The High Aldwin
To be honest, my gut instinct is “this question feels like a trap.”
Darn! You caught me, Admiral.
It would kind of depend on the skill. Some skills should have less variance in possible results than the other.
Valid, but since I am talking about attacks/skills in general, I just wanted people to follow their gut overall.
My own take is I don't have any particular gut feeling or other expectation about how those numbers should shake out. "Should" is a risky mindset to have in a game that shares elements with childhood games of make-believe and is driven by imagination. In my view, such a game is better approached with the mindset of "could," "might," "may," or "can" rather than a mindset of "should", "would," or "must."
So however that math works out (and I'd be interested to see the numbers), it's fine by me. After all, maybe that's just how it works in this world of swords and sorcery.
Should versus any other word-choice is mostly a matter of semantics. "Could" works just as well, but I choose "Should" because this is a matter what you believe is likely and makes sense to you in your own game setting. Every table will differ of course, but that is what I want to know--how you think it "should" turn out (your opinion) individually.
My question is: what is this trying to accomplish? That random dice rolls will sometimes produce odd results? Sure. But why is an unskilled character being asked to try and accomplish a task that apparently tests an ultimate skilled character? A brain surgeon rolling dice against a dolt is obviously going to lose some of the time, but doesn’t mean I want the dolt to open my head up!
Garbage in, garbage out.
I am trying to get a feel for other peoples' thoughts on how someone with no training or skill whatsoever would fair in a contest against someone would ultimate proficiency in that training or skill.
But you haven't described "ultimate" skill, you've described "casual skill by a master".
"Ultimate" skill is boosted by expertise, by natural ability (ability scores), perhaps by feats.
This is the difference between "I don't know this" and "I have familiarity with it and in general a lot of experience".
No. Ultimate skill is exactly what I describe: their proficiency is as good as experience can ever make it. They have no ability modifier (natural) to augment it. What you describe is someone with both high proficiency and high ability score (natural). My poll and question removes all other factors. If it makes you feel better, you can assume both persons have the same ability score appropriate for the skill/attack-type. Thus, non-proficiency versus highest or ultimate proficiency is the question here.