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[Request] Analysis of Failed Design: d20 Skills
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:43 pm    Post subject: [Request] Analysis of Failed Design: d20 Skills Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Franktrollman wrote:
On the flip side, D20's skill system is very bad in pretty much every way it's possible to be bad - so you wouldn't want the skill system to look very much like D20's system. I'm perfectly willing to have a discussion about all the ways D20's skill system is bad, but it's a little off topic here.

I would like to have this discussion. I'm working up a sort of 1e/3e hack system for a retro-style campaign, and since 1e didn't really have a skill system, and 3e's skill system is dreadful, it would be nice to have a better understanding of the failure points.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That seems like a reasonable thing to do.

3rd edition skills are of course the same basic mechanics as 2nd edition NWPs with the bonuses standardized, the numbers converted wholesale to roll-high, and the number of skills you get increased. Those are all individually positive changes, so you'd think the system over all would be improved, but it's actually worse pretty much across the board. The basic reason for that is that is because 2nd edition's system doesn't really work if you start asking what getting a lot of bonuses would do. So if you hand out a lot more proficiencies and thereby introduce the expectation that people are going to buy the same NWP multiple times to get the cumulative +1 bonuses, we're basically right at the "this doesn't even work" part of the system. In short, while people don't get enough skills in 2nd edition AD&D, simply giving them more NWP slots pushes you to other failure points more quickly. In 3rd edition, you reach those failure points "almost immediately."

So the first thing we have to talk about is the difficulty of quantification. That is, you can easily tell me how a character might have more "jumping" ability. But how do you meaningfully have more find/remove traps? Or Hide in Shadows? Sure there are things where the output is an amount, where that amount could plausibly always be more or less. But many tasks are binary, they either work or they do not work. For the latter category there exists some penumbra where the action could possibly succeed or fail, but once you're out of that penumbra it now longer makes sense to talk about having higher or lower values at all. And yet, once you've committed yourself to ever increasing bonuses for everything you're stuck explaining what twenty three different quantized levels of skill are supposed to mean. Twenty three! Most games choke on their own dick trying to meaningfully differentiate five or six of those fucking things. For AS2, I'm looking at going to 3. Ain't nobody every in their life managed to write up twenty three meaningfully distinct levels of skill for any area of expertise at all. Which of course leads to the mic drop of the whole thing: Know Direction. Seriously. That is an ability that is completely binary and also isn't very impressive.

That last point is really fucking important, because of course putting skill points into a skill is a measure of character resource investment, not an isolated tally. This means that while you can always add a few feet to the distance you can jump, there comes a time when investing actual fucking character resources into that won't ever be a reasonable life choice. If you could jump to the fucking horizon it still wouldn't be particularly meaningful if your team did most of their traveling with space ships or teleportals. Even those activities that you can effectively quantize are very unlikely to also be meaningfully level appropriate for all (or even most) of the character levels.

But that's all just conceptual reasons why rating all skills on a 23 rank scale was a stupid idea in the first place. On top of that, bonus inflation happened and honestly the RNG is pretty fucking big to begin with. That means that the entire set of ranks actually doesn't push us to any kind of consistent success levels with any speed and it's trivially easy to get or not get bonuses that aren't level related which completely eclipse the level related portion of your bonuses. For fuck's sake, there are spells and magic items that give you plus thirty to a skill roll! The skill rank bonus only goes up to 23, what the shitfuck does a +30 even mean? What could it mean, considering that itso thoroughly skull fuck's the RNG that it provides achievement that surpasses what the game has already attempted to define as the greatest possible levels of achievement? It's a fucking contradiction for bonuses that large to even exist. But they do. You can just pick them up off the ground at like fifth fucking level.

So you end up with a game that can't represent sages or blacksmiths without randomly making them 7th level, because if you aren't 7th level you don't get the +10 rank bonus and how the fuck are we supposed to take you seriously without that? But then on top of that it also has characters randomly failing in the area of their expertise an unacceptable amount of the time because a d20 is a really fucking big RNG when typical bonuses are like +8 or less. And then on top of that the abilities granted by skills aren't properly level gated, allowing some characters to randomly end up with abilities supposedly reserved for high level characters due to number stacking. And on top of that, you have a bunch of these skills that don't have level appropriate outputs at pretty much any level of investment, and most of the system is a pile of trap options.

And with all that, it's still not as shit a system as fucking Unknown Armies.

-Frank
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CapnTthePirateG
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I just want to point out that the greatest failing of the skill system is the fact that there's so much accounting bullshit to keep track of (skill points! Multiclassing class/cross-class skills! Those fucking synergies no one remembers!) and as Frank pointed out you get very little actual character power.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The skill system is also a problem if you want to use d20 for another genre. It barely functions for the high-fantasy world it was built for, but try to transfer it to something like modern day or futuristic or so forth and it snaps in half.

Really, what you'd want would be to have fewer increments, thus those increments matter more and are easier to quantify, while also divorcing it from level, so you can have really skilled people without having to have them also be badasses.

The suggestion of dicepools (or considering they're only 1-2, coinpools?) in the L5R thread might be a starting point?
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So, my preliminary thoughts seem to be surprisingly (and probably coincidentally) congruent with Frank's concerns. My thought was that characters would have skills that existed in a small number of increments (2 or 3) with relatively small and static modifiers (naked ability mod?), and the increments change what meeting various TNs means.

Simple e.g.: Crafting.
Unskilled: Low roll is failed work, otherwise poor work.
Skill-1: Works 2xspeed of unskilled guy, low roll is poor work, medium roll is average work, high roll is masterwork.
Skill-2: Low roll is average work, otherwise masterwork.

Something I kind of liked from The One Ring was their magic items let you get 'magical successes' on skill checks. So I'm thinking about a -Magical increment that skill-enhancing magic items let you access, to Swim up waterfalls or Sense Motive surface thoughts.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angel wrote:
and the increments change what meeting various TNs means.


Monte Cook was ranting about that idea before he walked away from 5th edition and made Numenera out of his notes. It's exactly the same thing as giving bigger modifiers but you have to give the MC two pieces of information instead of one. "I got a 14 at Expert" isn't different from "I got a 24," but it is more work to use at the table.

Quote:
Something I kind of liked from The One Ring was their magic items let you get 'magical successes' on skill checks. So I'm thinking about a -Magical increment that skill-enhancing magic items let you access, to Swim up waterfalls or Sense Motive surface thoughts.


The thing to keep in mind is that there actually isn't much correlation between how supernatural an action is and how powerful it is. Swimming up a waterfall is very supernatural, but it isn't a whole lot better than climbing up the cliff next to the waterfall. And it's significantly worse in almost all circumstances to levitating up in front of the waterfall. And levitation in D&D land is a spell you can cast at 3rd level. So if you give out supernatural swim effects at 10th level or whatever, just remember that people were throwing better effects around (at great cost, but still) seven levels ago.

On the flip side, supernatural Intimidate doesn't have to be very supernatural at all to be very good. Fear is a 4th level spell and Dominate is a 5th level spell, and both of those spells are quite good. I could easily imagine supernatural Intimidate effects that I'd be extremely happy to get as a 15th level character.

Just remember that in fantasy roleplaying, we let people play Wizards. Whether an action is magical or not is completely divorced from what power level it has.

-Frank
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
It's exactly the same thing as giving bigger modifiers but you have to give the MC two pieces of information instead of one. "I got a 14 at Expert" isn't different from "I got a 24," but it is more work to use at the table.

I think a distinction could be made, especially when it comes to opposed rolls, but I see your point.

So the second take is much more conventional: each skill increment comes with a significant bonus, and maybe a special ability or two.

Quote:
So if you give out supernatural swim effects at 10th level or whatever, just remember that people were throwing better effects around (at great cost, but still) seven levels ago.

Noted. My head was in the 1e/TOR space, where 'level-appropriate' items aren't really a thing.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

From a historical point of view, the d20 skill system is actually a big advance over various skill systems that came before it.

The important advances are:
  • Fixed target numbers for particular tasks: Before this, the typical skill system had one difficulty level for every task, with any bonuses or penalties being purely GM's discretion. So if all difficulties are equal, it's difficult to differentiate between a novice and an expert in a skill area (e.g. if a novice fails to walk a tightrope 50% of the time and an expert fails 20% of the time, that's a pretty shitty expert). Then d20 comes along and says that there are some tasks that can never be successfully done by novices (e.g. tasks with DC 25 cannot be performed by someone with a +1 bonus). It may sound silly now, but that was big progress compared to the mid-80s! I realise that they didn't invent target numbers, but this was the first D&D game to work like that.
  • Take 10/Take 20: As a player, I learned that you never, ever want to make a skill roll for a simple task. Why? Because there was always a chance of failure (albeit small, perhaps) and failing at simple tasks makes the game feel like the PCs are the Three Stooges. Take 10 was a great advance -- suddenly simple tasks really do seem simple! And what an expert considers a simple tasks is different from what a novice considers a simple task! What a concept! Take 20 was nice because it cuts down on rolling.
  • Anyone can learn any skill (mostly): For universal systems, that's not a big thing, but for class-based systems that was a step forward.

    Frank's criticism of having 23 separate levels of Use Rope is legitimate, but it's relatively easy to fix: just tell your players "in my campaign, there won't be any Use Rope DCs greater than 30, so once you reach a bonus of +20 (for Take 10) or +29 (for Take 1), then congratulations -- you win at Using Ropes". Then the players can take their remaining skill points and use them on something else.

    My real complaints about d20's skill system are about Search/Listen vs. Hide/Move Silently (and other opposed skill tasks where you have effectively uncapped target numbers) and Diplomacy. Of course, I can't name any other skill system that has done stealth or persuasion well, so it's hard to single d20 out in that regard.
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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Wow. Instead of 23 ranks of use rope you have 20, or 20-dex bonus. That's so fixed.

    Never mind that you probably haven't had any need for any amount of ranks of Use Rope for at least a dozen levels. If ever.


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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Use Rope is a good example of a skill that doesn't actually scale andwas thereby severely undermined by the switch to standardized bonuses. Back when NWPs were things that you had or did not have but you could also buy them again to get +1 to the target number (which was good because 2nd edition), having skills that let you tie knots or know which way was North or build a fire or whatever was actually sort of OK. I mean, you didn't get enough skill points for that shit, but it was OK for them to be things in an abstract sort of way.

    But there are very few skills which make the transition to having 23 levels in any kind of coherent fashion. Indeed, pretty much the only ones that do are the "arms race" skills like Intimidate and Spot. What does 16 points of Intimidate get you? It gets you intimidating someone with only 15 points of bravery, obviously. I mean, Intimidate doesn't work as well as it should because people don't have nicely defined bravery values to interact with, and we end up defaulting to hit dice and that gets super dumb when it comes to tigers and hippos, but it's OK for things to work like that in an abstract sort of way.

    And then there's the player resource investment angle. Obviously successfully sneaking up on the wraith king is going to be a bigger turning point in the story than successfully tying a knot. Skills like Diplomacy and Stealth are going to be better than skills like Knowledge Royalty and Swim. Which means that no matter how you decide to chop skills up, you're going to have to either have skills be at different conceptual levels or cost different amounts or both.

    -Frank
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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Voss wrote:
    Wow. Instead of 23 ranks of use rope you have 20, or 20-dex bonus. That's so fixed.

    Never mind that you probably haven't had any need for any amount of ranks of Use Rope for at least a dozen levels. If ever.

    I don't have a problem with that because my attitude is that nobody should really give a shit about skills, at least compared to class abilities (e.g. not being able to make a particular skill check shouldn't bring an adventure to a grinding halt). Of course, Use Rope is a particularly humourous example of a skill that nobody should give a shit about and I agree that 23 levels is too much, but my point is that skills should top out at some point.
    FrankTrollman wrote:
    But there are very few skills which make the transition to having 23 levels in any kind of coherent fashion. Indeed, pretty much the only ones that do are the "arms race" skills like Intimidate and Spot.

    Opposed skills are bad because they make the GM think that every skill should increase ad infinitum and that having lots of skill points is somehow a valid class feature comparable to casting Wish or Gate.


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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    hogarth wrote:
    Opposed skills are bad because they make the GM think that every skill should increase ad infinitum and that having lots of skill points is somehow a valid class feature comparable to casting Wish or Gate.


    That's an argument for getting rid of BAB and Save bonuses that is equally compelling. If you're going to have a level based system, characters are probably going to have some treadmill numbers to keep the riff raff out.

    -Frank
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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    For many skills, you would almost certainly be better off with 1d20+Ability Mod+Tool Mod vs DCs defined by 1-3 non-numeric proficiency levels.

    Taking Lockpicking as an example, you'd have No Proficiency (difficult checks to simple locks, no chance at advanced locks), Basic Proficiency (You can attempt any non-magical lock, roll to see if you're successful), Advanced (Non-magical locks are a question of when rather than if they open; roll on the Basic Proficiency table for magical locks). And you might have enchanted thieve's tools which grant a +4 Tool Mod and allow you to roll on a special table to unlock the gates between worlds and use doorways as interplanar portals.

    Stuff like Know Direction can simply have a single table that you get to roll on if you're proficient and no table if you're not.
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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Grek wrote:
    For many skills, you would almost certainly be better off with 1d20+Ability Mod+Tool Mod vs DCs defined by 1-3 non-numeric proficiency levels.

    Taking Lockpicking as an example, you'd have No Proficiency (difficult checks to simple locks, no chance at advanced locks), Basic Proficiency (You can attempt any non-magical lock, roll to see if you're successful), Advanced (Non-magical locks are a question of when rather than if they open; roll on the Basic Proficiency table for magical locks). And you might have enchanted thieve's tools which grant a +4 Tool Mod and allow you to roll on a special table to unlock the gates between worlds and use doorways as interplanar portals.

    Stuff like Know Direction can simply have a single table that you get to roll on if you're proficient and no table if you're not.


    One of the best things about 3e is that you can say "I got a 17" and have that convey meaning. If you have to qualify your 17 by then reading your character sheet to the MC before they know what the fuck that even means, then you have burned a pretty sacred cow for no obvious benefit.

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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Grek wrote:
    For many skills, you would almost certainly be better off with 1d20+Ability Mod+Tool Mod vs DCs defined by 1-3 non-numeric proficiency levels.

    Taking Lockpicking as an example, you'd have No Proficiency (difficult checks to simple locks, no chance at advanced locks), Basic Proficiency (You can attempt any non-magical lock, roll to see if you're successful), Advanced (Non-magical locks are a question of when rather than if they open; roll on the Basic Proficiency table for magical locks). And you might have enchanted thieve's tools which grant a +4 Tool Mod and allow you to roll on a special table to unlock the gates between worlds and use doorways as interplanar portals.

    Stuff like Know Direction can simply have a single table that you get to roll on if you're proficient and no table if you're not.


    That sounds really awful. As in Rolemaster awful with shitty modifiers all over the place, special snowflake qualifiers and for fuck's sake actual lookup tables based on individual things (sometimes skill and sometimes tool just to make it worse). I can hear the entire table grinding to a halt and everyone groaning.

    It would be the grapple solution: yeah, lets just not do that.
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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Voss wrote:
    Grek wrote:
    For many skills, you would almost certainly be better off with 1d20+Ability Mod+Tool Mod vs DCs defined by 1-3 non-numeric proficiency levels.

    Taking Lockpicking as an example, you'd have No Proficiency (difficult checks to simple locks, no chance at advanced locks), Basic Proficiency (You can attempt any non-magical lock, roll to see if you're successful), Advanced (Non-magical locks are a question of when rather than if they open; roll on the Basic Proficiency table for magical locks). And you might have enchanted thieve's tools which grant a +4 Tool Mod and allow you to roll on a special table to unlock the gates between worlds and use doorways as interplanar portals.

    Stuff like Know Direction can simply have a single table that you get to roll on if you're proficient and no table if you're not.


    That sounds really awful. As in Rolemaster awful with shitty modifiers all over the place, special snowflake qualifiers and for fuck's sake actual lookup tables based on individual things (sometimes skill and sometimes tool just to make it worse). I can hear the entire table grinding to a halt and everyone groaning.

    It would be the grapple solution: yeah, lets just not do that.

    If you really want that level of stochastic change in proficiency, is there a good reason not to have each step add $TEXAS to the target number and then just define the TNs to give the appropriate outputs?

    Also, Rogue's Trapfinding sets the precedent of skills that require a class feature to let you actually roll particularly high results.

    Far as I can tell though, all that text I just spewed is a matter of presentation. If you have one table that has a bunch of results that have both a target number and some feature gates, the output is similar to having different tables based on what features you have to unlock access to those tables, just with less table lookup.
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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    As I recall, instead of having a handful of ranks with +$TEXAS modifier jumps between ranks, Tome of Prowess just level-gated certain abilities at certain ranks, and it seems to me like that would be a better approach 'cause it does things like let you mostly use printed DCs and not push people off the RNG with other people just a few levels apart...but I've only skimmed Tome of Prowess and never seen anyone give their thoughts on its general approach, so I don't know if it that way of doing things has its own set of major flaws.
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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Omegonthesane wrote:

    Also, Rogue's Trapfinding sets the precedent of skills that require a class feature to let you actually roll particularly high results.

    Trapfinding is awful. The design principle that someone at the table must dip at least one level of <class> to deal with an entire category of problems is completely fucked. It's a terrible legacy holdover so that people who loved the thief class wouldn't cry at WotC at the dawn of 3e.

    It doesn't help that traps are largely completely bullshit, and often just boil down to 'pause and use X wand charges.'

    Quote:
    Far as I can tell though, all that text I just spewed is a matter of presentation. If you have one table that has a bunch of results that have both a target number and some feature gates, the output is similar to having different tables based on what features you have to unlock access to those tables, just with less table lookup.

    The output isn't the problem. It's almost exclusively pass/fail, which is easy. You're adding a bunch of task resolution hoops and time sinks for no reason.
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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    There is another fundamental issue with the skill system, namely the interaction of levels and hd. The hd-inflation of certain monster types and, of course, level-adjustment (in the case of pcs) breaks any opposed skill checks.

    I'm pretty sure that Cook and Williams simply thought you either play low-level rat-hunting or you play a wizard with a succubus harem. Former means that the skill system works because the numbers are pretty tight and the latter works because nobody uses the skill system. They simply didn't give a shit beyond level 6. Also, advanced players know that skills blow and don't use them and beginners don't yet know how to break the rng.

    The only problem with that is, that they didn't admit it in the phb. Appearently it's too bad for business to admit in the core rules that the skill system is not made for mid- to high-level dnd, you rather pretend everything's fine, and if it's not, the MC can fix it.


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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Failure of 3e skills..

    * Not all skills are made equal.
    * Fiddly to put in points for every level, not worth the investment
    * 3e didn't have a coherent approach as to what you use for attacking and what you use for defending
    * I personally prefer a smaller list than a long specific one
    * and other stuff mentioned in this thread

    I figure a revision of skills requires a look at the system as a whole. Perception is closer to Fort/Ref/Will as a save against something terrible happening to you so I'd remove it and make it a defensive save thing.
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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    OgreBattle wrote:
    I personally prefer a smaller list than a long specific one


    Well the actual options are long and open ended or short and specific. Either the skill list is short and everyone knows and agrees what skill is used for any particular task, or the skill list is long and any task would have many possible skill answers with a penumbra of plausibility mediated by convoluted player reasoning. Both are fine. Attempts to hybridize these two have been made repeatedly, and the results are always hot garbage. Call of Cthulhu tries to use specific skills with a really long list and then no one knows what Astro-Physics even does and the game grinds to a halt because y'all realize that no one invested in weapon use: trident, and the artifact from chapter 2 can't be used by anyone. 4th edition D&D has a short skill list and asks people to get creative with it and that's just a full fucking fail because Athletics doesn't really overlap with Religion very much.

    3rd edition stumbles a bit by having both Lockpicking and Disable Device, but in most areas the skill list is functional enough.

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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    FrankTrollman wrote:
    3rd edition stumbles a bit by having both Lockpicking and Disable Device, but in most areas the skill list is functional enough.

    knowledge(x)? perform(x)? craft(x)? profession(x)?
    That makes in-game knowledge dysfunctional, fucks bards, and craft and profession are pure flavor abilities which shouldn't be in the same list at all. That is a deeply flawed list, in my eyes.

    It's just that it doesn't matter because skills are shit anyway. The real function of skills is meeting prerequisites.


    Last edited by zugschef on Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Mechalich
    Knight-Baron


    Joined: 04 Nov 2015
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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    The 3.5 skill list is 33 skills, plus 10 knowledge skills, plus craft (x) and profession (x) and asks you to pay skill points for speak language. That's too many, even a party of nothing but rogues can't keep up.

    The Pathfinder skill list is only 23 skills, plus 10 knowledge skills, plus craft (x) and profession (x) and has lumped the speak language issue into the at least slightly more useful linguistics skill. It also got rid of horrible cross-class penalties. The skill system is one of the few areas where PF made a genuine improvement to how things worked.

    Honestly, I'd go even further than PF - try to get down to around 20 skills and condense the 10 knowledge skills into maybe 5. How about (arcana+planes)(dungeoneering+engineering)(history+geography)(local+nature)(nobility+religion). Profession should probably be made into an NPC only skill - with each PC skill being given a list of professions it can be used for (ex. appraise can be used to act as a merchant) - or eliminated entirely. For Craft I'm inclined to say the crafting mini-game should be given its own (optional) sub-system.
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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    There are lots of places that the 3.5/PF skill list could be improved. The fact that Knowledge: Arcana and Spellcraft are different skills is and always has been puzzling. It's a relic of 2nd edition AD&D proficiencies and their conversions, but I am legitimately perplexed as to why that never got combined.

    Anyway, if you're going to do a fixed skill list where each skill is unambiguously the thing you use for a specific action, then you do need to have a small number of them or people are going to be without the skill a lot of the time. Now in 3e, it is generally assumed that characters are going to be doing actions without relevant skills all over the place. People are defaulting to stat bonuses on jump, and climb, and balance and even Diplomacy and Intimidate. And that's OK, provided that you live in a world where untrained actions are meaningful. So like 1st through 4th level in D&D land. Cliffs are stil a thing you need to tie up some ropes to, so the fact that the Halfling defaults to a +5 on his Use Rope is kind of important.

    Even within that context, 3rd edition and its derivatives have too much fiddly skill point accounting. It's kind of neat that you can be at base stat on a Balance check or you can be at base stat +4 on a Balance check - but it's in no way important that you could be at Base Stat +5 or Base Stat +6, those are pretty much exactly the same fucking thing on an RNG as swingy as a d20.

    And of course there's still the other issue where the different skills aren't remotely balanced, and Pathfinder made no attempt to combine skills in a way that would make them more balanced. Combining Gather Information into the already powerful Diplomacy was something that no one asked for.

    -Frank
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    ETortoise
    Journeyman


    Joined: 26 Jan 2010
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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Would using a tighter RNG be worth having more than one core mechanic?

    If players are rolling a d10 it would mean that the unskilled character would outshine the specialist a lot less. The downside would be the chance things could lead to 2e crazytown, with different dice rolls for every damn thing you want to do.

    Although, since Angelfromanotherpin is doing a 1e/3e hack, rolling different dice might evoke the old-school nostalgia.
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