5E Proficiency vs Non-Proficiency

How many times out of 20 attempts would no skill win out over ultimate skill?

  • Out of 20 attempts, the unskilled will beat the ultimate skilled 0-1 times (0-5%).

    Votes: 28 46.7%
  • Out of 20 attempts, the unskilled will beat the ultimate skilled 2-3 times (10-15%).

    Votes: 13 21.7%
  • Out of 20 attempts, the unskilled will beat the ultimate skilled 4-5 times (20-25%).

    Votes: 14 23.3%
  • Out of 20 attempts, the unskilled will beat the ultimate skilled 6-7 times (30-35%).

    Votes: 4 6.7%
  • Out of 20 attempts, the unskilled will beat the ultimate skilled 8-9 times (40-45%).

    Votes: 1 1.7%

  • Total voters
    60

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The question has meaning, it simply isn't as specific as you would like to feel able to vote.
No. You see, you had to give additional context in order to make yourself clear - that means the question, as stated, lacked the semantic content to be answered.
 

Sabathius42

Explorer
Thanks, that is an excellent point on the 5E design! It wasn't, obviously, my take on the system at large but it does explain more of what the designers were doing. Kuddos! :)
Literally groaned when I read this.

The exact same point made by Baba had already been made by multiple other posters before (including myself) trying to tell you that ability scores (and other things) are included in a characters "skill" at something.

I give them credit for actually cracking open a PHB and quoting it to get you to see the point. Kudos indeed.

DS
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
In a contest in 5e, a tie results in the situation remaining as it is. So I'm not sure where you get this- is there a special clause under Expertise or something?
Easy to explain again. If the question is: what chance does a inproficient person has to WIN against an expert, a toe is not a win... sorry.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
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.
Hmm, is that so.

Wonder what the OED says. Pulling out just the relevant parts (not needed that's a type of American frisbee.)

ultimate

adjective
2 Being the best or most extreme example of its kind.
‘the ultimate accolade’

noun
1 the ultimateThe best achievable or imaginable of its kind.‘the ultimate in decorative luxury’
You've already opening up the skill being increased beyond proficiency by various things such as expertise. Is there something beyond what you described? Yes, higher results boosted by feats and abilities scores. Therefore "just expertise" isn't ultimate.

Sorry, Oxford English Dictionary says you are wrong.
 
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77IM

Explorer!!!
Now, remember, we are talking ONLY proficiency or not, there is no ability score bonus, magic, etc. to add. Also, I am not considering Expertise, but that is a very valid issue to consider.
I reject this portion of the question.

The ONLY thing that matters to me is game-play: what effects do these numbers have on how the players act, and on the consequences of their actions. In that context, the difference between "worst PC" and "best PC" is very important and I'd happily discuss that question. But the difference between proficient and non-proficient characters at 20th level is totally irrelevant to me.
 

Satyrn

Villager
If you don't like the options, please answer and explain your own take. Thanks to all for participating and your feedback.
It's not that I don't like the answers. I reject the foundation of the question.

To me, the PCs are adventurers with a broad range of skills that aren't represented by game mechanics. The proficiency bonus just applies to a subset of this that they are especially focused on.

The mechanics simply shouldn't be used or even considered in answering your question.

How many times should LeBron James win a game of 21 against me? Every time.
How many times should, uh, Kasparov best me at chess? Every time.
How many times should Neil Peart outdrum me? Every time.

If I was to answer your poll, I'd go with the first option, but it should just be "zero" not 0-1.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
How many times should Neil Peart outdrum me? Every time.

If I was to answer your poll, I'd go with the first option, but it should just be "zero" not 0-1.
Never discount luck or random happenstance.

I mean, what if Peart goes all Spinal Tap?
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
If you want to figure out how often a max-proficiency warrior should lose to an unskilled one, you have to take into account things like increased damage, multiple attacks, tricks like superiority dice, etc. Simply comparing proficiency bonuses is like trying to assess the relative health of a pair of forests by examining a single tree from each.
Unless it's a duel to first blood, of course, where your capacity to withstand injury is irrelevant (since we know for a fact that 1hp of damage is sufficient to draw blood). In that case, the only relevant factors are initiative and the chance of landing at least one hit on your turn.

And in that case, which is only slightly contrived, a high-Dex wizard has a decent chance of besting a high-Strength fighter.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I didn't feel it is a trap. I think the thread is a good one. I just think your premise that +6 is the ultimate skilled is flawed.
If we take an attack roll there is much more to it. Since winning is inherently done with more than a single check, number of attacks is quite a big factor. While a level 5 fighter might only be +1 ahead over a 1st level fighter, he will be able to make 4 attacks instead of 1 in the first round. A level 20 fighter can do 16 attacks while the 1st level one only does 2. So instead of expertise, we have extra attack here to be called ultimately skilled.
In skills we need to take expertise into account even though there is sadly no way for the cleric to get it if he is no human with access to xanathar's guide or taking a level of rogue or 3 of bard... (which seems inappropriate for most clerics).
The way you couched the question, your insistence that ability bonus doesn't apply, and your disregard of expertise is exactly you saying that +6 is the ultimate proficiency. As many others in this thread have argued, that is pretty far from what the 5e rules allow for.
Literally groaned when I read this.

The exact same point made by Baba had already been made by multiple other posters before (including myself) trying to tell you that ability scores (and other things) are included in a characters "skill" at something.

I give them credit for actually cracking open a PHB and quoting it to get you to see the point. Kudos indeed.

DS
Well, without the quote from the book indicating the intent of the designers, I was going from prior editions where ability scores literally were only natural ability for something and didn't represent some level of skill, even without proficiency. To me then the term "proficiency" is poorly chosen because it implies the training I thought 5E wanted it to represent. Without the quote, it could simply be an issue of my interpretation versus yours, both could be valid but would be a matter of preference. So, when people were telling me this before, I was stressing MY interpretation as what I was looking at thinking your points were simply YOUR interpretation, not necessarily that of the designers.

Sorry it made you groan LOL! :)

Skills and attacks are entirely different beasts in D&D. Checks are explicitly a different type of roll than attack rolls. You're mixing apples with hot dogs here.

If you want to figure out how often a max-proficiency warrior should lose to an unskilled one, you have to take into account things like increased damage, multiple attacks, tricks like superiority dice, etc. Simply comparing proficiency bonuses is like trying to assess the relative health of a pair of forests by examining a single tree from each.
Skill and attacks are not entirely different beasts. The use the same d20 mechanic and are both under the bounded accuracy design.

The "contest" for attacks could be simply shooting a single arrow, etc. While not a "contested roll" the same concept still applies.

Never discount luck or random happenstance.

I mean, what if Peart goes all Spinal Tap?
Precisely, barring something that makes a task impossible, there should always be the 1-in-20 chance (or 1-in-400 with disadvantage) for failure and success IMO.
 

Ristamar

Explorer
Unless it's a duel to first blood, of course, where your capacity to withstand injury is irrelevant (since we know for a fact that 1hp of damage is sufficient to draw blood). In that case, the only relevant factors are initiative and the chance of landing at least one hit on your turn.
Okay, time to break out the popcorn...
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
It isn't flawed for what I am questioning, and frankly although I am still lacking as many votes as I would like to feel comfortable drawing conclusions yet, the present evidence brings about surprising support (from my point of view anyway), particularly in light with the design intent Baba pointed out (for which I will freely admit I was ignorant of and was skewing my own personal expectations).

The only inherent issue is people's distrust of what I am trying to accomplish. I was surprised a few people initially replied they felt like this was a trap. Like I was trying to trick them into voting a certain way. I would imagine for those who love 5E, they don't like the idea of seeing a system challenged and thus either aren't voting because of that or because they like things as is and see no need. The other end of the spectrum are those who do think maybe things are a bit off, so they are voting hoping my conclusions will support their own ideas that things are off a bit maybe.

Unfortunately, this is the case with opinion polls. :(

And the purpose of all of the choices being within the 95% CI is because most people would (likely) find those options most reasonable, which makes perfect sense. Given the question, I doubt many individuals would argue one of the poll options should include 15 out of 20 for instance.
"The only inherent issue is people's distrust of what I am trying to accomplish. I was surprised a few people initially replied they felt like this was a trap. Like I was trying to trick them into voting a certain way. I would imagine for those who love 5E, they don't like the idea of seeing a system challenged and thus either aren't voting because of that or because they like things as is and see no need. The other end of the spectrum are those who do think maybe things are a bit off, so they are voting hoping my conclusions will support their own ideas that things are off a bit maybe."

Wow, that's some hefty bias on assumptions there.

Is it any wonder why folks may think your poll is not on theblevrl?
I mean, more than a few have pointed out the obvious bias in presentation - ultimate skill vs non-proficient but let's ignore all these other differences. Tossing in combat checks to help dismiss expertise but still acting like it's a one-check-and-done which most combats are not one-check-and-done.

And you admit after a ways in the purpose...it is to fuel a later position... which makes the flaws and biases in the collection method more important.

" If the votes don't support my assumption, I will gladly admit it and move on. If they do, I'll present the results and my ideas and THEN see what others have to say about it. It is premature to discuss it at this point."

So, let's collect votes with a slanted approach then if they surprisingly support our argument we will use them to strike back.

But, I am definitely an outlier cuz I dont see 5e as a thing I love and have issues with reasonable challenges to it... yet I did not vote because of the obvious skew-to-support-agenda going on.

Frankly, I find *if you dont agree with me it must be blindly following ABC" arguments to be rather dull, unimaginative and pointless - even if they are "supported" by skewed polls.

But, on the subject of odds of experts vs novices and success - there are DMG options that help that a lot.
 
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I liked that, in 3rd ed, some skills weren't doable without having some training.

Disable device (thieves tools), Use Magic Device, Tumble(acrobatics)

Knowledge skills could only get you DC 10 information if you had no training. (common knowledge)

I don't think that someone with the most training should get beat by someone with no training at all. In most activities. Some activities do rely on chance.

It would be an easy thing to put in to 5e to say that someone without proficiency could only achieve a DC 10 in certain skills. In fact, I don't allow the Help action for certain tests if you aren't proficient in the appropriate skill.

That said, I think, in 5e, the assumption is that adventurers have some degree of competency in all the skills. It's just that some adventurers are more specialized - or should I say - more proficient.

For what it's worth, I answered your pole.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I liked that, in 3rd ed, some skills weren't doable without having some training.

Disable device (thieves tools), Use Magic Device, Tumble(acrobatics)

Knowledge skills could only get you DC 10 information if you had no training. (common knowledge)

I don't think that someone with the most training should get beat by someone with no training at all. In most activities. Some activities do rely on chance.

It would be an easy thing to put in to 5e to say that someone without proficiency could only achieve a DC 10 in certain skills. In fact, I don't allow the Help action for certain tests if you aren't proficient in the appropriate skill.

That said, I think, in 5e, the assumption is that adventurers have some degree of competency in all the skills. It's just that some adventurers are more specialized - or should I say - more proficient.

For what it's worth, I answered your pole.
While I can see your point and agree on many levels, given the designers' perspective that ability score does represent natural talent and training in a skill, I don't mind a character without proficiency attempting higher DCs since RAW there is no autosuccess with a nat 20. At best, with a 20 ability score and +5 mod, the highest DC they would even have a chance with is 25. Even DC 15 would only have a 55% chance to succeed with a +5 ability mod only.

I like your take with choosing the words competency, specialized (or "proficient"). I know it is only semantics, but it would have made more sense to my anyway if the designers had said something like what you did, but replacing "proficiency" in the books with "specialized", with the expertise feature taking the bonus further. But now that I am aware of the designers' intent, I can roll with it as is.

And thanks for participating in the poll! The more people who do, the more inference I can make from it. :)
 

the Jester

Legend
Unless it's a duel to first blood, of course, where your capacity to withstand injury is irrelevant (since we know for a fact that 1hp of damage is sufficient to draw blood).
We do? Since when? I'd need a cite on this, and even with one, I find it a dubious assertion. Since 1e and before, the distinction between hit points and actual wounds has been clearly drawn.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
We do? Since when? I'd need a cite on this, and even with one, I find it a dubious assertion. Since 1e and before, the distinction between hit points and actual wounds has been clearly drawn.
Although both the PHB and the Basic Rules suggest that these details will vary according to the DM's preference, the Monster Manual states clearly that sharks frenzy against any creature that doesn't have full HP.

The distinction between HP and actual wounds has never been clear, in any edition, but the fact that HP damage necessarily draws blood in 5E is irrefutable.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Although both the PHB and the Basic Rules suggest that these details will vary according to the DM's preference, the Monster Manual states clearly that sharks frenzy against any creature that doesn't have full HP.

The distinction between HP and actual wounds has never been clear, in any edition, but the fact that HP damage necessarily draws blood in 5E is irrefutable.
Sharks can smell "fatigue, bruises, and near-misses" a mile away.
 
We do? Since when? I'd need a cite on this, and even with one, I find it a dubious assertion. Since 1e and before, the distinction between hit points and actual wounds has been clearly drawn.
While it doesn't call it Bloodied like 4e, 5e has a sidebar that suggest visible damage (Which, sure, could be bruising rather than bleeding, so hardly definitive) starts accumulating at 1/2 max hps; 1e had a lot to say about hps and open wounds (with regard to poison), that was pretty convoluted, but could be plausibly worked out to conclude that hp damage didn't always involve wounds, and if whether a given hit resulted in an open wound mattered, a poison save would resolve the question.
All other eds are silent on the issue.
 

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