Skill Dice?

Just curious if anyone actually likes the Skill Die mechanic?

Our group found it way, way to swingy.  A 14th Level character with a +5 Stat bonus ran the gaumt from 7 to 35.  Previously the same character could have anywhere from a 14-32, with the DCs that makes far more sense to me for a character of that level and skill.

I can understand the need to have something to spend to trigger the Skill Tricks for Rogues but I'm not convinced this is it.
I must say the only player of mine that likes it is my fighter who parries alot.Swingy is an excellent word for the skill die system.Honestly I dont see it being the same in the next playtest.
Swingy is an excellent word for the skill die system.

WAY too swingy IMO.

Couldn't agree more. Even the fighter of the group I GM'ed for thought it was crap, and he certainly took advantage of Parry. The way I see it, if you're "trained" in a skill, then there should be LESS randomization, NOT more.
I like the skill die system.  If you take the average bonus provided a d6, it's a 3--which is exactly the same as the trained bonus in other playtests.  If you made the skill die progression just take the average, we'd be talking about a +2, +3, +4, +5, +6 trained bonus for levels 1-20.

One thing I wasn't a fan of in 3.5 and 4th is that as a total bonus got closer and closer to 20, the possibility that you might fail a hard DC skill check became simply "Don't roll a 1."  High enough bonuses quickly made the d20 fade into irrelevance.  I do like the skill die element in that it's given extra weight to the random element of checks.  After all, it's not like the outcome of the skill die's roll can actually hurt your chances of success.

I don't see the problem with high level characters being able to fail at something of moderate difficulty even if you feel its beneath them.  In LoTR Isildur effectively defeated Sauron, who was definitely higher leve.  Isildur was later still killed by orcs. 

Sometimes fate is not with you, no matter how skilled you are.
I like the skill die system.  If you take the average bonus provided a d6, it's a 3--which is exactly the same as the trained bonus in other playtests.  If you made the skill die progression just take the average, we'd be talking about a +2, +3, +4, +5, +6 trained bonus for levels 1-20.

One thing I wasn't a fan of in 3.5 and 4th is that as a total bonus got closer and closer to 20, the possibility that you might fail a hard DC skill check became simply "Don't roll a 1."  High enough bonuses quickly made the d20 fade into irrelevance.  I do like the skill die element in that it's given extra weight to the random element of checks.  After all, it's not like the outcome of the skill die's roll can actually hurt your chances of success.

I don't see the problem with high level characters being able to fail at something of moderate difficulty even if you feel its beneath them.  In LoTR Isildur effectively defeated Sauron, who was definitely higher leve.  Isildur was later still killed by orcs. 

Sometimes fate is not with you, no matter how skilled you are.



I agree.  Also, failing a skill roll should not mean that the game comes to a screeching halt.   Failure makes life more complicated and often forces PCs to develop a new plan or react to a more chaotic, uncontroled situation.  That's fun.    Besides, there is skill focus and skill supremacy, which makes it possible for PCs (mostly rogues, but others can take them) to make a specific skill more reliable.

I'm just worried that there might be too many different dice tricks in the game.  I'd rather see one universal dice trick that everyone uses rather than having MDD and Skill Dice.  

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

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

 

 

My problem with it is that there is no differentiation between trained skills anymore. You can't customize how your character progresses, they all just increase at the same rate. I liked the skills system they had in the previous packet a lot more, +3 for being trained, +1 to a skill every other level. You could have at maximum a +18 to a check, but it would be the only thing you're good at, so you've more likely got a range of +4 to +12 across your skills. I liked that system a lot.
This is the first time I've played DnD in 20 years and I gotta say that at least for me, the skill dice are easier to handle than all those bonuses.  With the skill die all I have to do is roll some dice and add the result to my checks if I have the skill.  Nothing really to keep track of or memorize.  For me, it keeps all that checking in the background more to the roleplaying, which is what I'm liking so far about the Next system.  Now they've been adding complexity to it as they release each iteration of hte packets which is worrisome, but sofar, I've found that the rogue mechanics are fairly easy to deal with.  My character sheet therefore has more notes about story elements than a bunch of crap helping me to track what numbers to add where.  For me this makes my character less a sheet of stats and more an individual I care about.  I'm hopeful that the Next mechanics are going to be as unobtrusive as possible and I think the skill dice are a step in that direction.
I like the skill die.  I like the idea that you can still fail a check that you're trained in.  I like the idea that you can't completely outclass a non-trained person just through bonuses, particular with contested checks.
I agree its too swingy but I like the concept, I think the same direction they went with martial skill die would be intresting, rather then going up die levels go up die ammounts, perhaps even stick lower, like only use d4s, I'd rather a 1d20 + 3-12 or even 2-8 over 1d20+1-12.

Also I think the die you recive should be based on your skill rather then your level, so keep skill level but make the die you recive based off that rather then based on character level 
"Death by a thousand paper-cuts" This shall be all my decks name and theme from now on.
i think all they might need to do is change the progression, in fact, they should only ever have it progress in increments of d4.

1-5     1d4
5-10   2d4
10-15 3d4
15-20 4d4

this progression would give higher levels a bit of a boost while making sure everybody gets mroe reliable bonuses along the way

edit : of course, they would have to tweak the other ways skill dice are used, maybe just stating that all skill dice must be rolled whenever they are rolled for parry / however rogues use them. 
It's supposed to be swingly, that is what bounded accuracy is all about.  If you have 4d4 skill dice at some point you are at the point where in order for something to be challenging for you it needs to be impossible for anyone without the skill dice.  And anything designed to be possible for someone without the skill will be trivially easy with 0 chance of failure to someone with 4d4 of skill dice.

It's a bad idea.
I prefer the multiple D4 system, mostly because the skill check system doesn't really look like it falls under the Bounded Accuracy concept. If you look at the ACs in the Bestiary, they range from a little less than 10 to around 19. ACs are essentially the DCs of the combat world. If you look at the DCs in the skill system, they range from 5 to 35 in the DM guidelines (although I think you can remove 35 since it basically says you need to be a demigod to accomplish it).

If you're trained in a skill (because there are so few options to do this in the current playtest), you should have a better shot at accomplishing something. In fact, you may have the only shot at accomplishing that something. This is reflected in the current skill system. At the same time, an increasing ability at doing something should reflect a more reliable "base level" capability. I don't really see that under the current rules. Right now, a 20th level character with a 20 in the appropriate attribute and training has a 2.5% chance of failing an Easy level task. When the character was 1st level with an 18 in the appropriate attribute and trained, they had a 12.5% chance of failing an Easy Task. It really all depends on how and when skill checks are called for, I guess.

Edit: Another option I could see using the current version of the skill die would be to allow a trained character to "spend" their skill die to take 10 on the D20 roll. Given a peak ability modifier, this would be sufficient for a trained character to always succeed at a Moderate and lower tasks, but have to trust to luck to accomplish a Hard/Very Hard/Formidable task.
I'm not a math man, but when skill dice are rolled with the d20, it is actually less swingy than a d20 roll plus straight bonus because the d20 roll is random and the skill die is random (two random rolls are less likely to both roll low or roll high).  Over time, you are more likely to get closer to average rolls.    It gets even less swingy as the value of the skill die goes up (d10 and d12).

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

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

 

 

I remember years ago I played a Ranger in 3.5 during the Living Greyhawk campaign.  I managed to achieve with him, at level 10, a +30 Tracking check, allowing me to break several modules without ever rolling (because I would almost always know which way something went without much, if any, investigation).  And good gravy was I the most impressive weatherman you've ever seen. =)

The survival/tracking bonuses were as follows:
13 ranks in survival (level 10)
+ 2 from Wisdom
+ 2 bonus above ground and under ground to Survival from 5 ranks in both Knowledge (Nature) and Knowledge (Dungeoneering), respectively [Synergy]
+ 2 bonus to specifically Tracking checks from 5 ranks of Search [Synergy]
+ 5 from the Lens of Detection
+ 4 permanent Competence bonus to Survival from a module (lost in the desert...took a lot of TUs from me)
+ 2 from my wolf animal companion assisting me

...and gods help you if you were one of my favored enemies (giants, humans, and aberrations I think).

At some point it was no longer "don't roll a 1", it was "ok, you auto-pass".  I could track a medium-sized creature over a hard surface that passed through the area 10 days prior, and it snowed the previous night by merely rolling a 10 on the die.  I think that level of proficiency is superhuman, bordering on straight-up psychic.

I personally don't find anything wrong with characters becoming somewhat superheroic at some point, but for a system such as this (i.e. bounded accuracy), expertise in a skill needs to be tempered by some amount of luck, even if it only requires a little bit.  Auto-passing anything should be discouraged, as there is always a risk of failure in anything you do, there is just less and less of a chance for it as you become more skilled.  I suppose the only exception for this is if a character takes the Skill Focus feat and performs simpler tasks.

My two cents anyway =).
.....
The survival/tracking bonuses were as follows:
13 ranks in survival (level 10)
+ 2 from Wisdom
+ 2 bonus above ground and under ground to Survival from 5 ranks in both Knowledge (Nature) and Knowledge (Dungeoneering), respectively [Synergy]
+ 2 bonus to specifically Tracking checks from 5 ranks of Search [Synergy]
+ 5 from the Lens of Detection
+ 4 permanent Competence bonus to Survival from a module (lost in the desert...took a lot of TUs from me)
+ 2 from my wolf animal companion assisting me

...and gods help you if you were one of my favored enemies (giants, humans, and aberrations I think).......



And THAT is why I love the skill dice.  It adds that random chance of failure in so prevelant in older editions.  The Gonzo bonuses of 3.5 and (to a lesser extant) 4e where REALLY annoying to me.

The skill dice is simple, fast, and lets your stat count for a lot more (by being static). 
I remember years ago I played a Ranger in 3.5 during the Living Greyhawk campaign.  I managed to achieve with him, at level 10, a +30 Tracking check, allowing me to break several modules without ever rolling (because I would almost always know which way something went without much, if any, investigation).  And good gravy was I the most impressive weatherman you've ever seen. =)

The survival/tracking bonuses were as follows:
13 ranks in survival (level 10)
+ 2 from Wisdom
+ 2 bonus above ground and under ground to Survival from 5 ranks in both Knowledge (Nature) and Knowledge (Dungeoneering), respectively [Synergy]
+ 2 bonus to specifically Tracking checks from 5 ranks of Search [Synergy]
+ 5 from the Lens of Detection
+ 4 permanent Competence bonus to Survival from a module (lost in the desert...took a lot of TUs from me)
+ 2 from my wolf animal companion assisting me

...and gods help you if you were one of my favored enemies (giants, humans, and aberrations I think).

At some point it was no longer "don't roll a 1", it was "ok, you auto-pass".  I could track a medium-sized creature over a hard surface that passed through the area 10 days prior, and it snowed the previous night by merely rolling a 10 on the die.  I think that level of proficiency is superhuman, bordering on straight-up psychic.

I personally don't find anything wrong with characters becoming somewhat superheroic at some point, but for a system such as this (i.e. bounded accuracy), expertise in a skill needs to be tempered by some amount of luck, even if it only requires a little bit.  Auto-passing anything should be discouraged, as there is always a risk of failure in anything you do, there is just less and less of a chance for it as you become more skilled.  I suppose the only exception for this is if a character takes the Skill Focus feat and performs simpler tasks.

My two cents anyway =).





So you are talking about someone who is an expert in tracking,has the proper gear and the proper support.....being too good at tracking.To me that seems odd,thats like saying a army ranger who has the proper gear and support shouldnt have a extremly small chance of find you if your playing hide and go seek.   



As it stands now a junior gymnast 1d20+1d4 could (with some luck) beat an Olympian 1d20+1d12 and to me that just seems wrong on so many levels.
As it stands now a junior gymnast 1d20+1d4 could (with some luck) beat an Olympian 1d20+1d12 and to me that just seems wrong on so many levels.

I agree. There is no minimum level of competency growth as level goes up as I'd expect is a more skilled person. From 1st to 20th, you can roll a 2 and all you get for more levels is a better chance to get lucky instead of getting better. This means that masters can still fail at basic tasks. I can't see a master blacksmith being able to fail at making nails but with this system he can.
I can't see a master blacksmith being able to fail at making nails but with this system he can.


Two things:

1) A blacksmith should probably auto-succeed at making nails and, probably, non-masterwork weapons and armor.

2) Why is a master blacksmith wasting his time making nails?  He should have an apprentice for that kind of work. 

I don't mind the skill die system.  I just would like it to be where I can choose to increase the die size in a skill or choose a new skill for training at certain levels.  Maybe not as the basic game, but definitely in a module.  I want to be able to go for breadth of skills, rather than just have four my entire career.

Since we only get four feats ever (at least in the current iteration), Superior Skill Training is an extremely boring choice just to be able to have a new Knowledge skill. 
A blacksmith probably would succeed at making nails. Now, if he wants to output 500 nails in one day, that's when you make a skill check. You have to understand that the skill system is NOT a task resolution system, but a character customization system. It works really well that most tasks can be accomplished with d20+ability, and only the incredibly difficult really requires training. Hyper-difficulty is more of an exception than a rule.

The simple five number spread of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 will handle just about any task in the game. 30 and 35 are for exceptionally difficult tasks or for exceptional success.

Let's use our blacksmith example. Making enough nails to make a piece of furniture is probably not a trying enough task to warrant a skill check. But we go into mass production, because they need to make four boxes of nails in one day in order to help a client create a wagon on the double. That's DC 10.

Now, they need to make ten boxes of nails in half that time, and they'll have to use a mold to do it but they need to ensure at least a bare minimum of quality. That's DC 15.

Let's say they're a level 20 uber blacksmith and they get a 30 on a check to make nails. They've now discovered an alloy that will let them make nails in a fifth of the time that are as strong as adamantine.

Let's say they get a 35. Their god has blessed one of their nails to be indestructible, and the blacksmith works that nail into a Holy Avenger.

The system makes low-level tasks performed under stress have a slim chance of failure, because everyone makes mistakes. The system makes regular tough jobs doable with a little bit of grit, knowledge, skill, or luck, but training can help them succeed better without guaranteeing anything. The system makes astronomical successes possible but rare; one cannot build an entire character around being able to produce 1000 nails in an hour, but if the stars align, gods be damned they will make nails that will tell their own legend.

The real mistake to consider is the 'as levels increase DC's increase to compensate' ideology. That ruins the point of bounded accuracy. As levels increase, characters can perform better under stress, and gain the ability to achieve results beyond their imaginations.

When one cannot automatically succeed, they appreciate success more.
Let's say they get a 35. Their god has blessed one of their nails to be indestructible, and the blacksmith works that nail into a Holy Avenger.



What is this?!  A Holy Avenger for ants?!  It needs to be at least...three times bigger than this! =)

The real mistake to consider is the 'as levels increase DC's increase to compensate' ideology. That ruins the point of bounded accuracy. As levels increase, characters can perform better under stress, and gain the ability to achieve results beyond their imaginations.



In 3.5e and 4e they would give general DCs to consider for various tasks based on difficulty, much like they do in DDN.  The problem was that some DMs would feel that high level characters would need to have higher DCs to keep things challenging, when in fact they were just essentially punishing the players for achieving that higher level of competence (i.e. doesn't matter how many bonuses you have, still need to roll a 10...don't want to make it too easy now).  It was worse in 4e when you got half your level to every skill regardless of training - now everyone is a master gymnast and climber according to the recommended DCs.

I happen to like that the bounded accuracy system (and the skill die system by extension) aims to keep that scenario from happening.  However, speaking to many people's misgivings of skill dive, I would say if they are trained in a skill, there is no danger, and the task is simple, just give it to them as an auto-pass - more or less the equivalent of taking a 10 from previous systems.  But then, that could easily be a house rule as well.
I can't see a master blacksmith being able to fail at making nails but with this system he can.


Two things:
1) A blacksmith should probably auto-succeed at making nails and, probably, non-masterwork weapons and armor.

Pick ANY trivial task and a 20th level character with a 14 str still can fail on a trivial task [DC5] that is "so easy that it is not worth a check". No matter how you put it, that sounds/feels wrong to me.
2) Why is a master blacksmith wasting his time making nails?  He should have an apprentice for that kind of work.

All masters HAVE to have apprentices?
A blacksmith probably would succeed at making nails. Now, if he wants to output 500 nails in one day, that's when you make a skill check. You have to understand that the skill system is NOT a task resolution system, but a character customization system. It works really well that most tasks can be accomplished with d20+ability, and only the incredibly difficult really requires training. Hyper-difficulty is more of an exception than a rule.

Trivial tasks are DC 5, and if you have a stat of 15 or less you can fail in these kind of tasks no matter how high your skill.

The simple five number spread of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 will handle just about any task in the game. 30 and 35 are for exceptionally difficult tasks or for exceptional success.

Read trivial tasks [dc5].

Let's use our blacksmith example. Making enough nails to make a piece of furniture is probably not a trying enough task to warrant a skill check. But we go into mass production, because they need to make four boxes of nails in one day in order to help a client create a wagon on the double. That's DC 10. 

Read trivial tasks [DC5]. THAT'S making the nails for the furniture in your example. Unless you can auto make a 5, you just plain CAN'T auto-make any skill based rolls.
When one cannot automatically succeed, they appreciate success more.

No, they just always have a chance to fail at simple, easy tasks that the game even says are "so easy that it is not worth a check".

One of the ideologies is that you don't need the dice for everything. We need to do a study on how many role-player suffer roll addiction. Trivial DC's should only be rolled on incredibly simple things in stressful situations. You're trying to get out of a room filling with water by climbing up a ladder. A DC 5 strength check makes that water more threatening while not allowing a whole lot of room for failure, but if failure does happen it would advance the story in an interesting way. 

I LOVE the skill dice. They are one of the best things about this game so far. Bounded accuracy, skill dice, and the advantage/disadvantage system are this edition's biggest selling points (as far as I am concerned). 

1) Skill dice are not more swingy. That statement is misleading. The statistical probability of success for most numbers is almost exactly the same. All they do is make it so that lower numbers and higher numbers still have a (mathematically improbable) chance of being rolled. In a bounded accuracy system, that is a VERY good thing. 

2) A blacksmith can almost never fail to make nails. Please reread the DM Guidelines on "When to Use the Dice." A blacksmith would not need to roll to make nails on an average day. He would just succeed. Most of the time, you do not ask people to roll DC 5 skill checks. The only time such rolls are required is during checks that take place in high stress environments. And yes, in a high stress environment people can sometimes mess up on even the most mundane tasks--Murphy’s Law, and all that.  

3) Let's not forget that the skill focus feat makes it impossible to roll less than 10 in the chosen skill, and the skill supremacy feat gives you advantage on all checks with the chosen skill.