Rogue Skill Mastery: Take 10 or Advantage

Disclaimer: I haven't tested this out, it's just an idea I wanted to bounce off the community. It may not even be my idea, I could have seen it somewhere else and got it stuck in my head... I don't know.

Would it be better if Rogues had Advantage when making checks on their trained skills, vice taking the higher of 10 or the roll?
I'd think WotC would want to use the existing Advantage mechanic for this instead of an (albeit simple) extra mechanic. Maybe they already thought of this and were waiting to see how well Advantage/Disadvantage went over.

And to account for the increase in Skill Mastery as a Rogue levels, just let them pick two or three skills to add +1 to when they get Skill Training (personally I think that would add to character customization and be more interesting for the player).


Well- its been suggested a dozen or so times already on these forum in one form or another - so it seems to be an obvious fix.


Personally - my preferred fix goes further.

Skill Mastery:  While using skills granted by the player's rogue scheme background, if the rogue has an ability score modifier lower than +3, the rogue's skill bonus is calculated as if their abiity score modifier is +3 [this weakens the feature somewhat and returns it to its intent - which was to fix the disconnect of low wisdom rogues sucking at finding traps - not rogue stats being irrelevant to their skills] .  While not in combat, the rogue has advantage on all skill and ability checks.  During combat, in any round during which the rogue takes an action which is not an attack (or a spell - in the case of multiclass rogues) the rogue can use one of their skills as part of that action (they do not have automatic advantage on this check).


Carl
I use 2d20 advantage for all training in 4e (+5), and 3d20 advantage for the focused training (+8).   I have long been an advocate of using advantage to replace training bonuses entirely, leaving only ability as the modifier. It works even in 4e and it is a fun mechanic. While some complain this is too high of a bonus, advantage is actually weaker than the modifier!  At the very hard challenges it is more of a +1 or +2, and at the very easy challenges you have low risk of failure, and you have the rare possibility (1/400) of a double fumble, or getting a repeat roll that does not help raise a low number.   Those realistic tradeoffs that do not exist with the +5 modifier are worth the equivalent odds for the easy and moderate challenges.

But they seem to be retreating from advantage for combat after the community did the math for them that showed it was a big bonus.   Now they are bringing back the smaller modifiers making advantage more rare, or even simpler eliminating the small modifiers saying they can get advantage. And they already decided for 5e to make it easier to accomplish hard things without training, which said in reverse means they already decided 5e will nerf training (now a +3). So the big bonus does not work for them anymore. 

But maybe they will compromise and give it as the skill mastery feature.
Well- its been suggested a dozen or so times already on these forum in one form or another - so it seems to be an obvious fix.


Personally - my preferred fix goes further.

Skill Mastery:  While using skills granted by the player's rogue scheme background, if the rogue has an ability score modifier lower than +3, the rogue's skill bonus is calculated as if their abiity score modifier is +3 [this weakens the feature somewhat and returns it to its intent - which was to fix the disconnect of low wisdom rogues sucking at finding traps - not rogue stats being irrelevant to their skills] .  While not in combat, the rogue has advantage on all skill and ability checks.  During combat, in any round during which the rogue takes an action which is not an attack (or a spell - in the case of multiclass rogues) the rogue can use one of their skills as part of that action (they do not have automatic advantage on this check).


Carl



The +3 thing will in any case lead to a disregard for ability-scores and that is always bad. There should be a difference between a 8 WIS rogue and a 12 WIS rogue. And if WIS affects that skill for non-rogues, it should be the same.

If a skill is not connected to the correct stat then that is a problem... but don't modify it just to create streamlined classes. (the +3 thing is just as bad as saying that Perception is a DEX stat)

--

Don't force a rogue to pick the same background as their Scheme. A cleric is not forced into some background by Domain.

Instead, grant rogues training in Stealth for free from the Thief Scheme, Intimidate for free from the Thug Scheme, and allow them to take one extra free skill in anything (Skill masters right?). Independent of background.

--

As for Advantage vs. take-10+x
Rolling is fun, advantage is fun...  its win win.



Take 5.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Would it be better if Rogues had Advantage when making checks on their trained skills, vice taking the higher of 10 or the roll?

The min 10 rule is already a bit too good, and granting Advantage is much more of a bonus then the min 10 rule. Not only does Advantage average out to a higher plus bonus on average, but it provides the biggest bonus on medium and hard tasks while the min 10 rule only helps to clear out easy ones automatically. If they are going to grant Advantage on skills checks there would have to be something significant to counter balance it. Limited uses per day would be the obvious one, but that has problems for stealth rogues who would be using skills constantly.

While using skills granted by the player's rogue scheme background, if the rogue has an ability score modifier lower than +3, the rogue's skill bonus is calculated as if their abiity score modifier is +3 [this weakens the feature somewhat and returns it to its intent - which was to fix the disconnect of low wisdom rogues sucking at finding traps - not rogue stats being irrelevant to their skills] .

Other then the slight wording difference and it not applying to skills the rogue gains when leveling up*, how is that different then the current rule?

* There is no way to actually do that right now, but the rules talk about gaining skills and improving skills separately, implying there must be a way in the portion of the rules we don't have.


Great song.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

What I don't get is the part about "can't pick the same rogue scheme as your background" bit.

"I've been a thief all my life. It was the only way I could get by. Eventually I got better at it (took a level in rogue) and now I'm the best street-brawler in town, everybody fears my fists." What.

If you could pick Thief for both your background and rogue scheme, your class features would line up with your backstory better, and in terms of balance (against the diversified, normal rogues), you'd be trading access to one background perk for being able to pick which 3 skills to train instead of getting a pre-made set.

The +3 thing will in any case lead to a disregard for ability-scores and that is always bad. There should be a difference between a 8 WIS rogue and a 12 WIS rogue. And if WIS affects that skill for non-rogues, it should be the same.

If a skill is not connected to the correct stat then that is a problem... but don't modify it just to create streamlined classes. (the +3 thing is just as bad as saying that Perception is a DEX stat)

--

Don't force a rogue to pick the same background as their Scheme. A cleric is not forced into some background by Domain.

Instead, grant rogues training in Stealth for free from the Thief Scheme, Intimidate for free from the Thug Scheme, and allow them to take one extra free skill in anything (Skill masters right?). Independent of background.



Um - you are aware that rogues get two backgrounds, right?

One which is based upon their scheme and one which is a normal choice like that made by other character.

Carl
Roll Sneak Attack dice.
*remembers how large SA dice gets and how bad that houerule was*

Or they can roll then 3d6 bell curve

1d20 + Ability Mod + Skill mod
OR
3d6 + Ability mod + Skill Mod

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!



While using skills granted by the player's rogue scheme background, if the rogue has an ability score modifier lower than +3, the rogue's skill bonus is calculated as if their abiity score modifier is +3 [this weakens the feature somewhat and returns it to its intent - which was to fix the disconnect of low wisdom rogues sucking at finding traps - not rogue stats being irrelevant to their skills] .

Other then the slight wording difference and it not applying to skills the rogue gains when leveling up*, how is that different then the current rule?

* There is no way to actually do that right now, but the rules talk about gaining skills and improving skills separately, implying there must be a way in the portion of the rules we don't have.




That it mostly is - but it is more significant than you imply.

For starters - it would only work on the skills from the rogues scheme background - not their second background.  Thus it would (for a thief) only apply to Find and Remove Traps - and no other skills (assuming he has a high Dex and thus it doesn't apply to Stealth or Open Locks).  For a Thug it would apply to Intimidate and Streetwise - but not to any of their other skills.

So -  a Rogue who took Thief as the scheme background and Thug as their second would be better than their ability scores would suggest at Finding and Removing Traps -  which was why they inserted the original fix - but  his modifier for Streetwise would be based on his actual charisma.  Just as a rogue who took Sage as his second background wouldn't automatically take 16 on his lore checks (as he would currently).

Carl
What I don't get is the part about "can't pick the same rogue scheme as your background" bit.

"I've been a thief all my life. It was the only way I could get by. Eventually I got better at it (took a level in rogue) and now I'm the best street-brawler in town, everybody fears my fists." What.

If you could pick Thief for both your background and rogue scheme, your class features would line up with your backstory better, and in terms of balance (against the diversified, normal rogues), you'd be trading access to one background perk for being able to pick which 3 skills to train instead of getting a pre-made set.



I don't get that either because the rules say you automatically get the same background as your scheme.

And a second background as well.


You can't pick the thief background AGAIN - but that only makes sense.

Carl

Um - you are aware that rogues get two backgrounds, right?

One which is based upon their scheme and one which is a normal choice like that made by other character.

Carl



lol, no...  I missed that. =P
But that's nice, although a bit odd.

My other points still stands though
Would it be better if Rogues had Advantage when making checks on their trained skills, vice taking the higher of 10 or the roll?

The min 10 rule is already a bit too good, and granting Advantage is much more of a bonus then the min 10 rule. Not only does Advantage average out to a higher plus bonus on average, but it provides the biggest bonus on medium and hard tasks while the min 10 rule only helps to clear out easy ones automatically. If they are going to grant Advantage on skills checks there would have to be something significant to counter balance it. Limited uses per day would be the obvious one, but that has problems for stealth rogues who would be using skills constantly.



That is not quite true. Advantage is not much more of a bonus than the min 10 rule. On any DC that requires a roll of 10 or lower, the min 10 rule is more effective. On any DC that requires a roll of 11 or higher, advantage is more of a bonus. If you are trying to hit a target DC of 16, for example, with the min 10 rule you will never fail; with advantage you still might. On the other hand, if you are trying to hit a target DC of 17+ the min 10 rule will not help you at all. Advantage might, though you will still not have an amazingly high chance (as you only have a 20% chance with any single roll). All in all, it is a bit of a wash. Neither more nor less powerful, just different. Both rules are better at some aspect of the game, but worse at others. 

Would it be better if Rogues had Advantage when making checks on their trained skills, vice taking the higher of 10 or the roll?

The min 10 rule is already a bit too good, and granting Advantage is much more of a bonus then the min 10 rule. Not only does Advantage average out to a higher plus bonus on average, but it provides the biggest bonus on medium and hard tasks while the min 10 rule only helps to clear out easy ones automatically. If they are going to grant Advantage on skills checks there would have to be something significant to counter balance it. Limited uses per day would be the obvious one, but that has problems for stealth rogues who would be using skills constantly.



That is not quite true. Advantage is not much more of a bonus than the min 10 rule. On any DC that requires a roll of 10 or lower, the min 10 rule is more effective. On any DC that requires a roll of 11 or higher, advantage is more of a bonus. If you are trying to hit a target DC of 16, for example, with the min 10 rule you will never fail; with advantage you still might. On the other hand, if you are trying to hit a target DC of 17+ the min 10 rule will not help you at all. Advantage might, though you will still not have an amazingly high chance (as you only have a 20% chance with any single roll). All in all, it is a bit of a wash. Neither more nor less powerful, just different. Both rules are better at some aspect of the game, but worse at others. 




All correct and well explained.

The reason I prefer advantage to take 10 (take 11, take 12...) is because with take 10 the rogue has zero chance of failure on hard skill checks.  WIth advantage there is at least a chance of failure.   It may be a small chance - but it's there.

I dislike automatic success - it takes too much tension out of the game.   Even a small chance of failure is preferable to no chance - at least for tasks labeled "Hard".

Even if they just allowed a rolled 1 to fail for rogues that would be a start.

Carl
Math aside, I don't like the idea of Advantage and Disadvantage being used by backgrounds, specialties, races or classes. In my mind it's best applied as a circumstantial modifier -- the +1s and -2s that the DM decides are appropriate at the moment. That includes that I think Sneak Attack should be changed to work some other way.

I have a very different view of what makes the game fun from what seems to be the norm. The idea of being able to take 10 on something you specialize in (representing that you are professionally capable at it such that unless you try to, you cannot make silly mistakes) makes sense to me, and the fact that it can eliminate chance in many situations is a natural benefit, not an unwanted unfun aspect. Why is it fun for your character to, even as a trained thief, have the chance to screw up completely? There's so many other aspects of the game that your character will be forced into without being trained for that I don't think it's a problem to have a certain range that you can't fail in. You can still have those possibilities to fail at your given quest or goal because the math behind the system is just a piece of the component -- the choices you've made and the challenges you face are the other components that can make something dicey.

To me, Skill Mastery as it is presented seems like something that only needs minor tweaking to be a great staple of the rogue. Perhaps lowering the number (so that only a very specialized rogue can hit the hard DCs at level 1; 8 or 9 will do). But I like the concept a lot. 
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
I actually like the idea of being able to take 10 rather than getting Advantage for the checks.

You get skill mastery at first level; for a rogue just starting play, this represents the training you got during your backstory. Even if you've been a thief all your life, it's still not easy for you to deal with the supremely hard stuff yet; all of that is still ahead of you in your career. But you've gone through the motions for the easy stuff enough times that by now, picking a cheap padlock is like throwing a ball. You've done it lots. It's easy.

Need to pick the locks off of the Pearly Gates? Well, you've got 19 more levels of becoming steadily more awesome, but the stuff you learned as a kid probably won't help you there.
I'd rather they get to roll a second time if they get under 10 on their first dice roll and take either result. Also just have them gain an extra +1 or +2 on skills they are trained in so that the original ability score still matters, but they have an advantage on the rolls of their skills granted by their Scheme...Smile



I'd be fine with a reroll up to 10 as that would give them advantage on skill checks up to "hard" difficulty, but no benefit beyond that.  And a reroll/ advantage still leaves them with a failure chance, however small.

Carl