D&D 5th Edition What should the skill list look like? - Page 10


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  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiiLurker View Post
    The point is, on my eyes picking to be an awesome singer doesn't equates to giving up competency. Being a very good singer is itself a competency!. To me every skill and ability on the game is only as meaningful as you can invest resources on it, if you can't assign meaningful resources into a skill, then that skill isn't considered meaningful enough by the system.
    I meant competency as in dungeon-crawling/adventuring competency. You know, the core point of the game? You shouldn't have to give that up for your character to sing better than average--nonadventuring skills should *not* come out of the same pool you use for your adventuring skills.

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by SageMinerve View Post
    But that time and experience rarely, if ever, compensates for a lack of natural talent. I, for example, love hockey and I played a lot in my youth, but the fact that I'm not naturally gifted means that reaching a certain point I couldn't go on to become a professional, no matter haw much time I put in it.

    How does all this translate in game mechanics?

    1) Skills (training / experience) don't replace abilities (natural talent), they compensate. Contrary to what someone posted above, if you have a 8 in CHA, you will not be a great diplomat. Ever. Your training will simply make you suck less. That means that skills should not completely overshadow abilities, i.e. it can't be an open-ended ...
    The problem you'll run into with that kind of system is that for the kinds of things where it applies, it will work very well. But it doesn't apply to everything. This is, in part, because a lot of skills are a synthesis of a whole host of other skills and/or (natural) talents.

    Take for example, mathematics. If you aren't naturally somewhat gifted at mathematics (or nutured very early--we don't know 100% how that works), then you won't be a great mathematician. You might be a very good one. But if you don't work hard at mathematics, then you for sure will never be even passable at upper level mathematics, regardless of talent. Training is far more important for competence up to a certain fairly high point. Talent is worthless without it. It's only when you get to the point where training has been pushed near the limits that Talent again begins to tell. And that doesn't even touch something like software development which is typically a whole host of skills pushed not individually to their limits, but the synthesis of those skills developed to some lesser degree.


    I've played around with this idea in skill systems, and it becomes more intractable the more you dig. A human "realistic" skill system would:
    1. Distinguish between core skills/talents versus synthesized ones made up of many of those core skills/talents.
    2. Give talented naturals the edge against less talented beings when they are shy of some skill threshold, then have training dominate through the middle, then have "high skill+great talent" trump "high skill+less talent" on the upper range.
    3. Have all kinds of ways for complicated abilities to cross boundaries that are a lot more sophisticated than "Dex" or "Int".
    Now, whether or not that is worth doing, it is impossible to do it with something like ability mod + skill adjustment, or similar systems, no matter how much people tap dance around it and pull some misdirection with flavor.
    Last edited by Crazy Jerome; Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012 at 04:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonZZ View Post
    I meant competency as in dungeon-crawling/adventuring competency. You know, the core point of the game? You shouldn't have to give that up for your character to sing better than average--nonadventuring skills should *not* come out of the same pool you use for your adventuring skills.
    Not everyone runs dungeons and adventuring can take place in a number environments- this includes campaigns taking place entirely in urban environments and/or royal courts.

    What may not be useful in your game does not hold true in other games. Come to my games or those of people I know and many of your "adventuring" skills may see less use then many "non adventuring" skills.
    MActor83% STeller75% Specialist75% Tactician 42% PGamer25% BKicker 17% CGamer 8%

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    Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
    True enough. But at some point a line does have to be drawn. Just because some player's campaign might involve milking cows doesn't mean therefore that Cowmilking should be a skill in the default system, since a large percentage of the gaming populace will not use it. At some point, it is up to an individual DM to decide for himself to ADD additional skills to the game for his campaign where they will be of use, not expect the game to have all those options there for him.

    Decipher Script and Sleight of Hand might never get used in 99% of all games. So having them in the default list is a waste of linespace. But a DM who is running a rogue-centric game might find splitting Thievery out back into its component parts of Open Locks, Disarm Traps, Pickpocketing etc. worthwhile. He should do so, but not expect the game should default that way.
    The cowmilking is an extreme example (I would say strawman levels extreme) however it isn't unreasonable to think sing, drama, disguise and forgery are appropriate to be on the PHB at least as a module, after all they have existed on some way or another on at least three editions (2nd, 3.x and BECMI, haven't seen a OD&D or 1st edition manual so I couldn't know about it), and specially perform and craft are the posterchild for non-combat support across the editions, their absence from 4e was a major turn-off of the edition for me and many others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Jerome View Post
    The problem you'll run into with that kind of system is that for the kinds of things where it applies, it will work very well. But it doesn't apply to everything. This is, in part, because a lot of skills are a synthesis of a whole host of other skills and/or (natural) talents.
    Oh, I agree that in real life, what I said was a horrific over-simplification. The thing is, if you want to keep things simple game mechanic-wise, you have to put things in two or three categories max.

    In my suggestion, I stated a certain way of understanding and using skills because it allows to (relatively) logically integrate what I consider to be the 3 aspects of a PC's personal history: race, background and class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Jerome View Post
    Take for example, mathematics. If you aren't naturally somewhat gifted at mathematics (or nutured very early--we don't know 100% how that works), then you won't be a great mathematician. You might be a very good one. But if you don't work hard at mathematics, then you for sure will never be even passable at upper level mathematics, regardless of talent. Training is far more important for competence up to a certain fairly high point. Talent is worthless without it. It's only when you get to the point where training has been pushed near the limits that Talent again begins to tell. And that doesn't even touch something like software development which is typically a whole host of skills pushed not individually to their limits, but the synthesis of those skills developed to some lesser degree.
    Ah, the old nature vs. nurture debate. Having a degree in Education Science, believe me when I say that I'm (painfully ) aware of it.

    Having said that, your "mathematics" example would be better reflected, game-wise, as a skill that's simply unusable if untrained. No matter what your IQ, if you haven't at least minimum training, you can't even attempt to differentiate (is that the way to say it in english? you know, dx/dy ... ).

    Again, it's a simplification. But it's: 1) coherent; 2) easily implemented; 3) easily understood...

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Jerome View Post
    I've played around with this idea in skill systems, and it becomes more intractable the more you dig. A human "realistic" skill system would:
    1. Distinguish between core skills/talents versus synthesized ones made up of many of those core skills/talents.
    2. Give talented naturals the edge against less talented beings when they are shy of some skill threshold, then have training dominate through the middle, then have "high skill+great talent" trump "high skill+less talent" on the upper range.
    3. Have all kinds of ways for complicated abilities to cross boundaries that are a lot more sophisticated than "Dex" or "Int".
    Now, whether or not that is worth doing, it is impossible to do it with something like ability mod + skill adjustment, or similar systems, no matter how much people tap dance around it and pull some misdirection with flavor.
    It's been kind of a Holy Grail quest for me as well ever since I've tried my hand at developing a simple, realistic and enjoyable skill system. I keep dreaming that I can come up with that perfect way to do it. Haven't woken up yet

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiiLurker View Post
    ...however it isn't unreasonable to think sing, drama, disguise and forgery are appropriate to be on the PHB at least as a module
    Possibly. Although it also isn't unreasonable to not include them, because as I said earlier... if WotC finds in their surveys that 95% of players do not want/need/use those kinds of "background defining" skills... then it isn't worth the loss of linespace in the book to make them a core part of the game. Maybe as a module? Sure, perhaps. Not necessarily in the PHB, but maybe in a supplement if not the PHB.

    What's going to have to happen I think is that there will need to be a very good reason why most people will WANT to have Craft and Perform in the game. Beyond just helping to "describe" your character, because as they said in 4E... you can be a blacksmith without needing a bunch of skill ranks in blacksmith. Especially if there's barely any skill checks to be rolled that involve blacksmithing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    The paradigm of skill checks as presented in the playtest rules is 'test this ability because it specifically is relevant', so skills should add to relevant ability modifiers, rather than the other way round. A caveat though: it requires a bit more careful definition of abilities, or a description of which abilities a skill works with (charisma never helps climb, for instance).
    Why can't CHA help climb? Can't a fey-touched sorcerer or warlock - or, perhaps, a shaman - persuade the spirits and faeries of the cliff face to help him/her with the ascent?

    Quote Originally Posted by slobo777 View Post
    I definitely prefer adjudication:

    - Player describes attempted action in character
    - DM decides mechanic to use

    to the "skill button push" approach I get in 4E from some players. "I use my History skill to determine the best course of action."

    However, you will still get creative attempts to use the best bonus available.
    My own view is that the solution to this lies with trade offs. Make the player describe what it is in his/her PC's background, or in the situation, that permits the attempt to be made. Which then gives the GM material out of which to build further challenges and complications. Ie "Yes, but . . . " adjudication.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obryn View Post
    I think between class, specialization, and background, that's enough character variation right there that Next doesn't need a skill system.
    Back to classic D&D? Sounds sensible to me, provided the rulebooks give the GM sensible advice on adjudication techniques.

    Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
    That was definitely one of the things about Playtest 1 that I agreed with. A player doesn't say "I'm going to make an X check" (and by extension usually choosing a check they are really good at)... but instead says "I'm doing X" and then the DM selecting which ability score applies.

    THAT'S the way I think it should be. Because it opens up the game more.

    <snip>

    In my opinion... any skills you get from a Background should be narrow enough that getting to use it is a special case and a special bonus, and that +3 (which is HUGE!!!) is a time for celebration.
    I like the idea of backgrounds being important to skill checks. I think that, for the reasons slobo777 gave, it is going to be hard to keep background bonuses to special cases, however: good players will naturally try to steer the game in a direction in which their backgrounds come into play. And that's what we want, isn't it? Creative players who use their PC builds to bring vibrancy, direction and motivation to the ingame situation?

    Hence my view that "balance", to the extent that it matters here, is to be achieved via the GM using the right approach in adjudication.

    Quote Originally Posted by SageMinerve View Post
    That's it. Open ended, because there's not a finite list of skills. You have the background, that means you get a bonus to any rolls relating to it.

    A system like this, however, requires some good judgment from both player and DM so it doesn't become an argument whether something applies every time a check comes up.
    Good judgement, supplemented by adequate advice on adjudication to make such a system work. It's not as if that sort of open-ended system doesn't already exist in other RPGs, together with the GMing advice to go along with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieRoboNinja View Post
    Let's say I'm a fighter who's been working as a mercenary for the local baron for a decade. I take the "Soldier" background because that's an obvious fit. Now, I'm not trained in Local Lore or Heraldic Lore, but if I'm rolling to see if I know a sleazy pub in the town I've lived in for a decade, or what the banner of a neighboring barony is, I'd expect the DM to give me advantage on those Int rolls.
    What's the point of having skill rules if the GM has to ad lib in this fashion? If having a Soldier background should help the fighter PC recognise heraldry despite having poor INT and no Heraldic Lore training, then change the rules to make it so.

    Or conversely, if having the ability to recognise those things is just what having those skills means, then do what Rolemaster (for example) tends to do, and give the fighter training in those skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    I think you've got some good points about background, but where does that leave us for advancement and development?
    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieRoboNinja View Post
    I'm guessing they'll take a page from paragon paths and introduce some mid-level character development.
    Something like that would be the obvious way to go: PCs can add to or expand their "backgrounds" as they level up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadrik View Post
    Some things you should only be able to do if you're trained in them. For instance a surgeon, or any other highly skilled profession. No one should be able to make a roll or or it should be really difficult And with the skill it would become easier.
    It's not clear how this sort of thing fits with the d20 roll for skill checks. I mean, in the real world its virtually impossible for an untrained person to perform even routine surgery, whereas a trained surgeon will not botch it 1 time in 20 - there may be complications 1 time in 20 (or more, even) - infections, mostly - but these aren't well-modelled by the D&D skill system, which tends to what immediate success/failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by tuxgeo;6024254Carl Lewis has jumped farther than 29 feet (8.87 m) legally.

    <snip>

    Training should count for something.
    One possibility is this: STR score [B
    plus[/B] (d20-roll divided by 4, round down) plus "Jump" skill training +3. So: STR score 20 + (20/4 = 5) + 3 = 28 feet on a natural 20. That models long-jumping better, though not perfectly

    <snip>

    Say that anyone can jump 5 feet with a walking start, so give them that as a base amount (sort of like AC starts at 10 with no armor). Divide both the STR score and the d20 roll by 2 (round down). Our Olympic PC long jumper with STR 20 then jumps:
    (Nat-20): 5 + (20/2 = 10) + (20/2 = 10) + 3 (training) + 1 (focus) = 29.
    (Nat-1): 5 + (20/2 = 10) + (1/2 = 0) + 3 (training) + 1 (focus) = 19. That's still a good jump befitting the Strength, but nowhere near competitive.

    <snip>

    add the PC's STR modifier into the mix.

    Our STR-20 Olympian PC then jumps:
    (Nat-20): 5 (STR mod.) + (20/2 = 10) + (20/2 = 10) + 3 (training) + 1 (focus) = 29.
    (Nat-1): 5 (STR mod.) + (20/2 = 10) + (1/2 = 0) + 3 (training) + 1 (focus) = 19.

    However, an untrained bookworm-type wizard with STR 8 jumps:
    (Nat-20): -1 (STR mod.) + (8/2 = 4) + (20/2 = 10) = 13.
    (Nat-1): -1 (STR mod.) + (8/2 = 4) + (1/2 = 0) = 3.
    The problem with this is, again, the d20. No one's maxmimum jump varies between 3' and 13'. And no Olympian, capable of jumping 29', loses 10' on his/her maximum one time in twenty. Variations are measured in inches, not feet.

    As with surgery, so with professional athletics: if you want a skill system to measure it, the 3E/4e style one is not what you're looking for.

  • #99
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    The problem with this is, again, the d20. No one's maxmimum jump varies between 3' and 13'. And no Olympian, capable of jumping 29', loses 10' on his/her maximum one time in twenty. Variations are measured in inches, not feet.
    I agree about the D20, and I think there should be a middle ground option between d20 randomness and automatic success. That middle ground should favour high stats or skills, and come in to play because it would give characters with high skills a chance to shine (without it being handwaved and not important to the game).

    On a small nerdy detail, long jumps do vary quite a bit, typically 1-2 feet between attempts, which is why the athletes in that event are allowed three attempts and take the best* - it evens out the randomness. And the same effect occurs in extended skill tests with multiple rolls - it would be one way to reward high skills (but rather a boring one if the focus is on one ability of the characters).

    * There may be other factors under competitor control, such as athletes getting into the flow before hitting their best results, and taking conservative "can do" jumps before really pushing and taking risks. From the point of view of an RPG game version, I guess that's all hiding in the D20 (although action points, encounter powers etc would also be good models for it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Why can't CHA help climb? Can't a fey-touched sorcerer or warlock - or, perhaps, a shaman - persuade the spirits and faeries of the cliff face to help him/her with the ascent?
    No, because then a fey-touched sorcerer or warlock can ask faeries to do anything for them, and thus require only one ability score. In another game, sure.
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