Organic Skill Growth

A problem with the current (and most) skill system is that you can easily gain skills in something you arn't doing, while not gaining skills in something you do all the time.

Say you have knowledge heraldry.  Now you spend 2 years (and 10 levels) on a island, fishing, fighting local wildlife, foraging, ect...  untill you finally manage to build a boat and get back to the main land.

Now, in all that time (and levels), you've gotten better at identifying coat's of arms, but no better at identifying which fish is good to eat, or which plants are poisionous.  That's a big disconnect.

Likewise.  If you know how to ride a horse, but spend alot of time at sea, you should not be better at riding horses, you should be better at sailing.


What's a good way to fix that?

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

A problem with the current (and most) skill system is that you can easily gain skills in something you arn't doing, while not gaining skills in something you do all the time.

Say you have knowledge heraldry.  Now you spend 2 years (and 10 levels) on a island, fishing, fighting local wildlife, foraging, ect...  untill you finally manage to build a boat and get back to the main land.

Now, in all that time (and levels), you've gotten better at identifying coat's of arms, but no better at identifying which fish is good to eat, or which plants are poisionous.  That's a big disconnect.

Likewise.  If you know how to ride a horse, but spend alot of time at sea, you should not be better at riding horses, you should be better at sailing.


What's a good way to fix that?



Good question. Games like wizardry and Ultima handle it well. A skill based, classless option could be fun.
What if there were feats that gave you more skills? I don't think we have seen how cross classing is going to work and this might be address in this as well...

Heraldry's a particularly good example because not only do you improve when you shouldn't, you actually should get worse at it the more disconnected you are with the movements of the nobility. Heraldry is very much a current events kind of knowledge in the medieval world.


One thing we could try is training rules. So in order to advance your skill dice, you need to either evidence that you've been using the skill enough to let it advance automatically or you need to find a trainer or otherwise do something to justify the increase.


You could then give the option for the character to learn a new skill at those points either by training or through justification on the basis of gameplay, which would come at the cost of advancing the skill die in another skill.

What's a good way to fix that?

Skill progression by individual skill rather then all skills, and an option to gain progression in skills through training/experience/usage independent of adventuring. Something like that wouldn't be hard for the advanced game. We might even get individual skill progressions for the standard game, having different dice for different skills wouldn't really be any more complex then what we have now.

I see a system where there are the same skills and skill system for each version but different progression systems. In the basic game, skills progress automatically by level. In the standard game you get so many points you can use to increause existing skills or if the DM allows, invest in new skills. In the advanced game the DM can give you extra points in skills you use heavily outside adventures or otherwise get training in.

I think the extra points option should be reserved for the advanced game because it brings in a lot of subtle game balance issues. Letting a wizard get some riding skill probably doesn't make a difference, but it could make a lot of difference for a lance optimized warrior. If the game has a flexible combat stunt system, getting acrobatics, athletics and such skills could be a real increase in power.


That's part of the fun of playtesting -- the players may come up with ideas that the designers don't think of. Now that it's been stated, I'd be surprised if in the future there isn't a way to add a new skill instead of training an existing skill.

Of course, since we're not seeing everything, it's possible the designers have thought of it already and it just hasn't made it into a packet or blog post.

Either way, it's a good idea, and if, for some reason, it doesn't get into the final product, we'll add a rule to accomplish it. ;) Because mellored's right -- if you don't spend time on a skill, it shouldn't increase, and if you use something new for a good period of time, you should get points for it.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.


Heraldry's a particularly good example because not only do you improve when you shouldn't, you actually should get worse at it the more disconnected you are with the movements of the nobility. Heraldry is very much a current events kind of knowledge in the medieval world.




I am inclined to disagree with you as the space of time is too short. 10 to 20 years maybe but I think that would still recognize the most significant heraldry from your local area. It is an uncommon occurance for a noble houses to rise or fall in the space of two years (unless of course that is the type of game that you are playing and then I would just never apply the benefit to their roll). As a DM you can always say that the benefit from a skill does not apply in this case. I think the issue really comes up with skills that require body memory etc, like acrobatics, knowledge in a medieval world is pretty static like for example knowlege nature - it is not as if in two years (in most cases) that the local landscape is going to change so dramatically that you won't recognize the plants.

Even though I understand the flaws in the current system I do think it is better than what we had in 3rd and 4th edition and there is no reason you can not add some house ruling on this - who know they may have thought of this as well and have an additional optional in regards to this.
I do think it should apply to skills such as sneak, sleight of hand, acrobatics - things that require constant upkeep to keep at their peak rather than knowlege based skills as these are pretty static especially over a short time like two years.  
What's a good way to fix that?

Advantage/Disadvantage.

"You've been stranded on an island for six years, you're woefully out-of-touch with current heraldry; roll with disadvantage."

"You've been stranded on an island for six years, your fishing and foraging skills are well-practiced right now; roll with advantage."

Alternatively, have the PC lose Knowledge: Heraldry and gain Survival until until such a time as s/he reaclimates to civilized society.

Of course, I'm assuming "a good fix" to mean "a very simple but effective fix."  "Good" is pretty subjective.  Also, we have to keep in mind that the devs have said that skills are not a "task resolution system" -- ability checks are the task resolution system, skills merely model your "areas of expertise."  If you lose expertise in one area and gain it in another area, then that's exactly what happens: you lose one skill and gain another.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

I am inclined to disagree with you as the space of time is too short. 10 to 20 years maybe but I think that would still recognize the most significant heraldry from your local area. It is an uncommon occurance for a noble houses to rise or fall in the space of two years (unless of course that is the type of game that you are playing and then I would just never apply the benefit to their roll). As a DM you can always say that the benefit from a skill does not apply in this case. I think the issue really comes up with skills that require body memory etc, like acrobatics, knowledge in a medieval world is pretty static like for example knowlege nature - it is not as if in two years (in most cases) that the local landscape is going to change so dramatically that you won't recognize the plants.



Well there are more factors than isolation and it's as much to do with how much has happened in your absence than your actual absence, but while I agree that someone with a heraldry skill would have no trouble identifying symbols of major houses, he might not be able to identify each individual's standard like he would have been able to before he was kept away. Nobles adopt their own variations of their family crest, or they'll take on a new symbol in honour of an event or family member. The Black Prince taking on the three feathers in honour of his mother is a good example; the symbol has been the device of the Prince of Wales ever since but the actual standard and arrangement of the three feathers has changed dramatically since The Black Prince first adopted it.


So while someone who knew heraldry would certainly be able to apply what they remember to a current set of colours, they won't necessarily know the specifics and there are bound to be curve balls thrown at them as individuals within a given house take on new devices and discard old ones.


In the context of D&D though, that's probably not very important in most games.

I don't see any reason to loose skills as you level.  Even if it's been 50 years, you'd be able to talk about the persons (grand) father.

Mabey if there was some sort of 500 year time gap, but that's too fringe to put into the core rules.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

characters should get some amount of skill training per level, let's say every other level.

That way they can improve learned skills or learn new skills.

Also remove skill die and add fixed bonus, last thing this game needs is more luck factors.
I'm working on a houserule for organic skill growth. Feedback is more than welcome! Here's what I have so far:


  • Skills have levels, and skill level determines the size of the die you're adding to a given roll.



  • There are two ways to gain skill XP: Challenges and Training.



  • Challenges represent doing something that involves using the skill to complete a task that is difficult for you to complete.



  • Training won't provide XP as quickly, but it does provide a steady amount of XP over time.


Instead of using traditional XP for skills, I am going to employ a tally system. A challenging task will provide 1 tally, or possibly 2 tallies if it was truly difficult. I haven't figured out the time frame for training just yet, but I'm thinking something like 1 tally / month of training, or 1 tally / week of training if you have a trainer / teacher / mentor who is a higher level than you in that skill. Tallies go back to zero when a skill levels. I'm still working on what the amount of tallies to level up are, but it's a work in progress. It is important to mention that training doesn't take up one's whole day, just an hour or two (it's easier to use for those of us who like off-camera activities).

L1 - Proficient - d4 skill die - 0 tallies
L2 - Competent -  d6 skill die - 5 tallies
L3 - Professional - d8 skill die - 10 tallies
L4 - Expert - d10 skill die - 25 tallies
L5 - Master - d12 skill die - 50 tallies

I know it's far from perfect, and I'm not saying this is the best way to do it or even that other people should, but it's a system I'm experimenting with and trying to refine right now. It's a little extra book keeping, but I'm the DM in a group that likes to track things like encumbrance. Tongue Out
What's a good way to fix that?


Three options:  

First: Take the Superior Skill Training Feat.

Second: The DM grants the PC a circumstantial bonus as "treasure" for the roleplay.

Third: Retraining.  I assume there will be retraining rule sin the final game, but I doubt we'll be seeing them in the playtest.  

In the meanwhile, let me suggest the following retrainign rules:

Every time a player levels he may retrain one of the following:


  • A skill that is not augmented by feats

  • Any feat that is not currently serving as a prerequisite for another feat or class feature

  • A skill trick

  • A maneuver

  • An ability boost, provided that no Ability is increased above 20, and no Ability has received more than half the character's allotted Ability boosts.


A problem with the current (and most) skill system is that you can easily gain skills in something you arn't doing, while not gaining skills in something you do all the time.

Say you have knowledge heraldry.  Now you spend 2 years (and 10 levels) on a island, fishing, fighting local wildlife, foraging, ect...  untill you finally manage to build a boat and get back to the main land.

Now, in all that time (and levels), you've gotten better at identifying coat's of arms, but no better at identifying which fish is good to eat, or which plants are poisionous.  That's a big disconnect.

Likewise.  If you know how to ride a horse, but spend alot of time at sea, you should not be better at riding horses, you should be better at sailing.

What's a good way to fix that?




An easy way to fix that without messing too much with D&D's core rules is making "training" mandatory.

If you want to raise your Heraldry, before you can spend your point in the skill you need to study with a teacher or books for, say, a week at least.
Same could go for any skills, such as climbing, swiming, fishing, etc.

If the player has used that skill a lot in his recent activities (like your man in the island) then the DM can declare that in this case the training is not needed for some skills (such as swim, survival, fishing, in your example).
But if that man wants to raise his heraldry he needs to get back to civilization first and spend some time in studies.

Some people don't like adding "training time" because they want a more quick-paced, simple dungeon crawling game. But for a more story-driven campaign I've found that it fits in great.