in a skill become more likely

to succeed at a DC of their level as they increase in level,
and the listed DCs eventually become very easy for them.

I think the idea is that eventually, just Trained starts to feel a bit of a pinch, Expert stays about even, Master is ahead a bit and Legendary actually has it pretty easy.

So you could insist on taking three skills to Legendary and giving up on the rest, but you could also decide that you want to stay broad and keep a number of skills on Expert and Master.

This is also supported by several ancestry feats that take you to Expert on some skills and the Rogue MC that can get you up to Master on some extra skills.

If you compare the L1 DC (15) to the L20 DC (40), it goes up by 25. 19 of those are accounted for due to leveling up. So to break even you need to get a +6 out of proficiency increases, ability modifier increases and item bonuses. I think that's actually fairly doable.

If ability increases account for about a +2 on mid-priority stats, and you increase to about Expert through some bonus or another, and you get a +2 item, then you're home.

Sovereign Court

Ravingdork wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

Imperial Sorcerer laughing because they have at least expert in ALL the skills.

Remember that DC's depends of the task, climbing a tree with low branches will always be DC10, doesn't matter if you are lvl 1 or lvl 20 for that per example.

Not how it will turn out in practice. They said that in the playtest, but all DCs automatically scaled. If you are climbing a tree a 20th level it will be a 20th level tree.
But what do the current rules say? Do they still support such absurdity?

They never said you should do that in the playtest, but they did do that in the playtest. There was a lot of protest against that though and the final product now leans heavily on Table 10-4, Simple DCs. Those are DCs for things that should be the same DC regardless of who's trying it, and which aren't in direct opposition to something that has a level.

They also give meaning to the numbers: "15" is now a Trained DC. As a GM if you're thinking about "who could plausibly do this, do you really need to be an expert? No? But a bit of skill? Okay, Trained DC then."


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thorin001 wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

Imperial Sorcerer laughing because they have at least expert in ALL the skills.

Remember that DC's depends of the task, climbing a tree with low branches will always be DC10, doesn't matter if you are lvl 1 or lvl 20 for that per example.

Not how it will turn out in practice. They said that in the playtest, but all DCs automatically scaled. If you are climbing a tree a 20th level it will be a 20th level tree.

Maybe. I think that depends on if it's a "tree created to challenge the PCs as part of an adventure" or "generic tree".

So if it's a case of, "the only mundane way into the giant's flying castle is by climbing the tree he's anchored to", then the tree can be one that no regular human would ever attempt to climb, to make it a challenge for the party. A good adventure writer will find a way to make the DC seem justified.

But if you just want to climb a random tree in the forest to hide from an enemy, the GM shouldn't attempt to make a 'challenge', they should just use the standard tree DC from the book, and if you succeed on a 2, that's no problem.


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Ascalaphus wrote:

If you compare the L1 DC (15) to the L20 DC (40), it goes up by 25. 19 of those are accounted for due to leveling up. So to break even you need to get a +6 out of proficiency increases, ability modifier increases and item bonuses. I think that's actually fairly doable.

If ability increases account for about a +2 on mid-priority stats, and you increase to about Expert through some bonus or another, and you get a +2 item, then you're home.

Those are all efforts to specialize. Mid-priority stat, sure, and I was including that in my calculations. But a +2 item? That's a significant investment, even at 20th level. The various +2 items all have different bonus effects, but they generally range from item level 9 to 12 and a cost of about 650 to about 1750 on the high end. The cost isn't super-high (but not insignificant) at very high levels (a "starting" 20th level character gets 20k gp in addition to six high-level items), but they still require one of your investment slots if worn.

My thesis is that I should be able to select a skill as Trained at level 1 and not have to bother with increasing it beyond that, other than the free-ish increase I get via stat boosts, and still have that remain relevant at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20. Other first-level choices likely remain relevant, like a fighter with Sudden Charge or a sorcerer with a familiar.

PF2 seems to be pretty good in other ways about not having to spend character choices in order to remain mechanically relevant - choices are mainly about what you can do, not how well you can do it. But for some reason skills are different - there you still need to run faster to keep up.

And again, I'm not after auto-success. My benchmark is success on a 9+. 60% chance of success is what I would consider the lower end of basic competency.

Shadow Lodge

The PCs of Pf1 are super heroes, smashing their way through enemies and overcoming impossible obstacles with ease. The PCs of Pf2 are everyday people, struggling against enemies and barely managing to overcome obstacles by the skin of their teeth. I'm pretty sure this is an intentional shift of paradigm. Paizo designed it this way on purpose. You are supposed to fail way more in Pf2.


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I think people are expecting to face mostly or a lot of "on-level challenges" in PF2, since PF1 characters were used to facing a lot of "above level" challenges. But we've recontextualized things where "stuff your level is close to the hardest stuff you'll see."

What the intentional shift by Paizo was, however, was not to make people fail more, but just to keep the numbers down. PF1 had a problem where level appropriate numbers were simultaneously auto-pass for a specialist and likewise impossible for a dabbler.

All those things you are trained in? Those are the things which will not be impossible for you to do at higher levels, they may be unlikely if you invest nothing else in the skill ever, but you have a shot now.

Liberty's Edge

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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).

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