About D&D 5th edition Skills

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Hello everyone.
First, sorry if my english is poor or incorrect sometimes. I wish you'll understand.

I open this thread in order to talk about the skills incoming with D&D 5th edition. I have some ideas and suggestions, and i would like to know what do you think about it.

The first idea was to make the skills independant of the attributes. For example, we could use Swimming skill with Strength if the water is strong and that you need to reach the other side of the river, OR, you can use your Constitution attribute if you need to dive and hold your breath under the water. It's a good idea i think because we are not restricted to one attribute and it allows a great choice of situations with one Skill. Also, a master in Horse riding could use is dexterity to guide his horse, but he can also use is intelligence to examine several horses and choose the one who seems faster and in better health.

My second idea, well... It's most a suggestion :  It's to bring back a skill-list similar to the 3.5th edition. Having the choice to build a Warrior specialist in Swimming, or in Climbing, is a good thing. It allows to create diferent type of characters with the same class. A Rogue could be good at Disarming Traps and Lockpick, but not at all in fooling the other or liying well. A skill-list of more or less 30 will be very nice. The point that dissapointed me in the 4th edition was the melting-pot skills that regroup too many faculties in One. I don't think it's a good idea, it kills the specialization of character in domains.

Voila. I would like to know if you are agree with me, and maybe support this thread in order to see theese ideas maybe in the 5th edition. Thank you.
As it stands right now, there is no such thing as "skills". You tell your DM what you want to do, and he either says "yep, you do it" or "no, sorry", or "roll X", where X is one of you ability scores. You roll your d20, add your ability score mod, and compare that against the DM's DC. If you meet or beat, "yep, you do it"; if you fall short, "no, sorry".

If the DM thinks you described your whatever well, or if circumstances somehow favor your character in accomplishing this task, the DM may tell you that you have "advantage" on the roll (which I assume is analogous to 4e's Combat Advantage).

And that's basically it. Your Race/Class/Theme may grant you a small bonus (like +1 or so) to a specific discreet activity (like "pick pockets" or "arrange flowers"), but basically, you're rolling straight ability checks for everything. 

I understand the strength of this proposed system: it's lightning-quick, encourages an "anyone can try anything" attitude, and can be adjudicated based on the situation--so for example, the Barbarian may try to brute-force his way out of the Grick's tentacles, while the Rogue may go the contortionist route to get away; they're both trying to do the same thing (escape a grab/grapple), but one's rolling STR for it and one's rolling DEX.

However, the flaw is also rather glaring: there is no meaningful specialization. A Dex 18 Fighter is exactly as good at picking locks, walking a balance beam, handspringing through a trapped corridor and being sneaky as a Dex 18 Rogue. Even if the Rogue's Class/Race/Theme gives him a bonus the Fighter hasn't got, we're talking about maybe a 10% better chance to succeed on any given role. 



As to your suggestion: I would like to see discreet skill lists of varying depth and granularity as modules. I say this because I disagree utterly and completely with your reasons for wanting a big skill list--I want a compact, efficient, logically-collapsed skill list like 4e used for exactly the same reasons you don't. 

There's a reason skills got condensed. If you're trying to stay hidden, of course you're trying to stay quiet as well. When you're Searching an area, what you are doing is trying to Spot clues and Listen for cues. If you're a talented thief, chances are overwhelmingly good that you've spent time learning how to deal with locks and security systems as well as how to lift useful items (like keys) off people without their notice. If you're a Ranger who spends his days traversing the wild and untamed parts of the world, is there any reason you wouldn't know how to Jump, Swim, and Climb well? All 4e did was take all of the skills groups that were closely related and that you were going to take all of anyway, and collapse them into one skill. 

Fortunately for us both the skill system is one of the parts of a D&D character that's the least closely attached to the core gameplay mechanics, and there's absolutely no good reason to not include skill-use options to cater to all types. 
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
Well. That's a point of view. I understand it even if it doesn't sound good with my playing style. Thanks for your answer. Am i the only one who'll like to see the return of a big skill list ?
Well. That's a point of view. I understand it even if it doesn't sound good with my playing style. Thanks for your answer. Am i the only one who'll like to see the return of a big skill list ?


If by "big skill list" you mean an actual list in the book that spells out every last possible skill option? Then you might be the only one.

If by "big skill list" you mean a lack of an actual list, but the possibility, recommendation, and examples of skills that do anything and everything you would want them to - then I am with you.
Careful, man. That much logic might be illegal on the internet. - Salla
Well. That's a point of view. I understand it even if it doesn't sound good with my playing style. Thanks for your answer. Am i the only one who'll like to see the return of a big skill list ?


If by "big skill list" you mean an actual list in the book that spells out every last possible skill option? Then you might be the only one.

If by "big skill list" you mean a lack of an actual list, but the possibility, recommendation, and examples of skills that do anything and everything you would want them to - then I am with you.


My question is this: why is that necessary? What benefit does it bring to the game? 

I have Never. Not Once. had a player want to do something in 4e that wasn't either (a) covered by the condensed skills list or (b) didn't require a roll at all.  
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
The condensed skill list does a good job of including everything. I can't think of any instances where a player's action couldn't be covered by one of the skills. Even if such a thing did come up it would fall to an ability check.
I think OPs point was that skills can bring greater differentiation to characters. I tend to agree, but the condensed skill list was a good addition overall. I would say it should be retained and additional skills can be added electively by the players and DM when the group thinks it matters to their game.
My question is this: why is that necessary? What benefit does it bring to the game?

I have Never. Not Once. had a player want to do something in 4e that wasn't either (a) covered by the condensed skills list or (b) didn't require a roll at all.  



I have never had a player want to do a lot of things... but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be nice to have rules to cover it in the book, especially when all it takes to have those rules is to say "the following skills are examples," instead of making the list as an all-inclusive thing.
Careful, man. That much logic might be illegal on the internet. - Salla
I definitely like the idea of nearly eliminating skills, and tying it to ability scores. And I don't think it eliminates specialization at all. The fighter isn't going to be able to open locks with his strength skill. I suppose he could bash it open, but then that would create noise, which might be a bad thing. It would also leave behind evidence of the break-in. The rogue could use his dex skill to pick the lock, but of course that might take longer, and maybe trigger a magical trap.
The problem with spliting Athletics into Swim, Climb, Jump, etc, or spliting Sneak into Move Silently, Hide, etc, is that it does not help to differentiate characters, it actually makes them MORE similar. This is because you only have so many skills, so spliting skills that a character will likely want to take all of (like the "standard Rogue" type skills) just means that the character will need to use more skill slots/points/whatever on them. You aren't just going to take Hide and not take Move Silently because they are a set. Without one the other becomes pretty worthless. So you take them all, and then the Rogue takes all the "Do Rogue Stuff" skills that you've split into Pick Lock and Disarm Trap and whatever, meaning that that's ALL they get. You can't choose skills that differentiate you after you've gotten all the ones that make sense for your class.

As well it brings up the stupidity of stuff like a character good at Athletic things except for one part of it, usually Swimming. The arguement is usually "Oh my character was born in the desert or something, I want to be able to differentiate him by making him incapable of Swimming, but Athletics training means he's like the best swimmer ever!". Stuff like this should NOT be done through the skill system. Swim, Jump, and Climb are just NOT all worth the same, and each individual part is not as important as other skills. If you want them to flail around while swimming, either make it roleplaying (which they will likely soon drop because come on, seriously, it's not that hard to swim) or have some sort of flaw system, although that brings up the problem of people taking "Doesn't know how to swim" compensated with "Good at something that actually comes up often".

The 3E skill list did nothing but force you to pay the equivilant of "Skill Taxes" on some abilities. People always say that it let them make all these choices, but in practice it just meant they needed to waste points of linked skills. Don't even pretend you put points into Spot but not Listen, and don't even pretend that that somehow made your character like so different you guys seriously. As shown by all this as well as the "CraPPer" skills, the 3E skill system just engendered the idea that numbers were roleplaying.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
I definitely like the idea of nearly eliminating skills, and tying it to ability scores. And I don't think it eliminates specialization at all. The fighter isn't going to be able to open locks with his strength skill. I suppose he could bash it open, but then that would create noise, which might be a bad thing. It would also leave behind evidence of the break-in. The rogue could use his dex skill to pick the lock, but of course that might take longer, and maybe trigger a magical trap.


No remember we have those Vancian spells back the thief wont need those abilities their will be a spell which does it better because thats what "they" want and Monte is one of them.

  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 3E skill list did nothing but force you to pay the equivilant of "Skill Taxes" on some abilities. People always say that it let them make all these choices, but in practice it just meant they needed to waste points of linked skills. Don't even pretend you put points into Spot but not Listen, and don't even pretend that that somehow made your character like so different you guys seriously. As shown by all this as well as the "CraPPer" skills, the 3E skill system just engendered the idea that numbers were roleplaying.



Those are good points. They're probably very similar to the arguments made for the condensed skill tree when it was developed. The expanded list split hairs in ways that were not useful in practice. You catch more flies with honey though.
I was skeptical about the condensed list when I first looked it over but they were pretty thoughtful about how they combined things. For example, nature is a class skill for rangers and wizards. I thought, well now a ranger can do things a wizard can't in the wild. But when I really thought about it, the only thing a wizard couldn't contribute significantly in was tracking and that is split up between the ranger and the rogue under a different skill. I couldn't fault them there. A ranger's wilderness knowledge and abilities allow him to gather food. The wizard would have knowledge of natural things too. If you imagine the two of them gathering a meal for their fellow adventurers they're probably going to bring back very different things, but they could both do it. The ranger might bring back a wild pig while the wizard would gather up a bunch of obscure mushrooms. Personally, I'd rather have the ranger's meal but the point is they can both get it done under the same skill.
But, skills are pretty easy to add in if players want them. Personally, as a DM I don't care if players feel like adding a skill to their list in a 4e game I let them do it. I like the condensed list, but its more important for the character to feel right to the player so if they want it sure. I'm all for little things like this being in the DMG or maybe in the PHB. Consult your DM about adding addtional skills if you'd like, yadda yadda yadda.




No remember we have those Vancian spells back the thief wont need those abilities their will be a spell which does it better because thats what "they" want and Monte is one of them.



Really? its them and us now? hopeless.
Garthanos has a rather severe case of caster-envy. j/k.

What I'd like to see is your basic system.

Player declares what they want to do, and how they want to do it.
DM picks a stat, sets a DC, and lets the player know the general odds, if they're knowable.
Player modifies actions accordingly.
DM adds modifiers, lets the player know the general odds, if they've changed.
Player rolls, or, if he's managed to figure out a way to make it a trivial task, he just succeeds.

So, in play, it would be:

Barbarian: What about climbing the rock face?
DM: Well, there's good grips, but it's a long climb, and you'll be hanging from your hands for parts of it. More strength than dex. You're really not sure you can make it.
Barbarian: Hrm. Does it look like there's a spot I could rest?
DM: You notice what could be a ledge.
Barbarian: I'll back away, get a better look, see if I can rest there.
DM: Looks like it - if you stop to rest, it'll be easier. You're not certain, but you think you can do it.
Barbarian: What if I drink this potion of strength?
DM: It'd be simple, as long as you stop to rest.
Barbarian: .... not going to risk it. I drink the potion. 

What I like about this system is that it becomes a short (takes just a minute) sequence of decisions made in response to the scenario at hand (roleplaying), rather than just a meaningless roll of the dice, where the important work was done months ago when the character was created.
What I wanted to see more of in the 4e Skills was

1) Trained vs unTrained - someone who was trained in a skill could do things that others simply could not, especially with knowledges.
2) More Deep Specialization - Feats and Backgrounds that allowed for bonuses of a special type such as Climbing, Swimming, Moving Silently, etc. and didn't dip into Utility Powers.
3) Expanded Languages options - many campaign settings have multiple race languages and localized languages.  Houserules were always being made. 

The skill set was simple and I liked that, but it should have been easy to see how complexity could be added without changing interfering with the subset. Typically it was only Rogues that got skill specialties from feats and then they were a typed bonus.  More often than not it was better to take a lesser bonus rather than have a schtick.  That was disappointing.
The 3E skill list did nothing but force you to pay the equivilant of "Skill Taxes" on some abilities. People always say that it let them make all these choices, but in practice it just meant they needed to waste points of linked skills. Don't even pretend you put points into Spot but not Listen, and don't even pretend that that somehow made your character like so different you guys seriously. As shown by all this as well as the "CraPPer" skills, the 3E skill system just engendered the idea that numbers were roleplaying.



I understand, but THIS is just because the skill list was not optimal on D&D 3th edition. For example, a One skill called Perception could be used for both Spot and Listen (and can even cover the others types of perceptions). This is the only skill that i found nice on D&D 4th. But the others skills are too much condensed.
All you really need are six "skills" named Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma.

With that, your character can attempt any action they wish.

Add to this benefits with certain actions (such as swimming, climbing, performing) based upon your class and your race  - and perhaps what feats you take - and you have all the system you really need.

Hypothesis:  Imagine two game systems.  In game system A, anyone can swim with success based upon their Strength score.  In game system B, you need a skill, to which you add a Strength based modifier.  Imagine a character who has the same strength in both systems, and is trained in swimming in System B. 
I propose that it is likely that the odds of success for the character would be the same in both systems - therefore the actual effect of eliminating the skill is not to remove the ability of the character to be rained in swimming, but rather to give everyone the equivalent of training in the swimming skill.

And likewise for every other skill.

In short - by returning to a stat-based system, you are not removing the ability to train skills, you are removing the ability to NOT be trained in skills. 

Having a skill system doesn't make you better at the action.  It just makes everyone else worse.

Unless, of course, you really don't want have a skill.  In which case you just refuse to do the action or tell your DM you want to give your character a penalty to that action.  I'd bet most DMs would be happy to let you....


Carl
 


No remember we have those Vancian spells back the thief wont need those abilities their will be a spell which does it better because thats what "they" want and Monte is one of them.



Really? its them and us now? hopeless.



Afraid it might be but not how you think

It was only partly meant to be humorous. The impact of Vancian spell craft has very often been exactly that... more specifically whenever a skill had opportunity to provide shine time for its bearer it was always because a spell caster decided the situation wasnt important enough. There were classes who's primary focus was skills or even special functions there of...  The same was true of combat however so undermining X by over versatility and burst power... the halmark of Vancian is not just an issue vs skills.
 
  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."

 

Garthanos has a rather severe case of caster-envy. j/k.
 



Heh sounds like one of mine though I am usually referring to somebody coming in and saying I want an archer and no I dont want a ranger... I call it "class name envy", even after I show the many things which allow you to create within the main template of ranger an archer that has little appearance to Aragorn, Or I show how a Warlord makes a decent archer or how hybriding can bring the Archer element in to some other class like a Black Knight built as a Hybrid Ranger Paladin. Then they use that to decry that classes dont mean anything... or some such jive.  

I am wondering how you can reflavor Druidzilla in to a fighting man with a loyal squire companion and as a fan of reflavoring I am still finding that to be a horror story.
  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."

 


More than ever your character is going to be defined by his attributes and nothing else. The default right now is rolling attributes and not rolling on DCs. So basically you’ve played a quarter of the game when you made your character.
Can you bash through that door? Well you rolled a high strength so yes, or no, your wizard has an 8 strength so the interior door will lock him in this room for eternity. The randomness was decided when the character was made. The barbarian never hits the door at a bad angle and the wizard can slam into it over and over with no hope of success.



If this is a good idea why not apply it to attacks and AC? Do I hit the orc?
Yes, every single time, or no, never.

Did my spell put the kobolds to sleep?
Yes, every single one of them, or no, cast it all day long and it wont.



More than ever your character is going to be defined by his attributes and nothing else. The default right now is rolling attributes and not rolling on DCs. So basically you’ve played a quarter of the game when you made your character.
Can you bash through that door? Well you rolled a high strength so yes, or no, your wizard has an 8 strength so the interior door will lock him in this room for eternity. The randomness was decided when the character was made. The barbarian never hits the door at a bad angle and the wizard can slam into it over and over with no hope of success.



If this is a good idea why not apply it to attacks and AC? Do I hit the orc?
Yes, every single time, or no, never.

Did my spell put the kobolds to sleep?
Yes, every single one of them, or no, cast it all day long and it wont.




I don't think it's going to work like this. having a high ability score will give you the option of avoiding a roll. So the barbarian with 18 strength is going to be able to bust down that door, every time. That doesn't seem too unreasonable to me. The wizard with 8 strength will have to roll for it, so he might have a chance of getting through the door. When you're super strong, it makes perfect sense that every normal door you come across will bust open, when you ram into it. When you roll a 1 on a check for something that should have been pretty simple, it seems unrealistic. It ends up being described as a terribly silly failure. "the barbarian knocks on the door firmly, but to his surprise, it does not burst into a thousand pieces"

Epic failure only ever happens with people who are incompetent. Ability scores describe basic competence, so it makes sense that a reasonably high scores eliminates your possibility of failing certain tasks. 
Expanded skill lists have a great place in games like those in a modern setting. In a modern game, you generally have very few ways to fight, but have a lot of ways to interact with things in a very specific way. You could apply this logic to a fantasy game, but it wouldn't be D&D. You aren't going to have much use for your anthropology skill as the barbarian is slicing threw orcs and the wizard is explodiating whole sections of the map. Mind you, that more-skill game might not be D&D but I would probably play it.

More than ever your character is going to be defined by his attributes and nothing else. The default right now is rolling attributes and not rolling on DCs. So basically you’ve played a quarter of the game when you made your character.
Can you bash through that door? Well you rolled a high strength so yes, or no, your wizard has an 8 strength so the interior door will lock him in this room for eternity. The randomness was decided when the character was made. The barbarian never hits the door at a bad angle and the wizard can slam into it over and over with no hope of success.
snip




I don't think it's going to work like this. having a high ability score will give you the option of avoiding a roll. So the barbarian with 18 strength is going to be able to bust down that door, every time. That doesn't seem too unreasonable to me. The wizard with 8 strength will have to roll for it, so he might have a chance of getting through the door. When you're super strong, it makes perfect sense that every normal door you come across will bust open, when you ram into it. When you roll a 1 on a check for something that should have been pretty simple, it seems unrealistic. It ends up being described as a terribly silly failure. "the barbarian knocks on the door firmly, but to his surprise, it does not burst into a thousand pieces"

Epic failure only ever happens with people who are incompetent. Ability scores describe basic competence, so it makes sense that a reasonably high scores eliminates your possibility of failing certain tasks. 




I’m looking at what the people who are making the game are saying. It was and exaggeration on my part to say there will no longer be rolls for DCs, but they are pushing in that direction. My basic issue is still valid. The randomness of the game is much more front end. High stats you win, low stats you loose. Not having much in the way of skills to compensate adds to this point.



Maybe I’m not understanding what they are saying, but if it’s just a “gimme putt” kind of thing why do they talk about it so much? It’s obvious they are trying to move away from rolling by how they respond to questions.



Parts of a transcript from DDXP 2012
www.enworld.org/forum/news/317494-semina...



Monte: We wanted to distill down the essence of D&D. We wanted to make sure that the ability scores and their modifiers had a big influence. Looking at all the editions of the game, you can easily see that ability scores are really important. Often times, people will use ability scores to help them define their character, or they'll have an idea for a character and then look at the scores first to make them fit that idea.

A couple of days ago I talked a little bit about how we want the core mechanic of the game to be the interaction between the DM and the player. And one of the great tools for that is the ability score. So what we want is to empower DMs and players so that if you want to attempt to do something "I want to open the door" then the DM doesn't have to even have you roll, he can just look, see you have a 17 strength and says "Yeah, you burst through that door". We want to get past some of the mundane rolls and not tie up a lot of table time with that and move on to the more interesting stuff and the table narrative.



Bruce: An example I saw yesterday was a rogue going into a room and looking for traps. You can describe what you're doing and roleplay what you're doing. If he says I look in the jar and I know there's a gem in the jar, I'm not going to have him roll. However, if something is more hidden, like a secret compartment on the shelf I would look at their intelligence and see if he can just automatically find it or if he's looking in the exact right place. However, if he's doing that check in the middle of some other stressor like fighting, then I'd have him roll.

Rob: Earlier this week I had some players fighting some kobolds in the room. One of the guys wanted to jump over a pit, he had a 15 strength so I let him just do it - it wasn't that big of a jump and it sped up combat. It's very liberating to be able to do that kind of thing and just keep the flow going.

Greg: Talking about ability scores leads easily into skills. What are you guys tossing around for skills and their uses?

Bruce: Looking at the playtest characters here, you might have noticed that a class or a theme might have given you a bonus to skill, but you didn't have a skill list. Normally if you were to call for a check, you would just call for the ability score - like a dexterity check for sneaking up. But if you have a class or character feature that gives you a bonus to sneak, you would add that in. There are a lot of different expressions for skills. Trained, sneaking at full speed (stealth twice). Lots of options.

Monte: We're not just giving more power to the DM, we're giving more power to the players. In a way we're giving more power to the players, and not just the characters. We're giving the player the ability to come out with his crazy ideas and say I want to do this. And instead of giving the DM lots of concrete rules, give him rules for making calls and keeping the action and roleplay going. So when a player goes I want to jump up onto this table and kick the magic helmet off the monsters head, the DM will know that he can just let it happen because of the ability score and/or require a roll for some of the things that are going on.


A high ability score equalling automatic success seems to be what they're talking about. But nowhere is it mentioned that a low score means an automatic failure. I agree that sometimes being able to say that you just do something, without having to roll for it, is liberating, and encourages people to think creatively. If a player wants to jump over the kobolds, but knows that he might fail, he isn't going to want to waste time rolling for it. But if he knows that certain actions will always succeed, then a high ability score will encourage him to try things he might not normally even think of doing.
I don't remember if it was on these boards or over at enworld, but someone broke down what he thought was the system behind the new skill system.

Your ability scores are passive skill checks, so you have to climb a wall it is DC 16 if your strength is a 16 no need to roll if it is a 12 you need to roll.  The modifier would be your ability score minus 10, so with a 12 you get a +2 to your climb check, if you have the athletics skill you get another +2.

This seems like a very good base to a skill system I love passive perception and insight in 4e.

This system also makes the fact that races only get a +1 to an attribute matter more.

Combat has always been a seperate mechanic so I think we wont have to worry about an 18 strength fighter getting a +8 to hit, I swing my sword won't be a skill.

Remember this is a public forum where people express their opinions assume there is a “In my humble opinion” in front of every post especially mine.  

 

Things you should check out because they are cool, like bow-ties and fezzes.

https://app.roll20.net/home  Roll20 great free virtual table top so you can play with old friends who are far away.

http://donjon.bin.sh/  Donjon has random treasure, maps, pick pocket results, etc.. for every edition of D&D.

I love the idea of Ability Scores as skill checks with training/bonuses to specialized actions added by class, race, feats, or training.   This, in combination with the flattened increases, and eliminating scaling, would really make the game much better.  I think it would encourage more thinking outside the box and it would simplify everything for players and DM.  

This applies to attacks and monster stats as well.   I want to know that a specific stunt/maneuver will always be DC 16 or DC 20.   I want to know that a lightly armored creature is easier to hit and has AC 14 even if it is a 18th level monster. 

 

A Brave Knight of WTF

Personally I like rolling. Just because I have an 18 INT doesn't mean I know the detailed history of Fallcrest. If I should know something, my DM doesn't make me roll for it. Simple as that.

As for active things like (As we saw above) breaking down doors or picking locks, strong people can mess up. Thieves can break their tools. Some of my favorite gaming moments have been the result of a "1" on a D20 that one of us should have been able to make no problem. Snipers falling out of trees, rogues falling down steps, and I once welded a door shut that I was trying to open. Those are the stories and the moments that make the entire table laugh and get talked about long after the session has closed.

But tell me, what's memorable about "I want to knock the door down" "Okay". Would you rather have that or would you rather have the barbarian loose his battle cry and run into the door... Only to fumble and bounce right back immediatly followed by the halfling rogue breaking down the door with a crit. Failure happens to all of us, sometimes you trip walking up the stairs and sometimes you stub your toe in the dark. Fumbles are those little moments.

Besides, when our fighter rolled an 18 on a check and told us about the "Story (his) grandmother told (him) about Dretches and their auras" it was priceless.
Fortunately, this seems like the easiest thing in the world to houserule, if you don't like it. The book still gives DCs for things, just like always. If you don't want to let your players just do things, without rolling, then just make them roll against the listed DC.
The problem with rolling is that sometimes the improbable can happen too often.  In my last campaign, a burley Dwarven fighter, often rolled poorly for some strange reason.  He bounced off so many doors, opening doors became a joke at the table.  Yes, I admit, it was funny and added something to the experience, but it certainly wasn't heroic.   I never asked that player if it annoyed him that he was so inept at bashing down or opening doors. Maybe I'll email him later.  lol. 

A Brave Knight of WTF

Fortunately, this seems like the easiest thing in the world to houserule, if you don't like it. The book still gives DCs for things, just like always. If you don't want to let your players just do things, without rolling, then just make them roll against the listed DC.




Okay, so lets say the DC for a door was 18. Without houserule, a fighter could break that down. With houserule, he'd have to roll a 14 strength check.

The DCs wouldn't line up.


The problem with rolling is that sometimes the improbable can happen too often.  In my last campaign, a burley Dwarven fighter, often rolled poorly for some strange reason.  He bounced off so many doors, opening doors became a joke at the table.  Yes, I admit, it was funny and added something to the experience, but it certainly wasn't heroic.   I never asked that player if it annoyed him that he was so inept at bashing down or opening doors. Maybe I'll email him later.  lol. 



I am that player in my group. I once fell out of a tree, bashed my head on a rock, fell into a river, floated downstream, failed 2 death saves and was pulled out by an arrow and a rope. As I mentioned before I welded a door shut and we've never since opened it. Sometimes it's annoying (at the time), but looking back those are memories I laugh at and are some of my favorites. Crits and fumbles are some of your best memories in a game- ESPECIALLY when skills are involved. 

 

Okay, so lets say the DC for a door was 18. Without houserule, a fighter could break that down. With houserule, he'd have to roll a 14 strength check.

The DCs wouldn't line up.  



The thing is I don't believe we will have ability score modifiers like 3e or 4e.   A 13 would be a +3 and a 17 would be a +7 if you rolled.  It is a +1 for every point over 10 and a -1 for every point lower than 10.  

So you would only have to roll a 10 or higher if you had an 18 strength and faced a DC of 18 if you didn't want to use the passive check.


Remember this is a public forum where people express their opinions assume there is a “In my humble opinion” in front of every post especially mine.  

 

Things you should check out because they are cool, like bow-ties and fezzes.

https://app.roll20.net/home  Roll20 great free virtual table top so you can play with old friends who are far away.

http://donjon.bin.sh/  Donjon has random treasure, maps, pick pocket results, etc.. for every edition of D&D.


Okay, so lets say the DC for a door was 18. Without houserule, a fighter could break that down. With houserule, he'd have to roll a 14 strength check.

The DCs wouldn't line up.  



The thing is I don't believe we will have ability score modifiers like 3e or 4e.   A 13 would be a +3 and a 17 would be a +7 if you rolled.  It is a +1 for every point over 10 and a -1 for every point lower than 10.  

So you would only have to roll a 10 or higher if you had an 18 strength and faced a DC of 18 if you didn't want to use the passive check.


Exactly. So the automatic success would just be like "taking a 10". If modifiers are just the score minus 10, then this isn't a new rule. It's just a re-imagining of the numbers, to encourage taking 10 as the default.

Okay, so lets say the DC for a door was 18. Without houserule, a fighter could break that down. With houserule, he'd have to roll a 14 strength check.

The DCs wouldn't line up.  



The thing is I don't believe we will have ability score modifiers like 3e or 4e.   A 13 would be a +3 and a 17 would be a +7 if you rolled.  It is a +1 for every point over 10 and a -1 for every point lower than 10.  

So you would only have to roll a 10 or higher if you had an 18 strength and faced a DC of 18 if you didn't want to use the passive check.



No, the DCs / Take 10s don't line up. But we also know from the video of the skills and abilities seminar video, they're keeping the ability bonus progression the same as before. One of the panelists mentions getting a +2 to the ability from a skill, and how that moved the 17 / +3 up to a 19 / +4.

As mentioned, this causes some things to go wonky. You're getting a "double dip" from Taking 10 on rolls, or whatever the mechanic is called in 5e that lets you just succeed if your score is high enough. If you've got a 17 / +3 and Take 10, that should be a 13, so you're really Taking 14, as scores get higher, this discrepency increases of course.

It's a simple, straightforward mechanic that would work great, but I was really hoping they'd recognize this flaw and change the bonuses as mentioned above.

Then there's the question of scores as DCs, which introduced a flaw in the math of equally capable characters trying to effect each other. For example, a 18 Str / +4. If an 18 Str character pushes another character with 18 Str, there should be roughly a 50% chance to win or lose. With 18 as the DC, and a +4 for the roll, the attacker only gets a 30% to succeed. I hope they resolve these math issues by the playtest.
"And why the simple mechanics? Two reasons: First, complex mechanics invariably channel and limit the imagination; second, my neurons have better things to do than calculate numbers and refer to charts all evening." -Over the Edge

A couple of their examples were in battle too. Jumping over a pit in combat and standing on a table and kicking a helmet off a guy. Not the kind of things you could take 10 for in 3.5e, sorry I don’t remember if that changed in 4e, didn’t play it long.

Even ignoring the specific math, the difference between a chance of failing and no chance is huge. In 3.5 the default is no crit miss on skills, different than saves and attacks, so ok the DC to jump a pit is 10 and you have +9 jump you can “take one” if you will and automatically make it. So the really talented just get it even under pressure, a 9 modifier skill isn’t unheard of, but you had to spend points for it.

But when are they drawing the line at the free pass? At some point the strength is too low, a 15 strength is a free jump, what about 14 strength? 80% chance? And down the line. There is going to be a clear line between a great character and a bad one and it might be one or two attribute points difference.

And the statement about standing on a table and kicking off a helmet maybe as a gimme? Really?
Do the DMs get to do that for bad guys too?

DM: The evil green knight swats the +5 helm of uberpower off your head.
Player: Do I get an attack or doesn’t he have to roll for that?
DM: Nope, he has a high dex.
DM: The evil red swordsman jumps over your dwarven fighter and attacks the wizard.
Player: How can he do that?
DM: Dwarfs are short and he is really strong.

Or what happens when someone grabs a feat that lets you shift 10ft instead of 5, then watches the high dex guy back flipping over guys with impunity. Flying by the seat of your pants is something a DM has to do once in a while but a system where attributes seem to be the beginning and end to accomplishing anything and “anything goes” will put a massive amount of importance to those first 6 rolls.

But going back to skills. Skills help round out a character. Sure they are based off of attributes but skill points help you fill in the gaps, make your character unique, and give you options you might not otherwise have.


I'll weigh in. I like the way this sounds.
For the most part, the strong guy will get to do all the things you'd expect a strong guy to be able to do, and the smart guy will be the know-it-all you expect him to be. It's easier from the DM's side too, knowing that the party has a wise guy rather than puzzling whether or not someone's got a high Dungeoneering.

Ability scores hardly mattered in 4e. (And in 3.X, they mostly mattered because they were being damaged.) When playing, I practically never looked at them. Why not make them more meaningful and eliminate parts of the character sheet thus opening up area on the table?
What's more, if you eliminate skills, it's easier to make and level up characters. Wouldn't that be nice? Sometimes you get those sessions that are just character creation. Well, what if that went quicker? What if one or two of the players didn't need to rely on others to help create their characters?

This is the kind of cruel cut I admire. If killing it makes the game faster and the table real estate more manageable, I say kill it.
Specifically about skills, I'm glad they're going the direction it looks like they're going. That is a potentially unlimited skill list that is really only a small bonus, with feats / talents that add actions or effects to your skills. Making this shift will (as per their design goasl) focus the game back on ability scores and open up a lot of room for customization and things like themes.

You want to be an alchemist? Sure, +2 to scores in the context of alchemy. Take this talent and you can create potions in half the time. Reminds me a lot of some indie games I've played that were released under the OGL.
"And why the simple mechanics? Two reasons: First, complex mechanics invariably channel and limit the imagination; second, my neurons have better things to do than calculate numbers and refer to charts all evening." -Over the Edge
Finally, you're posts have changed my mind, espacially :

All you really need are six "skills" named Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma.

With that, your character can attempt any action they wish.

Add to this benefits with certain actions (such as swimming, climbing, performing) based upon your class and your race  - and perhaps what feats you take - and you have all the system you really need.



That's right, im agree. Attribute check are the best option to do everything we need. And class/race/talent could give some specializations in some particular actions. This is better than a skill-list which isn't very useful indeed. This could be a nice rule for D&D 5th edition.


In short - by returning to a stat-based system, you are not removing the ability to train skills, you are removing the ability to NOT be trained in skills.  
Carl



You are an adventurer and all adventurers have 6 very broad skill groups that are used all the time and to a whole lot of  tasks. The purchasing/rolling of stats replicates the degree you are competant in all of these things.  This sounds like the narrowing of the skill variance that some have kind been speculating about. Its often considered too easy to front load skills in 4e and too easy to have overly broad divergence too.
  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 like the way they were talking about doing the skills in the Legends and Lore column.  Everything is handled by ability checks, and the skills system is purely optional. If you do decide to use the skills system, what it really does is it tells you when you even need to roll, as well as giving you a perk that someone untrained wouldn't get.  say you trained Climb.  You can now climb faster than someone with the same strength score as you who is untrained. Since you have training levels of the skills, apprentice to grand master, all you need to do is determine if the task in question is below your skill level, at your skill level, or above it.  If it is below your level of training, you don't need to roll, success is automatic.  If its at your skill level, you must succeed on an ability check to pull it off.  If it is above your skill level, success is impossible, and you fail outright.  Again, no roll would be needed there. Personally, I would rather have the next level of difficulty up be a much harder check, and anything above that be impossible, but that's just me.  

The article in question can be found here:  wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/2...
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I like the concept, but I'll have to see the DCs to automatic success numbers, the feats or whatever that give specialization, the varaince for a trained  only type skill in the attribute etc. to say for sure.  
I like the concept, but I'll have to see the DCs to automatic success numbers, the feats or whatever that give specialization, the varaince for a trained  only type skill in the attribute etc. to say for sure.  



Indeed - that is the difference between theory and practice.  I like the idea in theory.  But (to use an unrelated example) I also liked the idea of rituals in 4E in theory.  I just felt that they fell far short of the mark in practice. 

It sounds like the plan is something along the lines of DC = "the attribute score at which the task becomes trivial "( ie. no roll required) with the opportunity to roll to make the attempt if you are close to that score (and perhaps no chance to roll if you are too far off the mark).

But until we can see some real numbers, it'll be hard to evaluate it with any confidence.

Carl
I think they said the default difficulty for tasks at your level would be 15.  Since training just gives you the ability to ignore the need to make some rolls, and does not give you a bonus to these checks, it would be a straight ability check.  Assuming that you start out with anywhere from an 8 to a 20 ability score, that would be a 25% to 55% chance to succeed at tasks at your level of training.  And, more likely, any skill you train in, you will probably have at least a 12 in it's related ability, raising that min chance to 35%.

Obviously, if there is a level bonus, the DC's for tasks will have to rise at the same rate.  Otherwise, there is no reason for a level bonus.  Ditto if training in a skill does give you a bonus with it.  If each level of training gives you a +1 with that skill, then the DC's will have to rise at nearly the same rate.  I would vote on raising the DC's slightly slower than the training bonus, so your character really does feel like he's improving.  Always having to roll the same number on the dice is not an improvement.
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Personally - I find a +1 per level to be too fast a progression.

I'd be happy with something closer to +1 every four or five levels. 


I see no point to a system that raises the modifier to a roll - and then raises the DC just to end up back where you started.

Slow gradual increases so it feels like you are getting better.  Sure.

Offsetting those increases by complementary increases in difficulty?  What's the point?

Note:  This does not mean that some things aren't harder than others  - only that the difficulty of a given task ought to be dependant upon the task, not the level of the character, the encounter or the adventure.   

On the other hand - if the action is one that is core to the class (sneaking for a rogue, for example) then additional gradual increases with increased level does make sense.  But these also should not be offset by increases in DC.

Corollary to the above - in the case of opposed checks, there will be an apparent increase in the DC.  But this is not an arbitrary gradual increase either.  It's harder to sneak past Joe, the fifth level guard then it is to sneak past Bob, his younger (level 1) brother.  But the increased difficulty is not the result of an arbitrary increase in the DC to offset an increase in ability.  Rather, sneaking past Joe is always harder than sneaking past Bob, no matter what the PC's level / ability is. 

Much of this also depends on whether ability scores will increase with level (as in 3.x or 4E) or remain essentially fixed throughout your career (O/AD&D).  If ability scores will increase, that can represent your gradual increase in 'skills".

Carl