Skills are mandatory with Rogue?

I read skills and feats would not be mandatory in DNDN which was fine because we play AD&D as rules-light system without skills. However, when I look at rogue in the Playtest, I see the skills are probably mandatory. My question is: Is skill system mandatory when a player in group wants to play a rogue? Is rogue valid even without playing with skill system? Becuase as I see it now, it would require too much house rules for rogue to play without skills.
Yes, I find it funny to see a class balanced with others based on an optional rule.

You can just treat this the old way : the eight rogue skills, the rogue class gains points to increase their ability rolls with these skills. Just like AD&D. 

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

I read skills and feats would not be mandatory in DNDN which was fine because we play AD&D as rules-light system without skills. However, when I look at rogue in the Playtest, I see the skills are probably mandatory. My question is: Is skill system mandatory when a player in group wants to play a rogue? Is rogue valid even without playing with skill system? Becuase as I see it now, it would require too much house rules for rogue to play without skills.


How do you play the rogue in your system?  Because the whole sneaking-and-lockpicking thing has been a pretty important part of the class' repertoire for a long time - it's certainly there in vanilla AD&D.  Do your rogues still do this, or do you define the class in some other way?
TheCosmicKid: In our game, there is not exactly a rogue, but a thief, with percentage at his abilities nowadays called skills. But we don't play with skils (skill system) as they are established in new editions.
In our game, there is not exactly a rogue, but a thief, with percentage at his abilities nowadays called skills. But we don't play with skils (skill system) as they are established in new editions.


Okay, so it seems to me like the obvious approach would be to view the "d20 + bonus vs. Difficulty Class" as DDN's new way to implement those old abilities.  Use it for the rogue to do his thing, and ignore it for the other classes.

Or is there something I'm missing about your concern?
I guess in a skill-less scenario you'd use ability checks and the maneuvers meant to augment skills just augment the attribute checks.
I think skills are mandatory. Backgrounds are not.

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I guess in a skill-less scenario you'd use ability checks and the maneuvers meant to augment skills just augment the attribute checks.


This seems a good idea.

I think skills are mandatory. Backgrounds are not.


It seems you are right. Bad news for us playing OD&D or AD&D...

It seems you are right. Bad news for us playing OD&D or AD&D...

Not to sound obtuse or anything, but... If you are playing OD&D or AD&D, why is what D&DN is doing with skills bad news for you?

I guess in a skill-less scenario you'd use ability checks and the maneuvers meant to augment skills just augment the attribute checks.


This seems a good idea.

I think skills are mandatory. Backgrounds are not.


It seems you are right. Bad news for us playing OD&D or AD&D...


Not bad news at all.  It is really very simple.

In AD&D there were no skills, correct?  So you would handle task resolution with a stat check?  (I've never played, so please correct me if I am wrong).  The thief gained a cool mechanic that no one else had: for a number of actions (such as hiding, moving silently, etc) the thief could use a percentage roll instead.

Flash forward to D&D Next.  Instead of the percentage roll, the thief (or rogue, as kids these days say) gains a bonus on stat checks that relate to their thief focus.  For example, your classic thief might have: disable device, listen, slight of hand, and sneak.

All that is different is how the mechanic works.  The thief is sill better at certain tasks than other classes.

The main thing to remember is that you don't make "Skill checks" in D&D Next right now.  You make stat checks that are sometimes modified by your training in a specific area of expertise.  If you are playing with the Skill system, every character gains 4 of these training bonuses.  In any game, the Thief gains 4 extra training bonuses.  Thats all it is: a +3 to your check.

Well, my point was more akin to, if you are playing one of those older games, nothing D&DN is doing will affect you. Keep on trucking with what you're doing. No one is going to show up to your game and correct you. Or swap out your old books for new ones.
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It's in the races too. Elves now get free Listen and Spot.

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"Skills" were mandatory with rogue in 1E and 2E.  I don't see the big deal.
"Skills" were mandatory with rogue in 1E and 2E.  I don't see the big deal.



No, class abilities were mandatory, not skills. HUGE difference.


Can you explain the difference?
Which has nothing to do with the point of anything. Just because people prefer pre-3rd to 3rd or 4th doesn't mean they don't want to see a successful 5th that they actually WANT to play (something SORELY lacking from the last edition or two for a LARGE percentage of D&D lovers).

But that's not what he said. He said he is playing the older editions and the choice to require skills in D&DN was bad for him. That makes no sense to me. What baring does this new game have on how he plays those systems?

If he had said something like, "I prefer systems such as OD&D and AD&D, which did not use skills. I would like this new edition to accommodate my personal preferences", that would be a different story. Or even anything remotely like it. That's something I can debate

But he didn't. He plays OD&D and AD&D. And good on him, for it BTW.

Besides all that, as others have said, the ability of rogues (or thieves from then) to use their "abilities" to hide, pick locks, climb walls, etc. has always been there. Even if you toss skills from your table, the rogue still needs a system to accommodate such things. The "skill" system built into the class does this adequately enough.
While they may all seem minor, taken together they completely change the flavor/experience of gameplay, especially for the thief. What's more, the devs have so far stood by their initial claims that ALL the extra items (skills, feats, backgrounds, etc) would remain TOTALLY optional. As such it's important that they actually make that happen, since some of us are not interested in a system that requires their use.

So what you seem to be suggesting, is that they develop a subsystem of some kind that resembles the old % increment class feature of the olden day thieves.

But then, ask the players to toss it out if they decide to apply optional skill rules to classes and instead use those for the same class feature? So two completely different frameworks of rules?

Plus, I think its a bit of a stretch to say that the concept of skills and how they are applied in RPGs is somehow a funky-new, foreign concept that many people will trip out on. The gaming industry has been trudging along heavy-handedly in that direction for decades. Welcome to the modern world.
[Edit: Doh!, You ninja-un-meanied. Cool. I'm all good here. Let me rephrase...]

I don't think a chart with various modifiers to a bunch of class features (like Hide in Shadows, Pick Locks, etc.), wherein you add and subtract a few % points here and there based on race, level, ability scores, and the like, is somehow a better, easier to use sub-system to a game than saying, "Here is your list of thief'y skills. You get +3 to any ability check to use them."

Even in a game that does not uses "skills" as we see them now.
No, I'm ok with the unified mechanic. It's not my preference but I can hang. What I'm not ok with is violation of the class-based nature of the game. That means no feats, no skills, etc (and for us, no multi-classing). The class is the class. Period.

For people that prefer skills and feats I want them to have that option. Lemme emphasize the operative there: OPTION. If it's core it impacts the entire game and can't be removed without significant work. We want a generally pre-3rd experience. Anything else and we don't buy the game. We don't buy the game (speaking in general for pre-3rd players) and the game fails and goes away.

All fair. (And see above for my edited post.)

But again, I reiterate, if you decide not to have skills in your game (and like most things in this or any other RPG, they are optional to one degree or another by virtue of the fact that you can hand-wave them away), the only one who will have "skills" are rogues. Those skills functioning as class abilities to do the thief-y things they need to do. Everyone else just makes ability score checks for everything.

Another point on the matter, as it occured to me.

I do remember "fondly" back in the AD&D days. Of the % charts for rogues. And how terrible first level rogues were at everything (shy of climb walls, of course).

I would much rather have the skills system as it is presented currently. Dex bonus + skill bonus vs. a DC seems far more (not only practical), but doable. I would wager lower level rogues are far more competent, and prone to succeeding, this way than the old % charts system.
I have he same opinion on thief/skills as Phoenix. I'm ok with the unified mechanic. I don't care if there are percent roll or D20 in DNDN (in fact, I prefer D20), but I say skills and feats should be optional, not mandatory. Old thief had just something like skill checks. Designers said skills and feats would be totally optional, but now it seems skills are hard coded to the core.
I have he same opinion on thief/skills as Phoenix. I'm ok with the unified mechanic. I don't care if there are percent roll or D20 in DNDN (in fact, I prefer D20), but I say skills and feats should be optional, not mandatory. Old thief had just something like skill checks. Designers said skills and feats would be totally optional, but now it seems skills are hard coded to the core.



Not necessarily.  You can grant the rogue background to give the rogue skills per the standard in past editions (stealth and associated skills) and disallow backgrounds as an option for other classes.  So the rogue gets its skill to maintain its past abilities, and other characters don't get skills except for those granted by the class.  A wizard would get a knowledge skill.  The cleric would get the same.  The Monk, which usually got some of the rogue skills, would get a choice of two rogue skills.  The fighter gets nothing.  I don't see that as a deal breaker if the d20 is acceptable.  It generally lines up with past editions.

Phoenix - You can just bump the DC higher to make things more interesting at low levels.  As the character progresses, skill points can be granted to make reaching the higher DC easier.  This is especially true if the character has no other skills to dump points into... 
While I never play older editions of any game, I think that rogues should have a different take about skills than other classes, even if the DDN skill system is used.

Instead of making them unable to miss skill checks, nothing justifies it, and pick the strict number of eight skills, I think it would be better to allow rogues to make all the ability checks they want within a themed "domain of competences". Then they would be able to make any "skill check" they want provided these checks are directly related to their domain of competence.

In fact, I think the skill system should work like that too, as skills are not applied the same way in different contexts. Stealth in wilderness absolutely don't work the same way as in cities. If Wilderness and Civilization were "large" skills allowing any ability checks, being stealthy in natural surronding would require a dexterity check and training in Wilderness. City rats would be unable to make trained checks in wilderness without actually knowing how to handle the different noise sources and covers, how to anticipate the surroundin animals reactions, and other things like that. It's the same thing to find traps or to track.

The D&D skill system is restrictive and permissive in the wrong ways in my opinion (the skills, not the ability checks, it's another discussions).

Rogues would make any ability check within the domain of competence implied by their schemes, for example.

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

"Skills" were mandatory with rogue in 1E and 2E.  I don't see the big deal.




No they aren't, they didn't really even exist in 1st Ed (a table in the DMG), and in 2nd Ed they were strictly optional; and even in 2nd Ed, people usually use non-weapon proficiencies, which were still optional.

Why did you post that?

And people should stop using past-tense with pre-3rd Ed, the game is alive and feeling fine. 


I think the reference might have been in regards to the Thief Skills (name?), which are precentage based abilities that the Thief gets bonuses or penalties to due to Race and Armour worn, they have descretionary points to spend at character creation and every level to improve them from a modest base value.
Rangers have access to a couple, as do Bards if memory serves.
Move Silently, Hide in Shadows, Open Lock, Find/Remove Trap, Climb Walls, Hear Noise (Sound?), Read Language, Pick Pocket,  did I miss any?

I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
I have he same opinion on thief/skills as Phoenix. I'm ok with the unified mechanic. I don't care if there are percent roll or D20 in DNDN (in fact, I prefer D20), but I say skills and feats should be optional, not mandatory. Old thief had just something like skill checks. Designers said skills and feats would be totally optional, but now it seems skills are hard coded to the core.



Not necessarily.  You can grant the rogue background to give the rogue skills per the standard in past editions (stealth and associated skills) and disallow backgrounds as an option for other classes.  So the rogue gets its skill to maintain its past abilities, and other characters don't get skills except for those granted by the class.  A wizard would get a knowledge skill.  The cleric would get the same.  The Monk, which usually got some of the rogue skills, would get a choice of two rogue skills.  The fighter gets nothing.  I don't see that as a deal breaker if the d20 is acceptable.  It generally lines up with past editions.

Phoenix - You can just bump the DC higher to make things more interesting at low levels.  As the character progresses, skill points can be granted to make reaching the higher DC easier.  This is especially true if the character has no other skills to dump points into... 


I generally agree with your approach to offering an AD&D type experience using the DDN rules, with one modification. I would say the rogue gets the skills granted by their scheme instead of background; that way you do not have to touch the background system at all.

I have he same opinion on thief/skills as Phoenix. I'm ok with the unified mechanic. I don't care if there are percent roll or D20 in DNDN (in fact, I prefer D20), but I say skills and feats should be optional, not mandatory. Old thief had just something like skill checks. Designers said skills and feats would be totally optional, but now it seems skills are hard coded to the core.



Not necessarily.  You can grant the rogue background to give the rogue skills per the standard in past editions (stealth and associated skills) and disallow backgrounds as an option for other classes.  So the rogue gets its skill to maintain its past abilities, and other characters don't get skills except for those granted by the class.  A wizard would get a knowledge skill.  The cleric would get the same.  The Monk, which usually got some of the rogue skills, would get a choice of two rogue skills.  The fighter gets nothing.  I don't see that as a deal breaker if the d20 is acceptable.  It generally lines up with past editions.

Phoenix - You can just bump the DC higher to make things more interesting at low levels.  As the character progresses, skill points can be granted to make reaching the higher DC easier.  This is especially true if the character has no other skills to dump points into... 


I generally agree with your approach to offering an AD&D type experience using the DDN rules, with one modification. I would say the rogue gets the skills granted by their scheme instead of background; that way you do not have to touch the background system at all.



I was referring to the background granted by the scheme.  Sorry, I was tired when I wrote my post.