skill proficiencies point buy

Mistwell

Hero
I have blocked you. Please abide by the spirit of the block rules (even though you are apparently immune to the condition) and refrain from posting in my threads and replying to my posts. Thanks.
Oh. Uh...but you're replying to me?

I'm fine not replying to you further. But I was talking to others in this thread. People don't "own" threads here as far as I know. I'll continue to do so, and I'm unaware if any rule or spirit of a rule which says or implies I shouldn't? If there is, I guess report it and a mo can clarify?
 

ART!

Explorer
Many people complain about skills being imbalanced.
I dispute your premise. "Many" people? Show me. Name some. Or show me a poll where many people answer that way.
The spirit of FrogReaver's OP is "I have heard people complain about" etc., not "I have a list of people who have complained" or "as evidenced by probably non-scientific* polling...", let alone "i have scientific proof that..." Clearly, they have encountered complaints, and are curious about a particular kind of solution.

We're 5 years into this edition and there is virtually no noise about skills for this edition, and it didn't show up as an issue the surveys detected as a common problem even among a vocal minority.
So... because you haven't encountered complaints about skills being imbalanced, FrogReavcer's experience with complaints is somehow invalid? His simple and obvious interest in a variant rule to address a problem he has experienced does not require evidence for your satisfaction.
 

Mistwell

Hero
The spirit of FrogReaver's OP is "I have heard people complain about" etc., not "I have a list of people who have complained" or "as evidenced by probably non-scientific* polling...", let alone "i have scientific proof that..." Clearly, they have encountered complaints, and are curious about a particular kind of solution.



So... because you haven't encountered complaints about skills being imbalanced, FrogReavcer's experience with complaints is somehow invalid? His simple and obvious interest in a variant rule to address a problem he has experienced does not require evidence for your satisfaction.
I think it's fair to ask if this is isolated to him, and hes claiming "many" as an appeal to authority or something similar, or if it really is many.

Yeah, my being here, the WOTC boards, Reddit, other boards, the FB groups, from day 1, this issue should have come up if "many" have an issue. WOTC surveying THOUSANDS of people was specifically intended to detect any issue "many" have with the core game.

Also, seeing the objection helps others understand what the objection really looks like.

Aren't you maybe curious to see many peoples issue with a core rule which previously seemed to have been met with wide ranging acceptance and welcome?
 

Mistwell

Hero
Okay I thought about it some more and I'm not sure my asking what the objection is really helps anyone with this thread. I guess I'll back out. I really was just curious to know what the objection is and how many people really do feel that there is some issue with skills but if that's not relevant to most people here then that's fine.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
You miss the issue with trying to fix the problem at the play level.
No, you ignore reality when pretending it can be fixed at the points level.

There are systems out there with skills systems and such and 500 pages of point buy construction for everything from languages to skills to fear of flying to thermal long johns and nuclear weapons with over three decades of hashing and rehashing and so on and so forth and yet, today, they still have the same kinds of "but this needs to be that cost and that needs to be rolled into" they had all along.

"In play" is where the value is seen. "In play" is where the value matters. It doesn't happen in the white room.

If you reason for the call to action is that you have seen some folks unhappy with the perception they have of the in-game value of skills and the course you want to lay out to a solution is to turn the skills into a point-buy based on some pre-defined assigment of costs based on value of value, show a system with skills breakdowns and costs where that is not the case from some of those systems which have been doing it for decades?

I am sure you must know of several since you propose this as the way to go to fix it here...

we will wait...

one or two likely will be enough...

i will go grab a soda and be back later to see...
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
We're 5 years into this edition and there is virtually no noise about skills for this edition, and it didn't show up as an issue the surveys detected as a common problem even among a vocal minority.
Well, maybe thats what you have seen. I have seen a small number of folks who bring up skills often enough for me to remember. Within that small pond often its medicine, often its the knowledge and a few others. Then again, off the top of my head its not gotten more play time than the rapier and trident weapon gripers.

But to me the issue is not served by addressing it at a cgar-gen cost phase at all, because **many** (threw that in just for you) non-classed systems have done skills and costs in a variety of ways including some long long lasting point-buys and they still had the same kind of complaints.

Skills tend to get less focus in part (5e) because they are not powers and major p-layers in combats as much as some other big things are. So, more noise goes that other way.

But the risk here is if we start going down the train wreck which is "if we just make it point buy and make things more complex at purchase we can fix in=play balance" with skills, thats paving the way for the same kinda thing with ability scores (really, shouldn't dex cost about 50% more than dex and Int be half as much)) etc etc etc.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Well, maybe thats what you have seen. I have seen a small number of folks who bring up skills often enough for me to remember. Within that small pond often its medicine, often its the knowledge and a few others. Then again, off the top of my head its not gotten more play time than the rapier and trident weapon gripers.

But to me the issue is not served by addressing it at a cgar-gen cost phase at all, because **many** (threw that in just for you) non-classed systems have done skills and costs in a variety of ways including some long long lasting point-buys and they still had the same kind of complaints.

Skills tend to get less focus in part (5e) because they are not powers and major p-layers in combats as much as some other big things are. So, more noise goes that other way.

But the risk here is if we start going down the train wreck which is "if we just make it point buy and make things more complex at purchase we can fix in=play balance" with skills, thats paving the way for the same kinda thing with ability scores (really, shouldn't dex cost about 50% more than dex and Int be half as much)) etc etc etc.
That's why I see an integral part to a point buy system is empowering the DM to adjust the point costs and starting allotment to fit his campaign. Medicine won't be important in your campaign then give it a low cost of 1. Survival is the most important skill. Give it a high cost of 3.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
That's why I see an integral part to a point buy system is empowering the DM to adjust the point costs and starting allotment to fit his campaign. Medicine won't be important in your campaign then give it a low cost of 1. Survival is the most important skill. Give it a high cost of 3.
Which means your solution is "hey gm, set your own prices for these" with the hope that the gm will then ** in play ** run a campaign that makes those prices "right" for their campaign, but not any other. You are even setting up that the starting allotments will need to be figured out by the gm too.

Uh huh.

Seems like more math but less of an actual system (since table to table it's very different at its core) and it still hinges on whether or not the Gzm runs the in-play to match the choices and costs the players made.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
The only one that I think is truly broken is Perception. In my experience, that gets rolled way more than any other skill (at some tables, it is rolled more than all other skills combined). And, it is super useful; it feels fun to spot an ambush/trap/clue, and it feels sucky to get surprised or walk face-first into a trap. Some of the weaker skills (Nature, Medicine, Performance) can be made useful by a creative or flexible DM, but it's very hard to make Perception less useful.

I've been considering forbidding Perception as a background or racial skill pick unless it's part of your race or class list (limiting it to elves, barbarians, druids, fighters, rangers, and rogues). I've also considered making it cost double, so you need to burn two skill slots in order to pick Perception.
Perception is totally messed up, especially when you have someone with Observant and a Passive DC of 22+ and the game doesn't adequately give examples. After 5 years of 5e we still confuse Investigation and Perception because of the overlap.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
The bigger idea was not just to pair skills and ability scores as needed, a variant rule that I have to say I'm the only one I see doing around here, but to trim down the skill list so everything on it was meaningful. Combining similar choices like Athletics & Acrobatics, and leaving them differentiated by the ability score. And folding little used ones like Medicine into other skills, again differentiated by ability score.
Athletics and acrobatics aren’t he same thing, though. Just because you’re strong and athletic doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do things an acrobat can do, and visa versa. They are both related to physical ability, but are very much different skills.
I agree, I see a very large difference between Athletics and Acrobatics.
The only issue there is it adds rolling of dice where previously there was none. Personally, as a DM, I prefer looking at the PC's Passive Perception, and whoever has it at or higher than, for instance, the bad guy's Stealth roll total - or 10+Stealth bonus, to be even quicker about it - whoever has an equal or higher PP notices the bad guy. It has the added bonus of not alerting the players to the fact that something fishy is going on. ;)
Perception is totally messed up, especially when you have someone with Observant and a Passive DC of 22+ and the game doesn't adequately give examples. After 5 years of 5e we still confuse Investigation and Perception because of the overlap.
We use passive scores somewhat differently. If you have a passive score that is high enough to "detect" something, the DM tells you to roll a check even if you don't say you want to. For example, if the characters walk past a secret door with a DC 20, a character with a Passive Perception of 20 or better might notice the door even if they aren't looking. So, the DM will tell the player to roll and if they make it, the character notices the secret door. In other words, high passive scores give you a chance to notice something but it isn't automatic.This makes Observant useful but not automatic since when you roll your check, you don't get the +5 bonus. If you play with passive automatically noticing things without a roll, it is too powerful, at least at our table. :)We've never had an issue with overlap of Investigation and Perception but I could see where others might have some problems if you don't have clear definitions in use.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I agree, I see a very large difference between Athletics and Acrobatics.
The question isn't if you see a big difference between Athletics and Acrobatics. The question is if MECHANICALLY you see a big difference between Athletics and Acrobatics that aren't covered by the differences in ability scores? Many of the checks needed (escaping grapples, spells, etc.) right now can use either. And a bunch should. For example, right now someone with expertise in acrobatics with a 20 DEX has no indication that they can climb. That's STR (Athletics). I've literally had two different players curse that their uber-agile elves most likely would fail at climbing a tree or wall.
We use passive scores somewhat differently. If you have a passive score that is high enough to "detect" something, the DM tells you to roll a check even if you don't say you want to.
This is double jeopardy. Just shy of half the people who could detect something will never get a roll, and of those that get a role many will still fail. Use one or the other, otherwise you are drastically changing the success/fail percentages in a way that messes up the math of the system.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
The question isn't if you see a big difference between Athletics and Acrobatics. The question is if MECHANICALLY you see a big difference between Athletics and Acrobatics that aren't covered by the differences in ability scores? Many of the checks needed (escaping grapples, spells, etc.) right now can use either. And a bunch should. For example, right now someone with expertise in acrobatics with a 20 DEX has no indication that they can climb. That's STR (Athletics). I've literally had two different players curse that their uber-agile elves most likely would fail at climbing a tree or wall. This is double jeopardy. Just shy of half the people who could detect something will never get a roll, and of those that get a role many will still fail. Use one or the other, otherwise you are drastically changing the success/fail percentages in a way that messes up the math of the system.
"I've literally had two different players curse that their uber-agile elves most likely would fail at climbing a tree or wall."

First, climbing by default doesnt requir a check. Isnt it half speed unless it's difficult? What kind of tree climbing are we talking about?

But, the system already allows the GM to allow/call-for a Dex (Athletics) check if they think it's appropriate.

So your higher dex elf wanting to climb a tree just has to describe his actions in a way that leads the GM to decide (for a difficult climb) that Dex (Athletics ) is the appropriate call.

Second, the two different proficiencies divide the types of training - the kinds of things a character has experience in. The player can choose the ones appropriate to their character. If your elf is supposed to be very good at climbing, why didnt you take athletics since that is the skill that includes climbing? Complaints like thst early on would likely be met with "ok so you wanna swap out what for what in your background?" In between games

Third, to me, when a player is unhappy at the success/fail etc in a game they are playing in, that's more indicative of a disconnect between the GM depiction and their understanding. Did the GM not describe and set the scene with the tree up in a way that they understand why a check is even needed and why it's so difficult for them to succeed? In my gsmes, unless there are surprises or unknowns, my players tend to know the DC before attempting a task due to my efforts st being not just descriptive but informative in my depictions of the situations.

Fourth, design...


I would generally be against creating an overly broad "lets get physical" mega-skill myself when I see nature, religion, etc snd persuasion, deception, intimidate perform etc broken down as they are. It seem inconsistent with the rest.

Consider...

Physical stuff
Ability scores tested Str or Dex (rarely con)
Skills athletics, acrobatics, stealth, sleight hand and sometimes performance maybe?

Brainy stuff
Abilities tested Int Wis
Religion, Arcana, History, nature, investigation, Medicine (insight arguably)

Social stuff
Ability tested Cha or Wis (possibly Int)
Deception, Persuasion, Intimidation, insight, (investigation useful)

What's left - survival, animal handling and perception?

Regardless of where you put those, it really doesnt look like the physical set is somehow plagued by excessive sub-dividing and compared to the rest in need of consolidation.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
People aren't happy because the skill that lets them climb stuff is linked to a stat they want to dump. There's nothing inherently wrong with the idea that Strength should determine climbing ability either. Guys who free climb are not weak. Is there an argument for Dex maybe playing a role? Sure, but that's true of lots of skills. There's a pretty significant element of strength involved in Acrobatics for example, but I don't see many people complaining that their fighter should be able to use his STR there instead of DEX. STR is probably the biggest dump start in 5E, and I think that's the actual problem - people want to min max Dex, and rightfully so because it does more, and often (mostly) do that at the expense of STR (plus another stat). That's fine, but arguing that the main adventuring activity linked to STR needs to change to match your maxed stat feels a lot like asking to have your cake and eat it too (regardless of real world examples). It's a byproduct of a character build system that encourages dump stats and heavily rewards maxed stats.
 

tglassy

Explorer
Yeah, if you’re dumping strength, I don’t care how acrobatic you are, you aren’t climbing anything difficult. At all. It is all strength there.

Acrobatics is being able to flip around and have quick reflexes. Climbing has nothing to do with that. If your elf player dumped strength and is complaining because they can’t do a pull up, I’m sorry, but that’s life. Make his character lift some weights and give him a few points of strength on his next ASI. That’s the best I can say.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
People aren't happy because the skill that lets them climb stuff is linked to a stat they want to dump. There's nothing inherently wrong with the idea that Strength should determine climbing ability either. Guys who free climb are not weak. Is there an argument for Dex maybe playing a role? Sure, but that's true of lots of skills. There's a pretty significant element of strength involved in Acrobatics for example, but I don't see many people complaining that their fighter should be able to use his STR there instead of DEX. STR is probably the biggest dump start in 5E, and I think that's the actual problem - people want to min max Dex, and rightfully so because it does more, and often (mostly) do that at the expense of STR (plus another stat). That's fine, but arguing that the main adventuring activity linked to STR needs to change to match your maxed stat feels a lot like asking to have your cake and eat it too (regardless of real world examples). It's a byproduct of a character build system that encourages dump stats and heavily rewards maxed stats.
Also, honestly, put one of your proficiencies into athletics and even with 8 str you are in good standing for most climbs that the majority of your party will be willing to try. If its gonna be needing prime-stst plus prof to try, many in your group wont be lining up for it - just the one specialist.

And this ignores that the default for climb is * no check needed*.

" my elf cant climb trees" is a GM isdue, not a skill parsing one.
 
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WaterRabbit

Villager
I'd rather people roll a die to notice a trap than just check their passive Perception. Since I know what their passive scores are, I'm either deciding I want them to find the trap, I want them to not find the trap if they're hurrying, or I don't want them to find the trap unless they're looking for it. I prefer it to be random all the time, and a last second Wis save to notice the trap before you trigger it is better.

Let them roll a Perception check when they're actively searching. Skills should always be called upon by players IMHO.
I would humbly suggest that if you need PCs to roll a dice to notice traps, you have too many "gotcha" types of traps and you aren't making traps into encounters. To me the best traps are the ones that PCs notice right away -- the trick is how to overcome the trap. If the trap is just save or take damage they are generally unfun and just become a hp tax.
 

ART!

Explorer
In games I've played in and run, using Acrobatics to climb is pretty common. If there are things to jump onto, off of, bounce off of, etc, then an acrobatics roll or two might get you where you're trying to be. Think wuxia stunts getting tot he top of a wall by bounding back and forth between the wall and a tree or another building or a pole or something, as opposed to an Athletics climb straight up the wall with maybe using the tree for support or back-up.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
In games I've played in and run, using Acrobatics to climb is pretty common. If there are things to jump onto, off of, bounce off of, etc, then an acrobatics roll or two might get you where you're trying to be. Think wuxia stunts getting tot he top of a wall by bounding back and forth between the wall and a tree or another building or a pole or something, as opposed to an Athletics climb straight up the wall with maybe using the tree for support or back-up.
Since jumping, climbing and grabbing onto are *all* default Strenth checks in 5e, I could easily see an approach involving jumping onto, grabbing onto etc tree to wall etc as a good case for Strength (Acrobatics) climbing checks. Definitely agree with you there.

In fact, I might even let such take a no-roll-needed half-speed climb into making a check to try and get it done at full speed.

No arguments.
 
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Fenris-77

Explorer
Yup, using Acrobatics to climb is common. That doesn't mean it's not (up to a point) a self serving move by groups who don't want to see their Dex maxed characters slighted by something as plebian as a skill check. One of the reasons, maybe the main reason, that the skills are spread over the different stats is so that every build has something they're good at and no one stat dominayes too much. Dex builds are already king of 5E and I don't think they need any more help. The arguments from realism are fine, and there's a good reason people index them, but D&D is a game, not a simulation. The real world isn't the issue.
 

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