Why Acrobatic/Athletic/etc skils removed?

Why were acrobatic and athletic skills removed?  Does tumbling no longer exist? 
I just use either STR or DEX checks for the appropriate maneuvers.

It's quite possible we'll see more skills introduced later along with associated backgrounds (e.g. a Street Performer background with Acrobatics, Tumbling, and  Athletics all in one).
Why were acrobatic and athletic skills removed?  Does tumbling no longer exist? 




tumble is now a fighter specfic skill, it allows them to move through enemy space at the cost of an expertise dice.

the reason why the skill section was purged of many physical and less extrodinary skills is because wizards was right in decideng that those do not to be specific skills, and that by using a 1d20 + stat modifier you can emulate the more mundane skill check on the fly.

so it is there, now they are just strength and dex checks
But how would you represent trained and experienced athletes? Look at the olympics (both ancient and modern). Mountain climbers.
But how would you represent trained and experienced athletes? Look at the olympics (both ancient and modern). Even sports.



backgrounds aren't set in stone, i don't see why skill should be.

in the PA podcast that sat down with mike and made a custom background with custom skill, so doing so is intended.
It also doesn't make sense in that Stealth and Sleight of Hand are technically in the same category, just physical abilities.  If you drop one you have to drop both, if you keep one, you have to keep both or the logic doesn't hold. 

I would keep at least Athletics, even if Tumble becomes a Fighter-only (not a rogue ability any more?  Whaaa?).  It makes no sense not to keep it, I think. 
Why were acrobatic and athletic skills removed?  Does tumbling no longer exist? 




tumble is now a fighter specfic skill, it allows them to move through enemy space at the cost of an expertise dice.

the reason why the skill section was purged of many physical and less extrodinary skills is because wizards was right in decideng that those do not to be specific skills, and that by using a 1d20 + stat modifier you can emulate the more mundane skill check on the fly.

so it is there, now they are just strength and dex checks



By this logic, skills are not needed at all.  And what "many" physical skills got purged?  Athletics was the only one, and Acrobatics has always been extraordinary.  They purged the 3e batch for 4e generic Athletics, which worked for me.  But not having at least a catch-all Athletics skill feels wrong. 
stealth an slight of hand require very specific skill sets though, they rely on knowledge of many different .... things. consider, somebody trained in stealth also needs to not only consider being quiet, but where the eye is trained to look, how shadows and light sources act. etc.

athletics and acrobatics has allways been a catch-all
Probably I would keep Athletics, and use it for any kind of physical stunt, whether Str, Dex, or Con.



Even so mountain climbing could be Nature, Geography, or Survival skill. 
Probably I would keep Athletics, and use it for any kind of physical stunt, whether Str, Dex, or Con.



Even so mountain climbing could be Nature, Geography, or Survival skill. 




i could be wrong, but i thought climbing was still in there, but yeah, you are right about that, in fact it could be all 3 for a really dangerous climb.
I started a thread about skills and was wisely told that the only skills listed so far are those covered in a background.  So many of the other skills we are used to seeing may still show up soon.
Lol Leichenreiter.  :P


I really like how they meshed all dexterity checks into acrobatics and str into athletics for 4th.  I don't think it should be class or background related.  Only a fighter gets tumble?That is just goofy.  If anything the most dexterous should get it, but even then I'm going with my same stance as always,  boundaries suck.  Limiting PC's to what is written in a book set in stone is no fun. 


I don't even like backgrounds...  more limits.  Why not just let people pick their own skills but set a limit to the number.    I suppose it might all be a ploy to sell books.  Create a system with boundaries and make up a ton of class alternatives and sell those books rather than just allow a free system for people to create their own PC out of imagination.  :/ 
  
"athletics" is useless, and the best example of the failure of the 4e skill designations.  At once too narrow and too broad, it becomes a functionally ineffective categorization.

Jump, climb, swim, lift, rip-door-off-hinges, these sorts of things are the tasks that would fall under athletics.

Using ability checks is better rather than forcing categorizations.



Also Mechanize, eventually you'll be able to build your own background.  Same with specialty and fighting style.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Lol Leichenreiter.  :P


I really like how they meshed all dexterity checks into acrobatics and str into athletics for 4th.  I don't think it should be class or background related.  Only a fighter gets tumble?That is just goofy.  If anything the most dexterous should get it, but even then I'm going with my same stance as always,  boundaries suck.  Limiting PC's to what is written in a book set in stone is no fun. 


I don't even like backgrounds...  more limits.  Why not just let people pick their own skills but set a limit to the number.    I suppose it might all be a ploy to sell books.  Create a system with boundaries and make up a ton of class alternatives and sell those books rather than just allow a free system for people to create their own PC out of imagination.  :/ 
  




what i highlighted is exactly what they did in the penny arcade podcast, what mike suggest you do, and in no way a limitation. the backgrounds are only SUGGESTED backgrounds, there is nothing stopping you from making your own.

in fact in the PA podcast they made up skills to suit the characters background, so i don't know where the issue is. in fact, the backgrounds page has the header "sample backgrounds" implying that there are no actual set in stne background choices.
Until D&D is never restricted in any category, be it skills, powers, classes, or feats (to name a few), there are people who are going to be unhappy with it.

Personally, I hope they start with a simple enough core with optional rules within it (like the build your own background one or guidelines for making your own specialty), and expand from there.  It will be inviting for new players, since premade backgrounds and specialties give a great basis to start with, and plenty of fluffy text to stir the imagination, plus it will offer quick and easy character creation even for the veteran player who'll likely be able to find a combo that sounds like fun to play.  And then the optional make-your-own rules will allow the must-have-this types a chance to design their perfect character.

Then it's just hope they don't add any flawed feat-combos or at least put in rules that state that certain feats or combinations are banned from use together. 
The packet does mention that swimming in stormy seas and climbing something difficult both requires skill tests. Thus, it doesn't seem unreasonable to make up your own background and put that in, or sub in something.
'That's just, like, your opinion, man.'
Why were acrobatic and athletic skills removed?  Does tumbling no longer exist? 




tumble is now a fighter specfic skill, it allows them to move through enemy space at the cost of an expertise dice.

the reason why the skill section was purged of many physical and less extrodinary skills is because wizards was right in decideng that those do not to be specific skills, and that by using a 1d20 + stat modifier you can emulate the more mundane skill check on the fly.

so it is there, now they are just strength and dex checks




The idea that stat checks can replace skill checks in a game that has both is...a little absurd. The skill check is at least 3 points higher, and yet we're supposed to take seriously the idea that all atheletes are around the same, even looking at trained vs untrained atheletes? That's ridiculous.



Maneuvers need to be more general, and available via feats. Fighters can get them without spending feats, via class features, perhaps with more freedom in using them. SOmething like, a feat gives you a few maneuvers, and fighters get to freely choose from a given list when they spend CE dice.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
or.... not


the current fighter system works amazingly well, and unless you are doing a hard, very hard, or formidable task, i don't see much specialisation needed.

i'm pretty sure you don't need to be an expert at ledge walking to be able to "Walk on a narrow ledge", an example of a moderate DC dex task.


also, no. i can lose a little bit of realisim to have a much faster and better flowing game.
also, no. i can lose a little bit of realisim to have a much faster and better flowing game.

+1

I can lose a lot of "realism" in an unrealistic game, especially for faster and better flowing mechanics.

or.... not


the current fighter system works amazingly well, and unless you are doing a hard, very hard, or formidable task, i don't see much specialisation needed.

i'm pretty sure you don't need to be an expert at ledge walking to be able to "Walk on a narrow ledge", an example of a moderate DC dex task.


also, no. i can lose a little bit of realisim to have a much faster and better flowing game.



I agree.  I think this is how "bounded accuracy" will help the game when adjudicating action resolution.   Many of the checks that Chris Perkins asked players to make in the celebrity game at GenCon were basically DC 10 checks, and even when they failed, he created some contingency.  One of the key ideas that I think they need to write into the rules is that many times failure at a check does not mean total failure, game over.   It most often just adds a complication that makes things more interesting for the players and the collective story.   I liked the way 4e had this idea for the skill challenges even though the skill challenges were a bit awkward and got mixed reviews.

A Brave Knight of WTF

 

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Athletics, Acrobatics and Endurance have a place in the game and should make their return into the rules!

Yes you can cover physical tests with ability checks. But since you only get training in 3 skills anyway it's great for players who really want to point out that their characters are better in such things than others.

With the same argument one can use to declare why these skills shouldn't exist (and should be covered with ability checks) you could also remove all knowledge skills replacing them by Wis and Int checks.
 
They weren't taken out - they were just renamed "Strength" and "Dexterity"

And all characters start out equally trained in them because they are equally useful to all classes.

Carl
This may be a small tangent, but I would like to see a listing of skills instead of just the ones you're trained in. I also don't like that right now all we have are the ability scores. I don't mind the mechanics per se, just the lack of a listing of skills. How do I know I could check "Wilderness Lore" if my character doesn't have that skill, there are probably other examples, but seeing a list of what it is possible to do isn't something I think will limit players imiginations and it would greatly help players new to the game or those who would feel they can only do what they are trained to do.
Skills you aren't trained in are ability checks. 

I actually disagree with listing all possible skills, because then people feel that those are the only things they can do. 
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
A big part of my feedback was objecting to the inclusion of skills in the current iteration of the packet. The game was supposed to be about ability checks as the primary means of interacting with the game world - and the 'skills' were supposed to represent small bonuses to those ability checks. Instead - for those skills they included - they wrote them as if they were the same old skills from the last couple of editions; a major step backwards in my opinion. I recommended that they keep these bonuses tied to the backgrounds - but that they stop calling them skills. The second you start putting skills into the game, you retrigger the mindset of the players that "if it ain't on my sheet, I can't do it". In fact - after several months of playing 5N regularly I had never heard a player decide it wasn't worth bothering to roll for something UNTIL this last packet - and it happened on the very first session we played with this packet The game should not be based on SKILLS. It should be based on ability score checks, checks every character has a decent chance of succeeding on, but on which a very few characters have a small bonus. Get rid of "skills" and replace them with some other term. Skills is too loaded a concept at this point. Carl
Skills you aren't trained in are ability checks. 

I actually disagree with listing all possible skills, because then people feel that those are the only things they can do. 



I see the same problem, only from the other side. If you list no skills, the players won't know what they are capable of. I'm thinking mostly from the perspective of a new player, probably because I just started some games in two completely new systems, and I can appreciate the feeling of being completely at a loss. If I was handed a character sheet with no skills at all then that would limit me. Sure, I'd figure out diplomacy, perception, stealth, and intimidate because those are actions a player would be familiar with taking and even if they didn't realize it was a "skill" the DM would recognize the intent. However, what about animal handling? If I'm told there is a pack of wild dogs in front of me and I don't see that skill as an option why would I think I have any other choice than to fight them? Or Heal checks, for a completely new player they might never consider they have the ability to give first aid to a dying party member. Sure people who have played Dungeons and Dragons before would know, and they'd probably let the new guy know, but then the new guy feels like he is lost in a system of assumptions. "I assumed you knew you had the ability to XYZ"

I get that it can be limiting if they see what is on their sheet as the only things they can do, but I don't feel that removing them entirely is any more helpful, especially if we have a group with no expeirenced players or DM's. Then they are just guessing at the rules.

@Carl I'm not advocating "skill points" or anything like that, just a listing of general skills. And I don't see how that will change much for the average expeirenced player. After all, whether or not you see diplomacy on your sheet you know talking to the king about your reward will be a charisma check, and your 10 charisma is much worse than the sorcerer's 17 charisma, so you won't bother rolling and it will fall to the character with the best chance of success.
I see the same problem, only from the other side. If you list no skills, the players won't know what they are capable of. I'm thinking mostly from the perspective of a new player, probably because I just started some games in two completely new systems, and I can appreciate the feeling of being completely at a loss. If I was handed a character sheet with no skills at all then that would limit me. Sure, I'd figure out diplomacy, perception, stealth, and intimidate because those are actions a player would be familiar with taking and even if they didn't realize it was a "skill" the DM would recognize the intent. However, what about animal handling? If I'm told there is a pack of wild dogs in front of me and I don't see that skill as an option why would I think I have any other choice than to fight them? Or Heal checks, for a completely new player they might never consider they have the ability to give first aid to a dying party member. Sure people who have played Dungeons and Dragons before would know, and they'd probably let the new guy know, but then the new guy feels like he is lost in a system of assumptions. "I assumed you knew you had the ability to XYZ"

I get that it can be limiting if they see what is on their sheet as the only things they can do, but I don't feel that removing them entirely is any more helpful, especially if we have a group with no expeirenced players or DM's. Then they are just guessing at the rules.

Interesting... I think this may be a bias from someone expecting D&D to be like a video game, or like some other RPGs.  In D&D you can do anything, and I agree that creating a list of "things you can do" would do more harm than good, since it would never be exhaustive.  A DM who is in the habit of narrating as a storyteller, rather than just putting out minis and asking for initiative, will automatically trigger "in character" thinking.  If you say, "Bob the rogue is in negative hit points, can anyone help him?" people scan their character sheets, and maybe an experienced player will say, "Can I make a check to stabilize him?"  But if you say, "Bob has taken a stab wound to the stomach, he's bleeding a lot and has passed out," you usually won't even have to prompt people, their response will be something like "I tear a strip of cloth off of his shirt and try to bandage the wound."

Similarly, if a party sees a pack of wild dogs in front of them, I consider "I try Animal Handling" to be fail.  Win would be "I dig around in my pack for some scraps of jerky to offer them" or "I stand as straight and imposing and possible and say 'Down!'"  I hate to say the cliche, but role-play, don't roll-play; a list of skills encourages the latter.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

They weren't taken out - they were just renamed "Strength" and "Dexterity"

And all characters start out equally trained in them because they are equally useful to all classes.

Carl



I just threw up in my mouth.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Skills you aren't trained in are ability checks. 

I actually disagree with listing all possible skills, because then people feel that those are the only things they can do. 



I see the same problem, only from the other side. If you list no skills, the players won't know what they are capable of.


You're capable of anything your creativity comes up with.  How well you do is a d20 roll.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Skills you aren't trained in are ability checks. 

I actually disagree with listing all possible skills, because then people feel that those are the only things they can do. 



I see the same problem, only from the other side. If you list no skills, the players won't know what they are capable of.


You're capable of anything your creativity comes up with.  How well you do is a d20 roll.



I know that, and you know that. I was introduced to DnD when I was seven and saw my Dad playing it on the computer. I've also read multiple handbooks ADnD, 3.X, and 4e. I'm sure you've had a similiar resume.

My little sister (13) has never played DnD before, but I'm trying to get her interested. She's never seen DnD being played before. I tried getting her to make a character by telling her she could do anything she wanted. She gave me a blank stare. I started showing her various races and classes. She created an elven ranger (like Katniss from Hunger Games) with a hatred of dragons, specifically green dragons, becuase one destroyed her home. What she needed was something to spark her imigination.

This is the same problem you get in schools when you say "Write about anything you want." I'm suddenly overwhelmed with options and tend to write very little, because the limits are so vague I can't get to any specifics. If you say "write something about the chapter we just finished reading" I can't shut up because I'm pouring out so many ideas and insights into the chapter, and book as a whole. I know this is might not be true for everyone, but in my expeirences saying "there is no limit" is much worse and much harder to work with than giving people a framework as a starting point.

I see skills the same way. You need something to springboard off of. Expeirenced players may "think" they don't, but the reality is every edition of DnD  (to my knowledge) has had something similiar to a skill list. You expeirenced players already have a point to jump off of, newbies don't

@MindwandererB: I agree with you that a lot of this is in the phrasing of the DM. Especially with your example of Bob the Rogue. A good DM can phrase things in such a way to make the course of action obvious for a player, but what if we have an brand new DM? Actually, I just glanced through the playtest packet and there is no heal skill listed, no mention of a check to stabilize a player. The closest thing might be "aid another" which I can't find at the moment. With no listing of skills how is the DM supposed to know a character can do that?

And also, we all know sleight of hand to hide a dagger is a Dex check. But if that isn't listed and someone doesn't know that they might insist it is an Int check for how clevererly it is hidden, or a Con check for if you can stand the chafing. I'm sure there are better examples, but these come to mind first. I'm not saying expeirenced players need a list of skills, I'm not saying DM's who know what they are doing can't get people to use the right actions anyways. I'm saying that it is unfair to a person who has never played DnD, and especially to a group of newcomers, not to have some consistent list they can refer to. Improvise all you want, but if we just say "you can do anything you can think of" things will probably get very messy, very fast for people who don't already know the skills from previous editions
I can see Chaosmancer's position, as I have a tendency to freeze up when playing games set in the modern era, mostly because I'm a bit lacking in world experience and so don't have a very clear model of how the "real world" works. I once spent most of a Call of Cthulhu at a con setting around waiting for an opportunity to punch things (that was my character's specialty) while other players went on about "reverse phone searches" and other strange voodoo. I could see someone who hasn't read/watched much fantasy being a bit unsure of the conventions and unaware of what sort of actions are reasonable.
And also, we all know sleight of hand to hide a dagger is a Dex check. But if that isn't listed and someone doesn't know that they might insist it is an Int check for how clevererly it is hidden, or a Con check for if you can stand the chafing. I'm sure there are better examples, but these come to mind first.

No, it is a good example.  In fact, I think it's perfect.  In Next, a player trained in Sleight of Hand could roll Dex+3 to draw a dagger seemingly from nowhere, Int+3 to smuggle a dagger in their clothing, Wis+3 to find a dagger in someone else's clothing (it takes a thief to catch a thief), or even Con+3 to not give away that they hid a dagger in an "uncomfortable place."  Which is another argument against a list.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

And also, we all know sleight of hand to hide a dagger is a Dex check. But if that isn't listed and someone doesn't know that they might insist it is an Int check for how clevererly it is hidden, or a Con check for if you can stand the chafing. I'm sure there are better examples, but these come to mind first.

No, it is a good example.  In fact, I think it's perfect.  In Next, a player trained in Sleight of Hand could roll Dex+3 to draw a dagger seemingly from nowhere, Int+3 to smuggle a dagger in their clothing, Wis+3 to find a dagger in someone else's clothing (it takes a thief to catch a thief), or even Con+3 to not give away that they hid a dagger in an "uncomfortable place."  Which is another argument against a list.


Absolutely! A player trained in Wilderness Survival could ford a river (Str), catch a fish (Dex), go for days without food (Con), ID some berries (Int), notice owlbear tracks (Wis), or calm down a moose (Cha). Depending on if they were more dexterous or simply stronger, they could find the best route up a tree or pull themself up.
They weren't taken out - they were just renamed "Strength" and "Dexterity"

And all characters start out equally trained in them because they are equally useful to all classes.

Carl



I just threw up in my mouth.



I thought it was funny and appropriate. At first I was defiant, since I am so used to the skill system (especially in 3E and 4E) but the more I think about it, the more skills limit what you feel your character can do. You feel like this is the only thing you can do, because the DCs are set up to prohibit you. But I think in Next, they are going to keep the DCs low enough that an average character can do them without needing a +8 or more to get the check. 
Quick update. I just listened to the Penny Arcade podcast with Mike Mearls. In the podcast they are making a sample character, and when they are creating his background he mentions that athletics, seeing as the PA guys play 4e, has been broken up into climb/jump/swim. The character takes jump as one of his skills. So it's deffinately not going to be absent from the final product. As to why it isn't in the packet? Error probably. I'd say houserule it.
My two copper.
Since jump, climb and swim don't require a roll in many cases, such training would be far less likely to have an impact than other Skill Training.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Since jump, climb and swim don't require a roll in many cases, such training would be far less likely to have an impact than other Skill Training.


I used athletics checks a lot in my games. Am I alone?
My two copper.
Since jump, climb and swim don't require a roll in many cases, such training would be far less likely to have an impact than other Skill Training.


I used athletics checks a lot in my games. Am I alone?

I use a lot of Athletics checks in 4e, but the playtest packet has PC's succeeding on those sorts of tasks automatically a lot of the time. For example, it gives static formulas for determining how far/high you can jump based on your Strength and whether you have a 10 ft. running start. It also implies that you don't need to roll a check to climb or swim unless there's something notably difficult about the attempt (which works for me).

Quick update. I just listened to the Penny Arcade podcast with Mike Mearls. In the podcast they are making a sample character, and when they are creating his background he mentions that athletics, seeing as the PA guys play 4e, has been broken up into climb/jump/swim. The character takes jump as one of his skills. So it's deffinately not going to be absent from the final product. As to why it isn't in the packet? Error probably. I'd say houserule it.

The Acquisitions Incorporated characters are a little fast and loose right now.  Omin the half-elf is pretty much just an elf.  At PAX, Chris Perkins let Aofel fey step twice without a short rest (and I kind of doubt they'll hand out an encounter-based teleport as a racial feature at all now), and let Binwin blow all his Expertise dice on Deadly Strike and then still Cleave.  So I wouldn't take them too seriously as an example.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

They weren't taken out - they were just renamed "Strength" and "Dexterity"

And all characters start out equally trained in them because they are equally useful to all classes.

Carl



I just threw up in my mouth.



I thought it was funny and appropriate. At first I was defiant, since I am so used to the skill system (especially in 3E and 4E) but the more I think about it, the more skills limit what you feel your character can do. You feel like this is the only thing you can do, because the DCs are set up to prohibit you. But I think in Next, they are going to keep the DCs low enough that an average character can do them without needing a +8 or more to get the check. 



Given it plenty of thought, and it's still just as terrible.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Quick update. I just listened to the Penny Arcade podcast with Mike Mearls. In the podcast they are making a sample character, and when they are creating his background he mentions that athletics, seeing as the PA guys play 4e, has been broken up into climb/jump/swim. The character takes jump as one of his skills. So it's deffinately not going to be absent from the final product. As to why it isn't in the packet? Error probably. I'd say houserule it.



Cool. If they disconnect skills from specific abilities and reduce them to a minor bonus, I will be thrilled. A skill bonus should be no more than +2. It really is the ability that matters more.

And if agile Dexterity can be the check to Jump while in light armor, it will be ideal.