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


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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I think personally it bothers me... a solution might be to allow player choice to have an impact... although I am not thinking my idea earlier of smaller dice actually do the trick well enough but allowing the player to chose to sacrifice extremes in favor of increased middle values feels good in concept. Using 3d6 as a more baseline option has appeal because one keeps very near the whole range and could allow criticals easily enough. If you are confident you can win you choose smaller die that clump things closer to the middle.

This chart shows the same probabilities using 2d10 compared to d20. I could easily add a 3d6 column, but it would have an even greater difference.

chart.png

* it occured to me the earlier presented idea of allowing hiding without penalty even while moving is almost a way of hiding generalised advancing skill by removing difficulties... If one gains things like that they are better visualized.

I am not sure that the higher numbers all by themselves properly evoke the "pulling off of feats" akin to the achievements of magic. Hence the earlier mention of explicit abilities idea.
Advancing numbers need interesting advancing targets uber benefits and difficulties and to me ways of exerting extra effort so that bit about can always always do it is not always a consideration. Such skill bursts might use something like superiority die - ie those maneuvers are a form of skill burst...ooh look someone asked what combat expertise looked like.

I like the idea of other options over a number boost. I want the options to be meaningful, fun, and appropriate to the classes in flavor.

Your poll lacked a more definite description of the participants and the no chance option should not be collapsed in with 5 percentiles

The completely unskilled lowest attribute individual cannot outperform the ultimate practitioner often enough to be worth modelling.

LOL well it was one of my first (if not my first) polls, and the descriptions led to some ambiguity unfortunately, but as the thread still shows, many people ended up being fine over all with the system RAW.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Thats fine. WHAT DO YOU REPLACE IT WITH?

Well, if not replace it, redefine it.

I have already posted several features and options that we already have to add to the rogue and at least one for the bard (I am not big on bard, nor is our group, so if they don't get anything we really don't care LOL). I have even expressed keeping expertise, but reducing the bonus it adds to bring the overall numbers back in line, so to speak.

I like rogues (and sure, bards...) being better in skills in some fashion (faster maybe? second chances maybe? etc.) but not in total potential of ability.

Maybe after lunch when I have time I'll browse through the thread and recap options to date.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Well, if not replace it, redefine it.

I have already posted several features and options that we already have to add to the rogue and at least one for the bard (I am not big on bard, nor is our group, so if they don't get anything we really don't care LOL). I have even expressed keeping expertise, but reducing the bonus it adds to bring the overall numbers back in line, so to speak.

I like rogues (and sure, bards...) being better in skills in some fashion (faster maybe? second chances maybe? etc.) but not in total potential of ability.

Maybe after lunch when I have time I'll browse through the thread and recap options to date.

Fair enough. I don't think anyone objects to your idea that you want to alter expertise and skills for your game. I mean other than some people just disagreeing with your thinking on that, which seems pretty unproductive because hey it's your opinion and you have your reasons to think it. Really the only help I think you could get from this thread (after over 250 posts) would be to solicit more opinions on 1) your proposed alteration to expertise, AND 2) your proposed replacement options. There was some earlier discussion on #2, and it was really interesting (at least to me), but the thread seems to be entirely focused on #1 now (and trying to somehow convince you your thinking wrong - which seems silly at this point).
 

Rogues were not skill experts before 3E. So, history has nothing to do with it.
Rogues started out as the only class that could attempts some tasks that are now considered skills. 3e allowed other classes to use skills such as picking locks and disarming traps, but still reinforced the Rogue as the best class in doing that sort of thing.

Okay, so that is also done because average AC doesn't increase as much as average DC for tasks. Few monsters have AC's in the 20's, let alone the high 20's. And by then attacks are two per round or more against them. Skill DCs, though can be in the mid-20's in Tier 1 and hit 30 faster.

You mention save DCs, which align with attacks in that they are limited to +11. Most skills are limited to +11, the sole exception being expertise features. And as I stated in another post, a rogue with expertise needs about a 6 to beat the passive perceptions they are likely to encounter over the course of their career. A 6 or better isn't too hard to make (and that is without buffs, etc. and against hard/deadly level challenges).
If you're trying to make skill use more similar to combat to justify lower bonuses and differentiation, you could do so by making skill use scale in the same way: by attritional failure states.
This would also help keep skills like stealth relevant if the bonus is going to go down compared to passive perception.

So instead of a stealth failure leading to the Rogue being discovered and attacked, that monster is now more alert, and requires the rogue to succeed in more checks, rather than the rogue being discovered, possibly mobbed and killed, and the monsters being alerted.

The point that I think that you need to bear in mind is that needing a 6 or better is not automatic success. There is a chance of failing and being discovered as soon as you try. More to the point, by the time the rogue needs to sneak past two monsters, their chance is under 50%.

I did indeed mention save DCs, but you missed where I said comparing them with saving throw bonuses in a comparison similar to the one that you did with attacks vs AC. I think that they max out at 19, however many creatures do not have proficiency in saving throws. More to the point, the ability to use spells targeting different save abilities means that they're often against an ability with a low bonus.

Great. So we are back to the issue I had earlier. Here I had hoped maybe you would actually want to try to offer suggestions to help instead of trying to explain why a problem doesn't exist. I explained my issues and instead of offering solutions, you told me why they shouldn't be issues. They ARE issues caused by expertise inflating skills so what should be challenging becomes routine, which is boring.
I understand that you and your group are having these issues, and am working off that basis when making suggestions. However, I thought it important to mention where I'm coming from to help explain why I'm having trouble understanding the requirements and what the actual aim is.

Have you seen the Unearthed Arcanas on skill and combat feats? How would those work as Rogue and Fighter-only options?

"If the issue is that expertise makes too many things auto-succeed, which isn't fun for the expertise player, I can get behind that"

Stealth: due to low (extremely so in many cases) passive perception, it is nearly automatic with expertise. His bonus at level 9 is +12 (DEX 18) I think. Over 90% of the foes we face have passive perceptions ranging from 10-16, and then the odd one or two higher than that. So, he routinely only needs a 4 or better. Now, this is not including any buffs our party can lay on him, such as using Enhance Ability for up to an hour to grant him advantage on his stealth checks.
OK. Needs a 4. That's a good chance, but he still has a less than 50% chance of being undetected by the time he has tried to sneak past what? Four enemies?
Depending on the situation, that might just be alerting the monsters, or being mobbed and killed before the rest of the party could get to them.
What sort of thing does your rogue actually use stealth for?

Logic: the same rogue has expertise in Athletics and is pretty strong (STR 16), which is not very common, admittedly, but very possible, and so he is +11. But, compare this to an Ogre with STR 19, with no proficiency in Athletics, let alone expertise, who only gets a +4. With that difference of +7, he rogue will WIN (not tie) over 77% of the time and have the Ogre "grappled". Now, this half-orc rogue is about 250 lbs with his gear, but due to size and strength, the Ogre can lift well over 1000 lbs. So, shouldn't the Ogre be able to lift the rogue and basically toss him like a child? I get characters are supposed to be heroic, and technique in things like grappling can allow a much smaller and weaker person control a larger one, but even with that consideration this strains reason to me. I think if you are trying to grapple a larger creature (even one size) should impose disadvantage. Likewise, perhaps when trying to grapple a smaller creature, they should have advantage to escape? I go round-and-round about these...
The image of the relatively weaker master of aikido or similar being able to jointlock a hulking brute twice their size is a pretty common trope. Practically a stereotype.
 

Sadras

Legend
Well, if not replace it, redefine it.

I have posted the below before, but I'm not sure why it is not accepted as a solution:

Contests
Non-Proficient: 1d20 + Ability
Proficient: Greater of 1d20 + Ability or 8* + Proficiency
Expertise: Greater of 1d20 + Ability or 13* + Proficiency

The 8 and 13 (Moderate) can be substituted for
10 and 15 (Easy) or 5 and 10 (Hardcore)

Size is another factor that can impose Advantage or Disadvantage or contested checks - this is something I use regularly. Exactly like your example up-thread. In fact our table has a Battlemaster PC who regularly buys Potions of Enlargement in order to easier grapple larger opponents.

Normal Checks
With normal checks (not contests) you might just give the character with expertise Advantage on the roll.
 
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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Thats fine. WHAT DO YOU REPLACE IT WITH?

Back from lunch, so here we go (some are mine, other gleaned from contributions):

EXPERTISE IDEAS for selected skills:


1. Flat +2 bonus.
2. Expertise doubles ability bonus instead of proficiency bonus.
3. Expertise bonus equals half proficiency bonus (round up).
4. Advantage on checks.
5. Expertise allows you to use your proficiency bonus or ability bonus, whichever is higher, twice as your modifer. If they are equal, use them both and add +1.
6. When you roll less than your combined levels in ther rogue class and bard class on a skill you have expertise in, treat the result as equal to your levels in the rogue and bard classes combined.
7a. First expertise (Rogue 1, Bard 3): a roll of less than 10 equals 10.
7b. Second expertise (Rogue 6, Bard 10): a roll of less than 15 equals 15.
8a. Non-Proficient: 1d20 + Ability
8b. Proficient: 1d20 + Ability + Proficiency (minimum roll of 5 + bonuses)
8c. Expertise: 1d20 + Ability + Proficiency (minimum roll of 10 + bonuses)

OTHER IDEAS:
Allow other classes to choose expertise in one class skill (or a particular skill by class).
Allow character to choose expertise in one background skill at the cost of proficiency in the other.
Roll 2d10 or 3d6 for checks (especially opposed checks) instead of d20.


OPTIONS FOR ROGUES:


New Cunning Action options
When you use your bonus action, you can choose to:


Free Movement. You ignore difficult terrain until the start of your next turn.
Misdirect. You choose one opponent you can see, and the next attack that opponent makes against you has disadvantage.
Take Aim. You gain advantage on your next ranged attack roll until the end of your turn.
Unbound. If you are grappled or restrained, you can make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to escape.
Second Chance. If you miss with a melee attack, you can use your bonus action to make a second melee attack against the same target.
Careful Strike. You can use your bonus action to add your DEX (or maybe INT?) modifier to damage with your weapon attacks until the end of your turn.
Disarm. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can use a bonus action to attempt to cause the creature to drop one item of your choice that it is holding. Make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check contested by the creature's athletics or acrobatics (their choice). If you succeed, the creature drops the item at its feet.

NEW FEATURES FOR ROGUES:


Free Movement (revised). Beginning at 2nd level, you can pick the best path through difficult and hazardous terrain. If you make a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check, you can ignore difficult terrain while you are in it. If the terrain changes type, a new check is required. You can continue to make a check each round until you are successful.
Scanning the Mark. If you spend 1 minute observing a creature (maybe require an Wisdom (Insight) check?), you double your proficiency bonus for the next skill check you make against that creature.
Wait a Minute. If you spend 1 minute observing a situation, you double your proficiency bonus for the next skill check you make in that situation.


Those were all the ideas I liked for one reason or another and am considering somehow implementing.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I have posted the below before, but I'm not sure why it is not accepted as a solution:

Contests
Non-Proficient: 1d20 + Ability
Proficient: Greater of 1d20 + Ability or 8* + Proficiency
Expertise: Greater of 1d20 + Ability or 13* + Proficiency

The 8 and 13 (Moderate) can be substituted for
10 and 15 (Easy) or 5 and 10 (Hardcore)

Size is another factor that can impose Advantage or Disadvantage or contested checks - this is something I use regularly. Exactly like your example up-thread. In fact our table has a Battlemaster PC who regularly buys Potions of Enlargement in order to easier grapple larger opponents.

Normal Checks
With normal checks (not contests) you might just give the character with expertise Advantage on the roll.

Not accepted yet, but definitely under consideration. :) It's included as #8 in my other post in a variant form.

I do like the idea that expertise can limit minimum performance instead of simply boosting maximum performance capability.
 

Esker

Hero
Let's see how each of these options fares at achieving the goals and avoiding the side effects that I think we agree on as criteria.

1. Flat +2 bonus.
3. Expertise bonus equals half proficiency bonus (round up).
5. Expertise allows you to use your proficiency bonus or ability bonus, whichever is higher, twice as your modifer. If they are equal, use them both and add +1.

Makes rogue strictly weaker than RAW, thus violates side effect #3.

2. Expertise doubles ability bonus instead of proficiency bonus.

Interesting. Makes expertise better at lower levels but with a lower ultimate ceiling. Could work.

6. When you roll less than your combined levels in the rogue class and bard class on a skill you have expertise in, treat the result as equal to your levels in the rogue and bard classes combined.
7a. First expertise (Rogue 1, Bard 3): a roll of less than 10 equals 10.
7b. Second expertise (Rogue 6, Bard 10): a roll of less than 15 equals 15.
8a. Non-Proficient: 1d20 + Ability
8b. Proficient: 1d20 + Ability + Proficiency (minimum roll of 5 + bonuses)
8c. Expertise: 1d20 + Ability + Proficiency (minimum roll of 10 + bonuses)

All of these go in the wrong direction for your stated goals, I think. Setting hard floors on rolls, or making low rolls less likely while leaving the ceiling the same as proficiency, makes easy things easier, and makes hard things harder, for characters with expertise. So you wind up with more medium difficulty scenarios (such as stealth around enemies with low to moderate perception) where the rogue has no chance of failing, not less, and you lose the expert's higher ceiling, which wasn't one of the problems in the first place.

4. Advantage on checks.

Has many of the same issues as the last category, since it makes it harder to get a low number, and also removes any incentive in-game to try to get advantage other ways, thus taking away an avenue by which fellow party members who aren't skill-focused can participate in the skill sphere by buffing the primary skill character.
 

Esker

Hero
So here's the proposal I've been working on. I'm still looking at the math to calibrate it, but the design goals are as follows:

1. Expertise should have less of an impact on easy to moderate difficulty tasks than it currently does, so as to avoid the bounded accuracy problem of saturating success rates.
2. Regular proficiency should feel more meaningful for easy to moderate difficulty tasks than it currently does.
3. Expertise should not be weakened in general, since doing so makes two classes weaker relative to other classes.
4. These criteria lead me to posit that the gap between proficiency and expertise should be widened compared to RAW for high difficulty tasks. This reflects the colloquial meaning of being an "expert": your specialized training will be most apparent when doing particularly complex or difficult things.
5. But we don't want the expert to start doing really difficult things too routinely. So if we want to widen the gap between expertise and proficiency at high DCs, that suggests making it harder for the merely proficient to do those things and keeping the expert close to where they are now, under RAW.
6. Even though I'm weakening proficiency at high DCs, the strengthening at moderate DCs will be felt more, on balance, since those things come up more often.

With that logic in mind, here's what I came up with:

1. Skill checks use 2d10 instead of 1d20.
2. We adopt the variant rule that makes proficiency add a die instead of a fixed value (1d4 corresponding to +2, 1d6 to +3, etc.)
3. Ability score modifers are dropped by 1 across the board: 8-9 is now -2, 10-11 is -1, 12-13 is 0, etc.
4. The expertise feature grants a second proficiency die, but only if the base roll is 11 or higher. So, roll 2d10 first. If the natural result is 2-10, just roll a single proficiency die as normal. If the natural result is 11-20, roll two proficiency dice.

Here are the success rates at level 5 for an ability score of 18 for this scheme in graph form by DC, compared to RAW, and comparing no proficiency to proficiency to expertise.

EDIT: Oops, meant to post the graph for ABI 12, but this is the one for ABI 18.

mk3E2By.png
 
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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Let's see how each of these options fares at achieving the goals and avoiding the side effects that I think we agree on as criteria.

Makes rogue strictly weaker than RAW, thus violates side effect #3.

Given the other features I would be adding to rogues to make them perform skills better in other ways, overall they would not be weaker than RAW, simply stronger in other ways. Since I don't like the high potential for expertise, I don't see this as a bad thing.

Interesting. Makes expertise better at lower levels but with a lower ultimate ceiling. Could work.

I just thought of this one today, actually. I like it, but have a hard time justifying the reason to base it off of ability. Also, in the case of rogues with STR 10, expertise in athletics would offer no benefit at all, so I probably won't be using it.

All of these go in the wrong direction for your stated goals, I think. Setting hard floors on rolls, or making low rolls less likely while leaving the ceiling the same as proficiency, makes easy things easier, and makes hard things harder, for characters with expertise. So you wind up with more medium difficulty scenarios (such as stealth around enemies with low to moderate perception) where the rogue has no chance of failing, not less, and you lose the expert's higher ceiling, which wasn't one of the problems in the first place.

Yeah, in some ways it messes with things, but it was still a good idea and I was summarizing everything (well, most of it) from the thread. But I don't mind losing the expert's high ceiling, that is an issue I have trying to remove. :)

Has many of the same issues as the last category, since it makes it harder to get a low number, and also removes any incentive in-game to try to get advantage other ways, thus taking away an avenue by which fellow party members who aren't skill-focused can participate in the skill sphere by buffing the primary skill character.

We actually tried advantage once but ended up rejecting it. Again, it is part of the summary of peoples' ideas.

So here's the proposal I've been working on. I'm still looking at the math to calibrate it, but the design goals are as follows:

1. Expertise should have less of an impact on easy to moderate difficulty tasks than it currently does, so as to avoid the bounded accuracy problem of saturating success rates.
2. Regular proficiency should feel more meaningful for easy to moderate difficulty tasks than it currently does.
3. Expertise should not be weakened in general, since doing so makes two classes weaker relative to other classes.
4. These criteria lead me to posit that the gap between proficiency and expertise should be widened compared to RAW for high difficulty tasks. This reflects the colloquial meaning of being an "expert": your specialized training will be most apparent when doing particularly complex or difficult things.
5. But we don't want the expert to start doing really difficult things too routinely. So if we want to widen the gap between expertise and proficiency at high DCs, that suggests making it harder for the merely proficient to do those things and keeping the expert close to where they are now, under RAW.
6. Even though I'm weakening proficiency at high DCs, the strengthening at moderate DCs will be felt more, on balance, since those things come up more often.

Unfortunately, our design goals differ in some key points.

1. Expertise (as the rogue/bard feature) should offer options available to those classes which make using their skills more versatile and offers a greater degree of success, but without granting them potential beyond other classes.
2. I agree with this for proficient over non-proficient characters. That is why I did like #8b from my post, making a minimum of 5 + bonuses if you have proficiency. Even with modest bonuses, it makes moderate DC of 10 automatic, and with higher bonuses even DC 15.
3. Here we definitely disagree. I see expertise as is as too powerful compared to other features, and reigning it back only brings these classes back in line compared to others. I really don't mind them potentially being a bit better (up to +2), but more than that is unbalancing as our table has seen.
4. This is exactly the opposite of what I want LOL! Expertise is a feature offered (for rogues anyway) at level one. Yet, because it is based on proficiency, it continually gets better. That is what makes it so powerful compared to other features other classes get, such as Fighting Styles (which don't improve). In your view, this is what makes them a key feature, but makes it too strong in my view. Your definition of "expert" is spot on, but again why should rogues and bards be experts compared to other classes. Widening the gap just makes it worse IMO.
5. It is already hard for proficient characters do to hard and nearly impossible, even at the highest levels. Of course, at lower levels, those tasks are literally impossible. Someone with expertise should have a chance. One option I forgot to list before was for someone with expertise, a natural 20 should always succeed regardless of the DC. This could even be expanded at higher levels in some fashion.
6. Proficiency shouldn't be affected, only expertise.

With that logic in mind, here's what I came up with:

1. Skill checks use 2d10 instead of 1d20.
2. We adopt the variant rule that makes proficiency add a die instead of a fixed value (1d4 corresponding to +2, 1d6 to +3, etc.)
3. Ability score modifers are dropped by 1 across the board: 8-9 is now -2, 10-11 is -1, 12-13 is 0, etc.
4. The expertise feature grants a second proficiency die, but only if the base roll is 11 or higher. So, roll 2d10 first. If the natural result is 2-10, just roll a single proficiency die as normal. If the natural result is 11-20, roll two proficiency dice.

Here are the success rates at level 5 for an ability score of 12 for this scheme in graph form by DC, compared to RAW, and comparing no proficiency to proficiency to expertise.

mk3E2By.png

The system adds too much complexity for me, anyway. First, adding dice rolling takes time and for our group, adding a variable result from several dice would take way too long LOL! Compared to rolling a single d20, rolling a proficiency die, 2d20, and possibly another proficiency die for expertise would definitely be rejected at our table.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful for all the obvious thought and effort you've put into this, but it isn't heading in the direction we want. In the OP, the idea was to increase proficiency while decreasing ability and expertise; going from the +6/5/6 model to something like +8/4/4 or +9/5/2, etc. Since I have long been advocating for reducing the effect of expertise, I am not sure where you thought increasing it was my goal.
 

Esker

Hero
In the OP, the idea was to increase proficiency while decreasing ability and expertise; going from the +6/5/6 model to something like +8/4/4 or +9/5/2, etc. Since I have long been advocating for reducing the effect of expertise, I am not sure where you thought increasing it was my goal.

Yes. Proficiency gets a big boost overall in this system for moderate DCs. In fact, at a +0 ability mod the gap between proficient and non-proficient is wider here than in RAW for DCs between 8 + ability mod and 20 + ability mod (that window shifts up with the ability mod; it will also shift a bit after level 9, but not by a lot). And the absolute success rate of proficient characters is boosted too for the DC window 7 + abi to 15 + abi. Meanwhile the absolute success rate for characters with expertise is decreased for essentially all checks (the only exception being a little boost to extremely high DC checks), and the gap between expertise and proficiency is smaller than it is in RAW outside the 18 + abi to 25 + abi window. So I am not sure where you thought I was increasing the power of expertise.

I believe every single game example given in this thread, by you and others, as evidence for the position that expertise is too strong are instances where the DC is moderate (like stealth checks where monsters have mediocre passive perception, or grapple checks where the monster isn't proficient). That's why I targeted that type of case, and this proposal reins that kind of thing in. But since another goal is giving in roughly equal measure to taking away, the natural thing to do seemed to be to make expert characters better at tasks where the success rate isn't near ceiling. You can think of this as a stand-in giving characters with expertise access to feats of skill that aren't available to characters without expertise, without having to go through and enumerate those feats of skill individually.

I take your point about the added complexity, but in terms of the result, I don't understand how this doesn't achieve your goals, unless, as I asked before I started on this project, your goal all along was making rogues and bards less distinctive as skill characters. You endorsed the list of goals and pitfalls that I wrote down, which led me to believe that you weren't, in fact, trying to knock down rogues and bards, just address a problem with bounded accuracy. And this definitely solves the bounded accuracy problem.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Yes. Proficiency gets a big boost overall in this system for moderate DCs. In fact, at a +0 ability mod the gap between proficient and non-proficient is wider here than in RAW for DCs between 8 + ability mod and 20 + ability mod (that window shifts up with the ability mod; it will also shift a bit after level 9, but not by a lot). And the absolute success rate of proficient characters is boosted too for the DC window 7 + abi to 15 + abi. Meanwhile the absolute success rate for characters with expertise is decreased for essentially all checks (the only exception being a little boost to extremely high DC checks), and the gap between expertise and proficiency is smaller than it is in RAW outside the 18 + abi to 25 + abi window. So I am not sure where you thought I was increasing the power of expertise.

I believe every single game example given in this thread, by you and others, as evidence for the position that expertise is too strong are instances where the DC is moderate (like stealth checks where monsters have mediocre passive perception, or grapple checks where the monster isn't proficient). That's why I targeted that type of case, and this proposal reins that kind of thing in. But since another goal is giving in roughly equal measure to taking away, the natural thing to do seemed to be to make expert characters better at tasks where the success rate isn't near ceiling. You can think of this as a stand-in giving characters with expertise access to feats of skill that aren't available to characters without expertise, without having to go through and enumerate those feats of skill individually.

I take your point about the added complexity, but in terms of the result, I don't understand how this doesn't achieve your goals, unless, as I asked before I started on this project, your goal all along was making rogues and bards less distinctive as skill characters. You endorsed the list of goals and pitfalls that I wrote down, which led me to believe that you weren't, in fact, trying to knock down rogues and bards, just address a problem with bounded accuracy. And this definitely solves the bounded accuracy problem.

First, like I said, great job and I know it was a lot of thought and effort.

Your chart seems a bit off though for expertise (unless the error lies within my own calculations... *shrug*), so I've included my own chart based on what I believe were your assumptions:

1. Level 5, so proficiency is +3 (or 1d6). Thus, expertise is also +3 (or 1d6).
2. Ability 18 is now +3 as well, not +4.

Using 2d10 results in an average of 11, instead of 10.5, increasing it by 1/2 point. Since proficiency is by die roll, the average result is slightly higher than the base proficiency (2.5 vs 2, 3.5 vs 3, etc.), again by 1/2 point. To counter-balance this inflation, you are reducing ability score modifiers by 1. Next, you are applying a slightly higher average benefit for expertise via the variable die roll (again, 1/2 point), but now it is only applied a bit over half the time (55% for 11-20). In other words, when you roll badly, you don't gain the benefit of your expertise. Instead of an expected boost of 3.5, it is only 1.925 (3.5 x 0.55). However, your system stretches the maximum possible totals even higher than RAW for proficient and expert characters due to the random die roll (not something our table desired).

chart.png

So, I see your point about proficiency and non-proficiency for DCs at or below 20 and 15, respectively. Conversely, above those levels, the probability with your idea makes things harder. That wasn't one of my goals. As I said before, hard tasks are already hard with only proficiency and ability, making them even harder is counter-productive. I am not sure where the confusion lies that led you to think otherwise. If something I wrote misled you, my sincere apologies!

Now, expertise. Well, even with your idea, expertise offers roughly the same probabilities at all the DCs (+/- 3.5%, average of -0.26%). Overall, it is slightly lower, but that is expected since you are only using it 0.55% of the time. The fact that nearly half the time it isn't used, but overall still offers nearly the same probabilities, means it actually has greater impact.

I've attached my excel file for your viewing (I had to remove the macro through). Oddly enough, if you change your condition to add expertise if the 2d10 roll is LESS than 12, expertise produces a curve more like I am looking for, as shown in the second chart:

chart_rev.png

Anyway, more to think about. Time for sleep.
 

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Esker

Hero
First, like I said, great job and I know it was a lot of thought and effort.

Your chart seems a bit off though for expertise (unless the error lies within my own calculations... *shrug*)

Your description of my method is on the nose. I think the discrepancy is that your RAW calculations assume a +3 ability modifier as well, but RAW is +4.

Can you explain to me why you see it as a problem that expertise yields a higher maximum roll, so long as we've dealt with the bounded accuracy issue? Letting a character potentially succeed at harder tasks (with low probability) through a natural die roll seems exciting, and also not that different from building in an auto-success on a natural 20, except the chance of it happening is lower, and it gives the DM greater latitude in distinguishing among degrees of nearly impossible.

As for making hard tasks harder, this is just a consequence of 2d10, since rolls are more likely to be near average. But others who use the 2d10 system (DEFCON 1, I think) have DC adjustments to deal with that.
 
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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Your description of my method is on the nose. I think the discrepancy is that your RAW calculations assume a +3 ability modifier as well, but RAW is +4.

Well, one of the steps in your method was reducing the ability score modifier by 1 (step #3), so ability 18 would be +3, not +4, right?
 



DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
For the new method, yes, but to compare to RAW, you need to compare to +4.

LOL, oh yeah! Gotcha. Well, that isn't a big deal, just shifts the linear RAW line one point. But it does put the new method slightly lower than RAW for expertise, so that is good at least.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I like the idea of abilities capping at 18/+4, and proficiency bonus at +8.

Thanks, we like it. The progression we use for the +8 proficiency is: +2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8.

We cap ability scores at 18 (racial adjustments are included, so NO 20s without magic, etc.!).

And we currently do expertise as +2, +3 at 7th, and +4 at 14th.

This means the max modifier is +16 and the distribution is +8/+4/+4 instead of +6/+5/+6.

We are happy with it. :)
 

Mycroft

Banned
Banned
Thanks, we like it. The progression we use for the +8 proficiency is: +2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8.

We cap ability scores at 18 (racial adjustments are included, so NO 20s without magic, etc.!).

And we currently do expertise as +2, +3 at 7th, and +4 at 14th.

This means the max modifier is +16 and the distribution is +8/+4/+4 instead of +6/+5/+6.

We are happy with it. :)

Very cool, we have done something similar, but with a 3-tiered (low, medium, high) Proficiency bonus system (the High bonus caps at +8, so, with abilities capping at +4, a total of +12).
I like your Expertise deal, we're still playing with ideas for Expertise, nothing is quite satisfying yet (so many ways to go).
 

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