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Eliminating the Track feat

Felon

First Post
I house-ruled that characters can track with a Survival check without needing the Track feat to do so. It's been one of the better house rules I've seen in a long time. I wish more DM's would do it.

IME, tracking is generally something required by the plot, making it something the DM wants the party to have more than the players do. If characters are low level and don't have a ranger in the party, they probably won't have the feat. Conversely, once they're high-level, they'll have access to magics that will make the feat unnecessary.

And on top of that, although Survival has many other stated uses--avoiding getting lost, avoiding hazards, dealing with inclimate weather, hunting for food--they're largely ignored by a lot of DM's because many players view them as tedious, even discouraging ("look, do you want us to get to the damn dungeon or not???"). So, characters without the Track feat often find their ranks in Survival going to pot.
 
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Rhun

First Post
This seems like an excellent house rule to me. I may yoink it.

It strikes me that if you use the survival skill to hunt, that this should included tracking. Obviously, you'll need to be able to stalk the animal in question in order to hunt it.
 




Felon

First Post
Crothian said:
I like that. I'd then give the ranger +4 to surivial skill to replace the track feat they gain.

Well, house-ruling away the Track feat made it easier for me to make ranger a prestige class, a la Unearthed Arcana.

Having said that, rangers already get enough abilities at 1st level to match what, say, a fighter gets. I'm not sure they'd need compensation. But I can see where your players might not agree.
 

airwalkrr

Adventurer
I don't think it is a bad idea [to get rid of track]. I am currently working on a new skill system (modeled after the one proposed by Spoony Bard) in which a character may have either proficiency or mastery in a skill. In this system, a character with Survival Proficiency knows how to track, so the track feat is no longer necessary. Since only three classes can attain proficiency in Survival, I don't think it steals much from the ranger.
 


Thurbane

First Post
Crothian said:
I like that. I'd then give the ranger +4 to surivial skill to replace the track feat they gain.
I agree. If Survival can be used to track without the feat required, then the Track feat should add a +4 bonus to make it worth taking...
 

ValhallaGH

First Post
Thurbane said:
I agree. If Survival can be used to track without the feat required, then the Track feat should add a +4 bonus to make it worth taking...
You can simply delete the feat. A better tracker has Skill Focus (Survival) and / or Self Suficient (+2 to Heal and Survival).

Giving a Ranger Skill Focus (Survival) for free at first level would seem to keep the current power balance, emphasize the class's wilderness abilities and remove the need for the Track feat from the game entirely.
 


Fat Daddy

First Post
I don't have my books in front of me, but I thought survival could be used to track anything with a DC of 20 and under. You only needed the track feat to track something with a DC higher than 20. Maybe I'm just giddy from working all night or maybe we just house ruled it that way.
 

Goblyns Hoard

First Post
The SRD said:
Track: Normal

Without this feat, you can use the Survival skill to find tracks, but you can follow them only if the DC for the task is 10 or lower. Alternatively, you can use the Search skill to find a footprint or similar sign of a creature’s passage using the DCs given above, but you can’t use Search to follow tracks, even if someone else has already found them.

DC 10 - one medium creature on soft ground.

Thus the Track feat currently does a lot more than just the +4 to Survival which is proposed above.

An alternative idea - allow people without Track to use survival to track but all penalties are doubled??? Not sure how that would work but would mean your average barbarian or druid could track well enough.
 

Felon

First Post
Goblyns Hoard said:
An alternative idea - allow people without Track to use survival to track but all penalties are doubled??? Not sure how that would work but would mean your average barbarian or druid could track well enough.

But why double the penalties? Why make it harder just to justify the existence of feat whose existence is called into question?
 

Because its not the feat being called into question, its the Ranger's ability to excell as the wilderness survival guy. Current rules mean you either need a Ranger or someone to expend a feat in order to follow difficult tracks....
Just as you need a Rogue to Open Locks. The difference is that Open locks is simply declared off-limits to other classes while track is not.

So, if you allow everyone to follow difficult tracks based on skill points invested, how do you keep the Ranger as the wilderness survival guy?

Sean's idea of adding a penalty to tracking attempts over DC 10 is, IMHO, the cleanest way to accomplish this. If you haven't gone over to read his article I would suggest doing so. :)
 

ValhallaGH

First Post
Primitive Screwhead said:
Because its not the feat being called into question, its the Ranger's ability to excell as the wilderness survival guy.
Wait, what? I thought the topic was "Eliminating the Track feat". By the very name, the existence of the Track feat has been called into question and no justification for its continued existence in d20 has been provided.
Primitive Screwhead said:
Just as you need a Rogue to Open Locks. The difference is that Open locks is simply declared off-limits to other classes while track is not.
You mean Search for and Disable Device magic traps. But I understand your point.
Primitive Screwhead said:
So, if you allow everyone to follow difficult tracks based on skill points invested, how do you keep the Ranger as the wilderness survival guy?
Make him automatically better at Survival than every other class by giving him a free +3, regardless of his skill ranks. That would acomplish the goal, wouldn't it?
Primitive Screwhead said:
Sean's idea of adding a penalty to tracking attempts over DC 10 is, IMHO, the cleanest way to accomplish this.
How is adding a conditional rule easier or cleaner than my proposal? Seriously, I'm confused on this point and would appreciate some clarity.

Goblyns Hoard said:
Thus the Track feat currently does a lot more than just the +4 to Survival which is proposed above.
Actually, it does a lot less than a numerical bonus would. Like Trapfinding, all the Track feat does is allow you to attempt something you should already be able to attempt to do. That's it. It doesn't give a bonus to doing the thing, it simply makes it possible to attempt. (See this for an example of what I mean.)
Removing the Track feat, and the limitation created to justify its existence, and replacing it with an actual bonus on tracking (and other wilderness abilities) would increase the power of the Ranger, and the ability to try and track things would increase the power of the other classes as well.
 
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Thurbane

First Post
At the moment, the Ranger doesn't excell at tracking any more than any other character with the Track feat and equal ranks in Survival...
 

:uhoh: Sorry.. following the thread content, not the title :)
Thurbane had mentioned making the Track feat a +4 to survival....

Yes, the +10 DC over 10 is a bit of an odd mechanic, but when used across the board to get rid of the absolutes, as Sean suggests, its a mechanic that causes the least ripples on the rest of the game system.
When looking at just Track, then yes, giving the Ranger a bonus to Survival and letting anyone track is about the cleanest trade...and one I might be willing to add to my HR folder, probably a +4 :)


Thurbane, the point is rangers are good at tracking. So are characters who spend the skill points on a class survival skill and spend a feat on it.

Without the feat, rangers are as good at tracking as any other character with equal points in survival.

So, is the Ranger supposed to be the better tracker than other {Core, Base} classes? IMHO yes. So if you remove the Track feat, what do you give to rangers to replace them in thier niche? ValhallaGH pretty much answered this to my satisfaction :)
 

Thurbane

First Post
Primitive Screwhead said:
:uhoh: Sorry.. following the thread content, not the title :)
Thurbane had mentioned making the Track feat a +4 to survival....

Yes, the +10 DC over 10 is a bit of an odd mechanic, but when used across the board to get rid of the absolutes, as Sean suggests, its a mechanic that causes the least ripples on the rest of the game system.
When looking at just Track, then yes, giving the Ranger a bonus to Survival and letting anyone track is about the cleanest trade...and one I might be willing to add to my HR folder, probably a +4 :)


Thurbane, the point is rangers are good at tracking. So are characters who spend the skill points on a class survival skill and spend a feat on it.

Without the feat, rangers are as good at tracking as any other character with equal points in survival.

So, is the Ranger supposed to be the better tracker than other {Core, Base} classes? IMHO yes. So if you remove the Track feat, what do you give to rangers to replace them in thier niche? ValhallaGH pretty much answered this to my satisfaction :)
Erm, maybe I didn't word myself well, but I basically agree with everything you said.
 

airwalkrr

Adventurer
Give the ranger a +3 competence bonus when making Survival checks to track creatures outdoors, then let anyone with Survival make track checks, then raise the base DC of track checks to 15 or 20. Tracking should be harder than it already is anyway, especially since you can usually take 10 on it.
 

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