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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yup. This house rule limits ability checks in a way entirely unintended by 5e. It doesn't line up with what ability scores and proficiencies are intended to be, and it massively limits what players can choose to have their PCs attempt to do.

    I get that it's a shortcut for determining character knowledge and capabilities, to rule on automatic success or failure or DC. Just like using a characters class or background or race is. But it's not fair to the player for a DM to make such assumption about the character with such shortcuts.

    This is just a variant argument of Wizards should always be the ones to succeed at Arcana, or Clerics at Religion, or Druids at Nature.
    Is anyone here actually advocating for pure gating? I haven't seen that yet. If it's only some rolls, then they're not being forced to do only 4 skill rolls, just that sometimes those rolls represent an especially intricate activity that only those with requisite skills should be able to pull off.

    And why shouldn't the wizard be rewarded for spending his limited skill choices in Arcana? Why did he choose that skill if he doesn't gain some benefit for it?
    Last edited by Mjolnirbear; 2021-09-25 at 09:43 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    From a systemic point of view, I believe Pex's contention that a set DC for a task be used is the preferred method. Some of the game's Conditions, (such as Blinded), already prohibit success in certain tasks whenever a creature suffers the Conditions effects.

    [Oddly enough Incapacitated and Paralyzed cause automatic failures for Saving Throws, but not ability checks.]

    Rsp29a's 25' Chasm jumping example, does an excellent job of highlighting why static DCs often feel weird.

    I would contend 'How Hard It Is to do Something' is an admixture of both an "Inherent difficulty" of the task itself, and the skill and other advantages of the person attempting the task, in the "Real World".

    It feels strange that when the DC to jump a 25' Chasm is a DC 20 task,
    a first level, 20 STR character without Athletics Proficiency has a 75% chance of failure to cover the additional five foot of distance to reach the other side of the chasm.

    Meanwhile, a first level, 8 Str Character with Athletics Proficiency has a 85% chance of failure to cover what is for them an additional sixteen feet of distance.

    The net effects of a static DC to Jump the Chasm, is that it makes jumping any distance greater than one's Strength score very difficult, regardless of one's Strength score or the amount of extra distance that needs to be covered.

    It also magnifies the extremes of getting lucky. The 20 Strength Character likely falls to their doom over the matter of several feet that they could not automatically cover.

    Meanwhile a fortuitous 8 Str character, summons their inner bullywog and leaps 25 feet.

    I like the fact that taking proficiency in a skill in which one has a low ability score can dramatically widen the possible results, (an 8 Str character without Athletics has no chance to make a DC 20 check on a straight roll).

    That being said, I do also think the system can accommodate times when Different DCs can apply to different characters for doing the same task.

    I personally would never use Proficiency in a Skill, or levels in a specific class as the gate. Ruling that a 20 Str character has a lower DC to jump an extra 5' than an 8 Str character trying to jump an extra 16', strikes me as reasonable.
    Last edited by Thunderous Mojo; 2021-09-25 at 09:32 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Mjolnirbear View Post
    And why shouldn't the wizard be rewarded for spending his limited skill choices in Arcana? Why did he choose that skill if he doesn't gain some benefit for it?
    The intended benefit of a skill is +2 to +6 to a roll. Not changing it from automatic failure into a chance to roll.

    To counter your question: Why shouldn't a character be rewarded for investing in an ability score higher than 10? They spent limited resources on it. (Even when rolling, the chose where to put ability scores.)

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    So you think allowing people to play the game the way they want to is wasting time now? By allowing the barbarian (or whoever) to roll, youve established that it IS possible. They have every right to want to attempt the task even if they realistically cant succeed.
    As Mjolnirbear said, but also, thereís a difference between attempting something in-game, and attempting a d20 roll at the table.

    In-game, the PC can try whatever they want. At the table, Iíll let the Player know if success is possible.

    Again, pretending the roll has a chance to succeed is playing with the Playerís emotions.

    Feel free to play that way but Iíd suggest playing in a mature way with Players who can handle ďnot possibleĒ as a valid response to game situations.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    So you think allowing people to play the game the way they want to is wasting time now?
    I think table time is a finite resource and should be used productively.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    By allowing the barbarian (or whoever) to roll, youve established that it IS possible. They have every right to want to attempt the task even if they realistically cant succeed.
    What is mathematically possible for one character may not be mathematically possible for another character. This idea that "they have every right" seems to posit both a very adversarial relationship between DM/players and an agency imbalance that favors players. I have neither seen this at any table I've been part of nor would I promote it as a philosophy. Seems like a recipe for slow gameplay, disorganized narratives, and brewing resentments.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    The intended benefit of a skill is +2 to +6 to a roll. Not changing it from automatic failure into a chance to roll.

    To counter your question: Why shouldn't a character be rewarded for investing in an ability score higher than 10? They spent limited resources on it. (Even when rolling, the chose where to put ability scores.)
    For one, all ability scores provide additional benefits, such as attack rolls, saving throws, carrying capacity, casting stat, hit points, and armor class. It's not an equal comparison, since proficiency in skills does one thing: boost ability checks involving that skill.

    Second, pumping INT to 20 doesn't mean you trained in literally everything. Steven Hawking, Marie Curie, and Albert Einstein were brilliant people, but Einstein was no detective nor Curie a religious expert nor Hawking a biologist. Proficiency is more than just a mechanical bonus; its also an indication of specialization, or of training to overcome a natural shortfall.

    For three, obviously paraphrased:
    The intended benefit of an ability is +1 to +5 to a roll.
    Someone who trains to punch punches better than someone who's merely strong.

    Again, I have seen not a single recommendation that ALL ability check rolls are gatekept under proficiency. So why shouldn't I tell the barbarian "yes, you're extremely faithful to the Ghaash'Kala, and you know the right words, and that it's related to the Silver Flame those humans in Thrane talk about, but that doesn't mean you know the exact ritual obeisance to perform in front of the Keeper nor the name of the Shadow In The Flame. Only someone from that religion or trained in religion has a chance of knowing such minutieae"

    Or tell the fighter "You've seen dozens of battlefield wounds and popped at least three dislocated joints back into place all by yourself, but the symptoms of this disease are extremely common among an easy half-dozen others, so figuring out what treatment this woman needs will require someone actually trained in medicine."
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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    Are you arguing for ďevery character has a chance to succeed in anything the Player wants them to doĒ? Because otherwise, whatís the difference between ďDC is set too high for non-proficient characters to achieveĒ and ďdonít bother rolling if youíre not proficientĒ?

    Or are you assuming that gating some things behind proficiency means everything is gated behind proficiency (which I donít see anyone here arguing for - rather itís selective gating and only certain things are gated behind proficiency. Though if anyone is arguing for full gating behind proficiency, Iíd be interested in hearing their arguments.)?

    I, personally, would gate somethings behind proficiency but not everything.
    For one we can get rid of the nonsense. There's no jumping to the moon for example. I already accounted for class and background as legitimate factors. You can prompt the Outlander to make a Nature roll when in the swamp and not the Urchin, but if the Urchin player asks if he knows what a Thing is in the swamp he gets to roll. If the Outlander is not proficient he still makes the roll. The DC to know what the Thing is is based on the difficulty of knowing what the Thing is, not the person doing the observing.

    If you'd like I can be okay with False's way of Proficient characters get to roll first to help emphasize someone proficient is more knowledgeable/talented/specialized will solve the issue faster than someone who isn't, but not being proficient should still not mean never getting to roll at all. Not in 5E, In 3E I was ok with it. I agree it makes sense, but Proficiency gating isn't appropriate for how 5E does ability checks. Yes, everyone does get to try anything accepting no jumping to the moon stuff.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    For one we can get rid of the nonsense. There's no jumping to the moon for example. I already accounted for class and background as legitimate factors. You can prompt the Outlander to make a Nature roll when in the swamp and not the Urchin, but if the Urchin player asks if he knows what a Thing is in the swamp he gets to roll. If the Outlander is not proficient he still makes the roll. The DC to know what the Thing is is based on the difficulty of knowing what the Thing is, not the person doing the observing.
    But the difficulty (or more likely the likelihood) of knowing a thing can vary by person in a way not represented by the difference in proficiency... so it sounds like the DC should vary (and maybe the DC is then just impossible to meet for only some characters, either because of the overall likelihood a person like them might know it or because they have a low ability score).

    EDIT: Note here I'm talking about knowing a thing (so a roll is to determine past actions or happenstance in practice). I'd say it definitely still applies to actively attempted actions (e.g. performing surgery). A roll could be fun and narrative-affecting either way (e.g. maybe doing poorly brings up false associations and rolling well means realising this doesn't match anything you know, or maybe you look for evidence and you do find clues you can't piece together out of a list, or maybe you attempt surgery and it's the difference between them dying by your hand and you just not being able to save them), but maybe success isn't a reasonable (meaning plausible and/or verisimilitudinous) option.
    Last edited by PhantomSoul; 2021-09-25 at 12:11 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    If you'd like I can be okay with False's way of Proficient characters get to roll first to help emphasize someone proficient is more knowledgeable/talented/specialized will solve the issue faster than someone who isn't, but not being proficient should still not mean never getting to roll at all.
    I have no interesting in forcing you to change your views, or having you adopt another posterís system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    I agree it makes sense, but Proficiency gating isn't appropriate for how 5E does ability checks. Yes, everyone does get to try anything accepting no jumping to the moon stuff.
    Itís entirely appropriate to proficiency gate if thatís how a DM wants to run their table - they are the arbiter of when skill checks are required.

    Everyone getting to try everything does not sound like a fun table, at least to me, and I donít think trying to push that on others will have much success.

    Example: The DC to figure out the meaning of Arcane runes is DC 25. The 5 Int PC with no proficiency in Arcana, has no chance of hitting that DC, yet the 5th level, 14 Int Rogue with Expertise in Arcana (for a total of +8 Arcana check bonus), can hit it on d20 roll of 17-20.

    Youíre saying, despite the Rogue putting resources into that roll, the 5 Int character should still have a chance of identifying the runes, simply because the Rogue can.

    So, essentially, I would need to lower the DC to at least 17 for the 5 Int character to have a shot at it. I no longer control the DC of skill checks using this rule.

    Youíre ďeveryone has a chance if anyone has a chanceĒ rule takes control of DCs, and skills in general, out of the purview of DMs; and makes the highest DC possible allowed in the game, to be whatever the worst PC would get with a nat 20 in that particular check.

    Moreover, it benefits parties that dump attributes, as it makes it easier for the skilled PCs to pass their checks; while making it harder to pass checks everyone is good at.

    This just doesnít make any sense to me.

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    I only have four skill proficiencies. I can't put them in everything, but I still want to do/know stuff. I need more justification of why I can't roll than just lack of proficiency. Proficiency or lack thereof is only about whether or not I get a bonus to the roll, not making the roll itself.
    I can only speak for games I run/play.

    Proficiency gating as I see it is only useful in that it stops dice spam. If you have 5 players and they all roll for a task where the whole group succeeds if one gets it, that is quadruple advantage. Which is why rolls should automatically succeed if they are possible and have no consequence for failure.

    Knowledge checks in this vein are a problem. Unless you are running a time restrained game segment and you make the checks take time, there is no consequence for a failed knowledge check. I mean, you can lie to the players, but this creates a new set of problems, I don't like it as a solution.

    But it's really convenient to see if maybe someone has heard of the real powers of an Aboleth before, and not have it be overly certain. And the dice spam of everyone rolling basically guarantees a high result, which takes away the whole point of the roll. So from a GM perspective, it's a really useful tool to limit those 5 rolls to maybe 2.

    I haven't found a perfect solution yet. So sometimes I do use gating. Sometimes I make it a group check or encourage the help action. And sometimes I reply to their question of "do we know this?" with "I bet by the end of this encounter you will!".

    That said, yeah, gating is an easy but lackluster solution to dice spam. I wouldn't want to have it overused.
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  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomSoul View Post
    EDIT: Note here I'm talking about knowing a thing (so a roll is to determine past actions or happenstance in practice). I'd say it definitely still applies to actively attempted actions (e.g. performing surgery). A roll could be fun and narrative-affecting either way (e.g. maybe doing poorly brings up false associations and rolling well means realising this doesn't match anything you know, or maybe you look for evidence and you do find clues you can't piece together out of a list, or maybe you attempt surgery and it's the difference between them dying by your hand and you just not being able to save them), but maybe success isn't a reasonable (meaning plausible and/or verisimilitudinous) option.
    The problem is 5e doesn't have a mechanism to handle specialized knowledge. I find it unsatisfying to say Earl the surgeon with a +3 proficiency bonus applied to Medicine is only 15% more likely to perform a tracheotomy than Fred the not-a-surgeon-but-with-the-same-Int. Earl has specifically been trained in that sort of thing. Fred has no idea it even exists.

    If not gating, how do we model that you can only reasonably attempt something if you've had the specific training required?

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Toadkiller View Post
    In my experience it is usually a teamwork makes the dream work sort of thing. Making someoneís skill choices let them have the spotlight for a moment. I donít think it has anything to do with game design.
    True, but there is no need to deny someone the opportunity to roll. The Barbarian could happen to know about a spell used by his local shaman. The Wizard may have read a tome about wild beasts and the prints they leave. No need to make everyone mediocre in order to give someone the opportunity to shine.

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  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmotherion View Post
    True, but there is no need to deny someone the opportunity to roll. The Barbarian could happen to know about a spell used by his local shaman. The Wizard may have read a tome about wild beasts and the prints they leave. No need to make everyone mediocre in order to give someone the opportunity to shine.
    In a simulation-based game, I might agree. But that's not what 5e is. For D&D, degree is a kind all its own. Otherwise why can a fighter attack multiple times per turn, but the wizard can't? I mean, shouldn't we just let the wizard try it? Shouldn't the fighter's higher strength be enough to set the two classes apart? Why are we class-gating attacks?

  14. - Top - End - #74
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by pwykersotz View Post
    Knowledge checks in this vein are a problem. Unless you are running a time restrained game segment and you make the checks take time, there is no consequence for a failed knowledge check. I mean, you can lie to the players, but this creates a new set of problems, I don't like it as a solution.
    If it's a know / don't know check, and it's not time dependent, then anyone who can know does know, automatic success, skip the roll. If they can share, they share.

    If it's time dependent and they can share, you should be letting everyone who might know roll, and any success means the group knows. That's how it should work, more minds in a situation like that means more likely at least one person knows and can share.

    If it's correct info / false info and they can share, that's what group checks are for. If the group passes they agree it's the correct info, if the group fails they agree it's the false info.

    If it's time dependent and they can't share, everyone who might know rolls. For both know/don't know and correct/false info. Those who succeed either know or get correct info, those who fail don't get the info or get incorrect info.

    That's how it's intended to work.

    Proficiency gating to decide who might know or doesn't know is an unfair way of short-cutting the question of who might know.

    If you're having problems with knowledge checks specifically, it's probably because you're using them as state-of-the-character checks, determining if a character ever learned something. Another short-cut.

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    I use Proficiency Gating as you all are calling it for skills that make sense. But not for all skills.

    The surgery example is a good one of where it does not matter how smart a character is, if they lack the training and knowledge to do surgery they have an auto fail and I tell them so. But some skills, stealth or hiding for example, I might apply an added negative but they can roll away.

    Not saying it is the best way, just how I have been doing it.
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Proficiency gating to decide who might know or doesn't know is an unfair way of short-cutting the question of who might know.
    Why? Itís seems a very good way to know who knows what (combined with RP and class/background).

    Edit: and the alternative of ďIím not going to decide who knows what, Iíll let the dice decide, seems like just lazy DMing.
    Last edited by Rsp29a; 2021-09-25 at 05:44 PM.

  17. - Top - End - #77
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    I haven't actually done it in a game but I've been tempted to have two DCs one for proficient characters and one for non-proficient. For many checks the DC would be the same value but others could be vastly different DCs depending on the check. Backgrounds, spells, or other special circumstances would potentially allow the easier DC.

    My reservation about implementing it is more that it's extra work for little gain. That said I do use auto success for proficient even if the DC would imply a chance of failure.

  18. - Top - End - #78
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    Why? Itís seems a very good way to know who knows what (combined with RP and class/background).
    And, if a player without proficiency has a good in-game justification for why his PC should still get a check ("there was that time I spent a summer working for a medic"), the DM could be convinced to allow a roll regardless. Supporting proficiency gating isn't the same thing as supporting an unthinking adherence to some kind of rule dogma.

  19. - Top - End - #79
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    Why? Itís seems a very good way to know who knows what (combined with RP and class/background).
    They invested in a resource designed to give a limited sphere of activity a bonus, not designed to give access to roll at all. As opposed to a different resource (ability scores) designed to give a broader sphere of activity a bonus, not designed to be denied access to a roll at all.

    Sticking with the common examples in this thread, I'd be pissed at a DM that denied my 20 Str Fighter a check because I didn't take Athletics, or my Int 20 Wizard or EK a check because I didn't take Arcana. I've invested in a resource that should allow me to make a check with a +5 bonus, provided my character can possibly succeed. I'd be even more pissed if the same DM then allowed an Int 10 character with a +3 prof bonus to make that same check. I have 0% chance of success at something this other character has X% at, when I'm more talented and trained them in it? How on earth did the DM think this was a good idea?

    Edit: and the alternative of ďIím not going to decide who knows what, Iíll let the dice decide, seems like just lazy DMing.
    I'm not a fan of state-of-the-character checks either. But an unannounced proficiency gating house rule is on the same level, and less fair, since it robs players of an invested resource.

    Also, DMs don't decide which characters know what. If there's a question, they figure it out with the player.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mjolnirbear View Post
    Second, pumping INT to 20 doesn't mean you trained in literally everything. Steven Hawking, Marie Curie, and Albert Einstein were brilliant people, but Einstein was no detective nor Curie a religious expert nor Hawking a biologist. Proficiency is more than just a mechanical bonus; its also an indication of specialization, or of training to overcome a natural shortfall.
    But it does mean you're PC is trained in the PHB adventuring areas of focus represented by the 5 Int skills. The PHB says that ability scores include training, are used as the base for a subset of areas that adventuring checks are made in, and proficiency provides a bonus to those same areas.

    Being a detective or biologist isn't a 5e adventuring "skill". But an Int 20 adventurer has both natural talent and training in the adventuring use of ability checks related to Arcana, Religion, Nature, History and Investigation.

    If you need to determine more specialized non-adventuring knowledge and training, figure it out with the player. Don't create a house rule that punishes players who invested in an ability score only, and put their proficiencies elsewhere. Maybe they wanted to shore up weak areas instead of double down on strong ones.

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    They invested in a resource designed to give a limited sphere of activity a bonus, not designed to give access to roll at all. As opposed to a different resource (ability scores) designed to give a broader sphere of activity a bonus, not designed to be denied access to a roll at allÖ

    I'm not a fan of state-of-the-character checks either. But an unannounced proficiency gating house rule is just as lazy, and less fair, since it robs players of an invested resource.

    Also, DMs don't decide which characters know what. If there's a question, they figure it out with the player.
    Iím not sure why you assume this is something that just happens or isnít known at my tables. My tables (whether or not Iím DMing) have been playing with some sort of RP/Proficiency gating for years and it works fine.

    And why is it lazy to add in character RP and skill choices in determining what they may know? I mean, I donít know how itís not more lazy to not include those things and just letting everyone roll for everything.

    As for the Int vs Prof argument, it depends whatís being figured out. Int, RAW, ďmeasures mental acuity, accuracy of recall, and the ability to reason.Ē (from the Basic Rules) None of that equals ďyouíve studied a lot of arcane lore.Ē

    If the character hasnít also studied Arcana, then theyíre stuck recalling what they may have learned in passing.

    As the DM, itís my job to figure out what they may have learned in passing. The Player doesnít say ďoh I learned all about ancient runes in passing one day so my character can read these runes.Ē The Player has no idea how common that would be, the DM does.

    I mean, maybe that flies at your table, but I donít allow that kind of shananagins.

    Now someone who has actually spent the time to study Arcana, yeah they may have come across ancient runes in their studying (though still could be something deemed to obscure for them to have come across). If itís something they could have come across in their studies, and thereís something particular to the ancient runes in the background theyíve shared with me, I may either lower the DC or grant advantage, depending on how much I think it affects the roll.

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    Int, RAW, ďmeasures mental acuity, accuracy of recall, and the ability to reason.Ē (from the Basic Rules) None of that equals ďyouíve studied a lot of arcane lore.
    RAW everything under the list of things provided for each skill is also under Int. Unless you're using the variant rules. Notice how they're all under the big header that says Intelligence Checks.

    More specifically "The Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and Religion skills reflect aptitude in certain kinds of Intelligence checks." In other words, those things are intelligence checks, and proficiency gives you a bonus to them. As does Intelligence, since they are intelligence checks.

    This is the difference between 5e and 3e. 3e had skill checks that investment of skill points gave a bonus to, possible were trained only, and were modified by ability scores. 5e has ability checks, and some kinds of ability checks are modified by proficiency, as defined by their grouping into skills. But there aren't any skill checks and skill proficiency shouldn't be used to gate allowing those sub-sets of the ability checks.

    (Caveat against a possible straw man: at no point am I saying every character should be allowed to roll on everything. Yes, some characters may not have capability to make a check in the first place. But proficiency gating isn't the way to make that decision.)

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    The problem people are facing here is that bounded accuracy means that everyone can succeed and everyone can fail at skill checks. You ask for a knowledge roll, everyone rolls, and then its the -3 INT barbarian that wins!!! ARGH!! unforgiveable!!

    The "only roll if you have proficiency" ruling is an intended solution to this but it completely errs on the side of punishing the players. A 20 int wizard can't know what a spell is because he didn't take arcana? Even if he did take arcana, he still has something like a 30% chance of failure? This feels too harsh, almost like a double jeopardy. It also leads to dumb situations where a -2 INT warlock is better at arcana than the +5 INT wizard because the latter guy can't even make a roll.

    IMO if you want to 'solve' this problem, all you have to do is cut down on variance. "When rolling ability checks, you roll 3d6 instead of 1d20" handles it quite nicely. Though it does technically change the value of stuff like reliable talent and advantage, it completely solves any problem of Barbarians beating Wizards at knowledge.

    But let me propose an alternative that I think handles this problem better: simply keep everyone else busy.

    Generally speaking, when my players come upon a room in a dungeon, I'll outline several possible tasks, including things like "check for loot" and "decipher the ritual circle on the floor" and "interrogate the captive." I tell everyone to pick a task, then I deal with each task in order. Of course everyone can do everything, but this has a potentially bad consequence: it takes time. I generally assume each 'task' like this in a dungeon takes something like twenty minutes. If everyone does every task, something like an hour might pass, and then bad things happen. The guards get reinforced, the owner of the house they're robbing comes home, etc. This works in exploration as well. Someone finds a campsite (survival) someone scouts the area for enemies (perception/stealth) someone tends to the mule (handle animal) someone decides to study that codebook they picked up last session. Or maybe they're at court with the king, and someone tries to gauge the crowd's mood, someone talks with the king about their plans, someone connects with lord dingleberry and gives him the letter from his wife.

    This means that its rare to ever have more than two people on a single skill check, and usually the second person is just there to help. Some of these checks require no skill check at all which is nice for the big lunks who don't have relevant skills.

    It doesn't work for every skill check, but I would guess that about two thirds of my non-combat checks are like this. Keeps things moving and removes any sense of "everyone rolls."
    Last edited by strangebloke; 2021-09-25 at 06:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    Generally speaking, when my players come upon a room in a dungeon, I'll outline several possible tasks, including things like "check for loot" and "decipher the ritual circle on the floor" and "interrogate the captive." I tell everyone to pick a task, then I deal with each task in order.
    Agreed except I like to ask all the players what they are doing before moving on to resolution and allow them to define tasks, including checking something out so they can ask me more detailed questions. Typically some will stand guard, and others will split up to investigate certain specific things.

    And yes, time is always a factor in my adventuring sites. The choice to take ten times as long and automatically succeed is a meaningful choice to make, as is the subdivision of tasks.

    In situations where it's not an adventuring site and specific non-adventuring training or knowledge may impact if a check is made at all and what the DC is, then I'll figure that out with the players.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    (Caveat against a possible straw man: at no point am I saying every character should be allowed to roll on everything. Yes, some characters may not have capability to make a check in the first place. But proficiency gating isn't the way to make that decision.)
    What is? (It seems like everyone in favour of proficiency gating is actually in favour of verisimilitude gating where proficiency is one reason to think a character might be eligible to roll. People have repeatedly said it's not the only reason to allow a roll! Granted, for some posters we don't know for sure whether they do/would allow non-proficiency gating [e.g. based on background or backstory].)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    RAW everything under the list of things provided for each skill is also under Int. Unless you're using the variant rules. Notice how they're all under the big header that says Intelligence Checks.

    More specifically "The Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and Religion skills reflect aptitude in certain kinds of Intelligence checks." In other words, those things are intelligence checks, and proficiency gives you a bonus to them. As does Intelligence, since they are intelligence checks.
    Int is what the rules say it is (previously quoted the rules). Yes, those proficiencies do in fact represent aptitude in checks. Meaning, without those proficiencies, you donít have that aptitude.

    I disagree that Int 20 means that character has been educated in every proficiency - that just goes against a) what the RAW says Int is, and b) proficiencies being meaningful choices.

    Moreover, it takes RP away. If Iím playing an Int 20 tribesman that never had any formal education, but just happens to be amazingly sharp and great at logic and reasoning, why would I know anything about Arcana?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomSoul View Post
    What is? (It seems like everyone in favour of proficiency gating is actually in favour of verisimilitude gating where proficiency is one reason to think a character might be eligible to roll. People have repeatedly said it's not the only reason to allow a roll! Granted, for some posters we don't know for sure whether they do/would allow non-proficiency gating [e.g. based on background or backstory].)
    Character background (not to be confused with Background). You have to be able to do something to succeed at a check.

    Proficiency is intended to just be a bonus to certain subsets of common adventuring ability checks. Not a determination if you are able to do it at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    I disagree that Int 20 means that character has been educated in every proficiency - that just goes against a) what the RAW says Int is, and b) proficiencies being meaningful choices.
    RAW doesn't say what you're claiming, and I just quoted proof. You're parsing the entire section to try and make it fit your paradigm.

    Proficiency providing a bonus to a subset of ability checks is a meaningful choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Character background (not to be confused with Background). You have to be able to do something to succeed at a check.

    Proficiency is intended to just be a bonus to certain subsets of common adventuring ability checks. Not a determination if you are able to do it at all.
    It sounds like you're agreeing with many (most/all?) "proficiency-gaters" in the thread in practice, just describing it differently and maybe(?) not considering proficiency a reason someone may be capable of succeeding.

    Backstory (which I'm using for what I'm guessing you have as lowercase background) is another thing that's come up in the thread before as another way to justify potential knowledge/capability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    The problem is 5e doesn't have a mechanism to handle specialized knowledge. I find it unsatisfying to say Earl the surgeon with a +3 proficiency bonus applied to Medicine is only 15% more likely to perform a tracheotomy than Fred the not-a-surgeon-but-with-the-same-Int. Earl has specifically been trained in that sort of thing. Fred has no idea it even exists.

    If not gating, how do we model that you can only reasonably attempt something if you've had the specific training required?
    Earl the surgeon is an NPC and would not be rolling medicine checks to perform a tracheotomy in the first place. Fred the not-a-surgeon-but-with-the-same-Int sounds like an adventurer, and would thus automatically fail any rolls to perform that sort of specialized knowledge because its simply beyond him.

    PCs are adventurers as their primary job, and all checks that are being made should be made in that context.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Earl the surgeon is an NPC and would not be rolling medicine checks to perform a tracheotomy in the first place. Fred the not-a-surgeon-but-with-the-same-Int sounds like an adventurer, and would thus automatically fail any rolls to perform that sort of specialized knowledge because its simply beyond him.

    PCs are adventurers as their primary job, and all checks that are being made should be made in that context.
    Yeah. Adventurers are not true specialists at anything except adventuring. And ability checks aren't a world simulation device, they're a "resolve uncertainty in an adventure context" device.

    Heck, NPCs only interact with the mechanics at all when PCs are involved on one side of the action or the other. Everything else happens according to the DM's judgment as to the proper outcome based on the circumstances and established fiction. The DM can roll dice, but that's purely advisory.

    Edit: I should also note that in a D&D world, the number of surgeons with advanced skills beyond that of your common butcher (or woodsman) was basically nil. Being a surgeon wasn't considered a skilled occupation until well into the post-renaissance era. And surgery wasn't exactly done much except in extremis. And was done using the same basic tools a butcher would use, and no such thing as anaesthetic (beyond alcohol) or certainly not sanitation. And the same goes for most of what we consider specialized knowledge and skills now. The difference between a competent amateur and a specialist was way smaller, because there was way less depth for specialization. You very well could be a polymath who, by virtue of being really smart and well read, knew about as much as an "expert" in all but the most obscure fields.
    -------
    With INT checks in particular, if there's no particular pressing threat, they're all either auto success (you have heard the information before and just need to dig it out) or auto-failure (you've never learned that). And at the party level, it's usually going to be auto-success. And if there is pressing threat, then you're dealing with a single person who needs the information now, so dog-pile rolls don't happen and gating the ability to roll makes little sense.

    And it seems curious to me that it's most frequently INT checks that bring this up. The wizard can try the physical stuff, but how dare the barbarian know anything about the high holies of magic? Doesn't he know he's just a dumb martial packhorse for his wizard betters?
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-09-25 at 07:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    And it seems curious to me that it's most frequently INT checks that bring this up. The wizard can try the physical stuff, but how dare the barbarian know anything about the high holies of magic? Doesn't he know he's just a dumb martial packhorse for his wizard betters?
    Circling back to my previous examples to build on this, without the more common example of Wizards vs Barbarian and Arcana ...

    Why does the Int 10 druid with +2 (Intelligence) Arcana get to make the check when the Int 16 Wizard doesn't?
    Why does the Str 8 Rogue or Monk with a total of +1 Strength (Athletics) get to make the check when the Str 16 Paladin, Rogue or Barbarian who wanted more medium mods instead of a few big ones and so took off-score proficiencies like Nature or History doesn't?

    I can think of lots of good character-specific answers to those questions. But "proficiencies" isn't a good answer.

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