Why cap skills?

THe skill system in the 3e was good because it allowed a character to be created flavorfull around the skills, like having a Blacksmith or a Sage no matter what the class they were and it allowed them to be the best at that particular skill, even so that they could take epic skill challenges. By limiting the cap of the skills, if feels like now I can't be the best anymore as basically every fighter/blacksmith will be almost the same. Why did they decide to cap skills in the 5e?

As a follow up, Backgrounds are perfect, but why not implement some class skills also, maybe choosing one or two from a pre-defined set? That way you may not have been born a Fighter, you were a Blacksmith(Background) that became a Fighter(class-skills). Its simple and adds a lot of character dept.

What is your take on this? 
THe skill system in the 3e was good because it allowed a character to be created flavorfull around the skills, like having a Blacksmith or a Sage no matter what the class they were and it allowed them to be the best at that particular skill, even so that they could take epic skill challenges. By limiting the cap of the skills, if feels like now I can't be the best anymore as basically every fighter/blacksmith will be almost the same. Why did they decide to cap skills in the 5e?


Skills were capped in 3e as well at Level + 3 dots.  They do plan to have ways to customize your own Skills.  They just haven't been published yet, because this is a playtest of an inciomplete game.  Truly, that seems like somethign that can wait.

If you're interested in a modular system that allows for more customizability in skills in Next, check out my blog series: Secondary

I think folks shied away from class skills because it lead to weird situations where nobody could learn about lore but the wizard.. which is weird.


It ruled out concepts like a warrior savant, which could be fun to play but without skills to back it up you're just treading the inconstant waters of fluff-based goodwill.

However, there's nothing to say that a class can't inherently grant a bonus to skills, either. That's worth exploring.
I'd imagine the reason there's a cap on skills in Next is to allow those of us who play characters who don'r have a lot of points to invest in them don't feel useless when a particular skill is called for. With bounded accuracy those who spend the time to learn skills can pretty much automatically do those things while the rest will have to try to do a passable job with a lot of effort.

I have issue with things like being a blacksmith or other tradesman and just investing a point or two in the skill and you're as good at it as the guy who spent his entire life at the forge or at the loom or what have you. I know that it takes years to do what I do for a living with any competency and being out of the loop, so to speak, really hurts you're ability to perform. Should Player characters with these backgrounds lose points as they adventure if they don't spend time forging swords or nails or horseshoes? 
Should Player characters with these backgrounds lose points as they adventure if they don't spend time forging swords or nails or horseshoes? 


I think nonadventuring NPCs should simply start out with a +4 to +6 to those tasks, and not worry about the cap.  If a PC wants to be an adventurer and a smith without compare, he keeps pumping up the bonus as he levels and eventually he will catch up or surpass the mundane smith.
There was the cap in the 3e. but it was easily surpassed by lots of different ways to up your skills. You could have the best smith in the world if you wanted to, even if he went on adventures. I myself had on and I would constantly forge new weapons whenever I could for the teamates.

Also, my idea of class skills is complementary to the backgrounds. You had a background (with like 3 skills) + 1 or 2 of a fixed set of each class. That way you could create a Noble(background) Wizard with Magic Lore(class).

Adn even with all this customization, I still don't see a problem with certain class being incompetent with certain skills, even more so now that things like climbing are NOT skills anymore (which is kinda good).  A fighter with magic lore is just weird so it should not be a class skill, but you can still get the background. Each class has it's own role, so if only the thief is capable of evercoming the traps in the castle, only he can sneak in, the others must try to come up with another plan. The wrong thing would be to give everybody an equal chance to sneak.

I don't have a problem with the skills, I like Backgrounds (thought I thing some kind of class skills would be nice), I just feel that the system for upgrading the skills is not very good. It is simple, yes, but also boring. Every character with the same background and the same class will have the same skills at aprox. the same level, you can't have skill specialists in the game anymore, there is no MASTER sage or MASTER sneaker anymore, because everyone has the same skils level.
Sign In to post comments