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

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Every hit is a scratch. Just a slight one. Enough to deliver poison or break concentration.
If you go that route, you are usually safe.
 

the Jester

Legend
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.
That's a good argument, but hardly "irrefutable".

Bear in mind that damage can be psychic. It's pretty easy to argue that 1 point of psychic damage won't draws blood. In addition, a shark gets advantage on creatures that don't even have blood, so long as they are below maximum hps. A damaged water elemental? Advantage. A damaged stone golem? Advantage. A damaged skeleton? Advantage.

Sorry, I don't fully buy your argument. Given that there is no hard and fast rule for when you actually leak blood after being damaged, and given the above, I have to conclude that the shark's blood frenzy ability is designed to make it easy to play, not to model when damage causes a creature to bleed.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
That's a good argument, but hardly "irrefutable".

Bear in mind that damage can be psychic. It's pretty easy to argue that 1 point of psychic damage won't draws blood. In addition, a shark gets advantage on creatures that don't even have blood, so long as they are below maximum hps. A damaged water elemental? Advantage. A damaged stone golem? Advantage. A damaged skeleton? Advantage.

Sorry, I don't fully buy your argument. Given that there is no hard and fast rule for when you actually leak blood after being damaged, and given the above, I have to conclude that the shark's blood frenzy ability is designed to make it easy to play, not to model when damage causes a creature to bleed.
It's designed to be easy to play, by making certain basic assumptions, such as that the shark is fighting one or more of the PC races. In most cases, the shark isn't fighting a golem or skeleton, and it won't be fighting someone who has only suffered psychic damage. That's fair. If the basic assumptions don't hold, for whatever reason, then the DM is there to adjudicate that.

That being said, the general underlying principle of the mechanic is that - barring exceptional circumstances - any amount of damage to a PC will necessarily draw blood. A duel with swords between a fighter and a wizard does not include any mitigating circumstances. If a shark shows up to the duel, it will definitely have advantage against the first one to suffer HP damage. That's how those rules intend for you to describe the effects of a successful hit, regardless of how many HP the fighter has remaining.

And even though those rules flatly contradict the previous suggestion of how to describe damage, in the PHB. Because the game is poorly written.
 

the Jester

Legend
That being said, the general underlying principle of the mechanic is that - barring exceptional circumstances - any amount of damage to a PC will necessarily draw blood.
Do you have a citation for that? Because right now, without such a cite, I don't think that what you say here is correct. It's your reading of the way damage works, but not everyone is going to share your reading.

I'm not saying you're wrong to see it that way, but you're kind of out of line insisting that it's the One True Way that damage works. It simply isn't and never has been.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
For my understanding HP has always been represented by three categories: meat body, skill, and luck/blessing/magic/etc.

Getting hit in 5E (or any edition IMO) could result in a loss of one or more from categories. Once damage is done, the DM narrates it as the story dictates. If you have 50 hp, and get hit for only 1 or 2, then maybe it is a scratch, but maybe it was also you moving to avoid the edge, and only the "flat of the blade" hit you. Sure, it stung, but didn't necessarily draw blood...

That's one reason why I prefer difference systems, but if you can accept the idea behind hp it is okay as a game mechanic I suppose.
 
My first intuition says "zero". If I'm unskilled/untrained at basketball, and I go up against someone who is ultimately skilled (Michael Jordan, Timmy Duncan, etc), I will win zero times in a one-on-one hoops contest. Zero out of 20. If I play 1,000,000 games, and in one of those games Timmy gets violently ill and cannot play because he's literally incapacitated, then sure I could maybe win one. So basically zero.

Lets talk other skills. Out of 20 times, how many could I, an unskilled/untrained person smith a better sword than a trained blacksmith? Again, zero. Zero out of 20.

I think whatever the "skill" is, if I am untrained/unskilled and am going up against an ultimately-skilled person, I will always lose. Even Usain Bolt, if he had never trained for sprinting, would probably lose against a trained sprinter ultimate sprinter a good amount of the time.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Every hit is a scratch. Just a slight one. Enough to deliver poison or break concentration.
If you go that route, you are usually safe.
You can break concentration without drawing blood, and you only need a scratch IF you have a creature with poison. The need for damage for poison and similar attacks is why the rule says "typically shows no signs of damage." Otherwise, 5e very explicitly does no physical damage at all until you drop below 50% hit points.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
You can break concentration without drawing blood, and you only need a scratch IF you have a creature with poison. The need for damage for poison and similar attacks is why the rule says "typically shows no signs of damage." Otherwise, 5e very explicitly does no physical damage at all until you drop below 50% hit points.
Every hit might be a scratch.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Every hit might be a scratch.
A scratch is a sign of injury, so according to RAW most hits do not result in scratches. They use "typically," because sometimes you need injury at over 50% hit points. You can always house rule every hit to show signs of injury, but as 5e is written that does not occur.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Now that I have over 50 votes (53), let's see what is happening:

Vote option 1 (23 votes): 0-1 times equates to a +15 modifier over +0
Vote option 2 (10 votes): 2-3 times equates to a +10 modifier over +0
Vote option 3 (12 votes): 4-5 times equates to a +6 modifier over +0
Vote option 4 (5 votes): 6-7 times equates to a +3 modifier over +0
Vote option 5 (3 votes): 8-9 times equates to a +1 modifier over +0

The expected value (using the mean for each voting block) is 2.8 times (within option 2) so a +10 modifier (with rounding, this is discrete after all).

Now, originally I was only comparing "proficiency bonus" against no proficiency bonus. As many people have pointed out, my word choice might have mislead some of the voting choices with the poll question, but hopefully the explanation I gave in the OP went into enough detail to remedy this. With the added caveat about not considering expertise, which would otherwise double the proficiency bonus.

Either way, if you understood my intent in only considering proficiency bonus (all other things being 0 or equal between the two contestants), then the +6 currently used in 5E doesn't really offer enough of a difference between maximum proficiency bonus and no proficiency. A difference that more represents the expected results of such a contest would be +10.

I know bounded accuracy was meant to stop the treadmill effect, and it has nicely, but personally I always felt there was not enough of a difference between the two ends of the spectrum. I don't want a full 20-points like in prior editions, but 6 seems too little. We've been playing with a house-rule that maxes out proficiency bonus at +8 for a while now, and considered raising it again.

All that being said, if you think that ability modifier must be included due to the intent of the designers and voted with that in mind, then the current +11 max (+5 for ability, +6 for proficiency) is close to the poll results and works pretty well.

Thanks to all for voting and adding your comments. It has given me much to think on. :)
 

jgsugden

Explorer
It comes down to what is being attempted.

Knowing a bit of trivia - very rarely but possible. Less than 5%.

Building a great piece of furniture? Less than 1%.

Long jump? Virtually Never.

The skil set is an approximation system. I've built more comprehensive skill systems, but they were too nuanced to work, or were so abstract that the DM was ultimately just deciding what to do.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
A lot of it is very subjective, which is shown in the poll I think. A blend of simplistic but realistic is hard to achieve, and overall I think 5E does a decent job.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
A scratch is a sign of injury, so according to RAW most hits do not result in scratches. They use "typically," because sometimes you need injury at over 50% hit points. You can always house rule every hit to show signs of injury, but as 5e is written that does not occur.
If you deliver poison it needs to be a scratch. Might be tiny. Might even be invisible, but you need to connect.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Now that I have over 50 votes (53), let's see what is happening:

Vote option 1 (23 votes): 0-1 times equates to a +15 modifier over +0
Vote option 2 (10 votes): 2-3 times equates to a +10 modifier over +0
Vote option 3 (12 votes): 4-5 times equates to a +6 modifier over +0
Vote option 4 (5 votes): 6-7 times equates to a +3 modifier over +0
Vote option 5 (3 votes): 8-9 times equates to a +1 modifier over +0

The expected value (using the mean for each voting block) is 2.8 times (within option 2) so a +10 modifier (with rounding, this is discrete after all).

Now, originally I was only comparing "proficiency bonus" against no proficiency bonus. As many people have pointed out, my word choice might have mislead some of the voting choices with the poll question, but hopefully the explanation I gave in the OP went into enough detail to remedy this. With the added caveat about not considering expertise, which would otherwise double the proficiency bonus.

Either way, if you understood my intent in only considering proficiency bonus (all other things being 0 or equal between the two contestants), then the +6 currently used in 5E doesn't really offer enough of a difference between maximum proficiency bonus and no proficiency. A difference that more represents the expected results of such a contest would be +10.

I know bounded accuracy was meant to stop the treadmill effect, and it has nicely, but personally I always felt there was not enough of a difference between the two ends of the spectrum. I don't want a full 20-points like in prior editions, but 6 seems too little. We've been playing with a house-rule that maxes out proficiency bonus at +8 for a while now, and considered raising it again.

All that being said, if you think that ability modifier must be included due to the intent of the designers and voted with that in mind, then the current +11 max (+5 for ability, +6 for proficiency) is close to the poll results and works pretty well.

Thanks to all for voting and adding your comments. It has given me much to think on. :)
Yes, seems to work out as expected.
Expertise or 20 in a stat seems totally right as ultimately skilled.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Yes, seems to work out as expected.
Expertise or 20 in a stat seems totally right as ultimately skilled.
Well, to quote a well-known individual: "From a certain point of view."

See, unfortunately the problem is I thought I had made my interest clear that I was only concerned with the proficiency bonus itself, and I know some people voted with that in mind. However, because I used "ultimate skill", it was pointed out that it should, in fact, include the ability score modifier (which I wasn't).

Since I have no idea who voted with which schema in mind, I can't draw really great conclusions from all this.

It works out like this RAW:

If two people both have the same ability scores, the person with highest proficiency (sans expertise) of +6 would lose to a person with no proficiency at all 22.75% of the time, or roughly 4-5 times out of 20 would be expected (of course it can vary from trial to trial). Which is saying a Level 1 character would be able to beat a Level 20 in a skill contest (assuming no expertise, which most characters DON'T have, and the same ability scores) 4-5 times out of 20. To my mind, that makes the potential of 20 levels and hundreds of thousands of XP difference not as great as it should be.

Which is why our table increase maximum prof bonus at Level 20 to +8, and we will likely increase it a bit more... maybe +10--I don't know yet and have to discuss everything further with the DM and our table.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Well, to quote a well-known individual: "From a certain point of view."

See, unfortunately the problem is I thought I had made my interest clear that I was only concerned with the proficiency bonus itself, and I know some people voted with that in mind. However, because I used "ultimate skill", it was pointed out that it should, in fact, include the ability score modifier (which I wasn't).

Since I have no idea who voted with which schema in mind, I can't draw really great conclusions from all this.

It works out like this RAW:

If two people both have the same ability scores, the person with highest proficiency (sans expertise) of +6 would lose to a person with no proficiency at all 22.75% of the time, or roughly 4-5 times out of 20 would be expected (of course it can vary from trial to trial). Which is saying a Level 1 character would be able to beat a Level 20 in a skill contest (assuming no expertise, which most characters DON'T have, and the same ability scores) 4-5 times out of 20. To my mind, that makes the potential of 20 levels and hundreds of thousands of XP difference not as great as it should be.

Which is why our table increase maximum prof bonus at Level 20 to +8, and we will likely increase it a bit more... maybe +10--I don't know yet and have to discuss everything further with the DM and our table.
You can't get ultimately skilled with +6 to your skill though. So I voted with +12 in mind.
And because you seem to be adamant ignoring the fact that +6 is by no means ultimately skilled I can't take your analysis seriously.
If you however would tell me that you think everyone who is just proficient (with no EXPERTISE) should have that great of an advantage I would say no.
If you however telle me you think the system is too simplified, and you need more universally applicable levels of proficiency, I tend to agree.
I think +2 at level 1 is already to low for skill proficiency. I think it could increase a bit more over time.
I think if you are totally out of your field of proficiency you should have a hatder time.
I could really live with class skills. And non class skills. Class skills give you a general +2 your skill check. Thats it.
Consider all skills available to your class at level 1 class skills.
That is a first approximation. Maybe it is better to start with +1. +2 at leve 11.
You could make it half proficiency bonus.
You could instead make it so that you can only chose 4 of your class skills to get that bonus. You can make short list. Maybe wizard gets arcana as signature skill. No matter if you are proficient in it you get 1/2 proficiency bonus on it. You could also say you add .5 times your main stat bonus to your signature skills.
You could also reduce nonclass skills by 2. Does not matter. I would not mingle with the proficiency bonus too much. But know, I do understand why you think +6 proficiency to attacks is a bit low. I think so too. Especially because you won't find someone who uses a weapon he is not proficient with at level 1, so you realistically are only +4 ahead.
For attacks I would start at +2 and increase it every 3 levels. At 3,6,9,12,15,18
I think level 3 feels right for your first increase. 6 seems appropriate for the next. 9 is standard. 18 also sounds right for the last one, so you get some mileage out of it.
Level 12 is the only problematic level because you also get an ASI there. But since you usually won't increase your attack stat anymore it will feel right.
 

Salamandyr

Adventurer
Let's consider however, that lack of proficiency doesn't necessarily mean lack of skill or training, just that only has "basic" skill (ie, they only roll with their stat, which represents general training with all sorts of skills).
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If you deliver poison it needs to be a scratch. Might be tiny. Might even be invisible, but you need to connect.
Do you even read before you respond to a post? I said this in the post you first responded to.

[You can break concentration without drawing blood, and you only need a scratch IF you have a creature with poison. The need for damage for poison and similar attacks is why the rule says "typically shows no signs of damage." Otherwise, 5e very explicitly does no physical damage at all until you drop below 50% hit points.
RAW is that there is typically no damage of any sort, which includes scratches. Typically = majority, usual, etc. A poisonous creature using it's poison attack type will be one of those atypical attacks that would need a scratch when the PC is above 50% hit points. Short of one of those atypical attacks, there is no scratch at above 50% if you are playing by RAW. That's how hit points work in 5e.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Do you even read before you respond to a post? I said this in the post you first responded to.



RAW is that there is typically no damage of any sort, which includes scratches. Typically = majority, usual, etc. A poisonous creature using it's poison attack type will be one of those atypical attacks that would need a scratch when the PC is above 50% hit points. Short of one of those atypical attacks, there is no scratch at above 50% if you are playing by RAW. That's how hit points work in 5e.



You mean this part?

"DESCRIBING THE EFFECTS OF DAMAGE
Dungeon Masters describe hit point loss in different ways. When your current hit point total is half or more of your hit point maximum, you typically show no signs of injury. When you drop below half your hit point maximum, you show signs of wear, such as cuts and bruises. An attack that reduces you to 0 hit points strikes you directly, leaving a bleeding injury or other trauma, or it simply knocks you unconscious."

That is not a rule, but a sidebar. It starts with:... Dungeon Masters do XXX, so it just describes how it could be done, a suggestion.

Then it follows, as you say, with "typically", which can mean otherwise, as you also say. So it might be a scratch or might not. If it is delivered by poison it needs to be a scratch, as you say, but other hits can also be narrated as a scratch, what you seem to disagree with.

It then follows with "injury". Yeah, that really depends how you define injury. I would not call a little scratch injury, but your mileage might vary.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You mean this part?

"DESCRIBING THE EFFECTS OF DAMAGE
Dungeon Masters describe hit point loss in different ways. When your current hit point total is half or more of your hit point maximum, you typically show no signs of injury. When you drop below half your hit point maximum, you show signs of wear, such as cuts and bruises. An attack that reduces you to 0 hit points strikes you directly, leaving a bleeding injury or other trauma, or it simply knocks you unconscious."

That is not a rule, but a sidebar. It starts with:... Dungeon Masters do XXX, so it just describes how it could be done, a suggestion.
It is a rule. It's a rule on describing damage. Just because it's in a sidebar does not make it something other than a rule.

Then it follows with "typically", which can mean otherwise. So it might be a scratch or might not. If it is delivered by poison it needs to be a scratch, but other hits can also be narrated as a scratch.
Right. Atypical attacks, like poison delivery can be done differently. If you are describing all attacks as giving scratches, that is not atypical. You have changed typically no sign, to typical(actually every) showing a sign. That goes against RAW.

It then follows with "injury". Yeah, that really depends how you define injury. I would not call a little scratch injury, but your mileage might vary.
You might not call it that, but it's an injury, however minor, no matter what you call it. It even goes on to describe scratches, cuts and bruises as injuries in the next sentence.
 

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