Experts, PC and Class Skill Changes - please critique!




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    Experts, PC and Class Skill Changes - please critique!

    So, here's a character creation idea I've been mulling over. It changes a few of the core ideas of D&D, and makes it so that Experts are the true craftsmen in the world while still giving D&D heroes a backstory, and better defining, in my opinion, the place D&D heroes have in the world at large. Please keep in mine this is an incrediably rough draft and that there are multiple layers of this idea.

    Okay, firstly, Appraise, Craft and Profession are all taken of of all class skill lists, except for the Experts.

    Experts are the everyday folk who are very skilled in their feilds. They can be jewelers, blacksmiths, cobblers or basketweavers. They are the peoepl who help make the world go 'round in the cities, dealing out their masterwork wares.

    But, this means that PCs have no skill in doing anything, and they can't even have a background in anything. This is why I would give, as a bonus, Free Background Skills. I choose 4 ranks, because you can max out a skill at first level (and so it seems like a natural number) and any of the following skills can be chosen: Appraise (all), Craft (all), Knowledge (all but the Planes) and Profession (all). This allows characters to get some depth for their character for free - however I'd personally encourage people to vary their skill selection, like take Know: (local) so they know even a smidgeon about their homeland, etc.

    Another idea I am toying with is basically Expert Substitution levels. Instead of there being an Expert Class in and of itself, anyone can become an Expert in a given field. So commoners can learn a trade an take a substitution level, Warriors can learn how to craft a sword or repair a set of armour, and Wizards can become Master Alchemists, etc. Probably level 1, 5, and 9 would be Expert Substitution levels (or something like that) and bonuses would include Appraise, Craft, and Profession as class skills and they can choose 5 other skills as class skills (or soem similar number) They get 4 or 6 skills/level, bad BAB, and all throws are poor (again, just a rough draft). They'd also get Skill Focus for free, and maybe a special ability to to let skill focus for the same skill stack (but only those feats that are gained through this Substituion Class).

    I dunno, these are all just thoughts that I need to work out - what do you think?
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    So... you're trying to make Experts a PC class and give them niche protection? Okay then, what does the Expert do during an adventure when he's not crafting or appraising or professioning?

    Also, taking away Appraise from rogues is... well, that kind of puts a crimp into the thieving business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciaran
    So... you're trying to make Experts a PC class and give them niche protection? Okay then, what does the Expert do during an adventure when he's not crafting or appraising or professioning?

    Also, taking away Appraise from rogues is... well, that kind of puts a crimp into the thieving business.
    nope, not trying to make Expert a PC class at all. the substituition level bit is a different entity entirely in this idea. I have to say in defense of "what does the Expert do during an adventure when he's not crafting or appraising or professioning?" that it's odd that a fighter learns how to smith when he's out in the the middle of a dungeon - and he can match the balcksmith who is staying at home smithing all day long, year after year.

    Basically, I am trying to make it so that a 20th level blacksmith wil be a better smith then a level 20th fighter. Or Wizard. Or Cleric. Or Ranger. Or whatever.

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    There's no guarantee (by RAW) that Appraise, Craft, or Profession is on an expert's class list. And (by RAW), Appraise isn't a cascade skill - there's no Appraise(Gems), Appraise(Clothing), just Appraise.

    As for the substitution levels, why not just multiclass?

    If you want to give Experts a leg up, how about a bonus Skill Focus feat every so often?
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    Basically, I am trying to make it so that a 20th level blacksmith wil be a better smith then a level 20th fighter. Or Wizard. Or Cleric. Or Ranger. Or whatever.
    Stop trying. Really. This would do nothing to improve the game. If you strongly feel that this is destroying your suspension of disbelief, use the training rules on page 197 of the Dungeon Master's Guide.

    A 20th-level fighter is a 20th-level blacksmith. If a cleric spends skill points on Craft (Weaponsmithing) and Craft (Armorsmithing) instead of Concentration and Spellcraft, feats on Skill Focus and Favored in Guild and time and wealth on a business, why shouldn't he be the equal of any NPC? That's an interesting character concept. It already trades off a substantial amount of combat ability for role-playing considerations that don't increase the character's power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    Stop trying. Really. This would do nothing to improve the game.
    I don't know.. I think that a properly implemented set of mechanics could enhance a world setting. As it stands per RAW, what sort of economic power do commoner/experts have? None. Compared to noble houses, aristo's, and adventurers the piddly income barely is enough to continue operating the business..forget building guildhouses, cornering the market on certain trades, etc...

    I think a substitution class or full blown PC class of 'Merchant' could have a strong place inside certain campaign styles.

    Of course, the easy fix would be to declare Craft and Profession skills cross-class for all but experts..and leave Appraise a class skill for only experts and Rogues.
    However, when I play my Dwarven Cleric of Moradin.. I would like to have tres hot blacksmithing skills without burning levels in Expert. So perhaps retain 3.0 Skill Focus that makes the skill a class skill in addition to the +2 bonus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    It already trades off a substantial amount of combat ability for role-playing considerations that don't increase the character's power.
    Umm.. isn't that what most 'role-playing considerations' are about... trading finely tuned combat efficiency to fit a not-nessecarily tuned non-combat concept?


    Nyaricus, One thing I did in my Eberron Campaign is change the Language skill into a cascading skill called 'Culture'. Ranks in Culture do a variety of things, including occasional synergies with Appraise, Diplomancy, Bluff, etc... They also reflect the character knowledge of the nations history and fluency with the national language. Most of my players opted for dropping only 3 or 4 ranks into a culture, enough to be generally proficient..despite having an additional 'free' skill point at each level. Made it interesting when the group headed out of Breland with only one character capable of speaking another language
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuardianLurker
    If you want to give Experts a leg up, how about a bonus Skill Focus feat every so often?
    Or a +1 unnamed skill bonus awarded at every even level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuardianLurker
    There's no guarantee (by RAW) that Appraise, Craft, or Profession is on an expert's class list. And (by RAW), Appraise isn't a cascade skill - there's no Appraise(Gems), Appraise(Clothing), just Appraise.
    You know, I hadn't even looked at Appraise fior the longest time, and I forgot it isn't cascading. Dwarves get a +2 on only metal or stone items, so I assumed it was (and I've houseruled this skill this way for a while). Well, I guess just assume when I say appraise I mean one which is cascading

    Quote Originally Posted by GuardianLurker
    As for the substitution levels, why not just multiclass?
    multiclassing implied XP penalties, with a substituition level open for any class, this doesn't hurt as much. I guess we'll have to come up with a set of guidelines for the skills gained (like 'must be chosen from a previous classes Class Skill list, or something) but this is a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuardianLurker
    If you want to give Experts a leg up, how about a bonus Skill Focus feat every so often?
    Well, this will be what will eventually happen (or something like it). I just need to figure out a fwe things for this first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    Stop trying. Really. This would do nothing to improve the game. If you strongly feel that this is destroying your suspension of disbelief, use the training rules on page 197 of the Dungeon Master's Guide.

    A 20th-level fighter is a 20th-level blacksmith. If a cleric spends skill points on Craft (Weaponsmithing) and Craft (Armorsmithing) instead of Concentration and Spellcraft, feats on Skill Focus and Favored in Guild and time and wealth on a business, why shouldn't he be the equal of any NPC? That's an interesting character concept. It already trades off a substantial amount of combat ability for role-playing considerations that don't increase the character's power.
    Lorehead, you are sort of putting words into my mouth - no where did I mention a lack of suspense of disbeleif I am simply trying to do something a bit different - hence me posting this on House Rules. I am sort of amazed everytime someone posts something a little radical and it gets shot down - this is the House Rules Board for Pete's Sake

    Anyways, I also disagree with a 20th level fighter being a 20th level blacksmith. This is simply not true - This is like a Sir Lancelot being able to forge a masterwork longsword - sure he knows how to use it, but it doesn;t mean he gets how to make it. I mean, I use computers everyday, but I can't hack a mainframe or anything

    Quote Originally Posted by Primitive Screwhead
    I don't know.. I think that a properly implemented set of mechanics could enhance a world setting. As it stands per RAW, what sort of economic power do commoner/experts have? None. Compared to noble houses, aristo's, and adventurers the piddly income barely is enough to continue operating the business..forget building guildhouses, cornering the market on certain trades, etc...
    See, that is what I am seeing within the rules and why I want to expand on this. Ther should be a niche for immensely powerful furniture makers and cobblers and the like. robably with gang ties, but that's beside the point
    Quote Originally Posted by Primitive Screwhead
    I think a substitution class or full blown PC class of 'Merchant' could have a strong place inside certain campaign styles.
    Exactly. My campaign is modeled after earth to a large degree and so this is something I really want to bring in. Just me being crazy again

    Quote Originally Posted by Primitive Screwhead
    Of course, the easy fix would be to declare Craft and Profession skills cross-class for all but experts..and leave Appraise a class skill for only experts and Rogues.
    However, when I play my Dwarven Cleric of Moradin.. I would like to have tres hot blacksmithing skills without burning levels in Expert. So perhaps retain 3.0 Skill Focus that makes the skill a class skill in addition to the +2 bonus.
    Another good suggestion. Since Skill Ranks are what determines acceptance into PrC's, I wouldn't see this as a problem. Since I want Craft/Profession skills to be harder to get in this model, burning a feat in the process to allow class ranks would be a good balance point, IMO.
    Quote Originally Posted by Primitive Screwhead
    Nyaricus, One thing I did in my Eberron Campaign is change the Language skill into a cascading skill called 'Culture'. Ranks in Culture do a variety of things, including occasional synergies with Appraise, Diplomancy, Bluff, etc... They also reflect the character knowledge of the nations history and fluency with the national language. Most of my players opted for dropping only 3 or 4 ranks into a culture, enough to be generally proficient..despite having an additional 'free' skill point at each level. Made it interesting when the group headed out of Breland with only one character capable of speaking another language
    PS, could you post this up in another thread (it sounds really interesting, BTW) so that we could reveiw it a bit and see if anything could be ported into this system? I really think that sounds cool, and I'd love to take a peak.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primitive Screwhead
    I don't know.. I think that a properly implemented set of mechanics could enhance a world setting. As it stands per RAW, what sort of economic power do commoner/experts have? None. Compared to noble houses, aristo's, and adventurers the piddly income barely is enough to continue operating the business..forget building guildhouses, cornering the market on certain trades, etc...
    I don't see your point.

    I think a substitution class or full blown PC class of 'Merchant' could have a strong place inside certain campaign styles.
    If you add a merchant class, it would be reasonable to give it some niche protection. (The artificer is a good place to start, and I would much prefer giving merchants a bonus than taking away benefits that are both flavorful and balanced.) That wasn't the original suggestion, however. The stated purpose of this idea is to prevent PCs from being as good at a craft or profession as NPCs.

    A few years ago, I played in a game with two people whose characters wanted to open shops and practice a trade. One was a gnome who wanted to make magical toys for the kids, and one was a dwarf who wanted to be a blacksmith. The DM, for reasons which remain opaque to me, apparently felt that his job was to thwart these plans. The gnome learned that he couldn't run a shop on his own and that any help he found would only get in his way. The dwarf learned that he could only practice his trade by completing a test for his guild. Here's a compressed version:

    DM: "You must create a suit of masterwork plate mail."

    Much looking-up of rules.

    PC: "So, that's a DC 20? I take ten."

    DM: "You fail. You took too long to finish. You can try again in a year."

    PC: "But I spent feats on this!"

    Of course, the easy fix would be to declare Craft and Profession skills cross-class for all but experts..and leave Appraise a class skill for only experts and Rogues.
    "Fix" implies that something is broken. NPCs do not need niche protection. A dwarf fighter who can also create non-magical, masterwork armor is not overpowered. If you want your NPC experts to be better at running a business than the PCs, give them more levels or have them invest feats. This actively discourages players from taking less powerful, more flavorful skills and feats. It also rules out the common scenario of the retired adventurer who runs a business.

    However, when I play my Dwarven Cleric of Moradin.. I would like to have tres hot blacksmithing skills without burning levels in Expert. So perhaps retain 3.0 Skill Focus that makes the skill a class skill in addition to the +2 bonus.
    3.0 Skill Focus didn't do that. (PH 3.0 85)

    Umm.. isn't that what most 'role-playing considerations' are about... trading finely tuned combat efficiency to fit a not-nessecarily tuned non-combat concept?
    Yes. My point exactly.

    Lorehead, you are sort of putting words into my mouth - no where did I mention a lack of suspense of disbeleif
    I was thinking of this comment: "I have to say in defense of 'what does the Expert do during an adventure when he's not crafting or appraising or professioning?' that it's odd that a fighter learns how to smith when he's out in the the middle of a dungeon - and he can match the balcksmith who is staying at home smithing all day long, year after year."

    I am simply trying to do something a bit different - hence me posting this on House Rules. I am sort of amazed everytime someone posts something a little radical and it gets shot down - this is the House Rules Board for Pete's Sake
    This rule is much better than the first attempt, lost in the crash. I think this is a terrible idea. It adds no options, but removes many interesting and balanced ones. I strongly advise you not to cripple the ability of adventurers to learn these skills. If you still think, at this point, that I only believe this because it's "something a little radical," I've completely failed to express my concerns.

    The DMG II has a good system for running businesses and guilds. You might try making stay-at-home blacksmiths better-connected, more influential within their guilds, or better with a broad range of business skills, but not necessarily better at making weapons. Even so, with the investment of a few feats, they'll be better at that, too.

    Anyways, I also disagree with a 20th level fighter being a 20th level blacksmith. This is simply not true - This is like a Sir Lancelot being able to forge a masterwork longsword - sure he knows how to use it, but it doesn;t mean he gets how to make it.
    Then your definition of "20th level blacksmith" is too narrow. You don't even solve the supposed problem: you just force fighters to play an exp 1/ftr 19 and give up even more combat ability. I see no reason to house rule that a fighter can't learn how to forge a masterwork longsword. You could even use that as a character hook: he's constantly experimenting with new weapons and techniques, and testing out his creations, in order to improve his blacksmithing. At present, you could even make the local blacksmith a retired adventurer or a rogue by night. Under your rules, he must either be an expert or incompetent.

    I doubt that many players will share your objection to the idea of a PC adventurer outshining a NPC. In most campaigns, whether a PC is as good at making non-magical items as a NPC isn't even worth worrying about, and in those where it is worth worrying about, you want PCs to be better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    If you add a merchant class, it would be reasonable to give it some niche protection. (The artificer is a good place to start, and I would much prefer giving merchants a bonus than taking away benefits that are both flavorful and balanced.) That wasn't the original suggestion, however. The stated purpose of this idea is to prevent PCs from being as good at a craft or profession as NPCs.
    The stated idea is to make experts true experts in their field, and not let just anyone come in and take their buisness. Artificer simply wouldn't work - it's tom magical. I just want a streamlined system for this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    A few years ago, I played in a game with two people whose characters wanted to open shops and practice a trade. One was a gnome who wanted to make magical toys for the kids, and one was a dwarf who wanted to be a blacksmith. The DM, for reasons which remain opaque to me, apparently felt that his job was to thwart these plans. The gnome learned that he couldn't run a shop on his own and that any help he found would only get in his way. The dwarf learned that he could only practice his trade by completing a test for his guild. Here's a compressed version:

    DM: "You must create a suit of masterwork plate mail."

    Much looking-up of rules.

    PC: "So, that's a DC 20? I take ten."

    DM: "You fail. You took too long to finish. You can try again in a year."

    PC: "But I spent feats on this!"
    And because you had some fellow players ahve a bad experience with a jerk DM, this idea is bad? Sorry, but that's not reasoning - that's just baggage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    "Fix" implies that something is broken. NPCs do not need niche protection. A dwarf fighter who can also create non-magical, masterwork armor is not overpowered. If you want your NPC experts to be better at running a business than the PCs, give them more levels or have them invest feats. This actively discourages players from taking less powerful, more flavorful skills and feats. It also rules out the common scenario of the retired adventurer who runs a business.
    Stop wreatling with semantics and try to at least bring somehting constructive and pertantint to the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    3.0 Skill Focus didn't do that. (PH 3.0 85)
    Well it's a good "fix". I'm planning on implemanting it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    I was thinking of this comment: "I have to say in defense of 'what does the Expert do during an adventure when he's not crafting or appraising or professioning?' that it's odd that a fighter learns how to smith when he's out in the the middle of a dungeon - and he can match the balcksmith who is staying at home smithing all day long, year after year."
    There's a difference between trying to represent something more realistic and having a problem with suspension of disbelief. For me, it's the former.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    This rule is much better than the first attempt, lost in the crash.
    I don't recal a first attempt at this - twasn't me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    I think this is a terrible idea. It adds no options, but removes many interesting and balanced ones.
    You opinion of the idea isn't pertinent - I want feedback on design, not shoot-downs about your inate problems with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    I strongly advise you not to cripple the ability of adventurers to learn these skills.
    On what grounds? Really, this is my idea, and I am trying to delelope it - who made you god?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    If you still think, at this point, that I only believe this because it's "something a little radical," I've completely failed to express my concerns.
    Your concerns are still not pertinent. This is not game breaking, it's game changing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    The DMG II has a good system for running businesses and guilds. You might try making stay-at-home blacksmiths better-connected, more influential within their guilds, or better with a broad range of business skills, but not necessarily better at making weapons. Even so, with the investment of a few feats, they'll be better at that, too.
    DMGII has some interesting subsystems, but they don't resemble what I am trying to do here - although the relevance makes a second look seem like a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorehead
    Then your definition of "20th level blacksmith" is too narrow. You don't even solve the supposed problem: you just force fighters to play an exp 1/ftr 19 and give up even more combat ability. I see no reason to house rule that a fighter can't learn how to forge a masterwork longsword. You could even use that as a character hook: he's constantly experimenting with new weapons and techniques, and testing out his creations, in order to improve his blacksmithing. At present, you could even make the local blacksmith a retired adventurer or a rogue by night. Under your rules, he must either be an expert or incompetent.
    The RAW are not the purposes of House Rules, and you definitly have some conflicts in regards to that, and I see it all the time in your posts.

    Nothign much more to say, at this time.
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