Pathfinder 2E Never give up on PF2

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
That's just offering examples for your generic table, albeit it is an improvement to do it per skill. My test for an objective skill system is whether skills exist a player could resolve an action involving a check for without consulting the GM past the initial description of the situation.
Why? Don't you trust your DM?

PF2 has two different sets of skill DCs. As others have said, for each skill there is a list of example skill DCs based on various tasks. Some Skill DCs are fixed, like needing a 15 to Treat Wounds.

Other skill DCs are tied to level - the level of an item, the skill DC of an adversary, that sort of thing. So it's a lot easier to Trip a guy who is 3 or 4 levels lower than you are, and harder against a guy who is higher level than you are. There's a lot more nuance than that, but that's the gist.

You still need the DM to give you the DC. Even if you think you can swim across a pond at DC10, you might find some surprises once you get started. The DM is there to help adjust any static of example DCs, depending on the situation.

I bet you really don't like "secret checks".
 

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Pedantic

Legend
Why? Don't you trust your DM?
Trust has nothing to do with it, this is a matter of design at the system level. When I say "objective skill system" I'm advocating for a design where the skill system is primarily player facing. It should be a tool players use to resolve situations; the actions you can take with a given skill should be encoded into the skill ahead of time and the gameplay should involve finding uses for those actions to get what you want.

There's a whole understanding of what skills are in that model, where a given skill modifier means a PC has access to a variety of abilities, and will look for opportunities to use them.
PF2 has two different sets of skill DCs. As others have said, for each skill there is a list of example skill DCs based on various tasks. Some Skill DCs are fixed, like needing a 15 to Treat Wounds.
In the sort of system I'm calling for, this is the all of skill checks. Some uses that aren't clearly codified might be worked out by analogy to the closest such task, but the design should be complete enough to make such situations rare.
Other skill DCs are tied to level - the level of an item, the skill DC of an adversary, that sort of thing. So it's a lot easier to Trip a guy who is 3 or 4 levels lower than you are, and harder against a guy who is higher level than you are. There's a lot more nuance than that, but that's the gist.
This is reasonable for opposed checks when you have a trait that can be referenced in a specific person, and I could even see the case for a level reference for crafting or as a derived trait for say, traps or location-bound spells, that kind of thing. It's a problem when abstract elements begin to have levels that aren't clearly defined, like a Level 15 climbing challenge, vs. a Level 13 climbing challenge.
You still need the DM to give you the DC. Even if you think you can swim across a pond at DC10, you might find some surprises once you get started. The DM is there to help adjust any static of example DCs, depending on the situation.
This is the thing I would like to be different. Skill DCs should be oriented toward player abilities, not toward DMs. The player should know that it's a DC 10 to swim across a calm body of water at Y speed, a DC 15 for a rough one, and so on, which then translated to with say a +10 bonus, a 100% chance of success at the former, and an 80% chance of success at the latter. Swimming is a PC ability that's deployed, potentially with a risk of failure associated, maybe some extra modifiers for speed adjustments and/or a take 10/20 system if the player is willing to spend time and isn't under threat.

To put it another way, I expect PCs to be declaring actions drawn from checks, not the GM calling for checks in response to PC action declarations. It's not "I want to climb that" "okay give me an Athletics check" it's the PC asking about the situation, and deciding to deploy the climbing action knowing the resolution mechanics ahead of time.
I bet you really don't like "secret checks".
I don't really see an issue if there's a chance of failure and a reason to hide the information from the PCs. I'd prefer most perception type abilities to be reworked as defenses, for example, that stealth is rolled as an attack against, which can be done entirely secretly. I do something similar with knowledge checks, rolling the "obscurity" of information against the PCs when they encounter stuff they might know about, and then providing the information upfront or not, without informing them of the roll results.
 

Staffan

Legend
PF2 has two different sets of skill DCs. As others have said, for each skill there is a list of example skill DCs based on various tasks. Some Skill DCs are fixed, like needing a 15 to Treat Wounds.

Other skill DCs are tied to level - the level of an item, the skill DC of an adversary, that sort of thing. So it's a lot easier to Trip a guy who is 3 or 4 levels lower than you are, and harder against a guy who is higher level than you are. There's a lot more nuance than that, but that's the gist.
Part of the perceived issue is that while the above is true, a rather large portion of skill checks in PF2 (at least if you don't count all the Treat Wounds checks it takes to heal up) are level-based – either just plain based on the level of the thing you're using your skill on, or using an opposing save DC or something like that (and it doesn't help that some classes, like bards, have mechanics that lean into this). In the playtest rules, they didn't have the "proficiency tier" DCs, just level-based DCs, and you can tell that the proficiency tier DCs are something of an afterthought. And you can tell that this is something they keep using in adventures. For example, Legacy of the Lost God starts at level 5, and the first portion has almost all skill DCs at either 20, 18, or 22. 20 is the DC for a level 5 check, and 18/22 would be an easy/hard check. In the next part of the adventure, the PCs are supposed to be level 6, and now all of a sudden the baseline for skill DCs is 22 (the level 6 DC). So while the game pays lip service to "objective" DCs, it doesn't really happen in practice.
 

ironchains

AssaftheGM
I guess you could argue that the whole point of adjusting DCs based on level is to allow those Trained in the skill the ability to really stand out vs those not trained in the skill.
A level 5 PC trained in a skill is significantly more likely to hit the normal DC for a check than an untrained PC is to hit even the Easy DC. This gap expands even farther the higher level you get. This really rewards the PCs who make the choice of gaining training in a skill, allowing them to showcase their prowess over untrained PCs.
And realistically, if the DC is 15 for a check at level 10, you might want to ask yourself why you are even having the PCs roll for such a simple task.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I guess you could argue that the whole point of adjusting DCs based on level is to allow those Trained in the skill the ability to really stand out vs those not trained in the skill.
A level 5 PC trained in a skill is significantly more likely to hit the normal DC for a check than an untrained PC is to hit even the Easy DC. This gap expands even farther the higher level you get. This really rewards the PCs who make the choice of gaining training in a skill, allowing them to showcase their prowess over untrained PCs.
And realistically, if the DC is 15 for a check at level 10, you might want to ask yourself why you are even having the PCs roll for such a simple task.
Part of the problem for me is that makes only the few skills you have (unless rogue or bard) seem like the only things the PC is really good at. You only have a few chances to get better at skills via proficiency and feats so its not like PF1 where you can actually do something about it every level.
 

The-Magic-Sword

Small Ball Archmage
I pretty much agree, it's probably the best game on the market right now, in terms of DND-likes (humorously, including DND) though I do find it funny how the Pathfinder forum on enworld is mainly made up of people who don't seem to like Pathfinder but are constantly flirting with running it and can't seem to actually tear themselves away from it.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I pretty much agree, it's probably the best game on the market right now, in terms of DND-likes (humorously, including DND) though I do find it funny how the Pathfinder forum on enworld is mainly made up of people who don't seem to like Pathfinder but are constantly flirting with running it and can't seem to actually tear themselves away from it.
I think that sums EN World up in total about...well, every game.
 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
I pretty much agree, it's probably the best game on the market right now, in terms of DND-likes (humorously, including DND) though I do find it funny how the Pathfinder forum on enworld is mainly made up of people who don't seem to like Pathfinder but are constantly flirting with running it and can't seem to actually tear themselves away from it.
And then there are a few of us who have been running regular PF2 games since its inception (monthly prior to COVID, and mostly weekly since we began playing on VTT) and feel compelled to contradict the naysayers whenever we log in and see negative nancy threads dominating the place.

Last October, I started a new group with PF2, in a game shop (Past Present Future Comics in West Palm Beach). They were guys who had never played PF2, but were curious. For a couple of them, they'd never heard of it. The group clicked and we played for months until I flew away for the summer, like many snowbirds. They especially enjoyed the fact that all the rules were codified, and they weren't subjected to the random whims of DD5e houserules and spot rulings. They caught on to the 3-action turn and the 4 degrees of success without hesitation. I look forward to playing with them again, come October.
Warehouse01.jpg
 

Incenjucar

Legend
Plenty of folks in various positions. I'm an old D&D 2E-4E player and DM who converted to PF2E after a lengthy hiatus from RPGs and rejection of 5E. I'm still getting my sea legs via PFS but will inevitably be GMing when that gets too rote.
 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
Plenty of folks in various positions. I'm an old D&D 2E-4E player and DM who converted to PF2E after a lengthy hiatus from RPGs and rejection of 5E. I'm still getting my sea legs via PFS but will inevitably be GMing when that gets too rote.
That's interesting. We were playing DD3.5 and switched to PF1 around the time DD4 came out. It felt too "videogamey" to us, and PF1 was just DD3.5 with a few corrections and additional content.
But I quickly tired with how PF1 (and DD3.5) had such a huge gulf between casually-built PCs and optimized PCs with all the right feats and traits to boost combos into the stratosphere. Those were games you could "win" through character creation. PF2 chucked all that out the window. We could still select cool feats, archetypes and everything, while still having "balanced" characters instead of "broken" ones.
 

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