Skills: The Useless and the Useful


Playtest Reports

51 to 63 of 63 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
You can be blind as a bat and be great at hearing, but no one seems to have a problem with a combined Perception skill, somehow...
No one!? Are you saying I don't exist any more? ;-)

He can't see you. Low Perception score.


hogarth wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
You can be blind as a bat and be great at hearing, but no one seems to have a problem with a combined Perception skill, somehow...
No one!? Are you saying I don't exist any more? ;-)

No! Belatedly, I remembered that you're with me on that one, and deleted the post. Also, the wise Lord O-to-oah (or however he spells it) addressed that point succinctly and well.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
He can't see you. Low Perception score.

Right. But I still heard him coming...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Kirth Gersen wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
He can't see you. Low Perception score.
Right. But I still heard him coming...

Are we talking 3.5 or PF tho?


Kirth Gersen wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
You can be blind as a bat and be great at hearing, but no one seems to have a problem with a combined Perception skill, somehow...
No one!? Are you saying I don't exist any more? ;-)
No! Belatedly, I remembered that you're with me on that one, and deleted the post. Also, the wise Lord O-to-oah (or however he spells it) addressed that point succinctly and well.

Well, I've seen that argument a few times (e.g. "Perception reflects overall perceptiveness, and racial/feat bonuses reflect perceptiveness with one sense"), and I still disagree with it. At some point (after you've taken every possible feat to improve sight perception, say), you can't get keener eyesight without getting a keener sense of smell.

I don't mean to hijack the thread, though. I'm happy with a combined Climb/Swim or without a combined Climb/Swim.


The problem I have with combining these athletic skills is that it makes them much more accessible to non-athletic classes.

Right now, if you want your wizard to be athletic, you have to get out of the library, spend less time in the laboratory, and start swimming, climbing, and jumping. You have to give up a major amount of your "core" class skills in order to put points into the athletic skills.

But if you bundle them all up, you can have your wizard, with 2 skills per level +5 more for INT be just as athletic as your fighter, climbing, swimming, jumping with the best of them (OK, his STR makes him weaker at these skills, but his dedication to track and field can keep him right up there, more or less).

So why should a wizard be able to master the triathalon with just a single skill point each level?

**********************************************

No, if we want to make it easier for fighters (et. al.) to master the triathalon, let them have more skill points.

Which begs the question, why are we so afraid of adding skill points to classes that need them?

Not all fighters are "Me Ug! Me Smash! You die!" morons running around with big bludgeoning implements. Why can't we have a Inigo Montoya fighter, or a "Man In Black" fighter, or the Three Musketeers, or just about any Erol Flynn fighter, or what bout Liam Neeson's character in Rob Roy? John Carter of Mars? Fafhrd? Where is the room in D&D to create a fighter who can do something, anything, beyond just smashing foes on the battlefield?

Charlemagne was a fighter, yet he was also a diplomat and a statesman.

George C. Patton was a d20 Modern fighter, but his contemporary, Douglas McArthur, was a fighter and a diplomat and a politician - compare the difference in how those to relatively modern figures allocated their individual skill points.

Paladins in D&D have it even worse - they are expected to be physical and martial, yet also expected to hob-nob with church and social elites, and if RPed correctly (by medieval Euorpean standards) would be dancing, playing music, composing poetry, engaging in diplomacy, sensing the motives of other wiley diplomats and aristocrats, riding in hunts with other nobles, hawking, caring for their noble steeds, etc. Think of the vast array of skills a true iconic historical paladin should have. And yet, the poor D&D paladin gets just 2 skill points and INT is his ONLY dump stat.

What is our big fear? Why are we so scared of letting players and NPCs actually spend a few skill points each level?

Me, I would like to see a few things broken back apart. Stealth and Perception seem oversimplified to me.

Then I would group the skills into Athletic skills, Social Skills, Survival Skills, Knowledge Skills, Magical Skills, and Rogue skills (not sure about that last name).

Then I would give each class a few skill points broken down into the categories.

Fighters: 2 athletic, 1 survival, 1 social
Paladins: 1 athletic, 1 survival, 2 social, 1 magical or knowledge
Rangers: 2 athletic, 2 survival, 2 rogue, 1 magical or knowledge
Rogues: 1 athletic, 1 surviva, 2 social, 3 rogue
Sorcerer: 1 social, 2 magical, 1 knowledge
Wizards: 2 magical, 2 knowledge
etc.

Every class would have at least 1, maybe as many as 2 or 3 discretionary points for any category - these would be the points that fighters could spend on knowledge, or mages could spend on athletic skills. Or they could just put more points into their favorite categories.

Those numbers are just approximations to serve as examples.

Something like this would allow giving out more skill points to allow players to build their character with a background, and with personality and iterests beyond smashing bad guys, but without letting them just load up on their core skills and become supermen in one field.

Just a thought.

And I know it's not backward compatible, but that doesn't scare me as much as it seems to frighten others - I would rather have a cool system that works, despite a few issues meshing with older printed material, than have a mediocre system that still makes me write houserules (Once houseruled, these new houserules are not backwards compatible anyway).

Dark Archive

hogarth wrote:


Well, I've seen that argument a few times (e.g. "Perception reflects overall perceptiveness, and racial/feat bonuses reflect perceptiveness with one sense"), and I still disagree with it. At some point (after you've taken every possible feat to improve sight perception, say), you can't get keener eyesight without getting a keener sense of smell.

I don't mean to hijack the thread, though. I'm happy with a combined Climb/Swim or without a combined Climb/Swim.

Lord 0-to-oah here.

It isn't really an argument for or against per se, hogarth, at least not on my part.

Besides, one only has to look to the RAW to see that all the senses are not treated equally. Sight is king, with hearing the weak sister. There are extensive rules to adjudicate sight (and to lesser extent sound). Range of vision (normal, low light, dark vision, lanterns vs torches), tables to calculate encounter distances (based on vision), feats that compensate for loss of vision, penalties to apply when a caster is deafened, so on and so on.

Where are the feats to compensate for fighting/casting while deafened? Where are the tables to calculate encounter distances by sense of smell? ("Scent" special quality aside, everyone should have a chance to smell an approaching gang of ogres upwind at night) What is the DC to find a secret door/trap by sense of touch alone? What about magic items/spells that mask your scent as opposed to make you invisible or silent?

The point is we are really talking about 2 of the 5 senses for the most part when using the Perception skill and it is still superior to Spot and Listen IMO. At least it tries to incorporate the other senses. Of course you could split out all the senses but that would go against my last point below.

Yes there will be some inconsistencies (ie. all the senses getting better being "dragged" along, as in your example), but the reason for all of this is playability and simplicity, not strict realism.

Anyhow just my thoughts.

Cheers

Dark Archive

DM_Blake wrote:
...

Similar to your suggestion, how about a system that does away with X number of skill points per level by class and instead uses a characters stats to determine the number of skill points per level? Lets see if I can explain what I mean.

Each skill is currently tied to an ability (ie Climb = strength).

At each level your character would gain skill points equal to each of his ability modifiers. So a character with

15 Str (+2)
12 Dex (+1)
11 Con (+0)
10 Int (+0)
14 Wis (+2)
10 Cha (+0)

would have 2 Str, 1 Dex and 2 Wis skill points to spend per level.

Negative modifiers would be treated as equal to zero skill points.

You would do away with the class and cross-class restrictions. Or you could keep them and make points spent in class skills count for double. Or you could keep the Pathfinder +3 bonus modifier to trained class skills.

You would do away with the Int bonus to skill points. Or you could keep these as free "wild card" skill points to be spent on any skill regardless of ability (representing your overall capacity to learn).

You would retain the max skill ranks per level cap.

Trained only skills would remain that way.

Skills would be purchased by using your "ability based" points in the appropriate skills (ie. Str points could be spent on Climb and Swim).

(Con gets the shaft as there are no Con based skills in Pathfinder that I know of.)

The appropriate ability modifier would still be factored into skill checks. Climb skill for the fellow above, assuming he spent both str skill points in climb, would be equal to ranks (+2) + str mod (+2) for a skill rank total of 4. Racial bonus and armor check penalties apply as normal.

This is only a rough, off the top of my head idea. I haven't done the mathematical comparisons. I'm sure it would need adjustments for balance. Rogues for instance would "lose" a class strength (lots of skill points versus other classes). This could be addressed by making a class feature that rogues get X number of "bonus skill points" per level.

Backwards compatibility would also be an issue, but to a lesser extent perhaps. The only real issues would be the number of skill points gained per level and the distribution restrictions created by this system. There could be others of course.

Just an idea.

What do you think?

Cheers


I've argued that combining swim and climb and jump makes sense, for a couple reasons - mainly as an equalizer. The new perception skill or the new stealth skill is much more useful than swim or climb individually. But, apparently there are some advocates of having them be distinctive skills. The only rationle I've been able to come up with is swim and jump are class skills for fighter.

I am a big fan of some of the skill consolidations in Pathfinder, and it is a good thing. I've also argued for a consolidation of intimidate and diplomacy (ala the persuasian skill in the Star Wars Saga Edition system). As it is, no one is going to convince me that a rank in stealth isn't worth more than a rank in jump. Consolidating some skills and not others risks have some skills being far more useful than others.


DM_Blake wrote:

The problem I have with combining these athletic skills is that it makes them much more accessible to non-athletic classes.

Right now, if you want your wizard to be athletic, you have to get out of the library, spend less time in the laboratory, and start swimming, climbing, and jumping. You have to give up a major amount of your "core" class skills in order to put points into the athletic skills.

Except that the same Wizard can spend one skillpoint to Sneak nearly as good as the Rogue, or one in Perception to Search or Notice as good as a number of classes.

I know you touch on this in your own suggestion, but if Pathfinder is going to keep consolidated Sneak, Perception and others, having Climb sitting alone seems a bit off.

..

I've posted this before, however it's no longer accessible so I might repeat it here:

I'd say the "big issue physical skills" should be done like this:

Acrobatics: Balance checks and Tumble checks.
Athletics: Climb checks and Jump checks. Racial climb speeds grant bonus to climb and not losing Dex to AC, etc.
Swim: Can only make simple maneuvers untrained. Racial swim speeds grant bonus to swim and treated as trained.
Fly: Can only make simple maneuvers untrained. Racial fly speeds grant bonus to fly and treated as trained.

Moving Jump out of Acrobatics is necessary, as it breaks the skill check to be in a Dex based skill. You can be as flexible and coordinated as you want... that's not what affects your ability to Jump high or far. Timing and landing right and bending certain ways is required in acrobatic jumping, yes... but that's called Tumbling. Tumbling assumes you are already jumping around.

The Jump skill is meant to represent your ability to leap great distances or heights. You can be all fancy and bendy when getting up to the point of jumping... but the actual jump distance or height is based entirely on how much power you can push when launching yourself.
If you want some special technique to let you make great leaps without being very strong... well, I believe that's what the Monk class gets.

The reason Climb should be lumped in with Jump is because they both require Strength... one upper body, one lower body. The game will assume you are strong overall, since we don't need to micromanage specialist training for olympics (and if you REALLY need that, then make it a feat that grants +X to Athletics for Jump purposes, etc).

Climb can be a movement mode just like Swim or Fly, however it's one that anyone who can move on land can do untrained. Climbing isn't like trying to move through a completely different medium (water or air).

.

Then I'd do the following to these somewhat problem skills:

Perception (Passive): Wisdom skill. Remove the Search function. Used only for when you reactively need to perceive something... such as being surprised, eating something and needing to test for a poison.
This skill check might be rolled by the DM if he wants to keep things secret.

Perception (Proactive): Intelligence skill. New home of the Search function. Used only when a player wants to use his senses to actively look for something. The player may say "Can I spot anything at the treeline?" means Spot yes, but it's more like trying to systematically search for something at a great distance using his eyes only.

Spellcraft: Split into three different subsections, similar to Perform. Put ranks into one of the following sections individually: Intuitive (Wis), Insightful (Int), or Influential (Cha). These function exactly the same (just like each perform subchoice), only they use different mental casting stats.
Yes, this hurts multiclass characters, by possibly a skillpoint or two. I feel the difference is worth it, and it makes sense... why would a Wizard know how to hold a Cleric spell through concentration from his arcane training?

Concentration: Return of the Concentration skill, however removed completely from any spellcasting reference. This gives it even more reason to be Con based instead of Wis based.
Used to concentrate on anything that isn't a spell (supernatural abilities maybe? Monk abilities that extend beyond one round, if they ever get such things?).

Roll in the Autohypnosis effects:
Ignore caltrop
Memorize
Resist Dying
Resist Fear
Tolerate Poison
Willpower

These are all great abilities that many non-casters (especially melee combatants) would seem appropriate to have, and could greatly use. Resisting fear through a skill check could be what the Fighter needs instead of the Bravery ability. If you want a Brave fighter, you put skillpoints into Concentration... simple!
Resist dying and willpower are also some really nice combat options.

This also keeps the skill in game for backward compatibility, meaning you don't have to come up with some new mechanic.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

one thing about the new skills i don't like is Perception to spot traps. yes it makes sense, but it also takes rogues down a peg. Suddenly the rogue needs a decent wisdom, so her perception score can even notice a trap. I know search got rolled up into perception, but search was previously an intelligence skill, which rogues often had in spades (dex and int).

i had a fix in my home game:
1. take away the trapfinding ability only rogues get. anyone can have a chance to look around and notice a trap or tripwire or that something is funky.

2. Make finding traps a function of disable device or perception ( but make the dc 5 higher if you're using perception. sort of like how deciphering a scroll with use magic device is harder than doing it with spellcraft ).

result: now rogues can find and disable traps.
the magic item goggles of minute seeing, which only boosts disable device by 5 in pathfinder, now helps rogues find and remove traps.
now rangers and clerics have a better chance to be of some help, as a ranger can scout ahead too and have a chance to notice traps.

as it is
a cleric with one level of rogue makes the best trapfinder because they have a high wisdom, perception is a class skill, and they can cast find traps for a 1/2 caster level bonus.

a rogue will be sub par, having a -1, +0, or +1 wisdom. he'll have a modifier about +4 from his level, when the DC to spot the traps is about +8 from his level. so unless he's taking 20 to find all traps, he's going to screw up a lot of the time and just miss traps.


While there is some validity to a cleric/rogue having the best find traps, I have never seen Wisdom as a dump stat for rogues. Sooner Int, since they already get a boatload of skill points. In the 3.5 system, Wisdom was used for Listen, Spot, and other rather important skills, not to mention Will saves. Actually, in the translation, I think rogues are better off, now they don't have to try to keep both INT and WIS up to get bonuses, just one.

I admit the rogue in our PF campaign has a much better disable device than perception, but that's partly because she took skill focus DD. Besides, the party has an infallible trap finder. It's called a dwarven barbarian:)

51 to 63 of 63 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Roleplaying Game / Playtest Reports / Skills: The Useless and the Useful All Messageboards
Recent threads in Playtest Reports
Rangers