Rogues' Skill Mastery - Unbalanced

The Rogues Skill Mastery is unbalanced until around level 10 or so where the rest of the group catches up getting a +10 or the equivalent to their various specialties.

The Rogue automatically gets a 13-16 on any skill they know. This means that they can just about auto-succeed on anything that is in the super human level of difficulty.

If you take a look at the adventure there isn't a single diplomacy check below 16 which means the pre-gen Rogue that has Diplomacy can take a 1 and still get 16 on their checks and succeed on the checks.

I personally think this is unbalanced.

You wouldn't give the fighter the ability to take a 10 on their attack die roll if they rolled less than 10 would you? (that's if they roll a natural 6 they would up that to 10 then add their bonuses on top of the 10)

You wouldn't make the Wizard and Cleric spell targets when they make saving throws take a 10 if they got higher than 10 on the die roll would you?

I didn't think so. WotC really needs to come up with a different mechanic for skill mastery. Personally just the ability to take +3 instead of your ability modifier sounds like a huge boost to me.

Alternatively just allow them to reroll once if they get less than 10. This would not be advantage. It would be a separate mechanic and stack with advantage/disadvantage. So there would be no way to take it away.

What do you think?
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I'm sure that this will be addressed in future playtest material, as it has been a bone of contention since it was released. I can't swear that they'll fix it, but hey...here's hoping.
I'm sure that this will be addressed in future playtest material, as it has been a bone of contention since it was released. I can't swear that they'll fix it, but hey...here's hoping.



Yes, the whole "soon" fallacy.

I'd rather point it out, and be told flat out its staying in, than not point it out and find out that they missed the problem and left it in...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.

As I said in the other thread, while I think that some of the features still need some work (because they could be more fun to use rather than anything else), it is important to note that a spot of localized imbalance doesn't equate to overall imbalance. So, once again, I don't agree with you.   

Specifically, yes, the rogue is more effective at using skills than any other class. He is supposed to be. That is the rogue’s area of localized imbalance. Using skills is where the rogue shines. He pays for it be being less effective than the other classes in other areas: He doesn't have the wizard's versatility or AoE capabilities, in most situations he has a lower DPR than the fighter (as its hard to get advantage more often than once every other round, the rogue often forgoes an attack in order to gain advantage, and the rogue deals less damage than a fighter without advantage), he is less survivable than the fighter, and lacks the cleric's healing and buffing capabilities. What he has is more potent capabilities when it comes to using his skills (and more trained skills in general). That is not imbalanced, overall.


So yes, the rogue is better at using skills. He is, however, supposed to be. And, the rogue is not overpowered overall, and is fairly balanced overall.


That being said, I think CarlT’s suggestions (from another thread), when it comes to rules relating to skill use, would be more fun. 

I think it's less unbalanced than it is less fun - automatic success isn't particularly active or engaging. The Rogue should still be the best at at skills, but they shouldn't be such a gimme that using anyone else would be a waste of time.

Here's how I'd fix the Rogue's abilities: 


Skill Mastery:

Benefit: When you determine the bonus for each
of your skills, you use your associated ability
modifier or +3, whichever is higher.

Additionally, when you make a check using any
of your skills, you automatically have Advantage. 

Knack:

Benefit: Twice per day, when you make a check using any
of your skills, you can take 10 or the result of the die roll,
then add any modifier.


 


This way, the Rogue is still really good at skills, with a starting +6 even for skills that they have a low ability modifier in, and Advantage gives them a good chance at success and a way to hopefully avoid that natural 1, but they still have to roll and there's a possibility that they might fail. 

At the same time, for those situations in which a Rogue absolutely needs to succeed, they've got a get-out-jail-free card (sometimes literally) with an auto-16, but they still have to ration their Knack resources. 

Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.

As I said in the other thread, while I think that some of the features still need some work (because they could be more fun to use rather than anything else), it is important to note that a spot of localized imbalance doesn't equate to overall imbalance. So, once again, I don't agree with you.   

Specifically, yes, the rogue is more effective at using skills than any other class. He is supposed to be. That is the rogue’s area of localized imbalance. Using skills is where the rogue shines. He pays for it be being less effective than the other classes in other areas: He doesn't have the wizard's versatility or AoE capabilities, in most situations he has a lower DPR than the fighter (as its hard to get advantage more often than once every other round, the rogue often forgoes an attack in order to gain advantage, and the rogue deals less damage than a fighter without advantage), he is less survivable than the fighter, and lacks the cleric's healing and buffing capabilities. What he has is more potent capabilities when it comes to using his skills (and more trained skills in general). That is not imbalanced, overall.


So yes, the rogue is better at using skills. He is, however, supposed to be. And, the rogue is not overpowered overall, and is fairly balanced overall.


That being said, I think CarlT’s suggestions (from another thread), when it comes to rules relating to skill use, would be more fun. 




I agree totally.  One of the best things about the rogue in D&DNext is that players who play the rogue are not frightened to do rogue-like things because they have the safety net of high scores and the "take 10" fall-back.   The rogue in my games will now scout ahead.   He'll try to spy.  He'll duck out of view to try to sneak attack.   If he was not as proficient, and did not have superior skills (or mechanisms to nearly guarantee success), he wouldn't waste his time doing some of these things.  These proficiencies are his specialty, and in my games his abilty to succeed has not overshadowed other PCs in the party. 

I know the "take 10" is not for everyone, but I kind of like it.   I do however add one small change to make the rogue player sweat just a little.  In situations where the rogue would auto succeed on a check (for example DC 16 lock or trap...for a Rogue with training and Dex bonus of +3), I will make the player roll a d20.   If he rolls a natural "1", a throw in a complication!!!  Even though the chance of rolling a "1" is small, it still makes the rogue player sweat a little, but it does not stop him from attempting interesting actions.   

Another benefit to the auto success is that it speeds up the game.  Even when I ask the player to roll the d20 it is fast because all we look for is if the die roll is a "1".      


     

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Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Why not just give the Rogue Advantage with all trained skills and be done with it?  

The problem with Skill Mastery isn't balance, it's boredom.  It obviates the need to roll at all , which robs us of fun.  I felt the same way about the original Slayer versus kobolds in the 1st packet... hit or miss, same effect.  Boring.

Wounds Module [updated for Basic]

Proficiency Module

Why not just give the Rogue Advantage with all trained skills and be done with it?  

The problem with Skill Mastery isn't balance, it's boredom.  It obviates the need to roll at all , which robs us of fun.  I felt the same way about the original Slayer versus kobolds in the 1st packet... hit or miss, same effect.  Boring.

I like it.

/\ Art
The problem with giving them advantage automatically is that there is no way to reward them for a clever idea. Advantage does not stack. But, a rule that a natural roll of a 1 still counts as a roll of a 1 instead of a 10 might help. Its only a 5% chance that the rogue will fail on a skill check of less than 16, but it will keep the roll important, and it will keep the rogue sweating. Also, I think the automatic stat bonus should be +2 instead of +3 (meaning that the minimum roll is 15 instead of 16). I think that would keep the mechanic more fun without nerfing it too much. As others have said, the faith that a rogue has in his skill use is what keeps the rogue's playstyle viable. 

In combat, however, I think CarlT's idea would work best. That is to say, I think rogue's should only be able to take that automatic 10 outside of combat. In combat, a rogue may use one action to perform two skill checks (instead of only one skill check). So, a rogue could tumble and hide, hide and search for traps, balance over a thin beam silently, or whatever other combination of two skill checks simultaneously. 
I hate Skill Mastery as it is, myself, and think it's not just overpowered, but boring, too.  Rogues are the skill guys, so they're rewarded by...never needing to roll any skills.  They make skill checks less exciting for the class dedicated to skill use.  Lame.

Personally, I think Skill Mastery should just give the Rogue Advantage on all checks.  Or better yet (so that they can get Advantage as well), give them the ability to reroll once if they don't like the result.  
I kind of like the idea of not having to roll for things that you're easily capable of doing. If you have a Rogue with a 20 dex, training in acrobatics (when it comes out), etc. Why should you have to bother rolling to swing with a rope and jump off? At that point doing some thing like that should be child's play. How often to trapeze artists fall? If some one is trained in acrobatics and is at the mortal peak of dexterity they certainly should be able to do trapeze artist stuff reliably. Any thing less than that why give them the chance of failure and thus the chance that the player will decide not to do that awesome thing?

So how about this solution? When you make a check with a skill you're trained in if you would succeed on a result of 5 or higher you automatically succeed. The number would go up with levels as it currently does. Is that a fair middle ground?
I have decided if sm allows the rogue to resist the spell casters invisibility and other encroaching spells .... its all good. (we dont know what those will look like do we?)

In other words we dont have enough to know what the full balance/imbalance or swing factor of this game is.

One of the problems of the 1e thief was it was incredibly lame at doing what it did better to be safe than lame. 

I might agree SM isnt very interesting or exciting.


  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 problem with giving them advantage automatically is that there is no way to reward them for a clever idea. Advantage does not stack. But, a rule that a natural roll of a 1 still counts as a roll of a 1 instead of a 10 might help. Its only a 5% chance that the rogue will fail on a skill check of less than 16, but it will keep the roll important, and it will keep the rogue sweating. Also, I think the automatic stat bonus should be +2 instead of +3 (meaning that the minimum roll is 15 instead of 16). I think that would keep the mechanic more fun without nerfing it too much. As others have said, the faith that a rogue has in his skill use is what keeps the rogue's playstyle viable. 

In combat, however, I think CarlT's idea would work best. That is to say, I think rogue's should only be able to take that automatic 10 outside of combat. In combat, a rogue may use one action to perform two skill checks (instead of only one skill check). So, a rogue could tumble and hide, hide and search for traps, balance over a thin beam silently, or whatever other combination of two skill checks simultaneously. 



Then let Advantage stack (once) in this particular case?  

I would change the "fake stat bonus" effect to a simple "ignore negative modifiers for skills" effect.  The Rogue's ability choices should matter, even for their skills.  

Increase the Rogue's Training bonus to +5 instead of +3, but cap the sum skill mod for everyone at +10 (including training bonus, ability modifiers, item bonuses, circumstance bonues, and so on).

Wounds Module [updated for Basic]

Proficiency Module

Making it a reroll instead of calling it advantage would work. But, the rest seems overly complicated Ryan.
I don't think it's overpowered, but I do find skills in DDN exceedingly boring, and Rogues are currently the only class in the game that seems even remotely better at using them compared to your average commoner.
Making it a reroll instead of calling it advantage would work. But, the rest seems overly complicated Ryan.



Like an avenger getting guidance from the divine... it isnt advantage against their enemies it would be a re-roll. I was wondering if an Avenger should have Advantage against there favored enemy but making it combine with advantage makes advantage still valuable (well somewhat).
  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 play a rogue in the playtest and I really like it, it allows me to scout ahead and not slow the game down with a bunch of rolls.  In previous games the rogue was always afraid to get too far ahead of the party for fear of the dice.  This makes a rogue be able to fulfill a roll, otherwise hard to do with the wonkiness of a 20 sided dice.
But, a rule that a natural roll of a 1 still counts as a roll of a 1 instead of a 10 might help. Its only a 5% chance that the rogue will fail on a skill check of less than 16, but it will keep the roll important, and it will keep the rogue sweating.


Eh..only issue I really see with this is that it means a Rogue will either completely fail horribly at something, or pass it with flying colors with no middle ground.
But, a rule that a natural roll of a 1 still counts as a roll of a 1 instead of a 10 might help. Its only a 5% chance that the rogue will fail on a skill check of less than 16, but it will keep the roll important, and it will keep the rogue sweating.


Eh..only issue I really see with this is that it means a Rogue will either completely fail horribly at something, or pass it with flying colors with no middle ground.



Which is a problem with the whole skill system: No real middle ground. It's all binary success or failure, with minor modifiers to make it seem like one character is vaguely better.
Humerously, at PAX, my Kobolds where routinely detecting the two rogues in my party by my rolling high on my group check (I was only rolling once for the groups of 8 Kobolds they kept running into in the worm writhings, I rolled 19 (20-1), 18 (19-1) and 17 (18-1). It was humerous and ridiculous all at the same time. Imagine if I'd rolled 8 separate checks, one is almost sure to succeed.
I play a rogue in the playtest and I really like it, it allows me to scout ahead and not slow the game down with a bunch of rolls.  In previous games the rogue was always afraid to get too far ahead of the party for fear of the dice.  This makes a rogue be able to fulfill a roll, otherwise hard to do with the wonkiness of a 20 sided dice.

Exactly.

At our table we found it really nice, and it gave the rogue the need to do more daring and creative stuff, which elicited a dice roll. 
I play a rogue in the playtest and I really like it, it allows me to scout ahead and not slow the game down with a bunch of rolls.  In previous games the rogue was always afraid to get too far ahead of the party for fear of the dice.  This makes a rogue be able to fulfill a roll, otherwise hard to do with the wonkiness of a 20 sided dice.

Exactly.

At our table we found it really nice, and it gave the rogue the need to do more daring and creative stuff, which elicited a dice roll. 



Would having one reroll on anything under a 10 make it a funner experience? They get to roll dice and they have a chance to succeed greater or still fail. If they have advantage they can roll it with both rolls so it multiplies the effectiveness of the roll...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I play a rogue in the playtest and I really like it, it allows me to scout ahead and not slow the game down with a bunch of rolls.  In previous games the rogue was always afraid to get too far ahead of the party for fear of the dice.  This makes a rogue be able to fulfill a roll, otherwise hard to do with the wonkiness of a 20 sided dice.

Exactly.

At our table we found it really nice, and it gave the rogue the need to do more daring and creative stuff, which elicited a dice roll. 



Would having one reroll on anything under a 10 make it a funner experience? They get to roll dice and they have a chance to succeed greater or still fail. If they have advantage they can roll it with both rolls so it multiplies the effectiveness of the roll...

It would certainly take more time. Don't know if it would be more fun.
I play a rogue in the playtest and I really like it, it allows me to scout ahead and not slow the game down with a bunch of rolls.  In previous games the rogue was always afraid to get too far ahead of the party for fear of the dice.  This makes a rogue be able to fulfill a roll, otherwise hard to do with the wonkiness of a 20 sided dice.

Exactly.

At our table we found it really nice, and it gave the rogue the need to do more daring and creative stuff, which elicited a dice roll. 



Would having one reroll on anything under a 10 make it a funner experience? They get to roll dice and they have a chance to succeed greater or still fail. If they have advantage they can roll it with both rolls so it multiplies the effectiveness of the roll...

It would certainly take more time. Don't know if it would be more fun.



If this mechanic is so great why not let the fighter take 10 on their attack rolls if they roll under 10? Because that's exactly what this mechanic is doing for Rogues. It lets them totally dominate the exploration pillar and if they pick the right background the social pillar. heck it allows them to just about auto-succeed at stealth checks. Then to add insult to injury they can reroll 2 'checks' at level 2. So even if they don't have social skills they can reroll them...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I play a rogue in the playtest and I really like it, it allows me to scout ahead and not slow the game down with a bunch of rolls.  In previous games the rogue was always afraid to get too far ahead of the party for fear of the dice.  This makes a rogue be able to fulfill a roll, otherwise hard to do with the wonkiness of a 20 sided dice.

Exactly.

At our table we found it really nice, and it gave the rogue the need to do more daring and creative stuff, which elicited a dice roll. 



Would having one reroll on anything under a 10 make it a funner experience? They get to roll dice and they have a chance to succeed greater or still fail. If they have advantage they can roll it with both rolls so it multiplies the effectiveness of the roll...

It would certainly take more time. Don't know if it would be more fun.



If this mechanic is so great why not let the fighter take 10 on their attack rolls if they roll under 10? Because that's exactly what this mechanic is doing for Rogues. It lets them totally dominate the exploration pillar and if they pick the right background the social pillar. heck it allows them to just about auto-succeed at stealth checks. Then to add insult to injury they can reroll 2 'checks' at level 2. So even if they don't have social skills they can reroll them...

It's impossible to "auto-succeed" at stealth checks, since it's basically a contest, not a straight up skill check.

Same thing with the social sphere.  Social is mostly contests.


The truth is, that the minimum of 10 in skill mastery fits nicely with the rules to the DM regarding how and when to make checks and social interactions in the first place.

The leeway given to the DM for checks and social interactions is explicitly removed when it comes to combat.
I play a rogue in the playtest and I really like it, it allows me to scout ahead and not slow the game down with a bunch of rolls.  In previous games the rogue was always afraid to get too far ahead of the party for fear of the dice.  This makes a rogue be able to fulfill a roll, otherwise hard to do with the wonkiness of a 20 sided dice.

Exactly.

At our table we found it really nice, and it gave the rogue the need to do more daring and creative stuff, which elicited a dice roll. 



Would having one reroll on anything under a 10 make it a funner experience? They get to roll dice and they have a chance to succeed greater or still fail. If they have advantage they can roll it with both rolls so it multiplies the effectiveness of the roll...

It would certainly take more time. Don't know if it would be more fun.



If this mechanic is so great why not let the fighter take 10 on their attack rolls if they roll under 10? Because that's exactly what this mechanic is doing for Rogues. It lets them totally dominate the exploration pillar and if they pick the right background the social pillar. heck it allows them to just about auto-succeed at stealth checks. Then to add insult to injury they can reroll 2 'checks' at level 2. So even if they don't have social skills they can reroll them...

It's impossible to "auto-succeed" at stealth checks, since it's basically a contest, not a straight up skill check.

Same thing with the social sphere.  Social is mostly contests.


The truth is, that the minimum of 10 in skill mastery fits nicely with the rules to the DM regarding how and when to make checks and social interactions in the first place.

The leeway given to the DM for checks and social interactions is explicitly removed when it comes to combat.



Leeway? Yeah, the skill section also talks about not being rigid with attack rolls, so guess what? it applies equally there...

"As a DM, you could memorize these guidelines, apply them flawlessly, and still miss out on the point of D&D. Unlike other games, D&D is a flexible set of guidelines, not a rigid set of laws. When you ask a player to make a check, an attack, or a saving throw, you first should focus on engaging the players’ imaginations."

Yes rarely in the social pillar the DM will roll a 17-20 and beat the 1st level rogues skill mastery roll of 10. That happens what 20% of the time. So the Rogue beats 80% of checks that are easy to super human in difficulty. That's not counting the chance for the Rogue to roll above 10, that makes it even worse. For checks that aren't opposed the suggestion is to set the DC to easy medium or hard. The Rogue will always succeed on those three (10, 13, 16). It even says you could run the whole game like that. So for the whole game the Rogue can just take '1' and succeed at every trained check they have and for the rare untrained check they can use their 'Knack' feature at level 2.
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1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
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If this mechanic is so great why not let the fighter take 10 on their attack rolls if they roll under 10? Because that's exactly what this mechanic is doing for Rogues. It lets them totally dominate the exploration pillar and if they pick the right background the social pillar. heck it allows them to just about auto-succeed at stealth checks. Then to add insult to injury they can reroll 2 'checks' at level 2. So even if they don't have social skills they can reroll them...



The consequences of missing with an attack are not nearly as important as failing a skill check. The fighter can always retry the next round. If a rogue fails a pathetically low stealth check, he doesn't get to try again.

I do however agree that the rogue is a bit too good at what he does compared to the others. I personally blame this on the skill training mechanics and not on the skill mastery system.

This is how I would personally change things:

1) Skill Training: you use either a +3 modifier or your ability modifier +1. You automatically succeed any skill check with a DC of 10+modifier or lower. The big problem with the current skill training is that the bonus to skill checks is too high. Failing an easy check is boring and it makes a terrible story. Rolling for each and every skill check is just a waste of time too; it doesn't bring anything to the story.

2) Skill Mastery: the rogue can take 10 on all skill checks. The rogue uses either a +2 modifier or his ability modifier to skill checks on untrained checks. The rogue gains a +1 bonus to all trained skills. This makes the rogue better than the other classes with his trained skills and not as good as the others with his untrained skills. This leaves room for other characters in the group to shine at what they're supposed to be good at. A rogue trained in a skill always will be better and always should be better than a non rogue trained in that skill. This is what the class is all about (and not the overwhelming number of interesting tactical choices in combat...).

3) Knack: I would just change this to reroll a skill check you're not happy with. I would also limit this to trained skills. When a skill check really matters, you get a second chance. Because of the flatter bonuses from skill training, this isn't even close to an automatic success on harder checks.

4) Bonus skill training. I get it, in AD&D, you don't have skills. But come on, this was one of the worst parts of AD&D. Making this optional just makes the rogue class design a lot more complicated. The rogue should get a few bonus skills. He should also get extra points as he gains levels to increase his existing skill modifiers.

5) We need skill tricks! We need to be able to do things others can't! If you're playing a social dude, you want to be able to manipulate people like Patrick James in the Mentalist! With special training, you should be able to do things that others can't. And while we're at it, we should also get rid of the silly restriction that skill tricks should always be mundane. What kind of idiot would refuse to learn a little bit of magic if it can help him in his craft? If something doesn't make sense (like hide in plain sight), then it should be some kind of magical trick. And every class should get these, not just rogues. The rogues would only have better ones for their level. Instead of getting a boring +1 to skill checks, character should be able to purchase these. Skill tricks could be as simple as a circumstancial bonus to checks, something like a "Courtesan" trick that gives you a +2 bonus to Diplomacy checks with nobles and the other upper class dudes.
I play a rogue in the playtest and I really like it, it allows me to scout ahead and not slow the game down with a bunch of rolls.  In previous games the rogue was always afraid to get too far ahead of the party for fear of the dice.  This makes a rogue be able to fulfill a roll, otherwise hard to do with the wonkiness of a 20 sided dice.

Exactly.

At our table we found it really nice, and it gave the rogue the need to do more daring and creative stuff, which elicited a dice roll. 



Would having one reroll on anything under a 10 make it a funner experience? They get to roll dice and they have a chance to succeed greater or still fail. If they have advantage they can roll it with both rolls so it multiplies the effectiveness of the roll...

It would certainly take more time. Don't know if it would be more fun.



If this mechanic is so great why not let the fighter take 10 on their attack rolls if they roll under 10? Because that's exactly what this mechanic is doing for Rogues. It lets them totally dominate the exploration pillar and if they pick the right background the social pillar. heck it allows them to just about auto-succeed at stealth checks. Then to add insult to injury they can reroll 2 'checks' at level 2. So even if they don't have social skills they can reroll them...

It's impossible to "auto-succeed" at stealth checks, since it's basically a contest, not a straight up skill check.

Same thing with the social sphere.  Social is mostly contests.


The truth is, that the minimum of 10 in skill mastery fits nicely with the rules to the DM regarding how and when to make checks and social interactions in the first place.

The leeway given to the DM for checks and social interactions is explicitly removed when it comes to combat.



Leeway? Yeah, the skill section also talks about not being rigid with attack rolls, so guess what? it applies equally there...

"As a DM, you could memorize these guidelines, apply them flawlessly, and still miss out on the point of D&D. Unlike other games, D&D is a flexible set of guidelines, not a rigid set of laws. When you ask a player to make a check, an attack, or a saving throw, you first should focus on engaging the players’ imaginations."

Yes rarely in the social pillar the DM will roll a 17-20 and beat the 1st level rogues skill mastery roll of 10. That happens what 20% of the time. So the Rogue beats 80% of checks that are easy to super human in difficulty. That's not counting the chance for the Rogue to roll above 10, that makes it even worse. For checks that aren't opposed the suggestion is to set the DC to easy medium or hard. The Rogue will always succeed on those three (10, 13, 16). It even says you could run the whole game like that. So for the whole game the Rogue can just take '1' and succeed at every trained check they have and for the rare untrained check they can use their 'Knack' feature at level 2.

You seem to have this habbit of not reading up on terms that are defined.  

" engaging the players’ imaginations.""
 
This then leads to the section entitled: Engaging the Players:


Under "attacks and Saving throws it says"
"

Attacks and Saving Throws: A colorful
description is nice for attacks and saving throws,
but should rarely be the avenue to gaining a
concrete game benefit, since it is too easy to abuse
such an approach. You might have players
endlessly describing how they resist a mind flayer’s
mind blast or trying to narrate every detail of a 


sword blow. In most cases, spells and special
abilities serve to grant characters advantage on
their attacks and saving throws.
That said, if you feel the situation warrants it, use
advantage to grant a character a well-earned edge.
Disadvantage: Not every idea is a good one. A
character might try to win the prince’s favor by
bragging about all the bandits he slew, not realizing
that the prince is an avowed pacifist. If an idea
backfires on a player, apply disadvantage to the
check or attack.


 
  If something doesn't make sense (like hide in plain sight), then it should be some kind of magical trick. And every class should get these, not just rogues. T



The Lie to Me folks getting lie detection as a modern example.

In early legend and myth there were magics associated with any craft or field of endeavor. A Blacksmith had blacksmith magic it was deemed deep lore "arcane" and Yup - Warriors had warrior Magic, Kings had Kings Magic (call it Warlords magic if you like), so basically your Rogue being able to hide in plain sight is matched by the Warrior picking up an attack which sunders the earth opening a pit beneath enemies another that lets their shout be heard across the valley another which lets them gather their enemies power (head hunting anyone) or consume the flesh of a magical beast and  absorb elements of its nature. The Kings Magic might include forging oaths and listening to the voices of their ancesters (a very blood-line based magic).
  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."

 


If this mechanic is so great why not let the fighter take 10 on their attack rolls if they roll under 10? Because that's exactly what this mechanic is doing for Rogues. It lets them totally dominate the exploration pillar and if they pick the right background the social pillar. heck it allows them to just about auto-succeed at stealth checks. Then to add insult to injury they can reroll 2 'checks' at level 2. So even if they don't have social skills they can reroll them...




Combat and skill use are not analogous (despite both using a d20). Using a skill is a far less mechanically robust activity. Combat is more mechanically robust overall, and as a result takes longer/requires more rolls. That means that shining in combat must be slightly more subtle (by, say, having a better DPR, or a slightly better attack bonus, or the ability to inflict more conditions, or so on and so forth), as otherwise it will feel like the person who shines in combat is shining that much brighter for that much longer (over the course of a larger number of dice rolled). In contrast, because using a skill is such a quick mechanical operation, the ability to shine at that operation needs to be more obvious (or else players are not likely to feel like they are shining, as skill tasks require fewer rolls than combat, and the wonkiness of the d20 die is more likely to eat up the mechanical benefits/mechanical elements of localized imbalance provided to the skill user). 

I think a rogue should have a set of "rogue" skills where his mastery applies but it should not apply to every skill in the book.

 

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The Lie to Me folks getting lie detection as a modern example.

In early legend and myth there were magics associated with any craft or field of endeavor. A Blacksmith had blacksmith magic it was deemed deep lore "arcane" and Yup - Warriors had warrior Magic, Kings had Kings Magic (call it Warlords magic if you like), so basically your Rogue being able to hide in plain sight is matched by the Warrior picking up an attack which sunders the earth opening a pit beneath enemies another that lets their shout be heard across the valley another which lets them gather their enemies power (head hunting anyone) or consume the flesh of a magical beast and  absorb elements of its nature. The Kings Magic might include forging oaths and listening to the voices of their ancesters (a very blood-line based magic).



This is all very colorful. I like all of this.
My main issue with skill mastery being the "rogue" schtick is that it completely destroys the concepts of the arcane/divine sage. Yes, you can take Sage background, bully for you. But what about concepts that AREN'T a rogue, but ARE a skill monkey (ie lots of skills)? So is the only recourse is to use the specialty slot in some way? I know each class needs a place, but skill mastery should not be class-specific.

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Each class should have skill mastery for skills related to their classes. And then rogues would have more than others, but not all. A rogue with skill mastery in Arcane Lore but Wizard and warlocks not having it makes little sense.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

In a class based game, every class cannot have everything. If other classes should gain skill mastery, then rogues should get wizard spells and combat superiority dice. But nobody would be ok with that. For the very same reason, I am not ok with other classes getting skill mastery. Other classes can use skills, but it is rogues who shine when it comes to skill use. Other classes get to shine at other things. Anything else leaves rogues in the cold, and does imbalance the game (leaving rogues as one of the least useful classes). 
I think a rogue should have a set of "rogue" skills where his mastery applies but it should not apply to every skill in the book.

 

Which skills do you think are so obviously not rogue skills that the skill shouldn't apply?

Cause I bet you I can describe a rogue focusing on those abilities to define their "rogueness" 
In a class based game, every class cannot have everything. If other classes should gain skill mastery, then rogues should get wizard spells and combat superiority dice. But nobody would be ok with that. For the very same reason, I am not ok with other classes getting skill mastery. Other classes can use skills, but it is rogues who shine when it comes to skill use. Other classes get to shine at other things. Anything else leaves rogues in the cold, and does imbalance the game (leaving rogues as one of the least useful classes). 

I agree that "every class cannot have everything", but skill "mastery" isn't the rogue's schtick. They should be more akin to the "jack of all trades" concept where they are functionally adept in all pillars, if not top tier in any. They should have something like the fighter's CS dice, where they can do more than just stabby-stab their way through their enemies, but be able to use those expertise dice in all three pillars, not just combat.

If you are insisting that skill mastery stay rogue-only, is the arcane/divine skill monkey not a valid concept for 5e? Or is it just that every character that knows lots of skills must also know how to inflict lethal wounds on their foes?

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Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
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I am both orderly and instinctive. I value community and group identity, defining myself by the social group I am a part of. At best, I'm selfless and strong-willed; at worst, I'm unoriginal and sheepish.
In a class based game, every class cannot have everything. If other classes should gain skill mastery, then rogues should get wizard spells and combat superiority dice. But nobody would be ok with that. For the very same reason, I am not ok with other classes getting skill mastery. Other classes can use skills, but it is rogues who shine when it comes to skill use. Other classes get to shine at other things. Anything else leaves rogues in the cold, and does imbalance the game (leaving rogues as one of the least useful classes). 

I agree that "every class cannot have everything", but skill "mastery" isn't the rogue's schtick. They should be more akin to the "jack of all trades" concept where they are functionally adept in all pillars, if not top tier in any. They should have something like the fighter's CS dice, where they can do more than just stabby-stab their way through their enemies, but be able to use those expertise dice in all three pillars, not just combat.

If you are insisting that skill mastery stay rogue-only, is the arcane/divine skill monkey not a valid concept for 5e? Or is it just that every character that knows lots of skills must also know how to inflict lethal wounds on their foes?


The arcane/divine skill monkey casts spells, and doesn't do skill checks.
You don't roll your stealth, the enemy rolls a saving throw against invisiblity.
You don't roll for lockpicking, you cast "knock" 
In a class based game, every class cannot have everything. If other classes should gain skill mastery, then rogues should get wizard spells and combat superiority dice. But nobody would be ok with that. For the very same reason, I am not ok with other classes getting skill mastery. Other classes can use skills, but it is rogues who shine when it comes to skill use. Other classes get to shine at other things. Anything else leaves rogues in the cold, and does imbalance the game (leaving rogues as one of the least useful classes). 



It doesn't have to be black or white. Shining doesn't mean that everybody else must suck. Skills should be enjoyable for everyone, especially for rogues. Having all other classes automatically succeeding at skill checks of 13 or lower is certainly no big deal. It just means that you can't fail trivial tasks.

This should never happen to Bob the fighter:

DM: "There's a 10' chasm."
Bob: "I jump over it."
DM: "That's a DC 10 jump check."
Bob (rolls a d20 and gets a 1): "Failed..."
DM: "Sucks to be you. Roll a new character." 
In a class based game, every class cannot have everything. If other classes should gain skill mastery, then rogues should get wizard spells and combat superiority dice. But nobody would be ok with that. For the very same reason, I am not ok with other classes getting skill mastery. Other classes can use skills, but it is rogues who shine when it comes to skill use. Other classes get to shine at other things. Anything else leaves rogues in the cold, and does imbalance the game (leaving rogues as one of the least useful classes). 



It doesn't have to be black or white. Shining doesn't mean that everybody else must suck. Skills should be enjoyable for everyone, especially for rogues. Having all other classes automatically succeeding at skill checks of 13 or lower is certainly no big deal. It just means that you can't fail trivial tasks.

This should never happen to Bob the fighter:

DM: "There's a 10' chasm."
Bob: "I jump over it."
DM: "That's a DC 10 jump check."
Bob (rolls a d20 and gets a 1): "Failed..."
DM: "Sucks to be you. Roll a new character." 

Correct, what should happen is:

 DM: "There's a 10' chasm."
Bob: "I jump over it."
DM: "That's a DC 10 jump check."
Bob (rolls a d20 and gets a 1): "Failed..."
DM: "Ouch! You run for your jump and realize you don't have the momentum to make it, you slip and grab onto the edge of the cliff." 
Why not have the minimum change to the result, not the roll. Up it a little, too. So if your result is less than... 13, say, it's always at least a 13. That's the edge of Moderate DCs, right? And as the rogue levels, this minimum would increase (perhaps once every two or three levels). I could see a rogue being able to do hard skill checks without even trying by level 10.
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