New skills (Nov).

Why is there track? It does this 'You use Track to find and follow the traces that a creature leaves in its passage through an area.'
Search does this 'You use Search whenever you actively look around or clues that point to a hidden objects such as a trap or secret door, or hints that might point to a person’s or creature’s passage through or activity in an area' So doesn't search do everything track does AND more?


And as a general thing, I'd rather see some skills folded into one skill such as listen, spot search into perception and bluff, intimidate and persuade into influence. And PLEASE no more use rope... PLEASE just let if fall under escape artist, profession(like rancher/cowboy) or perform(like acrobatics/tightrope walker).
They are experimenting with the level of specificity for skills.   The last package was more general....this package has more specifics.   I'm a fan of more general/broader categories so each PC doesn't have to have a laundry list of bonues to remember.

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I'm a fan of more general/broader categories so each PC doesn't have to have a laundry list of bonues to remember.



I'd agree.  More skills, especially redundant ones, is just needless complication.  I liked the way 4E did skills as I felt like it simplified things and kept players from getting overly specific; is there really ever going to be a time when someone has a high Spot but not Listen, other than for roleplay reasons?  It's unnecessary.

For now, this is the skill list we've been using:

Acrobatics
Athletics
Deception
Drive
Handle Animal
Heal
Insight
Influence
Knowledge
Perception
Perform
Profession
Ride
Search
Stealth
Streetwise
Survival
Thievery
Use Rope

We were using Intimidate and Track, but I really like the suggestions in this post for getting rid of those.  I rolled Bluff and Disguise into Deception, as I think those fit better together.  I still have a problem with Drive, Handle Animal, and Use Rope.  They seem way too niche-y, but I haven't figured out how to roll them into something else. 

Search
"Somebody has been here!"

Track
"Somebody has been here, and they went that way!"
("Also they've got a club foot, are carrying a large rucksack, and they're heavily wounded. And they had eggs for breakfast.")

Search lets you find things that are where you are, but it wouldn't let you know where they went. Track lets you follow things to where they've been, or where they're going.

You could actually use Search as a sort of "Gambler's Tracking", though. Say that you're in a room with three exits and one entrance. You search the room, and find out that somebody has been here, and you want to track them down. So, you then go to exit 1, and search that room: you find nothing. But you go back to the first room, then to exit 2, and search there: you find mroe signs of the person being there. So, you can surmise that your quarry went into room 2. You have to use guesswork and make a lot of successful checks, and even then it's still not reliable.

Someone with track, on the other hand, just makes one check and says "He went to room 2."

Of course, Search is still useful because you can't use Track to find that hidden door or rifle through the desk to find the documents you need.
I'm in favor of keeping the skills separate. Tracking is a completely different thing from searching, really, the rogue excellent at finding hidden doors can't match the ranger's ability to track a foe through the woods.

Spot and listen are different, too, I think it's pretty unrealistic that everyone is automatically as good at hearing as they are at seeing.

But I can deal with Perception. The idea of folding bluff, intimidate and persuasion into one is terrible. Being a good liar doesn't make you intimidating.
I'm a fan of the current skills list (other than the despised Use Rope). There is some wackiness to it, but the new knowledge skills are genius, and the level of granularity feels right to me. Keeping Stealth as a single skill while splitting Perception was initially strange, but I came to see how it works out. Perception is so good everyone would want it if it were a single skill. Stealth, as good as it is, is still something many characters just aren't interested in.

That said, I wouldn't mind a bit of consolidation if they want to go that route. However, one thing that always needs to be taken into account is the relative usefulness of skills. We can put Spot and Listen and Search together into a Perception skill, but then we have to consolidate all the other skills so that they stay equivalent in usefulness. Otherwise everyone takes the strong skills and no one takes the weak ones. If backgrounds include weak skills, then no one who understands the skills will ever use a background by the book--which means those are poorly designed backgrounds. Consolidation also means they will have to reduce the number of skills a character gets, which can make it harder to get what you want for that character if you are taking dissimilar skills.

All in all, I think this packet's skills mostly got it right.
Search
"Somebody has been here!"

Track
"Somebody has been here, and they went that way!"
("Also they've got a club foot, are carrying a large rucksack, and they're heavily wounded. And they had eggs for breakfast.")

Search lets you find things that are where you are, but it wouldn't let you know where they went. Track lets you follow things to where they've been, or where they're going.

You could actually use Search as a sort of "Gambler's Tracking", though. Say that you're in a room with three exits and one entrance. You search the room, and find out that somebody has been here, and you want to track them down. So, you then go to exit 1, and search that room: you find nothing. But you go back to the first room, then to exit 2, and search there: you find mroe signs of the person being there. So, you can surmise that your quarry went into room 2. You have to use guesswork and make a lot of successful checks, and even then it's still not reliable.

Someone with track, on the other hand, just makes one check and says "He went to room 2."

Of course, Search is still useful because you can't use Track to find that hidden door or rifle through the desk to find the documents you need.



That MAY be how it should work but to me it read that search made track redundant.
But remember here... you aren't making Skill Checks anymore.  You're making Ability Checks.  And Ability Checks have now become the "broad" use of a particular use of a skill.  The "Skills" themselves should be a DEEPER focus in some prowess... not a WIDER one (like they were in 3/4E). 

In 3/4E, any attempt to converse with someone affably was a Diplomacy check.  ALL THE TIME.  Diplomacy was what was used for all "broad" applications of conversation.  But now in D&DN... it's not Diplomacy we use... it's a CHARISMA check.  Any and all conversations are CHA checks.  That is now our "broad" application of prowess.

And thus... any "skill" that comes from a Background that gets layered on top of that CHA check should not be another "broad" application, but rather a DEEPER and MORE FOCUSED application.  This way we don't overwrite what the CHA checks are doing.  So Diplomacy?  Right out.  It's too broad.  It's too applicable in every situation.  Instead, the skills should be more focused and only used in more isolated situations.  Things like Etiquette, and Haggling, and Negotiation, and Seduction.  It's THOSE times your PC gets a bonus to his CHA check.  A smaller and more focused segment of conversation.

If you want to be good at talking to everybody?  Take a high CHA.  But want to be good at talking to a small segment of the population (like merchants)?  Take a narrower and more focused Skill to get a bonus to your CHA. 

And the same holds true for Ability Checks to find stuff (usually INT, but maybe ruled in particular cases as WIS perhaps by the DM).

Search is too broad a skill.  It applies to EVERY attempt to find stuff, thereby replacing the Ability score it's modifying.  If you want to be good at finding stuff in general... take a higher INT.  But want to be really good at a smaller segment of finding stuff?  If it's outdoor tracks and trails, take Tracking.  If it's tripwires, pressure plates, or deadfalls?  Take Trapfinding.  If it's finding information really quickly in books?  Take Research.  If it's finding clues or secret compartments in rooms or crime scenes?  Take Forensics.

We need to get back in the habit of thinking of the Ability Checks as the WIDE use, and the Skill as the FOCUSED use.  It will make the whole system work that much smoother and give us a much clearer idea of what is a good or bad Skill.  
That MAY be how it should work but to me it read that search made track redundant.

Then you should probably read it again. Search can let you know that someone was here, but it can't let you follow them. Track can let you follow people, but it can't let you find a needle in a haystack. It's that simple.
I feel like Intimidate should be folded into Persuade because it's clearly a specific method of persuasion. I'd guess it's only a separate skill so that fighters and barbarians could have SOME social skills in 3e; now that class skills are gone, other separation isn't necessary. If my barbarian persuades people by threatening to snap their necks, so much the better.

I like Deceive to combine bluff, disguise, and forgery. And spot combined with listen. But as a general rule, I like skill names as verbs: persuade is a clearer name than diplomacy, for example.
That MAY be how it should work but to me it read that search made track redundant.

Then you should probably read it again. Search can let you know that someone was here, but it can't let you follow them. Track can let you follow people, but it can't let you find a needle in a haystack. It's that simple.



LOL  Soooo... Search lets you find tracks but you for some reason can't follow them? That's like telling me I found some yarn that's running down the hall but because I don't have a skill in 'follow yarn' I can't see where it goes? If I can SEE the tracks, then why do I need another skill to see where they go

To ClockworkNecktie, that's how I see it. My combined skills where just examples. IMO, someone that's good at talking shouldn't need 3 skills in 'talking'. And someone that's good at noticing things shouldn't need 3 skills for that either. IF I ever used track, it'd be as a focus like Perception(tracking). Let anyone that picks (tracking) as thier focus (like profession/perform and one per skill) to gain a bonus, like follow tracks faster or easier DC's/more info.

To DEFCON_1, I'd rather not see 200 skills... I'd rather see a small list of broad skills and let the players narrow it down with a focus like I explained above. That way you only have that small skill list on the character sheet and your character could be an expert in the royal family of Oswald or has a passion for puzzle locks. Right now we have hyper-focused skills like track and use rope next to very broad skills like survival, tumble, and ride(you can ride horses, elephants, gaint sea horses, dragons, ect.). All skills SHOULD have about the same amount of scope and I'd like that to be an the broader side.
To DEFCON_1, I'd rather not see 200 skills... I'd rather see a small list of broad skills and let the players narrow it down with a focus like I explained above. That way you only have that small skill list on the character sheet and your character could be an expert in the royal family of Oswald or has a passion for puzzle locks. Right now we have hyper-focused skills like track and use rope next to very broad skills like survival, tumble, and ride(you can ride horses, elephants, gaint sea horses, dragons, ect.). All skills SHOULD have about the same amount of scope and I'd like that to be an the broader side.



My point is that there ISN'T going to be a list of skills on anyone's character sheets... because there shouldn't be any "Skill List".  Everything is Ability Checks.  So what we'll have instead is just those focuses like you mention.  Your Background would list three or four things you are hyper-specialized in... and those should be narrow focuses off of larger subjects. 
But remember here... you aren't making Skill Checks anymore.  You're making Ability Checks.  And Ability Checks have now become the "broad" use of a particular use of a skill.  The "Skills" themselves should be a DEEPER focus in some prowess... not a WIDER one (like they were in 3/4E). 

In 3/4E, any attempt to converse with someone affably was a Diplomacy check.  ALL THE TIME.  Diplomacy was what was used for all "broad" applications of conversation.  But now in D&DN... it's not Diplomacy we use... it's a CHARISMA check.  Any and all conversations are CHA checks.  That is now our "broad" application of prowess.

And thus... any "skill" that comes from a Background that gets layered on top of that CHA check should not be another "broad" application, but rather a DEEPER and MORE FOCUSED application.  This way we don't overwrite what the CHA checks are doing.  So Diplomacy?  Right out.  It's too broad.  It's too applicable in every situation.  Instead, the skills should be more focused and only used in more isolated situations.  Things like Etiquette, and Haggling, and Negotiation, and Seduction.  It's THOSE times your PC gets a bonus to his CHA check.  A smaller and more focused segment of conversation.

If you want to be good at talking to everybody?  Take a high CHA.  But want to be good at talking to a small segment of the population (like merchants)?  Take a narrower and more focused Skill to get a bonus to your CHA. 

And the same holds true for Ability Checks to find stuff (usually INT, but maybe ruled in particular cases as WIS perhaps by the DM).

Search is too broad a skill.  It applies to EVERY attempt to find stuff, thereby replacing the Ability score it's modifying.  If you want to be good at finding stuff in general... take a higher INT.  But want to be really good at a smaller segment of finding stuff?  If it's outdoor tracks and trails, take Tracking.  If it's tripwires, pressure plates, or deadfalls?  Take Trapfinding.  If it's finding information really quickly in books?  Take Research.  If it's finding clues or secret compartments in rooms or crime scenes?  Take Forensics.

We need to get back in the habit of thinking of the Ability Checks as the WIDE use, and the Skill as the FOCUSED use.  It will make the whole system work that much smoother and give us a much clearer idea of what is a good or bad Skill.  

I like this idea in theory, but it's problematic in practice. If we want to make well-rounded characters, we'd have to allow a lot more than 4 skills in our backgrounds. Feats or class features that provide bonus skills or bonuses to skills need to be adjusted. And we'd still want a specific skill list, because open-ended skills aren't the best idea in D&D. And please, let's make sure that all skills are equally useful. We talk alot about class parity, but skill parity is just as important.

I think it's a great idea to try get the point across about how skills work with ability scores, as you indicated. But it needs to be combined with a relatively small list of skills. I personally think the current packet got the numbers about right, but maybe it would be better with a bit more or less.

Remember that the way that skills are set up in this edition, currently that is, is that skills may indeed overlap. Skills apply to multiple areas, and some of them might be the same area. If you are looking for a footprint? Sure search might be just as useful as track. But track might also allot you to intrepret which direction something is going by the way a twig is snapped. Search could not do this. It would let you find the twig, but not much else.

Also remember that players can really create whatever skills they want. They are not limited by the list presented. The list just presents the most common examples. 
My two copper.
To DEFCON_1, I'd rather not see 200 skills... I'd rather see a small list of broad skills and let the players narrow it down with a focus like I explained above. That way you only have that small skill list on the character sheet and your character could be an expert in the royal family of Oswald or has a passion for puzzle locks. Right now we have hyper-focused skills like track and use rope next to very broad skills like survival, tumble, and ride(you can ride horses, elephants, gaint sea horses, dragons, ect.). All skills SHOULD have about the same amount of scope and I'd like that to be an the broader side.



My point is that there ISN'T going to be a list of skills on anyone's character sheets... because there shouldn't be any "Skill List".  Everything is Ability Checks.  So what we'll have instead is just those focuses like you mention.  Your Background would list three or four things you are hyper-specialized in... and those should be narrow focuses off of larger subjects. 



There are two things that I'm having troubles with with regards to this discussion.

To your first point DEFCON_1, you're wrong. There will be a "skill list" on character sheets. This is because we do have skills. Mechanically, they are simply a bonus to ability checks, but the developers are calling them skills and we get a few of them, so their will be something called a "skill list"

You are, however, mostly right in the fact that these skills work differently than they did in past editions. I say mostly right because skills have always been modifiers to ability checks. In every edition of DnD I have played I could attempt a persuasion/diplomacy/sweet talk check, whether my character had the skill or not. Some skills were more specialized and required training but most were not.

Now on to my problem with a more hyper-specialization path. It makes things very awkward. Let's take some of your diplomacy suggestions "Etiquette, and Haggling, and Negotiation". So I focus in Negotiation. I can sit down with warring king's and smooth over their peace talks, ending a longstanding war. However, when I go to their party I make a complete fool of myself by accidentally insulting both their daughters. I can negotiate a trade settlement, but I can't convince a merchant to cut a few pieces of silver from his asking price. This doesn't make sense, why can I not translate my training in one area into a very similiar area. Now seduction, that could be a seperate skill, but a) how often would that come up and b) do we really need to give people that kind of ammo, to list a seperate skill for the art of getting people in bed with you. Enough of that goes on without an entire skill devoted to that.

I get that skills which are too broad can cause problems, but skills which are too specific also lead to problems. Especially if we only get 3 skills, it makes some skills nearly worthless. That is my problem with use rope, a very specific skill, but nearly pointless to get for most people. If we are using rope it s usually in a simply enough way that a check wouldn't even be needed. The more specific skills become, the more niche-like a character feels, which takes away from a character for me.


Now on to my problem with a more hyper-specialization path. It makes things very awkward. Let's take some of your diplomacy suggestions "Etiquette, and Haggling, and Negotiation". So I focus in Negotiation. I can sit down with warring king's and smooth over their peace talks, ending a longstanding war. However, when I go to their party I make a complete fool of myself by accidentally insulting both their daughters. I can negotiate a trade settlement, but I can't convince a merchant to cut a few pieces of silver from his asking price. This doesn't make sense, why can I not translate my training in one area into a very similiar area.



You can translate your ability in negotiation over to etiquette with the king.  The game is set up to do so.  But it's your Charisma that does it, not any specific "skill".  That's the point.

You want to be good at talking to everybody in all situations... you take a high CHA.  The best talkers have the best CHA.  It's as simple as that.

What the "skills" then give you are small places where you are exceptional.  Over and above your normal ability.  And these are the skills you have actively trained to get good at over time.

I might be an athletic guy.  I'm somewhat fast, have a little bit of power.  Can shoot hoops, can throw a football, my sprint speed isn't that bad.  All in all... it translates into my STRENGTH check at a +2.  However... all throughout high school and college, I was on the wrestling team.  I KNOW how to wrestle.  I've learned all the moves and holds and such that has made me an above-average wrestler compared to most people-- people who have not trained in the sport at all.  I have a "skill" in Wrestling, and thus get the +3 bonus for it.

That is how I see skills now applying in D&DN.  The last thing I want is for there to be an Athletics skill... that applies to EVERY act of physical ability.  Because that skill says that I'm just as much an exceptional runner as I am climber, as I am swimmer, as I am jumper, as I am lifting heavy weights, as I am throwing things.

Where is the exceptional ability then?  Especially when coupled with the fact that odds-are... two or more other members of the party are going to have that same exact skill.  I mean, how many of your 4E games had players trained in Athletics?  The old adage is true... if everyone's exceptional, then no one is.

And it's because of that "small skill list" that we had so much overlap in character skills, where you had the stupid issues of 90% of all Wizards being better and more knowledgeable in Religion than Clerics, because most Wizards took the skill and they always had a higher INT modifier on top of it.  I don't have a problem if an isolated Wizard specializes in religious knowledge and thus ends up a bit better at it than most Clerics... but I don't want such a small skill list that THAT BECOMES THE NORM.  Cause I think that's just stupid.

 
This is why I am all for the renaming of skills :P
My two copper.
To DEFCON_1, I'd rather not see 200 skills... I'd rather see a small list of broad skills and let the players narrow it down with a focus like I explained above. That way you only have that small skill list on the character sheet and your character could be an expert in the royal family of Oswald or has a passion for puzzle locks. Right now we have hyper-focused skills like track and use rope next to very broad skills like survival, tumble, and ride(you can ride horses, elephants, gaint sea horses, dragons, ect.). All skills SHOULD have about the same amount of scope and I'd like that to be an the broader side.



My point is that there ISN'T going to be a list of skills on anyone's character sheets... because there shouldn't be any "Skill List".  Everything is Ability Checks.  So what we'll have instead is just those focuses like you mention.  Your Background would list three or four things you are hyper-specialized in... and those should be narrow focuses off of larger subjects. 

Scratches head...  Looks at Pre-Gen characters...   Looks at your post... What?

(Quote from dwarf fighter pregen)
'Skills(+3 to checks relating to a skill)
Heal
Intimidate
Knowledge(Dungeoneering)
Knowledge(Warfare) Survival'


So, I see a skill list... Why don't you?

As to your saying that skills are just ability checks, that's been pretty much what they have always been. In 3.5 you added your ability bonus to your skill bonus and then add that to your d20 roll. In 4e you do the same. In 5e you do the same. How you added up the total skill bonus might have changed between editions, but the basic mechanic is the same.  

As to the rest, I'd rather not see skills broken down to the point that wrestling and the use rope are skills. That's where you end up with hundreds of skills and that has the effect of making skills almost unusable as your hyper focused skill almost never comes up. At that point, you're better off just throwing out skills and just use your straight ability check. I'd like to see skill lists small enough that there is a good chance your skills will actually see play in the game without the DM having to go out of thier way to do so.

Better to have those narrow focuses attached to broad skills. Lets face it. A guy that's been training to climb mountains is going to be more athletic than the guy that's been reading books. So doesn't it make sense that the climber would jump farther than the book worm (all stats equal). And wouldn't the tumbler have better balance than others (again, same stats)? There is a difference between a exceptional/non-exceptional ability and a natural connection or related skills. Take survival. It COULD be orienteering, hunt game, guiding, create shelters, detect natural hazards. That's 5 totally different skills and why should creating a shelter make you good at hunting? Because it's a related group of skills that naturally go together.

I don't think he meant there would be no place to list your skills. He meant a list similar to the 3e/4e box list. In other words there will be not be a list of predetermined skills on the character sheet. :P People get so technical around here.
My two copper.
I don't think he meant there would be no place to list your skills. He meant a list similar to the 3e/4e box list. In other words there will be not be a list of predetermined skills on the character sheet. :P People get so technical around here.

I don't see the difference. What would be the difference between a list you check off or a blank one that you fill in? Both are lists, so I don't see his point.