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.
* 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.
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.
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.
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.Rogues were not skill experts before 3E. So, history has nothing to do with it.
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.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).
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.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.
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?"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.
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.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...
Well, if not replace it, redefine it.
Thats fine. WHAT DO YOU REPLACE IT WITH?
I have posted the below before, but I'm not sure why it is not accepted as a solution:
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.
With normal checks (not contests) you might just give the character with expertise Advantage on the roll.
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.
2. Expertise doubles ability bonus instead of proficiency bonus.
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)
4. Advantage on checks.
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.
Interesting. Makes expertise better at lower levels but with a lower ultimate ceiling. Could work.
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.
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.
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 12 for this scheme in graph form by DC, compared to RAW, and comparing no proficiency to proficiency to expertise.
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.
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.
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.