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Consolidating DnD skills


ramza

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Hi all!

 

I have been trying for quite some time to make a definitive list of class skills for my custom dnd rules. The problem is that there have been some changes between 3E and 3,5E... Still, in the latter, there's a total number of 36 skills! I do believe this is way too much considering the skill points each class gets. Furthermore, quite a few of those skills are rarely or never used. The whole idea behind this thread is to suggest me which skills to keep, which skills to merge and which skills to remove.

 

I will list all the skills available out there (including a few of my own creation) and I will add comments next to them. I would be grateful if you told me which ones you find useful and which ones you think aren't needed.

 

Alchemy -useless since there's a brew potion feat, could be combined with spellcraft.

Handle animal -this could be a class ability for rangers and druids instead of a skill.

Appraise -useless in a way: p&p gaming involves to many calculations already. I just make a CHA check and reduce/augment prices accordingly...

Balance -useless as desrcibed in 3,5E. I have been thinking of using it for tumble/ride/swim/jump/climb checks altogether.

Bluff -should be a dialog skill for characters with high CHA.

Concentration -no changes

Craft -could be merged with Profession:crafter... me and my friends never use it anyway...

Decipher Script -useless, will be merged with Lore

Diplomacy -should be a dialog skill for characters with high WIS.

Disable Device -no changes

Escape Artist - useless, a DEX check should be sufficient

Forgery -useless (at least for me and my friend), could become Profession:Forger

Gather Information - useless, this removes all the fun of using dialog skills with specific NPCs

Disguise -no changes

Heal -I like the NWN adaptation of this skill

Intimidate - should be a dialog skill for characters with high STR.

Lore - this combines all Knowledge skills

Open lock - no changes

Perform - I don't like the idea of make it mandatory for a bard to spend skill points in order to use a class ability. This skill could be used for other purposes tough. It could also become Profession:performer.

 

Profession - is this really useful? My friends and myself never use it...

Pick Pocket - no changes

Search -detect traps, listen and spot at the same time

Sense Motive -it's the check that opposes all dialog skills

Spellcraft -no changes

Survival -could become a class ability: I was thinking of Track (available only for rangers and barbarians)

Speak Language -useless: known languages are determined at character creation (race and INT modifiers are involved)

Use magic device -no changes

Use rope -useless, a DEX check should be sufficient

 

 

 

Skills that are being removed:

 

Hide and move silently have been replaced by Stealth

Listen, spot and detect traps have been replaced by Search

Ride, Swim, Jump and Climb have been replaced by Balance

 

What about those NWN skills?

 

Taunt: this could be used as a feat instead

Discipline: this could be merged into the balance skill

Parry: this could be used as a feat instead

Set traps: I am really tempted in putting that skill in my list of homebrew rules. The thing is that 3,5E (to my understanding) treats the use of traps as the use of poison. Characters make a simple check to see if they have succeeded without having any specific skills). If Set traps become a skill, so should Poison Use. What do you think?

 

One new skill:

 

Insight - should be a dialog skill for characters with high INT.

Edited by ramza

"Ooo, squirrels, Boo! I know I saw them! Quick, throw nuts!" -Minsc

"I am a well-known racist in the Realms! Elves? Dwarves? Ha! Kill'em all! Humans rule! -Me

 

Volourn will never grow up, he's like the Black Peter Pan, here to tell you that it might be great to always be a child, but everybody around is gonna hate it. :p
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In my gaming group we usually end up using all the skills in one form or another, in either as background flavor for the character or practical use during game play. Such as my wizard/fighter has Craft (Painter) and Perform (Dancing). While these two skills have no practical use during dungeon delving they are important aspects of his background and I keep them at a decent level. Also lumping all knowledges in one skill Lore would make Wizards way too powerful. Using my wizard as example he has ranks in Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (History), Knowledge (Nobility), Knowledge (Astrology), and Knowledge (Local-Sharn). Each of these Knowledge skills have been used a lot in the course of the campaign.

 

Instead of removing or merging skills why not take a look at your campaign and gaming style and try to make those skills that aren't used, used more often. I think that would make for a more rewarding gaming experience in the long run. If you are concerned about not having enough skill points you can use this house rule our group picked up from Conan d20 concerning skills. Skill Points gained by Race or by High Intelligence can be used on Cross Class skills for 1 point per rank, instead of 2 points per rank. Skill points gained by class cost 2 points per rank in a cross class skill. Max ranks limitations remain the same.

 

This allowed my Wizard/Fighter to have a number of useful skills while at the same time not sacrifice a lot of skill points for maintain the background flavor of the character.

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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Very interesting, that house rule for skill points for high intellience, i'll propose this at my next session.

 

For the knowledge skills I agree with Sand, they should not be merged. It is quite normal to not know everything and to specialise in a few knowledges. Nobody has the time to study everything deeply. If somebody wants to know a little bit of everything fine, but it should be just a little bit, not to the level of someone who specialises in a particular field of knowledge.

 

I don't think listen and spot should be merged with search. With search you actively look for something, listen and spot are "natural", they don't involve much thinking. I would let search as it is and merge listen and spot to a skill named perception.

 

Fine with the merging of move silently and hide, never understood why it was two different skills.

 

I like your dialog skills using different abilities.

 

I don't like your new balance skill. All those skills are quite different. If somebody wants to master all those skills he has to devote himself to it, as it should. It's like the knowledges.

 

A lot of the skills you think useless are maybe not used often, but they certainly add flavor to a character.

 

You would replace speak language with what, a feat? You can't eliminate it, people can learn a new language during play. The languages known at character creation are the languages the character know at this time, not the maximum he can learn.

 

I find it funny that you think Profession useless yet you would change a few other skills to Profession: xxxx

Edited by Reinoc
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Profession and Craft are skills the characters can use to make money and contacts during downtime from adventuring. Hell, in the campaign I am in Profession (Gambler) has become a very useful and lucrative skill for 2 of the players.

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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Thanks for your replies! :)

You have submitted some very interesting and innovating ideas. This gives lots of material to think about.

 

An alternative could be to keep the highest number of skills and just offer a bigger variety to players. It would then make sense to keep most of 3.5E skills (maybe add a few from 3E as well). I still believe the skill points gained upon level up are not enough when we have a range of 30+ skills. I can only think of adding 2 skill points per level for every class out there. Sure, rogues become overpowered but that may be the merit of this specific class since they aren't that good in combat.

 

I am not too sure about Lore. I just find it convenient to merge all Knowledge skills. Besides, as a DM and as a player, I don't want to bother with having too many sub-skills... Perform, Craft and Profession may have sub-skills however... This adds flavor to the game...

 

On second thought, Balance shouldn't be a merge skill for climb, swim, jump and tumble. I DO think however that Jump and swim are useless skill. A Dexterity check should be enough...

 

Forgery, Craft and Profession may be kept as they are... They just make the game more spicy...

 

So far, I believe those skills should be merged:

 

Spot and Listen should become Perception

Hide and Move Silently should become Stealth

 

Interesting 3E skills:

 

Innuendo: I see many RP opportunities with this one

Read Lips: It's quite interesting but I wonder if it can be merged with Innuendo

Alchemy: I have come to like it after re-reading the 3E description of the skill. Should it be kept or not?

 

Some questions that remain:

 

What should I do with the Set Traps skill? Should it be removed and treated like the Use Poison ability (10+d10+DEX vs. DC)?

Why is Track (feat) treated differently from Survival (skill)? Can they be merged?

Why is Wild Empathy (ranger and druidic ability) treated differently from Handle Animal (skill)? Can they be merged?

How about Decipher Script? I have been thinking of merging it with the Lore skill. However, since Lore has come to replace all Knowledge sub-skills, keeping Decipher Script should bring some balance to that.

 

PS: You may wonder why I have this tendency to merge feats, skills and abilities. I just want to make dnd rules simpler and put together features that have more or less similar effects. This may be true for wild empathy and handle animal. It may be coherent however to separate track from Survival. Maybe the use of wild empathy should be linked to the handle animal skill, just as Track is linked to the Survival skill.

 

PS2: To answer Reinoc's questions: I just discovered that I had misread the description of the Speak Language skill. My previous comment is thus null and void. Concerning the Profession skill, I still tend to believe that it has a limited purpose. However, in order to make a balanced and interesting set of rules, I may need to keep it if I ever decide to remove the Craft, Forgery and Perform skills...

 

PS3: The attached files are SRD excerpts of the 3E edition rules.

srdskillsi.rtf

srdskillsii.rtf

Edited by ramza

"Ooo, squirrels, Boo! I know I saw them! Quick, throw nuts!" -Minsc

"I am a well-known racist in the Realms! Elves? Dwarves? Ha! Kill'em all! Humans rule! -Me

 

Volourn will never grow up, he's like the Black Peter Pan, here to tell you that it might be great to always be a child, but everybody around is gonna hate it. :p
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Read Lips is a simple Intelligence check. Alchemy is a crafting skill thusly belongs under the Craft metaskill. Setting traps uses Disable Device. Same principle, but in reverse. Track is the feat that allows the ability to track at all, while Survival is the skill used to beat the DCs. Read up the Track and Survival skill carefully in the 3.5e PHB. It is very clear how they work together. Of course you need a separate feat Urban Tracking and the Gather Information skill to track individuals in a large town or city.

 

Merging the all Knowledge skills is a very bad idea. It will make those who specializes in Knowledge skills, such as Wizards, too powerful when it comes to skill checks.

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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