D&D 5E Skills variant

Stormonu

Legend
Been doing some work on my homebrew rules and had been contemplating some changes to the skill rules. I'm adding a few (Melee Combat, Ranged Combat, Armor, Endurance, Arcane Spellcasting, Divine Spellcasting) and changing up Expertise slightly so that it only applies to a subset of a skill (and adding Mastery). What I'm contemplating is below. I'd like feedback and thoughts on what I have here. Note: I generally only play up to 10th level, monster/opponents might be used up to CR 15 or so.

Also, as I'm turning spellcasting (and thus save DCs) and combat rolls into Skill rolls, I'm a little leery on the current Expertise rule, and wondering if it might be better as a flat bonus (about +2) or 1/2 your proficiency bonus (so +1 to +3).

As a side note, AC under this would be calculated as 8 + Armor + Armor skill (based on Con). "No Armor" (which is a proficiency all classes get), "Light Armor" and some of the "Medium Armors" have the Flexible property, allowing you to use Dexterity instead of Con.

As for monsters, I would expect that only elite (named) monsters would likely have Expertise themselves, and solo/boss/legendary creatures might have Expertise or possibly Mastery to use against PCs.

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Skills are important to characters as they help to define what a given individual is capable or incapable of performing.

Non-Proficient A character who is not proficient in a skill and does not have the skill on their class or background list of skills does not add their ability score bonus or proficiency bonus to the skill roll - it is a straight flat d20 roll.

Familiar If a skill is on your character’s class or background list of potential skills, you are considered to have familiarity with the skill. In this case, you add your ability score modifier (if any) to the roll.

Proficient Characters who are proficient in a skill add their proficiency bonus and their full ability score modifier to the total.

Expertise When you gain expertise in a skill, choose a subskill from the appropriate list for each skill. When you perform skill checks involving the subskill you add your ability modifier and twice your proficiency bonus to the result. You otherwise act as you have proficiency with the skill, allowing you to add your proficiency bonus and ability score modifier to the total. If you have a negative ability modifier, you instead treat it as 0 when you use the skill.

Mastery If you have mastery of a skill, you gain the benefits of expertise with the skill. Also, once per short rest you can choose to automatically succeed on a skill test with the skill. Furthermore, if you are not rushed or under pressure, you can choose to change the result of the d20 roll to equal 10.

Listed below is a list of skills according to the ability they are normally associated with. A list of expertise subskills is listed for each skill.

Strength​

Athletics: Climbing, Break, Grapple, Jumping, Lifting, Swimming
Melee Combat: Axes, Bludgeoning, Martial, One-handed, Piercing, Polearms, Slashing, Swords, Simple, Two-handed

Dexterity​

Acrobatics: Balance, Escape, Squeeze, Tumble
Ranged Combat: Martial, Simple, Thrown
Sleight of Hand: Conceal, Palm, Trickery
Stealth: Hide, Silence, Surprise

Constitution​

Armor: Heavy, Light, Medium, Unarmored
Endurance: Concentration, Hold Breath, Resistance, Revival, Stamina

Intelligence​

Arcana: Aberrations, Alchemy, Existential (Planar Group), Spellcraft, Traditions (Specific Group)
Arcane Spellcasting: Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Elementalism, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, Transmutation
Investigation: Deduction, Factfinding, Interrogation
Language:(Specific Group)
Lore: Ancient, Legendary, Mechanics, Monstrosities, Recent, Regional (Specific Region), Science (Specific Group), Tactics
Religion: Afterlife, Celestials, Fiends, Rituals, Spellcraft, Traditions (Specific Group)
Nature: Beasts, Fey, Plants, Terrain (Specific Group), Seasons, Weather

Wisdom​

Animal Handling: Command, Husbandry, Ride, Train
Divine Spellcasting: Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Domain (Specific Domain), Enchantment, Healing, Illusion, Necromancy, Primal, Transmutation
Insight: Empathy, Familiarity, Humanoids, Intuition, Protocol, Tact
Medicine: Diagnose, Herbalism, Stabilize, Treatment, Undead
Perception:Listen, Smell, Spot, Taste
Survival: Camping, Hunting, Tracking, Trailblazing

Charisma​

Deception: Cheat, Disguise, Gamble, Fast-talk, Lie, Misdirect
Intimidation: Blackmail, Bully, Insinuate, Pry, Torture, Violence
Performance: Act, Dance, Orate, Play Musical Instrument (Specific Group), Sing, Storytelling
Persuasion: Bargain, Command, Gossip, Influence, Mingle, Persuade

Unmatched​

Profession: (Specific)
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Stormonu

Legend
Oops - Perception is still there, it was just stuck on the line with Medicine (how ironic, guess I need my eyes checked at the doctor....).

Out of curiosity @Tonguez , what would you do in place of a Perception skill?
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Aye, it seems we both missed our perception checks lol

I've been merging Perception in to Investigate making it a more active use type skill (essentially combining observation with deduction)
 

Stormonu

Legend
nice, whats the difference between Revival and Stabilize.
Stabilize would be to stop having to make Death Saves. Revival would be applying healing to bring someone to 1 hp or more and consiousness (I apply the Unconscious condition to downed targets to prevent yo-yo healing). Also, it's the old Resurrection Survival Roll from 1E/2E.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
So you are tinkering with turning almost everything into a skill... at such point, you could also consider lumping saving throws proficiencies under these.

You also need to define which classes get the combat and spellcasting skills. Personally I have a hard time thinking a spellcaster would not getting the spellcasting skill of their type, or a martial character not getting the combat skills, except maybe the armor skill... so I am not sure it fully makes sense to add these to the class skills list (where they'd feel like a tax) instead of granting them automatically.

Non-Proficient A character who is not proficient in a skill and does not have the skill on their class or background list of skills does not add their ability score bonus or proficiency bonus to the skill roll - it is a straight flat d20 roll.

Familiar If a skill is on your character’s class or background list of potential skills, you are considered to have familiarity with the skill. In this case, you add your ability score modifier (if any) to the roll.

These need a minor fix, otherwise written like that, a character with a negative modifier is better when non-proficient than familiar.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I'm torn on making saves into skills due to the wording of certain spells and abilities, but the idea of using the like of Endurance in place of Con saves and Acrobatics instead of Dex saves does appeal. Will modify non-proficient that negative modifiers apply.

The class lists are looking like this so far:

BARBARIAN
Skills: Martial Combat. Choose three from Animal Handling, Armor, Athletics, Endurance, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, Ranged Combat and Survival

BARD
Skills: Choose any five

BATTLEMAGE (sort of a swordmage/gish)
Skills: Arcane Spellcasting, and your choice of Melee Combat or Ranged Combat. Choose three from Animal Handling, Arcana, Armor, Acrobatics, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Intimidation, Lore, Melee Combat, Ranged Combat and Persuasion.

CLERIC
Skills: Divine Spellcasting. Choose four from Armor, Insight, Lore, Medicine, Melee Combat, Persuasion, Ranged Combat, and Religion

DRUID
Skills: Divine Spellcasting. Choose three from Arcana, Armor, Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Melee Combat, Lore, Nature, Perception, Ranged Combat, Religion, and Survival

FIGHTER
Skills: Armor, Melee Combat, Ranged Combat. Choose three skills from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, Endurance, Insight, Intimidation, Lore, Perception, and Survival.

MONK
Skills: Melee Combat skill. Choose three from Acrobatics, Armor, Athletics, Endurance, Insight, Lore, Ranged Combat, Religion, and Stealth

PALADIN
Skills: Armor and Melee Combat. Choose three from Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Lore, Medicine, Persuasion, Ranged Combat and Religion

PSION
Skills: Choose four from Armor, Endurance, lnsight, Investigation, Lore, Medicine, Mentalism, Ranged Combat and Religion

RANGER
Skills: Melee Combat and Ranged Combat. Choose four from Animal Handling, Armor, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Lore, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival

ROGUE
Skills: Choose any six

SORCERER
Skills: Arcane Spellcasting. Choose two from Arcana, Armor, Deception, Endurance, Insight, Intimidation, Lore, Melee Combat, Persuasion, Ranged Combat, and Religion
(Note: Gets Innate Caster feat, which allows them to use Charisma instead of Intelligence when casting spells)

WARLOCK
Skills: Arcane Spellcasting. Choose two skills from Arcana, Armor, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Lore, Melee Combat, Nature, Ranged Combat and Religion

WIZARD
Skills: Arcane Casting. Choose three from Arcana, Insight, Investigation, Lore, Medicine, and Religion
(Note: Subclass gives them Expertise in the school of magic for Arcane Casting)
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Interesting approach! I have three thoughts...

1) I love the idea of sub-skills and the extra flavor that injects! Some of your subskills are awesome, while others are harder to parse... Insight is one that that I had trouble differentiating Empathy, Familiarity, Humanoids, Intuition, Protocol, and Tact. I also think you may be butting against the "Favored Enemy" problem with some of your subskills in that they'll become very contingent on what the GM presents. Since this is your house system and you can tailor things to your players, less of an issue, but something to be aware of.

2) The jump from Proficiency to Expertise seems much less significant than the jump from Expertise to Mastery. Just to evaluate things on a 1-to-10 scale. If Untrained is 1, Proficiency is 3, Expertise is 5, then Mastery is 10. I'm not sure if that's intended or not, but it's what I noticed.

3) Obviously you have a strong view on removing the siloing of combat vs. noncombat skills, which may tie into other parts of your homebrew. That's personally not for me, but if your players are into it then could be an interesting approach.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Interesting approach! I have three thoughts...

1) I love the idea of sub-skills and the extra flavor that injects! Some of your subskills are awesome, while others are harder to parse... Insight is one that that I had trouble differentiating Empathy, Familiarity, Humanoids, Intuition, Protocol, and Tact. I also think you may be butting against the "Favored Enemy" problem with some of your subskills in that they'll become very contingent on what the GM presents. Since this is your house system and you can tailor things to your players, less of an issue, but something to be aware of.

2) The jump from Proficiency to Expertise seems much less significant than the jump from Expertise to Mastery. Just to evaluate things on a 1-to-10 scale. If Untrained is 1, Proficiency is 3, Expertise is 5, then Mastery is 10. I'm not sure if that's intended or not, but it's what I noticed.

3) Obviously you have a strong view on removing the siloing of combat vs. noncombat skills, which may tie into other parts of your homebrew. That's personally not for me, but if your players are into it then could be an interesting approach.
Yeah, I'm expecting the subskills will need further explanation, but the hardest part was coming up with ones that were just broad enough to be worth mentioning without getting too far into the weeds (like 'ol Rope Use). Most especially, still feeling out the breakup of Melee and Ranged subskills. Looking at it again, I think Bludgeon/Pierce/Slashing is a little too broad (and perhaps one/two-handed), and I'm mulling over whether "bows" needs to be broken out between long/short bows and x-bows.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Armor as a skill. Someone with (magical) Plate + Shield and an 18-20 Con with this I imagine could make some DM's mighty unhappy....
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Yeah, I'm expecting the subskills will need further explanation, but the hardest part was coming up with ones that were just broad enough to be worth mentioning without getting too far into the weeds (like 'ol Rope Use). Most especially, still feeling out the breakup of Melee and Ranged subskills. Looking at it again, I think Bludgeon/Pierce/Slashing is a little too broad (and perhaps one/two-handed), and I'm mulling over whether "bows" needs to be broken out between long/short bows and x-bows.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Armor as a skill. Someone with (magical) Plate + Shield and an 18-20 Con with this I imagine could make some DM's mighty unhappy....
Yeah, I didn't want to be overly critical of Armor & Combat skills because I have different opinions – but I like to give other folks the benefit of the doubt that they know what they're doing for their tables.

Overall, I think your list of subskills is quite a bit better thought out than most hacks I've seen proposing expertise-as-subskill. I really like the start you've made on that!
 

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