Why isn't base attack a skill? - Page 4
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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janx
    BAB works just like skills, in the way you resolve things. It goes up at a mandatory progression by class, whereas a given skill is voluntarily increased.
    It's not alone in that. You have saves too. Though it does seem like a bit of an odd bird, all things considered.

    It seems a bit more natural in games like Star Wars and Spycraft that push the "numerical modifier with controlled progression" concept further by adding defense bonuses, reputation, initiative, and the like to the mix. In these games, it seems a bit more like "controlled modifiers" form a third or fourth leg to the character capability pool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeGKushner
    Simple enough question right? Even in games I've seen where hit points were random like Rolemaster Standard System, your attack ability may have gotten a bonus based on your profession, but it was still a skill.
    *rolls his eyes*

    Why aren't Saving Throws a skill, why do wizards have to memorize spells, why does D&D use "levels" anyway, why does wearing more armor make you harder to hit, etc., etc., blah blah blah...

    The answer to all these questions is: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Jason Thompson ("I'm just a D&D conservative, I guess...")
    Last edited by ptolemy18; Saturday, 12th November, 2005 at 04:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeGKushner
    ...one of the things I've heard people HATE, with like black burning venmon, is that a 1st level character is so useless that he might as well hide in the sewer and kill giant rats until 4th level. Not that I necessarily agree with that mind you...
    Personally, I *LOVE* that about Dungeons & Dragons!

    It's just like a shonen manga! You got to work your way up from wimpiness to ass-kicking-ness!

    Even in MMORPGs, you're usually pretty weak at 1st level. If people want to play stronger characters, they can always just start at a higher level, like many campaigns I know. Maybe this should be spotlighted as a campaign option in some theoretical future PHB/DMG.

    Jason
    Last edited by ptolemy18; Saturday, 12th November, 2005 at 04:29 AM.

  4. #34
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    Why isn't Base Attack a skill? I'm going to approach this from an entirely different angle.

    I'll venture that the best reason for not treating it as a normal skill has nothing to do with number-crunching of character stats at all. I'll venture that the best reason is that it's different. In most other games around, ability to hit in melee and ranged combat is governed by some skill-like thing that each character can choose to buy or not.

    What, pray tell, is to be gained from following the pack?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran
    I'll venture that the best reason for not treating it as a normal skill has nothing to do with number-crunching of character stats at all. I'll venture that the best reason is that it's different. In most other games around, ability to hit in melee and ranged combat is governed by some skill-like thing that each character can choose to buy or not.
    Getting past my "on principle" hatred of D&D rules changes (out of fear of having to buy a new edition of D&D) for a moment... I agree.

    D&D's attack system really just shows the game's wargame/skirmish roots. Attacking is the most important thing, so it has its own system, separate from skills.

    Most other RPGs are, theoretically, less combat-focused.

    Jason

  6. #36
    Some observations...

    You could still manage three distinct rates under a skill system.

    Cross-class skill would be your low end
    class skill would be your medium end
    class skill PLUS class ability bonuses would be your fighters.

    Say a fighter gets a specialized "weapon focus" every couple levels to apply to his combat skills.

    that gives you your three levels.

    As for weapon groups, i would roll weapon proficiencies into the mix. A "street weapons" skill would include all rogue skills. A martial weapons skill would include fighter skills. each medium class would have a weapons group skill as class and the rest out of class while the fighter might have all these as class skills.

  7. #37
    Currently your "best" BAB is 1/1 to level.

    Unless you totally rework the skill system, the moment you do this the BEST BAB becomes lvl+3.

    While not a problem, people are suggesting that to model the "middle" ground you ADD bonuses to the combat-classes ...

    So we're going from 1/1 to what might be 3/2 or 2/1 progression. So then you need to rework all of the CRs, PrCs, class balances, etc etc.

    It's akin to taking your '85 Lincoln and saying: "Why isn't this baby solar powered?!"

    I'm not saying a solar powered car isn't a cool idea ... but I'm not in the mood to try and retrofit an 85 Lincoln to do it.

    I've been doing quite a bit of work with skills modeling other aspects of the game, specifically skill-based magic systems, and there's ALOT to think about when you start messing with it. Some of the best work I've seen in that area are the Psychic's Handbook and Black Company magic system ... and in actual play, we've pretty handily broken them. Which set me off working again.

    A system that shares some things with d20, which has "Attack" and "Save" built into the skill system is the old Alternity game.

    It worked okay ... for genre-specific games, you tended to have people focus on genre-specific things. Dark*Matter, everybody came in with good ranks in Pistols. Which models agents rather well ... but if you were to try a "maybe we're not all great agents" game, somebody would have to conciously decide not to put alot of ranks in Pistol. (Though Alternity helped a little by costing out skills differently between classes).

    One thing that came up that was odd, and which I didn't like ... it was entirely possible to FORGET to put ranks into your "saving throws". It'd be something akin to walking into a Fireball and finding you had no Reflex save bonus. Or playing a horror game and forgetting to buy in on that Will save. Uh oh. And while CONCEPTUALLY cool, in a "I'm thinking about it while reading boards" way, I'll tell you that alot of people have found that to suck pretty heavily.

    I eventually had to make a "cheat sheet" to remind people what skills they should buy up and to what level, just so they could bring functional characters to the table. And with variable skill costs, it's sometimes upsetting to find that your flavorful Loads Of Ranks In Occult Lore has to be cut in half just to get your Will save up to acceptable levels.

    --fje

  8. #38
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    Look at it this way: it IS a skill, one which fighters have maxxed out, rogues and clerics have a good investment in, and wizards and such just put a point into here and there. Done!


    Although a rule whereby commoners and the like could switch out thier BAB for skill points sounds pretty darn good for doing away with the farmer who can kick youre butt just because hes a high level commoner.
    Last edited by Aaron L; Saturday, 12th November, 2005 at 06:51 AM.

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    Joe, a note:

    The primary *attack mechanisms* of D&D are strictly level-based: Combat and Spellcasting

    If you remove that dependence, then you destroy the CR/EL system.

    That is something I consider extremely bad. CR/EL makes the game accessible to novice players, and new monsters accessible to experienced players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron L
    Although a rule whereby commoners and the like could switch out thier BAB for skill points sounds pretty darn good for doing away with the farmer who can kick youre butt just because hes a high level commoner.
    I do agree that it'd be very nice to have a couple of variant "commoner" classes with no BAB progression (or possibly even no HD progression!) Obviously, these classes would be divorced from the CR system, as there is no challenge in killing them, but it does make for a system of gauging the skill levels and experience of non-combatant characters.

    Cheers!
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  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by HeapThaumaturgist
    Currently your "best" BAB is 1/1 to level.

    Unless you totally rework the skill system, the moment you do this the BEST BAB becomes lvl+3.

    While not a problem, people are suggesting that to model the "middle" ground you ADD bonuses to the combat-classes ...

    So we're going from 1/1 to what might be 3/2 or 2/1 progression. So then you need to rework all of the CRs, PrCs, class balances, etc etc.

    It's akin to taking your '85 Lincoln and saying: "Why isn't this baby solar powered?!"
    --fje
    Actually, this confuses me.

    not that i think it is wrong per se, but, I came at this thinking "well, a fundamental change to something as intrinsic as BAB is going to mean evaluating and possibly changing the rest of the balance formulas and such as a part of it."

    I had thought everyone else did too.

    Are you thinking some of the people discussing changing from class-set BABs to skill based BABs was going to be a minor tweak not needing reworking in other areas too, and so you felt the need for this post of caution?

    :-)

    Let me join in and add my voice to the chorus...

    folks, any major change (like how you derive the figure in the first place: class trait changes to skill) to a fundamental trait (like BAB) is going to have ripples throughout the system that mean other areas and particularly those tied to balance will need to be looked at too.

    that doesn't mean such notions should be dismissed on account of such ripples, or that its wrong to discuss them or even play with them, just that you ought not to come in expecting this to be an isolated small change that leaves all else intact.

    personally, one of the "why isn't it a skill" answers i had was "because its much easier to balance classes when this fundamental an element is set and not "player-chosen". If BAB was a skill then a 10th level fighter could have BAB+0 or BAB +13 or anywhere in between and thats really tough to handle balance-wise. By setting it more firmly as a class trait, they made their job easier. Same with saves.

    And BTW, I agree with the notions about "minimums". I have seen many a case in point buys where some glaring weaknesses came about as a result of not choosing traits that were needed. Certainly, moving BAB, BDB, and even saves into the skill realm puts them more into "player choice" and bad choices on those most fundamental aspects can have tragic results. As such this does diminish the degree of "good for intro games" a bit.

    So, there are certainly some downsides.

    So let me ask a question that might have slipped by.

    What are the ACTUAL BENEFITS to the game, and specifically to playing the game, that making BAB and BDB (and maybe saves) a part of the skill system is supposed to bring.

    Now one possibility is that the benefits are just theoretical, that its a philosophical issue of "purer game design" as in its more "why are they not skills?" than "they should be skills to gain us..." if thats the case i tend to stop short 'cuz too often i see changes for "game theory" not take into account game play and lead to trouble.

    So, how about taking this from the top and asking "how would the game be better with class traits like these worked into the skill system instead of being part of class defined traits?"

    Once we get a handle on the pragmatic, real play benefits we are after, then we can perhaps move more directly towards those specific goals.

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