Rogues and Pick Pockets

I'm...nervous about the changes to the Rogue class.  All the skill tricks are now feats which makes me feel like my character has a much narrower range of ability now.  But on this I will reserve judgment.  What I'm not putting up with is the Pick Pockets feat.  Picking pockets is dexterity check.  I can get making it a dexterity contest.  But I will not be making someone take a feat to accomplish this.  That feels like making someone take a feat to make the action reasonable.

Vampire Class/Feat in 2013!

I prefer Next because 4E players and CharOpers can't find their ass without a grid and a power called "Find Ass."

I, for one, am not at all happy that you need feats to pick pockets, open locks, or track.
You do need a feat to pick pocket. You don't need a feat to open locks or track. It's a minor, meaningless distinction, but here goes:

Pick Pockets (feat): Enables the Dexterity + conceal an object vs. Wisdom + spot contest. Dumb.
Open Locks (feat): Adds skill die to attempt. Also allows bypassing magic locks.
Track (feat): Automagically detect tracks from creatures (within 100 feet, last 24 hours). Additional Wisdom check only needed in certain circumstances.

Why is Pick Pockets different? My guess is that it's one of those things that DMs always hate, like a spell that lets you read minds or pass through walls. If you force the player to dump some resources on the special ability to pick pockets, then it's not so cheesy.

I don't think this is the right way to fix the underlying problem of DMs having trouble with pocket-happy players, if that is indeed the problem.
I'm deft-fingered, agile, I have good balance, I'm a good shot, and I know how to pick locks (albeit not very well), tie knots, set snares and break into a car. I have absolutely no idea how to lift somebody's wallet. There's no reason I should know; I've never studied it.

There is nothing about having a high dexterity that implies the ability to pick pockets, as it is a specialized, specific set of skills that one doesn't really learn by accident. 
Well, it's the same thing for recall forbidden lore or administer first aid. They're skills precisely because they are specialized and specific. I might not be able to pull a watch off a guy's wrist, but maybe I could slip a large envelope out of some dude's back pocket while he's preoccupied.

I don't think there's any good in-game logic for why pick pocket can't be performed without a feat. My only guess is it's metagame logic.
I'm deft-fingered, agile, I have good balance, I'm a good shot, and I know how to pick locks (albeit not very well), tie knots, set snares and break into a car. I have absolutely no idea how to lift somebody's wallet. There's no reason I should know; I've never studied it.

There is nothing about having a high dexterity that implies the ability to pick pockets, as it is a specialized, specific set of skills that one doesn't really learn by accident. 



This is the best argument I've seen yet.  I don't agree though, because for me, it's a fundamental constriction of my character.  Picking pockets has been something I could do/attempt since I started playing.  This is the first time I've seen it brought up as a feat.  I think your argument is that picking pockets has a higher DC IRL than we it does in D&D rules.  That I agree with.

Vampire Class/Feat in 2013!

I prefer Next because 4E players and CharOpers can't find their ass without a grid and a power called "Find Ass."

Picking Pockets is not something you can just do. It requires some training. Trust me.

But Next lacks Trained only skills so... it is a feat.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Of course you can just try to pick a pocket. I can try that whenever I like, and I don't need special training. I'll probably fail unless the person is really distracted or I have something else in my favour (advantage), but I can attempt it.

Attempting something like that is not limited to trained only.Thats like saying that someone who has never trained with a sword cant swing it at someone. Of course they can, they just won't be very good at it and the chance of failure is higher.
Well, I can no longer try to yank a sword out of someone's hand or even push them out of my way without spending a feat either. (Which I find to be fairly bad design.)
Of course you can just try to pick a pocket. I can try that whenever I like, and I don't need special training. I'll probably fail unless the person is really distracted or I have something else in my favour (advantage), but I can attempt it. Attempting something like that is not limited to trained only.Thats like saying that someone who has never trained with a sword cant swing it at someone. Of course they can, they just won't be very good at it and the chance of failure is higher.



What you're trying to introduce is a second difficulty level, where someone who is untrained gets a massive mechanical disadvantage.  Anyone can attempt to mimic the use of a skill, even if there's virtually no change of them succeeding it.  But the way you want to abstractualize that is not useful.  It doesn't tie into the current difficulty levels.  Nor does it advance the game.

You say, if you tried to pick a pocket, you'll probably fail.  Let me define that a little more.  Do you think you would fail 19 out of 20 times?  or do you think that you would fail more like 99 out of 100 times?  If it's the first, I think you're being very optimistic.  If it's the second, which I think is more accurate, you need to realize that the current skill system can not account for that level of probability.  An additional system is required, and instead of opting to go back to percentile dice or something equally ridiculous, they went with expert feats.

Try to not have a "this is what I know" / knee-jerk reaction, actually think about game design, and it might make a little more sense.
Picking Pockets is not something you can just do. It requires some training. Trust me.

I'd be curious as to the explanation as to how grabbing someone's wallet is so difficult that it's flat-out impossible to attempt without special training... but that planting a wallet in someone's pocket without them noticing is something that everyone can try.

Since the latter is listed as a possible use of a Dexterity ability check, it makes the Pick Pockets feat all the more puzzling, especially as both activities were traditionally covered by the same skill.

Personally, I see this as simple retro-thinking.  Previous editions had abilities that only Class X could attempt, so we need to make sure the edition supports that mindset.

We're probably fortunate that there isn't a feat called Climb Walls.
This is the best argument I've seen yet.  I don't agree though, because for me, it's a fundamental constriction of my character.  Picking pockets has been something I could do/attempt since I started playing.  This is the first time I've seen it brought up as a feat.  I think your argument is that picking pockets has a higher DC IRL than we it does in D&D rules.  That I agree with.



So in other words, you don't like the change because it's different from what you're used to, and different is bad.

Very progressive attitude you've got there. Really.
It seems like they are experimenting in a 2E direction with "These are a few rogue skills that only rogues can get access to." Disarm traps, open lock, and pick pocket all fall under this. They're not calling them skills, but they are. They are broadening access by allowing others to take feats, but by and large these are still exclusively rogue skills.

I just don't like that direction. I don't think those skills are any better or more powerful than Bluff or Swim or Handle Animal. If no one takes trap disarm, just have less traps in the campaign. If someone takes handle animal, then sprinkle a few animals around (e.g., angy bears guarding a treasure cave that druids warn not to harm) or give the player a chance to acquire a pet. Adjust the game to the players' desires and expectations.

3E continued the 2E idea by having class abilities like "Trapfinding" and class skills, but more than rogues could attempt these thievery skills. 4E liberalized the skills further, but still had class skills. Still, more classes had access to Thievery. I really liked 5E dumping the idea of class skills entirely and allowing anyone to take any skill. Why shouldn't a wizard be handy at disarming magic traps, for instance? Why can't my fighter be very persuasive, or my elf cleric have stealth?

Anyway, they seem to be backtracking and going back to a 2E/3E model when it comes to the thievery skills, and I disapprove.
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