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5E Adding Additional Skills to the game

So about endurance: even if one wouldn't want constantly be using athletics + constitution, why such situations where long-term physical endurance is required couldn't (and wouldn't) be handed via a constitution save? DMG instructs to use constitution save for things like long term exposure to heat, cold etc, so it is a bit unclear to me at which point something would become an endurance task. If the characters are travelling through scorching desert do they roll endurance or constitution save to see whether they accrue exhaustion? As I said, 'endurance' was originally on my altered skill list, but these are the sort of questions that made me abandon it.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
So about endurance: even if one wouldn't want constantly be using athletics + constitution, why such situations where long-term physical endurance is required couldn't (and wouldn't) be handed via a constitution save? DMG instructs to use constitution save for things like long term exposure to heat, cold etc, so it is a bit unclear to me at which point something would become an endurance task. If the characters are travelling through scorching desert do they roll endurance or constitution save to see whether they accrue exhaustion? As I said, 'endurance' was originally on my altered skill list, but these are the sort of questions that made me abandon it.

Based on 4e, Endurance checks that weren't turned to save sare

Long distance running, swimming, or flying,
Treading water
Ignoring the effects of hunger, thrist, or lack of rest
Withstanding torture or noticeable pain
Withstanding long term discomfort
Doing a repeatitve action without major deviation.
 

Based on 4e, Endurance checks that weren't turned to save sare

Long distance running, swimming, or flying,
Treading water
Ignoring the effects of hunger, thrist, or lack of rest
Withstanding torture or noticeable pain
Withstanding long term discomfort
Doing a repeatitve action without major deviation.
However in 4E saves work completely differently than the skills, whereas in 5E they work the same way. So in 5E I would be far more comfortable using a save in a skill-like situation than in 4E.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
However in 4E saves work completely differently than the skills, whereas in 5E they work the same way. So in 5E I would be far more comfortable using a save in a skill-like situation than in 4E.

Sure 4e saves are different but the application of those same actions in 5e would be skills.

An athlete can train their strength, agility, or endurance. In 5e there is a Athletics skill for Strength training, Acrobatics and Sleight of Hand for Dexterity training, but no Endurance skill for Constitution training.

You could do Athletics Constitution but at that point you oughta remove Acrobatics.

If 5e kept Acrobatics, it should have kept Endurance.
 



I always use the 'Alternative Ability Score' variant rule, where I ask for an Ability Check and the player can then possibly add a skill they are proficient at. By doing this, and seeing what usually got applied... I was able to determine which skills were unnecessary in this system, and what categories of stuff felt like they were missing. Thus I merged some skills and added new ones.

Animal Handling was merged into Nature; usually a Wisdom (Nature) check.
Acrobatics was merged into Athletics; usually a Dexterity (Athletics) check.
Intimidation was merged into Persuasion; usually a Strength (Persuasion) check.
Medicine was merged into Survival; usually a Wisdom (Survival) check.
Sleight of Hand was merged into Deception; usually a Dexterity (Deception) check.

New skills included:
Commerce (for interacting with merchants, appraising, haggling, and anything money related)
Dungeoneering (for everything related to spelunking, dungeoncrawling and the Underdark)
Etiquette (for interacting with things related to nobility, high society, castles and the like)
Folklore (for interacting with commoners, low society, and stories/lore that the common folk might know)
Mechanics (for things related to architecture, engineering, tinkering, and took the place of Thieve's Tools proficiency)

Lumping skills helps skills become clearer and more useful.

Commerce seems to merit a separate skill. I can see that. It seems to overlap other skills tho, like Persuasion to haggle, Arcana to price a magic item, and so on. But I see the usefulness of Commerce as a separate concept.

Mechanics, I like. It is similar to my Alchemy for material sciences, but see the idea of clockwork and pulleys as more machinery related.



By the way, I use Intelligence (Deception) for any kind of replication, reconstruction or simulation, even when there is no attempt to deceive, such as making an accurate replica of a seal for someone who needs the seal for official purposes. I also use it to create an accurate portrait, for photorealism, for a painting or a coin, or so on.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
A benefit of lumping is, the other skills become more useful, at least tempting compared to Perception.

Some skills are just always going to more useful in a game with a clear theme.
Stealth, Perception, Acrobatics, and Athletics will always be tops in a dungeon raiding game.
Social skills will be more important in a dark society game.

With Tasha's ease of swapping skills soon becoming a base option, lumping will weaken skill classes and boost nonskill classes.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I was thinking about adding in endurance and streetwise from 4e but then figured that endurance is probably just a straight constitution check or saving throw or possibly constitution (athletics). Streetwise became a charisma (investigation) check so ended up not adding in anything.

Something else I've thought about instead is specialities for skills, a small +2 bonus for a specific use of the skill so a first level character with Intelligence 14, Charisma 12 might end up with Investigation +4 (streetwise +5).
 


Undrave

Hero
I feel like the various areas of knowledge should have been treated more like tools proficiency than skills.

To me, all the Skills should be active, broad, adventuring skills. Stuff you can DO.

Tools proficiency are more narrow, but easier to learn, and easier to expand to fit your game world. They’re almost professions really.

Knowledge should be the third part of this, representing pieces of your game world. Characters should start with knowledge of their homeland, and maybe knowledge based on what languages they have, then a number of Knowledge ‘skills’ based on their Int!
 

keynup

Explorer
Background is a skill.
Skills are decoupled.
I'll let players use anything as a keyword for a skill.
The base skills are broad and general. Nothing wrong with that, but if a play feels that Law suits their character better than History, go ahead write that down instead. This might limit some of the things by not having History, but if it involved Law, that character would be better. (Advantage, better results, auto success)

Some keywords could cover multiple base skills in specific situations.
Take Drunk as a skill;
  • streetwise, investigation as it applies to taverns
  • endurance while drunk, etc
Basically the player gets think about how the characters past affects the current situation. Almost a player dictated flash back.
 

I feel like the various areas of knowledge should have been treated more like tools proficiency than skills.

To me, all the Skills should be active, broad, adventuring skills. Stuff you can DO.

Tools proficiency are more narrow, but easier to learn, and easier to expand to fit your game world. They’re almost professions really.

Knowledge should be the third part of this, representing pieces of your game world. Characters should start with knowledge of their homeland, and maybe knowledge based on what languages they have, then a number of Knowledge ‘skills’ based on their Int!
I did the opposite and got rid of tool proficiencies and made craftship skill instead that governs tool use. Music instruments go to performance. I just don't think that tracking really narrow and specific competencies is usually wort it.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
The 5e Skill list is one that I feel is missing a bit. I was thinking about adding

AD&D's Endurance (Constitution)
AD&D's Etiquette (Charisma)
AD&D's Law (Intelligence)
3e's Nobility (Intelligence)
4e's Dungeoneering (Wisdom)
4e's Streetwise (Charisma)

I don't see any problems with your house rules.

There are way too many people thinking that the skill system is closed and rigid, that every task must be covered by one and only one skill, that skill proficiencies must not overlap... they also forget that proficiencies are mainly just a bonus, not a requirement, unless the DM wants to enforce some difference between proficient and non-proficient characters (which I do, by the way).

When you change the skill list, IMHO the only important thing is that you should strive for all proficiencies to be more or less equally useful, so that taking one proficiency for your PC has more or less the same opportunity cost for the same benefit.

And how much a proficiency is useful actually depends on YOUR game. Only YOU can tell if a proficiency in Etiquette will be a good pick for a PC because in your games there'll be plenty of Etiquette checks, or those checks will make a real difference in the story.

While I am generally not a fan of Dungeoneering and Streetwise (IMO a bit too loosely defined and all-encompassing), they can be ok in your own games. It doesn't matter if they overlap with other skills, as long as they don't completely include them. For example, I wouldn't let a Dungeoneering check to replace a Thieves' Tools check in all cases, otherwise it might be better to just drop the latter from the game.

  • Endurance is part of Athletics, you just need to make it a Constitution/Athletics check. It's easier to incorporate using alternate abilities than to add an entirely new skill.
  • For most settings, Etiquette is best handled by Wisdom/Insight, as it's just about avoiding social traps. In a setting dedicated to crucial social etiquette, such as Rokugan or Kura-Tur, then Charisma/Performance seems more appropriate.

That's common in most games, and the reason why these are not 5e default skills.

But they could both interesting additions, for example Endurance is certainly not only physical... you might call for an Endurance check to stay focused on a task despite distractions, or to keep calm in front of others pushing you towards certain actions or emotions. Also, there are physical endurance "tasks" which are not really athletics, such as staying awake, resist hunger/thirst or painful wounds. The point of adding an Endurance skill is to allow a PC to invest in such proficiency in order to obtain a bonus on those checks, instead of using the default Constitution check.

What eventually causes some real mess is the co-existence of ability/skill checks and saving throws in the game. The distinction is mostly proactive VS reactive, but in mechanical terms they are both really the same kind of check i.e. d20 + ab.mod. + prof.bonus. So it's natural for people to come up saying "this should not be a skill check, it should be a saving throw" (or viceversa... that's after all why we still have 3 dominant types of saving throws, while the other 3 are rare because we have ability checks to escape spells that would otherwise have their saving throws!) but ultimately what matters is how a PC can get good at some checks at the expense of others.

For these reasons, I would not recommend to think in terms of what "makes more sense" or "seems more appropriate" from a narrative point of view, when making house rules on the skills list, but instead I think it's best to focus on mechanical balance. Which, of course, is not very solid to start with, when you have a single skill for all Perception tasks :/
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I don't see any problems with your house rules.

There are way too many people thinking that the skill system is closed and rigid, that every task must be covered by one and only one skill, that skill proficiencies must not overlap... they also forget that proficiencies are mainly just a bonus, not a requirement, unless the DM wants to enforce some difference between proficient and non-proficient characters (which I do, by the way).

When you change the skill list, IMHO the only important thing is that you should strive for all proficiencies to be more or less equally useful, so that taking one proficiency for your PC has more or less the same opportunity cost for the same benefit.

I agree.

I wouldn't make something like Etiquette or Law part of the default skills of D&D because few tables get into the depths of a world's legal, business, and land ownership systems. For most it's just a simple Cha check to start up and a roll on some table.

But when I DM, the machinations of the elite and unsavory become more and more intrusive as PCs gain level aka power. And being an overly passive participator in the game is choice and a dangerous or limiting one. Wizards live in secluded towers to get away from it all.
While I am generally not a fan of Dungeoneering and Streetwise (IMO a bit too loosely defined and all-encompassing), they can be ok in your own games. It doesn't matter if they overlap with other skills, as long as they don't completely include them. For example, I wouldn't let a Dungeoneering check to replace a Thieves' Tools check in all cases, otherwise it might be better to just drop the latter from the game

Thieves tools really should have been a skill and called Thievery or Skullduggery or something. It's way more useful than what a tool proficiency should be.

Especially after the Tasha previews, it's clear that tools proficiency was intended to be minor and ultraspecific compared to the broader use of skills. Woodcarver's tools only work on wooden objects. Thieves tools work on locks and traps, 2 of the most common obstacles in D&D.

Dungeoneering is really half the artisan tools combined (carpenter, leatherworker, mason, smith, woodcarver) along with some monster lore. Without a general Academics or Engineering skill, dungeoneering could fill a gap if DMs called for more exploration checks in dungeons.

But it would ease the power of Perception in dungeons. I would be okay with Arcana, Nature, Dungeoneering, and Streetwise replacing Perception or Stealth in extraplanar, natural, dungeon, and urban environments in 6e.
 

Dungeoneering is really half the artisan tools combined (carpenter, leatherworker, mason, smith, woodcarver) along with some monster lore.
Which frankly is a bizarre combination.

Without a general Academics or Engineering skill, dungeoneering could fill a gap if DMs called for more exploration checks in dungeons.
I'd much rather have general academics and engineering skills.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Which frankly is a bizarre combination

Not really.

It hints to a overarching culture of archeologists, adventurers, tomb pillagers, and dungeon delvers that shares knowledge and forms a soceity. Adventurers guilds and such.

But base D&D doesn't have that as socially D&D defaults to medieval eras not late renaissance or early industrial eras. Except thieves tools.
 

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