D&D 5E Skills in 5E. Do we want them?

How would you like Skills to be in D&D5E?

  • Same as they are in 3.5 or Pathfinder.

    Votes: 40 24.0%
  • Limited skill lists based on Class and Level (like 4E)

    Votes: 48 28.7%
  • No skills - just Class and Level based Abilities (like C&C)

    Votes: 18 10.8%
  • A simple skill list like Pathfinder Beginners.

    Votes: 12 7.2%
  • More Skills.

    Votes: 12 7.2%
  • Something else - please detail.

    Votes: 37 22.2%

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First Post
For 5e I'd like to see NO class be 'the skills guy', and to allow every class to have access to a pretty wide range of skills - perhaps a few default ones which are always appropriate to a class, and then options from an entire list; ditch the pigeonholing via 'class skills'.

I like it. I know there's a lot of people which games are heavily combat oriented and they don't miss skills but me? Heck, give me GURPS!

The other related thing is to kill this silly dependency on rogues to disarm traps. Let anyone who invests in the appropriate skills disarm them!

A lot of people will be complaining it defines Rogues/Thieves and they should always shine here... but, again, not me.


I'd prefer a skill system that:

1. Lumps vs splits.

2. Simple math.

3. Tied to classes and levels.

4. Is tiered to have "major" skill areas and "minor" skill areas.

Something like this:

Skill; Ability Modifier (M/m); PC Classes (M/m)

Acrobatics: DEX/str BARBARIAN, THIEF, RANGER / assassin, bard, fighter
Arcana: INT/cha BARD, ILLUSIONIST, WIZARD / assassin, thief
Athletics: STR/dex BARBARIAN, FIGHTER / druid, paladin, ranger, thief
Divinity: WIS/int CLERIC, DRUID, PALADIN / ranger, warlock
Engineering: INT/wis FIGHTER, CLERIC / bard, paladin
History: INT/cha BARD / cleric, illusionist, paladin, wizard
Device: DEX/int THIEF / assassin, bard, illusionist
Nature Lore : WIS/con DRUID / barbarian, ranger
Perception: WIS/cha ASSASSIN, BARD, THIEF / barbarian, fighter, ranger
Personality: CHA/int BARD, PALADIN, WARLOCK / assassin, cleric, druid, fighter, thief
Stealth: DEX/wis ASSASSIN, RANGER, THIEF / barbarian, bard, warlock

Where Major Skills = Class Level+Major Modifier and Minor Skills = 1/2 Class level + Minor Modifier

Lots of tinkering could happen here, but like this general concept.

PS - Apologies for the lame formatting...
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classes need to get a bonus to their appropriate skills. Never should a priest be better in finding traps than a thief again...

IMHO classes and races both should give a modifier or a base ability to checks. Even if you somehow train in a skill, a class with a native ability should be better. Period.

ADnD nonweapon proficiencies were good. Maybe Skills and powers variant.

I like the short and sweet skill list like 4E. Perception instead of Spot, Listen, Search. Could be a bit more flexible though, bring back the Knowledge ___________ skill slot from d20

The 2E model. An optional rule (one I'll always adopt, by the way :)), you have skill slots and you only need to buy them once. Your ability with a skill is not related to your level, you spend new slots learning new things and only rarely improving existing ones. GM may have the best blacksmith in the world be a 1st level commoner, if he wants to.



First Post
I really just want a skill system which doesn't slow down the game by making people roll dice all the time. For most kinds of actions, characters should either be able to do something or not, without the question of whether or not they can manage to roll well. This is particularly true for movement based skills (like balance, climb, swim, jump, ride, etc), where something like the 3E skill system makes combat movement unnecessarily complicated.

Overall, I'd happier with more of a proficiency system rather than a skill system, but if I had to have a skill system I'd rather have a kind of system of tiered non-numerical ability levels, rather than a system of numerical bonuses to d20 rolls. Avoiding the need to spend skill points each time you gain a level would also be nice.

I'm not really sure where I stand on the idea of how many skills there should be. Lots of skills is fine, as long as characters can each pick from a broad range of such skills. Over-simplifying it down to four or five would be less fun, though.

Greg K

I, definitely, want something closer to 3e. I don't think it is perfect, but it is close to what I want (I don't like Pathfinder's class bonus of the system in 4e)

I do like skills in 3e. However, I would
1) Combine Hide and Move Silent into Stealth
2) Combine Listen and Spot into Notice
3) Rewrite the amount of time to craft things
4) add the Cityscape web enhancement rules for urban/wilderness skill swaps. This should be either in the class customization section in the PHB, the skill section of the PHB or the DMG.
5) add 4e Backgrounds and themes/d20Modern. In addition to granting skills as class skills, they would grant ranks in the skill (or split ranks up among several skills)
6) Use the 4e skills system for NPCs and allow it as an optional rule for PCs
7) Less Absolutes: in most instances, not being trained in a trained skill should give a penalty or raise the DC, but an attempt should be possible.
8) Give the 2+Int classes 4+Int skills per level unless Int is the classes main ability
9) Modify some of the skill lists
a) Fighter: Give the fighter a choice of various backgrounds/themes that grant additional class skills or add more skills: Diplomacy, Knowledge (Local), Knowledge (nobility), Notice (or spot/listen), Profession. Rather than Bluff an Sense Motive and Tumble, I would allow the Fighter to add his BAB in place of ranks when using the combat aspects of those skills.

b) Sorcerer:add more Charisma based skills to the Sorcerer

10). Add new skills
a) I would like the following to be their own skills:
Knowledge (Aberrations), Knowledge (Demon/Devil), Knowledge (Dragons)
Knowledge (Fey), Knowledge (Spirits), Knowledge (Undead) rather than as part of other skills.
b) Knowledge (Streetwise): Know street culture, underworld personalities and finding black markets

11) change Knowledge(Local) to Knowledge (Culture): Choose a specific culture each time this taken. Each humanoid race could be its own culture. If there are multiple kingdoms, the GM could make each kingdom a culture.
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You say that so easily, but are there groups that play with no skills? How?

How do you handle success / failure of anything a PC attempts that is not an attack or a spell? Even in very bare-bones dungeoneering, you need at least some form of Perception. How do you make a rogue class without at least Stealth and Thievery?

At the very least, you need an ability score check mechanic, and some basic criterion to decide whether a PC is competent at what he attempts. Think about a Wizard and a Fighter. Even if both have Int 18, the Wizard still knows more about magic, while the Fighter should be better at devising a tactic for a huge battle. Even without skills as a game mechanic, you need a skill system.

Well, it should be noted again that there was no fully implemented skill system in any earlier edition than 3rd. Fundamentally, the idea is to base everything on the six core Abilities, and define specific Class Abilities in the class description. I mean, it is evident that Wizards know more about magic by virtue of their spell list (what does Knowedge:Arcana actually mean beyond this?), while Fighters would probably end up using INT tests for tactics or the like. Class Abilities could be outlined in Class descriptions - but do you really need, say skills like Jump if you have a general Dexterity Ability, or Search if you have an Intelligence score?

I can see that, like C&C's Siege system, there could be a core unifying mechanic, where your Level is added to Class Ability rolls. It could be more defined/refined though.


First Post
Trained skills: roll 1, 2 or 3 on a d6
Untrained skills, roll 1 on a d6
GM gives +1 or -1 depending on the difficulty of a particular task.

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