I am a little confused by the whole class DC thing. There are over 60 references to class DC in the core rulebook and it is also used by the critical deck.
I understand how it works as a 1st level character as this is explained on page 29 of the core rulebook, but how does it increase as your character goes up levels.
Do you automatically become expert, master etc at certain levels, and if so is this linked to your class abilities such as casting?
You are always at least Trained in your class DC if you have one. Trained is always level +2. That means, its value is:
Class DC = 10 + (level + 2) + ability modifier
Your class dictates if and when you get higher proficiency in your class DC. If you look into the fixed features of the martial classes, you will find entries that improve your class DC. with higher proficiency the formula would be:
Class DC = 10 + (level + 4/6/8) + ability modifier
Non spellcasters mostly have only a class DC, which is usually raised as they level. Read each class's advancement chart closely, because not all of them have a clear name like "suchandsuch expertise." For instance, Barbarians' first increase is called Mighty Rage at level 11.
Hybrids, like but not only the Bard and Champion, have both a class DC and a spellcasting tradition DC. Sometimes they increase at the same time, but they might not. Again, read the class advancement chart to find the relevant entries. Some aren't governed by the same abilities. I believe Rogues' spellcasting DC is based on Charisma? It's in the errata, which I don't have in front of me.
Pure spellcasters mostly have only a spellcasting tradition DC. For clerics, instead of the class advancement chart, their tradition DC is listed in their doctrines. Others are listead in their class advancement chart.
Mostly, usually, but not always (lol, ikr), the class DC's increases will be in their class advancement chart. All I can say is read carefully, and maybe make a cheat sheet for your own use. ^_^;;
To make this very clear, let's take an example.
The Fighter starts out trained in the Fighter class DC (page 141, bottom right corner). The Fighter's key ability is either Strength or Dexterity (same page, upper left corner).
So a level 1 fighter's class DC could be Strength modifier + 2 for Trained + 1 for level + 10 (all DCs add ten). For the sake of example, let's say this adds up to 17. So if the Fighter uses an ability involving the class DC, the enemy needs to roll a d20 and get 17 or better to succeed in resisting the fighter's ability.
At second level, this DC automatically increases to 18. It will keep increasing by one for each level.
At certain points, it will increase more than that. For example, when our Fighter gains Strength 20 instead of Strength 18, his Strength bonus increases by one, and since Strength is his chosen Key Ability, the DC increases by one.
And at level 11, the Fighter gains "Fighter Expertise" (page 143). At this stage you no longer add +2 for Trained; you add +4 for Expert.
You can expect your Fighter's class DC to easily double (from 17 to 34, say) as you level up.
Every character has a class DC.
Even spellcasters. It's just that it isn't used for much, if anything.
So a Sorcerer, for instance, calculates her class DC just like the fighter. Except, of course, that her Key Ability isn't Strength or Dexterity - it's Charisma. And that nothing makes you trained in it.
So with a starting score of 18 Charisma, you will likely have a class DC of 10 + 4 = 14.
It will slowly raise throughout your career as you increase your Charisma, but will probably never even reach 20, much less 30 or 40. But that's not as bad as it looks, because it won't ever get used. (Spellcasters instead care about their Tradition DC)
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Zapp you are a legend. That has just made that a lot clearer for me. The core rule stuff hasn't been an issue. It is when I am trying to incorporate the critical deck that I have stumbled slightly, as suddently you need the class DC for all characters.
It makes sense than non-casters would have a higher class DC in this context.
Thanks, you have just saved me numerous hours of ponderous thought and reflection :)