Resource Pools

Should combat and non combat resources share the same resource pool (eg feats) or should each be seperate? Further more should non combat be seperated between interaction and exploration or share the same pool of resources?

Me personally I believe resources should be split on the combat / non combat front. When other areas share the same resource pool with combat choices they get croweded out more often then not.
+1.  Despite what the latest Ro3 article suggests, a character that spends all his feats on skill focus and extra languages is going to drag a party down.  He just is.  But the deeper problem is that when some characters have only "basic competence" in a pillar and others excell, the temptation - generally mechanically enforced - is to have the excellent one take the lead while the others hang back and are bored.  It's all too easy to just clam up in a social encounter (or worse toss the whole thing because you didn't, and you stink at it), or to relegate yourself to "I aid" an exploration encounter.  Granted you can't "not participate" in combat that easily, but if you spend half the encounter missing and the other half unconscious it's not exactly fun, and if you need to spend feats to buy at-wills as suggested then the exploration wizard will be back to using a crossbow and the social fighter is back to making basic attacks every round of every encounter of the entire campaign (which will miss).  
What do you mean by resource pool? In have trouble reading your post.

Is it some kind of healing surge system combined with a mana point system for spell casting? Is your idea that a power attack causes the same kind of fatigue as casting a spell? Maybe you could add some details to a system where the resources are being shared. 

I don't know if 5ed will contain healing surges. AFAIK the first version of the wizard class will not use a mana point system, but they may add a non-Vancian class later.I don't know the status of daily powers and other kind of resource management for fighters. Has WOTC made a statement on any of this yet?
DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
I mean things like feats and skills. You have a limitednumber of these resources, so the question I am posing should various areas of play use the same resource.
I dislike this sort of separation. I like some character being better at something and other caracters being better at something else. And that goes for everything.
Wizard must be better in anything, as people say they were Tongue Out
I dislike this sort of separation. I like some character being better at something and other caracters being better at something else. And that goes for everything.
Wizard must be better in anything, as people say they were Tongue Out



I know you are joking but I hope this doesnt turn into another wizard debate. Please keep it to character building resources and the seperation of them fokes, thanks.
I mean things like feats and skills. You have a limitednumber of these resources, so the question I am posing should various areas of play use the same resource.


I like the idea of turning spells into a kind of feats, or perhaps you could spend a feat to learn a new group of spells.

In principle you could also spend feats to increase the number of spell slots (or mana points), but I am not sure i this would really work. I would rather have a number of daily spells that increased automatically with level. (I don't like he idea of turning each spell in to a separate daily power, so that each spell can be cast exactly once per day)

I always liked the dynamic of 3.5ed where you killed a wizard to steal his book, and spend some time learning the new spells that you had found. That added extra exitement to the game. I don't know if you can keep this exitement if you can learn spells without using a spell book or a scroll.
DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
I like to keep them separate.  There are some things you can't separate, ad that's Abilities.  Since Abilities (and thus Skills) are the basis for all dice rolled by a player, they will apply to all three pillars.  But I would really like to divide mechanics into feats and features.  A class is a bundle of combat-related features, and each class gets a bunch of features to choose from (with a default slate of features for those who want quick character generation).  A theme would be a default bundle of non-combat feats, and a player who opts for a more customizable character could construct his own theme from individual feats.

So you might have a Rogue class, whose defining feature is Sneak Attack.  And there would be various rogue features that let the rogue trade some Sneak Attack for other abilities, like hamstringing an opponent.  And you might have a Thief theme, which grants feats like pickpocket, climbing walls, opening locks, and finding traps.  Or you could customize a Theme, so you get to pickpockets and fast-talk, but are't so good at lockpicking.

But I definitely think non-combat and combat should be separated.
After reading Ro3 this week it seems that WoTC have made their choice and didnt learn the lesson about this that 3.X & 4E taught.
Agreed.  This is the first Ro3 answer that disappointed me.
Me personally I believe resources should be split on the combat / non combat front. When other areas share the same resource pool with combat choices they get croweded out more often then not.

It has been my experience that this is generally the case. You can't get 100% separation because many powers are useful for both. Abilities like flight and stealth have both combat and non-combat uses. But there should be separate pools of options that characters are built from so that the ones that are clearly useful in combat don't push the rest out. It could be as simple as separating feats into combat and non-combat ones.
This seems like it should be simple. Death usually happens in combat. I'd say "almost always happens in combat" but someone would have a lovely anecdote about a high lethality game he ran for 15 years without a single fight. Anyway, if a player loses a character in combat, even if he is totally in love with wonderful, roleplay-inducing non-combat customization, he'll think twice about those choices next time and maybe grab Toughness instead.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

It has been my experience that this is generally the case. You can't get 100% separation because many powers are useful for both. Abilities like flight and stealth have both combat and non-combat uses.


Agreed.  Anything that can be used in and out of combat should be skills tied to Abilities, because Abilities really define a character and are used for almost any action with a chance of success or failure.
I think resources need to be split between combat, exploration, socialization, investigation and travel. Due to how game creation works, I believe this is idealistic to a fault, and can easily compromise towards a three ways split between combat, socialization and the rest.
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Ideas for 5E
This seems like it should be simple. Death usually happens in combat. I'd say "almost always happens in combat" but someone would have a lovely anecdote about a high lethality game he ran for 15 years without a single fight. Anyway, if a player loses a character in combat, even if he is totally in love with wonderful, roleplay-inducing non-combat customization, he'll think twice about those choices next time and maybe grab Toughness instead.



Except that what more typically happens is he blames his dice or a mean DM or at best says "I'm a role player not a power gamer and I refuse to bow to practicality," and leaves the group in frustration rather than fixing the problem.  Designers, don't let your players make stupid decisions, they won't thank you for it. 
Both of which are good reasons to split the resource pools for combat and social abilities.

For the sake of clarity when I say split the reosurce pools I mean that social skill type abilities and combat skill type abilities need to come from different parts of the character generation system, and you should not be able to increase one at the expense of another.
Maybe their strange obsession with 1-hour adventures is shorten the amount of time someone sits around board while the guy who invest in pillar X does all the work.


Thats not to say I agree with having mixed pools.


I'm all for keeping them seperate. To keep them mixed only promotes this "munchkinism" people seem to like to bring up, and supports system mastery.     
I agree that resource pools should be split among Socialization (skills) and combat (the other stuff). I don't think there should be any rule seperating building one up at the expense of the other unless you 'really' want a balanced system.

I don't think travel/exploration needs a resource split pool because, in my experience, gamers tend to handle that themselves (without much use of game mechanics). The two areas that need the most gaming mechanics, in my opinion, are skills and combat. Obviously combat needs more balance consideration. Skills tend to get mixed into roleplaying as well, and at the far end lead into exploration and such.

I don't think there's anything wrong with a warrior with no 'skills' who's just a tiny bit better at fighting, but I'm sure others might disagree. When I designed my own RPG I took the emphasis off of combat a little and tried to incorporate a broader range of skills/exploration based powers and skillsets. Basically this lets the player customize their character to specialize in whatever they want (exploration, combat, skills, etc.). Because it's impossible to design the perfect balance of roleplay to combat to skills to exploration for everyone; I felt it was best to include a customizable point-buy power system (with powers as the balancing tool) to allow the players and GM to create whatever 'balance' of the above aspects they want in their characters.

For instance, I had one player who specialized in all skills, another who went for magic item and gadget building, a third who played a stacked combat barbarian tank, and a 4th with a mix of swordsmanship and musical abilities.

I'd also like to see a de-emphasis in general on combat in 5e and more focus on the real fun of an RPG: role-playing, skills, exploration, and creativity. Computer and video games will always be able to run the best combats, an RPG should focus on the players and GM, making things easier, simpler, and more creative for them.

Thanks for reading.

David L. Dostaler
Author, Challenger RPG
www.amazon.com/Challenger-Free-Roleplayi...
David L. Dostaler Author, Challenger RPG (free)
Since when is combat not a creative roleplaying opportunity? I mean besides in the real world where it's an opportunity to get dead. 
Combat is a creative roleplaying opportunity. I think it's just overused in 4e. There's way too much emphasis on it. I once took part in an adventure where it was 99% exploration and 1% combat. It was one of the best adventures I ever played, I still have fond memories of it even though it was years and years ago.

If you look at any popular fantasy novel, you'll also see combat is a very small percentage of the action. Take J.R.R. Tolkein, J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, or any other good story you care to reckon with. The amount of time messing around and talking is 'way' more than the combat. I find the best stories (and the best RPG games) tend to turn out the same way. I know most RPGs need a little more combat (it is a game after all) but the best ones usually include more role-playing and storytelling. I'd just like a bit more emphasis on that side of RPG games.

David L. Dostaler
Author, Challenger RPG
David L. Dostaler Author, Challenger RPG (free)
This seems like it should be simple. Death usually happens in combat. I'd say "almost always happens in combat" but someone would have a lovely anecdote about a high lethality game he ran for 15 years without a single fight. Anyway, if a player loses a character in combat, even if he is totally in love with wonderful, roleplay-inducing non-combat customization, he'll think twice about those choices next time and maybe grab Toughness instead.



Except that what more typically happens is he blames his dice or a mean DM or at best says "I'm a role player not a power gamer and I refuse to bow to practicality," and leaves the group in frustration rather than fixing the problem.  Designers, don't let your players make stupid decisions, they won't thank you for it. 


Yeah, I really don't see the drawback of having everyone get non-combat resources.

For example, even if the assassin doesn't want to choose any social skills/abilities that make him even a little like the party face, he could have a network of spies and contacts, or access to smuggled goods, or better exploration/non-combat movement options, or hidden safe-houses, or better stealth, or disguises, or other abilities drawn from a generic non-assassin-ish pool.

The fighter could gain armies, keeps, land, and the status that comes with them. He could be owed favors and wield influence at court. He could have a stable of exotic flying mounts (credit to the Morm for that one) or a ship or even a fleet at high levels. If we actually have a system for wealth, power, influence, favors, and information, the game would be richer and deeper than if we're expected to just make all that stuff up or ignore it and choose more combat feats.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

Stable of exotic flying mounts, yes I want that.

I'll teach them acrobatics and take the show on the road, never have to dungeon delve again. 
They should absolutely be seperated. I'm surprised they're even concidering lumping them all together again.
They should absolutely be seperated. I'm surprised they're even concidering lumping them all together again.


"Again?", my aspiring Skill Focused Linguist asks. "When were they separated the first time?"
I'm actualy glad of it. I dislike the "I'm good at everything" phylosophy, and often I like playing combat useless yet out of combat terribly cool character. And, I belive, if you play a wizard that wasted all his life into a room studying, dissociated from the outside world, why the hell should I give him cool non spell linked social or exploration skills? And If I'm that sort of wizard I'll even not bother learning spells like charm person.
I'm actualy glad of it. I dislike the "I'm good at everything" phylosophy


Separating combat and noncombat doesn't make you good at everything.  It just means you have something useful to do in combat and somethign useful to do out of combat.  Other people also have useful things to do in and out of combat, but they are different things.

What failure to separate means is that you don't sit out of an encounter twiddling your thumbs (uinless you want to).

often I like playing combat useless yet out of combat terribly cool character.


So, when combat rolls around, excuse yourself from the table, get a slice of pizza, watch the game, and ignore the stuff on your character sheet you could do.

if you play a wizard that wasted all his life into a room studying, dissociated from the outside world, why the hell should I give him cool non spell linked social or exploration skills?


Because he left his room to go socializing and exploring. 

If I'm that sort of wizard I'll even not bother learning spells like charm person.


Or leave your room to be an adventurer.  But I would imagine a studious wizard who left his room to adventure would actually prepare himself for adventure.  Because last I checked, wizards aren't idiots.
often I like playing combat useless yet out of combat terribly cool character.


So, when combat rolls around, excuse yourself from the table, get a slice of pizza, watch the game, and ignore the stuff on your character sheet you could do.


Hell, no! That was the coolest of every moment! That was when my character started singing and dancing in the middle of a combat! Loats of lugh, better than a pizza slice. Yes, it was a bard. I never made a fighting usefull bard, that was something I do not like.

if you play a wizard that wasted all his life into a room studying, dissociated from the outside world, why the hell should I give him cool non spell linked social or exploration skills?


Because he left his room to go socializing and exploring.


Is a nerd who spend all his time in front of a pc videogaming or whatever good in social relations just because he start going outside when he has to? And I'm speaking of stereotypes, since a stereotype is my example.

If I'm that sort of wizard I'll even not bother learning spells like charm person.


Or leave your room to be an adventurer.  But I would imagine a studious wizard who left his room to adventure would actually prepare himself for adventure.  Because last I checked, wizards aren't idiots.


That's just personal taste, if I'm a wizard who sucks socialy is just because he feels social interaction is useless, so is just a waste of time to learn social utility spells.
Social abilities don't need to be class abilities, LEgend for example gives every character social defenses regardless of class. 

Some spells could make socializing easier such as charm monster, but not every wizard has that spell, on the other hand someone with a high int and training in history could analyze a battlefield and call up information about similar battles and help an army with that way. Somoen with arcana training can identify magical manipulation of someone else for example.
often I like playing combat useless yet out of combat terribly cool character.


So, when combat rolls around, excuse yourself from the table, get a slice of pizza, watch the game, and ignore the stuff on your character sheet you could do.


Hell, no! That was the coolest of every moment! That was when my character started singing and dancing in the middle of a combat! Loats of lugh, better than a pizza slice. Yes, it was a bard. I never made a fighting usefull bard, that was something I do not like.


Right.  So, as I said, ignore the stuff on your sheet that you could do, and sing, sing, sing!  Meanwhile, don't force the rest of us to have to choose which half the game we suck at.

if you play a wizard that wasted all his life into a room studying, dissociated from the outside world, why the hell should I give him cool non spell linked social or exploration skills?


Because he left his room to go socializing and exploring.


Is a nerd who spend all his time in front of a pc videogaming or whatever good in social relations just because he start going outside when he has to?


It doesn't matter why.  It matter that he is doing it, and therefore, not being a moron, he'd prepare himself.  Your wizard has a low Charisma.  That doesn't mean he can't make himself useful in social situations.  He can be an encyclopedic source of useful history.  He can identify heraldry.  He can observe the reactions of NPCs.  He can know a half-dozen languages.  Even stereotypical nerds can be useful in social situations.

If you don't want to be, fine.  When a social situation happens, refuse to use the stuff on your sheet.  Be useless on purpose.  Have fun at it.  But don't deny the rest of us the opportunity.

last I checked, wizards aren't idiots.


That's just personal taste, if I'm a wizard who sucks socialy is just because he feels social interaction is useless, so is just a waste of time to learn social utility spells.


When a social situation happens, refuse to use the stuff on your sheet.  Be useless on purpose.  Have fun at it.  But don't deny the rest of us the opportunity.  If you want to be the world's first idiotic wizard, I won't and can't stop you.  But if you had your way, you'd be stopping the rest of us, and I find that mean-spirited.
They should absolutely be seperated. I'm surprised they're even concidering lumping them all together again.


"Again?", my aspiring Skill Focused Linguist asks. "When were they separated the first time?"

I'm sorry. Did I grammar? I do that occasionally.



Either way. I'm on your side on this one.


Feats and skills were great innovations when they were introduced. But having a choice between Weapon Expertise or Linguist, I'll take Weapon Expertise all the time. So will most other players. It's not a difficult choice and that's the problem.

It's ultimately up to the DM and players how much RP occurs but in my experience when players invest in noncombat abilities they generally desire to use those abilities. Giving out of combat abilities a pool separate from combat abilities allows players to make those investments free of survival and combat concerns.

It's not about being good at everything. It's about having the ability to effectively participate in every aspect of the game.
I'm actualy glad of it. I dislike the "I'm good at everything" phylosophy, and often I like playing combat useless yet out of combat terribly cool character. And, I belive, if you play a wizard that wasted all his life into a room studying, dissociated from the outside world, why the hell should I give him cool non spell linked social or exploration skills? And If I'm that sort of wizard I'll even not bother learning spells like charm person.


"Social" and "Exploration" are broad. Looking into a crystal ball, possessing your familiar as he scouts ahead, remembering obscure facts, creating portals to other places, creating a wizard's tower or a small dimension where you can read in peace, learning the languages of devils and elementals, and other options that expand your ability to interact with people, places, and things are all part of those pillars. I believe it's more appropriate for a wizard to have a pool of feats used to buy these abilities, rather than simply finding another spell (and another and another) to do the job. That way the rogue spends a feat for favors or connections with local criminals or the city watch and the wizard spends one for a divination ritual or two so both characters can do more than just roll dice or try to guess what the DM wants them to say.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

Can anyone actually think of a disadvantage to seperate pools?  

It doesn't prevent you from favoring one pillar over the others if you want to for character reasons, because there are inevitably resources that are not seperated which you can use to favor your chosen pillar (ability scores, items, spells/rituals).  You can't do it quite as much, perhaps, but I refuse to consider it a drawback that you can't choose to make a mechanically useless character.

It doesn't lead to "good at everything characters," because having something to contribute in all three pillars does not mean you can do everything or everyone is the same unless you're operating under the ridiculous assumption that there is only one thing to do in each pillar.  There's still huge room for customization whether you want to participate in a social encounter through bluff, diplomacy, intimidate, knowledge, insight, contacts, influence, magical prowess, etc., and nothing wrong with forcing every character to pick at least one of those to be decent at.

It doesn't add any complexity (in fact it reduces it, since when you get a new option the decision of which pool to select from is made for you, ie you only have to choose from among the 50 combat feats or the 50 noncombat feats instead of the 100 combined feats)

In exchange:
It reduces the disparity between optimized characters and non-optimized characters in any given situation, a problem that has plagued D&D for as long as we've had the ability to optimize.

It encourages player involvement because no matter what's going on at the table, everyone has a meaningful contribution to make (none of this "this is a social encounter, so fighter keep your mouth shut or we'll all be killed," unless he WANTS to play an a$$ in which case he still can).

Am I missing something?
Should combat and non combat resources share the same resource pool (eg feats) or should each be seperate? Further more should non combat be seperated between interaction and exploration or share the same pool of resources?

I'm all for the 'silo' aproach.  One set of resources - feats, spells, manuevers, prayers, etc - for combat.  One set of resources - skills, rituals, etc - for exploration.  One set of resources - talents, charms, backgrounds, contacts - for interaction.

The nature and details of such resources would vary from one character to another, but each would get roughly the same number and power of abilities.   It'd be plausible to balance, and the DM wouldn't be forced to twist his story into some sort of quota or formula that gives each pillar equal time/importance/precedence.


 

 

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Can anyone actually think of a disadvantage to seperate pools?  


The biggest drawback I see is that any given power can bleed into more than one of the three pillars. 
Ranged combat becomes a social skill when you win the archery tournament and impress the king.  Levitate is equally useful in combat or exploration.  Diplomacy is a combat skill when you talk the kobolds into helping you assault their orc overlords.  Thievery is a social skill when you palm the princess's brooch, plant it on your rival suitor, and call him out at the ball.
Can anyone actually think of a disadvantage to seperate pools?  

The biggest drawback I see is that any given power can bleed into more than one of the three pillars.  

I'm not sure if that /is/ a problem.  The three pillars do lead into eachother.  A delicate negotiation (interaction) can get you access to an ancient crypt (exploration) where you find the McGuffin of Arrrg, that helps you defeat (combat) the BBEG.

But, mechanics could go a long way towards keeping them separate.  For instance:

Ranged combat becomes a social skill when you win the archery tournament and impress the king.

A very, very specific situation.  But, target shooting is not the same thing as combat, so straight up BAB and magic bows of unmittigated damage might not be the whole shooting match.  There could be mind games, subtle cheating, and a politico could use your victory to make you look arrogant and dangerous.

In one game, our group was in a gladiatorial tournament, and were up against the local favorites.  Simply beating them would have made us unpopular, but our Leader (a Warlord) took on their leader in single combat as part of the match and was defeated, while the party as a whole carried the day.  We won the contest, but let our rival save face.

Levitate is equally useful in combat or exploration.

Not if it takes 10 minutes to cast or precludes casting combat spells while maintaining it.

Diplomacy is a combat skill when you talk the kobolds into helping you assault their orc overlords.

Two separate challenges, one leading into another and making the next easier, but separate.  

Thievery is a social skill when you palm the princess's brooch, plant it on your rival suitor, and call him out at the ball.

Legerdermain like that might be a separate interaction skill from the exploration aspects of a Theif's repetoir, like trap-finding.



 

 

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I like to keep them separate.  There are some things you can't separate, ad that's Abilities.  Since Abilities (and thus Skills) are the basis for all dice rolled by a player, they will apply to all three pillars.  But I would really like to divide mechanics into feats and features.  A class is a bundle of combat-related features, and each class gets a bunch of features to choose from (with a default slate of features for those who want quick character generation).  A theme would be a default bundle of non-combat feats, and a player who opts for a more customizable character could construct his own theme from individual feats.

So you might have a Rogue class, whose defining feature is Sneak Attack.  And there would be various rogue features that let the rogue trade some Sneak Attack for other abilities, like hamstringing an opponent.  And you might have a Thief theme, which grants feats like pickpocket, climbing walls, opening locks, and finding traps.  Or you could customize a Theme, so you get to pickpockets and fast-talk, but are't so good at lockpicking.

But I definitely think non-combat and combat should be separated.



Agreed.

The essential theme song- Get a little bit a fluff da' fluff, get a little bit a fluff da' fluff! (ooh yeah) Repeat Unless noted otherwise every thing I post is my opinion, and probably should be taken as tongue in cheek any way.
I'm all for Pillar Resource Separation, but do agree that bleed represents a reasonable hurdle.

My responce would be to
A. If a "resource" bleeds into 2 or more tiers, simply have it take up choices in both- For example, if a resource allows you to run while sneaking and not take the penalty well it has obvious exploration and combat resources, so it makes the choice for both of them.

B. IF the resource is that broad break it up, when possible, The above could be broken into a "stealthy sprint" (which is more like a stance that lasts an "encounter" leaving the character to exhausted to use without a 5 minute rest) and Stealthy Sneak which performs a simular function for well over land but assumes that the enemies that you may pass aren't in combat (and thus don't have the assumed omni vision)

C. Make the ones with obvious overlap weaker. SO instead of introducing this "overpowered" run sneaky thing as is, introduce it as a "you can move your speed" without penalty. THus while it maintains purpose in both the combat and exploration pillars it isn't as potent as "weapon focus"


The essential theme song- Get a little bit a fluff da' fluff, get a little bit a fluff da' fluff! (ooh yeah) Repeat Unless noted otherwise every thing I post is my opinion, and probably should be taken as tongue in cheek any way.
I though seperating the resources would be good from a designer in that it opens design space and also I would hate the thought of designing something non combat and having it completely ignored and trashed because of things like weapon expertise.
@ole one eye.  I'm not really seeing your argument.  Even aside from the fact that your examples confuse using bleed together of pillars within an adventure with bleed together of skills between pillars, why is the latter a problem?  

So levitation is useful in both combat and noncombat.  At worst, you stuff it into exploration because you think it's more useful there (or give a choice), and so a wizard who wants to overweight combat can grab that and get a little extra in his combat pillar.  The fact that, inevitably, players will still be able to overweight one pillar a little is no reason to throw up your hands and let them overweight it completely to the exclusion of all other pillars.  Unless every single element was identically valuable in all three pillars, you could still get some benefit out of seperating pillars.  And the reality is there are relatively few elements in existing D&D mechanics that can't plausibly be restricted mostly to one pillar.  The form of levitation you buy with your exploration pillar resources could, for instance, make it impossible to cast other spells while it's up (because it takes too much concentration) or just have a relatively low maximum altitude to prevent you from hovering out of reach of melee combatants (still useful if the floor is dangerous, but not so useful that I'd worry about it).  You could then have a different form without these restrictions that you can purchase with combat pillar resources, but which would have a shorter duration or be more expensive (say, requiring epic tier, or only lasting one round).  Given that, we're only talking about a slight diminution in the benefits gained from separating pools.  If there is absolutely no downside to separating pools - as I believe and no one on this thread has plausibly suggested otherwise - any benefit is sufficient to justify the separation.  Any at all.  And you really haven't taken much of a bite out of what was fairly substantial.
I don't think you need separate pools, because it forces everyone to play a generalist character instead of a specialist.  Instead, I think every class needs to have a baseline level of usefulness in each pillar, and then players are free to customize as they want as the character gains levels.  So even if, for example, I focus exclusively on combat options for the first 10 levels, my character will still be competent at interaction and exploration.

Related to this is the issue of how often you gain resources.  I doubt characters will gain a new feature for all three pillars at every level.  (If that is to be the case, ignore the rest of this paragraph.)  More likely, if the pillars are in separate pools you will get a different one each level.  For example, perhaps at level 2 you get a combat feature, interaction at level 3, and exploration at level 4.  You might even be able to pick the order.  But this still forces everyone to be a generalist.  The combat focused player has to spend 2/3 of his resources on things that he really isn't very interested in, and the same goes for people only interested in exploration or interaction.  Making a balanced character should certainly be an option, and you shouldn't feel like you are punished for doing so.  But it should also be an option to make a specialist.

Lastly, regarding the all to frequent argument that putting everything in one pool results in players only taking combat options: to me this says that one of two things (or both) is happening:
1) The player in question prefers combat options to everything else.  He might not dislike exploration and interaction, but feels that being good at combat is the most important thing.
2) The DM puts a big emphasis on combat.  If there isn't a lot of interaction/exploration, of course players will feel a need to specialize in combat.

Here is a real-life example of this.  In my campaign, I put roughly equal emphasis on all three pillars.  As a result, there are some players who have split up their character resources in order to be as effective as possible at all three.  Other players instead focus on the pillar that they enjoy the most.  But the nice thing is that everyone has a nice baseline level of competence within each pillar.  So whether the group is exploring, interacting, or fighting, everyone feels like they can participate in an effective manner.
I don't think you need separate pools, because it forces everyone to play a generalist character instead of a specialist.  Instead, I think every class needs to have a baseline level of usefulness in each pillar, and then players are free to customize as they want as the character gains levels.  So even if, for example, I focus exclusively on combat options for the first 10 levels, my character will still be competent at interaction and exploration.

Related to this is the issue of how often you gain resources.  I doubt characters will gain a new feature for all three pillars at every level.  (If that is to be the case, ignore the rest of this paragraph.)  More likely, if the pillars are in separate pools you will get a different one each level.  For example, perhaps at level 2 you get a combat feature, interaction at level 3, and exploration at level 4.  You might even be able to pick the order.  But this still forces everyone to be a generalist.  The combat focused player has to spend 2/3 of his resources on things that he really isn't very interested in, and the same goes for people only interested in exploration or interaction.  Making a balanced character should certainly be an option, and you shouldn't feel like you are punished for doing so.  But it should also be an option to make a specialist.

Lastly, regarding the all to frequent argument that putting everything in one pool results in players only taking combat options: to me this says that one of two things (or both) is happening:
1) The player in question prefers combat options to everything else.  He might not dislike exploration and interaction, but feels that being good at combat is the most important thing.
2) The DM puts a big emphasis on combat.  If there isn't a lot of interaction/exploration, of course players will feel a need to specialize in combat.

Here is a real-life example of this.  In my campaign, I put roughly equal emphasis on all three pillars.  As a result, there are some players who have split up their character resources in order to be as effective as possible at all three.  Other players instead focus on the pillar that they enjoy the most.  But the nice thing is that everyone has a nice baseline level of competence within each pillar.  So whether the group is exploring, interacting, or fighting, everyone feels like they can participate in an effective manner.



Considering the breadth of areas one can go into in both combat and non combat I dont believe that what you are saying would occur there is plenty of room to specialising even if you split resources.