D&D 5th Edition What should the skill list look like?


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  1. #1

    What should the skill list look like?

    Since they've mentioned that the skill list is still under heavy revision, how do you guys think it should look?

    I'd start with the 4e list as a basis:

    Acrobatics
    Arcana
    Athletics
    Bluff
    Diplomacy
    Dungeoneering
    Endurance
    Heal
    History
    Insight
    Intimidate
    Nature
    Perception
    Religion
    Stealth
    Streetwise
    Thievery
    Versus the last playtest list (additions italicized):

    Animal Handling
    Bluff
    Diplomacy
    Find/Remove Traps
    Insight
    Intimidate
    Open Locks
    Sleight of Hand
    Spot (now same as 4e Perception)
    Stealth
    Streetwise
    Survival
    (Various Lore skills)
    First big change: they've unpacked Thievery back into its 3e constituent skills. This makes some sense because if they kept the 4e skills intact, every rogue would be trained in half the skill list. But I'd still get rid of Find and Remove Traps because it's weirdly specific. Make it a standard Spot check to find a trap and straight Int to disarm it.

    Second change: a bunch more Lore skills. I'm not sure if I like this so much.

    Now, I'm guessing they've taken out Athletics, Acrobatics, and Endurance to refocus the game a bit on ability scores. I think the question is, "Can you imagine someone with high [key stat] who sucks at [skill]?" If not, it shouldn't be a skill.

    So bye bye athletics and endurance. If I've got a good Con that MEANS I can run far and hold my breath and so on. But I'd like to see Acrobatics come back in its constituent parts. All rogues are dextrous, for example, but not all rogues can walk a tightrope or (more to the point) tumble across a battlefield. So bring back Jump, Climb, and Tumble.

    I also would rename Bluff to Deception so that it can take in some related things like forgery and disguise.

    As for the Lore skills... I think they're trying to be open-ended with these to some degree, but I'm not sure how successful it is. /shrug.

    Also, Animal Handling should be part of Nature Lore.

    So here's my proposed list of skills:

    Climb
    Deception
    Diplomacy
    Insight
    Intimidate
    Jump
    Open Locks
    Sleight of Hand
    Spot
    Stealth
    Streetwise
    Survival
    Tumble
    (Various Lore skills)
    What do you think?

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieRoboNinja View Post
    Also, Animal Handling should be part of Nature Lore.
    It seems to me that it should be entirely possible (as it certainly is in the real world) for someone to know a lot of facts and figures about animals without having any skill at the practical applications.

    Just because someone can tell you what breed of dog you have at a glance, doesn't mean they can make your dog sit.

    However, things like that are somewhat of an inevitable tension in the system, as no simple and intuitive system will ever accurately model how real-life skills work.

    There's always going to be a balancing act between a skill that does too little or is too specific and one that is too broad and creates odd ramifications.

    --

    One thing I quite liked in the first playtest package, which has been abandoned in the second, is the idea that skills aren't necessarily tied to a specific ability. While that was tied to the more open-ended skill list, I think it might still be workable with the closed list approach. Intimidate, for one, is something I've always felt was an awkward fit. Sure, it's easier for people with more force of personality (one interpretation of Charisma) to intimidate others, but surely the guy with the strength of an ogre who can crush stone with one hand is pretty intimidating, even if he has the charisma score of... an ogre, I guess.

    ---

    As is, Jump is gone because jump distance doesn't even need a check anymore. It's not even a Strength check, it's a straight-up "If you're this strong, you can jump this high/far", like encumbrance.
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    I like the list the current playtest packet presents, though I do wonder why they've kept Insight when they've ditched Endurance and Athletics as skills. Makes no sense.

    I'm also fine with mostly free-form skills, which is something that was alluded to earlier in the playtest. Basically, have some mechanism for determining *how many* skills a character gets, but then just use the name of the skill as the guideline for when it applies.

    Also, I'd like to see a bit more on how to use knowledge/lore skills, and come up with some way to restrict who can make lore checks. Nothing more annoying than being the know-it-all wizard of your group and when you roll a knowledge check, suddenly one or two other players decide to roll "just because." Then you roll a 1, and they roll a 19 and *somehow* Clud the Barbarian knows more about the magical whatzit than your know-it-all wizard.

    5e needs to address that problem.
    Last edited by Quickleaf; Friday, 28th September, 2012 at 02:23 AM.

  • #4
    Well, they'd rather reitnroudce all of the fun skills they left out on 4e. Perform, sing, disguise, forgery, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiiLurker View Post
    Well, they'd rather reitnroudce all of the fun skills they left out on 4e. Perform, sing, disguise, forgery, etc.
    God no.

    Lemme say that my character has a great singing voice without making me pay actual skill points that will be used on actual things in game.

    3E skill list spat on roleplaying then turned around and took an enormous dump on it.

    At least 4E just kinda made no sense but didn't get in the way too much.

    On the skill list, if you're going to do Acrobatics, Climb, and Jump... don't. Just put them all together. Skills need to be broad enough that characters can have a wide base, otherwise there's just entire scenes a character is sitting out (the Fighter, in any edition, etc.). It's okay if a player isn't useful in some scene or another, but worthless in most any scene that's outside of a very narrow skillset is bad.

    Removing traps can be rolled into slight of hand, call it "Nimble fingers" or something.

    "Deception" just sounds eviler than "bluff" leave bluff alone.

    Animal Handling has to be in for some specific class thing, at least it's not separate from Ride anymore so you have two marginal skills you never roll (GOOD IDEAS HO)
    Last edited by GreyICE; Friday, 28th September, 2012 at 02:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieRoboNinja View Post
    What should the skill list look like?
    It should be short.

    If 6 statistics can capture the full range and breadth of human potential, then a comparable number of skills should be able to capture the range of human training.

    Each skill should be quite broad, and any give task is put under the most aplicable skill, new skills should never be added. Any skill so specific that it might aply only in a given setting, for instance, shouldn't make the cut.

  • #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieRoboNinja View Post
    Now, I'm guessing they've taken out Athletics, Acrobatics, and Endurance to refocus the game a bit on ability scores. I think the question is, "Can you imagine someone with high [key stat] who sucks at [skill]?" If not, it shouldn't be a skill.

    So bye bye athletics and endurance. If I've got a good Con that MEANS I can run far and hold my breath and so on.
    I disagree. In fact, I think we should not only keep Athletics and Endurance, but add two additional skills:

    Athletics Lore
    Endurance Lore

    Having a high ranking in these two skills will make your character especially good at winning bets at pubs and other trivia challenges that require you to know current world record holders.


  • #8
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    God no.

    Lemme say that my character has a great singing voice without making me pay actual skill points that will be used on actual things in game.

    3E skill list spat on roleplaying then turned around and took an enormous dump on it.

    At least 4E just kinda made no sense but didn't get in the way too much.
    But if it doesn't have a mechanical significance, it becomes only fluff. I could say that my 4e bard is a good singer, but if it never comes up, then it is devoid of any significance beyond pure empty flavor, musical instruments become costly and weightly pieces of fluff, entirely useless without a skill tied into them, a wizard coul easily outmatch a pure bard when conducting any of the bardic rituals. Very simialr stuff happens with disguise and the others, if it doesn't have a mechanical basis, then there is no risk associated and as a result no reward, and lack of reward makes it come up even less often.

    And seriuosly if I have to make up everything that is not combat, then I'd be better up having no system. If I'm going to play using a system, then it should rather support extense areas of the game, not only the small part that only comes up from time to time.
    Last edited by KaiiLurker; Friday, 28th September, 2012 at 03:05 AM.

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    I am all for the current list +
    Dragon Lore
    Fey Lore (knowledge about the Feywild and its creatures)
    Spirit Lore (totem spirits, shamanic spirits, disease spirits, ancestral spirits, noncorporeal undead, elemental spirits, the spirit realm),
    Climb
    Jump
    Ride
    Swim

    However, I want to see characters starting with more skills and the following existing skills renamed
    Heraldric Lore-->Nobility Lore
    Societal Lore-->Culture Lore
    Spot-->Perception
    Find and Remove Traps--> Traps
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieRoboNinja View Post
    So here's my proposed list of skills:

    What do you think?
    As a module, it is fine. I would never use it or play in a game using it. One of my major complaints about 4e is too few skills.
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