I have always found proficiency checks in AD&D2 too easy.
For those of you who are not familiar with this rule, to make a proficiency check, if you have got the relevant proficiency, you roll a d20 under the relevant ability score. Some proficiencies give you a modifier on the roll, usually +1 or -1, and it is possible to buy a +1 bonus to an existing proficiency instead of learning a new one.
In my AD&D2 campaigns, PCs tended to have above-average abilities (I mostly used the 4d6-drop-lowest generation method), so even a modest investment in a proficiency gives the player a huge chances of success.
Of course, the DM can give a bonus or penalty to a proficiency check to reflect difficulty, but this still doesn’t feel right to me; I guess the effect of a bonus or penalty on a single d20 feels too linear.
So I just thought of another way to reflect difficulty: why not require several successes for more difficult tasks? This is more or less a reskin of the advantage/disadvantage rule in D&D5. Under this tentative rule, difficulty levels would basically work like this:
- For an easy task, roll twice, you only need one success.
- For a normal task, roll once as usual.
- For a difficult task, roll twice, you need two successes.
- For a heroic task, roll three times, you need three successes.
I have not playtested this (I have not played AD&D2 in years), but this feels like it could work in actual play. Ideas, thoughts?