# Skills

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Did anyone bothered to calculate the maximal (in case we put all points into 1 skill and we play class favouring this skill) obtainable skill (mechanics, athletics, lore etc) level at top character level? And do we know whats the maximal checks for each skill (eg. which level of mechanics is needed to open the hardest lock or which level of athletics is needed to survive/pass the hardest scripted event)?

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The maximum level is fairly easy to calculate.

The +Skill from Background and Class doesn't add to the total for purposes of calculating skill costs, and skill costs are always the same as the current skill level (minus the modifiers from things like class and background).

That means that if we assume +4 to a Skill from Class (Let's say Wizard, for +2 Lore) and Background (Say, Aristocrat, +2 Lore), that means:

1st rank costs 1.

2nd rank costs 2.

3rd rank costs 3.
4th rank costs 4.
...etc.

You get 6 skill points per level, except level 1 (for some reason, but fair enough, given the + from Background and Class) and there's 12 levels.

That means a total of 66 Skill Points.

Meaning that if you chuck all of that (every single point) into a single skill, that's a skill level of 11, at an exact cost of 66.

+4 from Class and Background, that's an effective skill level of 15.

To answer your second question, we have no bloody clue. However, I would expect that based on the above math, it'd be unlikely to see any checks over 10. But that's just me. For my sake, I think it'd be amazing if they actually made a few checks here and there all the way up to 15, to reward those that will inevitably effectively gimp themselves by pouring everything they can into a single skill. Like schooling the hell out of someone with Lore or steal the declaration of independence with Stealth.

Edit: Also, as a completely separate note on Skills and Backgrounds... why on Earth are there 6 (!) different Backgrounds that give +2 Lore (Aristocrat, Artist, Clergyman, Mystic, Philospher, Scholar) a single one that gives +2 Survival (Colonist) and none for the other Skills (Stealth, Athletics, Mechanics).

Now, from a mechanical standpoint, it's only really relevant for min-maxing, and honestly I think it's probably better to start with a mixed bag of skills, because it'll likely be relevant longer (A difference between 1 and 3 likely matters more than a difference between 8 and 9 or more). But it is a really odd discrepancy.

Edited by Luckmann
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I agree - they should give some very high checks - even if its just 1-2 for each skill - though having some nifty rewards for those

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That's why I'd love to see collaborative checks. Like, you need Lore 20 to figure out some important detail regarding dragons (super generic example), but each individual can only have 12 Lore, max. So, it takes all your lore knowledge (12), plus another's at least 8 worth of Lore knowledge. Boom. Put your heads together, and you figure it out. Or... multiple people with mechanics skill to fix some huge contraption, or further repair/disarm something. etc.

That would be pretty neat.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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In BBv392, there is a check for a skill level 11 or 12 (individual). It may help as a shotcut, but you can go around.

So extrapolating, I guess in the final game a really high skill may mean an easier life in some instances, but probably not having it will not result in a dead end...

(however, It would be really neat to have some no matter how small stuff only accessible with a highly specific setup)

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I tend to think the "Rare benefits are the best benefits" scenario isn't really all that much fun. Game planning around the possibility that there will be valuable black swan rewards tucked away somewhere can be frustrating for a couple of reasons:

1. If your game is truly sandboxy then it's entirely possible the specialists you want to reward may not stumble across the rare checks intended to reward them in the first place.

2. If you start handing out +7 hackmasters in exchange for high checks, then many people will feel compelled to hyper specialize everyone in their party just in case.

I'd rather do it this way: have really high checks be relatively common but put them alongside lower level checks to allow parties to experience varying degrees of success. That way you can reward high skills at semi regular intervals instead of feeling compelled to give a party the moon and the stars the one time their Toaster Repair skills are actually relevant.

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Well, they are most probably not doing "Rare benefits are the best/only benefits", or I guess, at least there will be other ways around. So I don't know what is the issue...

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I tend to think the "Rare benefits are the best benefits" scenario isn't really all that much fun. Game planning around the possibility that there will be valuable black swan rewards tucked away somewhere can be frustrating for a couple of reasons:

1. If your game is truly sandboxy then it's entirely possible the specialists you want to reward may not stumble across the rare checks intended to reward them in the first place.

2. If you start handing out +7 hackmasters in exchange for high checks, then many people will feel compelled to hyper specialize everyone in their party just in case.

I'd rather do it this way: have really high checks be relatively common but put them alongside lower level checks to allow parties to experience varying degrees of success. That way you can reward high skills at semi regular intervals instead of feeling compelled to give a party the moon and the stars the one time their Toaster Repair skills are actually relevant.

Agree completely. First, high-level skill checks should not necessarily come with great rewards. First and foremost it should provide interesting situations that may or may not be beneficial, and a skill check - no matter how high - should be a roadmap to the fabled +7 hackmaster. It makes it so that everyone will always completely and utterly specialize every character in their entire team.

Second, I loathe the "higher skill checks at higher character levels for no discernible reason except linear progression"-thing. Skill checks, both high and low, should be spread out in the game. All the skill checks right before the central maguffin, the big bad, or the reveal shouldn't necessarily be hard skill checks, nor should the starting-level skill checks all be 1, 2 or 3.

I'd absolutely love it if that Stealth 3 my character somehow ended up getting will be relatively relevant throughout the entire game, if I'm narratively rewarded for that 6 Lore I got on lvl 1 right in the starting area, and it's not just an artificial number that goes up while I'm playing.

Obsidian have said that not everything you can do with Skill Checks will be automatically better than the alternatives - they're just meant to be alternatives, things you can't do otherwise, without skills. So I really hope they they thought of this, too.

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That's why I'd love to see collaborative checks. Like, you need Lore 20 to figure out some important detail regarding dragons (super generic example), but each individual can only have 12 Lore, max. So, it takes all your lore knowledge (12), plus another's at least 8 worth of Lore knowledge. Boom. Put your heads together, and you figure it out. Or... multiple people with mechanics skill to fix some huge contraption, or further repair/disarm something. etc.

That would be pretty neat.

collaborative checks sounds bad -  idiots with low "lore" can't figure out complicated task - even if there are 6 of them. At least thats my way of looking at this ...

I tend to think the "Rare benefits are the best benefits" scenario isn't really all that much fun. Game planning around the possibility that there will be valuable black swan rewards tucked away somewhere can be frustrating for a couple of reasons:

1. If your game is truly sandboxy then it's entirely possible the specialists you want to reward may not stumble across the rare checks intended to reward them in the first place.

2. If you start handing out +7 hackmasters in exchange for high checks, then many people will feel compelled to hyper specialize everyone in their party just in case.

I'd rather do it this way: have really high checks be relatively common but put them alongside lower level checks to allow parties to experience varying degrees of success. That way you can reward high skills at semi regular intervals instead of feeling compelled to give a party the moon and the stars the one time their Toaster Repair skills are actually relevant.

Well - thats true in case most games (the ones which are good to play once - and never come back to it again), but in games that give you many hours of fantastic gameplay, many ways of completing a game, many decisions to make, many classes to play - basically the game that you will be happy to replay many times (like BG and hopefully PoE) it would be better (IMHO) to gain somethink from specific skill level - could be somethink huge (like rare eq or acces to new quests), could be somethink moderate (like alternative way of completing the quests/ unblocking shortcuts) or not-really-minor (like some aditional lore info, entertaining conversations or easter eggs).

Your second point is valid however - though i'm thinking that it could be prevented by scripting the most benneficial checks in that way - that storywise and mechanicwise it would be natural that only your main character skillpoints would be checked (or some other solution  that would fix this problem).

The "alongside"-thingy would be good, if there was somethink like critical failure  - that would prevent you from doing rechecks (like in case of picking lock you could break it and it wont open anymore no matter what (or in case of chests you could also smash them, but damage some stuff inside or in case of door -  it (smashing) could have bad consequences like allarming guards/owner - in case of town you would be punished verbally or materially and in case of dungeons/enemy areas - your oponents would be battle ready and well prepared for your arrival (higher ammounts of enemies?) OR in case of pushing the boulder out of your way you could strain your muscle/tendon and it would prevent you from rechecking this for some time - debuff-like) - but as far as i know in PoE you can do rechecks infinitely (though now it wont change a thing since there is no chance of success) and come back to specific check later on - when you improve this skill - so the success rate is pointless if you can recheck everythink infinitely xP

PS: I hope that above text make sense, since I'm tired and I'm not 100% sure that whatever i'm writing is coherent xP

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collaborative checks sounds bad -  idiots with low "lore" can't figure out complicated task - even if there are 6 of them.

Maybe not, but 6 characters with, say, 5 lore should be able to 'pool their knowledge' and achieve a bit more than if only one of them had 5 lore.

That's called Synergy by the way, and it works great in pen and paper D&D.

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Maybe not, but 6 characters with, say, 5 lore should be able to 'pool their knowledge' and achieve a bit more than if only one of them had 5 lore.

That's called Synergy by the way, and it works great in pen and paper D&D.

well - sure , maybe 6 companions each one having skill level 5 - could solve together level 6 or even 7 task - but in my opinion same 6 companions solving task of level 30 (6*5) sounds rediculous - and following this - it is impossible to solve hardest (genious level) checks with bunch of mediocre people - you should need genious for that (no matter if you have 2, 6, 20 or 100 soldiers - if none of them are profficient in disarming mines - they wont cross minefield - they only can move around (or die trying to cross/disarm)).

EDIT: Besides - as far as I know the paper&pen games are all about tactics and strategy -  the realism in such games matters very little - in PC role-playing games - as the tactical part have a big impact, the MAIN - most important component is role-playing part (in which words like "realistic", "probable" etc. matters).

Edited by DarkWanderer
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Maybe not, but 6 characters with, say, 5 lore should be able to 'pool their knowledge' and achieve a bit more than if only one of them had 5 lore.

That's called Synergy by the way, and it works great in pen and paper D&D.

well - sure , maybe 6 companions each one having skill level 5 - could solve together level 6 or even 7 task - but in my opinion same 6 companions solving task of level 30 (6*5) sounds rediculous.

Well it wouldn't have to be a one to one conversion rate, you could have diminishing returns for each person added (this is how it works in many PnP systems too).

"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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collaborative checks sounds bad -  idiots with low "lore" can't figure out complicated task - even if there are 6 of them. At least thats my way of looking at this ...

So... what you're saying is really:

"collaborative checks in which 6 idiots with low lore can figure out a complicated task sounds bad"?

'Cause all I mentioned was collaborative checks, in general. You could easily limit the check, based on whatever criteria you wanted, to, say... 2 participants. Thus, if TWO people couldn't add up to 18 (for example) Lore, then you couldn't overcome it. Heck, you could even set a minimum threshold. "You can't apply your Lore skill unless you have at least 5. If you have enough people with 5-or-higher to hit 20, then congrats." That sort of thing.

The idea is mainly to have a reason for more than one person to have higher ratings in the same skill. Not to just make sure every point in everyone's skill always matters.

Also, in regards to the general discussion of how to regulate high skill checks and their rewards... what if, sometimes having too high of a skill actually hurt you? You know, sort of the "we're in a hostage situation, and they just found out Steve here can hack the security system, so now they've got him doing their bidding." Granted, being good at bluffing would negate such a scenario. But, even so, I'm curious to know if there might be applicable situations. More with performed actions than spoken info, maybe. Like... Athletics. You couldn't really bluff that. "Oh, I'm totally out of shape, even though my abs are more defined than a vocabulary word in a language book."

This really applies to more general factors, and not just skills. Such as... equipment. Maybe there could be a check when you approach a certain person. If you're wearing common stuff, you're treated one way. If you're wearing all the best gear, he doesn't trust you. Something like that.

Annnnywho, I'm thinking up pretty weak examples right now. Maybe I'll try again later.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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collaborative checks sounds bad -  idiots with low "lore" can't figure out complicated task - even if there are 6 of them. At least thats my way of looking at this ...

So... what you're saying is really:

"collaborative checks in which 6 idiots with low lore can figure out a complicated task sounds bad"?

'Cause all I mentioned was collaborative checks, in general. You could easily limit the check, based on whatever criteria you wanted, to, say... 2 participants. Thus, if TWO people couldn't add up to 18 (for example) Lore, then you couldn't overcome it. Heck, you could even set a minimum threshold. "You can't apply your Lore skill unless you have at least 5. If you have enough people with 5-or-higher to hit 20, then congrats." That sort of thing.

The idea is mainly to have a reason for more than one person to have higher ratings in the same skill. Not to just make sure every point in everyone's skill always matters.

Also, in regards to the general discussion of how to regulate high skill checks and their rewards... what if, sometimes having too high of a skill actually hurt you? You know, sort of the "we're in a hostage situation, and they just found out Steve here can hack the security system, so now they've got him doing their bidding." Granted, being good at bluffing would negate such a scenario. But, even so, I'm curious to know if there might be applicable situations. More with performed actions than spoken info, maybe. Like... Athletics. You couldn't really bluff that. "Oh, I'm totally out of shape, even though my abs are more defined than a vocabulary word in a language book."

This really applies to more general factors, and not just skills. Such as... equipment. Maybe there could be a check when you approach a certain person. If you're wearing common stuff, you're treated one way. If you're wearing all the best gear, he doesn't trust you. Something like that.

Annnnywho, I'm thinking up pretty weak examples right now. Maybe I'll try again later.

Well, if there were such restrictions, then why not i guess - wouldn't bother me at least xP

As for negative effects of high level skill - sounds interesting, though it shouldn't be used too much - just in several occasions (per skill).

About equipment value - sounds awsome - i was actually thinking about such things during many RPGs i've played. Eg. when you are wearing very expensive eq some peasants would be intimidated (or act submissive)  just by your looks. If you enter some areas (bandit camp, bloody sect lair) with random eq - it would mean immediate fight, but if you bother to obtain this specific group clothing and equip it, you could not only enter the camp without alarming anyone, but maybe trade with group merchant, find out some usefull info, get some gifts from group members, get some mini quests or even do alternative way of completing the "big" quest. If you enter eg. Bleak Walkers HQ in some cheap clothes everyone would be laughing their asses off, but if you had good fighting gear, everyone would act towards you respectfully. Though all of this had to be also influenced by your reputation, at least most of the times.

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As for negative effects of high level skill - sounds interesting, though it shouldn't be used too much - just in several occasions (per skill).

Definitely. Nothing is so fantastic that it should just flood the game. All things in moderation,

About equipment value - sounds awsome - i was actually thinking about such things during many RPGs i've played. Eg. when you are wearing very expensive eq some peasants would be intimidated (or act submissive)  just by your looks. If you enter some areas (bandit camp, bloody sect lair) with random eq - it would mean immediate fight, but if you bother to obtain this specific group clothing and equip it, you could not only enter the camp without alarming anyone, but maybe trade with group merchant, find out some usefull info, get some gifts from group members, get some mini quests or even do alternative way of completing the "big" quest. If you enter eg. Bleak Walkers HQ in some cheap clothes everyone would be laughing their asses off, but if you had good fighting gear, everyone would act towards you respectfully. Though all of this had to be also influenced by your reputation, at least most of the times.

Yeah. And, again with that, I wouldn't want every single person in the game to react to what you're wearing. But, it'd be nice if it affected things here and there in significant ways. Along the lines of the reputation system PoE is supposed to have, it'd be kind of nice if there were some sort of Rumors system. Rumors could be discoverable if you talk to the right people in the right way/provided coin to the right hands, etc. Not necessarily all of them, and not even all of them would matter. But, maybe if you find out that such-and-such a group is notorious for their yellow cloaks or something, you could wear yellow cloaks, and people would kind of assume (as people do) that you're affiliated with that group. So, maybe when you go talk to Steve the NPC (who's afraid of the yellow-cloaked group), he might start at the sight of you and say "Please! We're going to pay!", instead of "who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my establishment?".

Just a simplistic example.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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That's why I'd love to see collaborative checks. Like, you need Lore 20 to figure out some important detail regarding dragons (super generic example), but each individual can only have 12 Lore, max. So, it takes all your lore knowledge (12), plus another's at least 8 worth of Lore knowledge. Boom. Put your heads together, and you figure it out. Or... multiple people with mechanics skill to fix some huge contraption, or further repair/disarm something. etc.

That would be pretty neat.

collaborative checks sounds bad -  idiots with low "lore" can't figure out complicated task - even if there are 6 of them. At least thats my way of looking at this ...

Collaborative effort is how a lot of scholarly teams work these days. Everybody brings different strengths to the effort, so the whole is stronger than all the individual contributors working separately. It's not unrealistic to do it this way.

With a computer it's easy enough to figure out the effective odds of a skill check with multiple contributors. Just figure out the odds of them all simultaneously failing the check (which is the product of their individual failure odds), then subtract it from 100%. Your high skill character is still going to dominate the odds, but they will receive a small bump from the others.

Edited by rjshae
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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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[Just figure out the odds of them all simultaneously failing the check (which is the product of their individual failure odds)

That sounds like it would work for a roll-to-succeed system, but doesn't PoE run more on a X level of skill Y needed system? I.e. if it's a skill check for level 5 and you've got 4, you'll fail 100% of the time, but with 5 or more you'll succeed 100% of the time?

Fnord.

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That's why I'd love to see collaborative checks. Like, you need Lore 20 to figure out some important detail regarding dragons (super generic example), but each individual can only have 12 Lore, max. So, it takes all your lore knowledge (12), plus another's at least 8 worth of Lore knowledge. Boom. Put your heads together, and you figure it out. Or... multiple people with mechanics skill to fix some huge contraption, or further repair/disarm something. etc.

That would be pretty neat.

collaborative checks sounds bad -  idiots with low "lore" can't figure out complicated task - even if there are 6 of them. At least thats my way of looking at this ...

Collaborative effort is how a lot of scholarly teams work these days. Everybody brings different strengths to the effort, so the whole is stronger than all the individual contributors working separately. It's not unrealistic to do it this way.

With a computer it's easy enough to figure out the effective odds of a skill check with multiple contributors. Just figure out the odds of them all simultaneously failing the check (which is the product of their individual failure odds), then subtract it from 100%. Your high skill character is still going to dominate the odds, but they will receive a small bump from the others.

i ment that eg 6 persons with skill level 2 solving task level 12 souns unrealistic - though same ppl doing task level 3 or 4 is ok - read attentively, as we already resolve this xP

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[Just figure out the odds of them all simultaneously failing the check (which is the product of their individual failure odds)

That sounds like it would work for a roll-to-succeed system, but doesn't PoE run more on a X level of skill Y needed system? I.e. if it's a skill check for level 5 and you've got 4, you'll fail 100% of the time, but with 5 or more you'll succeed 100% of the time?

You could still simulate it by selecting an appropriate skill range and using that to compute a failure %. Ex: use skill range 20 to compute odds. Character skill level 4: (20-4)/20 = .8; two skill level 4's: .8 x .8 = .64 = (20 - 7.2)/20; thus equivalent to skill level 7.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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That's why I'd love to see collaborative checks. Like, you need Lore 20 to figure out some important detail regarding dragons (super generic example), but each individual can only have 12 Lore, max. So, it takes all your lore knowledge (12), plus another's at least 8 worth of Lore knowledge. Boom. Put your heads together, and you figure it out. Or... multiple people with mechanics skill to fix some huge contraption, or further repair/disarm something. etc.

That would be pretty neat.

collaborative checks sounds bad -  idiots with low "lore" can't figure out complicated task - even if there are 6 of them. At least thats my way of looking at this ...

Collaborative effort is how a lot of scholarly teams work these days. Everybody brings different strengths to the effort, so the whole is stronger than all the individual contributors working separately. It's not unrealistic to do it this way.

With a computer it's easy enough to figure out the effective odds of a skill check with multiple contributors. Just figure out the odds of them all simultaneously failing the check (which is the product of their individual failure odds), then subtract it from 100%. Your high skill character is still going to dominate the odds, but they will receive a small bump from the others.

i ment that eg 6 persons with skill level 2 solving task level 12 souns unrealistic - though same ppl doing task level 3 or 4 is ok - read attentively, as we already resolve this xP

Fine. If you do the math correctly then the idiots with the low "lore" skill will in fact contribute very little to the effort. But the idiots will in fact still be able to provide the occasional insight that allows a problem to be solved. Even if all they do is suggest something the nudges an idea out of one of the more clever members.

Edited by rjshae

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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i ment that eg 6 persons with skill level 2 solving task level 12 souns unrealistic - though same ppl doing task level 3 or 4 is ok - read attentively, as we already resolve this xP

Well, also, there's a reason I specifically used the Lore skill as an example. You don't really get better at Loreing. It's assumed that Lore is more of a measure of your knowledge of the area's Lore. Presumably, at 100 (or whatever) Lore, you'd know every single thing there is to know related to lore. While at 5, you'd know 5%. It's not super concrete, sure, because it can stand for ANY 5% of knowledge, but... anywho. So, 6 people with a 2 in Lore could possibly handle a Lore 12 task.

Now, it doesn't work with everything. At least, not the same way. 6 people with a 2 in Athletics couldn't jump an Athletics 12 gap. You can't really collaborate like that. BUT, maybe 6 people with a 2 in Athletics (assuming Athletics governed climbing checks) could possibly reach an Athletics 5 climby-spot, for example. Maybe no one person can scale a 12-foot cliff face, but all of them together can help boost each other/stabilize each other to be able to reach the top? Of course, getting to the exact specifics, any more than 2 or 3 would probably just be useless in that collaboration, and you'd probably just use a rope or something at that point instead (and a different skill, like Mechanics). But, it's just an example of how collaboration could work with pretty much any skill, to varying degrees.

You can't just design something like this in one simple way, then blanket it over everything in the game. "Oh, if all your skill numbers add up to a number, you win!" would obviously be a horrid design. However, actually adjusting for how many people would be effective in collaboration, and what kind of bonus they'd give one another, etc, you can simulate some collaboration plenty well enough for a game that decides character A and character B both know the exact same things pertaining to Lore simply because they both possess a rating of 5 in the Lore skill.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u