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GM4Him #809877 24/02/22 11:27 PM
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GM4Him,

I was talking specifically about that quote, i.e. how to make sure the player isn't locked out of the content.
Unless you were answering to someone else?

RutgerF #809879 24/02/22 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by RutgerF
GM4Him,

I was talking specifically about that quote, i.e. how to make sure the player isn't locked out of the content.
Unless you were answering to someone else?

I was responding to everyone in general trying to explain what dice rolls actually represent. I just want people to understand that they represent a chance of failure. If there is a chance of failure, a dice roll should be made to take into account all the potential variables that the players and the DM cannot account for.

Here's another example. You might be able to lift a rock in the game because of your strength being 17. But if you are going to do something with that rock like try to throw it at a statue to break its head off, there is a chance you might fail to hit the head. Therefore, you need to roll to see if you hit. You don't need to roll to determine whether you can lift it or not because either you can lift it or you can't.

That said, I as a DM might make a player roll to see if they could lift a rock that they normally could lift if some circumstance made it so that there is the possibility they might not succeed. If Dawn, who is a barbarian, can normally lift a boulder over her head, but it is raining and the rock is slippery, I would probably have her role to see if she can still lift The Rock because now there's a chance The Rock will slip.

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5e rules is plain dumb, dead lifting something is going to be harder than straight pushing or pulling something. It says a average person is str 10 btw so -8 will be lacking in that department.

Last edited by fallenj; 25/02/22 12:50 AM.
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Originally Posted by fallenj
5e rules is plain dumb, dead lifting something is going to be harder than straight pushing or pulling something. It says a average person is str 10 btw so -8 will be lacking in that department.

Well, I did admit, 5e is crazy in many areas. 10X30=300 lbs lifting ability? I still think that's straight up nuts and unbelievable for a Strength 10 average person. Even if average is a farmer, 300 lbs is heavy. An average person trying to lift 300 lbs and putting all they have into it would be an amazing feat. I have a REAL hard time with rules like that.

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Originally Posted by GM4Him
I think all this boils down to a misunderstanding of what a roll means in a roleplaying game.

Roll is strictly about whether you succeed in something or not.

That's not true at all. Rolls might just as well be about how well you succeed (or how badly you fail), or how long a task you can't fail takes to succeed (or how long it takes you yo realise there's no chance of succeeding).

For example. You're breaking down a door to a burning inn. If you roll well, you get it open with no time lost. If you roll poorly, you still bash it down, but it takes several tried and now the fire inside is much greater.

I know this is irrelevant in the context of BG3 because they don't do rolls that way, but in terms of what rolls mean in DnD it applies.


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Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by GM4Him
I think all this boils down to a misunderstanding of what a roll means in a roleplaying game.

Roll is strictly about whether you succeed in something or not.

That's not true at all. Rolls might just as well be about how well you succeed (or how badly you fail), or how long a task you can't fail takes to succeed (or how long it takes you yo realise there's no chance of succeeding).

For example. You're breaking down a door to a burning inn. If you roll well, you get it open with no time lost. If you roll poorly, you still bash it down, but it takes several tried and now the fire inside is much greater.

I know this is irrelevant in the context of BG3 because they don't do rolls that way, but in terms of what rolls mean in DnD it applies.

Sorry Dexai, but I have to disagree. A person who rolls Critical Miss doesn't miss worse than a person who rolls a 19 and needs a 20. The entire point of a Critical Miss is that even if someone would get an automatic hit, there is still a chance that they miss. It is not to indicate that you epically missed. That's not how 5e works. I've played games where if you roll a Critical Miss your gun jams or you run out of ammo or you epically miss, but that is not 5e.

If you roll a one and fail to bash down the door, you can try again next turn. That is what determines how long it takes to bust the door down. Your rolling a one doesn't indicate that it takes you longer to bust the door down. It just means that you failed at that particular attempt. It also doesn't mean that you will succeed eventually but it takes you several turns to do it. It simply means that you failed in that six second round. You can try again on the next six second round. Hopefully the fire doesn't get to you before you are able to succeed on your turn in busting the door down.

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The d20 ability checks certainly are not the strongest part of 5e. The d20 roll being swingy is in it's fullest effect here. And skill checks to a lesser degree.

The difference between 8 Str and 20 Str is a 30% probability. A whopping 30%. 80% vs. 50% chance to successfully perform a Strength feat is a laughably insignificant difference when talking about a weak human compared to an Ogre.

That's why some kind of thresholds need to be applied to make some sense in the system. Creative DM explanations for unlikely success or failure only go so far, and in BG3 we don't have that DM.

Same with 8 Int Barbarians somehow acing their -1 Arcana checks when Gale fails with +5. A DM could explain that they found a note on the floor explaining it (which doesn't have anything to do with knowledge, but somehow it needs to be explained rationally), but BG3 can't do that. In BG3 it's just weird.

I think video games should enforce a lot of proficiency requirements and thresholds before allowing a check. Make those ability scores, proficiencies and expertise in a field count for something instead of just spamming Guidance and getting lucky. In BG3 it feels like everyone is an expert in every field and universally able to do anything with only some very minor differences between them.

Last edited by 1varangian; 25/02/22 02:58 PM.
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Let's go with Intelligence now, so we move away from just Strength.

Character has 17 Intelligence, so +3, and is proficient in Arcana for a +5 at lower levels. They are able to reduce a difficulty by one whole category because they have more than just basic knowledge. 20 becomes 15, 15 becomes 10, etc.

This is quite a difference from someone with 8 Intelligence and no Arcana proficiency. -1 each roll. That means a 10 is an 11, 15 is 16, 20 is 21 and therefore impossible. So, more advanced knowledge is completely impossible for the person to know while someone who is intelligent and proficient in Arcana still has a chance of knowing something very obscure.

Arcana, a knowledge skill, represents how much a character knows about magic. Because YOU the player don't have an entire listing of everything your character should know, the roll represents the probability that - out of the vast sea of knowledge on the subject - you know details about a particular something.

So, for example, knowledge about Sussur Bark and how to use it to craft antimagic weapons should be a DC 20 or even 25 roll because Lenore was a pioneer on the topic. Maybe, just maybe, some information on it was spread by Lenore in Baldur's Gate when she returned there... maybe. Or maybe she told someone who then spread word about the few details that they knew. So, the DM might make a player roll to see if they even know some random details about it. Who has a better chance of having heard said details? Gale, because he's a Wizard and presumably a sage of sorts who has studied a lot of things like Netherese magic. His +5 then allows him to even have a chance of making the roll.

On the flip side, my barbarian with -1 Arcana has absolutely no chance at all in knowing anything about the topic because not only is he low intelligent, because he just doesn't care to learn such things, but he also doesn't focus on Arcana at all because, again, he just doesn't care about such things.

That said, take a situation where the Arcana roll is 15. The barbarian now has a chance. It's a slim one at 16 or higher, but it's a chance that, at some point in his life, he ran across details about this thing that he PROBABLY doesn't know anything about, but he might. So, a high roll is appropriate because there's a CHANCE that he might actually know something about.

Gale, on the other hand, would need a 10 or higher. He has a much higher chance of knowing it because he's done a lot of studying. However, should he just automatically know something just because he is proficient in Arcana and has high intelligence? Why should he just automatically know everything that is of a certain threshold? Does a student astrophysicist know everything about astrophysics? Each student of astrophysics might know different things because some things stuck in their brains and others didn't.

You have to remember that ALL the characters are low level in EA. So they aren't experts. They're maybe smarter than the locals, or stronger, or whatever, but they aren't experts yet. That comes at later levels and higher proficiency bonuses. There's even an Expertise feat that one has to purchase/earn that then sets the novices apart from the masters. A rogue with Expertise in Thieves' Tools may get a +10 to their roll with Dex 18 and Double Proficiency +6, while a rogue without Expertise would only get +7. That means the expert has a chance, though slim, of picking insanely difficult locks of 30 or higher, while the non-expert can't.

The point is, the roll represents, again, the CHANCE that you do or don't know something within a certain field, so it is appropriate to roll whenever there is a chance of failure. That's the whole point of skill and ability checks.

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Oh, and one final thing to consider. Raw ability checks are supposed to be few and far between. That's why you have skills.

Athletics should be used for most Strength-based activities.

Acrobatics should be used for most Dexterity-based activities involving flipping, balance, etc.

Arcana should be used for most Intelligence checks in the field of magic.

Religion should be used for most Intelligence checks in the field of deities, cults, etc.

Medicine should be used for most Intelligence checks in the field of potions, cures, bandaging, etc.

You would RARELY make a raw Intelligence roll. Likewise, most of the time you don't make a raw Strength check. You usually use the skills that go with them.

So, the proficient, intelligent character might get a +5 to their roll as opposed to the unproficient, unintelligent character who gets a -1.

In your scenario with the Strength 8 versus the Strength 20, the one with Strength 20 is also probably proficient in Athletics and would thus gain not only the +5 for raw Strength but also an additional +2 or +3 at lower levels for a +7 or +8 which is then a considerable difference from the person who gets a -1.

That is why grapple and shove are Athletics rolls, not raw Strength. Likewise, busting a door down should probably be more of an Athletics roll than a raw Strength roll.

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Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.

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Originally Posted by 1varangian
Same with 8 Int Barbarians somehow acing their -1 Arcana checks when Gale fails with +5. A DM could explain that they found a note on the floor explaining it (which doesn't have anything to do with knowledge, but somehow it needs to be explained rationally)
What is so irational about the possibility that Wizard whos mind is permanently occupied with effort to exactly remember several memorized spells and potentialy keeping concentration has ben unable to recall exact description of something ... while mind of Barbarian that have litteraly nothing to do outside of combat (and in many cases even in it) were able to remember that? O_o

Arcana dont affect just things you learned ... it also affect if you understand those things, if you remember those things ... and most importantly of it all, if you are able to recall them when needed.

Gale mind is clearly preocupied enough so he simply didnt recall it, whatever the roll was made for.
Barbarians isnt.

Simple as that.

Also ... finding a note on the floor should in my humbe opinion made by Perception + Wisdom ... rather than Arcana + Intelligence. :-/

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Originally Posted by 1varangian
Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.

Well, it's your opinion. You don't like it. That's cool.

I'm just trying to help you see that it's not as bad as you think. MOST DC's should NOT be DC 20 or more. A DC 20 should be reserved for a really obscure piece of information.

Let's take an example of your party finds a rare item. Now, in true D&D 5e, you don't just know what the item is exactly. You look at it, and it's an amulet. It is in the shape of a star with a green gemstone in it.

Now, you have a party of 4: Gale, Lae'zel, Dorn the barbarian and Shadowheart.

DM calls for an Arcana roll to identify the item. He says, "The DC is 20." That means that this item is VERY VERY rare. There is VERY little chance that no one but Gale has a chance in Hades of knowing what the item is. They still might have a chance if they even have an Intelligence of 10 (0), but that's only IF they roll a 20.

Meanwhile, this very obscure thing Gale gets a +6. He only needs a 14 or higher. Everyone else, 1 in 20 chance, 5% shot at it (just for the sake of the example, saying they all have Intelligence 0 except Gale). Gale gets a 35% chance of success at knowing a VERY VERY rare item's identity. How might he know about it? He's read lots and lots of books about magic items, while none of the others have.

HOWEVER, there is still a 5% chance that Lae'zel might have at some point in her life run into the item somewhere or heard a story about it or saw a picture of it and someone told her about it, or SOMEthing. It's a slim chance, but allowing her to roll gives her at least a chance, and the 35% chance that Gale has at knowing a very very rare item is a lot better than 5%.

Now, let's go with DC 10 Religion check. This is fairly common knowledge we're talking about now. LOTS of people have potentially heard about these details. Same group. But it's also about Shar. Shadowheart has a +4 Religion (I don't remember if she does, but just for the sake of the example). Gale is not proficient, but he has +3 Intelligence, so he gets a +3. Lae'zel and Dorn get a 0.

Dorn and Lae'zel get a 55% chance of success. Intelligence 10, so what this is saying is that there is a 55% chance that the common, average person has heard something about this. Gale gets a whopping 70% chance of knowing it. Why? Because even though it's Religion, not his strongest field of expertise, the man is quite learned in general and thus has a vast library in his head even of things he's not focused his studies on.

And then there's Shadowheart. She gets +4, but because she's a Sharran Cleric, she should get advantage. This is what she does.
So she doesn't just get a 75% chance of success. She gets advantage besides. Her probability of success is WAY higher because circumstances provide her with an extra boost; advantage.

But let's say it's about Tyr. Well, she still gets 75% chance of success because Religion is a field she's studied in. So, she has some knowledge even about Tyr, who she's not super knowledgeable about.

Now let's say she had Expertise in Religion. +6 now. Whoa! She only needs a 4 or higher to succeed in knowing something fairly common about Tyr because now she's an expert in it. That's 4 or higher, an 85% chance of success. At higher levels, her proficiency might go from +2 to +4, and Expertise would make a typical +4 a +8 Double bonus. So, at higher levels, the true expert shines. A 10 or higher roll now would be no contest. No need to roll for the Expert with +8 Double Proficiency because with a +2 Intelligence bonus, that's a +10 total. That means that fairly common knowledge is automatic to the expert. Only the rare and VERY VERY rare stuff would require a roll for the expert.

Because levels determine who is a true expert and master in something. It's not just whether you are proficient or have expertise in it. Those only illustrate that you are focusing your studies in those areas. As you increase in levels, that's when you see a true difference.

Dorn, the Barbarian at level 10 with Expertise feat in Athletics should have like a +10 Athletics while Gale at level 10 will still only have -1. NOW we're talking some serious gap in skill level.

THAT is how it should be done.

So, if you are breaking down a door and you are simply using your brute strength, an ogre with 20 Strength (+5) and who is proficient with Athletics (+3) would get a +8 to try to smash open a door that is maybe DC 10. What's his chance of success? 2 or higher/ 95% chance. On the flip side, Gale with 8 Strength (-1), would need an 11 or higher/ 50% chance. Both can break down the fairly commonly constructed door, but the ogre has a MUCH more likely chance of success than Gale. Can he still fail? Yes. Maybe he slams his shoulder into the wall when he meant to slam it directly into the door. Maybe he hits his head. Maybe he slips. Who knows. Either way, if he fails and he only needed a 2 or higher, that means SOMEthing went wrong and caused him to flub it up. However, he can try again in 6 seconds and if he doesn't succeed the second time... wow! The gods must be against him.

Shoot! I'd probably even give an ogre advantage on such a roll because he's Large, making it even more likely he'd succeed, but that's, again, circumstance bonus.

Last edited by GM4Him; 25/02/22 05:01 PM.
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Originally Posted by GM4Him
Originally Posted by Dexai
[quote=GM4Him]I think all this boils down to a misunderstanding of what a roll means in a roleplaying game.

Roll is strictly about whether you succeed in something or not.

That's not true at all. Rolls might just as well be about how well you succeed (or how badly you fail), or how long a task you can't fail takes to succeed (or how long it takes you yo realise there's no chance of succeeding).

For example. You're breaking down a door to a burning inn. If you roll well, you get it open with no time lost. If you roll poorly, you still bash it down, but it takes several tried and now the fire inside is much greater.

I know this is irrelevant in the context of BG3 because they don't do rolls that way, but in terms of what rolls mean in DnD it applies.

Dexai never said critical miss, it was about skill checks required over a prolonged period. Pretty close to taking 10 in a relaxed time. If not, it would be something like taking a skill check on your turn for each 6 seconds you have (been a bit, but pretty sure turns are 6 seconds). An without knowing the DC of the check (except if your meta gaming) its very possible you'll be wasting your time.

Originally Posted by GM4Him
Originally Posted by fallenj
5e rules is plain dumb, dead lifting something is going to be harder than straight pushing or pulling something. It says a average person is str 10 btw so -8 will be lacking in that department.

Well, I did admit, 5e is crazy in many areas.

Are you talking to yourself here? I haven't talked to you on this thread at all.


Originally Posted by 1varangian
The d20 ability checks certainly are not the strongest part of 5e. The d20 roll being swingy is in it's fullest effect here. And skill checks to a lesser degree.

The difference between 8 Str and 20 Str is a 30% probability. A whopping 30%. 80% vs. 50% chance to successfully perform a Strength feat is a laughably insignificant difference when talking about a weak human compared to an Ogre.

That's why some kind of thresholds need to be applied to make some sense in the system. Creative DM explanations for unlikely success or failure only go so far, and in BG3 we don't have that DM.

Same with 8 Int Barbarians somehow acing their -1 Arcana checks when Gale fails with +5. A DM could explain that they found a note on the floor explaining it (which doesn't have anything to do with knowledge, but somehow it needs to be explained rationally), but BG3 can't do that. In BG3 it's just weird.

I think video games should enforce a lot of proficiency requirements and thresholds before allowing a check. Make those ability scores, proficiencies and expertise in a field count for something instead of just spamming Guidance and getting lucky. In BG3 it feels like everyone is an expert in every field and universally able to do anything with only some very minor differences between them.

It would really come down to DM choice, but I'd bet advantage would come into effect or no rolls period for the ogre with whatever challenge is in the scenario. Reading through the Strength examples, just looks like rolls are only for strenuous activities.

so a weak human (Strength 8) vs a ogre with 20 would be:

Human: 120 carry capacity, 240 for lifting, pushing or dragging
Ogre: 600 carry capacity, 2400 lifting, pushing, or dragging. (example of weight: Black Rhinoceros weighs 2k lbs.)

couple copy/paste from the freebe pdf

Lifting and Carrying
Size and Strength. Larger creatures can bear more
weight, whereas Tiny creatures can carry less. For each
size category above Medium, double the creature’s carrying capacity and the amount it can push, drag, or lift. For
a Tiny creature, halve these weights.

Passive Checks
A passive check is a special kind of ability check that
doesn’t involve any die rolls. Such a check can represent
the average result for a task done repeatedly, such as
searching for secret doors over and over again, or can be
used when the DM wants to secretly determine whether
the characters succeed at something without rolling dice,
such as noticing a hidden monster.
Here’s how to determine a character’s total for a passive check:
10 + all modifiers that normally apply to the check
If the character has advantage on the check, add 5. For
disadvantage, subtract 5. The game refers to a passive
check total as a score.

I haven't checked it but it's possible that BG3 is using the Variant carry capacity rules
Also taking 10 as it used to be called is similar to passive check, there is no roll and you just add 10 to whatever bonuses you have.

Last edited by fallenj; 26/02/22 12:07 AM.
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I've argued before they should use Passive Checks / Take 10 in many cases instead of the d20 roll to reduce the insane amount of randomness with skills, regardless of actual skill levels.

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Originally Posted by 1varangian
I've argued before they should use Passive Checks / Take 10 in many cases instead of the d20 roll to reduce the insane amount of randomness with skills, regardless of actual skill levels.

I see. Yes. I do miss the Take 10/20 rules, and as a DM still kinda use them. I mean, if you got all the time in the world to keep trying until you succeed...

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Originally Posted by GM4Him
Originally Posted by 1varangian
I've argued before they should use Passive Checks / Take 10 in many cases instead of the d20 roll to reduce the insane amount of randomness with skills, regardless of actual skill levels.

I see. Yes. I do miss the Take 10/20 rules, and as a DM still kinda use them. I mean, if you got all the time in the world to keep trying until you succeed...

yep, what taking 10 is. under a stressful situation or strenuous situation requires actual rolls.

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Originally Posted by 1varangian
Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.

You're certainly welcome to that opinion but you're trying to overhaul the core of the 5e system. You don't have to like it but d20 IS D&D.

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Originally Posted by WebSpyder
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.

You're certainly welcome to that opinion but you're trying to overhaul the core of the 5e system. You don't have to like it but d20 IS D&D.
This is not a constructive or helpful comment.

If you actually read and tried to understand what is being discussed, you would know that no one is asking for an unrealistic "overhaul of the 5e system" but rather using mechanics that are already built in said system.

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Originally Posted by WebSpyder
You're certainly welcome to that opinion but you're trying to overhaul the core of the 5e system. You don't have to like it but d20 IS D&D.

Agreed. That variation is built into the DnD system. The expertise isn't about the individual roles. It's about the combined roles averaging out over time. It's about the statistical likelihood.

A barbarian with a negative Arcane check can theoretically succeed where a wizard with a high Arcane check can theoretically fail. That's a core part of the system.

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Originally Posted by 1varangian
Originally Posted by WebSpyder
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Yes, you described how the system works. My critique is that ability scores and skill proficiencies don't have enough of an impact.

If you start bumping Arcana checks to DC 20 so that the clueless Barbarian with -1 can't succeed, the Wizard with +5 will also only have a 30% chance at it. A level 5 Wizard with Arcana proficiency and 18 Intelligence would have 40% chance. Hardly an expert.

It's not a good system. To make skilled characters actually skilled at something, the modifiers should be bigger and they should play more with stuff like Expertise i.e. double proficiency. The gap between the least skilled and most skilled isn't wide enough.

You're certainly welcome to that opinion but you're trying to overhaul the core of the 5e system. You don't have to like it but d20 IS D&D.
This is not a constructive or helpful comment.

If you actually read and tried to understand what is being discussed, you would know that no one is asking for an unrealistic "overhaul of the 5e system" but rather using mechanics that are already built in said system.

Nope! Passive checks are not meant to prevent those who can't pass the passive from making the check at all. You're creating mechanics where none exist. 5e simply doesn't have any of the stat based gatekeeping you're attempting here. The closest 5e gets to that is having checks that simply CAN NOT be succeeded due to the difficulty of the check (as critical success and failure on checks is not a thing in 5e despite Larian implementing it).

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