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4E Epic Skill Powers... Improving Alice in Wonderland

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It's fairly impossible if looked in the light of reality for 250lb man to using strength and mortal skill alone to "put the beat down" on a beast the size of buildings and armored like a tank… this however is something enabled for a very long time in D&D. However it is equally impossible such an individual would be terrestrial mundane in the ability to perform stunts outside of pure combat actions. Matching impact of magic and skill use may not be required for this to juxtapose correctly but it seems most likely to be the route to how much we can make the hero extraordinary within the game.

D&D eventually got around to introducing mechanics which covered this including broad and extraordinary amounts of Skill advancement, Skill Challenges and to an extent at least in principle Martial Practices and most pertinent Utilities and Skill Powers

Skill challenges (particularly with the DMG2 guidelines lined up the awesome of magic and the awesome of skill rather well albeit in a practical way the effect of a ritual on a broad adventure goal in the form of skill challenges could be gained by spending healing surges ie the use of skill could be backed up by extraordinary effort at the cost of a healing surge and or cash. Rituals were cheaper unless you improvised one (easily extrapolated based on the cash cost) and this inspired me to rework the cost of martial practices.

Utility powers were configured from the beginning to be of the same caliber for both caster and martial they even enabled martial daily utilities in some cases (although I might like more higher level ones). Now utilities only ever reached level 22 and honestly this makes me feel like epic is unfinished just like how 4e never had an epic DMG. That may in part be motivation behind this idea.

The players handbook 3 introduced a number of things I really like how Hybrids granted extraordinary character design versatility (if you were careful - I think we needed more feat glue but that is another discussion) and the other Skill Powers also not so coincidentally added versatility to your utility powers by tying them with skill use instead of classes. Skills began the game with built in skill powers / functions ... which everyone can use. Some of them had super versatile skill powers that are hard to adjudicate (Intimidate i am looking at you). Most were pretty locked down, dare I say too realistic? While skill does scale it really doesn't have enough impact on many of the skill functions to really be too impressive ie an epic running long jump is real world super Olympic good but not approaching what is enabled with magic (ahem) not what might one expect from someone able to knockdown a dragon.

Skill powers in many cases unlocked the built in skill functions taking off the top bringing skill use closer to empowered at least within limits ... For instance allowing one to periodically do a standing jump farther than a move action but really that is only going to happen when your skill reaches paragon or if you get a lucky roll - in fact that jump still provokes opportunity attacks and in spite of its combat context is really really situational. (There are people blinking about so having that not provoke would not have been so bad)

In mid-paragon you are just starting in flavor text and skill powers to be able to use skill alone to do impossible things and ultimately the skill numbers really are backing this up. However utilities halt at very early epic (level 22) and skill powers themselves only reach mid paragon.

So let's figure out how to do the impossible with skill and join Alice if nothing else the question of the moment is "What would a level 22 skill power look like?"

 
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In principle there's nothing to say that level 26 skill powers cannot exist. This level is normally one where you gain an epic destiny utility power, but there's really no reason it couldn't be exchanged for a skill power. Likewise there are no level 22 skill powers, for whatever reason, but this is again not really a limitation.

So I would just make powers of these levels. As you suggest, I would make them rather extraordinarily fantastic too.

I'd also note that there's nothing stopping you from 'backdooring' other 'skill powers' of other levels into the game either. Simply create a feat which grants the corresponding power flat out, and has a 'trained in skill x' requirement.

You can think of HoML as effectively a game where 'feats' have swallowed everything else, except they're called 'boons'. Some particulars are a bit different, but this is the base concept in mechanical 4e terms.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
In principle there's nothing to say that level 26 skill powers cannot exist. This level is normally one where you gain an epic destiny utility power, but there's really no reason it couldn't be exchanged for a skill power. Likewise there are no level 22 skill powers, for whatever reason, but this is again not really a limitation.

So I would just make powers of these levels. As you suggest, I would make them rather extraordinarily fantastic too.
Level 22 is definitely already open for business but it does have class utilities. I almost think making lower level skill powers scale better would be a good idea too. ... even ignoring that I think they were too conservative with them a jump which provokes opportunity attacks isnt much when there are people at level 1 blink/teleporting around

Moving so fast you can walk on walls as long as you keep moving (give it sustain)
Attacking an enemy as long as you hit you remain "flying"
Being able to fully interact with ghosts because you can push your superhuman life force to make them more real? and more damageable because of it.
witch sight for arcana skill.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I'd also note that there's nothing stopping you from 'backdooring' other 'skill powers' of other levels into the game either. Simply create a feat which grants the corresponding power flat out, and has a 'trained in skill x' requirement.
Yeah feat powers which require skills are very much a different doorway for the functionality of awesome by way of skill.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yeah, better scaling is IMHO something that powers should, in general focus on more.
Skill powers and utility powers are their own beasts arguably and if you have a whole tier that lacks well why not make every single one scale rather like how at-wills scale because you never pick up more of them nor override them with a higher level version (not particularly fond of that latter concept most of the time anyway)

So lets say mighty leap/bounding leap are adjusted initially to not provoke opportunity attacks and the distance was changed to be +1 square per 3 on the skill check when you reach say level 12.

Epic distances and sizes/area of effects are as I have mentioned battle board hindered but one issue at a time.

I think we just need to be "More Alice" for a lot of this
 
"We can slay the Jabberwock but can we do anything else."
Wot? No galumphing?



Actually looking for inspiration in this regards
Hate to say it, but think about what anime characters do...

...ok and action movies...


So, leaping physically impossible distance, arrow-cutting, outrunning explosions, parkour to the nth degree, superhuman stealth to & beyond the point of invisibility or of "teleporting" away in the instant someone takes their eyes off you, escape-artistry to the point of functional insubstantiality (literally nothing can hold you), "irresistible" persuasion or intimidation (hitting WILL to impose conditions). You might also consider utilities that specifically work in skill challenges: An Epic Daily based on streetwise, nature or dungeoneering to unerringly find a creature, place or thing in the corresponding environment, giving enough automatic successes to compete a Complexity 1 Challenge (or one less, so a check is still required); a similar mechanic could be used for Bluff/Diplomacy/Insight in social challenges, each for somewhat different goals thereof (or within a more complex challenge).
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Wot? No galumphing?



Hate to say it, but think about what anime characters do...

...ok and action movies...


So, leaping physically impossible distance, arrow-cutting, outrunning explosions, parkour to the nth degree, superhuman stealth to & beyond the point of invisibility or of "teleporting" away in the instant someone takes their eyes off you, escape-artistry to the point of functional insubstantiality (literally nothing can hold you), "irresistible" persuasion or intimidation (hitting WILL to impose conditions). You might also consider utilities that specifically work in skill challenges: An Epic Daily based on streetwise, nature or dungeoneering to unerringly find a creature, place or thing in the corresponding environment, giving enough automatic successes to compete a Complexity 1 Challenge (or one less, so a check is still required); a similar mechanic could be used for Bluff/Diplomacy/Insight in social challenges, each for somewhat different goals thereof (or within a more complex challenge).
Throwing Allies impossibly far. Sensing an attack from impossibly far. Those persuasions/diplomacy affecting even enemies of course.

Definitely some skill challenge functions. I am thinking using any Martial Practice converted into an action instead of a process.
 
Definitely some skill challenge functions. I am thinking using any Martial Practice converted into an action instead of a process.
Having read that, I am now surprised that there was never a daily wizard utility that let you pre-cast a ritual then use it as an action.
 
Yeah, I have heavily blurred the line between 'procedures' and 'utilities'. I don't really hold with a specific 'skill power' category anymore, but in HoML utility powers don't have limited slots anyway.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yeah, I have heavily blurred the line between 'procedures' and 'utilities'. I don't really hold with a specific 'skill power' category anymore, but in HoML utility powers don't have limited slots anyway.
Add clause to a utility or skill power saying you gain the martial practice X its makes me think of the 5e free and slotted rituals almost.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Unimpeachable Lie - level 26 Blufff skill power
You can even kill one of them and they still think you are on their side
I will write this up but at the moment I am having moral problems with it.

Divisive Deception - level 26 Bluff skill power
You turn enemies against each other to the degree they ignore you and your allies.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
In principle there's nothing to say that level 26 skill powers cannot exist. This level is normally one where you gain an epic destiny utility power, but there's really no reason it couldn't be exchanged for a skill power.
While this means there are Epic Destiny powers to look at for comparison I am not one hundred percent certain the current offering is really as epic as it could be but.... it gives us a starting point.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Unimpeachable Lie - level 26 Bluff skill power
You can even kill one of them and they still think you are on their side
I will write this up but at the moment I am having moral problems with it.

Divisive Deception - level 26 Bluff skill power
You turn enemies against each other to the degree they tend to ignore you and your allies.

I am thinking a way to inject things like these into a battle scene is to allow them to delay the fight also could happen with Diplomacy and Intimidate nor just Bluff based practices ... ie when pre-prepared (like a ritual invested in a scroll) they might take only an action to initiate like use of a scroll might but the end effect may occur only after a minute.

The delay will most of the time just be flavor although it makes it technically interruptible.
 

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