D&D 4th Edition On 5E Skills (aka How Game System Affects Immersion) - Page 3





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  1. #21
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    ° Ignore Gundark
    There were times in 3rd & 4th edition when a player would look at me and say "I do X" . I would stumble a bit because X wasn't defined in the rules. I know that this isn't exactly what you're talking about but I am hoping that this language change extends to actions in the game as well, the ability for the GM to say " make a dexterity check" in response to an interesting action described by a player is something I hope 5e accomplishes as well
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  • #22
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    ° Ignore Morrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Neuroglyph View Post
    I think was what I was trying to get at was that there is no "right" way to handle the problem, no perfect solution, because it all comes down to what each individual group and DM defines what "role-playing" means to them.

    Every DM and player has their own ideas of how to immerse in a role-playing game, has their own ideas on what constitutes role-playing, and it's one of the aspects of D&D Next that I fear is likely to be problematic. It's one of the reasons that we have so many D&D gamers spread across 5 editions of the game, and every one of them feels that they are playing the version that makes sense to them. For some non-weapon proficiencies are all they need for a skill system, while others look at SRD/d20 skills and feats as the ultimate achievement. And for still others, none of those systems make sense, and they maintain that OD&D/AD&D with no skill system had it right from the start.

    So you can try and create theme and class descriptors instead of skills and feats, and that will make sense to some players and enhance their role-playing experience. But for every one of those folks that system makes sense to, there could be one or five or even a hundred D&D players out there looking for skills and feat mechanics to help them define the sort of character they are portraying, because that makes sense to them.

    And on a personal note, I think the process of creating D&D Next, with its endless polls and secretive community playtesting, has had a tendency to point out more and more of the divisiveness between D&D playstyles, and underscore just how different the gamers of each edition are from each other. So in actuality, I fear that D&D Next has as much lower chance of uniting the D&D community than it does of creating yet another edition schism and edition war.
    Yes, yes, but.... do you think I'm right about WotC's intentions?

  • #23
    Skills/Talents that come as Adjectives can make a world of difference in player psychology. They don't define what you do but rather color how you do whatever you're doing.

    Don't have "Skill Training: Intimidate" and "Intimidate Checks." Have the Skill / Talent called "Imposing."

    Skill Training: Bluff? No more. Try "Glib."

    Skill Training: Endurance? How about "Tough?"

    Even going from Perception check to "Perceptive" helps steer things in this direction.

    I'd even shy away from giving players exact modifiers and checks. Let the scale slide a little bit based on role-playing and situation. If the role-playing scenario the player puts forward is a natural fit the "Skilled" character could automatically succeed, or at least enjoy a significant modifier than an "Unskilled" character wouldn't get in the same situation.

    In general it's a delight to have players prepare contrivances and schemes to develop their characters' advantages towards a critical non-combat contest with the kind of gusto they normally reserve for combat tactics.

    - Marty Lund

  • #24
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    ° Ignore Morrus
    Quote Originally Posted by mlund View Post
    Skills/Talents that come as Adjectives can make a world of difference in player psychology. They don't define what you do but rather color how you do whatever you're doing.

    Don't have "Skill Training: Intimidate" and "Intimidate Checks." Have the Skill / Talent called "Imposing."

    Skill Training: Bluff? No more. Try "Glib."

    Skill Training: Endurance? How about "Tough?"

    Even going from Perception check to "Perceptive" helps steer things in this direction.

    I'd even shy away from giving players exact modifiers and checks. Let the scale slide a little bit based on role-playing and situation. If the role-playing scenario the player puts forward is a natural fit the "Skilled" character could automatically succeed, or at least enjoy a significant modifier than an "Unskilled" character wouldn't get in the same situation.

    In general it's a delight to have players prepare contrivances and schemes to develop their characters' advantages towards a critical non-combat contest with the kind of gusto they normally reserve for combat tactics.

    - Marty Lund
    I agree. Steering away from using verbs as skill names stops them being parsed like actions.

    You get "Hmm. I'm glib, so I'll try to do X" instead of "I have a high Bluff, so I'll Bluff".

  • #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    You get "Hmm. I'm glib, so I'll try to do X" instead of "I have a high Bluff, so I'll Bluff".
    Also, automatically and inexorably linking each Skill to an Attribute was a terrible idea. It spawned things like Feats to use Strength to Intimidate instead of Charisma. Giving players a fixed formation of Attribute A + Skill Ranks B = Check Modifier C was painful. The Marshall who never really had any motivation to do anything more than say, "Aw ... come on ..." and roll a d20 was a sore point that always seemed to pull the players away from getting detailed about their actions.

    Let the Attribute and Skill in question be determined by the description of the task. The huge, imposing Half-Orc Barbarian picks the guy up by the shift and starts frothing at the mouth does it really matter than he's got an 8 Charisma?

    The small, menacing Halfling carving up a pork-shank dramatically while making "idle chat" about how the merchant's daughter is in fine health and how tragic it is when "accidents" happen to the young is definitely milking his 16 Charisma and it doesn't matter one wit than he's 3 feet tall and has an 8 Strength.

    - Marty Lund
    Last edited by mlund; Thursday, 3rd May, 2012 at 02:17 AM.

  • #26
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    ° Ignore Lanefan
    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    Yes, yes, but.... do you think I'm right about WotC's intentions?
    I *hope* you're right about WotC's intentions, as those intentions - if true - would be good for the game.

    And it goes beyond just skill names. The very presentation of the rules within the manuals is where it starts, and some of the discussion threads you mention in the news article get into that aspect as well.

    In 1e the rules were presented in an entertaining and readable (albeit chaotic) form, to the point where some of us still pull them out just to read now and then.

    In 4e the rules were presented in a technical, organized manner with roughly the entertainment value of watching paint dry. To be read only when necessary.

    Somewhere between those there's an ideal presentation - organized enough that required information can be found quickly and easily, yet engaging enough to be bathroom reading long after one has moved on to another system.

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  • #27
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    ° Ignore Sigdel
    The implied skill system has its merits. But what I am not looking forward to is the rules lawyer who tries to justify using charisma to climb a wall or strength to remember obscure lore on a cult. The rules lawyer in question will undoubtedly know that attrition will make the DM give because the DM doesn't want to bring the game to a screeching halt to argue with a troublesome player.
    Now I know that theses will be corner cases, but we will see the threads, and we will learn to fear them.
    This is what Yoda would probably say about it:

    "No, no different. Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned (about D&D)."

    By approaching the new game without ego or bias, I do feel like it's 1990 all over again and I just discovered that awesome black boxed game with the huge red dragon in it.

    D&D is not an edition. D&D is not my D&D. D&D is not your D&D. D&D is D&D.
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  • #28
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    Overall I think this is how WOTC is looking to go, with less game terminology at the table, at least form the player's mouths.

    And I certainly support that idea.

  • #29
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    From what I've seen of this new edition, I suspect it will play out like this:

    Player: "I intimidate him into giving me the information about the thieves guild."
    DM: "Roll CHA."

    Some players might say:

    Player: "Why can't I use STR?"

    And some DMs might say:

    DM: "Okay, roll STR."
    or
    DM: "How?"

    If the DM asks "How?" then the player will be forced to describe his or her action; otherwise the player doesn't. Because of that I don't see much difference between the new edition and what's come before.

    *

    I think that Vincent Baker did a good job of covering this subject a few years ago on his blog. Let's see if I can find those posts:

    anyway: Lazy Play vs IIEE with Teeth
    anyway: Adequacy, Cause and Effect
    anyway: Concrete Examples of Arrows
    anyway: Now where WAS I...
    anyway: Dice & Cloud: a Symmetry
    anyway: A Moment of Judgment
    anyway: cloud-to-cloud
    anyway: 3 Resolution Systems
    anyway: post a comment
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  • #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    A valid concern. If every fighter has to have 20 Str and 6 Cha to be effective, the game becomes homogenous, boring, and strains credibility. The solution is to make all ability scores matter to each character. For instance, having six saving throws. Using all six ability scores regularly (particularly Wis and Cha) makes the game wonderfully dynamic. It's not balance between races or classes that really makes or breaks the game, it's balance between the abilities.

    I haven't used six saves, but I've used Cha-based action points, Wis-based initiative, multiple casting stats for each class, and a sprinkling of other rules to enforce MAD. Believe me, it works.

    Something I started doing (which I learned from GURPS) was sometimes using skills with different abilities than they are normally used with. For a quick arbitrary example which I'm making up, we'll say that a cleric wants to give a rousing sermon to inspire members of a church. I might call for a religion check based upon charisma -that would mean Religion skill level plus Cha mod.

    I have not done so very often when playing D&D, but there have been a few times I've used the idea.

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