Is expertise badly designed?

tetrasodium

Adventurer
What roll would you call for when trying to blend in to a crowd? I don't see that Dexterity has anything to do with it, personally.
it depends on the crowd, take for example (iirc) one of the embers from the last war modules was an artificer lab kind of thing with a staff breakroom (or I added one when I ran it)... blending in there would probably be arcana or some relevant tradeskill type tool profession to pass oneself off as part of the usual nerdytype staff or at least someone who belongs in the building... blending into the crowd at a high society event might be knowledge nobility... but that doesn't exist in 5e & was poorly scoped iwhen it did so goes back to diplomacy for everything, but I might also allow creative application of chef-tools(cha) or something because those types of jobs require some level of understanding how to interact at that sort of event. a generic crowd like busy Manhattan streets/parade spectator crowds/etc would depend on if it was planned surveillance(when was the last time you asked a guy with a telecom shirt, hardhat, clipboard, & some specialized looking tool for proof of his job?), attempting to escape (intimidate no questions!), or escape streetwise(wis) or similar to know how to turn into the right kind of a store/alley/etc & vanish probably but there is -no- skill that even kinda applies for this in 5e.

You could add a bunch of skills to fix a lot of these things, but that leads to problems because you either need two pools of skills or you have to make a lot of changes to a bunch of existing overly inclusive too widely scoped skills
 

Esker

Abventuree
Interesting, it adds a little more complexity though with the extra dice. I am always thinking about whether the trade-off would be worth it.
For sure. I don't know if it's worth it either, but I do like how the math works out relative to the design goal.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
You do know how a forest differs from say... manhattan & wallstreet or the businesses & apartments on either right?...
Yes, but ducking behind a tree or bushes isn't really that different than ducking behind a rubbish bin or a parked car. Not walking on broken glass is the same as avoiding loose leaves. Crossing a street to is similar to crossing a clearing.

My point isn't that they are identical, but rather an expert at being stealthy can use the same principles regardless of environment. The stealth rules still require the character to actually be unobserved, regardless of how they get to that state.

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
Given that stealth checks are either individual affairs, or used a group check where at least half the group must succeed it seems relatively reasonable that an expert at being stealthy would be an expert at being stealthy. The ranger is still an expert at his chosen stealthiness, the rogue just happens to be better at it in general, that really shouldn't negate the ranger's abilities to do his thing in the same way using say Arcana or Religion as a pass/fail for information.
 
As @NotAYakk insightfully pointed out in another thread, replacing d20 with 3d6 is mostly equivalent to just doubling bonuses and stretching out DCs, which would be another way to reduce the impact of luck.
Which struck me as an odd way of looking at it, but, whatever,

...if you use 2d10 or 3d6, you introduce diminishing returns of extra bonuses for tasks that start out as easy, whereas you actually make an additional bonus worth more for a task that starts out as moderately difficult....I kind of like that aspect of it, personally, since it means that the expert is mostly gaining when trying to perform tasks that would be somewhat challenging for a proficient character, but doesn't saturate easy tasks into foregone conclusions quite as much.
That's the idea. :)
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Hmm... it seems to me CHA is about being able to control how you are perceived.
then your looking at things like intimidate, persuade, courtly etiquette, some trade skill*, or similar not "stealth"

You can do what you want. I personally don’t like the idea of taking away from my stealth characters who are investing to be the stealth character by making them have a high dex and cha. Just my opinion.
The same applies in reverse and not just charisma characters the overly broad & inclusive set of trappings applied to stealth & persuade/deception "[Your]" stealth character is stomping on the arcana character wanting to pose as a magewright responsible for servicing a sharn lift, lamplighter, etc or a caracter skilled in cooking tools/mason tools/carpenter tools/etc from posing as a member of the kitchen staff/a mason called in to shore up the basement's drainage after that bog rainstorm cause the staff was worried about the wine cellar/the carpenter called in to make some improvements on the wine racks before the mason shows up to check the drainage/etc... but none of those characters are valued because persuade & deception cover -all- of those things
Yes, but ducking behind a tree or bushes isn't really that different than ducking behind a rubbish bin or a parked car. Not walking on broken glass is the same as avoiding loose leaves. Crossing a street to is similar to crossing a clearing.

My point isn't that they are identical, but rather an expert at being stealthy can use the same principles regardless of environment. The stealth rules still require the character to actually be unobserved, regardless of how they get to that state.



Given that stealth checks are either individual affairs, or used a group check where at least half the group must succeed it seems relatively reasonable that an expert at being stealthy would be an expert at being stealthy. The ranger is still an expert at his chosen stealthiness, the rogue just happens to be better at it in general, that really shouldn't negate the ranger's abilities to do his thing in the same way using say Arcana or Religion as a pass/fail for information.
your ducking behind a rubbish bin or parked car continues to show just how different it is moving about unnoticed in an urban environment like that compared to a natural environment. Think for a second how you would react if you saw someone "duck behind a trash can or parked car" while going about your day.. that kinda thing gets attention because it's strange & kinda crazy. Walking on leaves rather than quietly through them is something to avoid in a forest because it's an out of place sound in a comparatively quiet place... a city is loud & noisy enough that someone walking across broken glass in the street or walkway is not noticeable from anywhere but very close... but someone walking funny because they are trying to silently step across broken glass is very out of place from very far away (ie football field or more). The fact that td&d treats the two types of stealth the same leads to other problems like the druid who knows about every plant & animal in the forest including how to dress & skin a kill but can't even exhibit basic levels of hunter type stalking while stomping around looking for a deer to bag for camp or the fact that there are no skills that even kinda fit the sort of streetwise/social engineering/contacts/etc that apply to doing certain types of things in a city.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
your ducking behind a rubbish bin or parked car continues to show just how different it is moving about unnoticed in an urban environment like that compared to a natural environment. Think for a second how you would react if you saw someone "duck behind a trash can or parked car" while going about your day.. that kinda thing gets attention because it's strange & kinda crazy. Walking on leaves rather than quietly through them is something to avoid in a forest because it's an out of place sound in a comparatively quiet place... a city is loud & noisy enough that someone walking across broken glass in the street or walkway is not noticeable from anywhere but very close... but someone walking funny because they are trying to silently step across broken glass is very out of place from very far away (ie football field or more).
In fairness, the stealth rules for hiding don't apply if if I see somebody duck behind a trash can. Presumably the were never hidden, or failed their Dexterity (Stealth) check and didn't hide before I saw them. I'd also suggest that if I were following somebody with the intent to be hidden, particularly at night, avoiding making my own noises would be worth doing. Those noises could be not brushing against things to ensure rats don't scurry out, or scare the flock of pigeons off a statue.

During the day in Times Square, sure that broken glass isn't to make any difference, but I still want to stay behind people and out of sight otherwise I'm going to get made. I'd also want to use my Dexterity (Stealth) to slip between the throngs of people so I don't get some German tourist yelling at me that I just spilled their Venti Mocha Latte on their new chinos.

Think about the way a perp gets tailed in a police procedural. The cops are following until the suspect notices the cop following them, then they switch out. The cop following still does their best to stay behind things and be unobtrusive, until they fail then they fall back and use Deception to make it seem like they're just some person out for the day. When the suspect bolts that Deception has failed because they realize something is up.

If we're concerned about urban versus natural environments lets look at it this way: the rogue can still sneak up on a Daask group doing a dirty deal in a back alley in the Cogs This presumably involves hiding above, under on top things to remain unseen, as well as not knocking things over to prevent giving away their position. And I think the same principles apply to allow a character in the Eldeen Reaches while stalking an owl bear.

The fact that td&d treats the two types of stealth the same leads to other problems like the druid who knows about every plant & animal in the forest including how to dress & skin a kill but can't even exhibit basic levels of hunter type stalking while stomping around looking for a deer to bag for camp or the fact that there are no skills that even kinda fit the sort of streetwise/social engineering/contacts/etc that apply to doing certain types of things in a city.
Deception or Intimidation seem like good places to start for proficiency applications if you're working on distractions.

If the druid wants to be stealthy they roll a Dexterity check, and apply an appropriate proficiency. They may or may not have a Stealth proficiency. Never mind that bagging a deer or whatever for food is covered by the Survival proficiency, not the Stealth proficiency.

Moving through a crowd unnoticed can be used with that, but again its about hiding behind and around things and people. Moving through a crowded market still requires the character to hide their presence in some way, either behind people or things. I think Assassin's Creed 2 did a reasonable job of showing how this can be done, particularly when blending in with a group.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Hmm... it seems to me CHA is about being able to control how you are perceived.
That's more or less how I think of it when making a charisma stealth check to blend into the crowd. Stealth because you're trying to remain unnoticed. Charisma because you need to remain confident and controlled so as to not stand out by appearing nervous and checking for tails or checking if your the one your tailing has noticed you.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Hmmmm. Maybe we should make a new thread on building a better stealth system.
Maybe, but my main issues is that a Rogue with Expertise in Stealth has invested heavily in being stealthy. They should be stealthy in the vast majority of situations and environments, the player clearly decided that's what they want their character to be able to do. Plus, it's being super sneaky is very much in the rogue's wheelhouse.

If the DM really feels that the situations is so abnormal that the rogue shouldn't be "better" than the ranger or whatever then apply Disadvantage.

I was getting bogged down in the minutiae of how being stealthy could work, rather than reinforcing my point that it doesn't matter. D&D isn't granular enough to particularly care about the difference in material or environment most of the time. If a player is investing their character resources into being stealthy, that tells me they want the character to be stealthy, and the game is working as intended.
 

Esker

Abventuree
What do you think about my approach to make skills and training more granular? It's a few posts further back.
Do you mean this one? (For future reference, if requesting a response to a particular comment, it's helpful to link to it so the person you want to respond doesn't have to hunt; especially in a very active thread like this one)

So the idea is essentially just that expertise grants advantage, but then you also introduce an "unskilled" tier at which you have perma-disadvantage?

How would proficiency selection work in this system? Would you still pick skills to be proficient or expert in in the same way as RAW, but also get a certain number of picks to be "novice" in, with the rest being "unskilled"?
 

Anoth

Adventurer
Do you mean this one? (For future reference, if requesting a response to a particular comment, it's helpful to link to it so the person you want to respond doesn't have to hunt; especially in a very active thread like this one)

So the idea is essentially just that expertise grants advantage, but then you also introduce an "unskilled" tier at which you have perma-disadvantage?

How would proficiency selection work in this system? Would you still pick skills to be proficient or expert in in the same way as RAW, but also get a certain number of picks to be "novice" in, with the rest being "unskilled"?
My only problem with your system that is pretty good is that advantage is pretty easy to get already on a skill check.
 

Esker

Abventuree
Which struck me as an odd way of looking at it, but, whatever,
I think it was a really useful contribution in that it highlighted the aspects of the luck mechanic that actually matter: that is to say, the probabilities of success. The normalish curve you get by plotting probabilities of each individual roll doesn't really tell you much in itself, since you're never aiming for an exact roll, just to exceed a threshold.

And I thought it was helpful to note that you can't just switch to 3d6 and leave your DCs alone, because you're completely changing what DC 15 means, for example. It's like going from the U.S. to Australia and getting $15. You can have $15 in either place, but the number 15 only means something in a particular context.

For example, if we want to define a "fairly difficult" task for an average PC without training (figure a +1 ability mod as average) as something for which they have about a one in three chance (35%) of doing successfully, then when using 1d20 rolls, that makes the DC 15. If we want to define a 1/3 success task for the same character in a 3d6 system, then we need to set the DC around 13.

And then we can ask "what do we think being trained should do on a task that an untrained person can do with 35% success?" and ask the same question for other levels of difficulty, and for being an expert vs being trained.

The answer that RAW gives to all of those questions is, "it should increase the chance of success about 10%, increasing to 15%, then 20%, and eventually up to 30%". And this answer is the same regardless of the starting difficulty, obviously with the caveat that the chances can't go below 0 or above 100%.

The answer that you are implicitly giving if you switch to a 3d6 resolution mechanic and don't adjust bonuses or DCs is that the average untrained PC should succeed 1/3 as often at so-called "moderately difficult" tasks, and fail 1/3 as often on their "fairly easy" (DC 8 with a +1) counterparts, that on "fairly difficult" tasks, proficiency should raise your success rate by about 21% initially, and eventually about 67%, whereas expertise should initially further raise it an additional 25%, and eventually an additional 58%. On the other hand, for "fairly easy" tasks, proficiency should initially raise your success rate about 12%, and allow you to auto-succeed by level 17, whereas expertise should allow you to auto-succeed from level 1.

I think there are some nice aspects to that, but it's useful to realize that it's not all that different from making the proficiency bonus start at +4 and scale to +12 and adjusting everything else accordingly (most of the differences amount to less than a +/-1 on a d20 in either direction depending on the DC and starting bonus).
 
I think it was a really useful contribution in that it highlighted the aspects of the luck mechanic that actually matter: that is to say, the probabilities of success. The normalish curve you get by plotting probabilities of each individual roll doesn't really tell you much in itself, since you're never aiming for an exact roll, just to exceed a threshold.
Doesn't really matter if you're considering an exact roll, roll-under or match-or-beat, with a curve, where you are on the curve changes the value of that next +1, on a d20, it doesn't - until you fall off it, entirely.

And I thought it was helpful to note that you can't just switch to 3d6 and leave your DCs alone, because you're completely changing what DC 15 means.
You're not changing what it means, you're just changing the difference in probability between two characters with different bonuses succeeding, which is, of course, the point.
 

Esker

Abventuree
Doesn't really matter if you're considering an exact roll, roll-under or match-or-beat, with a curve, where you are on the curve changes the value of that next +1, on a d20, it doesn't - until you fall off it, entirely.
Right. But with 3d6 part of the reason the value of the +1 varies more is that it's functionally more like a +2, due to the fact that the rolls are not only bell-shaped, they're also more compressed.

You're not changing what it means, you're just changing the difference in probability between two characters with different bonuses succeeding, which is, of course, the point.
You are changing what it means. The number 15 doesn't mean anything in a vacuum; it only means something insofar as it translates to a certain probability of success. If you hold the bonus constant (at +1, say, which was my example), DC 15 is 35% success (roll a 14 or better) on a d20 roll, but only 16% success on a 3d6 roll. In what sense does that mean the same thing?

Now I guess you could reframe and say, "What I mean by 'moderately difficult' isn't how likely a reference character is to succeed, but rather what bonus a character needs to have a 50/50 shot." In that case, DC 15 translates to needing a +4 to have a 50/50 shot in both systems. But (I would argue) that's thinking about it backwards, because +4 doesn't mean anything in a vacuum either; it only means something insofar as the effect it has on the chance to succeed. And in a d20 system, +4 vs +0 is a 20% increase across the board, whereas in a 3d6 system, a +4 is, apart from a couple of very easy or very hard tasks, worth between 25% and as much as 56%. So in what sense is it reasonable to say that characters with +4s in both systems have the same level of skill? Except in that they both succeed at DC 15 checks half the time, but that's circular reasoning.
 

miggyG777

Explorer
Do you mean this one? (For future reference, if requesting a response to a particular comment, it's helpful to link to it so the person you want to respond doesn't have to hunt; especially in a very active thread like this one)

So the idea is essentially just that expertise grants advantage, but then you also introduce an "unskilled" tier at which you have perma-disadvantage?

How would proficiency selection work in this system? Would you still pick skills to be proficient or expert in in the same way as RAW, but also get a certain number of picks to be "novice" in, with the rest being "unskilled"?
Untrained is the baseline.
Novice is gained through downtime training, usage of the skill.
Proficiency is gained like RAW.
Expert is gained by putting an extra proficiency point into a proficient skill.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
In fairness, the stealth rules for hiding don't apply if if I see somebody duck behind a trash can. Presumably the were never hidden, or failed their Dexterity (Stealth) check and didn't hide before I saw them. I'd also suggest that if I were following somebody with the intent to be hidden, particularly at night, avoiding making my own noises would be worth doing. Those noises could be not brushing against things to ensure rats don't scurry out, or scare the flock of pigeons off a statue.

During the day in Times Square, sure that broken glass isn't to make any difference, but I still want to stay behind people and out of sight otherwise I'm going to get made. I'd also want to use my Dexterity (Stealth) to slip between the throngs of people so I don't get some German tourist yelling at me that I just spilled their Venti Mocha Latte on their new chinos.

Think about the way a perp gets tailed in a police procedural. The cops are following until the suspect notices the cop following them, then they switch out. The cop following still does their best to stay behind things and be unobtrusive, until they fail then they fall back and use Deception to make it seem like they're just some person out for the day. When the suspect bolts that Deception has failed because they realize something is up.

If we're concerned about urban versus natural environments lets look at it this way: the rogue can still sneak up on a Daask group doing a dirty deal in a back alley in the Cogs This presumably involves hiding above, under on top things to remain unseen, as well as not knocking things over to prevent giving away their position. And I think the same principles apply to allow a character in the Eldeen Reaches while stalking an owl bear.



Deception or Intimidation seem like good places to start for proficiency applications if you're working on distractions.

If the druid wants to be stealthy they roll a Dexterity check, and apply an appropriate proficiency. They may or may not have a Stealth proficiency. Never mind that bagging a deer or whatever for food is covered by the Survival proficiency, not the Stealth proficiency.

Moving through a crowd unnoticed can be used with that, but again its about hiding behind and around things and people. Moving through a crowded market still requires the character to hide their presence in some way, either behind people or things. I think Assassin's Creed 2 did a reasonable job of showing how this can be done, particularly when blending in with a group.
You still aren't getting it. You are thinking there are only two people in an urban environment and ignoring all of the other people who will react to the bizarre actions of someone trying to move stealthily using the same skills they use for moving stealthily in a forest/cave/etc. It's impossible to be unseen in a crowd because you are in a crowd, it's a different skillset to move about in the crowd without disrupting it or loiter in plain sight in a way that nobody cares enough to think twice about. If you start moving around central part/time square/etc on a busy day like you would trying to stealthily get the drop on the other team in a paintball match forest... people are going to stare, point, & react in ways that are not natural for the crowd in those places.. in short you have effectively stealthily put up a bright neon sign because you applied the wrong skill... That stealth is still great for sneaking through a warehouse after hours, sneaking onto a docked airship, so on & so forth.

@Anoth All of this is still related to expertise stealth because stealth is badly overly inclusive & as a result expertise stealth invalidates all other approaches.
 

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