Revised Skill List


Homebrew and House Rules


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I've been going about reworking the Pathfinder skill list, expanding and consolidating some here and there, while keeping things grounded in verisimilitude and internal consistency, and I wanted to share and get some outside opinions on it. I will go over my thoughts on each skill removed and added. First the list:

Acrobatics (Dex) (Armor Check Penalty)
Animal Handling (Wis) (Trained Only)
Arcane Lore (Int) (Trained Only)
Athletics (Str) (Armor Check Penalty)
Crafting (Var)
Cultural Lore (Int) (Trained Only)
Deception (Cha)
Device Handling (Dex) (Trained Only) (Armor Check Penalty)
Engineering (Int) (Trained Only)
Healing (Wis)
Historical Lore (Int) (Trained Only)
Insight (Wis)
Intimidation (Cha)
Linguistics (Int) (Trained Only)
Mercantile (Wis) (Trained Only)
Natural Lore (Int) (Trained Only)
Perception (Wis)
Performance (Var)
Persuasion (Cha)
Planar Lore (Int) (Trained Only)
Profession (Var) (Trained Only)
Religious Lore (Int) (Trained Only)
Riding (Dex)
Sleight of Hand (Dex) (Trained Only) (Armor Check Penalty)
Spellcraft (Int) (Trained Only)
Stealth (Dex) (Armor Check Penalty)
Survival (Wis)

Now I'll go into each skill that got removed or changed and my thoughts behind the process.

Appraise: Folded into a new skill called Mercantile so as to widen its value, Mercantile covers appraising as well as all aspects of running a business and the practices therein.
Bluff and Disguise: Rolled into a single Deception skill.
Climb and Swim: Rolled into a single Athletics skill along with taking jumping from Acrobatics.
Diplomacy: Renamed to Persuasion.
Disable Device: Renamed Device Handling so that it doesn't seem so fixated on only breaking things, but is clear that it can also be used to fix thing or alter things.
Escape Artist: Folded into Acrobatics. Can attempt either an Acrobatics or Athletics check to escape bonds, depending on whether you are trying to slip free or brute force it.
Fly: Folded into Acrobatics (to be honest, this skill doesn't come up very often in our games, we lean somewhat old school and generally handle flying as it was in 3E and earlier, with occasional exceptions).
Knowledge Dungeoneering: This is described as covering "aberrations, caverns, oozes, and spelunking". Aberrations and oozes are moved to Arcane Lore, caverns to Natural Lore, and spelunking to Survival.
Knowledge Geography: Covers "lands, terrain, climate, people", this is divided between Natural Lore and Survival, expect for "people" which goes to Cultural Lore.
Knowledge Local: Renamed Cultural Lore with the intention of broadening its aspects and uses.
Knowledge Nobility: Folded into Cultural Lore.
Knowledge Planes: Renamed Planar Lore, I have pondered on folding this into Religious Lore though (possibly then renaming it to Divine Lore), but I think its probably distinct enough to merit its own skill.
Sense Motive: Renamed to Insight.
Use Magic Device: Folded into Spellcraft, with the exception that if you have the Trapfinding class feature you may use Device Handling to use magical devices (this lets the Rogue keep its classical niche and has the beneficial byproduct of somewhat buffing trapfinding, a feature that some have found lacking).

Other notes:

Crafting, Profession, and Performance are all list as "Var" which means it Varies on which is its governing stat. Each one will be based on the individual chosen subskill. For example smithing will be Str based, painting and other forms of artistry will be Dex based, alchemy will be Int based, etc. Same goes for profession, sage will be Int based, farmer will be Wis based, courtesan will be Cha based, etc. As for Performance, singing, acting, comedy, and oratory will all be Cha based, whereas the instrument ones will be Dex based.
At one point I had Riding folded into Animal Handling but ultimately decided to reseparate the two as they have different primary purposes and are distinct enough to merit it.
Do you like "Natural Lore", "Nature Lore", or "Wilderness Lore" better? I've gone kinda back and forth on this.

Hit me with any feedback or suggestions you may have.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Pathfinder Unchained has two systems that already consolidate some skills . This may not be overly helpful to you and it does group skills a bit differently.


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Psi51 wrote:
Pathfinder Unchained has two systems that already consolidate some skills . This may not be overly helpful to you and it does group skills a bit differently.

I am indeed aware of Pathfinder Unchained. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I agree names like "religious lore" is nicer, but the nice aspect of rolling all knowledge skills under one name is that you're grouping skills that work the same under one banner.

I do like Cultural Lore. Rolling nobility and local into it was a smart idea.

I'm not fond of removing geography. Geography also covers celestial bodies, astronomy, and space. It's vital for some campaigns. Instead of removing it, I think emphasizing and expanding that aspect would be better.

Maybe consider an Occult Lore skill?


In general I am not a fan of such reduced skill sets (for your info in case you think my opinion is biased in some way) because to me most combining of skills or actions just do not make sense.
But having said that some ultra simple games go the route you have taken, I even remember one in which they simply had tasks based on stats and you could put points into each stats skills.

For me detail is one reason I play the game but if you think your way it better play test it and see if it works for your group. Would it work for the group I play with? no.

One common thing also done, which I do not know if you have or not is to track how many skills have the associated stat. So for example (not counting var skills), IIRC my quick count was Int 9 skill, the high, and Cha 3 skills the low. When thinking about skills you have to think of not only if the skill is going to be useful but what stat does it link to and does that make the stat over powered in other terms.

Good Luck
MDC

Edit:
The one other thing I forgot to mention is, it may not seem like you need to add skills now but in the future for some reason you might so you should plan on how you would do this right now, if you can to prevent problems that can arise.
MDC


@Gambit.

I like a lot of what you've got. I never understood jump being a part of acrobatics. And an athletics skill makes perfect sense. I've played with some people who've tried to bring in some 2nd ed. rules such as bend bars/lift gates in the form of a "feat of strength" (not a feat to take for that though). Any ideas about including those ideas in Athletics? I like the use of "Lore" also. It has a more fantasy feel to it. 5th ed. did something good including that word.


Gambit wrote:
Crafting, Profession, and Performance are all list as "Var" which means it Varies on which is its governing stat. Each one will be based on the individual chosen subskill. For example smithing will be Str based, painting and other forms of artistry will be Dex based, alchemy will be Int based, etc. Same goes for profession, sage will be Int based, farmer will be Wis based, courtesan will be Cha based, etc. As for Performance, singing, acting, comedy, and oratory will all be Cha based, whereas the instrument ones will be Dex based.

I know you're just giving some examples and will probably handle each skill case by case, but I want to argue some your examples.

You're going Str for smithing, but I believe that Int is still the best choice. I am an electrician by trade (not quite the same, I know), and while having strength, agility, and endurance are all helpful, the very best electricians are the smart ones. A good blacksmith would need those same physical qualities, but a truly great blacksmith would need to be smart to master the techniques.

I would also be inclined to keep the Performance skills with Cha. I am also a musician. Fine motor skills are a must, so Dex makes some sense. But when I think about music with beauty, depth, meaning, etc. it comes down more to the ability of the composer of performer to express themselves. You don't need to be able to play the guitar fast to move people. You need to be able to express yourself. Its just that if you have clumsy fingers you probably be able to clearly express yourself. Composing music is also about expression, but intelligence and wisdom would play a factor instead of dexterity.

For Profession, I think there is more room for changing around the ability score, but I would still tend go with Wisdom as a default.

Maybe for some of these skills you assign a single ability score. When the player wants to do something, you think about it for a second and decide which ability score will be used based on the circumstances.


Query: what is the difference between 'mercantile' and 'profession'? Seems like profession should be rolled up into mercantile at first blush.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Wait a minute. Smithing is a Strength-based skill? Have you ever seen the Man at Arms: Reforged series? A smithy isn't a muscle-head that whacks a lump of metal until it shaped the way he wants. Smithing is a mixture of art, science, and engineering. A smith has to know metallurgy, the physics of metal, and other technical knowledge.


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Blacksmithing was a strength-based proficiency in 2nd edition, but agree I with you Cyrad.


Cyrad wrote:
Wait a minute. Smithing is a Strength-based skill? Have you ever seen the Man at Arms: Reforged series? A smithy isn't a muscle-head that whacks a lump of metal until it shaped the way he wants. Smithing is a mixture of art, science, and engineering. A smith has to know metallurgy, the physics of metal, and other technical knowledge.

I was looking at it as the act of attributing skill points into the skill was learning the training/skill aspect of smithing, and being stronger just generally makes the work go more smoothly.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Gambit wrote:
Crafting, Profession, and Performance are all list as "Var" which means it Varies on which is its governing stat. Each one will be based on the individual chosen subskill. For example smithing will be Str based, painting and other forms of artistry will be Dex based, alchemy will be Int based, etc. Same goes for profession, sage will be Int based, farmer will be Wis based, courtesan will be Cha based, etc. As for Performance, singing, acting, comedy, and oratory will all be Cha based, whereas the instrument ones will be Dex based.

I know you're just giving some examples and will probably handle each skill case by case, but I want to argue some your examples.

You're going Str for smithing, but I believe that Int is still the best choice. I am an electrician by trade (not quite the same, I know), and while having strength, agility, and endurance are all helpful, the very best electricians are the smart ones. A good blacksmith would need those same physical qualities, but a truly great blacksmith would need to be smart to master the techniques.

I would also be inclined to keep the Performance skills with Cha. I am also a musician. Fine motor skills are a must, so Dex makes some sense. But when I think about music with beauty, depth, meaning, etc. it comes down more to the ability of the composer of performer to express themselves. You don't need to be able to play the guitar fast to move people. You need to be able to express yourself. Its just that if you have clumsy fingers you probably be able to clearly express yourself. Composing music is also about expression, but intelligence and wisdom would play a factor instead of dexterity.

For Profession, I think there is more room for changing around the ability score, but I would still tend go with Wisdom as a default.

Maybe for some of these skills you assign a single ability score. When the player wants to do something, you think about it for a second and decide which ability score will be used based on the circumstances.

I addressed smithing above good sir, but as for performance, I think you are looking at it just from the perspective of a content creator, and I dont disagree that charisma plays an important aspect in such, but I believe merely playing is based more on those motor skills. And many bards are singing and playing songs that have been around forever, ancient elven ballads, historical dwarven war chants, grand lyrical masterpieces of the old human empire, etc, i.e. stuff they havent created themselves. This is not me trying to disparage musical creativity in the slightest, just provide alternate perspective.


I am looking at it from the perspective of a performer and music lover.

And a metal-worker who is strong and dumb will not advance far, career-wise.

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