A suggestion for a new skill in 4ed.

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A suggestion for a new skill in 4ed.:
In the same way saga introduced the endurance skill for some constitution checks, and initiative as a “combat quickness” dexterity skill, I would propose a strength based muscle skill for lifting, pushing, pulling and breaking stuff. It would be used to lifting gates, bending bars, breaking chains, opening doors, pulling up friends dangling from a rope below... Maybe the skill should also influencing carrying capacity as well, so that high level adventurers could carry more weaponry and gear. The skill should be class skill for strong hero types like fighter, paladins and maybe warlords. I think a muscle skill will bring great flavour to these classes. This way the strong hero would be much better at kicking in doors, lifting gates of the ground while his friends climb under, and carrying his incapacitated allies to safety.

The main reason I would like to introduce a muscle skill to the system, is that the ability modifier between a strong and a weak character is just too small if you ask me (I know you didn’t). If a fighter (STR 18) and a wizard (STR 8) both are attempting to push open a stone gate (strength check DC 15), the difference is only a +5 check modifier. The strong fighter is only 25 % more likely to push open the gate than the wizard. This fact has always annoyed me. The relative difference ought to be greater between the big strong hero and the nerdish wizard.

Even though muscles might not be a skill in the traditional sense of the word, muscles are always the result of training (one way or the other). Some guys go to the gym instead of playing D&D, and these strongmen could easily lift much more weight than me. In strongman competitions they pull trucks around, something I’d never be able to do (unless I train for it anyway). When it comes to truck pulling the difference between me and a strongman is not a +5 (STR) modifier difference, but at least a +15 (skill) modifier difference. This is not the same as fighting strength though, but brute power to lift, push and pull. It might grant some sort of bonus to grappling (trained grants +2 to grapple?).

It’s just a thought, maybe it’s stupid…
It is not unreasonable.
I do not like initative as a skill, but Endurance is a great idea. This general muscle thing is also. Couldn't is be included in athletic along with Climb/Jum/Swim (I know it has not been combined in SAGA, but...)
That makes sense, a "strong" skill, Initiative and Endurence skill makes a nice trio.
The "Strength Skill" does make sense; it was sort of missing in 3.5. There are skills for Balance, Climb & Tumble so an "Exertion" of Strength would seem to be inline. I would also like to see some sort of Improvisational/Resourcefulness type skill of some sort. Most of the time, this kind of thing is done by roleplaying each scenario. But aving some skill at "jury-rigging" would help a character with situations & items in game & could have Synergy bonuses with Bluff & Use Magic Device. Also, some sort of catastrophic failure should result if you fail your DC check by 5 or more (or whatever the new system's equivalent is).
If anybody is actually reading my silly suggestions…
Unlike many on the board I don’t like the idea of putting jumping, climbing and swimming into one skill. I don’t see how they are logically connected.

In stead I propose to make swim a part of the endurance skill (if its part of 4. ed.). This way the rules for swimming, how long you can swim and drowning rules is on the same page making the game experience faster by not hawing to flip though the pages during the encounter). And it’s as reasonable to assume that swimming is constitution based instead of strength based.

Also I’ve transform jump into a athletics skill covering jumping, sprinting and throwing things far. This would simulate the sports in modern day Olympics. The lack of rules for sprinting (and therefore chasing) is lacking in the current skill system, and sprinting and jumping seems to be related in kind (Carl Lewis). This way you would also gain a “sports” skill with would help DM wing competitions of different sorts at fairs. Chasing rules could be something like an Athletics test DC 10, if he/she succeeds add 5 ft. to the total running movement for that round (four times normal movement). For every 5 points beyond 10 add another 5 ft. to the total movement for that round. If humanoids still gains bonus for extra movement rate the sprinting rules makes sense.

Finally I’ve make climbing cooler by saying that if your train in the skill you retain dex bonus for AC, and making options for attacking while climbing for characters trained in climbing. This way fighting monsters/animals/ninjas train in climbing on a cliff wall could be more challenging and interesting.

Finally there should be a feat that makes climbing and athletics a dex based skill instead of a str based (I think there already one somewhere in 3.5 ed.).
Unlike many on the board I don’t like the idea of putting jumping, climbing and swimming into one skill. I don’t see how they are logically connected.

They are kind of sports. Yes? And at least in our campaign, they are rather underused, so combining them would make it more worthwhile to have them.

In stead I propose to make swim a part of the endurance skill (if its part of 4. ed.).

Default ability seems to be a problem. I like how Ars magica handled the whole issue. It says that there is no key ability to any skills, and the DM should decide what to use in certain situtations. There are suggested abilities, that is connected to a skill most of the times.
For example it is hard to imagine a Knowledge check needing Str as base ability, but for Climb. Lets say if it is just about pulling yourself up, then it is Str; Dex could come in if you need to throw a hook; Wis or Int when you need to asses the difficulty of a climb or the height of a wall.
In similar veins a long distance swim in a relatively clam water is Con based, getting out of a current is Str based.

Finally I’ve make climbing cooler by saying that if your train in the skill you retain dex bonus for AC, and making options for attacking while climbing for characters trained in climbing. This way fighting monsters/animals/ninjas train in climbing on a cliff wall could be more challenging and interesting.

Skill challenges introduced in Iron Heroes and True20 can be used to this effect. A skill challenge is basically accepting -5 to your check for some added benefit (e.g. quicker completion or retaining your AC while climbing)
Skill challenges introduced in Iron Heroes and True20 can be used to this effect. A skill challenge is basically accepting -5 to your check for some added benefit (e.g. quicker completion or retaining your AC while climbing)

Exertion rules were also added in Iron Heroes. In exchange for a bonus to your strength check you could take HP damage by over-exerting yourself past the limit.
From what i read, these ideas would be contrary to the concept of 'streamlining' the rules. Having one skill to cover athletic abilites would not and may or may not happen. Frankly, the skill system did a lot to cover the gaps in 2E, but quickly became unwieldy in 3/3.5E. I really get tired with DC this and skill check that. So much so that if something fits the story I'm trying to tell, it happens regardless of what DC it would be by the rules. The rules should fit the story and not the other way around and too many rules just bog that down.

I found myself running a session of the Eyes of the Lich Queen Eberron adventure the other day. I really figured that the party would get much further through the adventure than they did. We got bogged down with a lot of combat and rolling skill checks and such so that it made me really long for some of the things I have heard about 4E. The adventure itself is not so much to balme as is the sheer number of options and rolls and clarifications that must be made in 3.5E combat.

I am looking forward to 4E regardless of what they do to it.

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Shadow Network DM

I think that's already in the rules. Look under "Breaking stuff", 3.5e PHB, page 165.
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