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Skill Synergy - Removed?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


I had noticed this back in Beta and had assumed that it just hadn't been added in yet, but I was wondering if I could get a comment as to why Synergies had been removed. Was it another matter of space, or were they considered rules bloat? Are other people planning on house ruling them back in?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The idea of skill synergy was pretty cool. But I think it could have been done better and, for the time being, I'm not sorry to see it gone. It was too easy to get and too many synergies fed diplomacy.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Remembering synergies was always an annoyance for me, unless I was trying to max out a skill (i.e. "My intimidate-fiend will have to take 5 ranks in bluff...").

And at least in the case of acrobatics, skills which used to synergize are now actually the same skill.

It was a cool idea, but no, I don't think I'll bring it back.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

Synergies are dead and buried. We felt that they added little to the game, and came with an irritating price. I cannot tell you how many stat blocks I have gone through, on both sides of the screen, that had these left out.

To top it off, they also worked to make many of the DCs completely irrelevant. Diplomacy comes to mind.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


I always liked synergy. Always tried to get as much of them as possible, it was a bit like collecting stamps.
But the PFPRG Skill system is so great, I may not miss them much

Taldor

You can houserule to allow synergies on the fly via Aid Another and have the player make the case why there should be a synergy in that particular circumstance e.g. character wants to get the Duke to agree to something and knows he's a keen botanist, potential synergy from knowledge nature to diplomacy.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
...They also worked to make many of the DCs completely irrelevant. Diplomacy comes to mind.

I'm currently wrapping up my "Savage Tide" adventure path in v3.5. The rogue in the party has a bona fide +40 to his Diplomacy checks. +10 of that number is from synergies. He's so proud of being able to make a something like a pit fiend his trusted ally, but it just makes me cringe.

Andoran

Those who prefer to roll dice vice role-play always hate Diplomacy. Still, no amount of diplomacy would make a diametrically opposed enemy one's trusted ally. The best the diplomat could hope to accomplish would be to convince the foe to cooperate this one time and only for something that would gain the foe a benefit at least equal to what it perceives the diplomat will receive, and even this would require concrete deeds, irrefutable evidence, and ironclad assurances up front to prove that the initially-hated diplomat will truly keep his/her end of the bargain. Words alone simply will not suffice; the diametric foe will insist on having all or most of its inducement in its irrevocable possession before agreeing to cooperate this one time.

Andoran

The problem with v3.5 synergy was that it began and ended at a second-level character's proficiency (i.e., +2 for five ranks of skill). Because it was so cheaply gained, it was easily abused.

Instead, players should get +2 circumstance bonuses for successful supporting skill checks, such as a good Bluff when making a Diplomacy check. Yes, the player would still get the +2, but it wouldn't be automatic, and the consequences for failure would be a -2 to the roll. Players would have to work for their bonuses and it wouldn't unbalance the game.

Cheliax

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Synergies are dead and buried. We felt that they added little to the game, and came with an irritating price. I cannot tell you how many stat blocks I have gone through, on both sides of the screen, that had these left out.

To top it off, they also worked to make many of the DCs completely irrelevant. Diplomacy comes to mind.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Hmmm... I think someone [else than me] suggested using the synergy rules from 'A Game of Thrones' during the Alpha playtest, and I liked that idea. Basically, you could pick up to two skills you have 5 ranks in and explain why and how this skill (or skills) would help you in the check. If the DM or the other players don't find it plausible, you won't the synergy bonuses (+2 or +4). So it's completely player-driven in the same sense that Skill Challenges are in 4E, and if I remember correctly, the whole system takes up half a page in the rulebook.

It worked brilliantly in my Beta playtest campaign, and everyone liked it.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Synergies are dead and buried. We felt that they added little to the game, and came with an irritating price. I cannot tell you how many stat blocks I have gone through, on both sides of the screen, that had these left out.

To top it off, they also worked to make many of the DCs completely irrelevant. Diplomacy comes to mind.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

And good Riddance too! I played a Factotum and HATED synergy bonuses. Yeah I was arguably 2 points less than I should be but it never really made a difference.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Asgetrion wrote:
I think someone [else than me] suggested using the synergy rules from 'A Game of Thrones' during the Alpha playtest, and I liked that idea. Basically, you could pick up to two skills you have 5 ranks in and explain why and how this skill (or skills) would help you in the check. If the DM or the other players don't find it plausible, you won't the synergy bonuses (+2 or +4). So it's completely player-driven in the same sense that Skill Challenges are in 4E, and if I remember correctly, the whole system takes up half a page in the rulebook.

I agree. Think of it like Aid Another, or call it Aid Self. The benefit is that it is completely player driven and subject to GM discretion. Think of it as a +2 circumstance bonus, which is totally legit. In this form, the idea is compatible with the rules but not required by the rules. Those who like it can do it, those who don't won't.

PS- LordZack was the first person that I recall suggesting this way back when.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Mosaic wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
I think someone [else than me] suggested using the synergy rules from 'A Game of Thrones' during the Alpha playtest, and I liked that idea. Basically, you could pick up to two skills you have 5 ranks in and explain why and how this skill (or skills) would help you in the check. If the DM or the other players don't find it plausible, you won't the synergy bonuses (+2 or +4). So it's completely player-driven in the same sense that Skill Challenges are in 4E, and if I remember correctly, the whole system takes up half a page in the rulebook.

I agree. Think of it like Aid Another, or call it Aid Self. The benefit is that it is completely player driven and subject to GM discretion. Think of it as a +2 circumstance bonus, which is totally legit. In this form, the idea is compatible with the rules but not required by the rules. Those who like it can do it, those who don't won't.

PS- LordZack was the first person that I recall suggesting this way back when.

This works for me, in fact I'd forgotten about using this so thanks for the reminder!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I use a variation on skill synergy in my D20 Modern game (which also dropped them). I allow PCs to use the "aid another" action with another skill. A example would be using Knowledge (architecture and engineering) to assist Perception when looking for secret doors. This use of aid another to assist themselves takes no time. It is also lets PCs make use of the Profession skill on occassion.

I also allow for the expaned aid another rules from Complete Adventurer, I think. Effectively, a roll of 10 gives a +2 bonus, a roll of 20 gives a +3, a roll of 30 gives a +4, ect.

Taldor

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Synergies are dead and buried.

I'll add my shovel full !!!

While great fun to munchkin, they were an absolute pain in the posterior when trying to figure out a character sheet (for say an 8th level rogue/sorcerer...).

I love what Pathfinder has done with skills. As a GM i can build a 10th level Druid/Monk/Bard (god forbid) and not have to figure out at which levels he would be able to buy which skills. Simplified character creation immensely.

Thanks Paizo!


While the synergy system might have needed some work, I used to love it. I loved the concept of it at any case.

Skill synergy and proficiencies overlap exist in our daily life. I used to love that element of the system that - in theory at least - polished the skill system really well and differently from many other RPGs.

being good in a related skill DOES make you better at what you do, and the synergy bonus reflected that just well. Too well maybe, and people abused of it... But I don't think it is that far stretched to grant what is basically a circumstance bonus to a task if you are an expert at doing something similar.

My take on it: if you can convince your DM that this skill in which you have at least 5 ranks can help you do something else better, you gain a +2 synergy bonus for that task. No stacking, no chart, all common sense. In games where common sense runs low, build a simple chart and stick to it.

'findel

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kitenerd wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Synergies are dead and buried.

I'll add my shovel full !!!

While great fun to munchkin, they were an absolute pain in the posterior when trying to figure out a character sheet (for say an 8th level rogue/sorcerer...).

I love what Pathfinder has done with skills. As a GM i can build a 10th level Druid/Monk/Bard (god forbid) and not have to figure out at which levels he would be able to buy which skills. Simplified character creation immensely.

Thanks Paizo!

They were even worse at Epic levels where the 25+ ranks = +4 synergy began to kick in. Another mighty Thank You to Jason and the team for killing the damned things dead, Dead, DEAD!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Synergies are dead and buried. We felt that they added little to the game, and came with an irritating price. I cannot tell you how many stat blocks I have gone through, on both sides of the screen, that had these left out.

To top it off, they also worked to make many of the DCs completely irrelevant. Diplomacy comes to mind.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

and signed. Skill DC's just got to high becuase of all the bonus'es out there. It was hard to level the playing field in modules where the DC's would either be cake walks or so high only a FOCUS'ed traing and hitting all the synergies + skill focus was needed.

I like having the "standard" system in pathfinder getting skill DC's out of the clouds and something more managable.

I am a 100% beleiver if you want the bonus, then ask the GM and give the reason why. Nine times out of ten you can pull off a +2 if it's the idea is reasonable.

My 2 gp

Taldor

Thraxus wrote:

I use a variation on skill synergy in my D20 Modern game (which also dropped them). I allow PCs to use the "aid another" action with another skill. A example would be using Knowledge (architecture and engineering) to assist Perception when looking for secret doors. This use of aid another to assist themselves takes no time. It is also lets PCs make use of the Profession skill on occassion.

I also allow for the expaned aid another rules from Complete Adventurer, I think. Effectively, a roll of 10 gives a +2 bonus, a roll of 20 gives a +3, a roll of 30 gives a +4, ect.

It's in the Epic Rules, recommended for general (non-epic) use.

Qadira

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Synergies are dead and buried.

They live, via backwards compatibility with 3.5!

Jason Bulmahn wrote:


We felt that they added little to the game, and came with an irritating price. I cannot tell you how many stat blocks I have gone through, on both sides of the screen, that had these left out.

That's part of the fun! If I didn't want to have to remember or take into account 10 trillion different things to optimize my character, I'd play a video game.

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