Four Ability Scores

Don Durito

Explorer
Will in Shadow of a Demon Lord isn't entirely identical to Charisma in D&D.

Under Social Conflict in Shadows of a Demon Lord core book pg 4.5 it says.

Persuade, Befriend or Intimidate come under Will (but the latter can also be Strength)
However Taunt or Decieve are Intellect.

So Will is similar to Charisma in some functions but not all and there is not one ability that covers all social situations.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
It's a more logical breakdown, definintely.

But I personally don't want the situation where one PC is clearly best in social situations anymore than I want any one PC to dominate in combat.

Not that there aren't other ways to split the pie. You could have particular PCs have ways to be situationally better I guess.
Playstyles for Social Skills are known to differ drastically from table to table.

Some playstyles have the player say, ‘I roll Persuasion to see if I can get the President to do it.’ The rationale is, the character might be much more persuasive than the player. So just roll. (Probably, the playstyle is also focusing on the tactics of the combat pillar and expediting the social pillar.)

Other playstyles − the one I prefer − require the player to explain HOW the character attempts to persuade the President. What is said? What is offered? What factor is called attention to? Or so on. The DM decides yes-no-maybe. If what the player says or does seems likely to persuade the President, then it is an autosuccess. If it seems unlikely to change the mind of the President, then it is an autofail. Only in those situations where the DM wonders if it might go either way, would the DM ask the player to roll a Persuasion check.

My take on it is. The Charisma ability mechanic works well for social challenges. But perhaps it would help if the rules clarify to the DM how the different playstyles can drastically affect how the mechanic plays out.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Will in Shadow of a Demon Lord isn't entirely identical to Charisma in D&D.

Under Social Conflict in Shadows of a Demon Lord core book pg 4.5 it says.

Persuade, Befriend or Intimidate come under Will (but the latter can also be Strength)
However Taunt or Decieve are Intellect.

So Will is similar to Charisma in some functions but not all and there is not one ability that covers all social situations.
I said Will is completely identical to the way the ability foursome in this thread combines Charisma-Wisdom into a single ability.

Will = Charisma-Wisdom
 

Don Durito

Explorer
If I can convince the king without rolling Persuade why should I take proficiency in Persuade?

Don't I just get an extra proficiency to spend somewhere else due to player skill?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Man this thread is a great reminder of why I don’t have Attributes add to skills in my system.

Your Strength is a resource you can draw upon any time it makes sense to you to do so, and no one at the table challenges it. If challenged, it’s up to the GM. It never adds a modifier to a skill roll, though. Instead, you spend a point of Strength to fix a flubbed roll, or to power an ability that costs Attribute Points.

Any given skill could benefit from any given stat in this way, but if you aren’t spending an AP, you don’t worry about any associations between Attributes and Skills.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
If I can convince the king without rolling Persuade why should I take proficiency in Persuade?

Don't I just get an extra proficiency to spend somewhere else due to player skill?
Because of those situations when the outcome is ambiguous, and trying to persuade the leader is a challenge, the Persuasion skill can be valuable.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Note, I feel the Persuasion skill should be able to inflict the Charmed condition.

Likewise, the Intimidation skill should be able to inflict the Frightened condition.

In these cases, the use of the skills would be an ‘attack’ − versus the Charisma-Wisdom Will defense.

But I havent decided yet exactly how this should work.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
Because of those situations when the outcome is ambiguous, and trying to persuade the leader is a challenge, the Persuasion skill can be valuable.
I think I said something similar earlier but I think this is best done without the Persuasion skill.

You just need a good underlying system to provide structure. If you say to Faction X "If you distract faction Y by attacking them from the front then we'll sneak in the back and kill the leader", then this sounds like it should call for a persuasion roll. But what's at issue ?- Whether the PCs are telling the truth (if not then there's deception) and whether the PCs are trustworthy.

So if the GM knows how trustworthy they think the PCs are then he also can decide if they are willing to believe the PCs will do what they say. If the NPCs attitude is Hostile, then probably they won't. If it's Friendly then likely they will. So if the PC can build rapport and shift that attitude along, or act in such a way that they can prove trustworthiness - say give over a magic item for safekeeping as a kind of hostage - then the NPCs may believe them.

But this is not so much Persuasion, as providing the groundwork for persuasion. It's a subtle distinction - but I think it is important. It means that you can decide the important things through role-playing but without just relying on GM fiat.

But basically if we call the skill "Build Rapport" rather than Persuasion than it's clearer to the player - that at the crux moment - when the actual act of persuasion is taking place - that the skill is not rolled - which I feel is only being fair and transparent. (Of course if you as a GM are making it clear to the players as an outset that you can to use Persuasion in a way that's different to what they might expect than I guess it's not really an issue.)
 
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Yaarel

Adventurer
I think I said something similar earlier but I think this is best done without the Persuasion skill.

You just need a good underlying system to provide structure. If you say to Faction X "If you distract faction Y by attacking them from the front then we'll sneak in the back and kill the leader", then this sounds like it should call for a persuasion roll. But what's at issue ?- Whether the PCs are telling the truth (if not then there's deception) and whether the PCs are trustworthy.

So if the GM knows how trustworthy they think the PCs are then he also can decide if they are willing to believe the PCs will do what they say. If the NPCs attitude is Hostile, then probably they won't. If it's Friendly then likely they will. So if the PC can build rapport and shift that attitude along, or act in such a way that they can prove trustworthiness - say give over a magic item for safekeeping as a kind of hostage - then the NPCs may believe them.

But this is not so much Persuasion, as providing the groundwork for persuasion. It's a subtle distinction - but I think it is important. It means that you can decide the important things through role-playing but without just relying on GM fiat.

But basically if we call the skill "Build Rapport" rather than Persuasion than it's clearer to the player - that at the crux moment - when the actual act of persuasion is taking place - that the skill is not rolled - which I feel is only being fair and transparent. (Of course if you as a GM are making it clear to the players as an outset that you can to use Persuasion in a way that's different to what they might expect than I guess it's not really an issue.)
If I understand you correctly, I think that is a good idea.

Instead of the Persuasion skill being used to ‘persuade’ someone to do something specific, what it specifically does is foster mutual goodwill. Hence call it the Rapport skill. In other words, its proficiency helps a Charisma check to improve a hostile creature to an indifferent one, or an indifferent creature to a friendly one.

As such, I would merge Insight-Empathy and Persuasion together to call it ‘Rapport’, so that it includes being able to understand the mind of the other to relate to the other and to convey oneself to the other. This empathy might also sense concerns that motivate the other, including Trait, Flaw, Ideal, and Bond.

A friendly creature wants the player characters to succeed is more likely to consider a logical argument, for example.



That said, I still want to see Charm and Frighten as skills. For example, in 4e, Intimidate had the ability to force surrender, thus ending a combat encounter, with the hostile in custody. This is a kind of use of Frighten.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I don't think 4 abilities is inherently more efficient or "elegant" than 2, 6 or 8.
I think more stats might be a better solution than fewer, but anything that ends up less broken would be a good idea.
I want to point out, the foursome of this thread can also be presented as an eightsome:

• Strength: size, reach, melee attacks, grappling, carrying capacity
• Constitution: fortitude save, hit points

• Dexterity: manual dexterity (fine motor skills), ranged attacks
• Athletics: reflex save, body agility (gross motor skills), AC bonus, speed (jump, climb, balance, fall)

• Charisma: rapport (insight, empathy, goodwill), persuasion (charm), intimidation (frighten), performance (art)
• Wisdom: will save

• Intelligence: knowledge, lore skills
• Perception: perception save, investigation (senses, analysis, intuition), deception



The gaming systems that have eight or so abilities tend to be clear (unambiguous and without overlap) about what each ability means. On the other hand, they seem to be unequal in value, and difficult to balance.

By contrast, clustering related abilities together results in balance. The balance is more robust too, so that when one ability in a cluster is less useful in an encounter, its related ability in the cluster might still retain usefulness or even gain usefulness.
 
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Yaarel

Adventurer
I want to give the Initiative bonus to the Intelligence-Perception ability, in the sense of noticing and anticipating an opponent. As such, the surprise check and the initiative check are moreorless the same thing.

Tentatively, give Stealth to Intelligence-Perception, in the sense of perceptive motion, knowing which twig to avoid and which shadow would work as cover − both to hide and to detect hiding.

With Stealth and Initiative, Intelligence-Perception becomes a full-on useful ability for combat encounters

The following is a start toward a comprehensive list of benefits, to compare balance in more detail.



Strength-Constitution
• size (+4 or higher as a prereq for Large), reach
• melee attacks
• ‘heavy’ weapons (benefit from Strength bonus)
• ‘heavy’ armor (move at full speed)
• grappling (keep on holding)
• carrying capacity (lift, pull, push)
• brute force (break doors, bend bars, move tree, launch boulder)
• hit points
• fortitude save

Dexterity-Athletics
• body agility (athletics-acrobatics, gymnastics, climb, balance, jump, fall, motionless poise)
• finesse grappling (sotospeak)
• speed, run
• AC bonus, dodge
• reflex save
• manual dexterity (slight-of-hand, detailed handiwork, piloting controls, steady hand)
• finesse attacks
• ranged attacks

Intelligence-Perception
• lore skills
• investigation (detection, senses, analysis, intuition)
• stealth (hide or detect hiding)
• initiative bonus
• deception (deceive an other, or find a flaw in an others deception, replicate accurately)
• perception save

Charisma-Wisdom
• rapport (insight, persuasion, animal handling, improve social attitude and helpfulness)
• charm
• frighten
• performance (force of personality, presence, art, esthetic quality, beauty)
• will save



Combat wise, Charisma-Wisdom might appear the weak one, but charm and frighten decide if a combat encounter even happens. Note, every frighten check requires a credible threat as a prerequisite. In many situations, being big and threatening to beat someone up can serve as a credible threat.

Finesse attacks make Dexterity-Athletics an especially powerful choice, and in a gun setting, ranged attacks make it a must have. Nevertheless, any concepts requiring hit points will need Strength-Constitution anyway, for a more wellrounded combatant. Also, the absence of Stealth here, helps moderate the choice of Dexterity-Athletics.
 
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FrogReaver

Adventurer
Why the heck is stealth in intelligence - perception?
Deception shouldn't be the skill that counters deception?
Speaking of deception - the best deceivers are charismatic not intelligent. Intelligence plays a very small role in being able to pass off a lie - instead it's how you present yourself which is charisma 99%.

Initiative while I dislike it being under perception-intellgience I can at least understand that. You are emphasizing the identify danger ability above the split seconds you have to react to it. Makes sense in a game without guns I guess.

My biggest fear right now is that your skill brackets are drastically less useful than each other. Str characters get hosed. Int and charisma characters have flat out baller skills. I'm not seeing how you can make this fair in relation to the stats in any way.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Initiative while I dislike it being under perception-intellgience I can at least understand that. You are emphasizing the identify danger ability above the split seconds you have to react to it. Makes sense in a game without guns I guess.
Yeah. Perception can anticipate danger.

But also in the sense of the five senses, Perception can recognize the meaning of, and respond more quickly to, subtle movements.

In a game of guns, ‘reaction time’ is meaningless. The goal is to avoid ever entering a location where a bullet might be traveling. So, intelligent and perceptive anticipation of danger is more important for gun scenes.

Deception shouldn't be the skill that counters deception?
Speaking of deception - the best deceivers are charismatic not intelligent. Intelligence plays a very small role in being able to pass off a lie - instead it's how you present yourself which is charisma 99%.
Charisma can help with building rapport and establishing trust.

However, whether the deception itself is convincing or not relies exclusively on Intelligence.

The best deceivers are the ones who know their stuff, and can pull it off. This is necessarily true when trying to pass off a replica as an original. The creator of the replica has to know everything that an expert would look for. But it also applies abstractly, like an accountant creating a convincing investment fraud. Intelligence-Perception is everything. To be a competent liar requires being able to keep track of the lies that one is telling, whence Intelligence, and know how and when to present a lie, whence reasoning.

The same skillsets that discover a fraud, are the same skillsets that create a fraud.

Deception can also be used to create a convincing disguise, in the sense of a replica, like a fake nose or so on. Here too, Intelligence-Perception is everything.



My biggest fear right now is that your skill brackets are drastically less useful than each other. Str characters get hosed. Int and charisma characters have flat out baller skills. I'm not seeing how you can make this fair in relation to the stats in any way.
It is important to get Strength-Constitution right.

So far, my rationale is:

A high investment allows the existence of Large characters.

Brute force, like bending bars, can be useful and flavorful.

Carrying is occasionally useful for carrying other characters.

Most importantly, Strength-Constitution = hit points. Players are loath to ever dump this.

Strength might need some oomph, but hit points are a big big deal.



Why the heck is stealth in intelligence - perception?
I am more iffy about stealth, but Intelligence-Perception is often the more necessary ability.

For example. Your character crosses a lake under the cover of night and fog. Reaching shore, the character camouflages the boat with nearby shrubs to hide it from any onlookers. This is all about perception.

Similarly, the same locations that Stealth selects to avoid attracting attention − whether in shadows or in a crowd − are the same locations where a bodyguard would routinely scan to detect any intruders.



Camouflaging a boat would require perceptive Intelligence

Walking on dry leaves silently might require athletic Dexterity − but it might require perception to discern the quieter patch of leaves.

The Stealth skill, if proficient, might apply to either.
 
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FrogReaver

Adventurer
All tasks require a minimal amount of intelligence.

Chasing someone down before they get somewhere is often more about angles of pursuit - which is intelligence more than speed. But the intelligence required is pretty minimal. Same with stealth. For the most part the intelligence required to be sneaky is less important than the agility to pull it off.

That is - you can't be a total idiot and be sneaky - but as long as you are moderately smart about what you are doing then more intelligence doesn't do anything for you - whereas more agility always helps.

You seem to be hung up on the - if a can see an idiot failing at it then it's intelligence.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Same with stealth. For the most part the intelligence required to be sneaky is less important than the agility to pull it off.
Maybe agility is more important for Stealth.

In earlier editions, ‘stealth’ was two separate highly specific skills: ‘move silently’ and ‘hide in shadows’.

Now Stealth is a much more comprehensive skillset.

But even moving silently is pretty simple. Wear socks, and land each footstep on the side of the sole. Done. When sneaking thru dim light, dont look directly at anything being focused on. Look at it from a slight angle, where the black-white vision is better. Done. (As a kid, I loved ninjas!)

The hardest part of moving silently is to NOT step on the loud creaking loose wooden floorboard. So perception is pretty important even more move silently.

I am feel conflicted about which ability to make primary for Stealth.

A benefit of assigning Stealth to Intelligence-Perception is, it becomes a great choice for the archetype that avoids head-on combat.
 

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