the 3e skill system

Sepulchrave II

Adventurer
Even if it can pump up to +18 its not an accurate statement. Hostile isnt restricted to a specific range. Furthermore, some npcs can have personality differences that increase or decrease benchmarks fir such things. ALSO hostile verses non hostile is not the only difference between success and failure.
The DC to change a target's attitude from Hostile to Indifferent is 25. That's 6 or higher on d20 for our +19 Bard friend, or automatically if she's taking 10.

Sure, you can add lots of extenuating factors, but that sort of renders the Diplomacy DC table rather pointless, doesn't it?

As a baseline, it is not desirable that a 2nd-level character can automatically make DC25 skill checks, or a 3rd level character automatically make DC30 checks.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The DC to change a target's attitude from Hostile to Indifferent is 25. That's 6 or higher on d20 for our +19 Bard friend, or automatically if she's taking 10.
You can only take 10 when you have time and conditions to make multiple attempts, taking 10 as the average. You are not going to be able to try 20 times to talk the guy into something. You get one attempt and then you live or die by the result, making it also a threatening situation since they are hostile, another qualifier for denying the take 10.
 
Sure, you can add lots of extenuating factors, but that sort of renders the Diplomacy DC table rather pointless, doesn't it?

As a baseline, it is not desirable that a 2nd-level character can automatically make DC25 skill checks, or a 3rd level character automatically make DC30 checks.
No it doesnt.

While it ought to be rare i dont find it undesirable. Especially if the character seems to have a serious lean toward it.

By hostile verses indifferent (or even amicable) not being the only difference between success and failure i mean that literally. There are a lot of things that simply not being hostile isnt going to affect. Not even slightly.

Further, you are listing typical dcs. Nocs arent clones. You dont even NEED extenuating factors for differibg dcs. And shouldnt.
 

Sepulchrave II

Adventurer
You can only take 10 when you have time and conditions to make multiple attempts, taking 10 as the average. You are not going to be able to try 20 times to talk the guy into something. You get one attempt and then you live or die by the result, making it also a threatening situation since they are hostile, another qualifier for denying the take 10.
Taking 10 has nothing to do with the length of time allotted to a task. It's about being able to concentrate whilst not threatened or distracted - and by threatened, I mean within reach of a hostile opponent who's trying to land one on you.

There is nothing to exclude Diplomacy from the Taking 10 rule, assuming someone isn't actually trying to hit you while you're making the check.

Taking 20 is different.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Taking 10 has nothing to do with the length of time allotted to a task. It's about being able to concentrate whilst not threatened or distracted - and by threatened, I mean within reach of a hostile opponent who's trying to land one on you.
Someone that is hostile is both threatening and distracting.

You can choose to limit threatening to someone actively swinging at you, but I doubt that if you asked the average person, they would set the bar nearly so high.
 

Sepulchrave II

Adventurer
Someone that is hostile is both threatening and distracting.

You can choose to limit threatening to someone actively swinging at you, but I doubt that if you asked the average person, they would set the bar nearly so high.
Threatened is a mechanical/positional description:

3.5SRD said:
You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your action. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you’re unarmed, you don’t normally threaten any squares and thus can’t make attacks of opportunity.
Whether the DM adjudicates if a specific situation is distracting or not is circumstantial, but none of this reflects on the innate wonkiness of a 2nd-level Diplomacy-focused bard.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
While there were a lot of rough edges in the skill system that 5e avoided while going too far & creating new problems in areas that weren't problem areas before... Diplomancy focused builds were unquestionably one of the more egregious failings of the skill system & often used multiple edge cases combined to generate punpun levels of absurdity.

It's downright bizarre seeing people argue that diplomancy wasn't that powerful when optimzed for it
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Threatened is a mechanical/positional description:
Threatened square is a mechanical/positional description. The game explicitly has other threats other than threatened squares. Look at the Calm Animals spell. It has this to say...

"Any threat (such as fire, a hungry predator, or an imminent attack) breaks the spell on the threatened creatures."

A threat doesn't have to be right next to you, nor does it have to be an imminent attack. A person who is hostile is plenty capable within the rules of being a threat to the PC.

From page 312 of the PHB: " take 10: To reduce the chances of failure on certain skill checks by assuming an average die roll result (10 on a d20 roll). You can’t take 10 if distracted or threatened, such as during combat"

Such as during combat, which clearly means that you can be threatened outside of combat.

Page 51 of the DMG states that during a negotiation, threats can happen during wordplay.

It's crystal clear that there are threats and things that are threatening that do not involve threatened squres. It's also clear that there can be threats and threatening individuals in the midst of diplomacy, which would negate taking 10. Take 10 doesn't say when a PC is in a threatened square he can't take 10. Only that he be threatened.
 

Sepulchrave II

Adventurer
It's crystal clear that there are threats and things that are threatening that do not involve threatened squres. It's also clear that there can be threats and threatening individuals in the midst of diplomacy, which would negate taking 10. Take 10 doesn't say when a PC is in a threatened square he can't take 10. Only that he be threatened.
We can agree to disagree about what constitutes threatened or distracted; it doesn't really matter: there are umpteen situations where a character can take 10 and automatically make Heroic Diplomacy skill checks at an unreasonably low level.

None of it matters by 7th-level, of course; by then the Bard is making Bluff skill checks at +44 and is automatically succeeding at nearly impossible skill checks.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Look gang, I have the Rules Compendium. Or, Mike Mearls in a Bookbag.* Can I look something up for you?

Try this:
Rules Compendium said:
DMs are expected to use knowledge of existing rules, common sense, real-world knowledge, and a sense of fun when dealing with (a situation that the rules don't cover adequately).
That's on the Introduction page. So even if you can roll a 44 Diplomacy, the DM can roll higher.

I just looked at the 5e sheet I'm using in my game & it has 18 skills... the 25-30 3.5 skill list was too much & there absolutely should have been a lot of skills rolled in as class features rather than getting squashed together. but 12-15 skills is wayy too few. There's not much meaningful spotlight from knowing a skill 2-3 other players at the table also probably know & will say "I want to roll that too"
I don't know. 12 is a good number of skills. Too few are the four skills in Microlite20, which effectively become alternate abilities (attributes) due to the small selection. You have too many skills in your list when characters become inept at certain things, at which they should have -some- skill, because the game didn't provide enough skill points to PCs to cover such things. Or when analysis paralysis sets in...

I doubt that having more skills would prevent "I want to roll that too." After all, there's always a chance to roll a 20, and the misconception that the critical hit rule applies to everything rolled with a d20.

*I don't actually see Mike Mearls credited on the Rules Compendium. Chris Sims, though.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Look gang, I have the Rules Compendium. Or, Mike Mearls in a Bookbag.* Can I look something up for you?

Try this:

That's on the Introduction page. So even if you can roll a 44 Diplomacy, the DM can roll higher.


I don't know. 12 is a good number of skills. Too few are the four skills in Microlite20, which effectively become alternate abilities (attributes) due to the small selection. You have too many skills in your list when characters become inept at certain things, at which they should have -some- skill, because the game didn't provide enough skill points to PCs to cover such things. Or when analysis paralysis sets in...

I doubt that having more skills would prevent "I want to roll that too." After all, there's always a chance to roll a 20, and the misconception that the critical hit rule applies to everything rolled with a d20.

*I don't actually see Mike Mearls credited on the Rules Compendium. Chris Sims, though.
it's especially bad with what gets merged. Take arcana in 5e "recall lore about spells, magic items, eldritch symbols, magical traditions, the planes of existence, and the inhabitants of those planes.". A lot of those were skills of their own in the past. Other skills are like that too, arcana is just an especially glaring example. The resulting 5etoo few skills results in what is often effectively not much different than this silly statement: "Well I know how to drive a car, so I know how to repair it, build parts for it, design a new car, repair dents & other bodywork type stuff, replace broken windows in it, reprogram the onboard computer, know the history of classic cars, know the history of import cars, know the history of F1 racers/Nascar cars, Know the history of Hypercars, Can appraise the value of all those cars,etc"
 

Weiley31

Adventurer
This is fundamentally a pretty good idea. Personally, I would recommend:

Untrained: Ability mod only
Novice: Ability mod + half-proficiency bonus
Proficient: Ability mod + proficiency bonus
Expert: Ability mod + double proficiency bonus

This would be in line with 5e’s math, but give a bit more granularity to characters who aren’t bards or rogues.
I'm stealing this.
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
Not sure I agree with the "get 18 in your prime stat easily", but I'll let it go.

I'm also not sure you can stack multiple Synergy bonuses to a skill. Even so, if someone is willing to spend 20+ skill points by 2nd level to get one thing, then that's probably the only thing they'll be very good at. at Diplomact is easy for a DM to shut down, if it's being abused: A Diplomacy check takes one minute (10 rounds) to make. If the opponent is hostile, as in, going to attack NOW, Diplomacy doesn't apply. It can't be done in time.

Still, I agree that Diplomacy and Intimidate both need some work. They both operate with a fixed DC system, as opposed to being an opposed roll. Bargaining and persuasion are one-sided conversations per the rules, and clearly they shouldn't be.

As for the questions, "How does 3e simulate" my Ranger question: One rank in Profession - Sailor" does the job. Simple knots, shipboard terms. Also, at the DM's option, if he/she already has Knowledge - Local, it might suffice.

Knowledge - Local is one of the least clearly defined skills in the game. We interpret it as "You are good at getting the lay of the land, socially speaking." So you might not know the good inns, by name, but you can find them by looking at the neighborhoods. You can pick up on the local slang and customs. I mean Gather Information is nice, but finding where the needed information might be found is good too. You may not have ever been to this town before, but you can 'sus out who's in charge and who to avoid. In other systems it might be called Streewise.

Many complain about Profession as a skill as well. It's actually pretty clear in the rules: If it's the ability to make (and sell) goods, it's Craft. If it's the ability to provide a service, it's Profession. So Craft - Shipwright is wrong (nobody builds and sells ships by themselves). Craft - woodworking is correct.

I've heard some argue that everybody should have Spot and Listen in class. I don't agree. While anyone can make a Spot roll (Wisdom based skill), relegating the masterful training to Rogues, Bards and Rangers makes a certain amount of sense, in terms of game balance: All of those classes are skill-monkeys because they need the extra skills to raise their in-game utility to the point where they can keep up with the A listers.

None of them can wear the "good" armor, and none of them gets anything big in terms of magic. Rangers can have decent hit points, but their major combat styles (two weapon fighting or archery) both make shields useless. Bards can't use them at all.

Rogues, the kings of the Skill Monkeys, ironically find themselves short of skills. That is, while they get a lot of points ( nine plus race plus INT modifier), INT isn't usually one of the stats they pump. Additionally, they have a LOT of things they need to be good at: Spot, Listen, Hide, Move Silent, Search (for traps), Disable Device, and Open Locks are all on the "gotta have them" liist. And that leaves them with two they can use optionally. Just like the Wizard, Fighter, Sorcerer, Paladin, and so on. Climb, Jump and Swim are on the "it's nice to be able to do it" list for those optional skills.

As for Skill Checks. 15 wasn't considered "hard". For may things it's the minimum for basic success: Heal check? Roll 15 to staunch bleeding and/or clean a wound, or care for an injured friend to accelrate their natural healing speed.

Want to Climb a rope? DC 10. Knotted rope? DC 5. stay on a horse's back while walking? DC 5. At a Hustle? DC 10. Not in combat, of course.

Open Locks? Those start at a DC 20 and go up: If it was lower then anyone could Take 20 and open most locks.

Simple Spot and Listen checks? How simple? Hear a nearby commotion? DC 0. Be awakened by a nearby commotion (attack on the camp)? DC 0, but with a 10 point penalty for being asleep, so DC 10. See a mountain in the distance? DC 0. See details on that mountain, such as trails or buildings, from a good distance? Start at DC 15 and go up, depending on circumstance.

Want to swim? DC 10 is enough to keep your head up.

So "simple" and "tough" skill checks vary, depending on the skill. Why? Because IRL some things are just harder to do than others.

Over all, though, I favor the granularity and flexibility of the system, traits the later editions aren't exactly known for.
 

miggyG777

Villager
This is fundamentally a pretty good idea. Personally, I would recommend:

Untrained: Ability mod only
Novice: Ability mod + half-proficiency bonus
Proficient: Ability mod + proficiency bonus
Expert: Ability mod + double proficiency bonus

This would be in line with 5e’s math, but give a bit more granularity to characters who aren’t bards or rogues.
If you let everyone get expertise wouldn't that devalue rogues and bards? Also how would training a skill work?
 

miggyG777

Villager
Downtime activity?
I meant, how do you implement it with the current rules? If I can select 2 skills to be proficient, can I instead choose one to be expert in? How do I become a novice in a skill? And also how would that affect the Bard / Rogue abilities to get expertise.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I meant, how do you implement it with the current rules? If I can select 2 skills to be proficient, can I instead choose one to be expert in? How do I become a novice in a skill?
This is how I would do it.

I would allow novice ability to a skill through downtime training or through game play when I felt that a PC has used a skill enough to warrant improvement. Proficiency would be from proficiencies gained at the character creation or when the game allows it, such as when choosing the skilled feat. Expert would cost a proficiency. So if your Paladin chose the Acolyte background, he could choose 4 proficiencies. However, both lists have insight and religion on them, so he could pick three and be an expert in either religion or insight, or pick only insight and religion and be an expert at both. The skilled feat would allow new proficiency or expertise in existing skills.

I would also be able to grant proficiency and expertise via in game rewards from beings or items.
And also how would that affect the Bard / Rogue abilities to get expertise.
It wouldn't. They don't have to sacrifice at all to become an expert and would also be able to take advantage of the Skilled feat.
 

miggyG777

Villager
Thanks Maxperson, that actually sounds like a nice way to implement it. I might try that.

I also found this approach by Ilbranteloth:

To that measure, I'm interested in a rule set that tells me what you can do, what you are capable of doing, and what you can't do. I'm also interested in minimizing repetitive dice rolls.

It starts with reigning in the bonuses. I'm not a fan of expertise doubling your proficiency modifier, for example. I also adjust most of the DCs up by 5 points from what's been published.

We have three levels of proficiency that is consistent across all types of proficiency (skills, attacks, saves, etc.), although there are a number of things (weapons for example) that expertise is currently not available. I'm still considering what the impact of that would be.

Non-proficient: +/- ability modifier with disadvantage
Proficient: +proficiency modifier +/- ability modifier
Expertise: +proficiency modifier +/- ability modifier with advantage
What do you guys think about this? It nerfs players with non-proficiency in skills a bit more than the RAW do and therefore make the system a bit more dynamic because not every player is somewhat good at everything.

Obviously one way to do this in RAW is that you could just say, that if you are not proficient in a skill you can't apply it to certain tasks.

But the way he uses disadvantage / advantage allows you to transform that arbitrary rule into a generally applicable rule.

One critique however was, that it interferes with other advantage / disadvantage mechanics. Ilbranteloth replied to that with stacking advantages for instance. But I am really not sure how feasible that would be, since RAW clearly state that you cannot do that.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Thanks Maxperson, that actually sounds like a nice way to implement it. I might try that.
You're welcome!

What do you guys think about this? It nerfs players with non-proficiency in skills a bit more than the RAW do and therefore make the system a bit more dynamic because not every player is somewhat good at everything.

Obviously one way to do this in RAW is that you could just say, that if you are not proficient in a skill you can't apply it to certain tasks.

But the way he uses disadvantage / advantage allows you to transform that arbitrary rule into a generally applicable rule.

One critique however was, that it interferes with other advantage / disadvantage mechanics. Ilbranteloth replied to that with stacking advantages for instance. But I am really not sure how feasible that would be, since RAW clearly state that you cannot do that.
I think I prefer the way I suggested better, but that could work as well.
 
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