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D&D General Do you prefer more or less Skills?

How many Skills?

  • A lot!

    Votes: 30 36.1%
  • A few!

    Votes: 53 63.9%

  • Total voters
    83

Stalker0

Legend
For D&D in particular, I think the skill proficiencies that exist are mostly "right-sized", but they do leave some annoying holes. The most obvious one is knowledge of the human (or maybe sapient) world – history fills some of it, but I'm thinking things like heraldry, geography, who rules where, what are proper ways to act in a particular town/culture, and so on. I'd also include thieves' tools in Sleight of Hand and possibly rename it Thievery. I could also see combining Nature and Survival, and maybe bake Animal Handling into one or both of those – any time you have a player asking "What's the difference between skill X and skill Y?" you should consider whether those might not be better off as a single skill.
I use History for Heraldry, Nature for Geography, Persuasion(Intelligence) for customs or culture.

I agree nature and survival really should be combined....they accepted the idea that a wizard should often know more about religion than a cleric (religion becoming an int based skill as all knowledges now are), but I guess couldn't swallow that they would be better in the woods than the wise ranger.
 

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billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I'm generally OK with the number of differentiated skills in 5e. I might consider another lore-oriented skill to add to Arcana, History, Nature, and Religion - something like Society to cover current societies, laws, kings and nobles, etc.

One thing to keep in mind with skills isn't just trying to suss out how best to simulate reality as filtered through the genre, but also balance out how characters will be likely to use the skills and who is likely to have them. The flexibility of backgrounds broadens things, but it's probably the martial-oriented characters who are most likely to take something like Athletics - and it would be too much of a burden for them to have to pick up Climbing, Jumping, Swimming, Throwing, etc. in order to have pretty good trained competence in all of those. So putting them all in Athletics works just fine for me.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
I have a few criticism about the present skills in 5e, but the amount of skills it offers is about right. There is already a good number of them, so I'm not sure if 5e qualifies as "a few", but I wouldn’t want more at any case.

I'd be ok with removing Acrobatics and folding it into Athletics, perhaps with a rogue and monk ability to allow them to use DEX instead of STR on Athletics checks (i.e. a finesse for Athletics) if skills are to be used with fixed stats. Animal Handling and Nature could probably be merged too; not so much because their use is similar, but because people proficient in one would likely be proficient in the other as well. Then I wouldn't mind some kind of Shmoozing skill for all the situations that are not clear deception and not quite persuasion, or a Streetsmart skill encompassing finding the right people/services and gathering news etc.

A perfect balance between the use of all skills is impossible, but i find the usefulness of 5e skills a bit too disproportionate at times (but I don't think the issue is about the number of skills).
 
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Minigiant

Legend
I agree nature and survival really should be combined....they accepted the idea that a wizard should often know more about religion than a cleric (religion becoming an int based skill as all knowledges now are), but I guess couldn't swallow that they would be better in the woods than the wise ranger.

Survival (and Dungeoneering) are just skill taxes to keep fighters, druids, and clerics from being better outdoorsmen and trackers than rangers at no cost.

But then ironically rangers are skill taxed with Animal Handling to get the full set of Stealth, Perception, HA, Nature, and Survival
I think, using social checks with abilities other than CHA and generally taking PC's fictional positioning works quite well for avoiding faces.
Another option is to have lore skills for conversation skills vs certain peoples.

Arcana (Cha) when trying to convince a mage that their spell will doom us all.
Religion (Int) to recall a religious verse of a faithful elf's holy book to make them do you a favor.

Have the mages talk to mages and warriors to warriors. The generic face is for who is left.

That would require decoupling skills and abilities, something D&D hasn't commit to do in favor of ease of use.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
I voted a few, but it's technically none. I'd prefer they make it simple. Race, class, and background give you advantage on any checks that would reasonably fall under the assumed training of those categories. Maybe add in a culture category as they're splitting race from culture. Drop specific skills and proficiencies entirely.
That's my vote too. Skills had their purpose back in 3e and 4e, but now I feel they are just another vestigial organ that only serves the purpose of making the players believe they are like "buttons" to be pressed.

I feel like I'm dying inside every time I hear a player say "I want to make a Perception check". Seriously, I hate it.
 


Horwath

Hero
Survival (and Dungeoneering) are just skill taxes to keep fighters, druids, and clerics from being better outdoorsmen and trackers than rangers at no cost.

But then ironically rangers are skill taxed with Animal Handling to get the full set of Stealth, Perception, HA, Nature, and Survival

Another option is to have lore skills for conversation skills vs certain peoples.

Arcana (Cha) when trying to convince a mage that their spell will doom us all.
Religion (Int) to recall a religious verse of a faithful elf's holy book to make them do you a favor.

Have the mages talk to mages and warriors to warriors. The generic face is for who is left.

That would require decoupling skills and abilities, something D&D hasn't commit to do in favor of ease of use.
problem is that they wanted to keep expertise kind of exclusive, which was dumb and we saw more and more expertise being handed out with more books being released.

All classes should have gotten one expertise at 1st level, depending on class. rogues 3 of it.

Barbarian: expertise in athletics or survival
Bard: expertise in one charisma skill
Cleric: expertise in religion
Druid: expertise in nature or survival
Fighter: expertise in athletics
Monk: expertise in acrobatics or athletics
Paladin: expertise in religion or insigh
Ranger: expertise in survival or perception
Rogue: expertise in any 3 rogue skills
Sorcerer: expertise in arcana or any charisma skill
Warlock: expertise in arcana, nature or religion
Wizard: expertise in arcana and one skill from History, nature, religion
 

That's my vote too. Skills had their purpose back in 3e and 4e, but now I feel they are just another vestigial organ that only serves the purpose of making the players believe they are like "buttons" to be pressed.

I feel like I'm dying inside every time I hear a player say "I want to make a Perception check". Seriously, I hate it.
Here here.

The cure: "just tell me what your character is doing and what they are trying to accomplish".
 


Nefermandias

Adventurer
Here here.

The cure: "just tell me what your character is doing and what they are trying to accomplish".
Nah, man. It's really annoying when I say something like "I would love to have an official option for a more lethal game" or "It would be nice if we had an official variant for limited cantrips" and people are like: "Yeah, just take this third party book or houserule it yourself".

Yes, I am well aware that I can do whatever in my own game, but believe it or not, some groups do care for what's considered official or not. Guess we are just weird...
 

Here here.

The cure: "just tell me what your character is doing and what they are trying to accomplish".
Nah, man. It's really annoying when I say something like "I would love to have an official option for a more lethal game" or "It would be nice if we had an official variant for limited cantrips" and people are like: "Yeah, just take this third party book or houserule it yourself".

Yes, I am well aware that I can do whatever in my own game, but believe it or not, some groups do care for what's considered official or not. Guess we are just weird...
Maybe you misread what I'm saying. If someone starts pressing buttons on a character sheet or doing a "can I role [X]", I just go back to the basics of the play loop in the PHB - particularly Part 2: The players describe what they want to do. And that means describe what your character is doing in-world.
 



Nefermandias

Adventurer
Maybe you misread what I'm saying. If someone starts pressing buttons on a character sheet or doing a "can I role [X]", I just go back to the basics of the play loop in the PHB - particularly Part 2: The players describe what they want to do. And that means describe what your character is doing in-world.
Ah yes. I keep having to remind them of the basics.
Angry has a nice article about that:

 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Ah yes. I keep having to remind them of the basics.
Angry has a nice article about that:

Huh. That's literally the second time I've ever agreed with anything he's said. Nice.

"A well-trained GM doesn’t think about the rules of the game – about die rolls and skills and stuff – until their brain has had a go at the situation first. They only use the rules when they absolutely need them. Brains before dice, right?"

"My point is that the minute you stop making organic decisions that the characters would make if they were real and the story was real, you’re ruining what makes the stories that come out of RPGs so great. You’re forcing them."

He sounds like he's sliding into the FKR.
 
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Huh. That's literally the second time I've ever agreed with anything he's said. Nice.

"A well-trained GM doesn’t think about the rules of the game – about die rolls and skills and stuff – until their brain has had a go at the situation first. They only use the rules when they absolutely need them. Brains before dice, right?"

"My point is that the minute you stop making organic decisions that the characters would make if they were real and the story was real, you’re ruining what makes the stories that come out of RPGs so great. You’re forcing them."

He sounds like he's sliding into the FKR.
What is FKR?
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
What is FKR?
Free Kriegsspiel Renaissance. Basically a push for rules ultralight that puts a primacy on the fiction of the game world (immersion, making decisions in character rather than based on rules, etc). Basically all that "don't think about the rules first, think about what your character would do as a living, breathing person in this world" stuff is one of the aims of FKR.
 


Nefermandias

Adventurer
I have this weird thing going on where in one hand I love robust systems and clear rules. They are great tools and they help making sure everyone is on the same page and that the game will be running fair and consistent.

On the other hand, I'm a firm believer in using the fiction and the environment to move the game forward. Call it brains before dice or even skilled play if you want.

I don't really think both things are in conflict with each other. That's also why B/X and 4e are (weirdly) my two favorite versions of the game.
 

Minigiant

Legend
That I could never understand. I don't even understand where that "ease of use" comes from.

It is easier for people to understand that Athletics is always tied to STR rather than it being sometimes STR, sometimes DEX, and sometimes CON.
It is also easier to map to a character sheet that way.

Decoupled skills is better in my mind but it is a lot tougher for new or tired players. And it would get annoying fast for DM to constantly have to remind players or field attempts to apply a skill to everything. Trust me.

That's why I am for a list like 5e's plus 5-6 more skills (Weighlighting (STR), Browbeat (STR), Endurance (CON), Etiquette (CHA) Streetwise (CHA)) as a base. Decoupling requires a more veteran playerbase and more attachment to backgrounds.
 

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