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5E Skill knacks (houserule)

Laurefindel

Adventurer
I've been fiddling with the idea that characters could have natural inclinations or aptitudes, which for the purpose of this discussion will be called "knacks". Knacks are not supposed to be something you need or you trained in - just something you are naturally good at.

The easiest way of implementing this is to give a character a bonus skill proficiency. A "flavourful" one for lack of better word, like an average-charisma fighter with a knack for acting (performance) or a low-wisdom barbarian who've always been a good to judge of character (insight). Backgrounds provide that to a certain extent, but short of getting a random background at character creation, players tend to choose one that fits their character concept best. I know I do.

So I thought of a random skill as a bonus proficiency. 5e has 18 standard skills, which nicely populates a d20 table with special entries or sub-tables for results of "1" and "20". Such a table does not give some skills more weight than others, but then again I'm not sure if it has to, or which skills should be weighted and to what degree.

Thoughts/suggestions/input?
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
One way to make it flavorful might be to require that knacks be outside the character's class skill list - that they must perforce broaden the character, rather than just make them a slightly better member of their base class.
 

Depends on your group's normal method of character generation, but I would hesitate before making something so personal to the character random.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
If I were to do this I'd probably come up with a short list of specialties available to each background. For example one Sailor might be unnaturally good at working the rigs and get a specialty in acrobatics another in haggling a fair commission is adept at persuasion etc.
 

Laurefindel

Adventurer
If I were to do this I'd probably come up with a short list of specialties available to each background. For example one Sailor might be unnaturally good at working the rigs and get a specialty in acrobatics another in haggling a fair commission is adept at persuasion etc.
Actually, I want to go outside their field of competence. I'm looking for the sailor who has always been good at dancing, or else knows a lot about the life cycles of owlbears.

[edit] Complementing background was otherwise my first reflex, but I'm not willing to go into that amount of work. Hence a single table. Or four tables. But not 25.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
It's a good idea, and I'd restrict it to just Tool proficiencies. A character might have a knack for using a Healing Kit, but probably not just be innately good at practicing medicine. A knack for playing the guitar, but not necessarily a skilled performer who knows how to work a crowd. That sort of thing.
 
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Laurefindel

Adventurer
Depends on your group's normal method of character generation, but I would hesitate before making something so personal to the character random.
I understand the concern - that's why it has to be something on top of character creation and not part of it. Like the trinket table; it doesn't impact your equipment, it might never be used, but gives the player something to built their roleplay/character personality if they want to.
 

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