D&D 5th Edition What should the skill list look like? - Page 6




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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minigiant View Post
    But then how do you differentiate a commoner who can swim well and a expert who be be an Olympic swimmer in transported to present day Earth.

    I'd like to be able to have my character enhance his skills, gain new ones, and apply his skill to a breath of situation.
    perhaps it might have something to do with the olympic swimmer spending all of his time swimming while the adventurer spends all of his time trying to save the world, or other such non sense.

 

  • #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by dd.stevenson View Post
    With different backgrounds.
    Backgrounds all give the same power, just to different skills. Commoner's +3 is the same as anyone else's +3.

    Quote Originally Posted by tlantl View Post
    perhaps it might have something to do with the olympic swimmer spending all of his time swimming while the adventurer spends all of his time trying to save the world, or other such non sense.
    So a rogue, fighter, wizard, and cleric can't have Olympic talent... ever?
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    Ok. I've been following along on this thread and, frankly, I'm lost.

    Is the consensus that we want a tight but broad list? A specific and long list? long and broad to apply all over the place? Or tight and specific (which I guess would be only those things relevant to adventuring)?

    Those are the options. What is it people are saying they prefer?...or, well, the majority of folks, at least.

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    I agree

    an Olympic athlete should have VERY good physical stats at level 1 (just handwave that you cannot "train" yourself to get an 18 str, except with point buy). I'd even say that Olympic athletes would need 16+ str, 16+ dex AND 16+ con. Yes, at the same time. Or maybe a swimmer only need 16 str + 16 con. But if you a high diver, yes, Dex in there too for those fancy moves (I know, Dexterity means hand agility, not overall, but what can you do)

    THEN adding a background to say you are good at such and such events like you get bonuses to Con or Str checks while swimming, and pretty much doing any other physical activity that could be conceived as having a similar motion or purpose as one of the olympic things they are trained with. One could even sub-specialize.

    Not that I'm an expert on the Olympics mind you (maybe Arm-chair Olympian!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by steeldragons View Post
    Ok. I've been following along on this thread and, frankly, I'm lost.

    Is the consensus that we want a tight but broad list? A specific and long list? long and broad to apply all over the place? Or tight and specific (which I guess would be only those things relevant to adventuring)?

    Those are the options. What is it people are saying they prefer?...or, well, the majority of folks, at least.

    --SD
    The consensus is that there is no consensus.

  • #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorgoroth View Post
    an Olympic athlete should have VERY good physical stats at level 1 (just handwave that you cannot "train" yourself to get an 18 str, except with point buy). I'd even say that Olympic athletes would need 16+ str, 16+ dex AND 16+ con. Yes, at the same time. Or maybe a swimmer only need 16 str + 16 con. But if you a high diver, yes, Dex in there too for those fancy moves (I know, Dexterity means hand agility, not overall, but what can you do)

    THEN adding a background to say you are good at such and such events like you get bonuses to Con or Str checks while swimming, and pretty much doing any other physical activity that could be conceived as having a similar motion or purpose as one of the olympic things they are trained with. One could even sub-specialize.

    Not that I'm an expert on the Olympics mind you (maybe Arm-chair Olympian!)

    Str/Con 18 plus stkill training is just +7.
    A fighter with 15s in Str and Con plus training is +5

    No much of a difference unless you handwave it of make Olympic DCs 26+.



    Overall there are 3 aspects of skills

    • Number of skills
    • Breadth of skill application
    • Strength of skill training


    now to find what make most people happy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minigiant View Post
    Str/Con 18 plus stkill training is just +7.
    A fighter with 15s in Str and Con plus training is +5

    No much of a difference unless you handwave it of make Olympic DCs 26+
    Why not set the DC 17 and let them take 10? The Olympian wil succeed every time but the Fighter will succeed less than half the time. (Or maybe sink in his armor.)

    I'm also under the impression that Michael Phelps' swimsuit gives him a +2 circumstance bonus to his Swim rolls.

    To the degree that there are weird cases that the rules has to twist to support, I think this is really a problem with the d20. If we were rolling multiple dice the bonuses could stay small but be more meaningful without absolutely preventing un-optimized characters from succeeding.
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    I can certainly see how you'd want to have "backgroundish" skills advance in order to give the character a semblance of getting better over time... and truth be told, there should be a way to do that.

    My main point though as to why I prefer "backgroundish" skills as opposed to the 3E/4E types of skills is strictly one of narrowing focus and not having skills that are always added on top of 95% of all the ability checks made. To me, something like Diplomacy is just too broad... not only in the number of times it gets layered on top of a particular ability check (almost always CHA), but also in the sheer number of characters in the party who will have it.

    If the PCs go into almost ANY social conversation... Diplomacy is going to apply. Especially considering at least 1 (if not several) PCs will have it. So in the game... you're no longer making CHA checks... you're making Diplomacy checks ALL the time.

    By the same token... if you have a Perception skill in the game... most likely several PCs will have it. And since it applies to EVERY situation of the PCs needing to find something (regardless if its passive "keeping your ears open as you hike" or active "look for the secret compartment in the desk drawer"), you're always going to have one or more players making Perception checks, rather than just WIS or INT checks.

    To me... if EVERY check in the game is going to have at least one PC capable of adding a +3 to his roll... ability score checks have lost their oomph. Because once again the game will default to "Who has the +3? Have HIM roll!"

    If we have to have actual "skills" per se... I just want them to be narrow enough (involving a smaller circle of subject matter) to not see it used in every possible situation. So Diplomacy... out. Perception... out. Arcana (which applies to EVERYTHING magic related)... out.

    Commerce (which involves Diplomacy only in shopping or negotiating situations and no time else)... IN. Danger Sense (which involves Perception only in places where the PC might get attacked and no time else)... IN. Planar Lore (which involves magical knowledge and lore about a small subset of the total magical landscape-- only the outer planes)... IN.

    Athletics out... Piracy IN. Nature out... Mountaineering IN. Or Animal Handling IN. Or Nomadic IN. Etc. Etc.

  • #59
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    Warning: this is going to sound a bit pedantic (but everything is still IMHO and personal suggestion)...

    What are skills? They represent both training and experience in a specific area of expertise. If you have the "Athletic" skill, it's because you've spent a lot of time doing sports.

    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 system (like 3e) where you get as good with the skill as you put points in it.

    2) Skills represent your training and your experience, i.e. they are intimately linked to what you are doing at different points in your life.
    Guess what? We already have game elements that represent a character's life up to the point he starts adventuring: Race, Background, Class (and level).
    When you're a fighter, you don't spend points to raise your BAB, right? Class and level dictate what your BAB will be. So why should skills be different?

    *Race: the skills that are "passively" passed on by your race / culture / country / whatever.
    For example, Bob the Dwarf, like all dwarves (let's be clich here), would be good with anything related to mineral resources, be it the mining of gold or metalworking.
    *Background: The skills that you develop during your youth and that are related to your "civilian" life, as opposed to your adventuring life.
    To continue with Bob, he's an artisan's son and apprenticed with his uncle, a jeweler. So he develops some skills in things like jewelry (obviously!), commerce...
    *Class: The skills reflecting how you adventure.
    Bob, after a raid by Orcs that killed numerous friends of his, decided he would get even with them (I know, still clich...). He joins the militia to have some military training and sets out in the world as a Fighter. Bob has skills related to all things martial; for example, Bob can size up an opponent and see how much of a threat he is.

    So there you have it. Bob, who's a fairly powerful fellow with sound judgment (Great STR and CON, good WIS, average DEX, INT and CHA), has a bonus when he checks for a situation relating to Smithing, or bartering. Not so much for hunting wild animals (unless he picks a Ranger level eventually...).

    Try to jump over a chasm? No special expertise, straight STR roll.
    Trying to repair his armor? His Smithing racial background comes up, DEX roll with a bonus.
    Appraise the trading value of a beautiful necklace? INT with a bonus (jewelry apprentice).

    So there you have it:

    1) Turn the backgrounds into more than the (almost) empty shells they are now. They should be as developed as Races, anyway.
    2) A "skill" check is an ability check, with a bonus (always the same) if something in his race/background/class applies.

    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. Not everyone's cup of tea, I realize that.

    And what about Michael Phelps? Well, cases like his represent someone who has trained exclusively in a single narrow area to the quasi-exclusion of everything else. So both background and "class" (a non-adventuring class, if there's such a thing in Next) are devoted to that area.

    But to me such individuals make poor adventurers anyway because adventuring is a lot about being able to have a lot of tools to confront dangerous situations. People like Phelps are not good candidates, I'm afraid, for the adventuring life.

    But that's just me...

  • #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by am181d View Post
    Why not set the DC 17 and let them take 10? The Olympian wil succeed every time but the Fighter will succeed less than half the time. (Or maybe sink in his armor.)

    I'm also under the impression that Michael Phelps' swimsuit gives him a +2 circumstance bonus to his Swim rolls.

    To the degree that there are weird cases that the rules has to twist to support, I think this is really a problem with the d20. If we were rolling multiple dice the bonuses could stay small but be more meaningful without absolutely preventing un-optimized characters from succeeding.
    How about those Long-Jumpers? Carl Lewis has jumped farther than 29 feet (8.87 m) legally. In 5E Next so far, your long jump distance in feet is equal to your STR score (if you get a 10-foot walking start), so Carl Lewis must have had a STR score of 29 at that time, right? Well, NO: I don't think so. That would have his result be purely a matter of strength, so his extensive training in the event would have had no effect. (Why do people even bother training, anyway, if it has no effect?)

    There's something wrong there. Training should count for something.
    One possibility is this: STR score plus (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, and lets Carl Lewis at least come to within a foot or so of what he could actually do in the real world. (And if you allow him to take a Skill Focus feat for a +1 feat bonus, that would get him to 29 feet, within an inch or so of his personal best.)

    I don't believe that a +3 for Skill Training and a +1 for Skill Focus would break the DC math too badly.

    However, that gives a fairly tight range of results: minimum 24 feet, maximum 29 feet. That's because the d20-roll was divided by 4, but the STR score wasn't. To balance that out, divide each one by 2, instead.

    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.

    Edit: Another thought:
    Instead of giving everybody a flat +5 to start out with, 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.
    Last edited by tuxgeo; Saturday, 29th September, 2012 at 06:01 PM.
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