Dwarf Race Bonus to Proficiencies

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
Trogodo de la F...
Trogodo de la Foresta's picture
Joined: 2020-02-10 06:03
Dwarf Race Bonus to Proficiencies

Hello

 

I've been looking through the Forum, but I only have found this forum and there is no clear answer.

 

In relation to the Dwarven custom classes, when building a dwarven custom class, a value between 0 and 4 is assigned. Values from 1 to 4 allow gaining more proficiencies. The letter of the rules says:

Additional points allocated to the Dwarf Value represents the dwarven expertise in crafts and lore. Each point provides one bonus general proficiency as well as a +1 bonus on proficiency throws and thief skills. The bonus does not apply to the racial ability to detect traps, as that proficiency throw’s target value already reflects the full measure of dwarven expertise.

In fact, the example says:

EXAMPLE: The dwarven Craftpriest has Dwarf Value 3. The dwarven Craftpriest began with 3 bonus general proficiencies and gains +3 to all proficiency throws.

To a player of our gaming group, it implies that EVERY PROFICIENCY THROW for a Dwarf Value 3, gets that +3. For example: 

  • Hearing noises inside a dungeon 
  • Loremastery power
  • Reading languages thief skill
  • Trap detection like a thief skill
  • Detecting secret doors 
  • Opening doors
  • Trap detection like any adventurer
  • Avoiding getting lost
  • Foraging or hunting through the wilderness
  • Rolls to become a mage

Nevertheless, the Craftpriest class explain this bonus as a custom power called attention to detail, and says:

Their attention to detail gives Craftpriests a +3 bonus on proficiency rolls for other proficiencies they learn as well.

To me, this wording implies that any class built using this Dwarf Value bonus to proficiency throws it's only applied to General or Class proficiencies that the PC gets in the creation or when leveling, as the Craftpriest. To my player, who has built a custom class of Dwarven Venturer (just taking the revised Venturer from the Heroic Fantasy Handbook), the Dwarf Value bonus to proficiency throws applies to any roll.

So, here are my questions:

What is the right wording? The Companion Dwarven Custom classes, that allow this benefit to any proficiency throw? The Craftpriest one, that implies only to proficiencies (not other kinds of proficiency throws)?

Thanks

Nike Air VaporMax 2019
Clusterking
Clusterking's picture
Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06

I've been looking through the Forum, but I only have found this forum and there is no clear answer.

 

In relation to the Dwarven custom classes, when building a dwarven custom class, a value between 0 and 4 is assigned. Values from 1 to 4 allow gaining more proficiencies. The letter of the rules says:

Additional points allocated to the Dwarf Value represents the dwarven expertise in crafts and lore. Each point provides one bonus general proficiency as well as a +1 bonus on proficiency throws and thief skills. The bonus does not apply to the racial ability to detect traps, as that proficiency throw’s target value already reflects the full measure of dwarven expertise.

In fact, the example says:

EXAMPLE: The dwarven Craftpriest has Dwarf Value 3. The dwarven Craftpriest began with 3 bonus general proficiencies and gains +3 to all proficiency throws.

To a player of our gaming group, it implies that EVERY PROFICIENCY THROW for a Dwarf Value 3, gets that +3. For example: 

  • Hearing noises inside a dungeon 
  • Loremastery power
  • Reading languages thief skill
  • Trap detection like a thief skill
  • Detecting secret doors 
  • Opening doors
  • Trap detection like any adventurer
  • Avoiding getting lost
  • Foraging or hunting through the wilderness
  • Rolls to become a mage

Nevertheless, the Craftpriest class explain this bonus as a custom power called attention to detail, and says:

Their attention to detail gives Craftpriests a +3 bonus on proficiency rolls for other proficiencies they learn as well.

To me, this wording implies that any class built using this Dwarf Value bonus to proficiency throws it's only applied to General or Class proficiencies that the PC gets in the creation or when leveling, as the Craftpriest. To my player, who has built a custom class of Dwarven Venturer (just taking the revised Venturer from the Heroic Fantasy Handbook), the Dwarf Value bonus to proficiency throws applies to any roll.

So, here are my questions:

What is the right wording? The Companion Dwarven Custom classes, that allow this benefit to any proficiency throw? The Craftpriest one, that implies only to proficiencies (not other kinds of proficiency throws)?

Thanks


-Trogodo de la Foresta

I'm not an Autarch, but it's the first option - it applies to any proficiency throw.

There's five dwarven classes in Core and PC, but two of them are Dwarf 0, leaving only three with any level of Attention to Detail.

Looking at the three remaining, we can work out where the bonus is appearing.

For Dwarven Craftpriest, it only shows up as the 8+ to identify other faiths' signs. This text is the Theology proficiency, but instead of 11+, that ability benefits from the +3 bonus.

For the Dwarven Delver, a careful examination of their thief skills table will show a consistent +2 over that of the thief. Similarly, their expert caver roll is boosted from the standard 11+ to 9+. These are all class powers, rather than proficiencies.

The Dwarven machinist has thief skills enjoying a +3 bonus, consistent with the attention to detail bonus.

It grants a +9 roll to identify craft items, which is only a +2 bonus, an error based on an earlier version when it was only Dwarf 2. Similarly, the Design/Build/Repair Automatons table is +2 better than the equivalent Magic Research table but should be +3.

From this, I'd say the Dwarven Craftpriest would also enjoy a +3 bonus to their Magic Research table.

I'd expect it to grant any proficiency bonus, even if it doesn't fall into the category of craft, lore or thief skill. Since it grants extra General Proficiencies, it would make sense for those to benefit from the bonus, even if outside of those categories.

Trogodo de la F...
Trogodo de la Foresta's picture
Joined: 2020-02-10 06:03

Thanks for your well-reasoned answer. 

It seems to be a HUGE power for just 200 XP in Dwarf Level 1, or 700 XP in Dwarf Level 3 (Dwarf Level 0 costs 200XP). One could think why there are not more successful thieves or venturers guilds all around the ACKS's worlds around there.

To me, the Bonus Proficiency Throw to the proficiencies that the Dwarf has learned indeed represents the common lore of dwarves being great artisans. The general bonus to ANY Proficiency Throws it's just disproportionate IMHO.

That's the reason why I was asking the Autarch to clarify.

In fact, the rest of the players started asking how much XP it would cost to replicate that Dwarf power into their own races (yes, I'm afraid that in my gaming group there is a bunch of min-maxers and rule-lawers).

Sable Wyvern
Joined: 2019-10-21 23:36

It's worth keeping in mind that (IMO) the class construction system isn't designed to be rigorously balanced. I have no doubt there are mutliple ways of abusing the system. However, if you start with a reasonable concept, and build it in reasonably fashion, you'll most likely get something that's reasonably balanced. If you set out to build something "like pre-existing class X, but better" the system isn't going to judge you and say, "No, you're not allowed to do that." It relies on the GM saying, "that's not a reasonable concept, and I'm not going to allow it in my game," or "sure, I'm ok with this class being better than X."

 

Additionally, keep in mind that "Thief + Dwarf 3" means a level cap of 10. The dwarf may start with a +3 bonus over the human thief, but at the peak of their abilities, the human ends up with the better skills. If you don't like level caps, or they won't become relevant in your game, this does change the equation (and is an example of why trying to create arbitrary perfect balance is a fools errand, because "balance" depends too much on the nature of the game in question).

Trogodo de la F...
Trogodo de la Foresta's picture
Joined: 2020-02-10 06:03

It's worth keeping in mind that (IMO) the class construction system isn't designed to be rigorously balanced. I have no doubt there are mutliple ways of abusing the system. However, if you start with a reasonable concept, and build it in reasonably fashion, you'll most likely get something that's reasonably balanced. If you set out to build something "like pre-existing class X, but better" the system isn't going to judge you and say, "No, you're not allowed to do that." It relies on the GM saying, "that's not a reasonable concept, and I'm not going to allow it in my game," or "sure, I'm ok with this class being better than X."

 

Additionally, keep in mind that "Thief + Dwarf 3" means a level cap of 10. The dwarf may start with a +3 bonus over the human thief, but at the peak of their abilities, the human ends up with the better skills. If you don't like level caps, or they won't become relevant in your game, this does change the equation (and is an example of why trying to create arbitrary perfect balance is a fools errand, because "balance" depends too much on the nature of the game in question).


-Sable Wyvern

Indeed. I'm more of a Role-Player encouraging Judge kind than a rule layer. But I always try to be fair with all my players. We've been playing 5e a lot, but I no longer enjoyed it (several reasons). I felt in love with ACKS system when I found it in 2015. Alexander attention to detail and his solid built upon his mathematical and historical foundations, made ACKS a very robust, fair and coherent system.

Regarding your sentence that the human "ends up with the better skills", here is the data:

Thief Skills
Level OL FT/RT PP MS CW HS HN XP
1 18+ 18+ 17+ 17+ 6+ 19+ 14+ 0
2 17+ 17+ 16+ 16+ 5+ 18+ 13+ 1.250
3 16+ 16+ 15+ 15+ 5+ 17+ 12+ 2.500
4 15+ 15+ 14+ 14+ 4+ 16+ 11+ 5.000
5 14+ 14+ 13+ 13+ 4+ 15+ 10+ 10.000
6 12+ 13+ 12+ 12+ 4+ 14+ 9+ 20.000
7 10+ 11+ 10+ 10+ 3+ 12+ 8+ 40.000
8 8+ 9+ 8+ 8+ 3+ 10+ 7+ 80.000
9 6+ 7+ 6+ 6+ 3+ 8+ 6+ 180.000
10 4+ 5+ 4+ 4+ 3+ 6+ 5+ 280.000
11 3+ 3+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 4+ 4+ 380.000
12 2+ 2+ -1+ 2+ 2+ 3+ 3+ 480.000
13 1+ 2+ -3+ 1+ 1+ 2+ 2+ 580.000
14 1+ 1+ -5+ 1+ 1+ 1+ 1+ 680.000

 

Thief+Dwarf 3
Level OL FT/RT PP MS CW HS HN XP
1 15+ 15+ 14+ 14+ 3+ 16+ 11+ 0
2 14+ 14+ 13+ 13+ 2+ 15+ 10+ 2.150
3 13+ 13+ 12+ 12+ 2+ 14+ 9+ 4.300
4 12+ 12+ 11+ 11+ 1+ 13+ 8+ 8.600
5 11+ 11+ 10+ 10+ 1+ 12+ 7+ 17.200
6 9+ 10+ 9+ 9+ 1+ 11+ 6+ 34.400
7 7+ 8+ 7+ 7+ -1+ 9+ 5+ 70.000
8 5+ 6+ 5+ 5+ -1+ 7+ 4+ 200.000
9 3+ 4+ 3+ 3+ -1+ 5+ 3+ 330.000
10 1+ 2+ 1+ 1+ -1+ 3+ 2+ 460.000

 

You can compare the progression of both classes and only a level 13  thief (580.000 XP) is slightly better than a master dwarf thief. A Prince of Thieves is only better in four of his skills (and in one, CW, is worse) for the expenditure of 220.000 more XP.

In the case of a human venturer (revised, we use the Heroic Fantasy Handbook rules) compared to a dwarf venturer, I'm still doubting that the human venturer could be considered better than a dwarf venturer at all.

 
Sable Wyvern
Joined: 2019-10-21 23:36

Marginally better, in the end, is still better ;) Although, I haven't taken into account other special benefits, which probably tilts things back in the dwarf's favour. Of course, this may well be part of the reason why the Delver wasn't designed as a Thief + Dwarf 3 in the first place.

Edit: Actually, that last observation led me to think about one of the things I like about the official classes (Core and Companion at least, as those are what I have) is that they are all distinctly unique in some way. The Vaultguard is probably the only one that is essentially Class X + Extra Abilities, and that's a matter of emulating the source material.

The Delver isn't Thief + Dwarf, it's a select range of thief abilities + improved hit die + dwarf abilities, making for a distintive class with pros and cons when measuring against the standard Thief.

While throwing a racial template on top of an existing class is certainly quick and easy, and creates a viable class, I also think it's not playing to the true strengths of hte system. Were I to make a dwarven venturer, I'd be looking at what abilities would make that class unique, and not just giving it all the venturer abilities. That way, even if you can say "this class is objectively better in most respects" you're still having to decide, "do I want abilities A & B, that only the Venturer gets, or do I forgo those abilites to play a Dwarven Merchant?"

Aryxymaraki
Aryxymaraki's picture
Patreon SupporterDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2014-01-04 02:20

Thanks for your well-reasoned answer. 

It seems to be a HUGE power for just 200 XP in Dwarf Level 1, or 700 XP in Dwarf Level 3 (Dwarf Level 0 costs 200XP). One could think why there are not more successful thieves or venturers guilds all around the ACKS's worlds around there.

To me, the Bonus Proficiency Throw to the proficiencies that the Dwarf has learned indeed represents the common lore of dwarves being great artisans. The general bonus to ANY Proficiency Throws it's just disproportionate IMHO.

That's the reason why I was asking the Autarch to clarify.

In fact, the rest of the players started asking how much XP it would cost to replicate that Dwarf power into their own races (yes, I'm afraid that in my gaming group there is a bunch of min-maxers and rule-lawers).


-Trogodo de la Foresta

There's an Axioms article that goes over the price of the Attention to Detail power.  It's not cheap.

Remember that 200 XP for Dwarf 0 gets you a +0 bonus....that is, no bonus....to proficiency throws.

Clusterking
Clusterking's picture
Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06

 

 

Thanks for your well-reasoned answer. 

It seems to be a HUGE power for just 200 XP in Dwarf Level 1, or 700 XP in Dwarf Level 3 (Dwarf Level 0 costs 200XP). One could think why there are not more successful thieves or venturers guilds all around the ACKS's worlds around there.

To me, the Bonus Proficiency Throw to the proficiencies that the Dwarf has learned indeed represents the common lore of dwarves being great artisans. The general bonus to ANY Proficiency Throws it's just disproportionate IMHO.

That's the reason why I was asking the Autarch to clarify.

In fact, the rest of the players started asking how much XP it would cost to replicate that Dwarf power into their own races (yes, I'm afraid that in my gaming group there is a bunch of min-maxers and rule-lawers).

 


-Trogodo de la Foresta

 

There's an Axioms article that goes over the price of the Attention to Detail power.  It's not cheap.

Remember that 200 XP for Dwarf 0 gets you a +0 bonus....that is, no bonus....to proficiency throws.


-Aryxymaraki

Haven't seen that Axioms article, but will attempt an analysis here.

A previous forum article priced racial custom powers at 40xp each, so we can apply that to each Dwarf level if we assume a General Proficiency is worth the same.

The 200xp for Dwarf 0 gets you four custom racial powers worth five powers cost, so don't factor into the Attention to Detail xp cost.

Dwarf 4 costs 1200xp over Dwarf 0, less 160xp for the four General Proficiencies so 1040xp just for the Attention to Detail +4.

 Many proficiencies that have rolls allow extra selections for a +4 bonus. Since that's what Dwarf 4 gets you, it would be worth the same if that +4 applied to 26 rolls. It would be a pretty extreme character that has 26 rolls anywhere in it's build!

Thief skills can only be purchased with Thief value, so come out more expensive, about 75xp per skill. This is reflected in the proficiencies that boost them, such as Lockpicking and Trapfinding, which only get a +2 bonus but also allow an attempt in one round at a penalty.

Proficiencies that boost Thief skills are therefore like Dwarf 2, which has a +2 bonus for 320xp. That's like getting a +2 bonus on 8 thief skills, which is basically all of them.

You could suggest a half-cost power to boost a non-thief roll by +2, in which case Dwarf 2 costs the same as 16 of them.

With similar maths, Dwarf 1 at 160xp falls between getting a +1 bonus on 8 thief skills or 16 normal proficiencies.

Dwarf 3 at 580xp is like a +3 bonus on 8 thief skills or 14 normal proficiencies.

So unless the character is benefiting from more bonuses than the numbers given above, it would cost less xp to buy the bonuses as racial custom powers, than as Attention to Detail.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Good discussion! I can't claim that the Dwarf Value necessarily got the build correct. My general sense was that there is diminishing returns to bonuses with level. When you are low level and all of your proficiencies and class powers have high target values, the dwarf gets a great advantage from his bonus. But at higher levels, it matters increasingly less and less. Most casters who pay attention to library, workshop, and so on end up hitting the cap on magic research at 1-3. Most thieves rarely fail at high levels, etc. So a dwarf more-or-less pays a large XP penalty in order to start off better in many things, which is intended to reflect the idea of the dwarf being longer-lived and more skilled, but less adaptable and ambitious than a human. 

BTW, if you're building a dwarf venturer, be sure to check Axioms/Patreon for the new venturer class. 

Trogodo de la F...
Trogodo de la Foresta's picture
Joined: 2020-02-10 06:03

Thanks Alex.

Indeed we're using the last Patreon venturer class design. It's far better for the Draven Merchant class

King of Umbar
Joined: 2019-10-22 03:43

You can compare the progression of both classes and only a level 13  thief (580.000 XP) is slightly better than a master dwarf thief. A Prince of Thieves is only better in four of his skills (and in one, CW, is worse) for the expenditure of 220.000 more XP.

In the case of a human venturer (revised, we use the Heroic Fantasy Handbook rules) compared to a dwarf venturer, I'm still doubting that the human venturer could be considered better than a dwarf venturer at all.


-Trogodo de la Foresta

It's actually worse than you think. +3 on the dwarf proficiencies shifts the dwarf forward by 3 thief levels (compare delver skills to thief skills, they're not +3, they're +3 levels).

So a level 7 dwarf with +3 on Open Locks rolls OL on a 4+, not on a 7+.

However, like Alex says, dwarves are very expensive and this actually keeps them competitive with humans on various things. Maybe dwarves should have a maximum cap on Dexterity?

Trogodo de la F...
Trogodo de la Foresta's picture
Joined: 2020-02-10 06:03

Good Point.