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5E Proficiency vs. Ability vs. Expertise

dnd4vr

Explorer
I would never say that you're not entitled to your opinion; I'm just trying to get a straightforward clarification about whether your dislike for the rogue's higher ceiling (as distinct from the higher floor) is driven purely by aesthetics/fluff connotations, or whether there's also a mechanical problem you see with it. It's clear to me now, despite the straightforward clarification I was looking for, that it's driven by aesthetics/fluff. It's still your opinion, and you're still entitled to it. But it muddies the search for a solution if we can't be clear on that.

You've expressed an opinion that a 75% success rates on stealth checks is too high. I disagree, but I accept your opinion, and worked to come up with a solution that would lower that number (which is reasonably seen as question of bounded accuracy as the concept generalizes to skill checks) without taking power away from the rogue. But as recently as this morning you are still claiming that your issue with the rogue's higher ceiling, which is a separate issue except insofar as we can't distinguish the two using fixed bonuses alone, is about bounded accuracy too, which is factually untrue. What bounded accuracy does is keep success chances strictly above 0% and strictly below 100%; so moving a success chance from 0 to something above zero is working with bounded accuracy, not against it.
Yes, part is the fluff of it since there is no basis for why those classes should potentially be able to roll higher than everyone else. However, part of it is also that expertise boosts the numbers (resulting in the fluff issue) too much. We've already reduced expertise to a max +4 vs. proficiency +8, instead of +6 vs. +6, and when you read my (just above) post, I am probably going to remove the number boost entirely in favor for advantage. Other features, such as doing expert skill checks via bonus actions instead of regular will likely follow.

Except for looking for alternative solutions, I am still stuck with high stealth capability. We will see if other factors can mitigate that.
 

Esker

Explorer
Ha, baiting and flinging is not internal consistency, but nice try, with that last straw.

It's okay...go...
I don't understand what you mean, but it's obviously not going to be productive to try to convince you of my good faith. I apologize for offending you. All the best.
 

Esker

Explorer
Yes, part is the fluff of it since there is no basis for why those classes should potentially be able to roll higher than everyone else. However, part of it is also that expertise boosts the numbers (resulting in the fluff issue) too much. We've already reduced expertise to a max +4 vs. proficiency +8, instead of +6 vs. +6, and when you read my (just above) post, I am probably going to remove the number boost entirely in favor for advantage. Other features, such as doing expert skill checks via bonus actions instead of regular will likely follow.

Except for looking for alternative solutions, I am still stuck with high stealth capability. We will see if other factors can mitigate that.
With advantage able to stack, turning expertise into an always-on source of advantage is definitely more viable than it would be otherwise. From a class power perspective I might even rather have advantage than the bonus, at least at the levels that see the most play, since I usually invest at least a little in the stats associated with the skills I take expertise in, and so having a 50/50 shot of rolling a nat 15 or better is usually going to do the job, especially with the boosted proficiency bonus.

As for stealth, take a level 5 rogue with 18 DEX. I don't remember whether level 5 proficiency is still +3 for you, but if so, that's a +7 with advantage on stealth rolls. So you need a natural 7 to hit a passive perception of 14, which is 88% success with advantage. Under RAW, the stealth bonus would be +10, so you'd need a 4, but no advantage, so that's 85% success. Pretty similar; you've actually boosted those stealth checks slightly. Against a passive perception of 11, you go from 100% success down to 98%. Still not dramatic, but at least there's a chance (although leaving the RAW bonus alone and making nat 1s auto-fail would be 95%).

I do like that advantage is worth more to you when it's a harder check (assuming you're on the good side of 50%), whereas the flat bonus is just flat. Against our cloud giant friend with their 17 in perception, +3 gives 70%, advantage gives 80%. Even against the conclave dryad's 19, you go from 60% to 70%. So against pretty much every realistic perception number, you're increasing the success rate; at least at level 5. I guess later on as expertise would have been worth more, it will even out or flip, and I guess that much is what you want, really.

So as a stealth rogue, I'd play at your table with that rule. I'm still a little confused about why you want to make that particular change given the problems you said you had, but at least it shouldn't make your rogue players grumpy.

Even with an "off"-skill like Perception, where my rogue is likely to have only a +1 or +2 ability score, noticing a Pixie with her +7 to stealth would give me a 50-60% success chance under RAW, but a 58-70% chance under your new rule, assuming I'm making an active check vs an average roll by the Pixie. (I haven't done the math for the actual contested roll, so it'll be different from this in reality.

The only feature that immediately comes to mind that this significantly devalues is the Inquisitive's Ear for Deceit, where you treat any insight roll below 8 as an 8 when trying to detect deceit. Insight is basically a mandatory expertise pick for an Inquisitive, but with advantage, you're so unlikely to roll below an 8 anyway that the feature is nearly useless. Would you consider leaving double proficiency in as a subclass feature when using that specific type of insight check (maybe give the choice between double proficiency and advantage on a given roll)?
 

Esker

Explorer
Except for looking for alternative solutions, I am still stuck with high stealth capability. We will see if other factors can mitigate that.
Actually I guess there are a few other subclass features that are a bit wonky with replacing expertise with advantage; namely those that grant advantage on certain kinds of checks (Thief's Supreme Sneak, Inquisitive's Steady Eye, Assassin's Impostor, Swashbuckler's Panache -- since the charmed condition grants advantage -- as well as elegant maneuver). I suppose you could just flip it around though, and for those features replace advantage with double proficiency...
 

Cap'n Kobold

Explorer
Actually I guess there are a few other subclass features that are a bit wonky with replacing expertise with advantage; namely those that grant advantage on certain kinds of checks (Thief's Supreme Sneak, Inquisitive's Steady Eye, Assassin's Impostor, Swashbuckler's Panache -- since the charmed condition grants advantage -- as well as elegant maneuver). I suppose you could just flip it around though, and for those features replace advantage with double proficiency...
If advantage stacks, those abilities lose a little value, but are still benefits.

Particularly since a nat 20 auto-succeeds, stacking extra dice allows fishing for 20s to beat a DC that you couldn't hit even with double-proficiency expertise an option.
 

Esker

Explorer
If advantage stacks, those abilities lose a little value, but are still benefits.

Particularly since a nat 20 auto-succeeds, stacking extra dice allows fishing for 20s to beat a DC that you couldn't hit even with double-proficiency expertise an option.
Oh, I missed the bit about making nat 20 auto-succeed. I have to say I like that less than making nat 1 auto-fail, since you lose the possibility of a check that only a highly skilled character has any chance of making, and you remove the DM's ability to let the character roll for something they actually intend to be impossible. What if instead of auto-success, you made a nat 20 trigger a bonus die that gets added to the total, say the size of your proficiency die?

As for the stacking advantage bit, yes, there's still some value, but the third die is worth at best half of what the second die is worth. Although it might be that since you're starting with lower mods than you do under RAW it tends to bring up the value of advantage since the base success chance is moving closer to 50% in most cases. Though I doubt that there will be many cases where the third die is worth more than the second one was under RAW, in which case you're creating an imbalance among rogue subclasses, with some having some of their features weakened, while others are unaffected. Which would be okay if it were moving the subclasses toward parity, but Arcane Trickster, for example, which was already one of the strongest subclasses, gets even stronger, relatively speaking, since none of their value is derived from extra sources of advantage on skill checks, while Inquisitive and Assassin, which were already relatively weak, get weaker.
 
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dnd4vr

Explorer
Raising the Bar (new feat)


You have ability beyond the norm. Select one ability score and you gain the following benefits:


* You gain 1 point to the chosen ability score.
* Your maximum for the chosen ability score is now 20 instead of 18.
* Once per long rest when you make an attack roll, saving throw, or skill check using your chosen ability score modifier and the result fails, you can reroll the attempt. (MAYBE??? Too much? I probably won't keep this one... but our long rests are 24 hours.

What do people think about this last benefit? Is it too powerful? Do you see this becoming almost a must-have by many characters since without it your major attribute is capped at 18?
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
With advantage able to stack, turning expertise into an always-on source of advantage is definitely more viable than it would be otherwise. From a class power perspective I might even rather have advantage than the bonus, at least at the levels that see the most play, since I usually invest at least a little in the stats associated with the skills I take expertise in, and so having a 50/50 shot of rolling a nat 15 or better is usually going to do the job, especially with the boosted proficiency bonus.

As for stealth, take a level 5 rogue with 18 DEX. I don't remember whether level 5 proficiency is still +3 for you, but if so, that's a +7 with advantage on stealth rolls. So you need a natural 7 to hit a passive perception of 14, which is 88% success with advantage. Under RAW, the stealth bonus would be +10, so you'd need a 4, but no advantage, so that's 85% success. Pretty similar; you've actually boosted those stealth checks slightly. Against a passive perception of 11, you go from 100% success down to 98%. Still not dramatic, but at least there's a chance (although leaving the RAW bonus alone and making nat 1s auto-fail would be 95%).

I do like that advantage is worth more to you when it's a harder check (assuming you're on the good side of 50%), whereas the flat bonus is just flat. Against our cloud giant friend with their 17 in perception, +3 gives 70%, advantage gives 80%. Even against the conclave dryad's 19, you go from 60% to 70%. So against pretty much every realistic perception number, you're increasing the success rate; at least at level 5. I guess later on as expertise would have been worth more, it will even out or flip, and I guess that much is what you want, really.

So as a stealth rogue, I'd play at your table with that rule. I'm still a little confused about why you want to make that particular change given the problems you said you had, but at least it shouldn't make your rogue players grumpy.

Even with an "off"-skill like Perception, where my rogue is likely to have only a +1 or +2 ability score, noticing a Pixie with her +7 to stealth would give me a 50-60% success chance under RAW, but a 58-70% chance under your new rule, assuming I'm making an active check vs an average roll by the Pixie. (I haven't done the math for the actual contested roll, so it'll be different from this in reality.

The only feature that immediately comes to mind that this significantly devalues is the Inquisitive's Ear for Deceit, where you treat any insight roll below 8 as an 8 when trying to detect deceit. Insight is basically a mandatory expertise pick for an Inquisitive, but with advantage, you're so unlikely to roll below an 8 anyway that the feature is nearly useless. Would you consider leaving double proficiency in as a subclass feature when using that specific type of insight check (maybe give the choice between double proficiency and advantage on a given roll)?
Glad you like most of it. The stealths are pretty similar and I am not totally pleased by that, but so far this is the best (i.e. simplest and

As for the last item about Ear for Deceit, and some others that might not benefit from advantage as much, I am more likely to double ability score modifiers (limited normally to +4) than doubling proficiency (since ours goes up to +8). If not ability, than maybe half proficiency, rounded up, which would still be limited to +4...
 

Esker

Explorer
As for the last item about Ear for Deceit, and some others that might not benefit from advantage as much, I am more likely to double ability score modifiers (limited normally to +4) than doubling proficiency (since ours goes up to +8). If not ability, than maybe half proficiency, rounded up, which would still be limited to +4...
Ah, right, with souped up proficiency bonuses, it probably needs adjustment. I'd rather see half-prof. rounded up than using ability scores, since I'm probably not putting ASIs into Wisdom as an Inquisitive, double ability mod is worth +1 or +2 at most, and won't scale. Remind me when proficiency gets bumped up in your new system?

What about half-proficiency rounded up, with the floor increased to 10 (which is simpler to keep track of anyway)? Then they get a bit more benefit early, and the cap is the same as RAW.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Ah, right, with souped up proficiency bonuses, it probably needs adjustment. I'd rather see half-prof. rounded up than using ability scores, since I'm probably not putting ASIs into Wisdom as an Inquisitive, double ability mod is worth +1 or +2 at most, and won't scale. Remind me when proficiency gets bumped up in your new system?

What about half-proficiency rounded up, with the floor increased to 10 (which is simpler to keep track of anyway)? Then they get a bit more benefit early, and the cap is the same as RAW.
Our proficiency progression is +2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8.

I thought about half proficiency as well since that limits the boost to +4, but I would probably keep it rounded down LOL!

Last session we tried the expertise = advantage and other ideas I posted. I worked really well, but the other main "rogue" player wasn't there (another played controlled his character) so I have yet to report his reaction.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Quite honestly 4th edition Skill and Utility Powers is what seems needed they allow you to do spikey or specialized things associated with a skill while keeping general usage normal. Fleeting ghost was a Roguish one which allowed hiding while moving at no penalty. Acrobatics had one that allowed one to recover from being prone without mobility loss. Some are the re-roll a failure but some are use a different attribute for something than you normally might (one might allow you to use Dexterity for medicine checks of a certain type and we could call it acupuncture or surgical adroitness). I just think things like that have way more flavor than number crunching
 
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