Would having skill ranks granting a minimum Attribute Bonus for proficiency rolls enable more diverse functional builds?


Homebrew and House Rules


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Ok, I hear about people complaining about builds being problematic because of being too MAD making some people feel the build no longer is functional. I don't always feel like things have to be optimal to be functional, but will acknowledge sometimes builds can feel hamstrung by choice limitations.

One thing that I have to admit I have found a little problematic was the concept that if I wanted to feel really good at a skill, I had to up the attribute associated with it, but that investment in the attribute was a very 'wide' investment and affected lots of other skills and aspects. What if I really just wanted the investment focused in that particular skill.

This led me to a thought, and I'm curious if people would feel like it would enable more builds, and more variance, or if it would somehow curtail variance by creating some circumstance that would be too good to pass up.

My idea is that as part of getting "Trained", "Expert", "Master", and "Legendary" at a skill, you gain a 'Minimum' Attribute bonus that gets applied to the users proficiency calculation. At Trained it is +1, at Expert it is +2, at Master it is +3, and at Legendary it is +4.

This means if a user is trained at something with and INT of 10, instead of the calculation at fist level being +0 (int) +1 (level) +2 (rank) = +3, it would be +1 (min attribute bonus) +1 (level) +2 (rank) = +4

Granted, that only impacts someone with a 10 INT, as anyone with a 12 or higher would already have the minimum bonus. However, it makes placing a skill rank in a poor attribute still relatively viable.

As a clarification, the Minimum attribute bonus, I would imagine would always apply as an attribute bonus. However, it would not stop an attribute Penalty from applying. So if the above individual was trained in a skill, they would apply the +1 proficiency bonus provided as a minimum due to being trained, but would also apply the -1 penalty due to INT penalty. This means it would end up being +3 from being trained instead of +2. Not a giant difference, but it actually makes shoring up a weak point with skill as a relatively viable option.

My thought being to allow this to apply to Skill rolls. I could even potentially see allowing it to apply for Attack rolls if we wanted to allow it to apply to weapon and spell attack skill ranks. It would not affect any other values like extra damage determined by attribute value (from spell attacks, or melee attacks, for instance)

While I suspect most individuals whom would get Legendary in a particular skill, will probably have more than +4 attribute associated. On the other hand, I can imagine someone potentially having a 10 in an associated attribute and having a skill at Trained or Expert relatively easily.

If it can apply to Spell Attack proficiencies, it might make people concerned about MAD aspect of some classes, bringing the FLOOR of their strikes up somewhat even if their attribute isn't invested. I'm not completely sold on making it apply to Attack rolls, but it seems like a possibility, but I'm not certain I know all the ramification. I'm inclined to say the minimum attribute bonus would not apply to DC calculations, to still encourage the investment in the attribute in most cases. But this method would give some extra options for having characters with significant investment into a particular skill/proficiency that their natural attribute isn't that good in.


I like it for skills. Not so much for attack rolls of various types. Probably not for saves either.

Yeah, having to boost an entire attribute in order to get reasonable numbers for one particular skill does feel like quite a bit of investment.

For some things and certain builds, that investment is worth it. Demoralize on a Fighter or Barbarian for example. This is also where the houserule would become too powerful.

I could see it being useful for things like Crafting, Medicine (usually done with Assurance instead for people with low WIS scores), Diplomacy, Deception to disguise, or even Athletics to climb or swim.

So, basically I like it for anything that doesn't involve combat numbers.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I somehow don't like it being built into the proficiency math, because that muddies a core mechanic that is billed to be the same everywhere.

If I were to implement it, I'd put it onto a tool used by the skill. Like a Masterwork Repair Kit that gives you the effective ability score bonus minimum if you're expert/master/legendary.

That way you can also limit it to certain non-combat skills if you wanted to, or rarity gate combat relevant items.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I like where this is coming from becuase I agree it's a nuisance, but I think the solution just sort of extends the problem in the other direction.

Right now investing a little bit into something can feel unrewarding because of the way checks scale, exacerbating MAD and encouraging classes to stay in their lane. This kind of fixes that, but still leaves it feeling bad to invest a little bit into something.

I like the idea, but it rubs me the wrong way that someone with like, a 12 in Charisma is functionally the same as someone with only a 10. Instead of dealing with MAD, we're dealing with low-impact stats almost becoming traps.


I feel like the best solution here is more feats like Intimidating Prowess, in where a second attribute can contribute to a skill check based on a different attribute if it's high enough. That is, a 10th level character with strength 20 and cha 12 has the same bonus to intimidate as a character with Cha 18.

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