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4e Clone − help create it!

Yaarel

Explorer
LOL Martial Maneuvers
Alright. So a nonmagic at-will is called a ‘maneuver’. A magic at-will is called a ‘cantrip’.

So, in the power format, ‘frequency type’ includes Rest, Long Rest, Reaction,

... and Cantrip/Maneuver (= at-will).
 

Yaarel

Explorer
Power Grid
− Styles: Divine, Void, Arcane, Worldly
− Realms: Matter, Life, Mind, Force

MATTER
(elemental)
LIFE
(primal)
MIND
(psionic)
FORCE
(universal)
DIVINE
(emanate)
Ether
• Light
• Radiance Damage
Healing
• Life Energy
• Positive Energy
• Immortality
• Resurrection
• Renewal
• Regeneration
Consciousness
• Awaken
• Sanity/Enlightenment
• Detect Mind
Outofbody
• Projection
• Scry/Clairvoyance
Prescience
• Fate
• Luck
• Ascertain Knowledge
Force
• Force Damage
• Magic Energy
• Telekinesis
• Fly
• Gravity
Planes
Wish
• The Weave
VOID
(nullify)
Space
• Darkness
• Teleportation
• Extradimensional
• Disintegration
Death
• Necrotic Damage
• Disease
• Undead
Insanity
Oblivion
Antimagic
ARCANE
(reshape)
Air-Water
• Wind
• Weather
• Cold Damage
• Lightning Damage
• Thunder Damage
Earth-Fire
• Fire Damage
• Acid Damage
• Stone/Metal
Shapeshift
Plant
Beast
Humanoid
Aura
• Bodily Aura
• Ki
• Lifeforce
• Soul
• Self-Identity
Telepathy
• Psychic Damage
• Domination
Fear
Charm
• Sleep
Phantasm
• Suggestion
• Hallucination
• Dream
• Psionic Invisibility
Force Construct
• Summon
• Conjuration
• Illusion
WORLDLY
(actuate)
Equipment
• Weapons
• Armor
• Tools
Alchemy
• Proto-Chemistry
• Elixirs/Powders
• Elementalism
• Metal Technology
• Gemology
Crafting
• Technical Skill
• Repair
• Mechanism/Pulley
• Replica/Forgery
• Realistic Disguise
Athletics
• Move/Speed
• Jump/Fall
• Climb/Balance
• Tumble
• Swim/Wing
• Stamina
Weightlifting
• Lift/Carry
• Heave/Push/Pull
• Bend Bars
• Break Door
Grappling
• Wrestle
• Grab Hold
• Force Move
Sense
• Seeing
• Hearing
• Scent/Taste
Stealth
Sleight of Hand

• Manual Dexterity
• Pick Pocket
• Pick Lock
• Disarm Trap
Medicine
• Anatomy
• Immune System
• Longevity
• Poison Damage
• Therapy
Nature
• Animal
• Plant
• Animal Handling
• Tracking
Survival
• Travel
• Navigation
• Read Weather
• Sailing
• Foraging
Morale
• Willpower
• Rally
• Hit Dice
• Second Wind
Persuasion
• Influence
• Convince
• Diplomacy
• Reason/Analysis
• Esthetics/Performance
Intimidation

• Force Surrender
• Rage
• Confuse
• Create Diversion
Empathy
• Cold Reading
• Communicate Emotion
• Intention/Motive
• Streetsmarts
Intuition
• Prediction
• Extrasensory/Hunch
• Mysticism
Tactics
• Teamwork
• Military History
• Identify Foes Plan
Language
• Discern Gist
• Learn Language
History
• Culture
• Customs
• Religions
• Famous Persons
• Legends
Arcana
• Detect Magic
• Identify Spell
• Extraplanar



Essentially ALL proficiencies (skills, lore, weapons, armors, tools) belong to the Worldly style.

Arguably, magic classes tend to have less access to Worldly proficiencies.
 
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GreyLord

Adventurer
I believe the idea of power sources and specifically the power sources listed in 4e could fall under copyright (and/or trademark).

Same with the actual roles as defined in 4e (defender, controller, leader, etc).

Just a heads up of some of the legal difficulties in this...though others can try to do it. They have more guts to try a direct copy on that account than I do.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
I believe the idea of power sources and specifically the power sources listed in 4e could fall under copyright (and/or trademark).

Same with the actual roles as defined in 4e (defender, controller, leader, etc).

Just a heads up of some of the legal difficulties in this...though others can try to do it. They have more guts to try a direct copy on that account than I do.


I create the following.

There are four ‘styles’:

divine
, void, arcane, and worldly.

These styles are methods or modes or ways. They correspond roughly to the 4e sources: divine, shadow, arcane, and martial.

Each style can engage four ‘realms’:

matter, life, mind, and force.



I will update the Grid in the post above.



The names ‘divine’ and ‘arcane’ are plainly ok to use. But other source names are concerning. Fortunately, the role names are less relevant here.

Strictly speaking, D&D 5e lacks class sources. Of course, it has the names ‘divine’ and ‘arcane’. But these only refer to kinds of magic, rather than kinds of classes. Even then, the two terms are nonsystematic and ambiguous. For example, the Bard class is difficult to identify, and its ‘heart and soul’ seem psionic. The Druid is vague, mentioning ‘divinity’ but referring to ‘druidic magic’ as opposed to divine magic, and using a ‘druidic focus’ rather than a divine focus. Even vaguer, the Ranger is ‘much as a druid’. The terms ‘primal’ and ‘martial’ are used in ways other than a source. Finally, 5e lacks a term for nonmagical classes. 5e has no class sources.

So, the terms ‘martial’ and ‘shadow’ as sources for nonmagical and spooky classes, respectively, are peculiar to 4e.



Fortunately, the 4e role names are less of a concern.

I created the terminology referring to ‘purpose’, and it is a format for each power rather than a format for a class. The seven purposes derive from my analysis of the mechanics of D&D spells from several editions: attack/defense, mobility/barrier, detection/stealth, and assistance.

For example, both the 4e Defender and 4e Controller would use barrier powers, their difference tending to be melee range versus far range.

Purposes are a more precise description of the system mechanics.



In sum, the styles, realms, and purposes are a great system.
 
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Yaarel

Explorer
Consider the all-important character Advancement table.

Here are four tiers: Novice, Hero, Master, and Immortal.

In medieval contexts, these are apprentice/page, journeyer/squire, master/knight, plus legendary.

In Basic D&D, these tiers might loosely associate with Basic, Expert, Master, and Immortal.

4e lacks Novice for a player character, and the tiers begins at Heroic, Paragon, and Epic.

The Hero tier here has in mind the archetypal heros journey.

Here, in the Novice tier, the zero levels are normally off-camera as part of a backstory, however are here for structure. The zero level feat represents a special race power, but for the human this is a choice of a feat. The zero-level Novice works fine for adolescent adventures, like Harry Potter or Tales from the Loop. I think of the lower half of the Novice tier as ages 12 to 15, and the upper half as ages 16 to 19. But these levels can represent various concepts, including NPC classes, especially because background is part of the lower half tier.

The upper half of the Novice tier begins at level 1, the Hero tier at 5, the Master at 13, and the Immortal at 21.

These tiers schedule according to the 5e Proficiency bonus for the sake of 5e math. Each tier advances by two boosts to the proficiency bonus. Thus each tier is strictly more competent than the previous tier.

Notice, if you add the Proficiency bonus with the optional Magic bonus (as treasure or as inherent), then together they equate the + ½ level bonus that 4e uses.

Each tier has its own class features with its own capstone. Even the Novice tier has a capstone at level 3. I have this in mind for character builds who want to make a three-level ‘dip’ to pick something good up from an other class.

I also think of each tier as its own 8-level prestige class with capstone ability. With the possibility of 3e-ish multiclassing.

Each ‘base class’ such as Fighter and Wizard, includes a class advancement for every tier. So it is possible to stick with one class from 1 to 20 and higher. Many gishy builds might start of as a full Fighter up to the level 3 capstone, then switch over to a different class for magic. Or viceversa.

The advancement table includes levels for feats to customize a character, and higher level race features for more powerful creature concepts.

The progression advances the skills for noncombat challenges. At level 0, skill features define the ‘livelihood’, or background. At level 8, skill encourages the player to think about becoming the leader of a group with a ‘lair’, (business, military post, taking on magical apprentices, and so on). At level 16, this might found a massive multinational or multiplanar institution, and ‘legendary layer’. At level 24, skill offers epic capabilities to become one with a concept − and a ‘domain’ that resonates the will of character.



ADVANCEMENT
Tier
Level
Proficiency
Bonus
Magic
Bonus
Features
+0​
+0​
Race
NOVICE0
+1​
+0​
Talent
0
+1​
+0​
Feat
0
+1​
+0​
Class
0
+1​
+0​
Skill
1
+2​
+0​
Talent
2​
+2​
+0​
Feat
3​
+2​
+0​
Capstone
4​
+2​
+0​
Race
HERO
5​
+3​
+0​
Archetype
6​
+3​
+0​
Feat
7​
+3​
+1​
Class
8​
+3​
+1​
Skill
9​
+4​
+1​
Archetype
10​
+4​
+1​
Feat
11​
+4​
+2​
Capstone
12​
+4​
+2​
Race
MASTER
13​
+5​
+2​
Mastery
14​
+5​
+2​
Feat
15​
+5​
+3​
Class
16​
+5​
+3​
Skill
17​
+6​
+3​
Mastery
18​
+6​
+3​
Feat
19​
+6​
+4​
Capstone
20​
+6​
+4​
Race
IMMORTAL
21​
+7​
+4​
Immortality
22​
+7​
+4​
Feat
23​
+7​
+5​
Class
24​
+7​
+5​
Skill
 

Yaarel

Explorer
I find myself referring to this 4e-clone→5e→update by the name ‘Foursome’.

Of course, the name Foursome refers to 4e. Also, it connotes how the system relies on 4 abilities. (For those using 6 abilities, I hope it is easy enough to get Constitution by splitting Strength, and to get Wisdom from Intelligence-Perception and from Charisma-Will.) Foursome also refers to the design effort for a ‘top-three-plus’ organization. There are four class styles: Arcane, Divine, Worldly, and Void. There are four realms of power: Matter, Mind, Life, and Force. And so on.

Foursome.
 
Strictly speaking, D&D 5e lacks class sources. Of course, it has the names ‘divine’ and ‘arcane’. But these only refer to kinds of magic, rather than kinds of classes.
Since all 5e classes use magic, it's about the same thing, really. (Though, yeah, that makes the Fighter & Thief "arcane.") ;P
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
In the first post, in ‘Ability Bonuses’, I have added two more ability scores. So there is a total of eight ability scores.
We actually use a modified ability score system as well, for several different games we play:
Strength, Dexterity, Agility, Vitality
Logic, Charisma, Intuition, Resolve

So the 8 scores isn't that odd of a thing (to me). If it helps diversify the characters/enemies, create more niche room, and maintain balance - it is always worth it.

However, I see you've dropped to 4 throughout the thread, so mostly irrelevant note haha.*
 
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Yaarel

Explorer
So far, the Advancement table feels solid. Hopefully it can balance with 5e math. So Foursome characters can play alongside 5e characters. The Foursome Advancement chassis alternates class features with feat, race, and skill features.



Create a Foursome Race

A typical Foursome race design is equal to two feats. This is slightly less powerful than the 5e Half Elf and 5e Wood Elf.

The zero levels supply a Race feature, equaling about 1 feat worth of abilities. It seems to me, a feat is worth roughly eight proficiencies. So, a ‘proficiency’ can serve as a standard unit of measurement to buy a minor race feature, such as trance with immunity to sleep. Heavy armor, martial weapon, and cantrip, seem worth about 2 proficiencies each.

The zero levels also supply a feat, that normally buys a race power, such as eladrin Misty Step. But for the human race, this is actually a choice of any feat.

Because race features and class features can be redundant, it helps to offer extra choices to swap in.

In sum, normal race design equals two feats, in the form of an assemblage of minor abilities plus one major power. Even so, a designer can easily repurpose this design space, such as for an Eberron House. Or maybe everyone in the group is a newbie vampire.

High levels grant additional an Race feature before each new tier, to represent a greater mastery of innate powers. These allow players to play a more powerful creature, such as a vampire.

The skill feature is important for race design because it defines the cultures within a race. For example, in a nod to 1e, the high elf community might have ‘Griffon Rider’ as a background. Githyanki might have ‘Gish’. Any notable institution can happen in Skill. At the zero levels, the Skill feature makes the player known to a specific community, such as an apprentice in a wizard school, or a page in a griffon cavalry. Whatever cultural institutions exist can happen in Skill.

Finally, no race boosts an ability. This is for various reasons, including making any race good at any class. Instead, each race might has ability prerequisites. For example, the high elf requires at least a +1 Dexterity and a +1 Intelligence in order to play this race. Every player gets an ‘exceptional array’: +3, +2, +1, +0. And the player arranges its bonuses accordingly. In this way, each race correlates with a thematic ability, but each character is equal. The human race lacks an ability prerequisite, so any arrangement is possible. Normal races make class choice flexible. A high elf Bard might be Str +0, Dex +1, Int +2, Cha +3. Special races, like drow (+3 Dex) and orc (+3 Str) strongly correlate with a particular ability, and the resulting builds are intentional.
 
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Yaarel

Explorer
We actually use a modified ability score system as well, for several different games we play:
Strength, Dexterity, Agility, Vitality
Logic, Charisma, Intuition, Resolve

So the 8 scores isn't that odd of a thing (to me). If it helps diversify the characters/enemies, create more niche room, and maintain balance - it is always worth it.

However, I see you've dropped to 4 throughout the thread, so mostly irrelevant note haha.*
Mostly, the adoption of four was a nod to make it easy to use 4e material. For example, one can literally take a black marker and blot out Constitution and Wisdom, and the monster stat block still works fine without these.

Heh, the four abilities seemed to annoy some people, but the eight abilities seemed to make them angry.



It is my intention to use *skills* to further bifurcate these four abilities, so eight still have relevance among skills.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
Foursome Human

Ability prerequisite: none
Exceptional array: +3, +2, +1, +0

Human features
Skill proficiency: any
Tool proficiency: any
Expertise: you gain expertise in a skill or tool that you have proficiency with but not yet expertise

Primary language: common

Human power
Feat: any novice feat that you qualify for
 

Yaarel

Explorer
I need the skill math to cohere with the combat math. Combat math is tried and true, adapting and evolving since the origins of D&D. Combat math is robust and fair. 5e design innovates bounded accuracy. This sobriety to minimize bonuses to a d20 roll has many benefits. But it is a fragile ecology. Designers must persist in the effort to avoid adding new bonuses. The combat math works. There is less benefit from deviating from the combat math. Skills happen abundantly in combat, whether grappling or stealth, resolving improvisational stunts, gaining advantage from creature lore, detecting invisible foes, and other ways that skills prove ubiquitous in combat. Adjudication of combat stats and adjudication of skill stats need to follow the same simple principles and expectations of difficulty, especially to adjudicate on the fly. The multiplicative expertise bonus violates the design principles of D&D 5e.

I seek to rethink what ‘expertise’ means. Something different than number porn. If the purpose of the Rogue expertise is to autowin a skill check, then just say this. ‘Once per rest, you automatically win one d20 roll for a skill that you have expertise with.’ If the purpose of expertise is to make the expert more reliable with skill checks, there are ways to do this without rupturing bounded accuracy. For example, a d20 roll that is less than 10 counts as 10.

Really, one needs to look at combat math. What combat improvements seem acceptable within bounded accuracy? There is advantage or rerolls. There is Elven Accuracy that rerolls one if advantage. The +2 archery fighting style. The +d4 Bless bonus. The +d6 Bardic Inspiration bonus. To be sure, these bonuses strain bounded accuracy, and complaints exist because of combinations. Rerolls remain more stable.

A central skill will already have a +5 bonus, from a +3 ability and a +2 proficiency. At the master tier, this improves to a +10 bonus.

The DM needs to routinely adjudicate challenges for an expert character, that still remain possible for the other characters that are nonexperts to attempt.



For now, expertise, allows the expert to reroll a d20 for a skill that one is expert in. So, if the expert gains a situational advantage, one of the two d20 rolls can be rerolled.
 
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Xaelvaen

Explorer
I seek to rethink what ‘expertise’ means. Something different than number porn. If the purpose of the Rogue expertise is to autowin a skill check, then just say this. ‘Once per rest, you automatically win one d20 roll for a skill that you have expertise with.’ If the purpose of expertise is to make the expert more reliable with skill checks, there are ways to do this without rupturing bounded accuracy. For example, a d20 roll that is less than 10 counts as 10.
Not sure if it's appropriate for your vision, but in our 5E home games, I converted expertise to the old proficiency dice system in the playtest material for 5E. +2 = 1d4, +3 = 1d6, and so forth. That way it makes the skill reliable, and very rarely 'doubles' the skill. I know my rogues rather enjoy the change - something fun about dropping in a different die with the d20 to roll.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
i like this thinking its nice if you can do context overlap... how much value should that skill check be in combat?
Hopefully the math for skill check is identical with the math for a combat attack. In this way, players can freely use skills in combat in a way that is ‘fair’, and DMs can easily adjudicate narrative surprises. Alternatively, breaking down a door can be an attack in a noncombat scenario.

For this reason, any bonus that improves a skill check must also be available in combat.

The basic concern is:

What does ‘expertise’ with a sword look like?

What is its math?
 

Yaarel

Explorer
Not sure if it's appropriate for your vision, but in our 5E home games, I converted expertise to the old proficiency dice system in the playtest material for 5E. +2 = 1d4, +3 = 1d6, and so forth. That way it makes the skill reliable, and very rarely 'doubles' the skill. I know my rogues rather enjoy the change - something fun about dropping in a different die with the d20 to roll.
I might do something like this after all for expertise.

But since the average of 1d4 is 2 (rather 2.5), I am unsure how it helps the math.

If someone has ‘expertise’ with a sword, it seems imbalancing in combat if adding a +1d12 expertise bonus to the attack by a ‘master’ swordfighter on top of whose proficiency is already +6.



As mentioned earlier, I am tentatively going with expertise being a reroll of the d20. In other words, this makes the expert more reliable, but less than superhuman.

Alternatively, the Bard routinely adds a +1d6 and the Bless spell a +1d4, and no one seems to be complaining about this (too much).

If going this route, the Bard and the Bless would explicitly be an ‘expertise bonus’ thus unable to stack with an expertise skill bonus, if any.



Again the balanced math for expertise boils down to the possibility of ‘sword expertise’.

Note, the Archery fighting style effectively adds a +2 expertise bonus to bow attacks. This can easily be a +1d4 for players who like to roll dice. By itself, the Archery bonus is no problem. But in combination with other bonuses, there are number of complaints. So the Foursome system needs to eliminate the ‘untyped’ bonuses, and assign one from a mathematically manageable handful of bonus types. Same type cannot stack with itself.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
In the Original Post.

• I added a section called Styles and Realms [[≈ 4e Sources]].

• I statted the wood elf.

Check these out.




The purpose of the design of the wood elf is to compare with the design of the human.

Because all races use ability prerequisites, rather than ability boosts, abilities are no longer an issue when balancing races with each other. Every race, human or otherwise, arranges the same ‘heroic array’: +3, +2, +1, +0. The only difference is, it is impossible for a player to assign the +0 to the Dexterity of a wood elf character.

With abilities no longer a balance worry, the design space that remains for other race features is beefy. Every race design has a chassis that is equal to three halffeats.

A feat is exactly equal to an ability bonus improvement by +1. A feat is worth two halffeats. A halffeat is worth roughly four skill proficiencies. Or sometimes a halffeat seems worth about two extra-good proficiencies, such as a martial weapon or a spell cantrip. A halffeat also seams worth a spell from the second spell level, such as Darkvision or Misty Step per rest, or equivalently telepathy. Tho note, Darkvision seems more comparable to a cantrip, thus half a halffeat.

During the zero levels of the Advancement table, the Race level is worth one halffeat. Then the Feat level is commandeered for the race powers. Humans choose an actual feat. The wood elf gets assigned two halffeats: Elven Accuracy and Fleet of Foot. The accuracy is a nod to the 4e wood elf, and it balances with the 5e Elven Accuracy (half)feat. I am happy how this works out, both beefy like 4e and low level like 5e.

In 5e, the intention of the elf Trance rules is to use vague language that under scrutiny is mechanically useless. By contrast, the effort to speak clearly about mechanics of Trance results in a potent elf feature. The Trance is a short rest (namely one hour). The elf is fully aware of the surroundings, and can keep guard while others sleep. An elf is immune to the Unconscious condition, thus the Sleep spell that inflicts it fails to work. By implication, an elf is always conscious unless destroyed.

All of the races equal each other in abilities and power. The human race tends to have more free choice. So character optimizers might prefer the human. I am fine with this. I prefer a more human centric setting. The versatility expresses the flavor of human learning and individuation.

In sum, the zero levels for race and feat allow a design space of three halffeats. This amount is substantial to cover an assemblage of significant abilities and powers that can prevent the different races from feeling ‘samey’.



In addition to the race and feat levels, the skill level and class levels can often even more design space to elaborate a race design concept.

The skill level supplies the ‘livelihood’ [[profession, background]]. Each race will have its own cultures and each culture its own unique livelihoods. I have in mind the ‘Grugach culture’ of the wood elf. Thus players can choose among livelihoods such as: ‘Grugach trapper’ who makes pit and snares to capture animals. ‘Cooshee trainer’ who raises and trains the Grugach elf dogs. And so on. There can be ‘Griffon riders’ and ‘unicorn knights’ in the ‘Gray culture’ of high elves. Drow females versus Drow males.

Each culture needs its own institutions that exist outside of combat. Use the skill levels of the Advancement table to spell out the stats for these.

When it comes to race specializations in combat, there can even be ‘race as class’. The zero levels include the talent level and the class level. For example, the Fighter class will use these two levels for basic Fighter abilities, such as martial weapon proficiencies. A race class can instead use these two levels for other features that are more pertinent to the race, such as high elf Elven Archer, so as to pick up bow proficiency and a cantrip or so instead of heavy armor proficiency. After this, the Elven Archer can go from there to the remaining Fighter levels or the remaining Wizard levels. Think of a race class as a kind of prestige class that can be a tweak at levels here and there, or a full class, depending on what the concept requires.



So race design includes a race level with a halffeat and a feat level for a full feat for a substantial race feature. Find the race skills and institutions separately in the skill level. If further race design space is necessary for special combat, then create a race class. All of these four levels are in the zero levels. They give designers lots of room to flesh out a race or culture concept. At the same time, the result will moreorless balance alongside standard 5e characters.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
NPCs usually get a defeated condition instead of dying. Only important distinction once in a while and you might specify it on the creature.

A swarm which is defeated is like a defeated army they are scattered or in retreat depending on the quality of leadership) and maybe a diplomacy or intimidate might force them back together in a manner similar to a heal check.
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
I might do something like this after all for expertise.
We are right now experimenting with a similar system, where you can roll a limited number of d6s (daily resource) to add to a d20 roll. The rule is, it literally increases what the dice counts as, and like a true d20, it cannot roll higher than 20.

That might help you in the design for expertise. So if your proficiency is 5 (d10), you roll the d10, add it to the d20, capped at 20. Then you add all your static numbers as usual. At level 20, this lets you have a small chance (1 in 12) to turn an 8 into a 20. Still helps preserve bounded accuracy, and gives some 'reliability' without quite the same power as Advantage.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
That might help you in the design for expertise. So if your proficiency is 5 (d10), you roll the d10, add it to the d20, capped at 20. Then you add all your static numbers as usual. At level 20, this lets you have a small chance (1 in 12) to turn an 8 into a 20. Still helps preserve bounded accuracy, and gives some 'reliability' without quite the same power as Advantage.
Earlier, I didnt realize that the total of the d20 + expertise caps at 20. I like the way it stays within bounded accuracy. Essentially, the approach increases 20s while still allowing 2s to be possible.



I went to Anydice.com to see what the stats look like. The formula for the output is:

[lowest of (d20 + d4) and 20] + 2

The bolded number on the right is the proficiency bonus, and the bolded die on the left is the expertise bonus.

I have an image of the graphs for when the proficiency bonuses are 2, 4, and 6.



Expertise d4.png
 
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