Greg Bilsland's Blog: Comment on Skills and Defenses

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I noticed this little gem the other day, but I didn't make a post on it:

Outside of work, I developed a 4th edition character sheet in excel that improved the ease of level advancement. That is, instead of having to change everything manually, one could simply change their level and much of their corresponding skills and defenses would change accordingly. This seems a necessary piece in running a continuing campaign, since I intend to accelerate level advancement in my campaign so that within a month or two, we can explore higher level play.

It's here for those interested in the full post.

Pretty interesting, eh? Seems to indicate that base defenses and skills are based on character level, just like the SW SAGA system (what's the other way people refer to that?) Seems to me that you are then probably trained or not trained in a skill, and that you also either have a feat or don't have a feat for a given skill. Anyhow, it does seem to indicate no skill points, unless he's just lying about how easy the sheet is.

My take:

Defenses rise automatically? Good. Now we don't have to have a level 20 Fighter who takes damage as easily as a 1st level Fighter. It helps decrease the magic item dependency. Hopefully good magical gear is still worthwhile at times, but I don't want my warriors to be all about what they are wearing, and not so much about their skill at their job.

No more skill points? Good. While the skill point system is more realistic in some ways, it had a lot of problems. First, it tended to make a lot of characters useless in situations (spot isn't a class skill, then you can never spot that 20th level rogue, you stupid fighter/wizard/whatever). With the SAGA system a 20th level guy can almost always have the possibility of beating another 20th level guy at a contested skill (though if the challenge is prolonged, then they probably won't beat multiple checks). That's good for the game. Also, I have met (and had) players that had trouble keeping track of skill points. Repeatedly having to add up your points and double-/triple-/quadruple- check modifiers is a huge hassle, and some people just don't ever seem to get it right. Skills are important, but they aren't important enough to warrant a level of hassle above and beyond basically anything else in the game.

-Drachasor
Defenses rise automatically? Good. Now we don't have to have a level 20 Fighter who takes damage as easily as a 1st level Fighter. It helps decrease the magic item dependency. Hopefully good magical gear is still worthwhile at times, but I don't want my warriors to be all about what they are wearing, and not so much about their skill at their job.

Not necessarily. When he wrote "defenses", he might have ment reflex/will/fortitude defense, a.k.a: the new saving "throws".
SW SAGA system (what's the other way people refer to that?)

Generally on the SW boards we call it We SWSE = Star Wars Saga Edition

The core book itself we call SECR = Saga Edeition Core Rulebook.
Pretty interesting, eh? Seems to indicate that base defenses and skills are based on character level, just like the SW SAGA system (what's the other way people refer to that?) Seems to me that you are then probably trained or not trained in a skill, and that you also either have a feat or don't have a feat for a given skill. Anyhow, it does seem to indicate no skill points, unless he's just lying about how easy the sheet is.

It doesn't necessarily point to no skill points, just that skill checks will scale with level.

You could have untrained skills still have a bonus to checks that are level dependent and then allocate skill points among skills you wish to be "trained" in.

An amalgamation of the two systems.

He did say "much of their skills" and not all of their skills, or just skills, afterall.
He did say "much of their skills" and not all of their skills, or just skills, afterall.

That sounds more like "Some skills just don't fit in D&D," for instance Pilot in D&D? Or Use Computer?
That sounds more like "Some skills just don't fit in D&D," for instance Pilot in D&D? Or Use Computer?

Well, if you're running a Discworld game with D&D rules, you could have those skills (specifically Pilot [Broom] and Use Computer [HEX or druid stone circles]) :D
Not necessarily. When he wrote "defenses", he might have ment reflex/will/fortitude defense, a.k.a: the new saving "throws".

Right. In SWSE, there is no AC they just use the reflex defense. I'm not saying they're cutting AC out of 4E, but it seems like a possibility. I do find it odd that he used the word "defenses" and not saving throws.
So, what will armour do? Increase your AC/Defense or reduce damage or what? And, if it does increase your defense, the you will still need a "touch AC". It will also, then, increase your reflex save. Unless they plan on going the True20 rout and have damage saves.

[EDIT] Maybe armour will be a damage divisor?
So, what will armour do? Increase your AC/Defense or reduce damage or what? And, if it does increase your defense, the you will still need a "touch AC". It will also, then, increase your reflex save. Unless they plan on going the True20 rout and have damage saves.

[EDIT] Maybe armour will be a damage divisor?

There's a couple predictions on that.

1. Completely like the SWSE system. Your armor bonus is either what you get from armor or what you get from your class, whichever is higher. Some people don't like this because a guy can have better defenses by wearing no armor at all than by actually wearing armor.
2. Just like 3e, armor increases your overall defense. Classes provide no bonus.
3. Classes provide armor bonuses. Armor provides Damage Reduction.

Personally, I favor #3, but there's a lot of differing opinions out there on it.
Yes, I am a defender apologist. A Rock and a Hard Place: A Warden Handbook
There's a couple predictions on that.

1. Completely like the SWSE system. Your armor bonus is either what you get from armor or what you get from your class, whichever is higher. Some people don't like this because a guy can have better defenses by wearing no armor at all than by actually wearing armor.
2. Just like 3e, armor increases your overall defense. Classes provide no bonus.
3. Classes provide armor bonuses. Armor provides Damage Reduction.

Personally, I favor #3, but there's a lot of differing opinions out there on it.

Probably #2 or #3. Armor was mostly put aside in Saga because very few characters in the Star Wars movies actually use armor, but it is an important part of most fantasy settings, so it'll probably stay.
Probably #2 or #3. Armor was mostly put aside in Saga because very few characters in the Star Wars movies actually use armor, but it is an important part of most fantasy settings, so it'll probably stay.

I would disagree somewhat.. if you look at many of the fantasy movies, even the Lord of the Rings, many of the characters did/do not wear armour, and generally when the characters do wear armour, it is when they are going into an actual full scale battle, as opposed to skirmishes. So, armour could be done just like in the SWSE, and still keep the feel of much of the fantasy literature and cinema.