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D&D 5E Let us "fix" Expertise!

Well in that case the rogue would just have a 20 on its stealth all the time, not that much less, and still how high than the vast vast majorities of passive perceptions out there.

I can say having run a stealth focused rogue in my game....I have learned two things:
  • If the rogue wants to stealth they will basically be hidden, they will almost never fail.
  • The key is to control when stealth works.... 5e allows for many circumstances where stealth just fails, doesn't matter if you have a 50.
It is ok, that the rogue runs around with high stealth.
I think where my reliable talent will be an improvement is in different skills like perception. There the rogue probably has a lower ability score, so the floor is quite a bit lower but still reliable.
 

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Dausuul

Legend
Nope, can't agree. From where I'm standing, proficiency and expertise bonuses on skill checks are too small. Way, way too small.

Imagine a person who's never driven a car, never taken driver's ed, no training at all. Take that person, plunk them behind the wheel, show them the pedals to make it go, and send them down the interstate. What are the chances that they reach their destination without a wreck? If you put that chance at 50%, you're more optimistic than I am.

Now, take a typical driver--not a race car driver or a long-haul trucker, just Joe Average Commuter--and send them down the interstate. What are the chances that that person makes it safely? If you say 95%, you are asserting that the typical commuter (two trips per day, 5 days a week) wrecks their car twice a month! I'd hate to see insurance premiums on the D&D highway system.

But think about what this means in terms of the d20 scale: If the average trained driver has a 95% chance to make a check that the average untrained driver fails 50% of the time, that implies a proficiency bonus of +9. That's just proficiency, not even expertise (expertise would be a professional driver of some kind).

Proficiency bonuses in D&D are laughably tiny. And yet people keep complaining and wanting them to be even smaller! Bounded accuracy is designed for combat, where the attack roll is just one component of a much larger system. It makes no sense for skills.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
However, that is baked into many of the core tenants of 5e. 5e rallies against stacking in many many places.

You can have X, you can have Y....but you cannot have X + Y. Its the same reason enhance ability does nothing if you have some one to help you, the same reason being prone doesn't reduce my attack if I'm already in darkness.

We have already taken that narrative leap in so many places in 5e....so there is no "narrative perspective" that makes this a poor solution. I respect that people may grate on that notion in 5e....but this solution is well well well within the narrative already laid it.
Exactly. So the places where you can stack - such as Expertise - are a big deal. Since we know this is the case, we should preserve it.

Pointing out how rare and therefore important it was to make an exception in the case of expertise only underlines thet it is something the designers think needs to stack with expertise.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
The "problem" with Expertise are a few things.
  1. It disrupts bounded accuracy (Should a DC be higher than 30, which is marked "near impossible?).
  2. It is only available to a select few (Bard; Rogue, well, that was true until Tasha's came out, assuming the DM uses Feats and allows the Tasha's book).
  3. There is a large disparity between someone with base Proficiency and Expertise, your Proficiency modifier going up every several levels would be a show in your character's "skill" with that particular thing going up -- let's say from Apprentice to Grandmaster. I don't see how Expertise helps that. You're already going to be an Expert somewhere along that path to begin with.


Advantage would be bigger at higher levels as well, because your Proficiency Bonus increases gradually, as well as your Ability Modifier, assuming the Skill uses a Stat you increase.
Have to disagree hard.

My rogue 1 with expertise in Investigate might have a +4 to the untrained wizard with a +3. If the wizard trained in it we've got +5. Most campaigns end (source: DnDBeyond & WotC surveys) at 10th so the highest proficiency is +4. Going from non-proficient to proficient is +2 to +4, going from proficient to expertise is +2 to +4, lowest standard array is -1, highest with racial and ASI/feats by 10th is +5 - so a 6 point variation. In other words, expertise over the vast majority of normal play is right in line.

And yes, skill monkeys primarily have it. Extra attack is also only open to some classes. Differentiation between classes is just fine.
 



Stalker0

Legend
Exactly. So the places where you can stack - such as Expertise - are a big deal. Since we know this is the case, we should preserve it.

Pointing out how rare and therefore important it was to make an exception in the case of expertise only underlines thet it is something the designers think needs to stack with expertise.
However, expertise also breaks the core Bounded Accuracy, and if we are operating under the OP's assumption that this is "bad", we should not try to switch it to another mechanic that does the same thing.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
However, expertise also breaks the core Bounded Accuracy, and if we are operating under the OP's assumption that this is "bad", we should not try to switch it to another mechanic that does the same thing.
I'm not sure it's bad to have a few characters able to break those bounds with a few things. It's kind of the exceptionalism that works for fantasy. Moreover, it's not completely whackadoodle, over the top exceptionalism.
 


Dausuul

Legend
is this person a hero among other heroic characters?
This logic leads to one of two places:

1) Untrained heroic characters are so amazingly competent that they routinely succeed despite their lack of training.
2) Trained heroic characters are so amazingly incompetent that they routinely fail despite their training.

If D&D explicitly embraced #1, I'd be fine with that. But this requires that untrained non-heroic characters (your typical NPC) should suffer massive penalties. That is not, in fact, the system we have in 5E. Any untrained CR 0 mook from the Monster Manual has a good chance to beat a trained PC on a given roll.

Furthermore, the recommended DCs in the DMG (10 = easy, 15 = medium, 20 = hard) are far too high for this model. At level 1, a trained PC with a maxed-out ability score has a 20% chance to fail at an easy task.

So what we end up with is #2: Being a hero makes you suck.
 
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Expertise is fine, even at higher levels and with reliable talent. I had a rogue PC that had a minimum 23 on stealth at level 11. This actually made things easy for me as the DM, since I let him do his stuff, periodically checking to see if anything could see him. If nothing had a +3 modifier or greater, I just didn't bother, but if they did, I'd roll first to see if he even needed to roll (which was pretty seldom). He had other skill as well, where I used the same logic, but they didn't come up nearly as often.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Expertise messes with the Bounded Accuracy a bit...

You're reading the mechanics backwards. Bound accuracy is bound by the DC's needed, not the bonuses to hit them.

Keeping the DC's in check is how the mechanics enable PC's to complete the same actions Higher bonuses do nothing more than succeed at the same checks more often under pressure.

What bounded accuracy was "fixing" was the cycle of increasing DC's to meet the increasing bonuses possible.

The way it is now, a 15 DC check does the exact same thing whether it's completed by a fighter with a +5 bonus or a rogue with a +7 bonus (because that's the difference at 1st level), or a fighter with a +11 bonus or rogue with a +17 bonus (the difference at 20th level).

Excess bonus is superfluous and bounded accuracy works as intended until DM's start messing with the system.

In the example above the rogue and fighter should both automatically succeed on that check when not under stress etc, and should both succeed on a 25 DC check (1st level) with the listed bonuses and a 30 DC check (high level) by spending 10x the standard time when there's no risk for failure. This is true because there's generally nothing stopping retrying until successful.

Succeeding more often under stress isn't an issue because the expectation is that players succeed at checks. Succeeding can't break anything unless the DM overpowers the results of successful checks, which is still an issue regardless of bonus.

The only impact expertise can have on bounded accuracy is with opposed checks against other PC's who can make a big bonus and it's not a PvP game.

That's why expanding outside of the core rules and creating feats or more options to pick up expertise wasn't a big deal stepping on bard and rogue toes. The overall effect has diminished returns from higher bonuses. Abilities that protect against low rolls like reliable talent do much more for success ratios than a bigger bonus.

Short version: impact is negligible and no fix required.

If anything, I think opening more expertise and expertise-like abilities in feats and class / subclass abilities was an improvement and has no impact on bounded accuracy.
 

As we know Expertise in 5th edition is double your Proficiency bonus.

Normal Proficiency is from 2 to 6, while Expertise is from 4 to 12.

Expertise messes with the Bounded Accuracy a bit, but, can always be adjusted if the DM is so inclined. But that is another subject.

What are some ways to "fix" Expertise?
  1. Get rid of it all together?
  2. Roll a 1d4 with all Checks that have Expertise?
  3. A flat bonus or +2, for example?
  4. Advantage on all Checks that have Expertise?
  5. Advantage that can be used Once a Short Rest on all Checks that have Expertise per Skill?
  6. Advantage that can be used a number of times equal to your Proficiency modifier on all Checks that have Expertise per Skill?
  7. Some other idea?
And the Rogue and the Bard have no plan B.
A Rogue with expertise in stealth is often better than an invisible character, expertise is a way to shine along magic user character. without expertise what they gonna do, cast spells?
Note that bard already have spell, but not that much, so thank again for expertise.
 

cbwjm

Hero
Nope, can't agree. From where I'm standing, proficiency and expertise bonuses on skill checks are too small. Way, way too small.

Imagine a person who's never driven a car, never taken driver's ed, no training at all. Take that person, plunk them behind the wheel, show them the pedals to make it go, and send them down the interstate. What are the chances that they reach their destination without a wreck? If you put that chance at 50%, you're more optimistic than I am.

Now, take a typical driver--not a race car driver or a long-haul trucker, just Joe Average Commuter--and send them down the interstate. What are the chances that that person makes it safely? If you say 95%, you are asserting that the typical commuter (two trips per day, 5 days a week) wrecks their car twice a month! I'd hate to see insurance premiums on the D&D highway system.

But think about what this means in terms of the d20 scale: If the average trained driver has a 95% chance to make a check that the average untrained driver fails 50% of the time, that implies a proficiency bonus of +9. That's just proficiency, not even expertise (expertise would be a professional driver of some kind).

Proficiency bonuses in D&D are laughably tiny. And yet people keep complaining and wanting them to be even smaller! Bounded accuracy is designed for combat, where the attack roll is just one component of a much larger system. It makes no sense for skills.
I think the problem with this analogy is that you feel like drivers are constantly making checks to drive from A to B. The typical driver probably isn't making checks day to day, rather they make the check when something unexpected happens, like when another driver pulls out in front of them unexpectedly.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
Probably the most "5e" way to do it is to provide advantage all the time. Again, greatly increases consistency without a true increase in power.

Now personally that is actually a decent nerf, advantage is not that hard to get on skills when you need it a good portion of the time, so there are many cases where expertise would become superfluous. But hey, having something on all the time is always cool, so that is a factor.

Pretty much dead on what I was thinking. :) If Expertise always gave Advantage...even if you normally would be 'incapable of having it' (due to opposition, situation, whatever...), you get it. That would be one of those things where the Player could feel cool and say "Oh? What's that? NONE of you get Advantage right now for that? Oooo....geeeeeezzzz...man. That sucks! I guess I'll have to do it... WITH Advantage. Step aside and let the expert do it...". ;) It's nice to be able to brag unconditionally every now and then in a game. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Stalker0

Legend
Hiya!


Pretty much dead on what I was thinking. :) If Expertise always gave Advantage...even if you normally would be 'incapable of having it' (due to opposition, situation, whatever...), you get it.
Oh that's a step up from what I was thinking and is interesting. No matter what (even if you would get disadvantage), nope, you have advantage....period.

That's neat.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
As we know Expertise in 5th edition is double your Proficiency bonus.

Normal Proficiency is from 2 to 6, while Expertise is from 4 to 12.

Expertise messes with the Bounded Accuracy a bit, but, can always be adjusted if the DM is so inclined. But that is another subject.

What are some ways to "fix" Expertise?
  1. Get rid of it all together?
  2. Roll a 1d4 with all Checks that have Expertise?
  3. A flat bonus or +2, for example?
  4. Advantage on all Checks that have Expertise?
  5. Advantage that can be used Once a Short Rest on all Checks that have Expertise per Skill?
  6. Advantage that can be used a number of times equal to your Proficiency modifier on all Checks that have Expertise per Skill?
  7. Some other idea?
I think expertise should stay as it is. It is what makes Rogues viable with other classes and is their 2nd best class feature (after SA).

I think all of these options nerf expertise and thereby the Rogue class. I have no problem with it beating bounded accuracy, because it is specific to Bards and Rogues AND to really push bounded accuracy you need to invest in your ability too. Other characters can only get 1 area they are expert in and have to burn half an ASI for that (I know Rangers can get one too).

Rogues are not close to being the most powerful characters in combat and are near the bottom. Expertise is largely what makes up for this. This is especially true of the scout subclass which gets expertise in an extra 2 skills but is otherwise a very weak subclass.

Giving advantage all the time is not a fair trade. While advantage is usually better than expertise in tier1/2/3 you have to allow for advantage+expertise - for example navigating with Cartographers tools and expertise in Survival or casting invisible and hiding with expertise in stealth.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
This is actually one of the recommendations of 5e.... that skill DCs really should not be going up at higher levels. DC 15s and 20s shouldn't become 25s and 30s at high level.
That is true for straight DCs, but it is NOT true for contested checks.

For example, Stealth is a contested check and higher CR monsters have a higher proficiency bonus, genrally a higher wisdom and therefore a higher perception. This means stealth checks as a general rule are going to be more difficult against higher level monsters. Same is true for grapple checks, or insight, deception or really anything that is contested.

Now if you are using a stealth cehck to see if the character can walk across an empty library where the floor is covered in dust without leaving any footprints; sure that should be the same DC at 1st level as it is at 20th level.
 

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