D&D 5E Reimagining 5e's skill system using AD&D inspiration


log in or register to remove this ad

Quickleaf

Legend
I have noticed the same problems as others have and I usually just rule on the fly with the closest skill or fall back on an ability check. I too think the skill system could use an overhaul, but I think the fewer the skill categories the better. One thing I did last time my players made characters was allow them to choose any skills they wanted within the number allowed for their class and background. Not really addressing the OP problem but just throwing it out there.
Did you similarly open up all tool proficiencies and languages? Just curious. I'm trying to discern if there's a compelling reason to keep tool proficiencies siloed apart from skills, or whether they can be merged together as just "skills."
 

Did you similarly open up all tool proficiencies and languages? Just curious. I'm trying to discern if there's a compelling reason to keep tool proficiencies siloed apart from skills, or whether they can be merged together as just "skills."
We arent really using languages except common for this campaign as they were from a very small town. We dont generally use tools so it wasnt brought up. So to answer your question we only considered skills, but didnt intentionally exclude the others just wasnt a need to include them.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I'm trying to discern if there's a compelling reason to keep tool proficiencies siloed apart from skills, or whether they can be merged together as just "skills."
As the rules stand, you can learn a new language or tool proficiency via training during downtime if you have gold to pay for it. You can't do the same for skills.

ETA: I'm actually pondering adding new "proficiencies" that are minor versions of skills that can be learned via training. Not full blown athletics, but you can learn the "climbing proficiency" or "swimming proficiency", or not full blown Animal Handling but "horseriding proficiency". You'd be able to add your proficiency bonus for those specific things when you don't have the skill, and like tool proficiencies and languages you could come up with new proficiencies as the campaign needs them (and having the skill would basically be the same as being proficient in all of the specific proficiencies under the skill).
 

Quickleaf

Legend
As the rules stand, you can learn a new language or tool proficiency via training during downtime if you have gold to pay for it. You can't do the same for skills.
That's the only difference right? There's not some sort of hierarchy of utility / frequency of seeing play between tools and skills?

Because – in addition to whatever I figure out here – I'm considering a blanket house rule: Every character gains an additional skill (which would also include tools) or language at 4th level, 8th level, 12th level, 16th level, and 19th level. Even though it's happening at defined levels so a little less freeform, at least it locks that sort of expansive character growth into the system. I haven't played or DMed a 5e campaign yet where downtime learning a new language or tool proficiency came up (ironically, I did see this happen in my old AD&D campaign).

Thinking if I did this, I could eradicate the siloing of tools from skills altogether.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
That's the only difference right? There's not some sort of hierarchy of utility / frequency of seeing play between tools and skills?

Because – in addition to whatever I figure out here – I'm considering a blanket house rule: Every character gains an additional skill (which would also include tools) or language at 4th level, 8th level, 12th level, 16th level, and 19th level. Even though it's happening at defined levels so a little less freeform, at least it locks that sort of expansive character growth into the system. I haven't played or DMed a 5e campaign yet where downtime learning a new language or tool proficiency came up (ironically, I did see this happen in my old AD&D campaign).

Thinking if I did this, I could eradicate the siloing of tools from skills altogether.
Interesting - that could work.

Like I posted in the edit to my comment above, I'm thinking about the opposite approach. Expanding the proficiency system to cover aspects of some skills to let folks train those in their downtime, while having the Skills remain broad and limited to the handful that characters already get. I'm still trying to work out the implications of it tho.
 



Quickleaf

Legend
Its all ability checks anyway so let players create their own skills and apply them to whatever stat role role can justify.
In a sense, that's what 5e is about. This is why there are few skills and why each character has few of them. It's basically just an ability check and in a few cases a skill applies.

I like that idea just from a "character sheet as menu" philosophy of DMing.

I'm thinking more about some of the differences I'm noticing between how types of skills / checks work at my table. Knowledge checks and Perception/Insight/Investigation checks are examples, but the one at the forefront of my mind right now are Charisma checks involving Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion.

What I notice among my players – and this is not just my players who onboarded during 3e, but even strangers relatively new to the game who I've been running one-shots for – is that they ask to make Intelligence-based and Charisma-based checks more often than they ask to make other checks like Athletics or Stealth. With those more action-oriented skills, it seems to be rarer for players to interrupt that engagement / flow to say "can I make a Stealth check now?" In other words, they're much more comfortable waiting for me the DM to call for the check. Whereas, more often my players are the ones beating me to the punch asking, "Can I make an Arcana check to see what I know about the orb?" or "Can I distract him with Deception or Performance?"

Do other DMs notice that trend?

It's really interesting to me. What if for Charisma checks to influence NPCs I flipped the script so that instead of 5e's baseline assumption that the DM calls for the check, instead the player proposes the check? And what if part of that proposal involved agreeing with the DM on what happens on a failed check? My idea is to harken to the old school sentiment, "if you can avoid rolling with clever play, avoid rolling." So instead of players jumping for their dice, the style of play would be the player RPing to see how much they can convince the NPC before coming to a social loggerhead point and really wanting to make a check to breakthrough it. For instance, maybe they can lean on something they know about the NPC or have over the NPC to avoid the check altogether (or, another way of saying it would be gain an auto-success). This would build tension, as in... Oh man, I really want to Persuade this guard to let us pass right now, but I can't think of anything to say to convince him, and can we risk the fallout if I fail my check?

Examples of fallout for a failed Charisma check might include an increased risk of hostilities, a lower returns on rewards, an inability to network, being denied access to an area, popular sentiment in that area/among that group turning against you, being elevated as their deity-to-be-sacrificed, and so forth. Probably to flesh it out, I'd pin down a couple examples of fallout conditions for each Deception, Intimidation, Performance, and Persuasion.

So instead of something like Stealth, where you need to take action (e.g. get behind cover or turn invisible) in order to attempt the check, with this approach to the Charisma skills, you can always attempt the check but doing so requires articulating what the consequences for failure will be. This regulates how often the players are going to be willing to take that risk, encouraging them to ask for Charisma checks only when they're really invested or really need it.

EDIT: Maybe even some kind of risk vs. reward system, where the higher your Charisma skill value, the more you can raise the stakes for better rewards along with more dangerous risks.
 

le Redoutable

I mean you no harm
I don't have a single campaign where I don't include this skill anymore. It is just too useful not to have.
tiens, voilà qqchose ( complètement poussiéreux )

qui utilise
War
Politics
Faith
Trade <== Commerce
Magic

Wp Paladin ------ diplomacy
Wf Archer ------- combat reflexes
Wt Fighter ------ athletics
Wm Assassin ----- insight
Fw Healer ------- dungeoneering
Ft Druid -------- cleansiness
Fm Monk --------- speed factor
Fp Priest ------- religion
Tf Farmer ------- nature lore
Tp Thief -------- thievery
Tw Merchant ----- bluff
Tm Craftsman ---- endurance
Mt Magician ----- arcana lore
Mf Necromancer -- reach
Mw Elementalist - fitness
Mp Demonologist - intimidate
Pt Bard --------- history
Pf Sage --------- streetwise
Pm Spy ---------- initiative
Pw Ruler -------- magnetism


Major + minor
 

Li Shenron

Legend
ETA: I'm actually pondering adding new "proficiencies" that are minor versions of skills that can be learned via training. Not full blown athletics, but you can learn the "climbing proficiency" or "swimming proficiency", or not full blown Animal Handling but "horseriding proficiency". You'd be able to add your proficiency bonus for those specific things when you don't have the skill, and like tool proficiencies and languages you could come up with new proficiencies as the campaign needs them (and having the skill would basically be the same as being proficient in all of the specific proficiencies under the skill).
You could take some inspiration from 3e skills list.

From there, if someone wanted more granularity, you could easily switch to separate proficiencies for the subskills.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top