skill proficiencies point buy

dnd4vr

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.
While a few people already responded, I have to say there is a big difference in every respect. Doing a walking handstand does require a lot of balance, but it also requires enormous strength. Few acrobats/gymnasts are weak by any standards. There are many times when Strength (Acrobatics) would be more appropriate than Dexterity (Acrobatics) and many circumstances when Dexterity (Athletics) is more appropriate than Strength (Athletics). That is why our group "unlinked" ability scores and skills. As the core books describe, everything is an ability check and sometimes a skill applies. It is up to the DM to determine when.As for passive skills, it works great and makes much more sense than the system as is. First, observant makes you better due to the +5 bonus when you AREN'T looking than when you are! How does that work?!? Secondly, if players state they are looking then everything works normally anyway, and if they aren't, a good passive score gives them a chance to notice something even when not actively looking. Nothing should be automatic in D&D IMO and it works well for our group. No one, and I seriously mean NO ONE, has ever complained or felt using passive skills RAW makes sense.
 

togashi_joe

Villager
I didn't read through this long thread, but I came up with this alternate skill point system back in 2014 and it doesn't break anything regarding skill points in 5e. You could try this:

Each skill the class can choose for proficiency is equivalent to 2 skill points. For example, a barbarian would have 4 skill points, a bard would have 6 skill points, and a rogue would have 8 skill points. All backgrounds grant 2 more skills for proficiency, so a barbarian would have 8 total skill points, a bard would get 10 total skill points, and a rogue would have 12 total skill points.

At 1st level, the PC can have a max of 2 skill points in ANY skill. The reason why it's any skill is because background skills technically give the PC access to any skill according to Customize a Background on p125/PHB, but if you're going to be strict about skill selection, then the PC can have a max of 2 skill points per skill in the skills from his class skill list, and the skills from his background add to that skill list, regardless of class selection (i.e. from multiclassing). The PC can put a max of 1 skill point into skills not on his class/background skill list.

Every time the PC's proficiency bonus increases, the PC gains half of the skill points he had at 1st level. For example, at 5th level, a barbarian would gain 4 skill points, a bard would gain 5 skill points, and a rogue would gain 6 skill points. At 5th level, the max skill points that can be put into a skill from their class/background skill list is 3, then 4 at 9th, 5 at 13th, and 6 at 17th. For skills not on this list, the max is 1 skill point at 5th, 2 at 9th, and 3 at 17th.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
As for passive skills, it works great and makes much more sense than the system as is. First, observant makes you better due to the +5 bonus when you AREN'T looking than when you are! How does that work?!? Secondly, if players state they are looking then everything works normally anyway, and if they aren't, a good passive score gives them a chance to notice something even when not actively looking. Nothing should be automatic in D&D IMO and it works well for our group. No one, and I seriously mean NO ONE, has ever complained or felt using passive skills RAW makes sense.
Except that you're actively messing up the math in exchange for the DM not doing their job. The characters live in the world. You need to know what the characters see so you can convey it to the player. Let me repeat that - you need to have already figured out what the character sees so you can tell the player. Not the other way around in terms of general awareness. Sure, the players can also inspect, look for or whatever. That's *in addition* to whatever they just pick u by existing.

Passive checks are just a way to cut down on rolls. If you want to do it as rolls, go ahead. But doing passive as a threshold just to be able to make the rolls messes up the math horribly.

Image if a combat was like "well, you need an 11 to hit, so you can't even roll". Yes, that's how bad you are messing up the math. Just because no one complained doesn't mean that you aren't mangling the probabilities. It just means you are doing so in a way that either your table is okay with.
 
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dnd4vr

Adventurer
Except that you're actively messing up the math in exchange for the DM not doing their job. The characters live in the world. You need to know what the characters see so you can convey it to the player. Let me repeat that - you need to have already figured out what the character sees so you can tell the player. Not the other way around in terms of general awareness. Sure, the players can also inspect, look for or whatever. That's *in addition* to whatever they just pick u by existing.Passive checks are just a way to cut down on rolls. If you want to do it as rolls, go ahead. But doing passive as a threshold just to be able to make the rolls messes up the math horribly.Image if a combat was like "well, you need an 11 to hit, so you can't even roll". Yes, that's how bad you are messing up the math. Just because no one complained doesn't mean that you aren't mangling the probabilities. It just means you are doing so in a way that either your table is okay with.
Maybe you aren't getting the concept? Your last statement about the same idea in combat reflects that. If a player says my character is looking, they roll. Passive has nothing to do with it once the player is active.I'll give you an example:The party is meeting with a local magistrate. They walk into the room and an aid is hidden with a DC 20 to spot him. None of the players say their characters are looking for someone hidden, because they have no reason to suspect the magistrate is really a bad man. So, none of them roll because they aren't looking. However, one character with Observant has a Passive score of 21. So, the DM tells THAT player to roll for Perception. If the roll is 20 or higher, that character notices something to tip them off that there is someone hidden in the room.Now, with Observant, their passive score is 5 higher, so it is basically like saying they roll a 15 all the time instead of the passive 10. That is fine, but it also means their passive ability is BETTER than their active ability. They are more likely to make it when they aren't trying then when they are. It makes no sense and our table doesn't like it.Anyway, the DM doesn't tell a player they can't roll. The player can always roll if they want to. If your passive score was 13 and the DC is 18, the DM won't tell you to roll, you have to say that you want to. Otherwise, you won't even think about looking for whatever is there. But if your passive score is 20, you don't automatically find it, but the DM will tell you to roll even if you don't ask to. Why? Because your character might notice something you didn't even think of was there.It works for us. Very well. We like it. You aren't going to ever convince me or our table otherwise. If you continue trying to do that, you are wasting your time. But for others who don't like how passive scores work, this is a nice solution that we happen to love a lot. (( Sorry for the lack of structure. For some reason the post is removing paragraph and line breaks so it is just one big paragraph... Hope they get this fixed.))
 
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5ekyu

Adventurer
Maybe you aren't getting the concept? Your last statement about the same idea in combat reflects that. If a player says my character is looking, they roll. Passive has nothing to do with it once the player is active.I'll give you an example:The party is meeting with a local magistrate. They walk into the room and an aid is hidden with a DC 20 to spot him. None of the players say their characters are looking for someone hidden, because they have no reason to suspect the magistrate is really a bad man. So, none of them roll because they aren't looking. However, one character with Observant has a Passive score of 21. So, the DM tells THAT player to roll for Perception. If the roll is 20 or higher, that character notices something to tip them off that there is someone hidden in the room.Now, with Observant, their passive score is 5 higher, so it is basically like saying they roll a 15 all the time instead of the passive 10. That is fine, but it also means their passive ability is BETTER than their active ability. They are more likely to make it when they aren't trying then when they are. It makes no sense and our table doesn't like it.Anyway, the DM doesn't tell a player they can't roll. The player can always roll if they want to. If your passive score was 13 and the DC is 18, the DM won't tell you to roll, you have to say that you want to. Otherwise, you won't even think about looking for whatever is there. But if your passive score is 20, you don't automatically find it, but the DM will tell you to roll even if you don't ask to. Why? Because your character might notice something you didn't even think of was there.It works for us. Very well. We like it. You aren't going to ever convince me or our table otherwise. If you continue trying to do that, you are wasting your time. But for others who don't like how passive scores work, this is a nice solution that we happen to love a lot. (( Sorry for the lack of structure. For some reason the post is removing paragraph and line breaks so it is just one big paragraph... Hope they get this fixed.))
This topic us a mess to unpack, but a few points I will toss in.

1 Given the way passive checks are presented, the observant feat is a mess. Adding the bonus just to passive checks, not to specific subsets of checks, no real clear in rule break between those etc leads to a mess of confusion from table to table if not within table. I saw in one game it be useless as the GM never used passive perc.

FWIW at my table passive percrption is treated as a minimum score when you are not actively doing anything else. A key division between active and passive is "are you spending your action on other stuff?" So, in the hurley burly flurry of combat, passives dont apply generally. But, open a door, your minimal description is passive perception. But it is definitely possible to miss something in combat you would not otherwise miss just looking around, so yeah, in some case, you can follow worse than passive.

2 In 5e whether or not something is hidden, whether it can be spotted without reference to perception automatically, requires perception, requires investigation etc is all subject first to GM determination. Hopefully, a GM applies these consistently and gives the players a common sense understanding of the different cases for each before they build. The division for me often is can it be seen or heard vs being found by clues that lead to it.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Maybe you aren't getting the concept?
I understand your concept, I just disagree that the idea that a character is not observing their environment exists.

Now, an alert character, acting on player instructions, might do things which give bonuses or even remove the need for a roll to observe.

But absent that the character is still observing what they can of the world. The DM has a set of tools to determine what the character experiences, such as vision modes (for seeing in darkness), languages known (for understanding written words), and perception for awareness.

The DM uses these tool as the filter to know what to describe of the world. A character, living in the world and experiencing it, can notice things the player does not think to ask about - just like in real life you may notice something walking down the street that was not a conscious decision to observe.

A simple example is a strong smell. Players may not think to ask if they smell something odd, but the DM should determine if the characters do and if so relay that information to the appropriate players (if any). That's a key facet of the DM's job - determining what the characters experience and giving that information to the players.

Passive scores are a gamist shorthand for the DM so you have a DC to compare things like NPC stealth or sleight of hand checks against PCs instead of needing them to roll all the time (and potentially picking up information from the need for a roll).

The fact that the Observant feat is poorly designed -- and I agree with you that it is and for the same reason -- is only an argument against that feat and should be taken against it directly.

We like it. You aren't going to ever convince me or our table otherwise. If you continue trying to do that, you are wasting your time.
I even mentioned before that your table may be happy with it. That doesn't change that in a public discussion I wish to call out that this rule seriously impacts the probabilities -- important information for others who would consider this. Maybe it will work well for them as well, just go into it informed.

(( Sorry for the lack of structure. For some reason the post is removing paragraph and line breaks so it is just one big paragraph... Hope they get this fixed.))
No problems, I was having the same issues. They upgraded ENworld to https and there's a bit of an issue with linefeeds in the WYSIWYG editor. Changing to one of the others for now seems to put them back.

Actually, I hit preview and it seems to be working again so maybe it's already fixed.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I understand your concept, I just disagree that the idea that a character is not observing their environment exists.

Now, an alert character, acting on player instructions, might do things which give bonuses or even remove the need for a roll to observe.

But absent that the character is still observing what they can of the world. The DM has a set of tools to determine what the character experiences, such as vision modes (for seeing in darkness), languages known (for understanding written words), and perception for awareness.

The DM uses these tool as the filter to know what to describe of the world. A character, living in the world and experiencing it, can notice things the player does not think to ask about - just like in real life you may notice something walking down the street that was not a conscious decision to observe.

A simple example is a strong smell. Players may not think to ask if they smell something odd, but the DM should determine if the characters do and if so relay that information to the appropriate players (if any). That's a key facet of the DM's job - determining what the characters experience and giving that information to the players.

Passive scores are a gamist shorthand for the DM so you have a DC to compare things like NPC stealth or sleight of hand checks against PCs instead of needing them to roll all the time (and potentially picking up information from the need for a roll).

The fact that the Observant feat is poorly designed -- and I agree with you that it is and for the same reason -- is only an argument against that feat and should be taken against it directly.

I even mentioned before that your table may be happy with it. That doesn't change that in a public discussion I wish to call out that this rule seriously impacts the probabilities -- important information for others who would consider this. Maybe it will work well for them as well, just go into it informed.

No problems, I was having the same issues. They upgraded ENworld to https and there's a bit of an issue with linefeeds in the WYSIWYG editor. Changing to one of the others for now seems to put them back.

Actually, I hit preview and it seems to be working again so maybe it's already fixed.
The character is always observing life, just as we are. However, if the DM describes an odd smell, the characters already notice it. To determine the source of the smell is the check in this case. Just like a person notices shadows everywhere we go, whether or not we notice something hidden in the shadows is passive unless we put forth the effort to do it actively. Passive means you might notice it, but it shouldn't be automatic. The DM might describe as part of a room an area of deep shadow. A player might ask "I look at it closely, do I see anything unusual there?" creating the need for a Wisdom (Perception) check if the DM wants one. Passive scores shouldn't replace active game play IMO. However, it works well for cases when the DM feels a character might notice something when a player doesn't think of it.

Used this way, Observant works fine. Since it isn't automatic, and doesn't add to active checks, we like it. Used RAW it is too powerful. My elf rogue has a passive perception of 24 with expertise and observant. With RAW she would basically automatically find nearly every secret door or hidden object, etc. Even without it in our active checks she is +9 and has a good chance for finding stuff, but she can still fail if I roll low enough.

Sorry about the snipe with regards to the discussion. I get tired of forums trying to show their way is "best" and convince me our house-rules work for us and might for others. I'm not saying they will, but for people disappointed with passive check scores, it solved the issue we had. And yes, thankfully, the site seems to be fixed. :)
 

ART!

Explorer
Am I misunderstanding the passive Perception rules and passive skill use rules in general?

My understanding is that there's no rolling on the part of the character whose passive skill use is in question - for example, if someone is hiding, they roll there Hide check, and if your passive perception is higher than their Hide result, you see them even if you aren't looking for them.

I mean, the rules literally say "A passive check is a special kind of ability check that doesn't involve any die rolls". It's totally fine if people are house ruling something else, of course.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Am I misunderstanding the passive Perception rules and passive skill use rules in general?

My understanding is that there's no rolling on the part of the character whose passive skill use is in question - for example, if someone is hiding, they roll there Hide check, and if your passive perception is higher than their Hide result, you see them even if you aren't looking for them.

I mean, the rules literally say "A passive check is a special kind of ability check that doesn't involve any die rolls". It's totally fine if people are house ruling something else, of course.
You have it correct. We are house-ruling that a high enough passive score means you can roll for a check, even if the player doesn't think to ask to do it. We don't like it to be automatic so changed it.
 

ART!

Explorer
You have it correct. We are house-ruling that a high enough passive score means you can roll for a check, even if the player doesn't think to ask to do it. We don't like it to be automatic so changed it.
Okay, cool. Thanks.

For me as a DM, I have those little hand-made "tents" that hang over my DM screen, one for each PC with their pertinents written on them. More and more I'm listing passive skills there, so I can throw things at a given PC because they would just natural know/see/whatever. I wouldn't want to replace them rolling when thinks get tricky, but the passives just help me move things along.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Oh, I agree that passive scores are definitely useful and I like the tent idea LOL. Maybe when I am DMing I will put post-its on my DM screen, or I'll just add them to the initiative spreadsheet...

Either way, they are a good reference for if a character might notice something when a player doesn't think to ask or that it is important to check--that is how we like using it.
 

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