4E skills

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From the six demo characters and the Rogue class preview, we how have 16 skills confirmed:

Acrobatics
Athletics
Arcana
Bluff
Diplomacy
Dungeoneering
Endurance
Heal
History
Insight
Nature
Perception
Religion
Stealth
Streetwise
Thievery
...whatever
Skills SPECIFICALLY mentioned: Acrobatics, History, Streetwise, Religion, Diplomacy, Nature, Intimidation, Insight, Arcana, Perception, Dungeoneering, Thievery, Heal.

Intimidation makes it 17 I believe I've heard somewhere that there'll be 18?
Darn, Intimidate was on the Rogue list. Must have missed it. As for skill #18, my guess would be Ride.
...whatever
I would like to see Initiative as a non-class skill. One that you can train in with a feat and add skill focus as a feat. With it not being a class skill for anyone no one would feel obligated to take it. Like Concentration is for casters in 3x.
On a whole, I like what I'm seeing with 4e, especially in the context of everything else in 4e, and not just a comparison to 3.5. That being said however, unless I am missing something, it seems that skills have been really dumbed down.

You have a number of trained skills. You get half your level in all class skills and the trained ones +5 (plus relevant modifiers).

It just seems to me that while this is going to be incredibly easy to figure out, it makes all classes essentially cookie cutter templates of skill packages. I can't see how any rogue of the same level is going to be any different from another really. Plus or minus a few stat bonuses.
On a whole, I like what I'm seeing with 4e, especially in the context of everything else in 4e, and not just a comparison to 3.5. That being said however, unless I am missing something, it seems that skills have been really dumbed down.

You have a number of trained skills. You get half your level in all class skills and the trained ones +5 (plus relevant modifiers).

It just seems to me that while this is going to be incredibly easy to figure out, it makes all classes essentially cookie cutter templates of skill packages. I can't see how any rogue of the same level is going to be any different from another really. Plus or minus a few stat bonuses.

Actually, a starting rogue can have 70 different skill combinations. (4 to choose, 8 to pick from). There will be abilities that only training in a skill can unlock. The half-level bonus is just there to ensure that PCs have a fair chance to achieve basic skill objectives (such as seeing hidden enemies).

So I think there's some room for variety.
I'm hoping you are right. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt, as 3.X was a vast improvement over 2.0.

It just seems that as a "typical" rogue, I would choose the same skills as everyone else, and voila!
It just seems that as a "typical" rogue, I would choose the same skills as everyone else, and voila!

That was often true in 3E too.

And frankly, the only values that really mattered in 3E max ranks, 5 ranks, and a few skills where you tried to beat a fixed DC. From level 6 or so, if you weren't at max then you might as well be at 0 because any skill checks would be unimportant or impossible (slight exaggeration).

4E sets skills such that all characters have baseline competency (level/2 + ability score mod), and then some excel. This creates a range of about +10 between "baseline" and "expert", which maps nicely to 25%-75% success chance at equivalent level. This means that skill checks are rarely either "impossible" or "automatic", which means that your bonuses to the baseline actually matter a whole lot.
I dont think you earn ranks every level like you did in 3E anymore either. I think you pick what skills you have training in at level one and those are the only ones you have unless you spend a feat to get training in another(skill focus is another feat). Since they have stated feats are every other level as well and that they are typically passive things like this, I have no problem with that.

I means if you want to be a skill monkey, you got to work for it. ;)
I was reading the Kobold writeups, and on the Kobold Archer I saw under the skills line:

Initiative +9

Does this mean Initiative is the mysterious 18th skill? If it is, why isn't it on the Rogue skill list?
...whatever
Possibly improved Initiative (feat), or it could be a fake creature. [both current theories]
Does this mean Initiative is the mysterious 18th skill? If it is, why isn't it on the Rogue skill list?

I thought I recall reading that initiative is a skill now. Can anyone confirm that?

The Piazza A renaissance of the Old Worlds. Where any setting can be explored, any rules system discussed, and any combination of the two brought to life.

I thought I recall reading that initiative is a skill now. Can anyone confirm that?

It is in Starwars Saga Edition, but it isn't on the Rogue's writeup, the class you'd expect to have Initiative. I do think it is as costly as a skill should be, though, and would thus like to see it as such.

Check all the monster stats we have. They should all list an Initiative score. If Initiative includes the 1/2 level bonus, then one can assume its a skill, or at least valued similarly.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Here is the skill list as we know it so far, with the ability modifiers as we know so far. I will note if I'm making an assumption based on the scores from the character sheets with a * (there is one skill that has a question):

Acrobatics (Dex)
Athletics (Str)
Arcana (Int*)
Bluff (Cha)
Diplomacy (Cha*)
Dungeoneering (Wis)
Endurance (Con*)
Heal (Wis*)
History (Int*)
Insight (Wis)
Nature (Wis* on Ranger, Int* on Wizard; possible typo?; I'm betting on Nature)
Perception (Wis)
Religion (Int*)
Stealth (Dex)
Streetwise (Cha)
Thievery (Dex)

I too suspect that Ride will be a skill as well. I'm saddened to see Craft gone; I felt it was an important skill.

Oh, and after checking the Monsters seen so far, everyone's Initiative seems to be it's modified Dex modifier (dex modifier + 1/2 level), or that score +5 (except one, which was modified Dex modifier +4; again, could be a typo). Thus, if it isn't a skill, it is still valued like one (Improved Initiative feat would grant +5 to Initiative, just like Skill Training grants +5). I suspect it isn't a skill because everyone with it as a class skill would automatically take it with one of their free skills; it is just too important. This way it becomes more of a choice, as it should be (I do think if armor affects skills still, armor should affect initiative, but that's just the simulationist in me talking).

PS: The paladin has a +2 Str mod and a +1 Dex mod. His Acrobatics is at -1, Athletics at -2, and Stealth at -3; it seems that heavy armor imposes a -4 penalty on these checks, and that Halflings gain +2 to Acrobatics from somewhere.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

I don't think Ride will be in 4E. The developers have explained that they got rid on concentration because it was just a "skill tax" on casters. In many ways, Ride was just a skill tax on characters who pursued mounted combat. Most uses of the Ride skill were low DC checks designed to just check if the player had a few ranks in the skill or not. Only a few kinds of check really required having high skill points. On top of that, mounted combat fighters needed to have a few specific feats anyways.

So, I expect the Ride skill to just be gone in 4E, replaced entirely by feats and maybe class features.
I'm not sure it will really work in 4E, but here's how I handled Ride in my late 3E games. First, I removed the Ride skill. Second, I removed most of the Ride feats, relegating things like "Ride by Attack" to your mount having "Move by Action". Third, I condensed several of the Ride skill functions into Handle Animal; Handle Animal's "perform trick" or "push animal" function work well enough for Ride functions, which would all be tricks part of the "Riding" or "Combat Riding" trick packages. Fourth, I gave Handle Animal the ability to increase an animal's hit dice, giving the trainer the choice of what feats the animal would purchase.

A trainer can't increase an animal's HD beyond their own, and I was slowly but surely ensuring that pet animals were strong enough once they were given some magical equipment from their owners.

I don't see Handle Animal as a skill yet; I would have expected the Ranger to have it. But the Ranger's separation from the Druid is drastically changing them.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

I could see Handle Animal as another skill because it follows the pattern: an all-encompassing skill that allows one stop skill shecks for many applications. Chiefly training, handling mounts, managing companions and familiars, etc.
For all we know Handle Animal may have been folded into Nature along with Survival and Knowledge (Nature).
For all we know Handle Animal may have been folded into Nature along with Survival and Knowledge (Nature).

Problem with that is, a knight goes in for some horsemanship and comes out George of the Jungle. Then again, nobles often hunted and took up falconry and such.
In many ways, Ride was just a skill tax on characters who pursued mounted combat. Most uses of the Ride skill were low DC checks designed to just check if the player had a few ranks in the skill or not. Only a few kinds of check really required having high skill points. On top of that, mounted combat fighters needed to have a few specific feats anyways.

I'm not against advantageous combat options having build costs.
From the rules appendix posted on ENWorld from DDXP, there are 17 skills.

Intimidate is also a skill.
The Scalegloom rules appendix listed these skill descriptions:

  • Acrobatics. Use this skill to test our balance on narrow or unstable surfaces, to escape from a grab or from restraints, and (if you're trained) to reduce your damage when you fall.
  • Arcana. You have knowledge about magic and magical effects, and (if you're trained) you know how to detect a persistent magical effect.
  • Athletics. Use this skill to climb, swim, or jump.
  • Bluff. Use this skill to make what's false appear to be true, fast-talk a guard, con a merchant, or tell lies.
  • Diplomacy. Use this skill to influence others with tact and social grace, change opinions, inspire good will, and to negotiate a deal in good faith.
  • Dungeoneering. You have knowledge about forging a path through a dungeon complex, recognizing dungeon hazards, and finding food in the Underdark.
  • Endurance. Use this skill to stave off ill effecs and to push beyond normal physical limits.
  • Heal. Use this skill to administer first aid, stabilize a dying character, grant a saving throw, or treat a disease.
  • History. You have knowledge about history, including significant events, legends, customs, and traditions.
  • Insight. Use this skill to discern intent and decipher body language, making a best guess as to a target's motives, attitudes and truthfulness.
  • Intimidate. Use this skill to influence other through hostile actions and overt threats.
  • Nature. You have knowledge related to finding your way through the wilderness, recognizing natural hazards, and living off the land.
  • Perception. Use this skill to notice clues, spot imminent dangers, and locate hidden objects.
  • Religion. You have knowledge of religious traditions.
  • Stealth. Use this skill to hide and move silently.
  • Streetwise. You know how to get the lay of the land in an urban setting.
  • Thievery. Use this skill to disable traps, open locks, pick pockets, and perform other sleights of hand.
So is craft and perform now something else or is there NPC crafter class in the DMG?

This can't be all the skills.
Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
Out of combat profession roles, like Caster Rituals, are apparently going to be separate. I don't 100% like the idea of not having skills for such things, but it actually might make it possible to have skilled NPCs without having to make them ridiculously high level.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

I think we're gonna have to see Handle Animal and Craft. Religion is likely to be one by the pattern of dropping the classification "Knowledge" for stuff like Dungeoneering and Nature. Plus, the description of Nature doesn't cover Handle type tests. There's also stuff like Use Rope and Sleight of Hand that can't possibly devolve into REF or DEX checks. That's be a travesty to the game and a testement to poor game design.
Well, if we use Star Wars Saga Edition as an example, in that game Sleight of Hand was folded into Stealth, while it looks like its probably been folded into Thievery for 4e, which makes sense to me. Craft was taken out of SWSE, though they added in a couple feats that allows tech specialists to modify equipment or design starships. I can't say I've missed it. In our group (though this obviously just applies to our experience), Craft only got used for two things: Either it was taken to reflect a background or pure flavor ability for the character, in which case it was basically a skill tax on roleplaying and probably didn't need to be reflected in the mechanics, or it was used to effectively get a discount on expensive armor and weapons (like adamantium full plate), which was mildly imbalancing in the short run.

I personally wouldn't have a problem if they dropped Use Rope entirely, though it would be nice to see it folded into another skill, maybe Dungeoneering or Athletics or something. It never seemed to be worth spending skill points on, as the DCs for basic tasks were pretty low, and there were better options that didn't require skill points for restraining someone, such as manacles.

I don't know what to say about Handle Animal though. They took it out of SWSE, but that made sense because it's Star Wars: the few times a Star Wars hero interacts with an animal meaningfully can be handled by the Ride skill (which Star Wars still has) or maybe a Force Power. Maybe they'll make animal training and handling a feat or class feature that allows someone to apply their Nature/Diplomacy skill with a penalty when dealing with animals, kind of like how Animal Empathy was made a Ranger and Druid specific class feature in 3.5
Well, if we use Star Wars Saga Edition as an example

Please, no. Although Saga is a test for the upcoming edition, the skills there are over simplified for D&D. It worked alright in the theatric theme of Star Wars, but would not fair well in a D&D setting.
Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
Please, no. Although Saga is a test for the upcoming edition, the skills there are over simplified for D&D. It worked alright in the theatric theme of Star Wars, but would not fair well in a D&D setting.

YMMV. I would say that it should fare very well in D&D, and had not 4Ed turned out to be on the way I would probably have made similar simplifications in 3Ed. Several of the combinations make me happy, and the others I can live with ;)
So is craft and perform now something else or is there NPC crafter class in the DMG?

This can't be all the skills.

I see no reason why they would leave out skills, so I'm positive that these are, in fact, all the skills... IIRC they said they'd cut the skill list in half; 3.5 had 36 skills, this list has 17.

Craft/Perform/Profession could be martial rituals I guess :P


Edit:

YMMV. I would say that it should fare very well in D&D, and had not 4Ed turned out to be on the way I would probably have made similar simplifications in 3Ed. Several of the combinations make me happy, and the others I can live with

This.
But the trained vs untrained slock needs revamped, and hopefully it was. I can't see having a character hampered by an inferior skill system like the one in Saga.
Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
I have seen mention that there will be no more magic shops by default because the players will be expected to make their own gear if they want custom stuff. It was also said that the XP penalty for making magic items has been removed and that making your own stuff is how you spend your gold now.
(http://www.aintitcool.com/node/35799)

So, from this I think we can assume one of a few possibilies:
1. This dude doesn't know what the hell he is talking about
2. Crafting is a feat
3 Crafting is a feat and a skill (possibly as a package, Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat + the Craft: Armor skill)

There are a limited selection of basic skills for the roll-out classes. This does in no way preclude the addition of skills via other means. When they add the bard (for instance) they may yet add bardic lore and perform as skills. I am guessing that this is simply their way of simplifying and decluttering the character sheet. Specialized skills will probably just be written in as the appropriate feats are taken.
I have seen mention that there will be no more magic shops by default because the players will be expected to make their own gear if they want custom stuff. It was also said that the XP penalty for making magic items has been removed and that making your own stuff is how you spend your gold now.
(http://www.aintitcool.com/node/35799)

So, from this I think we can assume one of a few possibilies:
1. This dude doesn't know what the hell he is talking about
2. Crafting is a feat
3 Crafting is a feat and a skill (possibly as a package, Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat + the Craft: Armor skill)

There are a limited selection of basic skills for the roll-out classes. This does in no way preclude the addition of skills via other means. When they add the bard (for instance) they may yet add bardic lore and perform as skills. I am guessing that this is simply their way of simplifying and decluttering the character sheet. Specialized skills will probably just be written in as the appropriate feats are taken.

Or making magical items is a ritual, as mentioned several times in the forums, and crafting items is as irrelevant as skill in tap-dancing was in the first edition. Greedy adventurers wanting to craft for profit can either be told that "they break even" or be dragged off to adventure before they are done ;)
3 Crafting is a feat and a skill (possibly as a package, Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat + the Craft: Armor skill)

There are no crafting Skills in 4th Ed.

And it is highly doubtful that there are crafting Feats as well.