What if skills were replaced with feats?

In the first playtest packet I liked the open ended nature of skills. In the latest packet I find myself really bored with the reversion to 3E and 4E style skills. The more I think about skills as a whole, the more they feel like a dead end--a design dead end and a narrative dead end. Using skills rarely if ever opens up new and interesting possibilites in the adventure. Instead, it closes off areas. Players succeed or fail at a skill check. Period. It's totally binary. There is no mechanism for introducing wrinkles and complications in the skill system. Combat, in contrast, contains both failures and successes that are interesting, unexpected, and move the game forward.

In 4E, as players gained powers, they alternated between combat powers and utility powers that were useful outside of combat. Well, what if feats were treated the same way? Players might gain combat feats at one level and utility feats at the next. A utility feat might contain a package of loosely defined mechanical abilities that could act as a springboard into roleplaying and story opportunities.

For example, at 1st level a player might be able to select the Apprentice Blacksmith feat. It would give them access to a smith for a small fee each month. They could forge mundane items for half cost. Forging might consist of a roll against a set target. Being trained in blacksmithing, the players would always have advantage--in other words, they get to roll twice. Success indicates a quality weapon, for example, while failure indicates a weapon that is likely to break in combat. If players want to pawn off bad weapons on friends, enemies, or the unsuspecting public, well...that's their problem. At 5th level a player could select the Journeyman Blacksmith feat which gives them a smith of their own and the ability to forge masterwork items. Master Blacksmith might be a 10th level utility feat that results in being summoned by a king or extradimensional creature looking for a smith to forge an item of great status or power. Success on the roll results in a reward or boon while failure brings down the king's wrath.

I'm not sure if that would solve the issues I have with skills just being so damn boring...but it might. 

This is very rough and off the top of my head but hopefully it's enough to start a conversation. Thoughts? 

PS: As always, let's work to keep the conversation civil since this is just, you know, a game--a game we all love.
I think skills serve a purpose when they're genuinely open - because that's when they differ most from being just feats.

The previous playtest packet started down that route, but reverted to linking specific stats to specific skills with specific functions and ruined it all. This packet continued down the same route, and it's not a good one.
I think skills serve a purpose when they're genuinely open - because that's when they differ most from being just feats.

The previous playtest packet started down that route, but reverted to linking specific stats to specific skills with specific functions and ruined it all. This packet continued down the same route, and it's not a good one.


Agreed, I preferred the Skills being disassociated from Abilities. I wouldn't mind if there were suggested Abilities (with several examples, each using a different Ability) for Skills; but, I don't like Skills being restricted to a single Ability.
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