Is expertise badly designed?

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
Also, isn't Bounded Accuracy specifically about attack rolls and AC?

Expertise is about skill rolls.
No, bounded accuracy is about making every die roll meaningful. It's about never making it so that PC #1 can't possibly fail while simultaneously PC #2 can't possibly succeed. It doesn't matter what kind of die roll it is.

The entire point is to stop making rules that tell people to roll dice when the die rolls don't matter. The DM should only call for a roll to challenge the PCs. Certain success is not a challenge. Certain failure is not a challenge. If the task is so easy or so dire, just narrate it. Dice are what you use when you need equitable uncertainty of outcomes.

That's why very high bonuses are bad. That's why the core game essentially limits you to -1 to +11 without magic, and tells you that DC 15 is moderate, DC 10 is easy and DC 20 is hard. If someone has a +17 bonus, then the DM can't set a DC that meaningfully challenges both that PC and the non-proficient PC who still has a -1.

Personally, I would rather Expertise give you a +2 or +3, or otherwise worked like a luck point.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
Only rogues and bards get it. So, by this, a rogue/bard will be better at any skill they have expertise than any other class. This makes no sense that a rogue or bard can be better just because they are "skill monkeys" and its "their thing."
Isn't that the entire point of being a skill monkey class? You don't get powerful, auto-success abilities like spells, but you have a high chance of succeeding on mundane skill rolls.

who as an evocation specialized wizard in 5e should know less about being a magical electrician than a specialized magical electrician
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The wizard in question had expertise and the artificer didn't. To invest in that shows that the wizard was more specialised in knowing arcana than the artificer, and the rules would bear that out.

What was the issue?
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Sure, moving unnoticed in a crowd is different, but the principle of not drawing attention to yourself still works. In a crowd as DM if you want to create a distraction that isn't going to involve Stealth proficiency at all, since it isn't about moving stealthily at that point. It isn't about being unnoticed so much as making people look somewhere else.

However, moving around a dark warehouse, streets at night, or another urban non-crowd situation would be different than a forest how? Its about avoiding notice and keeping noise to a minimum. I have no problem with a rogue being very good at being stealthy regardless of environment, since they know how to avoid notice and keep noise to a minimum.
You do know how a forest differs from say... manhattan & wallstreet or the businesses & apartments on either right?...

The wizard in question had expertise and the artificer didn't. To invest in that shows that the wizard was more specialised in knowing arcana than the artificer, and the rules would bear that out.

What was the issue?
The fact that anything the wizard even needed to roll on was all but impossible for the artificer by the end of the game. There is also the arcane trickster from sharn with expertise stealth making the gloomstalker's stealth out in the wilderness favored terrains of Xendriik & depths of Khyber equally pointless in another game
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Moving about unnoticed in a crowd? Sounds like a Charisma (stealth) check to me.
very possibly, although moving about unnoticed in places like businesses, apartments, etc often is more based on the wisdom to do it in such a way that people don't care when they see you. Charisma(stealth) thieve's tools(cha) arcana(cha) & such might work well to convince them that you are the telecom/alarm/elevator/etc technician you are dressed as when they stop &challenge your disguise in some manner... although unfortunately all of those are grouped under "deception". A lot of the problems that cause people to grumble about the SAD charisma classes that do well in combat and dominate in any social situation could have been avoided if the 3.5 charisma skills still mostly all existed & the rest of the skills had more skill(cha) trappings like those.
 
I really can't see how moving through a crowd is Charisma. I would go for Int personally, but I can see a valid argument for Wis.

But Charisma in D&D is all about projecting your personality and will. That's the very opposite of what you want to do when blending in.
 

Anoth

Adventurer
I really can't see how moving through a crowd is Charisma. I would go for Int personally, but I can see a valid argument for Wis.

But Charisma in D&D is all about projecting your personality and will. That's the very opposite of what you want to do when blending in.
Deception kinda disagrees with that
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
I really can't see how moving through a crowd is Charisma. I would go for Int personally, but I can see a valid argument for Wis.

But Charisma in D&D is all about projecting your personality and will. That's the very opposite of what you want to do when blending in.
I agree that moving through a crowd is probably more wis, int, or flat out intimidate.... The charisma is probably the tendency to apply charisma with an overly broad net for anything that involves interacting with others outside of combat but stealth in an urban environment like sharn for this & this kinda stuff has nothing to do with "stealth" & often little to do with charisma

@Anoth Deception is another overly broad skill that tends to be interpreted as any misleading statement rather than just general verbal bullshitting. the fact that there are no charisma trappings noted for the various other skills makes it worse because there is a need to think how to stretch those skills to cover the situations they should... it doesn't help that a lot of gm's will just reflexively say no to can I use $skill to convince this guy I'm $thing that skill(normalStat) or even skill(cha) should cover because phb175 skills with different ability scores is a variant rule without the structure needed to really apply it.
 
Deception (Charisma) is fine for Fast Talk. Or just outright lying with a straight face. Which is the bulk of Deception rolls and is about projecting force of will and personality.

There are other uses that may come up, where other stats would be more appropriate - but this falls into the same grounds as Steath - the choice of stat is reflexive as much as anything.

I actually feel that the skill list is overly specific for how much of an afterthought it is (and that's probably a legacy of previous editions).

I think overall it works a lot better actually if the GM just calls for the appropriate ability roll based on what the player describes and then the player makes a case that proficiency applies.

For example, there are orcs camped on the floor of a valley; the ranger player explains how they want to circle right around the upper valley keeping to the shadows and using any cover they can find to keep out of sight. The GM thinks about it for a second and realises that the Ranger is too far away to actually make any noise that will be heard and it's all about how well the Ranger can spot effective cover and also watch the Orcs so that he keeps an eye on when the guards are looking up. He calls for a Wisdom roll. The player then says, "Hey, I'm trained in Stealth I assume I can add that" The GM agrees.

Do it this way and you realise just how easily the skill list is chopped and changed or replaced entirely. It could just as easily be proficieny in "Hunting" as it is in "Stealth". You don't even need the same characters too have the same skills. The Barbarian could have "Carousing" as a social skill, while the Fighter might have "Leadership". The main thing is that both of them roll the appropriate ability score and add a proficiency if it's relevant.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Deception (Charisma) is fine for Fast Talk. Or just outright lying with a straight face. Which is the bulk of Deception rolls and is about projecting force of will and personality.

There are other uses that may come up, where other stats would be more appropriate - but this falls into the same grounds as Steath - the choice of stat is reflexive as much as anything.

I actually feel that the skill list is overly specific for how much of an afterthought it is (and that's probably a legacy of previous editions).

I think overall it works a lot better actually if the GM just calls for the appropriate ability roll based on what the player describes and then the player makes a case that proficiency applies.

For example, there are orcs camped on the floor of a valley; the ranger player explains how they want to circle right around the upper valley keeping to the shadows and using any cover they can find to keep out of sight. The GM thinks about it for a second and realises that the Ranger is too far away to actually make any noise that will be heard and it's all about how well the Ranger can spot effective cover and also watch the Orcs so that he keeps an eye on when the guards are looking up. He calls for a Wisdom roll. The player then says, "Hey, I'm trained in Stealth I assume I can add that" The GM agrees.

Do it this way and you realise just how easily the skill list is chopped and changed or replaced entirely. It could just as easily be proficieny in "Hunting" as it is in "Stealth". You don't even need the same characters too have the same skills. The Barbarian could have "Carousing" as a social skill, while the Fighter might have "Leadership". The main thing is that both of them roll the appropriate ability score and add a proficiency if it's relevant.
That would be great if there were enough skills to cover that, but they were so condensed, you named a few (hunting, carousing, leadership, etc) that aren't 5e skills in your example & in the process highlighted how overly condensed they are. Yea you can add more skills to 5e in an attempt to fix some of these problems but it's complicated by the fact that players don't get enough skills for them to really change anything.
 
That would be great if there were enough skills to cover that, but they were so condensed, you named a few (hunting, carousing, leadership, etc) that aren't 5e skills in your example & in the process highlighted how overly condensed they are. Yea you can add more skills to 5e in an attempt to fix some of these problems but it's complicated by the fact that players don't get enough skills for them to really change anything.
I'm not talking about adding skills. I'm talking about how easily they can be chopped and changed and reconfigured. This isn't 3.5 where every skill had it's own specific set of rules and DCs. It's houseruling - but even the DMG provides 3 different proficiency alternatives to the current skill system.

In some ways 5E is quite similar to Numenera (In that skills are vaguely defined with little specific rules, provide only two flat levels of bonus, and training by itself isn't much of a predictor of success or failure). Except in Numenera there's no single list that proficiencies come from. And it doesn't matter if they overlap. So you could give Fighter's proficiency in 'Athletics' but Rogues proficiency in 'Climbing'.

And then there's 13th Age where you just have backgrounds, and you tell a story to explain how the background applies.

5E really ties itself into knots by pretending skills are a lot more meaningful than they actually are (at least at the levels practically everyone plays at).
 

dnd4vr

Keeper of the Seven Keys
Isn't that the entire point of being a skill monkey class? You don't get powerful, auto-success abilities like spells, but you have a high chance of succeeding on mundane skill rolls.
Being a skill monkey can be accomplished through other means. Also, it shouldn't be the bright star, so to say, for either class IMO. Also, bards are already the true skill monkeys via Jack-of-all-trades.

Otherwise, I also like the idea of limiting rogue expertise to skills from the rogue class list.
Allowing bards, who can selected any skill as a class skill, to choose expertise in anything is more appropriate at least given the nature of the class.
Granting players the choice of expertise from a background skill by sacrificing the other also removes problems, as does deciding to use the UA skill-feats and expanding Prodigy to all races.
 
The Unearthed Arcana variants have greatly expanded the range of Expertise anyway. Now Rangers and Barbarians have access to expertise and Battlemasters can expend superiority dice for a similar effect.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Expertise is well designed.

Shoving and Grappling aren't. They should have been Saving Throws vs 8+Prof+Str.
This a million times.

Actually, this and Stealth. Perception should at least be a saving throw and saving throws should all scale.

Hu, something I like from Pathfinder 2.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
I play a ranger in OotA. Justified by his background story and several sessions within the game he has got underdark as favored territory now. Means he never can get totally lost there. If he does not know the exact path to a target he at least gets a good guess what the general direction is and if the tunnels split up he knows which one is more likely to lead to his target.
That is pretty powerful imho, is it overpowered? Well a ranger should excel at such tasks so I just say it is not.
With a rogue you surely got other options also to spend you ASI, since you need stealth, perception and investigation on top of sleight of hand and lockpicking. You need Int, Wis, Dex, and everyone needs Con.
So if you need Cha also because you like to be good at deception, then expertise is the only way around the rogues MAD. So here I also say, it is ok by me. Does not matter that the rogue scales some obstacle with 100% assurance, when the rest of his party cannot.
 

S'mon

Legend
Works fine.

Arguably Reliable Talent at Rogue-11 is a bit OTT since it means auto success on nearly all checks IME, but given that Rogues are the skill monkeys it works well to mark them out with a power different from but equal to that of the spellcasters.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
You do know how a forest differs from say... manhattan & wallstreet or the businesses & apartments on either right?...
. . . And climbing walls is different from swimming is different from judo.
5e skill system is not designed to be that granular.

The fact that anything the wizard even needed to roll on was all but impossible for the artificer by the end of the game.
Really? Assuming the artificer was of equal intelligence and proficient, there should only have been a +6 difference at the mythological level. When you're rolling a d20, a 6-point difference is nice, but is hardly the difference between "Not quite auto-success" and "all but impossible".
What am I missing?

There is also the arcane trickster from sharn with expertise stealth making the gloomstalker's stealth out in the wilderness favored terrains of Xendriik & depths of Khyber equally pointless in another game
That does indeed sound odd. Does favoured terrain give a Stealth bonus?
Without the benefits of darkness, the difference should just be the proficiency bonus, but after the ranger casts Pass Without trace, the numbers should have been to the ranger's advantage, not the rogue's.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
7
. . . And climbing walls is different from swimming is different from judo.
5e skill system is not designed to be that granular.

Really? Assuming the artificer was of equal intelligence and proficient, there should only have been a +6 difference at the mythological level. When you're rolling a d20, a 6-point difference is nice, but is hardly the difference between "Not quite auto-success" and "all but impossible".
What am I missing?

That does indeed sound odd. Does favoured terrain give a Stealth bonus?
Without the benefits of darkness, the difference should just be the proficiency bonus, but after the ranger casts Pass Without trace, the numbers should have been to the ranger's advantage, not the rogue's.
now your starting to see As soon as the druid or ranger suggest casting pass without a trace on the ranger, someone in the party would suggest they not waste the slot & just wait here while milo checks it out. It got to be so problematic in that game that even the ranger started nodding his head whenever the AT would say something like " $d20Roll plus like a billion... so... $sillyResult" & at least once pointed out that the AT probably didn't even need to roll. The ranger eventually quit even trying to stealth because he was always the weak link that got detected no matter the situation if they were both out there. Even if I as the gm didn't make it clear who/what was seen the fact that the AT would need to roll bad & him good for him to not be mathmatically the weak link left an understandable bad taste in his mouth.

Ranger favored terrain allows them to stealth at speed rather than half speed so the ranger could more quickly reach ta further away point he'd get spotted at & run back past the invisible stalker AT who was then lined up to be even more awesome if anything was giving chase to the ranger.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
As soon as the druid or ranger suggest casting pass without a trace on the ranger, someone in the party would suggest they not waste the slot & just wait here while milo checks it out.
Sometimes that just happens. Like, I'm playing a rogue in a game right now, and she's plenty stealthy. But the wizard's familiar can fly and also won't attract attention if seen in most circumstances, because it's just a bird. So when there's scouting to be done, we send in the familiar--but in a different party, I might be doing all the scouting.

I don't think it's a flaw of the game; it's just one of the quirks of how two features happen to overlap.
 

dnd4vr

Keeper of the Seven Keys
Moving about unnoticed in a crowd? Sounds like a Charisma (stealth) check to me.
Would it?

Blending into a crowd... are you "hiding" or "trying to seem to fit in or belong"?

If you are "hiding", I would still rule DEX (Stealth), if you are "blending", I would go with CHA (Deception).

The concept of CHA and Stealth IMO actually oppose each other. CHA is your personality, confidence, or "putting yourself out there", etc. and Stealth is about "pulling back, hiding, being unobtrusive".
 

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