Did some math to see if I was totally off base. A +3 difference means the underdog will win (or tie) an opposed roll 38.25% of the time. A +10 difference means the underdog will win (or tie) 13.75% of the time.
The default there is 55% (because I'm counting ties). So a +3 bonus effects the outcome 16.75% of the time. A +10 bonus effects the outcome 41.25% of the time.
I really don't want training to matter 1 in 6 (or 1 in 7 without ties) times my players are rolling for something. I can make it be a story element and even fiat some successes, but the mechanics aren't living up those when they are called upon in play.
In that specific example I'd allow the blacksmiths to take a 10, thus solving that problem, but in general I see your issue with the system.
I think we're on the same page there.
I generally just overrule the dice if I realize something dumb had happened. But I'd really rather dumb stuff didn't happen in the first place.
You could have skill training for everyone work like skill mastery for rogues (minus the +3 stat floor). It would mean you have to give some new presents to rogues, but would it be a step in the right direction, in your opinion?
I'd say it's a step in the right direction, but it's really easier just to up the bonus.
Giving a +10 bonus provides consistency (just due to the size of the modifier) and also creates "trained only" tasks without having to explicitly spell it out.
It's worth noting that, in 3rd, a trained first level character is +6 vs. an untrained one (because of the -2 untrained penalty). That increases to +25 by 20th level without talking about attributes at all. A +10 bonus isn't really groundbreaking.
Part of the D&D Next design is that you don't make people roll for things that are easy. I mean, you don't need rules to scale probabilities by level for something like that. Just use common sense.
While your examples are super-awesome and I'd cheerfully play the game you're describing, I don't think that's D&D Next yet.
The problem isn't in asking whether one player succeeds or fails at their task, it's in the comparison of their abilities. If the fighter and the wizard are both trying to inspire a crowd, both have good Charisma, but only the wizard is trained in oratory, what happens?
I think it's pretty clear from the playtest materials that one player's result of 15 is supposed to be interpreted the same as another player's result of 15. There's nothing, for example, suggesting that opposed checks should be made differently if only one side is trained.
Now, what you're talking about is kind of how some of the Background abilities work, like the Bounty Hunter. You can't really fail to track someone, just get complications. I love those and would keep them even if I didn't bother with skills, but a +3 on tracking rolls doesn't sell the character as a super tracker.
A D20 check models exciting, random, combat-like things ok. Where speed is of the essence, and/or anyone could get lucky, or there is lots of distraction.
I would advise not using it for many other situations.
I agree. It really only handles random situations.
Unfortunately, there isn't any chance involved in skill checks short of going straight to the D20. It's GM fiat or d20. So I'd like to see them either introduce a new intermediate stage or increase the skill bonus substantially.
1) Threshold skill, below which you cannot attempt an action, or you have disadvantage.
2) "Needs 2 successes out of 3" for something that might take a while.
I'd be surprised if they didn't have some tasks requiring multiple checks, although I'm curious if they try to bring back skill challenges.