• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D 5E Proficiency vs. Ability vs. Expertise

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
For a while, since I've been into 5E really, I have been annoyed by the contributions relatively of proficiency bonus, ability modifiers, and expertise. To me, proficiency should trump ability and expertise in the long run, but RAW we see proficiency barely beat out ability score modifiers (+6 max vs. +5 max). And expertise, available only to two classes with some archetype exceptions, equal to proficiency makes it too good IMO.

We currently play with the house-rule that proficiency caps out at +8, ability scores at +5 (was also +4 but we reversed it for simplicity since monsters and such are based on +5 progression), and expertise at +4 (+2 at low levels, +3 a mid, and +4 at higher). The potential maximum is still +17, so it works with the current system. I would like to see proficiency progress up to +11 or 12 even, lower ability scores to +4, and maybe make expertise a flat +2 bonus, and I might do this but I wonder if it would mess things up...

Now sure, the game plays fine RAW and with a practical cap at 30. So, I understand the purpose for bounded accuracy and all, but it makes me wonder if they bounded it too much?

Has anyone else had issue with the +6 vs. +5 vs. +6 system? Do you think it should be weighed differently? I am sure a lot of people haven't, and that is great for you, so I am more interested in people who do have issues with it. ;)
 

log in or register to remove this ad


DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Rogue nerf week continues! :)

Why can't people just let rogues just have their nice things, man?

Love rogues, my character is part rogue (so, I would be taking a hit in some ways with this)!

I would prefer to see Rogues have something OTHER than expertise (or at least in addition to a limited expertise as I am thinking of).

Honestly, the concept of Rogues getting expertise is purely a game mechanic. There is no reason why otherwise they would potentially be better than the other classes at the skills they do. I can at least understand why a Bard might have it... but even that is a stretch as Jack-of-all-trades fit bards better than expertise IMO.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Rogue nerf week continues! :)

Why can't people just let rogues just have their nice things, man?
July 24- july 31 WCN present Rogue week. Learn the in and outs of being a rogue. This is a Waterdeep Cable Network production. Contact your local weave network to get WCN!
 

mortwatcher

Explorer
Idk, to me rogues were always skill monkeys and they continue to be so. I have no issues with the system as is. Proficiency allows your paced progression for everyone, you ability helps with the relevant skills and expertise makes the 2 classes amazing at a few things.
 

Myzzrym

Explorer
I agree, I have somewhat of an issue with this as well. My main problem is that the difference between Proficiency and Expertise is just too high - there's no in-between. You're either good at something or godly - I'd like some middle-ground options.

In the same vein, I also dislike the fact that Ability factors so much. Your god ugly terrifying level 13 warrior with 8 in Cha has the same modifier in Intimidation than the level 1 Bard with 18 in Cha? Get ouuuut.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Idk, to me rogues were always skill monkeys and they continue to be so. I have no issues with the system as is. Proficiency allows your paced progression for everyone, you ability helps with the relevant skills and expertise makes the 2 classes amazing at a few things.

I like Rogues being good at what they do, but think about this for RAW:

A 20th-level Rogue (INT 10) with expertise in Arcana is +12. A 20th-level Wizard (INT 20) in Arcana is +11. HOW THE *BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP* DOES THAT HAPPEN? Makes NO sense.

With what I am thinking if doing, the two would be +13 (11 prof, 2 for expertise) and +16 (11 prof, 5 for INT 20). Experience (i.e. level) counts for a lot, and expertise can help make up for a lower ability score (or boost a skills associated with a good one). +13 vs. +16 is still close, but at least odds are the Wizard will do better...
 

Esker

Hero
In the same vein, I also dislike the fact that Ability factors so much. Your god ugly terrifying level 13 warrior with 8 in Cha has the same modifier in Intimidation than the level 1 Bard with 18 in Cha? Get ouuuut.

That's an issue with intimidation being tied by default to CHA, though, not an issue with the contribution of ability scores per se to the check. Allowing Strength (Intimidation) checks is definitely a thing; it's even called out in the DMG as the example of mixing up which abilities go with which skills.
 

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
I like Rogues being good at what they do, but think about this for RAW:

A 20th-level Rogue (INT 10) with expertise in Arcana is +12. A 20th-level Wizard (INT 20) in Arcana is +11. HOW THE *BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP* DOES THAT HAPPEN? Makes NO sense.

With what I am thinking if doing, the two would be +13 (11 prof, 2 for expertise) and +16 (11 prof, 5 for INT 20). Experience (i.e. level) counts for a lot, and expertise can help make up for a lower ability score (or boost a skills associated with a good one). +13 vs. +16 is still close, but at least odds are the Wizard will do better...
This isn't a formal houserule, but what I do is that overall character concept is extremely important in determining DCs, and the overall narration of the success or failure. A wizard is going to deeper and more useful information from an Arcana check that's about spells or spellcasting, and the overall DC to accomplish a task is much less. (Maybe DC 10 versus DC 20 for a non-caster.)

That being said, a rogue who chooses to spend a precious Expertise slot on Arcana probably has a conceptual reason to do so, and that would certainly weigh on my adjudication. If anything, I would say proficiency is overvalued (every character has 4-7 proficient skills at least, and getting more isn't that difficult), whereas Expertise is undervalued (it's a rare and expensive class feature, and should be treated as such).
 

Esker

Hero
Love rogues, my character is part rogue (so, I would be taking a hit in some ways with this)!

I would prefer to see Rogues have something OTHER than expertise (or at least in addition to a limited expertise as I am thinking of).

Honestly, the concept of Rogues getting expertise is purely a game mechanic. There is no reason why otherwise they would potentially be better than the other classes at the skills they do. I can at least understand why a Bard might have it... but even that is a stretch as Jack-of-all-trades fit bards better than expertise IMO.

I mean, a big part of Rogues' class identity is being skill monkeys, isn't it? Expertise is what describes them being able to be great at sneaking around, picking locks, figuring out a scene, reading people, lying their asses off... I guess I could see limiting their expertise choices to the skills on their class list, to deal with the weirdness of them being better at arcana than a wizard, but if you take away expertise, they wind up being no better at sneaking around than a fighter archer that took stealth proficiency, which doesn't seem right. And for skills not tied to their main stat, it lets them be good at those things without having to invest in off-abilities. I want a rogue with moderate CHA who likes to lie to be able to be better at it than a sorcerer, even if the sorcerer has deception proficiency. Or to be a better scout than a cleric with perception.
 

Remove ads

Top