Rogue Expertise

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One of our players is using the Pre-gen Rogue that came with the Dead in Thay adventure.

 

The Level 6 Halfling Rogue has a Dexterity of 19 (+4) and Expertise in Acrobatics (+5). Does this mean he has a +9 on all Acrobatics checks? Or is the +5 considered the cap for check bonus on something a Rogue has expertise in?

 

In other words, does the expertise bonus stack?

 

It makes sense that it would stack, but I want to confirm since a +9 seems like a huge bonus on checks.

 

Thanks for any advice.

Not only would the Dex + Expertise dice stack, but assuming they have proficiency with Acrobatics (which I believe they have to in order to apply the expertise bonus) then you'd add that too. So in this example he'd get +11 on Acrobatics checks. (+4 from Dex, +2 from Proficientcy bonus, +5 from Expertise). It really does seem broken, doesn’t it? The Rogue in our game has Experitse in Perception and Search and doesn't miss anything that's hidden. It makes the DM's job a lot harder.

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cave2626 wrote:

Not only would the Dex + Expertise dice stack, but assuming they have proficiency with Acrobatics (which I believe they have to in order to apply the expertise bonus) then you'd add that too. So in this example he'd get +11 on Acrobatics checks. (+4 from Dex, +2 from Proficientcy bonus, +5 from Expertise). It really does seem broken, doesn’t it? The Rogue in our game has Experitse in Perception and Search and doesn't miss anything that's hidden. It makes the DM's job a lot harder.

 

Thanks for the thoughts, cave2626.

 

I didn't even imagine that it went that far, to add in the +2 proficiency bonus and the +5 expertise.

 

I assumed the +5 replaced the +2 proficiency bonus, since it seems like "expertise" would be a sort of "super" proficiency, so you'd get normal proficiency bonus on those things you choose as proficiencies, and that +2 changes to a +5 for those things you choose as expertise.

 

The rogue just bumped to level 7. He chose to add 1 to his Dexterity ability score (for a new score of 20), and his proficiency bonus went up to +3, so if you are right about the stacking this means, with expertise in Acrobatics he has a +13 on all Acrobatics checks:

 

  • +3 for proficiency
  • +5 for expertise
  • +5 for Dexterity of 20

Ummm... Tough for him to fail.

 

I actually find it hard to set DCs for acrobatics checks anyway. Does a parkour/free running style run up the wall and flip over a monster, for example, qualify as a DC 15? DC 20? Higher?

 

And you set a DC based on what an untrained person might be able to accomplish, right? So an "average" PC without any bonuses or expertise would have trouble accomplishing this, but it wouldn't be impossible, right? So that suggests a DC in the high teens, right? But this means the rogue with the +13 only needs a 3 or 4 to do the trick. That does seem broken.

The expertise modifier has changed in the final rules - it instead doubles the proficiency modifier. (So, at level 1 you get +2 from proficiency and +2 from expertise).

 

A level 7 rogue with a 20 Dex will have a +11 to the check. Yes, it's tough for him to fail, but that's fine. Why do you actually want him to fail at something he should be good at?

Jamroar wrote:
I actually find it hard to set DCs for acrobatics checks anyway. Does a parkour/free running style run up the wall and flip over a monster, for example, qualify as a DC 15? DC 20? Higher?

 

And you set a DC based on what an untrained person might be able to accomplish, right? So an "average" PC without any bonuses or expertise would have trouble accomplishing this, but it wouldn't be impossible, right? So that suggests a DC in the high teens, right? But this means the rogue with the +13 only needs a 3 or 4 to do the trick. That does seem broken.

'Broken' as in you find it unbelievable someone could consistantly do that?

 

I guess it's partly a question of how cinematic your going for, or if you want mundane actions to be very mundane and not cinematic.

 

Of course with the massively rising acrobatics bonus, the D&D authors have essentially said 'It's pretty cinematic'

 

Though on the other hand what he's trying to do isn't actually part of the rules the authors made. Which kind of means the authors are giving mixed messages.

 

How often do you want him to be able to pull of such a trick? 50% of the time? 20%? What %?

 

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

Pretty sure I talked to Jamroar on reddit about this!

sliceoffruit wrote:

Pretty sure I talked to Jamroar on reddit about this!

 

Yes, sliceoffruit, I did post to /r/dndnext about this too, around the same time. Thank you for your clarifications over there.

 

If anyone is interested in that similar discussion (that took place mostly after this one) it is here:

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/dndnext/comments/29bfk6/does_rogue_expertise_stack_in_playtest_rules/

 

Also, Noon, my response was to cave2626 who wrote:

 

cave2626 wrote:

It really does seem broken, doesn’t it? The Rogue in our game has Experitse in Perception and Search and doesn't miss anything that's hidden. It makes the DM's job a lot harder.

 

So I was agreeing with his assessment that having a Rogue that *almost* couldn't fail, even at something that required a DC 20 check, seemed like it was "broken" (using his word). 

 

Which led to my other question, which I don't think I stated clearly enough, and is more about DM philosophy:

 

If a Rogue has Dex 20 (+5), Proficiency +3, Expertise +6 (= +14 total), then they wouldn't need to roll on a DC 15 on something they have Expertise in, right? They would always succeed. And they would succeed on a DC 20 66% of the time.

 

Given this, how do other DMs set a DC for a given action? Do you set it based on what this high bonus Rogue can do or what an average PC can do?

 

Do you artificially inflate DC for a PC that can do something with relative ease?

How do you make it hard for a +14 Stealth Rogue to sneak past the watchful guard?

Or do you NOT make it hard since the PC is this well trained Rogue?

 

And cave2626's example was even more interesting to me: about finding things that are hidden. Those rolls are not for an action the player imagines and describes and for which the DM has to come up with a DC on the fly (and can perhaps adjust the DC to fit the PC?).

 

If something is well hidden it is a DC of 20 or 25 (or even 30?), right? For everyone, right?

 

So I guess the player can choose to boost their searching skills to the point where not much can be hidden from them. So it would be tougher for the DM to make some things challenging. I think this was cave2626's point...

 

MerricB wrote:

The expertise modifier has changed in the final rules - it instead doubles the proficiency modifier. (So, at level 1 you get +2 from proficiency and +2 from expertise).

 

A level 7 rogue with a 20 Dex will have a +11 to the check. Yes, it's tough for him to fail, but that's fine. Why do you actually want him to fail at something he should be good at?

 

Just getting back to this...

 

It's not that I *want* him to fail. I'm just wondering about setting DC and if it should be based on a generic PC's chance of succeeding or that skilled PC's chance since I think playing is more exciting if there's a chance for failure.

 

I have played Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert, two cooperative games (with a little Role Playing thrown in). The first time playing it was tough for us to succeed even starting at the easiest setting. It took us a few times playing to get the hang of it and start to consistently win at the beginer setting. 

 

So there was a change from "Too challenging to beat." to "Tough but doable." to "Consistently doable." When it got too easy we changed the starting point to make it more challenging again because it's "funner" that way!

 

So, I guess I'm asking how (or if) experienced DMs adjust the DC so the player feels some suspense when rolling the die (e.g. "I hope I get above a 10!" (or 15?)).

 

So for a +14 (level 7) Rogue, that would mean a DC of 25 or so for a skill they have expertise in.

 

Or do you just let it be a success and don't worry about adding challenge to that action for that character?

 

Imagining that the same Rogue has Charisma of 8, he would be much more challenged trying to persuade a guard to let him pass, but a high charisma PC in the party with Proficiency in that might have no problem. So maybe it's a matter, as I think MerricB is suggesting, that the Rogue is supposed to be able to do these things with relative ease. There will be other things the Rogue will find challenging and that's fine. Let them have their thing they can do almost automatically.

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