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Blog (A5E) A Quick Look At Skills

ART!

Hero
About expertise dice. What these do is they introduce a mild bell curve (atcually a flattened pyramid curve with one small expertise die) and I like bell/pyramid curves. But adding them to a d20 system seems to be outside the d20 paradigm. To me, expertise dice feel half-assed. Are you sure what you want is not to go to a system that is entirely about random distribution curves? Like 2d10 instead of d20? I can see how the d20 is a sacred cow, but I am not sure expertise dice is the cure. Then again, I have not played with expertise dice. What I have played with is the Wild Die of Savage Worlds, and that works spectacularly well.

I also loathe the Earthdawn phenomenon where you could not roll until you know of all the modifiers because the modifiers changed what kind of dice you should roll. That does seem nopt to be the case here, but I thought it worth mentioning as an example to avoid.

Again, these are simple viewpoints, not demands.

Forgive me if I missed something, but wouldn't these expertise dice be just like the variant proficiency die option in the DMG? If yes, then this expertise die is firmly sticking within the confines of 5E.
 

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Starfox

Adventurer
Forgive me if I missed something, but wouldn't these expertise dice be just like the variant proficiency die option in the DMG? If yes, then this expertise die is firmly sticking within the confines of 5E.
I was not aware of this option, but I like it. I think this is a good way to use an additional die in that it is always the SAME die. It doesn't suddenly change from d4 to d6 to 2d8 - you know what set of dice you are supposed to roll. And if you don't have proficiency with a certain task and still rolled the proficiency die, it is easy to remove from the total.
 

Horwath

Hero
Maybe expertise die would be better if it scales automatically like in DMG:
1d4, at 5th level d6, at 9th level d8, at 13th level d10 and at 17th level d12.

spending an extra class resource to increase +2,5 bonus to +3,5 seem too expensive for something that was default in core game.

I think I will house rule expertise dice that way for A5E.

Maybe using both skill dice and expertise dice for skill checks.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Forgive me if I missed something, but wouldn't these expertise dice be just like the variant proficiency die option in the DMG? If yes, then this expertise die is firmly sticking within the confines of 5E.
It's added to your proficiency bonus, so you get a d20 + attribute mod + proficiency bonus + expertise die.
 

Darkwynters

Explorer
So I have a question: when it comes to skills, are there examples of what you can do with each skill. A few of my gamers mentioned that they like how Pathfinder 2e has rules for Gathering Information or Making an Impression with Diplomacy (ie Persuasion). Have you guys added anything like this to the A5e skill section?
 

Nebulous

Legend
So I have a question: when it comes to skills, are there examples of what you can do with each skill. A few of my gamers mentioned that they like how Pathfinder 2e has rules for Gathering Information or Making an Impression with Diplomacy (ie Persuasion). Have you guys added anything like this to the A5e skill section?
I would also prefer this. I am not a fan of the entire 5e skill system personally, and would prefer it gutted and revamped somehow, but that's more of a 6e thing, not what I'd expect from LU.
 

Faolyn

Hero
I would also prefer this. I am not a fan of the entire 5e skill system personally, and would prefer it gutted and revamped somehow, but that's more of a 6e thing, not what I'd expect from LU.
What don't you like about it? Too grainy, not grainy enough, something else?
 

Starfox

Adventurer
Musings:

The 5E skill rules are extremely sketchy. This has the advantage that is saves word count and gives the DM a lot of freedom - with the drawback that neither DM nor players know what you can expect to do. The trick here is to present some benchmarks while still preserving as much of the simplicity and flexibility as possible.

Skill rules are important for game balance. If skills are impotent, spellcasters rule. Skills also determine how cinematic the game is because they are mundane and available to all. That spells can break our expectations is expected, but letting skills do the impossible really changes the world.

Something I am learning when playing 5E is the importance of the passive skill value. Players like predictability, to know what they can achieve and when they are taking a risk. As a GM, I prefer to have an element of risk. Its a delicate balance.
 

VanguardHero

Explorer
Skill rules are important for game balance. If skills are impotent, spellcasters rule. Skills also determine how cinematic the game is because they are mundane and available to all. That spells can break our expectations is expected, but letting skills do the impossible really changes the world.
I think The Adventure Zone really highlighted this in one scene where to take out an enemy car the Fighter rolled like 3 Skill Checks and then the Wizard just cast a spell. Impotent Skills give Martials even less to do, and renders so much of the Rogue Class redundant. Double Prof on Stealth means nothing when Pass Without Trace exists.
Pathfinder 2e does powerful skills really well with the scaling proficiency and things people can do at Legendary in skills. Also letting Medicine actually heal out of combat allows a reliable assumption of being at or near full health, which helped with Math Expectations on the design side as well. Especially as someone who loves Martials and hates Casters, I love powerful skills.
 


Nebulous

Legend
What don't you like about it? Too grainy, not grainy enough, something else?
Not detailed enough. I wouldn't even mind at all if it was divorced from the d20 and relegated to a percentile system, but that will never happen. It would be neat to have more granular advancement, and critical successes and failures built in.
 


Darkwynters

Explorer
So specific critical successes, such as Durgan the one-eyed and limping dwarf diviner rolls a critical success on his Athletics check while climbing… what happens? Or just he has a critical success and DM makes up something (not saying this is bad, it’s just my gamers want rules for skills). They have mentioned missing that aspect of 3.5.
 

Faolyn

Hero
So specific critical successes, such as Durgan the one-eyed and limping dwarf diviner rolls a critical success on his Athletics check while climbing… what happens? Or just he has a critical success and DM makes up something (not saying this is bad, it’s just my gamers want rules for skills). They have mentioned missing that aspect of 3.5.
He clearly divined the best way to get up whatever he was climbing.
 

Darkwynters

Explorer
Morrus, it was extremely cool when you showed that section on crafting. Anyway we could see just a tiny bit of this “specialization” section for skills. I was explaining it to my gamers last night and I said, “I think it will be like you’re a ranger who has Stealth and have a specialty in woodlands… so you get to roll the extra die in that environment”. Of course, they asked is there a list of specialties…
 

pacnw.owlbear

Villager
Expertise Dice, I have never liked the pushing the die type up mechanics. I can't do the math for distribution but I think there are other ways to implement this idea and other systems have done so.
1. Two expertise dice, 1d4 -> 1d6. You are just as likely to get a 1 as a 6, which is what I don't like about this.
2. Two expertise dice, take the highest number. This is similar to the boon/bane system in Shadow of the Demon Lord. (FYI, SotDL has no advantage/disadvantage. Instead, you get boons +1d6 or banes -1d6. Banes and boons cancel out.) Anyway, if you have multiple expertise dice under this system, you would be less likely to only get a 1 (1/16). It will shift the distribution up, although you can't get higher than the highest die face.
3. Two expertise dice, take the highest number. If multiple dice show the highest value, increase the value by 1 for each die. So if you roll 2d4 and get 4 and 4, the value is 5. If you roll 3d4 and get all 4s, the value is 6. I believe this would be similar to the Silhouette System which was based on a d6. Again, you are less likely to get a 1 with multiple dice, but it is possible to get a value above the highest value.
 


Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
Morrus, it was extremely cool when you showed that section on crafting. Anyway we could see just a tiny bit of this “specialization” section for skills. I was explaining it to my gamers last night and I said, “I think it will be like you’re a ranger who has Stealth and have a specialty in woodlands… so you get to roll the extra die in that environment”. Of course, they asked is there a list of specialties…
Yes, the game does have a list of specialties! Plus, there's no reason why the Narrator can't add more based on their setting or the disposition of the players. IDK if "woodlands" is a type of Stealth specialty in the Core Rulebook, but I see a strong argument for environmental stealth specialties existing at your table!
 

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