The Highest Heights in Skills


Advice

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Liberty's Edge

breithauptclan wrote:
A single level 3 feat choice by one character shouldn't be outshining the Recall Knowledge skills of the other characters that didn't pick that feat.

As I've said many times, that single level 3 feat choice probably isn't outshining the Recall Knowledge skills of other characters that didn't pick that feat, because, if those characters advance those skills, they're always going to come out at least a little bit ahead of a character relying on Untrained Improvisation. And if they don't advance those skills, they're just dabblers, too, and I don't particularly mind if they dabbled a little less effectively.

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Especially not characters with classes that have specific feats and abilities for knowing things about any of the creatures that they encounter.

I think the problem here is usually that such feats are underpowered, though, not that Untrained Improvisation is overpowered. That said, by the basic progression, you get either 10 or 11 class feats over your career, but only 5 general feats, so maybe it's not so bad if a general feat that serves a similar purpose is a little better.


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Luke Styer wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
A single level 3 feat choice by one character shouldn't be outshining the Recall Knowledge skills of the other characters that didn't pick that feat.
As I've said many times, that single level 3 feat choice probably isn't outshining the Recall Knowledge skills of other characters that didn't pick that feat, because, if those characters advance those skills, they're always going to come out at least a little bit ahead of a character relying on Untrained Improvisation. And if they don't advance those skills, they're just dabblers, too, and I don't particularly mind if they dabbled a little less effectively.

So a Bard with Bardic Knowledge is a dabbler?


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Luke Styer wrote:
As I've said many times, that single level 3 feat choice probably isn't outshining the Recall Knowledge skills of other characters that didn't pick that feat, because, if those characters advance those skills, they're always going to come out at least a little bit ahead of a character relying on Untrained Improvisation. And if they don't advance those skills, they're just dabblers, too, and I don't particularly mind if they dabbled a little less effectively.

No. The Untrained Improvisation hack is outshining the entire rest of the party at the same time. The Rogue that is taking Arcana and Society, and the Cleric covering Religion, The Ranger with Nature, the Bard with Occultism, and the Inventor with Crafting.

And yet, the Fighter with Untrained Improvisation needs a lower die roll in order to succeed and it doesn't matter what creature they are fighting.


Luke Styer wrote:
Anyone can make a Nature check to Recall Knowledge about a Tyrannosaurus, and the DC is 27, whether they're trained in Nature or not. Anyone can make an Animal Lore check to Recall Knowledge about a Tyrannosaurus, and the DC is 25, whether they're trained in Animal Lore or not. Anyone can make a Dinosaur Lore check to Recall Knowledge about a Tyrannosaurus, and the DC is 22, whether they're trained in Dinosaur Lore or not.

Right. Because the Fighter without Untrained Improvisation rolling 1d20 +0 and trying to hit the DC 22 using their Dinosaur Lore untrained is a completely viable strategy. Excellent example there.


yeah, in the end, it trully is up to the GM, but as is obvious from this thread, the vast majority of the GMs wouldn't allow specific lores with Untrained improvisation.

Math seems way stacked towards the side of "probably whomever wrote it didn't think of that" to be otherwise, but as far as "raw" goes... it still is up to the GM as is any use of specific Lore.

Liberty's Edge

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SuperBidi wrote:
Untrained Improvisation is not a specialized Lore, it's a generic ability and should get the base DC.

Untrained Improvisation isn't a Lore at all. It's not even a skill. It is a feat that provides an adjustment to the PC's proficiency bonus when they make an untrained check with any skill. When a PC who has Untrained Improvisation makes an untrained Athletics check to climb a ladder, that PC is making an Athletics check, not an Untrained Improvisation check, and the usual rules for Athletics apply, except that the PC has an increased proficiency bonus.

Recall Knowledge is an untrained action. It's even explicitly called out in the skill description for Lore that "Even if you're untrained in Lore, you can use it to Recall Knowledge."

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Also, as a side note, Lores are not only about RK.

You're right. They're also about Earn Income, which is a trained action, which means (except for folks who have Clever Improvisor) it's irrelevant to the topic at hand. Those are literally the only two common actions listed for Lore. The Vehicle rules also make some use of Lore, of course, and there are a few other specialized uses that pop up in adventures, but Recall Knowledge is surely the most prevalent use by far. The first line of the skill description is literally "You have specialized information on a narrow topic[,]" so bringing that information to bear is naturally the primary focus.

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No, I don't use Athletics to grapple the purple worm, I use "Purple Worm Wrestling" Lore so the DC should be lowered by 5.

And I'm pretty sure you'd not allow that.

You're right. I wouldn't allow that because Lore can't be used to grapple. Am I to understand from your question that you routinely allow PCs to substitute Gladiatorial Lore checks in place of traditional attack rolls? I wouldn't allow that, even though Gladiatorial Lore clearly exists in the game, so I consider the question of modification to DC in this context irrelevant, but I guess if you're allowing that, you have to consider whether a DC adjustment is appropriate.

All that said, Lore explicitly can be used to Recall Knowledge, even untrained, so I'd allow a PC to make a Recall Knowledge check using Purple Worm Wrestling Lore to identify a Purple Worm, and that's a pretty specific Lore, so sure, I'll reduce the DC by 5. I'd allow that whether the PC is or isn't trained, regardless of whether that PC has Untrained Improvisation.

Also, if someone was either trained in Purple Worm Wrestling Lore or had Clever Improviser, and wanted to try to use that skill to Earn Income, I'd allow it, though opportunities to practice that trade would likely be few and far between.

Incidentally, this all assumes I'd allow that Lore subcategory. Remember that the rules state that "Lore skills . . . require GM oversight, particularly in determining which Lore subcategories are acceptable for characters to select." I'm not sure Purple Worm Wrestling would make the cut. Purple Worm Lore, though, seems pretty closely analogous to Owlbear Lore, which is literally on the list of Lore skills in the Core Rulebook, so it seems acceptable.

Liberty's Edge

SuperBidi wrote:
So a Bard with Bardic Knowledge is a dabbler?

A Bard with Bardic Lore picked an underpowered feat. The skill it grants stalls out at Expert, and is stuck at Trained until 15th level. If a Bard with Bardic Lore wants to be good at Recall Knowledge, he'd be well advised to pick up some carefully selected Additional Lore feats.

Liberty's Edge

breithauptclan wrote:
No. The Untrained Improvisation hack is outshining the entire rest of the party at the same time.

No, he's probably not.

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The Rogue that is taking Arcana and Society, and the Cleric covering Religion, The Ranger with Nature, the Bard with Occultism, and the Inventor with Crafting.

And yet, the Fighter with Untrained Improvisation needs a lower die roll in order to succeed and it doesn't matter what creature they are fighting.

No, the Fighter almost certainly needs a higher die roll than the specialist in every case. At least he will if by "taking" you don't mean raising their specialist skill to trained and then ignoring it from then on.

First, the specialist's proficiency bonus with their Recall Knowledge skill, at every level, is going to outstrip the Fighter's by more than the DC "discount" the Fighter would enjoy by using a specific Lore for Recall Knowledge.

Second, most of those characters are going to have an equal or higher relevant ability than the Fighter's Intelligence. The Cleric's Wisdom bonus and the Inventor's Intelligence Bonus are fairly likely to be maxed out. The Rogue might have Int maxed out, but even if he doesn't, it's unlikely to be lower than the Fighter's Int. Likewise, the Ranger's Wis and the Bard's Int won't be maxed, but, again, I doubt they'll be lower than the Fighter's Int.

There's a decent chance one or more of the other party members will eventually wind up with an item bonus to their Recall Knowledge, too, which the Fighter likely won't.

At best the Fighter may end up second best at a few of these.

Liberty's Edge

Farien wrote:
Right. Because the Fighter without Untrained Improvisation rolling 1d20 +0 and trying to hit the DC 22 using their Dinosaur Lore untrained is a completely viable strategy. Excellent example there.

It's a better strategy than rolling his 1d20+0 Nature to hit DC 27. At least he's a little more likely to fail instead of crit failing.

But the point isn't that it's a good idea. The point is that Untrained Improvisation doesn't make it possible; Untrained Improvisation makes it viable. The Druid who has a maxed out Wisdom and a maxed out Nature will still have significantly better odds, but the guy with Untrained Improvisation will at least have a shot.


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SuperBidi wrote:
roquepo wrote:
Just want to chim in to say that from my experience Untrained Improvisation, when allowed to be used on lore checks, makes the game more fun for all parties involved with little to no downside.

If it's the case, then why not giving a +5 to Untrained Improvisation directly? It looks like it makes the game more fun for all parties involved...

No, doing that doesn't make the game fun for those who payed skill increases to be good at RK checks. And you don't need to give free skills to your PCs to speak about plot relevant and world building stuff, I do it all the time without it.

First of all, a general feat is way pricier than just being trained in a skill. So let's compare it to an actual investment on a specific skill. Let's say Arcana, since both scale off INT.

If you are actually "paying" to be good on RK, you would be expert or master by level 7. That's a +5/+7 after counting skill boosting items. Unespecific Lore makes that a +3/+5 difference. Even when allowing it to count as specific lore, a thing I'm not advocating for, it would be either even or a +2 difference for the "specialist". With a skill that can also be used for other useful stuff and with the ability to scale further. Completely gamebreaking that someone that forsake the chance of getting something like Toughness or Fleet gets to do some stuff with the feat they got. What other good uses does Untrained Improvisation have? Balance checks? Fluff stuff during roleplay with 0 stakes?

Also, are you really implying that a, let's say, Rogue telling my druid with high Nature the weak save of a beast is anti-fun? What?


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roquepo wrote:
First of all, a general feat is way pricier than just being trained in a skill. So let's compare it to an actual investment on a specific skill. Let's say Arcana, since both scale off INT.

Well, there's a difference if you're giving the Unspecific Lore bonus or the Specific Lore bonus. It's true I considered you were giving the Specific Lore one as the Unspecific Lore bonus impact is low. It puts you at Trained, considering how it's easy to get Trained in a skill it's not gamebreaking.

The Specific Lore bonus on the other hand puts you at near Master in all RK skills, so 5 skills (Arcana, Nature, Religion, Occultism and Society are mostly about RK checks). It's definitely way above the power level of a general feat.

roquepo wrote:
What other good uses does Untrained Improvisation have? Balance checks? Fluff stuff during roleplay with 0 stakes?

If you are playing a low Int character in a class with few skills, it gives you all the skills in the game with a decent bonus. It's just 2 points less than Trained so it's very far from bad. The classical example are Athletics and Acrobatics: You very often have to roll them making them must haves. With Untrained Improvisation, you can play a character with few skills who doesn't have to pay the skill tax of grabbing both of these. So you don't end up permastunned on uneven ground at high level, it's not really a "fluff" use of a skill to me.


SuperBidi wrote:
If you are playing a low Int character in a class with few skills, it gives you all the skills in the game with a decent bonus. It's just 2 points less than Trained so it's very far from bad. The classical example are Athletics and Acrobatics: You very often have to roll them making them must haves. With Untrained Improvisation, you can play a character with few skills who doesn't have to pay the skill tax of grabbing both of these. So you don't end up permastunned on uneven ground at high level, it's not really a "fluff" use of a skill to me.

If you are playing a low INT character, your chances of making a RK check with Untrained Improvisation are slim at best. It balances out. It is also a bad use of a general feat tbh if you are only getting decent at stuff like balance and climb/swim/jumping.

Look, I also think allowing the feat to do Specific RK checks is a bit out of line, but I'd rather have that, both as a GM and as a fellow player, than a player not interacting with the RK rules at all.


SuperBidi wrote:
Well, there's a difference if you're giving the Unspecific Lore bonus or the Specific Lore bonus.

That is a good point.

My objection against using Untrained Improvisation for Lore skills isn't that you can't use the Lore skills - it is when people are wanting to get the lower DC for the specific lore.

So in the Dinosaur example, I would let you use Untrained Improvisation to use Animal Lore or Dinosaur Lore for the check, but it is going to be against DC 27. Narrative: You haven't studied Animals or Dinosaurs enough to qualify for the reduced DC. Mechanics: You are using a generalized ability rather than gambling on picking a specific Lore subcategory and winning the lottery.

Liberty's Edge

breithauptclan wrote:
Narrative: You haven't studied Animals or Dinosaurs enough to qualify for the reduced DC. Mechanics: You are using a generalized ability rather than gambling on picking a specific Lore subcategory and winning the lottery.

So do you reduce other DCs based on PCs’ level of proficiency? “Al, you’re trained in Athletics? Climbing that Tree is DC 10. Bob, you’re untrained? Same tree is DC 15. Narrative: you’re using generalized ability rather than gambling on picking a specific skill and winning the lottery.”


Luke Styer wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Narrative: You haven't studied Animals or Dinosaurs enough to qualify for the reduced DC. Mechanics: You are using a generalized ability rather than gambling on picking a specific Lore subcategory and winning the lottery.
So do you reduce other DCs based on PCs’ level of proficiency? “Al, you’re trained in Athletics? Climbing that Tree is DC 10. Bob, you’re untrained? Same tree is DC 15. Narrative: you’re using generalized ability rather than gambling on picking a specific skill and winning the lottery.”

One, I immediately note that you omitted the Mechanics half of that.

Two your example is not accurate to what I am describing.

Bob: you are using Athletics to climb the tree so your DC is 10.
Steve: you are using Untrained Improvisation and Climbing Lore, so your DC is only 5.

Uh, shouldn't the DC still be 10?

Liberty's Edge

breithauptclan wrote:

Bob: you are using Athletics to climb the tree so your DC is 10.

Steve: you are using Untrained Improvisation and Climbing Lore, so your DC is only 5.

I think I see the confusion. Steve never uses Untrained Improvisation to do anything. He uses skill to do things, but when he’s untrained in those skills, he has a better-than-zero proficiency bonus because he has the Untrained Improvisation feet.

Also I’m not aware of Lore skills allowing one to use the Climb action, so Steve should probably use Athletics, which definitely allows one to use the Climb action. Fortunately for Steve, if he’s untrained in Athletics, he’ll get an increased proficiency bonus because he has Untrained Improvisation.

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Uh, shouldn't the DC still be 10?

Yes, it should be 10, because the DC doesn’t vary on the basis of whether a character is trained. Just like a Dinosaur Lore check doesn’t vary depending on whether the PC making the check is trained.


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roquepo wrote:

If you are playing a low INT character, your chances of making a RK check with Untrained Improvisation are slim at best. It balances out. It is also a bad use of a general feat tbh if you are only getting decent at stuff like balance and climb/swim/jumping.

Look, I also think allowing the feat to do Specific RK checks is a bit out of line, but I'd rather have that, both as a GM and as a fellow player, than a player not interacting with the RK rules at all.

My complaint about this ruling is not that it makes Untrained Improvisation too strong, but that it makes RK skills mostly useless as you can raise it up to near Master for a very low cost. And also that it's a wrong interpretation of the rules, in my opinion, as it doesn't respect RAI.

Liberty's Edge

Remastered will bring clarifications for RK. I hope it will help with all such cases


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Climbing Lore is pretty much only useful for lecturing others on how they're doing it wrong. XD


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a GM, I would probably let a character with climbing lore attempt a recall knowledge check to find an easier path up a well known cliff. But they would still have to make an athletics check to actually climb it.

As a GM, I like to encourage my PCs to use lore skills to recall knowledge checks as much as I can, but I do try to limit their use to knowledge or earning money and not standing in for other checks. I like giving reduced DCs for lots of skill checks if the party has acquired knowledge that would help them on those checks though.

Gathering information before making an impression or coercing a social encounter, learning about the type of lock/security system before trying to disable traps/open locks, recalling knowledge about a creature that you are trying to track and learning what it is doing in the area/where it might be going next, these are all great ways to help players engage with their character's strengths and connect them to the narrative of the adventure.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Climbing Lore is pretty much only useful for lecturing others on how they're doing it wrong. XD

I think one could argue that Climbing Lore should certainly be useful in preforming an Aid others on an attempt to climb, by working to provide them with a better strategy to be successful in their climb.

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