Skill die (dice) clarification?

Hello. Sorry for being obtuse, but I suspect I'm not the only one. 

1) Do my players each have only one skill die to spend per round?  For example if a player uses a skill die to activate a Rogue skill trick to react to something, can they also spend a skill die on their turn to perform a skill check or activate another skill trick?


The rules state:


"Spending Your Skill Die: Certain special abilities, such as a rogue’s skill tricks, are fueled by skill dice. When you spend your skill die to use such an ability and that ability involves a check, you cannot add the skill die to the check, unless the ability says otherwise. In other words, you can either spend a skill die or roll it for a particular task; you cannot do both."


Rogue skill trick "Detect Noise" reads:


"When you listen at a door, wall, or other barrier while attempting to determine if there are creatures on the other side, you can spend your skill die to gain greater information. You automatically know the location of each creature within 30 feet of the barrier on the other side."


2) Does this mean that if the PC does a Wisdom check to listen at a door, they cannot add their "listen" skill die to do the initial listen check, because they are spending their skill die to enact "detect noise" and get more information?


Any clarifications would be appreciated. 


Thanks.

"As the good archmage often admonishes me, I ought not let my mind wander. It's too small to go off by itself"

Danilo Thann

I believe what this means is that you use the trick when you make the check, not afterword, same action.
1. I don't believe there is a round limitation, or even per-turn limitation, on skill dice. You get to use a skill die for every applicable check, either to improve the check or activate a skill trick. For example, if you failed a climb check and fell into a water hole on the same turn, and if you had both Climb and Swim skills, I could see both checks gaining skill dice.

2. Detect Noise obviates the need for a skill roll ("automatically"), EXCEPT when the enemy is attempting to conceal itself. Then you roll Wis vs. Dex, without skill dice (because you spent it to activate this ability). If you win, then you know its exact location too. If you lose but roll high enough, perhaps the GM could rule you know something's on the other side, but not its exact location.
Veggie's answer is complete but unfortunately doesn't really address the problem.  The second check is defined as Wisdom vs. Charisma, and you don't get skill dice on raw ability score checks, so the second check is not affected by the loss of your skill die.

What does "spend your skill die" mean?  Presumably it means you are without it for a time, but how long?  Some Skill Tricks are very explicit about sustaining tricks and foregoing your skill die for as long as you do, but others are single-use tricks that involve "spending" the die but don't really explain what that means.

If I had to guess, I'd say that somewhere along the line the skill die mechanic changed and these tricks were not updated to reflect the new usage.

See also: Gilded Tongue and Unflappable

Taunt, Quick Reflexes, Feint, and Distract are also unclear, but as combat abilities, I would /assume/ that the skill die is unavailable for one round.

Better language is needed all around. 
Veggie's answer is complete but unfortunately doesn't really address the problem.  The second check is defined as Wisdom vs. Charisma, and you don't get skill dice on raw ability score checks, so the second check is not affected by the loss of your skill die.


Everything is an ability check now.  If you have an applicable skill, you can add a skill die roll to the ability check.  So, you don't roll a Listen check or a Sneak check anymore.  You roll a Wisdom check or a Dexterity check, and if you have Listen or Sneak, then those apply as well.

What does "spend your skill die" mean?  Presumably it means you are without it for a time, but how long?  Some Skill Tricks are very explicit about sustaining tricks and foregoing your skill die for as long as you do, but others are single-use tricks that involve "spending" the die but don't really explain what that means.


The rules say that when you spend a skill die, you roll the ability check as normal, but do not gain the use of the die unless otherwise specified.

If I had to guess, I'd say that somewhere along the line the skill die mechanic changed and these tricks were not updated to reflect the new usage.


It's very possible.

See also: Gilded Tongue and Unflappable


Gilded Tongue: You are trying to bring someone around to your side.  You roll a Charisma check to do so.  Usually, you'd add a skill die roll if you had the Persuade or Bluff skill (depending on exactly how you would go about it), but, when using this skill trick, you wouldn't get the use of the die, and, instead, you'd basically get advantage on the Charisma check.

Unflappable: As above, only the subject has some preconception that grants disadvantage.  You can roll normally and use an applicable skill, or you can negate that disadvantage.

Taunt, Quick Reflexes, Feint, and Distract are also unclear, but as combat abilities, I would /assume/ that the skill die is unavailable for one round.


There's nothing that says that, so I don't think this is the case.  I think it just precludes you from using a skill die roll for that particular ability check.  These basically just grant new uses for skills, and the "spend a skill die" language seems to mean that you wouldn't get to use a skill die for the check.

For example, with Feint, if the requirement to spend a skill die wasn't there, and it was just some type of combat maneuver, then I'd rule that the Bluff skill could be applied to the Charisma check, increasing the chances of success.  Because of the language, it turns into a raw Charisma check.  Though, I guess a monster trained in Sense Motive would have a better chance of seeing through the feint.

Better language is needed all around. 


Heartily agreed.

Everything is an ability check now.  If you have an applicable skill, you can add a skill die roll to the ability check.  So, you don't roll a Listen check or a Sneak check anymore.  You roll a Wisdom check or a Dexterity check, and if you have Listen or Sneak, then those apply as well.

...

The rules say that when you spend a skill die, you roll the ability check as normal, but do not gain the use of the die unless otherwise specified.



Okay, I can follow that logic, but returning to the original example, Detect Noise:

In most situations, you don't need to make a check after using Detect Noise.  So in effect you are getting something for nothing by "spending" your skill die.  I don't have my packet on me at the moment; are there other situations where this can occur?  I would assume that there are.
Vanish lets you "spend a skill die" to move up to your speed before hiding. Quick Reflexes lets you avoid surprise. Some skill tricks let you add the skill die result to AC or move speed, instead of a check.

I believe Mearls stated in a Google hangout video that skill tricks are a rules feature that allows the rogue to break the rules over and over without pissing off the DM or requiring skill checks every time he wants to tumble away from combat, taunt a dude, or fast-climb up a wall. Just because a skill trick for Tumble exists doesn't mean a fighter can't also try to tumble: maybe he needs to roll a check for it, while the rogue can do it for free any time he wants. The point is that the rogue gets the trick as a defining part of his class, while everyone else may need a lot more luck.
Consider this: Spending a skill die means you're sacrificing being in your comfort zone to try something fancy. You're really good at talking to people because you're trained in diplomacy, but if you want to use Charming Presence, you have to REALLY focus on buttering them up to be your best friend. It's difficult. Rather than raising the DC for the check, you sacrifice your training power for raw increased effectiveness. Skill tricks are gambles- you act slightly less effectively to achieve even greater results.

Now, generally 'spend' means until the effect ends, or for one roll. If you 'spend' your skill die to maintain pinpointing creature locations on the other side of the door, as long as you are doing so your focus is taken up by the action and you don't get your skill die on stealth, or listen to hear a whispered conversation. Spending a skill die for an immediate ability contest just means that officially no skill dice apply to the contest, even if it could be rules otherwise- bluff or diplomacy or whatever.

Spending skill dice generally comes into play when you're trying to do something OTHER than the task you're putting your die into. If you're trying to both understand and communicate with a creature using Master Linguist while also conning them with a charisma check, your bluff is sacrificed because it's hard to lie in a language you've never spoken.

Single check skill die spending is easier. It's hard to hide in plain sight when people have just had their eyes on you, so even attempting such a feat sacrifices your skill die. You get an automatic use out of it in exchange for possibly doing worse on the check. A gamble. It's rogue style! 
I picture the situation like this:

Rogue:  I want to do X
DM: Ok, roll a Y Check.
Rogue: I spend my skill dice.  I rolled a D20 and got some other extra benefit. (Or :"Automatic success")
DM: Here is the result.

Rogue: Ok, now I want to do this.
DM: Ok, roll a Z Check.
Rogue: Darn, don't have a special trick here, so I'll just use my Skill die to add to my roll.  I rolled a D20 + D6
Dm: Here is the result.

Meaning, you spend your skill die instead of rolling it.  But you get it back the next time you need to make a roll.

I'm not sure what language would make that more clear. Maybe, "Utilize" the skill die instead of "spend", or maybe "sacrifice the skill die for this roll"?
While its fairly obvious for things like Feint, Taunt etc that you can't use your skill die, it's less clear how it works for things like Gilded Tongue... if you're trained in diplomacy, do you roll d20 + skill dice first, decide you dislike the result and then reroll just d20 ? Or do you decide before the entire roll if you want to roll 2d20 and drop one, or d20 + skill dice?

If its the latter, that's pretty weak, especially when you get higher level and the skill dice becomes the statistically better option...

I also don't really like the wording of Detect Noise, if its automatic then you aren't attempting to determine, you're succeeding. The 'obtaining greater information' bit makes it sound a bit like if the check succeeds you pinpoint them instead of just knowing they're there... which would be a pretty terrible trick to be honest. Even at DC12 you'd fail about half the time with no skill die added to the d20 roll.
I've been trying to figure out if the use of skill dice is used up each round. While there is nothing in the rules to suggest that they do I wonder if following example should be allowed to happen:


Fighter Zonko tries to persuade the wounded Ogre to switch sides or at least leave the fight. He is skilled in persuade so in using the action of trying to persuade he rolls his skill die. 

Now as it turns out the Ogre is in a really bad mood and doesn't go for Zonko's suggestion and in fact decides to shut Zonko up by smashing him (A common Ogre method of ending a conversation).


Zonko decides to Parry this attack as a reation and add his skill die to reduce the damage.


In effect Zonko has used his skill die twice within one round of combat. For some reason this seems out of step with the overall feel of the rules which seem to be all about wisely using limited assets each round.        
I don't think the skill die is ever unavailable unless it is specifically mentioned that you cannot use it for anything else.  For instance, many of the rogue's skill tricks "spend" the die for a continuous effect, and all of them specifically say you cannot use the skill die for any purpose while you maintain those tricks.

As far as Parry goes, my guess is they tried to be brief with their wording and said "spend martial damage dice and your skill die" in the description, and in the end it wound up being poorly worded.  They probably meant "spend martial damage dice and use your skill die".  Even the next sentence says "Roll all martial damage dice you spend (if any) and your skill die, ..." (Note: it does not say to "spend" your skill die in this sentence). My guess is that it was a poor choice of words that is causing the confusion.

But hey, I could be wrong =). 
Yeah I think the next playtest packet could just be rules clarifications with no changes in any rules and I'd be happy. I know they are trying to get cool new things out to us, but we all need to understand the base stuff first or we will all be playing playtest variants due to different interpretations. I know you can never eliminate confusion but right now I see a lot of chat about how skills work, two weapon fighting, invisibility/being unseen/hidden, as well as other rules that could so use better wording or clarification.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />As far as Parry goes, my guess is they tried to be brief with their wording and said "spend martial damage dice and your skill die" in the description, and in the end it wound up being poorly worded.  They probably meant "spend martial damage dice and use your skill die".  Even the next sentence says "Roll all martial damage dice you spend (if any) and your skill die, ..." (Note: it does not say to "spend" your skill die in this sentence). My guess is that it was a poor choice of words that is causing the confusion.




That makes more sense than the way I read it as its written. I'm still a little confused about it, but had been playing it as if it was "in addition to" regarding the skill die.