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Combat/Non-Combat/Tradeskill Character Option

Kannik

Adventurer
This has been an idea that has been bouncing around in my head since I first picked up the 4e books... A lot more emphasis has been placed on the combat abilities of each class, or at least with all the powers now for each class a lot more attention (and book space) is given to those in-combat abilities. And I thought “wow, what a great idea, what an opportunity.” What if that was taken even further, such that we divorce from each other what normally has been plunked together, where your fighting prowess has been inexorably linked with your role in the greater world? What about making a character out of two parts: one being what you do and your modus operandi in a combat situation (which is no doubt a big part of the game), and the other being what you do, who you are, and what you bring to the table _outside_ of armed conflict? Being able to choose those two separately opens up a much broader amount of options and combinations, with less need to shoehorn a concept into a particular class.

This is what these variant rules do. Each character chooses both a combat Style as well as a non-combat Trade. Each Trade also provides access to a new Trade skill that gives in-game benefits for one’s everyday skills. As a whole this is unobtrusive in application, with only a minor alteration to character creation and being invisible in play (yet opening up many more options).

Grab the rules here.

Please give it a read and a try, and let me know your thoughts and experiences! Critique away...

Kannik
 

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Paul Strack

First Post
The rules are not bad and it is clear you put a fair amount of thought and effort into this. I think, though, you are making things more complicated than they need to be.

You don't really need to change the core character creation rules. Why not leave the core characters and their skill sets as they are, and let each PC pick and extra and its associated Trade skill?

That way your players can still use tools like Character Builder for character creation and your house rules are just an addition to the rule set rather than a modification.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Interesting way to introduce some more skills to 4e.

I have a couple of questions/criticisms.

Get ride of Contacts, half of it is covered by your "Authority" skill and the other half by Streetwise, and whatever else by roleplaying.

Learned seems completely redundant to History and the other knowledge skills.

Read the Land seems completely redundant to Nature coupled with some simple deduction skills of the player and good narration of the GM.

A lot of Scoundrel seems to be like it could be separated into various skills like Thievery, Stealth, Streetwise, and Perception, coupled with smart player tactics.

I would fold Travel into Nature, it just makes sense in a medieval setting.

That said, I really like Farming and Soldiering - nice writeups on those!
 

Kannik

Adventurer
The rules are not bad and it is clear you put a fair amount of thought and effort into this.

Thanks!

You don't really need to change the core character creation rules. Why not leave the core characters and their skill sets as they are, and let each PC pick and extra and its associated Trade skill?

That way your players can still use tools like Character Builder for character creation and your house rules are just an addition to the rule set rather than a modification.

Thanks for the comment/question... my reasoning was twofold (which is really two parts of the same thing, in many ways):

The first is to allow for a greater variety of character options and mixes by making available certain skills to certain fighting styles (ie class builds) that weren’t available before. Is every woodsman scout an archer or two-weapon skirmisher? Perhaps there is a mage who operates as a scout under the employ of the king. Similarly there could be the professional military archer who isn’t out in the woods on their lonesome. Or the fancy swordsman who lives completely amongst the upper crust, duelling as a means of fun and profit, and always legit. I see it as a way to allow for a greater variety of backgrounds and even variations amongst the same character ‘class’.

The second reason is that the names of each character class comes with a lot of assumed ideas (from previous editions, from fiction, from personal experience) about what they are and what they can and cannot do. By making each style have a new and different name the intent is to allow the fighting method of the character be that much more divorced from the rest of the character concept.

Lastly (ok, turns out there are three reasons :p) is that much like how character class names come with certain ideas and expectations, by having a well defined set of names (trade character classes, if you will) it allows newcomers to pick a style and a trade and have a foundation upon which to flesh out their character.

So that was my intent and reasoning behind pulling it out into two separate things, and with playing with the skill lists. It certainly does have the potential downside of not making the Character Builder as easy to use (and having just gotten my DDI subscription that could be a concern even for me), though at the same time since you can break and add trained skills and even add a custom element it won’t be legal or able to check the legality but it is still possible.

You do now have me thinking of adding a new segment at the end for an option as you describe, to leave all else the same and give each PC a pick of a tradeskill. I will do that, thanks. }:)

Gamingly,

Kannik
 

Kannik

Adventurer
Interesting way to introduce some more skills to 4e. I have a couple of questions/criticisms.

Get ride of Contacts, half of it is covered by your "Authority" skill and the other half by Streetwise, and whatever else by roleplaying..

Hmm, I guess Authority and Contacts are indeed quite similar in what they do, though the means through which they do it could be quite different. This bears a second look, maybe I can condense the two together in a way.

Learned seems completely redundant to History and the other knowledge skills.

With Learned I want to simulate the trope of the Sage who just knows so much about so much, even if it isn’t their specialty, and in where it is in their specialty their knowledge is unsurpassed. Rather than give a simple bonus to knowledge checks this broadens the character’s scope, gives a way for the DM to pass on some truly obscure information (a hint or clue to start an adventure?), and still allows the character a bonus on a regular knowledge check but not necessarily a guaranteed bonus.

Read the Land seems completely redundant to Nature coupled with some simple deduction skills of the player and good narration of the GM.

That was one of the last skills I did the writeup for – I wasn’t sure what to give the Wild One as a benefit and wanted to stay away, again, from a simple bonus to nature skill rolls. I tried to make Read the Land go beyond what I considered the normal purveyance of the Nature skill would give, and everything I suggested could be part of a Nature roll if the DM allowed it. Any ideas of what could replace this skill?

I would fold Travel into Nature, it just makes sense in a medieval setting.

What I like about this one (and really what’s also neat about Farming and Soldiering I see now) is that the skill covers many different aspects, ie there’s navigation and management and survival and maintenance. Which, I guess, if I can make most of the skills do (something Read the Land could be missing) would make them more compelling as new skills vs just some specialization of some other skills.

That said, I really like Farming and Soldiering - nice writeups on those!

Excellent... so if I can bring the other skills (that aren’t introducing something wholly new) up to the same 'level' or utility of those two skills, it would be a richer system.

Cool. Something to work towards. }:)

Kannik
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Authority/Contacts
"Influence" sounds like what you're getting at. I would fold anything from Contacts that doesn't fit under Streetwise into Authority.

Learned
One knowledge skill missing is that of cryptanalysis/linguistics/artifact lore/ancient history. A skill that incorporated all that would be very interesting.

Read the Land
It sounds like you want this to be a history skill for changes in the landscape, am I right? Sort of natural forensics. Judging by the conspicuous lack of native plants and the dry compacted soil I might deduce cattle grazed here and could determine the extent of their range by where low-lying native plants grow again.

Travel
Move away from survival - leave that for Nature. This could be about teamstering, knowing checkpoints, avoiding enemy patrols, repairing saddles and shoeing horses, knowing safe places to rest, navigating by landmarks, finding a hidden valley, etc.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
Wow -- this is really well done!

You do now have me thinking of adding a new segment at the end for an option as you describe, to leave all else the same and give each PC a pick of a tradeskill.

I would prefer this as DM -- it's less of a change. (Splitting up the classes into builds seems like you are trying to solve two problems at once.) I'd let each trade grant a tradeskill, plus add one relevant skill to your class list (e.g. so that the clergy fighter can be trained in Religion if he wants). For balance considerations, see the background system in PHB2 -- it allows you to add a single skill to your class list in this way.

-- 77IM
 


Kannik

Adventurer
Wow -- this is really well done!

Thanks! }:)

I would prefer this as DM -- it's less of a change. (Splitting up the classes into builds seems like you are trying to solve two problems at once.) I'd let each trade grant a tradeskill, plus add one relevant skill to your class list (e.g. so that the clergy fighter can be trained in Religion if he wants). For balance considerations, see the background system in PHB2 -- it allows you to add a single skill to your class list in this way.

I've been waiting for Arcane Power to be released so I can get it and PHB2 at the same time so I'll snag a look at the Backgrounds in a friend's PHB and see what I can glean and add in option wise...

let the trades roll on,

Kannik
 

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