Here's The Pathfinder 2nd Edition Skill List!

It's another Tuesday, which means another look at the previous night's Pathfinder 2nd Edition preview! There's only a couple of month to go until the full playtest rules are released (I have the hardcover on pre-order). Until then, Paizo continue with their twice-weekly glimpses into the ruleset - and this time we look at skills!


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  • 17 base skills down from 35.
  • Lots of consolidation -- Athletics contains a bunch, and Use Magic Device is replaced by the relevant Lore skill
  • You are trained in more skills than before -- fighter has an extra one, for example (3+ Int mod)
  • Skill list --
    • Acrobatics (Dex)
    • Arcana (Int)
    • Athletics (Str)
    • Crafting (Int)
    • Deception (Cha)
    • Diplomacy (Cha)
    • Intimidation (Cha)
    • Lore (Int)
    • Medicine (Wis)
    • Nature (Wis)
    • Occultism (Int)
    • Performance (Cha)
    • Religion (Wis)
    • Society (Int)
    • Stealth (Dex)
    • Survival (Wis)
    • Thievery (Dex)
  • Skill proficiency --
    • Untrained -2, trained +0, expert +1, master +2, legendary +3 (plus level and ability modifier)
    • Each level of proficiency unlocks new skill uses
    • Medicine's Administer First Aid ability is available at the untrained level, being trained allows you to Treat Disease and Treat Poison
  • Skill feats --
    • Usually at even levels you choose a skill feat
    • Rogues get them every level
    • Prerequisite is a level of proficiency in a skill (e.g. "legendary in Medicine")
    • Example is the Legendary Medic, which lets you remove diseases and conditions.
    • Stealth has skill feats like Quiet Allies (help your party sneak), Swift Sneak (move at full speed while sneaking), and at legendary level you just sneak everywhere constantly.
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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Yaarel

Adventurer
They mentioned in an earlier blog that since Perception was such a must-have skill, they just made it Trained for everyone.
Good enough.

But better, is to represent someone with a ‘trained eye’ to notice and discern certain kinds of things.

An alchemist will notice and recognize faint chemical smells, but might be oblivious to animal foot prints or to structural cracks in a supporting pillar.

A covert operative who studies stealth is better able to detect someone else who is employing stealth.

And so on.
 
Aside from Proficiency level unlocking skill uses, the range of skills is so flat, which would make sense to me if they were using bounded accuracy.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
Another one that thinks char level shouldn't have such a large influence on proficiency rolls.

If a 0 lvl character is a Trained Farmer, she has a prof modifier of 0. She decides the heck with farming and takes up adventuring. Five years later, she returns as a 20 lvl character having never farmed another minute. But now she has a Farming prof modifier of 20. Char lvl of 20 + Trained (0) = 20. She is now a much better farmer, at least at basic farming skills, then her sister who has spent the last five years farming. Don't see this is a believable system.
That's not any worse than third or fourth edition, or Pathfinder 1E. You'd have to back to the previous millennium to find an edition where killing goblins didn't make you better at farming.

Fifth edition makes it less silly, since the level-based bonus only goes from +2 to +6 across twenty levels, but the underlying issue remains.
 

prosfilaes

Villager
If a 0 lvl character is a Trained Farmer, she has a prof modifier of 0. She decides the heck with farming and takes up adventuring. Five years later, she returns as a 20 lvl character having never farmed another minute. But now she has a Farming prof modifier of 20. Char lvl of 20 + Trained (0) = 20. She is now a much better farmer, at least at basic farming skills, then her sister who has spent the last five years farming. Don't see this is a believable system.
Isn't it much more important to the believability that in five years, she's gone from a nobody to being one of the most powerful beings on the planet? Yes, she's a much better farmer, too, but that seems to be missing the forest for the trees.

Pathfinder isn't concerned about realism in this fashion. There have been other systems that took more concern about that, that only let you put points in skills you've practiced, for example. General opinion seems to be that it wasn't fun. Pathfinder is all about big heroes doing amazing things, and that they fast outpace the NPCs in the world is not a problem.
 

Shasarak

Villager
Another one that thinks char level shouldn't have such a large influence on proficiency rolls.

If a 0 lvl character is a Trained Farmer, she has a prof modifier of 0. She decides the heck with farming and takes up adventuring. Five years later, she returns as a 20 lvl character having never farmed another minute. But now she has a Farming prof modifier of 20. Char lvl of 20 + Trained (0) = 20. She is now a much better farmer, at least at basic farming skills, then her sister who has spent the last five years farming. Don't see this is a believable system.
Just make the sister an Expert at farming and that solves most of your problems.
 

mellored

Explorer
Seems a bit odd that a level 4 character who is untrained in a skill would have the same bonus as a level 1 who is a master...
Bonuses aren't everything. The master could still do more things with their skill than a high-level untrained person.

But overall I agree. I wish the +level bonus was reduced to +1/2 level, or +1/4 level (like 5e)
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Isn't it much more important to the believability that in five years, she's gone from a nobody to being one of the most powerful beings on the planet? Yes, she's a much better farmer, too, but that seems to be missing the forest for the trees.

Pathfinder isn't concerned about realism in this fashion. There have been other systems that took more concern about that, that only let you put points in skills you've practiced, for example. General opinion seems to be that it wasn't fun. Pathfinder is all about big heroes doing amazing things, and that they fast outpace the NPCs in the world is not a problem.
I had a whole exposition concerning my take on this at Paizo, but basically in my opinion it better models what happens in the real world than PF1 does - namely, that we improve in all sorts of skills gradually over time whether we realize it. Now, we may not improve in ALL skills, but to me it makes no sense that Mr. Level 20 ex-farmboy would not know a little bit more about farming, just from having interacted in downtime with the plethora or Farmers, Commoners, Laborers, etc. he’s met over his career that we don’t see on-camera, because we don’t track every waking moment of our characters’ lives. If average people absorb tons of minute details of skills in the background over the course of their lives, how much more so for the hero-gods that adventurers become over the course of their adventuring careers.

Remember that an Untrained +18 is not the same as a Master +18 - the gated capabilities mean that the Untrained adventurer can perform the most basic of tasks easily, but anything of any even moderate complexity he doesn’t know how to do. Using the example in the Medicine skill, basic profession (Farming) untrained means he can work as a farm hand quite easily, and keep everything alive and running for a day - but actually RUNNING a farm as a successful business might be a trained, or even Expert task. (I’m being totally hypothetical here, because I sincerely doubt they put much effort into Profession (Farmer) other than making profession checks for daily wages.)
 

Shasarak

Villager
Bonuses aren't everything. The master could still do more things with their skill than a high-level untrained person.

But overall I agree. I wish the +level bonus was reduced to +1/2 level, or +1/4 level (like 5e)
Personally I just would not use a level 0 character as a model for a Master of anything. I definitely would not use such a flat level bonus.
 

Riley37

Villager
Another one that thinks char level shouldn't have such a large influence on proficiency rolls.

If a 0 lvl character is a Trained Farmer, she has a prof modifier of 0. She decides the heck with farming and takes up adventuring. Five years later, she returns as a 20 lvl character having never farmed another minute. But now she has a Farming prof modifier of 20. Char lvl of 20 + Trained (0) = 20. She is now a much better farmer, at least at basic farming skills, then her sister who has spent the last five years farming. Don't see this is a believable system.
The veteran who has reached level 20 is better at sowing seeds, watering and weeding because she has developed an ability to stay on task, regardless of distractions, fatigue, or conflicted motives. Her brother, at level 0 and Proficient or Expert in farming, may slow down when he gets bored or tired; he may get sloppy and do a half-assed job, even though he knows *how* to do a better job. She is used to following through on tasks as if her life depended on it... because it has.

"Gettin' clear o’ dirtiness, gettin' done with mess,
Gettin' shut o' doin' things rather-more-or-less"
- Kipling
 
This looks way more complicated. I liked the much simpler skill design before, and you could take feats to improve Skills or just simply add a DC for a new use (or even back in D&D 3.5, Skill Tricks were awesome for those with too many skill points and needed something cool to do with a Skill once per encounter).

It's like Paizo lost its mind and is going in all sorts of directions with PF2. Still not buying any of this.
 

Jhaelen

Villager
That actually looks like a rather decent list to me. I think, the revised skill system may be the thing I actually like best about Pathfinder 2.
 

houser2112

Explorer
Koloth said:
Another one that thinks char level shouldn't have such a large influence on proficiency rolls.

If a 0 lvl character is a Trained Farmer, she has a prof modifier of 0. She decides the heck with farming and takes up adventuring. Five years later, she returns as a 20 lvl character having never farmed another minute. But now she has a Farming prof modifier of 20. Char lvl of 20 + Trained (0) = 20. She is now a much better farmer, at least at basic farming skills, then her sister who has spent the last five years farming. Don't see this is a believable system.
That's not any worse than third or fourth edition, or Pathfinder 1E. You'd have to back to the previous millennium to find an edition where killing goblins didn't make you better at farming.

Fifth edition makes it less silly, since the level-based bonus only goes from +2 to +6 across twenty levels, but the underlying issue remains.
In 3.PF, leveling was the only way to get better at farming (provided you opted to sink points into Profession (Farming)), but leveling didn't automatically make you better at farming the way PF2 does.

5E's system is bad on the other extreme. The only way to get better at the skills you have (proficiency bonus) grows very slowly, AND the only means of acquiring new skills, multiclassing or feat/ASI expenditure, are very costly and may not even be available, depending on DM.
 
S

Sunseeker

Guest
Kinda an odd list of overlapping "knowledge" skills, except for Society.

"Arcana" is pretty traditional.
"Lore" seems far too generic.
"Occultism" and "Religion" are nearly identical depending on your religious leanings.

Don't really like "Thievery" as a replacement for "Sleight of Hand". A non-magical magician isn't a thief because he's good with card tricks. But a guy running a shell game is good at Sleight of Hand while he's trying to steal from you. Ya know, square is not a rectangle and all that.

Still not really liking the -2 to +3 system. The fact that "trained" is +0 is IMO, a waste of word space. We don't need a rule for nothing. Also one of the big appeals to me of PF1 over 3.X is that class skills give you an auto 3 point bump.
 

zztong

Explorer
Paizo's super-heroic character goal might well be served by adding level to skill checks, and by itself it would have been a slight simplification of the character leveling process if it weren't for the added complexity of skill feats. I do kind of like the effect their getting out of skill feats (declarations of mastery and unlocking of abilities) but I'm of mixed feelings relating that to Feats.

I personally prefer not to add level to skill checks, but I don't have the same setting/story goals as Paizo. I don't escalate my DCs with level, and that has the nice effect of encouraging more broadly defined characters. I don't want characters to be gods compared to the common man. Its also possible to get what I call declarations of mastery by equating certain outputs to certain skill rolls. For instance, I equate a "master craftsman" with a +10 skill roll since they could "take 10" and get a masterwork result. The old DragonQuest did similar in that skill levels unlocked abilities.

I look at the PF2 skill system as another sign that Paizo and I are (sadly) headed in different directions. I want a touch more realism and they want more super-hero.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
In 3.PF, leveling was the only way to get better at farming (provided you opted to sink points into Profession (Farming)), but leveling didn't automatically make you better at farming the way PF2 does.
Fair enough. I definitely remember thinking how weird it was in 4E, that a level 15 fighter would know more about religion than a level 1 cleric would, but 4E had other problems. (Of note, the default game assumptions basically stated that a level 15 fighter should never even be in the same room as a level 1 cleric; and proponents of that edition would probably suggest that, if you're playing the fighter, then the level 1 cleric would be better written out as a minion.)

After years of trying to redeem 4E, I basically decided that I was okay with this aspect, in principle. By level 15, you would have come across so many different religions and monsters that it makes sense for you to have learned something along the way. Of course, 4E also had very broad skills, and nothing at all in the way of crafting or profession skills. That doesn't look to be true of PF2E, at least in its current incarnation.
 

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