Skills: The Useless and the Useful


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Recently, my playgroup has adopted the Pathfinder system. I like the system as a whole, and love what has been done with skills, but I suggest a few changes based on playtest experience:

Roll Swim and Climb into a single skill: These skills still seem useless, especially since all the other 'useless' skills have been packaged, like jump and balance, or decipher script and forgery. We've named the new skill Athletics.

Concentration isn't fully covered. I like that concentration has been rolled into spellcraft, but this presents a problem. The diamond mind school out of ToB uses concentration in a lot of things that spellcraft doesn't suit. We've created a new skill, called Focus, that rolls this martial half of concentration together with the Autohypnosis skill from XPH. Base it off CON, or INT, depending on balance decisions there, and it becomes a useful skill in it's own right, and meshes correctly with ToB.

Shadow Lodge

athletics has been debated thouroughly. as far as the others... autohip, and the rest. that is what extra lines are for. having a skill based off of one class doesn't make sence enough to change anything. and concentration, what was the point of moving it? 'it didn't fit?'
The main reason they were put together was so wizards/Sorcerers didn't have to use 2 skill points to do essentially the same thing. Now they don't make a concentration check to cast defencively, they make a spellcraft check. That is why they were combined.


I understand that concentration was rolled into spellcraft for just that reason, what I'm saying is that, yes, they should keep that, but it would be nice to have a skill that represented the martial half of concentration, and meditative focus, without having to attach it to spellcasting, especially since Tome of Battle is a pretty popular book with it's introduction of diversity to melee classes (Pathfinder is giving this a good shot in my opinion. Fighter still seems somewhat bland, but is improved.)

Shadow Lodge

I know what you mean. ToB kicks but. And i understand your point about spell craft. we had it out in my group about why can a commoner see a spell and make a check to know what it is. Our conclusion was that he can't do a dambed thing about it, so it is alot like knowing what caliber gun you are going to be executed. it just doesn't matter mechanically. So why compound the problem.


Mahrke wrote:

Recently, my playgroup has adopted the Pathfinder system. I like the system as a whole, and love what has been done with skills, but I suggest a few changes based on playtest experience:

Roll Swim and Climb into a single skill: These skills still seem useless, especially since all the other 'useless' skills have been packaged, like jump and balance, or decipher script and forgery. We've named the new skill Athletics.

Concentration isn't fully covered. I like that concentration has been rolled into spellcraft, but this presents a problem. The diamond mind school out of ToB uses concentration in a lot of things that spellcraft doesn't suit. We've created a new skill, called Focus, that rolls this martial half of concentration together with the Autohypnosis skill from XPH. Base it off CON, or INT, depending on balance decisions there, and it becomes a useful skill in it's own right, and meshes correctly with ToB.

I strongly agree that swim and climb should be folded into a combo skill like athletics. There is no one I have ever played or even heard of that took max ranks in both skills and they are kinda redundant. This would make it more economical to take fair ranks in it and see a strong improvement.

Other skills which I think need folding in are knowledge(nobility) and knowledge(history) since both these things are learned with each other in school and knowing a lot about one lends itself to knowing a lot about the other.
Ex. Knowing that Charlemagne ruled France from 768AD to 814AD through the knowledge(nobility) skill tells you that Charlemagne ruled France. Which is a historical fact. There are no pieces of information that knowledge(nobility) would tell you that you wouldn't be able to get from knowledge(history). There is no need for this to be two skills.

Knowledge(geography) and knowledge(local) can also reasonably be folded into each other. The main reasons her is that no one ever takes 20 ranks of knowledge(local) and you always run into the problem of where is you local knowledge and where does it end. It doesn't make sense. Just fold them into each other and you get one skill that can reasonably be expected to do the job of both.

Shadow Lodge

Knowledge (local) and Knowledge (Geography) are totally different. Knowledge (local) means information on your particaular country. cities, crops, nobility, important figures, best priced shops. street smart stuff.
Knowledge (Geography) is getting from A to B without getting lost. as far as the climb/swim thing. i beleive it was beatin' to death that a good climber does not a micheal phelps make. Personally i could give a rip. low skill point characers really need a hand. and high skill characters are already doing fine.


Climb, is the old theif climb walls (and monk too)
Swim is well exactly that.

A triton who is really good at swimming (an aquatic race) wouldnt necessarily be able to climb aslick cliff next to said ocean. But a really high level rogue could.

They can't be combined, solely because we would like to spread around the wealth with more skill points to spend on other things.

Most of the people in my campaigns have usually had NO ranks in swim.
Oddly enough the fighter I play has 4 ranks in swim and 1 in climb.

WHY? I dunno, not sure why I did that? What was I thinking at the time.
I suppose I should have put ranks in perception ( I have none) or use magic device (none) but I am so used to Cross class skills from 3.5, I havent got used to the new skills system so I stayed within my class skills (lol)
I suppose had I realized you could track without the feat I would have put more in survival.
But...If I hadnt had 4 ranks in swim I would have died last saturday when a Drow Priestess cast dispel magic on a summoned hippogriff I was riding, which dumped me into the ocean with a orca, and some crazy druid riding it.

My +11 swim, coupled with armor training, (and a few real lucky rolls) made it so my full plate wearing fighter didnt drown and gave the cleric time to summon a shark to help me get to shore.

That's the last time Ill be flying summoned mounts over bodies of water wearing full plate though!
(But Thanks to the dieties for inspiring me to put serveral ranks in Swim!)

Scarab Sages

Pendagast wrote:

Climb, is the old theif climb walls (and monk too)

Swim is well exactly that.

A triton who is really good at swimming (an aquatic race) wouldnt necessarily be able to climb aslick cliff next to said ocean. But a really high level rogue could.

They can't be combined, solely because we would like to spread around the wealth with more skill points to spend on other things.

Most of the people in my campaigns have usually had NO ranks in swim.
Oddly enough the fighter I play has 4 ranks in swim and 1 in climb.

WHY? I dunno, not sure why I did that? What was I thinking at the time.
I suppose I should have put ranks in perception ( I have none) or use magic device (none) but I am so used to Cross class skills from 3.5, I havent got used to the new skills system so I stayed within my class skills (lol)
I suppose had I realized you could track without the feat I would have put more in survival.
But...If I hadnt had 4 ranks in swim I would have died last saturday when a Drow Priestess cast dispel magic on a summoned hippogriff I was riding, which dumped me into the ocean with a orca, and some crazy druid riding it.

My +11 swim, coupled with armor training, (and a few real lucky rolls) made it so my full plate wearing fighter didnt drown and gave the cleric time to summon a shark to help me get to shore.

That's the last time Ill be flying summoned mounts over bodies of water wearing full plate though!
(But Thanks to the dieties for inspiring me to put serveral ranks in Swim!)

The aquatic example is a bit of a bad example though, since races with a swim speed get a +8 racial bonus to Swim. Similarly, races with a climb speed get a +8 racial bonus to Climb. If these skills were combined, the bonus wouldn't need to change (as is shown by our 5-pronged Perception, they can be split).

Muscle and endurance wise, there isn't that much difference between Climbing and Swimming. At least, no more than there's a difference between Tumbling, Balancing, and Jumping.

I think it works.


Swim almost seems like it needs to be a binary skill like literacy. You either know how or do not. I know there are vast degrees of aptitude in real life, but honestly, how often does it come up in game?

Scarab Sages

Often enough. Seems like there's a 'swim' danger in every AP, especially right at the start.

Spoiler:

Age of Worms - The flooded basement with a water elemental in the tomb.
Rise of the Runelords - Thistletop bridge trap, area with crazy swimming thing in little cove
Curse of the Crimson Thrones - Jigsaw Shark danger when going after Lamm, hole with alligator

I agree with the concensus that Swim and Climb should be combined, though. They just don't come up that often enough to be individual skills, considering their usefulness can often be taken away by spells.


I find the argument that Swim doesn't match Climb weak.
Given the 2 skill rank classes are "set in stone" apparently, classes like Fighter need a break here.

And compare the other consolidations:
Tumble/Jump/Balance, Spot/Search/Listen/Smell/Taste, Forgery/Linguistics.
Swim+Climb is not pushing borders of believability signifigantly more than those.
Bonuses to specific usages (ala Jump or Specific Senses) still exist.

I agree that Nobility and History could go together.

I disagree with Geography/Local being combined, though I somewhat feel that Know:Local should be CHA based, not INT (i.e. it's how many people you know, information osmosis that's not book-learnable)
I detailed this option further in another post, such as how to limit Know:Local to N locales determined by CHA (though Feat could increase) along the lines of Bonus Languages and INT. The current standard of "Know:Local applies EVERYWHERE, even where you don't speak language or were just teleported across the universe" grates on my nerves, but if it's kept, then I agree, it should be merged with Know:Geography.


I don't want them combined. The community as a whole will never come to a consensus as to what the final set of skills should be. I'd rather Paizo listed them as they prefer (but be sure that they're all still there from 3.5 for BC), and then we can decide whether or not we wish to change them. I know that for myself, my list of skills for players looks a lot more like the 3.5 list than the Pathfinder list.

I'm more concerned with how they handle problem skills like tumble and diplomacy, rather than which skills are combined with what.


And this is why I generally disagree with the majority of the consolidations. Get to a certain point and we may as well not use a skills sub-system at all.

What other solid reasons, besides the low skill point allotment for the fighter, are there to combine Swim and Climb?

The problem at this point is that Swim and Climb both control two different movement modes and a main reason to include the Fly skill. While I admit that Swim is not a commonly used skill (give most players' hydrophobia and fear of drowning). That doesn't mean it should be folded together with Climb (which is the far more utilized skill), it means that the rules for Swim and interaction with water need to be reexamined as to why it isn't being used more.

As for a Fighter not having enough skill points... that is a different issue that can be addressed without merging more skills. The replacement class feature in the PF Setting book, the Thug in UA, or an updated Open Minded feat that matches the new toughness would all be good ways to address that.

**

Autohypnosis may be outside the typical SRD material but it does have some very good features that would have made concentration a useful skill for more then just spellcasters. There were also a number of solid general feats in the XPH SRD material that seem to have been unfortunately overlooked. It would have been good to have mined the whole of the SRD.


Mahrke wrote:
Roll Swim and Climb into a single skill:

no it's not going to happen, we don't want 4th ed. i would incourage you to get over it. if you want characters to have more skill points, give them more skill points...

Mahrke wrote:
Concentration isn't fully covered. I like that concentration has been rolled into spellcraft, but this presents a problem. The diamond mind school out of ToB uses concentration in a lot of things that spellcraft doesn't suit. We've created a new skill, called Focus, that rolls this martial half of concentration together with the Autohypnosis skill from XPH. Base it off CON, or INT, depending on balance decisions there, and it becomes a useful skill in it's own right, and meshes correctly with ToB.

i believe the current plan is to loose spellcraft and use concentration, and knowledge (arcana) to cover it instead. if this doesn't happen it's what i'm doing in my camp. and i would tell you to do the same.


Adimarchus wrote:
Other skills which I think need folding in are knowledge(nobility) and knowledge(history) since both these things are learned with each other in school and knowing a lot about one lends itself to knowing a lot about the other.

I concur with you on this. One's proficiency in courtly matters should probably be covered by Diplomacy, as opposed to a Knowledge skill of very limited use that most people avoid with a 10 foot pole.

Adimarchus wrote:
Knowledge(geography) and knowledge(local) can also reasonably be folded into each other. The main reasons her is that no one ever takes 20 ranks of knowledge(local) and you always run into the problem of where is you local knowledge and where does it end. It doesn't make sense. Just fold them into each other and you get one skill that can reasonably be expected to do the job of both.

Also concur with you on this. There's a HUGE amount of overlap in the descriptions of these skills. And the study of people, cultures, and lore is a large component of every geography class I've ever taken. Knowledge (local) is another skill with a very narrow focus that few players take because frankly, D20 isn't a game about localities - it's about traveling the world and adeventuring. Fold em' in and be done with it. Special privledged knowledge about a specific area should not be represented by skill points.


Quandary wrote:
I find the argument that Swim doesn't match Climb weak.

Many sailors throughout history would disagree with you. There were quite a few of them that were quite strong and athletic, but ultimately didn't know a damned thing about swimming and ended up dying beneath the waves.

Here's how the physical skills should be set up:

Acrobatics: the melding of Tumble and Balance (both DEX based).
Athletics: the melding of Jump and Climb (both STR based).
Leave Swim as a separate, TRAINED skill.

Tell your friends!


My point was that there have been plenty of Forgers who weren't specialists in Ancient Languages, or Look-outs who weren't the best of Hearers or Tasters, so I don't see so much of an argument against Climb+Swim as against consolidation in general. Obviously, NONE of those skills or usages are particularly "linked" together in real-life: It's simply gamist 'balance'.

That said, your line-up there would at least be an improvement in regards to consolidating the "Physical" skills slightly more/differently (to the benefit of Fighters/Paladins and high-STR types) as it'. Perhaps if having a high Swim Skill were more beneficial in and of itself (e.g. granting a Swim Speed/bonus with sufficient Ranks, as some have recommended) Swim would feel more "worth it" as a non-consolidated Skill... Which also provides a reasonable way for "Exceptional" Aquatic NPCs/Monsters to minorly boost their Swim Speed by investing in extra Ranks of Swim.

Shadow Lodge

I e that, fore the most part, we agree.

Swim/climb seperate.
local/geography maybe combine
nobility, ditch it.

and there is a rumor spellcrapft will disapear and concentration will make a come back with some help from K-Arcana.

As far as swim is concerned. I was in the navy for 8 years, and when i went to boot camp, there were like 10 guys in my unit alone that couldn't swim. And many on the Boat couldn't swim well enough that they would go for swim call under way. And as far as a useless skill... you have never played a gaem with pirate? everything is better with Pirates.


ignore - Just realized posted to the wrong subforum

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Sueki Suezo wrote:


Here's how the physical skills should be set up:

Acrobatics: the melding of Tumble and Balance (both DEX based).
Athletics: the melding of Jump and Climb (both STR based).
Leave Swim as a separate, TRAINED skill.

Tell your friends!

I totally agree with your layout of Acrobatics and Athletics. I really don't like it when skills are merged when the original skills are dependent on two different abilities -- or, from another perspective, I don't want to see a skill that allows you to do something that might actually call upon different faculties. Jumping is Str based; someone who has a keen sense of balance to keep them from slipping on ice may still only be able to jump a few feet at most off the ground. But someone who's good at jumping can probably also hang off a rope pretty well.

I think the only reason why folks (myself included at times) want swim folded into something else is because otherwise it's so not often used. UNLESS you are going to be in a specific aquatic campaign, it doesn't often come up, and usually people who take it don't even take it to show they are "good swimmers"; it's to help save them should they fall into a body of water while carrying a heavy load.

If I were to fold Swim in with something, I would fold it in with Fly, and call it something along the lines of "Mobility" (not a perfect name, I realize). The idea is the skill reflects your ability to maneuver yourself in non-normal terrain (e.g., water, mid-air, etc.). It would be perfect for druids and polymorphers of various stripes. From a behind the scenes perspective, both skills are very circumstantial and may not even come into play for a lot of people--but for the people who would find the skills useful, at least they only have to spend 1 skill point in the area rather than two.

The only problem is that I think it counters my previously mentioned instinct to avoid abilities that would merge skills of two separate abilities, as IIRC Fly is Dex based. Hmmmm.

Scarab Sages

Eric Stipe wrote:
no it's not going to happen, we don't want 4th ed. i would incourage you to get over it. if you want characters to have more skill points, give them more skill points...

Pssssst. You DO know there's already been a bunch of other skill consolidations right?

I doubt one more will make the game into 4E.

Shadow Lodge

i understand the delima. if a rouge gets 12 skill points, and there are only 12 skills, then there isn't much of a roll play in that. however certain things folding together do seem logical enough.

I like the idea for movement(fly/swim) it is very important to the druid.


If there were a word for "climbing and swimming" and the two were related at all, I might think it made sense. There is no such word. "Athletics" would be a poor choice of word, as it has a sporting connotation, and just because 4e used it doesn't make it legit.

Climb and swim are different skills. You can be great at one and bad at the other. Combining them for the sake of a class that is supposed to have limited skills is going too far. The rogue can climb and swim. The fighter must pick one.

Liberty's Edge

<snark> We could combine the two and survival into one skill called Outdoorsmanship. </snark>

:p

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sueki Suezo wrote:
Quandary wrote:
I find the argument that Swim doesn't match Climb weak.

Many sailors throughout history would disagree with you. There were quite a few of them that were quite strong and athletic, but ultimately didn't know a damned thing about swimming and ended up dying beneath the waves.

Here's how the physical skills should be set up:

Acrobatics: the melding of Tumble and Balance (both DEX based).
Athletics: the melding of Jump and Climb (both STR based).
Leave Swim as a separate, TRAINED skill.

Tell your friends!

It might be very well realistic to keep swim as a separate skill, much like many other should also be. One could be a master archer and yet be a mediocre swordsman... for this kind of games it's better to use a true skill-based system like GURPS.

For D&D or Pathfinder (games that can't make any reasonable claim of being realistic), swim ends up as mostly useless skill that gets rolled in the few instances in which a character falls into water. IMHO, it's much better to fold it with climb and jump. It makes things fast and playable.


toyrobots wrote:


Climb and swim are different skills. You can be great at one and bad at the other. Combining them for the sake of a class that is supposed to have limited skills is going too far. The rogue can climb and swim. The fighter must pick one.

Sorry, but as far as not consildating certain skills go, this argument is pretty poor. You can be blind and still hear great, but both are covered only by one skill in PRPG

So in terms of fluff, Athletics makes as much sense as perception. In terms of crunch it's needed, and a few others too. During my play of PRGP (Yes, I'm actually speaking from playtest experience) Skills like Perception and Acrobatics are being taken left right and centre (in fact, in every campaign in which wer;ve used skill consolidation, I beleive everyone has taken ranks in perception) whilst other skills (such as Appraise, Climb, a fair portion of the knowledge skills, Swim) Never seem to have any ranks in them at all, and others (such as Disguise, Intimidate, Handle Animal, Ride) seem to only ever have ranks in them as prerequisites for something or for a character with a very specific feel.

Now, from a fluff perspective certain skill consolidations might not make sense, but remember that we have to see the crunch side as well, and as it stands the crunch is leaving some skills almost as mandatory whilst others just take up wasted space on the character sheet.

Count this as a vote for Athletics, in fact, count this as a vote for combining a few other skills too. I wouldn't mind seeing things like Knowwledge (Nature) combined with Survival, or Knoweldge (Arcana) and Knowledge (The Planes) rolled into one. Or maybe even combining bluff and disguise self.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Nero24200 wrote:


(Yes, I'm actually speaking from playtest experience) Skills like Perception and Acrobatics are being taken left right and centre (in fact, in every campaign in which wer;ve used skill consolidation, I beleive everyone has taken ranks in perception) whilst other skills (such as Appraise, Climb, a fair portion of the knowledge skills, Swim) Never seem to have any ranks in them at all, and others (such as Disguise, Intimidate, Handle Animal, Ride

Well Nero I cant talk about the others but I quite often take ranks in swim as for skill consolidation Perception covering sight and sound makes sence because generally in a real life combat situation you are trained to be aware of your surroundings both what you can and cant see. heck even outside of combat situations people are trained to look and listen at the same (for example crossing the road a child is taught to stop look and listen) whilst I honestly cant think of any real life situation that would teach someone to swim and climb at the same time.


Kevin Mack wrote:
Well Nero I cant talk about the others but I quite often take ranks in swim as for skill consolidation Perception covering sight and sound makes sence because generally in a real life combat situation you are trained to be aware of your surroundings both what you can and cant see. heck even outside of combat situations people are trained to look and listen at the same (for example crossing the road a child is taught to stop look and listen) whilst I honestly cant think of any real life situation that would teach someone to swim and climb at the same time.

Again, whilst true, it doesn't change that in RL a person can have poor sight but great hearing (or vice versa) but the current skill consolidation does not take that into account. I'm not trying to argue that we shouldn't have perception, but it [b]does/[b], for me at least, feel a little off when folk are using "It doesn't make sense" as a basis for not combining certain skills.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Kevin Mack wrote:


whilst I honestly cant think of any real life situation that would teach someone to swim and climb at the same time.

Prepping for a hard core marathon? ;)


Nero24200 wrote:


Again, whilst true, it doesn't change that in RL a person can have poor sight but great hearing (or vice versa) but the current skill consolidation does not take that into account. I'm not trying to argue that we shouldn't have perception, but it [b]does/[b], for me at least, feel a little off when folk are using "It doesn't make sense" as a basis for not combining certain skills.

I know I can't fight the power on Perception, but I have noticed that it is sort of boring rolling perception for everything in my playtest. I can only imagine that rolling "Athletics" for everything would be similarly bland. And "Athletics" is a terrible, terrible name for it.

Dark Archive

Forgive my ignorance, but isn't perception already effectively broken down into sub categories? Each race has their own bonus to a component of perception (ie. smell, sight, sound) and certain creatures add bonuses based on certain attributes (ie. dogs gets +X on perception when using scent). It would then follow that a blind man could not use his perception ranks while using sight alone. The ranks that the blind fellow has pushed into perception reflect his increase in his hearing portion (and the others) of the equation. He is not end running the perception rules at all.

Am I wrong in my thinking?

Cheers

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lord oKOyA wrote:

Forgive my ignorance, but isn't perception already effectively broken down into sub categories? Each race has their own bonus to a component of perception (ie. smell, sight, sound) and certain creatures add bonuses based on certain attributes (ie. dogs gets +X on perception when using scent). It would then follow that a blind man could not use his perception ranks while using sight alone. The ranks that the blind fellow has pushed into perception reflect his increase in his hearing portion (and the others) of the equation. He is not end running the perception rules at all.

Am I wrong in my thinking?

Cheers

No your not in fact in my campaign setting I have an NPC that is a blind paladin. Yes she has a high perception (and to a small extent her other sences make up for the lost of sight) but I auto fail her on any perception check that relied on sight alone (Obscure hand writing on a wall for instance.) So yes although perception is its own skill certain races do get bonuses to certain aspects of it (dwarf's get bonuses to taste and touch, Elves spot and perception, Gnomes smell and touch etc,)


I have to agree with Troybot on that one: climb and swim are similar in physical involvement, but rather different in training and in opportunity of development.

I believe there are better combination of skills to consolidate than climb and swim together.

While I do not go as far as suggesting that Swim should be a feat, I'd like to keep some of the medieval mentality that people live on land, and swimming is a rare skill, even for those who live by the shores and sail the seas.

'findel


Laurefindel wrote:

I have to agree with Troybot on that one: climb and swim are similar in physical involvement, but rather different in training and in opportunity of development.

I believe there are better combination of skills to consolidate than climb and swim together.

While I do not go as far as suggesting that Swim should be a feat, I'd like to keep some of the medieval mentality that people live on land, and swimming is a rare skill, even for those who live by the shores and sail the seas.

'findel

While it might have been a rare skill then, that was mostly due to few having an oppertunity to swim. Ask anyone to lie on a desk and simulate swimming, just about everyone will know the movements, even those that can't swim.

Besides, even if there are better combinations, theres nothing to say the skill can't be broken down the way perception is.


Nero24200 wrote:

While it might have been a rare skill then, that was mostly due to few having an oppertunity to swim.

I think it was more due to an irrational fear and distrust of the rivers and seas, and to the (European) philosophy that respectable people do not belong in water.

But I agree that this is a fantasy world, not a faithful copy of the middle ages, and that many of those superstitious fears and lack of general education should not HAVE to be translated into Pathfinder RPG.

PCs are all literate for a start (except for barbarians, I know...), it wouldn't be a far stretch to assume that they are also more rational about water and swimming (and hygiene for that matter). So let the skill be usable untrained with no "moral penalties", which it is at the moment.

And yes, it could be broken down like Perception, but I still would find it rather clunky if we'd have to examine the character's background to figure out whether or not he'd have a penalty on Athletic check to swim due to a lack of childhood opportunities. All in all, it works best as a separate skill IMO, and I am still not convinced that the game mechanically need to twofer climb and swim two skills to work properly.

'findel

Dark Archive

I was not making my point about perception to advance any cause, either for or against folding swim into any other skill. I was merely pointing out that skill ranks in perception are still mitigated by circumstances and common sense.

As far as the historical aversion to swimming argument, all I would add is that in the middle ages people may have had their reasons, real or imagined not to go in the water. In the fantasy world, there actually are monsters lurking in that water waiting to eat you (or worse). I would think that swimming would be something even more rare in this type of setting.

I know I would think long and hard about going for a swim in Golarion's lakes/rivers/oceans.

Cheers


I honestly think the skills have been combined too much. Stealth was definitely a good thing but perception lets you do too much. Too often I have found that a rogue can just do everything and have max ranks at everything (not literally). Thats the main reason I would keep them separate. If they were to be combined then major thought would have to be put into how many less skill points each class should have. Perception should be split into perception and search/investigate. (Basically active versus passive perception) I could see splitting acrobatics back into balance and acrobatics. (although I would not do it and I would definitely keep jump enveloped) And Swim and climb should be kept separate. As stated before this is meant to prevent the need to make classes get less skill points.

Sovereign Court

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Laurefindel wrote:

PCs are all literate for a start (except for barbarians, I know...), it wouldn't be a far stretch to assume that they are also more rational about water and swimming (and hygiene for that matter). So let the skill be usable untrained with no "moral penalties", which it is at the moment.

And yes, it could be broken down like Perception, but I still would find it rather clunky if we'd have to examine the character's background to figure out whether or not he'd have a penalty on Athletic check to swim due to a lack of childhood opportunities. All in all, it works best as a separate skill IMO, and I am still not convinced that the game mechanically need to twofer climb and swim two skills to work properly.

Well I'll be damned. I think I've just been flipped. Thus far I've been a strong advocate of bundling Climb, Jump and maybe some "Run" into Athletic but keeping Swim separate because it's a different form of locomotion and not all good climbers can swim.

But that literacy argument may just have won me over. PCs are special. They can pretty much all read. They should all probably be able to swim too. For PCs, there no real problem having Swim be part of Athletics because they ought to know both. But what about NPCs and creatures? The argument has been made that fish can't climb. True, but a fish gets +8 on Swim checks so doesn't need any ranks in Athletics/Climb to swim. Same thing with climbers; anything with a climb speed gets +8 to Climb, right? So they don't need Athletics either. And NPCs? Sure, a farmer can climb a little and jump just fine, but I imagine your average farmer is jumping and climbing without any ranks in Jump, Climb, or Athletics. The guy only has a few skill points in his life. He's going to spend them on Craft and Profession so he can earn a decent living, not Athletics. Unless he is a particularly athletic fellow who competes against other farmers in feats of strength and speed, it which case he probably knows how to swim too.

So, wow, yeah, at this point I'd be good with rolling Climb, Jump and Swim into Athletics and saying that you learn to swim with your first rank. No Athletics, no swimming (unless you are a creature with a natural swim speed).

I know Swim and Climb are different forms of movement, but for the most part, IN THE GAME, most folks who know one are going to know the other. You could create a flaw or something - Doesn't Know How to Swim - for athletic folk who you specifically don't want to swim.

One other thing ... what about Fly? If we've removed two forms of locomotion as their own skills, and Run was never a skill, why should flying get it's own skill? Maybe roll Fly into Acrobatics to take the place of Jump. Creature-wise, good fliers are dexterous rather than strong and will also be good at dodging and balancing. The only danger for PCs is that, should rogues ever gain the ability to fly, they'd be better at it than wizards and sorcerers. Is that a problem? And if it is, we could allow magic users to add their level to their Acrobatics when using magic to fly (like how Bards add their level to Knowledge).

Anyway, whether this happens or not, nice job Laurefindle, you've changed a stubborn mind.

Liberty's Edge

People didn't go into the water during the middle ages because they didn't have a good idea of what to do about waste management. They literally threw their trash into the street, over a wall, or into rivers, lakes, and caves. They didn't realize it at the time, but they were contaminating their ground water and fresh water and so when someone attempted to swim or even consume water it often resulted in stomach problems, skin irritation, or infection of the skin, eyes, mouth and nose.

This is why beer making took off in the middle ages. Water was boiled (killing the parasites and bacteria in it) to make the beer. This made it safe to consume. The evolution in sanitation during the middle ages was the development of underwear, which could be changed so that you weren't sitting in your own... nasties...

Places like Baden in Germany and Bath in England still found some visitors who would use the spring waters for cleaning. However, that didn't mean most people could swim. Compounded with the little ice age, temperatures in europe prevented most people from swimming regularly in fresh water. You could swim in salt water, but then you'd find yourself encrusted with salt and no easy way to remove it. This too leads to irritations of the skin, eyes, mouth and nose.

Swimming was just too uncomfortable to do then.


Another interesting fact: most sailors didn't learn how to swim because they figured that if the ship went down mid-ocean, or they were blown overboard, there would be no chance of rescue. Being able to swim would just prolong their deaths, so they fatalistically decided it would be best to die quickly by drowning.

But I'm on the side of Climb and Swim being kept separate also. There's been too much consolidation already, IMO.


Sueki Suezo wrote:

Here's how the physical skills should be set up:

Acrobatics: the melding of Tumble and Balance (both DEX based).
Athletics: the melding of Jump and Climb (both STR based).
Leave Swim as a separate, TRAINED skill.

Tell your friends!

I wholeheartedly support this, and have already rewritten the skills chapter for my house rules to qualify.

Though I'm for merging fly and swim, and making the skills function the same, so that aquatic combat works much like flight, and it requires more than a skill check just to see if you can move or not.

All that's left is to roll the identifying portion of Spellcraft into the Knowledges, and reinstate Concentration combined with Autohypnosis for the, y'know, Concentration related checks so that we're not favoring wizards and are remaining more backwards compatible...

Though I did also roll Knowledge Nobility into History, and replaced Local with Culture...

Shadow Lodge

To Mosaic. the reason Fly is in the skills list is because jason didn't want a skill only monsters had. It is mostly for them. Or templates, or people who grow wings. Other then that, no one uses it. Fly spells grant a certain amount of maneuverability, so fly is nullified.


Daniel Simonson wrote:
To Mosaic. the reason Fly is in the skills list is because jason didn't want a skill only monsters had. It is mostly for them. Or templates, or people who grow wings. Other then that, no one uses it. Fly spells grant a certain amount of maneuverability, so fly is nullified.

But fly is a class skill for wizards and sorcerors?

For the note, Ive met alot of people that can't swim. Also Im pretty sure Im retarded when it comes to things like climbing trees, but I can swim quite well.

I have difficulty picturing swimming dwarves (itty bitty arms and legs and BIG body....can someone see a dwarf swimming freestlye?)

Swim should be a trained skill.
Drowning should be a reality in the game.

The wizard in our camapaign found a flying carpet, he's been using quite abit of fly skill.
The sorceress uses the fly spell a uses the fly skill quite abit too.

Shadow Lodge

If you have a magic carpet, don't you use the carpets fly skill? Maybe a ride check to stay on board after take off...

Fly spells give characters average/good maneuverability. Does that not bypass the fly skill?


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Daniel Simonson wrote:
Fly spells give characters average/good maneuverability. Does that not bypass the fly skill?

No, maneuverability adds modifiers to the fly skill, but does not bypass it.


Okay, I can see why some people want to combine skills like Jump, Climb, and swim. But why call it "Athletics"? Am I the only one bothered by the sporting connotation? Is it just that we can find no more appropriate word to like these together?


toyrobots wrote:
Okay, I can see why some people want to combine skills like Jump, Climb, and swim. But why call it "Athletics"? Am I the only one bothered by the sporting connotation? Is it just that we can find no more appropriate word to like these together?

I started another thread that addresses some of these issues...any feedback would be appreciated.

Go to here

Dark Archive

toyrobots wrote:
Okay, I can see why some people want to combine skills like Jump, Climb, and swim. But why call it "Athletics"? Am I the only one bothered by the sporting connotation? Is it just that we can find no more appropriate word to like these together?

In addition, we would then have a skill called Athletics and a feat called Athletic?


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? ;-)


Laurefindel wrote:
PCs are all literate for a start (except for barbarians, I know...)

Actually, Pathfinder barbarians are just as literate as anyone else now.

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