Athletics (Climb, Jump, Swim) Please!


Skills & Feats

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I know this has been mentioned in passing in a couple posts and I apologize if I have missed where it has been discussed in more length elsewhere, but . . .

Please condense the physical skills (Climb, Jump, Swim) into one skill. Call it Athletics or something like that. I know Jump is now Dex. Change it.

These skills are almost always a waste of ranks or training (or however skills are going to be decided) and need to be combined to make them worth taking at all. I've done this with my SW SAGA game and, even with all the Str skills combined into one, most players still see it as a sub-optimal choice.

Please consider it.

Thank you.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Agreed!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

See, I'd go with Athletics = Run, Jump, Climb, but keep Swim a separate skill.


Please no - skill consolidation is fine and dandy to a point, but different movement modes need to remain separate.


I'd go even further and say:

Athletics = Climb, Jump, Run & Swim

Liberty's Edge

I am truly surprised no one has commented here. Consider this a bump.

Liberty's Edge

Arnim Thayer wrote:
I am truly surprised no one has commented here. Consider this a bump.

Well I've already posted ad nauseum about bringing Jump back into the STR fold.

I dont think it should be combined with Swim. I agree to some degree that climb is a mode of movement too - and thus should not be combined with it either. That would just leave jump all by itself and be counter-intuitive to what Paizo has been attempting to do with the skill condensing.

All in all, Jump needs to be out of the Acrobatics, and into a Strength based skill that is available as a class skill to fighters.

Mixing it with climb makes the most sense - although as I said I can see why climb needs to be by itself as well if that is the argument.

And athletics is as good a name for that combo as any (if not, better).

Swim definitely needs to be a skill by itself - if Fly is its own skill, so too should swim.

Robert


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Get rid of the fly skill and

Athletics = Climb, Jump, Run & Swim

Liberty's Edge

Eric Tillemans wrote:

Get rid of the fly skill and

Athletics = Climb, Jump, Run & Swim

What does Run do as a skill? I haven't seen that one, yet.

Robert


Eric Tillemans wrote:


Athletics = Climb, Jump, Run & Swim

I vote for this combo as well.


I'm all for combining Climb, Jump, and Swim into one skill. Fly (if kept) should be seperate because that is actually being able to maneuver using an un-natural movement (usually through magic, why only spellcasters get it as a class skill).


Athletics = Climb, Jump, Run & Swim

Liberty's Edge

TabulaRasa wrote:
Athletics = Climb, Jump, Run & Swim

Again; what is the run skill? What does that do? (obviously it allows you to run.....but everyone can run) What game mechanic does the skill allow? I don't think I've read this skill before.

Robert


There is no Run skill mechanic present right now. But it should be.
Mainly it should have two uses:

- Speed-up: Increase your base land speed while on foot (f.e. skill check => run multi +1 or something)

- Endurance: Endure long marches or sprints (remember Lord of the Rings?)

This two would be the most important aspects, can't come up with something else right now.
Hope this has cleared some things up.


I wholeheartedly disagree with this whole idea.

Jumping, Climbing, and occasionally even Swimming, are modes of movement. Being able to jump a certain distance or climb up a wall makes a huge difference in a game, potentially. They're not a "waste" of skill points. They cost skill points because they can be extremely useful in a game.

If you do combine all these totally disparate skills (the actual techniques of which have little to do with each other outside of being based on Strength), then you have to reduce the number of skill points each class gets. I am more and more certain every time I come on this board that people want to combine the skills just so that they can effectively have more points.

Also, just because two skills are based on the same ability doesn't make them the same. If you really want to go that route, then you should just reduce everything to an ability check and eliminate skills altogether.

This is all I'll say on the matter. I don't want to be the one stinker in a thread full of enthusiastic people, but you have to look at little more closely at the actual, in-game effects of this kind of thing.


The Real Orion wrote:
you have to look at little more closely at the actual, in-game effects of this kind of thing.

Can you give us some examples of what you mean? From my perspective I am also fully in the camp of combining these skills as I hardly ever see players spend significant points on them.

Liberty's Edge

The Real Orion wrote:

I wholeheartedly disagree with this whole idea.

Jumping, Climbing, and occasionally even Swimming, are modes of movement. Being able to jump a certain distance or climb up a wall makes a huge difference in a game, potentially. They're not a "waste" of skill points. They cost skill points because they can be extremely useful in a game.

As you'll note - I did give credence to this line of thinking and agree with it that the modes of movement need to be their own skills. Which if Jump was then taken out of Acrobatics and made a STR based skill again - it leaves it as a skill all by itself - which also is counter-productive to what Paizo is doing with the skills. So I'm at a loss as to which way is the lesser of three evils.

Combine with Climb (only - not with swim and fly and the phantom run)
Combine with athletics - which takes away the ooomph of the skill in relation to warrior types.
Have it as a stand alone skill

My favorite is number 1; but I do agree in the modes of movement needed to be seperate.

Robert


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

An Athletic combo could be handled like the current Perception combo with different modes of movements included in the skill.

As for “run” it would be useful to have a more dynamic way to handle pursuits between similar speeds.

Liberty's Edge

If there were voting (though there is not) I would vote against this.

I'd actually go so far as to vote against many of the already combined skills.

For me, Pathfinder's utility as a game system will be made or broken on only three criteria - skills, feats, and spells. The skill structure is good, though the skill points and the skill combinations are not (Concentration being gone, and Speak Language automatically added to Decipher Script), and that is a major concern for me. The Combat Feats are the Royal Suck, and as far as I'm concerned, they're a deal breaker. But for that reason I don't expect to see them in the Alpha 3. And spells, well, nothing to worry me too much, but I did like Domain abilities much more in 3.5, and that's a concern, but I can houserule it back.

Combining skills is pretty easy on the fly. You just give the character an extra skill point each time you combine a skill. Uncombining skills is not. So, if there is a place to register a vote, put me strongly in the 'no combined Athletics Skill'.


I really don't get all this "Modes of Movement" stuff.
Seriously: How often do you roll Swim (or climb or jump)?
How often must it be that putting more than one or two ranks in would be more appealing?

I guess Climb is the most used of those, so with Climb, Jump and Swim (and a nice run/endurance mechanic) combined into one skill, those other "athletic-use-ropes" won't be neither dropped nor forgotten.

Don't get me wrong: I am not voting this to actually get more skill points for my favorite classes or such. If skills condense even further I wouldn't even mind if some classes LOOSE some skill points!

I am just for more simplicity and less unuseful or never-picked skills.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes. Athletics = Climb, Jump, [Run], and Swim. (I'd also welcome throwing Endurance into the mix.)

Liberty's Edge

Star Wars Saga has a similar consolidation for Run and Swim. We adapted it for our first play test. We combined Climb and Jump into one skill since they were both governed by Strength.

Athletics = Climb + Jump (STR)
Endurance = Run + Swim (CON)

This does eliminate the Endurance feat by providing a skill that can be increased as the character progresses; the skill is used for such things as Forced March, Hold Breath, and Ignore Thirst/Hunger.

With all the skill consolidation the Star Wars Saga used for our initial 3.P play test; we found that certain classes were receiving too many skill points. Simply using 4 + INT modifier/level for EVERY class evened the playing field (i.e. no skill monkey class!)

As for what Run does...

Run: You can run as a full-round action. When you run, you can make an Endurance check (DC 10) move up to four times your normal speed in a straight line. An Endurance check of DC 15 is required if you are wearing heavy armor or carrying a heavy load for a maximum of three times your speed.

I highly recommend giving it a try.


Arnim Thayer wrote:

Athletics = Climb + Jump (STR)

Endurance = Run + Swim (CON)/QUOTE]
I like this combo. It keeps with the "no more than two skills into one" for balance and it makes since (more so than combining them all into one anyway).

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Lord Tataraus wrote:
Arnim Thayer wrote:

Athletics = Climb + Jump (STR)

Endurance = Run + Swim (CON)/QUOTE]
I like this combo. It keeps with the "no more than two skills into one" for balance and it makes since (more so than combining them all into one anyway).

Agreed. That's also a good one, a better idea even.


A couple of people asked me to clarify my objection, so I'm going to do that. I don't want to seem like I'm trying to stink up someone's thread.

Different modes of movement (Climb, Jump, Swim) are going to be useful in different circumstances. Therefore, PCs should have to buy them separately. I think that Climb, Jump, and Swim should be kept entirely separate. They are different skills from a real-world perspective, and from a game-mechanical perspective, they solve different problems in a game.

I don't think this hypothetical "Athletics" skill is a proper parallel to "Perception." First, I'm not a fan of Perception, but I'll leave that aside. I think Listen and Spot should be combined because observation (i.e., noticing details and taking note of them) isn't done with just one sense. It's all of them at once. It's also not just a matter of how keen your senses are, otherwise you wouldn't be able to take ranks in it. It would just default to an ability (probably Wisdom).

If PCs don't ever take Climb, Jump, and Swim, then DMs should be putting more walls, pits, and pools in their way.

I do favour simplification, but I don't think this is "simpler," exactly. For those who really don't like the skill system, just default everything to ability checks and grant a bonus by level. That's really simple, and if you prefer to play that way, then have fun! I wouldn't dream of stopping you.


The only consolidation I would like to see, would be Climb+Jump. Real climbers jump while rappeling, jump to get a hold, and jump to get a grip on top of a wall. The skills seem easy to combine.

Swim is totally seperate. Different muscle groups. Run is different again.

Look at mammals. animals that climb can usually jump. animals that climb can sometimes not run effectively. Animals that can swim are often not very good runners or climbers.

Roll climb and jump together, and call them Climb.


Combining Climb and Run into Athletics. Acrobatics already includes Jump so how do we make this relevant to Jump and how do we make running work? Hmm.

Here is a possibility.

Diminutive creatures can make an Athletics check to gain a 5-foot increment bonus to movement made when using the full move action.
Tiny 10 feet
Small 15 feet
Medium 20 feet
Large 30 feet
Huge 45 feet
Gargantuan 65 feet
Colossal 90 feet

DC = 4 x # of increments
So an untrained, lightly encumbered human could move 60 feet + 40 feet by taking 10.
60 feet + 60 feet if Strength score is 14-23.

Medium encumbrance makes it DC 6 x # of increments
Heavy encumbrance makes it DC 8 x # of increments

As a result, a high Strength character would have a better chance to run faster while encumbered than a low Strength character.
As a result a Str 18 heavily armored fighter has a chance of making it out of the wizard's lair before it explodes. This chance is determined by his physical training, and not some arbitrary universal rule that he has to be as slowed down as much as a Str 12 wizard wearing the same load would be (I know - ha ha - but it can happen).

This is MUCH more realistic and can make chasing down bad guys more interesting.

Instead of a Constitution check to sustain a run, make an athletics check. Athletics is about learning to push yourself to your limits and sometimes beyond.

SPECIAL (Trained Only): You can make an athletics check as part of a running jump to gain a bonus to your Acrobatics check. The bonus is equal to 1/4 the check result if lightly encumbered, 1/6 if moderately encumbered, and 1/8 if heavily encumbered.

Liberty's Edge

In my game now I combine Climb, Jump, and Swim into Athletics. It works out really well. I think it holds up well if you think of the Acrobatics skill as "trained nimbleness" and Athletics as "trained physicality." I want to further bump the notion that the skills should be combined. If we've got combined Acrobatics, Perception, and Disable Device in the mix so far, putting Athletics in is a good idea. And get rid of the Fly skill, please; it's kind of silly and doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Jeremy Puckett


As I noted in another thread (before I knew this one existed), if there were to be a grouping of skills combined into Athletics I would favor Climb, Jump, and Swim. Not because they are the same thing, but they group together the Strength skills nicely. My version of Acrobatics would combine Balance, Escape Artist, and Tumble (a similar grouping of Dexerity skills). I think this is basically a requirement if you want any skill to compare with Almighty Stealth and Almighty Perception!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Blair wrote:
As I noted in another thread (before I knew this one existed), if there were to be a grouping of skills combined into Athletics I would favor Climb, Jump, and Swim. Not because they are the same thing, but they group together the Strength skills nicely. My version of Acrobatics would combine Balance, Escape Artist, and Tumble (a similar grouping of Dexerity skills). I think this is basically a requirement if you want any skill to compare with Almighty Stealth and Almighty Perception!

I believe that the manner by which you are classifying them is most sensical. Of course, I'm not one of the developers. Oh well.


I would ask pleas don't do this. Swim and climb have nothing in common.


I'd suggest going with Athletics (Jump+Climb) and Endurance (Endurance feat uses, Swim, running stuff) out of all the above.

In my games (previously) we did combine Jump+Climb+Swim into one skill though, and it made little difference for actual in-game play/fun. Whatever "IRL" notions we have is of little consequence (different muscle groups? seriously?).

Liberty's Edge

Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

The only consolidation I would like to see, would be Climb+Jump. Real climbers jump while rappeling, jump to get a hold, and jump to get a grip on top of a wall. The skills seem easy to combine.

Swim is totally seperate. Different muscle groups. Run is different again.

Look at mammals. animals that climb can usually jump. animals that climb can sometimes not run effectively. Animals that can swim are often not very good runners or climbers.

Roll climb and jump together, and call them Climb.

This is pretty much where I feel the close to. Swim should be seperate, too - its too different, and only those trained to swim should be able to do so well - swimming is such an infrequent occurence in the game - but one when it does happen, those who trained to do it are worth their weight in gold.

Climb and Jump are enough of a synergistic need that I could see them lopped into one skill. At least more than into acrobtics that already has tumble and balance.

As for the Fly skill - I do kinda like it and think it should stay. I cant count the number of times a wizard casts fly on a fighter to have him go grace the sky in combat with a dragon or other natural flyer, and there be nothing taking into effect the knowledge or ability of the fighter knowing how to fly so successfully.

Robert

Liberty's Edge

After looking through some other D20 products from other game companies (Horizon's Spellslinger, Game of Thrones, [1]Iron Heroes[/i], etc.), I think combining the Climb, and Jump skills seem pretty universal ideas. Why so much outcry against?

Liberty's Edge

Arnim Thayer wrote:

After looking through some other D20 products from other game companies (Horizon's Spellslinger, Game of Thrones, [1]Iron Heroes[/i], etc.), I think combining the Climb, and Jump skills seem pretty universal ideas. Why so much outcry against?

They represent different things. Having every creature that is good at climbing also be good at jumping doesn't support the game I want to play.

I'm sure everyone on these boards has watched the Lord of the Ring movies. Remember in Moria when the goblins scurried down the pillars? Did you see any bouncing around like Gummi Bears? I didn't and I don't want to.

I want the crunch to support the fluff. A change like combining hide and move silently is good because while they may represent different things, I'm willing to accept the sacrifice to keep it to one roll for the action. Likewise the combination of spot and listen makes a single action into one roll. These make sense because of the way the action is declared and cutting down on extraneous dice rolling can help speed up game play.

All other combinations really need to be justified. If a skill is 'too weak', that might be a justification for combining it with another, but I don't think these skills fall into that category.

And from the point of a human it could make sense for a creature to be able to be good at both climbing and swimming, since they're both 'athletic events'. But surely that logic doesn't hold true for a dolphin? Just because a human might be good at both doesn't mean that we should give a dolphin the ability to climb. If a human wants to be good at both, he can put ranks in both.

I think that many of the people that are asking for combined skills refuse to see those combinations from any perspective other than that of the PCs. The PCs in my game get the most spotlight, but they are seriously outnumbered by the NPCs. If the rules are 'wonky' for every character that isn't a PC, as a DM I have a major problem with that.


Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

The only consolidation I would like to see, would be Climb+Jump. Real climbers jump while rappeling, jump to get a hold, and jump to get a grip on top of a wall. The skills seem easy to combine.

Swim is totally seperate. Different muscle groups. Run is different again.

Look at mammals. animals that climb can usually jump. animals that climb can sometimes not run effectively. Animals that can swim are often not very good runners or climbers.

Roll climb and jump together, and call them Climb.

Agreed, although I would call them Clump or Jimb. And I would like to see Swim and Run together: Swun, or Rim. Rim... I like that.


Ok now, point is: If it's "logical/realistical" to combine climb, jump, swim and run, is just unimportant. Really.

If you start with realism, you'll end up with all the system being torn appart (starting with hit points and saves f.e.)

The only point at question is:

- Is it balanced or does it grant to much "power"?

To answer it myself:

1) It's not overpowered. Balance and tumble have far greater effect because of their combat usages. And furthermore climb, jump and swim aren't used THAT often. And especially swim is one of those skills I start calling: "Physical-use-ropes".

2) Those skills are the back bone of all physically active characters. To make those skills each separate means, it's even harder to be good in more than one or two rather general(!) physical activities.
Furthermore: Most physical classes don't get enough skill points to buy them all (without dropping every other important skill they would need).

3) Take a look at the non-physics f.e. The wizard might be the best example. They get 2+INT points and the only skills they REALLY need are Spellcraft and Knowledge (Arcane) - Two skills, two points. With their high INT they can furthermore buy what ever skills they like.
Now take a look at the fighter: the same points. Skills?: Climb, jump, swim, acrobatics. And that would be only the physical skills.

4) Think about it. What reason OTHER THAN "IT JUST FEELS UNREALISITC" is there to NOT combine those skills? Does it really grant that much of a power increase? I really don't think so.

- DD

P.S: About creatures. Yeah the dolphin can't climb, sure. But take a look at the 3.5 creature entry. Do you find any sentence about dolphins being actually unable to climb? No. And why? Because they assumed common sense. But since this was a rather daring assumtion it could easily solved by introducing a disability/incompetence trait that just don't allow the usage of a skill (or some part of), or it imposes a -8 penalty and don*t allows taking 10 (never).

Liberty's Edge

Actually, they didn't give the dolphin ranks in climb. They did give them ranks in swim.

If you combine them, you have dolphins that can climb as a matter of course. That is stupid, but I don't want to have to even know what a dolphin is supposed to be like to use one in the Monster Manual. Because if I see a description for an aquatic Goobahraver that I've never heard of, the fact that it is 'good' at climbing can be confusing.

So, for the martial classes, give them more skill points.

Less combinations of skills, not more.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm for keeping the skills of jump, climb, and swim separate as well. Reason for that is that i can be a good swimmer but can't climb worth a darn.

Now if there was a skill of athletaism that gave access to all those skills but at a higher DC (+3-5) sounds better to me.


I would just like to add 1 little thing.

I see jump & Climb used extensively.

Jump is very important for being able to charge in less then idea conditions.
Climb I see used more out of combat.


I like the idea of athletics, but only if they are not getting rid of the two plus intelligence skill rules for classes. If they add more skills to those classes I think that the skills work pretty good how they are.


All the people who want to combine various skills that are not necessarily the same nor should go together for the sake of convenience should play 4e. You'll get your heart's desire there.

If your idea were actually grounded in any sort of reality the world rock-climbing champion would also be an Olympic swimming champion, high jump and long jump champion. That is not the case and that is why the skills should remain separate.

Plus, all sloths must be expert swimmers and all otters mountain climbers.


Seriously, the only reason people want this to happen is for the sake of convenience and to minimize their lack of skill points (great, now I can put 4 ranks into Acrobatics and Athletics and be good at everything).

Scarab Sages

Athletics = Run, Climb, Jump. Sounds good to me.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I notice that no folks from Paizo have poked their heads in here. So, I suspect that come the v3 release tomorrow, we'll see what Paizo thinks. That said, I already have a list of personal house rules that I'll likely plug into Pathfinder once it's a go - this being one of them.


Just because no one from Paizo has not chimed in on the thread, doesn't mean they haven't considered what's been said here.

Back in Beta 1, I posted a observation about "Make Whole - 2nd Level Heal?" where there wasn't one reply to it at all, but yet the spell changed in Beta 2.

Which certainly says to me, Jason does keep an eye out on the boards.


Wow. I need to keep a better eye on the threads I start.

Obviously, I'm of the opinion that simulation should not be an overwhelming factor in game design. It certainly hasn't had a huge impact on DnD through the various editions. The idea that a good climber is always good at swimming and jumping is no more silly than the idea that someone who is graceful has an inherent ability to become a better shot with a bow.

I can't imagine that it would imbalance the skill system either. A fighter with Int 13 could take Athletics, Intimidation and Ride. Or maybe, he could take Athletics, Ride and Survival. Either combination does not lead to a game-breaking character. A fighter who has taken Climb, Jump and Swim will probably use all of those skills less than a handful of times in their entire career.

The inherent weakness in those skills is shown by how much attention the DM has to pay to different physical challenges, just to make sure Climb, Jump and Swim have their individual merits in the game. With Athletics, I try to include some physical challenges. Still, it's a lot easier than making sure every 3rd adventure has a swimming hazard (that most PCs will bypass anyway).

Conversely, as a DM, I've never had to worry about including Perception or Acrobatics in my written adventures since they get used plenty. Because of this, I would argue that even Athletics is a sub par skill.

As far as this being a PC-focused approach, aren't the PCs the most important part of the game? I would have no problem with a game with Athletics as a combined skill. However, I would walk out the first time the DM had a dolphin climb a tree, just because it's part of the skill description.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Xaaon of Xen'Drik wrote:
Athletics = Run, Climb, Jump. Sounds good to me.

Yup. Swim stays separate but Jump + Climb + (Run) = Athletics.


I really don't mind that much if Paizo rolls Climb, Jump and Run into Athletics, but skill synergies should be dropped or revised. I also think that rolling swimming into Athletics would be wrong, since its not a function of Athletics.

By the way, players may be the most important part of an adventure or campaign, but they aren't separate from everything else, and changes in rules affect all aspects of the game, not just the PCs.

Then again, I'm coming to this argument from the perspective of a designer and GM, not necessarily as a player. As a player I would like nothing better than to shrink down and streamline the skills. It would make my troll barbarian and human monk/rogue characters (in the WOW rpg and Eberron respectively) fantastic.

I do have a few questions, however. The player's speed determines the bonus he gains to the Jump skill. How would this be rolled into the Athletics skill? Would a monk character have to keep separate modifiers for his Athletics skill? would his base speed add to his bonus when running? How about the combination of running and jumping? Could a player use the Athletics skill to run very fast and then gain a bonus to his Jump check?

What about armor check penalties for swimming? Are they still doubled for those with the Athletics skill? That's yet another separate modifier. And does your land speed affect your swim speed?

Also, when creating monsters or animals with a climb speed what do we give them, a +8 racial modifier to their Athletics skill, but only when climbing? A choker would then have to have two entries, one being its Athletics skill and another in brackets its Athletics skill when climbing. It makes sense I suppose, but are we potentially confusing GMs here?

I don't mind rolling stuff together into one skill, but is it absolutely necessary? Is your game being ruined because it isn't being done?


Jason Raether wrote:
As far as this being a PC-focused approach, aren't the PCs the most important part of the game?

That attitude is a very convenient way of dismissing the loads of work that go into creating a game and/or running it. To my mind, the DM is one of the "players." They just have a different role, and if they're not having fun then it's just as bad as one of the players not having a fun.

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