"I'm a blacksmith": So how do you represent that mechanically? Skill/Feat/Practice/Background/Theme?

"My Fighter comes from a blacksmithing family, he can repair and forge armor with the right tools on hand"
A not too unusual character concept. So, how do you propose implementing that?


What I personally like: Having a Background to choose, and then using a skill proficiency to do so. Say, "athletics" or "endurance". The fact that I can forge a suit of armor if I have an anvil, materials, tools, and time doesn't strike me as something that must consume finite character resources to do.

I think these things are better off handled loosely and permissively rather than restrictively.

But you still write 'Blacksmith' on your character sheet. Have some space under "Endurance" to write down "-Blacksmith"

Or if I'm a Wizard, maybe it's "Arcana: -Blacksmith" 
I've got a brainy guy whose studied up on ancient traditions and cutting edge techniques: "History: -Blacksmith"

I just talk with the DM about it, have a suitable Background, and jot it down under my relevant skill.

... and maybe as a group effort, the three of us can pool our diverse skills to forge a magic item! 



 
Divide skills into subgroups. Like social, athletics, knowledge skills and professions. Classes have different access to skills groups, fighters should have a better access to athletics than knowledge skills.

This way no one as to chose between good at blacksmithing and being good at jumping or climbing.
I have always been of the opinion that your job doesn't have to be a mechanical part of the character, it is how your character uses the skills that are already on there.  My favorite character was a mail man.  What kind of class do you think best describes that job?  (He was a warlock, but that had nothing to do with his job).

So for blacksmith, take some endurance, athletics, carry around a big hammer and pick up a couple crafting rituals.  Blam, you're a blacksmith!   No need to put any more investment in it than that.  You could even skill the skills bit, maybe you do more detail work instead of large bits of armor, and use thievery instead.
Even in 'real life' a sword was made by like... at least 3 different studios 
A blade maker, a hilt maker, a grip maker, a sword sharpener, all kinds of diversley skilled people. But for cinematic reasons it's cooler to just have one guy do everything (and Hephaestus was one god, not three)
Backgrounds (such as Blacksmith) ought not to be represented as an actual Character Option... Because then WotC would have to mke one for nearly EVERY possible profession or people would get annoyed that THEIR chosen profession (let's say, some guy wants to be a Mail Man. There is no way in the Nine Hells that would be a BG choice on release day). 

Better, then, for your background to be represented through RP and skill choice. 
Even in 'real life' a sword was made by like... at least 3 different studios 
A blade maker, a hilt maker, a grip maker, a sword sharpener, all kinds of diversley skilled people. But for cinematic reasons it's cooler to just have one guy do everything (and Hephaestus was one god, not three)

Yeah, a blacksmith historically did not make weapons or armor, ever. When would his village need that? But this isn't history. It can be difficult to buy-in a character whose background isn't something relevant to combat or non-combat. The diplomat concept you can hook. The sailor you can hook if you try. Hooking the blacksmith might seem a bit forced.

There's a great example in fiction. Take Perrin in Wheel of Time. He was a major character and being a smith was a major part of his concept. But his ability to smith never was used in other than a "roleplay" fashion. Even when he forges his new hammer, I would consider that a roleplay explanation of acquiring new equipment.

The question is, should having a smith background give you bonuses to X, Y and Z, or should you take X, Y and Z in order to represent that you are a smith? 
The answer could be any of the above or even a Class, depending on how important it is to the character concept. The Black Smith was a type of wizard in many ancient cultures.. there is actually a pretty cool anime with a Blacksmith as a lead heroic character he has some instant forging abilities (not quite instant but it was within seconds and was invoked via a magical eye and a Fae familiar he was connected to).  The Celts are a fair example where the Smith was definitely a high stature individual and his arts were considered magical. How you evoke that Smiths magic? hmmm we do get some of it via the Artificier with the suitable practice.

 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

These are the kind of skills that take a life time to master.    Unless magic is envolved I would expect that some sort of resource mus tbe spent to craft weapons and armor.    Not just anyone in the game should beable to wake up one day and beable to craft a suit of chainmail with an athletics check.   

I really hope that in 5e we have several different pools of resources.   Background resources, skills, combat feats, and a huge list of proficieneis to pick from (blacksmithing, cooking,  shipwright, etc). 


Backgrounds (such as Blacksmith) ought not to be represented as an actual Character Option... Because then WotC would have to mke one for nearly EVERY possible profession or people would get annoyed that THEIR chosen profession (let's say, some guy wants to be a Mail Man. There is no way in the Nine Hells that would be a BG choice on release day). 

Better, then, for your background to be represented through RP and skill choice. 



Agreed on all fronts.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
These are the kind of skills that take a life time to master.    Unless magic is envolved I would expect that some sort of resource mus tbe spent to craft weapons and armor.    Not just anyone in the game should beable to wake up one day and beable to craft a suit of chainmail with an athletics check.   

I really hope that in 5e we have several different pools of resources.   Background resources, skills, combat feats, and a huge list of proficieneis to pick from (blacksmithing, cooking,  shipwright, etc). 

Consider the way 4e handles it. You get to pick one Background: Profession; Artisan (whatever you want). There's no long list and no definitive mechanics associated with it, but the only way you can get it is to start with it. You get to train a related skill or get a +2 bonus to a related skill, plus whatever circumstance bonuses the DM cares to allow. They can be used with ANY skill potentially, so you could get a +2 History bonus to know smithing lore, a +2 Diplomacy bonus to talk to a dwarven NPC smith, or a +2 to some check that determines how many spear heads you turned out when you pulled an all-nighter (maybe even +5 on that last one).

I thought this was a rather elegant, if rather under appreciated little corner of 4e's rules. In fact I really like the rest of the background system for that matter too. The whole 'pick 5 elements' thing really gets players thinking about some sort of backstory. They get a really small mechanical reward for going to the trouble and it generally does lead to better fleshed out characters.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I like page 12 of the AD&D DMG: Non-Professional Skills.

Pick a skill from the list. You can appraise work and items appropriate to the profession, at a low level of skill. You can do minor repairs and make crude items associated with it, as well. You're about as good as the basic apprentice in the first year of their apprenticeship.

Because you stopped learning that profession in favor of being a wizard, or a fighter, etc.

This doesn't cost your character anything. Doesn't get them much, either - that's what your class is for. 
Well, in 1e & 2e, there was the Weaponsmithing NWP that covered this. In 3e & 3.5e there was the Craft (weaponsmithing) skill.
Well, in 1e & 2e, there was the Weaponsmithing NWP that covered this. In 3e & 3.5e there was the Craft (weaponsmithing) skill.

Fair enough, but aside from the fact that you're likely allocating knowledge you learned from combat and adventuring challenges for learning skills about smithing (making it seems "wrong" story-wise), didn't that seem a bit odd that even after years of tutoring under the town blacksmith and learning the trade yourself, you still start the game as a level 1 (insert class name here)?  I mean unless the DM grants you a significant number of skill points to mechanically represent the experience you've gained as a blacksmith or handwaive the thing entirely, wouldn't that be too mechanically restrictive?  What if being a blacksmith never really affects the campaign in any significant way, wouldn't it be a waste of an adventurer's resources?

Just askin'

Personally I prefer 4E's methodology, and even expand on it further: if a PC was a blacksmith when he was drafted into the army and the campaign started as a training exercise gone bad, then anything blacksmith-related would be auto-success to moderate DCs only for him (all others can't attempt, auto-fail attempts, or have VERY high DCs, depending on the task), while everywhere else the only mechanical benefits he'd have for being a blacksmith would be things that have a lifetime effect (like +2 Athletics for his strengthened muscles from all that hammering, or +2 Endurance for handling the heat of the forge).

I'd also have it a little more specific too, adding something like: "At the DM's discretion, there will  be situations that your training may or may not apply to.  For instance, an aquaphobic athlete might never have tried swimming, so if he falls into a body of water, the DM may rule that your aquaphobic PC might have to make a saving throw against a fear effect [his aquaphobia, which is rendering him helpless] before he can take any other action, and his normal athleticism will not apply [in other words, he'll have a -5 penalty to swimming attempts, negating his training bonus]."
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging

Personally I prefer 4E's methodology, and even expand on it further: if a PC was a blacksmith when he was drafted into the army and the campaign started as a training exercise gone bad,


You stalkin' my games, bro?  
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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To clarify: I was talking about AD&D, pre-UA/OA. No Non-Weapon Proficiencies. I was talking about Non-Professional Skills. Different thing - not bought with stuff you get from adventuring.

This is the text:

When a player character selects a class, this profession is assumed to be that which the character has been following previously, virtually to the exclusion of all other activities. Thus the particular individual is at 1st level of ability. However, some minor knowledge of certain mundane skills might belong to the player character - information and training from early years or incidentally picked up while the individual was in apprenticeship learning his or her primary professional skills of clericism, fighting, etc. If your particular campaign is aimed at a level of play where secondary skills can be taken into account, then use the table below to assign them to player characters, or even to henchmen if you so desire.
This 4E background. I don't recall that from back when I played 4E. Was it in the PHB1?
This 4E background. I don't recall that from back when I played 4E. Was it in the PHB1?


Player's Handbook 1 had the following:

Alignment vs. Personality (p. 19), and Alignment in general (p.19-20).
Personality (p.23).
Mannerisms, Appearance and Background (p.24).

Your character’s background often stays there—in the background. What’s most important about your character is what you do in the course of your adventures, not what happened to you in the past. Even so, thinking about your birthplace, family, and upbringing can help you decide how to play your character.



The expansion on how background influences your characters can be found in Player's Handbook 2, p.178-183.  Of specific interest is the following sidebar in p.182:

OTHER BENEFITS IN PLAY

Your DM might decide to give your character a bonus to certain skill checks or other rolls in situations when your character’s background could conceivably provide an edge. If your character’s background includes an apprenticeship to a blacksmith, for example, the DM might give a bonus to Diplomacy checks when your character interacts with the baron’s blacksmith, or a bonus to a Perception check when particular training could help your character notice something awry. Feel free to ask the DM about a "background bonus" if you see a possible connection.

Your character’s background might also mean that he or she knows how to do certain things that have nothing to do with the game’s skill system or other rules elements. If your character worked as a blacksmith, you don’t need to make a skill check for your character to produce a horseshoe, or to earn a subsistence living as a blacksmith. There might be circumstances in which a well-defined background can give your character an edge in the game, even when the rules don’t cover the situation.

Details of your background almost always involve other people—such as friends, enemies, family members, and former teachers. These bits of history offer a good opportunity for the DM to create nonplayer characters and situations that can be used later in the campaign.





Personally I prefer 4E's methodology, and even expand on it further: if a PC was a blacksmith when he was drafted into the army and the campaign started as a training exercise gone bad,

 
You stalkin' my games, bro?  


Say wha? O.o I didn't know that was the starting plot of your game, seriously >.<

 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Ah, got it. I didn't hold out until PHB2.

I think most people agree to have backgrounds and skills intersect in some way. The easy way to state the question is, do you pay the system to represent your character's background, or does the system pay you? 

Say wha? O.o I didn't know that was the starting plot of your game, seriously >.<

 


That's even my character.  
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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[Fair enough, but aside from the fact that you're likely allocating knowledge you learned from combat and adventuring challenges for learning skills about smithing (making it seems "wrong" story-wise), didn't that seem a bit odd that even after years of tutoring under the town blacksmith and learning the trade yourself, you still start the game as a level 1 (insert class name here)? I mean unless the DM grants you a significant number of skill points to mechanically represent the experience you've gained as a blacksmith or handwaive the thing entirely, wouldn't that be too mechanically restrictive?  What if being a blacksmith never really affects the campaign in any significant way, wouldn't it be a waste of an adventurer's resources?



There's only so much simulationism that really needs to be applied to an overglorified game of "playing pretend" (else we might be playing GURPS ). The gaining XP from combat is an artifact of D&D's wargaming roots, but that doesn't mean we have to let it limit us to having XP contribute solely to combat-related increases. Handwaive, and say that the character has been practising his non-combat skills during down time and rests.

Just askin'



Fair enough.
Ah, got it. I didn't hold out until PHB2.

I think most people agree to have backgrounds and skills intersect in some way. The easy way to state the question is, do you pay the system to represent your character's background, or does the system pay you? 



Ah, now that's cutting to the heart of the matter.

IMO... If a representation of a character's background has mechanical benefits, then the player should pay for it. Otherwise, no.
Ah, now that's cutting to the heart of the matter.

IMO... If a representation of a character's background has mechanical benefits, then the player should pay for it. Otherwise, no.



Exactly! I totally agree with you. But there's a rub: It seems to me that there are scenarios where where a background was intended to be fluff, but a situation comes up that might be mechanically pertinent.

For instance, say my character was a marchant sailor. After his ship was sunk, he was drafted by a press gang and was forced to serve in the army where he picked up his fighting skills.

The campaign was pitched as a dungeon crawl, so the player thought his sailor background to be just fluff. Then a situation comes up where the party has to go by ship. The DM has forgotten about the player's background because character creation was 10 levels ago and it's never come up since. The DM then has the party encounter a storm after a couple weeks out at sea. Should the character get a bonus to any sailing related checks he may need to make?

Going with the weaponsmith scenario. If the PCs are stuck in town for several months and the DM wants to know how people are keeping themselves in food, water, and housing, does work as a weaponsmith at the local smithy count as a mechanical benefit? What if he wanted to make money while the wizard in the party was doing spell research? What if he was making a weapon for the wizard, so the wizard could use it as a component for said spell?

I realize I'm hairsplitting with a very keen knife, but I can see the argument both ways.

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For the record, I'd say yes, no, yes, no to my respective questions.


What I'd prefer is that a background be fluff. This includes, but is not limited to craft, profession, and performance. The general assumption is that if you have some background in it and have a reason to succeed, it works.

Someone is going to question my adding performance skills to this list. The idea is that if you are performing for fluff reasons, you are competant enough to achieve your goal. If you are doing it for a reason that requires a mechanic, use a skill related to situation. If a bard is trying to convince the baron she is a beautiful seductress through the power of music, use bluff or diplomacy. (Or use a spell.)

Any skills related to that background (possible skills such as rope use or climbing) are a different thing entirely, and I'd like that quantified in some way. I think proficiencies from 2nd are too open and 3.x is too fiddly. 4e's scaling skills also feel off to me in a way I can't articulate. But that is the province of another thread.

-Calestin Kethal

 Backgrounds "can" have mechanical impact they just tend to have a frequency as well as degree of impact that is wildly variable that what that payment should be is ahem an any mans guess and varies from table to table. I have a character modelled after an ancient Celt hero who knows a dozen standard professional skills ranging from tanner to smith to whatever, however his primary use for it in the stories was as leverage to allow him to move around and quickly become trusted in a world that was highly suspicous of strangers it was virtually a diplomacy or charisma bonus. Did he ever use the backgrounds in some significant heroic challenge? Shrug.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Any skills related to that background (possible skills such as rope use or climbing) are a different thing entirely, and I'd like that quantified in some way. I think proficiencies from 2nd are too open and 3.x is too fiddly. 4e's scaling skills also feel off to me in a way I can't articulate. But that is the province of another thread.

-Calestin Kethal




Regarding the 4E skills, is it that it seems you need to roll a 12 or better no matter what level you are, what your skill bonus is, or what the nature of the challenge is?
The last few posts are exactly right. The reason so many folks liked the 3E system was that it allowed background skills to have in-game benefits. Forging weapons / armor / magic items being the most evident example, but the Skills system in 3E was such that the rules allowed many situations where skills could benefit PCs in-game. I think that for some people, this de-emphasis on "character skills" is one of the reasons they say 4E "discouraged roleplaying."

So part of the question for 5E is, how much will the rules rely on / allow for "character skills" to give in-game benefits? The more they do, the more those skills will need to be codified.
Any skills related to that background (possible skills such as rope use or climbing) are a different thing entirely, and I'd like that quantified in some way. I think proficiencies from 2nd are too open and 3.x is too fiddly. 4e's scaling skills also feel off to me in a way I can't articulate. But that is the province of another thread.

-Calestin Kethal




Regarding the 4E skills, is it that it seems you need to roll a 12 or better no matter what level you are, what your skill bonus is, or what the nature of the challenge is?



I think the issue here is that DM's get too tied to the Easy/Moderate/HardDC chards. In some cases, DC's are static. For example, avoiding 8 points of falling damage is always a DC 16 Acrobatics (trained only) check, whether you are level 1 or level 22.  But if the check difficulty isn't hard coded into the rules, it's really easy for a DM to simply consult the E/M/H chart, decide what difficulty a check is, and go with it.

This is a good baseline, because there shouldn't be hard coded rules for every situation. However, a player who is trying to woo the same barmade at 12th level that he did at 1st level should (in a vacuum) have an easier time of it at 12th level, as represented by his higher skill modifier. The DC for the same task should be the same no matter what level you are.

That being said, the obstacles you have to regularly face should be different at higher levels. The Endurance DC is harder when you are traveling at higher levels because it's not rainy and cold like it was at 4th level; now that you're 18th level you are trying to Endure necrotic rain from the blood of a dead god. So yeah, you still need to roll that 12.
The last few posts are exactly right. The reason so many folks liked the 3E system was that it allowed background skills to have in-game benefits. Forging weapons / armor / magic items being the most evident example, but the Skills system in 3E was such that the rules allowed many situations where skills could benefit PCs in-game. I think that for some people, this de-emphasis on "character skills" is one of the reasons they say 4E "discouraged roleplaying."

So part of the question for 5E is, how much will the rules rely on / allow for "character skills" to give in-game benefits? The more they do, the more those skills will need to be codified.



And we who love 4E would say that it encouraged role playing by allowing you to envision your character as you decided. You aren't tied to a background system for a single profession - you can be the hero you want. So if your character was a 39 year old man who had spent time as a chef, a shipwright and a mercenary, you can just be that character. We despised the idea that you have to take ranks in Craft: Baked Goods in order to make a passable muffin.

The cooperative storytelling experience is everything in 4E, rules be damned! The emphasis on mechanical limitations to represent character skills is one of the reasons we say 3E "discouraged roleplay".

I dont think having a this is where I got petty cash when I am not adventuring really counts as having mechanical in game impact... shrug.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I dont think having a this is where I got petty cash when I am not adventuring really counts as having mechanical in game impact... shrug.



Yeah. Also, it could be a nice point for the DM to drop a treasure parcel by. High-level adventurers might have the king notice they are taking a break and commission them a sword for his son and pay the 55000 gps that a treasure parcel encompasses (because yeah, a sword created by a 22nd level player character is worth that much - I'd even go as far as include it in the setting, especially if it's a recurrent setting).
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
The cooperative storytelling experience is everything in 4E, rules be damned! The emphasis on mechanical limitations to represent character skills is one of the reasons we say 3E "discouraged roleplay".


I'm not at all interested in getting into an Edition War. Also, I think you misunderstoon what I meant. If, for example, the rules for forging Masterwork Armor require that the armor be forged to a certain standard, or that an exceptionally high roll result will result in armor with additional benefits (lighter, better protection, etc.), then the Skills rules *must* take that into account. The more PCs will want / need / expect their "backgrounds" or whatever to provide them with tangible, numerically describable, or otherwise codifiable in-game benefits, the more the entire ruleset will have to take that into consideration.

In 3E, I knew players who'd start stockpiling Blacksmithing points at first level because they knew that when they hit 10th or 20th level, they were going to want to craft a specific suit of armor or a specific weapon, and they wanted to be able to do that. In part because the crafting rules were there -- how much forging X weapon would cost, what skill checks were needed, etc. It was very precise and granular, and it needed the 3E Skills ssytem to support it.
Note in 4e if you want to learn to forge Awesome stuff you can take and learn Martial Pracices which includes the higher end items... generally speaking you are taking short cuts renting tools and equipment and buying materials so that you dont "normally" end up making much money and its a rather gold rush economy with all these heros paying high end dripping with money prices ... if they would just spend a few years becoming part of local society and making contacts and so on and so forth oh well.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 


I'm not at all interested in getting into an Edition War. Also, I think you misunderstoon what I meant. If, for example, the rules for forging Masterwork Armor require that the armor be forged to a certain standard, or that an exceptionally high roll result will result in armor with additional benefits (lighter, better protection, etc.), then the Skills rules *must* take that into account. The more PCs will want / need / expect their "backgrounds" or whatever to provide them with tangible, numerically describable, or otherwise codifiable in-game benefits, the more the entire ruleset will have to take that into consideration.

In 3E, I knew players who'd start stockpiling Blacksmithing points at first level because they knew that when they hit 10th or 20th level, they were going to want to craft a specific suit of armor or a specific weapon, and they wanted to be able to do that. In part because the crafting rules were there -- how much forging X weapon would cost, what skill checks were needed, etc. It was very precise and granular, and it needed the 3E Skills ssytem to support it.



No, I understand you perfectly. You think that gaming the system for the greatest mechanical benefit (i.e. focusing on Crafting ranks for skills that will benefit your PC's adventuring career) constitutes better role play than simply being renown as a master blacksmith in the game world and having that be a strictly narrative focus. I disagree.
Me I am gonna go take my underwater basket weaving lessons ... and see if the DM will give me some mechanical benefits.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

No, I understand you perfectly. You think that gaming the system for the greatest mechanical benefit (i.e. focusing on Crafting ranks for skills that will benefit your PC's adventuring career) constitutes better role play than simply being renown as a master blacksmith in the game world and having that be a strictly narrative focus. I disagree.


Now you're putting words into my mouth. Here's what I said:

"the question for 5E is, how much will the rules rely on / allow for "character skills" to give in-game benefits? The more they do, the more those skills will need to be codified."

And in my second post:

"The more PCs will want / need / expect their "backgrounds" or whatever to provide them with tangible, numerically describable, or otherwise codifiable in-game benefits, the more the entire ruleset will have to take that into consideration."

Agree or disagree: If skills are meant to grant tangible in-game benefits, then the rules will have to be written to accommodate that?

Because it seems to me, by your logic, we shouldn't have precise melee attack scores. If I say my fighter is "really good with a sword because he trained at the Knight's Academy," can't we just assume he'll hit more often? I don't see why we need to restrict role-playing by assigning him a score, especially one that doesn't reflect his background ...

Either use the 4E system or just say you're a Blacksmith, have Athletivcs, Endurance, carry a big hammer and call it a day.  As it said way back when, you're basically at an apprentice level of skill anyway because you became an adventurer and left .

Also, as others have said, blacksmiths aren't weaponmakers and armorers. They make nails, tools, parts, shovels and horse shoes. If you want to spend your time in town shoeing horses, more power to you but you don't need feats and such to do so.

The cooperative storytelling experience is everything in 4E, rules be damned! The emphasis on mechanical limitations to represent character skills is one of the reasons we say 3E "discouraged roleplay".


I'm not at all interested in getting into an Edition War. Also, I think you misunderstoon what I meant. If, for example, the rules for forging Masterwork Armor require that the armor be forged to a certain standard, or that an exceptionally high roll result will result in armor with additional benefits (lighter, better protection, etc.), then the Skills rules *must* take that into account. The more PCs will want / need / expect their "backgrounds" or whatever to provide them with tangible, numerically describable, or otherwise codifiable in-game benefits, the more the entire ruleset will have to take that into consideration.

In 3E, I knew players who'd start stockpiling Blacksmithing points at first level because they knew that when they hit 10th or 20th level, they were going to want to craft a specific suit of armor or a specific weapon, and they wanted to be able to do that. In part because the crafting rules were there -- how much forging X weapon would cost, what skill checks were needed, etc. It was very precise and granular, and it needed the 3E Skills ssytem to support it.

I disagree that you need something like the CPP system to support that. You just set the DCs required for the skill challenge required to make the great item to high DCs that will be passed by characters of the level range you envisage. The whole thing is an adventure, not an exercise in making a couple of skill checks. The player takes background in blacksmithing (or whatever, armor smithing). Then he puts into the character notes for his PC that he's really interested in this ancient magic armor forging technique and uses RP throughout the campaign to look for information on the topic, etc. It becomes one strand of the story that develops as the campaign progresses. Now it is an organic part of the game and not an exercise in sacrificing options the character needs to function that is just mechanics isolated from story considerations. The creativity of the players and DM is freed and you're no longer just checking off boxes in some abstract mechanics.

Often you will find with this kind of thing that less is more.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
My character started adventuring at age 40 after his family was killed he is an expert at making horse shoes... but who cares?
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

The last few posts are exactly right. The reason so many folks liked the 3E system was that it allowed background skills to have in-game benefits. Forging weapons / armor / magic items being the most evident example, but the Skills system in 3E was such that the rules allowed many situations where skills could benefit PCs in-game. I think that for some people, this de-emphasis on "character skills" is one of the reasons they say 4E "discouraged roleplaying."

So part of the question for 5E is, how much will the rules rely on / allow for "character skills" to give in-game benefits? The more they do, the more those skills will need to be codified.



If you need a huge list of skills to role play, that's a hinderance, period.  A huge list of skills/benefits doesn't help you role play, it helps people milk bonuses out of the system.

And again, an adventurer's profession is ADVENTURER. That takes the majority of your time, skill and resources. anything else is dabbling which means you won't have the skill "realistically" to make masterwork anything. Instead of being able to make that enchantable sword of artistic grace and beauty your skills would be that you could make a rough-to-decent hoe.
Either use the 4E system or just say you're a Blacksmith, have Athletivcs, Endurance, carry a big hammer and call it a day.  As it said way back when, you're basically at an apprentice level of skill anyway because you became an adventurer and left .


Says who? My character spent 15 years as the weaponsmith for the king. It was only after the king was deposed in a coup that I decided to take up the weapons I'd been crafting for 15 years and put them to use (specifically, to avenge the death of my liege). Why shouldn't my skill set reflect this?

I disagree that you need something like the CPP system to support that. You just set the DCs required for the skill challenge required to make the great item to high DCs that will be passed by characters of the level range you envisage. The whole thing is an adventure, not an exercise in making a couple of skill checks.


Which was kind of my point. We can't debate skills systems in a vacuum; the skills system will have to be designed to support all the other rules. If the rules for forging magic items, weapons, etc., are designed one way, then codified skills matter less. If the rules are designed another way, then skills need to be codified more. The question really is: how much should 5E be designed around / allow non-combat skills to provide tangible in-game benefits?

No, I understand you perfectly. You think that gaming the system for the greatest mechanical benefit (i.e. focusing on Crafting ranks for skills that will benefit your PC's adventuring career) constitutes better role play than simply being renown as a master blacksmith in the game world and having that be a strictly narrative focus. I disagree.


Now you're putting words into my mouth. Here's what I said:

"the question for 5E is, how much will the rules rely on / allow for "character skills" to give in-game benefits? The more they do, the more those skills will need to be codified."

And in my second post:

"The more PCs will want / need / expect their "backgrounds" or whatever to provide them with tangible, numerically describable, or otherwise codifiable in-game benefits, the more the entire ruleset will have to take that into consideration."

Agree or disagree: If skills are meant to grant tangible in-game benefits, then the rules will have to be written to accommodate that?

Because it seems to me, by your logic, we shouldn't have precise melee attack scores. If I say my fighter is "really good with a sword because he trained at the Knight's Academy," can't we just assume he'll hit more often? I don't see why we need to restrict role-playing by assigning him a score, especially one that doesn't reflect his background ...

I'd just note a few things:

The 4e background system IS a character resource. It is a slot you can only fill once at character creation. So there's no reason it can't have some mechanical benefits associated. Everyone gets a background benefit, and they are all pretty much equal mechanically. Sure, some backgrounds will apply more in game than others, but none of them are likely to make a huge difference in capability between characters.

CPP skills OTOH compete directly with other highly useful core features of most PCs. There is far more of a need for these to be codified because it is NECESSARY for them to define tokens of competence to even begin to justify themselves. It was a bad road to go down because it leads to the inevitable situation where you have to have some specific skill to do most anything aside from whatever your class/race/etc specifically grant.

The 'knight who studied at the academy' isn't relevant. Either there's a resource you can expend to improve your fighting skill and you can call it 'academy study' or it is a class feature of the knight, etc. At least in 4e you can't use a background element to add to your to-hit. You could add 'went to academy' to your character's background and then take the Weapon Expertise (Sword) feat to give that teeth, but of course we also all know the issues with THAT, it just establishes a new power baseline everyone must match, so the benefit isn't character defining, everyone will take it.

That is not dead which may eternal lie
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