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  1. - Top - End - #451
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Frogreaver View Post
    The goal isn't to increase the characters chances with proficiency of succeeding. It's to reduce to 0 the characters chances without proficiency of upstaging the one with proficiency at this particular task.
    I agree here. I think at our table it's less adversarial than the way strangebloke put it (+5 getting upstaged by a -1) because even the -1 will scratch his head and wonder why he beat the expert. It's about credibility, maybe?

  2. - Top - End - #452
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    I agree here. I think at our table it's less adversarial than the way strangebloke put it (+5 getting upstaged by a -1) because even the -1 will scratch his head and wonder why he beat the expert. It's about credibility, maybe?
    Not saying it's adversarial, I'm just talking about why it won't happen that often anyway.

  3. - Top - End - #453
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    It's when the solution to a task isn't part of the presentation of the task. It's an attempt to model something that happens in the real world.

    If I asked you a riddle, and the solution depended on you knowing very specific historical facts about a particular country, and you didn't really know anything about that country, your likelihood of solving the riddle is so low that it's not unreasonable to say you're simply not going to be able to do it. I mean you could blurt out something random that matches, but really, what are the odds?

    But if you had been exposed to that country's history in a way that makes it likely you know what those clues point to, you now arguably stand a chance to solve it. Not guaranteed, but there's a chance.

    So what DC do I set so that the PC that the first "you" represents is pretty much not going to succeed, but the second version has, say, a 60% to succeed? And what if that first PC has a high natural Int, which will help him succeed with the roll but in real life probably wouldn't contribute much to working out the solution (since it's not a question of raw intelligence but knowing certain tidbits of historical info)?

    This is an example of a task where the solution isn't part of the presentation. No matter how thoroughly the non-proficient person analyzes it, the solution just isn't "embedded" there. It's hints meant to prompt you to recall what you (might) already know. And the chances you might know the needed facts if you haven't had some kind of prior education or exposure to them are so low that it's not worthwhile to cook up a DC.

    Now, imagine a mathematical puzzle. I dunno, you have colored blocks that represent values, and you're supposed to arrange them in something like the Fibonacci sequence. Thing is, you don't need to know what that sequence is by name to be able to perceive it logically. Someone not versed in math could still work out the progression. Sure, being proficient in math will help, which is why you get to use your PB if you have it. But the non-proficient person might reasonably be able to do it too, especially with a high Int.

    This is an example of a task where the solution is part of the presentation. It's all there, like a puzzle. You just have to work out how to put it together right. In this case, setting a DC and letting all the players have at it makes sense.

    Most tasks are the latter, at least in my experience. Especially physical ones, which I think is why prof-gating conversations tend to revolve around knowledge checks.
    The DC for the riddle is 20 hard, maybe 25 very hard because it does require knowing an exact specific thing. It's the same for everyone. The proficient in history character has a chance of knowing. The non-proficient is very unlikely but could still know for the DC 20. He doesn't know the history of the country, but he may know that one specific fact - he saw it on Jeopardy, it was in a crossword he did once, he has an acquaintance from that country who was fascinated by the incident and spoke to him about it. The d20 roll determines if that's the case. If the DC is 25 then the proficient character might know and only an absolute genius not proficient character (Intelligence score of 20) might recall the information from somewhere.

    For the math puzzle the DC is lower. It's difficult so DC 15.

    The thing is, while DCs of 25 and 30 are possible to have in 5E, the game encourages they be in the 10-15 range with the occasional 20. PCs are supposed to have a chance of success. I'm aware of the infamous incidents of low level modules having DC 30 tasks. It's an inference to me of a built in railroad telling the DM do not let the PC do this, ever. Still, DCs of 25 and 30 can be legit. It's a question of is the Thing really that difficult, but then we get into the territory of the issue I promised up front what this thread was not.
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  4. - Top - End - #454
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    Proficiency gating doesn't increase the chances of the player who made the investment succeeding. It only makes it impossible for other party members to succeed.
    I wasn't talking about success. I was talking about getting to use that thing they want to be good at.

    And as Frogreaver points out, it's also versilititude breaking (IMO) when 3 randos can succeed where a supposed specialist cannot.

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    Not saying it's adversarial, I'm just talking about why it won't happen that often anyway.
    I don't know why you're so quick to accept the OP's experiences as hard fact that "a lot of DMs do this" and are so equally quick to reject our experiences that "it does happen", and our solution has generally improved our games.
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  5. - Top - End - #455
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    Not saying it's adversarial, I'm just talking about why it won't happen that often anyway.
    If it doesn't happen often, then what's the harm in occasionally throwing a player a bone?

  6. - Top - End - #456
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    If it doesn't happen often, then what's the harm in occasionally throwing a player a bone?
    I'm saying that if you don't even bother proficiency gating its still almost never going to happen. like less than 1 in 20 times.
    Last edited by strangebloke; 2021-10-02 at 10:37 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #457
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Here are my thoughts:

    Instead of gating, manage the rolls differently. You get the same effects (specialists can be effective) without the downsides (telling people "no you can't").

    The threshold question before any check is called for (remember, players don't call for checks) is "are there meaningful chances for both interesting failure and success for this action?" And that has a spectrum of answers.

    No, success isn't meaningful or plausible by anyone: Don't roll, auto failure.

    No, failure isn't meaningful or plausible for anyone: Don't roll, auto succeed.

    Success is guaranteed, but there are varieties of success: DC 0 check with degrees of success, using group-designated "point person" as narration conduit.

    Failure is guaranteed, but there are varieties of failure: Degrees of failure check. Depending on the consequences, this could be one of the cases below, just without a success condition.

    Yes, both success and failure are meaningful and plausible for at least one PC: This one has four sub-variants:
    1. Consequences are meaningful individually. Everyone succeeds or fails alone. --> Roll individual checks.
    2. Consequences are meaningful for the group, and the performance of the group depends on the aggregate performance of the individuals. --> Roll group check (ie 50% must succeed)
    3. Consequences are meaningful for the group and one success is enough. The fiction demands that only one person is able to work on the task. --> Group decides who undertakes the task. Individual check.
    4. Consequences are meaningful for the group, one success is enough, and more than one person can work on the task. --> Group decides who runs point and represents the group. Individual check at advantage (automatic Help action).

    At no point is a dogpile roll or a fiction-breaking roll possible. Because either everyone is involved or the group has chosen one person on which to depend. And they're going to pick the person that fits the fiction best. Or at least if they don't, that's their fault. If they like the "proficiency == training" model, they can choose the guy with proficiency. If they prefer the "aggregate modifier is all that matters" model, they can pick the guy with the highest modifier. Most of the time, those two cases are the same.

    As a note, those first two "no roll" categories cover the vast majority of all attempted tasks in my experience. Most Intelligence (History|Arcana|Nature) checks fall either into the degrees of success case or the "one success is enough/more than one person can try" case. Personally, the ability to retry either means that the consequences weren't meaningful (ie you should have skipped the check) or that you've paid the consequence for failing the first time. If the only consequences was time (and time was meaningful, which it isn't always), then at that point they have a choice--automatically succeed at the cost of 10x the normal time or try something else/a different route. At no point should "you fail but can try again without meaningful consequences" be an option. Every check, whether successful or failed, should noticeably change the state of the game. Otherwise you should have skipped the check, because it was a waste of everyone's table time.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-10-02 at 10:49 AM.
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  8. - Top - End - #458
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The DC for the riddle is 20 hard, maybe 25 very hard because it does require knowing an exact specific thing. It's the same for everyone. The proficient in history character has a chance of knowing. The non-proficient is very unlikely but could still know for the DC 20.
    Okay, but we have two characters who have the same end bonus. One due to high Int, the other due to moderate Int plus proficiency. My question was, how do I set a DC so that the proficient PC has a greater chance of success, if they both have the same +X in the end?

    I know your preferred way of playing is to not do that. They both have +X, they both have the same chance to succeed. That's great, I don't want to tell you you're wrong (I don't think you are wrong at all). But I want to make the distinction because I and my players all see proficiency to mean "specialized aptitude" and it feels intuitively right to us that in at least some cases that special aptitude will provide an edge over the generalized ability of a high ability score. If there's a way to highlight this distinction without prof-gating, I'm all ears.

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    I'm saying that if you don't even bother proficiency gating its still almost never going to happen. like less than 1 in 20 times.
    Right, and most of the time I don't worry about proficiency and just let everyone roll, assuming it makes sense that more than one person can. It's not about that. It's about creating that shine moment.

    Side note, aren't passive scores a form of gating? If I want to determine if two PCs hear a noise, and I look at their Passive Perception and one PC exceeds the DC and one doesn't, and I tell one PC he hears something but the other PC doesn't (or has to roll), have I gated? What if what grants the first PC that automatic success is that he's proficient in Perception?

  9. - Top - End - #459
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Side note, aren't passive scores a form of gating? If I want to determine if two PCs hear a noise, and I look at their Passive Perception and one PC exceeds the DC and one doesn't, and I tell one PC he hears something but the other PC doesn't (or has to roll), have I gated? What if what grants the first PC that automatic success is that he's proficient in Perception?
    No, its a passive check. Gating is when you decide a roll can't take place because the thing is "impossible." And tbc I'm fine with 'gating' as such, I just think that if you're going to gate something you need to have a justification for why its impossible. And even pushing the definition of 'proficiency' very far and making a lack of proficiency equal to a lack of training, I don't think you can basically ever prove that something is impossible on the basis of a lack of proficiency.

  10. - Top - End - #460
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    And tbc I'm fine with 'gating' as such, I just think that if you're going to gate something you need to have a justification for why its impossible.
    Literally impossible, or just so unlikely that it's virtually impossible? Because D&D only works in 5% increments. Once something drops below a 5% chance, you start sliding toward impossible. Where do you draw the line?

    If you make a Hide check and get a result of 30, and the highest I could ever get on a Perception check is 29, it is literally, mechanically impossible for me to perceive you. But why would it be? I mean, literally? You're still just hidden, only exceptionally well so compared to my ability to see you. It's more reasonable to say that the chances have dropped so low at that point that even if D&D had the resolution to handle it, it's probably not worth it for me to roll. DC "no" is often just a rounding operation.

    This edition is full of language like "eh, if the chances are so low that you (the DM) feel that it's just not going to happen, just say no" (and the reverse for "just say yes"). Gating by proficiency or any other metric is just an extension of that.

  11. - Top - End - #461
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Literally impossible, or just so unlikely that it's virtually impossible? Because D&D only works in 5% increments. Once something drops below a 5% chance, you start sliding toward impossible. Where do you draw the line?

    If you make a Hide check and get a result of 30, and the highest I could ever get on a Perception check is 29, it is literally, mechanically impossible for me to perceive you. But why would it be? I mean, literally? You're still just hidden, only exceptionally well so compared to my ability to see you. It's more reasonable to say that the chances have dropped so low at that point that even if D&D had the resolution to handle it, it's probably not worth it for me to roll. DC "no" is often just a rounding operation.

    This edition is full of language like "eh, if the chances are so low that you (the DM) feel that it's just not going to happen, just say no" (and the reverse for "just say yes"). Gating by proficiency or any other metric is just an extension of that.
    literally impossible.

    If its only "this would require a DC 30 check" you should let them roll because of things like guidance/BI/etc.

    TBC though, this does have limits. I wouldn't allow someone to hide in plain view of the enemy they just attacked for example.

  12. - Top - End - #462
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Okay, but we have two characters who have the same end bonus. One due to high Int, the other due to moderate Int plus proficiency. My question was, how do I set a DC so that the proficient PC has a greater chance of success, if they both have the same +X in the end?

    I know your preferred way of playing is to not do that. They both have +X, they both have the same chance to succeed. That's great, I don't want to tell you you're wrong (I don't think you are wrong at all). But I want to make the distinction because I and my players all see proficiency to mean "specialized aptitude" and it feels intuitively right to us that in at least some cases that special aptitude will provide an edge over the generalized ability of a high ability score. If there's a way to highlight this distinction without prof-gating, I'm all ears.
    The DC is the same for both. Give the proficient character Advantage to the roll.
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  13. - Top - End - #463
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The DC is the same for both. Give the proficient character Advantage to the roll.
    Thanks, that's pretty good. I'd consider that something of an in-between approach, but I'll certainly consider it.

  14. - Top - End - #464
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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Okay, but we have two characters who have the same end bonus. One due to high Int, the other due to moderate Int plus proficiency. My question was, how do I set a DC so that the proficient PC has a greater chance of success, if they both have the same +X in the end?
    You don't and clearly your desire to do so is Doing It Wrong(TM).

    It sounds like you're trying to come up with a mechanical justification other than the tool already given (advantage) to skew the odds in favor of one character over another for character background reasons. I guess at that point, I'd just prefer realizing it should be DM fiat automatic success for the player in question. I don't need to justify my DM fiat with another DM fiat of applying proficiency gating. I've already decided which character knows the answer, no need to also gate it behind a roll.

    Also I don't use checks for (admittedly rare) riddles. Those are all about player skill as far as I'm concerned. That's despite hating them as a player, because my riddle player skill is low.

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    Default Re: Proficiency Gating

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Okay, but we have two characters who have the same end bonus. One due to high Int, the other due to moderate Int plus proficiency. My question was, how do I set a DC so that the proficient PC has a greater chance of success, if they both have the same +X in the end?

    I know your preferred way of playing is to not do that. They both have +X, they both have the same chance to succeed. That's great, I don't want to tell you you're wrong (I don't think you are wrong at all). But I want to make the distinction because I and my players all see proficiency to mean "specialized aptitude" and it feels intuitively right to us that in at least some cases that special aptitude will provide an edge over the generalized ability of a high ability score. If there's a way to highlight this distinction without prof-gating, I'm all ears.
    I don't have my books on me right now but I'm pretty sure in the how to play part at the beginning of the PHB it allows for circumstantial bonuses on rolls. So you can just hand out a flat bonus to a PC if you want. You have to judge whether a flat bonus or advantage makes more sense.

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