Current Skill System Potential Issue


Skills & Feats

Liberty's Edge

One thing that I saw a lot of as a DM and a Player is the regular choice of rogue for 1st level to get all the skill points. By making that choice a person had to give up his max hit points at 1st level as a trade off. Now with the current system a person does not get skill points x 4, so characters will take their high hit point classes first for extra hit points, or whatever class feature they want to start with. Then take their rogue level getting effectively the same skill level as they would have had in the 3.5 SRD system without a trade off.

Thoughts?


SirTristin wrote:

One thing that I saw a lot of as a DM and a Player is the regular choice of rogue for 1st level to get all the skill points. By making that choice a person had to give up his max hit points at 1st level as a trade off. Now with the current system a person does not get skill points x 4, so characters will take their high hit point classes first for extra hit points, or whatever class feature they want to start with. Then take their rogue level getting effectively the same skill level as they would have had in the 3.5 SRD system without a trade off.

Thoughts?

I agree, the abuse has been shifted from cherry picking to get a large amount of skill points to doing the same for a large maximum hit dice at first level. However, the difference now is pretty small since rogues and bards get a d8. I don't think the 2 hit point difference is a big enough deal to do much about it, but a possible fix would be to have a base amount of hit points come from race (one of the sidebar suggestions in the alpha), then roll your first class hit dice. So, say a human gets 6hp as a base, then add on the first level of fighter and your hit points would be: 6 + d10 + con bonus.


It does hold the potential of making multiclassing more desirable. I think one of Paizo's approach to balancing this concept it to make the idea of gaining 20 levels in a single class more appealing to the players. It becomes a trade off; one can select more skills, most of which end up being weaker than normal, or one can level in a single class for the upper-end abilities.


Yeah, rather than an issue, I view this as an advantage. The 4x skill points were always worth more than the 1-4 hp, especially in the long run.


A rogue 1/fighter 1 in the old system got 18 skill points more than a fighter 1/rogue 1, but 2 less HP.

2 HP, that's only 2/3 of the old and crappy toughness - we're talking less than a bad feat here.

18 skill points, on the other hand, are worth a lot more. There's a feat in the SRD (Open Minded, from the Expanded Psionics Handbook) That grants you 5 skill points. While it's not the most powerful feat out there, I'd say it's half-decent. So here, we're talking about more than 3 nice feats.

Note that those two characters separates nothing but the order in which they took their classes.

If you want to make it perfect, don't give them a full HD on first level - they only get the usual, like the roll of the die, or average, or whatever. To compensate, give them something else for first level - double con at first level, or even con score at first (either in addition to or instead of the normal con bonus you get at level one).


Personally, I'm a little more concerned that a character could now toss a single skill point into a skill like Acrobatics and reap the benefits for fighting defensively and full defense. Previously, that took 5 ranks, so you had to be at least 2nd level to do it (and it was very hard to achieve that with cross class skills). Now, I think it may be too easy for just anyone to get that benefit.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Personally, I'm a little more concerned that a character could now toss a single skill point into a skill like Acrobatics and reap the benefits for fighting defensively and full defense. Previously, that took 5 ranks, so you had to be at least 2nd level to do it (and it was very hard to achieve that with cross class skills). Now, I think it may be too easy for just anyone to get that benefit.

Agreed. With the shift back to skill points, I think it would be fair to set a minimum number of ranks to get the defensive bonuses.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

The Rogue/Fighter min/max aside, simply taking one class-skill rank at any time after taking 1 level of any class at any time grants the +3 bonus. If you took 5 levels of wizard and never spent any skill points on Knowledge Arcana (stupid plan, I know, but it's an example) and then 3 levels of fighter, even on your 9th level, adding 1 rank to Knowledge Arcana (regardless of what class you take at 9th level) you gain the class skill bonus. If this were done with a lot of skills over a number of classes, the multiple applications of +3 bonuses would add up to more than the x4 at first level would grant. Admittedly, you'd have a bunch of skills at all +4, which does little good at higher levels, but still.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:
If this were done with a lot of skills over a number of classes, the multiple applications of +3 bonuses would add up to more than the x4 at first level would grant.

Just to clarify (because I almost said something snotty like 1x4 = 1+3, then realize you are right ;\ ), in 3.5 one could get x4 on, at most, the number of skills you get per level. You could also spread those x4 points out, but the most you could max would be your skill points/level. Now you could potentially get the +3 on all class skills eventually. The +3 is meant to take the place of the x4 but it does go a bit beyond it. I'm actually okay with that.

The one thing that you could do - and I've advocated for this elsewhere - is to be more conservative with which skills are on the 'class skills list' for each class. Now that there are no cross-class skill penalties and non-class skills are only slightly less than beneficial than class skills, I see no reason to make something a class skill unless it really, REALLY needs to be, unless it really is part of the iconic image of the class. For example, Bards have Climb as a class skill. Great skill, really useful. Is it really what I think of when I think of Bards? No. Yank it. The can still buy ranks, they just won't get the +3. Rangers and Knowledge (dungeoneering), Wizards and Knowledge (nobility), Craft and Profession for any adventurer, these just aren't "duh, a _ has to have 'em" skills to me.

Limit people's class skill lists and you will reduce the number of +3s people get.

Grand Lodge

Mosaic wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
If this were done with a lot of skills over a number of classes, the multiple applications of +3 bonuses would add up to more than the x4 at first level would grant.

Just to clarify (because I almost said something snotty like 1x4 = 1+3, then realize you are right ;\ ), in 3.5 one could get x4 on, at most, the number of skills you get per level. You could also spread those x4 points out, but the most you could max would be your skill points/level. Now you could potentially get the +3 on all class skills eventually. The +3 is meant to take the place of the x4 but it does go a bit beyond it. I'm actually okay with that.

The one thing that you could do - and I've advocated for this elsewhere - is to be more conservative with which skills are on the 'class skills list' for each class. Now that there are no cross-class skill penalties and non-class skills are only slightly less than beneficial than class skills, I see no reason to make something a class skill unless it really, REALLY needs to be, unless it really is part of the iconic image of the class. For example, Bards have Climb as a class skill. Great skill, really useful. Is it really what I think of when I think of Bards? No. Yank it. The can still buy ranks, they just won't get the +3. Rangers and Knowledge (dungeoneering), Wizards and Knowledge (nobility), Craft and Profession for any adventurer, these just aren't "duh, a _ has to have 'em" skills to me.

Limit people's class skill lists and you will reduce the number of +3s people get.

That is a very good idea actually.


yoda8myhead wrote:
The Rogue/Fighter min/max aside, simply taking one class-skill rank at any time after taking 1 level of any class at any time grants the +3 bonus. If you took 5 levels of wizard and never spent any skill points on Knowledge Arcana (stupid plan, I know, but it's an example) and then 3 levels of fighter, even on your 9th level, adding 1 rank to Knowledge Arcana (regardless of what class you take at 9th level) you gain the class skill bonus. If this were done with a lot of skills over a number of classes, the multiple applications of +3 bonuses would add up to more than the x4 at first level would grant. Admittedly, you'd have a bunch of skills at all +4, which does little good at higher levels, but still.

Heading off something like this also falls outide the rules directly...say no the multiclass if it is obvious the player is just doing it to get more class skills. Fairly common in my current group (and past groups) for any multiclassing and prestige class acquistion to be approved by the DM and often the other players. There is only so far rules can go to heading off powergaming (which is what multiclassing just to get more class skills is), the bulk of doing so rests with the DM and Players themselves.

-Weylin Stormcrowe

Sovereign Court

Mosaic wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
If this were done with a lot of skills over a number of classes, the multiple applications of +3 bonuses would add up to more than the x4 at first level would grant.

Just to clarify (because I almost said something snotty like 1x4 = 1+3, then realize you are right ;\ ), in 3.5 one could get x4 on, at most, the number of skills you get per level. You could also spread those x4 points out, but the most you could max would be your skill points/level. Now you could potentially get the +3 on all class skills eventually. The +3 is meant to take the place of the x4 but it does go a bit beyond it. I'm actually okay with that.

The one thing that you could do - and I've advocated for this elsewhere - is to be more conservative with which skills are on the 'class skills list' for each class. Now that there are no cross-class skill penalties and non-class skills are only slightly less than beneficial than class skills, I see no reason to make something a class skill unless it really, REALLY needs to be, unless it really is part of the iconic image of the class. For example, Bards have Climb as a class skill. Great skill, really useful. Is it really what I think of when I think of Bards? No. Yank it. The can still buy ranks, they just won't get the +3. Rangers and Knowledge (dungeoneering), Wizards and Knowledge (nobility), Craft and Profession for any adventurer, these just aren't "duh, a _ has to have 'em" skills to me.

Limit people's class skill lists and you will reduce the number of +3s people get.

Yeah good idea way to cut to the heart of the matter.


SirTristin wrote:

One thing that I saw a lot of as a DM and a Player is the regular choice of rogue for 1st level to get all the skill points. By making that choice a person had to give up his max hit points at 1st level as a trade off. Now with the current system a person does not get skill points x 4, so characters will take their high hit point classes first for extra hit points, or whatever class feature they want to start with. Then take their rogue level getting effectively the same skill level as they would have had in the 3.5 SRD system without a trade off.

Thoughts?

I agree it also penalizes the Rogue class the most in game.

Consider at L1 a Human Rogue PC with a 14 intelligence could have 44 skill points to put into the 45 listed skills on page 63 of the PHB Table 4 - 2 Skills for a real skill monkey in a standard game even with those cross class skills ranked at 1/2.

I'm not suggesting that is the norm but it is currently an option and for most skills particularly in lower level games PCs don't need completely maxed out skills.

A single rank or half rank of Diplomacy can go along way in a game for almost any PC. That is also true of many knowledge skills or skills like Gather Information.

There are plenty of spells, powers and magic items in game that augment various skill checks in game.

In a skill heavy campaign just taking a single rank or half rank in all knowledge skills can be a good investment for a psion or a wizard or a Variant Psychic Rogue PC with a Hidden Talent like Call to Mind (It was left off their known power list) for determining PC knowledge in game.

The PF Rogue doesn't have that option.

I'd favor granting the PF Rogue a PF feat or class special comparable to the Jack of Trades feat to address that.


Mosaic wrote:

Just to clarify (because I almost said something snotty like 1x4 = 1+3, then realize you are right ;\ ), in 3.5 one could get x4 on, at most, the number of skills you get per level. You could also spread those x4 points out, but the most you could max would be your skill points/level. Now you could potentially get the +3 on all class skills eventually. The +3 is meant to take the place of the x4 but it does go a bit beyond it. I'm actually okay with that.

<snip>

Limit people's class skill lists and you will reduce the number of +3s people get.

I'm actually OK with the extra +3s as well. One of the complaints of the skills in 3.5 is that several characters don't get enough skill points. Now we're consolidating some skills, which helps to ameliorate the problem, getting rid of cross class costs which also helps ameliorate the problem, and effectively allowing the x4 bonus the first time any skill is taken that happens to be on the class list. That's 3 ways we're effectively getting more skill points than in 3.5.

And I'm OK with it. But it does suggest to me that we not actually increase the skill points given to most of the classes like some people are advocating.

Liberty's Edge

For a character at 1st level (let's say 6 skill points total), he can choose to put those into class skills, and have effectively 24 skill ranks spent (+4 on 6 skills). At 2nd level he can either increase those skills by 1, or start pumping a different set of skills. At 2nd level, getting effective 24 more skill points is awfully tempting. The same is true at every level.

But, if you spend 4 or 5 levels getting all of your class skills maxed out (or even 2 or 3), you're going to have a tough time making skill checks when they really matter.

There are a lot of times when having 18 skills with 4 ranks will be better than having 6 skills with 6 ranks. But the opposite is also true. There is an incentive to make 'broadly skilled' characters in Pathfinder, and their is an incentive to keep certain skills maxed because of the nature of challenges. This is a really good thing. It makes skill allocation more of a choice.

I'm still in favor of giving more class skills to some classes (fighter). The +3 bonus is nice, but it isn't that big a deal. If you limit the number of class skills signficantly, you just increase the likelihood of switching classes to add a larger number of skills to your skill list if that is your character concept - a jack of all trades. I'd rather try to make the current classes a little easier to fit your character concept into. And that means for me that the Fighter should have the class skill list of the 'Academy Trained' variant in Pathfinder Gazeteer, but without giving up a feat, and getting 4 skill points per level.

The HD difference for the OP, however, is not much of a concern. Since there are several variations for choosing HP in Alpha, it is hard to say what will be done. But there isn't that much difference between the classes. A 3.5 human rogue with 18 Int would have 52 skill points at 1st level, compared to the 28 a human fighter would get. The 24 skill points make that rogue level a virtual requirement to take first, regardless of character background. Now, the rogue level might come first, but the fighter level might come first. There are advantages to having 8 class skills at level 1 (or 13 w/ human and high Int) instead of 2 (or 7 with modifiers). Possibly worth a 2hp difference.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Roleplaying Game / Alpha Playtest Feedback / Alpha Release 2 / Skills & Feats / Current Skill System Potential Issue All Messageboards
Recent threads in Skills & Feats